By Devika Bedi
Prime Minister Modi has recently severely criticised Congress party for practising dynasty politics that led to the partition of India. He went on to accuse it of catering to the “interests of one family” in difficult times and neglecting the country’s interests. In his speech in the Lok Sabha on 8th February, he confronted opposition leader’s remarks on Adhaar and the Union Budget.
Foundation of the rivalry
The rivalry between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party goes back in time. Founding stones of BJP was laid by Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Jawaharlal Nehru founded Congress in 1885. While BJP has maintained its niche nationalistic identity, Congress thrives on maintaining its various flexible identities, as per the situation and mood of elections. The differences between leaders from both the parties go down in the history of Indian politics. The recent state assembly results of Gujarat seem to indicate a balance between the influences of both the parties. Along with taking blows at each other publicly, the leaders cast insults at each other through Twitter as well. “FM Jaitley’s genius combines with Mr Modi’s Gross Divisive Politics (GDP)” tweets Rahul Gandhi. If Congress is linked to minority politics, so is BJP to majority politics. In the era of alliances, BJP and Congress remain the two most powerful blocks of Indian legislative sphere and clashes between them are a regular affair.
After budget pronunciation, the country went into a frenzy upon observing a pro-rural and farmer-oriented fund allocation. In retaliation, opposition leaders from Andhra Pradesh participated in sloganeering. As a reactionary measure to the high-pitched slogans, Narendra Modi strategically raised his voice to neutralise the aggression. He went on to berate the Congress for dividing the country and putting the nation at stake for their own family profits. “This is your character. You divided India. Even after 70 years of Independence, 125 crore people of India continue to suffer because of the poison you sowed. Not a single day passes when people of India are not punished for your sins“, Modi said. In what seemed like a public display of blame-game, the Prime Minister rooted historical events. Mr Modi accused Congress of diving Andhra Pradesh in haste for opportunistic and short-sighted goals. He even raised doubts regarding how the nation’s history is painted with Nehru being the only protagonist. “Is this their reading of India’s history? What arrogance is this?” he said referring to the Gandhi family in the presence of Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi.
A shaky ground in Andhra Pradesh
Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Congress from Andhra Pradesh are protesting against BJP for two days now. They are blaming the central government for “not implementing” Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act. Congress MP KVP Ramachandra Rao protested with a placard that read ‘Help Andhra Pradesh’. Following this, “If things come to a head, the two TDP Ministers and all Lok Sabha MPs will resign. We will go back to the Andhra voters and seek a re-election, campaigning against the BJP’s backstabbing,” a TDP MP said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to hold discussions in near future with the Union Expenditure Secretary in New Delhi. “One particular issue is how the amount—in view of the special status—has to be paid. We had announced this. This will be given and the state has requested for it,” he said. Mr Jaitley also mentioned the centre had already provided the state with 3,900 crore rupees as part of revenue deficit bifurcation.
Out of the 19 demands that the leaders have, few include increasing the number of legislative seats in the parliament allocated to Andhra, more financial aid to Amravati, the formation of a separate railway zone, and bridging of the resource gap that occurred after the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. TDP minister Y.S. Chowdary targeted the finance minister by warning him that he has an indirect control button to the proper functioning of the lower house. “If within 15 days, the Finance Minister can assure us that he will resolve all these issues… I would like to request my colleagues to see that this House runs.” TDP leaders do not confirm of any move to separate from the National Democratic Alliance, but they claim to put in efforts to pressurise the centre for more funds.
Any road ahead?
The prime minister made some strong allegations against the opposition, especially Congress. It must, with ethical advocacy and strategy, convince the nation of its claims on Kashmir. It would also be beneficial for the citizenry to actively get involved in knowing the contemporary history of India before tagging protagonists and antagonists.
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