Thursday, 7 October 2010

Rahul Gandhi equates RSS with SIMI, confused BJP falls in Congress trap

During his visit to Madhya Pradesh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said that the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) are equally fanatic.

The statement hit the BJP like a bombshell and its leaders issued a range of statements, some termed Rahul immature, others said he was unaware of history while some made harsh comments against the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Such was the mad rush that almost every BJP leader spoke on the issue. Reactions ranging from 'Rahul's statement is childish' to 'it is political crime' ensured that Rahul's utterances got prominence, more so because of the heavy criticism.

The BJP-ruled government in Madhya Pradesh had set a new precedent and for the first time given status of State Guest to Rahul Gandhi during his visit. But he said that it didn't matter to him, instead, his statement that termed RSS, a Hindu fundamentalist organisation, at par with Muslim fundamentalist group SIMI, embarrassed the government.

Madhya Pradesh plays a important part in Congress' scheme of things. With a strong Dalit, Tribal and Minority population, the party wants to win the state again after two successive losses. By attacking RSS, Rahul sent a message post-Ayodhya verdict that the Congress was clear about its secular policy.

The links of Madhya Pradesh-based Hindutva groups involved in terrorist activities is well-known. While SIMI is a banned organisation and RSS has also been banned many times in the past, the comparison may not look that odd.

RSS has dozens of frontal organisations including VHP and Bajrang Dal that have been involved in communal riots and large-scale violence. But the growth of BJP has given somewhat respectability to RSS though it never participated in the freedom movement.

The BJP appeared confused as to how to react to Rahul Gandhi's sudde attack. While its leaders were speaking in different voices, dismissing him as an 'inexperiences politician' would not help. There was not a single rational or proper response fromt the party.

On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi seems to be playing his cards well. By targeting RSS, the mother organisation of BJP, he has touched the BJP's raw nerve. After all, the more BJP leaders will target him, the more his political stature will rise.

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