The Congress’s soft hindutva is leaving the BJP uneasy ahead of the assembly elections
The Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee celebrated the Gana-pati festival at its Shivaji Nagar office, for the fourth consecutive year, leaving the state BJP leaders worried. These days, state Congress president Kamal Nath prays before the Ganesha idol on the premises, every day, before entering the three-storey party building.
The Congress, which has been out of power in Madhya Pradesh for 15 years, has suffered because the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliate organisations have consolidated Hindu votes statewide. The BJP had even cut into the Adivasi votes, which used to be a strong base for the Congress.
After the Congress’s embarrassing defeat in the 2013 assembly polls and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the party leaders attributed “polarisation of votes on religious lines” to be the main cause of defeat. In the 230-member assembly, the Congress got just 58 seats, while just two members—Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia—won Lok Sabha seats.
Immediately after the 2013 defeat, then Congress state president Arun Yadav asked all state leaders to diffuse anti-Hindu sentiments built around the party. “I asked my workers to attend all Hindu religious functions in their areas and defeat the BJP at their own game,” said Yadav.
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