As Congress turned into Muslim League, BJP became the Congress

In today’s election discourse, the Congress and BJP mirror the historical clashes between Congress and Muslim League, and Congress and Communists. Presently, the Congress challenges positions it once championed, while embracing stances it once vehemently opposed—a political metamorphosis evocative of seismic shifts in ideological currents. This transformation didn’t happen suddenly but is rooted in a long history. Understanding this history is crucial to grasp the reasons behind the current election debates and their implications.

The onset to deterioration

Thuglak staunchly rejects BJP’s self-serving slogan, “Bharat without Congress,” emphasizing that even amidst Congress’ decline over the past three decades, abandoning the party is not in the nation’s interest. The magazine expresses deep concern over Congress’ erosion of national identity, principles, and ethos since the fracture initiated by Indira Gandhi in 1969 for familial gains. Once synonymous with nationalism, Congress lost its essence when Indira wrested control through governmental machinations, sidelining stalwarts like Kamaraj, Morarji Desai, and Nijalingappa. By aligning with Communists in the 1971 elections, Congress forfeited its distinctiveness and veered from the national mainstream, a shift lamented by Cho, Thuglak Magazine’s founder. The magazine traces its inception to Congress’ decline and DMK’s ascendance, spurred by the 1969 split. Thuglak’s stance against today’s Congress and support for Modi-led BJP stem from this historical context. Congress’s policy shifts in the 1980s aligned it with the Muslim League, continuing its communist-like trajectory from the 1970s, adopting liberal policies temporarily before reverting to a communist-like stance in 2024, evident in its election manifesto.

Congress deformed into Muslim League

Prior to independence, the Muslim League advocated for Muslim political reservation, asserting a separate identity. In 1932, Mahatma Gandhi’s hunger strike protested the British government’s support for caste-based reservations. Subsequently, in 1937, the British introduced Sharia law, fostering division between Muslims and Indians. Emboldened, the Muslim League in 1940 demanded a separate nation for Muslims, rejecting coexistence with Hindus. In stark contrast, the Congress of that era championed unity, asserting Hindus and Muslims as part of one community. However, today’s Congress echoes the divisive rhetoric of the past, aligning with the Muslim League’s separatist ideology. While the Congress of yesteryears opposed Muslim reservations, even endorsed by the Ambedkar-led Constituent Assembly, today’s Congress pledges such reservations, marking a departure from its earlier stance. The Karnataka government’s inclusion of all Muslims in the OBC category, supported by today’s Congress, marks a departure from the inclusive ethos of yesteryears. The Congress of the past advocated equality among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists, with priority only for Scheduled Castes. However, today’s Congress prioritizes Muslims in resource allocation, a significant shift from its earlier stance. In 1938, the Muslim League’s Birpur Committee accused Congress of Hindu favoritism, fostering anti-Muslim sentiments. In 1986, Congress repealed a Supreme Court ruling in the Shabano case, succumbing to Muslim demands against Sharia law. This marked Congress’s transition towards the Muslim League’s ideology. Subsequently, Congress opposed legitimate Hindu demands, even the construction of a Ram Temple, resembling the Muslim League more closely. This transformation is regrettable for both the country and the Congress.

Congress disfigured into Communist

The contemporary generation may be unaware that in 1969, Indira Gandhi fractured the Congress by labeling leaders like Kamaraj, Morarji, and Nijalingappa as anti-socialist and capitalist-influenced, opposing bank nationalization. Little known is Indira’s reliance on Communist counsel, influenced by Soviet Russia, to govern. In 1971, she amended the constitution, empowering the government to expropriate property without fair compensation, advocating for widespread nationalization. This led to the government’s control over banks, coal mines, and insurance companies, aligning with communist principles of state intervention. Thus, the Congress transformed into a mirror image of the Communist Party, embracing government intervention across all sectors. The Congress, once a staunch opponent of Communist ideology, underwent a dramatic transformation, evolving into the very entity it opposed. In the 1970s, the same Congress that had opposed Communism orchestrated brutal crackdowns on communist movements in Telangana and Kerala, mirroring the tactics it once condemned. Indira Gandhi, even vilified revered nationalists like Kamaraj as American agents for their opposition. The collapse of Soviet Russia in 1990 spurred Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh to abandon socialism, embracing Western capitalist ideals. Successive governments, from Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh and now the Modi administration, have endeavored to rectify socialist economic distortions through their unique approaches, transitioning from nationalization to privatization policies. The sudden inclusion of resource redistribution in the Congress manifesto for this election signifies yet another regrettable departure from its earlier principles.

Congress reduced into a caste-based party

Congress’ transformation continued. In 1989, during the Mandal movement led by VP Singh, which demanded caste-based reservations, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi implored, “Don’t divide the country on caste lines.” Engulfed in the Bofors scandal, he failed to prevent the movement, leading to VP Singh’s victory and the rise of OBC parties in northern states, contributing to Congress’s decline. Simultaneously, the Ram Temple movement eroded Congress’s Hindu support, weakening the party on both fronts. Losing Hindu support due to the Ram Temple issue and OBC support due to the Mandal movement, Congress adopted a Muslim League-like stance, seeking Muslim support at any cost. This strategy helped Congress win power in 2004, ruling for a decade. However, rampant corruption and appeasement politics led to BJP’s resurgence, culminating in Modi’s significant victory in 2014. Facing defeat again in the 2019 elections and losing traction with radical Muslim appeasement politics, Congress began advocating for a caste census to regain OBC votes. This shift marked an unfortunate departure from the principles of the earlier Congress, particularly under Rajiv Gandhi’s leadership.

BJP became the then Congress

The BJP began to fill the void left by Congress, which had shifted towards the ideologies of the Muslim League, Communists, and Mandal parties, moving away from its nationalistic roots. In 1949, Raghava Das, a Congress MLA from Ayodhya, initiated the Ramjanma Bhoomi Rescue Movement. A Gandhian, he was affectionately called “Baba” Raghava Das by Mahatma Gandhi. When Congress, under Nehru’s influence, abandoned the Ram temple cause, the BJP seized the opportunity, fully integrating the concept of Ram Rajya—celebrated by Gandhi—into the Ram Temple movement. The BJP revived symbols like Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai, which Congress had sidelined for vote-bank politics, embracing them as national icons. In this way, the BJP took on the mantle of the pre-independence Congress, championing the causes and symbols that Congress once celebrated but later rejected as religious. Today, Congress criticizes the BJP similarly to how the Muslim League once bashed Congress, labeling the BJP a Hindu party and itself anti-Muslim. How depraved is the transition?

Congress’ full toss & Modi’s sixers

That’s why Modi easily likens today’s Congress to the Muslim League. Modi hits Rahul, Sam Pitroda, and other Congress leaders for sixes on their stances regarding Muslim appeasement, caste, and communist politics. When they promise to share national resources, Modi counters by questioning if Muslims are the primary beneficiaries. He challenges their silence on Muslim sultans when they criticize Hindu kings for land usurpation and questions whether Muslim reservations mean OBC reservations. The list of full tosses and sixes is extensive.
In this heated election debate, both sides, including Prime Minister Modi and Rahul, have shown a lack of self-restraint. The Election Commission has issued notices to both parties following complaints of excessive rhetoric. We urge both sides to maintain self-control and conduct a respectful campaign until the election concludes.

Note to the Reader: This article originally appeared in Thuglak Tamil Weekly Magazine. It was translated in English by Shri Venkateshwaran from Thuglak Digital for

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