After Antony, young Nirupam touches secular’ nerve in Congress

Monday, Sep 15, 2014,20:18 IST By metrovaartha A A A

After veteran Congress leader and former Defence Minister AK Antony, young leaders in the party are trying to reignite the debate on the issue of secularism and party’s ‘failed strategy’ to counter communal forces.
Taking the lead this time, Congress secretary and former MP Sanjay Nirupam has warned the party not to be trapped in the ‘communal agenda’ of BJP. He, in an opinion piece written for a prominent English daily, accused the BJP of playing ‘Gai, Ganga and Gita’ politics now.
Earlier, Mr Antony had cautioned the party leadership that the apparent proximity of the Congress to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism. He had started a debate in the party over the sensitive issue of secularism by saying that Some sections of society have an impression that the party is inclined to certain communities or organisations. The Congress had quickly distanced itself from his stand and official spokespersons clarified that the former Defence Minister’s statement was in the context of his home state Kerala only.
Mr Nirupam has restarted the debate by accepting the fact that the Congress ‘lost the plot’ by attacking merely the communal agenda. Narendra Modi’s political narrative, first developed in Gujarat and now offered at the national level, is here to stay, he said and asked the party to understand it properly to offer a counter.
Old ideas of secularism and social justice are not enough to fight Modi; an innovative package of new and non-conventional ideas and practices is necessary to oppose him, he suggested.
Mr Nirupam, who started his journalistic career from the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya, and joined the Congress parting ways with the Shiv Sena, said, The Sangh Parivar’s communal agenda primarily revolves around three symbols: the gai, the Ganga and the Gita. Modi and the BJP play politics with them. The secular opinion must be careful while commenting on matters involving these.
The secularism versus communalism debate needs to be articulated differently to ensure that one does not walk into Modi’s traps, Mr Nirupam concluded.