Oratory is important in todays time. Narendra Modi gave a new term ‘andolanjeevi’ to his supporters which was countered by activists vehemently. Modi’s speech was nothing but addressed to his audience and now that includes corporate bosses too as he categorically said that ‘private’ is important for ‘nation building’.
The second most important speech which was highly impressive and exposed the Sangh Parivar agenda and governance in the last six years, was of Mahua Moitra, TMC member of Parliament in Lok Sabha. It was definitely an extraordinary speech, full of passion and each word came from her heart and that is why it was powerful. It rattled the ruling party and the prime minister has to ‘compliment’ that ‘women’ MPs have worked hard to take the government to task.
The issue of farmers was strongly raised by Harsimaran Kaur who had been a Minister a couple of months back but was now opposing the government tooth and nail. She exposed BJP’s double speak on the issue and said how it treats the allies. Akali Dal was the oldest ally of BJP when it was actually looking for it. Asaduddin Owaisi too spoke very well but he is always a great orator who works hard to get his facts.
But the most interesting of the speeches in Parliament was that of Rahul Gandhi. His ‘hum do hamare do’ ‘slogan’ rattled the ruling party. Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Parliament yesterday showed that with experience he is also shining. Ofcourse, one can not speak confidently unless one has an ideological clarity on the issue and good that he has been persistent in his approach during the last six seven years. Unlike other top leaders who enjoyed ministerial positions in two UPAs by doing the balancing act, Rahul Gandhi has thrown his weight behind social justice, secularism and socialism. If Congress had stood ideologically clear to Hindutva’s ranting then it would not have been in such a decline as it is today.
It is extraordinary that Rahul Gandhi used his time allocated for the budget discussion on the farmers issue and explained the three farm bills in the simplest way. Farmers in India have understood it and people all over the country are now realising it and ‘hum do hamare do’ can become a powerful ‘slogan’ to explain the method of the functioning of the current regime.
And the most important part was ‘requesting for two minutes silence for ‘shaheed kisans’. This has jolted those who did not speak a sentence, one word for the kisans and did not want to discuss the issue. How insensitive can be a regime which looks for conspiracy theories and has let loose its cyber goons to continue with lies and calumny. Rahul Gandhi’s symbolic gesture will have a long impact and people will realise that there are ways and means to convey the message even when the party in power was determined to not allow him to speak on the issue.
While Congress is taking ideological shape, it still does not have organisations in states. We dont know what it is doing in West Bengal. Rahul Gandhi has so far not visited Odisha. While Priyanka has been active in Uttar Pradesh though on a part time basis, there are many states where the party does not seem to have political action. It is important that ideological clarity of the party is complimented by the strong organisational network and alliances on the ground.
As BJP goes with full throated cries in West Bengal to outdo Mamata Banerjee, I loved how Mamata responded to ‘poor’ Rahul Kanwal and gave him a ‘lecture’ on ‘freedom of expression and duties of media’. Mamata asked why Rajdeep Sardesai taken off the air by the India today group. When Rahul Kanwal ‘reminded’ Mamata that Rajdeep is very much a part of India Today groups, she asked him back but why is he not visible.
We all know why all the Bania channels are now organising so many ‘conclaves’ in Kolkata. Basically, it is ‘building’ up the ‘mahual’ for their ‘jaati’ party. Under the ‘pretext’ of conclave, these channels give extraordinary space to BJP leaders to cry against the opposition. They give one to one interviews and ‘narrative’ is spread through the ‘experts’. The ‘experts’ are nothing but the members of the coterie taken to spread the ‘narrative’ of the ruling party.
I have never liked Mamata Banerjee’s politics but I admit she is a street fighter and knows well how to counter the Modi Shah duo. She has already raised the pitch ‘outsider-insider’ which made BJP uncomfortable. Faithful Rahul Kanwal asked why are you saying so as BJP will have the local leader. Rahul Kanwal and other faithful were just doing their ‘duties’. Mamata explained : ‘ I have not spoken against any one. People from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Jharkhand, South India have been living in Bengal and they are more Bengalies than Bengalies. All of them are happy. My point is UP should be run by UP wallah, Gujarat by the Gujarat people, Punjab by Punjabis. You can not impose from Delhi your values and ideas on us. You use ED, CBI and other agencies to push your agenda.’ But Mamata did not stop with this, the next line exposed the current regime. “If you love India and the idea of India then why are you appointing officials from one state in important positions.’ This government is the least eligible to give a sermon on diversity as it never cared. It has been blatantly following favouritism which is very much visible. Officers from Gujarat are being given special positions at the PMO as well as Central government. Are there no officers who can be trusted or capable of holding important positions?
The thing is that everyone knows but it needs a lot of strength to take the power head on. Mamata is fighting and she knows her fact well. Mahua Moitra spoke with passion and conviction. Rahul Gandhi’s speech too confirm the fact that when you speak with ideological honesty then you will be able to fight much better. Modi Shah speaks powerfully because they are committed to their ideology and their constituency. The seculars were not really committed to secularism and social justice but fortunately things are changing. Leaders are now realising that there is no other way but to stick to convictions and dedication to social justice, secularism and socialism to counter the varnadharmi capitalists, the Sethji Bhat ji combine as described by Jyotiba Phule.
Political leaders have understood and it is time they build an alliance at the ground level. There is no time for ‘experiment’. The only thing they need to do is not to poke their nose where they have no organisation. Please introspect honestly and make an alliance which has ideological strength of Ambedkar-Phule-Periiyar-Birsa Munda-Bhagat Singh’, engage in some give and take to come to a loose alliance if not permanent but ideological strength is the must otherwise your MLAs and MPs will always ‘surprise’ you.
Good days are returning as netas are working harder to make their points stronger, in our parliament and outside. May their tribe increase.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist