Through the Bharat Jodo Yatra – Kanyakumari to Kashmir – you have made meaningful contacts with the vast multitudes of people of India. Only rare politicians have had the urge and energy to undertake this pilgrimage.
You have rightly not allowed your time to be wasted in reciprocating to the name calling indulged in by the right wing forces inimical to you over the last 8 to 9 years. The name calling only reflects their utter insecurity; it is a phobia which haunts them particularly since you refuse to be drawn to their level of political discourse. This further infuriates them.
Hence their rhetoric ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’!
People recall that you and your family have personally and publicly forgiven the assassins of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi; so forgiving these name-callers comes naturally to you. The nation remembers the services and sacrifices of both Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi who achieved martyrdom. These two examples symbolize highest form of nationalism. Equally true Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination resulted out of extreme abhorrence of secularism.
The mentors of Indian National Congress include Jawaharlal Nehru who was in the forefront of the struggle for freedom from British colonial rule and was jailed for about 9 years. Your tormentors cannot come to terms with the fact that a right wing ideologue of majoritarian theocratic state wrote about half a dozen mercy petitions to the British rulers. Yes, indeed asking for mercy!
People of India remember how your mother sacrificed her imminent Prime Ministership in favour of Mr. Manmohan Singh. Presently the political environment in India needs an extraordinary sacrifice from you for a much higher calling by publicly announcing:
- that you would not be the Indian National Congress candidate for Prime Ministership,
- that you would spend all your energies till 2024 General Elections to try getting opposition parties to fight elections unitedly; that this united opposition will pitch only one candidate against the ruling party’s official aspirant in all constituencies of the country,
- that a broad based committee having representatives from each of the political parties – howsoever small – would oversee that this process is set in motion and reaches its mandated conclusion, and
- that the Indian National Congress party will exhibit an attitude which makes it clear that it is not bigger than any of the constituents of this united opposition.
Through your padyatra you have shown that in a democracy people are supreme. In consonance with the constitutional enunciation of “WE, THE PEOPLE …” sir, you have won the hearts of the people. Now ensure that their political energies are channelized in a direction which would ensure negation of one-party rule.
P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal
PIL Watch Group