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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

What RSS-BJP ideology can do is what has happened in Manipur: Rahul warns Mizoram voters

The COngress leader also attacked the ruling Mizo National Front and the Opposition Zoram People’s Movement, referring to them as 'partners that will allow the BJP to infiltrate their idea into Mizoram'

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 18.10.23, 05:21 AM
Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters at Lunglei in Mizoram on Tuesday.

Rahul Gandhi waves at supporters at Lunglei in Mizoram on Tuesday. PTI picture

Rahul Gandhi was unrelenting in his attack on the BJP-RSS in poll-bound Mizoram while projecting the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) — the two key players in the November 7 Assembly polls — as “partners” of the saffron party.

Addressing an election rally in Lunglei on Tuesday afternoon, the Congress leader said the BJP and the RSS wanted their idea of India, which included the country “being ruled by one idea and one organisation”, to enter Mizoram.

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“They know if they come directly, the Mizo people will reject them in one second. So they need partners to enter Mizoram. And this is what the MNF and the ZPM are. They are partners that will allow the BJP to infiltrate their idea into Mizoram. Their leaders have publicly stated they will work with the BJP,” Rahul said while hard-selling the Congress’s idea of India of an inclusive, compassionate and equal country.

“So you should keep that in mind when you are voting, that you are not helping those who are going to harm your culture, your religion and your tradition.... They (BJP-RSS) want an India where everything is centralised, which runs from Delhi, which is fully controlled by Mr Narendra Modi and the RSS. We want an India which is run by the people of India. So please think about that when you vote for your next government,” Rahul said while wrapping up his two-day visit of Mizoram.

The Congress had won five seats in 2018. This time it is up against the MNF, ZPM, and in some pockets, the BJP, which is trying to improve its tally from the one seat it won last time. The MNF and the ZPM are contesting all 40 seats, as is the Congress. The MNF is part of the NDA and the NEDA but has no truck with the BJP in the state. The BJP is a minor player in the Christian-majority state.

Rahul was equally scathing in his attack on the RSS-BJP, Modi, the MNF and the ZPM at a media conference he had addressed earlier in the day at Aizawl, where he had led a padyatra on Monday and taken a bike ride to meet former chief minister Lalthanhawla on Tuesday morning.

Rahul said: “Different states of the Northeast are being attacked by the BJP and the RSS. Your religious foundation, your languages are being attacked by the idea of the RSS. The RSS believes that India should be ruled by one ideology and one organisation. That is what we are fighting against.... We want the people of Mizoram to take decisions for their future... in expressing their religious practices, in expressing their social practices. We believe in devolving power to the people of Mizoram.

“If you look at the two political parties — the MNF and the ZPM — it is clear that these are both entry points for the BJP. The MNF is directly allied with them and it is clear that the ZPM is not fighting the BJP. It is, in fact, the platform for the RSS to enter Mizoram.”

Taking a dig at Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Rahul said: “I think that is what essentially the chief minister of Assam is doing for the BJP. He is acting to help them with the cultural annihilation of the Northeast.... We believe that the cultures of the Northeast, the languages and religions of the Northeast are central to the idea of India.”

He then referred to the strife in Manipur: “Yesterday I had said in my student interaction (in Aizawl) that what has happened in Manipur is an attack on the idea of Manipur, but also a direct attack on the idea of India in Manipur. The Manipur model is the RSS model.”

At the media meet, Rahul once again targeted the Prime Minister for not visiting Manipur: “I still don’t understand why the Prime Minister has not gone to Manipur till today. It is a puzzle that I cannot answer... a state is burning... the government has absolutely no control over it... and the Prime Minister does not think that he has a responsibility to go to the state and calm things down. It is a shocking thing to me.”

At Lunglei too, he referred to the Manipur turmoil — an emotive issue in Mizoram where the majority of Mizo people share the same ethnicity as the affected Kuki-Zo people of Manipur. “What the RSS-BJP ideology can do is what has happened in Manipur. Hundreds of people have died... but the Prime Minister of India has not visited Manipur. It is almost as if the state of Manipur is not part of India, that the Prime Minister does not think it important to go and visit it..”

The Congress leader also took the opportunity to clarify the party's stance on the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. “Our resolution is very, very clear.... We are against violence of any kind. We do not appreciate any type of violence against innocent civilians regardless of who does it and how it is done. That is very clear in our resolution.... Any killing of a civilian is a crime... anywhere,” Rahul said.

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