Statue of Unity: The politics behind it and BJP's real motive
New Delhi, Oct 31: The Congress, which otherwise leaves no stone unturned to criticise every move of the PM Modi-led BJP government, seemed rather subdued over the unveiling of Statue of Unity. Congress can neither praise Modi government for Statue of Unity nor can it criticise it as Sadar Patel was one of the tallest Congress leaders who played a key role unifying India.
Politically speaking, the Modi government's move to come up with a grand statue of Sadar Vallabhbhai Patel seems like a masterstroke. The BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have time and again spoken on how the Congress did not give Sadar Patel the credit and recognition he deserved. By getting a truly grand statue of Sadar Patel constructed, the BJP has sent a clear message that 'We have recognised a national icon, which you did not'.
The Congress has itself to blame for this. One cannot deny that the Congress has not been that generous in honouring the leaders outside of the Nehru Gandhi family. During the Congress regime, the birth and death anniversaries of Jawharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi used to be celebrated with great enthusiasm, but similar fervour seemed missing when to came observing occasions related to other leaders, be it Shubhash Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Maulana Azad or many other such leaders. Mahatma Gandhi, though not part of the Nehru family, is revered because he is a leader of a different stature altogether.
There is another aspect to this. The BJP cannot openly glorify its founders and prominent Sangh leaders who laid the foundation of its ideology. Glorifying Golwalkar and and Veer Savarkar openly would be like embracing the extremist Hindutva ideolgy which forms the basis of RSS philosophy. With elections round the corner, or even otherwise, the BJP would like to be seen as a tolerant secular party which believes in all inclusiveness. For this, the BJP is now glorifying national icons who were part of the Congress but have a pan India appeal. Congress knows that the BJP is snatching its icons from the past, but cannot openly say so.
So, the moves like coming up with Statue of Unity and dedicating Swacch Bharat Abhiyan to Mahatma Gandhi is BJP's tactic to link itself to mainstream history and freedom struggle. It is a image makeover exercise as the RSS has been in past accused of not taking active part in the freedom struggle. All in all, the BJP is cashing on historical Congress icons but the grand old can do nothing but watch it as a mute spectator.