The basic strength of a political party is derived from the core ideology to which people feel associated towards. What is that particular emotional binding which let the congress party rule the nation continuously for more than 25 years after the Independence? What differentiated it from communist, communal, regional and cast based parties? In one word “Indian Nationalism”.
There has been an attempt by the Bhartiya Janata Party to snatch this word ‘Nationalism’ by different political means, but some how they have not fully succeeded.
The crux of politics in not always the policies and programmes of the government run by a political party, but the “dream” which touch the heart, mind and soul derived from the ideological base of the party. Dreams, which are to be converted into reality.
The Bharatiya Janata Party banks on the ‘Hinduism’ agenda calling the same as synonymous to “Nationalism”. The Communist still propagates their theory of “Sarvhara welfare” as their political line. The emergence of BSP is a by-product of the caste based sectarian divide propagated by Kashiram and Mayavati. “Power for Dalits, needless of means”, is their theory. The Dravidian Parties had blended the regional identity with “Tamil” aspirations, also antibrahmin in nature.The slogan “Marathi Asmita” first raised by Shiv-sena and now practiced by Raj Thakare against nonmarathies is though being destructive, but appeals to a section of Maharashtriyans. The Samajvadi Party has used a cast combination supplemented by minority communalism to reach the ends of power.
It may also be recalled that the communal and regional aspirations enlighten by Akali Dal has also at a time; back staged the “Khalistan” sentiments. The Naga, the Mizo, the Bodo’s have taken to terrorism with seperationalism as an ideology
Can we, the Congress, counter the BSP by trying to sing a pro dalit song in a louder and divisive voice? Can we intrude into the SP votes by being more provoking or more appeasing to the Minority? Can we raise the slogans of Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Assamia or Gujarati Asmita to counter the regional political parties or sentiments?
What tools the Congress Party may adapt to face these challenges? Economic programmes, welfare schemes and good governance may back stage but can never be an answer to the issues of ideology and emotions. Even semi national parties like BJP also used phrases like “Gujarat ka Swabhimaan” and “True follower of Sardar Patel” to get the political results.
We are the only party who inherited the legacy of the collective national sentiments but our party has never designed the ways to preach and practice the “Indian Nationalism” in the much needed way. Alas, we have also tried the policy of appeasement towards different sections following the instruments of divisive politics to win back the lost votes ending in loosing a bit of traditional vote base.
‘Indian Nationalism’ is not only an answer to the divisive politics but also an movement much needed to consolidate the youth of the country together. It attacks the Hindu Communalism of BJP and forbids the Minority Communalism of SP and even the Communists. It may effectively encounter the regional divides and if designed properly, may suppress any other emotional appeal, which may otherwise disturb the oneness of the Indian society.