The Social Justice Rhetoric - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Social Justice Rhetoric

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 18, 2023 10:38 pm

In an apparent move to counter the Hindutva plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rahul Gandhi has seemingly decided to focus on issues of social justice. This is evident from his recent demands for lifting of reservation cap, making caste census data public and increasing participation of Dalits, other backward classes and tribal communities in administration. There seems to be a strong belief within the Congress party that Rahul’s recent utterances will find many takers, especially, from the section who have become dissatisfied with its aimless and uninspiring political agenda in the last decade. Moreover, the party leaders feel that the stand taken by Rahul Gandhi will allow it to connect with a variety of politically relevant actors who have till now been hesitant to engage with Congress.

Unsurprisingly, parties like Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nitish Kumar’ Janata Dal (United) among others will be central to this ambitious makeover. There appears to be a possibility that this particular issue may act as a glue to bring the non-BJP parties on a single platform, a possibility that has the potential to take the fight to the BJP.

But before thinking about such eventualities, Rahul Gandhi will have to clear a couple of grey areas regarding his recent demand. He will have to prove that he is not just using the issue as election rhetoric, but that he and his party are committed to it. This is important to win over the people who have been waiting for social upliftment for years. To win the trust of the people, Rahul Gandhi should explain why his party failed to publish results of caste-based census conducted along with the 2011 census. Did the Congress decide to withhold it to hide its failure to ensure inclusive growth, which was its main poll plank during the 2009 general elections? The party and its leader should come clean on this issue to clear doubts about their intentions.

Similarly, the Congress should restrain from poaching leaders of like-minded political parties in an effort to establish the party as the champion of social causes. It should remember the fact that its failure to provide social justice is responsible for the emergence of all caste-based political parties in various parts of the country, which has expedited the party’s downfall in electoral politics. Thus, it is not wise to think that only by raising demands the Congress will regain its lost popularity. The party will have to prove its sincerity and commitment by its deeds and not words. It will be better for the Congress to play second fiddle in states where parties with the same ideologies have gained prominence as the party’s erstwhile vote bank will not return to it’s fold overnight. Memories of betrayal by the Congress cannot be erased by mere statements. Moreover, the Congress will also require grassroots restructuring and capacity building to effectively makeover its image and emerge as a viable alternative.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 18, 2023 10:38:22 pm
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