PATNA: Posters put up by Bihar’s Opposition Congress to mobilise public support for an upcoming rally in Patna have depicted party president Rahul Gandhi as Lord Ram, earning strong rebukes from the ruling BJP and JD(U) for such “cheap political stunts”.
Gandhi, who would address the party’s ‘Jan Akanksha rally’ in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan on February 3, was shown dressed in the popular image of Lord Ram in the posters, complete with long hair, garlands and a quiver of arrows on his back. Photographs of a galaxy of Congress leaders, including former party chief Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh, also figured in these posters along with those of the local leaders.
Text on the posters, addressed to Rahul Gandhi, read: “We Ram naam japte rahen, tum banker Ram jiyo re” (Let them chant the name of Ram; you live and act as Lord Ram).
Significantly, these posters emerged a day after Congress’s Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil likened Rahul Gandhi to Lord Ram and the party’s political mission to that of Lord Ram building the setu (Adam’s Bridge) between India and Sri Lanka as narrated in the Ramayana.
“When Lord Ram started preparing to build the setu, he did not call anyone for help. A bird started bringing leaves in its beak. Sugriv and Bali brought hills. Just like that, we have not asked anyone for help,” Gohil had said on Monday as he explained away criminal-turned-MLA Anant Singh’s participation in a Congress road show to mobilise support for Gandhi’s rally.
AICC coordinator Shashwat Gautam said the posters displayed the “supreme love” Congress workers have for the party chief. Congress worker Vijay Kumar Singh, who put up the posters, said he wanted to send the message that “it is Gandhi, and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has all the qualities of Lord Ram”.
“Congress is making a desperate attempt to hide its bankruptcy of ideas. They are belittling Hinduism by depicting Rahul Gandhi as Lord Ram,” said Bihar minister and BJP leader Pramod Kumar. “Congress is engaged in cheap political stunts and taking the help of tainted leaders in its desperation to win votes,” said JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar.
Congress and RJD leaders also denied the charge that “soft Hindutva” was being injected through such posters. “What is Hindutva in taking Lord Ram’s name? There is a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva,” said RJD vice-president Shivanand Tiwari.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the posters proved that sycophancy remains the “supreme conduct” of Congressmen. “First refute the existence of Shri Ram, then dress Rahul as Shri Ram. Good that you became Shri Ram. Now tell, Congress people, what is your stand on the petition the Centre submitted before the Supreme Court today?” asked Patra in a tweet.