AHMEDABAD: The immediate backdrop may not have been conducive — at least three Congress MLAs switched sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the last few days, and two more were said to be in the pipeline.
But the legacy of the past that hung around the sombre Sabarmati Ashram swept away the nagging headaches of the present. Or they got soothed by the soft tunes of the Mahatma’s favourite bhajan.
The day had all the looks of a new beginning.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting here in Gujarat was meant as much to reclaim the Mahatma and Sardar Patel legacy for the party as it was to send a message to the rival BJP. The CWC meet itself was held in the Sardar Patel Memorial ground — in a huge, white AC tent -- onwards from the Sabarmati Ashram. “It’s to remind the party workers of our past and legacy, “ a senior Gujarat leader admitted.
Little wonder, then, that the resolution adopted by the highest decision-making body of the Congress was as much about how to fight the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh/BJP ideology — to “save the idea of India” — as it was about how to create jobs and reduce agrarian distress.
A CWC meeting is taking place in the Gujarat after years, said Rahul, because the location framed an “ideological fight” between two opposite poles pulling for the soul of India. “No sacrifice is too great to defeat the RSS and BJP ideology of fascism, hatred, anger and divisiveness...no resolve is too small. This battle will be won,” he added.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi, along with party leaders Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh,
A K Antony, P. Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel et al, discused key poll issues, including how to tackle terrorism and manage the fallout of Pulwama-Balakot.
More crucially, the CWC authorised the party president to finalise alliances in key states with other like-minded parties in order to defeat the BJP ‘unitedly’.
That, ironically, came on a day when Mayawati asserted there would be ‘no alliance’ with the Congress and Mamata Banerjee announced candidates in all 42 seats in West Bengal.