The fight between Anand Sharma and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury betrays contradictions within Congress. Such conflicts generally arise before a party mutates to a different form
Shri Anand Sharma’s tweet on West Bengal Pradesh Congress’s alliance with Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Front (ISF) has stormed the media. Anand Sharma enunciated, “Congress’ alliance with parties like ISF and other such forces militates against the core ideology of the party and Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism, which forms the soul of the party.” He added, “These issues need to be approved by the CWC.”
While appreciating Sharma’s core concern, I find no reason to believe that such an alliance has not been approved by Congress Working Committee headed by Sonia Gandhi. While Sonia Gandhi is known for her prominent sympathy for Islamic terrorists, why wouldn’t she approve of her party’s alliance with Muslim Clerics? Gandhian and Nehruvian Secularism, the ideology that Shri Sharma has referred to as the ‘soul of Congress’ always contained lack of transparency. It’s this ideology that gave birth to undue minorityism in Indian polity. Hence, more than 70 years down the line, an alliance between Congress and Muslim Clerics is a natural and expected prognosis of Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism. While a sensitive mind can comprehend Shri Sharma’s anxiety, it’s high time to straightway point out Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism leaves ample scope to converge into Islamism and that’s what is happening in West Bengal. Nothing surprising.
While Shri Sharma’s comment has exposed the rift within Congress, I believe the rift was ever-present in the grand old party as Gandhi’s ideology about minorities has been stupendously detrimental for post-Partition India. And it’s factually impossible that none of the Congress party’s erudite leaders could identify that flaw of Gandhian minorityism. However, there’s no reason to believe that CWC president Sonia Gandhi doesn’t approve of Congress’s alliance with Muslim clerics in Bengal. Who’s Shri Sharma expecting justice from? While it’s an open secret that Manmohan Singh acted upon Sonia Gandhi’s instructions as Prime Minister, he stated first and foremost claim on India’s resources were of Muslims. Was such statement devoid of Sonia Gandhi’s approval? Unlikely.
However, Congress leader Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has tweeted reply to Anand Sharma. He said by joining with Muslim clerics, Congress would defeat BJP’s communal and divisive politics and autocratic regime. Shri Chowdhury called alliance with Muslim clerics a ‘secular alliance’. Adhir further argued with Shri Sharma: “Ur choice to call the decision of CPM-led front ‘communal’ is only serving the polarising agenda of BJP.” Did Adhir mean calling a spade a spade is instigating and polarising? If he did, then this argument too augured well with Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism.
Looking at Congress’s political portfolio in West Bengal & Adhir Chowdhury’s credentials here, Congress occupies 13 Assembly constituencies in Murshidabad out of the District’s 22 Constituencies in totality and Murshidabad is the stronghold of Adhir Chowdhury. All these Assembly constituencies are Muslim dominated and Congress won here by wooing Muslims and facilitating cross-border infiltration. As Congress, Communists and TMC had been hand in gloves to maintain and orchestrate the trans-border ecosystem throughout the last 70 years, allying with Muslim Clerics now seems a political compulsion. Anand Sharma, hence, should have done better homework before criticising Adhir Chowdhury.
The conflict between Shri Sharma and Shri Chowdhury appears but self-conflict within Congress. Such conflicts generally arise before a party mutates to a different form. Let’s hope. Let India hope.
(The writer is a columnist and political analyst)