Baghel advocates soft Hindutva line

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel at the Congress’ ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur on Sunday ideated on toeing the soft Hindutva line but had to face a stiff counter argument from some leaders, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan backed by leaders from South.

Chavan argued that there should be clarity on the ideological issues and it should not be a copy of the BJP.

Another leaders, who backed the soft Hindutva line were former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Uttar Pardesh leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam who said that the party should not shy away from it while leaders like B.K. Harisprasad from Karnataka said that the Congress should stick to its core ideology.

Baghel was for reaching out to Hindus through programmes and participating in festivals to counter the BJPs Hindutva agenda, which was opposed on the grounds that the Congress should not compromise in its core ideology. It was also said that for short-term electoral gains it should not look like the B team of BJP.

The convenors of the panel have submitted their reports to Sonia Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will take a final call on it.

Mallikarjun Kharge is the convenor of the committee on political matters. Sources said that on the issue of ‘Hindutva’ there was a heated debate, but some members denied this and said the discussion was in a cordial atmosphere.

The debate went for two days on the political response to the BJP’s hard Hindutva line during its ongoing ‘Chintan Shivir’ here. There appeared to be a division with regards to this with the veterans on side and the younger group seeking a more softer stance.

Many veterans were of the view that the Congress should adhere to its strong secular character with inclusive agenda to counter the BJP and rather refrain from trying to bat at the BJP’s pitch which could be counter productive, sources said.

The younger, on the other hand, appeared to be more restless about toeing the soft line of indulging and participating in religious programmes. Leaders from Northern states where the party has least presence argued to adopt a soft Hindutva line.

No final view has been taken, but leaders of Uttar Pradesh have suggested that the party should participate in religious programmes so that it is not isolated, sources said. However, the centrists have argued that Rahul Gandhi’s visit to temples have not given any desired results and it will be good to stick to the core secular ideology to counter the BJP.

After all the debates are done, the CWC resolution will tell what the Congress has decided this evening. It is unlikely that the CWC will endorse such proposals — one of the General Secretaries during informal talks revealed that when the talk of taking credit of Ayodhya was proposed by someone, it was turned down.