How Modi skillfully hijacked Gandhi’s legacy from Congress-Politics News, Firstpost

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On October 2, 2014, Narendra Modi practically hijacked Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy from the Congress Party. Ironically, when Modi continued to do so with momentum, telling the world about his intentions, Congress couldn’t find the words to oppose it. More so, it was done by a man (Modi) whom Congress loves to hate and propagated as an antithesis of Gandhian philosophy. But Modi completely thwarted them.

For once, it didn’t matter that Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh et al paid a visit to Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Anyway, it was just an annual pho-op ritual.

On October 2, 2014, Narendra Modi practically hijacked Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy from the Congress Party. Ironically, when Modi continued to do so with momentum, telling the world about his intentions, Congress couldn’t find the words to oppose it. More so, it was done by a man (Modi) whom Congress loves to hate and propagated as an antithesis of Gandhian philosophy. But Modi has completely outsmarted them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Swachh Bharat campaign. FRP

Gandhi was a man of the masses. After a long time, Modi pulled him out of government records, Rajghat tribute rituals and routine Vigyan Bhawan seminars to bring him back to the masses – launching a national campaign for a clean India, “Swachh Bharat”.

To make him national, beyond the narrow boundaries of political lines, he invited Congressman Shashi Tharoor, with whom he shared a unique romantic relationship, along with eight other people, namely Goa Governor Mridula Sinha , cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, yoga guru Baba. Ramdev, actors Kamal Haasan, Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan, industrialist Anil Ambani and the crew of the popular TV soap opera Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma, on social media to make it viral. Actor Amir Khan, who previously piloted Clean India and covered other social issues in his Satyamev Jayate, was on the podium for the launch of this mission.

Before Modi set foot in Delhi, he had firmly and successfully appropriated Sardar Patel, a neglected icon of Congress. During his election campaign, he spoke passionately about another icon of Congress, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Today, as the Congress party conveniently forgot about Shastri, Modi remembered him during his speech at the launch of the Clean Indian campaign. Shastri shared his birthday with Gandhi, but his birthdays went largely unnoticed.

On May 27, the very first day Modi entered the South Bloc to assume the post of Prime Minister, he saw Gandhi’s photo kept in the middle of a shelf and walked over to it, lowered the head and stood up briefly. This snapshot, posted via PMO’s Twitter account, had become the image of the day and one of the most discussed topics.

Two weeks ago, he took Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mahatma Gandhi’s Samarmati ashram in Ahmedabad. He made the Chinese President spend time and made him turn the charkha. Modi was seen enthusiastically recounting the details of Gandhi and the Ashram. He spoke at length about Gandhi at Madison Square Garden in front of a very responsive crowd of Indian-Americans. He also knew that at home, the event was broadcast live. The words he spoke there – “Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of an India not only free but also clean and developed. Mahatma Gandhi ensured freedom for Mother India. Now it is our duty to serve Mother India by keeping the country clean and tidy “- became the opening sentence of the Swachh Bharat pledge which he administered to the majestic Rajpath.

Modi drew the timeline to dedicate a clean India to Mahatma Gandhi in 2019, his 150th birthday. Incidentally, Modi would seek re-election to return to power the same year. Gandhi could, ironically, be the theme of the BJP campaign, if not on the poster. Congress may find it difficult to respond to this and be better advised to start working on it from now on.

By commemorating Gandhi’s birthday on a grand scale and in style with a vision of making India’s own country a mass, individual and societal movement, Modi put Congress leaders Rahul and Sonia in a difficult position. He came up with a smarter idea to counter Modi’s attempt to wrest Mahatma’s legacy from the Grand Old Party.

Modi did something similar with Teachers’ Day, to mark the anniversary of Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s birth, and took it to a different level by calling on the impressionable younger generation to seek national political icons beyond the Nehru-Gandhi family.

In both cases, what was most remarkable was his conscious effort to reach out to the children, to build a new bond with them. If on September 5 he interacted directly with them, quietly talking about his own childhood and the pranks he played, on October 2 he didn’t mind staying at the Balmiki Basti to interact with the school children, sign autographs for them. on anything they could get, most often on caps provided by the organizers, notepads, loose sheets. He had done the same on August 15 at the parade ground of Fort Rouge when he approached them to hang out with them, chat, sign autographs.

Then today, after the end of the main function, he walked a long distance with schoolchildren following him. This long march was not on schedule, but Modi continued, as did the babudom and the others. It was a nightmare moment for the security agencies. But Modi liked everything.

Chacha Nehru’s stories have faded over time. In any case, there isn’t much, really, that is told to children about Jawahar Lal Nehru’s affection for children, deserving of him to be called Chacha (uncle). Modi flamboyantly walked to take the place of the new friendly uncle. It’s his way of telling young children that they don’t have to wait until Nehru’s birthday on November 14 to celebrate Bal Divas.

Modi launched Clean India Drive from Balmiki Basti (listed caste locality) in the nation’s capital, to symbolically send a message that he cared not only about safai but also about Safai Karamcharis. Gandhi cared about the Harijans and Congress had made them a strong social constituency in matters of inheritance. The rise of the Bahujan Samaj party and other variations of Dalit political parties in other states swept this constituency out of Congress. By retrieving a broom from Balmiki Basti and inaugurating a public convenience complex there, Modi attempts to tell this politically sensitive community that he was there to work for them.

Modi and much of his support base picking up a broomstick left Aam Admi Party confused – did he popularize the AAP symbol or overwhelm it under his character?


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