NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has launched a sharp attack on the RSS, accusing it of being a fascist organisation aiming at establishing a “theocratic, autocratic” state in India.
He, however, claimed that the Congress would “defeat and smash” the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Gandhi was speaking at the concluding session of a two-day national conference in the run-up to the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, The Hindu reported.
“For the first time in the history, a fascist organisation that is openly opposed to the ideology and values of our Constitution has acquired decisive power over the Union… They have demonstrated in the last 18 months that they are prepared to use the very power of the republic to destroy it,” Gandhi said.
“We are viewing this somewhere as a victory of the RSS. We are viewing this as RSS having beaten us. This is false. The RSS does not (know)… what it is going to face in the coming weeks and months and years.”
Gandhi also sought to address some intellectuals who had from the dais raised a few questions on the Congress’ record in effectively rising to the situation. One had even accused the Congress of “pragmatic” use of communalism, as distinct from the “programmatic” use of communalism by the BJP.
Gandhi intervened in the question and answer session, wondering who but the Congress had fought the RSS in the last 100 years.
Later, in his concluding address, he sought to impress on the intellectuals the responsibility of the Congress as a political party: “There is no distinction between you and us… You have to understand that the Congress has to deal with equations of power. I have to deal with the idea of power. I cannot wish it away.”
“Secularism is in the blood of the Congress. There is respect for everybody. This is the DNA of the Congress. We just have to reinvigorate that. You will see we will defeat and smash the RSS,” he said.
Gandhi had begun his speech on a pluralist pitch, greeting the audience with Sat Shri Akal, the salutation used by Sikhs. This was also read as a gesture to the community, given that the Congress has been under attack over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
He also paid tributes to the rationalists who have been killed in recent times; Mohammad Akhlaq, who was killed in Dadri over suspicion of storing beef; and the two Dalit children who died of burns in Haryana.
“Each Indian has his or her own unique perspective. When the RSS and BJP deny this, they disrespect the power and agency of every single person,” Rahul Gandhi said.