LUCKNOW: After invoking Shiva, the Congress party is now seeking the blessings of his shakti – Goddess Durga – to take its agenda of soft Hindutva forward. Taking cue from party president Rahul Gandhi who is heading to Kolkata to participate in Durga Puja, UP Congress has decided to hold ‘kanya pujan’ and ‘phalahari’ meets during the festive season.
Being led by party’s organisational unit — Congress Sewa Dal — the Navratri Durga Puja activities involve holding events of kanya pujan on the ashtami and navami in big UP cities, including Lucknow and Kanpur. Beside this, the workers would host ‘phalahari’ lunches and dinners in small groups for those who fast all nine day beginning October 9 this year.
Sources said that in his recent visit to Amethi and Rae Bareli, Rahul Gandhi had also asked party workers to make use of the festive season to connect with people by holding chaupals at gram sabha levels.
Congress Sewa Dal, UP chief Pramod Pandey said, “holding kanya pujans and taking the blessings of people during navratri is a part of our our tradition.
Fasting during navaratri is a way to develop characteristics of patience and tolerance — which are desperately needed to counter the trend of vitiating divisive politics that is has spread like a communicable disease under the BJP rule.”
“More such events would take place around Dussehra and Diwali. The aim is to make the voters differentiate between religion and politics of religion so that when time comes, people don’t get swayed by strategies that tickle their insecurities around religion,” sources added.
In the past couple of years, Congress party has slowly and steadily increased its Hinduism pitch in a soft and subtle way. The strategy has been cemented layer by layer by moves like Rahul Gandhi’s visit to various temples before Gujarat and Karnakata elections, declaration that he was a janeyudhari Brahmin and visit to Kailash Mansarovar. Rahul’s decision to visit puja pandals in Kolkata during the puja season is being seen as the next step towards the soft Hindutava build up.
When asked to comment on Congress Sewa Dal’s Navratri plan, UPCC President Raj Babbar said: “Navratri should not be seen in isolation. We belong to the party that also organises roza iftars in Ramzan, puts up drinking water kiosks in Muharram and light candles in Christmas.”.