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Explainer: As the Congress and BJP Spat Over Black Protests, What is the Congress Strategy?

Times of India

The Congress party has organized nationwide protests against public issues of unemployment, inflation, and GST hike. Dressed in all black, Congress leaders took to the streets on Friday. However, their attempt at the ‘gherao’ of the PM’s residence was thwarted by the Delhi Police.

Meanwhile, the BJP including Union home minister Amit Shah criticised the Congress for playing appeasement politics by choosing this day. On the same day(August 5) last year, the foundation stone for the Ram Mandir was laid.

The Congress dismissed the ruling party’s claims as “bogus” and further added that it is BJP’s ” desperate attempt to divert, polarise and give malicious twist” to the agitation.

The Congress protested in several Indian states from Delhi to Assam and from Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. The protesting MPs raised slogans against the government demanding that the GST hike on essential items be withdrawn, with party chief Sonia Gandhi standing with women MPs of the party, holding a banner outside the parliament gate.

Congress Protest on Inflation Live Updates | Congress Protest Live: Rahul, Priyanka Among Other Leaders Released After 6 Hrs

Credits: The Quint

While the male Congress MPs were seen sporting black kurtas, shirts, scarves, and headgears; the women leaders also wore black, as party chief Sonia Gandhi wore a printed crisp saree with a black border and a black blouse.

Ahead of the nationwide protest, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed a press conference at party headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi alleged that India is witnessing the “death of democracy” and anybody who raises people’s issues and stands against the onset of dictatorship is “viciously attacked” and put in jail.

PTI08 05 2022 000178B 1

Credits: India Today

Through these protests, it is clear that Congress is trying to bring back its political legitimacy. Also, by raising public issues the party wants to connect with people on the ground, doing away with its usual absentee leadership that led to a disconnect with the masses.

Also, the party seems to have no option left as it has witnessed consistent defeat in state elections or yielded to the BJP’s poaching tactics. Similarities can be drawn between the Congress’s recent tactics and the Jay Prakash Narayan Movement that raised important public issues, opposing the then Indira Gandhi government.

However, Congress has a tougher opponent as the government has far greater political legitimacy, unlike 1975-when Ms. Gandhi’s election was held invalid. Also, the party has only now started working on the ground and needs to go a long way to come to par with the BJP.

References: India Today, Times of India

Featured Image Source: Times of India

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