Oppn joins hands to fight BJP, preserve 'composite culture'

Rahul coins 'Sach Bharat' to counter Modi's 'Swachh Bharat'
Report by: 
Agencies
NEW DELHI
17 Aug 2017

More than a dozen Opposition parties joined hands today to call for a united fight against the BJP with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi taking the Union government head on and accusing it of not fulfilling its promises.

The platform for Opposition unity was the 'Sanjhi Virasat Bachao' (save our composite culture) meeting hosted by rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and attended by a host of leaders, including those from the Congress, CPM, CPI, SP, BSP, NCP, RJD, NC, JD-S and RLD. Addressing the gathering, which included former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the CPM's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja and National Conference's Farooq Abdullah, Rahul said they backed an India that stood for the truth. "Modi ji says he wants to create a 'Swachch Bharat' but we want a 'Sach Bharat'," he said, but did not elaborate further. He also stressed on the need for unity in the fight against the BJP and the RSS. "If we all fight unitedly, I can tell you they will not be seen anywhere," the Congress leader said.

Yadav, who has parted ways with his old-time colleague, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, amid speculation that the JD-U would split, echoed him. If people united, "even a Hitler" cannot stand before them, said Yadav, who appeared to emerge as a rallying point for the opposition with leaders collectively endorsing his call for preserving India's composite culture. Rahul also accused the BJP of not fulfilling the promises made to the people during the 2014 general elections, including bringing back black money stashed abroad and creating jobs for youth.

Alleging that the RSS knew that its views would not help them win elections, he said it was trying to plant its people in every institution. Referring to the theme of the meeting, the CPM general secretary said several Hindu and Muslims leaders fought against the British but "this composite heritage is being threatened now". Calling for a joint fight against "divisive and communal" forces, he said more Muslims chose to stay back in India than go to Pakistan after partition. But this composite culture is now being tampered with to convert India into a "Hindu Rashtra", Yechury alleged. The CPM leader said Yadav held the key to saving India's syncretic culture.

"The Prime Minister talks about not repeating Indira Gandhi's Emergency. But what is he doing", yechury raised question, while noting that Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar's recorded Independence Day speech was blocked by public broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio. Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, also backed Yadav.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said Yadav was the "real JD-U" and noted that he had declined a cabinet berth and chosen the path of secularism. CPI's Raja dubbed the RSS an "unconstitutional" authority and alleged it was instructing the government in every matter.