Congress’ recent loss in Assam has caused discussions about the party’s stand in the CAA issue once more. The BJP, along with allies AGP and UPPL, who won the election did not mention the CAA further than in the manifesto, stating that it will be implemented as per parliamentary ruling. The Congress, on the other hand mentioned the CAA several times during the campaign, going as far to promise a law repealing the largely protested act.
The passing of the CAA was met with a huge opposition in Assam. Owing to that, the BJP chose to omit the controversial act during the campaign altogether. While it may come as a surprise with the magnitude of opposition against the BJP the CAA caused in Assam, the tactic seemed to work in their favor.
Conversely, the Rahul Gandhi made it a point to publicly announce that that Congress was anti-CAA and would not allow it to be implemented if they get voted into power. Despite the repeal of the CAA being one the five guarantees the Congress gave prior to the election, it seems like the party isn’t unanimous in the idea.
Far from all the Congress leaders being confident in their anti-CAA stand, not even all the Congress leaders within Assam have expressed their stance openly. Sushmita Dev from Barak Valley for example shied away from making any clear statements on the matter. Unwilling to lose out on the votes from people who are pro-CAA, including the Hindu Bengalis, she has remained vague about the issue.
While Rahul Gandhi and Jitendra Singh have made their stance clear at the central and state level, it is surprising that leaders within the state are not complying with the same. Vote banks and such are not an uncommon occurrence in India. However, when the Congress central leadership has spoken openly against the CAA on multiple occasions, they are making a stand against a decision made by the Center.
The BJP caters to a majorly Hindu audience with no qualms about that being public knowledge. The Congress, on the other hand, has made it a point to seem secular, and support minorities. Their decision to be anti-CAA, deeming it unconstitutional works in that vein.
However, to pick and choose when to stress on this in fear of losing voters who support the CAA is contradictory to the principles of the party. Vying for the votes of the Hindu Bengalis by distancing themselves from their anti-CAA stance not only brings the Congress’ ideals into question, but also makes the public wonder how much control the leadership has on the members of the party.
The question arises: Was this an individual blunder or a party blunder? Is the party selling out its values in exchange for votes? Or is it simply that the representatives are allowed to run amuck without respecting the ideals of the party?
While the Congress, unlike its counterpart, has in general refrained from making many blatantly discriminatory statements, they are no pinnacle of inclusivity. The Congress does continuously preach secularism and claims to want to support the minorities, yet the numbers speak for themselves. The representatives are overwhelmingly part of the majority.