A combative Congress launched an all-out offensive on Monday against Baba Ramdev, social activist Anna Hazare and the BJP, accusing them of trying to destabilise the country through “orchestrated” campaigns.
The Congress also backed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him the biggest sanyasi (saint) in contemporary politics, a statement seen to project that the party and the government are on the same page on the Ramdev issue.
Accordingly, media department chief Janardan Dwivedi was fielded to launch a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP.
He was critical of the main opposition party for staging a satyagraha (agitation) at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial and said BJP leaders represented an ideology that was responsible for his assassination.
“Some people are sitting on a fast at Rajghat. These are the very people responsible for the early creation of Rajghat Samadhi. Gandhiji wanted to live for 125 years. But because of them, Rajghat had to be constructed much before time,” Dwivedi said.
He ridiculed them for the comparison of the midnight action at Ramlila to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and came down heavily on Sushma Swaraj for “dancing during the so-called satyagraha”.
“And what a fast, the leader of opposition is dancing with her companions. What is the seriousness…why are they celebrating?” he asked. “Is the celebration for putting up Anna Hazare and Ramdev as their masks?”
The aggressive posturing came a day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi held a detailed meeting with party functionaries over the Ramdev episode. The party took a swipe at Ramdev for the ruse adopted by him to escape from Ramlila following the police swoop.
“A satyagrahi does not run away hiding, wearing a woman’s dress. A satyagrahi is ever ready to die. Such a person is being compared to Gandhiji and Swami Vivekananda,” Dwivedi said.
He called Ramdev “a mask for the RSS”. “One who calls himself a saint or monk should ask himself how many saints of the country are behind him. This is a humiliation of the real saints of the country.”
The first frontal attack by the Congress on Hazare since his fast for a stronger Lokpal Bill came as a surprise to many.
Asked why the party is now attacking Hazare as Gandhi had personally written a letter to him, saying she shared his concerns on corruption, Dwivedi said: “Those holding the fast should also see who are sitting beside them”.
He, however, steered clear of questions on whether the party endorsed the police action, saying the government and the party have different spheres of work.