The Congress is planning to organize a series of sarv dharma (all religion) conventions in Madhya Pradesh to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party-backed Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s bid to communalise the situation by hosting a spate of "hindu sammelans" in the state where assembly elections are scheduled to take place 18 months later.
"They are trying to replicate the Gujarat model in MP by trying to divide the people on communal lines,’’ alleged V Narayanswamy, AICC general secretary in charge of the state.
According to him, the VHP-Bajrang Dal have held such meetings in places like Indore, Jabalpur, Narsinghpur and Rajgarh, which is the home ground of Congress leader and former chief minister Digvijay Singh. In Rajgarh district alone, 40 such gatherings have been organized by the saffron camp, alleged Narayanswamy.
The general secretary was tight-lipped about how the Congress intended to take on the saffron challenge in the state. But there are indications that it may organize its own set of all-religion congregations to expose the latter’s divisive agenda.
Party leaders are worried on two counts. One, that the gatherings organized by the saffron could spark off riots. In fact, following the violence in Indore, Narayanswamy and MP Pradesh Congress Committee chief Subhash Yadav had last week taken their complaint Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. Since law and order is a state subject, the Home Ministry sought a report from the state on it.
What is also worrying the party is that at the ground level, some of its workers could also be participating in such congregations if some of them carry a religious tag to it.
A similar scenario was being played out in Karnataka, where the Congress had to issue a diktat to its PCC to ensure that party workers did not participate in the "Hindu sammelans" organized by Sangh affiliates.