Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday came down heavily on “communal forces” that are allegedly trying to hijack the legacy of social reformers in their quest for power. In an apparent reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), she accused them of attempting to divide the society on the lines of community and caste to reap political dividends.
Inaugurating the 83rd annual pilgrimage of the Sivagiri Mutt at Varkkala, the abode of 19thcentury social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, Gandhi said some people with vested interests were trying to hijack his ideals for political gains. She was referring to the BJP’s attempt to woo backward Ezhavas by forging an electoral understanding with its socio-cultural body, the Sree Narayana Dharmaparipalana Yogam (SNDP).
“There can be no greater betrayal of Guru than the attempts being made to capture his legacy by communal ideologies and individuals whose motive is political power by spreading prejudice, bigotry and division in our society,” she said.
Observing that Guru had founded the SNDP to uplift the weaker sections of the society, Gandhi said his principles of equality, liberty and social justice have today become more relevant than ever. “The SNDP played a crucial role in transforming Kerala and our former chief minister, R Sankar, was made its president. But it would be a complete negation of Guru’s principles if it is being used for the political gains of a few,“ she said, just stopping short of mentioning Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan’s attempt to effect a tie-up between the BJP and SNDP.
Sauntering down memory lane, Gandhi reminisced about a previous visit to the mutt with her husband, the late PM Rajiv Gandhi. She also used the occasion to list out the infrastructural achievements made under the Oommen Chandy regime.
While BJP leaders kept away from the three-day function, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and social activist Anna Hazare are expected to make an appearance later.