The riveting saga of the Congress, whose Rajasthan unit’s high drama has cast a shadow on the party’s presidential election and Bharat Jodo Yatra that was envisaged as key features of its comeback narrative, has continued to dominate the coverage of the Urdu Press that has scrambled to decode the politics of the perennially crisis-ridden grand old party. The leading Urdu dailies also spotlighted the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s meeting with five Muslim intellectuals and his visit to a Delhi mosque and madrasa, calling it a significant development while remaining guarded and sceptical about its future roadmap given the simmering faultlines and divisions as well as the prevailing political ecosystem that feeds on it.
Anticipating the eruption of a crisis in the Congress over the conflict between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his arch rival Sachin Pilot amid the party president election, the Hyderabad-based Siasat, in its editorial on September 23, writes that while it is supposed that the election of a full-term Congress president would help the party come to grips with its problems but it seems this upcoming election itself has become a problem. Despite being the Gandhi family’s first choice for the top party post, Gehlot has been caught in a dilemma as his anxiety stems from losing his CM position in the event of assuming the Congress chief’s office, the daily notes, adding that the party veteran wants both the posts or at least the chief ministership for his pick.
“Gehlot is more worried that if he leaves his CM position, it may go to Pilot, a young leader who had rebelled against him in 2020, when Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had somehow managed to retain him in the party fold. Gehlot considers Pilot as his major challenger, although as the state party chief the latter had played a key role in helping the party clinch the 2018 Assembly polls.”
The edit points out that Gehlot is staunchly opposed to Pilot being handed over the chief ministership whereas the latter is bent on taking it at all costs. “The clash between Gehlot and Pilot is creating new troubles for the Congress which is trying to put its act together through the president election or Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra or its preparations for coming state polls,” it says adding that the face-off between two senior, popular leaders would only hurt the party. “It would be challenging for the Congress to come up with a strategy that could bridge the chasm between the two leaders.”
In its September 25 editorial headlined “Wazir Azam ko Venkaiah Naidu ka mashwara (Vankaiah Naidu’s advice to PM)”, Siasat points out that former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, while releasing a book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s selected speeches, said that the PM should often meet the leaders of all political parties across the spectrum to clear certain misunderstandings in some sections. Naidu said India is being acknowledged by the entire world as a major power and that under PM Modi’s leadership the country has progressed in various sectors while major schemes have been launched for the public welfare. “But still some political sections have reservations on some methods of PM Modi, Naidu said, adding that it might be due to political compulsion but the PM should periodically meet leaders from across the aisle that would clear such misunderstandings,” the daily states. Naidu also suggested to the Opposition parties to remain “open minded” in this regard and understand that they are only rivals and not enemies.
“Political and ideological differences define politics but it has turned into personal enmity amid our current situation, which is not appropriate. While PM Modi is called the most popular leader in the country, there are regional parties that hold influence in their respective states. The point remains that top priority must be given to the interests and progress of the people and the country,” the editorial says. “It is the right of the Opposition parties to oppose the government, but it has to be based on policy issues and a critique of governance…It is the Opposition’s responsibility to flag the government’s failings so that necessary connectives could be applied, which has been a tradition in Indian politics as reflected in Parliament in adoption of amendments moved by even the Opposition benches.”
The daily notes that there have been numerous examples of governments acknowledging the significance of the Opposition’s dissenting role while accepting their proposals and suggestions. “Venkaiah Naidu’s advice is a positive proposal. So, the PM should step up his engagement with leaders of other parties. Everyone should ensure that their political differences don’t come in the way of their personal relations.”
ROZNAMA RASHTRIYA SAHARA
Commenting on the RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat’s visit to a central Delhi mosque, Masjid Kasturba Gandhi Marg, the headquarters of the All India Imams Organisation (AIIO), and a north Delhi madrasa, Madarsa Tajweedul Quran, the multi-edition Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on September 23, calls it a remarkable development that, the daily writes, could be described as a significant move towards bridging the divide between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the country. “In the prevailing toxic atmosphere of communalism and religious hatred, this move is even praiseworthy but it must not prompt compromises on vital issues of truth and justice,” it says. The golden principle of peaceful co-existence is that the parties at odds find a common ground through consensus while keeping fractious matters at bay and then try to resolve their conflict as equals, it states.
“In the country however, the situation is different,” the daily writes, adding that certain right wing majoritarian quarters have been hell-bent on forcing the minorities to accept their supposed cultural supremacy in a bid to co-opt them while insisting that “only then will there be peace in society”. “This is their definition of peaceful co-existence,” the editorial says. In his outreach to prominent Muslim faces, the RSS chief, who has claimed that the DNA of both Hindus and Muslims is the same, has flagged his concerns over cow slaughter and the Arabic word “kafir” it notes, referring to Bhagwat’s recent meeting with five Muslim intellectuals, including former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi, ex-Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, ex-Aligarh Muslim University V-C Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, journalist and RLD leader Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani.
During his visit to the mosque and the madrasa, the AIIO chief Maulana Umair Ahmed Ilyasi went overboard showering praises on Bhagwat, calling him “rashtra pita (father of the nation)” and “rashtriya rishi (national saint)”, the edit says, quoting Ilyasi as saying that “It was a great honour that the RSS chief came…he brought the message of love which we should spread among all Indians…we should encourage love and harmony between all communities” and that “our DNA is the same, although our religions and methods of worship may differ.” A common DNA should not lead to homogenisation of different ways of life and erasure of diversities in matters of faith and culture, the edit says.
The Bengaluru-based Salar, in its leader on September 24, highlights the Supreme Court’s anguish over peddling of hate content by the TV channels in the country while calling the “visual media” the “chief medium of hate speech” and questioning the central government why it is “standing like a mute witness” to this unrelenting outrage and whether it proposed to come up with any law to regulate hate speech. “The apex court is referring to those news channels that keep on holding debates on Hindu-Muslim issues day and night, proclaiming those raising dissenting voices against the government’s policies as traitors. This media is dubbed as ‘godi media’ in common parlance,” the daily writes, pointing out that the apex court has come down heavily on hate speech repeatedly over the last couple of years. The trend of spewing hate on airwaves has however continued unabated, although following the judicial censure the government had taken a few steps to curb it, the editorial states.
Objecting to the spread of hate and prejudiced content through the TV channels and social media, political parties in the Opposition ranks have started crying foul over the alleged nexus of these channels and the government, it says.
“It is an open secret how the TV channels design their programming and what are their motives for hosting such debates. Their selection of so-called experts as panellists is as per their hate agenda,” the edit charges. The top court observed that “hate drives TRPs, drives profit”. The Law Commission’s recommendations for curbing hate speech have been pending, the edit notes. But if the channels have turned a blind eye to the main objective of news media — to provide accurate, fair and impartial information to people — its reasons lie in politics, the daily says. “The leaders of the ruling camp, whose mandate is to ensure the enforcement of law indulge in giving hate speeches at public platforms themselves. They never face any action from their party or any law-enforcement institution. Subsequently, TV debates amplify and justify their divisive agenda,” it says, adding that such media should undertake some soul-searching as to why instead of self-regulation a mechanism is being proposed for regulating their content.
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