Rahul Gandhi sparks a debate tonight about inequality, discrimination, equal rights and opportunities. Rahul Gandhi was back in Hyderabad and spent 12 hours on a ‘dharna’ hunger strike.
The Congress claims to fight alongside the students demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, the dalit scholar who the students say was driven to commit suicide by the apathy of the university, the complicity of the HRD ministry and a central minister.
Now although Rahul Gandhi's speech today was clearly more political than Rahul Gandhi or the Congress would like to admit, it also hit a lot of notes sufficiently loud enough to put the ball back in the govt's court and positioning himself on the student’s side.
At the same time Rahul spoke about the RSS and the PM. Attacking both with references to imposition of one ideology forcibly, he played to the audience’s demands well. Demanding a law be made to target the widely prevalent discrimination and inequality based on caste, class, community, religion, gender warning the govt that if they did not initiate the process the students would do it for them. That was Rahul Gandhi's move today.
And the response quite fast and equally scathing. “Suicide tourism,” cries the BJP. “Insensitive politicization” is the charge from BJP ministers and spokespersons. Questioning his past record and saying that a judicial commission has been ordered by the govt already. And the Hyderabad political drama, as they call it, is just trying to milk a sensitive issue for political gain.
Tonight we break it down. Is this plain symbolism or a genuine crusade against injustice?
If the BJP calls it blatant politicization, then why are they sending a top minister to negotiate a counter peace offer? More importantly why is the Rohit issue still festering? The students clearly are not satisfied with the action taken so far? They say they will continue their protest. And if the PM has spoken on the issue and indicated that he wants justice for Rohit, why is the govt floundering, some would say still, over the Rohith Vemula ‘suicide case?