IANS Interview: Congress paying the price of appeasement politics, says economist Surjit Bhalla


Surjit Bhalla, renowned economist and political analyst spoke exclusively to IANS and said that the Congress party was itself to blame for its ‘pitiable’ state and said that the party’s repeated attempts at appeasing a certain section did not do any good to it.

When questioned whether Muslim appeasement politics did irreversible harm to the grand old party, he nodded in the affirmative.

“The politics of Muslim appeasement began when fundamentalists and religious radicals started dominating Iranian discourse. Congress government did many mistakes like banning Salman Rushdie’s book. Rajiv Gandhi government’s stand on Shah Bano case is no secret. Party’s stand on the Ram Mandir did it no good,” Sujit Bhalla observed.

“Ram Mandir is among the most revered shrines for Hindus but Congress questioned its existence and opposed the construction of temple at the disputed site of Babri Masjid. This hurt the party deeply. It’s from there Congress got into the trap of appeasement politics and dug its own grave,” he said.

Bhalla further added that there should be no place for appeasement or favoritism. It should be based on equality and diversity.

He also raised strong opposition to reservations and quotas and said that the Congress government conducted a caste-based census in 2011 but decided to hold the data, at the last hour, apparently sensing some backlash.

“Now, the same party is pitching for caste-based census and reservations. I believe this is an outdated ideology. India’s strength lies in its diversity and the parties must design and fashion their campaign around this theme,” he said.

“I think Congress campaign is not on the right path and is a recipe for disaster,” he added.

He also expressed strong disapproval of Rahul Gandhi’s clamor for Institutional and Financial Survey in the country and offered a piece of advice.

“Rahul Gandhi should devise his strategy by studying data. But, the problem is that he focuses only on ideology,” he said and also cautioned that any campaign far from ground realities will only put the party on a weak wicket.

Bhalla said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was speaking about Viksit Bharat 2047 vision and this is a forward-looking and confidence-building step for the people of the country.

“I am sure Viksit Bharat vision can be realised. I think, India can achieve this target by 2045 also. For this, it will need to grow at 6 percent GDP. Today, we are growing at 8 percent. Even if it goes down by some percent, an average of 6 percent growth can be achieved for sure,” he said.


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