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In UP, Congress trains workers to battle ‘myths’ about Nehru, party’s history

As part of its campaign in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is training its office-bearers to counter the “misinformation against the Congress”, particularly against its leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru.

A 24-page booklet titled ‘Dushprachar Aur Sach’ (Misinformation and Truth) lists out 14 widespread ‘myths’ regarding the Congress party, including various versions about the relation between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Nehru’s role in the accession of Kashmir into India, the life styles of the Nehru-Gandhi family members and allegations around the party being dynasty-centric.

With pictures of paper clippings, caricatures and bullet points, the booklet lists statements such as “Nehru stalled Sardar Patel as PM”, “If Patel was the PM, Country would have been stronger”, “Congress fed Biryani to terrorists”, “Congress amassed wealth in 70 years”, “Congress leaders let Bhagat Singh be hanged”, “Nehru failed people of J&K”, “Gandhi fasted for Pakistan”, “Congress is soft on Pakistan”, as pure myths.

It states that it was the Congress that fought the two successful wars with Pakistan. It was the UPA that executed capital punishment to Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. The booklet states that it was Nehru who deftly handled the crisis in Kashmir in October 1947 with Raja Hari Singh and that Patel was also part of the many negotiations that led to conception of Article 370. It claims that Nehru had written against the execution of Bhagat Singh and others, and had appealed for just treatment of political prisoners.

It also states that Nehru was in regular touch with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s family after the air crash that is believed to have killed him, and that he gave important responsibilities to Patel. The booklet also lists the Green Revolution, Right to Education, starting of IITs, IIMs, Bhakra Nangal, DRDO, BSF, Right to Information, White Revolution, MGNREGA, nuclear agreement with the US as some key moves by the Congress that strengthened the country, while adding that 12 of its presidents came from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family.

A senior Congress leader said this was to counter the WhatsApp forwards and unsubstantiated matter on social media that portrayed the Congress in bad light.

“These booklets are being distributed to around 60,000 workers during a special 12-day training programme organised by the party for booth-level workers which started Monday in several districts of UP and will end on September 7. A Congress leader said this is to train Congress workers who have been named “Vijay Sena” in the run-up to the assembly elections due early next year.

Through a second booklet ‘RSS and BJP-Anti India’, the party has put out statements by leaders such as Bose, Patel, Gandhi and BR Ambedkar, who were critical of the RSS. In another booklet handed to party workers, the party claimed that Uttar Pradesh is at the bottom in terms of income of farmers, employment, education and health and blamed the SP and BSP. It has attacked the SP for dynastic politics and corruption, blaming it for favouring only one community, without directly naming Yadavs, and has called Mayawati ‘Daulat Ki Beti’ (daughter of wealth, not of a Dalit). BSP chief Mayawati reacted to it sharply by advising the Congress to focus on its shortcomings which depleted its base in UP.

BJP spokesman Chandramohan said the Congress has already been rejected by the people of UP in the successive Lok Sabha and assembly elections. “They use the state for their tourist visits. They have lost their own family bastion. People can see how shallow their commitment is.”

( Originally published on Sep 03, 2021 )