‘Time for Congress to take coun­try back to mid­dle path’

The Hindu - - THE HUDDLE - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

Ex­press­ing dis­tress over the grow­ing ex­tremes in the coun­try’s demo­cratic polity, for­mer Union Min­is­ter Ash­wani Ku­mar said it was time for the Congress to lead the na­tion to­wards re­claim­ing the mod­er­ate mid­dle path that de­fines the con­sti­tu­tional val­ues of free­dom.

“We are wit­ness­ing an age of ex­tremes in the coun­try. In­tim­i­da­tion of Op­po­si­tion and mi­nori­ties, as­sault on in­sti­tu­tions of democ­racy, in­stances such as mob lynch­ing, in­tru­sions on lib­er­ties and free­dom of peo­ple in terms of what one should eat, one should wear or who one should be friends with and above all scant dis­re­gard for the con­sti­tu­tional con­science of the coun­try are some of the wor­ry­ing fea­tures of our demo­cratic polity to­day,” Mr. Ku­mar said on the side­lines of The

Hud­dle.

He said the

Lok Sabha elec­tion should be “fought and won for the vindi­ca­tion of con­sti­tu­tional val­ues for the un­ceas­ing quest for the mod­er­ate cen­tre”.

For, “at the end of the day, democ­racy as a form of gov­er­nance and phi­los­o­phy is about ac­com­mo­da­tion of com­pet­ing in­ter­ests and ad­just­ments, which are so very es­sen­tial for main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity of or­der”.

Mr. Ku­mar re­gret­ted that the coun­try had lost the “even play­ing field” that guar­an­teed so­cial sta­bil­ity.

So, the Congress, as a party in­volved in the free­dom move­ment, should play a “piv­otal role in mar­shalling the forces of sec­u­lar­ism, in­clu­sion and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism to en­sure that fear is van­quished and free­dom pre­vails as the defin­ing fea­ture of our na­tion.”

On the ac­cu­sa­tions lev­elled at the Congress oc­ca­sion­ally of prac­tis­ing “soft Hin­dutva”, Mr. Ku­mar sought to clar­ify that the no­tion of soft Hin­dutva was a mis­un­der­stood one.

“Vis­it­ing tem­ples and proclaiming be­liefs in the finest tenets of Hin­duism can­not be dubbed as be­ing soft on com­mu­nal­ism if that is what soft Hin­dutva is in­tended to im­ply,” he said.

Ash­wani Ku­mar

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