‘Those Believing in Nationalism Called Right-Wing’: Arun Jaitley

“Would Indira, Rajiv Gandhi have gone to an event where ‘Bharat ke tukde’ slogans were raised?” asked Arun Jaitley  

2 min read
Arun Jaitley.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on Saturday, said that the personal grievances and ambitions of the Congress leadership had caused a degeneration of their ideology over time. He was speaking at the India Ideas Conclave organised by India Foundation.

Would Mrs Indira Gandhi or Mr Rajiv Gandhi ever have gone to a congregation where a Bharat ke tukde tukde slogan was raised? Certainly not. But the degeneration of ideology, because of personal grievances or personal ambitions, compelled the Congress party leadership to do so.
Arun Jaitley

According to The Indian Express, in 2016, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had joined a solidarity meeting of scores of JNU students and teachers, demanding the release of then JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar, after he was arrested on charges of sedition.

He was charged following a JNU event, organised on the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, where allegedly anti-national sloganeering went on.

Alternative Discourse and the Idea of ‘Sanskaar’

Jaitley went on to say that while those participating in an alternative discourse might not win elections, “you see the impact of their voice”.

“People like me who ideologically stand on a similar footing have no hesitation in accepting that the responsibility of keeping this country together belongs to us,” he said.

He said that the impact of the “powerful voice” of those participating in an alternative discourse might not find much support in the public but the impact can be seen in the fact that ‘sanskaar’ is a ridiculed word today.

In Indian society, we use the phrase “woh bahut acche sanskar wala hai”. It is about the value system. So, the alternative discourse is to make it an object of ridicule. Alternative discourse is that nationalism is right-wing, and insurgency – using violence as an instrument to overthrow – is activism.
Arun Jaitley

Sympathisers of Alternative Discourse are ‘Activists’

He also went on to say that when sympathisers of alternative discourse are arrested, they are human rights activists. Those believing in nationalism and wanting to keep the country together, therefore, become, right wing.

According to The Indian Express, Jaitley also praised former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his speech honouring the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, despite Vajpayee belonging to a different party.

“Vajpayee’s single best speech according to me was in Parliament in May 1964, when as a 38-year-old MP and leader of Jana Sangh, he stood up to pay his obituary tribute to Nehru. In my view, in independent India, a speech of that quality is unprecedented.”

According to NDTV, he also said that Indian parliamentary democracy needed an alternative ideological and political pole, without which it was incomplete.

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