The general elections of 1984 marked the most spectacular victory for the Congress party in the history of electoral politics in India when it won 415 seats out of total 523 seats.
Interestingly, journalist and book author Rasheed Kidwai has revealed the secret of the Congress party’s win in his latest book ‘Ballot: Ten Episodes that Shaped India’s Democracy’. In his book, Kidwai has revealed that the Congress party’s win was the result of collaboration between the Congress party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Kidwai has made some major assertions through his book that may change the existing perspectives of politics of Congress party in India.
The assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi changed the life and political future of his son Rajiv Gandhi who was never interested in politics. In his third chapter titled, ‘The Big Tree And The Sapling’, Kidwai starts about Rajiv Gandhi’s journey with the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
“As soon as Rajiv reached Delhi, PC Alexander, Principal Secretary to Indira and other trusted aides told him that the Cabinet and the Congress party wanted him to be the next Prime Minister. Alexander said he had to make a determined bid to tear Rajiv away from Sonia at AIIMS. Sonia Gandhi pleaded with Rajiv not to consent, but Rajiv believed that it was his duty to do so.”
Thus began the pioneering journey of Rajiv Gandhi’s political career, after which the elections of 1984 were announced between December 24 and December 27, 1984.
“Rajiv’s election campaign was aggressive and focused on making Sikhs, seeking a separate homeland, a key issue. The hidden agenda was to somehow exploit insecurity within the Hindu community and project the Rajiv-led Congress as their sole saviour.”
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Kidwai has mentioned about Rajiv Gandhi’s campaign journey of 25 days when he travelled for more than 50, 000 km to reach as many people as he could. As he rode his battle on the sympathy of his mother’s assassination, he focused on dwelling the Hindutva brand that was dominating the political scenario in India around that time. During the same period of time, he decided to meet the then Sarsangchalak of RSS, Balasaheb Deoras.
“There were talks of a secret meeting between Rajiv Gandhi and Balasaheb Deoras during the 1984 elections which led to the RSS force extend their support to the Congress party. However, the Baratiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied of any understanding between the Congress and RSS under the Rajiv Gandhi tenure.”
Kidwai writes, “The immense wave in favour of Rajiv Gandhi led to the party’s win of 415 Lok Sabha seats out of 543 seats, something that both his mother and grandfather failed to achieve during their political career.”
As Kidwai presents you the brief political career of the youngest prime minister in the Indian political scenario piece-by-piece, his claims that RSS lending support to the Congress party has yet not been contradicted by the party.