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Congress’s stance on Richa Chadha’s Galwan blunder has given BJP ammunition for Gujarat, 2024 Battles

Akshay Kumar had slammed Richa Chadha's Galwan tweet.  Photos/Twitter

Akshay Kumar had slammed Richa Chadha’s Galwan tweet. Photos/Twitter

While initially the Congress kept silent after controversy erupted over Chadha’s Galwan tweet seemingly mocking the armed forces, all restraint was forgotten when actor Akshay Kumar criticized the Gangs of Wasseypur star.

In a 2019 post-Lok Sabha results after the death, many party insiders acknowledged that the Congress had fared badly because it undermined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalism and “superman” image projected by the BJP after the Pulwama attack and failed to counter Balakot airstrikes.

Since then, Congress has attempted to pursue conscious policies that are not on the wrong side of the nationalism debate. While the party believes the government should be questioned about the Chinese invaders and Pakistani meddling, it should be done in a nuanced manner, strongly supporting the armed forces and questioning only the government. Rahul Gandhi and many others in his party have even said that “the government’s weak foreign policy hurt the armed forces”. The idea was also to ensure that the story would not backfire anywhere during polls.

But the party seems not to have learned its lessons. While it initially remained quiet after controversy erupted over actor Richa Chadha’s Galwan tweet seemingly mocking the armed forces, all restraint was forgotten when actor Akshay Kumar criticized the Gangs of Wasseypur star. Led by Supriya Shrinate, head of social media, most of the congress lashed out at Akshay Kumar online, mocking him and his association with the prime minister. This gave enough ammunition to the Bharatiya Janata Party to attack the Congress again as they were anti-military forces.

What makes it worse is that all this is in the middle of the polls in Gujarat, which is also a border state and has many people from the armed forces. In fact, there is now evidence put out by the BJP that Richa Chadha supported the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and therefore her views were in line with the views of the party. To make matters worse, Vice President of the Maharashtra Unit of Congress, Nagma Morarji, supported Richa Chadha. But she had to apologize when it was clear to the party that this was going to boomerang. Incidentally, Nagma is one of the party’s activists in the Gujarat polls.

Although the number of Gujaratis in the armed forces is not too high, it is a state that is vulnerable almost like Punjab as it shares a border with Pakistan. Hence, Congress’ tacit support for Richa Chadha could again hit the party’s perception. It is not just Gujarat, the bigger impact could be in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls as the BJP will soon corner the Congress and Rahul Gandhi on this. Richa may have apologized, but the congressional silence will only hurt the party again.

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