Rahul Gandhi officially took charge as Congress chief taking over his mother Sonia Gandhi who has been Congress president since 1998. However, no major political party from Bangladesh has congratulated the new Congress President on his new role.
As a result, the members of Congress have expressed their surprise. Especially when the ruling party of Bangladesh Awami League (AL) did not send any congratulatory message to the newly elected Congress president, Congress left astounded.
On 16 December, the 47-year Rahul Gandhi became the Congress president. The moment he was announced as the new leader of Congress, people from everywhere started sending him congratulatory messages on his website.
India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent Rahul congratulatory message on Monday from his personal twitter account, “”I congratulate Rahul Ji on his election as Congress president. My best wishes for a fruitful tenure.”
The list continues as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also congratulated Rahul.
Only Bangladesh remains absent from the list to date. However, it has been heard from some Indian media sources that Sheikh Rehana, the younger sister of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has congratulated Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi over phone. But the Congress is considering it as a sheer gesture of cordiality.
Awami League and Congress have a long-standing relationship. Both of the parties do politics for the poor people of their respective countries. During the Great Liberation War of Bangladesh, India helped Bangladesh to achieve independence. Congress president Indira Gandhi took the first initiative to rescue Bangladesh from the clasp of Pakistani oppressors.
After the death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Founding Father of Bangladesh, Indira Gandhi gave political asylum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Even in 2007, when the government of ‘one eleven’ sent Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia to prison, several Congress leaders including the then Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee took the initiative to set them free.
Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014 and of late, Modi declared as victorious for his BJP party in a major election contest in the western state of Gujarat. Many progressive leaders dub Modi as a communal leader for his alleged involvement in 2002 riots in Gujrat.
However, Bangladesh, under the leadership of the most secular political party of the country i.e. AL, continues its good rapport with Modi.
On January 5, 2014, the 10th Parliamentary Election of Bangladesh which saw Awami League return to power raised some controversies for being ‘one-sided’ election as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), a major political party of Bangladesh, did not participate. It was Sonia Gandhi who stepped forward and took the initiative to legitimize the election. In April of 2014 Modi came to power. BNP expected that this time India would withdraw its support from AL. But Modi maintained a good relationship with PM Sheikh Hasina.
So, the question remains, is AL avoiding Rahul Gandhi to sustain the friendship with Modi? People who follow Indian politics know it very well that the duos convey a mutual dislike on a personal level. Modi pokes Rahul for the latter’s elevation as Congress president and calls it `Aurangzeb Raj’.
In the upcoming general election of Bangladesh, AL and BNP need the support of Modi government. Therefore, none wants to be the reason of irritation to Modi by congratulating Rahul.
However, AL should not forget that after the 20th national council of Awami League, the trio of Modi, Sonia and Rahul sent separate congratulatory messages to Sheikh Hasina on becoming the president of AL.