The mysterious story of the connection between Devraha Baba and Indira Gandhi, after which the Congress party got the ‘hand’ symbol

Omprakash Ashk, Patna: Congress was established to fight the freedom struggle of the country from the British. After independence, it became the main political party of the country. Since then, there have been splits in the Congress from time to time and its election symbol has been changing. Right now the election symbol of the Congress is the claw. Many people may not know whose brainchild the Congress’s election symbol claw is. It has an interesting story. However, before the claw election symbol, there were two more election symbols of the Congress. Cow-calf and a pair of bullocks were once the election symbols of the Congress. Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in the country in 1975. The foundation of Emergency was laid from the student movement that started in 1974, which was led by Jayaprakash Narayan and made nationwide. Indira Gandhi had to bear the brunt of the Emergency in the form of a crushing defeat in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections. The defeat of the Congress was so bad that now people doubted its revival. But as soon as the election symbol was changed, the Congress made a tremendous comeback in the next election.

Indira Gandhi reached Baba’s refuge

There was despair in the Congress after being badly defeated in the Lok Sabha elections. The defeat was so bad that no one could see any way for the Congress to survive. The reasons for the defeat were known, but there was a continuous churning in the Congress on how to give it a new life. At the same time, a thought came to the mind of a Congress leader that why not change the symbol of the party to change its image. Along with this, that leader had advised Indira Gandhi to visit Devraha Baba, a proven saint living in Purvanchal, Uttar Pradesh.

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blessed hand became election symbol

On the advice of her close friends, Indira Gandhi went to Devraha Baba’s ashram, about 40 kilometers away from Deoria, a district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh, to see him. Whoever went to meet Baba, he used to bless him by raising his hand. He also blessed Indira Gandhi by raising her hand in the same way after darshan. It is said that after returning from there, Indira Gandhi urged the Election Commission to change the election symbol of Congress to paw instead of cow-calf. The commission allotted the claw symbol to the Congress. The same election symbol is running till today. The way the Congress had suffered in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977, no one had predicted that it would be able to rise again. Indira Gandhi returned to power with full vigor in the mid-term elections to the Lok Sabha held two and a half years after Devraha Baba’s blessings and receiving the Panja election symbol.

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Congress kept breaking, its election symbol kept changing

The election symbol of the Congress has changed several times since independence. Initially, its election symbol was a pair of bulls. Indira Gandhi was expelled from the Congress on 12 November 1969. Then he formed a party named Congress (R). The election symbol of the Congress (R) was a cow-calf. The Congress (R) later became the Congress (I). The Congress was formed on 28 December 1885. It was founded by the Englishman AO Hume. Vyomeshchandra Banerjee became the first president of the Congress. At the time when the Congress was established, its objective was the liberation of India from the slavery of the British. After getting independence, Congress became the main political party of India. After getting independence, Mahatma Gandhi had said that the purpose of forming the Congress was fulfilled. It should end now. Even today, the anti-Congress people often repeat that statement of Mahatma Gandhi.

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The condition of the Congress in 1977 was the same as that of the opposition in 1984.

After the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Congress emerged in such a way that the opposition was swept away. The Congress got a one-sided majority in the Lok Sabha elections held under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi. However, VP Singh, who was the Defense Minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s government, rebelled over the Bofors gun scam and the Congress was voted out of power in 1998. VP Singh left the Congress and formed a new party named Jan Morcha. He became the Prime Minister with the help of BJP and Left parties. When the Mandal Commission’s recommendations were implemented, the BJP withdrew support and the VP Singh government fell. The Jan Morcha also disintegrated. Many parties like Janata Dal, Janata Dal (U), RJD, JD (S), SP came into existence after Jan Morcha broke up.

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Many leaders formed their own parties

From time to time many leaders left the Congress and formed their own parties. Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) in Maharashtra, Late in Chhattisgarh. Parties like Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress, Biju Janata Dal are still there. Many other parties were also formed, but were erased with time. Chaudhary Charan Singh formed the Lok Dal, which is still in the name of National Lok Dal. Some of the leaders who broke away from the Congress and formed their own party later returned to the Congress. Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh, Madhav Rao Scindia, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, P. Chidambaram, Tariq Anwar are some of the prominent names who left the Congress but returned later. Leaders like Mamta Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, after leaving the Congress, still remain the surveyors of their party.

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Come, let us know about Siddha Saint Devraha Baba

Devraha Baba never made any claim of his chanting and penance and being a proven saint while alive, nor did anyone have any information about his age. People tell that his biggest quality was that he used to know the thoughts of people without telling them. His name Devraha Baba was probably because he lived in Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh. There is no solid proof of his age, but his devotees tell his age to be 250 to 500 years. He left this world on 19 June 1990. People even tell that he used to walk on the edge of the water. There was so much talk of Baba’s miracles that in 2011 George V also came to India to visit him. Veteran politicians of the country were his devotees. Apart from the first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, many big leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jagannath Mishra were included in such people. In this sequence, Indira Gandhi also came to Baba’s ashram to seek his blessings.

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