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BJP: More things change, the more they remain the same

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 - 7:41pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Some things never change, though people might try to create an illusion otherwise. A few days ago a senior BJP candidate from Bihar Giriraj Singh had said that all Modi's critics should be packed off to Pakistan. After a huge furor on digital media, BJP came forward to offer a very weak defense saying they disapprove of such comments. And their party spokesperson refused to answer any questions over whether any action would be taken against him. Needless to say no action has even been initiated by the party. 

While the party may try to say that this as a one off comment by their candidate, I’d beg to differ. I have been on TV debates where their spokespersons are quick to call any person speaking against Narendra Modi as desh drohis or Pakistani agents. You see a similar trend even on social media platforms where Mr Modi's supporters either endorse or jump to defend such statements.

Such hateful comments clearly come across as a well devised strategy on part of the BJP: to try and polarise the political discourse and seek electoral benefits thereof. It is a particularly ridiculous situation where the party may have ‘condemned’ the statement, but the man who said this still stands by his virulent comments. If you thought you had had enough, the next hate speech came from BJP’s another active cultural branch promoting the RSS and party’s Hindutva agenda, VHP. The comments came from Dr. Pravin Togadia, Vice President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad where he encouraged hindus in Gujarat to throw out Muslims from Hindus neighbourhoods

Now Togadia says he never said what he did, and has sent a legal notice to the said publication. It is just like Amit Shah making an inflammatory speech in sensitive parts of Uttar Pradesh and then justifying by saying that his tapes were doctored, Varun Gandhi did something similar in last elections. But Mr Togadia has been caught here. Because here is Togadia’s hate speech.

Again it is not about another man added to the list of BJP leaders getting away with these comments. It is about the sheer hypocrisy of what BJP actually stands for and what it claims to stand for. Getting power at all costs especially by creating a huge communal divide has been their practiced policy since Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh got banned in 1948 after Mahatma’s assassination. We then saw a similar wedge being created in 1992, in 2002, and now as recently as the Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh. 

While Ram Madhav of RSS was quick to defend his fellow Swayam Sevak Dr. Togadia by denying such comments, we had a usually verbose and bombastic Narendra Modi who was totally silent about it. There’s a quote that comes to mind by Adrienne Rich: "Lying is done with words, and also with silence." While Modi was silent, his apologists on twitter wasted no time in letting the world know about the rivalry between Togadia and Modi. Also how Togadia is upset about being cut to size by Modi. Well, if we were to apply that logic as the chief minister of Gujarat, he could very well initiate action against Togadia for this hate speech, but his silence on both counts speaks louder than any words.

Coming under severe attack, Mr Modi chose to speak his mind by tweeting his reaction on some ‘petty statements’ made by ‘people claiming to be party’s well wishers’ . His tweets have created more questions rather than provide any answers. Hate speeches become petty statements and anti national comments become damaging comments not for the nation but for his ‘party’. Did he condemn anyone specifically? No. Did he call out these people responsible for such comments? No. Is he initiating any action against such hate mongers? No. But yet this entire nation should be grateful that he vaguely pulled someone up. He, as the statements by Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley also reinforced, disapproved that these comments could hurt the image of the party and not that they were horrible statements to make.

A question that comes to mind is why is it that he chose to ‘disapprove of these remarks’ through twitter and why his chappan inch ki chaati not let him do so at any of his big ticket election rally? Mere words really. But then who are we to question, because after all we are the majority of the janta which has been branded anti-India for not voting BhaJaPa to power all these years. The leader of Bhajapa might have been silent but the people of India will speak. As they have always spoken, both in 2004 and in 2009.

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