After Mr Narendra Modi’s attempt to click a selfie with the louts... errm... I mean lotus and a presser with the party symbol in his hand, the Election Commission decided to tackle this breach of the code of conduct legally and filed a FIR against him. Mr Modi reacted to this by mocking the EC and daring them to file another complaint against him. He made his pitch very clear to his supporters, that such actions from revered institutions like the EC doesn’t deter his spirits. He is going to campaign as per his wish and if that means breaking a rule or two, he doesn’t really care.
The popular narrative from his supporters were questions like, “Come on, will you really arrest him for showing a lotus in a press conference?” or rhetoric like, “Oh really, FIR for showing his finger? Are you sure it wasn’t the index finger?”, or some unbelievable ones like, “Why did Manmohan wave after voting? Isn’t that his party’s symbol?”
Are these the questions we should be asking? Will Modi’s White Blood Cells army react similarly if the man broke a traffic rule? Isn’t everyone in this country bound by certain laws that they should abide by? And if we break a law, isn’t it the duty of the enforcers to make sure we don’t get away with it?
Should we be surprised by this nonchalance and apathy for our rulebook by someone who looks so desperate to become the prime minister of this country? Well, if history is to be believed, the answer is an obvious NO.
Here is what Mr Modi said about JM Lyngdoh, the then Election Commissioner of India, when he was trying to ensure fair elections in Gujarat in 2002: “Some journalists asked me recently, “Has James Michael Lyngdoh come from Italy?” I said I don’t have his janam patri, I will have to ask Rajiv Gandhi. Then the journalists said, “Do they meet in church?” I replied, “Maybe they do.” It is for the five crore Gujaratis to decide whether I should stay or be removed. No aalia, valia and jamalia from the Delhi footpath will decide and that is why we have gone to the janata ki adalat.”
Chilling, right? Someone’s religion is mocked, his integrity is questioned, just because he is doing his duty. Mr Modi’s recent statements are a reflection of his past, only difference being that Mr VS Sampath is not from a minority community and taking a jibe at his religion is not something Mr Modi would want to do right now. The language used by the preacher of Gujarat is also milder than his 2002 version because he is now a secular liberal.
Should institutions like the Election Commission or the Supreme Court be respected? I leave it for the reader to decide.
Meanwhile, there was news floating around that Mr Azam Khan threatened the Election Commission and asked them not to behave like God. Well, we can only thank our stars that Mr Azam Khan is not the prime ministerial candidate of any political party.