Amit Shah (Photo: IANS)
Ideally, blank space below the caption would have sufficed to articulate the view that unworthy of editorial comment was BJP president, Amit Shah’s describing the Father of the Nation as a chatur baniya.
Alas, such is the crass nature of current political discourse that the legion of saffron acolytes would interpret that as having nothing to say on the matter, and extrapolate this to suggest that silence indicated approval.
Even though Shah may have got “his Gandhis” confused, it must be admitted that his words came as no surprise.
It was on the basis of such negativity that the “nationalist” party came to power in 2014, and with each of its successive electoral successes the viciousness of its message has turned shriller.
Will Shah now challenge the accolade of “Father of the Nation”, and NDA-II set about renaming the capital of Gujarat? It was one thing for the BJP to disparage the Nehru-Gandhi family, it is something entirely different to muck-rake the Mahatma.
Sadly, the BJP is ignorant of the limits to political indecency, more of the same is on the cards as it wields its divisive “trump” now that it has set its sight on the 2019 polls.
The independence to which Gandhi had led the Indian people will remain, the unity and cohesiveness secured by Sardar Patel is what is endangered.
With so many BJP leaders declaring dissenters to be seditionists, and advising them to “go to Pakistan”, the strategy is no longer camouflaged ~ a “Hindu-rasthra” is the ultimate objective. With the Opposition having no one of greater consequence than Randeep Surjewala to fire the first counter-salvo, the most valid voices of dissent have been of Gandhiji’s grandsons: while they do have the moral authority to cut Amit Shah to size, they are victims of the lack of “clout” to which the present BJP leadership has subjected the Indian intelligentsia.
It is unlikely that L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha would endorse Amit Shah’s remarks ~ he has decimated them to the sidelines. The Prime Minister could redeem the situation a little, but he is unlikely to admonish his political bulldozer.
And it is Narendra Modi’s style to let his henchmen run riot, and then make pretence to “distancing” himself from their misdemeanours: that has happened too frequently to merit listing.
Also forgotten, actually discarded/rejected is the principle that as the ruling entity the BJP must set lofty standards: so when we have a Prime Minister saying his predecessor takes a shower under a raincoat, the chatur baniya comment should cause no raised eyebrows. The way Modi runs his ship may empower him ~ he will hardly earn the affection and admiration enjoyed by Vajpayee. Maybe that is now deemed inconsequential.
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