“Actual politics” is being conducted “ostensibly as media” by people who do not have the “courage to come into the political field,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told ANI, alluding to the controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Terming the furore as “politics by another means,” Jaishankar, in an interview with ANI, said, “Sometimes politics of India doesn’t even originate in its borders, it comes from outside.” “We are not debating just a documentary or a speech that somebody gave in a European city or a newspaper edits somewhere — we are debating, actually politics, which is being conducted ostensibly as media — there is a phrase ‘war by other means’ this is politics by another means — I mean you will do a hatchet job, you want to do a hatchet job and say this is just another quest for truth which we decided after 20 years to put at this time,” he said.
Coming a year just before the Lok Sabha polls of 2024, the external affairs minister questioned the timing of the documentary.
“I mean, come on, you think timing is accidental! Let me tell you one thing – I don’t know if the election season has started in India, Delhi or not, but, for sure it has started in London, New York,” he added.
The BBC, in January, released a documentary film titled ‘India: The Modi Question,” which features the Gujarat riots of 2002. The film caused controversy for alluding to PM Modi’s role in the riots whereas disregarding the Supreme Court clean chit to Narendra Modi.
“I mean, do you doubt it? Look who the cheerleaders are. What is happening is, just like I told you — this drip, drip, drip — how do you shape a very extremist image of India, of the government, of the BJP, of the Prime Minister. I mean, this has been going on for a decade, ” said Jaishankar when asked about some western media’s bias against PM Modi in India.
The EAM said that the motive behind planting such stories abroad is to further the anti-India agenda.
“Let’s not have illusions about it…, there is an echo chamber, it will be picked outside and then they will say it is being said outside, it must be true. Then you will say it inside. There is a ding-dong going on, look this is a globalized world, people take that politics abroad,” said the EAM.
He further asked, “Why suddenly there is a surge of reports and attention and views? I mean, were some of these things not happening earlier. Many things happened in Delhi in 1984, why don’t we see a documentary on that? If that was your concern, you suddenly feel one day, “I am very humanistic, I must get justice for people who have been wronged, ” said Jaishankar.
He further advised to not get fooled by such agendas and challenged the propagator to come in the political field.
“This is politics at play by people who do not have the courage to come into the political field. They want to have that teflon cover saying that I am an NGO, media organisation etc. They are playing politics,” Jaishankar asserted.
The EAM in his various interactions on multiple platforms abroad has hailed India’s democracy as a guiding force not just for the country but for the world to emulate. In the interview with ANI, the minister said that the people’s verdict will quell all the misconceptions.
“Among other things in a democracy – don’t you trust the ballot box, people’s verdict to be the final opinion? I do. I know there are certain people who believe that their view supersedes elections. Look, I like you, you win election–great democracy. I don’t like you win election. What are you — ‘electoral autocracy’. That’s reserved for people whom you don’t like to win elections. This is politics,” said Jaishankar.