Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lies, gaffes and threats ….what more can we expect from the BJP?

If it weren’t so serious a matter, it would be funny. The messiah of the BJP, it’s sole leader, is already starting to flounder, just six months after he started off on his speeches. For BJP supporters who like to call Rahul Gandhi “pappu”, this might be terrible news, for the moniker is now perhaps more appropriate for their ideologue!

Just look at the incidents of the last few days. First, Modi has been quoted as saying that Nehru never attended Patel’s funeral (though he has tweeted that the newspaper, Divya Bhaskar, had misquoted him and has retracted it…..but there is also a counterpoint made by someone that after scanning all copies of the newspaper in all languages, he has still not seen the retraction). The Congress pounced on it – Digvijay Singh infact posted a video of the funeral. The TOI carried a copy of its edition of that day that showed that Nehru was very much present.

As if that was not enough, Modi’s shenanigan of usurping Patel for himself (ET explains why he’s doing this in today’s edition) became embarrassing when he confused the Sardar’s birth anniversary with his death anniversary which is still some days away. If Modi was so enamoured of Patel, so impressed by his achievements, so inspired by his personality, how could he make such a fundamental blooper?

Then of course the other bloopers – calling Chandragupta Maurya (who lived around 300 BC) part of the Gupta dynasty (which existed between 300-500 AD), saying Alexander the great (will we be allowed to call him great in a Modi run government?!) came as far as the Ganges in the East (when in fact he stopped at Beas), and insisting that Takshashila is in Bihar (when in fact it is in Pakistan). Under normal circumstances, one would simply blame the speech writer and not the speaker himself, but since Modi makes such sharp speeches, attacking one and all, he has to face the embarassment himself.

None of the above qualify for being called a lie though. But Modi’s statement that the Congress had marginalized all national leaders who were not from the Gandhi-Nehru family is a lie, as TOI has brilliantly shown today. In its story titled “Ad bills show UPA did not “forget” Patel”, the paper says that UPA spent Rs 8.5 crores in the last four years on Patel’s birth anniversary ads. For reference, it spent just a shade higher, Rs 9.4 crores on Nehru. So did the Congress “belittle” Patel and “prop up” only Nehru? Now if Modi did not know these facts, why did he make that pompous statement? Again, Modi’s lie ended up embarrassing him as well, since the TOI report showed that it was the NDA that had forgotten Patel during its tenure! Such gaffes are not uncommon for Modi. Remember his tall claim made at Fergusson college in Pune that China spent 20% of its GDP on education? Not only was that false and embarrassing for Modi, what was doubly so for his party was that the NDA had actually spent less than the UPA on education!

There are several other claims made by Modi that may be qualify as being technically correct, but are complete lies in reality. Like his statement that the NDA delivered 8.4% growth. Yes it did, but only in its last year. Who talks of just one year? If that was the case, the UPA achieved 10%+. One has to talk averages, something that even an ordinary Gujarati businessman would know. But for Modi, that was a matter of detail. Likewise, Modi’s stance on the Lok Ayukta, RTI, CAG etc are all convenient…..with hardly any element of truth in them.

And what about threats? Well, anyone who is on social media knows that Modi’s supporters are loud bullies. They abuse, call people names, and in short try and make them shut up! It’s the same with BJP spokespeople on TV. If a discussion is not going their way, they start interrupting, trying to prevent the opposite viewpoint from being heard by viewers. The same thing happens on ground as well. A simple google search on “Gujarat – Congress protesters” throws up innumerable examples when the Gujarat government has come down strongly against Congress protesters.

This latest example – with the RSS reportedly issuing threats to writer Rupa Subramanya – is perhaps the most pathetic form of fascism ever seen. What did she write to get such threats? The article expresses a fact of history…..that the RSS had committed to Patel that it would not engage in politics as a pre-condition to him revoking the ban on it. In reality, the BJP is being increasingly controlled by the RSS, she opined. Even if the BJP disagrees with this, why should it or the RSS get aggressive with the writer. Surely, there is a basis in history for what she has written. It’s not a figment of her imagination. But then, such arm-twisting is a common part of the RSS/BJP style of working.

This aggro behavior is what the BJP is proud of, not ashamed of. Its verbal attacks on Pakistan and China, its taunting of the extremely decent Manmohan Singh, its abusive dismissal of a Nobel laureate (Amartysa Sen), its constant demands for the PM’s resignation (some 35 times by now) and its muscular blocking of Parliament is all symptomatic of what is clearly a genetic trait of the party.

The real truth is that in a matter of weeks and months, the Modi luster (as seen by BJP supporters) will be off. Expect more lies, gaffes…..and threats in the days to come. All this is being enacted in full media and public glare. The Congress must simply let Modi be…..he will self-destruct.

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