Desperation it must be that the soon-to-be Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has taken to broadcasting his faith as a janeu-dhari-Hindu. By that one verbal stroke last week, he may have undermined the self-belief of tens of millions of Indians, who sans that all-important sacred thread around their chests might now begin to question their Hindu-ness. Some of us who have neither worn a janeu nor visited a temple, Somnath or any other, in ages, might wonder if only the likes of Rahul Gandhi are justified in believing that they alone are true Hindus.
Even without the trap set by the BJP, in which the Gandhi scion walked in without realising the potential electoral costs—never mind, the resulting public ridicule from embracing Hinduism under duress—in Gujarat the Congress party had already forsaken the Muslims. In wanting to re-energise KHAM, the party’s campaign concentrated on K (Khsatriyas), H (Harijans) and A (Adivasis), while it most disdainfully dropped the last pillar in Madhavsinh Solanki’s election-winning formula of the 1980s. The M (Muslims) in KHAM was now unwanted and unworthy of the party’s attention.
Though Muslims count over 10%, and tend to vote strategically, the Congress, in its zeal to embrace soft-Hindutva has calculatedly distanced itself from them. The fear is that the generally conservative Gujarati Hindu might be put off if the party is seen canvassing the votes of the largest minority group in the state. Saddled with a Hobson’s choice, the Muslims might still vote for the Congress, since unlike in Bihar, UP, etc., there is no other party in contention against the BJP. But their being orphaned electorally in Gujarat further buttresses the sheer opportunism of the Congress. How exploiting the Muslims’ compulsions helps allay their insecurities and fears is beyond comprehension. Such sham secularism under a janeu-dhari Rahul Congress is only to be expected.
Meanwhile, our family pandit, unwilling to accept Rahul’s proclamation, wonders if he really is a janeu-dhari-Hindu: whatever happened to his choti, or the tuft of hair at the back of his head? Rahul doesn’t have it. Precisely, that is the problem with the Congress. It is half-secular, half-communal, half-left, half-right, etc, etc. Those days when you could conquer the country being everything to everyone are long past. Now the people want you to take clear-cut positions on men and matters, something the Congress leadership has shied away from all along.
CONJURE CONSPIRACIES WHERE NONE EXIST
It was a classic case of unprocessed trash being passed off as investigation. Fortunately, the report was blown to smithereens not by anyone else, but by the widely-respected newspaper whose standards the little-known journal will find hard to follow in its desperate craving for public attention. Palming off duds as great exposes is the inevitable result of shoddy and ill-motivated investigations.
First, the facts. The Special Judge, CBI, Brijmohan Harikishan Loya, died on 1 December 2014, of a heart attack in Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the wedding of the daughter of a fellow judge, Swanpa Joshi, now a Bombay High Court judge. At the time of his death, he was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. Quoting purportedly some statements by relatives of the deceased, the journal smelled foul play. As soon as the magazine hit the stands with its screaming report, sorry, investigative report, it was seized upon by the usual suspects to demand an independent judicial commission. Indeed, the leftist-secularist cabal rebuked the rest of the media for not taking note of such a great work of investigative journalism. The too-clever-by-half-editor of a Chandigarh newspaper demanded that the Supreme Court initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the magazine and taunted the media for not taking note of the earth-shaking report.
And a close friend of Rahul Gandhi, who enjoys an unregulated access to the columns of a financial daily, after duly banging the media for lacking the courage to follow up, summed it up thus for her readers: “…the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Mohit Shah, tried to bribe Justice Loya Rs 100 crore to deliver a judgement favourable to Amit Shah, but was turned down. Thereafter, Justice Loya died in what can only be called extremely fishy circumstances, and the judge who replaced him acquitted Amit Shah after three days of hearings…” (Just wonder if she has got it wrong. Actually it was Rs 1,000 crores, wasn’t it? When you tell a lie, make it as big as possible…)
It was claimed no ECG was done, that someone unknown to the deceased’s family picked up his body, and that nobody bothered to take the body to his relatives… All statements found to be false in the painstaking follow-up by the newspaper. The report quoted living persons, including judges, on record to demolish the edifice of lies and untruths put together for the ready consumption of the Modi-haters. A copy of the ECG was published. Also quoted were the two judges who had personally ensured proper arrangements for the body of Judge Loya to be taken to his village. Again, contrary to the claim that nobody accompanied Judge Loya to the hospital when he suffered the heart attack, two judges asserted on record that they personally rushed him to the hospital. And, later, to a bigger hospital which was better equipped.
Of course, it is futile to expect a mea culpa from the people behind the spurious story. In fact, so brazen are they that now they suspect the hand of a Central minister behind the clinching evidence debunking their report. Probably, yet another conspiracy for them to unravel three years from now!
After a failed attempt at passing off revenue as net profits, this is the second attempt to attack the BJP president in the midst of the Gujarat campaign. Link it to the noises about the Rafale deal, which defence experts maintain was one hundred per cent kosher, and you have a desperate Opposition catching at straws.
Such desperation is bound to be counter-productive. Winning back the peoples’ trust through deception and deceit, and not through a meaningful engagement and an alternative programme, can only bring the opposition caravan spluttering on a very flimsy wire to a screeching halt.
A VENTRILOQUIST’S DUMMY?
It is natural to be surprised not so much that someone claiming to be a bona fide member of the Congress seeking his 15 minutes of fame has questioned the proposed election of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president. The surprise is that Shehzad Poonawalla is the brother-in-law of Robert Vadra’s cousin. His brother Tehseen is married to Vadra’s cousin, Monicka. And thanks to that connection, Shehzad has risen in double-quick-time to become the secretary of the Maharashtra Congress and appears regularly on TV as a spokesperson of the party.
Shehzad, in a letter to Rahul, has raised all the questions any democratic-minded citizen would ask of the Crown Prince. But why him? If you remember the posters a Robert Vadra loyalist, one Jagdish Sharma, would often plaster the city with, demanding that “Priyanaka Lao, Congress Bachao”, you may understand better the inspiration behind Shehzad’s hara-kiri.