Are we witnessing a replay of the post-2002 tar-Modi-black game, albeit with a new peg? We think so. Not only are the forces that had gone to great lengths to link Narendra Modi to the post-Godhra conflagration the same, but even the tactics and the tools being used are virtually indistinguishable from the ones that were then commandeered to paint him as an ogre. In this dark imagery, Modi was Hitler, who had presided over the anti-Muslim pogrom with a ghoulish relish. He was a modern-day Devil Incarnate.
It mattered little that there was not an iota of direct or indirect evidence to make him complicit in the horrendous two-way killings. It mattered little that unlike the Bharat Ratna-ed leader of the cabal orchestrating the Modi-is-evil chant, he had neither justified the tragic religious riots by intoning before a crowd of the faithful that “Jab bada ped girta hain, to dharti hiliti hain”. Nor had the Ahmedabad Doordarshan telecast the blood-curdling chant of khoon ka badla, khoon after scores of Ram-bhaktas returning from Ayodhya were burnt to death at the Godhra station.
Yet, these bleeding-heart liberals had carried on a relentless campaign of calumny for more than a decade, roping in all manner of freelance operators who were ready to sell their services for a price. Well-cosseted NGOs were commissioned to do a hit job against the then Gujarat Chief Minister. A mid-level Gujarat police officer, known widely for his venality — the real reason why he was picked up — belatedly rigged up evidence of Modi’s complicity. Only recently the highest court in the land trashed his phony case and passed severe strictures against him.
Without detailing any further the desperate extents to which the self-styled liberals and their patrons in the Congress party had gone to “fix” Modi, suffice it to say that he and, with him, crores of Indians contemptuously thumbed their nose at them when in the parliamentary election last year he was elected to lead the country. The Modi-haters were left numb with shock. But, as is the human nature, soon they recovered their wits and began to train their guns afresh against him.
Displaying a total lack of democratic spirit, which demanded that they respect the popular mandate and reconcile themselves with their diminished status as a minor Opposition group, they began to plot his downfall even before he could settle down in the prime ministerial gaddi. The wilful obstruction of the government in and outside Parliament was clearly borne out of an ingrained animus against Modi.
It is that animus that is now revealed by the serial drama over the return of awards. Timed with the just-concluded five-phase Bihar Assembly poll, the real motive behind the daily noises over the alleged loss of individual freedoms and liberties and the attack on the minorities was to create an anti-Modi, anti-BJP atmosphere. Such insidious intervention in the political process by writers, historians, artistes, scientists and others, who had generally fattened themselves on the patronage of the Congress regimes, was supposedly meant to safeguard the country’s democratic system.
But if the truth be told, these writers displayed their own anti-democratic streak, and their readiness to be used by their erstwhile patrons, by publicly taking sides in what are essentially highly regrettable but, nonetheless, stray incidents. Without in any way trying to establish any sort of equivalence, the fact is that a vast majority of Indians are now aware about the 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq, who was most tragically beaten to death by an angry mob in Dadri, UP, on the suspicion that he had killed a cow and consumed its meat.
But thanks to the wholly one-sided public discourse, and the dominance of the left-liberal media, hardly anyone would have heard of Prashant Poojary. The 22-year-old banana-seller was hacked into small pieces by an angry mob only a few days later after the Dadri killing. Poojary was butchered by a group of Muslims belonging to a so-called Popular Front of India. An eyewitness to his slaughter was also found dead a few days later. Notably, Akhlaq was killed in the Samajwadi-ruled UP, Poojary in the Congress-ruled Karnataka.
Without any hesitation, all right-thinking people would condemn the murder of both Akhlaq and Poojary. But, unfortunately, the entire campaign of the award-returnees and their patrons, who have now taken to exercise their rickety old limbs every few weeks since the advent of Modi in 7 RCR by walking a few steps up to the Big House on the Raisina Hill, probably expecting to find a kindred soul there, display their double standards by making it out as if it was only Akhlaq’s life that was worth saving. Not to put too fine a point on it, this attitude suggests as if Akhlaq ka khoon khoon tha, Poojari ka khoon pani tha. The ruling party, on its part, has been totally negligent in not countering the vicious propaganda pegged on stray remarks of a few mad caps in its own ranks. Even the vicious attack against the former Army chief General V.K. Singh was uncalled for. The veteran soldier could not be expected at this old age to imbibe the politically correct idiom. His attackers were driven by sheer partisanship. The BJP leaders were needlessly defensive in the face of this concerted onslaught of lies and exaggerations unleashed by the erstwhile ruling establishment, which now stands in danger of losing its privileged positions thanks to the refusal of Modi to persist with the old system of “tum bhi khao, hum bhi khaye”.
Therefore, the real reason you find so much dissonance between Modi and the old and corrupt political establishment is his refusal to be co-opted into it. The PM remains untouched by the Lutyens’ Delhi culture even though he rightfully tenants the most coveted address in its heart, that is, 7 Race Course Road. The stage-managed protests over the coming death of the Republic at the hands of “Butcher Modi” reveal a collective intellectual bankruptcy. Selective hysteria over stray incidents is unwarranted and unreal.
Let us face facts. All parties in their desperation to win elections exploit the baser instincts of people. The Congress in 1984 ran a most divisive ad campaign, depicting Sikhs as terrorists and anti-national. Why, in Kerala right now it refuses to sack Finance Minister K.M. Mani in spite of a court-ordered vigilance probe. Mani is accused of accepting more than Rs 1 crore in bribe from the bar owners. Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has nixed the demand to remove him, fearing that the ruling United Front would lose the significant Christian vote, which is almost exclusively represented by Mani’s Kerala Congress.
Likewise, the secular Congress has been in bed with the Indian Union Muslim League because the latter has a solid grip on the Moplah Muslims. Now, Christian- and Muslim-centric parties cannot be secular merely because the Congress says so. Why, Asaduddin Owaisi cannot be secular so long as he is part of the Congress-led alliance, but the moment he deserts it, he cannot turn a rabid communalist. And a party which seeks to consolidate the majority vote cannot be dubbed communal merely because the left-liberal lexicon says so. The truth is they are all communal to a lesser or greater degree.