The desperation of the Bharatiya Janata Party to grab any and every opportunity to garner any and every disparate vote is palpable. It is now hailing Feroze Varun Gandhi as the “doosra Sanjay”, forgetting that it was Sanjay Gandhi who had advised his mother to jail the entire Opposition on June 26, 1975. Jayaprakash Narayan, the rightwing leaders, the socialists and communists were all anathema to him, and Sanjay was ruthless in his determination to clear his path by keeping them at bay in jail. Legitimate means were slow and cumbersome for him. He was in a huge hurry to deliver the ‘ends’, his idea of the ‘ends’, as he steamrollered his way by abusing the law and disregarding all discourse, objections and questions, much like a Hitlerian character.
Indira Gandhi, a democrat at heart, went along with her son for some months but then made a move to announce elections and face the consequences. The north of this nation rejected the party that Sanjay was fronting for in overwhelming majorities. Post that election in 1977, coalition politics came into effect. Odd, diverse, incompatible partners, constituents who make up the jigsaw of such governments, have since exploited and destroyed our polity. The national party, the Congress, diluted its presence across India by seat-sharing processes. The regional parties benefited from the alliance as the mother party rapidly lost its grip. Rebuilding the base is today essential.
How easily L.K. Advani and suchlike have forgiven ‘the act’ and begun to celebrate the man they had once spewed venom on. How fickle can a political dispensation become in its attempt to grab power! How effortlessly can it shift positions, ideology and rhetoric.
The BJP seems to have forgotten those scary years of the Emergency, proving its very shortlived view of history and raising questions about its commitment to the values it professes. The media people, particularly those in the electronic media, were possibly babies in arms when the Emergency’s writ ran large in this country, violating our fundamental rights. Therefore, they have no understanding of the political shifts that are happening, what triggers them and how to place them in a proper historical perspective. Reporting in the media is often simplistic and inadequate, and lacks substance, analysis and fresh insights.
Has the BJP decided to pit Feroze Varun as its ‘young’ face to combat Rahul Gandhi? If it has, it is barking up the wrong tree. Indians despise the hate rhetoric. There is a fringe that gets mobilized by such politics but the majority abhors the views and the language, the assault and the ensuing action, the disturbance of peace. He may win his seat once because of the volatile situation on the ground but unless he brings caste and class together, he will never be a true leader. Therefore, one wonders if the BJP, a party that ‘hates’ the Gandhi family and what it stands for, is merely using this vulnerable young aspirant to polarize the vote for the party, only to dump him after the polls. One also wonders who is advising Feroze Varun on political tactic.
The one change this time has been the effective watchdog syndrome, as a result of which many complaints have been registered with the Election Commission about the use of distasteful language, potentially criminal utterances by candidates in the fray, the doling out of money in the garb of daan and so on. Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, P. Chidambaram, Sheila Dikshit, the young band of Congressmen and women, Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik are among the few who are civilized in manner, use appropriate language and are different from those who hit below the belt, incite crowds, and pit communities against each other. The churning is bound to bring change.