The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Judeo the Sun basks in sudden glory

Raipur, Nov. 19: Yesterday, he was named the BJP’s star campaigner. Today, he’s been christened Chhattisgarh’s Narendra Modi. As if that were not enough, he’s been labelled a great fighter against forcible conversions as well.

Ever since the cash-on-disc scandal has blown up in Dilip Singh Judeo’s face, the BJP appears to have found a favourite pastime: lionising the leader, blowing away the dirt and discovering all things beautiful about him.

And with elections in season, the tempo is unprecedented. Carrying on from where he left off yesterday, L.K. Advani today told a rally in Bhilwara: “Judeo has no dearth of money. He actually spends money on others. But he fights against forcible religious conversions.”

The deputy Prime Minister, who had given Judeo the tag of “star campaigner”, also took the opportunity to buff up his image. Claiming that Ajit Jogi could have doctored the dirt disc, he said: “People are terrorised and they say Jogi can do anything.”

Senior party leader Ramesh Vyas went a step further, actually spotting a “Judeo wave”. “The Congress has metamorphosed him into another Narendra Modi in this state. His wave has become unstoppable,” he gushed.

BJP president Venkaiah Naidu was not to be left behind either. Releasing the party manifesto, he said: “I would ask Jogi to step into Judeo’s shoes as he is also a chargesheeted minister.” But the manifesto carefully avoided any word on the tainted leader.

Buoyed by the boost from all quarters, Judeo himself went into overdrive. Boldly undertaking a goodwill visit to the districts, he has been likening himself to the sun.

“How can you cast a shadow on the sun' You will get your own face burnt instead,” he hollered at a rally in Raipur.

In Bilaspur, too, he held forth. “Hounded by the Christians and the Congress, I am here before you. But you know the image of the sun cannot be sullied by throwing dirt on it. On the other hand, one who dares to do it risks burning his face.”

Judeo was escorted all along by a band of loyalists who called themselves “Judeo dasta” (Judeo army) and was warmly received by BJP workers. When Congress student wing members demonstrated against him in Bilaspur, his loyalists abused them and hurled stones, injuring 20 people.

The Congress has, however, mounted a campaign against Judeo. It has been running huge advertisements in newspapers with pictures of him allegedly accepting bribe. The ads are headlined: “It is the shame of Chhattisgarh.”

Although the BJP has been putting up a brave front on the scandal, it has played safe with its manifesto, focusing on sops for the tribals. These include land rights to those who have owned forest land since 1990; rice and dal for Rs 5; a cow for every tribal family; salt at 25 paise a kg; and Rs 500 a month for unemployed youths who have passed class XII.

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