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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2588

Varun Gandhi: Is He A Victim Of Vote-Bank Politics?

By J. N Raina - Syndicate Features

Even as the Supreme Court is examining Varun Speak, his Amethi ‘hate speech’ has stirred up a hornets’ nest in India, though variedly. It also galvanized the vote-bank politics. It is a fact that his utterances were bad in taste, not in tune with the nation’s democratic spirit, thus provoking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to slap the National Security Act (NSA) on Varun Gandhi. But in reality, it is a slap on Indian democracy. It should have been the last resort.

Democracy has been besmirched because of competitive vote-bank politics, of which Varun Gandhi has become the victim. In the present system of governance, he may be wrong, but his sensibilities have been blurred because of various factors, mostly as a result of wrong policies of the Sonia Congress and the grand-old party’s appeasement of the minority. For instance, the Congress succeeded in spreading a canard that Ramayana is just ‘a fairy tale, without factual basis’. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in its affidavit before the Supreme Court had asserted that there was no proof that Ram existed.

Varun Gandhi earned the wrath of the Election Commission for his ‘communal’ speech, which is milder in tone and content, when we recollect what several others of his ‘ilk’ have said. …..What did he say ….“ all Hindus must unite to save this area from becoming Pakistan…. All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan… This is the lotus hand (lotus is the symbol of BJP)” and much more in the same vein with some prognosis on the post-election scene.

Let us analyse these remarks. He might have been anguished because of the unending terrorist violence in different parts of the country, aided and abetted by Pakistan, and supported by the so-called Indian Mujahideen. There has been constant erosion of democratic values. The word ‘secularism’ is a misnomer. He is fully aware of the appalling situation the country is mired in, and beset with caste-based and communal politics.

And it is the Congress which is to be blamed for these sordid affairs. It must be annoying to him that the Congress has played ‘fraud’ with the majority community, as is the general feeling, because of constant appeasement. Varun must be distressful for the rapidly- changing demography in India, particularly in Assam, because of non-stop infiltration from Bangladesh, and also in Jammu and Kashmir. With more than five lakh Kashmiri Hindus having been forced out from their ancestral land of birth, “Nizam-e-Mustafa” (Islamic way of life) has been virtually established in the valley. The message is clear for the rest of India.

In retaliation to Varun’s diatribe, the RJD leader and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has crossed all seams, and what he has said at a public rally is more shocking. Those who listened to him must have turned pale. “If I were the country’s Home Minister, and if Varun had said this, then I would have run a roller over his chest, and thought about the consequences later.”

Laloo must have been on pins and needles since Varun made his ‘hate speech’. He must have thought that the Muslim vote-bank for his party might have vanished. Is this Indian democracy? It is egregious that politicians of his stature can stoop so low and obfuscate a delicate issue instead of dousing the flame of hatred.

One wonders what action was taken against the then U P minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, who had offered Rs 51 crore bounty for the murder of the Danish cartoonist, who had merely drawn a sketch of Prophet Mohammed.

Here is another rhyme, and author of the rhyme scheme is APCC Chief D Srinivas. “I am ready to chop my head off for the welfare of the minorities. I will cut off any hand that tries to point a finger at minorities”.

Is the quote any different from that of Varun? If it is not appeasement to bargain for votes what else?

Varun tries to justify his stand: “My statement has been to restore confidence in a community that has been under siege in its own country…I am proud of my faith and not apologetic about it…I am a Gandhi, a Hindu and an Indian in equal measure…”

Be as it may; he must be obliquely referring to the plight of Kashmiri Hindus, who have become refugees in their own country. Those who committed loot and mayhem have been left unpunished. Are they not part of the democratic and secular system? Twenty years is a long gap. They have lost their cultural moorings. Varun is aware of ‘jihadism’, the Muslim fundamentalism, killing of thousands of innocent people in bomb blasts, horrendous acts of suicide attacks et al, engineered by Pakistan. There are hundreds of such Gandhis, but they feel suppressed because of wrong policies. There is a need to change the Constitution suitably to set the wrong right.

Initially, the BJP tried to disown him because of his ‘hate speech’. The leadership was taken aback by his anti-Muslim utterances and sought to keep a ‘distance’ from him. But the Shiv Sena lauded him, making a plea that a “spark has ignited in the mind of Varun and do not extinguish it.” But when Mayawati invoked NSA against Varun Gandhi, there was a change of hearts. The BJP came in defence of him. Earlier, Varun Gandhi, son of late Sanjay Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi, became an Achilles heel for the BJP, for obvious reasons. Now the party has rallied behind him and has taken up the cudgels with Mayawati government, accusing her of hatching a ‘political conspiracy’.

NSA was used by Indira Gandhi against her political opponents and stalwarts like Jayaprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai, George Fernandes and several others. But that was during the dark period of Emergency in 1975-76. Indira Gandhi was provoked to take that drastic step when JP had virtually told the Army and the security forces to ‘revolt’. They were asked to ‘look into their conscience’ before acting on government orders. That inter alia amounted to treason. In contrast, Varun Gandhi is just a fry, and his personality would dwarf before such towering personalities.

- Asian Tribune -

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