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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2958

BJP’s New Weapon …?

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Unsure of the public reaction to the performance of Narendra Modi as prime minister, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party seems to have discovered that ‘gutter language’ goes down as well with the audiences as its Hindutva appeal which has to be renewed by defying the highest court of the land or some other great efforts.

Despite all its assertions, the BJP has, of course, not deviated from its Hindutva platform which, after all, had seen its tally in Parliament go up incredibly high. ‘Hindutva’ may remain an important plank to fight elections but it will be wiser to add something else to the armoury.

Keeping this in mind, leaders like Modi have taken to making bold attacks on the Congress and Opposition leadership, questioning the contributions of the ‘grandparents’ of the Congress president to the progress and development of the country. The question may be in poor taste but does it have a ring of obscenity? And by no stretch of imagination it can be bracketed with ‘Hindutva’.

The audiences reportedly lapped it up with the kind of thunderous applause that might be expected, say, over announcement of building the Ram Mandir or even renaming a city with a ‘Muslim’-sounding name. ‘Hindutva’ may not be totally out but it has found a welcome supplement in sharp tongues.

The BJP leaders and its spokespersons are making full use of their discovery that a biting tongue is a better alternative to hawking unalloyed Hindutva which is in danger of being overused. BJP spokespersons have mastered the art of carping personal comments against rivals and making only an occasional direct hit on a community that the BJP does not like.

It is remarkable that on TV ‘debates’ the BJP spokespersons insist on using their right to ‘freedom of expression’ because of their new found love for accusatory words that they think are as effective as the appeal of ‘Hindutva’. So strong is their respect for ‘freedom of expression (or speech)’ that they have to constantly interrupt the voice of the critics who, in any case, are dubbed ‘anti-nationals’ or ‘urban Naxalites’ and do not deserve to be heard.

Many have objected to the use of the two words used by BJP spokespersons. But can anyone really say that their words are always laced with communalism? And nobody has said that ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘urban Naxalites’ are defamatory words. At least no PIL has come before the courts.

As a party in power that wants to rule the country forever, the BJP has restricted itself to a few stock phrases when Opposition parties, and especially Rahul Gandhi, criticises it. All the criticism is set aside as being ‘baseless’ and made by people who have ‘lost their mind’ and who have sunk political discourse to a ‘new low’.

The Opposition parties have failed to see that they are conceding ground to the BJP with its intense verbal onslaughts which come couched in language that the person even with the lowest denominator can understand well. What is the point of a political message if it does not hit home instantly?

The kind of ‘strong language’ that finds favour with the BJP leadership can be described as a timely discovery of a potent weapon as the next round of Lok Sabha polls becomes due before next summer. Of course, the BJP will take serious offence if it is accused of employing ‘gutter language’ in its public discourses. After all, the BJP is a party of ‘Sanskaris’ who are relentlessly working to revive glories of ancient India, the land of the Hindus!

The BJP leadership, led by Modi and Amit Shah, speaks of sections of Indians as ‘vermin’, ‘cockroaches’, ‘gutter sniper’, ‘termites’ and so on with full consciousness, never trying to hide what is in their minds. That, according to some, is an admirable quality because a lot of people think that being ‘blunt’ is a sign of sincerity, a trait different from the tongue in cheek or even diplomatic, cautious articulation used in public speech by the ‘crafty’ and well-heeled people.

There is no denying that for instant effect there is nothing like ‘gutter language’. You hear it during street brawls and, unfortunately, often enough during domestic violence. The end result may be unpleasant but the ‘message’ conveyed through the use of foul language, including expletives, goes home at once.

Employing street language in political discourse can be viewed as transcending certain barriers because it is used to damn a rival politician and not his religious or caste identity. But the chief merit, if one may say so, is that it shifts the focus away from harping on issues like Hindutva and religious divide. Nobody can accuse the BJP leadership of identifying the ‘creature of the gutter’ by his religion. Why, even the ‘termites’ have been spoken of without labelling their religion!

The BJP has a point when it says that the ‘Opposition’, which in the BJP universe generally means only the Congress party, has used many derogatory references to Modi, calling him ‘Chaiwala’ and worse. Shashi Tharoor, the Congress Member of Parliament from Kerala, used the word recently perhaps much to the annoyance of the Congress leadership which was told that such expressions work only in favour of the saffron party.

But such is the force of the BJP voice that nobody has bothered to ponder over the manner and the context in which Tharoor had used the word ‘Chaiwala’. It was said not as a contemptuous reference to Modi but to make the point that under the democratic setup in India, founded by the stalwarts of the freedom movement, including BJP’s bête noir Jawaharlal Nehru, a person can go very far irrespective of his or her origin.

Perhaps, Congress leaders are waking up to the usefulness of ‘gutter language’. The party was late in realizing the power of the social media and suffered badly. This time around, maybe the Congress would not like to be caught totally unawares.

- Asian Tribune -

The BJP leadership, led by Narendra  Modi and Amit Shah, speaks of sections of Indians as -  ‘vermin’, ‘cockroaches’, ‘gutter sniper’, ‘termites’ and so on with full consciousness,
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