Herald View: BJP believes it is God’s own political party!

Political ‘tourism’, it believes, is reserved for its own leaders, who can do 'politics' in West Bengal but the opposition must stay away from UP. Different rules for different states?

Congress leaders meet the family of those killed in Lakhimpur Kheri
Congress leaders meet the family of those killed in Lakhimpur Kheri

Herald View

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is convinced it is God’s gift to India; which is why it appropriates for itself one set of rules while denying the same rules for others. While BJP reserves the right to engage in ‘political tourism’ as and when it feels like it in opposition ruled states, leaders of the opposition must be prevented from ‘playing politics’ in BJP-ruled states. BJP has also reduced preventive and prohibitory rules to a joke. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Cr.P.C., which was designed to stop murderous and unruly mobs from gathering, are now imposed arbitrarily at the drop of a hat. While the section prohibits assembly of more than five people, many more policemen, onlookers and the media are allowed to converge to watch the spectacle of the state detaining a couple of political leaders for fear of breach of peace. The silence of BJP leaders on the horrifying visuals coming out of Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh is, however, in a different league. The visuals have left little doubt in the mind of viewers about the deliberate act of the driver of a jeep in running over farmers. All the farmers who have sworn that they saw the Union Minister of State for Home and his son getting down from the vehicle and escape could be mistaken. But the fact that the minister’s cars were involved in the carnage has not been denied. The fact that the minister’s driver was in one of the vehicles has not been denied either. The Prime Minister, who is quick to express his sympathy for Indian cricketers injured while playing, has maintained a studied silence. So has the Union Home Minister and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. What is plain to most Indians is evidently not plain enough to this lot. But then looking away from inconvenient situations—the Chinese aggression, Covid deaths, migrants walking during the lockdown—BJP believes would make them go away. The God’s own party has immense faith in public memory being short.

But even the BJP must surely remember how vociferously it had demanded the resignations of UPA ministers like Shashi Tharoor, Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Bansal. The then Railway minister Pawan Bansal’s nephew had been found discussing transfers and postings with a Railway official. Law Minister Ashwani Kumar had resigned after BJP objected to a discussion on an affidavit he had with the CBI director. Shashi Tharoor’s resignation was sought on the ground that he had helped a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But BJP has been busy defending the Prime Minister’s decision not to drop him from the ministry. Three arguments have been offered. There is no evidence that the minister was on the spot. The investigation is still on. And a strong government or PM does not sack ministers. These arguments, it believes, do not apply to other states and the opposition. Public memory however is not so short to forget BJP leaders demanding the resignation of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for every violent incident in the state. Union ministers and BJP leaders camped in West Bengal and campaigned relentlessly against the state government over the past several years. But if opposition leaders try to reach Lakhimpur Khiri to meet the farmers, they must be indulging in ‘political tourism’. What is sauce for the goose, BJP is convinced, is not sauce for the gander

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