The BJP's monumental error

The BJP's IT cell leaked a tool kit anticipating an event, then diverted attention by describing Congress as slaves to the British who built the existing Parliament building

PM Modi (photo: Getty Images)
PM Modi (photo: Getty Images)

Sujata Anandan

Sometimes, it might be prudent to not put your cart before your horse, or the cart may just roll off the hill and leave the horse standing with nothing to draw.

That is exactly what seems to have happened with the BJP's IT cell. It seems to be in frenzied preparation for the inauguration of the new Parliament building on May 28, which is being boycotted by several Opposition parties because they believe it should be opened by the President, who is constitutionally the head of state and not the Prime Minister who is merely the head of the government.

The new building is also being described as a monument to Modi’s megalomania and the BJP IT cell has been busy running down the Congress and its past records with regard to the inauguration of various assembly buildings, including an annexe of the existing parliament building. 

So, as usual, they have been circulating several photographs from the past to back up their claims. In that frenzy, the IT cell on Wednesday seems to have also looked into the future and anticipated Modi in a pensive mood and mingling with a crowd that might eventually be composed only of his yes-men.

They released a toolkit with two blank spaces with captions but no photographs — because, of course, the script has been written but the shots have not yet been taken. Presumably, this toolkit would have been sent to hundreds of IT cell workers and the usual suspects among some television anchors who routinely tweet identical messages, complete with errors in spelling and punctuation, obligingly supplied to them by the IT cell of the BJP.

That leak seems to have taken away his most glorious moment from Narendra Modi and made a laughing stock of both him and the BJP and its IT cell. The Congress has gone to town crowing about the leak and underlining the fact that the leak exposes how the IT cell routinely manipulates the public discourse and that nothing is spontaneous about Modi, that he cannot act unless to a script and that even 'thoughtful' and pensive photographs are posed for and manufactured. 

Once the error went viral, the party’s IT cell promptly withdrew the toolkit but the embarrassment prevailed, with most of those opposed to Modi unwilling to let go of this 'monumental' error.

Of course, the BJP warriors are continuing with their errors, seeming not to understand the difference between a governor and a president in relation to a prime minister. They are now tweeting photographs and reports of Dr Manmohan Singh inaugurating the new Assembly building in Manipur and asking why the governor had to take a back seat (by protocol, the governor is one rank behind a prime minister but a rank above the chief minister) and was not allowed to do so, failing also to realise the difference between an Assembly and a Parliament.

Faced with an Opposition boycott, they are also attempting to describe the Congress, whose leaders were present at the inauguration of the old Parliament building by then-viceroy Lord Irwin in 1927 as a genuflection before the British.

But even here they seem to have been put to the blush, with several people on social media pointing out that the viceroy was then the head of state and the British were all-powerful rulers of India — unlike Modi’s genuflection before foreign powers like the Chinese, who have grabbed Indian territory with no protest from his government.

But who was the head of government under Lord Irwin? Well, in 1926, the most turbulent decade in India’s fight for independence, when the Parliament was being built, the viceroy — who was also Governor-General of India — was the sole head of government working with a gamut of British administrative officers. However, Lord Irwin did appoint a Constitutional Committee comprising Indian freedom fighters, including those from the Muslim League and communist parties. And who was the head of this committee that was virtually a government-in-waiting that had drafted the first glimpses of the Indian Constitution, defining citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Indians? None other than Pandit Motilal Nehru, whose son Jawaharlal Nehru would become the head of the first indigenous interim government 20 years later and who as vice president of the viceroy’s council of ministers was accorded the status of a prime minister (even before Independence), with the viceroy, the president of that council, continuing to be the head of state.

The BJP–RSS and Modi were always historically challenged, but in this instance, their selective propagation of the facts might be deliberate. The full, rounded history of the Constitution and the introduction of democracy and a Parliament in India gives them no escape from one name they hate so much — Nehru, father and son, who both led the first moves towards a Constitutional democracy and then full Independence. 

Had it not been for Motilal Nehru in 1926, there would have been no Parliament building in 1927 to accommodate Indians. Modi would not have the opportunity to build a new one today. And without Jawaharlal Nehru and his equal-opportunity Constitution, Modi may not have become Prime Minister of India at all!

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