Had Amit Shah been serious, they would have acted against Pragya by now 

The duplicity of the BJP and the RSS became evident at the PM’s ‘press conference ‘ when Amit Shah struck a discordant note by saying that BJP did not regret fielding the terror accused from Bhopal

Had Amit Shah been serious, they would have acted against Pragya by now 

Faraz Ahmad

If there were a certificate or excellence awarded by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for duplicity and hypocrisy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah would most certainly deserve this.

This became evident at the BJP headquarters when the two appeared together before the media to round off the long drawn election campaign on Friday afternoon, though Modi resiled from fielding questions even in his last appearance before the media before his current term comes to an end.

Earlier in the day Modi tried to temporarily distance himself from the shocking and irresponsible statement of his chosen candidate from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, who had declared the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi a patriot. He was speaking to New 24 TV channel in Madhya Pradesh and the Prime Minister said, “the kind of remarks, statements made about Gandhiji and Godse are horribly wrong (bhayankar kharab). It is hateful and these should be criticised and condemned in every which way. There is no place for such language, thinking in any civilised society. Those who do such things will have to think a hundred times in future. It’s a different matter that she has apologised. But I will never be able to forgive her from my heart.”

At the press conference Shah was asked in Modi’s presence if he regretted fielding Pragya Singh Thakur after her utterances against former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, a martyr, and her praise of Godse. Shah asserted, “Not at all. This is a Satyagraha against a fake case of saffron terror and against how the Congress compromised the nation’s security for the sake of vote bank politics.” So, while the PM cannot forgive her, Amit Shah clearly has no regret.

Earlier in a scripted interview with Times Now TV channel Modi had said on April 20 "The decision (to field Thakur) is a befitting reply to individuals who linked an entire religion and culture to terror,” oblivious of the irony that he himself and his party have done precisely that.

On April 27 in a public meeting the Prime Minister again defended the Malegaon bomb blast conspiracy accused with equal vehemence, raising her to the level of a “sage” and alleging that the Congress was “defaming” Pragya. So both Modi , Shah and the entire BJP were declaring that this woman who idolises Gandhiji’s killer could not be a terrorist because she happens to be a Hindu.

The episode has served a useful purpose in demolishing the illusion that some people still harboured about the Sangh and BJP’s regard and love for the Father of the Nation. Pragya Singh’s stout defence of Mahatma’s assassination emboldened a string of other BJP leaders, including a union minister, to support her in public.

Union minister of State Anant Kumar Hegde, contesting yet again from Uttara Kannada, rose to restore Godse’s place in history as a man wronged rather than a murderer of the apostle of non-violence Mahatma Gandhi. Hegde had beaten up doctors at a hospital for not attending immediately to his mother.

Another Karnataka BJP MP from Dakshina Kannada Nalin Kumar Kateel defended Godse saying the man merely killed one while Ajmal Kasab killed 72, trying to acquit Godse of any wrong doing. BJP spokesperson Anil Saumitra condemned Gandhiji as Father of Pakistan and not India.

Curiously a lawyer Utsav Bains who recently attracted media attention by filing an appeal in support of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s contention that the complaint of sexual harassment against him by a junior ex employee was part of a conspiracy, also jumped in to reiterate that, “Mahatma Gandhi is responsible for mass rape of millions of women and murder during Partition, which happened only and only because of him.”

These are not off hand, accidental comments made in a hurry. The objective was clearly to strengthen what Modi and Shah have been doing all through the election campaign, namely polarising voters along communal lines and condemning the Congress and others opposing the BJP as indulging in Muslim appeasement while projecting the BJP as the only saviour of Hindus.

While the Prime Minister said he would never be able to forgive Pragya Singh Thakur for her comments, Amit Shah has not even bothered to spell out what kind of disciplinary action would be taken against her by the party, if at all.

Would she be expelled from the party ? Would she be asked to resign as MP in case she manages to get elected from Bhopal ? Has the BJP president written to the Election Commission to withdraw the party symbol allotted to her ? And what possible action could he be contemplating against Ananth Hegde, Kateel, Sakshi Maharaj, Saumitra and others? They have all publicly praised Gandhiji’s killer.

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