– by SANJAY JHA
First, let’s give credit where it is deservedly due. Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni, the BJP spokesman and PM-aspirant LK Advani’s electoral strategist, usually does his homework with thorough conscientiousness. Unlike some of his famous colleagues from the saffron brigade ( who look like mouthing practiced obeisance to their great cause ) , he looks genuinely soaked in his party ideology and the big boss. Although Kulkarni possesses the same zealous over-load that frequently makes Arun Jaitley resemble a snorting bull aimlessly banging his own head against the wall , Kulkarni normally makes an effective pitch for his rather confused party. He makes for a combative contestant that you must respect even if you find him rather insufferably self-indulgent.
But yesterday, during a nationally televised election debate ( which was far more entertaining than the rain-truncated and lights-failure curtailed IPL circus in South Africa, ) Kulkarni went clearly overboard. Or made a tactical lapse. Or maybe even deliberately put on shelf for display like a Nano promotional event , the BJPs “intrinsic communalism” on a public platform. Kulkarni, while defending BJP’s controversial five year reign under the Atal Behari Vajpayee government , termed the Godhra genocide under Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as a mere “ aberration”. He sounded business-like and matter of fact, so we must believe him with a sincere nod of our heads. Which brings us to the central election point; how does Mr Advani really hope to lead a country which comprises of 145 million Muslims who chose to live in India in 1947 as our own citizens, a country which is on the fast trajectory to global growth of enviable scale , if his political outfit believes that blatantly killing over 2000 people in a ruthless massacre was just an “ incidental error”; in essence, justifying the inevitability of mass slaughter? Comeuppance, in short. It sounds extraordinarily callous, devoid of any moral compunction, and seeped in indescribable vehemence and hate. It makes no other logical sense. Advani scores zero points as a national leader for his calculated subterfuge on Guajrat. It is reflective of his cosmetic utterances on all-things secular. Can India really trust Advani becomes germane in the light of his several indiscretions, the convenient amnesia about the terrorist’s release during the Kandahar hijack reaching a ridiculous low-point, almost shockingly bizarre for a man whose political aspirations far exceed the muscles on his biceps, clearly.
I think Mr Advani has not understood the plot. As for Kulkarni and the BJP , they are making a complete mockery of themselves by this needless posturing on a televised debate with PM Manmohan Singh, a la US Presidential kind. But first, can Mr Advani and Mr Kulkarni get Mr Modi a tourist visa from the US government , please????? Surprisingly, Kulkarni kept quoting different outstation foreign sources during the program, which appeared trite, trivial and tenuous.
What really hits you hard is that despite getting a knock-out blow in 2004, the BJP has not learnt its lessons. Kulkarni expectedly followed standard operating procedure when the Godhra issue was raised; he promptly retaliated with the Delhi riots against the Sikh community following Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 as a counter-ploy. But the truth is that the Congress has publicly apologized for those tragic events which were indeed extremely unfortunate. Mrs Sonia Gandhi has personally expressed her deep regret, and so have several party leaders. In fact, the Congress has withdrawn it’s Lok Sabha candidates Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, despite the fact they have been legally cleared, in deference to public perception of their alleged involvement. But Mr Advani, Mr Modi, Mr Rajnath Singh have never , not once, uttered a single word of repentance for what was clearly state- sponsored killings, while Mr Vajpayee’s New Delhi government snored away on some sleeping pills or chose to look at the glittering shine of India with Ralph Lauren glares on. In fact, I believe Vajpayee’s subsequent tears must have even embarrassed the thick-textured crocodiles in Australian lake-farms.
Mr Kulkarni needs to tell his 82- year old master that this country has moved on to a Nano car and a BMW SUV, where the old rath ( chariot) and the never-ending Babri Masjid temple promises make the BJP look like an outdated jalopy on three-wheels and two flat tyres, an anachronism; outdated, fuddy-duddy, morose and insipid. That it’s white haired bespectacled paragon of vitriolic venom , Mr Modi , is reduced to cracking infantile stupidities such as budhiya and gudiya, is a sad saga for a party that had once promised to be an alternative option to the Congress.
Since the sole raison d’ etre for the BJP is Hindutva, can someone tell me, where does Hinduism — the most simple, secular, all-embracing , tolerant , multicultural religion teach anything that is remotely propagated by the likes of Pramod Muthalik, Narendra Modi and Varun Gandhi ? Just how does the BJP even put on the charade of being truly representative of the larger Hindu sentiment and philosophy in India ? Elections 2009 exposes the BJP for what it truly is; an obscurantist, fanatical group of religious die-hards masquerading as a political party , without any coherent political agenda, economic program or social policy. It is a defunct unit, surviving on some strange gobbledygook speak.
I have some unsolicited advice for Mr Kulkarni. The BJP does not need “friends”; as most are wooly eyed and have blurred vision. It needs sincere enemies instead ; because at least they will tell them some home-truths. And one of them is that this election campaign of theirs was doomed to failure from the moment they chose the bicep-triceps building Advani as a PM candidate. Since then it has been an exponential ride downhill. It is time for Kulkarni to do what he should execute brilliantly ; prepare LK Advani’s first Leader of the Opposition speech. That is, if he gets there.