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Babri Masjid trial may reveal BJP’s communal face

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Babri Masjid
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The proverb, “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet … with exactness grinds He all”, can be said to apply to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwarts who have been charged with criminal conspiracy in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court for their role in demolishing the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.

It has taken a quarter of a century for the law to catch up with the heroes/villains of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, depending on whether one belongs to the saffron brotherhood or is with the minorities and the Left-Liberals.

There is little doubt that the political fallout of the judgment on their culpability for the destruction of a 16th century protected monument will influence the outcome of the next general election.

While the BJP will hope that a renewed focus on the temple issue, which brought it from the margins of politics to centre-stage, will ensure a consolidation of the Hindu vote, there is also the possibility that the exposure of the BJP’s communal face during the trial will undermine its sabka saath, sabka vikas claim.

Although the BJP has been trying to live down its anti-minority image under Narendra Modi, it is no secret that the Muslims have not been fully reassured in view of the murderous activities of the gau rakshaks (cow protectors) or the love jehad campaigners who oppose inter-faith romances.

The reiteration during the cross-examination of some of the slogans which marked the Ramjanmabhoomi agitation like “ek nahin, teen hazar, nahin rahegi ek mazar” or “Musalmano ka do hi sthan, Pakistan ya kabaristhan”, recalling the promised destruction 3,000 mosques or sending Muslims either to Pakistan or to their graves, cannot but revive memories of the frightening days of the 1990s.

These will not only be a reminder of the essentially communal foundation of the BJP’s growth but also of the fact that it was laid by celebrated figures in the party’s Hall of Fame who will now be standing in the dock. They include L.K. Advani, a former deputy prime minister, and Murli Manohar Joshi, a former human resource development minister.

The list includes one minister of the present Union cabinet, Uma Bharti, who is now supposedly concerned with cleansing the Ganga. But her main claim to fame is the time when she was the stormy petrel of the movement directed against what Advani called the “ocular provocation” of the Babri masjid.

Another “sanyasin” has also been charged. She is Sadhvi Rithambara whose venomous anti-Muslim speeches played a significant role in the mobilisation of the crowd which destroyed the mosque.

But the person whose rhetoric and rath yatra (chariot ride) played the most crucial part in the destruction, which the Supreme court has called a “crime”, is undoubtedly Advani, currently a margdarshak of the BJP or a visionary who shows the party the right path.

It is doubtful, however, if he saw what lay ahead when he embarked on his futile Somnath to Ayodhya journey in 1990 because he didn’t reach his destination since Laloo Prasad Yadav’s government in Bihar arrested him in Samastipur. Nor could he have visualised the possibility of ending up in jail because the judiciary is unlikely to accept the Hindutva camp’s claim that the destruction was an “emphatic assertion” of Hindu pride, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has said.

Revisiting 1992 may not make any major difference to the existing polarisation between the communal-minded Hindus on one side and the minorities and Left-Liberals on the other. But the BJP’s worry will be the impact on Dalits who have been at the receiving end of saffron ire in recent months as during the confrontation between them and the Rajputs in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and earlier in Una, Gujarat, where several Dalits were lynched for skinning a cow, their traditional occupation.

Although the Dalit-upper caste stand-offs are common, what is new is the emergence of a new generation of Dalits like the lawyers Chandrashekhar Azad “Ravana” and Jignesh Mevani who have been breathing new life into their community’s assertiveness. There is little doubt that they will make effective use of any embarrassment which the BJP may suffer in the event of the arraignment of Advani and Co. If so, the BJP’s hope of winning over large sections of the community as in 2014 and in Uttar Pradesh recently with the ‘sabka saath’ pitch is unlikely to work.

Cynics have said that ensnaring Advani and others in the 25-year-old case will enable Modi to oust from political contention those who had opposed his elevation before 2014. This view of the Prime Minister’s critics is substantiated in the latter’s opinion by Modi’s own exoneration from the 2002 Gujarat riots and Amit Shah’s from the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.

The events of 1992 and 2002 are the two black marks on the BJP’s rise to political prominence. While Atal Bihari Vajpayee believed that the 2002 riots led to the BJP’s defeat in 2004, it remains to be seen what effect the judicial indictment of Advani and his fellow “conspirators” in the “crime” which they committed in 1992 will have on the next general election.

IANS
By Amulya Ganguli
(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected] )

Election

Congress attacks EC over ‘double standards,’ seeks action against BJP over poll violations

If FIR against news channels for showing interview of Congress President, why no FIR against PM, FM, Union Minister & BJP President on this ground?

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Congress EC

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the Election Commission of India after it ordered action against Rahul Gandhi and TV channels airing his interview for violating the Model Code of Conduct in force in Gujarat.

“If FIR against news channels for showing interview of Congress President, why no FIR against PM, FM, Union Minister & BJP President on this ground? Are these not double standards? Let there be accountability,” tweeted senior party leader Randeep Surjewala.

Surjewala also alleged that the move was meant to suppress the voice of the media.

“In 2014 elections, Modiji even showed the BJP symbol on voting day but EC didn’t act. BJP held a press conference just before the first phase of the Gujarat election. These double standards won’t work and the first FIR should be filed against PM Modi and other BJP leaders, instead of the press,” ANI quoted him as saying.
In an earlier tweet, he had mocked the EC for its “new norms for justice.”

“PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, finance minister Arun Jaitley and railway minister Piyush Goyal have violated Model Code of Conduct again and again. PM Modi misused the FICCI platform to attack Congress. EC should stay unbiased,” said a Congress delegation led by Ashok Gehlot at the EC office in Delhi.
The delegation submitted a memorandum to the EC demanding immediate registration of FIRs against BJP leaders for violating the model code of conduct.

After the meeting, the delegation said that it had informed the body that “PM Modi is going to make an attempt tomorrow again to influence the elections. It is EC’s duty to take steps. We have also submitted examples and video proof,” reported ANI.

The EC had earlier today directed Gujarat’s chief electoral officer to file FIRs against media channels that had telecast Rahul’s interview across poll-bound districts in violation of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The body had also issued a notice to the Congress president-elect, asking him to explain by December 18 why action should not be taken against him.

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Politics

How come BJP doesn’t object to Doval’s son having a Pakistani business partner: Congress

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randeep surjewala

The Congress questioned the government over its approach to fighting terrorism and corruption, and sought response to allegations that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s son had a business partner based in Pakistan.

Reacting strongly to BJP President Amit Shah’s charges that Manmohan Singh had quietly watched “monumental loot and plunder” when he was the Prime Minister during the UPA rule, the Congress said the ruling party was frustrated staring at an impending defeat in the Gujarat election.

“We had hopes that Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will answer Congress questions on development in Gujarat, throw some light on the business exploits of his son Jay Shah…,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

“On one hand, Amit Shah claims that crackers will be burst in Pakistan (if the BJP loses) while on the other NSA Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval’s business partner Syed Ali Abbas is a Pakistani. His another business partner is from Saudi Arabia. Amit Shah has no objections on that.”

He said Modi and Shah need not to teach Manmohan Singh lessons on “language and decency” because the entire country was convinced of his “humility and politeness”.

“Everybody knows the kind of humiliating language Modi and Shah used against Manmohan Singh during Gujarat election campaign,” he said, adding people of Gujarat will reply to them on the election result day on December 18.

“Neither did Shah speak about the rise in the income of his businessman son Jay Shah neither did he answer about the Rafale deal… The BJP’s past about fighting terrorism is so bleak that no one believes them now.”

Surjewala posted 12 questions for the BJP to answer:

– How did international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s wife travel to Mumbai from Pakistan in 2016 and no action was taken by the state or the central government to arrest her?

– Is it not true that Eknath Khadse had to resign as state BJP chief and minister because he was alleged to have spoken to Dawood Ibrahim?

– How did senior BJP leader and Minister Girish Mahajan and MLAs Devyani Farande, Balasaheb Sanap, Seema Heere and other BJP leaders attend the wedding of Dawood Ibrahim’s niece on May 19 this year in Nasik?

– How did the government let officers of Pakistan’s ISI “which is known to be sheltering terrorists” access to strategic Air Force base in Pathankot?

– Why did Modi travel to Pakistan as an “uninvited” guest at the wedding of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s kin after the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur?

– Isn’t it true that 11 people who were caught spying for Pakistan’s ISI were led by Dhruv Saxena who was also from the BJP’s IT cell?

– Didn’t the previous BJP government set free Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Kashmiri terrorist Mushtaq Zargar and their accomplice Umar Syed Sheikh and took them in a flight to Kandhahar in Afghanistan.

– Didn’t Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh say that Hizb militant Burhan Wani was killed in an “accidental encounter and security forces would have taken precaution had they known he was there”?

– Isn’t it true that the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir offered job and ex gratia to Wani’s family?

– Isn’t it true that Kashmiri woman separatist Asiya Andrabi had figured as a brand ambassador of a government scheme, featuring in a poster campaign?

– Isn’t it true that a special NIA court in May this year convicted 15 people, including Niranjan Hojai, who happens to be a BJP leader and was a member of a hill council?

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Election

The Election Commission of India notice to Rahul Gandhi over TV interviews

The ECI has also instructed the Gujarat CEO to lodge FIR against the TV channels that telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview.

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rahul gandhi

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday shot off a notice to Congress President- elect Rahul Gandhi for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving election-related interviews to TV channels a day prior to the second phase polling in Gujarat, and asked him to respond by December 18.

“The Commission has received reports and complaints that on some TV channels interview given by you has been/is being displayed talking about elections to the legislative assembly of Gujarat, which are currently in progress,” the ECI said in its notice.

“By giving such interview and its display on TV channels on December 13, 2017, you have prima facie violated the provisions of Para(1)(4) of the MCC, Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Election Commission’s lawful instructions in this regard,” it said.

The poll panel told Gandhi that the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat had reminded all political parties through a letter on December 11 that no matter related to election can be shown or displayed in theatres, TV channels or electronic media during 48 hours prior to the poll timing.

“The Election Commission hereby gives you an opportunity to explain by 5 p.m. on December 18, 2017 as to why action should not be taken against you for violating the MCC, failing which the Commission will decide the matter without any further reference to you,” the poll panel said in the notice.

The ECI has also instructed the Gujarat CEO to lodge FIR against the TV channels that telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview.

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