The party with indifference

Nobody knows whether the speech made by Varun Gandhi in Philibit was real or doctored. But everybody seems to have an opinion on the speech based on which side of the fence they are in. While BJP’s stand oscillates from condemnation to vague defence to angry indignation, the media roared by prophesising Armageddon. The torchbearers of secularists such as Rajdeep Sardesai wrote fierce blogs that demanded nothing short of Varun’s head and columnists such as Raman even vaguely defended the speech while subtly, albeit evasively indicating that it must have been doctored.

Like every other political controversies and scams in India, this too eventually is going to disappear into the Grand Black Hole of Indian political universe. Or it might not. Some of the controversies did not disappear into that black hole in a hurry; because they were not allowed to. So the secular media might very well like to remember Varun’s vily jabber for another ten or so years and might embarrass every BJP leader during every talk show in the town.

BJP is entirely justified in feeling indignant. Venkaiah Naidu is precisely right when he pointed out that that Election Commission is sonorously silent on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s blatant contempt for the District Magistrate or our media’s selective communal outlook on Antulay’s juvenile yet obstinate remarks. Yadav, despite being the president of a political party and a former chief minister boldly threatened a District Magistrate and also ridiculed her for being a woman; only because she refused allow his party workers to freely carry firearms and create ruckus during the election. And Antulay, being a central minister, nefariously attributed communal intention to the murder of Khakre during the Mumbai carnage. In the former, EC seemed extremely reluctant in cracking the whip on Mulayam and in the later, the media remained blissfully negligent in making it a front-page news.

Yet, that’s precisely why BJP should have taken serious action on Varun Gandhi. When Advani proudly proclaims in his Website that BJP is A Party With a Difference, the caption would have held water if BJP had cracked the whip on Varun Gandhi. True that there is a possibility that the speech could have been doctored even though there is very little evidence to believe so. Even then, the party high command should have issued a notice to Varun, initiated an internal inquiry and informed EC that they are suspending his nomination until their internal inquiry is complete. That would have proved to the world they are indeed the party with a difference and effectively silenced the media. Being multi-opinionated, crying hoarse about partisan treatment by EC and citing other cases of unpunished malfeasance will not showcase them to be any better than others.

Sadly what Venkaiah Naidu and his colleagues have done was to announce that BJP is indeed very similar to Samajwadi Party or today’s disgraced version of Congress.