Slip of the Mask

In his response to Election Commission slapping notice on his controversial remark on minority quota, the central minister Beni Prasad Verma has stated that his remarks were a ‘slip of the tongue’. ‘I address six to seven rallies in a day and often I don’t remember what I say,’ was his defence.

Fair enough. If you are touring across the hard country of Uttar Pradesh, you are bound to have problems. But we can’t help wonder: what about their other speeches? What about various sops and electoral promises made to the voters? Which ones among them are genuinely felt statements and which ones are ‘slip of the tongue’ remarks? Thankfully EC sent a notice regarding one statement so we found out that it was made without thinking through. But how do we find out about his other statements?

Senior minister Salman Kurshid made the same statement so was it ‘slip of the tongue’ too? Is there a general consensus among the Congress leaders to make such remarks? Because, the tongues seem to be ‘slipping’ consistently across the cadres.

Regarding the quota question, I believe it is essential to extend the reservation to Muslims. Muslims are one of the most economically backward communities in India. There are several constitutionally guaranteed benefits for Dalits and tribes, there are also movements and leaders, locally and nationally to take their voices to mainstream. Unfortunately, Muslims do not have any constitutional programs to push for their economic progress. And their leaders seem to be too busy worrying about who is going to offend their religion next than how to take their community forward.

But any initiative for the community’s economic progress must be a collective and collaborative one. First of all, no quota can be announced for minorities because it will be constitutionally invalid. Therefore it requires an amendment to the constitution, which requires all parties’ support.

It will also be a communally sensitive decision. The Ram Senas and Bajrang Dals will be up in arms and we don’t want any more repeat of Gujarat pogroms. So we need a debate nationally to create awareness among the Hindus, the majority community. There should be debates in the parliament, TV studios, bars, tea stalls and drawing rooms. Only when the whole nation has bought this idea and the parties are in it can this happen.

Congress seems not to care for all these things. This is understandable, because their objective is not to lift the downtrodden Muslims but to simply cash in on their poverty and illiteracy. And they are not even sensitive enough to admit it boldly. Talking about the poverty of millions of Muslims is something they seem to do carelessly and without thinking. That is evil and it just shows their grotesque wicked face hidden behind their compassionate façade. It is not slip of the tongue, but slip of the mosque.