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Is the BJP more sinned against than sinner?

April 04, 2014 13:45 IST

Is the BJP more sinned against than sinner?

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BJP workers and leaders are enjoying each bit of abuse thrown at them. It tells them the party is winning the elections.

Archis Mohan reports

The Bharatiya Janata Party is convinced that when it comes to name calling the party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have been more sinned against than sinning.

And it gets difficult to argue to the contrary in the face of the “mountain of evidence” the party backs its claims with.

That mountain, say the party’s spokespersons, grew by several inches today with Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan calling Modi “elder brother of a dog’s pup and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma said Modi was an “RSS goon”.

BJP says it is the Congress’s strategy to defame Modi to deflect election discourse from the UPA government’s failures to control inflation, its corruption and poor governance.

“It shows the sense of defeat among our opponents. They are unable to answer any serious question and resort to abuses. This will boomerang on them,” said BJP leader Prakash Javadekar.

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Not that the BJP minds it much, and at times is happier at receiving abuse. Congress candidate from Saharanpur Imran Masood's comments that he would chop Modi into pieces was a godsend for the BJP.

The BJP, far from being angry, was privately thankful to Masood to have introduced a subtext of communalism with his comments that embarrassed the Congress no end.

Congress leaders, a BJP spokesperson claimed, have used some of the choicest of insults for Modi.

“From napunsak (impotent), chuha (rat), mendak (frog), bandar (monkey) and what not,” said a spokesperson, adding the recent threat by Congress candidate from Saharanpur, or the abuses by Khan and Verma were only the latest in a long list.

But hasn’t Modi been equally guilty by calling Congress vice president shehzada (prince)? “How is that insulting. Don’t his own party workers call him yuvraj,” shoots back a BJP worker at the party headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road in New Delhi. Such sparring between journalists and BJP leaders isn’t uncommon at the BJP office.

“Why don’t you journalists question Sharad Pawar when he calls our leader (Modi) deranged and that Modi ji should be sent to a mental asylum for treatment,” counters the BJP worker. Years of handling media persons has taught him to keep his voice even tempered, cut out any barbs about how everyone who disagreed with his party being “pseudo-secular” and instead appeal to the journalist’s sense of fair play.

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Masood and others have in recent days given enough opportunity to the BJP to play the victim when it comes to name calling. BJP leadership went on the offensive after the clip showing Masood telling his constituents that he will chop Modi into pieces went viral on the internet.

It decided that it was time to tell the world how the party and Modi have suffered more than their due share of insults from the Congress and other "sickulars".

It compiled a detailed list of all the abuses Kangressis have hurled against Modi, and how their leader has desisted from responding in kind in the larger interest of keeping the political discourse sober.

BJP spokespersons furnished a long list of epithets hurled at Modi. The list dated back to when Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Modi was a “maut ka saudagar (merchant of death)” during the 2007 Gujarat assembly election campaign.

“Some months back she said Modi ji has done zehar ki kheti (sowed poison), Congress leader Rashid Alvi called him Yamraj, while Digvijay Singh said Modi was Raavan,” said BJP’s Sudhanshu Trivedi. He said Congress leaders have also made casteist remarks against Modi.

Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was a chaiwala (tea seller).

In 2012, Aiyar had called Modi lahu purush as opposed to lauh purush or iron man. Congress leader Manish Tiwari compared Modi to Dawood Ibrahim, Rahul Gandhi compared him to Hitler, Salman Khurshid called him napunsak (impotent), etc.

The spokesperson said the list was only what Congress leaders have said about Modi, and does not include the name calling his B-team captain Arvind Kejriwal has indulged in.

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At the time, Modi's side of the list did seem more barren.

But the BJP's prime ministerial candidate restored parity soon enough.

Last week in Jammu Modi called Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kerjiwal and defence minister AK Antony Pakistani agents.

He said there were three AK's in India helping Pakistan -- AK 47 rifle, AK Antony and Arvind Kerjiwal of the 49-day government in Delhi or AK-49.

On Wednesday, Modi while touring Madhya Pradesh tweeted “value addition can help farmers of MP & even other states who produce green peas but for Congress Mutton and not 'mutter’ is important”.

But don’t go by their public comments. BJP workers and leaders are enjoying each bit of abuse thrown at them. It tells them the party is winning the elections.

"Don't you think the election campaign would be too boring without all of this,” said a senior BJP leader.

He, however bemoaned the lack of originality by BJP’s opponents. “At times I do wish the Congress and others would come up with something cleverer than napunsak and Hitler," he said.



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