'Even as the netizens keep up the saffron brotherhood's morale with their acidic diatribes, the BJP cannot be unaware that it is facing a scarier situation than when it nearly lost the Gujarat election,' says Amulya Ganguli.
IMAGE: From left, Supreme Court Justices Kurien Joseph, Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B Lokur at their press conference in New Delhi, January 12, 2018. Photograph: PTI Photo.
The speed with which BJP trolls jumped into the fray over the judges' 'revolt' against the Chief Justice of India indicates the party's anxiety about the unexpected turn of events.
It is unclear whether the party directs the cyber warriors or they act mostly on their own. But their line of thinking must be the same; otherwise, there would have been official disclaimers from BJP bigwigs.
In any event, the Hindutva netizens are far more vituperative in their outbursts than a party can afford to be.
While one netizen gave a call for impeaching the four judges, a saffron warrior hit out at the Collegium which selects the judges, alleging it is a creation of the Left-Liberal-Congress 'ecosystem' over seven decades which the Narendra D Modi government wanted to dispense with to allow the people's representatives to have a say in the appointment of judges, but was derailed by the judiciary and the Congress.
The reason for their venom is obvious.
It is the fear that any further inquiries into Justice B H Loya's death can open a Pandora's box involving BJP leaders, including party chief Amit A Shah.
Justice Loya died of a heart attack at a time when he was presiding over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in which Amit A Shah was originally an accused.
The BJP chief was acquitted by Justice Loya's successor in the CBI court.
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Dissatisfaction over the allocation of this case to a junior Supreme Court judge was apparently one of the reasons behind Friday's press conference by the four senior judges who felt Chief Justice Dipak Misra was being selective in the distribution of various cases, including those with 'far-reaching consequences' for the country.
For the BJP, the possibility that murky details of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case would become public knowledge again a decade after the incident and on the eve of this year's assembly elections must be extremely disconcerting.
Any revelations have the potential of damaging the BJP's electoral prospects and undermine the standing of the country's second most powerful man.
For a start, the BJP is aware that it is not very well placed in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where it is burdened by the anti-incumbency factor.
It goes without saying that the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case along with Justice Loya's death at the relatively early age of 48 will provide enough ammunition to the BJP's opponents to cause it considerable discomfort if only because it will not be easy for the party to resort to its usual tactic of depicting its detractors as anti-nationals.
The same difficulty has compelled the party to remain largely silent over the judges' 'revolt' with only BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, who is on lien to the BJP from the RSS, urging everyone from school children to Supreme Court judges to observe 'discipline'.
It is advice which is unlikely to be heeded by the trolls who are bound to continue to spew their venom in the foreseeable future.
Even as the netizens keep up the saffron brotherhood's morale with their acidic diatribes, the BJP cannot be unaware that it is facing a scarier situation than when it nearly lost the Gujarat election.
Any weakening of Amit A Shah's organisational clout will be disastrous for the party as it faces challenging elections not only this year, but the most crucial one of its life next year.
Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.