Friday, April 06, 2007

BJP in trouble over inflammatory CD

A story that is bound to be present in a number of political blogs about India. Political parties have a great way of shooting themselves in the foot. The BJP, ever since the loss of the last elections has been lurching from one problem to another. They lost their great rabble rouser, Uma Bharti; lost the heavyweight of Delhi, Madan Lal Khurana, and lost one of their great fixers, Pramod Mahajan. In the meantime, the controversy about Lal Krishna Advani and his comments about Jinnah struck the BJP like a arrow to its heart. This whole drama went on for a long time, caused a major discord between Advani and his own people, and gave the RSS renewed power over the BJP, something that the duo of Advani and Vajpayee had managed to grow out of to a large degree.
And now, with some changes in their management and leadership, and after some good results in the past, the BJP has managed to do it again. It looked set to do some good results in the UP polls (pulling back its earlier constituency of the upper 'castes'), but now it seems to have landed itself in trouble.
These are changed times. After the advent of Seshan in the 90's, and then the activism of the courts, independent institutions such as the Election Commission feel an increase in their power and asserting abilities, and are more liable to crack the whip on any party they feel is not acting as per rules.
In the midst of all this, the BJP, for the Uttar Pradesh elections, somehow managed to release a CD that is supposed to be a controversial one, attacking Muslims and trying to bring back the Hindutva of the old. Now, this may or may not have had the permission of the top authorities of the BJP (and they claim that this is not part of the official propaganda), but for a party that ruled the country and projected an image of a country on the move, the attempt to try to pander to communal interests is not advisable.
The BJP has, in the past, tried to project iteslf as a party with a difference, and one expects the party to try to do positive things. Such a CD somehow undercuts that impression, and is bound to make a number of people who support the party uncomfortable.
The party should think again about such moves. Doing soft Hindutva where you appeal to nationalistic sentiments, taking a hard line on unity and terrorism is fine, but making negative steps such as this CD reminds one of the likes of the hard-line lunatics that pop up now and then.
Read the report:

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the CD was not part of the official campaign material and conveyed this view the same to the Election Commission.
Following demand from political parties for derecognising the BJP, the Commission had issued a showcause notice to the BJP on Thursday and directed it to file a reply on Friday.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 5:47 AM