Union Railway Minister and UPA poster boy Lalu Prasad Yadav, yelled in an election rally in Kishanganj, Bihar on April 6, ?Had I been the Home Minister of the country, I would have run a roller on Varun Gandhi for his remarks offending the feelings of 17 crore Muslims across the country?. Thankfully Lalu is not the Home Minister. The UPA was kind enough that the country has been spared of that agony, perhaps more appropriately, ignominy of suffering Lalu as its Home Minister. But he has been a successful practitioner of calculated venom spewing and cynical mixing of caste and communal politics in his disruptive power bargain.
He has no qualms about pitting one community against another for his political advance. Lalu deliberately spoke these words in the communally sensitive Muslim dominated Kishanganj to provoke and polarize the community. He has so far not denied these words but the media has not played it up the way it played up the alleged Varun Gandhi CD. Complaints about the utterances of the Congress minority cell leader in Chandigarh, where he used the word ?kafir? against anybody voting for the BJP is pending with the Election Commission for the last one month. The Congress Andhra Pradesh unit chief D. Srinivas threatened at a function in Nizamabad Andhra Pradesh, that he would ?sever? the hands of those who point a finger at minorities. The BJP has complained to the EC holding these remarks highly objectionable and a clear violation of the model code of conduct.
Complaints against violation of model code are piling up with the Commission. There were complaints against the Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, one pertaining to distribution of money as in the case of the BJP leader Jaswant Singh and another concerning a public threat to the woman DM of Mainpuri, UP. While Jaswant Singh got a notice from the Commission, Mulayam Singh was not issued a notice. The Congress leader Govinda was also let off in a case relating to distribution of money. The controversial businessman and Samajwadi Party candidate Abu Azmi'sbrother was also found distributing money. The EC is still examining the charge. The BJP has filed a series of complaints against the Congress including those against the misuse of office by the Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Perhaps action taken by the EC against the Congress stalwarts were not conveyed to the press.
Like Lalu, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi made a provocative speech abusing the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The matter is also under the consideration of the Commission. According to reports the Commission is very busy and its members are either on leave or on tour delaying action in all these pending cases. Only that when it acted against the BJP candidates it was comparatively free.
Lalu and his ilk in the UPA are easily let off by the media. The tag of ?hate speech? or inciting divisive passion will not apply in their case as they are secular mascots. But imagine what would have been the reaction of the media if it was a BJP leader who made a comment like the one made by Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The politicians are known to go to any extent to mobilise communal support in their favour at the time of election. The Supreme Court in a landmark judgement, has ruled that election speeches should not be taken literally. The politicians take recourse to expressions and idioms whose meanings are far removed from their intentions at the time of elections, the apex court said. This is a liberal view.
The Election Commission was prompt in acting against Varun. It ensured maximum publicity to its course of action. It took only three days after the alleged CD came to its notice to act against the BJP candidate. It looks the other way when more serious violations are brought to its notice.