So Varun Gandhi is making news. Or has been. Understandably the media has reacted? and very negatively, as can be expected of it. The Free Press Journal (March 25) pointed out that what Varun said ?was most reprehensible? and he ?did himself and his adopted party no favour by mouthing those obnoxious words against the minority community?. The paper said that the Election Commission'sadvice to the BJP to deny Varun the ticket to contest ?is an extraordinary extension of its constitutional role?. The Deccan Herald thought so as well. Even as his offensive remarks about Muslims were ?completely indefensible and deserving of action? said the paper, ? the Election Commission exceeded its power by advising the BJP to deny him nomination?. The paper said that while the NSA is among the most draconian laws in the country, Varun'shate speech while being ?divisive and disruptive? was ?not fit enough for action under the law meant mostly to deal with terrorists?.
The Times of India (April 3) said that the NSA ?must ideally be used against terrorists? and only under ?extraordinary circumstances?. A hate speech, said the paper, especially in the context of elections ?is a political tactic? and must be dealt with ?politically?. The paper further said that ?excessive dependence on legal measures to mount a political challenge may backfire? and that, in Varun'scase the move to invoke NASA against him ?undercuts the intent of the law itself?. And the paper concluded by saying that ?the state can also act irrationally and inadvertently aiding the abuser? of law and ?it is important for a democracy to strike the right balance between the use and abuse of the right to free speech?.
The Indian Express (March 31) said that ?as in the Godhra case, Varun should be tried under the ordinary laws of the land?. It thought that Mayavati was probably wanting to ?show her determination to the minorities.? Indeed, said the paper, ?Mayavati'sdecision?to use the NSA?also refocuses attention on the enactment of draconian laws such as the NSA and POTA since, more often than not, they are likely to be misused by scheming politicians.? As yet the NSA has not been applied to Congress leader Kagodu Thimmappa who said that ?the hands of those who propagate Hindutva should be severed? A criminal case has been filed against him, but obviously severing the hands of those who propagate Hindutva is not a crime. Varun speech was repeated over and over by a couple of television channels. If making one speech to a small audience is chargeable under NSA, is repeating that speech times without number to an audience a million times larger not chargeable? What kind of justice is that?
Several papers subsequently published a report from Kishangarh, Bihar which quoted RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav as saying that he would have crushed Varun Gandhi under a roller for his anti-Muslim speeches, had he been the country'sHome Minister. Lalu said that he would have ?destroyed? Varun. Is this supposed to be beyond the realm of law and justice? This man who has been guilty of a major Fodder Scam and of ?blackmailing? the UPA government, according to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi (The Hitavada March 3), goes free. Obviously severing a hand is more wicked than crushing a man under a roller.
Varun was guilty of attacking a Muslim. Lalu was guilty of attacking a mere Hindu. And what is wrong with crushing a Hindu, especially of the kind that Varun is? The saddest part of it all is that all this stuff and nonsense is being vomited during the elections. Everything is permissible in love and war, as we notice in our media as elections are within whispering distance. All of a sudden all concepts of truth and decency are thrown overboard. The watchword is ?abuse?. Everything is permissible and anything goes: lies, insult, indecent language, language of hate, slander, sloth?. name it and that is the currency of the times.
Of all parties, the Third Front, the Congress and the Yadav Caste party leaders of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the most to be despised. Their desperation is showing. Commenting on the manifesto of the Congress Party, The Free Press Journal (March 26) was to say that ?thirty eight years after Indira Gandhi'sunkept promise to remove poverty, her party is still seeking to sell similar pipedreams to the poor?. The media is laughing at the Congress Manifesto. As the Free Press Journal put it: ?After all, with ten per cent fiscal and nearly five per cent revenue deficit, empty coffers cannot support the outlandish promises made by the Congress Party?.
The old nationalist Mumbai daily, famous for standing up to the powers-that-be wrote: ?Advani is right in pointing out Singh'slack of credentials. It is ironical in the extreme that the leader of the world'slargest democracy should have no constituency to call his own? Advani did not invent the scourge of terrorism. He inherited it from the previous Congress regimes. Ditto for the Mandir /Masjid dispute?. The blame for corrupting the system lies squarely with the party which ruled India in the initial decades. Now everyone is dipping in the same dirty pond while calling others unclean?. One looks forward to the end of the elections that are going to last till almost the end of May.
All decent human beings can then breathe a sign of relief and enjoy the newspapers which today are filled with filthy thoughts and filthier action. It is pathetic to see to what depths of degradation our politicians can go. One hangs one's head in shame. And these are the people who want to rule the country. To top it all, The Indian Express (April 7) carries a front page story on ?The truth about Rahul's M Phil? which said: ?Rahul Gandhi appears to have been economical with the truth on his affidavit while filing his election nomination papers in Amethi?. In his affidavit, Rahul had stated that he read for his M Phil in 1994-95. But according to University of Cambridge he did so in 2004-2005. May be a case of forgetfulness. Further, his fans have been saying that he graduated from Harvard, but apparently he did so from some unknown College in Florida. Minor errors, no doubt. But to think that he is considered fit for the post of Prime Minister of India!