Innocent remark?

 
Innocent remark
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

Arup Chakraborty

Member of Parliament from Bhopal Pragya Thakur is well known for her controversial statements. She spares no effort to tear into the Mahatma and to eulogise Godse. Once her remark on Gandhi kicked up such a controversy across the country, that even the Prime Minister had to say that he was pained by such a statement. After that incident, she kept her trap shut for a while, but there is a saying – old habits die hard. She has stoked another row, though not a storm this time, by issuing a statement on Rahul Gandhi’s trip to Nepal. At a function, Thakur said, “On the one hand, the Prime Minister works for 18 hours a day to make India Vishwa Guru (world leader). On the other, Rahul Gandhi who aspires to become the Prime Minister quaffs at a party with a Chinese spy in Nepal. His foreign trips pose a danger to the country.”  Similarly, about reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, she said the Congress government had pulled down an ancient temple in Rajasthan, but they have no guts to tear down a mosque. She continued: There is something wrong in the Congress’s DNA. Her statements, however, evoked mild but some witty comments from the Congress. A senior leader of the party retorted: “She is not worth a word else I shall call her innocent!”

Congress copied

Innocent Remarks
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is never tired of saying that the Congress is gasping for breath and may see the last rays of the sun any day; and the country will soon get rid of the grand old party. Yet, they never fail to copy the Congress to hog the media headlines. So, it happened on Friday. When the Congress was holding its Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) at Udaipur in Rajasthan, Modi was launching his government’s start-up policy for Madhya Pradesh, though virtually. The newspapers and the TV channels, including the government’s adopted media or Godi media, gave a wide coverage to that event. Compared to the media attention Modi’s event received, as his programmes always do, the Congress’s brainstorming session turned out to be a little whimper. Now that the Congress has held Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan, the BJP, too, plans to organise its convention there. It means the ruling party, despite saying that the Congress hardly exists, is scared of the grand old party. Reacting to the start-up policy, a Congress leader in Bhopal said, “The ruling party’s policies start well, but fall before going up.”

Read also: Ganja sparks fume

Low-pitched protests

Innocent Remarks
Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

Congress recently staged sit-ins across the country against the hike in prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. The agitation hardly elicited any anger from the public. Had the outcry been ear-splitting, the government would have rolled back the prices. As the agitation was but symbolic, it fizzled out. Nonetheless, few can forget the hue and cry the BJP had raised over the LPG price rise during the Congress rule. This was one of the reasons that the Congress lost power in 2014. Noiseless protests scarcely stir up anyone’s conscience, especially these days, as a few windbags are in control of everything as well as of every place. Those blusterers barely let anyone open their mouth and drown a voice critical of the government – either through legal action or through other means. The ruling party, however, justifies all such actions citing the excesses done during the Emergency. A senior leader of the Congress said, “The party needs a needle to prick those windbags.” But it is easier said than done!

Tailpiece

A Russian, a Frenchman and an Englishman are awarded capital punishment. They are sent to a faraway island. On the execution day, they are asked to say their last wish. The Frenchman wants a glass of wine and the Englishman a cigar. The Russian says he should not be asked to read his country’s newspapers Pravda (Truth) and Izvestia (news), as they contain neither.