Amethi

Would Indian Express not mind a communal flare-up?

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

On a day when every mainstream national daily has lauded the message of “peace and brotherhood” in the Shoba Yatra at Hauz Qazi to douse communal animosity, Indian Express has chosen to flare it up.

Times of India clapped the “peaceful procession”; Hindustan Times extolled Muslims in reinstalling temple idols and even The Hindu put “communal harmony on show” in its headline. But you read Indian Express and it seems they were at a different event than the one being covered.

Beginning with its headline – “On day 3 BJP MPs visit, VHP leader says: Can turn Hauz Qazi, Ballimaran into Ayodhya” – to its content, Indian Express has insinuated “saffron terror” in the form of massive Hindu turnout and speeches by a couple of insignificant entities. Still undone, they inserted a completely unrelated mention with these words: “The issue also figured on the latest cover of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser, with the headline #Temple Vandalism Perils of Minoritarianism.”

Every reader who has read Indian Express today (July 10, 2019) would carry the impression of Saffron intimidation.  A reader would fear impending communal riots in an area where Hindus and Muslims have lived cheek-by-jowl for generations.  A reader would interpret the presence of 3 BJP MPs as a tacit acquiescence by the party leadership.

And what could be the consequences? Hindus and Muslims gulping this poison within them, and not just in Hauz Qazi. A temple vandalized here; a mosque desecrated there, riots erupting; lives lost, police and security overcome by mobs, government in limbo and the unrest in India bringing in sharks from Western shores at the smell of blood in the pool.

Is this what Indian Express wants? Don’t they know that its 10 days to the horrible event and Hindus haven’t even picked up a stone? Aren’t they mindful that sensible Muslims of Hauz Qazi are coming out in droves to ensure no communal rupture erupts in the vicinity? Can’t they lend an ear to the temple priest who says “Today’s event (Shobha Yatra) was organized to stand up against such people (who desecrate a religious place.) We want to cohabit with all other communities.”

To be sure, newspapers seek different angle to make themselves distinct. Someone might choose to highlight Rahul Gandhi and his biggest win in 2019 polls from Wayanad, Kerala while others might find his ousting from family bastion Amethi, UP bigger news. Someone might droll over BJP’s remarkable Lok Sabha show in Karnataka; others might dwell on how Tamil Nadu and Kerala have shut the door on them in South.

But today’s Indian Express is not an interpretation. It’s insinuation. An insinuation, which could trigger something far more sinister. Which could affect our generation, our next generation, the unity of this country, the future of India. Another Partition; another horror; another vivisection.

This issue of vandalized temple is high on the mind of millions of Indians. What next? How would it play out? Am I in a safe neighbourhood? What do I do about my daughter who returns from college to our deserted lane late in the evening? Or my son who is back only when the dusk falls on the fields in Moradabad?

Those who want an “akhand bharat” (United India) want Hindus and Muslims to live in peace and amity. Those who want  a “dismembered India” want Hindus and Muslims to tear themselves apart. Today, I see Indian Express standing with the latter. It would be difficult for them to convince me that their report wasn’t projecting the fear of fundamentalist Hindus—when the rest of mainstream media has lauded the restraint of Hindus.

Am I overreacting to a “small incident” in a “small lane” at the backdrop of a “minor incident”?  Didn’t World War I begin only because a prince (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) was assassinated on the streets of Sarajevo; that a stray protest in Tunisia could herald “Arab Spring”; that Soviet Union would come apart only because Ronald Reagan, a continent apart, had made arms race too prohibitive; that a “Euromaidan movement” could bring down a Ukrainian government; that  American revolution could begin because the elites had refused to pay taxes?

Its time Indian Express opens itself to scrutiny. The governments and the press bodies would have their own reasons to shrink from hauling them up. But they owe an answer to Indians and their country. Come out and debate this issue with me in an open forum. When the country’s future depends on Hindu-Muslim relations, Indian Express can’t seek warmth in the glow of, god forbid, torched homes and burning pyres.

Rahul Gandhi, your resignation is fooling no one

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Rahul Gandhi is going nowhere. His resignation is an exercise in power without responsibility. True to his lineage, Mr Gandhi feels that he could fool all the people all the time.

His letter leaves no one in doubt that Rahul Gandhi has quit as president for good. It also leaves no one in doubt that like a loyal worker, he would continue to work for the Congress against BJP and RSS who are in conflict with his idea of India.

He may or may not be president till July 10 when the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is likely to be dissolved and a new one formed. An interim president, Sushil Kumar Shinde or Mallikarjun Kharge, both nearing 80, would be asked to usher in a new Congress. Nobody gets a penny for predicting that Sonia Gandhi and her kids, Rahul and Priyanka, would be a part of it. Nobody would receive a dime too for predicting that the likes of Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, would still be doing the errands for them.

For a month and half, since the 2019 results came in and a Congress-mukt bharat became a reality—they don’t have a single seat in 16 states—the resignation drama has been an attempt to trade ridicule with sympathy. To hide the stink of a rotting corpse, a whiff of nostalgia has been floated. The young prince charming, all of 49, a bachelor who forsake good things in life and fought for his idea of India. The one who took on the might of Modi, BJP and RSS; who fought even as one by one all institutions were taken over, who traded hate with his brand of love, was an individual against the entire system.

Sure, the drama is well orchestrated. Before you could blame him for his party’s defeat, for his own humiliation in Amethi, for believing anti-Modi tirade would make up for the deficit in vision, for refusing allies only because a few states fell in his lap before the 2019 polls, for courting Hindus and losing his Muslim votebank, Mr Gandhi took the sting out of the horde at his gate by showing he is disarmed. How could you now punish a man who has swung an axe on his own neck?

Make no mistake: Gandhis are only worried about themselves, not about Congress or India. It’s only a bail which is standing in between Gandhis and jail. Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra has the additional worry on her husband, Robert Vadra meeting the same fate. They are pariahs even to Mamata or Mayawati or Akhilesh Yadav. Muslims no longer trust them. Shunned by public, ostracized by politicians, they can only worry about their skin.

Gandhi’s letter would’ve been hilarious if it was not tragic. He claims every institution in the country—judiciary, press, election commission etc—has been taken over by the Modi government. That’s not music to the ears of judiciary who intervened at midnight to allow Congress the batons of Karnataka. Which suffered the indignity of impeachment. Mainstream press which never wrote a single word against Gandhi. Election Commission which was reluctant to allow repolling in West Bengal.

“It’s now clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India,’ Really? Was judiciary or press neutral during the Emergency? Or the august office of president? Who overturned Supreme Court on Shah Bano case? Who had taken over India’s institutions in the past?

In many ways Rahul Gandhi is inconsequential. He is an individual busy saving his skin. The bigger question is who saves Congress? Who saves the Grand Old Party when its’ very saviours are busy digging up its grave.

 

 

 

Two issues which could bring Rahul Gandhi’s campaign to a grinding halt

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

In annals, April 22, 2019 could be remembered as the date when Rahul Gandhi’s lies finally caught up with him.

An early call in the day would be taken by Election Commission if Rahul Gandhi indeed could contest the 2019 General Elections after scrutinizing his nomination papers in Amethi. Separate complaints filed in this regard claim that Rahul Gandhi had declared himself a British citizen of a company registered in the United Kingdom in the past. As per the Representation of People’s Act 1951, an individual who is not an Indian citizen cannot contest elections in India.

The second issue concerns Rahul Gandhi’s reply on a contempt notice which must reach the Supreme Court before the day April 22 is out. Supreme Court is due to hear a petition next day on Tuesday, filed against Rahul Gandhi for claiming that even Supreme Court has said chowkidar ne chori karwai (PM Modi caused theft in the purchase of Rafale jets) when the SC said nothing of the sort.

That Congress president is nervous is no-brainer. One, his counsel had sought 48 hours to reply on Rahul Gandhi’s real citizenship!!! Seeking so many hours on a basic issue implies that some ingenuity would be pulled out from under the hat. Even if Rahul Gandhi gets past this sticky issue unharmed, he could be hard put to present his educational degrees for it is alleged it belongs to one Raul Vinci. Is Rahul Gandhi and Raul Vinci the same person???

(An in-depth account on this could be read from this report which says that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy way back in 2017 had submitted all the relevant documents to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh regarding Rahul Gandhi’s dual citizenship).

The other issue of SC hearing a complaint petition against him is a time-bomb ticking. If Rahul Gandhi’s reply on April 22, which precedes the hearing next day, contain his apology, all his posturing on Rafale and “chor chowkidar” shrill cry would be busted. If he holds his ground and found to have made false assertions, the punishment could involve fine or jail or both, as per the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. In such a scenario, Rahul Gandhi would be left with no issue to dwell with in his campaign rallies, that is if he survives the Amethi scrutiny.

The developments of last Friday (April 19, 2019), when four Leftist news portals sent a similar questionnaire to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on a former woman-staffer’s allegation of molestation against the latter, followed by Justice Gogoi summoning an extraordinary bench hearing on Saturday, looks to have blocked all escape routes for Rahul Gandhi.

If CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s words are any indication –“It’s a plot planned to deactivate CJI office…as I would be hearing important cases this week,”—this coordinated, well-calibrated sharp attack against CJI Ranjan Gogoi has backfired. The sexual misconduct storm could have led to Justice Ranjan Gogoi excusing himself from hearing the contempt of court notice against Rahul Gandhi. Now Justice Ranjan Gogoi has already given hint to his position on the matter by stating that he wouldn’t buckle down under pressure.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi had also asked media to show restraint in covering the matter which clearly is not possible, at least with Indian Express and The Hindu newspapers. Both have penned editorials in their daily edition today (April 22, 2019), criticizing Justice Ranjan Gogoi for dealing with the sexual misconduct allegation in a ham-handed manner. Both have questioned the propriety of Justice Gogoi’s conduct though not once have they questioned the four online news portals—The Wire, The Scroll, Caravan, Leaflet—for publishing the name of accuser and accused which is defamatory in nature. It makes both the Indian Express and The Hindu appear in the same corner, as these four online news portals, accused of conspiracy by the CJI himself.

The reputation of Lutyens Media is also not helped by the fact that they have turned their gaze away from the developments in Amethi where Rahul Gandhi risks being debarred from contesting the 2019 General Elections. If it was to happen, it would be a political earthquake of a magnitude of unimaginable scale.