Derek O’ Brien
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Sanjay Raut. Wait, wait. This isn’t a voice which you are hearing from behind Kangana Ranaut’s skirt. This man can fill up your nostrils all on his own. He is always in your face like the ones who knock at your car panels on red lights. Ranaut is only the latest excuse.
Raut is a leashed presence at the feet, a prototype all leaders keep only to be released in time. Some act suave, like Pavan Varma and Derek O’ Brien and some are cast in his inimitable mould such as Azam Khan and Sanjay Singh, if you may. Congress has too many which this piece is too short to do justice to. So, Randeep Surjewalas and Navjot Sidhus and Digvijay Singhs could relax.
There was a time when Sanjay Raut wanted to bar Muslims from voting in elections. He came around to stand with them on anti-CAA plank, chumming up to Jamaat-e-Islamic Hind. This change was overnight. It swung with equations of his Shiv Sena vis-à-vis BJP. He once bloated on the upcoming Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial site on the Arabian Sea. He is now drawing daggers at Rani Lakshmi Bai, i.e Kangana Ranaut in a filmi avatar.
So who is the real Sanjay Raut? Nobody. He is just a muckracker in the journalistic tradition of our times. He edits his party’s paper, Saamana, and takes credit for writing a biopic on Balasaheb and would be mistaken as erudite by somebody living in North Pole. Well, after all he has been an “elder” in Rajya Sabha for three terms now. But his calling card, as you would’ve guessed by now, is baring his teeth when his masters want him to.
So, it’s with him now on Kangana Ranaut. It was good he affixed “ladki” with his “haramkhor” adjective. Or somebody would’ve thought he was in a self-appraisal mode. I mean thrice a national award winner, four times of Filmfare, all by the age of 30, doesn’t quite fit the definition of a “haramkhor.”
As you would’ve guessed, the gender-warriors in our newspapers have ducked into their gutters. All your Shobhaa Dees, Mahua Moitras, Priyanka Gandhis, Brinda Karats who bristle at slights on the fairer sex are silent. And we are talking of no ordinary woman here. It’s a prized actress who is picking up the cudgels against the patriarchal Bollywood. Who wants to clean up the filmi stable of drugs and Dubai mafia. Who wants to offer a tomorrow of safety and respect and dignity to a newcomer who is arriving at VT station from Asansol. Who doesn’t want them to meet the fate of a Sushant Singh Rajput. That their young eyes with dreams aren’t closed forever. A woman who is risking her life, lighting a matchstick on her own career, who if she was to venture into Mumbai today would have an idea how a PoK must feel like.
But not a word from our pen-pushers. Not a clap for the triumph of talent over entitlement. She is not a “Shero” to Barkha Dutt. Nor she is a Safoora Zargar who gets a cry of outrage from Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint. A Sagarika Ghose brings out international law in defence of Safoora. A Rajdeep Sardesai tears his heart out on a pregnant woman in jail. Somebody calls Ishrat Jahan a daughter of our own land. Never mind one is charged with inciting riots and the other with a plot to assassinate a chief minister.
Our Bollywood bimbos now can’t find the placard in support of their gender. Against one of their own who they can’t match in range in this lifetime. Why bother if there are couches perfumed for their hinterland preys, ringed by leering louts? That youngsters are no better than playthings for those who happen to be their dads?
All of them—these starlets, muckraking journalists, political clowns—are toxics in our life. They don’t allow us to smell a rose; inhale a breeze, whistle a tune. Once in a while, somebody stands up risking everything one has. And she is “haramkhor” to them.
Aren’t we sick, folks?
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Trinamool Congress (TMC) is facing a meltdown in West Bengal. The cookie of Mamata Banerjee is crumbling. MLAs and Councillors have begun to jump the sinking ship. Kailash Vijayvarghiya, the state BJP chief, says this is just the first bunch—six more lots would follow in phases. Is BJP making a big mistake here?
Trinamool Congress prospered on desertions from CPI(M). It helped TMC end the rule of Left Front which had lasted for 34 years, beginning 1977. She promised the oppressed majority of Bengal “free air of democracy” and “growth” as the undercurrent of hostility against Left’s violent and anti-growth philosophy was palpable.
Those were the times when CPI (M) and its’ “terror regime” was omnipresent. Big Brother always watched. They decided on who you marry, how a family dispute should be settled, what you wear and what you read. The bureaucracy and the police didn’t move till local bosses asked them to. Something had to give way: It did in 2011.
Mamata Banerjee rode on people’s anger. Singur and Nandigram were the flashpoints. Masses were behind Mamata. Bengal soon had a new political icon. As Left began to decompose, desertions began en masse. TMC benefitted.
Now history is repeating itself. TMC is disintegrating. Men and women of TMC now, Left of past, are again jumping the ship. This unscrupulous lot would hurt BJP in more ways than one. Let me explain.
Let’s look at this present decade of Mamata Banerjee and her TMC. If anything, they are a far worse version of Left. The cadre of CPI(M) was at least disciplined. The factions were always papered over. But TMC is made of rival, deeply antagonistic factions. Different leaders within the ranks jostle for power over masses who suffer without mercy.
There is no point hedging the facts. For long TMC is accused of running “extortion rackets.” Leave aside realty sector, even an individual can’t spruce up his home without “cuts” to local goons. Even a cobbler had to rustle up in order to squat on the street. Chit-fund scams. Wealth of Abhishek Banerjee (nephew of Mamata Banerjee and apparently her successor). Terror. All have begun to have a cascading effect.
The state has watched how opposition couldn’t even file their papers in panchayat elections. Dozens of seats went uncontested to TMC. Police and bureaucracy is a mere extension to Mamata’s Raj. The appeasement of Muslims is brazen (Remember, how Mamata changed “ramdhenu” to “rongdhenu” in school textbooks?). Locally, Hindus feel suppressed to Muslim. There have been instances of stone-pelting on Ram Navami celebrations. Kaliachak riots. Muslim mob set upon police in Malda. Monthly stipends to imams/maulanas is state’s policy. Etc.
Thus it would be unwise for BJP to go for a poisoned chalice. Mamata Banerjee would go on her own. She is on her knees. Gone is the bravado. (Isn’t she coming to the Capital on Thursday for Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony? Isn’t she the same Mamata who didn’t pick up his phone in Fani cyclone distress? The same Mamata who called him “Expiry Date PM?” Who wanted him to be thrown out?)
Filth is never healthy. TMC turncoats are spoilt on naked use of power and violence. If they had looked for TMC, and not for self, the party wouldn’t have come to this sorry pass. These same men would wield the same obnoxious hold over local masses. They won’t appear reformed—Then-TMC-Now-BJP—to a common man. Rather, their very presence would evoke a sense of suppression. They would hurt the party discipline which is the essence of BJP.
BJP has so far been patient in dismantling Mamata Banerjee. They need more of such a dose. A rush for the trophy now would hurt them in not-too-distant a future. Mamata is collapsing on her own heap. You don’t need a storm when a rustle of air is enough.
(P.S: Meanwhile, has anyone heard from Derek O’ Brien? Is he still with Mamata Banerjee? He hasn’t tweeted since results came on May 23. I hope he is not in the next few lots. A motormouth, like Navjot Singh Sidhu and Randeep Soorjewala, his very presence would evoke revulsion amongst BJP-backers. )