Editor’s Note: The below write-up was sent to the editors by a long standing patron of CRI. We respect the author’s wish to remain anonymous. Opinions expressed here are the author’s.
Update: Gopi Maliwal has kindly offered some caveats about this piece. Click here to read them.
By: Allauddin Khilji
Not many BJP supporters would like to hear what I will say in this submission. But one must put the truth out however hurtful it maybe.
One of the causes for the BJP’s failure in the 2004 elections is infighting and infiltration. As a result, towards the end of its tenure, the BJP began to resemble the Congress. The humiliation that it had to endure in 2009 too owed to this.
That infighting found expression in various forms. Planting motivated stories in the media was one of them. My submission will make it clear that the BJP has not learned much from its past humiliation and defeats, and that, the same old tendencies have resurfaced. The fact that they have resurfaced so quickly and in such a toxic manner is what has motivated me to offer this submission.
Narendra Modi’s promise of a better future and a stronger India should also include putting an end to these petty factionalisms within the party which will only harm the party in the long run if not curbed now. I say this as a veteran supporter of the BJP and its ideology since its Jana Sangh days.
It is barely two days since Narendra Modi has taken oath and has occupied the highest office of the land, and already two ugly and avoidable incidents have broken out in the public. It is very saddening that both of them have come out from people who have claimed to be supporters of Narendra Modi. It is even more regrettable that this is not the nature of support that Narendra Modi was looking for in his vision to lead the country to a better future.
The first unfortunate incident is that of Madhu Kishwar who made derogatory remarks against HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Both the tone and content of her remarks against Smriti Irani are nothing but a tirade and therefore deplorable and I daresay condemnable. But to her credit—not that it is anything to take pride in—she at least had the guts to attack Smriti Irani openly, in her own name.
The second is worse and worrisome. It is a sly and anonymous and personal attack against one of India’s most respected intellectuals, Arun Shourie. The sort of language employed, and the allegations and accusations hurled against Arun Shourie are beneath comment. The fact that it appeared on a web portal which vocally supported Narendra Modi only makes it worse and raises an important question: was its support for Modi just a sham, and a mask to indulge in cheap intrigues of this sort?
Arun Shourie’s contribution and service in the cause of nationalism, upholding the Constitution, Indian value system and his championing of bringing integrity in public sphere has been tremendous. He has rightfully carved a lofty space for himself among almost all sections of the society, and has earned the respect of not only people on his side but from his ideological opponents as well. This is what makes it doubly sad: the fact that someone from his own side has chosen to cast such reprobate aspersions against him.
In fact, during Arun Shourie’s days as a journalist and author his opponents criticized him severely purely with ideological or political differences in mind. But none of these opponents had branded him as a self-seeker, a gamer, and one who does “flip-flops.” If one looks at his record, it is very clear that he is a man of high integrity and impartiality. And he has never hidden his criticism of his own party, the BJP and many of its prominent leaders. Those criticisms must be seen as calls for introspection: if the BJP is a truly democratic party which is committed to the highest traditions of reasoned dissent and debate. It pains me to say this but this used to be the case during my days with the Jana Sangh.
However, going by the tone and tenor of that anonymous attack against Arun Shourie, it seems to call for blind obedience, which as history shows us, eventually degenerates into sycophancy. How different will the BJP then be from the Congress?
One need not dignify these aspersions by repeating them here but in fleeting, it must be mentioned that comparing Arun Shourie with an anarchist and Naxalite like Arvind Kejriwal is the product of a venomous mind. The less said about a web portal that gives space to such cheap and motivated gossip the better all in the guise of supporting Narendra Modi.
It is also a measure of scruples that the author of that attack has chosen to hide behind an anonymous name rather than come out in the open and express whatever disagreement he or she has with Arun Shourie.
Finally, at the end of a painful article, I would like to reiterate the same question: is this the sort of supporters Narendra Modi needs? And further, is this the sort of estimation that a Narendra Modi supporting web portal holds Arun Shourie in? Is this the manner in which this pro-Modi respects Arun Shourie as a minister who implemented revolutionary reforms in the Telecom sector and the Disinvestment sector?
And lastly, within two days after Narendra Modi’s swearing in, if this is the case, then would Narendra Modi be battling against his own supporters for the rest of his tenure?
As an end note, I would like to highly recommend and commend a description of Arun Shourie’s contributions that I found on this Centre Right India platform. I would like to share a short excerpt from that:
You will begin to get an idea of just how unimpeachable this man’s reputation for propriety is when you realize that even after being winked at and egged on by the UPA, the CBI did not have the nerve to lay a finger on Arun and failed to even name him in its ‘probe’ of the disinvestment in Udaipur Hotel which was essentially Arun’s decision. Aren’t men of such standing the ones the whole country wants in ministerial corridors? Yes, Arun was outspoken after the BJP’s 2009 drubbing: but can you help but marvel at his prescience? He tore into BJP’s stateless leaders then, and the BJP has won today precisely for paying heed (intentionally or otherwise) to Arun’s sage advice and looking to a strong state leader. There can only be one theory to explain his non-inclusion from Modi’s cabinet: the men of straw who still abound in the BJP have deceived him from within, and thereby cheated us of the vision and insight of the tallest luminary to have ever been associated with the party. Modiji, what a let down, you may miss him or not, India will miss him very, very dearly!