With Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir starting on November 25, it’s a 7-minute video clip that’s turning out to be Basohli candidate Lal Singh’s biggest enemy.
Recorded by TV cameras in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the clip features the former Congress leader tearing into none other than his new party’s all-powerful leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In August, Singh switched to the BJP — and the clip has followed him, embarrassing him and his new party.
Singh says in the video that Modi is no match for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and refers to the purchase of dogs and bulls while ridiculing the BJP star’s background.
Sample this, in colloquial Hindi:
* “Kahan Raja Bhoj, kahan Gangu teli? Kahan Modi ko mila rahe ho Rahul Gandhi ke saath? Hum toh kutta bhi rakhte hain uski nasal dekhte hain, bhaiya. Jaanwar rakhte hain, na, tagga, hal chalane ke liye? .. agar wo ulti naal wala, bade tor wala, bade paon wala ho toh usko nahin hum rakhte… Jiski atta-pata bhi koi nahin… jab leader rakhna hai, usko dekhega koi nahin, kya? (How can you compare a king to an oil-seller? How can you compare Modi with Rahul Gandhi? Even when we buy a dog, we check its breed and lineage first. Similarly, when we buy a bull for ploughing fields, we first check whether it is fit to work. We never buy a bull whose hooves are not right. How can we have a leader whose hereditary background is unknown?)”
Lal Singh has been with the Congress for “18-20 years”; a two-time MP from Udhampur (2003 and 2008); a two-time MLA (1996 and 2002); and a former minister for health and medical education in the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led state alliance in 2003.
There’s more embarrassment in store for Singh in the same clip, when he says that he feels sorry that people believe whatever Modi tells them, and wonders how a man who projects himself as a god can ever become the country’s PM. Here’s how it goes:
* “Mujhe bada afsos hai ke yeh Modi ab kuch bhi kehta hai. Pehle Ram bane the. Aapko yaad hai, pehle Advaniji ne rath yatra nikali, Ram banne chale… Ab jo leader bhagwan banega, woh kabhi Prime Minister banega? Not at all. Koi bhi nahin ban payega. Ab aa gaye Modi saab. Mein dekh raha tha, sar par mukut rakha hua, ek haath mein sudarshan chakra. Shakal dekhi iski, Bhagwan Krishna ban raha hai. Humare Hinduon ko bhi yeh samajh nahin aa rahi… Hamare logon ki sharafat hai ke apne bhagwanon ko inke aage charra rahe hain. This is a shame. (I am sorry to say that this man Modi is saying anything that he wants. Do you remember, Advaniji took out the Rath Yatra, wanted to become Lord Ram… Any leader who pretends to be like a god can never become Prime Minister. Now Modi is trying the same. I was watching Modi with a crown on his head, Lord Krishna’s Sudarshan Chakra in one hand. Have you seen his face? And, he wants to be Lord Krishna. Our Hindus are unable to understand this… But it is the good nature of our people (Hindus) that we are allowing such people to use our gods like this).”
Apart from Modi, Singh also slams the local BJP unit, calling its leaders “thieves, biggest black-marketeers and hoarders”.
He also predicts that Congress will return to power in the Lok Sabha. “In 2014, the Congress will return to power (at the Centre), it is the only party that can rule the country. When there was financial crisis across the world, it was only due to the Congress government that India was not affected.”
So what does Lal Singh have to say about the video now? He told The Sunday Express that he had said everything about Modi when he was in the Congress and Modi was an opposition leader.
When I condemned Modiji, I was condemning an opposition party leader. We say a lot of things about leaders of other parties during elections. I had an election to win. But all that doesn’t mean anything now. Everyone knows Modiji is the man who will lead India into a bright future,” he said.
When contacted for the BJP’s response, Ram Madhav, the party’s general secretary in charge of its poll campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, echoed that line.
In politics, people will articulate the line their party takes. When they shift the party, some of the statements they made may look contradictory. You should ask the person whether he still has the same views,” Madhav said.
Singh, meanwhile, said the reason he left Congress was because he saw no future for the party under “people like Ghulam Nabi Azad”.
“The 18-20 years that I spent in the Congress were miserable for me. Nobody is allowing Rahul to do anything. When he couldn’t get me the ticket despite the fact that I was two-term sitting MP, how can anybody say that his writ runs in the party… the party has no future,” he said.