Follow Us:
Sunday, August 07, 2022

Are politicians suffering from foot-in-mouth syndrome?

From lipstick to cur, politicians have come in for sharp criticism for their shooting-from-the-lip with eminent personalities saying time has come for them to think before opening their mouth.

By: Agencies | New Delhi |
December 4, 2008 1:08:47 pm

The political class has never had it so bad with unprecedented public anger over Mumbai terror attacks, and they have made it worse for themselves with “foot-in-the-mouth” syndrome.

From lipstick to cur, politicians have come in for sharp criticism for their shooting-from-the-lip with eminent personalities saying time has come for them to think before opening their mouth.

Be it Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan’s “dog” remark or former Maharashtra Deputy CM RR Patil’s “filmi-syle” statement or BJP Vice-President MA Naqvi’s “lipstick” reaction and their respective parties taking exception to them – these kneejerk comments are now being subjected to public scrutiny.

Says India’s first woman IPS officer-turned-social activist Kiran Bedi: “The politicians have long been suffering from the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome. But, thanks to media now, they and their diseases are getting exposed. We need change in the country.”

Subscriber Only Stories
No victim-blaming, no fetishising of abuse: Darlings shows why we need mo...Premium
How the Indian action spectacular RRR became a smash in AmericaPremium
5 ways in which Samsung could improve the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4Premium
Explained: First flight of India’s newest rocket, what it means for...Premium

Concurs historian Ramachandra Guha. He says that the anger of people after the Mumbai mayhem “was aggravated by the cavalier behaviour of the politicians”.

Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra disagrees. “In no way, we can generalise the politicians who make comments from time to time which are not in good taste. Politicians as a class are not suffering from the foot-in-mouth disease.

“Each of the comments has to be seen as a specific case. The only exception is Kerala CM’s ‘dog’ remark about a martyred Army Major — that statement is despicable. However, other comments don’t fall in that category.”

Achuthanandan had ignited a controversy after being “snubbed” by the angry father of NSG officer Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was brutally killed by terrorists in Mumbai, when he went to Bangalore to offer his condolences, by saying, “If it had not been Sandeep’s house, not even a dog would have glanced that way.”

However, noted social scientist Shabnam Hashmi disagrees with Mitra.

“A majority of politicians suffer from some sort of disease. You take BJP leader Naqvi’s audacious statement on ‘women wearing lipstick and powder’ and protesting against the politicians in the wake of the Mumbai carnage. These comments reflect one’s feudal mindset.

“Likewise, Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi’s announcement of compensation for the slain policemen – Anti- Terror Squad chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar – who died fighting the terrorists in Mumbai – is also condemnable.

“It’s evident Modi did it for political gains. But the bereaved wife of brave heart officer Karkare showed the nation what the politicians actually deserve by refusing the largesse from the Chief Minister,” she exclaims.

Congress MP Adhir Choudhury fully agrees: “Some of our fellow politicians are suffering from the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, no doubt. It’s due to the deterioration of political ethics in this country. It’s unfortunate and I feel ashamed.

“We are people’s representatives. But, people hardly respect us nowadays due to the irresponsible and immature comments made by some flashy politicians.

“The father of the slain Major showed the nation what politicians deserve by shooing the Kerala Chief Minister out of his home. That was the perfect treatment which needs to be meted out by the civilian society to what is now seen as a despicable species of Indian population called politicians.”

Mitra interrupts. “No I don’t agree to the bracketing of all politicians as despicable people. In case of Naqvi what he was really wanted to convey was a sudden excitement among Mumbai’s chattering classes.”

But, Choudhury feels that whether it’s his party MP or whosoever it be, any politician who indulges in irresponsible remarks should not be “punished”.

“See both Shivraj Patil and RR Patil had to finally resign — one for his sartorial fetish while the other for saying ‘bade bade saheer mein chota chota blasts hota hai’ respectively after the Mumbai terror attacks.”

Sums up Kolkata-based psychologist Dr SK Dasgupta: “People’s anger against politicians is more due to fear coming from a sense of insecurity.”

TWO IS ALWAYS BETTER | Our two-year subscription package offers you more at less

📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
First published on: 04-12-2008 at 01:08:47 pm

Featured Stories