An editorial in Organiser holds forth on the protracted electioneering process and the kind of language that is permissible (or not) during the election. It also states that the question being debated in Bharat (India) is who the person or authority should be to decide the language of the narrative. Though the Election Commission and the Supreme Court are making “judicious intervention as per the complaints received to these Constitutional bodies”, the editorial says it all boils down to the perception of the common voters and the self-restraint shown by the political leaders. It adds that whether a former Prime Minister can be invoked in a campaign can be discussed from different perspectives, but “if you can ask vote in the name of lineage from the same Prime Minister, then you also are answerable to the acts of omission and commission of your family.” The editorial further adds that, “What is most interesting in this battle of words is the invocation of an iconic villain from Mahabharata, ‘Duryodhana’. First of all, using such analogy for the incumbent Prime Minister is not in tune with the democratic ethos but those who have tried to draw this comparison makes it more interesting. It seems new kind of Mahabharat is being narrated in the battle for the future of Bharat.”
Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, who till recently was a seasonal politician, and otherwise, a private person with her husband suddenly targeted the Prime Minister and equated his behaviour with the ‘arrogance’ of Duryodhana. What does Duryodhana stand for?” The editorial attempts to clarify what Duryodhana stands for: “Duryodhana is the epitome of the dynastic claim over the throne in the known history. Duryodhana’s hatred for the Pandavas stems from his sincere belief that he is the only heir apparent to the throne of Hastinapur being the elder son of Dhritarashtra. This mindset of fiefdom is detrimental to democracy.” It goes on to conclude that, “The heir of the Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra family who claims exclusive right to rule over Bharat making such reference to the Prime Minister who rose from a humble background and through organisational machinery is unpalatable”.
As the Congress party has decided to not field party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi in Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a cover story in Panchjanya claims four reasons for such a move by the main opposition party. The first reason, it says, is that Priyanka is a prominent face of the Congress party and political experts see in her the future of the party. Congress workers look for the image of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Priyanka. “With these expectations, if Priyanka would have lost in her first election contest, it would have caused disappointment to the Congress workers and damage to the party as well,” reads the story. The next reason, ventures the story, is that the party’s top leader, Sonia Gandhi, and president Rahul Gandhi, are both already contesting from Uttar Pradesh. If Priyanka went on to contest from Varanasi, that could have stamped the label of “parivar” (family) on the Congress party. The third reason, the story says, has to do with how people often compare Rahul and Priyanka — and who is better in politics. So, the results of Varanasi could have triggered a new debate within the party. And the final reason, the story goes on to conclude, says that it is simply to do with the possibility of Priyanka losing to Modi, which would have demoralised the Congress party workers.
An opinion article in Organiser says that there is “a strong feeling in some quarters that if the BJP comes to power in 2019 it would subvert the pluralistic model of Indian polity”. The article asserts that, “This cannot be true in view of the millennia-old tolerant culture of Sanatan Dharma that has crystallised, in its present form, as Hinduism?” It further claims that, historically, the Hindu way of life has been the most tolerant and accommodative of all religions providing refuge to tormented minority groups like Syrian Christians, Parsis or Jews in the past. It goes on to state that history shows how Hindutva never punished its scientists for holding views contrary to conventional religious beliefs, unlike in Europe when, during the Middle Ages, theological doctrines tried to eclipse scientific findings. Being open, flexible and adaptable, Hindutva has discarded redundant ideas and institutions, and, absorbed the best elements of other cultures to reinterpret itself according to a changing milieu. “Sporadic incidents of ‘violence against minorities’ (viz. cow slaughter issue) are the handiwork of sick minds and cannot define a faith. Among the factors that provide wind to the sails of radical outfits are: religious conversions, minority politics to garner votes, denigration of Hindutva by pseudo-secularists, opposition to the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the plight of nearly half a million Kashmiri Hindus living as refugees in their own country, the growing demographic imbalance between communities, and so on,” the article claims.
Compiled by Lalmani Verma