On the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh's 350th birth anniversary, BJP national secretary RP Singh tweeted out all nine-and-a-bit seconds of a brief video to mark the day. He noted that the greetings contained within the video would be telecast across all television channels.
— RP Singh (@rpsinghkhalsa) January 4, 2017
Upon watching this video, two things come swiftly to mind:
The first is the fact that the Punjab Assembly relations are just around the corner.
The second is the Supreme Court ruling of 2 January that considered an appeal made by an electoral candidate to voters based on religion, caste, creed, language and so on to be a "corrupt practice".
It can and undoubtedly will be argued that RP Singh's message was neither a campaign missive, nor an appeal for votes. This is accurate to the point that it contains no "Vote for BJP" messaging. However, take a closer look at the wording of the message and its deeply political connotations become clear.
Exhibit A: The words "...who sacrificed his entire clan for Hindu Dharma & Nation" (sic)
Without going into whether or not the notion of a state even existed in Guru Gobind Singh's time, it's hard not to sense the evocative nature of the message.
Exhibit B: The fact that the message ends with the words "National Secretary, BJP".
And by adding his designation, it becomes clear that it's not a personal greeting. It's actually sent out in his capacity as the BJP's national secretary.
Does this constitutes a violation — no matter how mild — of the Supreme Court ruling? It's hard to say, suffice it to say that the message is definitely political in nature. Which isn't to say that it's wrong. There is a certain loophole in the Supreme Court's ruling that may have been utilised here. As pointed out in this Firstpost article about said loophole, "Did this clause simply prohibit a candidate from using appeals to her (or her opponent’s) own religion, caste et al or did it prohibit all such appeals irrespective of the candidates' own religion?"
What do you think?
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2017 12:44 PM