Since the Congress party's decision to appoint Raj Babbar as chief of its Uttar Pradesh has a filmy connection, let me start by quoting an unforgettable Bollywood dialogue.
"Chinoy seth," says Raj Kumar in Waqt, "Jinke apne ghar sheeshe ke ho, woh doosron par paththar nahin fenka karte." (Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones at others).
Raj Kumar's famous advice to Rahman in that is an apt reminder of the moral outrage of hypocrites, the kind we saw after the Congress and BJP reconstituted their Uttar Pradesh team.
Reacting to Imran Masood's appointment as Congress state unit vice-president, the BJP worked up a tsunami of farcical indignation, saying how could a man accused of hate speech be given an 'important position.
"So Congress rewards the "Boti-Boti" man of Uttar Pradesh, Imran Masood, with the post of UPPC vice-president! Reflects the mind set of Congress," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra lamented. Around the time Patra was airing his disgust with the Congress for promoting a hate-monger, the BJP was busy giving final touches to its own UP team and reflecting its own mindset.
One of its prominent members: Suresh Rana, the legislator accused of inciting riots in Muzzafarnagar.
Rana, as The Times of India pointed out, is an MLA from Thana Bhawan in Shamli. He had been booked under the NSA for allegedly inciting a mob during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. He, along with the other party MLA Sangeet Som, had to spend some time in jail before the NSA was removed. Better credentials than Masood's?
Let me clarify here that I am no fan of Masood's and in no way endorse the Congress decision. Any political party that promotes hate-mongers, bigots, rioters and criminals to positions of importance is guilty of propagating a malign culture in democracy. And the Congress has been one of the principal backers of people with a criminal past in politics — right from its support to leaders accused of the Delhi riots in 1984 to its record of fielding and shielding tainted candidates.
Masood is known as a muscleman with huge political and social influence in western Uttar Pradesh. During the Lok Sabha election campaign, he had warned that BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi would be cut to pieces. Since Rahul Gandhi claims to practice politics of ethics, he should have avoided naming Masood as an important office-bearer. If he really implies what he says, the Congress vice-president should immediately revoke the dubious decision.
But, the BJP's hypocrisy is even more astounding. It is laughable to point fingers at a man accused of hate-speech while using the other hand to pat the back of legislator who has served jail time for inciting communal riots. If Masood's appointment endorses hate, Rana's is a recruitment advert for those accused of bigotry.
Incidentally, Masood's "boti-boti" threat had elicited a hasty response from Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who had retorted by saying, "Wait till polls to see who is chopped to pieces." ( Raje had later claimed the remark was quoted out of context).
The BJP's record on hate-speech is extremely dodgy. It is party that has made silence a virtue while listening to Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Raamzaade vs Haramzaade), Sakshi Maharaj (Nathuram Godse was a patriot), Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Prachi and Sangeet Som mouth their vitriolic spiel. Some of them are ministers in the Modi government.
A case of casting stone at others while building an entire city of glass, Raj Kumar would have said. Pity there was no BJP in his Waqt.
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Updated Date: Jul 13, 2016 22:25:46 IST