The ‘Swamification’ of the BJP



Noticed a little but not much commented upon earlier this year was the fact that for the first time in a decade or more, the BJP had lost its Ayodhya seat in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. Now the party has lost a graduates’ seat from the Konkan which it had held for 40 years in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

I would place less significance on the Ayodhya loss but I believe losing a graduates’ seat the party has held from the time the BJP was winning it in its earlier avatar as the Jan Sangh needs closer attention.

It is just possible that Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party registered more of its graduate voters with the Election Commission than did the BJP. Or it could be the more serious issue of intellectual disenchantment with the party. In either case, for all the bombast and bluster of the BJP, I was surprised at how the party has let itself slide both in Maharashtra and across India

Then I came across this piece by Offstumped‘ and suddenly realised what is going wrong with the BJP. Obviously sympathetic to the party, Offstumped describes the party’s woes as their `Swamification’ (from whom I borrow the title of this piece) and hits the nail bang on its head. The BJP has been more concerned with finding fault with others than safeguarding its own bases and building itself up with bricks and mortar rather than just attempting to gauge whose `kameez’ might be cleaner and hoping for the collapse of other forces (notably the UPA/Congress) to find itself back in government again.

But clearly that is not going to happen. The party’s best days were between 1998 and 2002 when even the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir was its ally in government. BJP ideologues might believe that Narendra Modi is their saviour but I have a suspicion that he was let loose upon the world simply to destroy everything that the BJP could have really stood for as a right-of-centre party. India had a very good chance in the 1990s to evolve a two party system much like in the US and the UK but blew it with Modi’s shenanigans in Gujarat. And it is more the BJP than the Congress which is contributing to the rise of the fractious Third Front parties.

Of course there is no question of the Abdullahs ever supporting the BJP again but even someone like Chandrababu Naidu whose Telegu Desam party was the major party sustaining the NDA alliance in government has sworn he will never come together with the BJP again. Never mind that he is in such deep trouble in Andhra Pradesh with the rise of Jaganmohan Reddy and his YSR Congress, the thought to team up with the BJP again simply does not cross his mind – as he once so famously said all his development of AP was of no use as he got voted out only because he was seen as supporting communal forces in this country.

Ditto Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata dal. He deliberately picked a fight with the BJP the last time around, after the harassment and attempted pogroms against Christians in Orissa. Even if he is now on the same side as that party in the presidential elections, he knows he is better off on his own than allying with any other party.

When it comes down to the brasstacks, neither will Mamata or even Jayalalitha dare to team up with the BJP and the reasons are all the same. So where does all that leave the BJP – except abusing the Congress and fighting among themselves over their own leadership issue.

Meanwhile, things might be slipping out of their hands irrevocably as this week’s result to the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls show. The BJP lost not one but two seats – the other being the election to the Council from the teachers’ constituency. The Shiv Sena, which ideologically comes closest to the BJP’s own DNA, should have been supporting the party all the way through. Instead the Sena chose to prop up a rebel BJP candidate against the official one for the teachers’ constituency facilitating the victory of a former journalist supported by both the Congress and the NCP. And in the graduates’ constituency it did not work for the BJP either while the NCP candidate wholeheartedly supported by the Congress romped home by a heavy margin – the kind (more than double the votes gained by the BJP) that should set the party thinking.

Even the artificially-created controversy over the presidential race is so petty and unnecessary. I agree that holding a post with the Indian Statistical Institute advantages Pranab Mukherjee in no way at the presidential stakes. Neither does it disadvantage his rival, PA Sangma. It is simply a waste of time and, if they at all go to court, of good money as well. At the last presidential elections the BJP at least had a respectable candidate of note – Bhairon Singh Shekhawat – to put up against a much-derided Pratibha Patil of the UPA. Personally, I would have voted for Shekhawat if I had been part of the Electoral College and abstained if I had had no choice except to go for Patil.

I was expecting the BJP would be able to find its own candidate of a similar genre/vintage this time round too. But who do they have except for L K Advani? And that particular gentleman is still not willing to let go of his prime ministerial ambitions. Which is where, I believe, the entire problem with the BJP begins and ends. For, if only the BJP would see it, Modi is no problem. As is already becoming obvious, the moment he is seen as a serious contender for the post of prime minister its entire coalition will fall apart and the nation would whole heartedly vote for even a lame-duck UPA all over again.

The party must move beyond these two `eternal-hopefuls’ and break fresh ground to regain its, well, lost ground. And that does not happen by just reacting to situations or other people’s mistakes. We want to know what the BJP really stands for, besides destroying mosques and massacring Muslims. Or is that the only thing the BJP is really capable of, after all?

No wonder, then, that even its intellectual support is slipping. It’s really time it wakes up and smells the coffee. Or else it is destined to turn into someone who is seen as just a joker – like, umm, Subramanian Swamy.

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  • Samrat

    You forgot to mention the shameless internal fights going on in Karnataka. The entire party-with-a-difference is after all different, albeit in immaturity.

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  • Ravi

    For the BJP to become a serious right of centre alternative to the Congress, it will have to become independant of the RSS.

    This is not going to happen in a hurry.

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    Ennar Reply:

    “……become independent of the RSS.”
    This is not likely to happen, sooner or later, for the RSS is the fount from where the BJP taps its intellectual and spiritual inspiration. The RSS still has a huge amount of influence over a section within the majority community. This section is the traditional vote bank of BJP as well as its earlier avatar, namely, the Jan Sangh. The euphoria generated in the aftermath of the Babri demolition is currently at a very low ebb. The secular polity, whose votes contributed to BJP’s rise to power at the Centre, seems have become disenchanted with the party for it believes BJP’s slogan of “party with a difference” has shown something to be false. The ongoing Karnataka political drama, Modi’s ambition which seems to anger the Delhi elite of the BJP , RSS ’s thougthless diktats through Gadkari, decline of the patriarchal influence of Advani whose padayatra led to the Babri incident and eventually to the pinnacle of power at the Centre, sleaze attaching to the BJP governments in states, etc., are just a few of the many problems dogging the principal opposition party.

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  • Fact

    Modi will be PM, if not in 2014, then the next election after that. Wait and see.

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    Vlad the Impaler Reply:

    Definitely he will be PM. If not in 2014 then next election, may be the election after that, possibly even after that, or could be after that, but certainly after that

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  • ris

    Dear writer of this article the trophy for communal voilence massacringh muslims and sikhs goes to Congress party of india. Please check your facts. Congress holds the record in Gujarat …kindly go thru the history of communal riots in india.

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    Ravi Reply:

    Mr ris.
    This may interest you…..perhaps not!!

    Communal violence since 1990s needs to be seen in the light of the changing political equations in the country. The decline of the Congress and the emergence of the BJP as a strong political force resulted in shifting patterns of communal riots. Communal violence in the last two decades is a result of the manipulation of the religious sentiments of people by the Hindu right-wing organizations for political gains. The politicization of the Mandir-Masjid issue and the subsequent demolition of the Mosque gave the BJP the opportunity to consolidate its vote bank. But in the process the controversy created a communal divide, and frequency of riots also increased during this time. Since partition, never before has one particular incident resulted in the emergence of violence in almost all the states. From the 1960s till 1980 local factors played a very important role in the emergence of riots, but since the late 1980s this trend seems to be changing. Communal violence has always occurred when the BJP has wanted to expand its base. In the recent years the South Indian states, particularly Kerala and Tamilnadu, have also witnessed communal violence and are slowly growing into communally sensitive areas. This is primarily because of the recent entrance of BJP in the political arena of these states.

    From… Communal Riots in India- A Chronology (1947-2003) by: B Rajeshwari of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

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    Madhu Reply:

    utter non-sense..

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    Ravi Reply:

    To those who have lived their lives governed by propaganda
    truth often appears as non-sense.

    ris Reply:

    it makes no sense BJP has no base in the two mentioned states nor has it made any attempt to grow into these two areas.
    Fome facts:
    The year 1969 is considered to be the worst year as far as communal violence in Gujarat is concerned. On September 18, 1969, a major communal riot broke out in Ahmedabad City and subsequently spread in the other districts of the State. Hon. Justice Jagmohan Reddy inquired into the violence which broke out during the said communal disturbances. The number of deaths as estimated were between 15,000 to 25,000. At that time, the Congress was in power Gandhian Hitendra Desai as the Chief Minister.
    During 1985 to divert attention away from the anti-reservation stir the state was pushed to communal riots. A hindu family was burnt alive by the communal mob.Even the press was not spared in 1985, the offices of Gujarati daily “Gujarat Samachar” and “Indian Express” were attacked and put to fire. These newspapers were considered to be anti government by then Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki of congress
    The state was under curfew for more than six months.
    Congress has made several attempts to cover its trak by calling misleading, phoney coverup reports.

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    Ravi Reply:

    ris
    I suggest you read the article in its entirety, here are the details again.

    If you dispute the facts provided in that article then please provide your sources.

    From… Communal Riots in India- A Chronology (1947-2003) by: B Rajeshwari of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

    RIS Reply:

    Here is my source :
    “Judicial Commissions on Communal Violence in Gujarat The Jagmohan Reddy and Nusserwanji Vakil Commission of Inquiry was instituted in 1969″
    Ravi please dont give us refrence from left wing Institutes they have no credibility beyound the walls of JNU.
    I suggest you read the above mentioned commissions report.

  • anil

    Nehruvian production period has presented India with a generation of people who can not understand the importance of morality and ethics and their only line of defence is belittling its past. – a foot in the mouth approach to make a point!

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  • Brown American

    For BJP to become a serious contender on its own for the leadership, it will have to seek forgiveness for Gujarat 2002 and Ayodhia 1992. It must disassociate itself from RSS, because increasingly its tactics are of terror. RSS has always been a violent organization.

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    ris Reply:

    talk about stupid americans..please find one above!

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  • Mohammed

    Besides destroying mosques and massacring Muslims, BJP is known for constantly attacking Nehru-Gandhi family, supports the killing of Christians, likes to see dalits remain backwards. BJP advocates democracy but misses pseudo-dynastic system of congress. Of late dreaming that Anna & Swamy will help to fulfil the dream.

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    anil Reply:

    Those who denies their history, history denies them.

    Then they loose their right to exist!

    They pseudo-secular kind of maintain their pseudo-secular existence for a while before vanishing from history.

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    Ravi Reply:

    Anil
    Who is your favourite Historian?

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  • guest

    BJP was and will never be capable to rule my India. They were lucky first time
    because of public vent against Indra Gandhi & poor performance of Janta Dal, for second time they really earned by destroying Mosque & killing minorities and infinite poisoning among the people of India. If you really know JAN SANGH history never had even 5 MP before 1975

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    Rittwik Bhattacharyya Reply:

    For your information, the Jana Sangh had as many as 35 seats in 1967 and was always an influential player in the national elections.

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  • Rahul

    We want to know what the BJP really stands for, besides destroying
    mosques and massacring Muslims. Or is that the only thing the BJP is
    really capable of, after all? ….WELL HAVE YOU FORGOT GUJARAT DEVELOPMENT HAVE YOU FORGOT ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE HAVE YOU FOR GOT ABDUL KALAM HAVE YOU FORGOT NUCLEAR MISSILES TELL ME ONE THING WHICH CONGRESS HAVE ACHIEVED BESIDES..GIVING RESERVATIONS TO MUSLIMS NO WONDER YOU WILL NOT OPEN YOUR MOUTH AGAINST YOUR BOSSES

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  • Vish…

    Baniya party will be reduced to 2 seats within 2 general elections, and then it will change it’s name again (mahasabha…jansangh…bee jhen p.e.e…). However, it’s root name will remain the same…baniya party

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  • ash

    Religion sucks. Religions that have origins in middle east are the worst. They are tribalistic and mythologic Adam’s origin and ancestory. Virgin mother, messiah and prophets. Same goes with other religions of the east but with more tolerance of divergent views and acceptance of ‘indifference’, ‘atheisism’ or ‘ritualism’.
    But at the end of the day, religions of the world are all bullshit and backward looking, hero-worshipping of irrelevant and ‘criminals’ of worst kind. When they killed and maimed others, they were winners of good against evil, when they had 12 wives they were saviours of women, when they told lies those were for the good of commoners.

    We need in India younger generation that destroys all temples, mosques and churches. Only places that shall be built shall be schools, old people homes, institutions of learning, research and development. Vote for those who talk to jobs creation, enriching and improving quality of life of all without race, caste, creed and religions. Ban all job reservations, ban all religions………..

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  • Anonymous

    Bharat is unique country where a Man who is fighting establishment & corruption of party in power single- handedly in court called joker.

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  • Rittwik Bhattacharyya

    Why doesn’t the author take a note of the fact that the BJP has swept the urban local body polls in Uttar Pradesh today, defeating the Congress by a huge margin? BSP and SP didn’t even contest the elections, fearing defeat at the hands of the BJP. Aren’t there more teachers and graduates in the cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh than villages? The
    Congress has ruined our country with stinking corruption, high rate of
    inflation as well as chaotic and inefficient governance by ruling it for the
    majority of the past 64 years. The development-oriented, BJP-led NDA is the best.

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  • Sameer

    Let us for a second give the benefit to the author saying that BJP is declining. It will not have any allies in future. Perfect.

    Now let us take the present situation of the Congress…forming the UPA2. It has all the allies. With all the allies, the congress laments that it is not able to carry out reforms because of ‘coalition dharma’. Shouldnt it therefore follow that BJP going in alone and with change of winds (many may laugh…but it did happen to SP in the UP elections), BJP may become the largest party. Then let us see who do not ally with BJP.

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  • Indian

    If you have been paid to write this article then fine, please just specify the rate below.I think you come from a place where color tv laptops were given looting public money. Regional parties will eat the country for giving freebies to its own people. They are corrupt to the core like you. Trying to divert peopls thoughts in the direction of congress wont help them in next election. You might get some money writing this article, but will loose you soul by betraying your motherland if you think indian a indian, but I feel you think like a tamilian

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    Ennar Reply:

    “………..I feel you think like a tamilian” What does this mean?

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  • HITS

    I am from Gujarat I know you are not listen me when we talked against congress party. In Gujarat congress had ruled more then BJP. (Riots only occurred when congress needs and most of riots started on FRIDAY after Namaj done.

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  • adibang

    It is very much true that india is a Hindu rastra( if u see 2500-3000 old Persian or Roman maps it shows India is a Hindkush rastra) and since freedom it has been ruled Hindu’s either from congress or bjp or from janata dal. Know who’s ideology is wat god knows but wat is more important here is India emerging as a no 1 developing nation and to bring India into top developed nation we must put out caste based elections n vote for those who can nd will make India into developed nation. Who care for poor who care for education who care for job. Muslims can n will vote bjp if they stop targeting them just get elected. We are in well advanced century than a 800 year old ancient century. India youths need to change their attitude take part in elections. Indian constitution must stop the people who wants rule the nation again n again irrespective of any party. New generation can n will change if allowed to??? Please stop posting hatred msgs

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  • Abhishek

    Poor article! Away from the facts! Generalizes the results of Ayodhya and a Konkani seat to develop a case where none exists! It’s increasingly clear how media demonized Modi and despite its endless calumny campaigns, he has grown to become the darling of English speaking, liberal minded Metro youth, leave aside the traditional religious Hindus. Yours is an exercise in self-consolation by projecting BJP on the slide.

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  • Commoner

    Swamification of BJP is million times preferred compared to total scamification of Congress.

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  • virkaviru

    lol vir sanghvi…u know all these as you know how media stories got build and you are master in that…

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  • Arya

    I can’t believe that Vir Sangvi has the guts to write after the Radia episode. By the way, what there you telling Barkha?

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  • RK

    ” Now, contrast his situation with the poor Muslims who lived in slums and tenements, who had their homes ransacked, their daughters raped and their relatives killed during the riots.”

    Really? Only Muslims were killed in the riots?

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  • Jai

    Really Vir give up writing and find another job. After all, you have quite a burden of corruption on your shoulders.

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  • Radia ki Mummy

    abe jaake Radia ki tatti saaf kar aur 10 runpath ki toilet ko clean kar dhang se harpic use kario, aur Raoul Baba ki Diaper bhi dho dio. Journalism tere bas ki nahi, isliye nahi ki tere me talent nahi, isliye ki tu hai khangress ka desi k u t t a !!! hurr!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Yes, only Vir Sanghvi and advertised politicians get away for free in independent India. All others pay eventually.

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  • skl

    NO Sympathy for Sanjay Dutt, he MUST pay the price. Any body sympathazing with criminals is a part of that team.

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  • Amit

    Fair article.

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  • Suren Singh Sahni

    In India their is rule of law for some people. How about the corrupt politicians who are murderers rapists and instigators of Genocides ; protectors of culprits involved in Bhopal tragedy police encounters. (Times of India refused to publish this blog). A country’s greatness is judged by the rule of law for all. In India some people are more equal than others.

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  • Devendra Sood

    It is easy for Vir Sanghvi, I don’t know who this Sanghvi guy is – I live in US for last 45 years, to vax eloquent but what about Sanjay Dutt being dragged through the courts for over twenty years.

    Isn’t there a requirement for timely justice? I would have no compunction seeing Sanjay doing his full five years or whatever the punishment might be. But after 20 years….give me a break.

    Any law abiding society, if it wants to follow the law to the letter has a responsibility to meet out that justice in a timely manner. Sanjay has been punished more than enough. And just the courts’ fuc…up is enough to obiate his sentence.

    I am no Sanjay fan. I would say that for any man or woman. Any fair society, if it prides itself to be fair and law abiding, must provide timely justice or let people go. You MUST NOT destroy people’s life just because you can.

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    raj Reply:

    timely justice
    — but he thought he can get free with money & lawyers dragged on case.
    many people in this case, had to be issued arrest warrant for not attending court when summoned. the law gives them more power. many witness became hostile buy taking money. no wonder case is dragged because law does not want a single innocent to he harmed. it was misused by him & his lawyer. How many times he missed court for his film shooting.

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  • JJ

    When one reads Vir’S Write up, it is very objectively written and one must respect him for his views.

    Well written and Well articulated, Vir.. thank you..The Law is Law.. it is the same for all.

    One must respect the Judiciary and not let the Executive waterdown judgements of the Judiciary.( all this Talk about pardon is not fair as then the floddgates would open up).

    As Vir mentioned, good behaviour would deifinitely hep in remission of the sentence . Mr Dutt has shown guts in saying that he will not appeal. Let us respect him for that.

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    raj Reply:

    Mr Dutt has shown guts in saying that he will not appeal
    — hello, its supreme court & he can only file a review petition. He also knows his money, lawyers & political friends are useless, so no use in appeal. if he had accepted his guilt the first day in court, people would hv respected. Lot of tax payers money would hv been saved & it could hv been used for lot of good things. He wasted lot of public money.

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  • RK Sharma

    I feel Dutt suffered enough, Sunil Dutt is also no more to help him and Sunil Dutt did lot of good deeds for country, Sanjay made a wrong judgement call, spent 18 months in Jail and is suffering for last 20 yrs, mental tension itself is a big punishment, in India i haven’t seen any big person suffer that much and he was not involved in blasts, also we Indians have tendency to be jealous and revengeful against any famous person, I am middle class person and I know not even one person will support me if I am in trouble but still i feel Sanjay Dutt suffered enough, law and justice system is based on reform and punishment, there are few like Delhi gang rape juvenile who will walk in 3 months (May 2013) and Chief Justice supports him , now can such a person reformed answer is NO, on other hand i feel Sanjay Dutt was not mature and may be opponents of Sunil Dutt set him up in some trap, Now the point is if Sanju baba is let free it will be set as precedent so there can be one way, he has to stay in jail for 3.5 yrs as per supreme court judgement, let him spend 1.5 yrs in Jail and he should donate 2 yrs of earnings in charity (40 crores), this way law will be respected and his suffering will get reduced. If he doesn’t serve any sentence then it may create wrong impression on minds of other youngsters and India is already lawless state, I have sympathy for Dutt and I remember once there was robbery in my home and I got bullet in my body, in government hospital nobody touched me for 4 hrs since I was middle class person with no connections but still I somehow feel this man has suffered as per Indian context, justice should reform those who are at-least remorseful, some people can’t be reformed like Delhi gang rape persons but may be Dutt can be, he has 2 small kids now, if he is not harming anybody why to make criminal of him, find out some middle way. His father also did lot of good things and Sunil Dutt was a good man.

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    max Reply:

    if he is so good as you say & then why did he not accept his guilt the first day in court. He would hv been out of jail now & hv a peaceful life.

    — still no words of sympathy for other accused ??? why??? why happend to your assumed humanity

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  • http://twitter.com/sskumar_87 sskumar

    how much money they pay you !!. After Radia who?

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  • XYZ

    SANJAY DUTT WAS NEITHER A KID NOR A JUVENILE IN 1993———-IF HE WAS FEELING INSECURE HE COULD HAVE APPLIED FOR A REVOLVER LICENSE——–IT IS SURPRISING WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE SYMPATHISISNG WITH HIM—SYMPATHY FOR WHAT?—–THERE IS NO SEPARATE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCUDURE FOR FILM STARS—-BOLLYWOOD IS NOT EXEMPTED FROM INDIAN PENAL CODE

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  • mgnakhate

    Indeed as always respect overrides sympathy!

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  • aaditya

    Well written.

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  • aaditya

    If I am you, I will block these comments which are simply jibes. Better
    to have silent readers than commentators who are waiting for a chance to
    humiliate you. I will give same advice to Barkha, Karan Thapar etc. Let
    these commentators boil and get high blood pressure without any outlet
    to ventilate their frustrations.

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    raj Reply:

    freedom of speech only for me !!!!!!

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  • Raj

    There is more bravery involved in admitting that you have made a mistake
    —– then why not admit his guilt the first day & go to jail. he would hv been out of jail by now & hv a peaceful life. He dragged thinking his money , lawyers & political friends will help.

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  • Raj

    calling up your gangster pals and asking them to send over a couple of Kalashnikovs.
    —- dawood is a not a petty gangster, he is into terrorism, just to shore up sanjay’s image , don’t downgrade poor dawood, he may get angry !!!! he sent Kalashnikovs and rdx to india for your info.

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  • Anonymous

    The latest ecnonomist (british) talks about Journalists getting money from the congress to write praise of maa and naeta dynasties. can you give us some details>

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  • Anonymous

    I think you are forgetting that Sanjay was consorting with the mafia till 2000 and they are police tapings on it. The grenades which reached his hosue were not for dewali crackers.

    Possibly his drug damaged mind thought he was fighting a filmi gangwar.

    Of course being the son of a muslim mother he wanted to protect Muslims. But was this the way?

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  • http://www.arjunkr.in Arjun.K.R

    writer has a point

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