The slip is showing – again!



I have been reporting on political events in the country for so long that I have noticed things always come full circle and the more they seem to change, the more they remain the same.

I recall the time before the BJP came to power in 1996 and could not find a single ally to help it beyond its 13 days in the government.

Just a few months before that election, soon after its Goa conclave, I was approached by someone who might have been a pracharak working for the BJP.

He brought me the ‘news’ that the party was about to embark on a momentous project – for the BJP – and he hated the thought that the BJP was becoming the B team of the Congress.

The projects? It was an attempt to publish a Sanskrit translation of the Koran. I did not believe him – I was never a supporter of the BJP and I thought I was being had.

Then again I did not see how the story could be true. But he gave me the names and the telephone numbers. The husband of a BJP legislator from a particular state was a professor of Sanskrit at a particular university, he said, and the translation was already done and ready.

“They will launch that translation just a few months before the polls and if they do this, can we not call it their own attempt at wooing Muslims? Why then talk about the Congress’s appeasement of the minorities? How different will we be then?”

The facts all checked out and when we published the story, I recall BJP leaders frothing at the mouth over its appearance. I was harangued by the then BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan and for the first few moments thought that I had made a mistake.

Then I realised he was not really denying the fact, he just wanted to know the source of the leak.

I refused to reveal the identity of that source – he had told me if he was proved wrong he would cut off his head and place it on my feet – and asked him to go to the courts or the Press Council instead.

He didn’t but then the BJP never did come out with the publication for by then it was apparent that there were many in the party who, like the pracharak, who were fiercely opposed to BJP’s own version of Muslim appeasement.

Nearly two decades later, soon after their Goa conclave, the BJP has decided to come out with a vision document on the minorities which they claim is not about appeasement but empowerment.

But the circumstances are the same – in the mid-1990s they were finding no allies, now they are losing them. LK Advani was then anathema to the minorities.

Now Narendra Modi is. And there was a clear recognition then, as there is now, that you cannot ignore a substantial chunk of the voting population in this country and still hope to become prime minister.

But I also think this could also be a move to firewall Modi by Advani supporters in the party. Who knows better than their patriarch how fiercely a section of hard core Hindutva-wadis had opposed the move then to be an inclusive party.

I was told by my source that wiser counsel prevailed – at a subsequent meeting, senior BJP leaders decided that they could not risk disappointing and losing their core voters in order to woo a community that may in any case not be impressed by ther courtship.

The situation is much the same today so far as Modi is concerned – he is already under fire by large sections of hard core Hindus who are disappointed that he did not go to Ayodhya and there is no way that the memory of the 2002 riots will be erased from the minds of the minorities between now and 2014.

Modi, of course, is attempting to turn the tables on the UPA by labeling the Cenral Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into the Ishrat Jahan encounter case as a motivated one but the Gujarat chief minister know the truth of that conspiracy and could soon find his chickens coming home to roost on that one.

His penchant for embroidering the truth was greatly exposed by his Rambo act of `rescuing’ 15000 Gujaratis in one day when the army and the air force together could not manage that with combined forces.

As even voices within the BJP, like that of Yashwant Sinha, begin to rise in question, it is clear that Modi is being sabotaged from within and does not need more enemies than he has already made even outside his own party.

I knew instantly how concerned some BJP leaders might have been when I heard BJP president Rajnath Singh call for Muslims to “forget and ignore” 2002.

That’s what they were asked to do vis-à-vis even 1992 but when various political parties took them at their word and supported a BJP government at the Centre, they got the Gujarat riots which the BJP had neither the will nor the intention to control.

I lost my one time growing fascination with and faith in the BJP when I saw trident-waving youths shouting `Har Har Mahadev’ and bringing down the mosque in Ayodhya.

I am sure many people over 30 still remember the unending violence of 2002 which beat even the post-Ayodhya riots of Bombay in 1992-93 for their brutality.

Singh then was surely more desperate than optimistic with both his appeal and his vision document – he would, of course, know well enough that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. I hope never again!

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  • Nripinder

    Well written

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  • TRUTH

    MODI WILL BE THE PM, NO MATTER WHAT YOU WRITE…..

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    lucky Reply:

    modi will never be PM , no matter what you think.

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  • Bharat

    Who enacted Terrorist act against Hundreds of Hindus…In US, few died bcuz of pressure cooker blast..Here they burnt the whole bogey full of women and children…

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  • G.Nandakumar

    suggest that you research and write about the riots in Gujarat between 1960 and 1990. You would lose your fascination with the Congress.

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  • jaya

    Sujata: You are simply full of it. This article simply lacks any semblance of scholastic attribute. It does not even flow well, it is disjoint & you simply connect dots in some bizarre way.

    [Reply]

  • Pollkhole

    This writeup echoes that our national motto is “Satyamevajayate”!

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  • I need Answers

    One side of the story.

    About Ishrat Jahan case, its NOT only IB and Gujarat govt which is is telling Ishrat was not innocent, but even American investigators and even LeT have also told the same. But, those things are intentionally being ignored by CBI and the media as they have dedicated themselves to support Sonia. With its plan to catch Modi through Godhra riots failed, CBI is ordered to chase him before 2014 elections on any other case, somehow, irrespective of he was really involved in that case or not.

    About Godhra riots, SC has already given its verdict and media and political parties are still attacking Modi as prime accused. Here also, as the verdict is not in favor, intentionally ignoring that. Last year, there was riots in Assam, which made the life of original assamees very tough. Modi had taken actions to control Godhra riots in lesser time than Assam CM started taking actions to control last years Assam riots. But nobody is worried about that because its Congress ruled state.

    About Uttarakhand, give a single official statement of Modi or his office or BJP, where it tells Modi rescued 15000 people. It is one more conspiracy created to attack Modi by the media, because no other Congress team or individuals had even thought of going there and Modi went. Congress felt it lost the ground there and hence needed a weapon to attack Modi. Otherwise, how will be Modi’s visit becomes VIP visit and not Rahul Gandhi’s?

    There are still so many questions which Congress and the media need to answer before attacking Modi. But they are good at selective ignorance/selective picking.

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  • Nisha

    `Thank god for some of the sane voices like yours.

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  • Anonymous

    This is the reason why the so called Internet Nationalists hate writers like you.

    1) Embroidery the truth: may it be 15,000 or 1500, he claimed no figure in his speech. Yet you are using it as placards. Lets see, someone has to make arrangements for the people to be taken back from Hardidwar to Gujarat? or do you want to let them rot in Haridwar?? Shows your s1ck mentality

    2) Appeasement ? where does the question of appeasement come from? It is your employers who indulge in appeasement policies, remember Batla House encounter, Reservation for Muslims, and now Sohrabbudin n Ishrat Jehan case.

    3) Policy for empowerment can’t be equated to appeasement until and unless you get your eyes away from cash paid by the CONgress and actually get to read the Empowerment Paper.

    4) If there was no, then you would have shouted at top of your voice about Modi being anti Muslim, shows your duplicity….

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  • Courage

    Through Modi behind the Bar ,Then definitely BJP will Won

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  • Leo power zone

    targetting modi by bjp top leadersmeans-suicidal for them., the ultimate gain only to upa-2,pl. think and is our request to bjp top leaders.

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  • Guest

    Whether someone translates the Koran into Sanskrit – pray who would read it ! – or a vision document is brought out or not, the minorities, the Muslims being the largest, most of all, should be treated with dignity and respect and their safety should be something that they can take for granted. That is the letter and spirit of the Constitution and that is also realpolitik, which can only be ignored only at great peril.

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  • Nikunj Shah

    The writer here has issues only with BJP and Modi, or in a broad sense, anyone who is anti-Congress, check previous blogs. If Congress engineers a riot of any form or indulges in corruption, she will never discuss it in her blogs, you won’t find anti-Congress articles or blogs from the writer. In fact, by replying to this blog, I realize I am wasting time, coz when she has decided she wants to ignore Congress’s demerits and channel all her energies in writing against BJP, Modi. Basically, if there is any national issue which is anti Congress, the writer will waste no time in defending the Congress. All previous blogs are testimony to this. The writer is okay if Sharad Pawar becomes PM as according to the writer, he is not convicted in any corruption case contrary to public perception.
    I am not defending Modi for 2002, if Modi is guilty, so is the Congress for 1984 Massacre; but what happened ? Has anything been done on that part ? Not really. Then why just label one party ? All of the writer’s blogs give me a feeling that they are pro-Congress, directly or indirectly. According to the writer, we must allow a “Secular” party like Congress to continue to govern us despite their massive corruption scams but not give BJP a chance at the Centre because it is non-secular. So, Secularism should not be compromised even if lakhs of crores of scams continue to happen. Blatant defence of Congress and leaving no stone unturned to slam BJP is not the definition of unbiased journalism.

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  • Nikunj Shah

    Even I feel, looking at the writer’s past blogs, seems to be pro-Congress or anti-BJP.

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  • Nikunj Shah

    Even I feel, looking at the writer’s past blogs, seems to be pro-Congress or anti-BJP.

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  • S. Kumar

    Take a break from your Modi phobia,Sunita. Such hysteria is not good for your and your ilk’s mental and physical health. Modi’s caravan keeps moving on steadily, frightened puppies are getting crazier.

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  • Shah

    Its a very dangerous direction. It will once again divert attention from real issues of good governance and let these parties play divide and rules for many years to come. All meanwhile India lags behind in progress to other countries. Shame on our politicians. Actually they r the ones who need to be given death penalty for treason.

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  • Niladrinath Mohanty

    BJP when accused of communalism never denies it thereby it accepts it is communal. At least it is some straight admission. But Congress on the other hand by harping too much on secularism is promoting communalism and proves to be the most communal party. the main issue before the country is to eliminate poverty, spread education, empower people economically not who is a Hindu, Muslim or a dalit. Congress party is destroying the nation.

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  • vivek

    The real question is whether the inherent culture of Sanatan Dharma is not really secular”?. Sanatan Dharma, which means the Ultimate Truth that applies to each and every individual.

    If secular Hinduism means giving freedom to each individual to pursue their own truth, it seems in alignment with Sanatan Dharma.

    It is when Secularism dilutes or goes astray from the deeper values of Sanatan Dharma that all problems begin.

    May we realize that Secularism or Faithful-ism are simply labels. What matters is the dedication of one’s heart and soul to the Truth.

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  • Rana Bhoumick

    Sunita, only one part of a sentence of this write-up arrests my attention, the rest is usual spin expected from any “dalal”. Quote “What worries many like us, who belong to the middle class, is the price…”

    Come come, I accept your humility in good grace, but I cannot for once believe that being the dalal of the 4th wealthiest politician of the world for so many years has left you yet “struggling” in the middle-class even NOW??

    It is the sacrosanct duty of the person whose dalali you have been dutifully doing along with your illustrious colleagues as Barkha (of RANDITV awarded Padma Shri”) Rajdeep & Sagarika (running a network etc), Sujata and now, you are imputing that lesser dalals are not compensated as much. That is s terrible injustice inflicted upon you.

    Nothing wrong with the 4th wealthiest politician of the world looting the treasury, has been on with impunity since independence, but leaving you to “wallow” in the middle-class is unbearable to my sensibilities , when other dalals are moving around in luxury cars and reside in penthouses.

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  • Rana Bhoumick

    Sunita, only one part of a sentence of this write-up arrests my
    attention, the rest is usual spin expected from any “dala!”. Quote
    “What worries many like us, who belong to the middle class, is the
    price…”
    Come come, I accept your humility in good grace, but I
    cannot for once believe that being the dala! of the 4th wealthiest
    politician of the world for so many years has left you yet “struggling”
    in the middle-class even NOW??
    It is the sacrosanct duty of the
    person whose dala!i you have been dutifully doing along with your
    illustrious colleagues as Barkha (of RANDITV awarded Padma Shri”)
    Rajdeep & Sagarika (running a network etc), Sujata and now, you are
    imputing that lesser dala!s are not compensated as much. That is s
    terrible injustice inflicted upon you.
    Nothing wrong with the 4th
    wealthiest politician of the world looting the treasury, has been on
    with impunity since independence, but leaving you to “wallow” in the
    middle-class is unbearable to my sensibilities , when other dala!s are
    moving around in luxury cars and reside in penthouses.

    [Reply]

  • Rana Bhoumick

    Sunita, only one part of a sentence of this write-up arrests my
    attention, the rest is usual spin expected from any “dalal”. Quote
    “What worries many like us, who belong to the middle class, is the
    price…”

    Come come, I accept your humility in good grace, but I
    cannot for once believe that being the dalal of the 4th wealthiest
    politician of the world for so many years has left you yet “struggling”
    in the middle-class even NOW??
    It is the sacrosanct duty of the
    person whose dalali you have been dutifully doing along with your
    illustrious colleagues as Barkha (of RAND!TV awarded Padma Shri”)
    Rajdeep & Sagarika (running a network etc), Sujata and now, you are
    imputing that lesser dalals are not compensated as much. That is s
    terrible injustice inflicted upon you.
    Nothing wrong with the 4th
    wealthiest politician of the world looting the treasury, has been on
    with impunity since independence, but leaving you to “wallow” in the
    middle-class is unbearable to my sensibilities , when other dalals are
    moving around in luxury cars and reside in penthouses.

    [Reply]

  • Praveen Saxena

    The frequency of Sunita Behen’s blogs shall increase …as the action scene shifts to UP for a very exciting General Election. . She and her Lucknow Bureau are in for exciting times..and many front page stories.

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  • Parmeshwar Roongta

    The Indian people are least bothered about secularism or communalism.Therefore, in my view, there will be other far more mundane issues that will attract the attention of the common man.

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  • Kaypee Endee

    I don’t agree with some passionate comments made here. However, you too are being biased. Congress is sure of their policy of minority appeasement, and RSS is sure of its opposition to it. BJP is confused. Similar dilemmas, contradictions and acts of omission? and commission? (in Gujarat) make BJP’s acceptability difficult. But you will also remember that when such party comes to power, these contradictions don’t allow it to follow a deeply sectarian path. Will you believe that under MM Joshi, more funds went to madrassas than before and soon after (I don’t have recent figures).

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