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India?s Political Hall of Shame

Politically sponsored incidents, legislators being manhandled in Assembly and the ugly politics of revenge. Indian politics has seen it all.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2006 00:08 IST

Shiv Sena protests: Recent incidents of vandalism by Shiv Sainiks in Mumbai and Maharashtra have demonstrated the party’s commitment to goonda raj. The ‘spontaneous’ outbursts hints that the attacks were preplanned, following the desecration of Meenatai Thackeray’s statue. In the past, pitches have been dug to prevent cricket matches with Pakistan and theatre hall defaced to protest against ‘offending’ films.

Gujarat riots: The 2002 communal riots in the state led by Narendra Modi, attracted all round criticism but helped the party score a victory in the Assembly. India’s image, however, got a severe beating at various human rights forum. The then PM, AB Vajpayee advised Modi to follow the tenets of governance but later looked the other way due to party pressure. Subsequently, Modi was also denied a visa by the US government, because of his role in the riots.

Mayawati manhandled: In October 1997, the UP assembly witnessed unruly scenes when the BJP, in its pursuit of retaining power, split several political parties. In the free for all that ensued in the Assembly with Kesarinath Tripathi in the Chair, mikes were uprooted and furniture was tossed around. Among those injured and roughed up was BSP leader Mayawati.

J Jayalalithaa disrobed: In the late 80s following MGR’s death, his widow, Janaki Ramachandran assumed power as the CM for the shortest tenure (24 days) ever. In the Assembly, Jayalalithaa whom many regarded as MGR’s political heir was assaulted and her sari was torn.

M Karunanidhi’s arrest: Jayalalithaa who has had a long rivalry with the DMK leader asked the police to swoop in on Karunanidhi’s house in June, 2001. The then leader, 78, was physically lifted up in full camera view while two union ministers Murasoli Maran and TR Baalu who tried to come to his aid were arrested.

The midnight arrests: On June 25, 1975, top political leaders belonging to Opposition parties were arrested in a midnight swoop on the orders of then PM Indira Gandhi. The leaders were part of the JP Movement and were demanding her removal after she was unseated by the Allahabad High Court.

BD Jatti manhandled: In the 70s, the then Orissa Governor (later VP) BD Jatti was assaulted inside the Assembly by some legislators. It is the only case where a person holding a constitutional position was manhandled during assembly deliberations.