Politicos call for truce as shoe missiles rain | india | Hindustan Times
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Politicos call for truce as shoe missiles rain

Talking to HT on Sunday — a day when a shoe was hurled towards Prime Minister Manomhan Singh in Ahmedabad — politicians across the spectrum said shoe-throwing was undemocratic

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 00:28 IST
Vikas Pathak

Shoe-throwing is the new sport this poll season and politicians understandably are not game.

They have their differences, but all parties have closed ranks in condemning the new-found way of protest and instant fame. Some have appealed to voters not to resort to such extreme steps, others have labelled it undemocratic, still others want the “perpetrators” to be “booted out of society”.

Talking to HT on Sunday — a day when a shoe was hurled towards Prime Minister Manomhan Singh in Ahmedabad — politicians across the spectrum said shoe-throwing was undemocratic.

P. Chidambaram, Navin Jindal and L.K. Advani have been the other targets of shoe missiles, which too, missed them by varying margins.

“The Congress has been consistent in its condemnation of such incidents. We condemned it unequivocally when Advani was targeted and we do so even now. This infectious disease constitutes trivialisation and debasement of the proud democracy that India is,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told HT. All right-thinking members of the public know that infamous fame lasts only momentarily.”

“If there is a problem, there are two ways to express it: the wrong way and the right way. This is not the right way. This is not our tradition,” Priyanka Gandhi said in Rae Bareli.

The BJP’s view was not much different. “These are not protests. In a democracy, the media and even votes can be used to register protests. Of more than 70 crore voters, four individuals have tried to hijack democracy through such acts. It needs to be condemned. They should be booked. The media should not glamourise them,” spokesman Balbir Punj said. He, too, appealed people “not to resort to these publicity stunts”.

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said it was not a good sign for democracy. Dissent should be expressed through democratic means and through vote, he said, adding “that these people are being pardoned shows the magnanimity of political leaders”.

The Nationalist Congress Party, however, took a hard stand. “They are not throwing the shoe on others but on themselves, and should be booted out from society,” party leader D.P. Tripathy said.

Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda told PTI: “This is a very unhealthy trend… and is not good for democracy.”