Offence it would seem is the best form of offence as far as our political stalwarts are concerned. Indeed, they think nothing of propagating violence against their opponents and calling them names that most of us would be loathe to do. Leading from the front this season is that doughty BSP supremo, Mayawati. In a no-holds barred outburst, she has labelled all members of her rival Samajwadi Party as “uncontrollable and terror-spreading elements”.
Given this discovery by Behenji, it is little wonder that she thinks they need to be taught a lesson. To this end, she has promised that if her party were to come to power, SP ‘goons’ would be beaten black and blue.
Now it is no secret that the pre-election season will see many such barbs by politicians against their rivals. But, while the urge to discredit each other seems overwhelming, our politicians must not forget that they are the lawmakers. As such, they have a duty not to make such vituperative remarks and make violent threats.
Their followers, as we have seen in the past, are all too willing to be more loyal than the king and think nothing of going on the rampage at the drop of an epithet. Ms Mayawati who aspires to the top post one day has proved that she is no different from the irrepressible Union minister for steel, Beni Prasad Verma, who had earlier alleged that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had terrorist links.
On Monday, he claimed that Mr Yadav had connived with LK Advani in the days before the Babri Masjid was demolished. Is there any proof of this? Not that we know of, but that does not stop our political luminaries from flinging such charges about with practised ease.
Some politicians apparently don’t stop at mere angry words. SP MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh (Raja Bhaiyya) was routinely given to threatening officers of the law and was recently alleged to be involved in the murder of deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul-Haque. After student and communist activists manhandled West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee outside the Planning Commission in Delhi, she had threatened to counter the power of 20 protesters with that of 10 lakh men.
In the days after the assault, TMC supporters trashed CPI(M) offices and the campus of Kolkata’s prestigious Presidency College. It seems clear that as long as such threats and acts of violence remain part of our polity, we cannot claim to have progressed politically or evolved morally.