The foot-in-mouth epidemic and 140-character assassinations

In the age of technology, where furious online debates on websites and verbal bashing on Twitter have become a common phenomenon, people are no longer afraid to speak out their mind. Abhijit Patnaik and Paramita Ghosh write.
Hindustan Times | By Abhijit Patnaik and Paramita Ghosh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 27, 2013 09:13 AM IST

In the age of technology, where furious online debates on websites and verbal bashing on Twitter have become a common phenomenon, people are no longer afraid to speak out their mind. Parliamentary debate has given way to 140-character assassinations.

Amid the melee, how can our politicians stay behind? Of recent, political leaders seem to have been severely affected by the foot in mouth epidemic. From Digvijaya's "Sau taka tunch maal" comment to Modi's "Mr Golden Spoon" jibe, we take a look at some instances where netas just couldn't stop themselves from exercising their 'right to speech'.

Digvijaya Singh
From sexist comments to a never-ending vitriolic attack on the BJP, the Congress general secretary is a perennial source for gaffes.

‘Sau taka tunch maal’ – Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh made a sexist comment against Mandsaur MP Meenakshi Natarajan at a rally in Madhya Pradesh. (July, 2013)

“Honorable Supreme Court calls CBI a parrot in a cage, CAT calls Intelligence Bureau a chicken. Are we not belittling our Institutions?"
(May 2013)

"Flip side of this. Amit Shah promises a Grand Temple at Ayodhya. Modi addresses Bihar BJP workers and asks them to teach Nitish a lesson. Next day Bomb Blasts at Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. Is there a connect?" (On Bodhgaya serial blasts in Bihar in which two persons were seriously injured, Digvijaya Singh’s tweet).(July 2013)

Get your popcorn: The never ending show is here

Modi vs Congress:
“I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu,” Narendra Modi.

“Shouldn’t we all be Nationalist Indians rather than Hindu Nationalist or Muslim Nationalist or Sikh Nationalist or Christian Nationalist?” – Digvijaya Singh
(July, 2013)

"Mr Golden Spoon (Rahul). You come here and say that there is 'bhrashtachar' everywhere. Is there 'sishtachar' in Delhi?" – Narendra Modi
(May, 2013)

"I challenge Congress, I challenge Congress leaders born with golden spoons to compare a five-year-term of Congress and a five-year-term of BJP... BJP will emerge victorious," - Narendra Modi.
(April, 2013 )

The fly-by operators: Pick a controversy, and some politico has raised a storm by letting off their tongue.

Raj Babbar
"People should have full meals two times a day. Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs 12. No no not bada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed."

Chandan Mitra
“Amartya Sen says he doesn't want Modi to be India's PM: Is Sen he even a voter in India? Next NDA Govt must strip him of Bharat Ratna.”

Beni Prasad Verma
"Mulayam Singh Yadav wants to become Prime Minister. He should first try to get the job of a sweeper at the residence of the PM," Verma said at a programme in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad.

Nitish Kumar

"I am not Rambo type of personality. I do not have that kind of potential," Nitish Kumar, in a direct attack on Modi, who late last month visited the flood-ravaged state of Uttarakhand, where a thousand people have died. A newspaper report said he rescued 15,000 Gujaratis in a "Rambo act."
(June 2013)

Arvind Kejriwal
“In this Parliament, rapists are sitting, murderers and looters are sitting. How can you expect Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed by Parliament? How can you expect that you can get reprieve from poverty and corruption."
(Feb 2012)

Ram Kirpal Yadav
“Kejriwal has lost his mental balance and needs to be sent to a mental asylum" Ram Kirpal Yadav, RJD general secretary.

Queen of brash: Mamata Banerjee

On the judiciary:
"At times, favourable verdicts are given in return for money. There are instances when judgments have been purchased. There is corruption among a section of the judiciary. I know there can be a case against me for saying this. But this must be said and I am ready to go to jail for saying so."
(August 2012)

On rape:
“Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It’s like an open market with open options.”

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