Vantage point

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jinnah Jaisa Koi Nahi

The BJP in the past year has been churning out one superhit soap opera after another. First we had "Kyunki Sanyaasin Bhi Kabhi CM Thi", which was a smashing success. It was followed by "Press Mein Nikla Hoga off-the-record Quote". Then recently there was "Kaun Banega Next BJP-pati".

The latest hit is "Jinnah Jaisa Koi Nahin".

That's right. Of all the possible catalysts that could have precipitated a public crisis in the BJP and its sangh Parivar, it turned out to be M.A. Jinnah, the Father of Pakistan. Advani, on a trip to Pakistan, found himself compelled to make some charitable remarks about the man India textbooks paint as one of the biggest villains in modern history. Now Advani was wodnering what he should say that wouldn't get him into trouble with the masters in RSS and the disapproving cousins in the VHP. He suddenly remembered one word that is uttered as an expletive by all the Saffronites - "Secular"! Why yes, whenever anyone is to be vilified, M/s Sudarshan, Madhav, Singhal and Togadia spit the word "secular" in his direction. Wouldn't they lvoe it whent he ultimate insult is hurled at the Father of Pakistan. Maybe Sudarshanji would send him some orange barfi and Togadiaji would present him a gilded trishul. So he went ahead and called Jinnah secular.

So one can sympathise with Advani as he scratched his head about why everyone got so upset. The RSS called it disgraceful, the VHP alled him a traitor, and of coruse, his old friends, the Congress, washed their hands in the proverbial flowing Ganges, and expressed disgust.

The Congress reaction, he could stomach. After all they consider "secular" as being a good word, something that makes even the most hardened criminals kosher. But why were the RSS and VHP angry with him? And apparently, some BJP leaders were also at it, doing what they do best, shower off-the-record quotes.

Advani sulked for a couple of days, and then resigned. Here he had hurled the biggest insult at Jinnah and his Saffron pals were yelling at him?


It is fun as the soap opera now unfolds. Everyone and his uncle who is from the saffron sangh is making very diplomatic statements, not willing to displease the Advani supporting faction, nor the extremist faction. People from other parties are making full use of this "free-for-all" and each leader is lashing out at Advani in an original way, of course, starting it by saying "This is the BJP's internal matter....".

Lalu says Advani should stop this drama and quit the RSS. Pawar wonders why Advani needed to go to Pakistan to get a secular image. Pranab says this shows the BJP's intolerance. Arjun Singh (of all people) says that Advani is losing his mental balance.

The media meanwhile is having a field day, as soundbytes are flowing in from all directions. And Ekta Kapoor is cribbing because the TRPs of her shows are plunging because of the BJP.