Ananth Hegde, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, known for his skills in the field of hate speech as well, has done it again.
The comment was apparently made to a right-wing Hindutva group in Karnataka. Presumably, it was a provocation to the Hindutva goons to go after inter-faith couples and use fear, threats, and if need be, violence to break them up. Hindutva’s favourite ‘love jihad’ bogey is a bun prepared out of imaginary flour pulled out of thin air, baked for years in an oven of lies, only to be thrown out of the kitchen by the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) probe which recently concluded there is only love, no jihad.
It is now rotting in a garbage bin somewhere — but Ananth Hegde still tries to feed it to the hungry masses, before the 2019 General Election. He also reportedly garnished the bun with statements like “Taj Mahal was a Hindu Temple. Qutub Minar was Hindu temple, if Hindus don’t wake up, Ram will become Jahanpannah and Sita will become bibi”.
How an elected representative utters such things without anybody walking to the nearest police station and filing an FIR under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, is beyond me. No political leader or worker from any party in India takes the initiative, which is baffling to my mind.
Vigilantism on love — but no vigilantism on hate speech!
Hate speech comes and goes, with no consequences.
Taking to Twitter Karnataka State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao, however, did try to counter Hegde for the remarks.
In his reply, Hegde only upped the ante — he went on to make a deplorable personal remark against not just Dinesh Gundu Rao, but also his wife, Tabu Rao. In a tweet, he said:
Hegde's comment appeared to receive the same approving silence from his party which so many hate-filled right-wing words and actions have got over the last few years.
But then, something big happened. Rahul Gandhi spoke up on the matter. He tweeted:
This was big — there has been a demand among Congress workers and supporters for a while that on some of the burning issues, Rahul Gandhi should himself tweet/comment rather than other INC leaders or the INC official handle, so that the media and BJP leaders are not able to ignore it.
With Gandhi making such a direct, scathing attack, this matter was looking like it was going to be the major topic for prime time debate on all channels. BJP leaders, particularly, Smriti Irani and Sambit Patra, were expected to go all out, hitting back at Rahul with whataboutery, of course, dating back to Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
But suddenly, the entire issue just disappeared. Instead, diverse networks debated assorted issues including the Tukde Tukde gang, the Minimum Income Guarantee announcement, cricket, the economy, the Jind by-election and Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s misbehaviour story.
On any other day, a scathing attack from Rahul Gandhi would have set TV debates on fire — but most of the media simply ignored it.
One can only guess that because the BJP can neither defend Hegde, nor sack him, sections of the media decided to ignore Rahul’s attack altogether and shift to other issues.
Siddaramaiah was of particular help with his shameful attack against a woman who dared to ask him a question. So, most media had a field day turning the tank back to Congress seeking resignations from Rahul Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and, if possible, Nehru.
The assumption that if Rahul Gandhi tweets something, it would grab media eyeballs, has been proven wrong.
So, who decides what is the biggest story, whose actions should be attacked, whose resignation should be demanded?
We, the people, would never know.