Why are Smriti Irani, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley losing it?
The BJP needs to stop behaving like an eight-year old throwing a tantrum.
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Recently, we've seen several BJP big guns come out and speak up, either on national television or on their social media profiles. They were speaking on various issues that were top of people's minds - indicative that the BJP has noted something is amiss.
One thing that struck me is how angry and aggressive all the BJP leaders are. What they said did not surprise me but their tone does. They are all furious.
The most surprising one was Smriti Irani giving an interview to Arnab Goswami, who is normally all over his speakers. She was so angry that he actually backed off and did not say a word till the end. He looked quite afraid. The BJP leaders seem to think it's okay to intimidate the press at will.
The other surprising aspect was that she was on air to fist pump on the joyous occasion that the Supreme Court had quashed Sanjiv Bhatt's plea to investigate Amit Shah's role for allegedly trying to scuttle a probe into cases of encounter killings. But though she kept saying that her party has been vindicated there was no joy or happiness in her demeanour. Her tone suggested, "How dare anyone try to accuse my party of any wrongdoing."
As far as her point went, it made sense really, but her vindictive attitude didn't. Why attack a senior journalist referring to him as the man who plays songs at night. Just because he was trying to get to the bottom of what he considered murky?
Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley in a Facebook post asks, "Is this protest a real or a manufactured one?" He was talking about the writers giving their awards back. He called writers "Nehruvian" and said they are responsible for blaming the Centre for acts that are not unfortunate and condemnable but not the fault of the government. He too seems angry that people are fearful and upset and are turning to the government for answers and assurance. Who else should people go to? And don't they have a right to feel?
The third example of this fury was in an interview of Amit Shah in Bihar. He too was furious and chastised Rahul and said the media is trying to make the BJP government look bad. Though it is quite amusing to see a senior journalist being scolded because some of them are quite obnoxious, the fact is that this is a disturbing trend.
I will come back to this aspect soon but I first want to figure out why the BJP leaders are so angry.
I think they are angry because they believe that everyone should praise them all the time and never question anything they are doing. They hate the media right now, especially the English media.
But they have conveniently forgotten that the media was all praise for the new government's work ethic in the beginning of the term. I remember Prime Minister Narendra Modi being heaped with praise for his outstanding gesture to invite the SAARC nations to his swearing in. The media could not stop raving about the prime minister shaking up the lethargic bureaucracy and forcing it to come to office early.
The same media that lavishes praise on the Centre also has the right to criticise it. But it seems the BJP government won't have any of that. They are happy with the accolades but are furious with any criticism.
It appears the BJP government is like a pre-adolescent child throwing a tantrum or banging a door when it is told off.
My son's reactions to being told off are the same. He sulks and says that, "You don't love me. I hate you."
The BJP leadership lashes out at will at senior journalists as Smriti Irani did.
This kind of behaviour is deplorable. The media is not an extension of the BJP. It is an independent entity and has every right to question any party and its leaders and their motives. In fact, it is their duty.
And it is the duty of the government and its leaders to explain their actions and the situation in the country even if it is irrelevant according to them. But the politicians have no right to question a journalist's motive and vilify them.
The other side to this fury is the BJP playing the victim card. This is just ridiculous beyond comprehension.
Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani behave like wounded soldiers that are defending themselves against the Left or Sickulars or whoever else the perceived enemy is.
It clearly can't be the Congress, a party that seems like a rudderless boat being tossed about on current affairs.
If a community or the people are feeling threatened or unsettled, it also the duty of the government to assuage their fears and soothe them, instead we see the government spreading hate by saying the people feeling unsettled are anti-government or have an agenda to undermine the prime minister. The government itself is creating a divide where none really exists.
It seems the BJP in its current avatar is all about ego and muscle and power and being "right".
The language of the leaders and the trolls is beginning to sound the same - the use of the words "pressitute", sickular etc are being tossed around by both. The trolls and leaders are feeding off each other. It's imperative that the BJP leaders change their vocabulary and tone.
I can highlight how taking another route helps by citing the example of Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for making a clock that was mistaken to be a bomb. The president of the United States, the PM's good friend, took some time out from his busy schedule and invited him to the White House on Twitter. Even Hillary Clinton made a mention of the boy on social media and asked him to keep making clocks. Was Obama responsible for his arrest? No. Did his gesture stop national and international outrage? Yes.
Small positive gestures help smoothen an otherwise volatile situation. The case of the wronged teenager was forgotten and everyone moved on.
But in this country this sort of gesture seems unlikely. The leaders of our government are angry that writers are giving back awards, they are angry or in denial of the fact that people are feeling unsettled and they are angry that the media asks them questions about "small things".
Instead of taking the soft route, the leaders want to play hardball when there is no need. But continuously being on the offensive is resulting in the creation of vitriolic atmosphere between the alleged "Left" and the alleged "bhakts".
Politics and power play aside, always being right is not as important as doing the right thing.