Why Kailash Vijayvargiya is attacking Shah Rukh Khan's Raees and BJP is not stopping him

Ashok Upadhyay
Ashok UpadhyayJan 24, 2017 | 21:34

Why Kailash Vijayvargiya is attacking Shah Rukh Khan's Raees and BJP is not stopping him

In India, each political party has its share of "big mouths", but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has more than it can afford.

One of the biggest loose cannons is its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya. And he specialises in making communally charged controversial statements. Every time he is in news, more often than not, it is mostly because of his utterances.


On Tuesday morning, when an India Today reporter asked Vijayvargiya to react on the incident in which a person died while trying to get a glimpse of Shah Rukh Khan at the Vadodara railway station, the BJP general secretary used the opportunity to stir up yet another controversy — he compared SRK with India's most-wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim.

"If Dawood Ibrahim comes on the street, crowds will come out to see him as well... you can't gauge someone's popularity on the basis of crowd," he said.

It is ironic that Vijayvargiya forgot how he and his partymen often flaunt the popularity of their leader Narendra Modi on the basis of the crowd he draws at public rallies across the country.

On January 21, just ahead of the Republic Day big releases of Bollywood — Shah Rukh's Raees and Hrithik Roshan's Kaabil, Vijayvargiya first picked on Khan with a tweet: “Jo Raees desh ka nahi, wo kisi kaam ka nahi. Aur ek Kaabil deshbhakt ka saath, toh hum sabhi ko dena hi chahiye (The rich who don’t belong to the country are of no use. The able patriot is the one we should all support)."


The BJP general secretary, without naming Shah Rukh Khan, categorised Raees as "dishonest" and "anti-national". 

To his followers, the message is loud and clear (in its communal context). Is he not sending out a signal to his "bhakts" to watch Kaabil starring a Hindu Roshan, and not Raees, which is played by a Muslim Khan?

This is not the first time Khan has come in the firing line of Vijayvargiya. [Photo: Indiatoday.in]

This is not the first time Khan has come in the firing line of Vijayvargiya. In 2015, he had lashed out at Khan, where else but Twitter, saying “Shah Rukh Khan lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan. His films make crores here but he finds India intolerant.”

But he didn't stop at that. “When hundreds were killed in Bombay in 1993, then where was Shah Rukh Khan? When Mumbai 26/11 attack was where Shah Rukh?"  And went on to say, "If this is not anti-nationalist, then what is? India is making a bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations and all the anti-Indian forces including Pakistan are creating a conspiracy."  He, however, deleted the tweets later.

Let's take a look at some of his other controversial statements.

AUGUST 7, 2015: Vijayvargiya stirred up a controversy when he called Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi "manhoos (ominous)". He said this on Twitter following the Congress vice-president's comments against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lalit Modi controversy.


JULY 5, 2015: The then Madhya Pradesh minister, Vijayvargiya, made an insensitive comment over the death of India Today journalist, Akshay Singh, investigating the Vyapam recruitment scam. Speaking to journalists after a news conference, Vijayvargiya responded to a question about Singh's death by saying: "Forget that journalist who died. Is he more important than me?"

JULY 14, 2015: He said: “For us, it (Vyapam) is a chutput (small) scam. It may be big for you.”

DECEMBER, 2013: Vijayvargiya took offence at the song, "De di hame azadi bina khadag bina dhal, Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamaal" — a glowing tribute to Mahatma Gandhi penned by Kavi Pradeep for the 1954 movie Jagriti. Vijayvargiya demanded that the lyricist be "slapped, boxed and kicked" for underestimating the contributions of freedom fighters who adopted a path other than the non-violence propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.

AUGUST 29, 2013: Vijayvargiya, while defending controversial self-styled godman Asaram, said, "Asaram is a saint. He openly speaks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice- president Rahul Gandhi... It might be possible that the charges against him are part of a political conspiracy by the Congress."

JANUARY 4, 2013: After the December 16 Delhi gang-rape incident, which shocked the entire country, Vijayvargiya said, “Only when Sitaji crossed the Lakshman Rekha, she was kidnapped by Ravan... If Sitaji [woman] crosses the Lakshman Rekha, then Sitaharan [abduction] is bound to take place as Ravans are out there."

JULY 2012: Vijayvargiya, referring to the infamous Guwahati molestation incident, said:  "Women's fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture... women should not wear clothes which provoke others (to misbehave with them). Women should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others. Unfortunately, women are dressing provocatively, which is leading to deviation in society."

Despite consistently making cheap, hurtful and obnoxiously communal controversial statements, Vijayvargiya's influence has continued to grow within the BJP — a not-so-indirect message going out to its cadres that it is okay to be insensitive and rake up communal controversies. If nothing else, it helps make news.

While there is no dearth of such leaders in the BJP, the one big difference between him and other such loose cannons in the party is that Vijayvargiya holds the second-most important post in the party, just below the party president. 

A big responsibility he is shouldering with his big mouth, no wonder!

Last updated: January 24, 2017 | 21:34
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