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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Varun tapes

Earlier in the week I received an email asking me to sign a e-petition in support of Varun Gandhi, the contentious BJP candidate for Pilibhit.

I ignored the mail.

Frankly speaking I am more than a little appalled by the language of the speech Varun is said to have made. He says the tapes are doctored andthere is as yet no forensic evidence to suggest the tapes (first broadcast on NDTV) are authentic. Yet there is no question that the speech stinks--and you don't have to be a paid-up secularist to say so. It is a hate speech.

I am told that there is a context to the inflammatory speech. It seems that there is a pre-existing communal polarisation in the Rohilkhand region and Varun was merely piggybacking on it.

That may be so but it still doesn't justify the coarse language. There must be some civility in politics and strong messages can be delivered without compromising parliamentary norms.

I am more than a little concerned about the effects of this controversy on the BJP. The purported speech may appeal to a small group of activists but it doesn't send a good message to the rest of the country. Initial results from private opinion polls confirm my fears.

The media, which has a distaste for the BJP, is bound to play up the controversy. But there is no reason for the BJP to add fuel to the fire--as some of its leaders have mindlessly done. Circumstances have forced the BJP to reaffirm Varun as their candidate for Pilibhit. Now it must let the matter play out without any party intervention.

For the first time in the election campaign, the BJP looks like emerging as the single-largest party and the NDA the largest pre-poll alliance. The strategy of concentrating on leadership and bread-and-butter issues is beginning to pay dividends.

Varun threatens to disrupt the forward march.

What do you think?


ayush said...

Undoubtedly "if" Varun has said what was shown on the tapes , it is in absolute bad taste and should be condemmed, but the more you think of it it looks more of an orchestrated exercise , the wya the tapes came from no where after a good 2 weeks , and the media was quick to play them without even disclosing the source of the tapes sounds a bit strange.

The second part regarding the context of the speech is also of some importance , views should be formed only after listening to the entire speech and not bits of it. you know how different an edited pice can sound, Cyrus Broachas celebrity interviews in "the week that wasnt" on cnn-ibn is testimony to that fact.

Finaly Politics in India still is not all that clean and you cant deny the fact that to win an elections at the ground level at times passions have to be aroused, and no single political party can take a high ground on this, though ideally not correct but unfortunately this is how it is in our country as of now,

The only problem i see in this controversy has been -
1) The media obsession to bash the BJP at any opportunity.
2) The person in question carrying the most famous surname in the countrys political history.

had it not been for the above no one other than a small constituency of people in pilibhit would have heard of this.

Gujarat Gagan said...

Agree with most of the part of what you have said. There was a race between two muslim bjp leaders to pass a statement against Varun's speech. This was not necessary. Balbir Punj didn't deliver up to the mark performance on this issue. Media will not leave this issue and will continue to play in a manner that hurt BJP's chances in liberal thinking borderline voters belt. People say Varun is emerging Hindu leader. I think one of the possibilities is that his constituency has 30 percent Muslim population, and therefore he is talking about Hindus because this would ensure him 70% Hindu votes directly on the bases of sentiments and assured security. If his constituency had 60 percent Muslims, he would have delivered a secular speech. Not only this speech but if you start watching Varun's other speeches(earlier one) you would find he sometime crosses the border while talking on some issue. I am happy that a new generation Hindu leader is arrived but then he must be having lots of other qualities too. He should spend some time with RSS masterminds regularly to take his Hinduism agenda in proper, constructive, strategical direction. Section of media says, Varun is another Modi, I would say that he could become Modi if he had learned chapters of depth of ideology, discipline, strategy, oratory, organization building etc in detail at some RSS branch.Modi has put many Muslim anti-socials in jail. Thus he has cut their hands. Varun it seems, wants to cut the hands of Muslim attackers with knife or sword. Thus he would himself be landing in some jail. This is the difference between two.

iamfordemocracy said...

The most unfortunate part of the story is that BJP is merely reacting to Congress moves on Varun. If it defends Varun, it is damned, if it does not defend Varun, it is damned. For every issue, it has been the same.

BJP has never been able to formulate a media strategy. Perhaps, they believe it does not have any bearing on votes. They might be right, but they do need to have a coherent strategy. For example, BJP could make its own tape about their opponents' meets in Varun's constituency. Every time a BJP leader is invited to air his views, he should make his appearance conditional to the channel showing 30 seconds of footage shown by him.

Unfortunately, every BJP leader appears their with an angry face and angry words. They have never even wondered about making the right impression. Frankly, BJP has no ideas. That is why they lose, not because of their ideology.

Further, BJP has never been able to set the agenda with such tricks or traps. All the Congress allies have deserted the UPA, yet BJP has not been able to drive a wedge to widen that gap. The trouble is, BJP is a 1950's party at the top.

Ghost Writer said...

The BJP and the larger Hindu community must do nothing; do not endorse Mr. Gandhi, nor criticize him. Let his comments simply hang there on the election. The media would love nothing more than to keep playing up this speech to the knock the BJP, but if the BJP plays it quite and reaffirms that Mr. Gandhi will be their candidate (without making a big show of it), the party will gain. I am convinced that a little positive polarization of the electorate is not a bad thing for the BJP. It is already ahead on bread and butter and national security issues. Let the media slander and communalize the election – it is to Mr. Gandhi’s benefit, just as it was for Mr. Modi in Gujarat.
On his part, Mr. Gandhi should (without maligning his cousins in this family Mahabharat) try and appropriate the Nehru-Gandhi legacy rightwards. After all, it is nobody's case that Sonia Gandhi is more Gandhi than Varun!

Dhruv said...

Hate is an emotion, which does no one good...shortcuts like these portray weaknesses, the tendency to avoid taking longer/more-challenging path to win minds and convey your views.
These thoughts apply equally to both Varun Gandhi and the BJP/ Narendra Modi hating media. The only difference is the media wraps its hate beneath a slightly more civilised language but the intensity of hate and the potential to cause damage is much more intense and malicious ...
So here is their hate message....

Destroy Modi politically even if it means using false propaganda!!
Destroy Modi’s image even if lies/malicious/exaggerated reporting needs to be done!!
Destroy Modi's popularity even if it means he is one of the very few hopes remaining for India!!
Destroy Modi's credibility even when courts don’t convict him of anything!!
Destroy Modi even if he brings a unbelievable (rather utopian number for the rest of India ) potential investment of $250 billion to his state!!
Destroy Modi even if he gives 24 hr electricity to each and every village of his state, possibly by writing a hate article under a generator's light from a posh locality of Delhi!!
Destroy Modi even if he increases agricultural/ industrial productivity in his state multiple folds in no time while the rest of the country lags decades behind...

The folks who are against BJP and Modi are the enemies of the country, they definitely hate the 5 crore Gujaratis many times more than Varun Gandhi's hollow ineffective hate speech which will hardly do any damage other than wining a handful votes, and by hating true hardworking karma yogis like Modi they hate and dislike the idea of a strong and prosperous India.
BTW I don't hate such people ... I just pity them and hope that god give them su-buddhi!!

Bhavananda said...

Dear Swapan da,
As a great admirer and regular follower of you columns (and blog recently), I wanted to share a feeling that I've been having reading your recent posts. It somehow seemed to me that your columns are increasingly becoming "secular".
For example, in one of your previous posts "The Naveen blow" you noted "Naveen is not temperamentally disloyal. He was provoked into looking for alternatives to the BJP and NDA. His defection has devastated the Advani campaign.I hope Naveen wins a third term as Chief Minister. Politics is that much more interesting with him around."
Clearly nothing like that has happened and it is increasingly becoming apparent that his gamble has backfired (JMM, NCP, defections, etc). It may still be that BJP will win not more than 3 seats, but thats not infinitely worse than 7 seats since last time. I really hope he gets punished for his misadventure.

As for Varun, I admit that *IF* he used the K-word, he was wrong and I expect him to be prosecuted in due course. But, I hope "presumption of innocence" is not reserved for terrorists only. As for the rest of his speech, all he did was reassured the local "persecuted" Hindu population. If BJP doesn't, who will? Where is the hate in that? I won't elaborate more on this because you colleague Mr. Kanchan Gupta has already done that "Varun was harsh, so is the truth".

As for "Varun threatens to disrupt the forward march." I don't believe BJP is marching anywhere with a bunch of professionals clapping in a/c auditoriums or sending sms around. This is "India shining" old wine in a new bottle. The real BJP winner lies in the rallies held by Modi and Advani (or may be Varun Gandhi) and if BJP cannot win more than 10 seats in UP, it's back to 2004.

BJP rightly stood by him, not out of compulsion, but due to self-preservation. Without the "communal politics" of being pro-Hindu, BJP is (to the ordinary voter) just another congress party, and the existing one is more than enough.

PS - I hope my post will not be moderated for being too harsh.

Know the verity said...

Sorry Swapan da I don't agree with you. The folks to whom you've referred as "small group of activist" are actually the BJP supporters. And they reflect the sentiments of millions of BJP voters. It's not necessary polls should give the correct picture always. Folks like you who can affect the decision making of the party shouldn't tinker with its ideological matters. Your volte-face in Varun's case --I bet-- won't go well with the BJP supporters. Here language isn't the issue. Issue is Hindu feelings. Hindus are feeling suppressed in their own country. This is the issue. Hindutva is the way to go. BJP has already lost its crediblity as a Hindu party. Ditching Varun would further deteriorate its image of pro-Hindu party. So pls stop relying on private polls, power-craving for short term gains. Our betterment is in being pro-Hindu party. Pls understand your voters. I'm feeling let down by our article. Your article suggests that BJP's Hindutva ideology is merely a tool to get the power. There is no real commitment for Hindus. So sad a top right-winger thinks like that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Irrespective of whether the tape is doctored or not, this controversy is a distraction from issues of importance that BJP has been raising. The BJP should learn another important lesson from the Obama campaign - never deviate from the message you want to convey.

I won't be surprised if Varun indeed said what was attributed to him. As a supporter of the Hindu revivalist movement (to borrow a phrase from Koenraad Elst), I'm frustrated by such things. Instead of boldly criticizing the tenets of Islam that cause so much harm and affects Hindus, many people associated with the Sangh spew venom at the *practitioners* of Islam. Whatever justification one may give, such speeches and acts will only be counter-productive in the long run.


iamfordemocracy said...

Here is something else everyone commenting on this issue ought to know. Ram Jethmalani quoted two Court cases from 1977 about 'Hate Speach'. The highest court has held that Elction Speeches should not be taken literally. The highest court has accepted the argument that one might have to suit his language so that voters understand him.

As expected, the media has succeeded in burying these words from Jethmalani.

robin said...

Dear Swapan,

I do not agree.Varun reacted rather brashly in a place where Muslims have kept Hindu community under siege.You dont have to be defensive.Did the media run a story about a congress Minister convicted for 20 years as a terrorist.Not a single BJP spokesmen raised the issue and congress got away with holier than thou attitude.

Ahmedabad, Oct 4 (IANS) Former Gujarat minister Mohammad Surti of the Congress party was sentenced to 20 years in jail Saturday for his role in the 1993 twin bombings in Surat.The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court also sentenced five others to 20 years in jail.
The court convicted Surti, along with 11 others, in connection with the April 1993 grenade blast at Surat Railway station aimed at the Gujarat Express stationed there. Nearly 40 people were injured in the explosion.
The second blast had occurred near Sadhna School in Varacha area of Surat, killing a schoolgirl.
Surti had procured hand grenades from the late Ahmedabad don Abdul Latif for the bombings, the court said. His son is also wanted in the case.
So far all the accused were on bail.
The grenade blast had rocked the city a month after the deadly Mumbai serial blasts.
A police official said that a part of the arms consignment of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s D Company had reached the city to be used to cause communal tension.

Neelakantan said...

Sure, it got Varun Gandhi publicity and probably de-hyphenated from his other famous, media darling cousin for ever. So it is perhaps good for him in the short run - he would have never got so much media coverage for himself. Long run, well, we will know.

But this is a complete disaster for BJP. The media is just waiting to pounce riding piggyback on incidents like these. And they have used this to tar the whole party.

A Doosra Perspective said...

I Don't see anything wrong in Varun's speech. He is absolutely right in saying that Majority is feeling like a minority in this country. Bread and butter issues alone won't help in winning polls, There is a need to enthuse the cardre and make them work for the party to win. The best ingredient is the right mix of hindutuva and developmental politics. Modituva will be a great recipe for success.

Till the tapes are proven its authentic let us support Varun and we should go by his word.

I see a Modi in Varun

A Doosra Perspective said...

Whats wrong with saying - i ll cutt off those hands???? made by varun.

What if someone tries to molest your maa/behen, will u say - oh i am a tolerant person, so i refrain!

believe me, i wont wait to say, i ll go ahead and cut. I am glad he said what he said (not thinking about the consequences). Whats the harm in loving and protecting your religion and people.

Vox Populi said...

Two points:

1. Varun made an articulate, forceful, unapologetic and even combative defense of himself, rarely ever seen from among the BJP crowd. His body language does not bespeak of a person who believes he is guilty. And if his own side doesn't believe him, who will?

2. More importantly, BJP needs to stop being squeamish about its imperfections, given that establishment media is bound to play them up. Which party doesn't have flaws? And BJP has them the least. Yet, defensive, apologetic, wringing hands: this is generally the picture of the party. It should fight back and target barbs directly at the Congress, and indirectly at the armies of sanctimonious Congress/Left 'opinion' windbags in the media. BJP's critics assault it with the latter's sanction. Why can't it learn to show some healthy contempt for its detractors?



At the end of NDA tenure there were "quick and opaque" defense deals. And here too under UPA we see the same thing. Hence, as far as knowledgeable voters too, there is very little difference between NDA & UPA (and NDA did not do itself proud by releasing the dreaded terrorists in Kandahar - trust me that hogwash of saving passengers lives is not a crap that is going to wash with any of us). Keeping that in the background, let us now shift to Varun.

I think its brilliant that Varun happened for BJP. Personally I feel that Varun made the speech (I think he did) more out of immaturity and the stage got the better of him. However, the speech being made by a BJP candidate, some of the "vitriolic" has to be thrown back to BJP.

I feel BJP should stick with him and play the game as it is - tape may be doctored, new guy - hence immature etc. There is a large section of people to whom Hindutva appeals in these uncertain times. With every bomb blast, not only in India but in Pakistan too, the level of suppressed anxiety rises - whether it is shown outwardly or not.

However, how Hindutva translates into security for India - that is an art that BJP has not invented. And as I said at the very beginning of the article, to may voters, there is hardly a difference between UPA and NDA (governance wise and ideology wise). Ideology matters but is not a major factor as people factor in the role of allies who will not allow the extreme elements of any party to play out.

Tell me why BJP will lead to a more secure India and a more prosperous India? Who will be BJP's (should it be largest single majority power) HOME / FINANCE / EXTERNAL / DEFENSE ministers?

Kandahar and those defense deal still stinks till today - however much BJP may try to justify to itself that it is otherwise.

Echohum said...

Came back to your blog after a couple of weeks and feels great to see it gather momentum!

On l'affaire Varun, a summation is not that easy. What surprises me, or almost, is how much coinage this has attracted in media-political debate. BJP-bashers aside, one wonders if any other greenhorn attempting a debut in Parliament would have held centrestage amidst somewhat more momentuous events in Election 2009 minus the surname.

Equally, it is not that easy to shrug off his appeal to at least a section of the Right. Symbols like this are in any case a necessity in a personality-dominated polity.

Lets see how it rolls...

Swapan Dasgupta said...

In response to some of your comments, let me add an observation. One of the reasons why the BJP-RLD alliance in western Uttar Pradesh was looking good was because it had managed to effect a de-facto Hindu consolidation. This was complemented by the potential split of Muslim votes among the Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress. Post-Varun, there is every likelihood of a Muslim consolidation (the beneficiary will vary according to constituency)against the BJP.

By catapulting himself to fame, Varun may have spoilt the BJP chances in 20 constituencies. Yet, this act of foolishness is being touted as a great Hindu achievement!

Anonymous said...

When is hate speech considered as a peace speech?

When it has a divine origin. Any doubts?

Read Quran

Literally, the Koran says the following about the Jews, Christians, and other “unbelievers:”

“O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Sura 5, verse 51).

“And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah DESTROY them; how they are turned away!” (Sura 9, verse 30).

“And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah's guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper.” (Sura 2, verse 120).

“And KILL them (the unbelievers) wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.” (Sura 2, verse 191).

“Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.” (Sura 3, verse 28).

“And guard yourselves against the fire which has been prepared for the unbelievers.” (Sura 3, verse 131)

“And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress, surely the unbelievers are your open ENEMY.” (Sura 4, verse 101).

“O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).” (Sura 9, verse 123).

“Surely We have prepared for the unbelievers chains and shackles and a burning fire.” (Sura 76, verse 4).

“O you who believe! if you obey a party from among those who have been given the Book (The Jews and Christians), they will turn you back as unbelievers after you have believed.” (Sura 3, verse 100).

“And their taking usury (interests on money) though indeed they were forbidden it and their devouring the property of people falsely, and We have prepared for the unbelievers from among them a painful chastisement.” (Sura 4. verse 161).

“Surely Allah has cursed the unbelievers (Jews, Christians and followers of other faiths) and has prepared for them a burning fire.” (Sura 33, verse 64).

“And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Apostle, then surely We have prepared burning fire for the unbelievers.” (Sura 48, verse 13).

Will the CEC ban the quran???
Let us be factually correct at least now when the taliban are taking over Pakistan.

In India the only way of being secular is to quote the Quran both in Arabic and a English and let the followers of the Quran deny.

We have forgotten the writing on the train full of butchered hindus and sikhs - Ladke liya Pakistan Haske lenge Hindustan.

doubtinggaurav said...

Swapan Da,

I agree with you that what Varun Gandhi has said is repungent to say the least. However I disagree that he is getting support only from a small group of activists. To my dismay he is being feted by well heeled Hindus, the kind who have access to Facebook (which has replace orkut as the cool thing). These type of reflexive responses borne more out of emotional outbursts are symptoms of a serious malaise, a dearth of robust intellectual tradition in cultural nationalism. RSS could have played a constructive role but apparently the powers that be in RSS have decided that the challenges faced by the Matribhumi are best confronted by marketing Gau Mutra Soda

Lord Parashurama said...

Great post! I've written a blog entry on the closely related issue of how the media has dealt with fiasco.

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Anonymous said...

Swapan, I agree with you. This issue is hijacking the BJP campaign and does not seem to go away. Advaniji and others have to gove tacit support and move on bread and butter issues.

Know the verity said...

U said,"One of the reasons why the BJP-RLD alliance in western Uttar Pradesh was looking good was because it had managed to effect a de-facto Hindu consolidation. This was complemented by the potential split of Muslim votes among the Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress. Post-Varun, there is every likelihood of a Muslim consolidation (the beneficiary will vary according to constituency)against the BJP.

By catapulting himself to fame, Varun may have spoilt the BJP chances in 20 constituencies. Yet, this act of foolishness is being touted as a great Hindu achievement!"
I can only say this prove u drawing room strategist r way away from the verity. Our real strength doesn't lie in splitting Muslim vote bank. Tell me when we had won the election by splitting Muslim vote bank ? The answer is never. And if we depend on it we will doom for sure. Pls don't blindly believe your survey reports.

Our real strength is Hindu vote bank which votes en masse when it sees party is doing something for them. I bet if u support Varun openly u won't lose a seat. In fact u'll gain. If the Muslim vote bank consolidation is happening then let it happen after all there will be Hindu vote bank consolidation too. Why don't u keep that fact in mind. Just rally behind him and see the result. I wager we won't lose a set coz of him. U just have to play ur Hindu card shrewdly. For e.g. make invokement of NSA on him as the case of appeasement. No NSA on SIMI, Mukhtar Ansari and other such goons but if u talk of Hindu rights and welfare you will be arrested under NSA. On these lines you have to create your Hindu card to win more than 30 plus seat. This is a god sent opportunity. Take it or drop it is in your hand. Hope sanity prevails in BJP wallahs.

Martian Tourist said...

Israel officially says they will kill 10 people for one from their own.

EU bluntly talks against "rioters" and "hooligans"

US diplomatically toes a smoking gun line...

then Why not India which's completely in control of her enemies?

Hate speech is not an hate speech if you are under siege by your aggressors and that your own breed doesn't know about their very own certain extinction.

Bhavananda said...

Dear Swapan da, on your last comment:
"Post-Varun, there is every likelihood of a Muslim consolidation (the beneficiary will vary according to constituency)against the BJP."

Any particular reason why the muslim votes will consolidate into *either* BSP or SP kitty given that all of them are equally renowned for their secular-than-thou approach? I can live with a logic the the muslim voter is frustrated (Thank God!) with the congress after 60 yrs. Given there is no seat sharing between BSP and SP, the muslim voter might be equally enthused to vote either way, helping BJP. We will actually wait to find out the end goal of all this, but in the meantime BJP should not dump Varun for reasons discussed before.

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapan,
You've deepened my respect for you with this post.I do agree in parts with what you've written.
Let me summarize it differently.
There are various speeches of Varun running everywhere.

a) The original speech where he is supposed to have used words like 'kat..' he has denied. I will take his word and say, that, the CD is doctored.

b)He has another speech, which , I don't hear him deny something about names like 'Mazrullah,Nasrullah etc.. being very dangerous. This kind of language is not acceptable to me.

Finally, I think he was very foolish..He should have realised he was a target, he being the 'Other Gandhi' and all. Obviously somebody will criticise him.

Lastly, I disagree with you on the level of impact. why?
i) In U.P. It might combine some of the Hindu vote., but, the Muslim Vote will go against him and BJP completely. This will hurt BJP since, uppper caste are already divided between Mayawati and BJP now. if Muslims join BSP, then BSP has (solid muslim + solid dalit + some of upper caste). This will be hard to defeat for BJP.

Also, in Other places, Muslim will become completely anti-BJP. Therefore, this will improve Hindu voteshre for BJP in UP. But, not many seats.

Sundararaman said...

What is Vote Bank politics? Deal with any issue with the dictum 'Consolidate your vote blocs and split opponents vote blocs'. If reacting to Varun episode is having this consideration without conviction on the method adopted, then this is vote bank politics. I feel the stand of moderation advocated is nothing but a different form of vote bank politics.

Venkatesh said...

Swapan Da,

I think your assessment is wrong here.

A. Even if the CD is not doctored, I dont think Varun said anything wrong. His language may have been coarse, but for gods sake he was addressing small town folks who would not understand diplomatic niceties. All he said or purported to have said was that any hand that is raised against the hindus, I will cut that hand off. So what is wrong about that, this right is enshrined in the right to self defence. I think the biggest problem is that some of the leaders in the BJP are more congressi and under attack from the media they dont stand up to it.

B. Fouler language has been used against the hindus and nobody had issues. I liked it when Maneka said that all Varun said was true. She spoke more sense than most of the apologetics.

Why is it so wrong to say things that are true, just because they apparently are said about muslims. Stretching that logic no one should talk of caste sytem, Sati et al as it may hurt hindus.

ayush said...


I tend to disagree on your view regarding BJP getting disadvantaged in 20 odd constituencies , especially now with the NSA drama being enacted.

If you remeber BJP had won 50 seats in UP riding on Hindu vote consolidation.

It also appears that Varun gandhi has managed to get wide support across the blogospere, This support is not for his statements or endorsing his stand , this episode has been successful in bringing out the media bias and hypocracy of politicians from the opposition (Non NDA)in the open, which in my view will become a rallying point.

Now if BJP can go all out on a development plank having dissociated itself from the comments in principle , but supporting Varun for being treated as innocent till proven guilty.

A combination of a development agenda if projected preperly, realization of the media bias among the eletorate, and consolidation of the hindutva vote could well change the game come may !!

PS. just see the responses to Rajdeep Sardesais blog on ibnlive on Varun and the 353 comments at last count, 90% of those are questioning the Media bias against BJP, even though most of them may not support what Varun has allegedly said.

Swapan Dasgupta said...

The use of the National Security Act against Varun is akin to using n-weapons to counter drunken behaviour. It has changed the entire game.

Oldtimer said...

The people who scream their lungs off about the potential misuse of tough legislation (like POTA for example) are the ones who misuse it the most. I notice that that's not a point that Comrades Sardesai and Barkha Dutt want to highlight.

Chaitali said...

I just saw it on youtube.
I think, it is a contrevarsy to gain attention.

Ghost Writer said...

Dr. Dasgupta - you stress that the polarization will consolidate Muslim votes. Is it not transparent that this media hit job has been carried out to achieve exactly that? I am at a loss to understand why the BJP does not play this game to it's logical conclusion. SP-BSP-Congress want to keep consolidating the Muslim vote-bank - well the answer to that is not to try and split their bank, build fragile alliances and remain at the mercy of your allies (err.. blackmailers). The solution is to build your own vote bank.
I agree with the NSA thing - the 'martyr' value of something like this is huge. I hope they are nimble enough to take advantage of it.