‘Amit A Shah’s sharp vilification can be interpreted as a sign of nervousness in the saffron camp,’ says Amulya Ganguli.
IMAGE: BJP President Amit A Shah addresses a BJP rally in Mumbai, April 6, 2017. Photograph: Mitesh Bhuvad/PTI Photo
Amit A Shah’s against the BJP’s opponents — calling them dogs, cats, snakes, etc — cannot but gladden the party’s hordes of foul-mouthed trolls.
They will see in the BJP president a person after their own heart who shares their vicious outlook where anti-national, anti-Hindu, elements are concerned.
However, neither Amit A Shah nor a common garden variety saffron troll is an oddity, for diatribes of this nature have long been a part of a Sangh Parivar tradition.
Before the age of the Internet, Sanghis used to send postcards or inland letters to their critics, generally advising them to migrate to Pakistan and asking whether they allow their female relatives to entertain lascivious Muslims.
Amit A Shah, therefore, can be said to be adhering to an established Hindutva custom.
How effective his vituperative outburst will be in convincing voters outside the BJP’s committed followers to reject these purported denizens of the animal world in the political field is not known.
But the sharp vilification can also be interpreted as a sign of nervousness in the saffron camp.
There was another occasion when a similar sense of unease on the eve of the Gujarat assembly election had induced the prime minister to dub his predecessor a traitor for conspiring with Pakistan along with the former vice-president and a former army chief.
Again, it is not known how many people in Narendra D Modi’s home province had been persuaded to vote against the party of the conspirators.
But the fact that the BJP fell well behind in the number of seats in the assembly from Amit A Shah’s predicted figure of 150 suggests that Modi was not as widely believed as his party may have wished.
Similarly, the BJP’s supporters may wonder whether Amit Shah’s abuses will prove to be counterproductive since the coarse utterances militate against the claims of a party to be an admirer and follower of ‘Bharatiya sanskriti‘.
It is noteworthy that the BJP chief made these remarks while speaking in Mumbai on the occasion of the party’s 38th foundation day, for the Maximum City is the home of the Shiv Sena which is also not known for restrained behaviour.
As is known, the Shiv Sena’s favourite ploy is to blacken the faces of those it does not like or even beat them up as an MP did on an Air India flight when a hapless employee questioned his conduct.
One of the reasons why the BJP believes it has succeeded in ousting the Shiv Sena from its No 1 position in Maharashtra is the perception in the state, and especially in Mumbai, that members of the party of Narendra D Modi and Amit A Shah are not ruffians like those of its ally.
Amit Shah’s vitriol may induce a rethinking on this count.
The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are also likely to be taken aback by this insolent usurpation of their prerogative to use foul language.
Will the Congress gain?
Will Rahul Gandhi be able to persuade his followers to adhere to his advice to love the enemy — turn the other cheek! — in the face of such uninhibited attacks?
Will the RSS wonder whether ‘Bharatiya sanskriti‘ is in danger from its own kind?
The answer, as they say, is blowing in the wind.
Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.