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5

To The Desk of Arun Jaitley

As ever Mr. Arun Jaitley has come up with an explanation to another contentious matter that has concerned the nation regarding the leadership of his organisation BJP.

There is a term in journalism that explains the creative exercise of proposing distinctive interpretation, especially as used by politicians to sway public opinion. Spin is the utilised word for such an exercise. Between adversarial politics it has become quite rampant to counter the brickbats of criticism by fielding spin doctors deft in the game of skirting the issues gnawing at the central discourse.

The issue of Mr. Narendra Modi’s marital status came to prominent attention when recently Mr.Rahul Gandhi brought up the issue in one of his political campaign speeches after the disclosure of certain facts about the BJP leader that have been hitherto, by all accounts, refuted and avoided for all of political history of Narendra Modi, especially recently for the last decade of his rule of the state of Gujarat by coming to power successively for four terms.

In a blog Mr.Arun Jaitley has made effort to counter the public gaze attracted by certain discrepancy regarding the said issue compounded by Rahul Gandhi’s speech.

Below are the comments and resulting questions arising out of the listed blog points being shared in the media.

Narendra Modi’s Marital Status:

In an affidavit before the Returning Officer in Vadodra, Narendra Modi disclosed the name of his "wife".

When this is the first thing to be acknowledged in the blog that legally there is a marriage between concerned two people then why is Mr.Jaitley still reluctant and adamant to only use the legitimate word wife in special quotes, as in "wife"? What is a "wife"? Is this an appropriate way to refer to a woman long denied acknowledgment and opportunistically recognized only to save your party's skin? Is he and/or the party still in denial of the legality and/or the truth in the marital status in question? Has Modi filed the form correctly or not after all this noise? If Mr. Jaitley is in doubt of Narendra Modi's wife being his wife, he could contest Modi's claim on his form.

This fact is sufficiently in public domain that Narendra Modi and the lady were made to solemnize a marriage as young children.

This too is a fact sufficiently in the same public domain that Narendra Modi has been, throughout his political history, only proposing to be a single man to gain fillip into the ranks of the RSS which prizes “celibacy”1,and thus carve out a public persona of a leader only married to the cause of his ideology. And that this contradiction, of coming out clean with the reality of his marital status, only hurt his political prospects in deep rooted conservatism of Indian culture. So we arrive at the most important questionon this issue:

Q1.Did Mr.Narendra Modi betray the nation and its citizens to further his personal political career, especially in the times of a leader like statesman Atal Bihari Vajpayee who came to be revered for a celibate life in the service of his cause?

 

They never lived together. Modi dedicated himself to spiritual and political activities.The lady lived with her parents,and worked as school teacher.

First of all it is wrong to say they never lived together when it’s also sufficiently in the public domain that they spent 3 years of their marriage in proximity of each other.Secondly,and more importantly, all this has fallen flat after the self acknowledgement by the Gujarat CM after all this while that he has a wife.

While we understand that a person's private life is his own, if privacy is invoked to cover up the use of an outright lie as a USP, then it remains merely a cover up. Narendra Modi knowingly publicized his single and celibate status to project himself as a worthier politician than he apparently was - by his own standard. Clearly the single and celibate state was desirable enough to invent and use as a selling point.

We saw the "celibate" get questioned when he was exposed to have asked for state resources to be misused to spy on a woman. To a public not interested in his personal life and correctly interested in his professional life, the extraordinary unofficial deployment of state resources for the surveillance of a woman seems to be a rather inappropriate interest.

Now we see the "single" under question as well. His personal lie is his own, but what is the explanation for deliberately showcasing it as the opposite of fact?

Q2.Why Did Mr.Narendra Modi not annul the union if that is what he was driven towards for his future life as a‘celibate’ and be revered as one with no such marital history,the idea that resides well in the public domain,especially in the domains of RSS and the BJP?

By all accounts,the comments of lady have been extremely dignified.The requirement of filing an affidavit with the nomination form was directed by the Supreme Court as a part of the voter's right to know facts even about the private lives of their candidates.

While it is not our right to ask anyone to divorce, reconcile or remain separated with their wives, it most certainly raises the question of why the separation was not made legal if that was the requirement of his professional role? Why lie?

Q3.Why did Mr.Modi,all the while being the Chief Minister of a state four times over,allow the propaganda machine to propagate his “Single & Celibate”status?

The Supreme Court only gave voice to the long standing and valid expectations of the people of India.

Without this, Narendra Modi would again campaign a single and celibate status and make a virtue out of abandoning a wife and denying her existence. Last thing we need is a cult status for abandoning unwanted wives, right?

The Legal Position:

Since the marriage was never acted upon in accordance with the requirements of the then law, Narendra Modi was earlier leaving the column regarding the name and assets of his spouse blank.

Q4.Why did Mr.Modi still claim to be a “Single”when only later he had to acknowledge the fact of the said union of marriage?

It is only in September2013that the Supreme Court clarified that no column of the affidavit could be left blank.

Surely,it is seen as the solemn duty of the political candidate to come out clean on the basic question of matrimonial status to the people of the nation? Is it not a shame that it has to be made mandatory in the interest of the people for the due merit such an issue deserves?

Narendra Modi, therefore,made a truthful disclosure. Since when has declaration of a lawful relationship, whether acted upon or not,become a political issue?

Q5. Is it not the solemn duty of the political candidate to truthfully disclose the basic question of matrimonial status to the people of the nation?

Could you, Mr. Jaitley, in all honesty say that Mr. Modi has been truthful about this disclosure? Do you deny that Modi's single and celibate status has been projected as a measure of his eligibility as a leader? Are we to understand that not only was he not eligible to claim "single and celibate" then, he admits that he is not, now?

On a side note, would this explain the mega corporate loot in Gujarat and the inexplicable funding of his election campaign? Is the whole problem really that he got trusted because he wasn't a married chap with motives to engage in questionable dealings, and he actually was? Jawab do, Mr Jaitley, the nation wants to know (and mostly because Modi isn't real great at accountability and you seem to be answering at least).

Politics is the sense of will of the people.As such people deserve to know the truth and the fact is even strengthened by the order of thelaw passed bySupreme Court in the welfare of the rights of the people to know these basic facts about their leader even if the leader obfuscates and deny adding value,that the leader himself demands ofhis or her adversaries,to the political aspirations of the people.

 

Breach of “Unstated Code”:

Indian politics has an unstated code of conduct.Ordinarily,we don't drag families and ladies into controversy.

Rahul Gandhi is guilty of breaching that code.He must remember that the disturbed matrimonial relationship of a former Indian Prime Minister was never a political issue.

How many current senior Congressmen are in illicit relationships and yet have paraded their wives only for photo opportunities during nominations.

Surely if people have a right to know about the "legal"relationship of Modi,they also have a right to know about the illicit relationships of Congressmen.The latter is more relevant for people's right to know about the ethics of their candidates.

However,devoid of serious political issues and understanding of those issues,Rahul Gandhi has reflected his immaturity and desperation by making the 'Modi marriage'as a political issue.

Yes, we have heard about this code before, when Sushmaji objected to the exposes of Vadra's dealings by referring to it. Kind of like a gentleman's sparring club. You must fight with honor, it is a game. No coloring outside lines, where both may do as they will and we will let it happen.

We appreciate you for informing us that for all his faults, Rahul Gandhi isn't obeying this game of deception.

Q6. Is this statement, “Unstated Code”, not EXACTLY what BJP and Congress both deny?

This one is not about Modi alone, Mr. Jaitley. If you have an understanding between parties to not question certain kinds of wrong actions, what does that mean? Does it not mean that you allow each other unquestioned wrongs as long as they are outside the "play area"?

Is it not correct that the recent threat of Ms.Uma Bharti of putting Mr.Robert Vadra in jail if BJP forms the next government a direct retaliation of this very breach of Unstated Code or the tacit understanding between the two established parties? Ironical,isn’t it,that the case of Robert Vadra first landed up in the offices of BJP and yet it takes a breach of code that pressures the BJP to apply retaliatory threat against the Congress?

Ms.Meenakshi Lekhi on a debate on the Times Now has claimed that a Commission needs to be set up in matters relating to the “inter-state”operations of Mr.Robert Vadra and that it will only be setup in time to come.Why does it take the Rajasthan Government,formed at same time as the Delhi Government few months ago,to form a commission of enquiry when you yourself have questioned the short lived Aam Aadmi Party government that still manage to take eminent actions of National concern in the little time of governance that party functioned in?

And lastly, Mr. Jaitley, I am not a politician. Your stupid code doesn't apply to me. I see your leader lying to my country, there is no "code" that can stop me from demanding accountability.

A citizen

 

Citations:

Critics have accused Mr Modi of deserting his wife after he joined the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),which prizes celibacy.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-26970397...at a rally in February, "I have no family ties,I am single.

Who will I be corrupt forMr Modi has been silent on his marital status while rising through the ranks in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS,the BJP's ideological mentor,an organisation in which celibacy is expected.http://www.ndtv.com/elections/article/election-2014/in-poll-affidavit-narendra-modi-says-he-is-married-brother-gives-clarification-50663

4

Let me begin with paying that obligatory lip service lest I be seen as a "Modi hater". I am not, but seeing as how I rarely hate at all, I don't know that that is a measure of Modi. Outright, I accept that Gujarat was a disturbed state for a long time. I also accept that there have been no riots since then. I also accept rioters outnumbered police. I can totally understand that controlling riots is not like flipping a switch and failure and delays are all a matter of whether the cops are able to subdue the riots fast enough. I also understand that cops are not exactly Mahatmas and are perfectly capable of inhuman acts on their own initiative using existing chaos as cover.

I don't know if Modi actually provoked the riots or supported rioters by delaying order. If he did, I wouldn't be surprised considering the tone of his speeches during those days. There was anger, there was extensive fear mongering about minorities. But he cannot be said to be the lone star on this. There is an abundance of people who do such things. Today itself, a crackpot Muslim fundamentalist from the UK has called for the Muslims in India to rise up against the government and impose the Sharia on India. The response from the Muslims has largely been along the lines of *yawn*. I think to save his pride, the government of India blocked his website in the nick of the moment before he crashed spectacularly, because the website inspired more jokes than anything else.

What is my point?

My point is that you can't just randomly say a few things and think that people will start killing each other. Not even outrageous things. You just get laughed at. Modi made fiery speeches, yes. But the fact of the matter is that many of us heard those speeches, called him a crackpot and moved on. This was 2002 - Modi had just become the CM of Gujarat a few months back, and had nothing particular to his name as CM and a reputation as a hot head from before becoming CM. For someone living in Mumbai and not interested in politics, he was just another angry speech maker. We have Balasaheb who wasn't that distant a memory in those times. You listen, you move on. You most certainly don't go shopping for  sword. And frankly, I think the hot heads know that too, while they try so hard to "wake" people up. For most of the time, these influences on thought are in order to legitimize the radicals and allow them social acceptance (which is  a hideous thing too). At the end of the day, those who had the inclination to murder were able to murder.

What do I believe? I am less certain that Modi was culpable. Not because I like the man, which I don't , but I genuinely don't believe that what happened was within the capacity of any one person to prevent. Also, my understanding of Modi is that of someone with an extremely rigidly defined idea of responsibility, which wouldn't include something like that - even if he hated Muslims. His brand of hate is more condescending, throwing scraps but controlling opportunities kind - what we see even now with the compensations, for example. In the sense of ruling over them and forcing them to toe the line. Gujarat seems to be the only state I can see where the supporters of the ruling party actually seem to expect citizens to be grateful for governance, and see them as ungrateful and biased if they aren't appropriately appreciative. This is unique even for the BJP. I don't imagine him being okay with being in the "wrong"  and damaging own image to "stoop to the level" of those he has contempt for. Doesn't fit.

My hunch is that he was not able to control the angry Hindutva crowd and his ego got in the way of taking a stand that would be visibly disowning. I also think that his reputation as a hot head and anti-Muslim speaker allowed those under him a lot of sanction whether explicit or not - I don't think it was explicit. It is also possible that there were assumptions made in his name even in conveying orders, considering what people knew of him. I don't think the man himself asked for any violence to be excused. In my view, he wouldn't want a violent conquering, but a social one - as in place in hierarchy, not a risking of reputation to become equal with the ones hated. That was more the Shiv Sena style - visible victories and control through physical threat - BJP is more subtle. A secular image is a core interest, as is the need to be seen as impeccably constitutional.

The Hindutva organizations aren't exactly a monolith, and there are plenty of factions and Modi was already controversial. Many within the BJP didn't and still don't like him. There had been questions about his rise to power. I don't know how much power he had to go against a visibly Hindu tide without being out-powered in support. This is why I don't know how culpable Modi was for the riots. India, and indeed Gujarat specifically too has a history of riots. Whether it was the dog that wagged the tail, or the tail that wagged the dog, the end result was the same - deadly riots.

I think we need to disengage from the obsession with Modi, because whether guilty or free, there are many other sins getting smokescreened. For example, the hindrance to investigations. The obsession is to trace it back to Modi. It may indeed be true, but what is most definitely true is that there were people who hindered investigations directly - with or without his order/sanction. To me, logically, it seems to make sense to nail these people and follow what shakes out of the tree when it gets rattled. To pursue the actual instances of state support for the rioters and file cases against them individually. My logic is that if it is Modi who indeed allowed these things, with enough of the guys on scene nailed, you'll get more concrete evidence to nail him directly rather than this running around trees and opinion wars.

If it isn't Modi who sanctioned, but someone else who may have acted as a communicator, but instead directed things to taste, then those names will come up. It is completely astonishing that there aren't more arrests considering the size of mobs. Modi doesn't make or prevent individual arrests - what is happening in the police force itself? Why were some policemen seen to be participating in riots? Who were they, and have they been punished? It is in the interests of all to not begin with a conclusion, but instead work empirically and in ways that will help courts to sentence culprits.

Also, those who speak in defense of Modi need to understand that it were supporters of Modi too going around killing people. Modi is a Hindutva leader. The rioters were also among people who voted him into power. These people have not exactly been disowned. While the government has not been able to arrest too many rioters, how many of Modi supporters have given up criminals among them to help their dear Chief Minister enforce the peace everyone now claims he intended? Or were they aliens who rioted in Gujarat and no one knew who they were? How many of Modi's supporters have actually participated in riots and escaped being caught? To say "we regret" is easy. To claim golden intentions is still easier. What are the actions that have demonstrated these intentions that they should be believed just because they were claimed?

Aren't many of those convinced of Modi's guilt the same people who want to repeal Afzal Guru's sentence for lack of evidence? It is a noble ideal - placating the country is no reason to hang anyone, but it should be applied uniformly, no? Placating people shouldn't require the metaphorical hanging of Modi either. There needs to be more respect for law and order and evidence based process. And also a willingness to not lynch people out of belief. As for long overdue justice and Modi being blamed for it.... it is another reason to attack him. Justice in India is SLOW most of the time. Sometimes it doesn't happen. It isn't a Modi special. Our conviction rate for crimes in general is about 10%. Most of them had nothing to do with Modi. We are fucked up as a country. This needs to change? Yes.

Right now, the "case" on Modi in media courts is running exactly the way we are trying to get cops to NOT run - by first having a suspect, then forcing enough confessions (true or false) to nail him - and family of the accused making claims of good character and saying "he can't have done such a thing" - neither is necessarily true. Of course, such a belief based process forces anyone it touches to make illogical choices out of further belief, since there isn't evidence for anyone to have an informed decision. Our National Obsession - stupidification. Because stupid believers are power without accountability.

Such thought leaders do more harm than good by encouraging mob justice. The result is damage to the country, because if the courts do indeed declare Modi innocent, they will have created a whole mob of people who will still want him hanged. The same goes for Modi supporters. If the courts do declare Modi guilty, they will have created a whole mob of people who still want him declared innocent. Then we will have "justice" stalled for more years for security fears in country. Mobs are rarely good for anyone except those who use them to get results.