Elections 2014: Neither good nor bad, it`s ugly this time
Shantasree Sarkar/Zee Research Group
It has been a free for all when it comes to abuse this election with hate speech being the rule rather than the exception.
The negativity has dominated the proceedings right through the campaigning but got worse in last fortnight or more with the onset of the fifth phase of polls on April 17.
The tone has got shriller by the minute and the tonality has engulfed one and all. Beyond civility, the biggest casualty thus has been the lack of focus on core issues.
A study of speeches by key politicians during the period under review shows that BJP Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi has been the recipient of the choicest abuse from across the political spectrum.
He has not shied away himself from playing the hate politics often returning the fire with fire or at times initiating the diatribe against his opponents.
First, this is how Modi has unified diverse politicians in a magnified attack on him. Consider the adjectives used and repeated ad nauseam across the length and breadth of this election:
Rahul Gandhi blamed Narendra Modi for the Gujarat riots and also commented upon his conjugal relationship.
Beni Prasad Verma called Narendra Modi an absconder and a “Goonda” of RSS on April 1, 2014.
Azam Khan abused Narendra Modi by calling him “Dog’s child” on 2nd April.
In the recent past, Mamata Banerjee claimed Narendra Modi to be a butcher and blamed him for igniting riots in Assam. Earlier Congress leader Imran Masood courted extremity when he declared that he would chop Narendra Modi into pieces.
K.Siddaramaiah called Narendra Modi to be “Narhantak” on 23rd March and even Himanta Biswa Sarmah shared similar thoughts, and called him a “Mass-Murderer”.
Modi has often returned the fire with interest making the hate pitch the cornerstone of his campaign.
He started the “Shezada: business and went on to say that “Mother-Son” will not form the government anymore. Narendra Modi slammed Congress’s election symbol as “Khooni Panja” (bloody hand).
He showed his “nationalist” ideology by saying that he will remove all the immigrants of Bangladesh, if NDA comes to power. This even ignited violence with the opposition dubbing him communal.
His “derogatory” statements have spared none save Priyanaka Gandhi. He, however, has chosen her husband for special mention, accusing him of corruption charges, much to discomfiture of the young Gandhi.
The larger BJP Parivar has added fire to the fuel. The list of star speakers here includes Amit Shah, Praveen Togadia, Giriraj Singh and Ramdas Kadam. The pitch has been strident and intimidating often stoking fears in the minorities. Vinay Katiyar, on 15th April, attacked SP leader Azam Khan and accused him of initiating the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Giriraj Singh ordered the people, who slaughter cows, to shift to Pakistan. Similarly, Azam Khan’s praise for Muslim soldiers was aimed to polarize minority votes.
Beyond the UPA-NDA war of dirty words, other regional leaders, especially in Uttar Pradesh too have had a field day abusing each other.
The political skirmish got ugly on May 1, 2014, when Mulayam Singh Yadav, SP leader, attacked Mayawati, asking “Should I call her Miss, Mrs or sister”. Mayawati retaliated and declared that Mulayam Singh had lost his mental balance.
Recently, Nahad Hasan’s (SP) attacked Mayawati by saying, “Mayawati sat on Modi’s lap…she will do so again. Both are unmarried”, which triggered fresh controversy.
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