One of the major characteristics of Indian elections is the kind of language that gets to be used against political adversaries just as the campaigning for the polls begins to heat up. What most election candidates forget is that they are not the kind of orators like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maula Azad or other politicians of India’s freedom movement. A very major difference is that politicians of that generation were generally well-read and cultured people. There are very few truly educated orators among the politicians of the present generation. Not surprisingly, the biggest mistake they often make stems from their ibility to make a fair and accurate assessment of themselves. In many cases, such an assessment would have shown up the lack of education of most of our would-be lawmakers. It is the same lack of education that blinds them to their lack of restraint in their use of language when they are out to attack their adversaries during the election campaigns. Very recently, we had two despicable instances of foul pre-election language that any decent and sensitive individual would have avoided even in the face of the worst provocation. In the two instant cases, the use of foul language was even more condemble due to the total lack of any kind of provocation.
Speaking at a meeting in Mangaldai on Sunday, Badruddin Ajmal, chief of the AIUDF, came out with the most bizarre explation for Prime Minister rendra Modi’s sudden visit to Pakistan. He said that rendra Modi had gone secretly to Pakistan to eat beef in that country. Quite apart from the fact that the food habits of one’s political adversaries should not find a place in election campaigns, it is a well-known fact that Prime Minister rendra Modi is a strict vegetarian, and therefore, such a wild and bizarre remark about his secret preference for beef was not only in very bad taste but was a clear attempt at creating commul conflict within the country. It should be very clear to Badruddin Ajmal that his statement about Prime Minister Modi’s food habits was totally false and concocted. There can be no doubt that he made the statement with mischievous intent in order to create commul strife if possible. And while we condemn Badruddin Ajmal for such low-down tricks, we would also like to watch carefully what the ‘secular’ fraternity of our country, that was lately up in arms against intolerance, intends to do about Badruddin Ajmal’s remarks about the Prime Minister’s real reason for his secret visit to Pakistan.
If Badruddin Ajmal’s speculations about the reasons for Prime Minister rendra Modi’s unexpected visit to Pakistan were in abomible taste, the remarks made by former Assam Minister Nilamani Sen Deka about Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani are no better. At a Congress party workers meeting in lbari district on Sunday, Nilamani Sen Deka said that many people considered Smriti Irani as the second wife of Prime Minister rendra Modi. In all fairness to the Congress, it must be said that the party lost no time in condemning this statement of Deka. “Our party condemns what Nilamani Sen Deka said. This kind of comment is not only against our party’s ideology but against our Assamese culture,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told jourlists on the sidelines of an official function in Guwahati on Monday morning. What needs to be underscored perhaps is that such comments are not only against the ideology of any party or against Assamese culture, but against the tenets of accepted human behaviour anywhere in the world. And most people in Assam are not in agreement with the Chief Minister of the State that Deka’s apology to him and his public apology should serve the ends of justice and that there is no need for any punishment as such. The chief minister of any State has a duty to ensure that electoral contests should be conducted with a certain minimum of decorum and the total avoidance of abusive or objectioble language. This objective is unlikely to be attained when the Chief Minister and leader of the party takes such a casual attitude to serious breaches of conduct and objectioble statements. In the case of Deka, some exemplary punishment was very much on the cards considering his earlier reckless statements and his total lack of restraint in his statements. Nor should Deka be able to go scot free by merely talking about “political conspiracy” or blaming his stars. It is high time he learnt to be accountable for both his actions and his speech. This is unlikely to happen if he mages to go unpunished every time.