By Sushil Kutty
They hate his guts, and that was reason enough to plaster the walls in Delhi with posters demanding ‘Modi Hatao/Desh Bachao’. Tens of thousands of these posters carrying the message appeared overnight in the city where Prime Minister Narendra Modi lives, and rules from.
The BJP should have taken it in the spirit of accommodation that marks democracies, but for the BJP leaders, sworn to protect the name and honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the posters, calling for the ouster of Modi, were more than eyesores. They were blasphemous.
So, action followed quickly, faster than the eye could blink. Delhi Police, always at the beck and call of the Centre, swung into action and arrested six persons. And lodged 44 FIRs. For a change, the police did not avoid or delay lodging FIRs.
Like they say, strange are the ways of law enforcement! Haven’t we seen central investigating agencies, like the ED and the CBI, going on calibrated raids to effect the arrests of opposition leaders ever since the Modi government was sworn in to upset the applecart of duly-elected non-BJP governments?
The police of Delhi used a long forgotten law to charge and arrest the poster-plasters. Two of the six arrested are joint-owners of a printing press, where the posters were printed and bundled for transportation. They did not know of the obscure colonial time law.
The police crackdown heightened interest in the posters, thousands of which were removed from the defaced walls of Delhi; the tens of thousands of the walls not even given the courtesy of a cursory look at the all-important message on the posters that upset the BJP.
Of late, particularly since the two-part BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ was aired in the UK, and then banned in India, the BJP and the Modi government had become very sensitive to any criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ways. For, embedded in the criticisms were elements of truth, the bitter truth.
That being said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys the highest national and global ratings. He is feted by world leaders and, according to common talk, he could even be in line for a Nobel, though in the eyes of India’s Opposition, Modi does not stand a chance, not with the title of ‘Divider-in-Chief’.
Nobody should speak ill of the Prime Minister, but that is how things stand. Millions of Indians have a strong dislike for “Modi-ji”, and no government can put the gun to their temples and order them to adore the man they so strongly despise.
In fact, the Scandinavians, who give out the Nobel, would be horrified if they’re given the translations of what all is hurled at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by some of his subjects, and the leaders of the opposition parties which have been at the receiving end of the Modi government’s high-handed actions.
As for the offending ‘Modi Hatao; Desh Bachao’ (Remove Modi, save the country) posters, the Delhi Police clarified that those who posted the posters were actually booked for defacing public property. The law says the posters should have carried the name of the printing press, which were missing in these posters.
The posters were bound for the Aam Aadmi Party office when the police intercepted the vehicle and impounded the posters. The fact of the matter is, AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was created to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi harrowing days, and the Bharatiya Janata Party knows this.
The trouble for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the BJP, is that too much has been accumulating against Modi in the nine years he has been Prime Minister. And Modi faces an array of ambitious 2024 prime ministerial aspirants. Besides Kejriwal, there is Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee.
The ‘Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao’ posters especially rattled the BJP. The walls of Delhi have been “defaced” at a time when India has assumed the G-20 presidency, and G-20 events were ubiquitous all across India, especially in the capital Delhi.
Imagine the reactions of the G-20 visitors if they got to know what the posters conveyed — that India’s people needed saving from the very man elected to save them! This was what Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was holding forth on in London. The overnight appearance of the ‘Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao’ posters simply could not be allowed — at any cost.
That said, Modi is not the first Prime Minister to be plastered with offending posters; Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also got hit with ‘Indira Hatao; Desh Bachao’ posters, and she took them on the chin! Also, the Congress did not create so much of a hullabaloo. Such things happened. After all, everything is fair in love and politics!
The Aam Aadmi Party tweeted that the ‘Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao’ was essential to tell the electorate that this was the “peak of Modi government’s dictatorship.” The AAP, however, did not know that there was an obscure law which could come in the way. (IPA Service)