A chameleon (girgit) could learn a few tricks from Narendra Modi. They cannot yet change colors as fast as Modi does. Modi’s concern for the constitutional institutions like the Election Commission is extremely heart rendering. The same hypocrite abused the former Election Commissioner James Michael Lyndoh in the most vile language in 2002. He had also abused Justice JS Verma, chairman of National Human Rights Commission, in 2002, for giving a report against Gujarat Government in respect of the violence. Mr Verma’s car was attacked by BJP activists and I was a witness to that attack.
Speaking at the Sambalpur rally in Orissa on March 14, 2014, Modi thundered against the so called blasphemy committed by Salman Khurshid. He said:
I wonder which country does he represent. He has gone to London to abuse the EC. He has destroyed its reputation. They are looking for excuses for their certain defeat. He has attacked the Supreme Court also. Prime Minister, it is your responsibility to look into it. This Indian National Congress should be renamed Institutions Neglecting Congress. They break and demean all constitutional institutions. It is their habit to misuse such institutions
What exactly had Khurshid said in London to attract the ire of nationalist Modi. As per report, in a meeting Khurshid had made the following statement:
But they are again only three of them…Three of them can decide what word you can use in an election campaign. As I understand the broad philosophical approach is ‘you should do and say nothing that wins you an election’, you should try your best to lose elections. For five years we try to lose elections but give us 15 days to try andÂ win them please.
Khurshid was obviously not criticizing any specific member of the Commission nor its role in conducting the elections. The statement in its correct perspective is nothing to write home about. But now let us recall Modi’s insolent attack on Lyngdoh, the former Chief Election Commissioner in 2002, for refusing to prepone the 2002 Gujarat elections to mid 2002 instead of December to suit Modi who wanted to make fully exploit the Hindu sentiments aroused in the February violence. Modi had derided Lyngdoh by pointing out his Christian roots and hinting that since he was a Christian, he had sided with Sonia Gandhi to postpone the assembly elections. Modi kept on referring to the Chairman by his full name James Michael Lyndoh to rub in Christian roots of Lyndoh. While speaking at a public meeting at Bodeli near Vadodara, Gujarat, on August 20, 2002, Modi had said:
Some journalists asked me recently â€œHas James Michael Lyngdoh come from Italy?” I said I don’t have hisÂ janam patri, I will have to ask Rajiv Gandhi. Then the journalists said, ”Do they meet in church?”. I replied, ”Maybe they do.” James Michael Lyngdoh came and visited Ahmedabad and Vadodara. And then he used asabhyaÂ basha (indecent language) with the officials. Gujaratis can never use such language because our rich cultural heritage does not permit it. Then he gave aÂ fatwaÂ ordering that the elections can’t be held. I want to ask him: he has come to this conclusion after meeting only members of the minority community. Are only minority community members citizens of India? Are majority community members not citizens of this country? Is the constitutional body meant only for the minority community? Did he ever bother to meet the relatives of those killed in the Godhra carnage? Why didn’t he meet them? Why didn’t he ask them whether the situation was conducive for polls? Why? James Michael Lyngdoh, the people of Gujarat are posing a question to you.
Modi’s utterances were so nauseating that even his PM Atal Behari Vajpayee had to intervene and rap him. Vajpayee, while deriding Modi, had said:
I am distressed by the undignified controversy involving the chief election commissioner and the chief minister of Gujarat in the context of the Assembly elections in Gujarat. Both are high Constitutional authorities and they must be given the respect that is their due. One may have differences over the decision or the attendant observations of the EC with regard to the assembly polls in Gujarat. There are constitutional means to deal with such matters.
What had happened to Mr Narendra Modi’s respect for constitutional authorities in 2002?Follow the author here: