Politics is always about perceptions, but in the world of Facebook feeds, YouTube videos, Twitter trolls and WhatsApp forwards, truth is often subjected to enormous proportions of vulnerability. No wonder then, it’s a very sad state of affairs when the Prime Minister of the nation himself survives by peddling false history.
Our Prime Minister who once criticised his predecessor for remaining silent makes sure that he is heard…..that he is heard loud and clear on All India Radio’s Mann Ki Baat and ofcourse the election rallies. While Prime Minister Modi exuberates a sense of thoughtfulness on “Mann Ki Baat”, it is the election rallies where Modi, in line with his signature muscular Hindu nationalist rhetoric goes on a rampage manufacturing false and misleading claims.
Recently, during an election rally in Karnataka, Modi alleged that Congress party leaders did not bother to visit freedom fighters, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, while they were imprisoned by the British colonial rulers. History records however, show that Nehru had infact paid a visit to Bhagat Singh in jail.
Earlier, he had accused former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru of insulting Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimayya. However, a quick peek into the history tells us that Nehru not only appointed General Thimayya as Commander-in-Chief of the Army back in 1957 but he also successfully persuaded the General to take his resignation back in 1959. He went on to complete his tenure and retired in 1961. General Cariappa, the Commander in Chief from 1948 to 1953, was sent to Australia as High Commissioner post retirement as a measure to keep him away from politics.
Last year, during the Gujarat elections, Narendra Modi in a rather absurd claim accused the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh of colluding with the Pakistanis in fixing Gujarat elections. In another rally in Karnataka, he said that a Congress leader chose to be amid those raising slogans like “Bharat ke tukde honge” giving them blessings, apparently referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. Even though the accusations of raising such slogans in JNU were never proved but what is more surprising is that he spoke on the topic now, two years after the incident while he remaining silent during the controversy that saw thrashing of university students and labelling an entire institution as anti-national based on unverified accusations.
Narendra Modi truly knows the art of disparaging his competitors on every occasion but does it befit a Prime Minister to engage in lies and falsehoods for seeking votes? Does it befit the stature of a Prime Minister to stoop so low, to use such language, to manipulate voters just to win elections? He seems to have forgotten that he is after all the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy and not just a politician campaigning for his party. His habit of making false claims as Prime Minister are deeply disconcerting and are suggestive of the fact that he can and will do anything at all to win an election.
Mass manipulation is now an industry and Prime Minister Modi seems to be on the wrong side of it.