by Amulya Ganguli
There may be an explanation for the deafening silence of the prime minister and other ministers (except Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who has courageously broken ranks) over the abuse faced by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on social media.
It is not because she is allegedly a closet supporter of L K Advani and was not too enthusiastic about Narendra Damodardas Modi’s elevation, first, as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and then as the prime minister.
The reason for the not-so-golden silence has a wider ambit.
It is ideological in essence and not something trivial like the personal preferences of the external affairs minister.
The ideology in focus is Hindutva, the guiding weltanschuung of the BJP and the saffron brotherhood.
It is obvious that Sushma Swaraj’s critics are all supporters of Hindutva.
What is more, the vileness of their denunciations only testifies to their devotion to the cause.
Had they been less caustic, it would have only shown that they did not feel strongly enough about the minister’s transgressions, which would have been all the more disheartening since they related to her ‘support’ for an interfaith couple.
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A lapse of this nature (in not being nasty enough) is unpardonable considering that the couple have violated two tenets of the Sangh Parivar — those of love jihad since the Muslim has married a Hindu woman with the obvious purpose of conversion, and also of ghar wapsi since the man has shown no intention of returning to his original ‘home’ of Hinduism even when urged to do so by the conscientious passport officer who handled their case.
For the Hindutva lobby, there is another cause for worry.
It is that no more than 43 per cent of the people who were asked by Sushma Swaraj to say whom they supported stood by the trolls.
What this means is that as many as 57 per cent do not approve of the minister’s traducers.
Since these cannot but comprise Left-Liberals, anti-nationals, pro-Pakistani jihadis, Maoists and half-Maoists (to use Arun Jaitley’s classification), the government obviously has a job on its hands.
Just as Tripura’s saffron governor Tathagata Roy wanted the intelligence agencies to keep a tab on those who attended Yakub Memon’s funeral in Mumbai, the IT department, the CBI, the enforcement directorate and other official and unofficial sleuths will do well to track down the patently unpatriotic 57 per cent.
There is another reason apart from Hindutva which the prime minister may find ‘endearing’, as he has said, about the ‘frank method of conveying opinions’ by the twitterati.
It is that the platform of the social media enables the BJP to gauge the popular mood, as a saffron scribe has said.
The importance of such an assessment cannot be underestimated at a time when the prospects of the party are no longer considered as bright as they were in 2014.
Such a yardstick also rules out any move, therefore, to rub the Netizens the wrong way even if their foul language offends the half-Maoists.