It is not a secret that Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been one of India’s most stalwart politician, and a father-figure to all of India’s population. Not just a politician, he was a man of words and verse – perhaps, one of the handful politicians in India who was loved unanimously throughout the length and breadth of the country. Needless to say, with his death, the entire country went through a phase of mourning. Vajpayeeji hailed from the Bharatiya Janta Party, and hence, the party leaders left no stone unturned to go ahead with his last rites as immaculately as possible.
Even amidst such odds, few opposition party leaders and members accused BJP of politicizing his death. According to them, they had turned his death into a political hack to garner more votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While many civilians denied this fact uprightly, there were many others who thought that the BJP leaders were indeed at fault of politicizing Vajpayee’s death.
Recently, a user on Quora asked a question on the same lines that read:
Is BJP taking advantage of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji’s death?
While numerous people had various answers to it, one user gave an affirmative answer and pinpointed on the reason BJP has all the rights of the world to do so. Please take a look at what he had to say –
What a question!
Of course they are. Why on earth would they not?
Electoral politics is about winning. About taking every advantage however slender and whatever the source. Let me take a recent example. We saw Navjyot Singh Siddhu going to Pakistan for Imran Khan’s swearing in. He went there not as a political representative but to attend a friend’s swearing in. He happens to be a politician even if he was not there in that capacity. There he, foolishly, hugged the Chief of Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa. That has caused huge furore in India. As if it really matters. The BJP has been at the forefront of the furore and sedition cases have been filed against Siddhu. Now ask yourself, if Siddhu had been with the BJP, would they have created this ruckus? Or would they have praised him for innovative diplomacy? Would the Congress have created a ruckus then? Though we must admit that the ability of the Congress to create a storm on social media is marginal compared to the tornado that the BJP social media machinery can unleash. But the point is that there would have been a ruckus, only this time by the Congress. It is all about taking advantage and grabbing attention.
The death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the more respected politicians in recent times, is a heaven sent opportunity. Literally. As Jim Hacker says in the episode “” in the BBC serial , “Wonderful thing, death. So uncontroversial.”
I would be bloody surprised if the death of ABV does not get milked dry. I would lose all respect for the BJP if they don’t do that. Whats more, we can expect this to happen throughout the next year, upto the general elections of 2019. Schemes. Memorials. Processions. Photos. Seminars. Articles. All of this focused especially on States that are going for elections soon – Madhya Pradesh (which will exploit the fact that he was from Gwalior), Chattisgarh and Rajasthan. Sadly the BJP cannot award him the Bharat Ratna posthumously. They have already awarded to him in his lifetime. After the elections are done, he will be remembered twice a year, if that. He would have served his purpose.
Incidentally, the consummate politician that he was, I would like to think that ABV would approve of this.
PS: A few suggestions for BJP supporters
First, do not bother denying that this is happening. Saying BJP is different from the Congress and would never do such a thing is increasingly difficult to swallow. The BJP is just like the Congress, more combative and shrill in the PR stakes. Incidentally, saying that a natural death offers no advantage many months before an election is naive. Why is the BJP bothering with all the ceremonies, if it offers no advantage? If you believe that it is about honouring a leader, I have a small marble building in Agra that I would like to sell.
Second, don’t not even bother to use ‘whataboutery’ to support this. There is no point in even asking what the Congress did with the deaths of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (everyone knows that they won elections because of the horrific nature of those deaths) or what the AIADMK / DMK did with the deaths of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi.
Third, just say “Yes we are taking advantage. So what of it?”
Of course, at no point will these celebrations of ABV become so big that they overshadow the man in charge today. Watching the balancing act, is going to be a great sight. The Congress or the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu have no such problems. They could extol the departed leader to any height and the living head would not mind. In fact he would lead the eulogies.