bjp: A sign of times to come, say BJP members on party actions against spokespersons

The suspension of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and the expulsion of the party’s Delhi media cell chief Naveen Kumar Jindal is a sign of times to come, felt many party workers, as global political and diplomatic compulsions become more important to the country. Some said they would wait and watch to see how the situation unfolds.

“Do-teen din ha halla hai, fir sab theek ho jayega’ (Everything will be okay in a few days)..The sentiment is that the party should have stood by its members but sentiment cannot run the country,” a party worker said.

“They suspended Dayashankar Singh for five years but he is a minister in UP now. The party is growing, the government has to be behave responsibly. We have to be cautious and toe the party line.”

Anyone speaking on behalf of the party will have to be mindful of the party’s two guiding principles – garib kalyan and sabka saath sabka vihara – a senior party functionary said. Many workers said this was a turning point in the party’s politics. After being in power for eight years, the party is now more conscious of the need to address the anti-minority tag often attached to it, and work towards promoting inclusive governance, steering clear of unwanted controversies that can ruffle feathers, particularly abroad. The RSS has been debating internally on how it is time to move away from “yuddha aur apmaan ki bhasha” (language of war and insult).

“During elections, it is okay for party leaders to speak on issues that can mobilise their core voters, but it is not required to be done everyday by party representatives on national TV. There was a lot of hard work that the PM had put in to improve the country’s relationship with middle eastern countries. Nothing should stall such efforts,” another party functionary said. He said matters like this would only create many fissures between the Hindus and Muslims.

While many chose to trend hashtags such as boycott Qatar Airways and halal products, many BJP supporters were disappointed as they felt that they should not have sacked the spokespersons but let them off with warnings. Some discussed how Qatar offered citizenship to painter MF Hussain and how Indian Muslims have not asked the Gulf nations to not interfere in internal matters. Some even said it was time to debate a ‘ninda kanoon’ to include matters of blasphemy against Hindu Gods.

Nupur Sharma had made an offensive remark against Prophet Mohammed in a televised debate recently while Naveen Jindal had posted a tweet on the issue. The comments, especially Sharma’s, angered the Muslims, leading to protests in some states, and in West Asia, with many Gulf countries conveying their displeasure. Sharma and Jindal have issued public apologies.

Meanwhile, Prominent Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind described the suspension “necessary and timely”. The body has called for immediate passing of a law to protect the sanctity and dignity of religious personalities.

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