It is quite difficult to infer that Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma was unaware of the seriousness of his statement at a public meeting in Farrukhabad which has triggered a row between him and the Election Commission. Appearing defiant to the poll panel’s guidelines, Verma had favoured to expand the proposed sub-quota for Muslims.

Verma is a seasoned politician and is quite capable in deciding what is right and what is wrong. Despite, he spoke all that he liked to speak and earned clapping of the audiences. Verma may have invited the wrath of the Election Commission, but he has apparently successful in his mission. The kind of heated debate has aroused in the state after his statement; it has once again revived the issue of quota for the Muslims. Now showing his shrewdness to get out of the mess, Verma is giving excuses by saying that his controversial statement was just nothing but a slip of tongue. But he has successfully scored a goal by doing this.

Actually our politicians are fast becoming prone to invite controversy by making such statements. Just remember the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when Varun Gandhi, who was contesting from Pilibhit as the BJP candidate, had made inflammatory statements against minorities. He had acquired a centre stage during ongoing polling that time. In another incident, UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi had made a defamatory statement in 2009 against UP CM Mayawati by overlooking all canons of modesty. Her statement had sparked violent political rivalry between the Congress and the BSP in most parts of the state. Though, she later chose to apologize for her statement but the act had thrown her behind bars and the BSP supporters had torched her residence that time. Now the similar incidents are being repeated once again and no political party seems to be exceptional in this context.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari encountered with tongue slip on two occasion in this election. Addressing a public meeting in Aurai, Bhadohi, Gadkari spoke a phrase- Ghodon ko nahi mil rahi ghas, Gadhe kha rahe chyawanprash (Horses are deprived of grasses but donkeys are enjoying delicious food stuffs). Later in Allahabad, he favoured to chop up the hands of rapists. His statements sparked widespread controversy and his opponents compared him with Talibans. But his controversial statement helped him to earn significance in the state during elections and he apparently succeeded in countering SP’s poll proclamations over crime against women. Later he also regretted by calling his statement as ‘slip of tongue’. In this ongoing electoral battle, nobody is caring for modesty and discipline in the politics. Even the people who are on the constitutional post of Chief Minister are no exception to such controversies. Addressing a public meeting in Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Mayawati lost her temper and called her opponents as dogs. Toeing the line set by Mayawati, UP BSP chief Swami Prasad Maurya blurted out at a polling stations in his constituency and didn’t feel hesitant in using abusive words for a security person deployed there.

Such incidences prove that our politicians don’t care about modesty in political life and their personal image. They can easily turn defiant to the norms set by the Election Commission. They are bent on wooing voters in their fold at any cost. Actually the Election Commission has also not taken any stern action against any of these defiant politicians which could have deterred them. Sharing his views on the issue, Allahabad University Professor Yogeshwar Tiwari said, “Such incidents indicate at a sharp decline of value-based politics.” Even in past, politicians would target their opponents but not on frivolous grounds. Such trends have become conspicuous during last one decade and now they don’t care of the Election Commission’s guidelines. Actually no frivolous comments should be made about a particular caste or a religion.

Even politicians should avoid to lure voters in their fold by making inflammatory or defamatory statements. Even in there are provisions for punishment for such acts under Representation of People Act. Commission has found Beni Prasad Verma’s statement as a breach of the model code of conduct. Despite such provisions, our politicians are prone to violate such laws.      

JNN