Controversy, thy name is NDA Government!

P. Sunderarajan

Ram Madhav
Ram Madhav

Yoga is supposed to help attain inner peace. But, the celebration of the first International Day of Yoga has led to the breaking out of yet another storm for the BJP Government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi.

What started as a celebration of the international recognition that has been accorded for a tradition that had its roots in India ended on a nasty note after Ram Madhav, the link man between the RSS and the BJP came out with a twitter questioning the absence of Vice President, Hamid Ansari, in the mega yoga exercise programme organised at Raj Path with Prime Minister Modi himself giving the lead.

Mr. Madhav no doubt soon after deleted his tweet in the wake of clarification that Mr. Ansari could not attend the programme since as per protocol he could not be invited to attend the programme. But, the damage had already been done.

Allegations and counter allegations flew around between the ruling party and the opposition dampening the high spirits and bonhomie that prevailed across the country just a few hours earlier.

In fact, in the run up to the first International Day of Yoga some people had raised objections to the Government taking the lead in organising the celebrations on the ground that yoga was linked to Hinduism.

But, these were brushed aside and the Government made special efforts to involve leaders of other religions and also allay apprehensions by doing away with elements like `suryanamaskara’ and `slokas’, which are normally associated with yoga and have deep religious connotations.

What then really went wrong? Was it merely an innocent slip? or was it deliberate as alleged by the opposition?

BJP has after all been trying to keep the minority communities in good humour particularly in the context of the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar. With the opposition parties in Bihar, particularly Janata Dal [Secular] led by Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal led by Laloo Prasad Yadav, coming together, the party well knew it has to be friendly towards all communities if it has to pass muster.

Bihar assembly elections would be a crucial test for BJP and the leadership of Modi especially since the party have had some reverses here and there in Assembly and other elections in different parts of the country over the last one year leading to some denting of the image of Modi.

The party faced one of its worst debacles during the Assembly elections held in Delhi in February this year. It started the campaign with the confidence that it would romp home with a majority but ended with a measly three seats of the total of 70 just managing to be slightly ahead of Congress, which could not get even one seat. The party would not like to have a repeat of Delhi in Bihar. That would be a disaster.

Controversies are, however, not new to BJP. The party has been dogged by one controversy after another over the last one year. The party had been rubbing the minorities in more than one way, If it was not the campaign against “love-jihad’, which focussed on inter-religious marriages, it was the “gharwapasi’’, which focussed on the issue of religious conversion.

The Government’s decision to observe Christmas as Good Governance Day also did not go down well with the minorities as it was thought of as an attempt to prevent Christians from celebrating one of their most important festivals.

Given the current economic scenario in the country and dire predictions about the global economy, its hoped that the ruling party and the Government would take prompt action to defuse the situation arising out of the twitter episode at the earliest.