Gujarat Elections: Low Level of Politics Hurts — Justice Rajindar Sachar

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows his finger marked with phosphoric ink after casting his vote during the second and final phase of the Gujarat elections outside the polling booth in Ranip, Ahmedabad. — IANS

There is certainly a banter and a serious dig at the competency of political rivals but never untrue charges. But Modi’s charge without any proof that Congress and elements in Pakistan may be working in cahoots to prevent BJP victory in Gujarat has hit the lowest level of politics.

JUSTICE (R) RAJINDAR SACHAR

NOW that Modi has won Gujarat elections though with a much smaller margin, will he reflect on how low he took politics down when he made the wild charge that there is a conspiracy that Congress and elements in Pakistan may be working in cahoots to prevent BJP victory in Gujarat.

I am troubled as to how could such a low political level to which BJP can fall,  all this because the dinner was held at Aiyar house, where Manmohan Singh former Prime Minister, and high ranking former Indian diplomats and High Commissioner of Pakistan was also present. There is a certain amount of decorum and decency which are never crossed in politics. But this charge without any proof has hit the lowest.

There is certainly a banter and a serious dig at the competency of political rivals but never untrue charges. The banter between Gladstone and Disraeli are classic, when the latter said;  “If Gladstone fell in the Thames, that would be a misfortune. But if someone fished him out again, that would be a calamity.”

Previously such type of low level was never crossed even amongst sworn political rivals in India. It is well known that Dr. Lohia, after coming back from Germany, had worked in the Central Congress office with Pandit Nehru who was the president of the congress party. When our socialist party walked out of the Congress in 1946 Dr. Lohia was the bitterest opponent of Nehru. But their relations never become low.

In May 1949, the Socialist Party under Dr. Lohia leadership held a demonstration before  Nepal  embassy at  Bara Khamba Road, New Delhi to protest against the take over of Nepal govt. by Rana that forced fleeing of King. We vere arrested (about 50 of us including Dr. Lohia) for violating Section 144 CRPC and so we remained in jail for over a month. During that period Nehru sent a basket of Mangoes to Dr. Lohia in jail.

Sardar Patel was so annoyed and wrote to Nehru that while the government had arrested Dr. Lohia, (you are sending mangoes to him). To which Nehru wrote back politely that we should not mix personal relations with politics.

In 1951 before Lohia’s visit to USA he had come to Delhi. I remember that we were in the sitting room when some one told him that there was a phone call for him. Dr. Lohia went to the other room. When he came back I asked whose phone was it. He said Pt. Nehru. What did he say, I asked. Dr. Lohia in half banter and annoyance repeated the conversation thus;

Nehru “ Ram Manohar, I hear you are going to USA

Dr. Lohai  ‘Yes’

And there was a pause. Then again Nehru asked “when”

Dr. Lohia ‘ Next week’.

pause and then Pt. Nehru said ‘Alright’, and switched off.

It was a curious talk and I asked Dr. Lohia what PURPOSE IN PHONING. Dr. Lohia in half anger said – you know he wanted to tell me. “Ram Manohar you are going abroad – do not criticize government when abroad, but did not have the guts to tell me”. And then Dr. Lohia in a ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­half annoying and anger ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­s­­­­aid “what strange behaviour – does  he  think  that I  will  talk  ill  of  government when abroad”. Such was their closeness, and yet so apart.

How ever when Dr. Lohia met Einstein he could not restrain and in answer to the later’s questions remarked that “politicians are liars”. Einstein with all sobriety personified, but he still added warmly “that they were criminals”. Would Einstein have been able to find adequate words for the politicians now – I doubt it.

One day before filing the election papers against Nehru in General Elections of 1962 Dr. Lohia wrote a letter to Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru.

“Dear President”,

You would be surprised to read this letter. When I left the office of the Congress Committee forever I paid regards to that building Aruna was with me. That was our last meeting. In these elections, your victory is certain. But if the certainty is turned into uncertainty and ultimately to your defeat then I would be extremely happy and it would also be beneficial for the country. Then you would get the opportunity to improve yourself and become a better person. In the end, I pray for your long life so that I may get the opportunity to reform you.

Yours truly,

Ram Manohar Lohia.

To which Nehru replied:

Dear Ram Manohar

Received your letter without date and address. I am sending the reply at the address of Socialist party, Allahabad.

“I am happy that a sober person like you is opposing me in the elections. I think in this election the discussion would be centred on the political programmes. Be cautious and ensure that the personal discussion should be curtailed. On my part I promise that I would not visit my constituency even for a single day.”

Yours,

Jawahar Lal Nehru

In 1964 -5 Dr. Lohia was elected to the Parliament. Nehru made it a point to be present in the parliament on the day when Lohia was sworn as member. Though Dr. Lohia and Nehru continued to exchange lot of hard words but only on policy matters.

Modi should rather ruminate seriously the alienation of Muslims. That BP did not put up a single Muslim candidate when their population in Gujarat is over 8%.

Can one expect that Prime Minister Modi who took the oath of office will treat all communities equally. Is he in agreement with the statement made by Bhagwat the RSS boss that “All people born in India are Hindus”, which is deliberately provocative and harmful to the harmony in the Country or the truth of Swami Vivekanand’s exhortation that Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expression of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose the path that suits him best. I see in my mind’s eye the future perfect India rising out of this chaos and strife, glorious and invincible, with Vedanta brain and Islam body.”

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