What can be the biggest irony than the fact that a politician in his wilderness and desperation to find space in the BJP during peak of Narendra Modi wave in 2014 is portraying himself as bigger than the organisation in the run up to 2019 elections?
Choudhary Lal Singh is a classic case of a turn coat politician, who took refuge under the BJP umbrella after being hounded out by the Congress, notwithstanding the fact that he had hurled choicest abuses against Narendra Modi. In his criticism to the BJP, he has used the analogy of dog while referring to Modi.
The Print, a web portal, had vividly quoted Lal Singh’s interview to a TV journalist before he switched sides and talked of Modi’s pedigree, describing how he was not even a patch on Rahul. He had then claimed that Modi would never become Prime Minister. In his typical style, Lal Singh had said “Kahan Raja Bhoj, Kahan Gangu Teli? Kahan Modi Ko Mila Rahe Ho Rahul Gandhi Ke Saath? Hum Toh Kutta Bhi Rakhte Hain Uski Nasal Dekhte Hain, Bhaiya. Jaanwar Rakhte Hain, Na, Tagga, Hal Chalane Ke Liye? … Agar Wo Ulti Naal Wala, Bade Tor Wala, Bade Paon Wala Ho Toh Usko Nahin Hum Rakhte… Jiski Atta-Pata Bhi Koi Nahin… Jab Leader Rakhna Hai, Usko Dekhega Koi Nahin, Kya?
With such harsh words against the party and its star campaigner then, the BJP failed in telling to people about the compelling circumstances of admitting Lal Singh into the party, mandating him to contest the elections and eventually cradling him in the first ever ministry with presence of the Sangh outfit in Jammu and Kashmir.
Like his surprise entry into the party and induction into the ministry, Choudhary Lal Singh faced the axe too in surprise developments following Rassana rape and murder case. He was expelled before the BJP partnered government fell under the weight of the PDP’s baggage. This gave the Congressman turned BJP ‘stalwart’ a big moral boost to use the fast changing political developments to his advantage. Sensing the anti-BJP mood among the people of Jammu, the Choudhary developed an inflated ego and announced formation of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, which created ripples within the Sangh Parivar and triggered reactions, reflecting helplessness and dilemma.
A day after BJP Chief Spokesperson Sunil Sethi minced no words in expressing his party’s dismay over the formation of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, the Pradesh President Ravinder Raina gave a clean chit to Lal Singh by describing him a dedicated foot-soldier of the saffron brigade. This was contrary to the contention of the Chief Spokesperson, who had gone on record saying that the BJP has taken “strong note of launching an organisation by Lal Singh with strong motives, which is evident from the perusal of its vision document”. He said a report in this regard has been sent to the high command for taking appropriate action against Singh.
With contradictory statements coming from the Pradesh President and the Chief Spokesperson, the BJP cadre has a reason to ponder as to who was right. How can the same person be a ‘dedicated foot-soldier and a persona non-grata’? The reactions speak of the BJP’s vulnerability to the issue of Hindutava in general and Dogra in particular being hijacked by the revel lawmaker.
On the larger plank, alarm bells have started ringing in the top echelons of the Jammu BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls in 2019 in the wake of attempts to galavanise the Dogra by exploiting their glorious ethnic identity. The sitting parliamentarians representing Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Constituency and Jammu-Poonch Constituency have a reason to get unnerved on possible division of votes of the core and traditional constituents of the Sangh Parivar by someone from within.
Choudhary Lal Singh has become an institution in himself after being axed over the controversial Rassana case. He has been calling shots at the bigwigs unabated, essentially because of the inherent contradictions in the party. He has been allowed to grow larger than the size of the organisation. The BJP must be having its own compulsions and constraints, which is why its spokesperson and the State chief do not find each other on the same page.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper