With partymen shooting their mouths off, Modi needs no enemies; not that he’s short of those either
It has become an almost sickening occurrence everyday that a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, either an elected member of a legislature or a party official, says something unbelievably stupid that manages to offend almost everyone. And these comments are not restricted to just low-level functionaries, they are often made by very senior leaders of the party. This is particularly surprising since Prime Minister Modi himself is a very careful and measured speaker when it comes to public comments, unless when he is on a campaign trail. And while it might be that persons twisted personal opinion, the malcontents that hate Narendra Modi invariably use, is to run down the Prime Minister and his Cabinet by commenting on his inability to rein in his party members. And yet again, Narendra Modi and his party chief, Amit Shah have cracked the whip on the motormouths inside their party. This might have some impact on some of his leaders, particularly the senior ones, including members of his Council of Ministers. But in a day and age of video cameras and microphones being in everyone’s pockets, it is unlikely to stop the trend of politicians, many with limited education, from saying stupid things and from those stupid things being widely disseminated.
This is not, however, something that is restricted to the BJP. Members of every political organisation in the country, and indeed across the world, make brain-dead comments every day. And this is also nothing new, the propensity for politicians to make stupid comments has been going on since time immemorial, ever since we have had politicians. But leaders would do well to consider that today we live in a different time and space where with the advent of social media and widely available mobile data that allows comments to be spread at a rate unknown earlier in human history, comments can go viral in minutes rather than days. The only saving grace is that humanity as a whole seems to have a species-wide Attention Deficit Disorder and we quickly forget the last stupid comment and move on to the next one. So unless someone makes a particularly egregious comment, most things are forgotten and the public moves on to the next stupid comment. Of course, that gives our news television ‘debate’ shows something to shout about every primetime in lieu of showing any actual news; so please continue to patronise newspapers like this one if you want to know what happened in the country and the world.
Can anything be done to stop this widespread contagion of ‘foot-in-the-mouthitis’? Frankly, No. As long as there are politicians, particularly those with limited amounts of proper education, this will continue. But it would be good for political organisations, including the BJP, to take their elected representatives and party officials and give them media management lessons and teach them what to say and when. Particularly when a camera or microphone is shoved into their face and they are asked for a comment on a matter they should be more circumspect about, they should hold their tongue. That would be a start. And who knows, that might even lead to a situation where the ‘news’ channels are starved of material for screaming matches and might actually be forced to show real news. That would not, in our considered opinion, be a bad thing at all.