The name calling between the different political parties in the fray nowadays ..

There is an increasing amount of name calling between the major parties ongoing, and it seems much more widespread than near previous elections. So there are hot words exchanged, speeches target the leading lights of the other party and each of them also pleads innocent. So while Rahul Gandhi says that the BJP causes riots, the Congress has to clean up and make things better (and we will not talk about the riots and ISI, since that is on a different plane altogether), Modi comes back with calling the Congress as ‘khooni panja’ (bloody hand – the hand is the election symbol of the Congress party), and surprisingly Nitish Kumar has also joined the fray, taking on Modi many times (after altogether trying to ignore him when the BJP and JD(U) had an alliance going on). It seems very surprising to observers about this amount of name calling, and there is some amount of tension related to all this; and you have the parties even complaining to the Election Commission about all this.
However, this is not a new phenomenon; in the past, the various Left parties used to call their opponents all sorts of names, while managing to pick these names from a dictionary and hence managing to stay above the offensive mark. However, for their choicest opponents such as Mamta Banerjee and the BJP, they used even stronger words, and kept on these words even when they found their own number of seats falling. And the constant battle between Laloo Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar was also marked by the use of strong words; and the Shiv Sena could find its own level in the rhetoric used in the political battle. So why does it seem that things are more serious this time ?

Well, partly because it now extends to the highest level, with strong words being used by Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and even Manmohan Singh trying to see what all he can say. Using strong words against Modi is not new, since ever since the riots of 2002, the words used against him have been strong, with everything that could possibly have gone wrong trying to be blamed on him. In fact, as far back as 2007, Sonia Gandhi used the famous words ‘Maut ka Saudagar’ (merchant of death) against him, but that time, this actually got him more votes rather than less. So, it is not new. What is new is the application of harsh language against the mother-son Gandhi pair, and that too by the direct challenger. Modi has gone on an offensive against the Congress high command, and the language he uses for them and Manmohan Singh is less than parliamentary, and he is doing that on a regular basis.
However, the Congress cannot claim the high ground in this regard. Till the time that the Congress retains Digvijay Singh as its General Secretary, it will forever be open to condemnation about the use of language. Digivijay Singh may not be using very offensive words, but his words are always on the edge of acceptability (and this can be below the minimum acceptable level), and his comments on a regular basis whereby he raises conspiracy theory on everything do far worse to spoil the overall environment. So, when there is a bomb blast, he will imply that the RSS or BJP is behind this to claim sympathy, where there is some other disturbance, the role of the BJP needs to be investigated. A lot of what he implies could easily be taken up for defamation, but he just manages to skirt the line. And the Congress has more of such characters whose words may not be abusive, but are very offensive – another shining example is that of Beni Prasad Verma and his frequent attacks on Mulayam Singh. The fact that the Congress has not made any effort to rein in these characters means that it clearly is supportive of these characters, and hence if the BJP makes sharp and sometimes offensive remarks, then everybody has played a role in the gradual degeneration of the political discourse.

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