Nothing serves to show up the hypocrisy of politicians and political parties better than an election. And so it is with the nomination by god’s own party, the BJP, of the veteran jurist Ram Jethmalani as a party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections from Rajasthan.
On the one hand, Jethmalani, law minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s cabinet, stood against Vajpayee from Lucknow after falling out with him. Yet, today, he claims that he has joined the party with the blessings of the former prime minister who, with all due respect, is in no physical shape to offer them.
On the other hand, there is Afzal Guru.
Hanging the parliament attack convict has been the BJP’s single-point agenda for years. It has demanded his hanging from every pulpit and podium. Yet, it nominates Jethmalani, whose position till yesterday was that Afzal Guru did not get a fair trial and should not be hanged.
There is also the additional irony of news reports which suggest that Jethmalani’s nomination was pushed by the “former future prime minister of India“, Loh Purush L.K. Advani, and—pinch yourself—Narendra Damodardas Modi, both of whom have exploited the Afzal Guru issue to deride the Congress’s “minority appeasement”.
One report even suggests that Jethmalani’s nomination at the behest of Narendra Damodardas Modi is a tacit quid pro quo for his support to Modi in his legal wrangles in the post-Godhra pogrom.
Questions: Has the BJP’s—and Advani’s and Narendra Damodardas Modi’s—doublespeak on Afzal Guru been exposed? Is the “party with a difference” which rolls up its sleeve and slaps its thigh the moment Afzal Guru’s name is mentioned been caught with its pants down? Or has the demands of realpolitik caught up with the BJP?