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Diffusing diversity

 Editorial |  2018-03-07 15:29:23.0

Diffusing diversity

As if winning the Tripura Assembly elections with a two-thirds majority was not enough, BJP party workers are alleged to have demolished the statue of Lenin with the help of a JCB earthmover in Tripura's Belonia on Monday. Violence and clashes between rival groups were reported from different parts of the state. Political parties are known to mobilise their sympathisers and cadres during election times for campaigning and other election-related work, who largely offer to work for the political parties or leaders voluntarily. After the elections are over, the volunteers try to grab contracts for civilian works with the help of the political leader for whom they had worked during the election time. From the appointment of various chiefs of government agencies in the state capital to favouring their own candidates in the allotment of contracts for civil and development works at the panchayat, block and district levels—the volunteers, who work for a party or a leader queue up for favours after the elections. The same will happen in Tripura too after the landslide victory of the BJP in recently concluded polls. The BJP had mobilised its sympathisers and party workers on a large scale and deployed them from election campaigns to booth level mobilisation. After their unexpected victory by a large margin, the cadres are in euphoria. Cadres of the Left Front are now witnessing a change of guard after 25 years of uninterrupted proximity to political power. Some clashes between the BJP party workers and cadres of the Left Front are imminent, given the politically surcharged environment in the state. Demolishing the statue of Lenin by a mob of political workers can best be described as an act of hooliganism. Now that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah have spoken out against such acts of vandalism, party works are likely to behave more responsibly. But Tamil Nadu BJP leader H Raja's remarks against Dravidian icon EV Ramasamy 'Periyar', which led to a Periyar statue being vandalised in Vellore, underscores the fact that in the euphoria of performing well in the recently concluded Assembly elections in three northeastern states, some BJP workers and leaders have forgotten that such large victories demand more responsibilities. India is a vast country with a diverse range of public figures and icons. The nation celebrates their excellence by placing their statues in public places. Ideologies can be different but the spirit to celebrate the icons from different fields is the same. If we side with those who thought it fit to demolish the statue of an international figure and ideologue of a political class, we will damage the diversity of ideas that makes the Indian democracy so rich and successful.

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