Millennium Post

‘Just hand over the army to me’

Our democracy has no full stops, no comas and no bottlenecks as far as the statement of politicians and other pseudo politicians are concerned. All leaders want an uninterrupted flow of their expression.

The leaders are supposed to be assertive and clear in their thoughts and actions. It is strange that they don’t exercise restraint while speaking, writing and interacting with the media. Also, they do not hesitate in playing with fire, whatever be the consequences, irreparable damages and long-term effects. Sometimes, backlash becomes a herculean problem to tackle with.

Our leaders have a lot of stamina to create problems. Their sense of rhetoric values also matters. The leader with the most talkative tongue and sensational intentions is Maharashtra’s
Bhishma Pitamah;
86-year-old saffron clad Balasaheb Thackeray, once known as an uncrowned king during the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government in Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999. He writes for a Marathi newspaper Saamna, where everyday, he releases his inner dominance of hateful thoughts. He continues to write in Saamna on all relevant and irrelevant issues, though he has no courage to face the truth.

Once Thackeray ’s praise of Hitler attracted controversy, he was quoted by the Asia Week saying, ‘I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so! I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a wonderful organiser and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common.... What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand.’ Since then, Thackeray  thought of acting like Hitler. He has also expressed his desire to become the chief commander of the Indian army for a month and act like a dictator. He has been quoted in several newspapers that if he is given the command for a month, he would be able to settle all issues as per his satisfaction.

It is only possible in our democratic system to challenge the basic structure of our constitution. Whether the government and honorable courts would take cognisance of such hooliganism and disrespect to the established tenets of the system, is a big question, hovering in the minds of all right minded people.

Thackeray has a long record of creating controversies and putting administration in difficult situations. A leader, who rejoices to be known as a lion in Maharashtra, has been putting up in a ghetto and confining himself within the boundaries of his state. Is it his weakness or strength? Why is Thackeray  scared to visit other parts of the country? .

This also reminds us of Thackeray ’s concepts of federalism. Seemingly, parochialism is of greater weightage against nationalism. His views on non-Marathas are well known. It was Thackeray, who initiated the concept of moral policing to express opposition against the concept of celebrating Valentine’s day. Not only this, he is also known for opposing certain films, which are considered objectionable, as per his conservative approach, along with opposing the Pakistani cricket team to play in Mumbai. It’s difficult to understand a man like Thackeray. While he was  a part of the National Democratic Alliance [NDA], he dared to support the candidate of opposite alliance United Progressive Alliance [UPA] in the presidential election.

Thackeray  was once debarred from contesting any election and exercising his franchise for six years because of his un-called comments and violation of the model code of conduct. Being a known critic of the minorities, he also backed members of a minority community, for their support against a comment made by the Samajwadi Party. He once described a minority community as part of us.

A self-proclaimed champion of Hindus, Thackeray has been promoting personality cult in his party, apart from nurturing dynasty based succession. His fragile body in saffron robes has made him a symbol of Maratha alignment. It is quite often stated that only a leader belonging to the BJP could bring Thackeray  on the right track on certain issues. Late Pramod Mahajan of the BJP was regarded as a cementing force in Shiv Sena-BJP alliance. The alliance during Mahajan time was more cohesive and comfortable than what it is now.

Thackeray  takes no objection in contacting Maratha Chhatrapati, Sharad Pawar. It took him three decades to become an epi-centre of maratha manush after starting his career as a cartoonist in an English daily, launching his political weekly Marmik and later on floating his own political party, Shiv Sena in 1966. He continued to stew venom against Gujratis and Marwadis initially and gradually against the north Indians.

Thackeray  leaves no opportunity to mess with the chief minister of Bihar though his family’s origin is still debatable. He has an extraordinary audacity to say whatever he feels appropriate, be it supporting LTTE or bestowing praise on some political supremos.

His latest desire to hold the baton of the army chief is nothing but reflecting his dictatorial actions.

Sat Pal is a communication consultant and has worked with several central and state ministers.
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