Giriraj and Sadhvi Niranjan
Modi’s message through Cabinet expansion
Giriraj Singh, the rabidly communal Bhumihar, with a questionable financial scam involving a sum of Rs 1.14 crore, is a minister in the union cabinet. Giriraj Singh’s proximity to and patronage of the Ranvir Sena, a private army of the landed upper caste, nee the Bhumihars of the state is as well-known as the Sena’s targeted killing of Dalits and Muslims.
Giriraj Singh is clearly the personal choice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his commander in chief/ BJP president Amit Shah. His choice has sent out the message that his remark, in the run up to the general elections of May this year, threatening to banish anybody opposing Modi, to Pakistan, was approved and appreciated by Modi and duly rewarded now. Never mind if cash worth Rs 1.14 crore, plus US $ 600, plus two gold chains, a pair of gold earrings, a gold locket, three gold rings, 14 silver coins and seven luxury watches were recovered from his home in Patna, exposing Modi’s skin deep commitment to lead a clean, corruption and scam free government .
Even as a minister in the BJP-JD-U government of Bihar led then by Nitish Kumar, Giriraj Singh had hitched his bandwagon to Narendra Modi way back in 2010 while the BJP was still undecided about who will lead it in 2014 and many in the NDA believed that wily nily it would by L K Advani.
Giriraj had gone to Gujarat and stood alongside with Modi at a time when Nitish Kumar, recalling Modi’s role in Gujarat pogrom of Muslims in 2002, had refused to host a dinner to the BJP top leaders to pointedly demonstrate his opposition to Modi. But while Giriraj’s party swallowed its pride and ignored Nitish gesture, to continue the profitable ruling alliance, he had thumbed his nose at Nitish by publicly declaring his support for Modi and continuing in Nitish’ cabinet.
That was also the time Giriraj was abusive towards Lok Jan Shakti leader Ram Vilas Paswan, then an ally of Lalu Prasad and Lalu’s trusted lieutenant Ram Kirpal Yadav. Then when Paswan ditched Lalu and Modi generously gave LJP seven Lok Sabha seats to contest, Giriraj raised a banner of revolt and even announced his intent to work against Paswan. Paswan and Yadav too were strident critics of Modi and Giriraj in particular and BJP in general. All that is forgotten and the three are snuggled close to each other under the blanket of Modi’s council of ministers. That’s politics.
Look at Modi’s new Minister of State for Food Processing, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti? Who knew of this Sadhvi, till she became a member of Parliament from Fatehpur in UP, a constituency which has returned luminaries like Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Hari Kishan Shastri the eldest son of late Lal Bahadur Shastri. Her distinction lies in the fact that she succeeded in sufficiently communalizing her Nishad or boatmen caste to abandon Mulayam Singh and Mayawati and jump on to the Modi boat swallowing each word of Amit Shah’s Sanghi propaganda who made a mountain of threat from Muslims in the name of ‘Love Jihad’ and exaggeratedly stressing that the Muslims were filching all the concessions to the backwards and Dalits by seeking to be included in reservation quota. Time will tell how much the poor Muslims benefited from the promise of quota and what is the truth behind Sanghi ‘Love Jihad’ propaganda. Till then the Sadhvi like the Pied Piper will lead the Nishads on to the river to be drowned in. By the time the Nishads realize how they have been fooled, Modi will invent another pied piper while the Giriraj’s of this world will strut around and be happily rewarded for it.