The Congress leader’s play on Hindi proverbs provoked the BJP to hit back in similar fashion a day after income tax raids were conducted at the homes and offices of actress Taapsee Pannu and film director Anurag Kashyap
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday played on Hindi proverbs to draw attention to the Narendra Modi government’s alleged misuse of central agencies and manipulation of mainstream media, provoking the BJP to hit back in similar fashion.
The battle of proverbs came a day after income tax raids were conducted at the homes and offices of actress Taapsee Pannu and film director Anurag Kashyap, among others. Both have been vocal critics of the Narendra Modi regime.
Rahul tweeted: “Kuchh muhaware: Ungliyon par nachana — the Central Government does this with Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate and CBI. Bheegi Billi banana — this is what friendly media is before the central government. Khisiyani billi khamba noche — the way the Central Government conducts raids on those who support farmers’ movement.”
The three proverbs (muhaware) Rahul cited more or less mean to get someone to dance to your tune, to make someone timid like a wet cat, and an angry cat taking out its frustration on others.
A large number of Congress leaders, including ministers and MLAs in Maharashtra, have condemned the tax raids, alleging that Pannu and Kashyap have been targeted for criticising communal politics and supporting the farmers’ movement.
The Congress has consistently accused the Modi government of pursuing politics of vendetta and blasted sections of the media for not reporting objectively.
Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar took on Rahul, using a different set of idioms to recall the Congress’s conduct in the past.
Javadekar tweeted: “Rahul ji, remember these idioms as well. 1. Sau chuhe kha kar, billi chali haz ko — the Congress which imposed curbs on media freedom during Emergency is now giving sermons on media freedom. 2. Ungli par gine ja sakna — that’s the plight of the Congress (its strength can be counted on fingers) 3. Ranga siyaar — the most communal party pretending to be secular, party of one family preaching democracy.”
Ranga siyaar is an untrustworthy person. Sau chuhe kha kar, billi chali haz ko refers to a person who pretends to be a saint after committing all the wrongs.
While the minister’s strategy was to embarrass the Congress by recalling the Emergency instead of defending the Modi government’s own track record, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said the raids on celebrities were the outcome of law taking its own course and had nothing to do with political vendetta.
Bhatia said: “The Supreme Court has said the CBI had been turned into a caged parrot during the Congress regime. That caged parrot has been freed and has now become a tiger under the Modi government.”
The BJP spokesperson added: “The Congress has a strange character. It destroys institutions when it is in power and discredits institutions when it is in Opposition. This is politics of anarchy.
In front of law, there are no celebrities. They are just citizens violating the law. And Rahul Gandhi, who is himself on bail, should not lecture us on democracy. He says dialogue is a must in democracy and he refuses to talk to his own leaders called G-23.”
Rahul is on bail in the National Herald case, which the Congress portrays as a classic example of politics of vendetta and intimidation. G-23 is a group of leaders who had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about a drift in the party.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said in a fierce counter: “Arnab Goswami had questioned Javadekar’s wisdom in vulgar language in that (leaked) WhatsApp conversation. Has he sought explanation from him? I am sure he doesn’t have the guts. What Rahulji has said is perfectly true; every institution has been undermined, every agency is being misused.”
Shrinate added: “You stand with the farmers, no matter who you are, the IB,
the income tax, the ED, the CBI, the NCB will all land at your doorstep. I personally feel you should wear it like a badge of honour. I think the BJP should stop the farce and facade of independent agencies, just merge all these agencies within your organisation, because that’s what you are doing.
“And what is Emergency? Isn’t putting people in jail for criticising the government an emergency? Isn’t slapping sedition charges on journalists for asking questions and showing truth an emergency?
Tax department claim
The income tax department has detected financial irregularities of over Rs 650 crore after it raided two film production companies, two talent management companies and a leading actress, the Central Board of Direct Taxes claimed on Thursday but did not take any names, PTI reported. However, unnamed “official sources” soon started naming those who had been raided on Wednesday.