Even as the BJP-led Union government has got down to the business of governance, the saffron party’s MPs and MLAs continue to embarrass it with their irresponsible remarks and actions. Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj, whose name is synonymous with controversy, paid a ‘thanksgiving’ visit to rape accused and four-time MLA Kuldeep Sengar in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district jail on Wednesday, nearly a fortnight after the former’s thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Sengar, who was referred to by Maharaj as a ‘yashasvi’ (renowned) legislator, is behind bars for allegedly raping a girl who had met him seeking a job two years ago. Maharaj had recently claimed that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee belonged to the family of demon king Hiranyakashipu, who is said to have put his own son in jail and tortured him for saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The MP, who has over 30 criminal cases against him, had once urged Hindu women to produce at least four children so as to keep pace with the growing Muslim population.
The ruling party has refrained from taking strict action against the likes of Maharaj and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur despite their outrageous utterances. Days before the election result, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that he could never forgive Pragya, now the party MP from Bhopal, for calling Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a ‘deshbhakt’. However, the high command merely sought an explanation from her and sent the case to the disciplinary committee. Last week, a video, in which BJP MLA from Mhow Usha Thakur was heard calling Godse a nationalist, had gone viral on social media.
Modi and Amit Shah need to do much more than reprimanding or distancing themselves from such quasi-religious hate-mongers. Paying lip service to tolerance and inclusive growth won’t help the duo regain the confidence of the minorities. With over 300 MPs in the Lok Sabha, the BJP can certainly afford to show the door to the handful who have become a liability. Weeding out the trouble-makers can enable the party to move a step closer towards actually bringing in the hyped ‘positive secularism’.