Baba Ramdev's 'honeymoon' could turn into BJP's nightmare

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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi by saying that he goes to Dalit homes to enjoy honeymoon and picnic is in extremely bad taste. Even more shocking is the guru's aides shamelessly defending his words on news channels. Some said the word honeymoon was misinterpreted while others counter-attacked BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his marital status.

But these should not divert the attention from the real issue. Baba Ramdev's attack on Rahul Gandhi had two parts. The first one was taking on a political opponent. We all know that Ramdev is an open supporter of the BJP and understandably he took on the Congress vice-president. But he took the route via the Dalits when attacking Rahul Gandhi and in the process, insulted the entire Dalit women community. This second part is more serious for Ramdev used social discrimination to qualify his political bias.

Ramdev's attack on Rahul Gandhi and Dalit women was condemnable

The guru later apologised on a popular news channel later in the night on Friday, making its editor-in-chief feel satisfied, but did it do enough to pacify the hurt souls? One doubts.

A section of the right-wing elements are feeling over-enthusiastic as BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is emerging a more prominent figure on India's national political scene. While some are thinking too positive and making remarks which are completely unwelcome (like Amit Shah's 'revenge' comment, Giriraj Singh's 'Pakistan' comment and now Ramdev's 'Dalit' comment), some are trying to reap some benefit at the cost of Modi at a crucial moment (like VHP president Pravin Togadia anti-Muslim comment). But all in all, the right-wing elements seem to be losing their balance while thinking about a possible return to power after a decade.

But the BJP needs to tackle this situation with caution. It is working on political and social coalitions across the nation at the moment. Surveys have shown the BJP leading among social groupings in key states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, something which is crucial if the party has to win 272 seats in the Parliament. The BJP is also stressing sensitive issues like women's safety and has a number of popular women leaders who are contesting this year's election and are known to be vocal on women's issues. Can the BJP allow its entire plan in the run-up to the formation of the 16th Lok Sabha get ruind because of some supporter's loose talks?

Whether Rahul Gandhi marries a foreigner or an Indian is none of Ramdev's concern and he must learn ways to do a positive criticism of the opponent if he is in politics. If he meant not to make a mockery of Dalit women by uttering the word 'honeymoon', then he should know the style of public speaking. An effort to politicise the Dalits by way of humiliating their womenfolk is just not done. It won't consolidate the upper caste votes but will spell doom for the BJP.

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