Debar Maneka from election

Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s remarks about her future relationship with her electors are not only a violation of the model code of conduct but a reflection of the true nature of politics imagined and practised by her and many other politicians. Usually, candidates request voters to support and vote for them. But Maneka has resorted to threatening them, that too clearly targeting voters of one religion. She has warned Muslims that not voting for her would have consequences for them. She is the BJP’s candidate from the Sultanpur constituency in UP, which her son Varun Gandhi has represented till now. She made the controversial remarks at a meeting of Muslim voters in the constituency. Varun Gandhi had also made some extremely hateful and vicious comments against Muslims some years ago during his election campaign. With her remarks, Maneka has shown that she is not different from many other leaders in her party who thrive on making minorities in the country feel like lesser citizens and unsafe. 

The Election Commission has issued her a notice for violation of the model code of conduct. The minister indeed seemed to be intimidating voters. She said that she would win the election in any case, but it would not feel good if the victory came without Muslims’ support. But if they don’t vote for her, she told them, she would not be inclined to help them after the election if they approached her with a request. She made that very clear: “I’ll think, ‘let it (any Muslim request) be, how does it matter?’ It’s all give and take.’’ This is a warning made from a public platform by a public servant who has taken an oath of office to discharge her duties without fear or favour and not to discriminate between citizens. She has violated not only the election code but also her oath of office. She should be debarred from election. 

Maneka Gandhi has made it as plain and simple as it can be. When she said she would win with the support of “the people” but that she wants Muslims also to support her, the implication is that Muslims are different from “the people”, and are other than them. Society for her consists of “the people” and then the Muslims. Her idea of politics is transactional. She will help those who vote for her and will not consider herself as the representative of all voters in her constituency, which is the democratic norm. She is not Gandhi’s child, and does not believe in living by the Mahatma principles, she said. This is an insult to Gandhi, from a person sharing that surname by dint of circumstance.

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Debar Maneka from election

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