If Congress has Pitroda, BJP has Yeddyurappa

If Congress has Pitroda, BJP has Yeddyurappa

Indian political arena, in the build-up to the 2019 general elections, seems to be more of a comedy of errors than the contest for leadership in the world’s largest democracy  

BS Yeddyurappa and Sam Pitroda have both shown a lack of tact.

As the country prepares for the upcoming general elections, the virtue of tact seems to have gone flying out of the window for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Technocrat and Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda – who played a crucial role in party president Rahul Gandhi’s image makeover in the past few months – tripped up badly on this count. In an interview with a news agency, he questioned India's Pakistan policy after the terrorist attack in Pulwama. 

Not surprisingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took notice of his comments in series of tweets from his personal handle, describing Pitroda’s comments as proof of the Congress’ intent to “demean India’s armed forces”. The #JantaMaafNahiKaregi hashtag, started by PM, soon began trending on Twitter and remained for much of March 22.

As luck would have it, the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa, who has a penchant for embarrassing the ruling party, arrived as a Congress saviour. An expose by The Caravan magazine revealed that Yeddyurappa had allegedly made payoffs amounting to Rs 1,800 crore to the top BJP leadership in 2009 – a list that included several senior ministers in the Modi cabinet such as Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh.

Yeddyurappa, who is called "jailbird Yeddyurappa" by Congress spokespeople, is no stranger to controversies of the kind that the Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar, Digvijay Singh and now, Pitroda, are known for.

Yeddyurappa attracted a lot of negative publicity for the BJP when the Congress released audio tapes of him allegedly trying to buy out MLAs from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine post the hung verdict in the 2018 Karnataka Assembly polls. As if that was not embarrassing enough for the party, soon after the Balakot air strikes against Pakistan on February 26, Yeddyurappa claimed that the move would help his party win over 22 of 28 seats in Karnataka in the general elections. Yeddyurappa’s words immediately fed into the Opposition charge that the government was attempting to politicise the issue to boost its electoral prospects.

But the top prize in tactlessness goes to Mani Shankar Aiyar for his "chaiwallah" jibe against Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. Some feel that it did the Congress enough damage to bring it down to its historic low of 44 seats.

All in all, the Indian political arena, in the build-up to the 2019 general elections, seems to be more of a comedy of errors than a contest for leadership of the world’s largest democracy.