Modi's blog on Lohia: Oppn. and media in damage-control mode

24th March 2019

24th March 2019

Ram Manohar Lohia (left) and PM Narendra Modi

We all know that Lutyens Media reluctantly covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “mann ki baat.” That most inane part of his speech, and not its’ heart, is made into headlines. Now that Modi has written a blog on the socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia on his 110th birth anniversary (March 23), they have chosen to publish the reactions of the Opposition rather than give ample space to the blog content.

Such has been the strategy of Indian Express and the Hindustan Times. The Hindu hasn’t bothered to publish even a line. Only Times of India has done justice but it’s the exception which proves the rule.

Let’s detail out Modi’s blog first so readers could rightfully conclude that their newspapers have surgically removed its most potent parts. Here it is:

“Dr Lohia knew how disastrous Congress was. In 1962 he said: During the Congress regime neither agriculture and industry nor the army has improved…

“Anti-Congressism was Dr. Lohia’s heart and soul. His efforts ensured a shock to the then all-powerful Congress in 1967 elections. That time, Atal Ji remarked- “Due to Dr. Lohia’s efforts, one could travel on board the Howrah-Amritsar Mail without having to pass a single Congress state!...

“The veteran socialist leader from Odisha, Shri Surendranath Dwivedy remarked, “He (Dr. Lohia) was imprisoned many times more during Congress regime than under the British rule…

“Yet, today those parties that falsely claim to be Dr. Lohia’s followers are desperate to form an opportunistic Maha Milawat or adulteration alliances with the same Congress. It is both ironical and reprehensible.

“Dr. Lohia always believed that dynastic politics was inimical to democracy. He would have been flabbergasted to see his ‘followers’ think about their own families first instead of the nation…

“Sadly, the parties that claim to be his followers forgot the principle. They believe in `Satta’, `Swarth’ and `Shoshan’. These parties are experts at grabbing power, looting as much as possible and exploiting others. Poor people, Tribals, Dalits, OBCs and women are not safe in their rule because these parties give a free run to criminals and anti-social elements…

“In his works, Dr. Lohia called for complete equality between men and women. (Today, these parties) who dishonestly claim to be Dr. Lohia’s followers opposed the NDA Government’s move to abolish the inhuman practice of Triple Talaq…

“Is the commitment to vote bank politics bigger than the commitment to Dr. Lohia’s thoughts? Today, a moot question facing 130 crore Indians is:

“How can those who betrayed Dr. Lohia be expected to serve the nation?...

“Today they are betraying the principles of Dr. Lohia, tomorrow they will also betray the people of India.”

Phew! This is as damning as it gets –it’s another matter your newspapers wouldn’t let out the heart of the matter of Modi’s blog.

From being an early Nehruite, Lohia turned a bitter critic of India’s first Prime Minister. He even fought Lok Sabha elections against Nehru. He was vocal against Nehru’s dubious “modernization” policy in which “criminal luxury and waste were concealed under the deceptive slogans of national dignity and needs of representation.” After a visit to Rourkela steel plant, set up with West German help, Lohia wrote: “All this talk of economic help to backward countries is so much nonsense, for the helpers seem to be making a lot of money out of their help.” He often spoke of “Nehru myth.” He once termed Indira Gandhi as “goongi gudiya” Lohia was the architect of anti-Congress movement in India. It bore fruits when in the 1967 Elections, Congress lost control of eight states. Lohia’s work was completed by his comrade-in-arm Jayprakash Narayan after Indira Gandhi was defeated in the 1977 General Elections for inflicting “Emergency” in the country.

There you are. This is the historical truth. So how could Samajwadi party, who claim to be the heir of Lohia’s legacy, ally with Congress in the 2017 UP assembly elections? Why there is an “understanding” of “maha milavat” after the 2019 General Elections? What’s wrong when Modi calls it “reprehensible”?

It must also be told that the first documentary on Ram Manohar Lohia, 47 years after his death, was not the initiative of any top rung leaders of the Samajwadi party. It came in 2015 when BJP-led NDA was in the Centre.

Readers, as for your newspapers, the less said the better. In its story, Indian Express extensively spread the venom of BSP supremo Mayawati against Modi on everything except the topic of Lohia. Let’s take a guess why the newspaper did so: (a) Maybe she doesn’t know much of Ram Manohar Lohia; (b) May be its mandatory that bhatija’s reaction must be accompanied by bua’s; or  (c) So lightweight is Opposition to counter the weight of Modi’s blog that others must be shoe-horned even if they don’t mention Lohia at all.

What do you think it is? If Option C is your choice, then you must also wonder: Why my newspaper is going to this length?

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