For all these years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hailed by right-wing zealots as a champion of Hindutva politics.
For his critics, Modi has continued to remain the poster boy of these flag-bearers of Hindutva politics even after making his career progression from being a state’s chief minister to the country’s prime minister.
He was widely condemned for maintaining a mysterious silence every time his supporters caused new act of brutality against minorities and Dalits.
But, when the atrocities committed by militants masquerading as Gau rakshaks or the cow protectors, belonging to militant Hindutva organisations, against Dalits began to pose a serious threat to the BJP government in Gujarat, alarm bells appeared to have rung for the prime minister.
A chief minister called Anandiben Patel was made to go into political oblivion in a haste to avoid any more damage to BJP’s poll fortunes in what’s been its bastion for the last 14 years. Any defeat here next year would be a serious indictment to brand Modi.
It was no surprise why Modi, known for his disdain to public criticism, chose to break his silence rather quickly on this occasion.
In his first comments on the violence against Dalits by right-wing cow protection groups, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly rebuked them, saying most of them are “anti-social” elements who are running “shops” in the name of cow protection which makes him “angry”.
He asked state governments to prepare “dossiers” on the so-called cow protectors as 80 per cent of them do illegal activities at night and become cow protectors in the day, asserting that running such help groups does not mean harassing others.
However, it seems his comments uncharacteristic of a champion of hardcore Hindutva politics, has not gone down well with his supporters.
Many said they felt let down by Modi’s criticism of cow protectors leading to the launch of new hashtag ‘garv se kaho gau rakshak hain (Proclaim with pride, we are cow protectors.)” Others, however, detected a ploy for a make-over of brand Modi from being a right-wing leader to the one actively persued by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Here are some reactions:
— Swati Joshi (@SWATI_V_JOSHI) August 6, 2016
I am with one and all Gaurakshaks spread across the country. Are you? pic.twitter.com/rH9DRBVBpi
— Amit Rajwant (@amitrajwant) August 6, 2016
After Modi's sermon. these bhakts are trending #गर्व_से_कहो_गौरक्षक_है Fake leader, fake supporter and croco tears
— ?GauBalak ? (@makGauBalak) August 6, 2016
Wudnt it have been gr8 had PM praised d 90% GauRakhshaks who have dedicated their life in protection of mother cow?
— Ritu (सत्यसाधक) #JaiShriRam (@RituRathaur) August 6, 2016
Don't misinterpret PM like the media does .. he has spoken in favour of cattle caring and against hooliganism.#गर्व_से_कहो_गौरक्षक_है
— डॉ सलिल भारतीय हिन्दू (@NationalistDoc) August 6, 2016