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Comments on Opponent's Underwear and Other Shit That Got Indian Politicians Banned From Campaigning

“The Congress government used to serve biryani to terrorists and Modiji’s army sends bullets and bombs their way."

by Shamani Joshi
16 April 2019, 1:10pm

Yogi Adityanath called the Muslim population of India a "green virus". Image via AP

My friends and I get into some pretty heated UNO battles, each of us plotting all the different ways we can bring down our opponents. And shit can get pretty intense with all the name-calling, finger-pointing and cat-fighting over the cards we lay out. But even though playing dirty in UNO has resulted in the demise of countless friendships, at least it’s because someone was surprise-slammed with a Draw 10. Not because someone is a Muslim. Or because of the colour of their underwear.

Election season has only just begun and there’s already been a slew of bans on campaigning issued by the Election Commission (EC) on certain politicians rallying in the major swing state of Uttar Pradesh because these guys have been, to put it quite simply, dipshits. Whether it’s making comments coloured with a communal shade or literally talking about the colour of their opponent’s underwear, here is all the stupid shit these politicians have been going around saying that has got them banned from campaigning with the hopes of keeping them shut up. At least for a few days, if not forever.

Calling Muslims a “green virus” that “caused the partition of the country”

Yogi Adityanath, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader who is currently the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, made comments in a speech that referred to the Muslim League as a virus that “spread across the country to the extent that it caused the partition of the country. He went on to say that the opposition party Congress had been “infected with the virus” and that “the Congress government used to serve biryani to terrorists and Modiji’s army sends bullets and bombs their way,” basically calling about 14% of the Indian population a “green virus”. He later went on to say that the battle in Uttar Pradesh was actually between Ali, a revered figure in Islam, and Bajrang Bali, the Hindu god Hanuman (talk about blind faith!). The EC has issued a 72-hour campaigning ban against him starting from 6 am today.

Commenting on the opponent’s underwear colour

Senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan contesting in Rampur was also issued a 72-hour ban for making comments considered “sexist and derogatory” against his BJP opponent Jaya Prada, a former member of his own party. In a controversial speech, he said, “I brought her to Rampur. You are a witness that I did not allow anyone to touch her body. It took you 17 years to identify her real face but I got to know in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear.”

Not only did this comment quite literally hit below-the-belt, with BJP Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj even comparing it to the mythological character Draupadi being disrobed in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, but it also merited a response from the National Commission for Women, whose chairperson Rekha Sharma is requesting the EC to bar him from contesting the election completely. And while Khan has gone on to defend himself by saying that he never used any name, the outrage has even resulted in a case being filed against the veteran leader (although that’s probably a rite of passage for many Indian politicians anyway). The ban also means that the candidate’s campaigning days are numbered, with the final day to rally voter support being April 20 before Rampur goes to polls on April 23.

Threatening Muslims to vote in their favour

Addressing a rally yesterday, Sultanpur candidate and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi truly laid it all out, saying she would win anyway, but if Muslims did not help her do so, she “will not feel good, because then there is a bitter feeling.” She went on to say, “If Muslims come for some work after that I will think ‘why bother’. Because employment is a negotiation after all, isn’t that right?” Because your feelings being hurt is way worse than the threat of hurting someone’s job opportunities, isn’t that right?

She even said, “We are not Mahatma Gandhi’s children to keep giving without getting anything in return”, an ironic statement coming from someone whose surname actually happens to be Gandhi!

For this, the EC banned her from polling for 48 hours. It had issued a similar ban before to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati after she asked Muslims to vote for her party instead of Congress to help them defeat the BJP.

TBH, given all the shit that’s being said and the social media shitstorm of political parties constantly ripping on each other, especially on religious grounds, Mayawati’s comments urging the Muslim community to not divide their votes may seem comparatively tamer to calling them a "green virus". That is, until it hits hard that no matter where these statements sit on the spectrum of hate, they not just violate the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct, but also threaten to turn a democratic process into a polarising contest.

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