Today is their day. The much-anticipated press conference of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav sitting side by side. Promising that their big alliance will unseat Modi by denying him Uttar Pradesh.
There is a moment of clarity here for every Indian. Remember our intellectual class? Our liberals? The ones who pretend they want to ask the big questions: about freedom of expression, about poverty, about social justice, about the environment. They are the ones who are celebrating today what they think is a victory over Modi.
What kind of politics do Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati represent? On one side, an ex-Chief Minister who rose to power as a privileged dynast. He lived it largely on public money while his term lasted. When he was voted out, he took with him even the tap fittings from the bungalow that the people of Uttar Pradesh had given him. On the other side, another ex-CM who built statues of herself all over the state. With public money. Who wears thick garlands made of bundles of cash.
But liberals will applaud this. They will applaud anything as long as an opponent of Modi is doing it.
What else can our liberals applaud? Let me show you. Here is Akhilesh Yadav interviewed by Ravish Kumar at NDTV Yuva Conclave from 2018.
Akhilesh: The controversy that you are talking about, that a mail came out, I said to that man yesterday that it is my fault that I did not file an FIR and send you to jail.
NDTV Yuva Conclave audience : (Applause.)
Ravish Kumar: You will send people to jail now, you will also do what others do?
Look at fearless reporter Ravish as he challenges Akhilesh Yadav on the matter of sending a critic to jail. Gently scolding him. And even in his scolding, Ravish inserts ‘whataboutism’ by asking Akhilesh is he will “also do what others do”.
Meanwhile, NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is applauding at the prospect of youth icon Akhilesh sending a dissenter to jail.
Wait, this is going to get a lot worse. Akhilesh is going to say much worse stuff and the applause from the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is only going to get louder. Let’s continue.
Akhilesh: I called a big journalist from Delhi to Lucknow. I told him ‘You have taken the money and referred to me as Aurangazeb in your writings. I am ready to pay you twice as much, you should have told me.’
Nice! Akhilesh Yadav boasts openly that he is ready to bribe journalists. Honest journalist Ravish Kumar, who is sitting right in front of him and holding a mike, is barely audible.
Of course. Let’s go on.
Akhilesh: But I let that man also go. This is the mistake I made. I should have also pulled out a sword like Aurangazeb and killed the man on the spot.
NDTV Yuva Conclave Audience: Massive round of applause.
Yes, massive applause for an ex-CM saying he should have pulled out a sword and murdered a critic!
Thankfully, Ravish Kumar, somewhat embarrassed, meddles at this point.
Ravish: You are talking of violence now.
NDTV Yuva Conclave Audience: (Applause for Akhilesh Yadav continues)
Ravish: (repeating) You are talking of violence. How can you talk like this?
I’ll tell you Ravish why Akhilesh has the courage to talk like this. Because the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience is applauding him and egging him on. And because he knows he has the license of “secularism” to say whatever he wants.
If ever there was a time for blackening the screen, for shutting down the broadcast immediately, this would have been it. But Akhilesh Yadav knew that Ravish would never do that. That’s why he was talking like this.
Can you believe it still goes on? And gets worse?
Akhilesh: I am speaking out of anger because somebody compared me to Aurangazeb!! And I told that man… I will tell you his name someday if you ask me in private … aur … (inaudible).
NDTV Yuva Conclave audience : (Laughter then applause)
Even Ravish was smiling. The audience was laughing. To them, this context is really really funny. Believe it or not. They just can’t stop laughing and applauding. Remember Akhilesh just spoke of killing a person!
Ravish: But please don’t talk about killing somebody.
Very well Ravish. Thanks for the sage advice. I will remember your big smile right before you said this.
If you watch Ravish Kumar’s show, you will think he hasn’t smiled in five years. All because of internet trolls who post insulting comments about him. But for Akhilesh Yadav’s words, he smiles, before gently reprimanding him.
Who cares about dissent? Who cares about free speech? What about intolerance?
Imagine if Modi had spoken like this. About people who have compared him to Aurangazeb and Hitler and much worse. Or for that matter, if any BJP leader or any family member of any BJP leader or any business partner of any family member of any BJP leader had spoken like this. It would have been news for days. It would have been in international media as well, raising alarm over growing “intolerance” in India.
But for Akhilesh Yadav they applaud.
In this laughter and applause from the NDTV Yuva Conclave audience lies the key to understanding Indian secularism and Indian liberalism. That there is really no such thing. Only some self-interested partisans who use these high sounding words to justify their politics. And to grovel before a Dynasty.