With reactions from the BJP, Shiv Sena, Ashok Swain, and others responded, that BJP is taking Bhutto’s speech way too seriously.
In his UNSC address in New York, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s remarks in response to India’s Jaishankar accusing Pakistan of being the “epicenter of terrorism have gone viral. Bilawal called Modi “Butcher of Gujarat”, a nickname he had acquired for overseeing a pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when he was the state chief minister.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his in his UNSC address, said, “While Osama is dead, the Butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the prime minister of India.”
With sharp reactions from BJP holding a nationwide protest against Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto’s comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the BJP is overreacting to the comment coming from ‘failed country with proven terror links’. India’s response to Bilawal Bhutto only “helped Pakistan get the attention it sought globally”, the Sena leader said adding that the response also needlessly hyphenates India with Pakistan.
While the term “Butcher of Gujarat” was coined by furious Indians at that time, but which still stuck because it is believed Narendra Modi orchestrated the Gujarat Riots allowing them to continue. Recently, Amit Shah lauded the riots, and this upset a large chunk of Indians even further. While a small section of society may be delighting in one of the most horrific pogroms in modern Indian history, most normal people reel back with shock at the horror of the event. Bilawal Bhutto touched a raw nerve using the term “Butcher of Gujarat” where Indians are still waiting for justice from the riots, and when many who testified of the riots are behind bars and basically, wounds are still oozing, and there is no closure.
Professor Ashok Swain said, “What Bilawal Bhutto has said in 2022, the same thing was said by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mamta Banerji in 2014! Why this drama?
What Bilawal Bhutto has said in 2022, the same thing was said by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mamta Banerji in 2014! Why this darma?
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) December 17, 2022
Bhutto made a statement saying, “While Osama is dead, the Butcher of Gujarat lives & he is the prime minister of India.” Bhutto even took a dig at the RSS, the patron organization of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party, and equated it with Hitler’s Schutzstaffel or SS.
He said, “He (Modi) was banned from entering this country until he became the Prime Minister. This is the Prime Minister of the RSS and the Foreign Minister of the RSS. What is the RSS? The RSS takes inspiration from Hitler’s SS.”
BJP workers held countrywide protests demanding Pakistan’s apology for the comment that Bilawal Bhutto made in the ongoing India-Pakistan tussle over terrorism in the United Nations.
Why is the BJP upset with the Opposition?
The BJP is presently trending about a comment that the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had allegedly made about the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling him Dehati Aurat which means a low-down village woman, at that time, which Nawaz Sharif had denied. The BJP released a video showing how Narendra Modi at that time hit out at Sharif and how the BJP demanded an apology from Nawaz Sharif for calling Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a Dehati Aurat. The BJP slams the Opposition now none of the Opposition is defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Bilawal Bhutto’s objectionable comments.
Why could this be so? Why is the Opposition not seemingly rising up in arms against the comment of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan?
Firstly, it was not a prime minister’s comment to another, but rather from the FM of Pakistan, not too big to get a marked national response.
Secondly, it was a comment made in response to Jaishankar’s comment calling Pakistan a terrorist-supporting nation, so some kind of retaliation would be expected.
Thirdly, too much water had flown under the bridge since the eight years of Narendra Modi’s rule leading to a very fragmented nation. While in the past, there were tussles between political parties, they still had a mutual understanding. The present politics is bitter and fierce. Attacks and witch hunts using the ED against people who went on the wrong side of the government have angered politicians and certain institutions in India.
Trust is lost and the chasms are growing deeper. The daily barbs against the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and personal attacks on Rahul Gandhi have set the scenes in such a way that while loyalty to the country is strong, there is no love lost between the BJP and other political parties. People call it Modi’s India and not Indians’ India because of the changing politics of the BJP, and in the past, such was never heard. Today, none are willing to “fight” for Modi at that time. The BJP finds themselves strangely alone with even their old friends moving away, nor is there a Modi wave on the streets fighting against that comment, but rather BJP alone protesting. Times have changed since 2014 and in fact today, the Opposition is accusing the BJP of taking Bhutto’s comments too seriously and accused the BJP of only highlighting the issue further with their reactions.