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Sycophants

With a clean profile, Tirath Singh Rawat’s fawning on PM Modi doesn’t gel with the BJP’s image

Politics, they say, is a dirty business. If that be correct, it is arguably not too far from the truth to claim that sycophancy is the oxygen and ego booster that most politicians live on. It’s their ticket to power and a surefire method for survival in the scheming, manipulative underbelly of politics. There have been any number of people in public life who have embraced, and even perfected, the art of servile flattery for self-promotion and self-interest. The one-leader outfits in particular, and all parties in general, can be accused of this trait. Hitherto not tainted much by this blemish, sycophancy has come of age in the “party with a difference”, too. Speaking at an event in Haridwar recently, Uttarakhand’s new Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lord Ram, saying that Modi has become so popular that the leaders of various countries now line up to get their pictures clicked with the Indian Prime Minister. He also equated Modi’s regime to the “good work done by Lord Ram for society” and, therefore, people started considering him god and a similar thing will happen with Modi, too. Last month, a video showed Rae Bareli’s circle officer Anjani Kumar Chaturvedi in uniform touching Shivpal Singh Yadav’s feet.

A video, showing 1996-batch IPS officer Rajeev Mishra in uniform touching Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s feet, had in August 2019 triggered a controversy. In May 2015, her Minister Rachpal Singh — a former IPS officer — stood calmly while a policeman tied his shoelaces at a public function. Similarly, Etah SSP Ajay Mohan in January 2013 touched the feet of Ramgopal Yadav, the brother of SP’s former chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. But perhaps no party has perfected the art of sycophancy as much as the Congress stalwarts. Zail Singh, grateful to his party’s leader for getting him into Rashtrapati Bhavan, famously said he would gladly “sweep the ground” that Indira Gandhi walked upon. And taking the top spot in the pantheon of flattery would be Dev Kant Barooah, who served as the Congress president during the Emergency. He is remembered even today for his adulation of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which he encapsulated in his proclamation in 1974: “India is Indira. Indira is India”. Such leaders, who crawl when asked to bend, are a disgrace to society and the people they represent. There should be no place for such courtiers in a democracy; rather, their work should speak for them.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | Pioneer

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