Breaching traditional norms in public utterances is clearly the “new normal” in the BJP with Union Minister Prakash Javdekar striking a strident note on Monday by labelling Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a “terrorist”. Simultaneously, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stuck to the “tukde-tukde gang (secessionist forces, a term now routinely used for opposition parties by BJP leaders)” narrative in his various public meetings in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly polls.

“Kejriwal makes an innocent face now and wants to know why he is being called a terrorist. You are a terrorist; there is plenty of proof. Not so long ago, he referred to himself as an ‘anarchist’. There is not much difference between an anarchist and a terrorist,” said Javdekar who is central in-charge of elections in Delhi.

The UP CM, on his part, accused Kejriwal of opposing all “nationalist” moves by the BJP, especially the repeal of Article 370. Arvind Kejriwal has become a “toy in the hands of antisocial and anti-India elements”. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had, in fact, supported the repeal of Article 370 in Parliament. “He obstructed the development of Delhi. And knowingly and unknowingly, he became a toy in the hands of anti-social and anti-India elements,” Adityanath said.

Mahatma not spared

This commentary ran alongside BJP MP from Karnataka Anant Kumar Hegde’s apparent attack on Mahatma Gandhi as he questioned the freedom movement led by the Father of the Nation, and described India’s independence struggle as an “adjustment” with the then British rulers.

Freedom fighters who did not sacrifice anything made the country believe that it attained independence through ‘Upavas Satyagrah’, Gandhi’s preferred mode of agitation, and became Mahapurush (great person), Hegde said at an event on Saturday.

In his address in Kannada, Hegde, a former union Minister known for making controversial remarks, said: “There were two types of freedom fighters, one which believed in Shastra (arms) and another in Shaastra (intellectual motivators).”

“There was also another category of freedom fighters which used to ask the British how to carry out the freedom struggle,” Hegde said at the event to remember VD Savarkar.

“We will abide by whatever you say... simply adjustment and understanding.... like 20-20 (cricket match),” the Uttara Kannada MP said about the freedom movement.

Hegde alleged that the third category of freedom fighters had pleaded with the British to recognise their freedom struggle and requested that they be imprisoned.

“They pleaded (with the British) it’s enough if you properly take care of us, nothing more than that,” he said.

Freedom fighters who did not sacrifice anything made the country believe that India attained independence through ’Upavas Satyagrah’, he said, adding that the British were ’frightened’ and gifted the nation freedom. “Such people became Mahapurush (great people),” he said, making a reference to Gandhi.