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Posted at: Nov 15, 2017, 12:33 AM; last updated: Nov 15, 2017, 12:33 AM (IST)

‘Sex’ CDs as dirty tricks

Gujarat campaign will get murkier
‘Sex’ CDs as dirty tricks
As technology becomes commonplace so have cameras. Words do not move public opinion as much as a video clip’s detailing of, say, a police official’s brutality, the spoilt ways of a higher-up’s progeny or a bribe seeker’s conceited smugness. Soon video cameras started intruding into bedrooms of people in public life. But voters have treated sexual dalliances differently, depending on the time, the place and the person. An ND Tewari had to quit as governor but Akali Dal MP Sher Singh Ghubaya’s dalliance failed to damage the electoral prospects of his son contesting on a Congress ticket. The release of the CD as a strategy to punish him for jumping the Akali ship misfired.

Former Akali Cabinet minister Sucha Singh Langah lost his case in the court of public opinion only because the woman featuring in the CD alleged coercion. He not only hurt his political career, but also helped sink the BJP’s Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byelection campaign even before it could rev up. And now the dirty bag of tricks has started unfolding in Gujarat with a “sex” CD featuring Hardik Patel, the biggest thorn in the BJP flesh. The BJP may have felt the need for a fresh smear attempt after its campaign to club the rebellious trio of Hardik-Alpesh-Jignesh as “HAJ”, with its not-so-subtle nuance of painting them as pro-Muslims, turned out to be an overused sleight.

Hardik may emerge unscathed from the attempt to narrow down the Gujarat elections to a vote on his character because in India, a scandal becomes politically fatal only when a politician’s conduct clashes with his core argument about morality. A former PM and a former defence minister never took the moral high road and this helped them conduct affairs of the state with élan despite live-in relationships. An affair crosses a red line when it affects public business or is illegal (as with a prostitute or a minor). The sex CD trick remains good enough to settle inner-party scores. But it gets scrubbed out from public memory when the prey does not trip over any societal or moral wires.

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