Modi’s degree row: Arvind Kejriwal Vs BJP

It’s rather embarrassing that our leaders would be discussing whether the educational degrees of the country’s Prime Minister are fakes. When Arvind Kejriwal made the allegation, it was expected that the BJP would laugh it off, calling it a frivolous piece of fiction concocted by a leader who has nothing worthwhile to do and is desperate for some cheap publicity. Now that no less than the party president Amit Shah and senior leader Arun Jaitley have come out with a defence for the prime minister, the matter appears to be serious.

Let’s not get into a debate over whether the documents produced by both sides are genuine. As is usual in such cases, it would lead us nowhere. The truth would finally get buried in the din of claims and counterclaims. The issue would die down after running its course. The AAP points out to several discrepancies in the BA degree of Modi. When the mark-sheet shows the year 1977, how can the degree issued mention it as 1978? How come, it alleges, the names are different in the mark-sheet and the degree certificate? No Narendra Damodar Modi passed out from Delhi University in 1978, the party claims, adding that the only Narendra Modi to graduate in the year from the varsity was Narendra Mahavir Modi, a resident of Rajasthan.

The BJP, on its part, has produced the BA and MA certificates of the Prime Minister and claims them to be genuine. We don’t have clear answers from the party on the discrepancies pointed out by AAP leaders, but they are expected to brush these off as clerical errors. The party would like others to believe that the allegations are pure fiction with no basis in reality. But why did it need to get into this in the first place?

Nobody was discussing the degree issue with any seriousness, but after the BJP’s media conference it has assumed some gravitas. It’s possible the AAP will dig out some more documents in the coming days and keep the BJP leaders on their toes. Television debates will only add to the party’s discomfiture. It could have done without the unnecessary attention but given the party’s natural inclination to give it back, its response is not unexpected.

Shah said AAP has taken the public discourse to a new low. He could be right, but the BJP has not exactly been the standard-bearer among political parties in this respect either. But such allegations don’t seem to bother the AAP. The fact that it managed to engage the BJP on the matter is good enough. Actually, it’s playing the BJP’s game when it comes to staying in news and putting the opposition in a situation of discomfiture. In a way what the BJP is doing to the Congress, the AAP is doing to the BJP.

It’s pointless to be judgmental over a certificate or two. It won’t diminish Narendra Modi. Political parties play their little games. The media is their new battle field. Here no low is low enough.