You see liberals in India are supposed to follow a narrative, very similar to their counterparts in the West.
In this narrative, the Hindus form 80% of the population (they don't) and are essentially required to hide or ignore their religion while the minority gets to flaunt their identity on their sleeves. Minorities get special treatment because they are 'minority' including separate personal laws not available in most other parts of the world. Islamic terrorism is the price India pays because of bad Hindus who keep attacking Muslims every now and then. And anybody who attempts to break out of this appeasement cycle is condemned as a bigot at best. (I think a post on this is due.).
What did MJ Akbar do. He went ahead and joined the BJP - he broke out of the liberal clique. Out of their narrative. He is neither the first Muslim in the BJP nor the only face nor the highest ranked. But the others like Arif Mohammed Khan or Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are ignored by the media because they break the narrative that the Congress wants you to believe and in any case they are with BJP for a long time and are therefore disqualified as liberals. They want you to believe the Owaisis and the Imran Masoods. Whatever.
But now that MJ Akbar has crossed over, other liberals have taken potshots at him. One, Salil Tripathi, who generally writes well though has his own biases, calls him an opportunist, by and large.
That’s because Akbar, the much-admired journalist, ceased to exist a long time ago and we hadn’t noticed. What became of him is between him and his conscience.
And the second, the greatest liberal of them all, who has used casteist slurs in his article, also spews a little venom. This man has , of course, built his career writing against Modi for a few years now and manages one in this piece as well.
Akbar’s personal habits (he loves Scotch) are not BJP-esque. Modi, puritanical about such things, and highly judgemental, will be revolted. Modi also has little use for Akbar’s wit and none for his erudition.
He calls him an opportunist and also expresses hope that he will quite the BJP soon.
I wasn’t surprised to learn his favourite song is Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya. I hope he pulls it off and gets a ministry or ambassadorship or whatever it is that he’s angling for. However, he has too much pride to survive in that nasty place. I give him six months.
Somewhere in there are some not so hidden insinuations and allegations of MJA being a bad writer as well etc.
But the bigger piece is that MJA breaks the stereotype and liberals dont like it. Just like Kejriwal (in whose mind only he is honest) or Kim Jong Un (who just kills off those who dont agree, like other peaceful cults) - only their narrative is true - and in that sense there is no big difference between these liberals and the dictators and the pigs in Animal Farm.
So, Mr. Akbar, you just lost your liberal ticket by going over to the other side. Never mind that it is only and only this side - deemed communal- which is talking about development across all sections of society without discrimination, which talks of voting for India and for everybody while the other side calling itself secular resorts to terms like 'hate hags' and 'chopping prime ministerial candidates' (just a specific one).
But Mr. MJA worry not. Your credentials are just a resignation letter away.