India’s minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi, has grasped the third rail of Indian politics, launching a sectarian attack on Muslims and Christians for their treatment of cows.
Or has she? India’s press has not quite made up its mind as to whether Ms. Gandhi is pushing animal rights, corruption, terrorism or religion. And, from what has been printed so far in the major dailies, the press does not want to find out.
In the political jargon of the Anglosphere, the “third rail” of politics is THE issue politicians avoid discussing. In America the third rail (named for the high voltage power line that provides power for trains and subway cars) is social-security reform. For Australia it is asylum seekers, while in Britain the big three (Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats) do not discuss Muslim immigration and multiculturalism.
In India the third rail is religion in public life, or looked at from a different perspective, the secular state.