Sivaprasad had already appeared as a Hindu god, a Muslim cleric and in woman’s clothes in order to grab attention during political debates, yet on Thursday he attended the session in a brown suit with a swastika armband and wearing a narrow moustaches and a distinctive splay haircut.
“I started as a soldier in the German army and earned great respect,” he said during the sitting, impersonating Hitler, “but I was greedy for power and as a result became responsible for World War II, which resulted in the death of several [tens of millions of] people and I also killed myself. My suggestion to Modi is not to go down that way.”
When asked by the BBC why he chose Hitler’s identity, Sivaprasad said: “Hitler never sought anyone's counsel and he did not work for the welfare of people.” He also suggested that it was necessary to show the similarities between Nazi dictator and PM Modi who won the 2014 elections with "great expectations and hopes his government cannot live up to.”
While Hitler’s name in India does not carry the same painful associations as in the West, the MP’s play caused little disturbance among the public, as many saw it as another dramatic attraction and even took a sefie wiith Sivaprasad in his costume. A café, an ice-cream brand and menswear shops named after the Nazi dictator can still be found all around the country. Earlier this year the a portrait of Adolf Hitler appeared in one of children’s book about inspiring leaders, provoking complaints from US-based Jewish human rights organisations.
At the same time internet users have found the MP’s decision infuriating. A news editor with The Times of India, Manimugdha Sharma, called Sivaprasad’s decision “a shame,” saying that “whatever point he wanted to make could have been made without the Hitler act and the Nazi salute.” Others admitted that choosing Hitler was an act of a “very poor taste” and didn’t understand how one can be “so casual” about a man who caused World War II.