Sep 27, 2023
Sep 27, 2023
The opposition political parties in India, more particularly the Indian National Congress aka the Congress, have become nowadays so desperate and aggressive in their endeavor to resist and oppose the main ruling party of the coalition (NDA) at the national level i.e., the Bhartiya Janta Party and the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they are so often found pitted against or compromising the very interest of the nation on issues. After independence, The Congress Party under the tight and constant dynastic control ruled the country for over six decades either directly or by proxy since 1947 but the position changed in 2014 with the emergence of Mr. Narendra Modi like a meteor at the national scene. His success in 2014 and re-election in 2019 in the parliamentary elections and continuous service and rendition of a credible governance has brought about a phenomenal change in the pace of all-round development as well as the image and reputation of the country nationally and internationally.
Naturally, the party that carries the legacy of the freedom struggle for the Indian independence and continuous rule over the country for nearly six decades is simply unable to reconcile with their current nemesis which of course is the result of their own misgovernance and misdoings with dominance of only one family and their cronies. During the last nine years, they and their so-called socialist and communist allies have established new landmarks in the political discourse by indulging in petty and, at times, abhorrible politics with constant use of slang /expletives against the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Modi such as the chor (thief), mass murderer, poisonous person, liar and fraud, Maut ka Saudager, nali ka kida (despicable vermin), scorpion, illiterate, poisonous snake, Hitler, Bhasmasur (a demon), chowkidar chor hai, biggest Gunda, Butcher of Gujarat, Jallad, Neech (mean person), chaiwalah (tea vendor), and so on. As if abusive the government and its head was not sufficed, yet another prominent Congress leader has now set a new paradigm by addressing even the electorate supporting the BJP as Rakshasas (demons).
Paradigm Shift in Opposition Narrative
Recently, Randeep Surjewala, a Rajya Sabha MP (Member of Parliament) and close confidant of the powerful Nehru-Gandhi family triggered a bitter controversy with his comments on the BJP and its supporters. While addressing a political gathering at Kaithal of the northern Indian State of Haryana on 13 August 2023, he dubbed the ruling party and people who vote for it as Rakshasas (demons):
Rakshas ho tum log; Bhartiya Janta Parti ko jo vote deta hai aur Bhartiya Janta Party ka jo samarthak hai, wo Rakshas pravritti ka vyakti hai. Main aaj Mahabharat ki dharti se shraap deta hoon.
[You are all Rakshasas (demons), one who votes for the Bhartiya Janta Party and who supports the Bhartiya Janta Party, he (or she) is the person of a Rakshasa propensity; today I curse (them) from the land of Mahabharata.]
As expected, Surjewala’s remarks instantly drew a sharp reaction and condemnation from the rank and file of the BJP in the state and center, one of their spokes-person even suggesting that “having failed to launch the prince again and again, the Congress has now started abusing the public. However, Surjewala’s another controversial colleague, party leader and close confidante of the party leadership, Pawan Khera fully endorsed Surjewala’s comments suggesting it is indeed a political fight between the demons (who support BJP) and humans (who support Congress).
Randeep Singh Surjewala is a Rajya Sabha MP, a General Secretary of Congress and the Party in-charge for the states of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh as also the Congress national spokesperson for long. As for his current popularity among the electorate, he lost as the Congress candidate his previous election for the state assembly in 2019 from the same assembly segment of Kaithal against his BJP rival but was subsequently elected to the Rajya Sabha as the Congress party nominee from the State of Rajasthan in 2022.
Without prejudice to anyone, it can be convincingly concluded that the Congress leader’s dubbing of the electorate supporting the BJP as demons is a new low in the constantly deteriorating politics and political discourse. His remarks clearly reflect an anti-democratic mindset with an outrageous sense of entitlement. At the same time, his remarks also reflect frustration of the oldest political party of India of being out of political power and connected privileges for long. In addition, undoubtedly, it also sets a paradigm shift in the political party’s scaling of new lows in dirty politics. The very fact that his averment carries a tacit support from the party leadership, it is left only to the electorate of this country to give a fitting response at the opportune time. Before it is too late, the party leadership can still clarify if they endorse or not Surjewala’s arrogant sense of entitlement and belief that the voters are under obligation to elect only the Congress in power.
Opposition or Sedition!
In a parliamentary democracy like India, the opposition too is expected to play an important role not only by pointing out defects and deficiencies in the programs and policies of the government and ruling party but also in rendering a constructive support and appreciation for the developmental works undertaken for the welfare of people and overall development and growth of the nation. The significance of the opposition could be easily learnt from the fact that the leader of the main opposition party, subject to meeting certain statutory requirements, is granted the status and associated privileges and perks equivalent to a cabinet minister. Besides, one of the most important parliamentary committees in India viz. the Public Accounts Committee is also, as a rule, headed by the parliamentary leader of the main opposition party.
What is evidently clear now that after ruling the country for nearly six decades, directly or indirectly, the Congress Party could never reconcile with the fact that the majority electorate no longer want them in power at the center, hence they should, in deference to people’s mandate, politely accept the constructive role of the opposition for now. Be it an individual or institution, there are only two ways to rise with the desired success and glory. One mode demands a hard work and certain merit with a constructive approach to step up the ladder of success while the other mode doesn’t need such skills or virtues for the intended success and glory to achieve similar results simply as it can be tried simply by pulling down others. As it appears from numerous instances, the grand old party has merrily adopted the second mode which is of course easy but simultaneously fraught with many risks and dangers not only for the party but also for the very nation.
The Congress Party and associated opportunist political parties/groups have been out of political power at the center for over nine years now and emerging omens too are not very encouraging for their bright future. In the name of opposition during all these years, they have grudgingly and vehemently criticized and opposed almost every move and action of the Modi led NDA government irrespective of its merit. This opposition against Mr. Modi and his government has been so bitter and occasionally violent that they have been so often perceived as working against the very interest of the nation. A few important events from the current Lok Sabha and the Government’s tenure i.e., May 2019 onwards are briefly discussed here to learn the point made.
1. Abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir at the behest of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had been one of the most debated and controversial legislation as also the main bottleneck in integration of this northern state in the country since independence. While principled stand of BR Ambedkar, often regarded as the father of the Constitution, on this article is well known and documented, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was another Minister of the Nehru's cabinet who vehemently opposed this article and quit the Congress owing to irreconcilable differences with Mr. Nehru. He later formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, strongly raised voice against abrogation of the Article 370 and died under suspicious circumstances in detention in Srinagar, Kashmir in 1953. Owing to the unsettled status of Jammu & Kashmir, India has been dragged into three full-fledged wars with Pakistan in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971, and one limited war in Kargil in 1999. Besides, Pakistan sponsored terrorism itself has taken a huge toll of life and property during the last few decades.
On 5 August 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah introduced relevant Resolutions and Bills in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) seeking scrapping of the parts of Article 370 and Article 35A. The legislation was passed by the Rajya Sabha with two-third majority through a voice vote, 125 MPs being in favor and 61 against it, in spite of the fact that the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) did not even have a simple majority in the upper house. Such a massive mandate suggests that the majority opposition parties too sans the Congress and some other parties supported the legislation in the upper house in the national interest. The following day, the concerned resolutions and bills were presented in the Lok Sabha and passed with an overwhelming majority of more than two-third (required) majority of the members present in the parliament (351 MPs supported & 72 opposed) despite vehement opposition again from the Congress Party. The abrogation of Article 370 has led to full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India as also cleared hurdles for its integrated development, peace and progress. Besides the constant opposition from the enemy country Pakistan, the Congress is the only national party which is still keeping the issue alive with occasional threats of restoring back the Article 370 and previous status of the Jammu and Kashmir after coming back to power.
2. Unrest on Citizenship Amendment Act
The Citizenship Act of 1955 was partially amended vide the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 with a view to provide relief by granting Indian citizenship to the persecuted religious minorities from the three neighboring countries namely Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan subject to meeting certain conditions. The legislation is applicable to the persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian migrants from these Islamic countries. However, the Congress and few other opposition parties vehemently opposed it and incited people citing exclusion of Muslims as discriminatory. This started a nationwide agitation initially by students in some universities and academic institutions through an orchestrated disinformation campaign on electronic and social media. Subsequently, it took a nefarious and violent turn after some anti-social and anti-national elements too joined it indulging in chaos, rioting, arson and violence in various cities. People of the Muslim minority community were deliberately incited to create mass lawlessness and ruckus; even children of 7-8 years’ age were roped in. The anti-national elements supported by the interested groups and political parties such as the Congress and AAP even held the national capital at ransom for months in the name of infamous Shaheen Bagh protests, which ultimately culminated into mass communal riots and carnage in Delhi during February 2020.
All this occurred when the Indian Muslims had absolutely no locus on these protests because the new laws were in no way impacting their citizenship and other interests in any away. In fact, conservative and radical Muslims are perpetrators of other religious minorities in these countries and as such the Indian Citizenship laws already provide for the shelter and grant of citizenship to foreigners without any prejudice. The Act as such was issued as a special measure only after passing the relevant bill in both the houses of Parliament with the required majority of the law makers. All along, role of the Congress remained strange and paradoxical because during their own regime from 2004 – 2014, even this party had felt the need of such legislation and the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on record to have made appeal in Rajya Sabha in 2003 for granting citizenship to the persecuted minorities from the neighboring countries yet they did nothing for them. Besides opposing the legislation in Parliament, the Congress organized “Bharat Bachao Rally” (Save India Rally) in Delhi on 14 December 2019 with their overseas branches resorting to similar action in UK and other countries, citing the CAA as a divisive agenda and gave a rigorous call for the sustained public protests against the government till the withdrawal of legislation. Consequently, the mobs resorted to heavy stone pelting on police, destruction of public property and use of firearms leading to several deaths and injuries in numerous events.
3. The NRC and NPR Dilemma
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was mandated by the Citizenship Act 1955 promulgated by the then Congress government, which was further amended in 2003 with a provision to create a register of all Indian citizens after intervention of the Supreme Court of India. Following the creation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the bordering Indian states, particularly Assam, had a serious problem of illegal immigrants threatening the country’s demography, economy, peace and prosperity. So, the then Congress government took initiative for such a register for Assam in 1951 based on the census data but later it was neither properly maintained nor updated by them thereafter. Also, despite making the citizenship laws, the successive Congress government never took initiative to implement it in other parts of the country. Consequently, besides incurring serious problems on account of the illegal Bangladeshis and Rohingyas from Myanmar, India have not been able to implement even national identity card to its citizen; instead, multiple cards like Aadhar, Election ID, PAN, and so on, are in use now.
The purpose of the National Population Register (NPR) is to have a comprehensive identity database of residents in the country. This was again first prepared in 2010 by the UPA (Congress) government along with the National Census and its further updating exercise was also undertaken in 2015 along with a drive for implementing Aadhar card by the government. Paradoxically, the very Congress Party which had initially catered for the Citizenship laws and NRC started a politically motivated campaign against the CAA, NRC and NPR when the present ruling NDA (BJP) government attempted its implementation in 2019-20. Initially, protests erupted in some central universities with Muslim students supported by the left group students’ unions and some outsiders in mid-December 2019 immediately after notification of the CAA, which soon erupted in a massive violent agitation under the influence of some radical Muslim leaders and clergy as also with participation and support of certain organizations of dubious integrity such as now banned the Popular Front of India (PFT). On umpteen occasions, the protesters were seen raising anti-India slogans making seditious statements while many opposition politicians were found publicly defending their action with own ridiculous interpretation of what the move and slogans actually meant or implied.
With a view to show solidarity with the protesters, some state assemblies of the opposition (the Congress and CPM) ruled states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Kerala passed resolutions against the implementation of these central laws in the state. On their part, the ruling government exercised extreme patience and restraint in dealing with the protests; instead, they resorted to a nationwide drive of explaining and educating people on the CAA, NRC and NPR; Despite all this, as of now, its implementation is on hold. So far as the NRC and provision of the national identity card is concerned, what to talk of the Western countries and global position, even India’s neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have implemented and issued Residents Identity Cards to their citizens. But the Congress and some other opposition parties in India do not appear to be sincere in implementing Indian citizenship laws, rather they are now vehemently opposing it on various pretexts as part of their appeasement policy to garner vote and support of the particular minority community.
4. Farmers’ Stir against New Farm Laws
The year 2020 is more prominently remembered for the Covid-19 pandemic in India and other parts of the world but the Government of India also introduced long awaited crucial reforms in the agriculture and farm sector during the period. The Indian lawmakers simultaneously passed three agricultural bills in September 2020, which collectively sought to provide farmers with multiple marketing channels and a legal framework to enter into pre-arranged contracts besides multiple other intended benefits and improvements. After passing of the bills, the relevant Acts were promulgated as the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. As the Indian farmers had been offered a viable option under new laws for the sale and marketing of their produce with necessary legal safeguards while simultaneously retaining the existing Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets and the system of Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the purchase of the farmers’ produce, there was no question of any uncertainties or panic and reform was particularly aimed for the welfare and benefit for the farmers of the small and medium sized land holdings.
Legislation was ab initio opposed by the Congress, Left parties and some others on various pretexts. Initially, a group of farmers of the Indian northern states of Punjab and Haryana were on the forefront opposing these reforms with active support of the Congress, Akali Dal and Left parties but soon the agitation gained notoriety with the entry anti-national elements supporting Khalistani and Pakistani agenda from within country and abroad. On many occasions, the protesters were seen raising slogans in support of Khalistan and Pakistan flashing swords and other lethal weapons while shouting seditious slogans against India abusing the Prime Minister in person. The unsolicited statements of some foreign governments and politicians like the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and sponsored entry of celebrities like the US singer Rihanna, activist Greta Thunburg and ex-porn star Mia Khalifa in support of these protestors revealed the true face and the level of conspiracy and ugly face of the Farmers’ agitation. The climax reached in a tractor rampage on the Republic Day wherein more than 500 policemen were injured, and public property damaged by the hooligans, including the blasphemous act of hoisting of a religious flag on the historic Red Fort replacing the National Flag.
The opposition led by the Congress Party endorsed and justified the international intervention and did not oppose or criticize the agitators raising pro-Khalistan and pro-Pakistan slogans, displaying Khalistani flag or terrorists such as Bhindrawale’ posters and placards, or even when lethal weapons were flashed. On the contrary, this was justified in the name of the freedom of expression citing them as the peaceful farmers. Interestingly, almost all key leaders of the Congress and some other opposition parties had spoken from time to time in favor of the farming sector reforms to make it more market oriented and farmer friendly during the last two decades. What a double standard of politicians, when in power one supports a cause but repeatedly fails to take initiative to implement it, and while in opposition he opposes the same reform lock, stock and barrel. Although only a section of farmers was protesting but, in this case, perhaps owing to other political compulsions, the Modi Government could not withstand the amorous national and international pressure and the prime minister himself announced his government’s decision on 19 November 2021 to repeal all the three new farm laws, a retrogressive move indeed because the agriculture laws were indeed in the larger interest of the vast section of small and marginal farmers of the country.
5. Central Vista Project & New Parliament
The current Central Vista Redevelopment Project was undertaken by the NDA Government during Mr. Modi’s second stint as prime minister in later months of the year 2020. Broadly, the new constructions include the Parliament House, Kartavya Path (Rajpath), Common Central Secretariat, Central Conference Centre, Vanijya Bhawan, Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts, and new residences for the Vice President and Prime Minister. The old Parliament House and Secretariat shall be repurposed; the Mughal Garden to be revamped and renamed (already done as Amrit Udyan). Some of the existing structures such as the President House, India Gate, National War Memorial, etc. shall be retained while a host of old building in the Central Vista zone, mostly housing different ministries, will be demolished to create more purposeful space. A lot of developmental work, including the new Parliament building, has already been completed and the project is to be completed by 2026. The driving force behind the project appears to be the underlying vision of the nationalist government to replace the symbols of the age-old slavery with the new national landmarks.
The idea of the Central Vista Project is not new as the proposal for a new parliament building to replace the existing complex had actually emerged in early 2010s itself on account of the adequacy of space to house members and their staff and stability owing to several structural concerns of nearly a century old structure. The then Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar of the Congress had even set up a committee to examine and suggest the alternative to the existing building but owing to the lack of will they left it unresolved. Now the Congress Party and its allies are vehemently opposed to this project and the new parliament building citing it as a waste of the public money. This opposition has gained such a vicious momentum that the Congress, the Left and some other opposition parties boycotted even the inauguration of the new Parliament building in May 2023. The Congress MP and de facto leader Rahul Gandhi had gone to the extent of citing it as criminal wastage in the year 2021. Besides, some cronies like the UK base Anish Kapoor, a Padma Bhushan awardee by the previous UPA (Congress) government, have also indulged in vicious and false propaganda against the project. He wrote in the Guardian, UK on 4 June 2021 falsely claiming that “tyrant Modi and his henchmen are destroying the Mughal inspired Islamic origin buildings in the latest hateful and vanity-fuelled campaign to de-islamify India.
6. Overseas Congress and Gandhi Scion
It is indeed difficult for the Congress Party and its leadership to reconcile with its current nemesis: After all, it’s a political party which carries the legacy of the freedom struggle and reigns over the country for nearly six decades after independence. The party has been out of power for the last two terms following the crushing defeat in the parliamentary elections held in 2014 and 2019 at the hands of Narendra Modi led BJP. However, instead of carrying out a serious brainstorming and introspection within the party to find correct reasons for their failure to convince the electorate and take commensurate remedial measures, they are still engaged in negative politics of mudslinging and blaming their adversaries with superfluous and false propaganda and claims such as the democracy, secularism and Constitution being in grave danger under the Prime Minister Modi regime. They are constantly relying on and escalating imaginary fears and false narratives that the BJP with sustained political power and the Hindutva ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh are the biggest threat to the democratic India and its secular credentials and that they are constantly ill-treating and attacking the minorities (Muslims and Christians), dalits, tribals and women, and are responsible for the suppression of freedom of expression and ever-growing intolerance.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the leaders of the Congress and their cronies have constantly indulged in a similar agenda against the BJP, Modi government and Hindus in abroad too seeking intervention of the US, UK and some other influential countries to destabilize and replace the current ruling dispensation. The party leaders have often used the forum of the overseas Congress available in countries like US and UK for such campaign. During the recent visits of Rahul Gandhi in UK in March and US in May 2023, he raised his usual rhetoric before the Indian diaspora, the political class and lawmakers, private business community leaders, and members of the Indian Overseas Congress about the democracy and secularism in India being in grave danger under the government led by Prime Minister Modi, BJP and RSS. Besides his detractors, even some independent and rational thinkers have criticized the Gandhi scion for associating himself and taking assistance from the radical groups and organizations as also individuals known for their anti-India stand during abroad visits, some of them are known for the direct link to India’s sworn enemy Pakistan and terrorist outfits. The Disinfo Lab, an organization associated with information-warfare and psychological-warfare, has already revealed such linkages in a well-researched paper. The Gandhi scion was seen with many such individuals better known for their anti-India and anti-Hindu stand and activities.
7. Boycott of the Independence Day
As the parliamentary elections due for the 18th Lok Sabha in early 2024 are approaching, the ongoing spate and brewing tension between the two largest political parties of India, the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress Party, is also scaling newer heights. The Congress National President and Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Mr. Mallikarjuna Kharge so also the de facto leaders and real power wielding leaders and Lok Sabha MPs Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi boycotted the nation’s 77th Independence Day celebrations at Delhi’s Red Fort on 15 August 2023. Although Mr. Kharge didn’t attend the function at the Red Fort but he separately hoisted the national flag and participated in the Independence Day function at the Congress Headquarters in Delhi. While speaking at the occasion, he highlighted contributions of many previous Congress leaders and prime ministers simultaneously attacking the government and a dig at incumbent prime minister "Every Prime Minister has contributed to the progress of the nation. Today some people try to say that India has seen development only in the past few years…" Reportedly, he clarified that he could not attend the function at the Red Fort due to an eye problem while the party sources told that he could not attend because he was not feeling well.
8. The Aforesaid is Not All That Matters
The aforesaid are only a few illustrative but not all-inclusive issues and events where the criticism or opposition by the political parties, mainly the Congress, was not merely against Prime Minister Modi led ruling NDA government; instead, it suo motu also impinged upon the integrity, peace, progress, security and safety of the nation one or the other way. For instance, the political controversy created personally by Mr. Rahul Gandhi in levying the charges of corruption in the inter-governmental Rafale Agreement between India and France in 2016 for the purchase of 36 Rafale multirole fighter aircraft had not only embarrassed and put a question mark on the fate of the deal but also gave opportunity to India’s perennial adversaries China and Pakistan to fiddle in the troubled water when the Indian Air Force was in the dire need of a credible fighter aircraft to effectively handle the security scenario and counter the obtaining threat perceptions. A full stop to this undesired criticism and controversy could be achieved only after the Supreme Court of India delivered its final judgment in 2019 dismissing all pending petitions and clearing the deal of the alleged irregularities and corruption.
Then at least on four occasions since 2016, with a view to oppose and embarrassing the Modi government, the Congress and other opposition parties seriously questioned and disputed even the integrity and action of the Armed Forces. These occasions were the surgical strike conducted by the Indian army on 29 September 2016 against the terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control in the Pakistani-occupied Kashmir inflicting significant casualties following the Uri attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group and the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force on 26 February 2019 deep into the Pakistan territory to destroy Jaish-e-Mohammad Training Camp in retaliation to the Pulwama attack wherein 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a lone wolf (suicidal) attack. The other instances relate to the Chinese aggression and incursion; the first one led to the Doklam standoff in 2017 wherein the Chinese troops had to withdraw after a prolonged tussle with the Indian army committed to safeguard Bhutanese territory while in the second case the Indian and Chinese troops had a bloody clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020 wherein 20 Indian and unspecified Chinese (estimated 40+) soldiers were killed. On both the occasions, rather than supporting the national cause and army stand, the Congress leaders charged the Indian government of security lapses and failures. In the Doklam case, members of the Gandhi family were found to have secret parley with the Chinese ambassador; similarly, after the Galwan clash, the Gandhi scion escalated a narrative that the prime minister (Modi) has surrendered Indian territory to the Chinese aggression.
The lack of harmony and ever-growing acrimony between the ruling party and opposition has also severely affected the parliamentary business and legislative work since 2014. Of all the Lok Sabhas with full five-year term, the previous 16th Lok Sabha had the lowest number of sitting days (331) since 1952 and the current 17th Lok Sabha is unlikely to reach even this number. During the previous Budget Session, The Lok Sabha could function just about 33% (46 hours) of its scheduled time while the Rajya Sabha even less with just about 24% (32 hours). Normally, members are allowed to raise important public issues during the Question Hour which scored even less with 19% in the Lok Sabha and just 9% in the Rajya Sabha. This occurs owing to frequent unruly protests and disruptions caused by the opposition parties, mainly the Congress, on one or the other pretext leading to crucial loss of time and reduced productivity. Previously, maximum disruptions were caused on account of the ‘non-issues in reality’ such as the CAA, NRC and farm laws while the just concluded Monsoon session was mostly lost to ruckus on Manipur violence.
The Congress Party moved a no-confidence motion against the government on Manipur Issue during the recently concluded monsoon session, three days were spent on a heated discussion then the opposition lawmakers led by the Congress Party walked out of the Lok Sabha boycotting the prime minister’s reply on the status of Manipur and the northeast. Mr. Modi in one prime minister who has visited northeastern states during his tenure almost fifty times so far. When you do not have patience or gut to even listen to the government version, what is the rationale for holding such discussions? Do the lawmakers in the opposition ever seriously consider the fact that the unruly conduct and constant disruption of proceedings in the parliament without justifiable cause or reason not only brings ill-repute to the eyes of beholders but also hampers progress of the nation as it impedes many crucial bills related to taxation, infrastructure, social welfare, and so on?
In the foregoing paragraphs, the author has attempted to bring out only facts and is not keen to be judgmental, leaving it to the readers to derive own conclusions. But one would certainly like to make a few observations. As the then Director dealing with the budget and plan of the Defence Services in the Defence Ministry, the author is aware that the Indian Air Force had made a serious bid for a credible MMRCA (126 Nos.) as early as since mid-1990s but it actually fructified in 2016 that too after the personal initiative and resolve of PM Modi. Now there was hardly any need to levying imaginary and false charges of corruption and cronyism by some in main opposition, yet the political interests prevailed over the national interests. Similarly, on all the four occasions of the aforesaid conflicts with Pakistan and China, there was no express need to question or seek evidence about the operations from the Indian armed forces, yet they did because the political interests (to embarrass and let down the government) prevailed over the national interests. After initial denial, the Gandhi scion conceded that he had rightfully met the Chinese ambassador during the Doklam standoff to get necessary appraisal, but he did not deem it necessary to formally seek the same position from own government in the national interest to form a balanced view. These are only a few observations; the thesis of this saga would be too long.
While addressing the fellow countrymen from the historic Red Fort on 15 August 2023, Prime Minister Modi pointed out three major ills or evils, namely corruption, nepotism and appeasement, which have hindered the development and progress of the country for long. He added that corruption is a curse to any nation, the nepotism is enemy of talents, capabilities and potentials, while the appeasement serves as foe of the social justice and development. Together these evils devour the nation like a termite. This author has watched Mr. Modi at least for the last twenty-five years, who is indeed free from these evils; hence his aforesaid observations could certainly be taken as credible. On his own, this author would like to add yet another to this infamous list, namely cronyism i.e., favoring friends and associates to the position of authority disregarding their merit or qualification. These four evils together have evolved in a powerful and vicious socio-political Eco System since independence which has not only hindered the pace of progress and development for decades but is also responsible for spoiling the peace and harmony among communities in the country thereby earning bad name for the country from outside.
As such the very Modi government has now introduced three bills in the Parliament during the just concluded monsoon session, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023, which will replace age old the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Criminal Procedure Act, 1898 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 respectively, made by the British Government and operative till date. Under the revised laws, the sedition law has been proposed to be scrapped and replaced with the provision “act of endangering the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India”. Hence the author is now avoiding even the use of this term although some of the acts of the opposition parties do compromise the national interests. But let there be no doubt that in a healthy democracy, the opposition has the responsibility of pointing out or criticize defects and deficiencies of the programs and policies of the government and ruling party as also rendering a constructive support to the government in the matters of the national significance. At no point, the opposition should appear compromising the interests of the nation through their statements, actions and deeds. Nowadays, some of them are failing expectations on this consideration.
More by : Dr. Jaipal Singh