Gujarat Assembly Elections:
Congress Party Stoops Low
The Gujarat Assembly elections have become the focus of sharp attention by political observers and political parties as the outcome of the elections here will determine the fate of the two major parties in India's next General Elections which could take place anytime. The reason being that the present Congress Government at the Centre is under siege by its predominant coalition partner, namely the Leftists Parties over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal who have threatened to withdraw support to the Congress Government should it finalize the Nuclear Deal with the United States.
The Congress Party desperately wants to win the Gujarat Assembly Elections not only because a win here would position it favorably for the General Elections but also a win here would be an anointing of the heir-apparent of the Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi who is son of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi. A win here could be credited to Rahul Gandhi who has recently been inducted as the General Secretary of the Congress Party as a prelude to his induction in the Union Government.
With the stakes being so high it was no wonder and it was expected that the Congress Party would pull out all stops of political propriety and stoop low to discredit the formidable Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi. The entire election campaign of the Congress Party in Gujarat was geared not to criticize the political shortcomings of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in their governance of Gujarat but the Congress Campaign had a single point agenda to damage if not demolish the formidable reputation of Narendra Modi in bringing up Gujarat as one of the best governed states in India and also with the highest rates of economic growth.
So what did an ordinary Indian witness in the election campaign of the Congress Party in Gujarat? Well, nothing exalted but only low and petty politicking unbecoming of the party that claims to have a historical legacy. The Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi labeled Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his setup as 'Merchants of Death' as the most notable quote, one for which the Election Commission has issued a notice to Sonia Gandhi. Not to be left behind another Congress leader termed them as 'Hindu Terrorist'. And this was only the first phase of the election with two more phases to follow. These epithets attracted notoriety but one can expect that worse would have gone unnoticed
The Congress Party needs to be asked as to what terms should be applied to the scores of Congress leaders who are reported to have gone around Delhi in 1984 massacring thousands of innocent Sikhs and their women and children? Rajiv Gandhi had been sworn-in as Prime Minister following his mother's assassination and was in the chair like Modi was in2002. So if Modi and his set-up were 'Merchants of Death' and 'Hindu Terrorists' what term does one apply to Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress set-up then?
It is wrong for any party to bring in charges in election campaigns which cannot be substantiated or apply religious labels across the board for cheap election gains. The Indian electronic media, otherwise claiming to be very fair failed miserably to comment on such wrongdoings and be critical of such language however much that they may dislike Narendra Modi.
India's major political parties should strive to set up some very high standards in the political domain and their electioneering. One did not hear such language and see such low level politicking in Jawaharlal Nehru's time. The least that the Congress Party can do is to uphold his legacy of high standards in politics. He may have had other failings but stooping low was not his trait.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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