Thursday, May 23, 2024

Rahul rattles Modi for the first time

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday attacked the Congress and Gandhi family ruthlessly. He picked up the threads from where he left in Lok Sabha. “The Congress problem is it has never thought beyond its dynasty. The biggest threats of democracy are dynastic parties, he said. ‘People wonder what if there had been no Congress. They are stuck in India is Indira,  Indira is India,’ he riled.

It is true that Mahatma Gandhi wanted to scrap the Congress but he did not envisage a right-wing party would one day come to power. Modi spoke about dynasty many times earlier too even while having Akali Dal and Shiv Sena, both dynastic parties, as allies. For that matter, all the regional parties in the country, without exception, are dynastic. That remains a fact we have to contend with.

Congress cannot boast of a glorious record as far as spirit of federalism is concerned. State governments were dismissed at the drop of a hat. It started with Kerala at the behest of Indira Gandhi when she was Congress president and her father Pandit Nehru was Prime Minister. We have Bommai case to reckon with. Then Sarkaria Commission went into the matter. Telugus have bitter memory of how the TDP government headed by NTR was dismissed and one month later, following a huge movement to save democracy, the matinee idol was restored by a Union Government headed by Indira Gandhi. Modi was perfectly right in criticizing the Congress on this score. But does he have a moral right to criticize some other party when his own party is encouraging mass defections of governments and purchasing MLAs who were elected on tickets of other parties to form governments in States where his party was in minority? Vajpayee, who did not think of defections to survive a vote of confidence, when Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK  withdrew its support in 1999 when he lost by single vote, and opted for fresh elections, would have been justified in criticizing the Congress. Not Narendra Modi.

After listening to the speeches made in Lok Sabha by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, one could have easily inferred that for the first time the latter has succeeded in rattling the former. Modi has been dismissive all these years without even mentioning Rahul’s name. Modi in his Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha speeches concentrated only on the Congress but for a bit of criticism of AAP. Rahul, this time, also accomplished the most unbelievable. He made Modi quote copiously from ‘Discovery of India’ written by his great grandfather, the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was heartening to hear from Modi some quotes from the great book.

Modi appears to believe in the adage that public memory is short. He blamed Congress for distributing free railway tickets to the migrant labour in Mumbai and Delhi when World Health Organization advised against movement of people and the government of India clamped restrictions. He blamed the Congress for spreading the disease. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi replied to Modi’s criticism. Priyanka at Panaji reminded him of the election rallies in West Bengal in the middle of the second wave of Covid-19. When Modi left the migrant labour to their fate, is he against others going to their rescue, she asked. Kejriwal, who has been of late eschewing criticism of Modi as a strategy, described PM’s statement false. “The country hoped that the Prime Minister will be sensitive to those who suffered the pain of corona pandemic. It does not suit the Prime Minister to do politics over the suffering of the people,” said Kejriwal.

Is it not a fact that oxygen was in short supply throughout the country when it was most needed and bodies were floating on River Ganga and Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar and an ally of the BJP, claimed that those bodies did not belong to his State but came from the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh? Prime Minister’s wish to take credit for the vaccination is part of puerile and self-congratulatory nature of his discourse. Was it not a fact that the country had to wait for vaccine for a couple of months? These ugly incidents took place too recently to be forgotten by the people.

In view of elections in five States both Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanatha wanted the people forget the most deadly second wave and concentrate on the first wave. The reference to Goa’s freedom by Modi also was with an eye on Goa elections. Even on that point he was not very factual. Nehru wanted Goa to be liberated peacefully that was why he did not rush the army. Moreover, the army was busy fighting the Pakistanis in Kashmir hills and Razakars in Hyderabad. The first chief of Indian army was a Britisher. The Army took its own time to settle down. No harm has been done in Goa because of the delay in sending Army.

Way back in late 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England and Opposition leader, said England comprises two nations, the rich and the poor. Rahul Gandhi, in his speech,established that there are two Indias- again the rich and the poor. 98 Indians possess assets equal to that of some 55 crore other Indians, and some 142 billionaires (the third highest number of billionaires globally) had increased their wealth from Rs. 23 lakh crores to Rs. 56 lakh crores (more than double) during the Modi dispensation. On the other hand, India ranked 101 in the Global Hunger Index below Bangladesh and Pakistan and other neighbours. Rahul also stressed on how Modi government has been helping Ambanis and Adanis grow exponentially with a caveat that the Congress is not opposed to the corporate houses. Rahul castigated India’s foreign policy which helped China and Pakistan come together.

Rahul took the example of Tamil Nadu to explain how federalism in letter and spirit has been violated in the last seven years of Modi’s rule. Modi alleged that the Congress is trying to pit the States against the Centre where as the Centre itself vitiated the concept of ‘Union of States.’ The way Krishna and Godavari rivers are sought to be taken over by the Centre from AP and TS governments with a gazette notification is a clear indication of the Union Government’s mindset. While Krishna passes through four States – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the assets on the river in the last two States only will be taken over by the Union Government without touching projects and related assets in the other two States in a clear case of discrimination.

By referring to the diversity of regions, cultures, languages and aspirations which has been in vogue for thousands of years, Rahul was only asking Modi’s government to introspect in the wake of blatant implementation of right-wing ideology. Refusing to do that, Modi, as usual, tore the Congress into pieces while the treasury benches were thumbing and cheering.

However, Modi did not reply to three important points Rahul Gandhi raised. The Congress leader spoke about two Indias -one awfully rich and other utterly poor. Secondly, he spoke on the second wave of Covid – 19 during which there were maximum deaths and thirdly about diluting India’s democratic institutions. None of these issues were answered. The PM spoke many things which were not related to the Presidential address.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


  1. Looks like another paid propaganda to prop up Rahul Gandhi. The leftist liberals leave no stone un turned to get their propaganda across in the guise of an editorial article – such a shame that journalism has stooped so low to peddle propaganda instead of speaking balanced truth – SMH


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