NOW that the Special Investigative Team (SIT) set up by the Supreme Court to investigate the Gujarat riot cases has more or less finished its job-there are subtle reports that Narendra Modi may yet again be summoned – certain questions arise. It has become fashionable to condemn Narendra Modi as the progenitor of the Godhra riots and some journalists have even gone to the extent of describing the riots as a ‘pogrom’. Perhaps SIT should have summoned these journalists to ask them whether the term was appropriate. If the Godhra riots were a ‘pogrom’, how would one describe the riots that allowed the assassination of Indira Gandhi? Are journalists, as one of their own seniors recently remarked, getting to be “foot soldiers of the political class” used to damage the reputation of political adversaries?
An effort was recently also made to besmirch the reputation of LK Advani by giving publicity to the remarks made by Anju Gupta, his personal security officer as to what he allegedly said during the Babri Masjid demolition. But the truth about the allegations against Modi is now coming out, as India Today (April 5) has noted. It is clear that many of the charges made against Modi were deliberate lies, sponsored by the so-called Human Rights activists. Consider the following cases: Soon after the riots, Human Rights activists alleged that the rioters ripped open the stomach of a pregnant Muslim woman and threw out the foetus at the point of a sword. The doctor who did the autopsy, JS Kanoria has now gone on record as saying that he had examined the woman and found that her foetus was intact. Indeed he told the SIT what he had already written in his post-mortem report eight years ago on the same lines.
In a 2003 petition, one Nanumiya Malek had charged that a married woman has been raped by rioters. The woman, Madina, apparently told SIT that that was not true and Malek himself reportedly told SIT that the rape accusation was put forth at the behest of Teesta Setalwad. In 2003 Intiaz Pathan, a key witness in the Gulberg case told the Supreme Court that Ehsan Jafri was abused by Modi when Jafri had called the Chief Minister for help. Now SIT reportedly has not been able to find any evidence or a record of Ehsan Jafri making a call to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, to give him credit, did not duck being cross-examined during what must have been a humiliating eight hours. It is sickening to see secularists salivating at the prospect of Modi’s humiliation.
Rajiv Gandhi was never called to answer questions on Bofors; nor was there a SIT to cross examine him about the anti-Sikh riots, post-Indira Gandhi’s assassination. And it is worth while to remember that the Swedish prosecutor in the Bofors case expressed surprise why Sonia Gandhi was not quizzed on the scam. Wasn’t there a link between the Gandhis and Ottavio Quattrochi? Can it be, can it possible be, that the Congress is finding itself in a position where it has to destroy the credibility of the BJP leaders, if Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh were to retire due to ill health in the not-too-distant future? According to a reliable journal, Bureaucracy Today (April 2010) there is a “perceptible wrench between 10 Janpath and the PMO” with the PM “wishing to voluntarily leave his post on the pretext of his health. As the monthly journal put it, “it is correct that the PM is under continuous medical supervision and his battery of ministers are speculating from the back that his quitting the office is in the offing soon”. The monthly has named nine ministers as likely candidates to succeed Dr Singh. They are: Sonia Gandhi herself, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Sheila Dixit, Digvijay Singh, Ahmed Patel, Pulok Chatterjee and Oscar Fernandes. Rahul Gandhi now a healthy 40 – about the same age when his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru first became Congress president – has now acquired center-stage and, according to Bureaucracy Today “the moment he gives the nod, the throne will be his”.
In the past Dr Manmohan Singh has been quoted as saying that Rahul would have been a good addition to his cabinet. For all one knows, he may be just as happy to see Rahul as his successor. Two things, meanwhile, need to be checked out. First, will Dr Singh really resign before the end of his term? The amount of travelling he has been doing in the last few weeks gives the impression that he is in the pink of health. But rumours persist that he has no inclination to carry on and that what is more important, he is also having differences on vital issues with 10 Janpath. If that were true, one can understand the desire of the Congress Party to damage the reputation of likely future BJP candidates to the Prime Ministership.
As of the moment the UPA government seems to be suffering from severe strain. The growth of the Naxalites and the rampant ways in which they are spreading violence in tribal territory gives the impression that Delhi has no meaningful answer to the problem of naxal terrorism. Mr Chidambaram, Home Minister, did not exactly add to UPA’s credibility by some of the remarks he made about containing terrorism. The IPL-BCCI scandal and the need to do away with Shashi Tharoor has further reduced the standing of the UPA government in public eyes. By prolonging the time for his resignation, Tharoor has done more damage to his party than one realises.
Inflation continues to remain high and food prices have reached such a peak that families below the povertyline (BPL) are finding it hard to survive. It is a known fact that government policies such as the NREG have turned into failures. Corruption is rampant. In the field of Foreign Policy, India has nothing to show. The vulgar picture of the Pakistani Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton standing head touching head, holding glasses of wine in their hands tells it all. On every major issue like India getting access to Headley and US military aid to Pakistan, it is India which is the loser. The UPA Government’s survival itself seems to be at stake and the BJP’s victory in the recent elections to the Bangalore Municipal Corporation must have come as a shock to Congress. Dr Singh may or may not resign. One can only wait and see. But if he does, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.