TWO young and handsome men, who were projected by their respective dynasties and sections of obliging media as the future of India and “secularism”, now stand exposed as extremely immature and shallow politicians who have neither the depth nor the vision to take the country forward. One of them, Rahul Gandhi has the divine right to rule India as the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, or so he thinks. He enjoys immense power without any accountability and recently made a repulsive and irresponsible statement about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the largest non-political organisation that is patriotic to the core and represents the soul and future of India.
The second, Omar Abdullah, is a failed Chief Minister who has neither the capacity nor the expertise to handle political or administrative crisis. He must be kicked out of office if the strategically-located border state of Jammu & Kashmir is to return to normalcy. He is guilty of, among other things, delivering a grotesque speech in the Assembly in which he questioned the state’s accession to India by arguing that it was “temporary and conditional”. There is nothing temporary and conditional in the Instrument of Accession that Maharaja Hari Singh signed on October 26, 1947. Of course, the doctrine of merger couldn’t be executed precisely because the Congress Government had by then forced the Maharaja to abdicate in favour of his son, Karan Singh, who was designated Sadar-e-Riyasat (President of J&K). Omar conveniently forgot the Delhi Agreement of 1952 and subsequent developments that extended numerous provisions of the Constitution to J&K. His attempt to put the clock back will never succeed. As for the Constitution of India, it clearly states that entire territory of J&K, including areas under illegal occupation of Pakistan, are an integral part of India. What is temporary and transient is Article 370 that gives a special status to the state and breeds separatism. Earlier it is removed from the Statute book the better it would be for the country and the state.
Omar Abdullah has proved to be a huge disappointment as an administrator and political leader. His inability to understand political cross currents and feel the pulse of the people is manifest in his casual approach to the stone pelting agitation launched by forces inimical to India. Instead of marshalling the support of nationalist forces and launching a political offensive against those who made his life miserable by raising azadi slogans, he lost his nerves and starting speaking the language of separatists. In the process, he has lost the confidence and affection of all those who were impressed by his “I am an Indian” remark in Lok Sabha in 2008. Omar’s Assembly tantrums didn’t reflect the wishes of the entire population of the state, only of a section of people living in 100 square miles of the valley. Separatists can’t be allowed to crush the patriotic voices emerging from Jammu and Ladakh demanding complete integration of the state with the rest of India and abrogation of Article 370. Sections of Kashmiris, including Pandits who had been pushed out of their homes and forced to live as refugees in their own country, are fiercely against demands for autonomy and azadi. Further, Omar’s antics have enraged patriotic Indians and emboldened anti-national elements in the valley who are claiming that it was a vindication of their stand on J&K.
Initially, the Congress party distanced itself from the Chief Minister’s objectionable statement saying it was “unacceptable” but remained silent on whether or not it would withdraw support from him for questioning state’s accession to India. However, Digvijay Singh (who is perceived to articulate in public Sonia Gandhi’s thoughts on all controversial issues like the demand for probe into Batla House encounter) defended Omar claiming that the latter had said J&K was an inalienable part of India. Did anyone else hear the Chief Minister making that assertion? There is absolutely no doubt that the Congress party is indulging in duplicity to hoodwink public opinion. The party must explain whether its stand on J&K is in tune with that of Omar Abdullah. Omar is the Chief Minister courtesy his friend Rahul Gandhi who supported his ambition to occupy the high office ignoring weightier claim of his father, Farooq Abdullah. Rahul Gandhi again came to Omar’s rescue when latter’s position became extremely shaky in the wake of his inept handling of the violent agitation. Will Rahul Gandhi apologize to the nation for projecting and supporting a fickle-minded person who is playing into the hands of pro-Pak elements?
Interestingly, spiritual headquarters of Sunni Islam, Darul Uloom Deoband, and its affiliate Jamait Ulema-e-Hind have snubbed separatists in the valley for using Islam as a rallying point. In a resolution recently adopted at a massive conclave of clerics at Deoband said unrest in the valley shouldn’t be exploited to fuel separatism and that demands of the people of the state must be addressed within the framework of the Indian Constitution. For the first time, these outfits affirmed that J&K was an integral part of India. This affirmation from Muslim clerics is a manifestation of the deep concern among sections of the community that using Islam for preaching treason and spreading separatism in J&K would have serious consequences for the community in other parts of the country. The same concern is also reflected in the sentiments expressed by large sections of apolitical Muslims that it would be in the interest of the community to resolve the Ayodhya dispute amicably without offending the sentiments of the Hindu society.
Not surprisingly, Digvijay Singh has come out strongly in defence of the “heir-apparent’s” unpardonable comparison of a terrorist outfit- SIMI-that aims at dismembering the country-with the RSS-the largest non-political organisation with millions and millions of patriotic cadres devoted to social good. Initially one thought Rahul had made that absurd off-the-cuff statement to make his presence felt. It now appears to be a part of the deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the dirty tricks department of the Congress to demonise the nationalist organisation that had a long and proud record of selfless service to the nation in countless fields. Rahul’s deplorable statement is part of his party’s divisive politics. He, like Omar, is adept in hit and run guerrilla tactics to get political mileage. Like his mother, he dodges any direct questioning of his gravitas, experience or expertise. He emerges at a time and place of his choice in front of well-picked audiences and launches his attack before going back to the woods. Dynasty’s strategy is to create an aura around the “heir-apparent” by pretending that he is uninterested in office and power, though he enjoys all the power (Doesn’t he appoints CMs, PCC chief, distribute party tickets and direct populist policies to earn brownie points?) without any accountability. He would keep dodging hard questions to hide his lack of political understanding and his simplistic and misguided notions about the nation and the society. He must be confronted head on and thoroughly exposed. Nationalists can ignore the danger he poses to the polity at their own peril.