Dr Ravindra Agrawal
As the elections for 16th Lok Sabha are reaching near end, the Congress seems to be feeling hugely depressed especially after the completion of fifth round. Even the party heavyweights and top strategists are feeling that they are fighting a lost battle. This depression has developed because the ruling party is not in the position to face the public ire against its 10 years misrule and it has nothing in its basket to show to the voters.
Finding no way ahead, the Congress and all its UPA allies have decided to attack BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi—both personally and below the belt. They are using all means to portray him as a ‘demon’ and even claim that India would not remain India if he becomes the Prime Minister. Not only the top Congress leaders but also the UPA allies seem to havestarted a joint tirade against Modi. As a last weapon, they are terrorising the voters to think many times before voting for Modi.
Even prior to formal beginning of the poll campaign, the Congress had started targeting Modi without substance. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in his last press conference on January 3, 2014, went on saying that Narendra Modi as PM would prove to be “disastrous” for the country. He might have made this statement to please his boss at 10 Janpath, but he logically failed to explain why he used such harsh words for his opponent. Did he notice any foul play on the part of Modi during the last ten years?
If not, then why he used such unparliamentarily words against the CM whom various departments of his own government continued to felicitate for good governance at many occasions. It was highly unfortunate on the part of the PM to criticise a highly promising Chief Minister on false and baseless perception.
Finding no remedy, the Congress in the middle of the poll battle used its last weapon and accused Modi for Gujarat 2002 riots to garner Muslim votes. The entire unit of Congress commanders is working overnight and is coining new phrases for terrorising the Muslims and other voters in the name of Modi. Capt. Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab and Congress candidate from Amritsar, said ‘If Modi becomes Prime Minister, there will be riots in the country’. On what basis Amarinder Singh made this statement? It seems he has not seen Justice Nanavati Commission’s report on Godhra and Special Investigation Teams’s report on Gujarat riots. Before alleging Modi for riots, Amarinder Singh should have taken into account the role of his Congress leaders in anti-Sikh riots of 1984. A recent sting operation exposed that the policemen remained inactive following orders from political bosses during anti-Sikh riots. Similarly, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah too does not want to go through the facts when he said he would prefer to go to Pakistan than stop criticising Modi. It seems he does not remember Kishtwar riots and atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir valley.
It is very much surprising that Pakistan based Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed also targeted Modi. In a tweet he said, “I [email protected] narendra modi to listen, Hindus of Pakistan, their lives and honor will always remain protected unlike what you did with Muslims”. It is needless to say how safe are Hindus in Pakistan? BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “I do not think we need to take notice of Hafiz Saeed. The
humiliation and suffering of Hindus in Pakistan is too well known. His politics is no different from that. They have never spoken a word against that.”
The recent comments made by some Congress and other leaders including Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, etc., prove these leaders have no other issue than to rake Modi’s secular credentials to woo the voters. Fearing dismal chances of winning the election, they have thus resorted to terrorising the voters in the name of Narendra Modi.
However, this is not for the first time that Modi is facing a sleaze campaign from Congress as well as the secular brigade. During 2012, Gujarat Assembly polls, The Sunday Guardian reported on 15 July, 2012 that the Congress had planed ‘Operation No Namo’ to blacken the personal image of Modi,’ reduce BJP to less than 90 seats and restrict Modi to his own state in 2014 general elections. Even prior to Gujarat riots the Congress had launched the same sleaze campaign against Modi in Rajkot by-election, held in February 2002. Political observers say during Rajkot by-election, Modi had emerged as a big threat to Congress in Gujarat as Rajkot Muslims were supporting him big way. About twenty eight Muslim organisations were working for him and had ensured substantial Muslim votes for him, and it was happening in times when it was unexpected for Muslims to vote for a BJP candidate.
It is important to mention here that when Modi was sent to Gujarat from Delhi to replace Keshubhai Patel as Chief Minister, BJP as a party was hugely depressed in the state. It had lost by-election as well as the local body polls. The general perception was that the BJP would not come back in the assembly polls which were scheduled to be held in the end of 2002 under the leadership of Patel. The prime reason behind it was the deep rooted factionalism and ineffectiveness of Keshubhai as Chief Minister. Under these circumstances, Modi was elected leader of BJP parliamentary party on October 4, 2001 and he took oath of office as the CM of Gujarat on October 7. After taking charge, he energised the administration set up and the party cadre, and took up the earthquake rehabilitation work as a challenge and, turned the disaster itself into an opportunity to show his ability and concern for the people. As a result, within four months, even the Muslims became his admirers and openly supported him in Rajkot by-election held in February 2002. On February 24, 2002, Modi was elected in the by polls. This proved to be a major setback for the Congress in Gujarat, as Modi had changed the political equations in an organised manner in the state.
Till now, Modi is blamed for Gujarat riots, but many aspects of these riots are yet not in the public domain. The real players who actually instigated and planned these riots are still hidden from the public eye. For it isn’t merely a co-incidence that on February 24, 2002 Modi gets elected from Rajkot, on February 27 Sabarmati Express is torched at Godhra Railway Station and on February 28 Gujarat riots take place. Justice Nanavati Commission report has revealed that the attack on Sabarmati Express was result of a well planed conspiracy by vested interests to destabilise the state government. And in this case many Congress workers from Godhra were also convicted.
In Gujarat riots the SIT has given clean chit to Modi. Yet, in spite of all these reports and judgments, secular brigade, under the garb of foreign funded NGOs, carried out a rescue operation for Congress. But as they realised the public is angry with Congress, they are not openly advocating for the party now, but are instead targeting Modi and are canvassing for Aam Aadmi Party’s leader Arvind Kejriwal, BSP chief Mayawati, SP chief Mulayam Singh, and RJD chief Lalu Yadav , and are projecting them as an alternative to Modi and Congress.
Since a fractured mandate suite these NGOs, they want the people to vote for regional parties. In their own interest they overlooked the Muzaffarnagar riots and the lawlessness under Samajwadi Party and RJD regime and have ignored the 1984 riots and communalism in J&K. And a riot-free society is not favourable to them as witnessed in Gujarat for the last 12 years.
Riot-ridden state such as Utter Pradesh which witnessed more than 150 riots in just two years, gave them an opportunity to collect huge funds from overseas in the name of rehabilitation of victims. Teesta Sitalvad is one such example. She collected crores of rupees in the name of riot victims and misused that amount for her personal gains. Hence, all such NGOs want people like Mulayam Singh Yadav as PM and not Narendra Modi, who wants a riot-free society. Undoubtedly, a weak and crippled Centre is favourable to them, the country witnessed during the UPA-I & II in the name of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council (NAC). Now, they are again interested in a fragile government at the Centre, whom they can dictate their terms as they did in UPA rule. Now, it is up to the Indian voters what they decide and what type of government they want—repetition of the UPA or a strong and committed government, which can safeguard the national interests at large.
(The writer is former Associate editor of Dainik Jagran)
Considered as the largest democratic exercise in the world, the elections are an opportunity for the people of India to democratically elect their representatives who will give voice to their concerns and aspirations in the parliament. But what is happening in the last few phases of election campaigns is throttling the very idea of democracy. The general rule of the moral code of conduct laid down by the election commission that says, ‘all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “Corrupt
practices” and offences under the election law, such as bribing of
voters, intimidation of voters’, is scrupulously being violated by the secular political brigade.
In fear of losing elections on their turfs, leaders from Sharad Pawar to Mamta Banerjee have chosen to attack the Election Commission (EC) for accesses. And Congress has turned to emotional appeals. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, while addressing a rally at Nandmahar in Amethi appealed to voters in Amethi, “I handed over my son to Amethi in 2004 in the same manner in which Indira Gandhi once gave her son Rajiv Gandhi to this constituency,” and similarly her daughter invoked Indira Gandhi in Raibareli.
The loudest threats of fear came from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. While the NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, known for his notorious comments, threatened to deprive a village of water if anybody from the village did not vote for Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav threatened government schoolteachers in Bulandshahr to either vote for his party or risk losing their jobs. For his statement he has already been slapped with a show-cause notice by the EC.
If this wasn't enough, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah threatened his party's main
rivals, PDP, and said they were responsible for the killing of NC workers in south Kashmir.
“I wish I had the authority and power and these people (militants) … I would have carried out hundreds of attacks on them (PDP) but I do not have that power, I do not have these militants,” said Abdullah, the NC candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha, adding, “The PDP deserves to be taught a lesson.”
And the central agenda of all the political parties has been to cast aspersions on Narendera Modi, and have left no stone unturned to generate Modi- phobia to divert people from voting him to power.
“There will be riots within 6 months if Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi comes to power,” said, former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Amritsar Amarinder Singh, in Amritsar on April 22.
“Modi-wave nahin hai, Modi-jahar hai (there is no Modi wave, there is a poisonous wave),” Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, said while rejecting Modi-wave at Dhanbad, on April 20.
Governance Vs Intimidation
Though the 2014 election campaign has seen its own highs and lows, one thing that is prominently seen is that it is revolving around the issues of leadership, governance and development. And the conventional fault-lines of castes’, communalism and regionalism have largely sub-sided, if not completely eliminated.
Congress tried to face the voters with a brave face and tried to sell their populist social security schemes like the ‘employment guarantee’ and ‘food security’. They used the same strategy in 2009. But this time the difference is that the UPA II had a baggage of social security schemes being perceived as new avenues for corruption, and is carrying the the load of scams. With governance and development being BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi’s campaign agenda, other parties were left with no option but to follow the trail. Consistent attempt were made to communalise the election atmosphere by invoking Gujarat riots and making personal and instigating comments against the BJP and Modi, and creating threat perceptions about Modi was another way of intimidating the minority communities. But from ‘Chai Wala’ to ‘Modi Jahar’, all the efforts have boomeranged till now. Despite all the secular strategists trying their best, popularity and acceptance of Modi and BJP is growing leaps and bounds among the common voters. Modi’s clear vision on development issues and ability to connect with masses seems to be the most dependable force for the party. His Road-show on 24th April is a good enough example to testify this.
Congress and its ‘secular’ allies have also opted for emotional appeals to counter Modi wave, in the name of family, caste, religion and region.
But these strategies have failed as voters are looking for ‘change’. Infact ,when the electorates refused to budge from the agenda for change, some parties are even turning to politics of intimidation, as their last resort. What they have forgotten is that, the voters are voting as it is their right to vote, and politicians are serving as it is their self-accepted duty. Nobody is doing a favour to each other. The EC is taking cognisance of such instances and is reprimanding action. But still, the parties do not want to play by the rules of democracy, and the common voter will surely teach them a lesson this election.
Babbling NCP Leaders: Recipe for disaster
The Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar threatened the voters of Baramati to vote for the NCP candidate Supriya Sule, else he would stop the water supply. On other such occasion, when Bhaiyya Deshmukh, a poor farmer in Solapur district was sitting on fast to demand water for his village, the Deputy CM said, ' There is no water then what do we release, should I urinate to fill up the empty dams?' …. Such shameful and reckless comments being made by Pawar shows his immaturity to handle critical issues.
Even Uncle Sharad Pawar is not far behind and has been continuously babbling against Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS. Recently Pawar said that Modi is not a patch on Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the only person from the BJP to become India's prime minister between 1998 and 2004. Vajpayee was a “sober man, cultured,” says Pawar while Modi is an “extremist.” He rates Modi's chances of making it to 7 Race Course Road as minimal.
Meanwhile in Pune one lakh voters found themselves absent from voter lists in Pune on Thursday. The BJP on Friday demanded a re-polling to set the wrong right. Affected voters even say poll officials told them that their votes had already been cast. Something similar also happened in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district when it came to light that voters in Padve-mazagaon village found their votes going automatically to Congress.
With the political class exposing its intimidating side to win elections see a high this election, India now pins hopes on its great institutions which have always upheld the great traditions of democracy. And it is believed, to put an end to this sectarian politics, and restore faith in democracy,
sacrifices will be required both from the people and the government side.
(Correspondent in Maharashtra)