The more you think about it, the clearer it becomes that the surgical strikes have unnerved the Opposition. At the heart of their concerns is the fear that the BJP might reap electoral benefit from the huge groundswell of support for the courageous step undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Discordant noises only seem to privilege partisan politics over national security. Small wonder, then, Arvind Kejriwal has been embraced to its bosom by Pakistan. Never mind the infantilism of Rahul Gandhi who fluffed the scripted lines only to make yet another blooper about Modi doing khoon ki dalali.
Before we come to the substantive point, allow me the liberty to make a suggestion. Next time the Indian Army goes out across the Line of Control, it should take a planeload of our netas, including, of course, the buffoonish Sanjay Nirupam, the sneering P. Chidambaram, and, above all, the devious Arvind Kejriwal, so that they can witness first-hand the demolition of the enemy. Otherwise, consumed by partisanship, these worthies will continue to doubt the good work our soldiers do at great personal risk to defend the country.
Levity aside, frankly, one would not waste time on what the Congress “leader by birth” says or does. In mid-40s, no one should expect Rahul to outgrow the mental development he has had or hasn’t had in childhood and adolescence. If you notice the television clip, poor fellow seems to have muffed the impugned line on the podium. He was tutored to phrase the point differently, but ended up mouthing an offensive inanity. Which impliedly casts an aspersion on the armed forces. If he must know, the surgical strikes were not ordered just so Modi could win an impending election. No, these were undertaken, against all previous record and precedent, and at great risk, so that Pakistan’s bluff is called and costs for its unending export of terror raised higher.
The Opposition, meanwhile, will be well-advised to coordinate its own line of attack against Modi. It has to be clear whether or not the surgical attacks, post-Uri, took place. The Congress seems to concede that these did when it claims, falsely, of course, that it too had conducted such strikes. We shall shortly show why that claim is untrue. But because Kejriwal has no such record to defend, he can jolly well suggest that these attacks did not take place at all. His immediate concern is the coming Assembly poll in Punjab. The state is directly affected by tensions on the border. And its people are more likely to welcome the tough, no-nonsense riposte to Pakistan than in any other state, something that is consuming the kagzi pehalwans of AAP, who are desperate to hoodwink the Punjab voters, a la Delhi, into grabbing power in the state.
Now, even if you do not trust the political leadership, can you question the serving and former DGMOs? Or the former Army chief? Besides, if you read M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser in the UPA government, in the Hindu after Uri, but before the surgical strikes, you will conclude, a) no such strikes had ever taken place when the UPA was in power, this, in spite of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack; and, b) it was courageous of Modi to empower the armed forces to give a fitting reply to Uri at a time and place of their choosing.
If Sharad Pawar and A.K. Antony still insist on claiming that they too had ordered such strikes, that actually masks the appreciation, and even envy, at the boldness shown by the Prime Minister. Admittedly, Congress governments might have had to reckon with the reaction of some voting blocs. Such extraneous factors wouldn’t hold back Modi when it comes to defending the nation.
Besides, people like zero-loss Kapil Sibal, who are sent out to clear the mess after Rahul Gandhi, ought to be able to appreciate that by going public with the surgical strikes Modi has not only pressured Pakistan to respond, but has himself opened to such pressure should there be another Uri-like attack. Even if we were to concede for argument’s sake that Congress too had its own surgical strikes, the decision not to go public showed its timidity.
Be that as it may, the 29th September strikes are an accomplished fact. Forced on the back foot, opposition leaders would hope that the euphoria does not last long. Or other events on the tense western border soon overtake the rebuff to Pakistan. Politics having degenerated so low, they are ready to discard national security concerns for the sake of votes. Demanding video proof and/or calling the Army action khoon ki dalali underline the moral bankruptcy of politicians strutting their act on the national stage thanks to a generous media.
ABUSE IN PUBLIC, APOLOGISE -PRIVATELY
Politicians switch parties the way ordinary people change their clothes. Take the case of a Gujarati politician. Till the other day, he used to be fiercely loyal to Narendra Modi, defending him most aggressively in the media. After waiting two years, when Modi failed to reward him for the services rendered, he switched sides. And, you guessed it right, he now abuses Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in unprintable words. And where do you think such a turncoat can find shelter? Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, of course.
And in order to establish the AAP footprint on the political soil of Gujarat, our dal-badloo made some astounding statements. One among them was nasty towards two sitting judges of the Gujarat High Court. The new AAP convert alleged that one judge of the High Court took his orders from 10 Janpath while the other took them from 7 Race Course Road, a downright scurrilous charge. Soon someone dragged him to the Supreme Court for contempt of the honourable judges.
And what do you think the AAP leader did? Well, he took recourse to the standard AAP ruse when caught telling plain lies, that is, run for cover. Asked to explain his remark at the pain of prosecution and possible jail, the loudmouth turned turtle, offering a meek and unconditional apology in writing and committing himself not to indulge in such misconduct again. Since then he seems to be maintaining a low-profile, hardly seen singing hallelujahs to Kejriwal on nightly TV.
A VERY SELFISH CITY
Delhi is a matlabi city out and out. Dominated by a permissive political culture, pursuit of power cancels out all other concerns. Take the case of this senior babu. Some months ago when his mother-in-law died, half the babudom, plus a smattering of politicians made it a point to attend the kirya or the fourth-day death ceremony. But a few weeks ago, when his mother died, hardly any serving or retired babu showed up for her kirya. Why? Simple. He had since retired. There is an evocative phrase in Punjabi. Translated, it reads: When a thanedar’s dog died the entire town turned up for its funeral, but when the thanedar himself died not a dog turned up.