POLITICS OVER PM’S SECURITY
The Congress is somewhat divided as to how to react to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach that took place in Punjab. A serious breach did take place, however, what is not clear is whether the lapse was at the level of the state police or the SPG, or both. With the BJP alleging that this was not a lapse but a conspiracy hatched either by Khalistanis or Rahul Gandhi himself, the Congress has hit back stating that the entire securitybreach was a “drama” enacted to deflect attention from the fact that there were very few takers for the PM’s rally in Ferozepur.This is poll season, so this blame game is not going to end soon. However, there is a division with the Congress on this issue. While some have taken the BJP head on and are exchanging barbs on social media, others exercise caution since it’s a sensitive issue. The latter group feels that the Congress is falling into the BJP’s trap by furthering this narrative. The more they keep the story alive, the more the BJP gets a chance to play up the sympathy factor for the PM, aided by the national media. How many channels showed the clip of former PM Rajiv Gandhi who was present at Rajghat, where bullet shots could be heard? After the incident, the late PM is seen smiling and playing down concerns on his safety. This clip has gone viral on social media with some Congress leaders even accusing the PM of exaggerating the threat. Yet we saw enough channels playing a video uploaded on YouTube a year ago, showing an enactment of a somewhat similar attack on the PM on a flyover—with all its conspiracy theories. However, Sonia Gandhi has sent a stern message to the Punjab Chief Minister asking him to take stern action over the security breach. In the end, there was a security lapse (whether due to laxity or conspiracy)—and both the BJP and the Congress are only muddying the waters by playing politics over it.
Agreeing to Disagree
MP and national spokesperson Manish Tewari’s recent comments on the PM’s security breach have led to a certain buzz within the party. He was one of the few Congress leaders who cautioned against playing politics on the issue, stating that “It’s unfortunate that issues of national security, particularly when pertaining to the PM, should be turned into a political football. We are not a banana republic.” This, along with the fact that he enjoyed a close equation with ex Congressman, Captain Amarinder Singh led to some speculation as to whether the Lok Sabha MP from Anandpur Sahib was also headed towards the BJP. When asked about this, he told NewsX that, just because he was not a sycophant, did not mean that he was a traitor. In fact, he added that one needed to take a relook at the anti-defection law, because it was possible for an MP to disagree with his or her party on issues, so long as they didn’t disagree on the ideology. Well, if more politicians agreed to disagree then political discourse would be a whole lot more amenable.
Captain Amarinder’s Dilemma
The Captain may have formed his own party, and pitted it against the Congress, but here comes the catch. What issues does he campaign on? If he targets the Congress on development, then he would also be targeting his own track record as Chief Minister for the last four plus years. Again, he cannot blame the BJP anymore for some of Punjab’s ills and neither does he want to antagonise the Badals too much, for they will probably be his future allies once the polls are over. Which leaves his old bete-noir, Arvind Kejriwal.However, he has smartly turned the tables on the Congress campaign, stating that”On one hand they used to say that Captain didn’t do any work during his time as CM and on the other hand they are saying that we will take our fiver-year report card to the people, that we have done a lot of work. If I didn’t do any work than what report card will you be taking?” Well, it’s quagmires like these that make trapeze politics so interesting.
Where is Mayawati?
Mayawati has been missing from the poll campaign, even though the state polls are round the corner. There are those who claim that she has been intimidated by the ED (read, ruling party at the Centre) and so is lying low, leaving it to Akhilesh Yadav to take on the BJP. Others claim that her committed Jatav vote remains intact and she doesn’t have to rush to rallies to woo them. But the key question remains, post polls, should there be a hung Assembly, would she embrace her estranged nephew once again, or do business with the BJP? There doesn’t seem to be a third option in the state.