The Opposition’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a vindictive and undemocratic hate-monger, a “fascist dictator” is completely unmerited and couldn’t be farther from the truth. Which is that they themselves are living proof of the Prime Minister’s immense benevolence towards his political opponents, in spite of their virulence against him. His conduct towards the national leaders who graced the dais at H.D. Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in as Karnataka Chief Minister in Bengaluru on Wednesday and called for his downfall, has been marked with a complete lack of vindictiveness. Not a single case of alleged corruption against the central leadership of the UPA has reached the level of even filing a first information report (FIR). This is so despite political cost to the Bharatiya Janata Party, since one of the main election planks for the BJP ahead of 2014 was the alleged corruption indulged in by the leaders of the United Progressive Alliance. If Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are out on bail in the National Herald case, that is because of the solo efforts of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in his capacity as a private citizen. Not a single minister from the UPA government has been sent behind bars. In this, even former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s record was better, in that A. Raja was sent to jail in the 2G spectrum case, while during the present government’s tenure Raja is a free bird, as is Dayanidhi Maran. Serious charges of financial wrongdoing against P. Chidambaram are yet to get their own legs, with the agencies moving at a snail’s pace against the former Finance Minister. Even Karti Chidambaram is out on bail. All that the government agencies seem to have discovered in four years against the former Union Minister’s son is a claim by Indrani Mukerjea, who is in jail on the charge of murdering her own daughter, that she was asked to pay a bribe of $1 million, which is chicken-feed when it comes to the allegations of misfeasance levelled against those who served the UPA as Cabinet Ministers, all of whom have been left untouched by this “vindictive” regime. Bureaucrats who served ministers seen as tainted by the BJP are now more powerful in the NDA regime. It is certain that many would have used their power to remove from the records traces of the wrongdoing they abetted, even while now serving a corruption-free government. This newspaper reported a month ago that the Central Bureau of Investigation had gathered enough evidence in the Saradha case against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ministers for prosecutable action, but the agency seems not to have got the go-ahead for serious action. In fact, the minimal action taken against some Trinamool Congress MPs in cases of corruption is just that—minimum and negligible. The cases against Robert Vadra’s land deals are also moving at tortoise speed. The current government seems to have shied away from acting lest its actions be seen as vengeful. It is a different matter that such inaction will come back to haunt the NDA government in 2019.

In the sphere of social justice, the criticism of the Prime Minister as being anti-minority and anti Dalit is also completely unmerited. The Prime Minister has religiously stuck to his motto “sabka saath, sabka vikas” and has talked only about all-round development and peace and harmony, and never about discriminating against any community. Not a single law or step has been taken by the government which can be construed as anti minority or anti Dalit. Even the RTE has been left as it is, together with continuing state chokehold but only over Hindu temples. The Modi government has however pushed for the banning of the practice of instant triple talaq, which custom has been inflicting misery on Muslim women. Also, as this newspaper has been reporting, funding in minority education and related affairs has increased during the tenure of this government. The talk about the rise of “Hindu fundamentalism” and “attacks on minorities” under the watch of this government has more often than not turned out to be fiction. Canards have been spread even internationally about the Prime Minister, who has been falsely depicted as extremist and authoritarian. But Prime Minister Modi himself has never protested, and has instead stuck to doing his job.

There are many similar examples where the claims made by the fast-coalescing Opposition against the Prime Minister do not have any resemblance with reality. Criticism is needed and indeed welcome, but it must be leavened with truth and not be a spinning of fantasies.

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