Never in the history of Indian politics has one man been so much under the hammer. Ever since Narendra Modi was declared as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election, the Congress-led opposition has been restless, green-eyed, and vicious in its rhetoric. Not a single day has gone by when some or the other politician has not slammed the former Gujarat CM for whatever!
There is nothing that Modi can do to appease the critics; there will always be reasons to condemn him. Let’s take the latest incident…
Atrocities against the Dalits by the self-appointed ‘gaurakshaks’ have grabbed national headlines. Weapon-wielding cow vigilantes have been beating up Dalits because they were found skinning dead cows. They operate like goons and even the state police in Punjab and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been found wanting in arresting this menacing trend.
Modi, until a few days ago, remained quiet on this issue, letting the local authorities deal with the matter. His silence, though, was portrayed as a sign of approval of violence by the opposition. With the UP assembly election not too far away, political leaders exploited his non-interference, charging him with bias towards the Hindu radicals responsible for the attacks on Dalits. Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, the Left and the others accused Modi of being soft on the matter.
When Modi did speak out, it was charged that it is too little too late. The PM called the perpetrators of violence against Dalits “anti-socials” who should be “punished”. He was clearly angry about the whole episode…
BSP chief, Mayawati, on Monday attacked Narendra Modi over his ‘delayed’ denunciation of the vigilantes. She drew parallel with an evil force from the past…, saying Modi was sleeping like ‘Kumbhakarn’ for the last two years and is only making comments to entice Dalit voters ahead of the polls. Other opposition leaders held similar views.
But was it really wrong for the Prime Minister to stay out of it in the beginning? By keeping himself out of the equation, by not addressing the media, Narendra Modi allowed the State forces to get a handle on the issue. As PM, he has the right to decide on the timing of his indulgence, of course, in consultation with the advisors and other stakeholders. And when he decided it was time, he did not mince any word.
Narendra Modi said, “I would like to tell these people that if you have any problem, if you have to attack, attack me. Stop attacking my Dalit brethren. If you have to shoot, shoot me, but not my Dalit brothers. This game should stop.”
Even if he came late on the scene, as the opposition keeps harping about, he did convey his message in certain terms. Action is being taken and the culprits are running helter skelter. The impact has been made, the purge begun.
If nothing else, Congress and the others should acknowledge the thawing of tension and the action being taken against anti-social elements. It is a destructive trait to nit-pick all the time.
With many incidents of violence by gau rakshaks reported from BJP-ruled Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Prime Minister’s remarks is also likely to be seen as a boost to the BJP’s attempts to woo the Dalit community ahead of key state elections, including in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, where they play a crucial role.
Even the RSS, who are perceived as Hindu radicals, expressed indignation towards these so-called saviours of cows, distancing themselves from this vicious handful of vigilantes… This perception that all Hindu radical groups have the backing of the Modi Government will one day dissolve. Such convenient allegations will soon stop influencing public opinion, which is more aware of the reality today than ever before.
Instead of concentrating on issues of development and party revival, it is wasting time on leveling inconsequential allegations. The Congress party and its leaders are languishing and there is no leader in sight to revive its dwindling fortunes. Forget Rahul Gandhi, he will only make matters worse. Sonia Gandhi’s time is up. Who else? If only the Gandhis knew that Rahul will prove to be a damp squib, and Priyanka Vadra was not cut out for politics, they would have groomed a new face, a new leader…
The fear among party workers is that the elevation of Rahul as Congress president will make BJP very happy. The young Gandhi will take care of embarrassing the Congress, leaving the NDA Government to focus on India’s growth and development.