OPINION

The Congress (I) - A Party of, by and For Madam

December 03, 2008
Abhinandan Mishra

The home minister was finally persuaded to have an honorable exit. Its not that Shivraj Patil knew when or where was the next strike going to take place, I am sure that if he was aware of any such details, like all of us, he would have tried his best to see to it that the bomb blasts, the Mumbai attacks were not executed. But where he failed was in doing his best and leaving the rest to god.

We dismiss ministers so that accountability and responsibility is made visible. A  chariot even with the finest pair of horses needs a good charioteer so as to make sure that the horses do not run aimlessly. Our former Home minister in this context behaved as if he was trudging on a bullock cart.

A stricter law was being demanded by everyone. Maybe he opposed it personally or maybe his party members were against him. Whatever the case he should have made it clear. Maybe he would have lost his chair, but ultimately that happened and he was asked to leave, an exit which he would not have hoped for when he occupied that position four and a half years back.

He had the political wisdom to equate Sarabjeet and Afzal Guru, he had the personal wisdom to change clothes when Delhi was still reeling under the after shocks of the blasts. The only thing that he did not have was the courage to come out with reasons he was opposed to a stricter law.

Critics argue that stricter laws have resulted in violations of human rights. Is not the Judiciary responsible for this? We have more than belligerent human rights activists and organization in India who are forever on street. We have the NHRC and most importantly we have a media that is heavily loaded against any human rights abuse. So we do have the right kind of checks to stop rampant violations.

No one can demand a lax law just because a stricter law will curtail the human rights. Is not living under the sound of guns and watching AK 47 toting terrorists causing mayhem on the streets violation of human rights? What about those who lose their near ones? I guess their human right of being happy is taken away the moment their dear one falls dead.

Since the present government has come into power it has always been a reactive one. That too would have been acceptable had they reacted on time , but they stopped this ‘reactive’ tendency months back.

After the 26th attack, announcements for a federal agency was done and also a stricter law was proposed. What is new? Has not the country been demanding this for a long while? When the MNS goons were rampaging on the street, for days the Congress high command did not react, and when ultimately it did, the vandalism stopped immediately. What were they waiting for? By the time they reacted the damage was already done.

So has been the present case. Too little may be too early to say but too late; definitely.

That brings me to the larger issue. While watching the news of Mr.Patil being removed, the driver at my home said “ Lagta hai Madam khisiyan gayi” ( seems Madam is angry). He was referring to Sonia Gandhi.

I guess 8 out of 10 if not 9 will tell that it is Sonia Gandhi who decides how the present machinery will function. We have a president who has been handpicked by her and who is as good as non-functional. The benchmark that the previous president had set has been thrown into oblivion. We have a PM who wakes up in the morning wondering whether he is still the PM or not. And we had a Home minister who was more interested in having the blessings of the high command rather than figuring out why the terror strikes had gone up.

It is time that Sonia Gandhi is also brought into focus. At least she can dispel the myths, if any, about her stand. Whether she wants a tough law or whether the ministers are only accountable to her and not to the people who have elected them.

She may be working in the background but is it not true that even the kingmaker should also be held accountable?

Considering everything, what have we to bank on? The BJP? It might have some individuals who can deliver. As and when the power arrives, people start focusing in how to retain that power. The promises that are made, the expectations that are nurtured, all are left to wither away.

The past week has left me perplexed and it is because of these very questions that are so hard to answer.

A law graduate from NLIU, Bhopal.Worked for 2 years as a journalist in media organizations like Qatar Tribune, PTI and UNI. Now more of just 'a writer' rather than a 'paid' writer.
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#1
kerty
December 3, 2008
12:52 PM

Sonia's presence in Delhi is costing India dearly
François Gautier

"Will someone in the Congress, someone who feels more Indian than faithful to Sonia, stand up and speak the truth?"

Read Full Article
http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?title=Sonia%27s%20presence%20in%20Delhi%20is%20costing%20India%20dearly&artid=LNnjswClsuc=&type

#2
Chandra
December 3, 2008
06:41 PM


No doubt that she is a disaster. For that matter, during the previous regime,Vajpayee, Jaswant and Advani were equally big disasters. Arun Jaitly as PM is clearly the best way forward....

#3
kerty
December 3, 2008
07:55 PM

1) Congress can not blame BJP and what happened during Khandhar hijacking to excuse its own lack of resolve to fight terrorism. Congress has taken Khandhar episode as a license to do nothing, use it as a shield every time it is criticized for not acting tough on terrorism

2) Similarly, Congress has cited abuse of POTA during BJP rule as a justification for not having such laws. However, what stopped Congress from using POTA responsibly and non-abusive manner during congress rule? If all terrorists are moslems, than all the people netted by POTA will also be moslems - how can one use that as justification for not having anti-terror laws and initiatives?

3) Similarly, congress has politicized encounter-killings, crippling all pre-emptive and proactive options available to security agencies. Would-be terror plotters killed during pre-emptive raids during funding-recruitment-training- reconnaissance phase will always appear to be innocent moslems prior to actual terrorist event because terror plot is yet to be executed and nobody is guilty as yet in a legal sense. During encounters, collateral killings can not be ruled out either. But if congress party is going to politicize them, law enforcement agencies will shy away from doing what is necessary to prevent terror events. Congress has paralized the law enforcement agencies by its politics.

4)While other nations have elevated certain crimes to be acts of war in order to fight terrorism, Congress has demoted terrorism to a status of civilian crime, to be fought within existing civilian framework. Thus, terrorism is not an enemy act of war, it is a minor law and order problem, to be accorded full constitutional protections. Having demoted it to law and order issue, we have seen how(#3) congress has paralized even law enforcement agencies from carrying out their mission. It can not go after any moslem suspected of terror links without being politicized in the media by congress.

Until now, Congress has lacked the resolve to fight terrorism. Now that it has invented 'Hindu terrorism', it has found much needed parity, an equivalency between Hindu and Jehadi terrorism. Its ideology rests on it. That is what has created a turning point in the psec establishment and not the horrors of Mumbai attacks. That is what has helped media and political establishment find their voices against terrorism. If the boogie of hindu terror were to fizzle out, we would back to same old appeasement of terrorism.

#4
kerty
December 3, 2008
11:10 PM

Last 2 para of #3 corrected..

4)While other nations have elevated certain crimes to be acts of war in order to fight terrorism, Congress has demoted terrorism to a status of civilian crime, to be fought within existing civilian framework. Thus, terrorism is not an enemy act of war, it is a minor law and order problem, to be accorded full constitutional protections. Having demoted it to law and order issue, we have seen how(#3) congress has paralized even law enforcement agencies from carrying out their mission. Law enforcement agencies can not go after any Moslem suspected of terror links without being politicized in the media by congress.

Until now, Congress has lacked the resolve to fight terrorism. Now that it has invented 'Hindu terrorism', it has found ideologically needed parity, an equivalency between Hindu and Jehadi terrorism. That is what has created a turning point in the psecular establishment and not the horrors of Mumbai attacks. That is what has helped media and political establishment find their voices against terrorism. If the boogie of hindu terror were to fizzle out, congress would be back to same old play book of appeasing terrorism.

#5
Chandra
December 3, 2008
11:23 PM

Kerty -3

a. Of course, Kandahar was a disaster for Vajpayee, Advani and Singh. It was humiliating that as nation like ours were brought down on our knees

b. How POTA will solve terrorism is beyond me. POTA helps in winning votes though - for both parties

c. Congress has done nothing for last 5 years. Sara dhyan nuclear deal pe tha.

#6
kerty
December 4, 2008
01:48 AM

Chandra

So what if Kandahar was a disaster and humiliation. Does that mean congress can keep on justifying its lapses for ever due to BJP's lapse in Kandahar? Does it mean BJP can not criticise congress's appeasement of congress?

For crying out loud, Kandahar is not in India. When plane is hijacked to some god forsaken country with which entire world has no diplomatic relations, it creates zero rescue options short of all out war on Afghanistan. What would you have expected Indian government to do on that millenum new year eve? Declare war to save few passengers? Would war have saved the passengers? When whole Indian media was parading the wailing relatives of passengers 24/7, when you have people holding Dharana at PM's residence pleading to deal with hijackers and save their families, when there is not a single voice in the media supporting action against hijackers, when there is national consensus to save passenger lives at all costs, there is very little government could do. I agree that Bajpai should have attempted to sell the hardliner stand to the nation, but in stead, he kind of gave in to the situational and media pressure. If you want to consider that as a sin, than fine. Lets judge all parties by same standards. What have other party's done to take hardline stand against terrorism? In stead, they have been justifying all their subsequent appeasement of terrorism on BJP's sin in Kandahar. As if congress can now appease terrorists for next 1000 years just because BJP did it in 2000. I hope you realize that Kandahar has been used as an excuse by congress to justify its policy of appeasement.

As for POTA. If POTA had nothing to do with terrorism, why would congress scrap it as soon as to came to power as if it was the burning issue? If POTA was ineffective, than why not leave it alone, what harm it could have done by leaving it alone? We have so many laws that are ineffective, we do not go around scrapping them. Our army too is ineffective in preventing terrorism and insurgency in Kashmir - would you recommend scrapping the army from Kashmir too? You would argue that army may not prevent all terrorism, but its absence would surely open up Kashmir to more terrorism than otherwise. Plus, army's presence symbolizes nation's resolve - ultimately, terrorism is a game of will, if you are not prepared to bring it on the table, terrorists would walk all over you. And that is what terrorists are doing in absence of show of will and national resolve on the part of India. POTA symbolizes government's will and show of its resolve - it does not matter if POTA is effective or not - you need something like that to create a chilling affect on our enemies. Like Bush created with guantanamo bay - he hauled up only handful of terrorist suspects there, but its chilling effect was far and wide across the jehadi world. Bush did not have to put every terrorist, every jehadi there. But its psychological impact reached every jehadi. If you have better ideas, if you think something else would work better, lets hear it. Cynicism is dirt cheap in this season of bashing, but it is not going to tackle terrorism, weather one aims it at congress or BJP or Pakistan.

#7
kerty
December 4, 2008
01:58 AM

#6 1st para corrected...

"So what if Kandahar was a disaster and humiliation. Does that mean congress can keep on justifying its lapses for ever due to BJP's lapse in Kandahar? Does it mean BJP forever can not criticize congress's appeasement of terrorism?"

#8
kerty
December 4, 2008
10:53 AM

But what about the Prime Minister?
A Surya Prakash

"The country has become vulnerable to repeated terrorist strikes because of the diabolical and cynical pursuit of vote-bank politics by this coalition since it came to power in May 2004. Here are a few examples of the UPA's blinkered approach and the crass vote chase that some of its leading lights have been indulging in: The Government repeals POTA and holds back clearance of anti-terror laws enacted by Gujarat and Rajasthan; Union Ministers and leading politicians associated with the ruling coalition fall one over the other to empathise with families of persons arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks in Ahmedabad; UPA Ministers and politicians question the integrity of Delhi Police and describe the encounter between the police and terrorists at Jamia Nagar as "fake" despite the martyrdom of a police officer; the Government stands on false prestige even after hundreds of citizens are killed in terrorist bombings and rejects advice to bring in strong, deterrent legal measures to combat terrorism; a Union Minister demands citizenship rights for 20 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who pose a threat to the nation's safety and security; and finally, in a desperate bid to clinch the Muslim vote before the next Lok Sabha election, the Government turns away from the real threat to national security and dissipates its energies and resources chasing the chimera of 'Hindu terror'."



Read full article
http://www.dailypioneer.com/138549/But-what-about-the-Prime-Minister.html

#9
kerty
December 4, 2008
11:01 AM

EXCREPT from A Surya Prakash's article

"There were many incidents when the BJP was in power. There have been many more after the UPA took charge. So, where is the difference? The difference is that while both Governments have presided over an incompetent security apparatus, the latter must take the blame for sending out all the wrong signals and discouraging anti-terrorist initiatives by the security forces. The difference is one of intentions (niyat). The intentions of the present Government are not genuine. It appears ready to sacrifice the lives of innocent citizens, in order to keep alive a so-called vote-bank. The responsibility for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson who is the de facto Prime Minister. They must be held accountable for all the lives lost in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere, and for putting us to shame before the international community. They should not be allowed to shift the blame onto some scapegoats."

Full article link in #8

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