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    OpinionsWhen One Dares a PM for Public Debate

    When One Dares a PM for Public Debate


    by Dr. Jaipal Singh

    This author has been watching this opposition politician for about two decades and what he learnt and understood is that, at his own, he cannot even properly articulate his thoughts, vision and speech on day-to-day basis. In fact, he has become a laughingstock among the people with an ironic nickname given by his detractors and wise men alike. Yet the family, prominent political party leaders and netizens foresee in him the future of this great country, called Bharat or , in the twenty-first century. In his characteristic hit and run style, he periodically picks up threads or themes at own discretion, makes unsubstantiated allegations against the incumbent prime minister, government and ruling party at and international forums, at times even uses abusive words only to easily get away with it (thanks to the apex court and their proclaimed love for the freedom of speech & expression), and change it to yet another scandalous theme after some time at sweet will.

    Despite being the heir apparent of the oldest and erstwhile most powerful political party that has undergone a tremendous change with an inglorious record of fiddling with the Indian Constitution maximum number of times to the disadvantage of the original inhabitants and majority community of the country, his current political cutting remarks or jibe continues to be that if the incumbent prime minister and his party again comes in power following the ongoing general elections, they (Prime Minister Modi and BJP) will change (destroy) the Constitution that may lead to large scale popular protests, arson and violence in the country. Another interesting phenomenon is that as long as the prominent statutory institutions and organizations, such as judiciary, Election Commission of India, and/or various enforcement agencies act or give a verdict to the advantage or in favor his party's agenda, they are delivering their due responsibilities and duties in his opinion else they are biased and tainted.

    Surprisingly, he and his party do not show any faith even to the Supreme Court of India. Just for the sake of illustration, here I will briefly quote the saga of the Rafale Aircraft procurement. The Indian Air Force was in dire need of the multirole fighter aircraft for nearly two decades and they had been projecting the requirement of about 200 such aircrafts since mid-nineties in the last century. The NDA government led by the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2000-04) accepted the necessity of procurement and purchase process started but during the next 10 years of the Congress led UPA government no final decision was taken on various pretexts. During this period, significant escalation in and cost took place and the procurement of only 36 Rafale aircraft owing to cost constraints was approved by the NDA government through the Government-to-Government agreement with France in September 2016 at the personal initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The Rafale is an omni role 4.5th generation aircraft capable to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions – an indispensable need for India in view of two powerful and potential adversaries both at the eastern and western frontiers of the country. Now this politician and his partymen started making all sorts of allegations of kickbacks, compromise on cost, technology, in-house manufacture and maintenance support, and so on. After the months of chaos and confusion, the contract was comprehensively examined and investigated under the personal supervision of the Supreme Court. Finally, both the apex court and supreme statutory auditor (Comptroller & auditor General of India) cleared the deal of any alleged irregularities after their independent examination. However, this babbling and outlandish politician and his partymen are not willing to accept even the Supreme Court verdict and the party manifesto promises that, if voted in power, the Rafale Agreement will be reopened and reviewed (to punish guilty!).

    Should a person be given genuine public attention or importance, who frequently keeps changing posture and overtures as it suits him in a “hit and run” style? He represents a great party still with substantial following across the country, which was associated with the freedom struggle for a long time and has given many iconic and selfless leaders to the country. The other day, this author was going through this political party's manifesto which essentially could be summarized in just three promises. The first, the party, if voted in power, has promised to transfer Rs one lakh to an elderly woman in every poor family (@ Rs 8,333 or 8,500 per month, as he often speaks with multiple “khatakhat” sounds) without doing any work: Secondly, the party will review (and reverse) all important decisions taken by the Modi Government during the last ten years – allegedly, to save the Constitution; thirdly, to ensure social and religious justice (equity), the party will carry out a caste census followed by an economic survey across the country. The third and last promise essentially hints towards the proportionate redistribution of wealth among people.

    Recently, the author saw a video clip circulating on the social media platforms where this politician, while addressing audience, is daring the incumbent prime minister to accept his challenge for an open debate on the national issues. Then he concludes too in his characteristic style that he speaks only truth and that he knows Narendra Modi will not accept his challenge because the latter is afraid of him. Here, without prejudice to his supporters or adversaries, my well-considered take is why in the first place the incumbent prime minister should even consider this opposition politician's assertion. What is his qualification? This person is neither the president nor an important office bearer of the political party he belongs to; of course, he bears the cap of the former party president but that ended in his dismal performance across the country. He has never held any public post or ministerial assignment in the previous governments that could be used to justify his importance or worth. Irrespective of how his family and party evaluates him, he is just a member of Parliament from the and there are a total 543 such members in the country. Is it worth for the prime minister of country to indulge in locking horns with a member of Parliament for a public debate just to entertain his inane demand or sweet will.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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