BY K.N. Pandita
Such is the frustration of rank and file of opposition that they find political motive in PM’s visit to Kashmir. Ever since the Congress was routed in elections, it has increasingly been pandering to personal attack and attributing motives, political or otherwise, to each and every move of the PM. They find political motive in the Jan Dhan Yojna; they find political motive in Swachh Bharat, they find political motive in PM’s visit to cyclone hit Andhra and now they find motive in his visit to Siachin and Kashmir flood sufferers.
It is total bankruptcy of ideas, programme and vision. Unquestionably the opposition laments the loss of power to its bête noire. It jumps at every mundane issue which even an ordinary citizen would desist to rake up. Alas! The Congress seems to have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. One Congressman even went to the length of politicising the firing on the border. He and others of his ilk are tying to prove more loyal than the king. They oppose PM not for opposition sake, not for their party sake but to play sycophancy to their despondent and beleaguered boss, who, they imagine, can steer the sinking ship.
We know and every Indian knows that they have already put their one foot in another boat as a safety valve and are only waiting for the final dip down of the rudderless ship. Their greatest shock is that the Indian national minority, of whose cause they claim to be espousing, has let them down and flat. From this trauma they find it difficult to wriggle out.
The Prime Minister paid a visit first to Siachin to meet the Indian soldiers and tell them he had come home to his family members to celebrate Diwali with them. The soldiers received him with warm aplomb considering him a member of their family and not a prime minister who had come to seek account of their performance. As long as our soldiers are awake and guarding our border, the nation sleeps in peace. We owe them the gratitude of serving the nation in most difficult conditions and harshest climate above 17000 feet of sea level.
The opposition, if it had an iota of nationalist spirit left with it and was not blinded by lust for power, should have appreciated PM’s visit to the troops in world’s remotest corner standing sentinels to the security and sovereignty of the nation. To call it politically motivated is to betray anti-national approach to our security system.
For soldiers and officers of the army in Siachin, it has been a memorable occasion. The Prime Minister categorically stated that his government was determined to see that one rank one pension issue was decided in favour of the brave and valiant soldiers. He has more perks for the soldiers up his sleeves.
By calling his visit a drama, the opposition has undoubtedly lost credibility with the rank and file of armed forces. We are not going to recount in detail how the predecessor of Modi government undermined the security concerns of the country and scuttled all proposals of the armed forces that would have contributed immensely to battle-worthiness of our defence forces. It is painful as well as shameful to recount how the previous government treated the then army chief and the naval chief. Let us close that chapter.
Prime Minister’s visit to Kashmir, after meeting with the soldiers in Siachin, has also been labelled as politically motivated. Srinagar and some parts are devastated by floods. Does the opposition think that he should have gone to play golf in Kashmir? Yes we know of one Chief Minster who went to play golf when his home state was burning.
Nobody will buy opposition’s brazen faced indictment? One cannot believe that the opposition is so bereft of common knowledge as not to understand the duties and powers of the Prime Minister of India, the person whom 125 crore people have voted to power. Yes and indeed, his visit to both Siachin and Kashmir Valley was politically motivated: it has to be politically motivated. The Prime Minster is the fountain-head of contemporary politics and statecraft in the country, and his each move has political significance. His meeting with the Jawans at Siachin had the significance of instilling morale and courage in them to defend the country and to tell them that the nation which he was leading was at the back of the defence forces in thick and thin. This is no mean a motive and the Prime Minister has taken the lead.
In the same vein his visit to Kashmir and meeting with groups of people connected with various trades, professions and vocations and hear from them first hand the tales of their woe caused by the floods, carries the political underpinning of the State of Indian Union of coming to the rescue of a people of the country who have gone through the trauma of struggle for survival.
He is the person to assuage the wounds of the sufferers; he is the person to bring them solace; he is the person to take all the burden of the suffering masses on his shoulders; he is the person to raise funds to mitigate their suffering. If all this is politicizing, we congratulate Prime Minister Modi to have politicized for the right and human cause.
Does the opposition think that since assembly elections are in the offing in the State, the Prime Minister should put a full stop to relief and rehabilitation efforts of his government particularly when severe winter of Kashmir is fast approaching? Will a Prime Minister leave homeless and shelter-less people to endure more hardships as if what they have borne is not enough? Within two days of the flood ravages he flew in to Srinagar and, along with the Chief Minister, made aerial survey of the situation and sanctioned a thousand crore rupees for relief works. More than that, lakhs of people have been rescued by the Indian Air Force and other segments of security forces on explicit orders of the Prime Minister. Is it not his right and duty to come back to the sufferers and interact with them and know their tales of woe?
The State Cabinet has recommended to the Centre for providing 44,000 crore rupees for relief and rehabilitation of affected people. The Centre has deputed its own team for assessment. It would not want to leave the matter of assessment to the State authorities only, explicitly with the purpose that real and genuine sufferers are not neglected and dealt a hard blow. The demand of the groups of various trades who met the Prime Minister had a common denominator. They wanted the relief to be given direct to the sufferers and not through intermediaries. This carries volumes of meaning. PM cannot ignore their demand and that is why he asked them if it would be all right to credit the money to the bank account of the sufferers. True, the Centre would not bypass the State Government, but the donor has the right to see to it that relief goes to proper quarters.
In final analysis the opposition should try to remedy its frustration. By its self-indulgent and thoughtless criticism, it has lowered its image to great depths. We feel sorry that a political party of the standing and historicity as the Congress is should have opted to be handled by charlatans and sycophants who are dreaming the return of dynastic rule.