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Monday, March 27, 2023


Politics with martyr's blood


People hate the dirty face of partisan politics, says Priyanka Rai
PRIYANKA RAI | Issue Dated: December 14, 2008
Tags : Indian | politicians | Mumbai | Congress | Bharatiya Janata Party | Delhi | Rajasthan | assembly | elections | newspapers | advertisements | community | vote | explosives | Raj Thakrey | NSGs | Marathi | manoos | bhaiyyas | martyrs | Sonia Gandhi | Prime Minister | Manmohan Singh | LK Advani | country | Sheila Dikshit | Afzal | Anand Mohan | Vasundhara Raje | Taj | Oberois | hotel | Narendra Modi | ATS | chief | Hemant Karkare | Shivraj Patil | UPA | Home Ministry | NDA | Pakistan | media | Mujahideen | blast | humiliation | widow | Kavita Karkare | Major | Unnikrishnan | father | Kerala | Chief Minister | VS Achuthanandan |
Politics with martyr's blood It looks like Indian politicians and political parties will never rise from the political mire they love to indulge in. The opprobrious manner in which our political fraternity behaved during the action on the roads and iconic buildings of the 'city of dreams' is a standing example of the unethical – and true – face of Indian politicians.

When the entire nation was mourning on the last day of the gruesome terror attack in Mumbai on November 29, the two major political parties Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were busy sledging. Eying the Delhi and Rajasthan assembly elections, the BJP issued huge newspapers advertisements, accusing Congress of being “soft on terror”. Congress retaliated by saying BJP is trying to “milk a national tragedy”. For Congress, strengthening its hold on the traditional minority and backward community vote banks is crucial. And the BJP is trying to woo the backward communities and even a part of the minority vote bank using the national tragedy as a powerful tool.

The point both lost is simple: the people of India hated this sledging. They were disgusted with the politicians, one and all, and this provoked the mass protests, silent but explosive at the same time. SMSes ran thick and fast: “Tell Raj Thakrey that the 200 NSGs were not Marathi manoos, but south and north Indian bhaiyyas, sent to ensure that he sleeps well,” was perhaps the most poignant one.

And it was Raj who (it seems) first realised the mass disgust and chided the BJP for playing politics with the blood of martyrs. He had a word of praise too for Congress boss Sonia Gandhi in this context. But she herself stooped as low as she could: insiders say she was furious when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly asked leader of the Opposition LK Advani to visit Mumbai jointly. That would be the perfect gesture in a democracy facing a national crisis. But Gandhi wanted nothing of that… may be Advani would hijack the prime ministerial platform to denounce Congress? In a glaring show of partisanism, she decided that she would accompany Singh.

The muck started flying from the time the first bullet sang. The Sangh Parivar went into a celebratory mood, as it felt sure that now the Congress had had it… clean sweep for the saffron, they partied. Congress leaders were going through the last motions of the Delhi polls, and pundits in both 24 Akbar Road as well as 9 Ashoka Road went into huddles, working out intangible election mathematics. And in the end, Congress felt that the solid, uncompromising hit back by the country got it the edge and Sheila Dikshit could, just could, win. Politics with martyr's blood After his Mumbai visit, Advani said in his Rajasthan campaign, “Despite the Supreme Court verdict, Afzal has not been hanged. I often feel if Afzal were named Anand Mohan or Anand Singh, he would have been hanged a long time ago." Incumbent Vasundhara Raje, in a tight battle, said: "Though the terrorists got into Taj and Oberois hotels in Mumbai, we have seen how this government has failed to check terrorism." Interestingly, Narendra Modi had described Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare as antinational a week back. But today, Karkare is a martyr for whom Modi has offered a crore of rupees in compensation. It is precisely this kind of filth that got the public’s goat.

And there seems to be a reason for this sort of politics. What the public is saying – though may be not in so many words – is that none of the national parties have a national agenda: they just stick top their partisan interests. That's the real tragedy of democratic India. Each party seems so insecure that for them national security is a non-issue. By hook or by crook, they want the votes, come to the power and stick to it.

The people today do not believe Shivraj Patil’s ‘owning moral responsibility’ and resigning. Sonia Gandhi’s ubiquitous hands were obviously turning the strings that ran the puppets to stem a Congress slide during the coming polls. Media coverage of Patil changing three suits in a span of a few hours of the serial blasts in Delhi had enraged the masses, but there was no expression. BJP points out to the more than 200 blasts during the UPA regime. Home Ministry’s official statistic says it has come down quite a bit from the blasts during the BJP-led NDA regime. Then why resign now?

That is because the people hit the streets. No one was happy that it were the haunts of the elite only – five star hotels and posh restaurants, mostly – that were hit. The sustained gun battle of over 60 hours made people cry, literally, about the fact that we were under siege inside our own country… never had Pakistan come this close inside even in a declared war of aggression. People were inclined to believe – whether it is substantiable or not – that India has been violated by Pakistan and media – in wilful suspension of responsibility – whipped up a frenzied demand for going all out. This time it was not like an Indian Mujahideen serial blast. It was utter humiliation. They had never seen the politicians' dirty faces so clearly as during the Mumbai attack.

The blame game and face saving exercises are not yet over. This may continue up to the next general elections and all the parties will sure try to 'milk' the votes.

But two public gestures of private families stand out and show what the people’s mood is: Hemant’s widow Kavita Karkare has bluntly refused to accept Modi’s compensation. And Major Unnikrishnan’s father has slammed the door furiously on the face of the so-called ‘people’s man’, Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan when he wanted to visit the martyr’s home to pay his tribute.

So far, the writing on the political wall is clear. If this commonsense prevails in every Indian, the political system may change in this country.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017