Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rajnath Singh invokes Indira Gandhi and socialism, taunts UPA

New Delhi: BJP leaders had always had a sneaking admiration for Indira Gandhi as a powerful leader. Party president Rajnath Singh sort of outdid the party when he invoked Indira Gandhis' Emergency-era Forty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, part of which was a modification of the Preamble in which the words “socialist, secular” were inserted. Singh speaking for the party in the debate over Motion of Thanks to the Address of President in the Lok Sabha said that the UPA government had moved away from socialism that Indira Gadhi had inserted in the Preamble. He was criticising the government for giving up the concept of a welfare state, for not bringing in the food security bill even four years after promising it in the 2009 elections. He asked the government to introduce the bill and promised support for it. He also said the government should buy all the produce of the farmers at the MSP (minimum support price) rates. The BJP president has been vocal over farmers' issues. Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav who spoke next complimented Rajnath Singh on speaking up for socialism. He said that Singh as president should also alter the party's position on Muslims. Singh murmured in reply that all those Muslims born Indian will face no discrimination. It was a strange reversal with the Congress party members remaining silent even as the president of the main opposition party reminded the ruling party of its own political past and legacy. The Congress has changed and moved on with the times and it now believes in the principles of a free market economy, while the right-wing BJP, which should have been the champion of the market, defends the old idea of socialism. For Mualayam Singh and other traditional socialists, the Congress' avowal of socialism was always suspect. The socialists felt that the Congress really stole their thunder at the time. They feel vindicated that the Congress abandoned socialism and showed its true pro-capitalist colours. While Mulayam Singh Yadav cited China as a great threat to India, Rajnath Singh harped on suspending CBMs (confidence-building measures) with Pakistan.

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