Thursday, October 15, 2015

Narendra Modi’s political ineptness

The Prime Minister cannot take shelter behind constitutional technicalities because he has projected the image of a man who spoke for all reasons and on all occasions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been active and eloquent on the social for two years, a year before he became the prime minister, and a year after that. It is not therefore surprising that people at large, media and the opposition parties expect him to respond all developments, good, bad and ugly; important and trivial. Modi had not hesitated to condemn through his tweets and statements on formal occasions the terror acts of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It was natural that political watchers in India, many of whom are his vociferous critics, expected Modi to condemn the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in the village of Bisahad in Dadri taluq of Gautam Buddh Nagar in Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh for allegedly eating beef. Bisahad is almost a stone’s throw away from the national capital. It was a murder motivated by religious frenzy and hatred. It was a hate crime. Modi did not react, nor did his party.

Modi chose to speak about it during his election campaign in Bihar, he reiterated his 2014 election formulation - Hindus and Muslims should fight poverty and not fight each other. Apart from the conspicuous silence on the killing of Akhlaq, he failed to realise that Hindus and Muslims are not fighting with each other. It is the Hindutva zealots who have been on the rampage ever since the BJP has taken office at the centre. The Prime Minister is certainly not so naive to misread the situation on the ground. He may not be responsible for it, but when hate crimes are committed in the name of Hindutva, the Prime Minister of the country is expected to send out a strong message that killing a man for eating beef is just not acceptable.

It is what a strong government and a strong leader are expected to do. The BJP believes that it has formed a strong government under the strong leadership of Modi. Both the party and the leader are showing themselves to be weak in the knees. This is a generous way of interpreting the political blunder of Modi and his government. The ideological critics are not obliged to give Modi and the BJP the benefit of doubt. They see it as an act of unbridled Hindutva fury, and that Modi is only turning a blind eye to it because he is a dyed-in-the-wool Hindutva partisan himself.

In his interview with a Bangla newspaper, he tried to skirt the issue once again. All that he could bring himself to say about the killing of Akhlaq is that it was unfortunate. And he chose to place the killing of Akhlaq along with the Shiv Sena not allowing popular Pakistan ghazal singer Ghulam Ahmed concert in Mumbai and the blackening of former BJP member Sudheendra Kulkarni by the Sainiks for organising the launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Ahmed Kasuri in the city. Modi sure is no logician or philosopher, but he must know that the murder of Akhlaq does not belong to the same sub-set as that of obstructing a music concert and the blackening of the face of a man seen to be friendly towards Pakistan. Akhlaq is an Indian citizen, and he has been murdered by Hindu fanatics. He cannot say that the central government is not responsible for the killing of a man in the state of Uttar Pradesh. In plain words, it was an act of obfuscation and a rather clumsy one at that. Former prime minister P.V.Narasimha Rao attempted this after the demolition of Babri Masjid. Rao did not convince anyone. Nor does Modi.

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