After coming to blows over Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru in the last five years, now the ongoing general election is all about dead former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi vs incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Now, public speeches overloaded with abuses, half and fabricated information has become a norm — irrespective of grass root political workers to Parliamentary post holders. The Prime Minister, the one who is the face of the entire country, is calling one of his predecessors, the late Rajiv Gandhi, Bhrashtachari No.1 or Corrupt No. 1. The Prime Minister, who often warns terrorists of paying a heavy price and comes up with “in-demand” counter-terrorism statements with his ‘boiling blood’, failed to think back to the day when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorists. He forgot that the former prime minister’s life was violently ended the same way our soldiers on duty get killed. Moreover, our Prime Minister forgot the basic bar of decency.
Nothing can substitute the need of studying history for a better future. However, the last five years of this country have seen a needless dig into history, mostly for gaining political mileage. The Sardar Patel vs Jawaharlal Nehru debate was carefully crafted by the Saffron party to draw political sustenance at the moment when a few major state elections were approaching closer. It seemed that BJP IT cell and its leaders spared no effort to create an illusion around how Nehru imposed himself as the leader of Congress and the potential first PM of India while Sardar Patel was the preferred one by the then leaders of Congress. While many political writers from the independence era believed that both Nehru and Patel were patriots emerged from the nationalist movement and both of them were popular faces of Congress and the nation. It is believed that Nehru was chosen as the PM as he was the star campaigner of the party and the one who gathered people with his easy oratory capabilities. The history and its multi-fold analysis can be studied from various reports. However, it is evident that whatever might have been the differences between both of them, they preferred conciliation over arguments and served the nation on their own individual ways.
Now let us come to the disadvantages of politics on Nehru, Patel, and Rajiv Gandhi. Problems such as farmers’ suicide, unemployment, low education rate, inadequate school teachers, water scarcity, pollution, black money still rhythm with every heartbeat of the country. Every government before every election — from state assembly to the general elections — comes up with their manifestoes proposing various schemes addressing these prevalent issues to attract the voters. Once a political party takes over the throne, matters which need to be discussed are how fast those poll promises can be implemented reaching its benefits to the maximum number of people. But, wait! What we discussed is who owns the legacy of Patel, how much damage Nehru had done to India being the PM, why was Sardar Patel side lined, how corrupt was Rajiv Gandhi, et cetera. The country, political parties, and its supporter brigade have discussed, debated, argued, and abused around all these in the last few years. Now, if you ask that has the country gained or improved on any of these lines, the answer is a big NO.
The most debated issue of jobs longed for a relief when the BJP in 2014 promised 2 crore jobs every year if the party comes to power. But later on, the elected Prime Minister and his companion Amit Shah called self-employment the only answer to unemployment and the government can’t secure jobs to all 125 crore Indians. While the government claimed to have generated 9 crore self-employment through the Mudra scheme and other government schemes such as Stand Up India and Start up India, various reports came up with conflicting stands on job data in the Modi government.
The BJP 2014 manifesto promised strict measures to check price rise and planted a plan to set up special courts to stop hoarding and black marketing. However, nothing can be seen in reality so far. The bridle of the ruling party to control petrol prices faced major tremors. The rising cost of regular commodities too has been a pain for many.
The bullet train project stretching from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is yet to see any further development post the groundbreaking foundation ceremony. The promise to eradicate black money, plan to bring back money stashed overseas, and an impromptu decision of demonetisation in November 2016 landed hardly of any use than leading the loss of many lives, jobs, and businesses. Moreover, the promise to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every bank account was accepted as an election-winning jumla by the BJP leaders themselves. And the list continues. The Women’s Reservation Bill, an amendment that guarantees 33 per cent reservation in parliamentary and state assemblies, was passed in Rajya Sabha in 2010 but it is still hanging on the doors of Lok Sabha even when the Narendra Modi-led government enjoys a majority. It marks another unfulfilled promise along with the undefined wait for the appointment of a Lokpal.
BJP’s 2014 manifesto also promised to implement the Uniform Civil Code to protect “culture and heritage by drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times” and we know how much of that has seen the ray of existence. The same status reports go with the modernisation of madrasas as stated. The hollow talks around ‘greater attention to the border areas’ have evidently failed with every death of our soldiers. Moreover, neither the Kashmiri pundits returned to the valley nor good governance in Jammu and Kashmir was established abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution.
Will our Prime Minister spare some time to answer, can we afford to debate and argue on unnecessary political happenings of the past even when we are crippled with issues that need immediate attention and redressal? How long are we going to let the political parties divert our attention?
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