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Bogus claims of Congress

Bogus claims of Congress

Author: Gautam Mukherjee
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 8, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168071/Bogus-claims-of-Congress.html

This general election is not just about 'unity' and 'divisiveness', about 'secularism' and 'communalism', as the Congress would have us believe. The Congress speaks of 'unity' as an euphemism for appeasement and lets terrorists roam this land and strike at will. Its unabashed poll-time talk of 'unity' is both appalling and sinister

Identity and memory are probably natural enemies. Identity seeks to assert itself, extract tribute for its virtues, and move on, without worrying too much about inconsistency. Memory, on the other hand, is genetically programmed to look back, and attempts to cast a future based upon the past.

The Congress can perhaps be sympathised with for its memory-based politics, its well-worn Nehru-Gandhi litany, the proprietary notion that the 'family' knows best, white-washing its own Sikh-killing atrocities and shortcomings, while pointing fingers at all others. But it cannot be very easily forgiven, even by its own allies, and vote-banks, used and regularly short-changed as they are. The difference is that these days they are no longer afraid to say so.

Apart from its patchy record at alliance-building, the successes of the UPA Government are not very many. In the whole universe of liberalisation and modernisation there has been precious little progress in five years expect for the introduction of MODVAT. The economy under an 'economist' Prime Minister has been run into the ground. We are currently running an unprecedented fiscal deficit of 14 per cent of GDP and experiencing near-stalled rates of growth.

In matters of political organisation, the Congress plainly seeks to dictate terms to its own allies in the UPA. So much so that the bulk of them have not only decided to resist such high-handed abuse of alliance decorum, but unhitch their wagons altogether. The Congress of course hopes against hope that these same parties who are walking out now will return to the fold after the polls. They take no blame for the state of affairs however. That is just not the Congress way.

But even so, at general election time, the Congress's retreaded propaganda, its brazen claims to be the sole upholder of secular ideals, and its self-promotion to the effect that it is the "party of unity", comes across as so much misinformation.

This is because it talks of 'unity' without protecting the security of the aam admi in the street. It speaks of 'unity' as an euphemism for appeasement, and lets terrorists roam this land and strike at will. It is scandalous that the Government has done nothing effective to prevent the slaughter of thousands of innocents - of all religions - murdered at random. Its unashamed poll-time talk of 'unity' is both appalling and sinister when cast in this die. Very few of the perpetrators of the numerous incidents of terrorism have been caught. And not a single terrorist has been convicted of so much as slapping someone!

This sort of political manipulation, too-clever-by-half strategising, combined with ideological and intelligence infiltration, is what has brought neighbouring Pakistan to its knees, now on the brink of balkanisation and thoroughly hoisted on its own petard.

But, we need to realise we have no reason to be smug. Left to Congress helmsmanship, cloaked in the garb of a self-serving "secularism", we use the Indian Muslim, tribals, Christians, and sub-caste minorities just as the state of Pakistan uses its jihadists, distributed over many organisations. We may not be exporting murder and mayhem, but we think nothing of holding the interests of the majority community hostage. India under the UPA is unique in its propensity to let the tail wag the dog and thinks nothing of even importing vote-banks to suit.

But even as the present Government works its amalgam of social engineering that can vote but not assert itself yet, we must realise the long-term consequences. If we continue to devalue our institutions, calling for a 'committed' bureaucracy, in a reprise of the policy followed by Mrs Indira Gandhi, we will face equally harmful consequences. And likewise, if we continue to politicise our enforcers, through narrow political intervention, dictating whom to catch, under which law, when to do so and when not, and whom to let go altogether.

History shows that this kind of bias in favour of a majority works well enough, as in a predominantly Protestant country, or a Catholic one, or even a Muslim one. But when a so-called secular polity uses its minorities as cat's paw, it is foolish to expect the instrument to stay docile and obedient over time. Let us remember Bhindranwale and the LTTE, also created by the Congress Party. Take a look at the changing demographics and political tenor in Assam. And let us look at the Taliban and friends across the way.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Pakistan feels no fear in thumbing its nose at Indian demands for justice even after the latest Mumbai attacks of 26/11. If we cannot, or will not, root out terrorism, including sleeper cells and logistical supporters within our own territory, we cannot expect to be taken seriously by anybody else, let alone the perpetrators.

This general election is not just about 'unity' and 'divisiveness', about secularism and communalism, as the Congress would have us believe. It is about electing a Government interested in working for the unity and integrity of this nation. It is nobody's case that a strong country can be built on a tissue of falsehood and cynicism and working against itself in the name of 'unity'.

But even if one were to leave internal security alone for a moment, the call of the future won't properly let us. A new report from Goldman Sachs predicts that the BRIC nations will collectively overtake the combined GDP of the G-8 nations by 2027, nearly a decade sooner than expected.

And within this club too India has the pole position. Goldman Sachs has predicted India growing at 6.3 per cent per annum from 2011 to 2050. Russia, with its oil, is projected to grow at 2.8 per cent, Brazil at 4.3 per cent, and China, the mainstay of the globe at present, at 5.2 per cent.

India grows on its billion-plus people and its consumer spending which accounts for 60 per cent of its GDP. So, all in all, we must remember that we have a future if we care to reach for it. But first, we must survive as a nation, despite bad politics, by preserving our cohesion and vitality, because we are, despite ourselves, on the threshold of our rise to prosperity and well being.

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