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What democracy, Prime Minister?

What democracy, Prime Minister?

Author: Shridhar Pant
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 12, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/175487/What-democracyPrime-Minister.html

This refers to Mr Kanchan Gupta's article, "PM's intolerable moralising" (Coffee Break, May 10) which is an excellent rebuttal of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Hindustan Times recently. In his interview to that newspaper, Mr Singh spoke about the riots that occurred in Gujarat in 2002. According to him, "The image of India took a beating when the BJP tried to impose a monolithic view on the entire country. If people with extremist and bigoted views come to power, India's image as a great, liberal, plural and secular democracy will be hurt."

Mr Gupta has provided the background of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. He has also pointed out that the Prime Minister should not forget the earlier riots that occurred in Gujarat as also those of Bhagalpur, Maliana and Nellie, apart from many other places, during Congress rule. He has also recalled the the massacre of more than 4,000 Sikhs in 1984 which the Prime Minister has conveniently forgotten. According to the Government's own figures, the death toll in the 2002 riots was much lower than in previous riots. I would like to add that those who keep on harping about the post-Godhra violence, do not care to mention the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Valley from where all Hindus have been driven out by Islamic terrorists.

Mr Singh is apparently worried about "the image of India as a secular democracy". What kind of a democracy is referring to? One in which the Prime Minister has never contested and won an election in his entire life? A democracy where the Prime Minister is nominated to merely occupy office by his party president? What kind of a 'secular democracy' is this where the Prime Minister, in a brazen attempt to pander to minorityism, declares that "minorities (read Muslims) have the first claim on India's resources"? Were India's secular credentials strengthened when the UPA Government embarked on the dangerous course of communal budgeting?

Instead of trying to blame others, namely the BJP, the Prime Minister would do well to explain why his Government has ignored the agricultural sector although it provides employment to over 60 per cent of the population. Our farmers have been forced into abject poverty and continue to commit suicide. The image of the country is certainly not enhanced by such pathetic condition in the farm sector. Nor is it enhanced by the worrisome internal security situation because of which sporting events can't be held in the country but have to be shifted elsewhere.

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