Thanks to what’s being described as ‘a passive response of our flaccid leadership’ to continued attacks on military installations this side of the Line of Control, don’t be shocked if you find that all of a sudden the Narendra Modi establishment looks to be going down the hill in popularity charts. Fast and furiously.
Yes, there is massive public outrage everywhere, more so in the social media. But don’t worry; public opinion adopts effective teeth only during elections. And national elections are more than two and a half years away.
From hard core intellectuals to young, budding minds on the campus, it’s more or less the same sentiment that resonates across bulldozing caste, creed and class barriers. Even retired military personnel and some of the otherwise regular supporters of the saffron clan have turned critics in the face of an all-too-obvious disenchantment with the current dispensation. People seem to be clamouring for a military solution to the Kashmir tangle.
Here are just a few representative examples:
Distinguished fellow at IDSA Gurmit Kanwal said in his tweet:
— Gurmeet Kanwal (@gurmeetkanwal) September 18, 2016
While sharing a Times of India article, Mohan Guruswamy, who was connected with the Vajpayee government as an adviser in the finance ministry, came out with a devastating comment: “Despite the report of the Lt Gen Philip Campose committee pinpointing the deficiencies in the security installations, the defence ministry did nothing to plug the gaps. The report was submitted to him in mid-May and the belief is that Parrikar and his senior officers didn’t even read it. Parrikar is turning out to be quite unfit for the job. It’s time he was sacked.”
These outbursts in the social media apart, even journalists in the print and audio-visual platforms were busy recalling studiously ‘who had said what’ in similar circumstances during the Congress rule.
The Times of India in one of its boxed items on Tuesday recalled a statement made by Narendra Modi at Rewari on 15 September, 2013: “The problem lies in Delhi, not at the borders... Only a competent, patriotic and people-oriented government at the centre can solve the problem.”
About a month before he made this statement, Modi had tweeted: “India is going through a troubled situation. China intrudes our borders, Pakistan kills our soldiers time and again. But Centre doesn’t act.”
And, believe it or not, Modi had tweeted in May 2009: “I wish to ask the PM, are you not weak? If indeed you are a strong government, country needs proof."
Giriraj Singh, who is known as a loud-mouth in political circles, had said in August 2013: “Agar aaj desh ke pradhan mantri Narendra Modi hote, to hum Lahore tak pahunch gaye hote (Had Modi been the Prime Minister, we would have reached Lahore).
Many more BJP leaders had made even more blasting comments against both the Congress and Pakistan. Call it tall talks or jumlas, there seems to be no other way now for them except to chewing their own words. Sad but true.
Reports reaching here from Sasaram in Bihar say that the family members of sepoy Rakesh Kumar Singh (who had lost his life in the Uri attack) have threatened to go on hunger strike if the Centre “does not strike back” at the perpetrators of the carnage.
Not just at Sasaram, most people almost everywhere want military action. But, may be, the powers that be have realised that it’s easier said than done. You have to oppose for the sake of opposing when you are in Opposition.
But words — precious words — have to be weighed differently when you become the ruling party. Jumlas don’t work. Any more.