With the Chinese-origin pandemic failing to go away, and China showing its true colours to India in Ladakh, the generally quiet political scene in these times of Covid-linked lockdown and virus scare is warming up again. In a way, the Government had the luxury of enjoying the paralysis at the political level for three months at a stretch; and there is no word yet as to when Parliament will have its sitting, amid the risk that Covid-19 poses to human health and the social distancing norms being still in vogue. China woke the nation up in more ways than one; and the result now is the return of the slug-fest between principal political parties.
The principal opposition, the Congress party, does not know whether it is on the offensive or defensive vis-à-vis the Chinese-linked developments here. Its attempt to put Prime Minister Modi on the defensive seemed to be working well, both in relation to the lockdowns and the Chinese aggression in Ladakh region. Then came the “expose” about the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation led by Sonia Gandhi, other of her family members and some loyalists like former PM Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram. True or false, the allegation that the UPA government compromised with national interests on the trade and other fronts vis-à-vis India’s dealings with China, is linked to a hefty donation that the foundation received from China during the UPA regime. Donations fly from one side to another, and there is no politics without donations. At the same time, this Chinese link has been brought up at a time when the sentiments against China are at its height here. This could be politics, or there could be more than politics to it. National interests are supreme.
It is not time yet to say whether such “exposes” at this time could give Prime Minister Modi and his government some breathing space from the other issues they are confronted with –like the sudden lockdown of the entire nation when most parts of the country were without any Covid trace; and the present embarrassment over China pouring cold water on the PM’s dreams – and over his ‘overzealousness’ in courting the dragon in the form of Xi Jinping.
Clearly, there is no early end to the Covid saga as the infection tally has crossed the five lakh mark, and major cities like Delhi and Mumbai remain worst-hit. Perhaps the early announcement of lockdown has helped in limiting the pandemic’s spread and lethality in India. The PM can take some comfort in this.