PM’s hurt ego at the root of bjp demand for Rahul’s apology


By Arun Srivastava

Home minister Amit Shah’s setting the condition at the India Today conclave on March 17 that Rahul Gandhi must apologise for his UK remarks before he can be allowed to defend them in Parliament, is like confessing the crime which the person has not committed at all. After maintaining a passive silence for more than a week, Shah coming out with this condition, certainly makes its abundantly clear that Narendra Modi is determined to confront the Congress and other opposition parties.
Modi claims to respect democracy and parliamentary practices. If one subscribes to his claim, what deters him from not directing his MPs and colleagues to refrain from creating chaos in parliament. This is first time in the history of Independent India that the ruling party has been stalling the functioning of parliament. People are not naive to read the implications. It is a known fact, according to practice and procedures of parliament that only a government which is on wrong path and has lost moral power resorts to such gimmicks. Modi must not live in a fool’s paradise that people of the country endorse the BJP members actions.
On Thursday Rahul Gandhi met Speaker Om Birla and sought an opportunity to explain his remarks in Parliament. It incongruous to understand why he was not permitted. This simply added strength to his assertion that democracy was not functioning. Later Rahul said outside the house; “So, if Indian democracy was functioning, I would be able to say my piece in Parliament”. At the conclave Shah said that the Parliament standoff can be resolved if the Opposition comes forward to hold talks with the government. But in the same breath he put the onus on Rahul for resolving the stalemate.
One would certainly like to know what prevented him from taking the initiative and convey to the Speaker, the government’s willingness to listen to his clarification. One thing is clear; besides making his remarks an election issue, Modi has made it a personal issue and his hurt ego will be assuaged only after Rahul apologises. This is certainly not acceptable. With Rahul not apologising and the Modi troupe unwilling to move two steps backwards, the stalemate would continue. Being leader of the house it is the moral responsibility of Modi to initiate the process to break the impasse. He must realise that his personal ego is not above the nation’s interest. This will simply impair Modi’s image. People will come to nurse the believe that in order to conceal his failure Modi was resorting to such tactics and even not allowing parliament to function.
Shah’s statement at the conclave is ambiguous “(Whether) we are adamant or not (is not the question since) you are not the Speaker. What I’m saying is, let the two parties (government and Opposition) sit before the Speaker, let them (Opposition) move two steps forward and we also move two steps forward and the standoff can be resolved”. If he is really interested that people must not form wrong images and impression about Modi and his government, he must break the ice instead of letting it remain an ego problem.
With nothing to offer to Indians in terms of economic development and growth, BJP has only one agenda; “nationalism under threat”. How long will Modi and Shah would exploit the emotion and psyche of the people by using this phrase? This is certainly not an idiom which could be used in posterity. This is simply a political phrase. As the people forgot “Indira is India, India is Indira” within a couple of years of floating of the slogan, the people will also forget “nationalism under threat”. In fact, it is already losing it credence was clearly evident in recent assembly election which BJP lost, notwithstanding Shah’s claim that Rahul has been losing elections.
Even a court of law listens to the accused before awarding the verdict. But in Rahul’s case it is really intriguing why Modi and Shah are adamant that he should apologise first before coming out with his version on the floor of the house. This reminds of one political phrase “Khatanabahi, jo kahe Kesari wahi sahi” (do need for document, whatever Sitaram Kesari says is correct). In Rahul’s case they intend to say it is their word that is law and nothing is above it, so Rahul has to accept it.
In case Rahul musters courage to defy this de jure verdict, he must be ready for internment not only from Lok Sabha but also from the country, one the ground of being anti-national. The BJP’s troll group is already on the task. While some one is filing breach of privilege the other is for annulment of his Lok Sabha membership. This nonetheless points to the sycophancy acquiring the character of institution in the BJP. They have come to realise that this is the passport to enjoy power and continue to hog the limelight.
The remarks of Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju; “Rahul will have to apologise in Parliament and it is our duty to seek his apology,” provides an indication to the fact that the ministers have no other duty but to seek apology and for this they can go to any lengths. A speculation is making the rounds in political circles that the BJP may like to have the house dissolved and seek a fresh mandate. The primary agenda would be seeking a mandate against Rahul and his action. Rijiju said anti-India forces and a “gang” had conspired to defame India in foreign land and they were speaking the same language. “The gang members speak the language used by Rahul Gandhi”.
In their pursuit they are not even willing to abide by parliamentary practices. Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had cited the time-honoured tradition of the Rajya Sabha that prohibits allegations against a member of the other House. He had also cited a precedent from June 19, 1967, when V.V. Giri said: “I would like to add that it would be a good rule to observe that members of one House should not use the freedom of speech on the floor of the House to make allegations or charges against members of the other House….”. It is learnt that Rajya Sabha chairman has asked the Rajya Sabha leader, BJP’s Piyush Goyal, to have a look at his statement wherein he had accused Rahul, but on his part did not relent.
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra has hit out at Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, accusing him of not allowing opposition members to speak in the House. She tweeted, “Last 3 days saw speaker @ombirlakota allow ONLY BJP ministers to speak on mike & then adjourn parliament with not a single opposition member being allowed to speak. Democracy is under attack. And the speaker leads from the front. And I am willing to go to jail for this tweet”. She was correct in saying that the BJP top guns are using the Speaker and the Rajya Sabha vice- chairman to throttle opposition in Parliament. The functioning of Parliament is under threat from the ruling government itself, not by opposition. (IPA Service)