Contradictions and Conflicts

As expected, the main Opposition Congress has come down heavily on its target, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for allegedly not allowing US President Joe Biden to interact with the media while he was in India for the G20 Summit. The attack by Congress came after Biden at a media meet in Vietnam said he raised several issues on human rights violations, suppression of minorities and free press, etc with Modi. Though, it sounds bizarre, none can dismiss Biden’s statement. What is more surprising is that the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) did not deny the US President’s remarks.

Was it because the EAM was waiting for inputs from the Indian embassy there? Only a strong rebuttal from the EAM can put to rest accusations of the Congress leaders like Raashid Alvi or the party’s chief spokesperson Jairam Ramesh, who enjoy no credibility as the people are aware of their venomous attitude towards the Prime Minister. In a statement, Ramesh claimed that Modi’s comments on the environment, climate change action and equity are at odds with his government’s policies. “While destroying protections for India’s forests and biodiversity and diluting the rights of Adivasis and forest-dwelling communities, he talks of environment, climate action and equity,” Ramesh wrote on X (formerly Twitter). In sharp contrast, Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor heaped praise on the government for the G20 Summit’s success and said that the Delhi Declaration “is undoubtedly a diplomatic triumph for India”. He did not stop there. He went to the extent of saying that the Modi government has made the event into a ‘people’s summit’ converting the massive programme into an ‘asset’ for the ruling party politically. “The Delhi Declaration is undoubtedly a diplomatic triumph for India. It’s a good achievement because right until the G20 Summit was being convened, the widespread expectation was there would be no agreement and that, therefore, a joint communique might not be possible, and that, we might have to end up with a chairman’s summary,” Tharoor pointed out.

Measured by any yardstick, those Congress leaders who had been attacking Modi at the drop of a hat cannot be compared to the stature of Tharoor, who is a known high-profile former diplomat in the United Nations. Alvi and Ramesh are known for their venom-spitting, day-in and day-out, as true loyalists of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Not to forget it was Tharoor, a known Modi-baiter, as an independent thinker who contested the Congress’ first-ever Presidential elections and lost to dynast’s loyalist Mallikarjun Kharge. What is more disturbing was that when the entire country and the world is celebrating the successful conduct of the two-day G20 Summit, with praises pouring in from across the globe, yet another faux pas by the Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticizing Chief Ministers West Bengal and Tamil Nadu for attending the official summit dinner. He also unabashedly claimed that their party’s state chief ministers’ choppers were not allowed to fly into New Delhi. This allegation came close on another lie of the party leaderss that neither their party chief nor the chief ministers got the invitation. These ill-found allegations of the Congress party, which hijacked Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar’s idea of forming the 28-party India Democratic Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) bloc, exposes growing cracks within the Opposition.

This is in the wake of both the allies of I.N.D.I.A. bloc coming down heavily on the Congress for finding fault with them in  attending the government’s official dinner hosted for the G20 leaders, their delegates and also all the state chief ministers.These contradictions within the Congress, as well as growing differences in the I.N.D.I.A. bloc only exposes the fragility of the Opposition. The bloc is bound to fall apart even before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and gift away the opportunity on a platter to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance for a third consecutive term. Added to that was Priyanka Vadra’s jibe of flooding at the G20 Summit venue. She made her comments while campaigning in poll-bound Rajasthan. It indeed exposes her lack of understanding of geo-politics like her brother Rahul Gandhi, who had become a big ‘entertainment’ in Indian politics. Hence, the prophecy of Mamata Banerjee may come true, that if the Opposition fails to stall the BJP’s return to power in 2024, then it can as well retire to the fact that their future is sealed once and for all.