I.N.D.I.A.’s self-goal

The attempt of the newly-formed Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) bloc of the Opposition parties to take on the mighty Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre appears to have ended in scoring yet another ‘self-goal’ ahead of this year’s assembly and next year’s general elections. Its decision to move the no confidence motion, knowing well that it has no numbers on its side in both the Houses of Parliament, only gave the opportunity to the ruling dispensation to remind and expose all its past criminal deeds before the electorate yet again. This means all that, which was hitherto spoken on the streets, now going into the Parliament’s record books, which remains indelible forever! Added to that was another lost opportunity for  Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who after getting relief from the Suprene  Court in a defamation conviction case, proved himself disastrous once again in Lok Sabha, with his insipid and empty rhetoric. What proved more embarrassing to the I.N.D.I.A  bloc was his childish act of allegedly giving a ‘flying kiss’ to the treasury benches, while his bête noir and the BJP’s fiery petrel Smriti Irani speaking in the House. The unsavory incident also led to as many as 20 Lady MPs lodging their complaint with the Speaker, who did not rule out a possible action, during his closing remarks on Wednesday. Thus far, the I.N.D.I.A bloc failed to justify the reason for a no confidence against the government, which enjoys a massive majority in the Lok Sabha and with the help of neutral Opposition parties like the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the Rajya Sabha.

On the other hand, those in the treasury benches, especially Union Home Minister Amit Shah, got an opportunity to nail every lie of the Opposition and its misdeeds on the floor on Wednesday. In his reply, Shah went ballistic against the I.N.D.IA bloc, consisting of 26 parties, which have a common thread to support each other and that’s ‘massive graft cases.’ “I have lost count of their loot during the 10-year rule from 2004-2014 after Rs.12 lakh crores. And almost all of the so-called Opposition bloc members are involved in such massive loot. Some of them are even convicted and served jail sentences, while others are on bail,” he said. Shah further stated that his party-led NDA has provided corruption-free governance in the last nine years. He took the opportunity to remind the 140 crore Indians how the government has managed to pass through difficulties, including the most dreaded Covid-19, which ruined many world economies, and ensure India occupies the fifth place in world economies. He reassured the Indian population that if NDA is voted back to power in 2024, the Prime Minister will make India the world’s third largest economy behind the United States and China.

He forced the Opposition bloc to be silent by reeling out the record of development in northeastern states during their tenure vis-à-vis of the Congress’ rule since independence. He boasted how the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi could transform the hitherto neglected north-eastern Himalayan states, which share border with the rogue nation China, by improving the road, rail and air links. These significant changes also made the Indian armed force’s job much easier to counter expansionist China and cited the Doklam and another clash in Arunachal Pradesh, where the Indian forces drove back the intruding Chinese troops. He did not let go of the opportunity to remind Congress of how it neglected the Indian forces by not meeting their requirements. On the contrary, he claimed, today Indian forces are well prepared to protect the country with any enemy across the borders.

Referring to the Manipur ethnic frenzy, he nailed the Opposition charges, yet again with statistical data, while admitting a serious problem does exist, and needs an amicable solution and sought the Opposition’s cooperation. He reminded I.N.D.I.A of frequent communal clashes between the Kukis and Meiteis in the past. He justified the decision not to consider the Opposition’s demand to remove Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh, as he cooperated with the Centre in replacing the Chief Secretary and Police Chief and also deploying central forces. Yet, the unfortunate incident took place wherein two women were beaten up, gang raped and paraded naked, which is reprehensible and none can condone it.  ”It is a shameful act, but politicizing it is more shameful and reprehensible.” Shah also reminded the Opposition bloc that never before any Prime Minister has visited the northeastern states and taken up such development projects. Similarly, the unrest in Manipur is not new, and never any Prime Minister or Home Minister in the past dared either to visit the rife-torn state or took pain to make a statement in either of the Houses of Parliament, despite the Opposition parties’ pleadings, he said.  But, the Opposition leaders, even after listening to the Home Minister’s pointed tirade against them in a pin-drop silence, still aver that their decision to move the no-confidence motion was to force Modi to speak on Manipur. And, the Prime Minister, who is set to respond to the no-confidence motion debate, may further embarrass the discredited Opposition, more lucidly. Like his Home Minister, Modi too may best utilize the Parliament to send a much stronger message and possible 2024 election ‘war cry’. “Quit Brashtacharwadi and Quit Parivarvadi parties, which he coined on the eve of the Quit India anniversary celebrations. What is more interesting is the repetition of 2019 in 2024, when the Opposition brought similar no-confidence and faced embarrassment not only in Parliament but also in elections that followed. Now the mute question, will this ‘failure’ of no confidence motion by I.N.D.I.A produce the same result in 2024 too? Adding to that, will Rahul be present or expelled from the House for the flying kiss?