Without a doubt Rahul Gandhi has made highly base and depraved statements in relation to political exploitation of the recent ‘Surgical Strikes’. The fact that BJP has used the success from these strikes for a political message by spreading posters across Uttar Pradesh and other poll bound states is certainly in bad taste. BJP should have been more circumspect in their hurry to seek dividends from a military action that was undertaken after getting most political adversaries on board. In due course BJP would have earned enough goodwill and appreciation from people across the country for their strong will to take punitive action against terrorism emanating from Pakistan. If Rahul had addressed his comments to BJP alone, it could have passed off as political gibberish. But Rahul Gandhi went horribly wrong when he targeted the persona of the Prime Minister in his comments. More so since the Prime Minister has not said a word in public after the Surgical Strikes nor had he claimed any credit as an individual. On the contrary he had warned his party colleagues and cadres to refrain from any chest beating on the subject.
The Gandhi scion has erred over time on two counts. One he has disrespected the Prime Minister’s office and secondly he has insulted Mr Narendra Modi publically when there was no reason whatsoever to do so. So the verdict has to be that he is guilty of a breach of conduct of the highest order in public life. Frankly even an apology from him will be of no value since it will come from a mind that is so depraved, a soul that is so insensitive and a person whose licentiousness has crossed all boundaries. Unfortunately the top echelons of the Congress party are so steeped in political sycophancy when it comes to the Gandhi family that none of them has the courage to either tick off Rahul or to disown his comments on behalf of the party. Political correctness seems to have vanished in thin air in their blind deference to Ms Sonia Gandhi. People like Dr Man Mohan Singh, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Mr Salman Khurshid, Mr Manish Tiwari, Mr Khadge, Mr Chidambaram, Mr Kapil Sibal and others should quit public life since their claims to leadership have just taken such a severe beating that they should blacken their faces and go incognito for the rest of their lives. As far as Ms Sonia Gandhi is concerned, if she has even an iota of patriotism to show for her adopted country and any loyalty towards Congress Party, she should banish her son from active politics forthwith. It is time she realised that by promoting her son’s political career she is actually writing the ultimate obituary for a party that has given generations of Nehrus and Gandhis all that they have today.
The other aspect is that there is a need for a dispassionate assessment of Rahul’s comments. What Rahul said was ““Jinhone Hindustan ke liye surgical strike kiye hain, unke khoon ke peeche aap chhupe hain. Unki aap dalali kar rahe ho.” (You are hiding behind the blood of soldiers who carried out the surgical strikes for India. You are exploiting their sacrifices)”. In his first sentence he says that YOU (meaning BJP leaders and PM) are hiding behind the blood of the soldiers who took part in the operations. Frankly if anything it is the other way around since some in BJP are basking in the glory of the strikes and coming out in open to exploit the same politically. So his ‘hiding behind the blood’ charge appears to be misplaced. In the second sentence by using the word ‘dalali’ he is accusing BJP of selling the soldiers’ sacrifices for political mileage. One can argue that there is no disrespect or doubt shown on the soldiers’ valour or sacrifices here. What is serious however is that a soldier and his acts are being used as a commodity and being sold by politicians for political mileage. This is perhaps a straight and simple interpretation of Rahul’s comments. But then no politician will ever admit this. Therefore politicians have twisted the interpretation of Rahul’s statement whereby it is being said that Rahul’s statement has cast aspersions on the soldier’s sacrifices and valour. By doing this they are trying to cover their own unethical exploitation of the soldiers’ sacrifices and acts of valour for political gains.
Reportedly some posters in Uttar Pradesh (UP) have carried the message ‘Hum tumhen marenge, zaroor marenge” (We will kill you, definitely kill you). It is no brainer that this message is in relation to the recent strikes and targeted towards terrorists and military personnel from Pakistan. Unfortunately we had a senior anchor like Karan Thapar on TV twisting this once again and asking the people on his show if this message was meant to spread fear among local Muslims in the area where these posters were put up in UP. Is there any doubt as to what harm was being done by such interpretation and what cost the nation would have to pay if things went out of hand? So it is not just politicians, part of the media too is playing games – cost to the nation notwithstanding.
Please spare a thought for the poor soldier. On one hand he carries his gun on his shoulder to take on the enemy without either worrying for his life or for what will happen to his near and dear ones if he were not to return home. On the other hand after he completes a difficult operation with surgical precision and makes the country proud, a section of his own people are once again using his shoulder to fire their political salvos from his very shoulders. When he fights the external enemy, a soldier at least has the satisfaction of spilling his blood for the noble cause of protecting his nation. In the other scenario he has nothing to do with politics or politicians and yet his image is being sullied when some politicians either exploit his acts of valour for votes or ask for irrefutable proof if the strikes were actually carried out. I hope Mr Amit Shah and Mr Parikar of BJP, Mr Chidambaram, Mr Yechury, Mr Sanjay Nirupam, Mr Kejriwal and others of their ilk from within the ranks of the opposition are listening. Without a doubt the political class has shamed the nation and betrayed the armed forces. It is no brainer that by taking such positions many of these politicians have played in to the hands of the Pakistani establishment and given Pakistan a handle to whip India once again. The sad part is that a politician is unaccountable in Democratic India and once elected there is an aura of impunity around his unholy persona.
I am sure any soldier today will be an angry man. If he remains quiet it is only because of his discipline and commitment to the nation and the fact that he knows that his job is not yet done since there is no full stop when it comes to national security. It is a hard reality of a soldier’s life that he has always been silent while the government has gone about degrading him, in more ways than one, over the last many decades. This despite his unflinching loyalty, efficiency and ability to not only carry out his primary job of keeping the nation safe from external threats but also to come to the governments rescue on almost any emergency or catastrophe that faces the nation after those responsible have put up their hands. How one wishes that the Indian armed forces could send a clear message to the whole political fraternity to keep their dirty shenanigans to themselves as a soldier has no desire whosoever to be part of the same since all that a soldier desires in life is never to fail his nation.
Saroj Chadha, an engineering professional, is a successful entrepreneur. Having retired from the Indian Army after having served for over 23 years, he has also been a consultant for leading Indian and Multinational electrical companies. He lives in New Delhi.