Why Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal missed the boat

Victory of Narendra Modi in this election shows that the majority felt that he is better for the job than his prime opponents Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. While Modi was ahead of the two, considering the well-oiled and able machinery of RSS and BJP, these two were not far behind either. Congress is called ‘The Grand Old Party’ for a reason; it has strong and very polite ground level workers while AAP was driven by Kejriwal’s unabashed and restless fan base. In short, they were all on an equal footing when it came to popularity among different sections of society yet, Modi was able to leave both of them behind.

For Rahul, the biggest problem was that he was still under the shadow of his mother, Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Despite being young he was unable to connect with the youth of this country and remained silent when they came out on streets demanding justice for the Delhi gangrape victim. His silence at that time alienated him from the youth because he was seen as someone who too was part of an inefficient, insensitive and corrupt Manmohan Singh government, which although was not true, yet it embossed this image in the minds of most Indians. His silence on his mother’s strong backing of such a government only showed to the youth that it is not only her, but also Rahul Gandhi who is silently backing him. This indeed is tragic because he had everything going for him, a great surname, humility and also his party’s strong backing, but the inefficiency of Manmohan Singh government, his own lack of communication with the youth, and naïve reaction to aspirations of a country increasingly growing unsure of its standing in the world, turned out to be his Achilles heel.

In Arvind Kejriwal’s case it was his over-enthusiastic supporters, his irrational Icarus-like behavior and also his own lack of understanding of India which were his undoing. A man who had become a hero for his anti-corruption stance now is being sidelined by the masses for Narendra Modi, only because they saw him as someone immature. His rhetoric against anyone and everyone be it Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung or businessmen Mukesh Ambani showed him in poor light. The worst was that he was unable to even prove his allegations. To add to his woes, and as was the case with Rahul Gandhi, Arvind too had no track record of governance to showcase, but unlike Rahul, he was the darling of the media. He did make a few dastardly mistakes; the first and the fatal one being the decision of leaving Delhi in lurch in search of greener pastures, he should have stayed, as he himself admitted a few days back, and ruled from the den of all media houses. This would have helped him hog the limelight all around India but alas! This was not to be. His flip-flops on economic and societal issues and complete lack of understanding of foreign policies made him a pariah in mainstream politics.

At this time, Keriwal is cooling his heels in Tihar Jail while Rahul was last seen trying to keep himself relevant in an increasingly boisterous India that wants not vain promises, but concrete results. But, unfortunately, neither understands that India of today will not stand up for ‘talks’ because Indians understand that talk is very cheap.

Assam killings: The color of the blood is ‘always’ red

The recent killings by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) have ignited a wave of fury in Indian Muslims, partly because of the silence with which the state government has reacted. It is being given the color of religion with people even blaming RSS and Modi for igniting this massacre; they are not wrong either considering that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of the first to draw such a parallel. But this is entirely wrong as RSS has zero presence there and Modi is not entirely acceptable due to Christian and tribal fabric that envelops North East.

There is another point of view that says that the killings were bound to happen as Bodos were outraged over illegal immigrants who are coming from a porous border that India shares with Bangladesh. In short, while one side sees it as a religious issue, the other side is hell-bent on justifying any case of human rights violation on the pretext that the people were ‘outsiders.’ But neither is correct, because first, Bodos basic demand is an exclusive Bodoland, a land where they will not be deprived of their rightful share. At this point of time when resources are scarce and development very low, the Bodo people are filled with anxiety and even insecurity, and to add to it, is the apathy with which successive governments have dealt with their demands. No wonders terrorist organizations like NDFB are drawing more people to their fold while the peaceful ones get marginalized by government. In short, the government itself must share the blame for not being aggressive enough to tackle the growing radicalization of this peaceful tribal community which only seeks basic assurance in the development deprived Assam.

Another issue is the silent gloating over the dead and efforts to brand them as outsiders. First, there is no proof that they are outsiders or ‘encroachers,’ it is being widely reported that the reason for the killings was the desire of the deceased to vote as per their choice. What is wrong with this? Is this not what Indian democracy is about, that one be allowed to vote freely and fairly? Why did the government not take action to ensure safety of people? It is highly lame to believe that there were no intelligence reports that could have been used to stop such killings, but even if that is the case, then didn’t government know that there has been a history of violence in this land and that the safety of Indians was its primary duty?

Even if we assume that they indeed were outsiders, then too who in the right mind would justify killings? Would Indians like it if their brethren who go to Western countries illegally are given the same treatment? It is understandable that there is migration going on from Bangladesh but to check that, fencing of porous borders could be undertaken and people can be deported humanely. In any case, the illegal migration is happening due to economic reasons as Bangladesh is a poor country, but killing unarmed and helpless people is sheer terrorism which is unjustifiable at all costs.

There is another issue that must be extremely alarming for all of us and that is Indian’s lack of protest in matters that actually must rattle this country. The silence and the indifference of the living, is far more dangerous because it sooner or later would initiate a vicious circle of violence that the government would surely regret. The best way is peace talks and ensuring justice, any injustice done to any community will alienate them from Indian mainstream and this is the last thing that any Indian should ever tolerate.