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VIRENDRA KAPOOR
NO HOLDS BARRED

Secularism does not sanction scams, a sinking economy

Modi haters choose to believe what they think he implied in his speeches and not what he really means.

Modi's words mean what his critics say they mean

Let us be honest about it. If anyone other than Narendra Modi had used the analogies for which he is being pilloried no end, it wouldn't have been such a big deal, after all. The usual anti-Modi warriors and the NGO entrepreneurs who have fattened themselves demonizing the Gujarat Chief Minister chose to misread his words simply because it pays to abuse Modi.

Take the first analogy in the Reuters interview. Asked whether he felt remorse for the 2002 riots, Modi sought to convey the clear impression that he could not have remained unaffected by the tragic loss of life. To illustrate the point, he said that even if he was being driven in a car and a puppy came under its wheels, he would feel sad. (And here you are talking of human beings.) The implication, however, was lost on the visceral Modi haters. They had already concluded that he is Devil Incarnate and could not have meant what his words actually implied, but what they believed those ought to have implied. Were he to respond to a direct question whether he had a hand in those killings by saying that "I cannot kill even a mosquito...", the secularist brigade would have excoriated him for comparing Muslims to macchars.

The outcry over the second analogy was equally unwarranted. Speaking in Pune before a young audience, he decried the ruling combine in New Delhi for trying to put a tight lid over its terrible record in power. "Whenever the Congress is in trouble, it dons the burqa of secularism..." to hide its humongous acts of omission and commission.

Again, the fusillade of abuse that followed buttressed the Modi charge that the entire attempt of the Congress was to sweep its own rotten record under the carpet by harping on "secularism will be in peril if Modi comes..." It was claimed that the use of the word "burqa" reflected Modi's communal mindset. Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan proclaimed on television that she would not have found Modi's analogy offensive had he, instead of "burqa", used "sari of secularism".

Why was it communal to hide behind the burqa but secular to hide behind the sari, defied logic. But then secularism has been abused by its self-professed votaries, inflicting long-term damage on the minority community whose socio-economic status, despite these secularists having ruled the country for over five decades, has remained abysmally low. For proof go no further than the Sachar Committee report.

In the same television debate when asked if it was "secular" to align with the Indian Union Muslim League and, till very recently, with the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Natarajan's silence was eloquent. She refused to respond to a question which laid bare the sheer opportunism that underpinned Congress' version of secularism. A couple of months ago, a videotape of a speech by MIM leader, Akbaruddin Owaisi, wherein he had thundered that "if the police kept inside barracks for just two hours we would take care of all Hindus", had gone viral on the social media networks.

By the way, defending burqa in this day and age when the entire Muslim community needs to cast aside its ghetto mentality and step into the 21st century to claim its rightful place under the Indian sun shows total unconcern about the actual state of the largest minority community. It reflects an obscurantist mindset, associating Muslims with fundamentalists who in order to maintain their stranglehold seek to stop the winds of progress and modernism sweeping through the Islamic world.

Physician, heal thyself!

Last Thursday, while rejecting the curative petition of the Gujarat Government seeking review of its order upholding the appointment of Justice (Retd.) R.A. Mehta as the State Lokayukta, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, inter alia, said, "...The recommendation of Chief Justice (of Gujarat) suggesting only one name instead of a panel of names is in consonance with the law laid down by this court, and we do not find any cogent reason to not give effect to the said recommendation..." Very well, then.

But how do you square it with an order passed by another bench headed by Justice K S. Radhakrishnan, which said: "The Governor of the State of Karnataka can appoint Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta only on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister and that the Chief Justice of the High Court is only one of the consultees and his views will have no primacy." The bench thus upheld the Karnataka High Court order quashing the suo motu appointment of Upa Lokayukta by the state Governor. Or what is good for Karnataka is not good enough for Gujarat?

Significantly, Thursday was the last working day for CJ Kabir before retirement. A bench presided over by him passed another controversial order, quashing the common entrance test for admissions to graduate and post-graduate medical courses. The common entrance test was commended by a bench of the apex court in 2010 to help poor and needy students and other admission-seekers who had to travel to various parts of the country for taking multiple tests. It was natural for private medical colleges to feel aggrieved. They challenged the order in the larger bench. Without implying anything adverse, maybe it is only appropriate for the honourable judges to clean up their act too.

Unimpressed by goodies

Rae Bareli and Amethi have a special place in the hearts of Congressmen. After all, these are the parliamentary constituencies of their beloved leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. So it is only natural for a Congress-led government to shower more and more goodies on the good voters of the long-time pocket-boroughs of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Therefore, the recent announcement by the Centre to set up a brand new women's university, to be named after Indira Gandhi, and an aviation university, to be named after Rajiv Gandhi, at a total cost of Rs 700 crore, did not cause any surprise.

If you should know, as a pink paper recently noted editorially, some of the institutions already up and running (at least on paper) in the two districts are: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Information Technology; Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital and Research Centre; Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna; Sanjay Gandhi (why him now?) Hospital; Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi; Indira Gandhi Inter College; Kamla Nehru Postgraduate College; Feroze Gandhi Institute of Technology; Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology; Indira Gandhi Memorial Botanical Gardens; and many more such-like institutes named after members of the Family.

Yet, the voters do not seem to be sufficiently impressed, having elected not one MLA from Rae Bareli and only two out of five from Amethi in last year's Assembly elections. Maybe the provision of 24x7 water and electricity would prove more productive.

 
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