Why is Congress not right in invoking President’s intervention in Modi snubs?

Why is Congress not right in invoking President’s intervention in Modi snubs?

Tejinder Singh Bedi

Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, P.Chidambaram, Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma, Motilal Vora, Digvijaya Singh besides others have written to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him “to caution Prime Minister Narendra Modi from using threatening and intimidating language’’ against them.

“Honorable President may caution the Prime Minister from using such unwarranted, threatening and intimidating language against leaders of the Congress party or any other party or person as it does not behove the position of the Prime Minister,” mentions the Congress petition, dated May 13, signed by Mr. Singh and other senior members of the Congress party.

Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s recent Karnataka election rally at Hubli on May 6, where he reportedly asked the Congress leadership to stay within limits, the Opposition party’s letter to the President Kovind read, “It is unthinkable that in our democratic polity, the Prime Minister as the head of the government would utter words which are threatening, intimidating in content and a public warning to the leaders and members of the main Opposition party, the Indian National Congress.”

Besides sharing a copy of a video covering PM’s speech cited at Hubli, the party has also mentioned the ‘objectionable’ part of speech in their letter. “Congress ke neta kaan kholkar sun lijiye, agar seemaon ko paar karoge, to yeh Modi hai, lene ke dene pad jayenge (Let the Congress leaders hear it clearly. If you don’t stay within your limits, then this is Modi and you will have to pay a price),”Congress’ letter quoted Prime Minister Modi as having said at the rally.

While the choice of words or language and the generally aggressive tone of the Prime Minister might sound harsh to many listeners, these are definitely neither threatening nor intimidating any person or party.

The Prime Minister has spoken these words while leading a poll campaign for BJP, as one of its tallest leaders; which also happens to be in power today and definitely not as the Prime Minister of the country speaking either in the parliament or in a public function different from a political campaign, meant to address common citizens coming from all hues and colors of the country.

Besides, his speeches on such calls of his party have usually always reflect his apparent aggression against his and BJP’s most loved political opposition party only and at least on this instance is not against any individual or individuals by name.

If the law of the land allows a Prime Minister to be spending most of his time, energy and focus on strengthening the long-term political prospects of the party he belongs too, this kind of tirade should be taken in the stride for at least for the last few years and on many occasions in the past too it is coming to be proven that — ‘all is fair in love, war and politics’.

And this culture change in the conduct of political wars may hardly see any improvement in future too. Both Modi ji and Shah generally speak from their heart and their gut feel on such occasions and this hardly leaves any room for softening or hardening of their messages flowing extempore. In political battles, it is, unfortunately, the survival of the fittest and both Modi ji and Amit Shah know best how to play this game with a killer’s instinct, when out on a prowl against a weak opposition. They have been announcing their vision of a Congress Mukt (free) nation ever since 2014 and have left no stone no opportunity not turned or converted to see this realization gradually, (even though the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has recently stated that BJP’s strong ally does not believe in realizing such dreams.)

Under the circumstances, the Congress leaders are appearing to be behaving like school kids getting scared by somewhat harsh talk of a teacher or a preacher and seeking the intervention of the Principal to provide them with some succor and solace. Though coming soon after such collective expressions of concerns first from a number of senior civil services officers, then a few academicians and now the veterans of one of the oldest political party does signify the changing political scenario of the country — the strongest base for governance.

All said and done — it will be interesting to see how and in what manner the President of India can intervene in the matter, as there definitely does not lie any situation of a conflict as grave as might be warranting the intervention of his august office for a resolution.

Although, the Congress party of late having realized that it is not easy to stop the further roller coaster ride of BJP’s ascent to power in almost the entire country; even in the few residual pockets left — where of late it has and hereafter too may end up with lesser numbers as the second largest party for the usual temptation of the smaller splinter groups to volunteer to worship the rising Sun for sharing the gains and fruits of power, is waking up to register its voice more aggressively, it has definitely already missed out on quite a few opportunities to effectively halt such rising snubs in the last few years, since 2014.

In a clear sign of the weakening relationship between the Modi government and the Congress, the letter says,“The threat held out by the Prime Minister to the INC’s leadership deserves to be condemned. This cannot be the language of a prime minister of a constitutionally governed democratic country of 1.3 billion people.”

“Such discourse whether in public or private is unacceptable conduct. The words used are menacing and intimidating with intent to insult and provoke breach of the peace,” said the Congress letter, adding that all the Prime Ministers in the past have maintained “decorum and dignity of the Prime Minister’s Office adding at the same time that the party is not going to be cowed down by such barbs.” The only better way out for Congress is to face the increasing political heat and counter it with the best strategy it can work up to stay afloat in the business of politics. 2019 is now going to be even much tougher a challenge and uphill ride despite a gradual come back and recovery of Congress not adequate enough to emerge a clear winner yet!

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)