Modi crosses paths with ‘Lakshman Rekha’ at airport event
The function of laying the foundation stone for Noida International Airport in Jewar, Uttar Pradesh on November 25 will be remembered for many reasons. The Prime Minister and the UP Chief Minister, especially the latter, were in great shape and took the opportunity thoroughly to get into politics. I was told from the start of my official career that the ruling party and the government are two separate entities and that the former must not encroach on powers which belong only to the latter. In other words, politicians for partisan purposes should not use organized official functions at an official cost.
It was on November 26, 1949, the day we celebrate each year as Constitution Day, that the Constitution of India was formally adopted by the Constituent Assembly. On this momentous occasion, the President of the Assembly, Dr Rajendra Prasad, warned: “We have prepared a democratic Constitution. capacity for compromise and accommodation. A lot of things that cannot be written in a constitution are done by conventions. I hope we will show these abilities and develop these conventions. “
One of the conventions that have developed over time is that money from the treasury will not be used or, more correctly, misused to promote the personal or party agenda. There is a “Lakshman Rekha” divide the government and the ruling party. But does anyone still remember this distinction today? Why talk about inferior officials when the highest officials in the country are determined to ignore this well-established convention? Or why worry about the violation of a convention when the provisions of the written Constitution themselves are ignored with impunity? Those who violate the Constitution are those who render it the highest obedience, bow to it and swear only by the provisions which are inscribed therein. The tragedy is that most of us are in awe of these scenes and don’t care about the violations that take place, like Jewar’s.
The occasion was undoubtedly organized in view of the upcoming UP elections. The issue of building an airport at Jewar has been in the works for a long time. This government and its Prime Minister have been in power for over seven years. Why was the cornerstone laying function not organized earlier? Why did this government take nearly eight years to remember Jewar airport? Obviously, the occasion was reserved for a date and time when it would have the maximum impact on the elections. The machinery of government has been freely used to gather a massive crowd to show the people how popular the prime minister and prime minister are. In any case, such misuse of machinery and official resources has become so routine that it no longer raises eyebrows. Since this was more of an electoral rally disguised as an official function, all standards were swept away and the prime minister was quick to blast his political opponents on the coals for imaginary acts of omission and commission.
The UP chief minister was downright insulting to his opponents. And he thinks the more he talks about Jinnah, the better his prospects in the next election. The Election Commission has drawn up a code of conduct for the election period. The rest of the time, the ordinary laws of the country apply. There is a law against the spread of community hatred and violence. Chief Minister Adityanath has violated this law freely and frequently with his clearly communal speeches such as when he talks about ‘Abba jaan’ and Jinnah. But who will take him to court? And the Supreme Court is already overloaded with so many cases where it has heard suo moto. Thus, the community virus is spread by exactly those people who are charged with maintaining community peace and harmony under the Constitution. The UP state government is the biggest culprit in this matter and it is done with the full blessing of the Prime Minister of India. This is all happening because the UP elections are approaching and the BJP’s formula for winning them is the creation of a community divide.
Prime Minister Modi is very fond of saying how he does things for people, which no government has done in the past. He forgets that when he makes such accusations, they also apply to the Vajpayee government which ruled the country for six years before him. Since I was part of this government, I consider it my duty to defend this government even if I am no longer a member of the BJP. But it is a shame that the party of which Vajpayee has been a member all his life endures this absurdity and even those who were members of his cabinet and are part of this government choose to ignore such remarks.
A smart strategist assesses his strength and the challenges that are presented to him and prepares his strategy accordingly. The Prime Minister is no exception. He knocks when he is sure of his success. During his seven-year tenure, he often got away with unimaginable excesses. It has only failed twice: with the Land Acquisition Bill and now with the farm laws. But his mistakes and missteps have been countless. Any other leader in any other democratic country would have been put to the shambles for such mistakes. This will not happen in India, not yet, for the simple reason that its control over all forms of media is total and people have no way of being made aware of such mistakes and missteps. The drama therefore continues unabated. But for how long ? Ultimately, people will find out and hopefully put an end to this sordid theater. In the meantime, fasten your seatbelts, hold on tight, and pray for the best.
Yashwant Sinha, former leader of the BJP, served as Minister of Finance (1998-2002) and Minister of External Affairs (2002-2004). He is currently vice-president of the Trinamool Congress.
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