On July 30th, a delegation of 21 MPS of the opposition INDIA bloc completed its two-day visit to the bleeding Manipur. They observed the ground situation and met the wailing victims of the three-month-long destruction, rendered as the worst communal-cum-ethnic war in India.
On day one of their tour, the legislators met the sufferers from both the warring communities and got left appalled by the gravity of distress in the state, to which mainland India still remains oblivious.
After finishing the whirlwind tour, the delegation met the Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey and submitted a memorandum on their observations of the tyrannised state. The directives indicate a substantial threat to national security unless the crisis got resolved through an all-party consensus.
Futile attempts at discussion
The opposition is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to deviate the attention of the masses toward the pathos of Manipur while creating an uproar inside the parliament. Their demand remains simple: they want the Prime Minister of India to ‘grace’ the treasury bench and announce his strategy to quell the suffering of Manipur.
The BJP, on the other hand, is straining every nerve to protect the PM from a presumable array of dissent and hard-hitting questions. The Home Minister, Defense Minister, and the Minister of Women and Child Development are going to an unprecedented extent to keep PM Modi’s image ‘clear and shining’ before the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.
The larger-than-life persona of PM Modi seems to be waning inside the parliament, as the man who once used to thump his chest aggressively to display his confidence and integrity chose to dedicate just 36 seconds out of his eight-minute-long speech to utter ‘Manipur,’ that too outside the ostentatiously built parliament.
Where is the PM?
A clue to finding the PM is finding a state with elections knocking at the door… Hence Rajasthan.
On July 27th, Prime Minister delivered a speech while inaugurating various projects in the Sikar district of Rajasthan. With the Vidhan Sabha elections three months away, PM Modi could spare a moment to attack the opposition by rounding up Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Congressman) by trying to intimidate with a certain “Laal Diary” (a reference to Gehlot Government’s alleged scams).
This jibe made at the opposition made the media cheer for the Prime Minister. The headlines bore his face, but none felt the responsibility to remind the elected Prime Minister of India about a ‘gold-leaf book’ (the Constitution of India) that demanded him to address the parliament to discuss the matter of national concern where both BJP-ruled centre and state government failed to deliver.
Something to learn from Chacha Nehru and Indira?
In November 1962, when the Indo-China war was at its zenith, the opposition parties consolidated a demand for a discussion with the Prime Minister. The topic at hand demanded justifications from Prime Minister Nehru regarding pertinent issues like:
- Adversities faced by the Indian forces in Ladakh;
- Allegations of mishandling the situation by PM Nehru.
PM Nehru made it a point to be physically present in the parliament and listen to what the opposition had to say. Days after days in the parliament got spent on nothing but answering the questions raised by the opposition.
Indira Gandhi, in 1969, lent a listening ear to her opposition when the ‘nationalisation of banks’ got fiercely debated in the parliament.
None of them was as erudite a speaker as PM Modi, but they made it a point to address criticism and empathise with the plight of the sufferers.
When Comedian Vir Das spoke about ‘Two Indias’ in his comedy show in Washington DC, the internet got taken by storm. Some patted his back with laudation for his courage and wit, while most others looked at him with cynicism and hatred. The intellectual society divided where the liberals championed his satire, whereas the conservatives called him names for his apparent ‘insult’ to his nation.
We do not want to go down the rabbit hole of ‘Two Indias,’ but remind the readers that while one India gets raped and burnt under communal-cum-ethnic clashes, the other India binge-watches mindless ‘prime-time debates’ on a certain Seema Haider and her trivial love story.
While one India feels entitled to rebuke a long-deceased Prime Minister for the apparent follies in his time while leading infantile India after her independence, the other India gets trolled and abused for asking pertinent questions regarding national security and peace to the incumbent one.
While one India kicked up dust in the parliament to demand a discourse from the ‘de-facto’ leader, the other India clapped like sycophants when the leader flew drones instead of addressing the parliament during a pertinent national crisis.
The onus is on us, the active proponents of the world’s largest democracy, to decide: Which India appeals to us and which doesn’t.