Published On : Wed, Dec 13th, 2017

Shocking allegations from the PM must be probed

PM Modi
Nagpur/Gandhinagar: The last phase of the Gujarat elections is underway and results will be out in a few days. The nail biting suspense will end, a new government will be installed in Gandhinagar and soon it will be life as usual.

Except for one incident – or should we say ‘utterance’? – that would have damaged the already fragile fabric of Indian polity and democracy further. May be irreparably so.

If some radical, right wing politician had made the accusation, may be not many would have paid attention; what made matters rather alarming was that the head of the nation, the Prime Minister himself chose to make a shocking allegation against former PM and a former V.P. and others including former High Commissioners and Chief of Army.

There can only be two ways of looking at it – if the allegation is true, why have the ‘culprits’ whose actions are nothing short of treason , not been arrested yet? Why were our Security agencies not aware that such a ‘conspiracy’ against the PM of the country was afoot?

(Speaking at a rally in Gujarat’s Banaskantha District, PM Modi had informed a crowd that Aiyar had told people from Pakistan to “remove Modi from the way”. He then tossed a question at Aiyar: “Did you go to Pakistan to offer a supari [contract for killing] on my head?”)

The second way of looking at it is, did the PM make a baseless allegation? Did he, and his party, not realize the full extent of what he was saying?

That a former Prime Minister, who has also been a very respected Economist, Bureaucrat and Finance Minister before being the PM for two terms; a former Vice President , a person who is also Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and many former Army officers, senior diplomats etc. got together to connive the overthrow of the present Prime Minister is an extremely shocking allegation to make! Shocking if true, even more shocking if false!! (Not just overthrow but ‘kill’)

And then the allegation that followed this one – ‘they’ ( Congress and Pakistan) ‘want to make Ahmed Patel the CM of Gujarat.’

What does this accusation imply? That if Ahmed Patel, a senior Indian politician, who just won a very contentious Rajya Sabha election, will work against Indian interest if made CM of Gujarat? Is Modi implying that ANY Muslim politician of India is by nature anti- India and pro Pakistan?

One knows that when election campaigning is on, leaders campaigning can make strong allegations and accusations against opponents. But to accuse them of treason by colluding with ‘an enemy like Pakistan’ is going to the very extreme.

Prime Minister combined two happenings to come up with this sensational ‘discovery’

Two incidents, both happening in far away New Delhi were the fodder for this discovery of a plot made by the PM.

The one common point between both was the person – Mani Shankar Aiyer, a senior Congress leader, now suspended from the party.

The first incident was a party held at Mr. Aiyer’s house on 6th December.

Why was the party held?

The dinner meeting was held on December 6 at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence in Delhi during the visit of Pakistan’s former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri to India. The next day, Kasuri was to attend a talk hosted by Ananta Centre, a Delhi-based think-tank, titled, ‘The Current State of India-Pakistan Relations’.

Those who attended it said it was a get-together of “those who have known Kasuri or served in Pakistan as diplomats” and that “it had nothing to do with domestic politics.” Only Kapoor, former Chief of Army, spoke on record, with the others saying that they did not want to be dragged into a political slugfest during the election. The guests included: included former Army chief Deepak Kapoor, former foreign minister K Natwar Singh, and former diplomats Salman Haidar, TCA Raghavan, Sharat Sabharwal, K Shankar Bajpai and Chinmaya Gharekhan, among others. Bajpai, Raghavan and Sabharwal had served as Indian High Commissioners to Pakistan. Former PM Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari were also present at the dinner. Mr. Singh, in fact had declined to go for the pre dinner discussion and had joined the gathering only for dinner.

Thus it is clear that it was a very public and rather apolitical dinner gathering. Is it even possible that political conspiracies would be hatched up at such gatherings?

The second incident happened the next day, when the PM had attended a ceremony for the memorial of Dr. Ambedkar.

Mani Shankar Aiyar, yes the same gentleman, launched an attack on Narendra Modi he said the grand old party tried to erase the contribution of B R Ambedkar in nation-building. Aiyar said the comments by the PM showed his low-level mindset and one bereft of any manners. “Mujhko lagta hai ki ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, isme koi sabhyata nahi hai. Aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai? (This shows the low-level mindset of the PM and one bereft of any manners. What is the need of doing such dirty politics on such an occassion).”

What had provoked Aiyer into saying this?

Aiyer reacted because he feels the person who helped Ambedkar realise his dreams was Jawaharlal Nenru – in whose cabinet Ambedkar was a Minister – and Modi should not shame the “family” at public events.

This remark of Aiyer was turned by Modi into slur on his caste, though Aiyer had just used the word ‘neech’ – he had not used neech ‘jati’ (caste) by any stretch of imagination.

When the reference was to Ambedkar, a leader of the Scheduled Castes, would a seasoned politician and a Nehruvian, have spoken derogatorily about someone’s ‘low caste’?

The Prime Minister, who is an expert at branding anything into a Grand Conspiracy against himself, combined the two happenings and scripted it into a quite implausible coup against him and his party.

The sum and substance of his loud and dramatic rhetoric was – ” this man – and his party including the former PM and Vice President of the country – are having dinner meetings with Pakistani politicians to overthrow me just because I am of a low caste and not acceptable to them!”

Look at the contrast between US President Trump and India on this!

Just for the record, foreign, hostile nations being accused of interfering with and trying to manipulate results of another country’s election process are not unheard of.

In the US Presidential elections of 2016, the Democrats accused Russia of interfering and harming Hillary Clinton’s chances by their insidious means.

And though Hillary lost the elections, and Trump – a Republican became President – the accusations made by the Democrats were looked into seriously and truth was in fact found in them by American Security agencies.

According to an American website, ‘The CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency have jointly stated with “high confidence” that the Russian government conducted a sophisticated campaign to influence the recent election. President Vladimir Putin ordered the effort, the U.S. agencies said in a January 2017 report, with the dual aims of damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and undermining the U.S. democratic process. “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the declassified version of the report said.

Predictably, Russia has vehemently denied the charges, while Trump has dismissed them as politically motivated. However, the ongoing investigations and related media scrutiny have already prompted indictments of a former Trump administration official and former campaign staff. The inquiries could go on for many more months.

So what are our Security Agencies waiting for?

Should the Prime Minister’s allegations not be probed?