BY SAEED NAQVI
Why is the Muslim so cross with the Congress after having been the party’s willing vote bank for six decades? Because an overwhelming sense of injustice has been accentuated by specific grievances. As he replays those sixty years in the mind’s eye in very slow motion, that period, in excess of half a century, comes across to him as a chronicle of wasted time. He would probably have continued to drift in a daze, doped and despairing, silently nursing his grievances until the Sachar Committee report in 2006 confronted him with a mirror in which he saw what had become of him in the sixty years of having been locked up in the Congress paddock. In socio-economic terms he had been reduced to the lowest of the low, to the bottom of all hierarchies.
Ofcourse, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh had the heart to institute Sachar Committee. But once the report was in hand, the party closed in on them and firmly stayed their hand from implementing the Ranganath Mishra Committee prescriptions to repair the muslim condition exposed by Sachar.
Likewise, the Congress refused to dust up the Srikrishna report on the Mumbai riots on 1993 which were every bit as gruesome as the Gujarat pogrom.
Narendra Modi will never be a national leader because of Gujarat 2002. But how is Sharad Pawar exempt from all guilt? He, as Defence Minister, was in a conflictual stalemate with Chief Minister Sudhakar Naik even as the riots intensified.
Incidentally, why does nobody talk of the Ghulam Hussain report on Maliana near Meerut, India’s original Sebrenica?
Short of seeking retirement, a lesson Sonia Gandhi must learn from UP and elsewhere is fairly simple: advisers who have congealed around her and Rahul should be shown the door.
Shekhar Gupta is right. Do you really believe the voter is a “beggar” in whose extended palm you place a few bogus promises of “reservations” and you will send him away pleased? This is what Salman Khushid’s 9 percent adds upto.
How totally out of touch with the Muslim mood the Congress was became clear during the debate on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. The assumption in the Prime Minister’s office that the minorities were against it is complete nonsense.
Remember how minority groups blocked George W Bush from addressing a joint session of Parliament when he visited India? The US President picnicked at the Old Fort instead.
This was because of Muslim anger at Bush for the manner in which his war on terror painted the world’s Muslims as terrorists. It was insensitive of the leadership not to have distinguished anger with Bush from opposition to the nuclear deal.
The manner in which the Indian establishment has been infected by that war on terror has created an almost unbridgeable chasm between the establishment and the minorities.
A boy is locked up for 14 years without trial and you expect the minorities, so beholden, to rain votes on you?
A dozen acts of terror since November 2007 have been attributed to “Indian Mujahideen” a group which, experts believe does not exist. And yet hundreds, carrying the label of a non existent group are languishing in custody.
Against this record of fighting terror you have gone and picked up an honourable journalist. Memory of such incidents will not fade by 2014!
The bombing incident involving an Israeli diplomat took place in New Delhi on February 13, over two weeks before the last votes were cast in the recent state elections. But the so called suspect Saiyyid Ahmad Kazmi, an Urdu journalist working for India’s national TV, Doordarshan, as well as Iranian News Agency, was picked up by the Special police the day results were being declared.
Supposing Kazmi, a gentleman among journalists, had been arrested soon after the February 13 whodunit, would the UP election results been worse as 24X7 channels exhibit another Muslim in police trap. It is Kazmi type midnight-knock operations that have damaged the Congress infinitely more than the bogus promises about reservations Salman Khurshid thought would pull his wife, Louise, through in Farrukhabad. A pity she lost her deposit. Worse, Congress President Sonia Gandhi lost every single seat in Rae Bareli.
There is obviously a deep anti-Congress mood in the country for which the party’s first family must share considerable blame. The coterie around them did not sense this mood.
Numerous other reasons (anti-incumbency in UP, for instance) add up, but the primary reason for the Congress rout and one the pundits are underplaying, was the Muslim determination to teach the party a lesson.
(Saeed Naqvi is senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)