He campaigns, he waves, he smiles for the cameras, he continues to travel the world. He is as carefree as he has always been. The demeanor of Prime Minister Narendra Modi betrays no wounds or anger at the Pulwama terror attack. The entire nation is disturbed, and mourning the loss of our jawans, but Modi’s body language remains arrogant, so much so, he broke protocol to welcome and hug the Saudi Arabian prince at the airport, who had given 20 billion dollars to Pakistan after the Pulwama attack. Experts may call it diplomatic compulsion, but then why did Justin Trudeau get treated with a hard glove?Ironically, he is currently in South Korea, receiving a peace award. But he took more than a week to condemned the attack on innocent kashmiris in the rest of India.
Apologists of the Modi government claim he is sending a message to terrorists. By continuing with the routine, they believe, he has told them the country wouldn’t come to a halt. It would have been a credible counter, if he had not used every opportunity to further his own political agenda. He has attended several inaugurations and foundation ceremonies that hardly had any national importance. In most of the rallies after Pulwama, he did send a stern message to Pakistan and terrorists, but in electoral context. He asked people to support a strong government. This is in the stark contrast with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who maintained decorum, and never used such attacks to further partisan politics. That is the difference between a democrat and a demagogue.
Modi was at Corbett National Park at the time of Pulwama terror attack at around 3.30 pm. He went on a jungle safari, participated in a documentary shoot and addressed a rally at 4.30pm, which did not condemn the attack. Government through its pets in the media is pinning the blame on NSA Ajit Doval and shoddy mobile network, which resulted in Modi being oblivious of the ghastly attack. It is a clear-cut attempt to save Modi’s skin. The government knows it cannot withstand the scrutiny of Modi continuing his jungle safari even after he was intimated of the attack. And even if the sources are accurate, it betrays an even worse picture of how callous the government’s security officers are. Either way, the buck stops with Modi.
Modi claims to be a strong and alert leader. Where did he slip this time? Or is this arrogance of power? Is he taking the citizens for a ride?Modi and BJP tried to be statesman-like when the country was shaken by the attack. They appealed to all the political parties to not make the issue political, and put up a united front in these tough times. Congress president and other opposition leaders responded gracefully for first 100 hours. But old habits die hard. BJP continued to exploit the tragedy to further its political agenda. Eventually, the gloves inevitably came off, and the opposition parties joined the hamam. BJP leaders and workers organised anti-Pakistan processions all over the country. Of course unofficially. My sources tell me BJP instructed its workers to participate in such programs without party flags. They are smart enough to know this war mongering will help them in coming elections.
This incessant war mongering continued on social media. So called ‘nationalists’ created several WhatsApp groups to harass critics and spread poison about Kashmiris. Mridula Chari Of Scroll did an excellent expose’ on one such group. These ‘Bhakt terror groups’ targeted journalists and citizens who have asked pertinent questions about Pulwama attack. Interestingly, PM Modi follows some of the members of such poisonous groups.
Modi’s popularity had been sliding before Pulwama attack. His political stock was down. BJP had been buttering its potential allies, conceding the reality.BJP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra is an apt example of this reality check. But post Pulwama, their politics has received a fillip. Modi, a smart manipulator, has exploited this terror attack to cover up failures of his government. Constant war mongering through a section of the media would certainly help his hyper-nationalism. His party men believe if a war like situation emerges, it would definitely make Modi’s election campaign stronger. In a way, Jaish e Muhammad and ISI has rescued him from the discourse around unemployment, rafale and agrarian crisis.
Unfortunately, a section of our society has fallen prey to the war mongering tactics. By not condemning the cowardly attacks on Kashmiri students by Hindutva mobs immediately, just like he took too long to condemn the lynchings of Muslims, he probably wants to send a friendly message to his core Hindutva constituency. There is definite method in his politics. Time will tell if the jobless youth, farmers, dalits and adivasis see through it or not.