The Pioneer carried a slightly modified version of my op-ed yesterday. Here is the original version.
Shivraj Patilâ€™s open admission of having â€œSoniajiâ€™s blessingsâ€ is yet another new low that the Congress party has sunk to. What â€œSoniajiâ€™s blessingsâ€ mean is an open secret, nay, acknowledgment of dynastic sycophancy, which goes by the name of loyalty. The picture is ugly. And cruel. Ugly because we have the nationâ€™s Home Minister who is more worried about retaining power by any means than doing something about the relentless terror attacks on the India. Cruel because it mocks at the very foundation of the concept of decency and the bounden duty of a government toâ€”if not anything elseâ€”at least ensure that its citizensâ€™ lives are safe.
Letâ€™s make no mistake. India is in a state of war whose beginnings can be traced to the Varanasi blasts in March 2006. An astute observer in one of his columns on the Internet lists all terror attacks since then till the recent blasts in Delhi. Accordingly, this works out to an average of one terrorist attack every six weeks.
Equally, Shivraj Patilâ€™s record has been consistent in uttering platitudes of toughness amounting to nothing, reminding us of Shakespeareâ€™s idiot, who is full of sound and fury. The instance of the â€œIndian Mujahideenâ€ is a good example. Their impunity is more a tribute to the Indian stateâ€™s incompetence than their own â€œachievements.â€ Investigating agencies believe that the Indian Mujahideen is simply SIMI in another garb, consisting of lower-level SIMI cadres because most of its top leaders are in custody. This phenomenon while new is more disturbing because it also indicates a change in tactics. The focus now is on grooming local Muslims than recruiting terror talent from outside India. This script was authored in May at a meeting of Harkat ul Jehadi Islami and Lashkar-e-Tayiba leaders in Kotli in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Given that this information is in the public domain, the nation is amazed at Shivraj Patilâ€™s abject lack of decisive action considering that he has full command of the stateâ€™s Intelligence apparatus.
Some suggest that the solution lies in political will the likes of which the Gujarat government recently demonstrated by rounding up the culprits in just three weeks. But in case of the Congress party, the picture differs. To understand, we need to quickly look at a little history. From Nehruâ€™s time, the Congress party has carefully cultivated the need for fall guys alias scapegoats. Nehru had Krishna Menon, Indira Gandhi had far too many fall guys than we can count, and Rajiv Gandhi had a few of his own. These fall guys are the aforementioned â€œloyalists.â€ Hence, Shivraj Patil. Notice how in the aftermath of the Delhi attack, only Shivraj Patil has come out with the egg on his face while the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi are next to being absolved of their share of ignominy. The most vocal evidence of this is Lalu Yadav, who singled out Patil for a rather vicious attack for mouthing â€œparrot-like repetitionsâ€ after every terror attack. Other UPA ministers too, are worried about Patilâ€™s disastrous image, especially in an election year. Patilâ€™s defence is, as always, that he has the blessings of â€œmy leader.â€ It is very hard to understand the mental make up of a Home Minister who places his position and his loyalty to his party above the security of the people who put him in office. It is another matter that Shivraj Patil didnâ€™t win office electorally.
But the most telltale evidence comes from the silence of the Congress top brass. By not taking a position on Shivraj Patil, it lends credence to the truth in the proverb that silence is acquiescence.