Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling out the protesters without a pause always eager to lend their full-throated support to any going cause in Parliament on Monday has recharged his supporters and left his critics apoplectic.
Neither group, however, seems interested in introspection before articulation. It may be helpful, therefore, to spell out for them the thrust of the Prime Minister’s speech. That there is an emergent breed of agitprop addicts, as it were, who seemingly live only to participate in varied protests covering a virtual smorgasbord of issues ~ the “andolanjivis” Mr Modi referred to ~ is a fact.
This entirely non-productive and parasitic jamaat/biradiri, according to the Prime Minister, pops up everywhere ~ from student stirs to lawyers’ agitations, sometimes directing the show from behind the curtains and at other times taking centre stage. While some may have a quarrel with the choice of words used by Mr Modi, his assertions cannot be denied.
In fact, the various toolkits doing the rounds which the Ordinary Joe, Jaya or Jai is being urged to use to accentuate protests using social media as a force multiplier are par for the course given the group think embedded in the rabid opposition to the ruling dispensation which is amenable to backing any agitation as long as it is anti-BJP. Nothing wrong in that, of course; it is a free country.
But as long as the rules are followed and no laws are broken. The Prime Minister also referred sarcastically to the abbreviation FDI which, he said, was welcome when limited to Foreign Direct Investment (in India’s economy) but not when it was a Foreign Destructive Ideology from which the country has to be “saved”.
Critics immediately pounced upon this return of the oftquoted “foreign hand” by former PM Indira Gandhi which she used to cover up a plethora of sins, drawing a parallel with the current PM’s tactics.
Mr Modi has repeatedly said that he has no problem with agitations and/or protests against his government but he will continue to call out those against the national interest. In stating this, he has even pulled up those of his supporters who were calling the Sikhs names.
The Opposition, both political and otherwise, have been asserting that the government is both incapable and unwilling to make that distinction which is why they tar all protests against the establishment with the “antinational” brush. This kind of exchange doesn’t do much for the level of national political discourse.
The BJP, too, must not forget the variety of protests it lent its voice to and its cadres participated in when it was in the Opposition. The Congress, Left and regional parties, on the other hand, are behaving as if the Indian electorate has in a free and fair poll elected the devil incarnate to power to dislodge whom all is fair. Hypocrisy abounds across the political spectrum. All sides would do well to appreciate the thrust of what the Prime Minister has said.