The West Bengal Chief Minister’s shrill and unwarranted outburst against the Indian Army has touched an abysmal low in political discourse, unprecedented in 70 years of our independence. What makes the whole episode even more shameful is the deafening silence of the political class. No leader of any consequence has thought it fit to condemn the Chief Minister’s intemperate allegations against an institution that symbolizes national pride and honour, and lives by the credo of service before self.
These drills have also been conducted in states like UP, Bihar and Assam, without any fuss. Leaders of regional parties have responded with equally irresponsible or infantile comments, completely missing the crux of the matter.
Why does the Chief Minister forget that when the partially constructed Vivekananda flyover collapsed in Kolkata in March this year, the army rushed post haste to render all possible help? There were allegations that some of her own party cadres turned contractors supplied substandard materials to the construction firm. The Chief Minister welcomes the Army’s help in disasters and calamities, especially when her own agencies are too incompetent to handle them. But then depending on political exigencies, she is quite capable of demonizing the first responder to please her vote banks, which override everything else in her consideration.
The army, on its part, refuted the CM’s allegations with dignity and restraint, pointing out that it has conducted this exercise by involving the state authorities at every stage, so that mobilization during wartime or other contingencies could be optimized by deploying civilian logistics. These drills have also been conducted in states like UP, Bihar and Assam, without any fuss. Leaders of regional parties have responded with equally irresponsible or infantile comments, completely missing the crux of the matter.
“Logistics include concentration of required troops and ordnance at the specified locations expeditiously. . . . The services are allowed to requisition aircrafts, ships, railways and vehicles for logistic support (during contingencies). It is a standard practice the world over: all means of transportation are considered national assets. In all the wars fought by India . . . .tales of round-the-clock commitment of the railways and the bravery of the civilian truck drivers are legendary. All soldiers hold them in high regard,” writes Major Gen Mrinal Suman in his blog.
In a language startlingly reminiscent of West Bengal Chief Minister’s attack, one of the reputed English dailies had front paged reports of an imminent coup, some years ago. It imparted a sinister twist to the routine movement of army columns, doing a great disservice to the organization as well as discrediting the then Army Chief, fighting for justice with his back to the wall. Perhaps this is the price that the then Army chief paid for fearlessly exposing the Tatra truck scam. The Daily went to absurd lengths to defend what the tallest editor of his time, trashed as a planted story. He stood by his statement, in sheer defiance of being slapped with Rs 100 crore defamation suit.
It reminds one of Prime Minister Modi’s characterisation of this class as “news traders,” for whom liberty and human rights exist only for a particular segment…
What an ironical comedown for a daily that had opposed the excesses of Indira Gandhi during the darkest days of the Emergency, only to act as the mouthpiece of the caucus loyal to her descendents, which had fathered the murkiest scams in the post independence history.
It reminds one of Prime Minister Modi’s characterisation of this class as “news traders,” for whom liberty and human rights exist only for a particular segment of the population and anti-national elements, even if they commit despicable acts of terror. In an unprecedented last ditch bid, the left liberals and some filmmakers even woke up the Apex Court at midnight, to save Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru from the gallows next morning.
The Chief Minister can thank her stars that someone like Field Marshal Manekshaw is not around. The man who bluntly warned someone like Indira Gandhi of the disastrous consequences of a premature attack on Pakistan, when 10 million refugees already swamped West Bengal in 1971 and could not be hustled into one, would have curtly asked CM to mind her own business and let the Army get on with its job. Quite in keeping with his no nonsense approach, Manekshaw even reportedly pulled up a very senior defence ministry official for ‘ordering’ a uniformed colonel to open windows at a function at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. “He will do nothing of that sort,” the field marshal ruled.
Despite CM’s sordid record as the chief minister, she is still being treated much more leniently by the blinkered brigade of left liberals and the English language media than Modi, pilloried for every trifling omission under the sun.
Under the present Chief Minister’s watch, West Bengal has degenerated into a lawless state, a thriving hub of fake notes and human trafficking. Rape victims are mercilessly hounded and upright officials victimized, add to it the illegal and unbridled influx of Bangladeshis. The state which boasted of giants such as Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Bose and Tagore, finds itself in dire straits today.
It is a indeed a supreme irony that she is benign in her tolerance of fundamentalists and jihadis, but loathes the Indian Army.
Of course CM has been so rattled by demonetization she not only questioned the current dispensation’s intentions but also cast aspersions on the character of the Army, even accusing it of collecting toll, something unheard of in political discourse. The West Bengal Chief Minister has conveniently forgotten all about the infamy surrounding the Saradha scam, where more than 200 private companies duped 1.7 million depositors, comprising mainly the poor and lower income groups, of tens of thousands of crores.
There were damning reports that some of the money went into financing terror groups in Bangladesh. It is a indeed a supreme irony that she is benign in her tolerance of fundamentalists and jihadis, but loathes the Indian Army. The CM should remember that those who point fingers at others have three fingers pointing at them.