The severe drought that the country is facing has brought to fore once again the strange and insensitive ways of some Indian politicians who acted in a bizarre manner during various tragedies faced by our society. ‘Drought tourism’ and helipad making spree are latest acts that have shocked one and all. At the outset it points towards the feudal mindset of the politicians proving they are rhetorical about the virtues of democracy. From Rajiv Gandhi to Narendra Modi to Pankaj Munde, these politicians are in a way exposing the holes in Indian democratic set up. Here are some of the words and deeds of our politicians, when the society was encountering different kinds of tragedies. The latest in the list is the ministers’ act of using gallons of water to create a helipads in drought-hit areas and taking a selfie when going on inspection, where people are fighting for their lives.
Rajiv Gandhi: When a big tree falls, earth shakes
That was Rajiv Gandhi’s unkindest cut in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi who took over as the prime minister after the tragic assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi, was to some extent a political novice. He was AICC general secretary, and unlike his late younger brother Sanjay Gandhi he had not courted any controversy till that time. Mr. Clean was how he was named by journalists. But all went for a toss as he took over the country when it was going through one of the worst communal carnage in independent India. Sikhs in various cities were being butchered on the streets. As various enquiry reports would find out later, in many places, this was orchestrated by Congress leaders. They were venting their angst against the killing of their leader Indira Gandhi by her Sikh guards. Police in many places stood as mute spectators. It was during this time that Rajiv Gandhi made the controversial statement. When Sikhs were selectively being killed and their business establishments looted, he told the nation that when big tree falls, earth shakes! For Rajiv Gandhi, who was seen as the modern face of Indian politics, his mother Indira Gandhi was a big tree while the thousands butchered Sikhs were the victims of the earth that shook due to the fall of the big tree that Indira Gandhi was.
Narendra Modi’s puppy analogy
Even when he was chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi kept media at an arm’s length. Whenever he spoke, it made big news. But when he spoke to Reuters in 2013, it showed not a strong politician with civility in his approach, but a leader who was trying to cash in on his divisive agenda. Modi told reuters “Even if I am in the back-seat of a car and a puppy comes under the wheels, isn’t it painful? Whether I am a chief minister or not, I am a human being – I will be sad if something bad happens anywhere”
He was answering a question from the reporter whether he regrets the loss of thousands of people during anti-Muslim carnage. This has created huge furore, but Modi did not care to correct his statement.
What it means to be a Dalit for VK Singh
Nation was outraged hearing the news that two children belonging to dalit community were killed allegedly by members belonging to upper castes in October last year. Doubts were expressed from various quarters about measures taken by the BJP government in Haryana against the perpetrators of anti-dalit violence. Centre government was also criticised for its lackadaisical approach. It was at that time that Union Minister Gen. V K Singh’s defense became controversial. He was trying to absolve government of any responsibility. “If some one throws stones at dog, the government is not responsible”. The minister tried to explain what he actually meant by his statement. Despite huge protest against his statement, he did not withdraw his statement.
Visiting a drought hit area, a selfie op by Pankaja Munde
The country is facing one of the deadliest droughts this year. Maharashtra government woke up to simmering crisis faced by the farmers in Vidharbha and Latur area very late. Thousands of farmers have took their lives unable to face the farm distress precipitated by the drought. When media started exposing the apathy of the government towards the farmers, the Fadnavis government did take some damage control measures. Pankaja Munde, the young minister in the cabinet might have visited the area as part of this. But all she could do from there was to take a selfie standing in front of barren land. When the image of her taking selfie was splashed in the media, she came up with an explanation. Her justification that she took selfie just to show the barren land in the background actually added to the controversy.
Making helipads using 10000 litres of water and reviewing droughts: Eknath Khadse
The Maharastra government seems to be showing the arrogance of power when the majority of the people in the state are facing one of the biggest water crisis. Minister Eknath Khadse demanded to review the situation in the drought areas near Thane. He demanded a helipad be built for him to land his helicopter in the area. He did not find it convenient to even travel from a helipad at Thane which is just 23 kilometers from Belkund village where he visited. When the entire area was reeling under severe water crisis the state government used 10000 liters of water to make the helipad. On hearing this people might have thought if the minister had not visited that area at least 10000 liter would have been saved.
Not only this. The union minister Radha Mohan Singh’s visit also cost dearly to the people of Latur. 10,000 liters of water was used to create a make-shift helipad at Bhiwandi!