Playing the Pakistan card

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has levelled a sensational charge against the main opposition party, the Congress. She has told BJP workers that “The Congress leaders are playing dirty politics by seeking help from Pakistan to remove PM Modi’s Government”, according to a media report. If this is true then it is her duty to bring to book those conspiring with Pakistan for what amounts to high treason and have them put up for trial by a court. She has done nothing of the kind and is not going to either. This mud-slinging is all part of pre-election propaganda by the BJP against the largest opposition party.  This is nothing new. No less a person than the Prime Minister himself had, not long ago, brought an equally sensational charge against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a former Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, that they were conspiring with Pakistan to have a Muslim as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Nothing more was heard about it after the Gujarat elections were over. The Prime Minister neither proved his charge nor apologized to the two dignitaries who were targets of a vicious smear campaign.
The ruling party obviously believes that if the charge of collusion with Pakistan is brought against any opposition leader or leaders, it will immediately “catch on” with the people and the people named will be shamed and rejected by the people without an iota of evidence. Politicians in their bid to discredit their opponents often lose all sense of proportion. Otherwise, no sane person can even think of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being hand in glove with Pakistan. But public discourse has become so low that anyone can say anything against anyone and get away with it. Those who make such monstrous charges in public against respected political leaders do not even care to ponder whether what they are saying is being believed by the people.
Such baseless and atrocious propaganda ultimately harms those who indulge in it. What is more, it destroys the credibility of the political parties and leaders who make such malicious charges without any evidence. The natural reaction of the victims of the attack is to pay back their traducers in the same coin. The net effect is a gradual erosion in the quality of public discourse and a feeling of revulsion of the people against politicians. Ultimately the people start losing their faith in the democratic system. All political parties should desist from making wild and incredible accusations against their opponents.

Sunday, 13 January, 2019