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Reprehensible Act

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The anti-India eco-system will celebrate the blocking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy by ‘protestors’ in Punjab on Wednesday. It will be presented by the Pakistani media as opposition to Indian sovereignty by the people of that state, and even worse. The claim by the Congress and its government that the PM chose to go by road at the last minute when the original plan was to use a helicopter goes in the face of established protocol, under which alternate routes are designated and provided the required protection. Instead of acknowledging the serious lapse, Congress spokespersons are claiming the PM returned from halfway because not enough people had turned up for his proposed rally.

This is undoubtedly a new low in Indian politics and centre-state relations. Similar tactics designed by the local government have been witnessed in West Bengal to obstruct the political rallies of BJP President JP Nadda and even Home Minister Amit Shah, but this seems to have been taken even further in Punjab. This follows upon the fundamental disrespect displayed by the present day opposition to constitutional propriety in Parliament. It is clear that, in their minds, representatives of past dispensations consider the present rule of the BJP as that of ‘upstarts’ not blue-blooded enough to run the country.

It is just good fortune that the incident in Ferozepur did not escalate into something serious. The PM has passed it off with a light-hearted comment but it is for India’s strategic thinkers to consider how such actions are to be countered. The BJP’s critics will rush to justify what happened as a “people’s movement”, “spontaneous response”, etc., but there is no doubt that there was intent behind the act. It may be that the fear of antagonising a section of society could have led to the security lapses on the part of the Police, but the attempt to justify it later is reprehensible.

There is no doubt how Indira Gandhi would have responded to such hostility by state governments – they would have been dismissed out of hand. India has moved on since such dictatorial functioning but the increased democratic space does not in any way allow for such attempts to intimidate the Prime Minister. It is certain that apologies and corrective action will not be forthcoming from the Congress and its leadership. In fact, this incident is quite in sync with the opposition expressed to the PM’s improved quality security car acquired by the SPG, recently. It seems they want Modi gone and will accept whatever makes it possible.