'Truth will ultimately prevail'
If ruling and opposition parties are sincere to bring it to light
The high-voltage protests which Parliament has been witnessing for past one week on the issue of alleged targeting of phones by the government using Pegasus spyware and many other developments that have been taking place in the country raise one fundamental question: Are our politicians interested in digging the truth or want to throw mud at each other?
Controversies are not new in our parliamentary democracy. In the past, we had seen Bofors scandal. Parliament was rocked by the opposition. The Congress government rejected the allegations, and the opposition resigned en masse and forced Lok Sabha elections. The probe went on and on and finally after two decades in 2005 it was quashed.
Just before the last elections, we saw Parliament getting rocked by the Rafale scandal. In this case, the allegation was that the manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft, Dassault Aviation, had paid about one million Euros to Defsys Solutions which were to be given as 'gifts.' The category of 'gifts' by defence companies is treated as a serious matter in France. This resulted in the company having to explain the cost. Later, the issue subsided.
In Pegasus issue, Rahul Gandhi alleged "PM and home minister have used Pegasus against us. This has to be investigated and the home minister must resign." On Sunday June 18, The Wire reported that about 300 Indians including 40 journalists, two union ministers, three opposition leaders and scores of businesspersons and activists in India had been targeted for hacking through the Israeli spyware Pegasus. The Congress party accused the government of compromising on national security and demanded sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah and probe into the role of Prime Minister in the matter. The government strongly denied the allegations and said there was not even a shred of evidence in the allegations.
A new twist to the issue took place with Israel-based NSO group saying that the allegations were false and misleading. A statement by the group said there was no factual basis and that the company was considering a defamation lawsuit. Hitting back at the Congress over this row, BJP unleashed its vociferous leaders and all state units to strongly refute the allegations as baseless. "BJP strongly refutes, condemns the baseless & bereft of political propriety comments levelled by Congress against the BJP," the saffron party said.
Then comes the latest statement from NSO which says, "We will state again: The list is not a list of targets or potential targets of Pegasus. The numbers in the list are not related to NSO group. Any claim that a name in the list is necessarily related to a Pegasus target or Pegasus potential target is erroneous and false." What is the truth? God alone knows.
What really hurts the common man is the opposition trying to stall the proceedings of Parliament wasting public money and merely making allegations after allegations. They are not showing any interest in utilising the opportunity to put the government in dock over this issue if they have even a shred of evidence. The government too does not seem to be interested in resolving the deadlock by talking to all the political parties in the Parliament and see that a detailed discussion takes place on this issue so that a logical conclusion is there.
Let us take another issue. The statement of Union Minister of State for Health, Bharati Pravin Pawar, in Rajya Sabha that nobody died because of oxygen or vaccine shortages. The government claimed no state has given them any such report. So, apparently the states which had raised so much hue and cry over oxygen shortage are hiding the facts. Let us take the example of Ruia hospital in Tirupati. 11 patients on ventilator support died due to "disruption" in the supply of oxygen. The disruption was nothing but non-availability of oxygen for some time. Not just Andhra, there were similar incidents in Rajasthan and other states. The big question now is are the states hiding facts from the Centre? If they are hiding facts, is there no way the Centre can find the truth? Did the Centre make any serious attempt to find the facts?
The price of petrol and diesel hit a century per litre in most parts of the country. Both the state and the Union governments are silent and benefiting. There is a clear reason why governments, both at the Centre and in the states, do not want to cut taxes, which comprise 55 per cent of the retail price of petrol and nearly 50 per cent of diesel – they are a major source of revenue. The opposition is not bothered about it. They don't discuss such issues in Parliament and find ways to give relief to the common man.
Throw some crumbs in name of welfare schemes and squeeze the taxpayer is the policy. The opposition Congress is silent on petrol and diesel prices because they too are equally guilty and never reduced their share of tax when in power. The BJP which used to make lot of noise when in opposition is also following the same path. No one wants to stand up and say, forget any help from the governments. Barring enacting some street dramas, the opposition does not deem it fit to take up the issue in Parliament and try to find a solution to this problem.
Day in and day out, we hear from all from Prime Minister down to the local leaders that health protocols should be followed and that all should get vaccinated. Fine. But did not the government allow Kumbh Mela and did it not contemplate to permit Kanwar Yatra? Similarly, at the state-level, the political parties are also finding it difficult to resist from holding party meetings and public meetings where all protocols go for a toss. No opposition party wants to take up such issues in the Parliament and the government too ducks on such issues. Interestingly, the Lok Sabha Speaker had pulled up some MPs for not wearing masks.
Recently, a US agency reported that about 40 to 50 lakh people died due to Corona in India. Is that a fact? Well, neither the opposition wants to discuss and get the truth out nor the government wants to make things clear. There is great variation between the claims made by the Indian government and the US agency. According to the Centre, the number of deaths due to Covid in India is about four lakhs.
The Indian economy is likely to grow 8.4-10.1% for the current financial year as against a contraction of 7.3% in the last fiscal, the economic think-tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said on Friday. The Indian economy turned a corner this month and began regaining momentum in June. This comes as states gradually ease curbs on business activity, keeping in mind the decline in the number of fresh Covid cases, reports say. Is that the real situation? Well no one knows. The political parties are not interested in a threadbare discussion on such issues. All that they want is raise issues, create ruckus, refuse to find any kind of solution, and grab any opportunity to discuss the omissions and commissions of the ruling party and expose them. The ruling parties too do not want a discussion because they feel it is politically advantageous because they need not give any explanation and just blame the opposition saying, "we were ready, it is the opposition which ran away."
When the NDA government came to power, there was a lot of hope that there would be a marked difference in governance. People were happy to see Modi as the PM, who has a single-point agenda to take the country forward and was known as the most selfless leader, a man of determination and one who speaks less and works more. But it is surprising that with such a man at the helm of affairs, the common man is not able to get answers for various issues that are bothering him. It's high time all political parties realised that they should work to ensure that truth prevails. 'Satyameva Jayate' is not just a fancy slogan.