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When patriotism takes political colours

When patriotism takes political colours
Highlights

With the safe return of valiant son of India Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was taken in as Prisoner of War PoW by Pakistan three days ago, the nation...

With the safe return of valiant son of India Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was taken in as Prisoner of War (PoW) by Pakistan three days ago, the nation seems to be in a celebration mood. However, the great support India has received from the international community for the stand it has taken with regard to cross-border terrorism and the dossier it submitted to Pakistan on the Pulwama attack which had claimed lives of 40 CRPF jawans has now led to return of election mood in the country and if speculations are right, the Election Commission is likely to announce the poll schedule in the next three to four days’ time.

The whole nation sure salutes the armed forces in general and Wing Commander Abhinandan in particular for the courage, poise and integrity he had displayed despite being in an enemy country and in midst of Pakistani army officials. His courage to tell Pakistanis that he cannot disclose any further information despite being injured and put under pressure needs special mention and it should make our politicians learn certain lessons and put the nation first, not narrow political considerations and showing animosity towards each other.

If the leaders of all political parties learn from the armed forces the kind of cooperative federalism they show at the time of need, India would certainly progress at a rapid speed. Just talking about ease of doing business and showing 56-inch chest or empty claims like “My family is 130 crore people of India. I will live for them and fall for them. I am in public life to further their destiny. I am here only for India's development,” are not going to change the fortunes of the country.

Similarly, hard talk on television channels turning into war rooms, loud accusations and war of words between the panellists and the moderators asking questions like “Are you a Pakistani, say yes or no” to the panellists may improve their ratings but it amounts to different kind of aggression on viewers. While the armed forces have once again made every Indian proud, the politicians whether it is the ruling BJP or the Opposition should not make this an issue of political campaign.

But unfortunately, the Prime Minister has set the tone for political campaign by accusing the Opposition of questioning and doubting the armed forces and making statements that favour Pakistan. This exactly was the line taken by some ‘heroes’ in war rooms of national TV channels. This apparently will lead to counter criticism by the Opposition parties and what should have been an apolitical issue would assume political colours.

If the Prime Minister’s speeches whether it is in Tamil Nadu or in Vizag are any indication, it is clear that he is determined to hit all leaders below the belt and project only himself as the saviour of the people in the country. While the Centre can claim the good work they have done in handling the difficult situation after Pulwama attack, there should be a Lakshman Rekha. Alleging that all others were deliberately aiding Pak narrative and claiming that barring Modi if anyone else comes to power, India will become weakened or that its integrity and sovereignty would be threatened is a bit too much.

It is nothing but demeaning the intelligence of the voters. The question is not who is in power. Who ever it may be, he or she is equally patriotic and cannot allow anyone to point a finger at the country. After all, every public servant takes an oath that he will defend and protect the integrity of sovereignty of the country and he has no other option.

Modi ji, we have no objection if you claim that with your 56-inch chest, you are a tough nut to crack and have handled brokers and corrupt people with an iron hand, we have no objection, though some big economic offenders slipped out of country. He has reached the finishing line of five-year rule, and its time he takes an honest call on the achievements of the government. The attitude that I am the only pure person and all others are corrupt will not work.

Narendra Modi stormed to power so decisively in 2014 when the Indian economy was still recovering from a situation where the rupee had crashed after current account deficit and fiscal deficit ballooned out of control, and the NDA government succeeded in taking steps to bring some discipline.

The government’s decision to keep farm support prices in check has helped lower inflation, and inflationary expectations. The fall in global commodity prices also helped the cause, as it helped tame inflation even as it allowed the government to raise fuel taxes to finance its expenditure. However, it has not fully succeeded in taming the inflation. May be due to global and domestic factors.

Farm distress has led to a sharp rise in agrarian riots, prompting the government to announce an expansion and hike in farm support prices, which could stoke the fires of inflation once again. While the country has done well in Foreign Direct Investment, the domestic investment cycle has however disappointed, and so have exports.

One should also understand Modi’s economics which really did not help the common man. It was only a sugar-coated talk. He claims that genuine tax payer has been benefitted by raising tax limit to Rs 5 lakh. The government claims to handle corrupt with iron hand and helps the genuine tax payer. But if one really goes deep into it, it hardly proves to be of any help to those whose taxes are deducted at source. He also claims that reduction in GST for under construction houses had helped the middle-income group. But the truth is it is a myth. The new GST measures eliminate the ability to claim input tax credit, which may hit the profitability of the developers, which means the burden will be passed on to the buyers.

Currently, the developers are able to reduce the tax liability when it makes a sale by claiming tax paid on goods and services required for the construction of properties. This will further impact developers' profit margins that are already under pressure. Moody's said the developers have the option to mitigate this loss by increasing prices slightly, given that overall pricing for the customer has reduced with lower GST.

Let us take a look at the latest decision of carving a railway zone in Andhra Pradesh. He claims that a long pending demand has been fulfilled and it will usher in economic growth and create job opportunities in the region.

But the reality is that Modi had abolished 172-years-old Waltair division which would result in a revenue loss of Rs 6,500 crore. What is wrong if the people, social activists, Opposition parties and the State government allege that this amounts to vindictive act on the part of the Centre. It is clear that the Central government, which had ruled out a railway zone in the past and kept quiet for full five years, has suddenly announced its decision which helps the neighbouring Odisha State.

Reason, the ensuing elections. The BJP has stakes in Odisha not in Andhra. So, help them to help BJP. Let the residual State suffer. Give a Maya Zone so that ‘strong’ man can come to power again. The Centre should have understood that it had once again hurt the sentiments of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Still the Prime Minister says, “Don’t criticise.” Jai Ho…

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