This year on Children’s Day, Narendra Modi-led NDA government had come up with a unique idea of ‘Bal Swachhata Abhiyan’ which was jointly carried out by the education and health departments from November 14 to19 in various schools.
The campaign had been launched with an aim to provide an opportunity for the young generation to understand the necessity of cleanliness.
As per the available information, during the five-day campaign of the ‘Bal Swachhata Abhiyan’, both the students and teachers cleaned various parts of their schools. A lesson was also given to the students on recycling and reuse of waste materials. To further encourage students, a competition was organised, wherein the cleanest classroom was awarded a prize.
Among teenagers, information on personal hygiene and health issues were imparted. Clean water, inspection of water treatment plants, cleaning of water tanks and spreading awareness about water borne diseases were also provided. During the campaign, the topic of using toilets and keeping them clean was also raised.
As we all know, November 14, the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is celebrated as Children’s Day in India, since he was very fond of children and saw them as the bright future of the nation.
But, to my utmost surprise, on the 125th birth anniversary of Pandit Nehru, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi targeted the BJP-led NDA government in a veiled attack on PM Narendra Modi.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said there was an attempt not only to target the personality of Nehru, but also his ideology, vision, struggle and contribution. Rahul, on the other hand, added a new angle to Modi’s ‘Clean India Mission’ and said that those who are cleaning up the country on one hand are spreading the 'poison of hatred' on the other.
The above statements propelled me to think about how that was possible.
Probably Rahul must be indicating towards some recent incidents on which people think PM should have reacted.
The first major instance, which could be in Rahul’s mind was, when a Muslim techie Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq was killed in Pune, allegedly by Hindu Rashtra Sena activists over the uploading of ‘derogatory’ pictures of Maratha icon Shivaji and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on a social networking site.
Reacting to the killing, Pune BJP MP Anil Shirole commented that “some amount of repercussions was natural". Later, it was found that Sadiq was not connected with the mischief.
Then a series of incidents like –Telangana BJP leader K Laxman put a question mark on tennis star Sania Mirza's “Indian-ness” and Goa cabinet minister Deepak Dhavalikar's exhortation to PM Modi to make ‘India a Hindu state’.
Possibly, Modi’s silence on the issues put a question mark on his ability to carry all communities together. Else, perhaps, Rahul should understand that the PM cannot be held responsible for other’s irresponsible statements.
Rahul should also look at himself in this matter. His statement that Pakistani agencies approached young Muslims who lost family members in the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, was slammed by prominent clerics of the community as "most unfortunate".
Clearly, people living in glass houses should not throw stones at others.
If I look back, the five-month-old Modi government, apart from celebrating Children’s day in a special way, also gave a new lease of life to the Teacher's day, which is celebrated on September 5, every year in India, marking the birth Anniversary of the second President of India and academic philosopher Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
PM Modi performed an exceptional act on that day, by simultaneously addressing school going children across the country - their number running into more than 250 million, through electronic media, which is really commendable!
So, the point is, if someone tries to make the best out of an opportunity, there is no harm in it.
If the Congress, which had its own government at the Centre for more than 10 years could not think of any such idea, at least they should not give insensitive comments which can further ruin the stature of the 'Grand Old Party'.
If at all they want to give a fair fight to the leading BJP, it should be on the basis of introspection and performance.
Following the Lok Sabha poll debacle and the recent results of Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly polls, such kind of statements will never be able to galvanise the party.
Earlier as well, Congress criticised BJP for copying their schemes but the irony is the party itself failed to galvanise the voters, even after having those said schemes.
Listing out the schemes, which former union Finance Minister P Chidambaram claimed were nothing but a change of name by the ruling NDA government, he pointed out that the 'Swachh Bharat Abiyan' is nothing new but Congress’ 'Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’, BJP's ‘Skill India scheme’ was earlier known as ‘Skill Development Mission’ and Congress' ‘Financial Inclusion’ is now known as BJP's ‘Jan Dhan Yojna’.
But the argument here is, if at all the schemes are the same, BJP is making the most of them - not just as a photo opportunity but by implementing them at the ground level.
Who had stopped Congress from doing the same when it was in power?
PM Modi has invoked the cleanliness drive of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, many a times in his various speeches. But if Congress never got this idea before, is complaining now justified? Why couldn't Congress find some innovative ideas like these earlier?
Instead they claim that PM Modi is utilising the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is very necessary for the people of this country to show the mirror to the Congress who forget that Mahatma Gandhi also known as ‘Bapu’ and Jawaharlal Nehru fondly known as ‘Chacha Nehru’ are the same for all Indians and just not the leaders of a particular party. Maybe they feel that till the memories of Sardar Patel, Gandhi and Nehru remain among the people, India would forgive Congress for their mistakes when in power. But, does this statement have an iota of truth? Do we see Mahatma Gandhi as just a Congress leader?
The answer is no…
While in power, Congress had made high budgetary allocations for education and health & sanitation, but did it reached to the end-user? It remains to be a point of introspection for the party.
So, instead of debating over every initiative of the Modi government and criticising them without looking at the consequences, Congress must learn how to make the most out of even the smallest opportunities.
After all, anything good should be inherited and anyone ‘spitting venom’ should be avoided.