Akrita Reyar The ultimate sleaze-fest There could have been no better timing. The cameras were rolling, the telecast Live and the whole nation glued in. Suddenly in midst of the debate, three BJP MPs marched in waving a bag. Landing at desk of the officials in the Well of the House, they pulled out bundles of notes, brandishing them victoriously. The government, they claimed, had been trapped. The BJP MPs alleged that the SP linchpin Amar Singh promised the three 9 crores to abstain from vote. Soon the debate had gone to the wind, and the entire Opposition gathered around them, eager to dirty their hands on the muck.
A day before the Prime Minister had challenged the Opposition to “show proof” of their accusations of the government “buying votes”. “This was proof enough!” the BJP said gleefully, driving home the point. The attempt was obvious. To muddy the squeaky clean image of the Prime Minister. Going by the book, if the BJP had been serious about wanting to nab the culprits, they could have reported the case straight to the police. Not hired a private television channel to record the underhand deal. Even so, they could have lodged an FIR with the police and submitted the tapes as evidence and then gone to the press about it. However if they wanted the case to be cracked in Parliament, they could have walked into the Speaker’s room and apprised him about the foul play. The BJP chose to do none of the above. The idea was to seize an opportunity from within the adversity. Having done their mathematics, and going by the mood in their camp, the BJP had well guessed, the government would sail through. They may even have wanted the government to win this battle, just to keep Mayawati out. But not without extracting their pound of flesh. By staging the entire drama, in what one commentator said was a brazen attempt to turn Parliament into NSD, without a shred of substantiated proof, they raised a stink, and maligned the UPA victory. They managed to call the confidence vote win immoral, the death of democracy and posed as the victim party. They denied the UPA a positive momentum that could have been used to show that the PM was “not so weak” after all. Most importantly, they have managed a stain on the starch white kurta of the Prime Minister. A stain that may take more than ‘Nirma’ to wash off. In the process, however, they too have not been left unblemished. The fact is that BJP was the worst hit in count of cross voters. It exposes that the BJP cadre is disgruntled, that the leadership is facing dissent, its MPs can be bought, and the party is “not so different” after all. Ray of Hope If one were to judge the confidence vote in totality, the fact is that the story was not all morose. There were some flashes of brilliance in the otherwise overcast House. The Congress came out convincingly as the best performer. No other party had such a stack of facts and figures ready to validate each and every claim that it put forth in support of the confidence motion or the nuclear deal. Undoubtedly Pranab and Chidambaram stole the show. Though I have my doubts that a lot of members even understood what they were saying, or really even cared. The young in Congress phalanx were well represented by Rahul Gandhi. Though his oratory was on weak footing, his earnestness made up for it. The catcalls which emerged from opposition benches when he said that he spoke not as a Congress party member but as an “Indian” only showed them in poor light. Rahul’s attempt to rise above petty politics, his generosity to give all including the RSS and Shiv Sena a right to their ideology for the purpose of nation building, his appeal to move towards a more self confident & dynamic India, all seemed to come from the heart. For a young Gandhi, who has lost several of his family members to violent death, to proclaim that “we must never let fear be our guide”, was indeed courageous. All through he maintained that he didn’t care whether the government won the trust vote, but that it was “important to do the right thing”. His entire standpoint may have been part of posturing to win over the urban and young vote bank, but at least he has started on the right foot. If however one were to hand out the Man of the Match award in this T20, it would have to be Omar Abdullah. So impassioned was his brief delivery that not one in the audience was left unmoved. He electrified the entire nation as he fought fervently for his 2 minutes’ right to expression, at a time when the commotion caused by BJP MPs was set to sabotage the debate. That Omar spoke from his conscience was clear, as he touched emotional topics like the Gujarat riots and Amarnath land transfer case. He repudiated attempts to convert a simple energy deal into a complicated religious issue. He refused to be pawn at the hands of the NDA, who were partnering the Left with the sole purpose to bring down a government. Here was a man who had gone beyond being a Muslim or even Kashmiri; it was a man who was being honest - to his party, to this nation and to himself. What also gave hope was a speech that the nation didn’t hear, but only read in the newspapers the next day - that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The attack on Advani and Left showed his evolution as a political leader. It brought him out from the lingering shadow of Sonia Gandhi. It showed that as a Prime Minister of this vast democracy, he meant business. The speech summed up why he had allowed the nuclear agreement to become “such a big deal”, that he even risked his government for it. It was a story about a young boy in rural Punjab, who had seen poverty and known how it felt like reading school lessons in the dim lights of kerosene oil lamps. It was a story about himself, and the sacred obligation he felt for using his good office to rid this nation of poverty, ignorance and disease. The opposition could drown his words in the ruckus they created, but they could not demolish his sincere intentions. In the conclusion, the Prime Minister stated: “Whatever I have done in this high office I have done so with a clear conscience and the best interests of my country and our people at heart. I have no other claims to make.” It is a claim I tend to believe. Post Flash: The definition of a good leader:
- He leads by being a Servant.
- He leads by teaching a sound morality.
- He leads by example.
- He leads with perfect grace, forgiving us when we make mistakes.
- He leads with His life and walk, not just talk! Yet, His talk is solid, inspirational communication!
- He leads us not only in the easy way but in the way of the cross!