News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Excuses Galore

Our dear politicians have an excuse ready for every failure or mishap or vice.

Shobhika Puri

It is said that he who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else. Common sense demands that one agrees to it but, what about our dear politicians? They have an excuse ready for every failure or mishap or vice. Thus, it would be more appropriate to say that he who is good at making excuses is sure to succeed as a politician.

Three major issues are plaguing our country at the moment: inflation, corruption and terrorism. Not to say that poverty, malnutrition and other issues have been taken care of, but the spotlight is on these three at the moment.

Food inflation, especially, is directly affecting the lives of the common man with the prices of essential food items sky rocketing. The common man is looking at the government for answers and remedial action. But, what the government comes up with is some statistical figures of how the inflation has dropped by 5.0 or 0.5 or 0.005 percent in the previous quarter. The Prime Minister’s Office goes on to put the blame on high growth of the economy and the social security schemes. According to it, due to high growth of the economy and various social inclusiveness programmes being run by the government, the income levels of people including those at the margins are rising, thereby leading to increased consumption levels leading to inflation. Very smart indeed! On one hand, it is saying that the economy is growing fast and that it is implementing social security schemes successfully; and on the other, it is subtly implying that if one has to let the two continue then inflation would be a price that one would have to pay.

Rahul Gandhi recently blamed coalition politics hinting at Sharad Pawar for food inflation. With the recent onion price hike, the government was yet again quick to blame the rain Gods for their untimely downpour. It also added that it was a failure of the state governments to not act in time. Does this mean that the Central government is powerless and just a mute spectator?

Did you know that we Indians were also responsible for food inflation across the globe? If former US president George Bush is to be believed then this is true. Way back in 2007, he had said that increased food consumption by Indians was leading to global food price rise. So much for our growing economy and rising (really?) income levels! The world seems to suffer because we are apparently earning more and eating more. Didn’t know that we Indians were so powerful!

Corruption is the flavour of the season with a new scam unfolding every now and then. The biggest of them being the 2G scam, though its numero uno position is now being threatened by the S-band spectrum scam. It is an open secret that coalition politics is the reason why a man like Manmohan Singh turned a blind eye to the same. Instead of accepting one’s fault the government seems to be covering up behind technicalities like policy issues versus procedural lapses versus criminal culpability. Kapil Sibal lowered the credibility of the government even further by addressing a press conference about there being no financial loss to the government in the 2G spectrum allocation. DMK chief M Karunanidhi takes it to another level. He is saying that A Raja and his party are being targeted because the former is a Dalit and they formed the pillar of the downtrodden or the shudras. He goes on to add that Raja’s only fault was that he tried to take mobile telephony to the poor. What these politicians do not understand is that justifying a fault only doubles it.

NDA and other opposition parties are leaving no stone unturned in scoring political brownie points and are conveniently taking a moral high ground. However, they should understand that the common man is not a fool and knows that all political parties are equally good or bad. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is a case in point. Instead of taking action against him, BJP president Nitin Gadkari labelled the charges against the former as being “immoral” and not “illegal”. Ingenious!

Another oft repeated strategy that is followed by all political parties is to bring out instances of ‘you did it too’. For every A Raja that the BJP brings out, the Congress has a Yeddyurappa. This just helps in deflecting attention but does not exonerate one of the charges. Two wrongs don’t make a right but they do make a good excuse.

The third major problem is that of terrorism. The first reaction to any terror attack like 26/11 is to blame Pakistan. If that does not work then blame it on Islamist terror or Jihadi terror or Hindu terror or Saffron terror. This is just pure semantics. What about the fault of the security systems and intelligence agencies? What about the lack of political will and action in tackling terror? The recent revelations in the Samjhauta blast case point to a systemic failure.

Domestic terror and increasing crime rates are also equally alarming. Unfortunately, politicians like Sheila Dikshit or P Chidambram blame the migrants from UP or Bihar for the increasing crime rates in Delhi. Then, there are others who put the blame on women saying that they were adventurous enough to venture out in the night, thereby inviting trouble. What happened to the responsibility of the state police?

It is taxing to even think about the kind of excuses being made by our politicians. It is indeed an art to come up with such innovative excuses every time. Our politicians must be given credit for this at least. It would be too much to expect them to refrain from making excuses but, the least they can do is to come up with more convincing ones. Bad excuses are worse than none.

(Shobhika Puri is a freelance writer)