The real national security yatra

Advani’s political gambit may or may not succeed. But he has already compounded his party’s abject failure to keep the Manmohan Singh government on its toes as far as national security is concerned. Projecting minority appeasement and temple-construction as crucial national security issues is analogous to a quack treating a critical patient with doses of spurious medicine.

Advani should drive his chariot to parliament

L K Advani is at it again. He’s riding his chariot across the nation in a campaign to bolster its security. Traversing the country with bells, whistles and slogans would have made ample sense if he was in charge of a non-governmental organisation promoting literacy, public health, environment or any number of pressing socio-economic issues. But he’s not. Instead he is the Leader of Opposition in parliament. In other words, he is already in a place, where, if he only so wishes, he can actually help shape policies that enhance national security.

But Advani’s BJP has been content to boycott parliament, and where it does not, indiscriminately oppose the government on every issue. Thanks to its frittering away the rights and privileges arising from being the official opposition, it has fallen upon the Communists to influence the course of government policy in their own self-serving ways.

Advani’s chariot is being drawn by the wrong horses. Indiscriminate appeasement of minorities may fairly be an issue that the BJP wants to make its own. But hitching it as he has to national security overemphasises the connection, the causal relationship of which has not at all been established. But the linking the construction of of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya to India’s national security is altogether absurd.

Rationally speaking, appeasing the minorities (as Mr Advani alleged, with some substance, the Congress is doing) is a more paying political strategy than appealing to the majority. Invoking the former won’t make the latter easier to achieve. But Mr Advani’s romanticism goes far beyond appearing to journey out for an elusive political commodity. He should have by now reinvented himself as the leader who wants the BJP to be a conservative, pro-market, unapologetically nationalist as well as secular party of the right. [Saubhik Chakrabarti/IE]

Advani’s political gambit may or may not succeed. But he has already compounded his party’s abject failure to keep the Manmohan Singh government on its toes as far as national security is concerned. Projecting minority appeasement and temple construction as crucial national security issues is analogous to a quack treating a critical patient with doses of spurious medicine. The odds are that the Indian people will not be fooled.

4 thoughts on “The real national security yatra”

  1. This BJP supporter is aghast.

    English media was hyperventilating about how Yatra can cause riots.
    I think reality is that absolutely nothing is going to happen.
    The way for BJP is to repair the damage to its credibility by behaving as a sincere opposition. And controlling the inhouse bickering.
    May be its time for BJP to disassociate from likes of Togadia and Sudarshan.

    Regards

  2. uhhh.. Is the parliament in session these days for Advani to have “boycotted” parliament and gone on a PR roadshow (now that sounds more respectable than rath yatra doesnt it) instead ?

    Its one thing to say that BJP has not been an effective opposition, entirely another to say that it is conducting a PR roadshow that precludes it being an effective opposition.

    >> In other words, he is already in a place, where, if he only so wishes, he can actually help shape policies that enhance national security.

    Exactly how ? What is the tradition of bipartisanship on national security affairs that the Kangress govt (supported by CPI/CPM, Mulayam, Laloo) brings to the table ? Like it or not, Indian politicis is not so mature yet, that it can be conducted from the Air Conditioned confines of the Indian parliament. You can debate issues to your hearts content there, but that will not translate into any anti Kaangress – pro national security “lahar”/movement.

    >> Indiscriminate appeasement of minorities may fairly be an issue that the BJP wants to make its own. But hitching it as he has to national security overemphasises the connection, the causal relationship of which has not at all been established.

    On the contrary, it is the original sin that has led to the current state of affairs in India, where any Lashar/Jaish/Ansar can find foot soldiers/sympathisers for global Jehad. Just to jog your memory, minority appeasement is not about giving special favours to the muslim community, it is giving in to the demands of the most regressive and the most retrograde elements of the muslim community, in the hope that these elements remain enforcers of a secure vote bank for the Kaangress politicians. It unleashes a kind of competitve mechanism among different political parties as to who can be more retrograde than the other. If Kaangress talks of repealing POTA and bringing in job reservations for muslims, and making by decree all madrassa degrees equal to other, more modern degrees – Paswan monkeys around with an Osama lookalike in election rallies, ministers in Mulayam govt. declare hits on citizens of friendly and faraway nations, and the communists organize protest marches with Osama posters.

    If indeed the muslim community is not a monolith, but has opinions varying across a spectrum – at one end of which we have integrated, educated, productive muslims and at the other rabid fundamentalists – then this appeasement policy empowers beards at the expense of more moderate muslim leaders. Sooner or later, this dragon seed will give fruit. As such, appeasement definitely impinges on national security.

    >> But the linking the construction of of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya to India’s national security is altogether absurd.

    If indeed a Ram Temple is built at Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya, It will signal the end of minority appeasement in India. As such, it will secure in the long term, India’s national security.

    You may disagree, but this a logical and cogent stream of thought for many people, and they are within their rights to organize peaceful PR roadshows. What can possibly be wrong with it ?

  3. Gaurav,

    Whether or not the yatra will cause riots is altogether a different debate. This post is about the entirely opportunistic attachment of peripheral and irrelevant issues to the wagon of national security. That is a tremendous disservice to the nation. The real threats to national security — for example, the vaccillation on Pakistan, the sops to the Hurriyat, the inability to resolve the emergence of Bangladesh and Nepal as sources of cross-border terrorism, the resurgence of Naxalite terrorism are some clear-cut issues. Then there are strategic issues — engagement of the US, energy security etc.

    As you put it, there is a simpler, more honest way for the BJP to attain credibility. Take its parliamentary responsibilities seriously, and do a good job of it.

  4. Yes, Advani has indeed failed the BJP. All the promise that his Pakistan trip held out was blown away by one strategic mistake after another. His Yatra is a mistake anyway. Not many give a hoot about the meaningless Yatras these days.

    It was no coincidence that Arjun Singh announced his reservation policy now. The combination of another chance at minority appeasement for the upcoming Assembly elections and countering the BJP yatras in a single masterstroke was too good to resist. Enough furore has been created by now. So even if the reservation policy is struck down later, the objective will have been achieved.

    An added bonus will be diverting attention from the Volcker controversy and the Scorpene deal thanks to the idiotic maneuvres of the BJP top brass.

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