What is one major difference between a leader and a rogue politician? A leader is one who, even in opposition, will respect the boundaries of national sovereignty and integrity. A responsible leader in the wake of opposing the government will not go to an extent that can harm the interest of the nation. But, such leaders are scarce to find, and that too in current context when power-hunger seems to be the main driving force for many politicians.
The recent large-scale violent protests against the Agnipath schemes hint at a larger sinister plan at play. It also forces us to ponder on many questions.
First, what makes a democracy resilient and strong? The answer to that is a responsible opposition. But opposing for the sake of opposition seems to be the norm of today’s opposition. Any policy, schemes or laws framed by the Modi government are being vehemently opposed for scoring political brownie points, and at times even trumping national security.
This reflects how we are lacking a responsible opposition. Instead of exercising democratic rights of healthy debates and to and fro of ideas on the scheme, the opposition parties are indulging in destructive opposition and opted for confrontational politics.
It is morally providing fodder and shields to rioters and anarchists. Further, some political analysts blame the opposition for conspiring and orchestrating such violent protests to undermine the ruling Modi government.
Second, does a scheme which is just in the nascent stage of execution have to face this mad level of abhorrent violence? As any major reform can have some bottlenecks that get streamlined with due course of time and expert feedback during its implementation and execution.
Third, why are all the intermittent democratic ways being skipped? Steps like expert debates, suggesting necessary changes to fill in the ‘gaps’ in the schemes or legally amend/ challenge through proper channels like parliament or Judiciary.
Instead of suggesting constructive criticism about the schemes, the opposition went berserk against the scheme. Some politicians including Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhaghel went on to give atrocious arguments against the scheme. They insinuated that after end of service the jobless Ex-Agniveers can become criminals or ‘terrorists’.
Are such statements not demeaning to the disciplined and patriotic Armed Force personnel. In their wish to oppose the present administration they are undermining and insinuating atrocious things about the top brass of the three Services.
Contrasting times and Political retardation of Opposition in India
This highlights the moral degradation of opposition parties. Earlier there was a time when the then opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee represented India at the United Nation stage on the request of PV Narasimha Rao’s government, which was in power at that time.
Not just that, the main opposition back then, Jan Sangh leader Atal Ji, echoed the sentiments of other opposition parties and heaped praises at the then Indira Gandhi government for the liberation of Bangladesh in the 1971 war.
The opposition respected issues of national interests, rose above party politics and supported the government in power for unity and sovereignty of the nation.
Sadly, we have seen how the opposition fuelled the rumours floating around the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizenship (NRC) and the recent protests around now withdrawn Farm Laws.
It always played a role of destructive opposition and in their hatred for Modi and his government, gave several statements that were against the interest of the nation and its sovereignty.
The moral degradation of the Opposition from times of great leaders like Atal Ji and Sushma Swaraj Ji is a big cause of worry for the nation. A healthy and vibrant democracy is only possible when opposition plays its role constructively.
Opposition for the sake of opposition and out rightly rejecting all the laws, policies or schemes of a democratically elected government has failed miserably.
So it should stop its mindless “tool kit” technique. But it is foolhardy to hope against the hope to see a mature opposition like the yesteryear’s when opposition and government stood on a common ground for the interest of the country.
Power may come and go, new parties may emerge and dissolve but it is always the nation that should be kept above party politics.
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