Mrs.Sonia Gandhi may well be within her rights to voice her opinion that "Disrespect of PM is disrespect of the nation", but let me correct her mistaken notion. It is not disrespect of the nation to criticise the person holding the post, it is a disrespect to the nation indeed when respect is not accorded to the post of Prime Minister. By his non-participation in debate, dialogue and democracy - Dr.Manmohan Singh and Congress have done precisely that.
Mr.Rajiv Dogra writes in The Pioneer:
Among the many splendours of his public discourse, Mr Amartya Sen’s The Argumentative Indian shines through. The image that it evokes is not that of a quarrelsome Indian, but of an enquiring, engaging and a questioning people. Mr Sen maintains that democracy flourishes amid a tradition of dispute, discussion and debate. And to cap his argument he quotes Ram Mohan Roy: “Just consider how terrible the day of your death will be, others will go on speaking, and you will not be able to argue back.” .... Mr Singh can still engage in debate with Mr LK Advani. People will then have the satisfaction of having judged them both, before casting their votes.I agree wholeheartedly and find it amusing the same media which went into orgasmic frenzy over Mr.Modi's withdrawal from Devil's advocate is now refusing to press for a debate of the Prime Ministerial candidates. Just the TRPs such an event would generate should be enough to send all channels scurrying, unless there is a greater agenda.
While at the issue of criticism of Congress, let me add another point - Repeated reference to the shameful capitulation of Indian Government in the 1999 Kandahar hijack case. Is the media that amnesiac or simply devious? Even as a 14 year old, I remember following with distinct sense of unease, the public outrage orchestrated by the media in trying to get the Government to release the terrorists. Here's Kanchan Gupta on the crisis and its resolution:
“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.(Read the entire article.)The only ones afraid to discuss an issue are the ones afraid of truth emerging from it. By skirting the issue and not engaging in direct debate, Congress is playing a dangerous game at undermining democracy and I believe it must pay the price.
To his credit, Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaand me jaaye desh aur bhaand me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back. Stumped by the response, Mr Jaswant Singh could merely promise that the Government would do everything possible
PS: I hope this will be the only post taking up such a strong position against one particular party regarding the elections.