Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Dialogue is the way out, but initiative has to come from Pakistan

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has rightly said that only dialogue is the way out from the current impasse, but the initiative will have to come from Pakistan. One has to understand why Pakistan is shying away from dialogue and resorting to heaving shelling on the border. There are three main reasons: one, everybody knows cross-border infiltration will come to a trickle once it starts snowing in the Valley, and that’s the reason why Pakistan is resorting to cover firing to push as many infiltrators as possible, two, Pakistan wants Kashmir issue to be internationalized, and three, domestic political compulsions for Nawaz Sharif. The Pakistani PM’s family is facing corruption charges after Panama Papers leak, he is confronting challenges from the army, and Imran Khan has planned a lockdown in Islamabad. The only way out for Nawaz Sharif is to create tension on the Indian border, to divert people’s attention from domestic issues.
Compare this with the role of Mehbooba Mufti, who has been saying that if children in the Valley resort to stoning and stop studying, what will happen to their future. Mehbooba is also raising question as to why poor kids die in clashes with security forces, and rich kids from families of Hurriyat leaders live a safe and sheltered life. For 111 consecutive days, life in the Valley has come to a standstill. While Hurriyat leaders sit safely inside their homes, the common man has lost all avenues of earnings and they are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Children of Hurriyat leaders study outside Kashmir, while the poor kids are being deprived of education, with separatists now setting fire to school buildings. Ultimately, the people will turn their wrath on Hurriyat Conference.

Akhilesh, Ramgopal are fighting a proxy war

On Wednesday, UP Samajwadi Party chief Ramgopal Yadav expelled a minister from the party for six years, and asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to follow suit and remove him from his cabinet, but a defiant CM has refused to comply.

It appears the two are now fighting a proxy war, using party workers to take potshots at the other. Those close to Akhilesh are out of the party, while those close to Shivpal are out of the government. It’s now clear Ramgopal controls the party, while Akhilesh controls the government.

This is a dangerous trend and it is bound to harm the party in the long run. While both Akhilesh and Ramgopal constantly say in public that they will obey Mulayam Singh Yadav, the ground reality is that neither camp is ready to listen to the party supremo.

From day one, Mulayam has been trying to solve the rift within his family and prevent the feud from spilling on to the party ranks, but he appears to have failed. The Samajwadi Party will complete 25 years of its existence after ten days, and by then it will be clear whether the party will split or remain united.

Infighting in Mulayam’s family is BSP’s gain

For any keen observer of Indian politics, it is very difficult to understand the full picture that emerges from the internecine squabbles that are taking place in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family and his Samajwadi party. There are too many characters, too many issues, too many past records, and an uncertain future. However, the main question that arises is: who will benefit from these squabbles? The party that was at the top position in UP elections, now appears to have slipped to the third. If the squabbles continue, Muslim voters in UP may begin to feel that the Samajwadi Party will no more be able to defeat the BJP, and in that event, they may swing towards Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. In that case, the BSP could emerge from the current third spot to the top position in the UP poll stakes.

Pakistan making desperate attempts to infiltrate terrorists

Pakistani forces near the Line of Control are making desperate attempts to infiltrate terrorists into India as winter is fast approaching. Once snowfall begins in Kashmir, it would be almost impossible for terrorists to infiltrate. This seems to be the main reason behind continuous unprovoked firings from the Pakistani side. Pakistani forces are specifically targeting Indian posts and civilian areas to deflect our jawans’ attention. However our jawans are on full alert and are giving a befitting reply to all ceasefire violations.

No concrete evidence yet against Varun Gandhi

The purported video of BJP MP Varun Gandhi is not new. It is an old video and some important persons in public life had already knowledge about this. On Thursday, lawyer Prashant Bhushan made it public at a press conference. Three facts emerge out of this: one, Varun Gandhi had availed of ‘escort service’, two, notorious arms dealer Abhishek Verma allegedly blackmailed Varun over this, and three, which is most important, there is no proof so far of Varun’s director involvement in any arms deal. In fact, Varun Gandhi was never in any influential post or position to swing a defence deal. Yet, one should wait for all the facts to emerge, once a probe is fully conducted.

Lord Ram resurfaces as part of political agenda

The more Culture and Tourism Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma says that the proposal to build a Ramayana Museum in Ayodhya has nothing to do with assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the more he says that his faith in Lord Ram brought him to Ayodhya, nobody in today’s milieu will believe his words. The reality is that Lord Ram has again resurfaced in the political lexicon of UP, the only difference this time being that while earlier only the BJP used to seek Lord Ram’s blessings, the ruling Samajwadi Party has now thrown its hat into the ring. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s plan to build a Ramayana Theme Park is also part of his poll strategy.

SP’s loss will be BJP’s gain in UP

Till a month ago, the poll prospects for Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh were bright and the party was leading the poll stakes compared to others. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had thrown a serious challenge to his political rivals on the issue of development. He was ousting local mafia dons from important positions one by one, and this was having a desired effect among the electorate, but family feud in the Yadav clan spoiled Akhilesh’s efforts. The maximum gainer appears to be the BJP, though the party does not have a leader who can give Akhilesh a tough fight. On Monday, BJP announced that it would go into elections without a CM candidate. The party has now decided to fight the elections by projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its electoral face.

We should not question our army

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at an ex-servicemen rally in Bhopal on Friday rightly said, our army’s actions speak louder than words, the army never speaks, its acts of valour speak, and we should not doubt the brave acts of our soldiers.

I want to add one more point to this. The Indian Army is the most professional and disciplined armed force in the world. Our soldiers fight enemies with utmost valour and offer supreme sacrifices to protect our country.

That is why it is necessary that we should trust our Army’s words. We should not question our army, we should not demand ‘evidence’ of their operations.

Triple Talaq is injustice to Indian Muslim women

Whatever Islamic scholars, maulanas and ulema may say, they know it in their hearts that ‘triple talaq’ is injustice to Indian Muslim women.

The ulema held a big press conference on Thursday but did not say anything clearly on ‘triple talaq’.

They only made an issue out of uniform civil code in order to put the government on the defensive. There may be divergent views on uniform civil code, but there is need to understand the issue of ‘triple talaq’.

In 22 Islamic countries, this practice has been declared illegal. Is it not injustice towards Muslim women in India? The All India Muslim Personal Law Board should clearly enunciate its stand on this issue.

Congress worried, BJP may gain politically from surgical strikes

Whenever Defence Minister Mohan Parrikar speaks on surgical strikes, the Congress party becomes worried. Congress leaders fear Prime Minister Narendra Modi may gain politically from the army action. On Wednesday, when Parrikar said earlier army actions during UPA rule were not surgical strikes, the Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala used caustic language (chullu bhar paani) for the Defence Minister, whereas such language is normally not used in discourse on national security. One is reminded of Rahul Gandhi, who made the “khoon ki dalaali” remark against Modi, and the party had to face embarrassment. Some Congress leaders tried to defend him saying, the word ‘dalaali’ might have slipped out of Rahul’s tongue, whereas he wanted to use some other word. Kapil Sibal tried hard to explain at a press meet by saying, ‘do not go by words, understand his feelings’, but what Surjewala said on Wednesday clearly shows what the Congress is worried about. This was clear from none other than another party leader Manishankar Aiyar, who said the army’s surgical strike may politically benefit the BJP in elections. Maybe the Congress did not like the Defence Minister being felicitated in Uttar Pradesh, but it would be better if the Congress counters it politically. The language that the party leaders are using may harm the party in the long run. Manishankar Aiyar had once remarked that if Modi lost the Lok Sabha elections, he would be selling tea at AICC meetings, and the rest is history.

Modi disappoints his critics

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expected him to speak at the Dussehra rally, a few words on surgical strikes carried out by the army in Pak Occupied Kashmir. Modi’s critics were also lying in wait. The Prime Minister spoke on terrorism and Pakistan, but nothing on surgical strikes. In a way, he disappointed his critics by avoiding mention of surgical strikes. On the other hand, it was after a long, long time that a senior BJP leader of Modi’s stature chanted full-throated slogans of Jai Shree Ram at the rally. The party supporters were naturally elated, the venue being Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh that is going to the polls. Modi provided invigorating tonic to his party workers through this slogan, but since it was a Dussehra event, the day Lord Rama killed Ravana, nobody could raise a finger at Modi for chanting this slogan.

Keep the army out of all political debates

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘khoon ki dalali’ remark has grabbed headlines on Pakistani media. Earlier, Pakistani TV channels had made Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal their hero when he questioned the veracity about Indian army’s surgical strikes. This should be a lesson for Indian leaders. Whenever such irresponsible remarks are made, Pakistan tries to take undue advantage. Maybe Rahul Gandhi will learn this time. Though his remark has embarrassed the Congress and made people remember about Sonia Gandhi’s ‘maut ke saudagar’ remark about Narendra Modi, the most unsavoury fallout has been to bring Army into political debate. So far the Indian Army had always been kept out of political discourse, but Rahul Gandhi’s “khoon ki dalali” remark has opened the floodgates. There is still time for all parties to keep the army away from political debates.