Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

US must take action against Pakistan to stem terror

Over the decades, Pakistan had been a spawning ground for terror outfits, aided, abetted and nurtured by its army intelligence agency, ISI. The United States has been aware of this fact, but it took only selective action and never prodded Pakistan seriously. India has been consistently saying that there cannot be any differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad terrorists’, and action must be taken against all terror outfits based in Pakistan. The new Donald Trump administration has now clearly indicated that it may bar the entry of Pakistani nationals into the US, an action that it has already taken against nationals from seven Islamic countries. It is gratifying to note that the US has now admitted that Pakistan is at the root of terrorism. One hopes that the new Trump administration will take action and send a positive message across the world.

Rajput outfit in Rajasthan must be booked for roughing up Bhansali

In a democracy, everybody has the right to protest, but nobody can be allowed to take law in one’s hands. This can create anarchy. On Friday, a mob of supporters belonging to Rajput Karni Sena vandalized the sets of a Bollywood film Padmavati at Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur, and roughed up noted film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The Karni Sena activists alleged that there was a “love scene” between the legendary Rani Padmini of Chittor and Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji in the film, which the director has strongly denied. The activists alleged that this was “distortion of history”, as Rani Padmini had immolated herself alongwith other women to save herself from Khilji’s army. Karni Sena could have put forth their arguments, backed by historical facts, before the film’s producer and director, but vandalizing film sets, and roughing up the film director is unacceptable. Strong legal action must be initiated against this outfit, so that this could be a lesson for others.

Mayawati in a Catch-22 situation

On Thursday, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo inducted UP gangster Mukhtar Ansari and his relatives into her party and gave them tickets to contest assembly elections. The BSP supremo is now caught in a Catch-22 situation. On one hand, she badly needs Muslim votes, and one the other hand, she may face questions over inducting leaders from criminal background. When Mulayam Singh Yadav was at the helm of Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s hopes of gaining Muslim votes in UP were dim. But now, she is a bit hopeful about gaining a section of Muslim votes by inducting Mukhtar and his partymen. One remembers the day when Mukhtar’s Qaumi Ekta Dal was ‘merged’ into Samajwadi Party, during the father-son imbroglio, and Mayawati had then remarked that Mulayam and his son, fearing electoral defeat, were taking the help of criminals like Mukhtar Ansari. On Thursday, however, the BSP supremo gave a clean cheat to Mukhtar Ansari. The conclusion: In politics, definitions of crime and corruption can change with time and requirements.

Nation salutes the heroes of surgical strike

The government’s decision to honour the brave officers and jawans of 4 and 9 Paracommandos (Special Forces) who took part in the successful surgical strikes on terror camps located inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, is a welcome step. These brave officers and jawans eliminated the terrorists in a pre-dawn simultaneous strike at several camps inside Pakistan-occupied territory, in the last week of September, without any fear or trepidation. The nation surely needs to honour its heroes. Now that assembly elections in five states are in full swing, the issue of surgical strike is bound to become a poll issue. The Opposition may complain that the government revealed the identities of its surgical strike heroes for political gain. Normally the identities of armymen who took part in such top secret operations are not revealed. The government has revealed their identities after four months. But no true Indian can question the decision to honour its heroes. The nation is proud of its brave officers and jawans. We salute them.

Priyanka’s campaign in UP can energize Congress workers

The question that was being asked for the last several years was: why is not Priyanka Gandhi Vadra not entering active politics? There was no official reply forthcoming. However, this time around, Priyanka has become active in UP politics and this has become a subject of animated discussions. For the first time, senior Congress leaders have admitted that Priyanka has played a major role in forging an electoral alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party. There are reports that Priyanka will campaign for the party across UP. This possibility has already galvanized the Congress workers spread across the state. The workers are convinced that Priyanka can give them a robust leadership, and this would help the party in the forthcoming assembly elections.

Army Chief Gen. Rawat’s effort is praiseworthy

The new Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Friday promptly reacted to an army Lance Naik’s video in which he had aired his grievance. Since the issue was sensitive, the army chief reacted with sympathy saying he was the head of the 12-lakh strong family of Indian Army, and as the family head, he would try to solve problems and grievances within his ranks. He said, such grievances should be heard and the problems must be solved, but it would be better if such issues remain within the family, and are sorted out from within. The general’s reaction was truly praiseworthy, and he did not react with arrogance at all. Few people know that Gen. Rawat has done Ph.D in military-media strategic studies, and he has said he would try to bridge what he called the ‘communication gap’. One should hope that given the general’s expertise, his advice would percolate down to all ranks and the recent trend of posting videos of grievances on social media will stop.

Let armed forces have proper grievance forums

The entire nation respects our jawans who work in the army, BSF, CISF, CRPF and other paramilitary forces. They salute their zeal and integrity. There are more than 12 lakh jawans and officers in the army, 3,08,862 jawans in the BSF, 2,57,025 jawans in the CRPF.

Naturally in such a huge armed force, there may be instances of deficiencies. The complaints aired by some of the jawans may be justified, they are being probed and taken care of.

But the question arises why jawans took to social media to air their grievances.

Government should create a forum where jawans could share their grievances fearlessly.

The manner in which the videos of jawans went viral on social media, lowers the prestige of these forces and this raises serious issues of indiscipline.

Our armed forces can avoid such embarrassment by creating credible forums for the jawans to ventilate their grievances.

Rahul Gandhi is levelling unsubstantiated charges at the PM

On Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi again quoted from papers purported to be from Sahara, Birla diaries to level unsubstantiated charges at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as the Supreme Court, on the very same day, rejected Prashant Bhushan’s petition seeking probe into the diaries. As opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi has every right to criticize the PM and level charges based on facts, but after the Supreme Court verdict, which threw out these documents describing them as unsubstantive evidence, it does not behove of him to smear the Prime Minister’s reputation, based on a sheaf of papers. The Supreme Court has clearly said that evidences that are required to order a probe into this matter are lacking. Advocate Prashant Bhushan had sought time from the apex court, which was granted thrice. But, in the end, Prashant Bhushan failed to submit fresh evidence. The Supreme Court’s stand in this case has been consistent. Prashant Bhushan is a reputed advocate. He can put forth his case before the court, but he cannot expect the apex court to give a verdict to his liking. It was unfair on the part of Mr Bhushan to question the motives of the judges.

Kejriwal should clearly say, he wants to become Punjab CM

The cat is finally out of the bag. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may try his best to hide his ambition, but the reality is that he fervently desires to become the Chief Minister of Punjab. His closest confidante Manish Sisodia inadvertently disclosed this on Tueday to the media, albeit indirectly. Kejriwal had already handed over the reins of Delhi to his Deputy CM several months ago. He had already left Delhi politics and had been concentrating on Punjab affairs, but he is unwilling to publicly announce that he wants to become Punjab CM, because that may cost him votes. It also became clear when he flatly refused to project Navjot Singh Sidhu as CM candidate of his party in Punjab. If Kejriwal finally decides to leave Delhi and go to Punjab, the ultimate beneficiary will be Manish Sisodia, who will take over as Chief Minister. Kejriwal’s former associate and now bitter rival Yogendra Yadav has already said, if Kejriwal wants to become Punjab CM, he should tell this to the people of Delhi and Punjab, and fight elections.

Mulayam Singh has still not lost hope

SP supremo Mulayam Singh’s situation vis-a-vis Akhilesh appears similar to that of Emperor Akbar, when the Mughal king’s son Salim revolted. A father may be unwilling to harm his son, but an emperor has to shoulder responsibility and cannot bow before his son’s intransigence. People who know Mulayam closely, and personally, have been saying that the patriarch is facing bad times in the autumn of his life. It was Mulayam who single-handedly built the party, helped others, made his son Akhilesh the CM, but the very same party is now slipping out of his control. Whatever may be the reasons, or merits, his well-wishers say that this should not have happened to Mulayam in old age. The patriarch has still not lost hope. He does not want to fight against his son. On Monday, he said at least thrice that his son Akhilesh will be the CM after the elections. Clearly, Mulayam wants that the entire party should put up a joint fight, and he fears that the Election Commission may freeze the party’s poll symbol – the bicycle. If the party breaks up, it will severely damage its poll prospects, and party workers would be fighting one another in districts. Mulayam Singh does not want this to happen.

Why PM Modi publicly praised Nitish on prohibition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly praised his political rival Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Thursday for enforcing prohibition in his state. It is true that there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends in politics. Friendship and enmity in politics change with times, circumstances, and above all, necessities. Nitish Kumar was a political ally of BJP for 17 years. He and Lalu Prasad were sworn political enemies, but circumstances forced Nitish Kumar and Lalu to join hands before the Bihar assembly elections. And, Nitish Kumar was proved right when the results were announced. Similarly, Nitish Kumar avoided Narendra Modi to such an extent that he objected to the BJP using their images together on a poster. He even refused to lunch with Modi in Patna. But times have changed. Nitish Kumar has publicly supported Modi’s demonetization move, and on Thursday, it was Modi’s turn to return the compliment. This was not a question of political nicety. Political pundits have already begun to interpret the meanings behind these gestures.

MSD has taken a right decision at the right time

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, nicknamed Mr Cool, has been one of India’s best cricket captains. Under his captaincy, Team India won the T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup and became World No 1 in ICC rankings. After quitting Test cricket earlier, Dhoni has now taken a right decision at the right time to quit captaincy of T20 and ODI teams after the England series. A new leadership is emerging in the ranks of Team India with Virat Kohli as the Test team captain. Virat has performed par excellence, there is a huge surge of aspirations among the players, and Team India has won the England series with the help of fresh, new players. So, Virat Kohli seems to be the natural claimant for T20 and ODI captaincy. It would not be correct to predict now that Dhoni may retire from cricket altogether, because he still has much of cricket left in him. A great wicketkeeper and batsman, Dhoni can still be useful for Team India.