The election schedule should have been declared by now. Given how a general election now stretches close to two months, the Election Commission by the first week of March was expected to officially notify the dates. The next Parliament must be constituted by the third week of May.
Notifying the schedule would result in the enforcement of the model code of conduct which, in turn, would cause various governments to stop the relentless advertising spree one witnesses in newspapers and television these days — and thus save precious taxpayers’ rupees. More crucially, it would set the ball rolling for politicians to slug it out in the electoral arena rather than exchange invective daily through the media.
Besides, the BJP, recently further resurgent following the air strikes deep inside Pakistan to punish the Pulwama atrocity, would be keen to strike while the iron of patriotism and valour of our forces was still hot in the voters’ minds. Come to think of it, the retaliation against the killing of 40 CRPF jawans by a suicide bomber is set to be a main issue to be thrashed about on the campaign trail. As it is, a battle of words has begun between the Opposition and the ruling party over the pluses and minuses of the air attacks. This is unfortunate but unavoidable.
It happens in all vibrant democracies. In this case, Pulwama and the Indian response to it occurred close to a key electoral battle. Various Congress leaders and, of course, Mamata Banerjee, have sought to undermine the official claims about the February 26th sortie by the IAF deep into Pakistan, a mere 100 kilometers short of Islamabad.
To most normal people and unbiased security experts that decision in itself was bold for the political executive and needed to be commended. This was meant to send a stern message to Pakistan that there could be much stronger reprisals were it to repeat Pulwama-like jihadi attacks.
Never before had any government responded so strongly to similar jihadi attacks in Kashmir or in any other part of the country. If the Opposition loudmouths, men like Digvijay Singh, Kapil Sibal, etc, cannot grasp the huge humiliation involved in the twelve Indian war jets violating the sanctity of the hostile neighbour’s space and then flying back unscathed after dropping deadly explosives, they can be expected to understand nothing. Because their real objective is to undermine Modi, but if, in the process, the bravery and valour of our airmen is questioned, so be it.
Let us put it simply so that these partisans can try and understand. You cannot enter someone else’s home, yes, home, and pick up even a bit of trash from his trashcan without his prior and express permission. Otherwise, you will be liable to be proceeded for trespass and worse. The home-owner is the master of his house; even the police and taxmen need proper authorisation from the designated authority to enter someone else’s home.
Here you penetrated deep within a hundred kilometers of the enemy nation’s capital, frontally breaching its sovereignty and dropped evidence of your violation — and you still want proof? More than a few human bodies, two, twenty, two hundred, it is the fact of the frontal violation of the Pak airspace which in itself is a blow to the neighbouring country’s immunity from reprisals for the terrorists attacks launched by its proxies against India for decades. On the other hand, Modi may have set a new paradigm for every Indian government as well.
In case of another equally gruesome jihadi attack, it will feel obliged to respond in an equally tough manner. Pakistan would have extracted that vital lesson from Modi’s attack deep inside their territory. Unfortunately, our Sibals and Digvijays, the loose cannons which fire with the tacit approval of their masters, the Gandhis, refuse to learn any lessons in sobriety and restraint. On the other side, they are matched by a number of equally unrestrained and aggressive second-rung leaders in the BJP. The election campaign, we are afraid, is bound to make this fight of words ugly still.