It has been 28 years since Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and 15 years after the courts declared that there was not a shred of evidence against the late Prime Minister in the Bofors case, but the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raked up the case again. On May 4 while addressing an election rally recently, Modi carried out a scathing attack on the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. “Your [Rahul Gandhi’s] father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1’ [corrupt no. 1],” Modi said.
But in an interview to Zee News, Prime Minister Narendra Modi denied making any allegations against former PM Rajiv Gandhi but said that he only raised those issues which rocked his government like the Bofors case, the Bhopal gas tragedy or 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. “Answers have to be given about the Bhopal Gas leak case, about Bofors, about the ‘big tree shaking’ quote, regarding Shah Bano case and why Kamal Nath had been made Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister,” PM Modi told the Zee News.
So, if Narendra Modi wanted to deny the fact that he called Rajiv Gandhi ‘Bhrastachari number 1’, so why invoke the Bofors case? After all, even after the Supreme Court had refused to entertain the Modi Government’s plea to re-open the case and the CBI had failed to unearth any evidence against him even after investigating the case for 16 long years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on Rajiv Gandhi did spark a controversy. A famous law of motion states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Well, this applies to politics as well.
So hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi in a recent interview to Hindustan Times, said, “Mr Narendra Modi is obsessed with my family.” He further told the leading daily, “I’m not obsessed with my family. I don’t think about my father, grandmother or great-grandfather as much as Mr Modi does. He thinks that that’s the place where he’s going to find his escape. Best of luck to him!”
The day after Modi called Rajiv Gandhi corrupt, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Modiji, the battle is over. Your karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won’t protect you. All my love and a huge hug.”
Narendra Modi again, on Thursday, alleged that late Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat as “personal taxi” on a family vacation. Answering that, Rahul Gandhi told the Hindustan Times, “That is a lie. Holiday on the INS Viraat? That’s crazy. Why would anyone holiday on an aircraft carrier? It’s not a cruise ship!”. “I’ve been on the Viraat. I’ve been with my father on it when he was the PM. Of course, there are pictures. He had gone for an official visit … and I accompanied him,” Rahul added.
While the issue was about to end, in stepped in Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and said “INS Viraat crew members have also accepted that Rajiv Gandhi, his family, and his wife’s family were ferried in the warship. We respect him fully, but this does not mean we won’t talk about his government’s misrule, corruption, and policies.”
Well, the point is not whether Modi should have brought up the corruption allegations against Rajiv Gandhi, it is about maintaining decorum and not stooping low. Modi’s remarks show that BJP is desperate to gain the attention of the media. No previous Prime Minister has stooped so low as to defame and abuse a former Prime Minister, assassinated 28 years ago. This Lok Sabha election has witnessed new lows in politics. Instead of talking about positive ideas, plans and innovations to make India a better country, both the ruling party leaders, as well as the opposition parties, are only engaged in talking about how bad or worse the other is.