Faced with the crisis of governance, the UPA’s desperate strategy appears to be to communalise the polity and change the electoral agenda, says Arun Jaitley
A Congress Party spokesperson went to the extraordinary extent of rationalising the formation and existence of the “Indian Mujahideen”.
The Indian Mujahideen is admittedly a terrorist organisation. It is designated as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in India. Its ban has been continued by the UPA government. It has been included in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the US State Department. It is proscribed in the United Kingdom.
Serious political observers are at a loss to understand why the official spokesperson of the Congress Party could have rationalised the formation of Indian Mujahideen in India ie. as an organisation formed as a reaction against the riots in Gujarat in 2002.
The United Progressive Alliance is in the tenth year of its existence. As the general elections approach the UPA is confronted with a huge anti-incumbancy. There is a visible leadership failure. Its leadership is seen to be ineffective. Its governance is highly inadequate. The government has run out of ideas on how to bring the economy back on rail. The UPA has added corruption as a new directive principle of state policy. The ten year misrule of the UPA reflects on how ‘The Indian story’ was effectively destroyed. After UPA’s miserable track record of governance the need for an effective and clean government are the key agendas for the forthcoming general elections.
The conventional Congress strategy has been that whenever they fail at governance then they go back to the last resort i.e. the alleged charisma of the Congress Party’s first family. Unfortunately, that charisma appears to be inadequate. The outgoing leadership of the UPA is perceived to be ineffective; the incoming are perceived to be non-leaders.
Faced with both the crisis of governance and a lack of leadership, the UPA’s desperate strategy appears to be to deflect the agenda. Under no circumstances must the destruction of ‘The India’s story’ by the UPA be allowed to occupy the centre stage of the electoral agenda. The UPA has therefore only one option left. Communalise the polity in the country and change the electoral agenda. All those who want to throw the UPA out of office must understand that their focus must remain on the issues of governance which the UPA will try to duck.
The last few weeks have witnessed a crude attempt by the UPA leaders at this strategy. There are three visible indicators of this. Firstly, the UPA has concentrated its attack on Narendra Modi. In Gujarat, the initial strategy of the Congress was to excessively attack Modi. Modi always excelled in this political battle with the Congress. He got the better of them. Finding this strategy counter-productive the Congress would then go back to the alternate strategy of pretending that Modi did not exist as far as their campaign was concerned. At the Centre the Congress strategy in the first phase comprised excessively attacking Modi. In the process they are conceding the centrestage to them. Soon they will realise the counter productivity of their strategy and move back to the alternative practice of pretending to ignore Modi.
Secondly, the Union Government’s strategy through the CBI in the Ishrat Jahan case has puzzled many. The CBI strategy has been to play down and eventually ignore the Lashker-e-Tayiba connection and uncover the entire security apparatus of this country.
Why did the first charge sheet remain silent on the LeT connection of the alleged victims? Did the Intelligence Bureau pick up details about this module from its sources in Kashmir? Was the security apparatus of India and our Intelligence agencies not entitled to intercept communications of LeT, keep surveillance on them and eventually interrogate them? Were all these steps intended to check terrorism or were they steps in conspiracy to commit a crime?
The answer to this question would lie on whether the alleged victims had a LeT connection or not. The CBI as the investigative arm of the government chooses to maintain silence on the LeT connection. Who deleted para 168 in the NIA interrogation of David Hadley where this module was mentioned on the LeT module? Did the CBI go the extent of even discrediting the voice of recordings of the LeT operatives and their Indian connection? Has the CBI struck a deal with some policemen who allegedly indulged in the encounter and changed their character from an accused to a witness so that they could discredit the intelligence and security set up of the country?
Without going into the veracity of the encounter or otherwise I raise the above questions since they indicate that a conscious effort is being made to project the LeT module as a martyr and India’s security and Intelligence set up as the villain. Is this a conscious pact of a strategy to perpetuate vote bank at the cost of national security?
Thirdly, it is in this context that Shakeel Ahmed’s statement on the Indian Mujahideen must be analysed. After 9/11 there was a huge global focus on various terrorist groups. Pakistan was being accused of perpetuating cross-border terrorism in India.
9/11 brought major pressure on Pakistan to distance itself and its soil from terrorist activities. The Students Islamic Movement of India was banned by the National Democratic Alliance government.
It was in this context that the Indian Mujahideen was formed. Pakistan wanted to create an organisation which appeared to be Indian and have a lot of Indian operatives. The bomb-making techniques and the financing came from across the border. Its Indian credentials gave to Pakistan a scope for deniability every time a terrorist attack took place. Since its formation the Indian Mujahideen has been responsible for a large number of attacks in India. The Congress Party’s spokesman has sought to re-write history. His effort is to somehow paint the Indian Mujahideen as an organisation of the aggrieved who are victims of riots in Gujarat. He ignores the international context and Pakistan’s strategy behind the creation of Indian Mujahideen. This is yet another desperate attempt to communalise an issue of national security.