Last Updated: December 18, 2023, 08:00 IST
Rahul Gandhi did not lose the one chance he got to validate his ‘where are the jobs’ narrative through the December 13 Parliament breach act. (PTI)
The act may be romanticised by some as a ‘Rang De Basanti’ redux or in the spirit of what Bhagat Singh once did, or what Donald Trump supporters did in the US Capitol, but the intention was clearly to spread ‘terror’ among the elected representatives
‘They were unemployed and frustrated…hence they stormed the Parliament’. Such a narrative from some in the Opposition regarding the shocking breach of Parliament security last week slyly condones the outrageous act and also smacks of pure political opportunism.
“Yes, a security breach has occurred, but why did this occur? The biggest issue in the country is the unemployment of youth due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies,” said Rahul Gandhi in a brief statement on the issue, without condemning the action taken by two persons of jumping into the well of Parliament with smoke canisters. This may suit Gandhi’s political narrative after his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was pitched on the issue of unemployment. The Yatra may not have helped the Congress in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where it has lost the elections, but Gandhi did not lose the one chance he got to validate his ‘where are the jobs’ narrative through the December 13 Parliament breach act.
But does being unemployed give one a right to storm the country’s temple of democracy with smoke canisters? The sheer panic caused by the accused could have led to an even more serious incident. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister were away for the swearing-in of two chief ministers and not present in Parliament on December 13, and one can only imagine what action the SPG may have taken to safeguard the PM if he had happened to be present inside Parliament at that time. The modus operandi of the accused smacks of detailed planning, reconnaissance and grabbing media attention, from special cavities created in their shoes to hide the canisters and visiting the Parliament during an earlier session to see the security.
Modi’s Nuanced Response
Also, what if the probe indeed exposes a deeper conspiracy? The declaration from Rahul Gandhi came before the probe agencies had concluded the exact intention and reasons of the accused to do the shocking act. PM Narendra Modi gave a more nuanced response in an interview on Sunday. “The seriousness of the incident should not be underestimated. The investigating agencies are probing the matter strictly. We need to go deep into the matter to understand the elements and intentions behind this. Solutions should also be found with one mind. Everyone should avoid debate on such topics,” PM Modi has been quoted as saying.
The country still has not forgotten the pain of the 2001 Parliament attack in which five terrorists killed nine people, but could not enter the building due to the bravery shown by the security.
Last week’s incident, although not a handiwork of terrorists, is worse in the aspect that the accused reached the Parliament’s well and could have well reached the Speaker’s chair, but for the quick thinking shown by three MPs to nab them in time. The act may be romanticised by some as a ‘Rang De Basanti’ redux or in the spirit of what Bhagat Singh once did during the freedom struggle, or what Donald Trump supporters did in the US Capitol, but the intention was clearly to spread ‘terror’ among the elected representatives of the people.
The Congress response has now been met with some in the BJP linking the accused to the Congress and the TMC. The Parliament is not functioning with the opposition insistent on a statement from the Home Minister over the breach although Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, as the custodian of the house, has informed MPs of the details. Fifteen MPs stand suspended for disrupting Parliament proceedings since and the session now seems a washout. But politics is reigning.