We are proud to be Indians
But the ruling party heir-apparent is not
Rahul Gandhi says he is ashamed to be an Indian. Every Indian is expected to be proud of his motherland. It is strange that a person who is the No. 2 in the ruling party and aspires to rule the country one day has said this about his country. It brings into question his level of commitment to the country, his patriotism.
He made this comment in the course of his much hyped visit to Uttar Pradesh, where the farmers are agitating against the state government's atrocities on those who were protesting the official land grab.
Strange. Rahul Gandhi has made poverty tourism to Amethi a part of his PR. Visiting foreigners are taken to his constituency to show how the Gandhi family for six decades has been cultivating and nurturing poverty there. His great grandfather, his grandmother, his father and now for seven years his mother as proxy along with their dummy have been ruling the country, for nearly five out of the six decades India has been independent. And this is the raw deal Indians have got. Rahul Gandhi should actually have said that he was ashamed to be a Congressman. For, it is his party which is shifting its political stance, depending on their location. In Delhi, Mayawati is a cohort of the Congress. Just across the border a few kilometers away in NOIDA, she is the biggest villain. Suddenly, there is a clamour for Land Acquisition Act, as if it is a panacea for all farmer problems.
Under the Congress, poverty has reached unprecedented levels. Headlines in two national dailies on the same day this week demonstrated the humongous gap between the rich and the poor in India. While the government told the Supreme Court that the poverty determination level is fixed at Rs 20 per day, a hotel in Delhi, purportedly the most expensive in the country, boasts of a price tag of Rs 10,000 for one pizza. The Planning Commission has lowered the poverty determination levels, to decrease the number of poor people in the country. According to the Planning Commission's submission to the Supreme Court on May 10, 2011, only those people would now be called poor who earn below Rs 578 a month, i.e. less than Rs 20 a day in urban areas. In rural areas it is fixed at Rs 15. Only these people would be eligible for the government's Below Poverty Line (BPL) schemes and benefits. But even by these standards, according to the Planning Commission, 41.8 per cent of Indians are below poverty. Which would only indicate that if we were to apply the one dollar a day levels for determining poverty, the number could rise up to 70-80 per cent.
The government apathy at the poor is evident from the fact that the Ministries of Health and Women & Child have refused to give to the Supreme Court the details of hunger deaths all over the country, according to a report in Times of India dated May 12, 2011. The ministries are in a quandary over the issue as an affidavit filed on this may actually be contradictory to the government's botched up figures on poverty reduction programmes. The UNICEF has claimed that half of the 2438 children below five years die daily in India because of lack of food. The Court has given time till May 13th for the filing of the reply.
The Indian loot stashed abroad is being counted in trillions. The government is adamantly refusing to track down the offenders who have taken the money out of the country. And when it comes to fixing the poverty level, the government has shown such callousness. The farmers' land is being taken away for pittance without their consent. What is being witnessed in greater NOIDA is the same as what is happening in Jaitapur and what happened in Singur. In the name of SEZ, thousands of acres of land have been gifted away to industrialists for no apparent benefit to the people.
Rahul Gandhi's comment that he is ashamed to be a Hindustani, needs all round condemnation. For, he is being projected as prime minister material by the Congress party. The media has generally played down his remark in ample evidence of deference to the 'first family' of the country.
Can any leader in any other country, say the US, UK, or even in Pakistan, get away making such an unbecoming statement? And Rahul Gandhi, a MP, who takes oath by the Constitution, as a responsible leader of the ruling party should retract his statement and apologize. The land mess is the result of the Congress' economic policies, pursued mindlessly, on external orders and plans. The party that came to power on the strength of the aam aadmi has served its 'khas aadmi' (special people) cause very well and promoted crony capitalism.