Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Calling Rahul an “irresponsible person” Prasad said that the Prime Minister “always plays on the front foot… and will continue to do so”.

He said, “The whole world has seen the courageous decisions taken by the Prime Minister of India. When Covid-19 ends, we should then analyze how the country with so much diversity accepted Modi’s request (for the lockdown). Rahul Gandhi is engaged in undermining the nation’s resolve.”

The Minister also reeled out statistics to show what he dubbed the success in the ongoing war against coronavirus in the country. “India has a population of 137 crores, and 4,345 deaths and over 64,000 recoveries, whereas the top 15 countries in the world have a total population of 142 crores and have seen more than 300,000 corona deaths.

Through the lockdown, our Prime Minister has united the country.” The Law Minister accused Rahul Gandhi of “trying to undermine India’s resolve”. “He is spreading negativity. Working against the country in times of crisis, and trying to take credit falsely, say something and do something else, and spreading false news also,” said Prasad.

Prasad said that the CMs of Congress-ruled states did not listen to Rahul Gandhi. “He raises questions on the lockdown, but the Punjab and Maharashtra governments had proposed to extend the lockdown till May 31. After all, why can he not explain this thing to his chief ministers?” asked the Union Minister.

“Rahul Gandhi raises questions on the Aarogya Setu app, but Maharashtra and Punjab have insisted on using this as a super shield. Rahul Gandhi questions labour laws, but preparations are going on to have a 12-hour shift for workers in Rajasthan. Why are his chief ministers not agreeing with Rahul Gandhi?”

Regarding the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the Ladakh border, Prasad asserted that no country can stare down India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi had demanded from the government a statement on the stand-off at the border in Ladakh and Sikkim and relations with Nepal.

The Gandhi scion has launched a sustained attack against the government over the past three months – first on the corona issue – nitpicking the lacunae in the implementation of the lockdown, and second now on the Chinese incursion issue.

BJP leaders say that at a time when the country stands united and leaders are encouraging people to fight the war against corona together, Rahul Gandhi is deviating from the line of his own party policy in an apparent bid to garner attention. He is seemingly bent on taking advantage of this difficult phase to malign the Modi government and trying to bring back the dwindling fortunes of the party on track.

But people can see through cheap theatrics and none of Rahul Gandhi’s barbs are going anywhere which can resurrect the party. People are appreciating good governance of the Modi government because they are getting the benefits. Congress has long lost the battle of kinship. People have resoundingly voted them out twice, reposing their faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi.

Deriding Modi and his policies amount to undermining the mandate of the people, which is a wrong sign for democracy. Reasoned and substantiated claims garner respect and support but levying vague allegations against a tall leader based on perceptions and possibilities is not something that is going to make any cut with the people.

There might be mistakes and shortcomings in governance and we cannot claim any government is perfect but there is a civilised way to correct a government’s wrong actions.

The system of parliamentary democracy offers ample provisions for opposition parties and leaders to criticize the government if the situation calls for that. But that doesn’t mean hounding the government on every silliest pretext and false premises just to score some brownie points.

Arguments and accusations that don’t lead to the benefit of the country, its image, or its people must be avoided and leaders who have a constructive role to play in the growth of the nation must think twice before opening battlefronts for the heck of it.

This only weakens the country and disarms us against enemies because the world can see the discord and disunity inside the country and they then take advantage of our vulnerability.

The real battle is in elections and if any leader is keen on leading the country in the future, he must strengthen the derelict inner-party coordinates to win the hearts and votes of the people. That would be a more ethical and practical way to show one’s mettle than sitting on the footpath with migrants under the camera lenses. Leaders must not make the country and it’s narrative a perennial election battleground.

At the time of elections, when emotions run high, mudslinging is commonly accommodated in the country but in times of national crises, we have never seen such cheap tricks before, which are but farcical and amateurish ways of pulling a fast one on the people for one’s ulterior advantage.

By riling up Modi and his government and working at cross-purposes is the only disservice to the nation. The government must not pay much attention to detractors and do its job with all focus and consistency to ameliorate people’s problems. This is the best reply one can give to unfounded allegations and hypothetical premonitions.

Good work is always opposed by a section of political ideologies because they can’t get a share of the benefits of publicity and political relevance that the good work brings to the doer.

This is a natural psychological outcome of desperation born out of the knowledge of one’s vulnerability and the inability to do things that should be done. The government has rather a genuine reason to feel happy, because the constant witch-hunting it is subject to, is only a sign of its success and subsequent jealousy of its adversaries.

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