It has been reliably learnt from the heavenly sources that King Dashrath has been highly impressed by Modi's handling of the OROP challenge. In fact, he has been feeling quite envious.
What an ingenious way to renege on a promise – just claim that you were ignorant of the complexities involved. Unquestionably, it is an inventive and incontestable justification – it is grossly unfair to hold a person responsible for a promise made in ignorance.
King Dashrath has been lamenting that he did not respond to Queen Kaikeyi's demands with a Modi-like riposte. Had he backed out of his promises under the 'plea of ignorance', the course of Ramayan would have been different.
Seeing his inconsolable state, Sage Narad was called to cheer him up. He told the rueing King, "Oh Rajan, do not equate yourself with Modi. One, Queen Kaikeyi had extracted two open-ended oaths from you and not a specific promise that Modi made to the veterans. Hence, 'plea of ignorance' would not hold water in your case. Two, unlike Modi, you did not have devious, scheming and cunning advisors. Finally, Queen Kaikeyi was not as naive as the Indian veterans who trusted a political leader's solemn word during elections."
Coming to the earthly affairs and the current mess, I have two confessions to make. One, like most soldiers, I have been an ardent supporter of Modi, both during the electioneering for the general elections and after the swearing in of his government.
I had always felt that BJP was a more nationalist party that cared for the country's security concerns. Again like most soldiers, I felt that Modi's arrival on the national scene was the best thing that could have happened to India and the armed forces. I stoutly defended Modi and the NDA government in discussions and media against mocking barbs of the sceptics who were convinced that BJP was an equally self-seeking party, out to garner votes by exploiting neglected soldiers' gullibility.
My second confession is that I have been proved totally wrong in trusting Modi and NDA. I feel let down. While soliciting support from the services, Modi had made three promises – construction of a suitable war memorial, establishment of a Veterans' Commission and grant of OROP. The war memorial did figure in the first budget but has since been put in the deep freeze. Veterans' Commission has been a total non-starter. The government does not even talk about it. Finally, the grant of much promised OROP has made little progress.
After declaring that OROP had been granted at a function with troops at Siachen base camp last year, Modi realised that the issue was too complex to be implemented. Yes, we have a Prime Minister who makes promises and declares their fulfilment, only to retract later.
One wonders if Modi feels embarrassed of the fact that his government has been unable to define OROP and work out its modalities in 15 months.
Some competence indeed!
Bihar elections are nearing. Modi is on a fund allocation spree and making tall promises to garner votes. The veterans should caution the people of Bihar against falling in his electoral trap by flooding the media with three simple posers.
Should the people repose faith in a leader who makes promises without knowing their implications?
Do we want a leader who lacks courage to overrule his deceitful colleagues and bureaucrats?
If a leader can renege on his solemn commitment to the defenders of the nation, can he be trusted to fulfil his electoral promises to the naive common-men?
The Bihar electorate should be advised to compare the virtues displayed by King Dashrath with the insincerity of Modi before casting their votes. For King Dashrath, it was 'pran jaye per vachan na jaye'. For Modi, promises are mere 'election jhumlas'.
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Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.
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