The content of his speech can be called highly noble, apt for coming from the prime minister of the country. But it can also be called a shrewd effort at showing the public that the state governments are bad and that the central government has all the pure things at heart.
Speaking at the National Integration Council meeting, prime minister Manmohan Singh asked the political parties not to politicise the issue of communal violence. “I appeal to parties and media that they should refrain from giving any political colour or taking any political mileage from such incidents,” he was reported saying.
The prime ministerial speech’s focus was rising cases of violence in the country. The content of his speech can be called highly noble, apt for coming from the prime minister of the country. But it can also be called a shrewd effort at showing the public that the state governments are bad and that the central government has all the pure things at heart. No doubt, the UPA government is very good at taking credits.
When Muzaffarnagar riots took place, our dear PM was the first to visit the place with his party high command and heir apparent for those “political mileage” he was refraining others from taking. Not only that, he and his party has always used the communal riots which had taken place in any state ruled by opposition (read Gujarat) as a leverage in elections. Also, he needs to be reminded that his own partymen were a part of the riots which took place in Uttar Pradesh.
His speech can also be called “UP government and administration bashing speech” for it was full of it. It became more than indicative when he said, “The state government should lose no time to control communal violence sternly. The local administration should prevent a small issue from snowballing into a huge controversy and arrest those responsible for spreading it.”
Then becoming a bit more open he drew an example of the rising cases of communal violence across the country, he said, “The Muzaffarnagar violence led to a huge loss of lives and property. A small matter was fanned by some people and man have suffered as a consequence of that.” While he mentioned the communal violencein Hyderabad, Kishtawar and Assam, his main focus remained Uttar Pradesh. “In Uttar Pradesh the incidents of communal violence have been rising,” he said.
Saying that the riots are the outcome of efforts of anti-nationalist forces he exhorted that it was imperative on the part of the state governments to crack down such violence. “At times, the anti-national forces succeed in creating a communal divide between various sections of people and such forces are a big challenge for the democracy of this country,” he said. Needless to say that it was a dig at the BJP and an answer to consistent Narendra Modi who has held the UPA government accountable for so many wrongful things in the country.
Since riots in Muzaffarnagar are attributed to the circulation of a fake video, Singh called for a fresh look at the use of social media. He said that the social media was a great tool for youth to spread their feelings, but the spread of such malicious content should be stopped. “While it is necessary to continue the use of social media for strengthening brotherhood, it is equally important to ensure that anti—national elements don’t misuse the medium,” he said. This strengthens his government’s stand to put a censor on the social media. It will be no wonder if the same is again initiated by IT minister Kapil Sibal in future.
Lastly, to make his speech more “vote-magnate”, he touched upon the issue of violence against women and caste based violence. “A nation can only progress when women can go to public places without fear,” he said.
He then recoiled to the UPA’s strategy of using its social security schemes as the placard for progress and good governance. “A major hindrance in the development of the country is lack of equal opportunities for poor and weak sections of the society. We will not let any section feel that they are not part of the mainstream society,” he said. “Recently, Parliament has passed Manual Scavenging Rehabilitation Bill which will help eradicate such inhuman practice. But still economic and social inequalities are still a major challenge. I understand we need to pay due attention to reduce inequality and deprivation in society,” he added.
What effect his appeal will hold, is a matter to see, but his speech will be held “vote-worthy” for sure. Afte rall, it was a good effort towards “political mileage”!