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OPINION | Selling mirrors in a city of the blind

To look at martyrdom of our soldiers as a tool to garner votes, is nothing short of a crime. Unfortunately, some people have made this a hobby.

Rajat Sharma Edited by: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive
New Delhi Published on: February 19, 2020 12:10 IST
India TV Editor-in-Chief and Chairman Rajat Sharma. 

India TV Editor-in-Chief and Chairman Rajat Sharma. 

I am quite surprised when, on the occasion of the first anniversary of Pulwama terror attack, Rahul Gandhi tweeted to ask cryptically "who benefited the most from the attack?" Most of us understand the hidden meaning behind this question. Since nobody is willing to say it openly, let me put it bluntly. Rahul Gandhi wants to obliquely convey the impression that it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who benefited the most from the martyrdom of our jawans in Pulwama. He wants to indirectly convey that it was because of Pulwama attack that Modi won the Lok Sabha elections. I have been hearing this ad nauseam since the day Modi won the elections and Rahul lost.

Now one can put the same question in a different context to Rahul. Who benefited the most from the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi?  How can anybody being stopped from asking Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal who benefited the most from the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi? Dr. Subramanian Swamy has already posed the question as to who ultimately benefited from the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. 

To look at martyrdom of our soldiers as a tool to garner votes, is nothing short of a crime. Unfortunately, some people have made this a hobby. When Modi won assembly elections consecutively in Gujarat, he was tagged as  "Maut Ka Saudagar"(merchant of death). The meaning that was being conveyed was that Modi was not popular with common voters , but he always managed to win elections either by inciting riots or by taking advantage of the matyrdom of our soldiers. And when these charges did not stick, the naysayers levelled  the charge of "EVM tampering" . 

If this isn't a mockery of our elections and our people, then what is? By saying this, you are only implying that crores of citizens in India are fools. Rahul Gandhi is blaming poll manipulation on a man who has not lost a single election in the last 19 years. 

And this matter does not end here. There are other great mortals involved in this business. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged after the Pulwama terror attack that it was Modi who planned the attack to win elections. 

When Indian Air Force carried out air strikes to destroy a terror camp in Balakot inside Pakistan, Imran Khan claimed that only two or four trees were damaged and some crows died. I remember, Rahul Gandhi, at that time, had demanded evidence of damage caused by our air strikes. Earlier too, he had cast doubts about the surgical strikes carried out by our army commandos across the Line of Control. Rahul demanded evidence, just like Imran Khan, because he thinks that terror attacks and counter-attacks are nothing but a drama for a leader like Modi to win elections. 

Leaders who use such language, always get paid back in the same coin. A few days ago, Dr. Subramanian Swamy said, Mahatma Gandhi was hit by four bullets and not three...where did the fourth bullet come from? He asked why were those two ladies, Abha and Manu, whom Gandhiji always used for support to walk, not questioned by police? Swamy is questioning as to who benefited the most from the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi? All these questions by Dr Swamy are there on Twitter, just like Rahul's tweets on Pulwama attack. 

A few months back, I heard people asking whether Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was murdered in Tashkent. People were asking questions as to why Shastriji's body turned blue after his death. Why did he not get doctor's help in time? And again the question cropped up, who benefited the most from Shastri's death? 

When Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash, there were speculations as to whether he was killed. Till the time Sanjay was alive, his elder brother Rajiv  completely stayed away from politics. Then who benefited the most from Sanjay's death? 

When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, it was again Dr. Swamy who raised the question, who benefited the most from his death. Swamy was Rajiv Gandhi's political friend and he helped him a lot. Today if asked, Dr Swamy will surely say that the person who took charge of the Congress party had a hand behind Rajiv's assassination. To put it bluntly, there are baseless theories and concocted stories floating on internet and social media which point fingers at Sonia Gandhi being responsible for her husband's death. For me, to even think about such a possibility is a sin, an injustice.  

I consider all such conspiracy theories as baseless and devoid of facts. This is  an outcome of the minds of those who are defeated and frustrated, be it Pulwama attack, 1984 riots, Shastri's or Rajiv Gandhi's death, Mahatma Gandhi's or Indira Gandhi's assassinations. To view such dastardly acts through a 'profit-loss' political lens is nothing but a crime. To make such speculations without basis can only lead to a flourishing market awash with lies and rumours. I consider this as harmful and preposterous for a democracy. 

The manner in which motives of political benefit were imputed to Nehru ji, Indira ji, Rajiv ji or Sonia by such conspiracy theorists should open the eyes of Rahul Gandhi. He must know that assassinations and martyrdom are never always the result of conspiracies that are made to give political benefit. To allege that Narendra Modi planned the Pulwama attack to win the Lok Sabha elections is as baseless and preposterous as alleging that it was Sonia Gandhi who plotted her husband's death. 

Why does Rahul always make this assumption that whenever Congress wins elections, it is because the people voted for his party, and when Modi wins elections, it is because he manipulates either EVMs or takes advantage of martyrdom? 

Yes, Indira Gandhi's assassination definitely had an impact and led to her son Rajiv scoring a historic majority in the Lok Sabha elections, but nobody can say that Indira's assassination was due to Rajiv's conspiracy.  In a similar way, the dastardly attack on soldiers in Pulwama and the IAF air strikes in Balakot had a definite impact on the sentiments of common Indian voters, but that was not due to Modi's conspiracy. 

Such frivolous speculations and remarks must stop. There is a need to put an end to such baseless rumours. In the age of internet, such false imputations of motives travel faster, create doubts and misgivings in the minds of people, and spread bitterness. 

Let Rahul understand, that every martyrdom is not a bargain chip for garnering votes. Let him also understand that every political murder is not necessarily a tool to garner political benefit. Yet, I sometimes do feel, who will listen to my pleas in this digital age where rumours spread like wildfires.  I feel as if I am trying to sell mirrors in a city of the blind.