His diatribes and hate propaganda against Nehru-Gandhi family are quite old. We have been listening to his jibes and insults against them for quite long time. Wrong doings of his party colleagues and even his government have overshadowed the accusations. His latest move to order an investigation into trusts linked to the Nehru-Gandhi family has failed to catch the imagination of the common people. Only his committed saffron soldiers and RSS activists are busy playing it up.

His action coming in the wake of Rahul Gandhi questioning his political morality, launching a full-blown war on his vindictive politics and the handling of the China border crisis, is being perceived as an act of political vendetta. Modi might have thought that this tirade would silence the Congress, but it has backfired. The Congress has shown the impudence to fight it out. The developments have also triggered a debate on “fear” that had ostensibly helped the BJP silence other Opposition parties.

The example of former Union minister P. Chidambaram, who had to spend over 100 days in jail last year as he was denied bail in a bribery case several times after being arrested in a dramatic fashion, is before the people. The home ministry’s probe order into alleged violation of various laws related to money laundering and foreign contributions by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust has in fact galvanised the party against what it described as the BJP’s “cowardice”.

Ahmed Patel, a Sonia Gandhi loyalist who is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case, tweeted: “They are filled with hatred for the Gandhi family. Entire focus of this Government machinery is to humiliate & threaten the Congress president. But these things don’t deter us. History is witness, such tricks were tried even by the mighty Kauravas. The nation is watching.”

Nevertheless, it is widely in circulation in political circles that the plan was designed by Home Minister Amit Shah, close on the heels of a political and media campaign that trusts linked with the Nehru-Gandhis had accepted donations from China years ago. This primarily aimed at silencing Rahul Gandhi, who has been tormenting Modi with questions on the Chinese incursions and Covid management. Ever since they came to power the Modi-Shah combine has been accusing Rajiv Gandhi of being soft to corrupt persons.

As per the legal norms, the decision looks bizarre. The home ministry has not disclosed the two most important things; who is the complainant and what are the specific charges against the three NGOs. Meanwhile, senior BJP sources point out this decision of Shah reveals his valour and is aimed at boosting his image of an iron man. It also points out Modi intended to maintain a working relationship of sorts with the Gandhis, but Shah is not interested in showing softness. Shah intends to maintain his image of a “blunt but bold and decisive leader” who believes in using shock-and-awe tactics against political adversaries.

In an interesting development, at least 144 armed forces veterans in a signed communique to the President, the supreme commander of armed forces, “Statement on China” have highlighted the urgent need for a revamp of India’s intelligence system in the context of the Galwan Valley clash on 15 June that killed 20 Indian soldiers.

“While we accept that failures can happen in any system, in the current instance, either our intelligence system was found wanting, or the intelligence which was obtained did not reach the field units in time,” the veterans stated. “We therefore urge that our nation’s intelligence system be urgently revamped.” Air Marshal K.C. ‘Nanda’ Cariappa (retd), one of the signatories to the statement along with the former Navy chief Admiral L. Ramdas (retd)said “I went through the letter and we signed it out of our love for the armed forces and the country”. The Galwan incident, Cariappa said, has seen a lot of “twisting of facts”.

The veterans’ statement also highlighted the communication gap from the government and the military during the stand-off with China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, and said “It would have prevented China from taking advantage of contradictions between ambiguous or inaccurate verbal statements needing later clarifications”.

The veterans went on to say that India urgently needs a national policy and strategy on neighbourhood management. “Formulation of such national policy and strategy has been neglected by successive governments,” they said.

The144 veterans requested a fact-finding body to be immediately instituted regarding the “intrusions, incursions and encroachments” by China along the border up to Arunachal Pradesh in the East and the report be tabled in the Lok Sabha within a time-bound framework.

Yet another development is the removal of federalism, nationalism, gender-religion-caste, food security, the Partition and the goods and services tax topics from CBSE syllabuses for Classes IX to XII. It is a known fact that these topics promoted knowledge and ideas that are unfriendly to the RSS-BJP ideology. This is a tactical move of the saffron brigade to deny the students the chance to study and understand the secular and socialist character of India.

What has been most unfortunate, this was being done by the ministry on the plea to “reduce course load for the students”. There is a general notion that using the pandemic, Modi government is deleting sections dealing with India’s diversity, plurality, democracy etc that uphold the constitutional values from the higher secondary syllabus. Sociologist Andre Beteille disagreed with the idea of reducing the syllabus; “I don’t think that cutting down on the syllabus is a good thing”. (IPA Service)