My 81 year old father-in-law gave me a newspaper clipping of Shekhar Gupta’s opinion piece in HT (June 27, 2018) titled “MODI IS MORE INDIRA THAN NEHRU”, so I happened to read it. I hardly ever read newspapers anymore.
Having read it, I though I must definitely counter Mr. Gupta’s half truths with the real facts – though I know the reach of HT is a few tens of thousands time more than this blog.
Firstly, Narendra Modi has NOT made Emergency the centre-piece of his counter-attack on Congress. Modi has enough and more things to counter Congress and its leaders, other than the Emergency. In any case, if the voters of 2004 and 2009 knew enough about the emergency, they would have never voted Sonia Gandhi to power.
Secondly, it’s not fully correct to say that Vajpayee didn’t have real power within his own party. While this may have been partially true in the last year of his premiership, mainly due to his failing health, it was certainly not the case during the first five years. Vajpayee did the Pokhran tests, went to Pakistan and also fought the Kargil war. Though he may have consulted a lot of people, he was his own master.
Mr. Gupta’s love for Modi becomes very clear when he says that the Prime Minister has picked up the worse of Nehru and Indira. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I will demonstrate.
He is completely wrong in saying that Nehru was ‘tolerant of disagreement and deeply respectful of parliament’. Nehru single-handedly did not allow the Office of our President to have more powers than the Office does now. He opposed the majority in this matter. Nehru was also instrumental in the partition of India, as he was not ready to give the Prime Ministership to Jinnah. Is that called tolerant?
I laughed when I read Nehru being connected with morality. C’mon guys, the man had more affairs than Vijay Mallya, he could not keep his hands off women, like Lalit Modi.
It is also wrong to say that Nehru had India punching above its weight until 1962. Wasn’t it the same Nehru who refused a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and asked that it should be given to China instead? Does Mr. Gupta consider that to be punching above its weight?
Indira Gandhi did not wait until she was ready to win the war with Pakistan in 1971. Indira wanted war in April 1971. The Chief of Army Staff, Field Marshall (then General) Sam Manekshaw refused to fight just before the onset of the monsoons, and asked for more time. In front of Nehru’s senior cabinet ministers the General offered to resign, forcing Indira’s hand.
Most of Indira’s advisors did not fall out “because of the Emergency.” Many fell out much earlier, when she was trying to sideline leaders such as Morarji Desai, who were much more senior than her in the party.
The peak Income Tax rate in India never went to 97%. The peak was 85%. The highest “marginal rate” was 97.75% and I am surprised a learned man like Mr.Gupta does not understand the difference.
Coming to the comparison that Mr. Gupta has made between PM Modi and the two dynasts – no matter how much one is in love with the Nehru family, it is quite immature to say that Modi’s economics is more socialist than Nehru’s. Do socialists meet so many business leaders globally, in order to attract more FDI? Do socialists reduce corporate tax rates? Do socialists introduce schemes like Startup India?
Once again, it is completely wrong to say that “Modi failed” to denationalise Air India. Is the huge debt and lousy brand image of Air India Modi’s fault, or the 56+ years of Nehru family rule? And who nationalised Air India in the first place. What exactly is Modi renationalizing, Mr. Gupta? You forgot to mention it.
People like Mr. Gupta will probably blame Mr. Modi if their dinner at a restaurant does not taste good. SHAME!!!
Mr. Gupta calls Modi’s chief ministers “hand-picked nobodies.” Mr. Modi has definitely hand-picked young, honest people, in order to build a second line of leadership within BJP. Better than the corruption-ridden 75-something year old sycophants like Tarun Gogoi and Virbhadra Singh, right?
How can Mr. Gupta say that Modi’s approach to foreign policy has failed and our big-power ties are wobbly?
Look at India’s opposition to the CPEC – even the US has admitted Modi’s bold stand in this matter. See how we got China to backtrack on Doklam.
And what about Pakistan’s grey-listing by FATF? Did you do that Mr. Gupta, or your leader Rahul Gandhi? Did you personally convince Trump, Merkel, May and Macron to support India, or Divya Spandana did that part? Did you convince Saudi Arabia and Iran not to back Pakistan at the FATF, or was that Sanjay Nirupam? Did you call Trump, asking him to personally call Xi Jinping, asking him to back off, or was that the masterstroke of Digvijay Singh, or maybe even Mani Shankar Aiyar?
It is also completely wrong to say that we are left with only Bangladesh as a friend in our neighbourhood. When did Sri Lanka, Afganistan and Bhutan become our enemies?
What is Modi surrendering to the so-called “loony, xenophobic swadeshis of the Right, Mr.Gupta – seems that you keep quiet abou the details when you don’t have any.
The biggest laughing point was to say that Modi does not have time to meet people with intellect and fame in their specific fields. Looks like Mr.Gupta is talking about himself and thank God our Prime Minister does not have the time to meet Nehru family sycophants like him. FOR YOUR INFORMATION MR.SHEKHAR GUPTA – Modi has met more achievers in various fields in the last 50 months than Sonia Gandhi met in her 19 years as president of the Congress party.
This was the first article written by Mr.Gupta that I have read in my life and it was not difficult to decipher why he is often accused of being a Pakistani agent by many people on social media. I am ashamed this man is a citizen of my country.