AS PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi came under instant criticism for not making any direct reference to minorities in his Independence Day message delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Wednesday, sources said but for a last minute decision to drop significant paragraphs from the speech, it could have turned the tables and sent the Opposition squirming.
"There was a lot of confusion in the final hours, and the last night address to the nation by President Ram Nath Kovind only further fuelled this confusion," goes the speculation.
President Kovind, in his televised address to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day, said, ‘Don’t let contentious issues distract us.’ It triggered a re-think in the core team of the prime minister that the draft paragraphs directly addressing the issue of lynching could take away focus from the imagination-arresting Gaganyaan and the September 25 launch announcement for the health assurance plan.
Team Modi stepped back in the final hours and decided not to address the issue so directly, it is being speculated by many well wishers of the BJP and PM Modi.
A rough draft of the paragraphs allegedly dropped from the prime minister's speech could have been roughly along these lines:
भाईओ ओ बहनों, आज एक ऐसे विष्य पर भी मैं बात करना चाह रहा हूँ जिस के बारे सारा देश बात कर रहा है और मुझे इस बात का भी अफ़सोस है कि मुझे इस के बारे में बात करनी पड़ रही है। इस लिए नहीं कि बहुत से राजनीतिक विरोधी मुझ पे यह आरोप लगा रहे थे कि मैं चुप हूँ और इन खुल्लम खुल्ला हत्याओँ पर कुछ बोल नहीं रहा हूँ। इस तरह के विरोध-प्रतिविरोध आरोप-प्रत्यारोप राजनीती का हिस्सा हैं और उनका जवाब भी दिया जा रहा है। आज मैं सड़क पर अपने आप को गौ-रक्षक कहने वाली उस भीड़ से सीधे सीधे बात करनी चाह रहा हूँ - कान खोल कर सुन लीजिये। पहलू खान भारत माता का बेटा था, जुनैद भारत माता का बेटा था और क़ासिम कुरैशी इसी देश का नागरिक था। और यह नरेन्द्र मोदी है। तिरंगे के नीचे लाल किले की फ़सील पर खड़ा नरेन्द्र मोदी। तुम को लगता है कि मैं हिसाब नहीं माँगूँगा?
The speech was originally drafted to pre-empt the opposition's strategy and to try and court again the minorities as well to reclaim the middle ground among the burgeoning, educated middle classes in India which abhor communal violence and want a full stop to all divisiveness in the social fabric.
It could also have been a huge opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to come up as a tall statesman on the Indian political horizon since that is a vacuum that even a Mamata Bannerjee or a Nitish Kumar cannot fill, forget about Rahul Gandhi who lacks political idiom.
It takes an orator like PM Modi to deliver a crystal clear message and rise several notches above the rest of the crowd. A comparison with the surgical strike could have been woven into this section, thus cleverly making it impossible for the Opposition to underplay the significance of the strikes against Pakistan.
Here is how a possible action plan could have been unfolded by the prime minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort against the lynchmob:
"हम पाकिस्तान की नाभि में स्ट्राइक कर के हिसाब बराबर करना जानते हैं, तुम तो यहीं कहीं छिपे फिरते हो, कभी किसी बेज़ुबान गाय के पीछे, कभी भैंस को गाय बताते।
"हम एक एक को ढून्ढ निकालेंगे। भीड़ में छुप्प जाओगे, यह ना समझ लेना। सारी भीड़ की पहचान कर लेंगे। यूँ हमारी एकता के, यकजहती के टुकड़े टुकड़े ना करने देंगे।
भाईओ ओ बहनों, यह असली टुकड़े टुकड़े गैंग है, गौ रक्षक नहीं हैं यह। गो रक्षक सम्मानिय नागरिक होते हैं। जानवर से प्यार इंसान बनाता है। हैवान अख़लाक़ की गली में जाता है, सड़क पर दंगाई करता है, भाईओ ओ बहनों, सड़क पर दंगाई करता है।
Experts said it is well nigh possible that Team PM read different signs in President Kovind's words as he warned against allowing "contentious issues and extraneous debates” that might "distract us”.
"The power to stay your hand is far greater than the power to strike with your hand and hinsa has no place in society,” Kovind said.
The Team PM thought it must not send any signals of doing any ‘hinsa’ against any lynchmobs.
"We are at a juncture in our history that is very different from any period we have so far experienced… Universal access to electricity, the elimination of open defecation, the elimination of homelessness, the very elimination of extreme poverty is achievable and attainable. We are at a pivotal moment. Let contentious issues and extraneous debates not distract us,” said Kovind.
The Prime Minister's speech seemed to have followed the script guidelines set by President Kovind, and Modi confined himself to talking about Swachh Bharat, homelessness, and several other good things.
In fact, experts think there was possibly a lot more in the original draft of the Prime Minister's speech, including the total tonnage of the fish caught in India, the much higher number of rats caught in mousetraps in FCI godowns since 2014, thus helping save hundreds of tonnes of foodgrains for our poor, the total volume of the grass cut by India's gardeners (malis
) in the parks of various towns, the total number of FUKC t-shirts sold in our malls that signifies a larger awareness of brand value and the continuing popularity of cold-shoulder tops among women in cities that showed a homegrown response to climate change in the spirit of think globally, act locally. But all these references were pruned due to the length of the speech and the obtaining weather conditions at the Raj Path where most VIPs were fanning themselves due to much hot wind blowing their way.
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