Perhaps no other minister might have faced as much wrath as Smriti Irani does and interestingly, she single-handedly rebutted the entire coterie of the opposition on the first day of the Budget Session. As predicted by political observers, the opposition bragged for an open debate on two issues- JNU protests and Rohith Vemula’s suicide. United opposition brazenly attacked and accused government of its inept management in both issues and created ruckus in both houses of the Parliament. With both the issues falling under the ambit of Ministry of Human Resources Development, the onus was on the minister to defend her actions.
The NDA government has reached out to opposition before the onset of budget session to avert indefinite logjams in both houses that crippled the passage of crucial bills in the last two sessions. Unfortunately Indian legislators elected to find solutions for development of country are consistently engaged in drawing political mileage. Global economy is in financial doldrums and the debilitating effects are indeed evident on Indian economy too. Indian exports have slumped and national Sensex is struggling to retain a firm ground but the undeterred parliamentarians are locking horns over the Rohith Vemula’s suicide episode and JNU protests even during the budget session.
With the opposition going for the government all guns blazing, in both houses of Parliament, seasoned journalists procrastinated that BJP would lose yet another battle in this session. In the past 20 months BJP has attained critical acclaim of being on the wrong foot and scoring self-goals. But in a major reversal for the first time, the ferocious rebuttal by Smriti Irani for now has silenced several critics and the opposition. Though it might be too early to make any call in government’s favor, her unabashed conviction and the eloquence in presenting facts in a transparent way has really turned around the tide. While her aggressive face-off with the BSP supremo Mayawati in Rajya Sabha was branded as being too emotional, her stirring speech in Lok Sabha not only silenced her critics but earned sheer adulation from the party hierarchy. The fiery speech in response to the four-hour discussions in the Parliament has opened a Pandora box.
At an hour when most of the opposition benches were empty, her speeches busted all the false claims spread by the opposition. Congress has been literally gunning for her head ever since she contested in Lok Sabha elections from Amethi alongside Rahul Gandhi. Her fiery outburst rattled the opposition. She valiantly espoused the ideology and the nationalistic thought process critically adhered by her party. The rebuttal was impeccably corroborated by facts rendering her statements more authoritative and valid. Her speech loaded with stirring revelations about various aspects was alarming. She made a valiant effort to build a strong base for the case wherein her actions would be irrefutable. She critically contested all the allegations made by political parties point by point in her defense regarding Rohith Vemula’s suicide. She openly cited the lack of cooperation by the Telangana government and lambasted at the indifference of opposition who vied to turn the unfortunate death into a political tool. She minced no words in saying “Have you ever seen Rahul Gandhi go to a place twice? Six hundred students died during Telangana agitation. Did Rahul Gandhi visited them once?”
Regarding the JNU protests, she presented the firsthand account of the security personnel, university authorities and the letter written by the accused students to avail the university facilities for the organization of the cultural event. Her stinging revelations about JNU’s Mahishasura’s Martydom day under the façade of freedom of expression evoked sheer condemnation and utter repulsion. She challenged the left and its allied parties for an open debate about the derogatory remarks (they hired a sex worker Durga, who enticed Mahishasur into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning during sleep) made with respect to Goddess Durga on the streets of Kolkata. A forward press magazine Yadav-Shakthi published this stuff and was circulated in JNU in 2011 (1).
In response to allegations on government’s efforts to saffornize universities, she indicated that 20 chancellors and 16 vice-chancellors in central universities are UPA appointees and challenged that if any of these officials could prove that she is trying to saffronize, then she will quit politics.
She then touched upon the quality of education of imparted under the UPA regime and read out excerpts from the text books of class IV and VI of the Maharashtra board. The text books prepared by Teesta Setalvad and commissioned by Kapil Sibal against NCERT’s approval had insidious references to Kashmir toeing in Pakistan’s line. The grievous misrepresentation of facts, distortion of Indian history and the lacunae in the text books is truly alarming. The text books prescribed for basic education reeked of bigotry. Indeed the devious agenda of manipulating the facts and misinterpreting the glorious acclaims of nation is reprehensible.
Schools, College and Universities should never be war grounds for battles but UPA government made forays into this zone too. The UPA government which was notoriously famous for limitless scams swindled crores of rupees reached acclaimed pinnacles of corruption. But the vested agenda towards education is unpardonable. Smriti Irani countered her argument by lashing the opposition that if children are seeded with bigotry and depravity from such a young age, nation is doomed towards a disaster. It is horrifying that primary education too hasn’t be spared of the brunt of religious discrimination and fanaticism. If education imparted in the schools learning fails for inculcate a feeling of belongingness and oneness towards nation, anti-national sloganeering would become a regular event. The long term consequences can be potentially dangerous.
Smriti Irani hasn’t shied away in taking political swipes at the Congress and Left combined. She reminding the Parliamentarians of the lavish praise heaped by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Indira Gandhi for her deft action in creation of Bangladesh. She continued that even Indira Gandhi too lost elections but she and her sons didn’t lend support to the anti-national sloganeering. This stinging attack should force Congress to reconsider its stance on the JNU issue. Smriti Irani with her aggressive tenor, unyielding spirit and emotional speech has carved a special niche for herself. She single-handedly quashed the false propaganda of the opposition parties and ignited a new spirit of enthusiasm in BJP. At a time when BJP is battling hard to reach out to people, Smriti Irani has infused new hopes into cadres.
Political affiliations aside, the current spate of Indian politics is deplorable. It is unfortunate that Indian Parliamentarians, shirking the responsibilities thrust by the electorate are in default electioneering mode constantly drawing political mileage from any exigency. Undermining national interests, they are constantly engaged in political slug-fest. It is beyond logical understanding as why Indian politicians fail to understand that issues like national-security are simply undebatable. There can be no second opinions on issues related to sovereignty and integrity. Nation is above ideological affiliations. It is an uncontestable fact. Does this peculiar tribe of politicians be reminded of that basic virtue?