Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the controversies surrounding Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje, Smriti Irani and others has been the subject of discussion. Daily Jadeed Khabar, in its front-page report (June 29), expressed surprise that, despite “severe pressure from the Opposition on the Lalit Modi affair, the PM has not indicated he will concede, by remaining silent on this issue in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast where he spoke of the international impact of yoga day and his government’s programmes”. Inquilab, on the same day, described Modi’s silence as “puzzling”. The paper highlighted the strong criticism by Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on the PM’s silence, when he asked if the PM was protecting Swaraj, Raje and Irani as part of his Beti Bachao campaign.
Roznama Khabrein (editorial, June 29) writes: “Politics currently is about providing benefits to corporate houses… If Vasundhara Raje is asked to resign, either the BJP unit of Rajasthan would be dissolved or a new BJP would come out of a major split in the party. Pressure on Sushma Swaraj to resign would result in a rebellion by the Advani group. So, it will go on and on. And Rajnath Singh said clearly… that no minister has to resign, so why are people expecting the PM to tell us his mann ki baat about the Lalit Modi affair?”
Jamaat-e-Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in its main front-page commentary (June 25), writes: “The marginalised senior BJP leader, L.K. Advani, once called ‘iron man’, has said that, presently, forces out to crush democracy have risen and the fear of return to Emergency cannot be ruled out. Considering the anxiety in his party due to his statement, Advani tried to claim the target of his comment was the Congress. But his effort did not succeed because the arrow had already pierced the real target. The social and political environment under the Modi government does not need elaboration. The roots of democracy… are being made hollow. The forces blamed by Advani for trampling on democracy are none other than the government and its allied forces.”
The daily Sahafat, in its editorial on June 25, writes: “The period of Emergency is gone, but Emergency-like conditions have been created by the people who had been jailed in 1975. The situation created by Advani with his Rath Yatra (before Babri Masjid’s demolition) was another emergency ignored by the people. His decision to disrupt Parliament during Manmohan Singh’s second tenure as PM was yet another form of emergency… Thus, even though the old Emergency had ended, its evil spirit is still alive.” The weekly Nai Duniya, in its commentary on June 29, discusses possible motivations of Advani and writes: “Advani wanted Modi to make him president (after Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure). But his recent statement reveals that he is losing confidence in the PM… He also feels that behind Sushma Swaraj’s problems are party leaders who do not like him either.”
The daily Hamara Samaj, in its editorial on June 27, writes: “Unmasking the double standards of the BJP government on the issue of terrorism, the government advocate in the Malegaon blasts and other cases, Rohini Salian, has said that ever since the BJP-led NDA government has come to power at the Centre, pressure was being exerted on her to adopt a soft attitude towards terrorists of the saffron hue. This indicates that criminals who are responsible for spreading terrorism in the country… are being protected by the Centre. She said that pressure was being exerted through the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Now, it is for the prime minister to either prove Salian’s allegations false or isolate the leaders and officers who have been blamed by her.”
Editor of Inquilab, Shakeel Shamsi, in his signed column on the same day, writes: “A truthful and nationalist woman lawyer, Rohini Salian… has sent a message to the entire country that those who are true Indians are against terrorism. We salute this honest and brave woman who did not care about her position and income and showed the world that an important organisation like the NIA can also be pressured by saffron terrorists.”
Compiled by Seema Chishti