Dear Rahul Gandhi,
You do not know me. By way of introduction, I am an Indian of the diaspora in possession of the Overseas Indian Citizenship which grants me all the rights of an Indian citizen except the right to vote, run for public office or work for government. And I do still have a strong connection with India but no partisan interests. And I continue to care, think and write about the country.
I was back in Kolkata on the night of November 8th when Prime Minister Modi made illegal the tender of 86%of the Indian currency unless tendered within certain periods at certain institutions under certain conditions. The so-called demonetisation has taken a sever toll on aam Bharatis’ lives and livelihoods. Its original rationale of fighting black money/corruption and terror has now metamorphed into absolute non-sequiters. And as the forgery, corruption and illegitimate hoarding of the new notes show, this most ill thought of Modi’s actions, will have a negligible if any effect on black money, corruption or terrorism.
I mention demonetisation only to point out that unfortunately the Congress’ response to it has been worse than anaemic.
No democracy can function well without an effective opposition robustly holding the government’s feet to the fire on matters such as the ill fated demonetisation. And for the longest time Congress, the largest party in opposition, hasn’t lived up to Indians’ expectations. In government it had allowed itself to be a vehicle for corruption and endless scams. In opposition its record has been shockingly lacklustre.
And now you have dared the Prime Minister to sit and listen in Parliament when you speak about “his personal corruption” about which you claim to have important information; so important that if revealed in the Lok Sabha, you claim it will cause “an earthquake” and “explode [Modi’s] balloon”. You maintain BJP will ensure you don’t get to speak in Parliament because Modi is “personally terrified” of what you might have to say. BJP are accusing you of grandstanding arguing you could have spoken anytime you wished. You and the rest of the opposition accuse Modi of contempt for Lok Sabha as he hasn’t sat down to hear or participate in the debate. To an observer from afar both sides seem childish and need to get on with the business of the nation without any further obstructions or delay.
To reveal the “truth” about Mr. Modi, you could speak anywhere in India. No matter where you speak, if what you have to say is important and is in fact earth shaking, India, all of India, everyone in every corner of it– eager to fight corruption, will pay heed. But you insist you must speak only in the Lok Sabha. It is this latter condition of yours that causes me to ask: Why?
I do not know the information in your possession, nor its gravity or veracity. I know Lok Sabha does provide immunity against any legal actions for libel or defamation. But truth, no matter where it is spoken or by whom, is a complete defence to any claim for defamation. The truth spoken outside the Lok Sabha is as powerful and immune to legal challenge as the one uttered inside it. Speak up Mr. Gandhi, outside the Lok Sabha, if not allowed to do so inside, and then let the chips fall where they may.
Truth is truth: why fear uttering it in the public square. If what you have is rooted in truth, it should be as easy to make public as just blurting it out. Pray tell then, why the insistence on speaking in Lok Sabha only?
An Indian of the diaspora