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Volume 1, No. 3 - August 2001

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To Resign Or Not To Resign

That is a sixty four thousand dollar question. Prime Minister Vajpayee has put himself in a catch-22 situation. Just few days back, when asked whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had put pressure on him to desist from visiting Pakistan, Mr. Vajpayee said, "I don't succumb to any pressure." Now the question is: Should Mr. Vajpayee stick to his word and resign or should he buckle under the pressure from his fellow politicians from NDA and take back his offer to resign? In either case, he will be not living up to his word.

Now is that the kind of leadership we Indians ought to have?

As per Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan, Prime Minister expressed his desire to quit office in view of his inability to have the NDA function in a coherent and disciplined manner.

Now that is a good reason to resign. Isn't a leader supposed to have the ability to run his government in a coherent and disciplined manner? Isn't that a requirement? And if the person in question (PM Vajpayee) is himself accepting his inability, then how come all the NDA leaders are offering to ignore that inability? Are they in a way telling the mass public that it does not matter even if the government is not performing in a coherent and disciplined manner? We wonder.

BJP party sources also said that the criticism by a section of the NDA over the Government's handling of the Agra Summit and the latest attack by Shiv Sena regarding the UTI muddle had anguished the Prime Minister.

Well, what is the recourse?

Should Shiv Sena Member Parliament Sanjay Nirupam keep quiet just because his statements might anguish the PM? Should a concerned citizen keep quiet about the day-to-day terrorism going on in the country just because that might anguish the PM?

What should a common citizen do?

Just be quiet and move on? Before raising a voice, worry about what might anguish our revered PM and what might make our PM happy? If Sanjay Nirupam spoke for all those millions of UTI's US-64 fund holders who have been wronged, what wrong did he do? We guess he should have been more concerned about PM's likes and dislikes.

What has happened to the concept of "Accountability"? When we as citizens vote a particular leader and/or a party to power, we vote our trust in that particular leader and/or party. We do not vote for them just for the sake of voting. We repose our confidence in them because we believe that they will live up to their own promises. But if a leader does not live up to his/her own promises, what do we ought to do? Let them run the country in an undisciplined manner till the next elections? Or let the people of the country speak up?

Let us take a brief look at the performance of our most recent PM. Before and during elections, PM and his party (BJP) promised the following to the citizens of India:

- Abrogation of Article 370, that gives undue privileges to the state of Jammu & Kashmir

- Uniform Civil Code (Abolition of discriminatory laws like Muslim Personal Law)

- Eradication of terrorism across the country and

- Economic reforms and growth.

Now as far as the first two items are concerned, PM Vajpayee and his government has tabled these forever. It has not even talked about these issues and does not even intend to.

As far as Eradication of Terrorism is concerned, all one needs to do is to read the headlines of daily newspapers and one will get an idea of the performance of current government in this area. Time and again, this government has shown the lack of political will to deal with this menace of terrorism in the name of religion. Who can forget hijacking of IC-814 and Kandahar? Time and again, this government has proven how flawed their policies have been. The most recent example is the seven-month unilateral cease-fire in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. As per government’s own admission, as compared to the killings of innocent people in the seven-month period before the unilateral cease-fire, the number of innocent killings rose in the seventh-month period of cease-fire. Now that is an honest admission. And the story does not end there. The mass killings by Islamic terrorists on a daily basis in the State of Jammu & Kashmir continue to scare innocent citizens. And the story is no different in other flash points in North Eastern states.

And finally the Economic reforms and growth. Well, the UTI scam tells it all. Do we need to say more?

So what is that this government has achieved in his tenure? One thing and that is Nuclear Capability. Our Hats Off to those who had the courage to take that decision.

But what happened after that? How come, after that great achievement, we have been continuously going down the hill? Has our current leadership lost the touch?

In 1987, the once immensely popular Rajiv Gandhi was given the boot by the Indian political system due to the Bofors scandal, which created long-lasting tremors in the establishment. In contrast, the NDA government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee should be termed the Teflon government, since it has survived big and small scandals and failures alike. The Tehelka and UTI scandals combined may be at least of the same magnitude as Bofors.

But bigger still have been a series of failures that Vajpayee has been closely connected with vis-à-vis Pakistan and Kashmir, namely Lahore-Kargil, Kandahar, unilateral "ceasefire", Pant initiative and now the ill-conceived Agra summit. Three years into the Vajpayee era, Musharraf's position has been strengthened as a jehad-spewing dictator by the poet-turned Indian PM, via the Agra summit. The Indian position on Kashmir is in shambles, with the US making regular but subtle threatening noises about mediation and intervention, and the jehadis merrily killing and bombing with the Indian governement steadfastly refusing to cross the Lakshman Rekha of the LOC to destroy their bases.

Yesterday, our revered PM Vajpayee said, “I cannot manage the NDA. I have grown old. I am also unwell. I should leave the chair. That is why, I have decided to resign.”

If all that PM Vajpayee has said is true, then we feel he has the answer to the question: “To resign or not to Resign”.

Subodh Atal, Ph.D.
Lalit Koul
Sunil Fotedar
Editorial Team

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