The entire country was taken by a storm after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the Independence Day. It was said that counter-speech attack did not reflect well on the Independence Day and in a way had politicised a sacrosanct occasion. The Congress hit back at Modi calling him 'a national embarrassment', 'arrogant' and what not.
Strangely, the same day, another chief minister was also seen firing with his gun pointed at the Centre but yet nobody in the senior party in the ruling coalition felt disturbed by the speech, which was far from a friendly one.
J&K CM Omar Abdullah also blasted the Centre, yet none bothered?
The chief minister other than Modi who targetted the Centre on the day was Omar Abdullah, whose state Jammu and Kashmir saw an ugly violence in Kishtwar recently and his government has been drawing flak over the same. Abdullah brought charges that the people of Kashmir are never seen as a part of India and that the process of 'integration' could never succeed in such an atmosphere of distrust.
He said nobody gives a care when a riot breaks out in Bihar or Rajasthan or any other mainstream state in India but all hell breaks loose whenever something happens in Jammu and Kashmir. "I think we have now grabbed an answer to the question that why do we feel us distinct from others?," a charged-up Abdullah said.
Just compare his emotional speech with the counter-attacking voice of Modi. If the latter is held accused of politicising the Independence Day, the former can be well charged off inciting negative feelings. If the Congress found terrible fault with one, then why the other was spared?
The Congress even defended the Abdullah government over the Kishtwar violence and watching the fun quietly when the J&K chief minister unnecessarily dragged his Gujarat counterpart in the issue by raking up the 2002 riots. There was no reaction even after Abdullah uttered those words from Srinagar that can never be considered suitable for India's internal harmony.
Contradictions of the Modi and Abdullah stories
While Modi spoke out of an ambitious zeal to take a matter overlooked by the Centre himself, Abdullah spoke out in the same tone to cover his government's failure.
Abdullah claimed that Kashmir always attracted the media attention while many of the mainstream states escape even if bigger issues are involved. Nothing can be more misleading than this. If Kashmir is more in news, then what would Narendra Modi and his Gujarat say?
It is a strange thing that while Modi's detractors are always on their toes, those of Abdullah are mostly found sleeping. If Modi is still not let off the hook 11 years after the 2002 riots, Abdullah doesn't face any heat from the 'human rights-friendly' quarters even if blood is spilled on the streets of his state quite often.
Kishtwar happened within three years of the Srinagar violence of 2010 but yet we saw the chief minister of the state making dramatic expressions before the people on the Independence Day and invoking regional pride. Just imagine had there been another riot in Gujarat between 2002 and 2013!
Modi had credited the people of Gujarat for the people's prosperity while taking on the prime minister. In essence, it was a positive signal that Modi compared the Gujarat model of development with India. He even cited the examples of other states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and also chief minister like J Jayalalithaa for their good work in spheres of governance.
A CM spoke in a divisive language
Abdullah, on the other hand, sustained the feeling of division by uttering words like "mainstream states". If the chief executive of a sensitive state speaks a mind which is essentially stagnant in its vision, then there is little chance that his state will move forward. Abdullah could have spoken about a 'Kashmir model of governance' or how an economic slowdown in India is affecting Kashmir. He didn't do that and kept blaming others for not emphasising the state's integration with India.
Yet, the senior party in the central government did not feel the urgency to counter it. Abdullah was expected to speak in a voice that would encourage a process of integration but he was found speaking the language of the frustrated representatives of the state.
The Abdullahs have always been the bridging factor between New Delhi and Srinagar. Despite the misgovernance, the unwelcome suggestions on settling the Kashmir problem, the human rights abuse stories, the radicalisation of the state politics, the political dynasty of the state continued to remain in focus of New Delhi.
J&K receives massive central funds and yet attack the Centre whenever there is a crisis
The state has been receiving massive funds from the Centre (74 per cent of the state revenue comes from the Centre) and yet its chief minister feels the need to rake up the patriotic sentiments to shield his government's failure. Modi, on the other hand, leads a state towards greater progress and yet his detractors and a section of the media are busy finding where Gujarat has faltered in the last 11 years. Where has Kashmir faltered despite receiving massive financial help, do they ask?