Time to place country above party

It’s about time the UPA began worrying— not as much for its own survival but that of India. One doesn’t really care who spread the rumors that made people from the north east return home in panic from across India.

The trigger for the exodus lay in states governed by the Congress — Assam and Maharashtra. So the lead party of the ruling combine cannot shrug accountability. The Opposition is responsible to the extent that they failed to counter in the states they ruled — notably Karnataka — a nefariously designed campaign to strike panic amongst settlers from the north east.

The problem could acquire a monstrous dimension if the returnees get led astray and start striking at “foreigners” and “aliens” from elsewhere in India in the manner they were targeted at the height of the Assam ferment of the 1980s. The UPA must take a lead in evolving a national political consensus of the kind seen in Parliament in defense of the fleeing students and bread-seekers from north eastern states.

While devising a sustainable and inclusive strategy, the political class should not lose sight of the myriad sub-nationalist, ethnic and secessionist movement that have been a bane of north eastern India. Rather than concentrating on vote banks the time is to protect the unity and integrity of the country, more so when our none-too-friendly neighbours watch the deteriorating situation with a sense of glee.

The issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh is an issue that has to be handled with equal care. Deft diplomacy, robust internal security and politics above party interests alone can save the day for the country. Tarun Gogoi presides over a house divided in Assam with his detractors within the Congress itching to strike when the iron is hot.

Factionalism within the Congress has to be curbed with a firm hand by its top central leadership. The party that won India freedom cannot allow the country’s emotional and psychological division to fester any more. Power is meant to serve the people and the country. It isn’t a means to perpetrate political vested interests.

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