Even before the news of the Kollam temple tragedy had been adequately grasped by a shocked citizenry, the news came that no less than the Ptime Minister is heading for the site with widely publicised photos of medical experts (raising obvious question why would they wear their dresses to the plane if not for government’s publicity?)
This step of PM Narendra Modi has come for intense scrutiny as politicians indulging in tragedy tourism is a widely resented, but still for the PM himself to do it is taking political conduct to another low.
The step is condemnable for multiple reasons.
Impedes Rescue efforts
As PM is a high security personnel whose visit requires great allocation of security and protocol, his visit to the tragedy site creates unnecessary diversion from rescue effort. The already overstressed administration has to divert its scant resources to PM’s protocol and security instead of best responding to the needs of those injured and trapped.
Should any responsible public servant (or Pradhan sevak as PM described himself) indulge in such tragedy tourism just because tragedy happens to be in a state where elections are on and a few photos there can help garner some extra votes?
Futile and unnecessary centralisation
Should a PM of 1.2 billion people be overseeing site operations (his supporters have claimed in his defence that he is overseeing relief) when the tragedy does not involve any security or other inter-state elements which would have made central government’s intervention helpful.
Here the unsought presence of centre (probably to cash in on the tragedy in the midst of an election) only amounts to making state government less effective due to command and control problem which arises when there are too many authorities running the show.
It also amounts to overcentralisation and misuse of central resources the very evil Modi promised to rid India of.
Cynical milking of tragedy for political benefits
So, when the presence of the PM is neither helpful to dealing with the tragedy nor is it his responsibility to be there, it only strengthens the suspicion that the he is engaging in worst sort of behaviour by trying to milk the tragedy to gain votes in the ongoing election.
Espcially as he rarely rushes to accident sites when it occurs in states governed by his own party or its allies.
For much of Pathankot, Punjab(ruled by BJP-SAD) Modi was nowhere to be found despite this being a terror attack on an Airbase where central government has direct role to play or when there was stampede in Andhra Pradesh (ruled by TDP-BJP) again Modi was nowhere to be seen.
Puts in doubt his claim of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas- Overkill in temple tragedy contrasts with his reluctance to act when victims are minority
The nation in the past few months have seen several instances where members of minority community have been targetted and killed by groups associated with PM’s party over issues such as Love Jihad, Beef and national flag. All though such incidents where his intervention may have actually restored some sanity, Modi was conspicuous by his studied silence.
But when majority community is hit by tragedy he goes on overdrive and reacts with lightening speed.
This difference in sensitivity to plight of minorities an majorities doesn’t square with his claim to promote Sabka sath Sabka Vikas and puts question mark over the impartiality he has sworn an oath to.
From whichever angle one looks at it one finds it hard to appreciate Modi’s overzealous intervention in Kollam temple tragedy. It reeks of opportunism and petiness that does not behove the high office he holds.
Also his hopes of making much hay from the tragedy is an extremely misplaced one as most voters see through such acts and are infact cyncial and critical of it.
Hopes Modi realises this and exhibits statesmanly behaviour that one expects from the PM of world’s largest democracy.
Views expressed here are the author’s own and www.jantakareporter.com doesn’t subscribe to them. You are free to write a counter blog if you don’t agree with the arguments made in the blog above.