The missing political unity
It is unfortunate to note that amid a pandemic and border stand-off, India's two leading political fronts are locked in a spat that is outrightly detrimental for the country's interest. True that democracy is a stage for arguments, deliberations and criticism but does the situation appear conducive for that? India's border impasse with China following the death of 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley has expectedly enraged the country. Under such a situation, it is not irrational of the principal opposition party to question the government over the situation prevailing at the border. In fact, it is the opposition parties' constructive criticism that makes democracy more vibrant. While the government may have felt cornered by the scathing attacks of the Congress, unearthing a more than decade-old story and, in turn, demanding an explanation over the same from the latter is rather unbecoming of it. Digging old graves and bickering over the same is not the need of the hour especially when there are issues that require immediate attention. In fact, the current situation demands a unanimous stand from the political parties against the Chinese lurking at our borders and the virus spreading within. Abstruse communication from the government over LAC is as harming to the country as its excessive criticism by the opposition. In essence, both create a bitter atmosphere within the country when there should be a call for unity. The statement by PM citing 'no encroachment by China' as well as Rahul Gandhi's 'surrender' jibe to the PM portray a relatively insensitive and unmindful political front. While internal criticism and deliberation over China episode are necessary, such outright political statements are not benefitting anyone; not the country, not its people and certainly not its army stationed at the border. It is rather surprising that BJP and Congress, irrespective of their rivalry and political norm to incessantly spat, overlooked the ongoing adversities in the country. With the pandemic, floods, border issues, locust swarm, economic crisis, etc., on the plate, it is unfortunate to see our leaders spar rather than prioritise and deal with these issues.
Indian polity does not undermine the country's inherent characteristic of unity in diversity. In fact, the very reason that our Constitution provided for a quasi-federal polity was to allow the constituents of the country (i.e., states) to become one in the face of a crisis. It empowers the Centre to exercise overarching powers since it envisages that the country will have to combat threats as one unit and under one leadership. It should not be difficult to expect such a principle to reflect in current times. The pandemic and LAC stand-off with China are no less than threats to our country. It demands of our political spectrum to join hands just as they did during lockdown when the PM spearheaded India's response to uncertainties risen due to the pandemic. The political stand-off between BJP and Congress should not divert the country's attention from the external threat in China that looms large on our borders as well as the internal spread of a virus that has wrecked the economy and plunged the medical infrastructure into stress. It would be prudent on the part of our leaders to not let their personal rivalries come in way of the country's interest. Democracy is not usually without these arguments but the current situation is not a usual one. Constructive dialogue between both parties over Chinese encroachment and pandemic would instead yield more productive outcomes for the country than the ugly spat that both parties have indulged into. After all, both these parties principally claim to serve the country and its people, who currently require their services urgently, and in different capacities!