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Millennium Post

Shinde’s faux pas a national shame

The union home minister not only has a foot in mouth problem, he also seems to have his feet in the wrong ground at the wrong time. Clearly, the furore over Sushilkumar Shinde’s ‘partying’ at a Bollywood function barely hours after the Patna serial blasts hit the headlines and shook the collective conscience of the nation is justified. Why? Because Shinde is not only a public figure, but he is with whom the buck stops as far as national security is concerned. Hence, Shinde’s presence at the Bollywood party, sharing the dais with actress Kangana Ranaut, was not only a grave error in judgement, it was also a glimpse into how lightly the political figures approach the issue of homeland security. Instead of rushing to the site of the blasts that killed six people and were intended to take down or seriously injure the prime ministerial nominee of the main opposition BJP, Shinde exchanged perfunctory words with the media and the investigative agencies, issuing orders that were at most half-hearted, and showed practically no regret at the incident. That the minister preferred to pose for photographs with a nubile Bollywood nymphet over answering the call of the hour indicates the sheer apathy with which the political top brass, and indeed anyone within the governmental set up, views issues of security, safety and communal violence.

Hence, the obligatory defence of Sushilkumar Shinde by the Congress party, particular the external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, asserting that the home minister ‘has a life beyond the Patna blasts’ is not only misplaced, it is extremely poor in taste. Evidently, it shows what little regard the ruling regime gives to ensuring the safety and security of the members of opposition and how lapses in arrangements are taken for granted. Along with Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, the onus is equally shared by the home minister, whose lapses of reason appear routine rather than exceptional. Time and time again, Shinde’s faux pas have proved to be embarrassments for the government, but obviously, the minister has much to learn still.
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