|O P Dhankar [Courtesy The Hindu]|
Farmers are criminals and cowards, according to the BJP. The party’s agricultural minister in Haryana, Mr O P Dhankar, explained the logic. “Committing suicide is a crime, according to Indian law. Any person who commits suicide escapes from his responsibilities and leaves the burden on his wife and innocent children and such people are cowards.” Mr Dhankar was the former head of the BJP’s Kisan Cell.
It is easy to dismiss Mr Dhankar’s view as a personal opinion. Rahul Gandhi, who seems to have found some enlightenment after his long contemplation abroad, has started questioning the BJP’s anti-farmer policies eloquently if not effectively enough. His lack of effectiveness stems from his lack of vision. It is not enough to question a system; one has to suggest an alternative one. Mr Gandhi is yet to rise to the stature of a leader with any practical vision in spite of rubbing shoulders with the aam aadmi for quite some time.
|Laptops for Haryana MLAs|
Courtesy The Indian Express
Coming back to the BJP, look at what the party did in Haryana recently. While the state did nothing to alleviate the misery of the farmers, it has declared a lot of benefits to the MLAs. Every MLA is being given a free laptop. Every MLA can claim a car loan amounting to Rs 20 lakh. The housing loan for every MLA is increased to Rs 60 lakh. All the 90 MLAs of the state have already received their free laptops. All of them are quite sure to make ‘proper’ use of the car loans and housing loans. And the poor farmers in the state will be labelled “criminals” and “cowards” because they are unable to make both ends meet.
Mr Dhankar did not understand the gravity of his statement or the situation in his state. He stuck to what he said and asserted that some “drama” like suicide won’t make him change his statement. Our tragedy as a nation today is the abundance of leaders like Mr Dhankar who lack understanding and sensitivity. Lack of intelligence is not a crime. But trying to lead a whole people without the ability to understand their problems and needs can be a crime.
Who are the real criminals? Our political leaders or the hapless farmers?