India Wants To Know: Why Do Our Prime Ministers Remain Tight Lipped During Crises?

Posted on August 8, 2015 in Politics

By Sanjana Chowdhury

The government is willing to discuss everything“, or so said our Parliamentary Affairs minister before this fiasco of a parliament session started.

Apparently, our government is willing to discuss everything but what needs to be discussed. As an Indian citizen, it completely befuddles me: Why is our social media-savvy prime minister tight-lipped at this crisis? However, a closer look seems to reveal that Mr. Modi is not as outspoken as he claimed before the election.

Narendra Modi UN Address
Starting with the Pune techie murder case last June where Hindu Rashtra Sena members beat to death a Muslim software engineer to the demands of Humara Adhikar protests in December, NaMo has maintained a dubious silence on controversial grounds despite all his tweets and selfies. Even when The New York Times slammed Modi for his “dangerous silence” regarding the cases of Church burning, GharVapsi and Shiv Sena hooliganism earlier this year, he only perpetuated his unresponsiveness. While the nation has been boiling over the One Rank One Pension protests, the PM went on being taciturn. Even the Vyapam scam could not break his “maun vrat“.

Modi On Mute

Despite demands from the Opposition to break his silence, the usually vocal NaMo chooses to prolong his “deafening silence“. This whole brouhaha over Vyapam and Lalitgate has dented the veneer of glibness that characterises our current Prime Minister. As Congress President Sonia Gandhi put it, “The ‘#MannKiBaat’ man appears to retreat into a ‘Maun Vrat’ whenever there is a scandal involving his colleagues.

The monsoon session of the parliament has come to a standstill over Opposition’s demand for the resignation of External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi scandal. While Ms. Swaraj claims that the “allegation is false“, 25 Congress MPs got suspended as they clamoured for her resignation.

Why is the man who mocked the former PM as ‘Maun’mohan himself silent in the face of crisis? Has NaMo taken a leaf out of his predecessor’s book?

The Unspoken Similarity

Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was repeatedly accused of silence on the numerous scams and scandals during his tenure. Whether it was IPL scam or 2G scam, Mr. Singh maintained his silence while professing personal innocence and incorruptibility.

It was only through demands of the then Opposition party BJP and Supreme Court intervention, that Union Minister A. Raja and Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal were forced to step down after the 2G scam and railway bribery case. And Manmohan Singh, despite his protestations of guiltlessness, was guilty of being the silent spectator.
NaMo, the once vociferous candidate of the 2014 general election, blamed Singh repeatedly for his peculiar silence. Mr. Singh finally replied rather poetically: “My silence is better than a thousand answers, it keeps intact the honour of innumerable questions.” Now the nation really wants to know: Why is NaMo “maun” too?

What is it with our Prime Ministers and their uncannily similar uncommunicative attitude? As election candidates and Opposition members they are articulate about injustices and demands, and wax eloquent about their missions. But when it comes to walking the talk, they are tongue-tied.

Narendra Modi’s silence is getting louder and louder though the demand for answers rises over the din. It is time for him to remember that as the Prime Minister of India he leads us, the tens of thousands of Indian citizens. And the elected head of the country has no right to be speechless when the nation faces internal crises. Indeed, whom shall we look up to if our leaders fail to voice the truth?