Express Opinion: Tying up loose ends, Congress makes strong case for national security

Afzal Guru

Better late than never, is what Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in the morning, a rather simple reaction to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging in Tihar Jail today.

The BJP has made a strong case for hanging Afzal Guru, constantly critiquing the government for delaying this decision. But the UPA has now taken the wind out of that campaign. All the BJP can now do is harp on the delay in executing the death sentence.

It looks as if the UPA government is tying up all loose ends in the last months before fresh elections next year. And the main thing on the agenda is to make a muscular, robust case for national security.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had accused the RSS and the BJP of promoting Hindu terror in its training camps and claimed to have received investigative reports to substantiate it. Though he later said terror has no colour, the Congress is sending signals that it is the party to look up to in cases of national security. And that it will crack down, through the due process of law, on any one trying to harm national security. Given the international environment - the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, the recent beheadings of Indian soldiers at the LoC - the Congress is aiming to emerge as the 'protector'.

With this act too, the image of the party as indecisive is fading. President Pranab Mukherjee acted swiftly on the Home Ministry's recommendation that Guru be hanged, unlike his predecessor Pratibha Patil. Guru's hanging also follows close to that of Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab.

'Our credentials are strong,' is what the Congress has put out with Guru's hanging today. Is it now trying to make people think about the terror attacks when the BJP was in power?

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