Tongue-tied

TONGUE-TIED

The handling of the public anger at the brutal gangrape of a young woman in Delhi by the government has come under severe criticism by the Sangh Parivar mouthpieces. Both the Organiser and Panchjanya have carried cover stories highlighting the police action and the clampdown on the protests in the national capital. While criticising the tactics employed by the government as reminiscent of state control during the Emergency, the cover story and the editorial in the Organiser claim that the "sheer absence of communication skills" is the reason behind the establishment's failure to "engage" with an "aspirational citizenry... demanding more from their rulers".

The Organiser, in fact, has highlighted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to break his silence a week after the incident by contrasting it with US President Barack Obama's address "within hours" after the Connecticut school shooting. It has also compared how Sonia and Rahul Gandhi sought to only cosmetically engage with the protesters with how the then external affairs minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, pacified protesters after the kidnapping, rape and killing of young Geeta and her brother Sanjay in 1978, despite the fact that Vajpayee was hit by a stone thrown from amidst the protesters. It also mentions how L.K. Advani ignored the "smouldering" situation during the anti-Mandal agitations and visited a critical student after his attempt at self-immolation.

DEVELOPMENTAL DECLINE

An editorial in Panchjanya has described the recent National Development Council (NDC) meet to approve the Twelfth Five Year Plan as another occasion that allegedly exposed the government's "aimlessness" and "lack of (political) will" to assure the country of future economic well-being. Claiming that the PM failed to give positive signals about the right "directions and intentions" of economic policy, the editorial claims he signalled the further burdening of the common citizen with more price rises for diesel and kerosene.

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