Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: When wars were fought during the olden days, there were set rules for them. No fighting after sunset, no causing harm to the women and children. Sardar Patel brought together 562 princely states and integrated them into independent India and the governance of the country was given in the hands of the new age, modern rulers. But these so-called modern rulers have quashed all the rules and seems like they got into an open contest on who stoops the lowest. Our country has examples of leaders, who are sworn enemies in the parliament and legislative assemblies, abusing each other at every given chance, but are partners in businesses in secret. These leaders come out in the open only when the polls are near. A similar situation can be seen now as the 2019 general elections are nearing. In 2014, the citizens of the country accepted that Congress means corruption and it was the need of the hour to weed out corruption from the roots, and thus BJP was given the power of governance.

The citizens of states like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, where the BJP is in power, are now expecting answers from their leaders on what they have done for them. The citizens are also of the belief that the Congress will fulfill its duty of being the opposition and will call out the fallacies of the BJP. And thus the citizens have now taken the place of a judge; seeking answers from the BJP on what it did while in power and what the Congress did as the opposition in the government. The BJP has had its share of mistakes, which the Congress can use to question them. But leaders of Congress instead went for Modi’s mother and father, something even the anti-Modi voters didn’t approve of.

There is a limit of stooping low, but by dragging Prime Minister Modi’s mother and father’s name in the slugfest, the Congress seems to have crossed all its limits. But the ministers of BJP too have decided that they will one-up their opponents Congress by stopping further low. They went ahead questioning the lineage and clan of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. This competition between BJP and Congress on who hits further below the belt has now crossed its limits. Because of lack of awareness, sometimes the Congress wins, sometimes the BJP does. But we citizens must instead use the NOTA (None Of The Above) to bring to task such leaders and ministers from both factions. Such leaders and parties, who don’t care about the issues of its citizens, must not deserve to be in power or opposition.

There is a limit to every relationship. Even the opponents deserve respect. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a minister at the centre, he had noticed that the portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru was removed from his office by his staff because BJP and Nehru’s ideologies were opposing. Vajpayee summoned his personal secretary and instructed him that the portrait must be put back where it was. When Narasimha Rao was the prime minister of the country, he was to release a book by him. He was aware of the literary genius of Vajpayee and thus Vajpayee to release the book. He even thanked and considered Vajpayee as his mentor during the speech.

This was once a tradition amongst our politicians. They knew the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents, but would not shy away from praising the good deeds of them in public. They believed in victory but also giving the respect each other deserved. But now, the leaders don’t leave a chance to insult each other. The one in power tries to settle scores with the opposition, while the opposition would keep looking for the flimsiest reasons to attack. The supporters of leaders jostle to click selfies with their leaders, but not with respect for them. Because respect of these leaders has been long auctioned off in the verbal warfare between leaders.

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