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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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BJP leader Sushma Swaraj today made Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin an issue saying it is 100% a factor in the Presidential election. She was responding to the Congress assault questioning Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s patriotism for working for the British Government in 1942 as a Police Constable. With the Congress making patriotism an issue to defend Pratibha Patil’s candidature for the Presidency, Offstumped takes a critical look at Sonia Gandhi’s track record in putting National Interest above partisan political considerations.

So to refresh everyone’s memory what was Sonia Gandhi’s response to the 7-11 commuter train serial bomb blasts in Mumbai ?

To get to the bottom of all facts and every public statement by Sonia Gandhi on this subject Offstumped first started with Sonia Gandhi’s official website. The site lists around 435 pages of content on Sonia Gandhi 27 of which have any references to Mumbai.  But dig this

Not a single reference to either the 1993 Bomb Blasts or to the July 11th 2006 Bomb Blasts.

Offstumped then moved on to explore the Congress Party’s Official website.

The site which is pretty much a Sonia affair highlighting how irrelevant everyone else in the Congress is, lists about 1140 pages with all kinds of content. It lists about 98 pages of content covering Sonia’s speeches and media comments. About 10 of them with references to Mumbai and 3 of them with specific reference to Mumbai Blasts. The first was the AICC Press release issued on July 11th. Apart from the usual homilies the release quotes Sonia as appealing to the countrymen to

isolate such elements from society 

 demanding the state government to

apprehend the culprits immediately

Note the word terrorism does not occur even once in the entire press release and one is left guessing who she is referring to as “such elements”.

The second is a transcript of AICC Press briefing in the days following the Mumbai Police declaring the 7-11 case solved and accusing Pakistan’s ISI of behind it. The press briefing goes into great length on observing 100 years of satyagraha. There is no mention of 7-11 till a pointed question is posed to Jayanthi Natarajan on  a remark by the BJP President, Shri Rajnath Singh to severe all ties with Pakistan after the Mumbai police revelations about Pakistan. The usual verbal gymnastics from loudmouth Jayanthi apart, this is all she had to say

The revelations of the Pakistan connection in the Mumbai Bomb blast are another issue. This government which is consistently fighting terror on every front has already made it clear that cross-border terrorism and any other form of terrorism will not be tolerated.

Note there was no quote attributed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

That was pretty much it between the two official mouthpieces of the Congress.

Offstumped then went on to scan all of Sonia Gandhi’s utterances in Parliament giving her the benefit of doubt.

Roughly 34 official Government references to Sonia Gandhi and the Mumbai Blasts. Offstumped reviewed each one of them to glean the below.

The most relevant of these which directly to the blasts include

– a MEA Press Briefing on Musharraf’s remarks asking for evidence (no quote attributed to Sonia Gandhi)

– A synopsis of debates in the Rajya Sabha 31 July 2006 with extensive discussion on the blasts (again no quote attributed to Sonia Gandhi)

– A very interesting 13th July edition of the Lakshwadeep Times that talks about Sonia Gandhi visiting Mumbai with Shivraj Patil. Again no quote attribute to Sonia Gandhi but this mind blowing quote attributed to Shivraj Patil

The Government
has enough evidence of
perpetrators of the blasts
and would take stern action
against the culprits and
share all the information
with the people at the
appropriate time,
The Government
has enough evidence of
perpetrators of the blasts
and would take stern action
against the culprits and
share all the information
with the people at the
appropriate time,
The Government
has enough evidence of
perpetrators of the blasts
and would take stern action
against the culprits and
share all the information
with the people at the
appropriate time,

The Government has enough evidence of perpetrators of the blasts and would take stern action against the culprits and share all the information with the people at the appropriate time,

Makes one wonder where all the “enough evidence” vanished and why Shivraj Patil went completely mute on this.

These three very pretty much it. There was not a single utterance by Sonia Gandhi in Parliament on the Mumbai Blasts.

Offstumped decided to be extremely charitable to Sonia Gandhi and decided to scan all news reports between July and December of 2006 for any references to Sonia Gandhi in the context of the Mumbai blasts or even terrorism in general.

A large number of reports carrying the previously mentioned press release and visit to Mumbai with Shivraj Patil, no noteworthy comments attributed to Sonia Gandhi. However the plot thickens on July 17th when the Indian Express reported that  delegation of prominent Muslims led by Syed Shahabuddin has urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take steps to address the issue of the ‘‘whole Muslim community being targeted’’ in the wake of the Mumbai blasts.

The delegation members said Sonia Gandhi has assured them that she would take up the matter with the Home Minister and the Prime Minister.

Then we have 2 months of media silence till Malegaon occurs. We have headlines screaming Sonia Gandhi asks people to remain calm. There are also media reports about Sonia seeking a “more effective” minister to run the Home Ministry, no attributable quotes though.

Then comes the famous Congress Chief Minister’s conclave in September 2006. This is when one really hears Sonia Gandhi speak her mind, and listen to what she has to say

Close on the heels of complaints from Muslims that the community is targeted by security agencies in the wake of terrorist attacks, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said that it was not proper to blame an entire community for any terrorist violence.

An effective police force free from social bias and political pressure was essential to deal with any organization that disturbed communal harmony but for it to be effective such action must also sensitize and mobilize local communities

Notice to the reference to “organization that disturbed communal harmony “.

So when Sonia Gandhi does speaks on terrorism it is laced with political correctness and minority appeasement.

Interestingly not a word from Sonia on the Mumbai Blasts after her 12th July visit. Not even a passing remark in October after the Mumbai Police declared Pakistan’s ISI to be behind it.

Offstumped Bottomline: If Sonia Gandhi’s deafening silence on the Mumbai Blasts explains the Manmohan Singh UPA Government’s delinquency, her remarks laced with political correctness and minority appeasement explain the overall attitude of the Congress in dealing with terrorism.

Sonia Gandhi owes the nation an explanation for her silence on the Mumbai Blasts failing which one can only conclude that Sonia Gandhi has consistently put partisan political interest and minority appeasement above National Interest.

If the opposition makes her foreign origin a political issue, it is but fair game for National Interest doesn’t count very high in her grand scheme of things.

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/07/08/sonia-gandhis-deafening-silence-on-mumbai-bomb-blasts/#comments

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