By Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo
The realm of Indian politics would be remembered for its dramas, strong rhetoric, hot rallies and road shows in 2022. Amid these, statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also drew the nation’s attention. On September 16, PM Modi left an impression on the global community when he advised Russian President Vladimir Putin against the war and suggested that food, fertiliser and fuel security are among the major concerns of the world at present. “I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi told Putin on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan, adding that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue will keep the world together.
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Modi’s remarks were later echoed by countries around the world, including the United States and France, who urged Putin to end the war. While speaking at the UNGA high-level debate, France President Emmanuel Macron, who shares a close relationship with Modi, said, “Narendra Modi was right when he said the time is not for war. It is not for revenge against the West or for opposing the West against the East. It is the collective time for our sovereign equal states to cope together with challenges we face.”
Dr Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, also welcomed the statement saying, “We were heartened by Prime Minister Modi’s comments last weekend.” Recently, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also told reporters that what the Prime Minister of India said was “a statement of principle on behalf of what he believes is right and just (and) it was very much welcomed by the US.”
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On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi’s reaction on Gujarat’s Morbi Bridge falling is equally appreciated. Gandhi refused to answer when asked who he thought was responsible for the tragedy.
“I don’t want to politicise the incident. People have lost lives, and it would be disrespectful for them to do it. I don’t want to do politics on it,” Gandhi had responded to reporters while attending an event during Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which was passing through Telangana. Even though many did not speak about it openly due to their political affiliation, it was well received by one and all.
Gandhi has been carrying out a big campaign through ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to reclaim his party’s lost electoral position. Gandhi had said that he is on a march to spread love among people. The Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra recently finished its 100th day. The BJP described it as a re-launch of ‘brand Rahul’. The 3,570-kilometer journey from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir will take 150 days.
Let’s talk about other political events in India. I tried to cover all of the major political events in India in short on other pages. You will learn when you get to the end of the book. In the meantime, I’ll tell you about some interesting things that will be remembered for a while, like how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took over Punjab from the Congress and laid the foundation for a promising political future. With this, AAP got its first full state (Delhi is a Union Territory).
Earlier, the BJP’s wins in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat also created records. In 1985, Narayan Dutt Tiwari was the last Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister to win two terms in a row. This is the first time in 37 years that a ruling party has come back to power in Uttar Pradesh. In Gujarat, the BJP broke its own record by winning 156 of 182 seats and forming the state’s seventh government, while the AAP won 5 seats on its debut. AAP also took over Delhi MCD, which had been run by the BJP for the past 15 years.
Besides, the election for Congress president was also a major event as it was held after 25 years. Mallikarjun Kharge, a veteran Congress leader and a staunch Gandhi family loyalist, was the new Congress President. Kharge popularly known as ‘solillada Saradara’ (a leader without defeat), has won elections for a record 11 consecutive times in Karnataka assembly and Lok Sabha Polls. Kharge won the election with 7,897 votes, compared to Shashi Tharoor’s 1,072 votes. The election was held on October 17, and the vote count was conducted on October 19.
Note: On December 25, 2022, this piece was originally printed in a weekly magazine.