Sunday, April 26, 2009

It’s the Prime Minister’s turn to get the shoe

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

If the 2009 Lok Sabha elections will be remembered in the future for one reason it will surely politicians getting the shoe. What journalist Jarnail Singh started as a mark of protest seems to have triggered a chain of events and doesn’t seem to have an ending soon. After P Chidambaram, Naveen Jindal and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani it was the turn of Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh to be at the receiving end during an election rally Gujarat.

The shoe missed the Prime Minister and landed just near to him distracting him for a moment. The shoe thrower was immediately whisked away by the SPG (Special Protection Group) who detained him for questioning. He was later identified as Hitesh Chauhan, a 21-year-old student pursuing a computer course in a local engineering college. Chauhan however said he does not belong to any political group but did to reveal what provoked him to take such a step.

The surprising thing came from the Prime Minister who decided to pardon Chauhan and requested the authorities not to take action against him. Well in this election season our politicians will not dare to take on people even if they are at the wrong side of law. They are ready to take a few shoes if that means they have a better chance in the polls. All our leaders seem to have learnt the phrase ‘forgive and forget’.

Was it right on the part of the Prime Minister’s part to do that well that’s a debatable issue? Home Minister had pardoned the offender in the first incident keeping in mind the elections but that generous act seems to have encouraged irresponsible citizens to hurl shoes at our leaders. Law should be allowed to take its own course in such incidents and politicians should not intervene in such matters.

As for people like Hitesh Chauhan they should be dealt with strongly under the law of the land. Showing shoe at a leader is no way to show grievance let alone the Prime Minister of the country. The democratic system technically has its methods for protest and certainly a shoe is not the method in a civilised society. Lastly we can just hope this incident is last among the ugly incidents that have happened this election season.


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