Congress MP Shashi Tharoor recently noted that it is hard to get people’s attention towards the Pegasus issue when they are already burdened with the effects of the pandemic and facing a financial crunch. He is right in accepting the opposition’s inability to make themselves heard. However, he has quoted all the wrong reasons for people’s apathy. The public is indifferent because of the opportunism India’s opposition has shown.
While facing the second wave of the Covid pandemic, the public looked with expectation towards the Opposition to expose the Narendra Modi government’s bad policies and hold it accountable. However, not a single senior leader of any Opposition party took on the government on the ground. They sat in the comfort of their homes, fearing for their lives and doing keyboard-politics. While the poor walked a thousand miles back to their villages, they found no Tharoor walking beside them in solidarity.
But when it came to their own privacy and the alleged use of Pegasus, they came on the road and blocked the functioning of Parliament. As a result, bills are getting passed without any deliberation. The public can see this opportunism very well. People know that all this opposition is worried about is dislodging the current government from power. They provide no credible alternative.
On a closer look, it becomes clear that Pegasus has not had much impact on the lives of the public. Privacy is the luxury of the rich and powerful. The poor and powerless face coercion daily and has to provide her Aadhaar to even take a breath (metaphorically). Most of their personal data is up for sale at multiple online sites. So they do not have much left to lose.
The voter who votes for two different parties in parliamentary and assembly elections held on the same day might be semi-literate, but is no fool. If the opposition has to dislodge the current dispensation from power, it must work tirelessly for the whole five years and not just show up at election rallies. We the people understand the urgency of the situation, but we also know that medicine cannot be worse than the disease itself.
Pradeep Mishra is a student of ForumIAS Academy, Delhi. Views are personal.