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‘Ex-Jawan Tej Bahadur Was a Poor Choice of Candidate Against Modi’

“An undisciplined jawan like Tej Bahadur can’t possibly become a good lawmaker,” writes an ex-BSF ADG.

Updated
Opinion
4 min read
Image of PM Modi and ex-BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, used for representational purposes.
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I am no admirer of Mr Modi, but I think that former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav was not the ideal opponent to the prime minister, notwithstanding the media going ballistic over the rejection of his (Yadav’s) nomination papers.

Yadav, in a surprise move, was made a joint candidate of the Mahagathbandhan, to fight the PM from Varanasi. Allotted the symbol of the Samajwadi Party, the fight is unlikely to happen, unless the Supreme Court – which Yadav has threatened to approach, alleging bias – overturns the decision of the Returning Officer.

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‘An Undisciplined Person Like Tej Bahadur Is Not Fit To Become A Lawmaker’

Without going into the merits of the Returning Officer’s decision (to reject Yadav’s nomination papers), I unequivocally believe that an undisciplined person like him is not suitable to become a lawmaker. Folks on social media are lamenting that while a terror-accused (read: Pragya Thakur) can fight elections, a soldier is not being allowed to do so. While these arguments have merit, my point is: why add another rotten apple to the basket? Not only that, why should we elect a lawmaker who neither has the mental faculty nor vision to be one? Arguments which go ‘there are so many such undeserving cases who get elected so why not him,’ only serve to highlight the fact that we, the electorate, have been unable to put pressure on political parties to put up better candidates.

It is my belief – and a documented fact in the records of the BSF – that the ex-jawan is an undisciplined person who managed to hog the limelight by raising the issue of ‘bad food’ in the BSF a couple of years ago. His video led to a spate of similar such videos from all other forces, creating an impression that nothing was right with them, including food living condition, etc.

The media actively collaborated to paint a gloomy state of affairs in the armed forces. They tried to make a case that the jawans are ill-treated, and led the life of “serfs”, with officers lording over them. The media appeared to be hellbent on driving a wedge between the troops and the leadership.

All May Not Be Well Within Armed Forces, But Yadav Is No Standard to Measure the Forces By

I, myself, participated in panel discussions on a prominent rabble-rousing English news channel for two days. The anchor gave a free hand to some participants, who painted the entire leadership of the defence forces and Central Armed Forces in black. They dubbed them all corrupt, and alleged maltreatment of troops at the hands of officers and their families.

Discussions became so acrimonious that Ex-Chief of Army Staff, General Roychowdhury, lamented that the anchor ‘could not have done a better job of spreading unrest wit, in the armed forces’.

I am not at all suggesting that all is well with the forces and there is no scope for improvement. There always remains scope for improvement in the quality of food and other resource and people-management-related issues. The leaders of an armed force like BSF are aware that the manpower resource is their mainstay.

Therefore, leaders take all possible steps to ensure that the morale of the troops remains high and they are well-motivated to carry out the assigned tasks at all times. Isolated incidents like the one projected by Yadav cannot be the measure of the quality of the general administration in these organisations. I am sure that the forces would have taken adequate steps to further improve these aspects.

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A Bankruptcy in Political Leadership

Yadav is a creation of the media, and has managed to remain in the limelight by indulging in some or the other antic over the last couple of years. The exploitation of the fact that he once wore the uniform, fits well with the nationalistic fervour that the country is experiencing. It is these sentiments that prompted the Samajwadi Party to select him to fight Modi, at the expense of picking an established leader.

This is an adverse commentary on the thought process of political leadership, and goes to prove that political parties prefer gimmickry over merit, as a measure of winnability. It also exposes the bankruptcy of their mindset, and propensity to indulge in inanities.

The electorate these days is intelligent and considers various factors before voting. That is the reason that, after the initial euphoria, even the Balakot air strikes stopped getting traction. I do not think that Yadav is “anybody” in the eyes of the masses, even though he may be the darling of the media, and popular among similarly-placed ex-soldiers. Having interacted with many serving and retired force personnel, I know this for sure, that neither he nor his act is viewed in good light by them.

The Samajwadi Party could have certainly chosen better, especially since this was a fight against candidate Modi.

(The writer retired from the BSF as an additional director-general. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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