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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Govt checkmates its critics

Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 22, 2012
First Published: 02:01 IST(22/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:50 IST(22/11/2012)

There could not have been a better time to hang Ajmal Kasab, at least for the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in the state. And, this execution will give the Democratic Front government, both, short and long term political dividends.

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For starters, the timing of Operation X was ideal: five days before the fourth anniversary of the attacks. It also comes just ahead of the winter session of the state legislature.

Over the past year, the ruling coalition has been on the back foot owing to a series of scams — from irregularities in irrigation clearances to land violations by senior politicians. On the security front too there have been several lapses, including the Pune blasts on August 1 and the violence at Azad Maidan on August 11. The government had little to showcase as an achievement.

But Wednesday’s execution changed all of that. It could give the government a handle to take the sting out of the Opposition’s criticism in the coming winter session.

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Another plus for the ruling alliance is that the execution, carried out barely a few days after Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s funeral, is likely to shift public focus away from the Sena and the grieving Thackeray family.

In the long term, Kasab’s execution carried out by following our criminal justice laws will reverberate through the 2014 polls as one of the biggest achievements of the Congress-NCP government in the state. It has generated a trust and goodwill factor where there was none, said political observers.

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“The way the entire operation was carried out, efficiently and in secrecy, despite working across several agencies and ministries shows political maturity. It was a well-orchestrated move that indicates that they (the government) are in control and can deliver the goods,’’ said

B Venkatesh Kumar, a political analyst. For home minister RR Patil, who was removed from the same post in the aftermath of 26/11 attacks, the execution will help silence detractors within the party and in the Opposition.

“As a home minister and at a personal level, I think we had to show that our system works. We can abide by our criminal justice laws and punish those who have killed innocents and waged war against us. I feel satisfied that we have been able to do this,” said Patil, who was reinstated in 2010.

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