London: It is beyond belief that much of the Indian political establishment reacted with insouciance at the attempted murder of Narendra Modi in Patna. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s demeaning appearance at a frivolous Bollywood event in carefree mood demonstrates utter contempt for the millions of Indians who regard Modi as their future prime minister. What it also highlighted was the profound degradation of much of Indian political society. It seems that only the first family and the anointed heir and nothing else matters. If there was any doubt on this count, the shameless external affairs and information and broadcasting ministers rushed to confirm it with arrogant disdain for the seriousness of the episode. These beneficiaries of official favour, sans independent public standing and modest talent, should reflect on the dismal political oblivion that awaits them.

The Bharatiya Janata Party ought to have declared proverbial war and should now certainly bring its own security cordon around Modi that I have been urging for months. My initial fear and prediction that such an attempt to assassinate him would occur was apparently confirmed later by intelligence officials to a Delhi academic and journalist. She launched a scathing attack on its possible protagonists. In addition, there are grounds for believing that the flurry of foreign invitations to Narendra Modi, all from countries that follow the United States’ dictates slavishly, may have provided the opportunity for Modi’s removal. Assassinating Modi abroad would be far less consequential than if it were to happen in India. Murdering unwelcome Third World leaders, like Belgian Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, is the customary practice of countries which espouse democracy and human rights with alacrity even as they commit genocide. These countries have long harboured aversion of strong leadership in India and corresponding elation at the horrifying disarray radiating from Delhi’s principal power centre. Courtiers and retainers await imperious signals to act while plundering without pause.

The evidence of the bombings in Patna in the public realm so far may lead both the naive and the well-informed to suspect that everything is not quite what it seems. The bomb intended for Modi himself, under the dais, may have failed to detonate, but one may still deduce that the entire terrorist operation was specifically designed to eliminate the Gujarat chief minister. The other bombs may have been a ruse to divert attention from the real culprits, far removed from the alleged Indian Mujahideen activists conveniently arrested, who instigated and facilitated the assassination attempt. One bomb alone under the dais would have made the purpose abundantly clear. But the alleged discovery of material that the bombers had sought to maximum casualties among women and children and that the motivation was the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar points to something more sinister. Such wicked boasts, even if they were true, are uncharacteristic of Islamist terrorists and begin to hint at official complicity in the attempt to assassinate Modi and create false trails to mislead the public.

Alas, it is Nitish Kumar who is the biggest loser, emerging as a politician without scruple or dignity. Unlike Manmohan Singh and his appalling controllers, Nitish Kumar possessed independent standing and achievements to his credit. Along with the Bharatiya Janata Party, which deserves every credit for the progress Bihar made since the banishment of the awful Lalu Prasad Yadav, he accomplished much that was universally admired and applauded. He has now revealed himself to be no better than his power-hungry predecessor in Bihar or their counterpart in neighbouring West Bengal. All of them are determined to hold on to power at any cost. The Patna bombs make that even less likely than it seemed before, which may become Nitish Kumar’s political epitaph. The decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party to go it alone, though forced on them by Nitish Kumar, was always the correct strategy I had argued for, which the extraordinary crowds that came to hear and see Modi resoundingly validate.

The senior Bihar police official who sought to excuse the total security failure by disputing that there was any specific input from the Centre, which Central agencies routinely claim to have conveyed after every terror outrage, only condemned his own abysmal professional incompetence. Did it not occur to the buffoon that the absence of an input or specific information is always possible, by definition, because the authorities cannot detect every plot and conspiracy? And isn’t it imperative that appropriate steps be taken when a declared assassination target is scheduled to appear in public? It is astonishing to learn that the use of sniffer dogs to sterilize the dais was vetoed. By whom and at what level did this veto originate? Much needs to be explained and it is one more persuasive reason for the establishment of a judicial commission, in the aftermath of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to examine egregious violations of the law and the Indian Constitution, by politicians and senior government officials, amounting to virtual treason.

Editor’s note: Not so long ago, a combative chief minister was warned by a senior functionary of a rival political party to not adhere to scheduled timings at public appearances, but to reach earlier or later, after taking the most intimate of the organizers into confidence. It was an indirect message that the chief minister’s life was under threat, and not necessarily from terrorists. The chief minister has since followed the advice. This precaution, certain agencies recommend, should also be taken by Narendra Modi, who was saved by appearing at the Patna rally 40 minutes late.