Ever since PM Narendra Modi has brought out a ‘blast from the past’ about how the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had used INS Virat for his family vacation, a great deal of discussion has been taking place on this issue. There is already enough evidence to show that Rajiv Gandhi’s vacation did take place in Lakshadweep’s Bangaram islands The archived report of The Indian Express from 1988 a retired Commander V K Jaitley’s confirmation of INS Virat being used for Rajiv’s family vacation in the island, can be taken as examples for this.
In any case, this episode helps to understand where the priorities lie for different sets of people. When the ‘first family’ thought of Lakshadweep and other islands, one thing that struck their minds was to have a family holiday there. But let’s see how PM Modi viewed Lakshadweep and other Islands.
Lakshadweep Islands: The contrasting approaches
Not just Lakshadweep, but the Modi government has given unprecedented attention to the development of all the Islands belonging to the country. You can read about it in our previous article, From Mainland to Islands: Development Reaching Everywhere.
Since Lakshadweep is in the news in the backdrop of Rajiv’s holiday saga, let’s see how the Modi government and PM Modi have made news when it comes to this particular group of islands. The headlines below tell a story.
So, the above pictures retelling the developments through Modi period tell an endearing story. When PM Modi and his government reaches Lakshadweep or any Indian Island for that matter, it is for offering new developmental roadmap for the region, to address the concerns arising out of natural calamities, to meet the youth and students and to know their aspirations, to develop the islands strategically and to make them tourism-friendly. There are tax incentives in place for the investors who show interest to invest in manufacturing and service sectors in these islands.
And for the particular family of Congress which ruled India for the longest period, you must have a fair idea by now what the far away islands meant for them.
We just wonder whether Congress President Rahul Gandhi is still fond of Octopuses in Lakshadweep. As reported in The Telegraph, this is what a memoir of retired bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah who has close ties with Nehru-Gandhi family, describes related to Lakshadweep islands.
In conclusion, Lakshadweep is just a small example here. The story essentially is about how the two models of governments work in different ways, one for the self and other that works for the greater good of the public.