Indian Politics- Democracy Wins

Indian Politics- Democracy Wins

Last several years witnessed demonstrations all over the world especially with regard to people’s movement against the establishment. Egypt, Syria, Lahore and New Delhi – to name only a few. These movements are reminiscent of great socialist movements in Russia, China and other communist countries in early twentieth century. Even one can compare Tehreer Square of Egypt with Tiananmen Square of China since the end result of both is known to everybody.

On the other hand, the ‘India against Corruption’ (IAC) movement in India started by Anna Hazare was by and large peaceful. Hazare is a crusader against corruption, started his career as a soldier-driver in Army and later raised his voice against corruption in Maharashtra, India. Successes achieved in the State led him to believe he could replicate the same in whole of the country. So he came to the center stage in New Delhi. His action was prompted by the ruling party’s indifference to mounting miseries of the people in India. India has never recorded as many Scams as in the past five years. Money is swindled and deposited in Swiss banks which are regarded as safe havens for black money with the presumption that nobody can know about them. Of late, Capitalist economy, more so with little government regulatory controls, has helped money accumulation in a few hands. Estate dealers and Fly by night operates have looted poor citizens of India. Legal and illegal betting has been promoted under the very nose of Government like IPL and betting in Cricket. Politicians, bureaucrats, film makers, cricketers and middlemen – all are involved while the poor of India helplessly watch on.

Anna’s IAC movement achieved initial successes and many politicians such as Communists and Trinamul Congress, who are ideologically committed to transparent government functioning, lent their support. But majority of political parties regarded the movement, known popularly by the name of ‘Jan Lok Pal Andholan’, to be against their interests. Among them were hardcore socialists like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Sharad Yadav and the rest in addition to Congress and Bhartiya Janta Party. The Janlokpal bill which was aimed to be a watchdog of government functioning was finally passed after a lot of strife but the clever politicians diluted it to a great extent to safeguard their interests. Since Anna Hazare could not attract substantial number of people in Mumbai, some politicians even ridiculed and challenged him to show his prowess in the elections and demonstrate whether people really supported him and his brand of political set up. That ignited the fuse. Anna’s chief assistant, Arvind Kejriwal, an IITian ex-bureaucrat running an NGO, took leave of him and floated a political party, called Aam Admi Party, much against his wishes. Kejriwal was accompanied by many of his hardcore supporters who wanted to show the Indian politicians that we too can do it. Despite Hazare’s soft corner for his favorite disciple, Kejriwal, the former could not expressly approve of the launch of the political party.

And then the Delhi Assembly elections were held in 2013. Aam Admi Party, regarded by political pundits as a party of no consequence won 28 seats as against 32 seats won by BJP in an assembly of 70 while Congress was a distant third with just 8 seats. This was a substantial victory for Kejriwal as he had steered his party to such a win against all odds. He, however, took support of the same party viz Congress which he had labeled as corrupt and formed a government only to find it could not run and therefore resigned after 49 days. But by the time he had played his game deftly. He had announced several concessions for poor people in Delhi knowing fully that burden of such concessions will be borne be the next government and not by his party if he is not elected. The concessions worked wonders and convinced people that he was their Messiah.

The assembly elections in Delhi were followed by Lok Sabha elections all over the country with a high voltage campaign. Narendra Modi was chosen by Bhartiya Janta Party as their Prime Ministerial candidate who spared no effort to ensure his success with a thumping majority by travelling all over the country, delivering lectures to huge gatherings of people among chants of ‘Modi, Modi’ and promising moon to them while braving the threats of terror plots. Not to be undermined, Arvind Kejriwal, who had earlier trounced Sheila Dixit the then CM of Delhi, chose to fight elections against Narendra Modi in Varanasi with the idea that his win would give him immediate recognition all over India. He, however, avoided any fight against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareilly respectively and Narendra Modi in Vadodra Gujarat. The enthusiasm amongst his party workers was immense especially in urban areas where most of the intellectuals, human rights activists and environmental activists lend their support to Aam Admi Party (AAP). But the bubble burst as the party could not open account anywhere in the country except Punjab where 4 of its candidates were returned while 413 candidates lost their deposits in the rest of the country.

Reversals in Lok Sabha elections did not deter Kejriwal from looking to Delhi as his main bastion to restart his campaign. So he concentrated back on impending Delhi elections. While BJP was rejoicing on its Lok Sabha success and Congress was bemoaning on its failure, AAP was out on streets of Delhi trying to listen to people, identifying with them, and lending them a helping hand wherever possible. Their elected MLAs spent funds allotted to them on public works of importance since the Assembly had still not been dissolved. This rapport paid in the long run. The Central Government on the other hand did nothing perceptible to win over the masses. No sops, no reduction of prices, no ‘Achche Din’ as promised. In fact, luck had provided a chance for BJP to use the drastic fall in petroleum prices to their advantage but they refused to pass on the benefit to people entirely. Price reduction in food articles and vegetables, railway tickets and other perceptible things would have worked wonders. But that was not to be.

The elections to Delhi assembly were held on February 07, 2015 and results declared on February 10, 2015. AAP won with an unprecedented majority never witnessed before. They cornered 67 seats out of 70 seats while BJP could only get 3 and Congress drew a blank. Failure to fulfill tall promises made by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, has been adequately replied by the people of Delhi who remain in the thick of politics day in and day out. But on the other hand, the revolutionary party, AAP, too has promised free wi-fi, free water up to a limit and 50% reduction in electricity prices besides full statehood and fool proof security of women to the people of Delhi and their performance will have to be gauged in future. They have five years to perform in a State that is limited in authority by not being a full-fledged state. What they will do remains to be seen. Surely these developments may have an effect on our neighboring countries too especially Pakistan where Imran Khan has been trying to stage a similar coup through ballot. Indian People have demonstrated that Democracy is above all other things in India.


BJP: Losing friends

You laugh and the world laughs with you, you weep and you weep alone. That is the situation BJP, Modi and Amit Shah  are in today. Haughty behavior , Arrogance and Conceit ! You get 3 out of 70 seats in Delhi, a metro where you swept the Lok Sabha polls recently. And you are left with no friends now all over India.

We find Shiv Sena offering hearty congratulations to Arvind Kejriwal on his resounding success in Delhi. Along with we also find an expression of inner hatred towards the present day BJP high command in their expression of joy. Reason is not far to find. BJP after having managed a majority in the last Lok Sabha elections has been distancing itself from its friends who stood by them for last several decades. All these parties are showing signs of distress and helplessness at this attitude. Some have already left and others are waiting on their wings. This is apart from isolation of its own bigwigs in the party who have resigned to their fate and do not contribute to the think tank of the party which they built over the years.

Experience has shown that India is not a homogeneous state and no single party, howsoever strong it may be, can rule the country from Gujarat to Mizoram and Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. There are cultural, lingual, religious and other differences among states and regions. Unfortunately many of those who have been living like frogs in the well cannot perceive these differences. I remember once P Sangma told Vajpayee that in North East many people are beef eaters and beef is sold in public, how can you think of imposing  uniformity on these issues. Well that says it all. We have to respect regional sensitivities. We have to respect regional parties that have people’s support with them. We have to respect religious practices of others though we may have allegiance to Hinduism.

The first example is the Nitish Modi face off. Nitish Kumar, who was ruling Bihar, had inherited the legacy of socialism from his mentor RM Lohia. During emergency JP Narayan‘s call for total revolution had ignited a light of hope among the socialists and they hoped to usurp power not only in States but Center as well. However, no such revolution ever fructified in India and the Janta experiment after emergency failed miserably. The units of Janta party separated due to ideological differences. There were personality clashes among disciples of Lohia too like Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav etc who formed their separate parties. Nitish therefore had his own compulsions which were not appreciated by Modi. Nitish had to say what he said to stay in power and his opposition to Modi for being nominated as BJP candidate for Prime Minister’s post could slowly have been sorted out later. Nitish, a bitter enemy of Lalu and Congress, had nowhere to go. Similarly, earlier,during Vajpayee’s rule BJP had also estranged Mayawati and Karunanidhi in a similar fashion. Anyway one could still find a rationale in the estrangement of BJP and JDU and accept it as a natural outcome of ideological difference but what happened next?

Fight for power in Maharashtra was next on cards. Shiv Sena has been the only sincere friend of BJP in whole of the country which even RSS recognizes. Hindutava is a strong bond between the two. In fact whatever success BJP may claim today, the ground work for the same has been done by Bal Thackeray of Shiv Sena over past several decades. The first indications of needling Uddhav Thackeray could be seen when his arch MNS rival Raj Thackeray was noticed on the dais of Narendra Modi in Gujarat long before the Lok Sabha elections which must have made Shiv Sena sit up and take stock of the developments. And then the open fight between the two during assembly elections is well documented and need not be repeated. Even the reluctance of BJP to let Shiv Sena respectably share power with them after BJP came in power in Maharshtra has been in bad taste. The differences between the two parties have reached a point of no return and time is ticking for fuse to go off any time.

Now let us talk of Akali Dal. It is a well known fact that Khalistan movement has been directed against India and Hindus in particular. Architects of the idea of Khalistan were Akalis. However, the militant factions of the Dal splintered away and either got annihilated or remain dormant. However, one good strategy of BJP which must be appreciated, is that it never let go of Hindu-Sikh unity and moderate Akalis remain good friends of BJP till date. But recent developments sound alarm bells in the political circles. Seeking open support from parties and religious heads who are inimical to Akali Dal have angered the latter and there are tensions seen in their relations. Dancing religious icons are doing damage to BJP-Akali relations. It is only a matter of time that we may see an open rift between the two.

Friends differ with you, friends warn you, friends punch you but they stand by you when you need them. Do not lose your friends.

 

BJP’s defeat! Organizational Sabotage in Delhi.

I once saw a young boy on a branch of tree cutting it at the place where it grew from main stem. I asked him why was he doing this? He said, “My kite got stuck in the branch and when I tried to release the same, it tore off.” I kept watching him the way CHANAKYA must have watched CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA clearing the thorny hedges. To my dismay the boy fell along with the branch and hurt himself.

Similarly, I have been watching NARENDRA MODI, our Nationalist PRIME MINISTER, since he came to power. He too I am told is fond of Kite flying on Uttrayan, a Gujarati festival. GUJARATI word rings bells in my mind since the country is presently ruled by the Gujarati Brigade. The BJP organization built over the years through length and breadth of India has been rendered useless though Modi used the crutches of RSS organization instead. Initially, Modi waged a war against L K Advani and his sympathizers and accepted only a few of them under compulsion as a face saving. Fine, they were all old guys but one has to remember that it was L K Advani’s RATH that had brought BJP a long way. Modi weeded out stalwarts like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Kalyan Singh, Lalji Tandon and the rest. Naturally, therefore, the administrative acumen of these experienced men could not be harnessed by the Prime Minister.  Similarly, SUSHMA SWARAJ was totally marginalized. An astute administrator like her was sent as Foreign Minister in order to reduce her influence in the country. Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were totally ignored despite being only reliable Muslim faces in the party. On the contrary, SMRITI IRANI who could hardly be the right choice for Education portfolio was picked up. If you see the cabinet closely, many faces are totally new and have no experience to deliver what was promised to the people.

There is yet another facet of  administrative failure. Indian bureaucracy, which has been part of a corrupt system for last 68 years, is definitely not expected to lend Modi a helping hand unless he toes their line. Modi cannot transplant all the loyalist bureaucracy from Gujarat to help his Cabinet colleagues without sending ripples down the IAS lobby though many Gujarati politicians and IAS Officers are already dominating the Central decision making process at present.

Delhi is a perfect example of what can happen when you ignore the organization. It has been a bastion of BJP for past several decades and has many a time returned BJP as a winner. The organization is well entrenched. Sometimes it may have happened that BJP did not have a reputed person to lead them and therefore could not come to power. But during last Assembly elections they had discovered Dr Harshwardhan who left no stone unturned to prove his credentials. Firstly, knowing that Delhi was going to polls shortly, why was Harshwardhan nominated as a candidate for LOK SABHA? Secondly, if he was picked up and later allotted the portfolio of Health, why was he suddenly removed unceremoniously from the same? I thought the step many have been taken perhaps to ask him to fight Delhi Assembly elections again as a CM candidate. But I was taken by surprise to see Kiran Bedi inducted and announced as a CM candidate at the last moment. She is no doubt an efficient administrator but she is a novice in politics. If the idea was to stem the rot of intra-party factionalism, how was it going to help. In fact now all the factions of the party found a new foe to fight against unitedly and ensure her defeat. Post election she told in an interview to media that all the workers of BJP had helped her but results indicated otherwise. There was a visible internal sabotage against her leadership which ensured a drubbing for the party at the hustings.

Lesson! Never cut the branch of the tree on which you are sitting. Do not undermine the organization which has been built over years with zeal and hard work. Even if you want to do it, do it slowly and only after you put alternative organization in place. Learn at least this lesson from AURANGZEB. Kill your enemies one by one, not all at once.

BJP Debacle : Delhi delivers its Decision

I remember a short story of KAHLIL GIBRAN where a traveler halts for a night at an inn and ties up his horse outside. The horse is stolen and thereafter people start sympathizing with him. Nobody even shows concern about the stolen horse but gives piece of advice to the traveler saying you did this mistake or you did that mistake. So I am also falling in line today. Bundles of advice for NARENDRA MODI and AMIT SHAH.

We saw a land slide victory for Modi in the last LOK SABHA elections. I feel it was disenchantment with corrupt Congress rule during past five years that brought BJP to power. Modi, however, proved to be a catalyst in galvanizing the public opinion in favor of BJP and getting them a thumping majority. But then Modi got carried away with the applause of the public at his meetings and went on promising moon to them. ‘ACHCHE DIN’, ‘Fifteen Lakhs Bounty’ and what not! Though all through he maintained that Development (Vikas) was his only focus yet candidates selected for Lok Sabha were of hard core variety. And you see their rants in the public since then. Instead of doing good work for HINDUISM quietly they have been coming out with all the offensive statements with out realizing people want VIKAS not BAKWAS.

Fortunately, market turned out in favor of Modi after his take over but he has not been able to cash it. We have never seen such a landslide fall in prices of PETROL as was witnessed during past one year. But what has BJP done? The benefit of the price slide were not passed on substantially, if not entirely, to the consuming public. Had the same been done things would have been different. Prices of commodities would have followed suit. Price of railway tickets could have been reduced. People would have rejoiced especially the middle class. But that was not to be. Lessons from fall of Vajpayee Government were not learnt. Vajpayee Government could not regain power despite India was perceived to be shinning. Reason, people are more interested in perceptible gains. They do not bother about indices, summits and handshakes with foreign dignitaries. They want results.

The biggest concern of Indian people has been CORRUPTION in recent times. That is what decimated Congress. Despite so many months have passed there is no perceptible action taken in this matter. At least smaller cases like CWG SCAM could have been finalized. Is Modi Government in a position to inform the public today as to which corruption case was finalized by them especially in reference to Delhi so that people in high places like SURESH KALMADI or SHEILA DIXIT could face trial. So if u have nothing to show, the people have no votes for you.

I have also not been able to find answers to many questions. Why was Lt Governor of Delhi, having allegiance to CONGRESS, allowed to continue when many others were  replaced? Why were elections delayed despite a wave in favor of BJP at the time of Lok Sabha elections when the performance of the Government was not under scanner? Why law and order situation in Delhi could not show any improvement despite Governor’s rule? These and many other questions haunted the electorate during recent elections in Delhi and BJP has paid the price.

Remember, DELHI is the capital of INDIA. People see you, know you and watch you. There are no gullible farmers and ignorant laborers who will come out to vote for you even if you fail to deliver. …………………… (to be continued)

 

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