Skip to main content

Gujarat govt withdraws permission to Swaraj Samvad meet, leader Yogendra Yadav calls Modi "authoritarian"

Yogendra Yadav talking with activists outside Mehdi Nawaz Jung Hall
By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has clamped down on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) splinter group Swaraj Samvad by refusing to "allow" it to hold an activists' meet in Ahmedabad at Mehdi Nawaz Jung Hall, which was booked for the meet. The Gujarat police told Swaraj Samvad activists just an hour ahead of the meet that they could not be allowed inside the hall because its leader Yogendra Yadav, who had come for the purpose, was a "political person", and that there could be "political speeches in the hall."
"Our 200-odd activists converted it into a protest meeting by sitting on the floor", Nachiketa Desai, journalist-turned-political activist of Swaraj Samvaj told Counterview, adding, "It was an illegal move by Gujarat police. It suggested government mindset." Among those who spoke on the occasion included Manishi Jani, leader of the Navnirman movement in mid-1990s, senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, and others, criticizing "the dictatorial" style of the Gujarat government.
Already, the hall where the meeting was to be held, has taken been over by the Gujarat governor, who is its trustee, from civil society activists, especially Gautam Thaker of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). It has been handed over the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The hall had allegedly become an active spot where anti-Modi meetings, including in support of well known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, were held (click HERE to read).
Yadav was in Ahmedabad on Monday as part of his nationwide "search" for activists, supporters and allies. Earlier in the day, talking with newspersons, Yadav said, building an alternative political platform to the exploitative and corrupt setup that exists in the country is not going to easy, but "a long-drawn-out process." 
"Currently, we are merely trying to explore the space for alternative politics. However, we find that the country as of today does not seem to be ready for it. We still lack ability to move in that direction", he admitted, adding, "We are also not sure whether we will succeed."
Swaraj Samvad, at a meeting of 4,000 "volunteers" and "supporters" in Delhi in mid-April, had decided against forming a political party, with majority favouring continuing in AAP and, in the meantime, developing Swaraj Samvad as a political movement.
Manishi Jani addressing activists
Talking at an interaction of the Gujarat Media Club, Yadav said, "As of today, we are merely seeking to gather the energy that was generated by the AAP movement over the last few years, and we are in Gujarat precisely for this. We know there is a huge energy here."
Refusing to be sharply critical of AAP like he had done earlier (he had compared AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal with Stalin), Yadav said, "We are the AAP spirit. We think that the Modi government's strong arm tactic of imposing its rule on the Delhi government for appointing government officials is against the spirit of democracy. AAP is a democratically elected government."
Defining "alternative politics" as different from "political alternative" of Congress, Socialist Party, Trinamool Congress and others to the current Narendra Modi rule, Yadav said, today it consists of opposing the so-called Gujarat model on India, which consists of three characteristics, authoritarian leader, growth at any cost, and homogeneous social order.
Yadav said, "There are large number of social organizations, civil society groups and non-government organizations, who have been fighting for people's issues for nearly three decades. They are our allies in the fight." He indicated, organizations like Greenpeace India, against whom Modi has clamped down, could be one such ally, saying, the NGO has the support of the grassroots level.
Then there are forces which have been dubbed Naxalite just because they are fighting for people's cause, Yadav suggested, adding, "Just like Indira Gandhi, Modi doesn't seem to realize that clampdown on NGOs will lead to major reactions from the people." 
Others whose support he may take include National Alliance of People's Movements, apex body of tens of people's organizations, and Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Even as seeking help of social organizations, Yadav did not rule out sharing a platform on common issues -- like land acquisition Act and Gujarat's new anti-terrorist Act, currently awaiting Presidential accent -- with different political forces, including Congress. But he added, "Congress' policies on development were as pro-corporate as BJP's."
Later in the day, Yadav addressed an NGOs' meeting in Ahmedabad, "Sacchai Gujarat Ki" (Truth of Gujarat), where Gujarat Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki had already spoken out against the "anti-people" policies of the Modi government, including the land acquisition Act. The meet was organized by PUCL, Gujarat.

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

Kashmirisation of India? Ayodhya communal harmony meet: Activists stopped, detained

Counterview Desk
In a joint statement, three civil rights organizations, Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Lok Rajniti Manch, and Socialist Party (India), have taken strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh government taking "preventive" steps against those seeking to hold a meeting on communal harmony at Ayodhya.