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

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.