Skip to main content

Refusing to support Kejriwal dharna in Delhi against "undemocratic" ways of Modi govt, Congress stands isolated

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
I have never liked the rhetorical politics of Arvind Kejriwal. In fact, the seed that they sowed in 2011 resulted in the fascist takeover of this country. Kejriwal wanted the country to become a gram panchayat at the Ramleela maidan, and decisions were taken on the voice vote. All the power elite of the upper caste suddenly turned revolutionary.
The patrakars, babus, professional activists, academics, lawyers, suddenly found that there is a 'space' for them to grab in the political parties. Anna Hazare wanted to be a 'Gandhi' while Kejriwal carefully was moving to fulfill his nurtured ambition. Though for a shorter period, media was even looking for him as Prime Minister of India, a new 'revolutionary' leader but we all know the damage was done.
Modi is not Manmohan Singh and that is the thing. It is RSS that planted Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but it went out of their hand because they had tested the popularity. There is not a big difference between the AAP cadre and that of the BJP-RSS. AAP became a party on a platform that was called India Against Corruption funded by the corrupt elite of this country, whose sympathy were first towards the Sangh Parivar.
AAP was mandated to run the Delhi government, and it was huge, perhaps one of the biggest one. But it is also a fact that the Modi government did not want it to function independently. It was humiliated, and files were not being cleared. The Delhi chief minister along with his other ministers was sitting on dharna at the Lt Governor's house but he refuse to meet them.
While we may disagree the politics of AAP, we have to acknowledge several factors. AAP has put tremendous pressure on political leaders to make their polity pro-people but it has also helped to create a golden halo around Narenda Modi, who is not bothered about people. He preaches, pontificates and refuses to speak to common people, but that is how Hindutvavadis would like him to be. They will criticise everyone else but Modi is their demigod.
For Modi, it is easier to fight against Congress, accuse Rahul Gandhi for 60 years’ misrule and dynasty, but Modi can’t really face Arvind Kejriwal, who is perhaps more vociferous and can trash Modi on any given day. Those who want a Modi-Rahul debate live on TV should ask for Modi-Kejriwal debate or Modi-Lalu, Modi Mamta, Modi-Tejasvi or Modi-Akhilesh Yadav debate.
Rahul Gandhi came to politics from a elite back ground, and it has a plus point and a negative point, as he might not be too familiar with “sadak kee politics”, in which these are experts. Another plus point is that Modi can’t accuse Kejriwal of dynasty or even of being a bad administrator.
I think two modules of Delhi government need to be appreciated in the past few years. They are, the attempt to improve the schooling and make it accessible to students from poor background, and the Mohalla clinic. Both are definitely appreciable.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
The Aam Aadmi Party has a solid network of dedicated activists and that is why it is still able to hold Delhi at any point of time. Congress unfortunately neither has these kind of activists who can stall Delhi for a day. The silence on the part of the Congress on the whole issue of the governance of Delhi is damaging. Rahul Gandhi should have issued a statement related to the issue of democratic right of a government to function. He may not agree and should not agree with AAP but he should clearly stand for democracy.
Congress cannot be selective in its approach. We all agree that Arvind Kejriwal has not done many things to be liked by all, and the biggest damage of the current regime is that it is highly undemocratic, yet in politics one must learn from mistakes, even as speaking on issue and not on individuals. If Congress had supported the Kejriwal dharna against the undemocratic way of handling by the central government, it would have helped them gain some respect. They have isolated themselves.
It is true that the Modi government has demolished all the institutions. It is strange to see how Congress treats Kejriwal's equations with the IAS lobby. I can’t believe that a chief minister will beat up the chief secretary. This is utterly farcical. The Modi government has muzzled the bureaucracy, and make it surrender, changing its ideological positions; but we have not heard a single press conference or a statement against unwanted and undue interferences by the government.
We had all wanted that bureaucracy and other related services like IFS and IPS must remain under political control but without interfering in their working pattern or trying to instill communal ideology. That makes India in sharp contrast with America where even the intelligence agencies are independent and are investigating the Russian link of President Trump.
Congress should not have ignored the plight of its chief minister V Narayanswamy in Pondicherry who is being humiliated by the Lt governor Kiran Bedi who could not win a single election, yet has the grudge for not being able to become chief minister of Delhi. Kiran Bedi has not allowed an elected government to function independently. It is surprising that Congress remains quiet on the Puducherry issue, which is almost same as that of Delhi as both the state are Union territories.
The crisis in Delhi is bigger in nature. It about the issue federal structure of our country. Will an elected government be allowed to work independently or not? Should a chief minister function as the stooge of the Central government or work independently? Long ago many political parties wanted the post of governors should be abrogated as it is a useless position wasting millions of rupees in their 'shan-shaukat'. Just abolish them and ask them to live in smaller houses.
Our democracy cannot be an instrument to strengthen the feudal system yet, this is happening by 'reviving' the fortunes of 'dedicated' cadres who can't be taken as ministers but can be placed to disturb the elected governments from working independently.
The Centre must initiate the process of negotiations and allow the government to function. Arvind Kejriwal is good with his cadres. His popularity was shrinking but this incident has provided him an opportunity to revive his clout or jadu, as his bhakts say. Modi has not brought any positive values to him with this episode.
In fact, Delhi's protest in 2012 and 2013 became the reason for the downfall of the Manmohan Singh government. We blamed Arvind Kejriwal for bringing Modi. Will he be paying his debt now by becoming instrumental in downfall of the Modi government in 2019? It looks possible, given the nature of political parties reacting to his dharna. Congress should show magnanimity as well as statesmanship – that the issue here in Delhi is not personal but autonomy of the institution.
Do they support the autonomy of the institution of the Chief Minister or not? Arvind Kejriwal may have misbehaved with the Chief Secretary or vice versa, and an investigation can be done for that, but people of Delhi cannot be allowed to suffer due to this.
Let Congress rise above the narrow partisan interests and strengthen the forces opposing BJP and its vicious communal agenda to defeat them in 2019. Delhi will rise up again and ignite the people's movement against onslaught on our autonomous institutions, including the federal structure of the country. Some time, a small defeat help you win the bigger cause. Congress must learn that as it has bigger responsibility to unite all the opposition parties and defeat the BJP. Will it be able to rise up from its narrow partisan interest?
---
*Human rights defender. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.