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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

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