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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).