Skip to main content

Why Gehlot's deputy embarked on his present enterprise, Scindia became a turncoat

By Anand K Sahay*
Rajasthan is in the news because of the effort mounted to topple the Congress government in the state led by Ashok Gehlot, a seasoned and respected leader. In BJP’s scheme, it is irrelevant that the government enjoys a clear majority, or that toppling it amounts to sabotaging the people’s verdict.
In numbers terms in the Assembly, in Rajasthan (unlike was the case in Madhya Pradesh), the BJP is considerably behind the Congress. This is why if Sachin Pilot is able to entice too few defectors to join him in upending the Gehlot government, the BJP won’t bite after leading the ambitious young Congress deputy CM up the garden path. This is what appears to have happened so far, and the CM seems to have regained his balance.
But he will be wise to remain alert to intimations of mischief. If the Pilot ploy eventually fails, a party like the BJP is apt to think of other ways. In the time of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the BJP has shown itself to be a restless destabiliser of Congress governments- or governments with a Congress component- in the states. So, watch out Maharashtra.
Disgruntled Congress MLAs are typically used to achieve the saffron party’s end (through a combination of allurements and threats), governors and the Speaker are made errand boys, and the coercive agencies at the disposal of the Centre do their master’s bidding. So, who can discount the option of President’s rule in Rajasthan if push came to shove?
As a pre-emptive measure, the only fail-safe way to prevent something like that happening is people’s mobilization on a large scale. But a party like the Congress is not cut of that cloth. Besides, its organizational capabilities are suspect even when it is in the opposition, leave alone when it is the ruling party. 
Its capacity for in-fighting is the stuff of legend -- the independence movement on, although in the hoary past the skirmishing, and sometimes blood-letting, was often traceable to ideological questions (on which basis factions took shape), not loaves and fishes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi came into office in 2014 on a string of false promises knowing that they were false -- or “chunavi jumla” in words made immortal by his ADC or his Hanuman (since Hindu mythology is the flavor these days) -- example, ending black money, generating mass employment, doubling agricultural income But there was one promise about which Modi and Shah were dead serious -- and this was to turn India into “Congress-mukt Bharat” -- an India where there would be no Congress.
Surprisingly, they have stumbled even on this. While a combination of empty promises and an unrelenting projection of the majoritarian spirit brought votes in Lok Sabha elections, there remained a paradox. An abysmally weak Congress still managed to put up a show in state polls. 
In 2017, this emaciated party nearly put the BJP to the sword in Gujarat, the home turf of Messers Modi and Shah, where it had been languishing. And, to their chagrin, this happened under the generalship of Rahul Gandhi, a man the energies of BJP-RSS had been devoted to degrading and lampooning.
It is to deal with this paradox that the Modi regime at the Centre has been on the rampage against the Congress -- like a fox attacking the chicken coop -- especially when the latter wins state elections. It is clear this is not just political policy, but an article of faith. Only when the Congress is driven into the ground can the BJP-RSS realistically hope to rule over India, and turn it into a Hindutva leisure-ground.
Modi regime has been on the rampage against Congress like a fox attacking the chicken coop -- not just as political policy but an article of faith
If BJP weren’t a party with a proven track record of toppling a succession of Congress governments in the states, Gehlot’s deputy is unlikely to have embarked on his present enterprise. And nor would Jyotiraditya Scindia have become a turncoat. 
Such men wouldn’t have dared, though it is clear they are not in politics for the sake of ideology and the spirit of service. They are there to serve particular ambitions (in the Congress, too, they enjoyed enormous power and privilege handed to them by fellow dynasts who are a poor judge of character), as on a corporate ladder.
And why is it the BJP alone that attracts political carpetbaggers? The straightforward reason is that this party alone has the resources to throw at prospective defectors. Finding the resources has been made easy since gaining power at the Centre in 2014. 
A scheme like the electoral bond, for instance, is tailor-made for this. The Association of Democratic Reforms estimates that 94.5 per cent of all electoral bonds collections, before the 2019 parliament election, went to the BJP.
That would suggest that the scheme was brought to benefit just this one party. So suspicious is the idea that even the Election Commission, which has so conspicuously lost its bite of late, has wondered aloud about it. The recently created PM-CARES may turn out something similar. It is not a central governmental fund (coming under the government’s auditors) in spite of its name, which may have been adopted as a trick.
We just saw in Rajasthan how desperate anti-Congress forces can get. Raids on Gehlot supporters accompanied the moves to topple his government. When ‘operation topple’ was on in Madhya Pradesh a few months ago, a nephew and some associates of Chief Minister Kamal Nath were raided. 
In Maharashtra last year, since Sharad Pawar was playing an active role to cobble together an alliance of his party and the Congress with the Shiv Sena, denying the BJP a chance to return to power in the state, he received a summons from the ED in Mumbai. 
Earlier, in Karnataka, where the Congress-JD(S) government was torpedoed through shenanigans involving the state governor (and late Speaker), the dynamic Congress leader D. K. Shiva Kumar, later made the state Congress chief, had his business premises raided repeatedly and was thrown into jail.
The debasement of the aims of politics allied with immorality of intent has, more and more in recent years, produced the end result of scuttling the popular verdict secured through the design written down in the Constitution. In each case the beneficiary has been the governing party at the Centre.
---
*Senior journalist based in New Delhi. This article first appeared in the "Asian Age"

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria