ARVIND KEJRIWAL’S POLITICAL AVATAR: AUGUST 2012 TO MARCH 2015 – ‘MAINSTREAMING’ METAMORPHOSIS IS SELF-EVIDENT

The metamorphosis to a ‘full-time mainstream politician’ – the mainstream that was bashed left, right and centre by Arvind Kejriwal when he had announced to take political plunge on August 3, 2012, before ending his fast – is complete now.

How fast Kejriwal has graduated to it, how efficiently he has donned the different manipulating colours of Indian politics of the day, is self evident when we align his speech that he had delivered while announcing his political foray in August 2012 to the text of the purported tape that emerged yesterday where he is heard hurling abuses on Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, the two senior-most founding members of the Aam Aadmi Party and the anti-corruption platform that Kejriwal so ‘politically’ used to become a ‘full-time politician’.

Here are the key excerpts from his August 3, 2012 speech: (NDTV)

“We have no great love for entering politics. Our aim is not to grab power, but to end the Delhi-centric government and take governance to the villages and the people. Ours will not be a party, but a movement. Ours will have the structure of an andolan, and be what the people want.”

“There will be no party high command and the people will select the candidates. We will go among the farmers and the people and ask them about their problems. They will tell us about their problems and their solutions. We will also go among the youth and ask them about their problems and ask for solutions. Likewise, we will go around the entire country and meet people. They will form the ghoshna patra (manifesto).”

“Our aim is not just to win the polls, it is to challenge all the political parties. I have a vision that in three years, India will change,” he added. General elections will be held in India in 2014.”

Cut to March 2015.

Kejriwal is ‘loudly’ among them now, sitting comfortably in the lot that happened to be the ‘main spark’ for his political plunge.

The excerpts from the latest AAP sting, on Kejriwal, makes it self-evident. Here are the disturbing echoes from the tape: (The Times of India)

Umesh: But I feel that there are problems because you have been kept away. Sir, please get involved.

Arvind: I didn’t come for this kind of fighting. I have no interest in it. You work with Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. My best wishes are with you. I have not come to fight. If the need arises, then I am thinking of leaving Aam Aadmi Party and forming another party. You manage Aam Aadmi Party. It is a very good team, Prof Anand Kumar…In the past four days, Prof Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha have done kaminapanti, they are so kamina. They said implement RTI, we said alright, we are ready. A dialogue was still on between the two groups then. They said volunteer participation…we agreed to all the demands. And now yesterday they said they were just bargaining. ‘We don’t have any interest’…are you so kamina! What bargaining are you doing? Are you such cheap people? What you call my less capable team is made of pure men. We might be less capable but we have a clean heart. You have a malicious heart and are kameene log. So best wishes to you Umesh.

Umesh: Sir, don’t think like this.

Arvind: No, listen, listen, listen. I don’t want to have any further discussion on this which is why I have kept myself away from this. Now let’s see what they are doing, otherwise I will take my 66 MLAs and break away. You run Aam Aadmi Party. I will have nothing to do with Aam Aadmi Party.

Umesh: Sir please understand, this is not about you or me, this is about the country.

Arvind (shouting): What drama is this that we should all work together? Go speak to them. Un saalon ne harane mein…what you are calling a good team left no stone unturned to ensure that we lost the Delhi election. Now we should take them along? If they were in any other party, they (un saalon ko) would have been kicked out by now. Kameene log hein woh ek number ke. I don’t know what they are.

Umesh: Sir I am not able to see things from that close or understand.

Arvind: Then don’t speak if you can’t see, alright.

From – ‘not a party but a movement’- from – ‘no party high command’ – from – ‘aim is not to grab power’ – from – ‘only about people’ –- to – ‘kaminapanti, they are so kamina’ (bastards) – to – ‘a party synonymous with just one person’ – to – ‘not about people but about Kejriwal’ – to – ‘a high command that is as opaque and dictatorial as any other one person/one family political party – a big letdown – in just two years and eight months.

Kejriwal claimed in 2015 that he had a vision that India will change in three years. Now, it is not even three years and his polity says it is he who has changed his ways to align himself to the political mainstream.

It is not that Arvind Kejriwal has failed the ‘common man’, the ‘aam aadmi’, for the first time. He did it in December 2013 when he formed an ‘opportunistic government’ in Delhi with Congress’s support. Next he did so by deserting Delhi to try his political luck in the parliamentary polls.

With a loss of face there, he again came to the questionable ways of mainstream politics by trying poaching MLAs from other parties to form the government (as yet another sting with his voice purportedly revealed).

All this while he had a benefit of doubt that these were the honest mistakes of an activist-turned politician who was learning ways to make inroads in Indian politics. Coupled with the BJP’s lackluster show on running Delhi during the Central rule in the National Capital Territory of India, he made a blockbuster comeback in the February 2015 Delhi assembly polls.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party projected it as the triumph of the ‘aam aadmi’.

But the developments since then clearly tell us that Mr. Kejriwal has failed the common man once again.

It was not that all was well in the AAP. There were reports of internal rift during the Lok Sabha polls and in the period before and during the the campaigning phase of the Delhi assembly polls.

It is not that Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were beyond doubt but what Kejriwal did, what followed in the AAP meeting today, clearly let the common man down.

By orchestrating all that happened today, killing internal democracy and crushing voices anti- to him in his party, Kejriwal has betrayed the common man finally.

Because, at any cost, what he is heard speaking on the tape and the drama that he curated today, cannot be accepted, when his political base begins with opposing the mainstream of Indian politics, when he seeks political entry on a ‘promise of politics of change’.

If the AAP was at all a politcal movement as Kejriwal had claimed in August 2012, it is effectively dead now.

The politician Arvind Kejriwal, who abuses his colleagues and crushes political dissent in his party with iron grip, has lost the benefit of doubt that he enjoyed till the Delhi assembly polls.

And it is bound to reflect on upcoming electoral events.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY ARVIND KEJRIWAL IS LOOKING MORE LIKE ‘THEM’ NOW?

In 2012, Arvind Kejriwal had taken a different path away from Anna Hazare when he had announced his political entry using the platform of the anti-corruption movement of 2011.

He had claimed to cleanse the politics of politicians ‘polluting and ruining’ it.

He had promised a politics of change, of high standards, of no compromises, of absolute transparency, of hope, and of what not.

While taking the dip, he sounded like a social activist who was ready to graduate to political activism.

The writings on his political plunge began and sustained with regular mention of ‘Kejriwal and the AAP Vs mainstream politicians and political parties’ – the entrant Vs the established.

Like it happens, like the ‘writing precedents’ go, the lot Kejriwal comes from are written as the off-stream (or new stream), heading in to take on the ‘mainstream’.

Now, with a self-aborted first term of 49 days, a political foray in its third year, a humiliating loss of face in the general elections 2014, and a second term with a rare electoral win and absolute majority in the Delhi assembly polls, he has started sounding more like the ‘mainstream’.

The win, propelled momentously by the BJP’s poor show on development parameters in Delhi during the Central rule (February 2014 to February 2015), has, it seems, unleashed the ‘mainstream politician’ in Arvind Kejriwal, an alter-ego that was waiting to emerge from the shadows.

Like a very seasoned ‘mainstream’ politician, he stage-managed the ouster of the two senior-most founder members from one of the apex decision making body of the AAP, its political affairs committee. He was in the city, but didn’t attend the meeting where his fans inside the party threw the thorns away.

Whatever is the background behind the hostile sentiments of Kejriwal supporters for Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, it cannot be denied that these two founder-members would have posed real threat for Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘mainstream political ambitions’. Among the many demands of them was ‘asking Kejriwal to leave the AAP convenor position’, a move that would have paved the way for emergence of more power centres in the party with its impending national expansion.

Now, we are well aware of Kejriwal’s national and prime-ministerial ambitions, something that could well be the ambitions of many others in the AAP.

Like Kejriwal saw a brilliant opportunity in the half-baked mandate of the Delhi assembly polls 2013, that fell short of majority, to go national, he would have read with certainty that the absolute mandate is a spectacular opportunity to launch the roadmap for the prime-ministerial ambitions again.

For that, he needs to run the AAP the way he thinks, conceives and proposes (and even opposes).

For it, he needs iron grip on the party, removing obstacles (including people), who could question his authority.

For it, he needs a cult around him in his party where he reigns supreme and others follow him verbatim.

And, it looks, he has started it with sidelining Yadav and Bhushan.

Also, like a ‘mainstream’ politician, he maintained a deliberate and stoic silence while his party was going through the internal churnings.

He left for Bangalore immediately after removal of Yadav and Bhushan from the AAP PAC and spent some 12 days there undergoing treatment for his lifestyle related illnesses, looking (or overlooking) the developments in his party in Delhi and elsewhere.

Tapes and sting-ops came out where Kejriwal was talking like a ‘mainstream’ politician to score political goals. Tapes also came out that showed his party members snooped on own colleagues. Activists like Mayank Gandhi protested the way Bhushan and Yadav affair was handled by the party. Activists like Anjali Damania left the party alleging (like many others who have left in the past) it had gone off-track. Media analysed the whole panorama day after day. Experts wrote about and thinkers criticised the high handedness.

But, Arvind Kejriwal was not heard all this while.

Like a ripened politician, Arvind Kerjiwal now either doesn’t speak or speaks only politically correct, the way ‘mainstream’ politicians prefer to do.

The developments so far tell us he is well on the way of converting the AAP into a one-man party (like many others in India).

And in the light of the recent developments so far, the ‘reported and projected’ political pragmatism of taking Congress’s support to form the government in December 2013 gives way to the counterpoints that it was always a ‘mainstream political move’ pushed by political opportunism.

The developments so far tell us the ‘mainstreaming’ of the politician Arvind Kejriwal is almost complete now.

He is sounding and acting like more and more of ‘them’ now.

And Kejriwal is fast losing the elements that have given him, so far, the benefit of doubt to still be treated as a political activist, an off-stream politician beginning a political journey within the system, to meet the challenges, to deliver on his promises.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

KEJRI_ALL

Yesterday, Arvind Kejriwal lost the milestone opportunity by playing a la Congress in staying atop all platforms of the Aam Aadmi Party.

with it, the next step in the journey to the metamorphosis of becoming the routine Indian politician of the day was taken by him yesterday.

The signs that Kejriwal aspired to adore his image outreach shadowing all and that he wanted to maintain a tight grip on the political outfit he launched along with many others from the Anna Hazare led anti-corruption movement of 2011 was clearly visible in his first stint of 49 days that he later self-aborted.

Delhi was then inundated with oversized publicity displays of Kejriwal, like every other politician does, the very politicians who Kejriwal derided day in, day out. In fact, in doing so, he had surpassed even her predecessor, Sheila Dikshit.

It was not at all expected from a common man, risen from a movement to seek respite for common men, to go uncommon the way every common man detested.

With his ‘apology outreach’ for ‘deserting Delhi in just 49 days’ and the BJP’s relative non-performance in Delhi that was under the Central rule after Kejriwal’s resignation, he roared back to the power in Delhi with a rare mandate, with the AAP winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

It was expected this time that he would respect the mandate given to him by the ‘common man’ by staying a ‘common man’ – millions of this country oppressed under manipulative elements of its functional democracy who see their lives eclipsed regularly.

Yes, it cannot be said that he has failed our expectations.

But it will not be premature if we say that within a month, hostile signs have started emerging on the horizon beyond which lies a political oblivion for Arvind Kejriwal, the activist who became a politician.

The signs, if further continued, will tell us the activist was left somewhere in a ‘nowhere zone’ by the politician in Kejriwal and was never looked back at.

The reports that Arvind Kejriwal stage managed ouster of the two senior most founder members of the Aam Aadmi Party, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, from one of its apex decision making bodies, the political affairs committee, are ominous for those ‘common man’ hopes as they tell Arvind Kejriwal is well on the way to become ‘uncommon’ for them.

The kind of penchant for public display as visible during his first term has already found its extension with his second term in the office. And since the mandate is absolute and is for five years, we are going to see more and more of Arvind Kejriwal on nooks and corners of the Indian National Capital.

Also, he has shown no inhibitions like the last time. He was hooted for opting a luxurious accommodation and had to make a U-turn. Some of his ministers were in news for their ‘VVIP-ness’. This time, the baggage is efficiently discarded. He is moving to an official bungalow. His ministers are following the suit with availing facilities that are routine.

Now, only time will tell if the removal of these symbolic ‘tenets’, that are hugely appealing electorally as they connect directly to the ‘common man sentiments’, are going to have any functional value.

For the moment, the developments tell us again that Arvind Kejriwal had different plans of graduating to a full time ‘mainstream politician’ once he got the much needed lease of political life again. His prospects were badly hit after he left Delhi the last time and he needed a decisive mandate to start all over again.

And a ‘more than decisive mandate’ he got.

Yes, we cannot say so early that he has failed us.

But, the signs of a ‘politician with a mainstreamed thinking’ acting ‘the common man’ way for some ‘purpose’ that were visible even during his first term, have certainly got ‘telling’ manifestations now.

Anyone speaking against him, no matter how senior that colleague is, is shunted or is forced to find his way out of the party. No one in the AAP can question Arvind Kejriwal without facing repercussions. The party has seen exodus of many big names in the last one years. They were either disenchanted as they felt the party was on a wrong way or they felt suffocated with the lack of internal democracy.

‘It’s Kejriwal’s way or the highway in the AAP’ has become a routine source of political discourse centred on the two year old party.

And such developments tell the AAP is on the way to become a one-man party and Kejriwal is in the line to follow the politicians running one-man parties as their family empires.

Its Kejri_all so far – the signs so far tell us so.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EVEN THE INTERNET EXTENSIONS OF AAP ARE ASYMMETRICALLY KEJRIWAL

How asymmetrical the whole exercise on addressing the internal differences in the Aam Aadmi Party has been becomes clear from a look on Aam Aadmi Party’s website, its Twitter Page and its Facebook feeds.

Arvind Kejriwal is having a pervasive presence all around there. These screen-shots of AAP website, Facebook and Twitter pages are self evident.

AAP-1

AAP-2

AAP-3

AAP-4

Yes, there may be the counterpoint that he is the most popular face and has just led the party to a historic win in the Delhi assembly polls, and therefore it is only natural to put him as the mascot of the party on maximum possible platforms. Arguments like ‘people love him and so he is there’ would fly high on hostile questions. And they would be accompanying the central plank that ‘communication platforms on internet are not the places to write about difference in the party. They are tools to engage people on party’s vision and policies and to express party’s views on different developments’.

Yet, there are elements clearly visible that belie all such counterpoints.

Apart from the routine stuff, like talking about the party and its spread, its electoral scales, its views on social and political developments and its Delhi panorama, the website also gives space to the AAP voices critic of those criticising Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP website prominently mentions Sanjay Singh’s criticism of a ”group within the party’ to destabilize it while the ‘critic voices’ like Yogendra Yadav or Prashant Bhushan don’t find any space.

Whatever that happened in the hours long meeting of the AAP today was already scripted and had to come with this outcome only.

Yes, its scale was not known, like how many would oppose the ouster of Yadav and Bhushan. But now as the things are out in open, we find that six of the 19 who votes in meeting today supported Yadav and Bhushan. And it is not a healthy sign for Arvind Kejriwal.

And given the lopsided nature of this exercise, if we come across extensions of it, it would be on the expected lines.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CONGRESS AFTER DELHI POLLS: THE GRAND FALL OF THE GRAND OLD PARTY OF INDIA IS PROVING UNSTOPPABLE

Though it was expected, it happened in a way that was unthinkable even for the diehard critics of the Grand Old Party of India, the Indian National Congress.

Congress was expected to spring some surprise, not only by the estimates of Congress, but by others as well. While the polls were giving the party 5-8 seats, Congress’s own estimate was around 10-12 seats.

But Ajay Maken’s realization – from ‘we will score and spring a surprise’ to ‘we will respect the mandate and would play whatever role public would want us to’ – even before the results were out – conveyed Congress had already accepted its doom in Delhi’s politics – with the projections of exit polls predicting a rout for the party – not giving it more than five seats. Some polls even said that party would fail to win even a single seat.

And Congress failed to win even a single seat.

And the pounding is so severe that even reading the riot act is not expected to help the party now. Not only its vote share came under 10%, 62 of its candidates failed so miserably that they lost their deposits. And it included names like Ajay Maken, party’s chief-ministerial nominee – the candidates who were expected to win based on their name and work

Delhi is yet another marker in the downward journey of the Congress party. It has already been pushed to the margins of Bihar’s politics, where elections are due later this year, and ‘becoming politically irrelevant in Delhi’ will certainly exacerbate the process of the party becoming irrelevant in other states as well.

After scoring a historic low in Lok Sabha polls with just 44 seats, Congress performed even more miserably in different assembly polls of 2014.

In Andhra Pradesh, it could not open its account.

In Telangana, the state it created to reap its act’s political windfall, it was down by 30 seats to 21 seats in the 119 member strong assembly.

In Odisha, it could win only 16 of 147.

In Maharashtra, where it ruled for three terms, the party came third with 41 seats of 288.

After ruling Haryana, it was pushed to the third spot with only 15 seats.

Similar stories were repeated in Jharkhand and J&K where the party was pushed to the fourth spot by the electorate with abysmally low numbers.

In further misery, reports from Jharkhand say Congress is on the verge of split with four of its six MLAs ready to join BJP. Add Delhi debacle to the list.

The grand fall of the Grand Old Party of India is proving unstoppable.

What it tells us about the scale of the fall of the Congress party?

Even after piling up electoral losses and winding up influence, Congress has failed to go beyond mere rhetoric.

Some resignations are offered. They are swiftly denied. And the army of spokespersons is deployed to shield the Nehru-Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi did have accepted the responsibility of debacles in past but the acceptance never followed the corrective action.

Going beyond rhetoric means Congress needs to question Rahul Gandhi who has been leading the party in elections for quite long now – and his record has been more than questionable. After the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Congress has seen its base shrinking on an epic scale in Indian politics. In the name of states having more than ten Lok Sabha seats, Congress has just three – Karnataka, Kerala and Assam. It has no MLA in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and now in Delhi. It has been pushed to the third or fourth spot in many states.

In the Hindi heartland states that decide the direction of Indian politics, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with 120 Lok Sabha seats, Congress has become almost irrelevant.

In Uttar Pradesh, Congress could win just two seats – of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi – in 2014 Lok Sabha polls with just 7.5% of votes. Though it saw some improvement in the 2012 assembly polls from 2007, with 28 seats in 11.65% vote share, it was just yet another humiliating poll outcome for the party in the state – it remained fourth in the 403-member assembly. In Bihar, party could win just 4 assembly seats in 2010 polls with 8.4% vote share. In the Lok Sabha polls last year, Congress could win just two seats and there was certainly no point in drawing solace that its vote share remained 8.4% given the fact that the party had contested the polls alone. In West Bengal too, another big state, its vote share was around 9% – in 2010 assembly polls and in the Lok Sabha polls last year.

Now, with AAP’s emergence and victory in Delhi, the Congress has a direct threat to its future. The last time when we heard of Congress in Delhi politics was in December 2013 assembly polls that were being seen as a BJP Vs Congress contest. But after the polls, the underdog, Aam Aadmi Party, replaced Congress by emerging as the second largest party and went on the form the government with Congress’s support who could win just 8 seats. And, just after a year, AAP ate into the Congress vote pie in a big way bringing it down to 9% from 25% to sweep Delhi, even with its deserter tag and Kejriwal’s act of betrayal that left Delhi without a government for a year.

Segments that voted for Modi in Lok Sabha and assembly polls – middle class and youth – voted for AAP this time. The lower income groups were already in its fold. Muslims in these polls voted en-masse for AAP.

Muslims and lower income groups have traditionally been voting for Congress forming the major chunk of its ‘secular plank’.

As AAP has given a credible alternative to voters in Delhi, appealing to every section of the society, building thus a secular plank, and as AAP spreads beyond Delhi, something that is bound to happen with a spectacular Delhi show, there would always be this possibility that Congress would face an existential threat to its ‘secular plank’ nationally, and thus an existential threat to its political survival.

Congress needs a course correction that goes beyond rhetoric we all know. We also know that the steps should have been taken much earlier.

Don’t the Congress’s first family and other Congress strategists know it?

They do not want to question Rahul Gandhi and the first family, when even Rahul needs to question himself now, if they have to save the future of Congress. Also, given the Robert Vadra factor, the move to bring Priyanka Gandhi will prove counterproductive.

Congress must go beyond posturing in addressing its fall.

Even a day’s delay would exacerbate its misery.

Otherwise, Delhi would further dent Congress’s prospects on its organizational spread in country. Even the candidates who could have won of their name and work, lost because they were Congress candidates.

If Congress doesn’t act now, it would be staring at split, defections and mass exodus in coming days.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FEBRUARY 10, 1952 TO FEBRUARY 10, 2015: TWO KEY DATES IN INDIA’S ELECTORAL POLITICS

It was February 10 in 1952 when the results of the first democratically held elections in India were announced.

Then, the Congress party led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had won a thumping majority winning 364 of 489 parliamentary constituencies.

On February 10, 2015, the same Congress party has witnessed a humiliating loss in Delhi polls failing to win even a single seat. 63 of its candidates lost their deposits. Its vote share sank to 9.7% from 24.55% in 2013 Delhi assembly polls. And this loss is following a humiliating downward trend. The party could get just 15% votes in the 2015 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress’s fall, from electoral pedestal and from grace in India, is emblematic of the phase of political transition India is in.

After scoring a historic low in Lok Sabha polls with just 44 seats, Congress performed even more miserably in different assembly polls of 2014.

In Andhra Pradesh, it could not open its account. In Telangana, the state it created to reap its act’s political windfall, it was down by 30 seats to 21 seats in the 119 member strong assembly. In Odisha, it could win only 16 of 147. In Maharashtra, where it ruled for three terms, the party came third with 41 seats of 288. After ruling Haryana, it was pushed to the third spot with only 15 seats.

Similar stories were repeated in Jharkhand and J&K where the party came fourth with abysmally low numbers. In further misery, reports from Jharkhand say that four of the six Jharkhand Congress MLAs are ready to join BJP. Add Delhi debacle to the list.

The grand fall of the Grand Old Party of India is proving unstoppable.

February 10 also brought another unexpected turn to this process of political churning with sending BJP packing.

The party that had won 31 seats and 33% of votes in the 2013 assembly polls emerging as the largest, and the party that had won all seven Delhi parliamentary constituencies, leading in 60 of the 70 assembly segments securing 48% of the votes.

BJP’s 2013 performance in Delhi had preceded the Party’s spectacular show in the 2014 General Elections where the party had got majority on its own, becoming thus the first party to do so in 30 years. Before it, no party in India had got a clear majority on its own after the 1984 general elections when Congress, riding on the sympathy wave that had swept the country after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, with 404 seats and 49% vote share.

BJP had won on raising hopes, promising better lives and ensuring all around development. BJP’s winning streak continued in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand and in Jammu & Kashmir, it registered an impressive show and is in talks with PDP to form the government.

But, while all this victories, time was also passing, and anti-incumbency had started making inroads. Now, it is certainly debatable that how much time Narendra Modi needs to deliver on the promises he made, but the electoral behaviour is clear that perform or perish.

Delhi has stalled development to talk about while BJP was ruling Delhi through L-G since June 2014 and the Delhi electorate chose to recruit the option that it had, in hopes that it would deliver.

February 10, 1952 is historic for electoral history of India as it gave the country its first democratically elected government.

February 10, 2015 is historic as the electoral behaviour of Indian electorate saw its biggest churning so far, installing a two-year old party with a historic mandate to run the affairs of the Indian national capital, sending a message to the political class of the country that in future it is performance that is going to matter and the voter would not hesitant if there are alternatives available.

And alternatives are building in India’s political ecosystem.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TENS OF THOUSANDS ARRIVED TO WELCOME HIM OUT OF JAIL: WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

September 2013

Thousands gathered outside the jail to greet him.

Tens of thousands arrived in Hyderabad to welcome him, to join the procession to his journey back to home, from the Chanchalguda prison to his palatial house in Hyderabad’s posh locality, Banjara Hills.

As if, a freedom fighter fighting some colonial oppression or an activist resisting a authoritarian government was coming out of jail. But sadly it wasn’t the case.

And that is acidic for the democratic health of the country. This celebration was, once again, representative of a deteriorating mindset of the masses. Yes, it is a deteriorating mindset that owes its sustenance to the continued political manipulation of the masses.

It is acidic because the person was detained in jail against charges of corruption. In a short time, he has amassed huge wealth. In his area of influence, he is seen as a strongman. We fail to trace his political history beyond his political lineage. Apart from amassing disproportionate assets, he has not done anything to be known as a great politician, a humane politician, in making. Yet, he has emerged as a big political alternative, in course of three years only.

That is certainly not good for the democratic spirit of the nation because the malaise here represents the larger malaise in the society where people fail to understand what is right or wrong and how corruption is eating the concept of the ‘Republic of India’; where people fail to put politicians facing serious allegations out of the office till such politicians prove their innocence.

The person in question was in jail for the last 16 months on many counts of violations in Disproportional Assets (DA) case. The ‘symbolically central’ Central Bureau of Investigation has filed 10 charge-sheets against him in the DA case.

Son of a popular politician, who was also a former chief-minister, the fellow is a powerful politician, running a diversified business empire. His jail-term is supposed to correlate with his assets, that are, by most analyses, disproportionate in nature.

It was alleged and widely reported that when the powerful politician father of this powerful politician son had died in an unfortunate helicopter crash in 2009, fake reports of several people dying of shock of the untimely demise of the great leader were propped to gain mileage of political sympathy. Silly!

As a natural corollary to the dynasty politics in India, nurtured and propagated by the most powerful Delhi-based political family of India, this powerful politician son demanded to succeed his father’s chief-ministerial chair, a chair that was denied to him.

Miffed with the denial of the royal chair of the chief-minster ship, he broke away from the grand old political party of India and formed his own political outfit. And in remarkable turn of events, in a pseudo-democracy with an alienated and ignorant electorate, he emerged as a strong political force in a short period of time, and so a political threat. That could have been a call for the opponents to move in 2011.

Threat to the establishment in office and court’s interventions were motives enough for the shambolic CBI to act differently from its character. Subsequently, resultantly, this powerful politician was forced behind bars and left there languishing for 16 months.

But, he kept on growing politically stronger and became even more relevant for the political equations in the changed circumstances after the Union government announced bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Maintaining a strong anti-Telangana stand and riding on a strong support base in the Seemandhra region could have changed the thinking of the grand old party of India that is facing an imminent danger of being wiped out in Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation decision taken by the Congress led Union Government.

The political cliché that there are no friends or foes in politics shows us this ugly face of Indian politics, that, with a largely ignorant electorate, is eroding the democratic health of the country; is polluting whatever that is left in the name of democracy in India.

Whatever be the reality of the reported deals, between his political outfit YSRCP and the Congress, or of the BJP’s feelers to him criticising the CBI for his plight, we are going to witness some uglier political deal-making in the days to come.

No denial to this fact that Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of the former Andhra Pradesh chief minster Y S Rajashekara Reddy, has amassed wealth beyond his known sources of income.

The detention for 16 months of a son of a powerful politician with a regional clout tells us of the veracity of allegations. Had it been the case of some common man, who could even be one of Mr. Reddy’s die-hard supporters, like those swarming outside the Chanchalguda jail or on Hyderabad roads leading to the Jagan’s house, we could have believed a detention of 16 months was possible even if all the charges were false. Running a strong media empire and sitting on huge assets, Mr. Reddy had access to the resources, to finest of the legal minds in the country.

What becomes finally of Mr. Reddy in courts in his corruption cases will take a long time. It could go even beyond his lifetime. And meanwhile, he will keep enjoying his political kingdom with loyal supporters in the world’s largest democracy.

And Mr. Reddy is not alone. He is just one among the countless of the politicians facing serious corruption allegations. And he is just one among this lot of the countless that continues to enjoy to public support in spite of serious corruption allegations. Making people with serious corruption allegations politically stronger is also corruption and we are making so many of the breed stronger with every election.

That is detrimental to the democratic concept of India envisioned in its Constitution.

It reflects again and again in celebrations like these.

*“Why democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/why-democracy-in-india-is-in-imminent-danger-of-disintegration/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/