BHATTA PARSAUL TO BISADA

Or Bisheda..or Bishera..or Bisara..

These names, irrespective of their localized/dialectic forms, are symbolic of our politics of the day, and in a way, also convey how the society is responding to the political calls.

These two villages in Greater Noida, in Delhi’s neighbourhood, have been in the news for all wrong reasons.

Bhatta Parsaul first came in headlines in May 2011 after violent clashes between police and villagers leaving some police officials and villagers dead. Villagers were protesting against acquisition of their land by the state government.

Back then, as is the trend, the issue got heavily politicised soon – aggravated by the fact that the state assembly elections were due in the early months of next year, in 2012. Bhatta Parsaul became the rallying point for all political outfits including the Congress party – then ruling India with its Delhi government led by Manmohan Singh. Uttar Pradesh had then BSP’s government and Mayawati was the chief minister.

We are well over four years past that incident. And Bhatta Parsual still rings the bell for same reason.

The other major symbolism that goes to Bhatta Parsaul is as political as the ‘issue of forced land acquisition’ in India.

Rahul Gandhi tries to create symbolic entities during the course of his political journey and Bhatta Parsaul came to symbolize his ‘appeal’ for ‘pro farmer land policies’.

The world remembers the way Rahul Gandhi had dodged the state security apparatus to reach the village. But in spite of Rahul’s desperate efforts to reap political mileage, Congress was badly humiliated again, in the UP assembly polls – including Jewar – the assembly constituency seat Bhatta Parsaul comes under. Rahul’s experiment had given ticket to a person who had helped Rahul reach Bhatta Parsaul on his bike. But he could earn voters’ trust.

The important message from this outcome was – people had started reading signs – and needed more than political rhetoric and associated acts. Land acquisition is a socially burning issue no doubt but BSP’s win and Congress’ loss, even at Jewar seat, told us the issue could not sway the electorate.

Or people saw political designs of every political outfit and decided to go with the BSP MLA in spite of BSP being in the power.

Rahul Gandhi had tried to use ‘Bhatta Parsaul symbolism’ again in the last year’s parliamentary elections but the defeat this time was deafening – in India, in Uttar Pradesh, and in most states in India.

In that sense, we can say Bhatta Parsaul refused to become the political bogey around the sensitive issue of land acquisition in a country where agriculture still supports the major section of the population.

It is a different thing that voters were running short of options.

Bisada – a Greater Noida village – has begun the rallying point for vested political interests – with another round of important assembly polls beginning just in a week in Bihar and with Uttar Pradesh assembly elections just 18 months away.

On Monday night, a mob killed a Muslim Indian citizen for allegedly slaughtering a cow and consuming beef.

While land is sensitive issue affecting common Indians of every religion and people have started acting more informed on related policy matters, religion is still the opium of the masses.

The Western Uttar Pradesh Hindu-Muslim riots before the Lok Sabha elections last year were the worst India saw in its recent history – and the trigger was rumour mongering that, left unchecked, led to violent chest thumping and subsequently to full scale religious violence.

Humanity is still reeling in its aftermath. Bisada must not instigate another round. The culprits must be dealt with ruthlessly. And the state machinery, and humanity, must ensure that rumour mongers and ‘the people spewing hate venom’ must not be seen around. Just some routine ‘financial and job compensation’ stuff won’t do.

Bisada of Greater Noida must not be allowed to become Kawal of Muzaffarnagar. Kawal lynching had spread like wildfire resulting in the riots. #DadriLynching or lynching in Bisada must be addressed strictly to avoid any repeat.

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

TO HOLD ITS GROUND, NDA GOVT NEEDS THE LAND BILL ORDINANCE THROUGH

The hon. President has convened the Joint Sitting of both the Houses of Parliament under Article 108 of the Constitution in connection with discussing the configuration and implications of the Prevention of Terrorism Law and whether it should be passed or not? An anti-terrorism law already existed in America, yet they have brought a new law. The whole nation of United States was unanimous about it and when that law was brought before the Senate, only one vote was cast against it. After the attack on World Trade Centre which took a toll of about 3000 people, the President of America lost no time in declaring, `A war has been launched on the United States of America’. On the other hand, in our country this law was defeated in the Rajya Sabha and, paradoxically, the spokespersons of the parties went to extent of saying that they wanted to show to the world that this country was divided over this issue.

Arun Jaitley, the Minister of Law, Justice & Company Affairs, March 2002 (during a joint sitting of the Parliament to pass the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 – POTA – to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance – POTO)

We need to get ready to listen to something like this when the National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Modi goes ahead with the Land Bill ordinance to get it passed in the joint sitting of the Parliament.

Narendra Modi has no other option.

He has promised the sky and he needs to deliver if he has to leave his legacy behind. And to leave a legacy worth talking about, he needs to come back in power in 2019.

He needs time.

One year is almost gone and the policy apparatus is still not in place, a must before Modi embarks on the journey to realize his dreams, to deliver on his promises.

And if a five year term, i.e., the single term, is going to be the window available, Modi has started running out of time.

He has promised jobs. He has promised increased income. He promised better amenities to live with. He has promised smarter living with smart cities. He has promised faster living with increased connectivity and reduced run time.

To say in one sentence – he has promised good times for a good life.

And the government cannot do so on its own. It needs collaborators, primarily from the industry, from within, and from abroad.

It needs capital and ways to invest that capital – in industries, in infrastructure – generating revenue, creating employment.

And land is an imperative in achieving this.

Delay in land acquisition has stalled projects worth over Rs. 3.5 Lakh Crore. There are reports that take this cost to Rs. 20 Lakh Crore. A CMIE report puts the worth of the stalled projects to some 14 Trillion US$. The industrial corridors of Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Chennai and over 60 national highways are stalled due to delay in acquiring land.

Land is needed to create industrial corridors, new residential hubs and the associated infrastructure. Land is needed to connect India better to move faster.

Land is the key to unlock what Modi is aspiring for. And it is the key reason behind the Land Bill ordinance that diluted the provisions of the previous Bill passed by the Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance government. Broadly, more categories have been exempted where owners’ consent is not necessary. Also, the provisions related to Social Impact Analysis have been diluted as well.

With mounting opposition and criticism, not just from the political opposition, but from his own allies, as well as civil society movements like the one launched by Anna Hazare, the ‘consensus’ that was always elusive, has gone beyond reach, with the present form of the Bill.

And to have his way ahead, Modi needs the Bill cleared in this form.

So, expect justifications, all of which are not invalid with some having mandatory relevance for spurring growth in India, during the joint session that is to be called to get the Land Bill ordinance cleared.

Would it be Arun Jaitley this time to initiate the debate of the joint sitting, the Minister of Finance and Information & Broadcasting now, one of the most eloquent NDA ministers? Last time, in 2002, it was the then Home Minister L K Advani.

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