POLLS BEGINNING TODAY WILL WRITE SCRIPT FOR 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS (II) – UNDERDOGS

If the Left Front led by CPI(M) has the potential to emerge as the underdogs in West Bengal, the state they ruled for 35 years till 2011, it is because AITC has come to be known as a party that is becoming just like the Left Front of the erstwhile years – a party synonymous with political goondaism. West Bengal has only extended the culture of political violence under the Mamata Banarjee government.

And coupled with Mamata’s autocratic ways, her intolerance for criticism and huge allegations of corruption on senior leaders of her party, the rational minds would certainly like to experiment with the Left Front block again in absence of any other political alternative – to see if the Left Front has learnt some lessons.

Mamata would sail smoothly this time because of her focus on rural voters but she needs to keep in mind that their patience, too, runs out, and it is just a matter of time – if West Bengal gets any political alternative like AAP.

While West Bengal still has the organized cadre and popular leaders from the Left Front, Congress in Uttar Pradesh cannot claim anything. It has no cadre, no organizational structure and no leaders. Yes, Sonia Gandhi is elected to the Parliament from Raebareli and Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, but that is just symbolic. Sonia and Rahul were never Uttar Pradesh leaders and they have no political currency to affect the electoral mindset for any significant change.

But if the Congress candidates can still emerge as the underdogs, it is because of the frustration creeping in the minds of Uttar Pradesh voters.

The politics in Uttar Pradesh has just two poles for over two decades now – SP and BSP. BJP has failed to capitalize on the biggest chance it had to recover in Uttar Pradesh with the impressive performance in 2014 general elections. The party should have realized by now that raking up the Ram Temple issue in every electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh has become a futile exercise. It doesn’t pull votes anymore. Other parties like JD(U), RJD, AD, AIMIM, AAP, CPI(M), CPI and everyone else are there just to populate the numbers.

And by all measures, from all projections and reports, and by the electorate’s response of changing the government every next time, even if the state’s politics is riddled with caste and community polarizations, we can say both, the SP and the BSP governments, leave a huge trail of anti-incumbency during their respective terms.

The Uttar Pradesh voters need a government of efficient governance which proves effective not only on ensuring strict law and order measures but also on bringing and distributing development to the India’s most populous state with the maximum number of the Lok Sabha seats, i.e., 80.

Every government in the state has failed on it. Power shortage is a decades old issue. Deteriorating law and order situation makes for news headlines. Many politicians have coupled up as criminals and vice versa. Many are in jail and many are facing serious court cases. And all these problems have persisted for years.

And that frustrates voters – at least the rationally thinking ones – and Congress has chance here. The party may not pull a miracle but if it emerges as the third largest party with some significant numerical strength in the next Uttar Pradesh state assembly, it would surprise everyone.

Yes, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are not Uttar Pradesh leaders but they are symbolically potent enough to lead some of the rational thinking voters to their camps in the upcoming assembly polls – to experiment with the alternatives available in absence of any other political alternative available in the state – and the factors that would additionally help the party – are – the sympathy undercurrent that might be there after its two elected state governments were sabotaged – in Arunchal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – in two months, anti-incumbency against the BJP government in the centre and the status of the Congress party as the only other national political party – in spite of its reduced Lok Sabha count of 44 in a house of 543 elected members.

In Punjab, AAP is not an underdog but a major player now and the battle is out in the open.

In Assam, we know the known underdog, Badruddin Ajmal led AIUDF. Badruddin Ajmal is a perfume businessman worth Rs. 2000 crore and is now a successful politician it seems. Assam has over 34% Muslim population and some 40 of the 126 assembly constituencies are minority concentration ones, i.e., where consolidations of Muslim votes can tilt the results.

Since its inaugural in 2005, AIUDF has made rapid strides in Assam politics. It won 10 seats in 2006 assembly polls that rose to 18 in 2011 and it led in 24 assembly segments in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. It tied with Congress in winning three Lok Sabha seats in 2014, raising its tally from one in 2009. The remarkable aspect is its increase in vote share – from scratch in 2005 to 15% in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2011 assembly polls, the party had cornered 12.6% votes.

AIUDF is contesting these elections alone – as Ajmal said no acceptable solution on alliance with other parties could be reached. And with the second largest shares of Muslim voters in any Indian state, he is hoping to play kingmaker, expecting to win around 40 seats. Analysts question about his prospects as Assamese Muslims in Upper Assam oppose him and as Upper Assam has the maximum number of constituencies.

The elections have begun. Let’s see if Ajmal can travel the distance from Lower Assam and Barak Valley, his traditional stronghold, to other parts of the state. And to widen his canvas, he has chosen his party candidates accordingly, including other communities than Muslims.

To continue..

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

POLLS BEGINNING TOMORROW WILL WRITE SCRIPT FOR 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS (I)

Tomorrow, the Indian electorate is going to unveil the next chapter – the anti-penultimate round of the upcoming big finale – the chapter that will write and rewrite the political script for the next general elections (parliamentary elections) in 2019.

Anti-penultimate because the way wind blows now – in these five state elections – in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala (and Puducherry with its symbolic, numerical advantage for political morale) – will decide how volatile the tide would be – in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur elections the next year – especially for BJP, Congress, SP, BSP, SAD, AAP, AIADMK, DMK, Left Front – and all others in anti-Congress, anti-BJP or anti-Congress/BJP camps.

The outcome of these state elections will tell if BJP will be able to fill the void that owes its genesis to the glaring mistake the party has committed in Uttar Pradesh by neglecting the state electorally after winning the absolute numbers in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls – 73 out of 80 (2 with its ally Apna Dal).

BJP had the golden opportunity to regain strength and revitalize cadre in Uttar Pradesh, the base from where the party began painting its wider canvas, but the party has wasted it – and is wasting it. It has no leader from Uttar Pradesh today who can mobilize party workers and masses for a positive outcome in the assembly elections next year.

So, from a sure-looking chance, Uttar Pradesh looks now a lost opportunity for BJP.

A loss in these polls would certainly bring the morale of party workers down and coupled with the ‘law of average factor and anti-incumbency against the BJP led NDA government at the centre’ that have diminished the ‘Narendra Modi wave’, if the party doesn’t score big even in Assam, because it has virtually no chance in other states going to polls this year, the humiliation will render any comeback possibility effectively worthless.

And if it is the scenario in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab is going to be lot worse – because the projections are already being made that it would be an AAP Vs Congress fight there – and the BJP-SAD government would crumble under the burden of sky-high anti-incumbency, mammoth levels of corruption and miserably failed governance that left state’s finances high and dry.

For now, BSP is slated to win Uttar Pradesh next year and that is natural given the wave of anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh Yadav government. The BSP chances are further enhanced by absence of any political alternative – like AAP became in the Delhi assembly polls and is now threatening established political players in Punjab. And whatever be the outcome in other states, it is not going to affect the Uttar Pradesh equation, at least in 2017.

For Tamil Nadu, it is all about AIADMK. DMK is not in the race. Projections say. Pollsters vouch for. Ground reports confirm. And other parties including BJP there, at best, could only act as vote-cutters – that is the best case scenario for them. It seems J Jayalalithaa (nicknamed Amma)’s ‘Baahubali’ avatar has a different feeler for voters in Tamil Nadu and, at the moment, it seems it is going to dominate every other factor including the widespread criticism that the Amma government faced in handling the devastating Tamil Nadu floods last year.

Kerala would be interesting to watch for a Congress Vs Left Front battle with Congress facing heaps of problems after chief minister Oomen Chandy’s name emerged in the Solar Scam. A good show here by the Left Front, coupled with a strong performance in West Bengal, even if the Left block fails to form the government there, would revitalize the dying Left Front politics in the country, a must for healthy political discourse.

West Bengal looks a clear chess board for Mamata Banarjee and her party AITC though BJP is trying hard to register impressive footfalls here in its camps, like it is trying in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, but the chances are, if West Bengal would throw any underdog, it would be the Left Front block only.

Like it can happen with Congress in Uttar Pradesh!

To continue..

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

KEJRIWAL VS DELHI POLICE – DELHI GOVERNMENT’S SIT-IN PROTEST: NOT IN SYNC THIS TIME

So, Mr. Kejriwal is going to do it again.

Chances are and as he has threatened, tomorrow morning, a Monday morning, when the third week of the first month of 2014 begins, he (with his ministers and MLAs) is going to sit on dharna/sit-in (let’s see if turns out to be a fast protest) demanding suspension for four officers of the Delhi Police, who allegedly, according to them (AAP), didn’t carry out the duty they were supposed to do.

Delhi, being the National Capital City of India is an interesting case study on parameters of administrative governance. It is if of the Union Government and it is of the Delhi Government. But, the way policy matters have been worked out for the city-state, the balance is tilted in favor of the Union Government.

The Union Government handles the ‘law and order’. The Delhi Development Authority is under the control of the Lieutenant-Governor and not the chief minister. All the three municipal corporations of Delhi are not under the Delhi chief minister. Then there are other sticky issues.

This distribution of power may be debatable but one thing is sure about it that it hurts the ego of every chief minister of Delhi, irrespective of the political affiliation.

And Arvind Kejriwal is no exception. He could have been, given by his promise of introducing a ‘politics of change’, but he is proving it fast that he is just yet another routine politician.

And to change that, he needs to show us he meant to walk the talk, and that has to happen soon.

Anyway, about his ‘dharna’ beginning tomorrow, in North Block, outside the office of the Union Home Minister – he is demanding heads of four policemen – and he is demanding the Delhi Police be placed under the Delhi Government.

Now, that cannot be done.

Delhi, being the capital city, houses the most important installations of the nation, the President Estate, the Parliament, the prime-minister’s house, embassies and high commissions, offices of the international organization including the United Nations, central commands of the security forces and many others.

The Union Government has to take care of it directly, and to do that effectively and efficiently, it needs the direct control of the civic interface of the security apparatus in the city, the Delhi Police. This cannot be expected from the specialized agencies like the NSG or the CISF. And for a better coordination, that is a must, the Delhi Police must remain under the Union Government control.

Sheila Dikshit, a veteran politician of Congress and the three-term chief minister was on a warpath to wrest the control of the Delhi Police from her own party government in Centre but she could not get it. Her politically motivated demand was rightly refused.

And Mr. Kejriwal is doing the same thing. His ‘politics of change’ is talking the same politics that we have become so frustrated with.

The issue of going on ‘dharna’ to demand suspension of four police officers and the demand of control over the Delhi Police is just yet another questionable aspect on his ‘political conduct’ in the 23 days of his government in Delhi.

Questions are being raised, rightly, on his promises and the way he is trying to deliver them.

And instead of addressing that, he is planning yet another show that will add to the quantum of the ‘questions’ only.

Yes, the Delhi Police has been notoriously insensitive, but this time, the immediate cause of this sit-in is not their insensitivity but it looks more of reactive measures on ego-satisfaction of AAP ministers. We all saw it on television, AAP ministers trying to dominate the Delhi Police officers.

And that is not good, for Delhi, for India, and for its aspirations of a ‘politics of change’.

While joining the politics, Mr. Kejriwal said the System could only be cleaned by being in it. Absolutely right.

Then why is he trying to act ‘above the System’, ‘out of the System’, putting his party, his vision of the System, first?

We don’t need his political exclusivity. We need a culture of the political discourse where ‘healthy dissent’ is at the core of the System.

Be in sync, Mr. Kejriwal.

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

ADARSH SCAM REPORT REJECTED: RAHUL GANDHI JUST MISSED YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY

Symbolically shambolic or shambolically symbolic! – “Biggest issue is corruption, it is an unacceptable burden on our people. We must fight corruption”

Rahul Gandhi, was, again, delivering a speech remixing the verbal elements of his speechmaking which we have become so familiar with. He was discussing the problems of India with corporate leaders. And he again spoke on corruption, in his usual style, talking big, when the acts of the many of the Congress leaders directly defy his words. In fact, if we go by the need to set the precedent, even his family needs to come clean on corruption allegations on Robert Vadra, his brother-in-law.

Anyway, that is the regular, usual stuff, keeps on happening, and keeps on defying Rahul’s words.

This time, the push for writing this came from a coincidental turn of events involving Rahul Gandhi, Congress, a speech on corruption and an act of corruption cover-up.

On December 20, the Adarsh Housing Society scam report was tabled in the Maharashtra assembly and summarily rejected by the state government. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, considered relatively clean on corruption, didn’t give any reason.

The report was prepared by a two-member commission (Adarsh Commission) headed by a retired Justice of the Bombay High Court, JA Patil, to look into the allegations of corruption and irregularities in the construction of Adarsh Housing Cooperative Society in Mumbai.

The report indicted four farmer Maharashtra chief ministers and Congress politicians including Sushilkumar Shinde, the Union Home Minister now, and Ashok Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh, former chief ministers of Maharashtra. With many bureaucrats, the report also indicted two influential NCP politicians who are ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet.

This happened on December 20, Friday.

On December 21, Saturday, Rahul addressed the corporate leaders at FICCI Annual General Meeting, talking big again on corruption.

How hollow, how disconnected such statements sound when the reality defies them upfront; when the reality and such statements by Rahul Gandhi become extremes to bridge the gap?

It is as counterfeit as Congress rushing to take credit of passing the Lokpal Bill even if the Congress is the main culprit to let the Bill linger for almost 45 years!

“Corruption is bleeding our people dry. It is an unacceptable burden on the people of our nation. We must fight corruption with all our strength and determination” – how could Rahul speak so, on December 21, addressing the FICCI AGM – just a day after his party’s government and chief minister rejected an impartial judicial commission report on a scam that shook the nation and cost a chief minister his chair?

It was really an opportunity missed and it also tells Rahul and Congress didn’t learn anything from the recent poll humiliations in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and from AAP’s unprecedented victory in Delhi. On December 8 evening, Rahul Gandhi had conceded the defeat saying his party needed to learn from AAP. Corruption and anti-establishment demands anti- the ‘present system of governance’ were the major poll planks of AAP, or the Aam Aadmi Party.

Had it been a serious thought on December 8 evening when the election results of four states were announced, we would not have seen happening what happened on December 20 in Maharashtra.

The time is running out. Talking big and talking radical is not going to help. Such a veil cannot be maintained for long and the prevailing political circumstances make it imperative for Rahul and Congress to change when the electorate is ready for political experiments like AAP. Yes, AAP is not beyond valid reasons of doubt, but it is certainly a point to begin.

Rahul and Congress need to act now, and given the mess, the political abyss, they are in, they need to act radically.

Adarsh Commission report could have been an opportunity to begin but it has been missed. A positive approach on the Adarsh Commission enquiry report, indicting big names, would certainly be a fitting, radical anti-corruption step taken.

The ‘change in politics’ that Rahul Gandhi has been talking about, even more repeatedly after his elevation as the Congress Vice-president, needs ‘politics of change’ that is much bigger than saving a Sushilkumar Shinde.

Mr. Gandhi you must, (if not react on), read and think over what Justice Patil said on rejection of his report: “We have a clear idea in our mind of what happened (referring to the Adarsh scam). Based on that we submitted our report after recording the evidence of several witnesses and perusing relevant documents. The findings were not palatable to the government and hence it must have been rejected.”

Start acting. It is already too late!

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

SUPPORT TO AAP: YET ANOTHER POLITICAL BLUNDER BY CONGRESS

It seems, the consistent electoral debacles, the deepening ill-fame of the Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, and the recent poll humiliations in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi have drained the grand old party of India totally, squeezing and diluting its grey-matter.

Had it not been so, the party would not have decided to take this risk. It is beyond the rational political thinking of the day that what pushed the Congress strategists to go with it. But let’s give it a try.

The strategists might have thought that AAP would not be able to run the government effectively and would fail miserably in fulfilling the promises it had made to the electorate. They might have thought an inexperienced government burdened with extremely demanding expectations would give more than enough calls to look good while pulling out the support and bringing down the government.

Suppose that happens. What would happen then?

Now, if this ‘pulling out’ game happens just in time to let Delhi have repoll with the Lok Sabha elections (that could be one of the possibilities Congress strategists would be ‘staring’ at), then the electoral arena would be open to be exploited again.

But that would not help Congress. The mileage would go to BJP. And it is ridiculous if Congress strategists cannot see this point. A negative performance by AAP would help BJP and not Congress in Delhi as the party will have an opportunity to couple its ‘high moral stand’ ground with the Modi-factor in the backdrop of the huge anti-incumbency against the UPA government.

It is to be seen BJP is the winner of Delhi assembly polls, in terms of number of seats and the vote share. And it is well known that there was no morality involved when the party decided to bequeath its claim of forming the government in Delhi.

But a failing AAP will give the BJP decision of not forming the government a moralistic hue then and will naturally push the public to the BJP fold.

But, there is a ‘but’ involved that may also spoil the BJP’s chessboard.

If AAP can perform on the major promises of power and water tariffs and VIP culture in Delhi in the two and half months available, it will effectively make the Congress party dormant in Delhi for a long time and will force BJP to reorganize and relook on its strategy if the party has to form the next government in Delhi after the Arvind Kejriwal led AAP government that is expected to take oath on December 26.

Any which way, the Congress party is poised to come out to be the biggest loser. A performing AAP government would not let it score any point as Arvind Kejriwal has not asked for the support but a failing AAP government would give BJP an opportunity to hit directly and bluntly at Congress blaming it for pushing Delhi to the days of uncertainty and political chaos.

And what would the ‘old and new’ strategists of the grand old party of India do when the AAP government, as promised, starts probing the corruption cases against Congress leaders, and ‘possibly jailing’ them?

Certainly, as universally known about the character of the Congress party, they will pull the plug immediately, giving yet another solid reason to AAP to play the Good Samaritan on the political block.

So, we come back to the question again where we had begun – what made the Congress strategists to decide on supporting AAP to form the government in Delhi?

Bloopers! Blunder!!

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

AN AAP GOVERNMENT IN DELHI: HOPE THIS POLITICAL EXPERIMENT WORKS OUT

What could be the silver-lining, the biggest catch, in having an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi?

It will be the clinical trial of one of the most significant political experiments in India where the public, the Aam Aadmi, the voter, has been in the driving seat.

For ages, in the independent India, we have been discussing the need of fundamental changes in the Indian politics. But apart from the JP wave and the failed Janata Party government in the 70s, we do not have much to talk about.

India has had a political lineage of similarly oriented (skewed) politicians, irrespective of the party affiliations because ideology has always been compromised or co-opted by the elitism of the political corruption of the mainstream political parties.

If Congress is the biggest culprit, as it has been the dominant political force for the most the period of the independent India, other parties, too, have, more or less, followed the suit in being in bed with the corrupt political practices of the human greed, be it so with BJP or the so-called Third Front parties or the regional offshoots of the mainstream political parties, mostly from the Janata Party experiment.

Yes, the Left front parties can claim to deserve a separate benchmarking for them. But then, if they are almost marginalized in the Indian politics, it is because they could not live up to the ideology that defines the Leftists. Yes, they cannot said to be politically corrupt but then they have not been politically correct either.

So, it has been an all-pervasive environment of political corruption that, with time, has reached to the level of depravity.

And in this atmosphere of political negativity and thus the widespread frustration, an unexpected outcome has come in the form of AAP’s brilliant performance in the Delhi assembly polls.

The party is just one year old political outfit of apolitical members who have taken the political plunge riding high on the hugely successful 2011 anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare the epicenter of which was Delhi.

A System cannot be corrected from outside. And it’s good that many ‘the-person-next-door’ representatives have been elected by the Delhi electorate.

Yes, the doubts associated with Arvind Kejriwal and some of his associates who form the axis of AAP, remain in the realm of validated ‘ifs and buts’. They need to prove us wrong and they are going to have this opportunity now.

So, having a ‘failed history’ of alternative political movements, an AAP government in Delhi would be an opportunity to see how this one fares, after the failure of the Janata government led by Morarji Desai.

To see the experiment entering the clinical trial phase just before the big political show of the Lok Sabha polls of 2014 would demand clinical precision from AAP while the party tries to fulfill the many unbelievable promises made to the Delhi electorate. The positive point for them is the promises are ‘unbelievable’ if seen from the current standards of politicking. There is always the room for the alternative outcome.

They do not have time to waste. In fact, they are running out of time. It is good for Delhi. It can be good for India. And it can be brilliant for AAP. If they perform in this make-or-break battle!

The clinical trial for AAP begins tomorrow. We should hope this political experiment works out.

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

LOKPAL: THE ‘COMPROMISED’ BILL IS LOGICAL ENOUGH TO BEGIN WITH

We are always free to demand for more and we will..

There have been debates and there will be debates on effectiveness of the just passed Lokpal Bill, to create an anti-corruption ombudsman. Some would dismiss. Some would extol. Some would remain skeptical and would prefer to wait and watch.

What was being demanded by the civil society was not a practical one. What was being given by the government was not an acceptable one.

But, the Bill passed ‘finally’ by the Indian Parliament on December 18, can be seen, more or less as an acceptable one to begin with. Broadly, it paves the way for an ombudsman that if implemented in time, with proper infrastructure and with supportive legislations like the Citizen Charter Bill, the Judicial Accountability Bill and the Whistleblowers Protection Bill can prove really effective in spite of the reservations over many of its provisions.

The need is to develop a good ecosystem with all these constituents. Yes, we all know it’s easier said than done. And given the prevalence of political opportunism in India, we know it’s not going to be easy.

But, at least, we have a point to begin now.

The fight has been a long and circuitous one and this outcome should not be seen as a washout and should not be rejected outright. The Bill was to be passed and was to be enacted if we had to move ahead, from planning to implementations stage.

And if it could happen so, finally, after 45 or 50 years, any which way we want to look at it, it owes much to the hugely successful anti-corruption movement of 2011, especially its April and August legs that bolsters the feeling the Indians are learning to express their displeasure more and more expressively, more and more aggressively.

And that is a point to reflect on, to hope positively that an anti-corruption ecology around the Lokpal, with some other corresponding laws, can be created.

The basic requirement is the pressure from the public and its manifestation. It is good that public is increasingly expressing itself, more and more, and spontaneously, with or without a leader, as happened during the 2011 anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, as happened during the huge leaderless public protests in the aftermath of December 16 Delhi gangrape and recently in the unprecedented electoral mandate to the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi assembly polls, a party that fought on the issue of corruption and successfully exploited the public sentiments mobilized after the 2011 anti-corruption movement.

So, there is an ecology of pressure being built up. And on its target are the present ways of administration and governance by the mainstream political parties of India.

On the face of it, there are many good points in the Lokpal Bill/Act cleared. It has power to prosecute. It can check every government official including the prime minister. The process of Lokpal’s appointment and dismissal is fairly logical.

These basic rules to establish and govern the institution of the anti-corruption ombudsman are broad enough to give it a good enough space to breath, to make others suffocate.

See the good precedent set by the Election Commission of India and the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, both chosen by the Indian government. The regularly increasing voter turn-out election after election and clean and violence-free elections or consistent reports putting the government on back-foot on corruption and scams like 2G, different land and defense deals have become benchmarks of the Indian Democracy.

So, there is no reason to dismiss the Lokpal even before it starts working, when it has good enough autonomy to begin with.

It is true it is a ‘compromised’ bill with politicians putting their ‘sincere’ efforts to dilute it as much as they could in the prevailing sociopolitical scenario. So, there is some tough fighting ahead to iron out the difficulties once the institution gets operational. Even in that case, it would be much easier to bring amendments to introduce the required element of reform than not having the Lokpal at all.

One of the most talked about omissions is excluding the lower bureaucracy from Lokpal’s purview areas. That is a concern area but it is not something that can not be added later provided there is intent or there is pressure to do so.

If public pressure can panic the politicians to the extent that they can pass the Bill in just 10 days after Congress routing in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and AAP’s grand entry in Delhi in the election results announced on December 8, it can certainly push them to do so.

While a government of an outfit like AAP should happily, on its own, weed out the weaker elements, even a government of any of the mainstream political party would not be able to skirt the demand then, in an environment of a more aware electorate and more alert activists amid an increasing presence of alternative political parties and politicians like AAP or Arvind Kejriwal. AAP’s success in Delhi is bound to give India more of honest, young and unorthodox politicians in the days to come.

Alternatively, there can be this relevant afterthought. Corruption has made every part of the Indian administrative and governance machinery largely sluggish and docile.

As it affects every sphere of Indian life, its social, political and commercial activities, it has exported corruption to almost every section of Indian society, free of caste, class, religion and regional divides. It has made corruption interdependent and interrelated.

So, in a way, if we say, if we can check the corruption in the government at top level, setting some tough precedents, it can set in motion a ripple effect, that, though will take time, will trickle down to other participants, the NGO people, the lower-ranked bureaucracy and the corporate people, who are not covered under the Lokpal Act.

If there can be a check at the top level corruption, and if there can be some tough and landmark punitive action taken, some examples on this line, it will send down a clear message.

Also, when the government corruption at top level would see its avenues to earn easy money being squeezed out, it would certainly feel unhappy to see others still milking the cow.

Nothing like rocket science in thinking so – if they cannot eat, they will not let others eat – if they cannot earn easy money – they will not let others do so – the forced honesty!

So, in checking them, they would be more and more impartial, would be increasingly objective and detached.

Just an afterthought!

But I am not daydreaming folks! The Lokpal is here and that is a good sign; that is a logical reason to prepare for the next stage of the fight – to let it evolve into an effective institution.

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

IT’S A CLEAR LETDOWN MR. KEJRIWAL!

Is it a game of any sort?

Okay, it may be said to be a politically smart move to push the ball again in the public’s court on forming the next government in Delhi, but the way things have moved so far, this move, too, sounds as yet another sham of the political theatre of the absurd.

We will take support. We will not take support. The theatrics – pre-poll and post-poll – continue – players remain the same – equations have changed.

Talking of taking a stand – they all talked so – pre-poll and post-poll. Okay, remaining firm on the stand taken – it was never to be expected from Congress and BJP but AAP was not expected to backtrack, because it signified the basic weaving of the new political outfit’s poll plank – anti-Congress, anti-BJP, in fact anti-establishment for the system of governance being practiced by the mainstream political parties.

But, no one including AAP took any stand it can be said now. AAP did not have to do it. It should have said a clear no to forming the government on December 8 itself. It did say ‘no’ many times post the assembly election results but there was always an implicit willingness to keep the possibility alive.

And now it is clear, out in the open. AAP took a stand that could not stand on its own.

As if these 8 days since December 8 were not enough for absurd developments, we came across one more yesterday when Arvind Kejriwal said AAP would seek public’s opinion on taking support from Congress and forming the government.

It is funny. It is absurd. And it paints AAP in a negative hue. The first mistake they have already made by agreeing to extend the conversation on taking support from Congress. The second is this one.

It’s like falling in a trap. The results of this uncalled-for ‘referendum’ are more than clear. If it says to go ahead, it will be backtracking on a pivotal stand taken in the very beginning of a political journey that began with the promise of doing it ‘differently’ from others. If it says no, it would involve risks of misreading and misjudging the public’s sentiment because such a random opinionating cannot replace a poll outcome, the outcome that says AAP should not form the government in Delhi.

For AAP, it has to be more about ideological than political, the way they talk to change the politics of the country.

Mr. Kejriwal, it’s not a game. This one-week window and pushing the onus on public to justify your decision and the intent of it may sound politically smart but it is a clear letdown ideologically.

Hope, you and AAP realize it soon.

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

MR. KEJRIWAL: PLEASE STOP THIS ‘SUPPORT’ PASTIME

It is good to see Aam Aadmi Party dictating the terms in the post-poll scenario in Delhi. But it is good only as long as it doesn’t become the theatre of the absurd.

And it is becoming the one now.

Whatever be the reason, ideological or circumstantial, behind AAP’s unwillingness in forming the government in Delhi with the ‘unconditional’ support from the Congress party, the issue is being dragged now too long to be seen in the realm of value-based politics.

It is neither ideological, nor circumstantial.

Oaky, when we talk of value-based politics, something no one expects from BJP and Congress, it was certainly expected from AAP to maintain the discipline in the formative years of its polity, even if the AAP people have some other plans or even if they are co-opted by the prevailing political System of the country in a not so distant political future.

Also, the way Arvind Kejriwal left the anti-corruption movement midway, splitting with Anna Hazare, would be a negative point in his social and political career until he proves the perception wrong by his work.

Yes, it is still in the realm of perception, so the AAP people have to be given the benefit of doubt and they have been given the benefit of doubt by the voters who have given them a stunning political debut in the national capital of India.

Yes, but, equally true, the doubt remains, if we believe in the language of the electoral mandate, as AAP has not been given the majority on its own to form the government in Delhi.

And ideally, as the pre-poll position taken, AAP should not be taking a different post-poll stand of even considering the support proposal from Congress as Mr. Arvind Kejriwal is doing.

Instead of outrightly rejecting the BJP and Congress proposals, he is making public his Magna Carta of demands to accept the support from these mainstream political parties, something that should be ideologically untouchable for AAP.

And anyway, even if it is to be seen as a child’s play, as the type of demands put forward by Kejriwal says, even if it is to squeeze out the some vindictive mileage of the past, even if it is to satisfy the ego, it is spilling over now. There are demands in the list that no mainstream political party would ever agree to concede to, let alone give in writing.

Or is there some sort of hidden fear that AAP may not be able to replicate this stunning feat if the assembly elections are held again with the Lok Sabha polls – a fear that is holding back from taking the required ‘high moral’ ground?

Whatever be the reason, it is neither ideological nor circumstantial. So, stop playing Mr. Kejriwal.

Also, Mr. Kejriwal, Delhi’s voters do understand it.

Remember, the doubt remains. And you and your party are yet to prove the perceptions wrong.

And remember, the next stage in AAP’s formative journey is just four months away.

So, tread cautiously and tread honestly. You cannot be forced to accept the support. Your party cannot be force-fed to inhabit the power corridors of the Delhi Secretariat.

Let Delhi be with Mr. Najeeb Jung, the Lieutenant-Governor, till the next assembly polls.

Stop this sham of support pastime if you want to play it long, if you plan to play it differently, if you think to do it positively.

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

MODI-FACTOR VS MODI-WAVE

Personality wave in electoral battles basically follows personality cult. To be a personality cult there, there need to be a large scale uniform acceptability across a large geographical and sociological cross section of the poll-bound area.

If we follow this simple logic of common sense, we can easily say there was no Modi-wave in the recently concluded assembly polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Better than expected results in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh help the proponents of the Modi-wave theories but then Chhattisgarh and Delhi results, where BJP could hardly win in one and could emerge as the largest party but short of majority in other, defy their every logic.

It is true Narendra Modi did positively add to the BJP vote-share in these assembly polls but it was not a wave, it was the Modi-factor in play.

And there is a clear and visible distance, from Modi-factor to Modi-wave, to be travelled.

Personality waves in electoral events, if is there is really a personality wave, are very strong, strong enough to dwarf every other factor.

Had there been a Modi-wave, we would not have such a close fight in Chhattisgarh; we would not have a hung assembly in Delhi.

Had there been a Modi-wave, it could have easily countered and negated the sympathy wave that helped Congress in Bastar constituencies in Chhattisgarh after its top state leaders were killed in a Naxal attack there. 8 out of 12 assembly seats falling in that area went to the Congress party.

Had it been for a Modi-wave, we would not have a hung assembly outcome in Delhi. It could have easily replaced the Anna and AAP factor in being the primary claimants exploiting the huge anti-incumbency against the Congress-led governments, at Union and at State levels.

But that did not happen.

To dwarf such known factors and some unpredictable factors like the sympathy votes in Bastar, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi’s popularity needs to travel this distance, it there has to be a Modi-wave by the next April-May when the voters go out to vote to elect the next Union Government of India.

But in the prevailing political circumstances, even a Narendra Modi factor would be more than enough for the BJP to secure around 200 seats, a threshold that the party needs in order to command political allies to cross the 272 mark to prove majority in the House, if the BJP strategists could successfully align the Modi-factor along the huge nation-wide anti-incumbency against the Congress-led UPA government.

And so what is this Modi-factor. It is many sub-factors that make Narendra Modi the tallest political leader of the present political lot; that make Narendra Modi the most popular political leader in the country literally dwarfing all others; that make Narendra Modi an icon of development politics; that make Narendra Modi an experimenter and promoter of the identity-politics; factors that make Narendra Modi the absolute factor of the ‘politics of polarisation’ in India.

There are in-built positives and negatives with these Modi sub-factors. How these sub-factors are played out by BJP is going to the shape the effectiveness of the Modi-factor in the upcoming general elections; is going to write the equations for the party.

Yes, if there comes around a political scenario of BJP getting the absolute majority on its own, then we can safely call it’s a Modi-wave where positives and negatives don’t matter; where the cult of the personality becomes a phenomenon sweeping the mindsets.

Let’s watch to analyse.

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