RAHUL GANDHI AND THE OWNERSHIP PAPERS OF THE RESETTLEMENT COLONIES: THE ALL SO FAMILIAR IRONIES OF INDIAN POLITICS

September 10, 2013 – it was a news heavy day yet again. In the galaxy of two sweeping news events, the verdict in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape case and Narendra Modi’s rally in Jaipur, almost every other development was scrambling to get some more elusive space.

But on this news heavy day, there was yet another somewhat stuffy news story. Though it was too on the front pages of many newspapers in Delhi, it did not get the attention that a Rahul Gandhi story usually gets.

But that is not the point here. The point is about the news story related to Rahul Gandhi and the associated irony with it, the irony that has become all so familiar by its abundance.

The newsy stuff was Rahul Gandhi was to distribute the freehold ownership papers to the families of 45 resettlement colonies in Delhi. The promoted welfare measure (read opportunistic electoral step) was intended to benefit 7 lakh (700,000) families who were rehabilitated in these resettlement colonies.

On the face of it, for a person unknown to the realities of the Indian politics of the day, it all sounds so socially oriented.

For a person, who is well aware of the demoralizing facts of the Indian politics of the way, it was yet another electoral sop timed and pushed ahead of the upcoming assembly polls in Delhi.

But scratch a little, and the famed irony surfaces. These resettlement colonies were already there by 1980 with most of them built during Indira Gandhi’s days to rehabilitate the slum dwellers.

So, why did it take so many years, over three decades to handover a mere piece of paper to a house-owner, who was already, in principle and in real terms, given the ownership of the house by the government only?

When the land was already demarcated and the residents were already relocated, why did it take the governments so long to give the people their rightful authority over the property that had become their?

But, no one is asking this question. The issue may not be on the radar of the people resettled in these colonies as they were already in hold of their possession, something that was ‘given’ to them at a nominal lease rent, though they could not do many things that a full ownership could have helped them do, because they could never realise the full rights given to them by the Constitution. They could not differentiate between ‘right’ and ‘largesse’.

So, even if there should have been protests over it, no one protested.

It could have been done much earlier. But such measures only come to the fore when politicians find them short of issues to score easy victory in elections. It has become a trend, to deliberately drag the issues to time them according to the poll schedules, no matter how much more good, in real terms, the measures could have done, when properly and timely implemented.

Its glaring example is the United Progressive Alliance’s Food Security Bill. It was in UPA’s 2009 manifesto but could only come to the implementation stage right before the important assembly polls of 2013 (Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattishgarh) and the parliamentary polls of 2014.

Okay, if it would take a year to get it to the legislation and implementation stage, still, it could have been lunched three years ago. It is not that the segment of the population intended to be covered under the Food Security Act was not there three years ago or was not there all these three years. So, going by that, the UPA government should be held guilty for denying millions the right to food security after making a promise. The Indian Economy was certainly in better shape in 2010 than now.

Politicians know voters are fools who don’t realise what is good or bad for them or who is good or bad for them. They know voters are controlled by a myopic vision that obstructs their rational thinking ability and so they can easily be manipulated by the populist electoral sops just before the elections to get that impulsive reaction from them in the form of their vote.

So here, the Congress timed, yet again, an electoral sop to handover the ownership documents to the relocated population of these resettlement colonies just before the assembly elections of Delhi. It is also to be seen with the poll projections that are saying the Congress is going to face a certain defeat.

On target are the 3 million (30 lakh) residents of these colonies, a significant chunk of Delhi’s over 16.5 million population base and a lucrative votebank thus.

What Rahul Gandhi did yesterday, Sonia Gandhi had done before the 2008 assembly polls in Delhi. Then, she had distributed the provisional certificates of regularization to unauthorized colonies. The party had won the polls. Reports say the Congress is preparing for a big rally this month where Sonia Gandhi would distribute the original certificates of regularization to these colonies.

The pile of the ‘familiar irony’ keeps mounting up.

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

COMMUNAL OR SECULAR: THEY ALL ARE SAME

They all are from the same lot, exploiting the religious sentiments of this or that population group to further their political agenda.

Their only goal now is to manage somehow their presence in the power corridors and they can go to any extent for it.

The common man, be it a Hindu or a Muslim or a Sikh or a Christian or a Dalit or a Forward Caste or a Backward Caste, has been reduced to nothing but a pawn in their hands to manipulate the System to make their sub-System dominating over the larger System versioned and put in place 63 years ago by the Indian Constitution.

The poor, the dependent and the weak, from every religious and caste group face similar problems of survival.

But fools they are!

They are so easily duped by the politicians, year after year, election after election, in the name of religion, in the name of caste, in the name of regionalism.

And every political group, be it the so-called seculars and the so-called communals, have equally contributed in propagating this treacherous machinery.

No political outfit in India is secular and the whole debate surrounding the ‘secular vs communal’ controversy is a big lie. The nation has seen religious riots during rules of almost every political outfit.

Communal or secular – it’s a game of political manipulation that is fought on perceptions. It’s like pizza – the base remains the same, only the toppings vary.

Creating perceptions – to manipulate us!

Manipulating perceptions – to rule over us!

Perceptions, to keep us occasionally hallucinating that the good days would come.

Perceptions, to shows us the bare minimum of what was required to be done asking us to base our aspirations on that bare minimum, that proves nothing more than a mirage in the end.

Perceptions, to tell us they are working for us.

Perceptions, to tell us what they say and make us see is right.

Perceptions, to tell us we do not have alternatives but to follow them.

Perceptions, to kill our genuine perceptions.

And they all, communals as well as seculars, are united in this.

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

84 KOSI YATRA: WHAT LIES BENEATH?

Battle for perceptions dear! Perceptions!

It was naturally a political Yatra, no two opinions about that and the mileage that was sought is already in, even if it could not take off yesterday.

If Narendra Modi is the prime-ministerial face of the largest opposition party, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), one must be prepared to come across such developments.

Modi is the most skilled politician in India who can most efficiently exploit the elements of the communal politics for political gains.

And he is right on the job. This ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ that was to begin yesterday was just an element in the grand scheme of the things Modi would be working on.

The debate whether Narendra Modi or BJP are behind this Yatra that has religious and spiritual significance for Hindus or not is irrelevant. The promoters, the mobilizers, all come from an extended family and share same ideology.

Irrespective of the outcome yesterday, everyone is talking about it, from media to political pundits to politicians. And given the developments of the day, there are clear indications that efforts are afoot to deepen the row. Let’s see what happens today.

But one outcome is assued – expect more of the chatter. And a growing chatter midst a deepening religious row would naturally add the group, the majority Hindus, in the chain of communication, the ultimate aim of such Yatras and events and this Yatra may be just the beginning of many more such measures.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu outfit that is aligned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), has announced this Yatra that, to begin from Ayodhya and to pass through six districts of Uttar Pradesh. VHP leaders, though detained yesterday, categorically said the outfit was going to go ahead with the Yatra.

Whatever be the developments ahead, a deepening row would certainly scale-up the stature of Narendra Modi and the BJP. Handling it is not going to be as simple as Akhilesh Yadav would be thinking.

In fact, his condition is more precarious. The best scenario for him would be to allow the Yatra to happen. In that case, nothing much on communal line would move. Raking up the RamTemple issue before every election doesn’t produce return anymore. But the blind rush to appease the minority Muslim votes blocked possibility of this option.

Now, if the row over the Yatra deepens and some untoward incidents happen today and in next few days, it may push the people to think again for the RamTemple and so, on the religious lines. And if that starts happening once in India’s most populous state, the work of Narendra Modi would become much easier.

And, even if anything like that doesn’t happen in this case, the state response already taken is enough to tell more such Yatras (or similar events) in future may produce the desired result because ‘when the situation flares up is impulsive’ that no one can predict.

Also, even if the chatter grows only, it will help strengthen the persona of Narendra Modi as the sole Hindu leader who cares for the majority sentiments. In India, perceptions still play a major role in deciding the electoral outcomes.

Communal politics of minority appeasement has been the dominant practice in Indian politics.

Narendra Modi is taking a different line by pushing for the communal politics of majority appeasement, something that he has successfully tried in Gujarat.

What is going to be and what is going not to be can only be tested on the timescale and the immediate point of reference for it on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary elections.

For now and the time till the next parliamentary elections, it is going to be the time for the intensifying battles of perception!

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