JNUSU PROTEST MARCH: THE EXPECTED CLIMBDOWN – AND IT IS FOR GOOD

It was expected to happen this way and thankfully it did happen this way – the response to the protest march called by the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) – that did not set the news agenda today.

And much of it has to do with the rapid climbdown the ‘Kanhaiya Kumar hopes’ saw – after his bail on March 3.

March 3 and 4 were crucial – for Kanhaiya Kumar to understand and act that he was not a fulltime politician but mere a student activist who had got people’s sympathy and support because people felt he was being wronged, because people felt that he and others in JNU were being victimized.

Newsrooms and the nation saw a surcharged atmosphere even during the breaking developments centred on Umar Khalid and Aniraban Bhattacharya disappearance, reappearance and surrender.

Being students was the significant brand equity every JNU student had when police, politicians and administration started making mess of a university matter. Their activism, ideological affiliation and sense of fighting it out only amplified the appeal. It worked well with the popular sentiment that tends to be with the people who are perceived as being victimized.

Kanhaiya Kumar and other JNU students lost these advantages after Kanhaiya Kumar started doing rounds of personal interviews and started making unnecessary verbal attacks that didn’t spare even the defence establishment including the Indian Army.

When communication goes on mass level, no one sees the intent but the words you ejaculate. The ‘Kanhaiya Kumar fined for obscene behaviour against a woman’ episode further added to it. Then there were additionals like talks of Kanhaiya Kumar slated to campaign for the Left-wing parties in the upcoming assembly polls.

So, a mess that had given a window, an opportunity to revive student politics and activism in India was being reduced to a mere political opportunity that could conveniently be labelled anti-BJP and thus could be dismissed.

Everyone saw through it – including those who had rushed to support JNU students. Certainly there has been a disenchantment and it reflected today when no national news channel made it a point to beam Kanhaiya Kumar and others while they were organizing the protest march.

It was third in a series of solidarity marches to raise voice for democratization of academic institutions in the country and was about JNUSU’s and JNUTA’s demand of releasing Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. And sane, neutral voices want them released though their judicial custody was extended for another 14 days today. Hope, they get bail tomorrow when their bail plea hearing is expected.

But as the overall issue is important – that how some students of a particular institution were targeted and are still being targeted – beyond what should have been a justified punishment/disciplinary action meted out to them – so was the attention given to the issue today. Almost every news carrier carried the developments on the JNU protest march later in the day – with relevant pointers from Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech today.

Student politics and activism are imperatives for any democratic society but within the confines of academic environment. Yes, universities must be the first places for voices of dissent but it is the responsibility of everyone to keep the culture of debate healthy and democratic. And they must be within the Constitutional norms that run a democracy. You have to practice the fact that only your ideology cannot be sacrosanct – be it Leftist – or the Centrist – or the Rightist.

If you have to get engaged in fulltime activism or politics, pass the confines of the academic institutions first. While still being a student, it is not your job to raise voices, indulge in sloganeering and organize events to rid the country of this or that ideology. Keep your leanings intact for the time when you will be out in the open to take on what you believed was wrong and unjustified when you were building the activist in you during your days in your academic institution.

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

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NOW, DON’T CARICATURIZE KANHAIYA KUMAR! II KANHAIYA KUMAR, PLEASE DON’T CARICATURIZE YOURSELF!

Now that is exactly what we are witnessing – in increasingly emboldened hues – subaltern is an imperative for an amorphous society that India is – but everyone needs to learn first:

— that no ideology can survive in isolation,
— that no ideology can flourish in autocratic domination,
— that no ideology can propagate itself further if it refuses to engage into healthy dialogue with other ideologies.

Be it the rightist, be it the leftist, or be it the centrist!

No one knew Kanhaiya Kumar outside the JNU precincts before February 9, 2016 and ‘Kanhaiya Kumar of today’ can only be relevant to the nation if he remains ‘a Kanhaiya Kumar’ who is a puritan student of an ideology and not ‘a Kanhaiya Kumar’ who is a mere tool in the hands of the left-wing politicians in the country who are living the last leg of their political life.

And it is unfortunate – because a democracy needs a constellation of differing ideologies and a healthy discourse among them!

Leftism is a logical social-political ideology that would always remain relevant. Left-wing politics has shaped and reshaped many pockets of the world but if it is dying in almost every part of the world today, including in China, it is for its supporters to think why it has come to this. Simply, it didn’t move ahead with times and it didn’t find resolute followers who were puritan in their hearts.

Shouting at BJP or criticising Narendra Modi or sarcastically delivering views and slogans or brazenly disregarding other ideologies will only caricaturize Kanhaiya Kumar and anyone else who has got into the nation’s conscience after the alleged anti-India incident of JNU on February 9 – something that has happened in this whole JNU drama – and something that has intensified after Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail.

Yes, whatever the administration and police did at JNU was totally unacceptable. There are valid reports of false allegations and doctored videos on which the police based its investigation. We all know the case will never stand in the court. The JNU folks should respect the public sentiment at large that stood with them, that came out in their support, considering that some students were wrongly and harshly targeted, even if they were not on the same page as the ideology of these students was.

That is the discourse India needs – and JNU needs – and Kanhaiya Kumar needs.

Yes, we need leaders. Good leaders are always needed but one needs to qualify for that. The first night Kanhaiya Kumar addressed a huge gathering in JNU can be seen as a natural reaction to the injustice meted out to him. But after that, it has stated sounding hollow – his ‘ideological’ repetitions (without reverberations now) – a protest or the other in JNU every other day – disregarding everything else in India in the name of ‘Brahmanism’ or ‘Manuwad’ – and using ‘complex, tough, pregnant words’ as Kanhaiya Kumar said – words that sound more like rants now.

It is for Kanhaiya Kumar, the student, to ponder over why the left-wing politics is dying in India. If he starts thinking and acting on it as a left-wing politician of the day in India, he is bound to fail. He will be remembered as nothing more than a political caricature then.

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

KANHAIYA SPOKE WELL

Irrespective of going into the Qualitatives of Kanhaiya Kumar’s address – that he said was not a speech but accumulative expression of his experiences – after his release from the Tihar Jail today – was really something to listen to.

The man spoke well. He had a flow. And he sounded fearless, objective and bound to an ideology. That is probably the difference age brings – a kind of puritan fearlessness where you don’t really think much of the consequences.

Some years ago, once, I had chance to speak to Dr. Binayak Sen over the phone, after he had got a long fought but ‘temporary’ bail in the sedition case the state had imposed on him along with other serious charges. It was a brief conversation where Dr. Sen sounded very cautious on what to speak and what not to. He was evasive on directly answering most of the questions even during our brief conversation.

Dr. Sen is an inspiration – a great crusader of social rights – and he is still the same Dr. Binayak Sen – that he was – when he had started giving shape to the ‘Mitanin’ programme for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh’s hinterlands.

But when I spoke to Dr. Sen, he was around 60 – with years of incarceration and system’s oppression behind him. He was hounded like a hardened criminal when he had simply done his job – of being a doctor – in places no one else wishes to enter. If it is said that doctors are next only to God, doctors like Binayak Sen give a reason to validate that.

But years of State’s hostility and prison term with ageing turned him into a silent crusader than a vocal activist I can say. Something that is not there in case of Kanhaiya Kumar – the 29 year old JNU Students Union president. He is young. He is armed with an ideology. And he sounded like ready to fight come what may. Yes, the Constitutional sanctity is pristine but every act then is permissible within its norms, irrespective of the ideological affiliations (and difference).

The case against Kanhaiya Kumar was always on a flimsy ground and he should have got bail much earlier. In fact, the whole JNU incident (row) was mishandled. We should wish for more in line developments now onward.

This speech by the fellow, delivered at the prestigious institution a while ago, tells where the system erred. Dissent is a must for democracy. Democracy needs consistent spark at ideological levels. A healthy culture of dissent and debate strengthens the Constitution that runs any democracy. Subaltern history should be as important to us as History is.

Irrespective of the observations like a ‘political leader is born today’ or ‘Kanhaiya is making a career option for him’, we should wish this incident, the whole JNU row, may prove a blessing in disguise for us. It has to be much more than mere a ‘making of breaking of a leader’. It has to be a step ahead in the quest to make a just and responsible society. Let’s not make him a hero or a leader. Let’s not do anything to anyone like Kanhaiya Kumar that could bury the valid hopes anymore.

India has had not meaningful and coherent student moments while even China had one – resulting in one of the darkest chapters in the history of mankind – the Tiananmen Massacre – when China’s authoritarian regime had killed hundreds of protesting students (some reports quote even thousands).

We should hope this be the right beginning for student movements in India – for student activism from the petty levels of student politics that is reeling under the corrupt and ruthless vice-chancellors mainstream political concerns. The ground is ripe – after the hugely successful civil society anti-corruption movement of 2011 and the massive protests by outraged students and civil society in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gangrape case of 2012.

Technology is a leveller and it is helping us, in our societies – to get connected – to speak out and to reach out. Spiral of silence in our country is peeking now. And in my view, it is the next big leap of social media after the Arab Spring. It is heartening to see the hashtag #KanhaiyaKumar trending at top on Twitter.

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

CAN ROHITH VEMULA’S FORCED SUICIDE DO THAT TO US?

We have reasons to go by Narendra Modi’s words. If BJP won complete majority on its own, something unthinkable in the prevailing political scenario of the country, it was basically because of Narendra Modi. People showed trust in him, in his words, in his promises of development.

It is true the first 20 months of the BJP government have given us more questions than solving our problems but still, Narendra Modi is the only political alternative India has when we see the equations in the national politics.

So when he reacted on Rohith Vemula’s suicide today, we should accept some serious action would follow now – after a series of blunders so far – yes, within realms of realpolitik of the day.

The biggest and unpardonable blunder is by University of Hyderabad, its administration and its vice-chancellor. Had they acted like what makes for a real educational institution and credible academic careers, Rohith Vemula would be among us, pursuing his studies for a better career and better life for himself, his family and country.

Universities should ideally be first the places in our societies for healthy, intellectual debates on ideas and ethos of anything and everything – social sciences, sciences, arts and aesthetics, culture, religion, traditions, dance, drama, music, and so on and so forth – and the difference of opinion should be a must – because we cannot progress, we cannot evolve – unless we question – even if we have to reaffirm our faith.

That is not the case here in India – in the world’s largest democracy. But I know we would be there someday – our robustly functional democracy would take us there.

But at the moment – it is total chaos. Our educational system is failing us. Apart from few bright spots, the overall scenario is gloomy. We are churning out degrees but not capable human beings. Political interference and political considerations, coupled with deeply rooted corruption, have vitiated the atmosphere of the seats of higher learning to the extent that the discrimination that Rohith Vemula faced has become quite common.

Vice-chancellors, head of institutions, principals – they behave like they are kings of their fiefdoms – beyond any scrutiny.

They all, all responsible in Rohith’s case, should be held accountable and punished – anymore delay would be blasphemous.

Next is the political interference in student politics.

It is now established beyond doubt that associated outfits and fringe elements are involved in brining much dirt to BJP. And in this case also, role of an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, BJP’s student wing, is under scanner. The allegations that have been leveled against Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani, senior BJP leaders and union ministers, in Rohith’s suicide, need clear answers.

It was clearly a case of undue political interference, as proven by letters of Bandaru Dattatreya on behalf of BJP and letters of HRD ministry to UoH on Bandaru’s letter that exacerbated the matter. Then there are controversial statements by Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya and other BJP leaders. BJP could have simply accepted the fault and could have apologized to the nation. That would, in fact, be positive for the party’s public perception.

Now that Narendra Modi has reacted so emotionally, should we see some fundamental changes coming? True, a mother has lost her son and words cannot suffice for the pain her family is going through. Action must follow. The society would be a much better place with a Rohith Vemula, engaged in his life, pursuing his studies, unknown to you and me and each of us who are now thinking so deeply about the incident.

After all, Delhi gangrape on December 16, 2012 was not first horrible crime to happen against women but then, at times, it takes an incident like this to stir our collective conscience to demand for fundamental changes.

We cannot quantify what the massive public outrage on December 16 gangrape did to our society but it did qualify on parameters like forcing policymakers to act, starting debates in social circles and more reporting on crimes against women. At least, a beginning has been made.

Can Rohith Vemula’s forced suicide do that to us – a beginning to bring fundamental changes in our seats of higher learning – away from destructive debates like ‘Brahminical’ or ‘anti-Brahminical’ or ‘pro-Dalit’ or ‘anti-Dalit’ or ‘higher Vs lower castes’ to constructive issues like ‘how to reform the reformative action system’ – like ‘how to keep student politics away from mainstream politics’ – like ‘the social disparity prevailing in the society’ – like ‘social inclusion and exclusion based on economic parameters’ – like ‘poor quality of our teachers’ – like ‘political appointments polluting the posts of VCs, head of institutions or principals’ – and so on and so forth?

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

STUDENT SUICIDE: HOW WE SHOULD SEE SMRITI IRANI’S YESTERDAY’S STATEMENT

Nothing more than another botched up political attempt by BJP to damage control in the issue that has outraged the whole nation after a Dalit Ph.D. scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) was forced to commit suicide due to political interference in a matter of student politics.

Reports say that the Union Human Resources Development ministry wrote five letters to UoH to pressurize the university administration to act against Rohith Vemula and his four other friends, members of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA).

We have all the reasons to disbelieve BJP, Smriti Irani, the ABVP student leader of UoH N Susheel Kumar, UoH administration and its vice-chancellor (VC).

And we have every reason to believe every word of Rohith Vemula’s letter, written or unspoken, versions of his friends and their allegations.

What UoH did today, has in fact lend more credence to these voices demanding justice. Today, UoH revoked suspension of four others who were suspended along with Rohith. Now we can only lament on such a blasphemy that aggravates our collective outrage even more. It is absolutely nothing and is unacceptably late.

An individual’s life is the primary driving force of a democracy. Yes, that is the ideal scenario enshrined in our Constitution and we are far from that as a society with the prevailing socio-political milieu.

But this basic tenet takes the sense of urgency whenever we found ourselves in a state of collective mourning and outrage over loss of a human life – like it has become so in the case of Rohith Vemula – a bright and talented human being – whose life was cut short by some unabashed political masquerading of the system.

And our collective mourning, our outrage and that producing echoes of Rohith’s name – a person unknown till January 17 – are the best possible tribute to this man – who has stirred our sentiments.

Rohith’s letter exonerates anyone and everyone of the guilt behind his act but it, in fact, blames each of us. It is, in fact, his dying declaration that puts us all in the dock. And even our legal judicial system accepts the sanctity of someone’s dying declaration – without any further evidence.

Rohith’s highly intellectual last letter is also a contradictory one. He says he is happy in embracing death but he also regrets about his past life and childhood and writes about his disenchantment from the society.

And when we see some past months in his life, we feel why BJP has been utterly wrong in dealing with the crisis and how misplaced the party’s logics have been.

Smriti Irani first painted a very sincere image of her on the crisis saying she was ready to resign in case she was proven wrong and then she came with her misplaced rhetoric yesterday that said that the politicking over the issue was creating a false impression of ‘Dalit Vs non-Dalit’ struggle. And she used ‘wrong facts’ to bolster her claims which fell flat today when UoH teachers said there was no Dalit teacher in the panel that punished Rohith Vemula.

To continue..

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

OUR ORIGINALITY VALID THROUGH ARTIFICIAL ART.

Well, these are some words from the first letter written in public domain by Rohith Vemula – that is now also is his last one – because Rohith, a young research scholar from a reputed university, committed suicide yesterday.

And these words, if they tell his suicide may have other reasons than student politics and caste discrimination, they also tell, in fact the whole language of his letter, that this guy cannot be anti-national as Bandaru Dattatreya, senior BJP leader and union minister, and University of Hyderabad administration think.

Like everything has good and bad facets – student politics is no exception. In fact, student politics is a must in any democracy – but certainly not in the form that is prevalent in India – from Delhi University to Jawaharlal Nehru University to Mumbai University to University of Hyderabad to Banaras Hindu University – in fact, in any university in India.

The developments related to student politics leave you in bad mood and in bitter taste. I have seen its polluted form, a form that has become a sort of norm in India, during my days in Banaras Hindu University. Thankfully, the student union, as it prevails in places like DU and JNU, doesn’t exist in BHU though it has its flipside – a ruthless university administration that has consistently seen and faced allegations of corruption and impropriety – including its current administration – a clear letdown – a trend that began in early years of the first decade of this Century.

Rohith, the 26 year old, second year Ph.D. student, was expelled from hostel and was barred from other living spaces of the university except his classroom, library and seminars and conference halls – in a way a social boycott.

He writes in his letter he has no complaints and no one should be held responsible for his suicide. He writes ‘he is happy being dead than alive’. He writes he is not sad but is feeling empty and that is killing him.

I have no intention to go into inside out of this letter. I am incapable of doing so. In fact, I should not do so.

But there are some relevant questions where we must look for the answers if we have to stand up and grow as a holistic society, and this letter is right there.

What Rohith has written in his letter are questions fuelled from a sense of insecurity that creeps beneath your skin when you start questioning the society around you in terms of your ethos towards life – and we all entitled for that.

His letter flows lyrically. It has a soul – a soul that tells of a conscious mind – a soul that tells us why his detractors including the university administration, politicians including those from student politics and society at large are wrong – a soul that tells why they all are culprits.

Yes, life is as much about positives as it is about negatives – and the journey here is the sum total of maintaining the lead of positives over negatives – but sometimes, negatives become so acidic that anything can happen in those ‘impulsive moments that let you down’.

Embracing death – this young fellow looks set to do that – without blaming anyone – wishing for a journey to some other worlds – but his words also tell that how we failed him – that how we exacerbated the feeling of ‘disconnect’ in those impulsive moments’ when Rohith decided to embrace death.

His tragic death deals deeply with the questions of identity crisis – like commoditization of a human life – a research scholar at a university, with a conscience like of the author of this letter, bound to feel low when he faces the insensitivity around him – mixed with social arrogance and social apathy.

Rohith Vemula was active in student politics but his letter tells his was a logical political past – the way it should be in student politics – and not like the obscene display of political muscle and money in places like DU. And we safely can say that Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), Rohith was a member of, is far less controversial than ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad), BJP’s student politics wing.

The letter says Rohith was not sad but it lets itself bare open before us in letting us know that how depressed he was when he terms his birth as some fatal accident and his grown up days as disconnected from the society he was living in – so much so that he says that we need fakes to look original.

We may rightly debate that it is not the case but Rohith makes his point logically and lyrically – even if leaving us all humiliatingly burdened by the sense of guilt that his death has caused.

The reason for his death goes well beyond caste politics. It is more about the rot in our education system, especially the university education system. Unfortunately, most of the universities in India are like small fiefdoms where vice-chancellors lord over like anything. And with increasing political patronage and interference, people with questionable academic intent are having a green run. It was a political interference that caused Rohith’s expulsion from hostel.

In such institutions, teaching quality is the first casualty. Next in the line are students. Student politics, that is a direct offshoot of senior level politics in our country, further pollutes the system. Large scale scams are regularly alleged in recruitments and admissions. The VCs with feudal mindsets take bizarre decisions though these things are hardly reported. The recent decision by BHU to sack Sandeep Pandey, visiting professor, IIT-BHU, is one such example. The university administration has branded the Magsaysay winner a ‘naxalite’. Utter rubbish!

And then there are social equations.

India has made considerable progress in ensuring social affirmative action. It cannot be outrightly dismissed as some are trying to do (as some try to do whenever such incidents happen). Much has been done and we can see its effects.

But then it is also equally true that much is yet to be done, especially in rural belts. And that tells us we urgently need to graduate to the next stage of our affirmative action.

And about the mindset change in urban India – where the problem exists – it is a complex social equation and a straight law and order issue – and must be dealt accordingly. It will take time but we need to appreciate that the change is coming – if we have to succeed – like sternly dealing with culprits in this case – even if Rohith’s letter doesn’t blame anyone.

We need to graduate to ‘Dalit cause’ – beyond ‘Dalit politics’ – and we need to be real with it – beyond those artificial dogmas that still blind us.

I did not know who Rohith Vemula was before yesterday. No one except his immediate life circle knew him before yesterday.

But, now I know who he was, through his words – through this letter. A loss of young life this way leaves unanswered questions for all of us – blaming us collectively – for failing it.

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

Rohith Vemula only letter (addressed to all of us) – and must be for all of us..

Good morning,

I would not be around when you read this letter. Don’t get angry on me. I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints on anyone. It was always with myself I had problems. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write.

I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.

The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust. In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.

May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That’s pathetic. And that’s why I am doing this.

People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.

If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that.

Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive.

“From shadows to the stars.”

Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.

To ASA family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.

For one last time,

Jai Bheem

I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my this act of killing myself. No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act. This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this. Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone.

AAP FAILS TO CRACK DUSU POLLS: FIRST BIG SYMBOLIC POLITICAL LOSS

Arvind Kejriwal – Delhi’s chief minister – now synonymous with the newest entrant in national politics, the Aap Aadmi Party – after he executed a deliberate purge to remove his political opponents and potential threats from the party. He is very active on social media the nation knows it. But there are no tweets on it. His Twitter page on September 12 has four tweets – but nothing not on it.

On September 1, he had tweeted, while conveying his ‘heartfelt’ thanks to some folks for a ‘rockstar-esque’ show to formally unveil the AAP’s student wing, Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) – Thanx @VishalDadlani, @AstitvaTheBand, @shilparao11, @jasleenroyal n @tweetfromRaghu for supporting honest politics n for always being there

On the same day, he ‘proudly’ retweeted a report with his photograph addressing the CYSS ‘rock concert’.

Manish Sisodia – Delhi’s deputy chief minister and Arvind Kejriwals’s most trusted ‘yes man’. Like his boss Arvind Kejriwal, like his party and like his other party members, he, too, has sustained social media presence. The ‘expressivity’ there – direct on intended – happens in real time. But his Twitter page, too, is black on it, in spite of being well populated. His Twitter handle, so far, has failed to express his conscious with no tweets – in fact his Twitter page has no tweets on September 12 when the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election results were announced.

Nagender Sharma – media advisor of Arvind Kejriwal – loads of retweets and some tweets on September 12 and 13 but nothing on this humiliating loss, yes humiliating, in DUSU polls – after much pomp and show, hype and claims – anyway, by the very nature of his job, he is compelled to reply to or write only the stuff that keeps his party in good light.

Irrespective of what they have been saying (or claiming the sky), or not saying now, the results of the DUSU polls are the most potent symbolism of the fact that people are moving away from the AAP, from the promises it made, from the hopes it raised – the hopes that look compromised now, with the party just seven months into the government.

Like manipulative seasoned politicians, and not like what they had claimed to be when they were asking for votes in the Delhi assembly election, what is expected from the AAP is a measured silence on this debacle followed by lame justifications and sham denials.

Downward spiral for the party began soon after Arvind Kejriwal took over as the chief minister of Delhi again in February this year. With 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, he soon started acting unilaterally, silencing and sacking voices he didn’t feel comfortable with. What was more disturbing was the attitude. He and his party did all the anti-common men acts displaying a sort of indifference towards the moral ethos of honest politics.

There was no rush to act anti-VIP this time. Ministers and legislators happily accepted accommodations and vehicles. People from the world over all flocking to India for healthcare facilities and it means the problems that derails with our public healthcare system is hurting from within. Well, we all know that, including the AAP leaders. Yet, its two leaders, one Delhi minister and other a non-minister but enjoying ministerial rank salary, chose to fly to the United Kingdom to study healthcare system there, obviously in the name of introducing those ‘better practices’ back home – when Delhi boasts one of the best civic amenities in India and the problems that beset it require an internal rectification.

Apart from many ministers, there are pseudo-ministers, and loads of them, enjoying full time legislative salaries (the money that could have been spent on public welfare). There have been and there are elements of confrontational politics dominating the governance in Delhi. There are sky high promises made during the campaigning phase, but as the time is passing, people are realizing that they were nothing but poll gimmicks.

Gimmicks, like this one, the rockstar-esque show to formally introduce to the world the ‘CYSS’ some days back. A fat sum went into organizing the show but the party leaders marketed it in the name of ‘honest politics’ – even if such events pollute student politics. Well, it could have looked an ‘honest attempt’ had it not been for the dazzling rock concert associated with it giving a rock star welcome to Arvind Kejriwal and his band.

The way it was organized, as an election tool, just before the polls, looked bad in taste. And it was made bitter by the consistent downslide of values by the AAP. The AAP had claimed students and youngsters as its first political constituency but the DUSU poll results show that base is fast eroding.

But going by the trend of these seven months in governance, the party is not going to read the signs that are becoming more and more visible by the day – with the clear (and hostile) social message in this first big symbolic political loss.

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