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Posts Tagged ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’

It’s time to get back to basics for the Congress

Posted by chimeki on December 12, 2013

Now that the election results of four states are out, the Congress party needs to rethink its strategy for future. The mandate is anti Congress and there is no reason to think otherwise. The first thing the Congress should do immediately is to change guard and bring new faces at the helm of the affairs. It means it is time that the party President and Vice President are given rest and let other take the responsibility. There is no harm in thinking in this line. No individual should be above an institution as old and as big as the Congress. Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi can contribute to the party by saving in their respective constituencies.

Besides this makeover the party should let its regional satraps decide. In other words they should be allowed nature ambitions. A political party in a parliamentary democracy cannot grow or live if it stops its leaders from cultivating ambitions. The Congress since Indira Gandhi had suppressed the culture of competition.

During its initial days after independence, there was a culture of competition in the party. Leaders could speak their minds without fear. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhabhai Patel, Kamaraj, and others were never afraid to suggest contradictory and often opposite opinions. Many a times, leaders of stature of Nehru and Patel had to give up on the pressure of the party. Even, during the party’s presidential election Nehru and others never had an easy go. They competed to remain relevant. After Nehru’s death, the principle of collective leadership was further emphasized and acted upon. In India After Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha narrates how then Congress President Kamaraj discussed the issues of succession with then chief ministers and members of parliament. After Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden demise, the same method was applied.

But Indira Gandhi changed the whole system collective leadership in the party upside down. It wasn’t less than a coup d’état. She made the party a family’s business.  It is true that the Gandhis have played an important role in keeping the Congress together but the opposite view also holds the truth that the most revolts in the party were against the Gandhis’s leadership! If during Indira Gandhi things had begun to fall apart, it has aggravated during Sonia Gandhi’s reign. The follow up of what Indira did is what we see now! Sonia Gandhi has never been much accommodating to the idea of openness in the party. Though she had for the better part of her reign has kept herself low profile but she has also, simultaneously, didn’t allow other leaders to be seen as equal! Like in open economy, competition and greed are the locomotives of a parliamentary party.

Compare this state with the other national party BJP the difference is obvious. With all its faults, it has let its members and supporters grow ambition. This had led to the growth of leaders with immense potential and mass appeal. Leaders like LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh, Uma Bharti and other are the result of such competitive spirit. Kill this spirit and the BJP will be in tatters.

This equally applies to other parties as well. Those refusing to abide by the principle of inner party competition had faced, facing and will face the fate of the Congress. Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, AIADMK and even Mayawati’s BSP will find it difficult to challenge this proven law of parliamentary democracy. They either have mend their ways or perish. There is no mid way.

Coming back to the Congress, it is urgently need for it to let regional and national leaders take the lead in its affairs. Let them compete and prove their worth. The more people have eye on the top seat the better. Without giving them opportunity to grow the party is in the suicidal mode. The Gandhis cannot always carry the party on their shoulders. They don’t even have strength required to do so now. It wouldn’t be inappropriate to suggest that the Gandhis have come close to their journey and what is the better way to honour them by making one of their folks the president of India!

V.S.

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Bigotry: Shivraj Style

Posted by chimeki on October 11, 2013

shivraj

Shivraj Singh Chauhan

In Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is everywhere. He is in railway stations boasting clean platforms, at bus stops priding on Bus Rapid Transits, on the hoardings across roads, and in public conveniences. There is no place in Bhopal where one can slip out of his gaze. Big Brother is Watching You!

Hardly, one steps out of Bhopal station first thing comes to notice is Shivraj Singh big boastful picture explaining one of the his numerous yojanas (schemes). Literally, he has yojanas for every section and class of society. He is taking elders on pilgrimages through Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (Chief Minister Pilgrimage Scheme). He is educating the girls through Ladli Laxmi Yojana and later getting them married through Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yojana!

You name a section and he has yojana for it. For young and educated unemployed he has created Mukhyamantri Pichada Varg Yuva Swa-rojgaar (self employment) Yojana. For those who can’t afford medical expenses he is running a Free Pathology Checkup Scheme.

A careful study will reveal that hardly any scheme with Mukhyamantri prefix is new.  All were there. He prefixed Mukhyamantri and made people celebrate them. Supporters of welfare state would not mind this, however, Shivraj’s passion for these schemes is enough to give them shivers down their skins.

Shivraj is a magician.  From Bhopal he makes everyone believe that all is well in Indore and from Indore it looks other parts of state are flourishing! A Bhopali is seen singing paeans of Gwalior and an Indori falls short of words for glorifying Jabalpur’s development!  The road in Damoh is pathetic but according to Shivraj, in one of those hoardings of course, good roads have reached everywhere in Madhya Pradesh.

Under his careful gaze, Madhya Pradesh is being transformed into a replica of some imaginative medieval Hindu state which his supporters claim existed in the place where the state stands today! His party-men want to rename Bhopal as Bhojpal on some mythical Hindu king who is said to have ruled there. Since long he has been promoting ‘Vedic’ language Sanskrit with a passion of a crusader and now intends to introduce the Gita in Urdu to madarsa students. The farce doesn’t end here. He legitimizes dowry through his Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Yogana instead of fighting it roots and branches. All his yojanas are shrewd attempts to saffronize the whole society.

If Gujarat under Modi is a laboratory of hardline, militaristic and chauvinistic Hindutva, Madhya Pradesh under Shivraj is an exercise in saffron bigotry.

jabalpur

Warnings on the rocks read: couples seen together will be beaten and their procession will be taken out! (photo: V.S.)

The CM hardly utters a word on industrialization and creating employment. The young either migrate or commit suicide. Madhya Pradesh’s major four cities have the highest suicide rates in India according to National Crime Record Bureau. Jabalpur, once a flourishing industrial hub of the country, leads the chart with 572 suicides in 2012. The administration, as anywhere else, blames ‘domestic’ problems and deteriorating ‘family system’ for the rise in number.  The fact of the matter is the main cause of suicides is increasing unemployment. The anger, rising from it, either results in self destruction or is channeled or managed to fuel hatred among weaker sections of the society. In 2011, Madhya Pradesh recorded, the highest number of rape cases at 3046.

Although, Shivraj is not solely responsible for the state’s complete collapse nevertheless his indifference towards it makes him doubly dangerous. He is an emperor who plays fiddle while his state is awaiting eruption. While Nero was acting unconsciously, Shivraj does it knowingly. Nothing is there in his tenure to suggest that he is concerned about the development of the state. Only thing he seems to care is implicit indoctrination of youth with religious chauvinism and anti-minority hatred making an easy catch for the RSS. In return, the Sangh guarantees him continuous support.

Jawaharlal Nehru in his Towards Freedom wrote about Fascism that ‘their way had been to mobilize mass support for one program and then to utilize this for an entirely different purpose (365).’ This is in cruel display in the BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh. The anger of people against unemployment and deteriorating condition is being utilized for ‘an entirely different purpose’. They are trained to distrust neighboring countries, see them as enemy and if need be, be ready to attack them.

The people are also given ‘classes’ in moral policing. They bully couples where ever they get to see them. Warnings, like, ‘boys and girls if found together will be beaten’, ‘their procession will be taken out’ and of other such exemplary punishment are written everywhere couples may have chance to be together. Valentine’s Day is the most feared day for the state’s youth. The warnings are issued well in advanced in local newspaper and cable channels and couples receive harsh treatment, in full public gaze, if seen together on that day. In this Bajrang Dal ruled state the police is a mere spectator.

Shivraj’s brand of Hindutva is not less dangerous for the society. What Narendra Modi failed to do, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is doing without coming under any scrutiny what so ever. This ‘benevolent’ looking Chief Minister has made religious bigotry, national chauvinism and Fascism a ‘national mission’. Unlike his Gujarati counterpart, he has made a dangerous and medieval idea acceptable to whole society without risking to put a drop of blood on his hand.

An MP Tourism jingle suggests ‘MP Ajab Hai (MP is strange)’. It equally fits on its CM too.

V.S.

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