HARASSED: Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of the AAP government has been sentenced to another 14 days in judicial custody. The only relief is that he will not be under the CBI but in Tihar jail.
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the Supreme courts seems to be the only safeguard against terrorism unleashed by Narendra Modi’s BJP government. For a Saturday following the week when Manish Sisodia has been sent to the Tihar jail for 14 days judicial custody, but no action has been taken against favourite Gujarati industrialist Gautam Adani who caused the LIC losses to the tune of Rs30,000 crore. For a Saturday following the week when a BJP MLA and his son in Karnataka were caught red-handed by the enforcement directorate of being in possession of Rs8 crore black money. For a Saturday following the week when the Supreme Court made it clear that it will always protect the country’s freedom of speech and expression.
AND a few stray thoughts on when the Supreme Court seems to be the only safeguard against Narendra Modi’s BJP terrorism. It is being forgotten that it is the Election Commission of India which is at the core of our democratic system. It is the ECI which conducts and supervises elections in the country. In theory, the EC even keeps track of the amount of money that various political parties spend to promote their candidates. The latest directive of the Election Commission is that there should be total silence even on social media for 48 hours before polling day.
Ever since the Modi government came to power it has been trying to take over the job of the Election Commissioner. Under the present system of choosing the EC and the chief election commissioner, the party in power has complete discretion. The BJP has appointed officials supporting its favored candidates whenever there is a vacancy for the election commissioner. The fact that the EC is controlled by one party is very dangerous.
The EC which is expected to insure free and fair elections can also corrupt and sabotage the election process. India’s Constitution provides an independent process for the appointment of election commissioners. Unfortunately, successive governments found it useful to ignore the guidelines. It is to the credit of the SC that it has ended the power of political parties over the EC. Since the Chief Justice and the Leader of the Opposition form the majority in the three-member committee, there is a reasonable guarantee that the appointments will not be fixed.
AND a few stray thoughts on when Manish Sisodia was sent to Tihar Jail for 14 days in jail for judicial custody, while of course no action dares to be taken against Gautam Adani who has caused the LIC a loss of Rs30,000 crore. This is not limited to Gautam Adani. Several Opposition political leaders in BJP-ruled states have been arrested for making comments about Narendra Modi. Political leaders who may pose a threat to the BJP are being constantly raided by the Income-Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate. Shockingly, the Enforcement Directorate has re-opened cases against Lalu Prasad Yadav for an alleged job scam when he was a Central minister for railways. Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi, who had taken over as the chief minister when he was arrested in the fodder scam case, is also been questioned for her role in the job scam. Even their daughter Misa Bharati has not been spared. Interestingly, she was named Misa in protest against the Maintenance of Internal Security Act by the Congress government more than a decade ago.
The BJP strategy is very simple. Wherever it is a minority it tries to buy the MLAs of the rival parties with monetary temptations. In Goa for instance it is claimed that it paid Rs50 lakh each to the eight Congress MLAs who defected with an additional bonus of Digambar Kamat. In states where the BJP is not able to form the government it harasses the Opposition ministers.
Besides the case of Manish Sisodia being in CBI custody for over a month in the so called excise scam in Delhi, the Punjab chief minister has been accused of encouraging anti-national activities. Which is true to a certain extent because the AAP Punjab CM Bhagwat Mann failed to take action against the Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh. On the contrary when Amritpal threatened the government that there would be violence if their colleague was not released from jail, the government did not act. The consequence was thousands of supporters of Amritpal attacked the police station.
There is a growing fear that Amitpal may become a monster like the Khalistan leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. It was Bhindranwale who occupied the sacred Golden Temple with his armed supporters, forcing Indira Gandhi in turn to send in the army into the Golden Temple. The decision led to her assassination ironically, by a Sikh bodyguard in close proximity at her residence. The Sikh community is still angry that following the assassination of Indira Gandhi there were Gujarat-style attacks on the Sikh community in New Delhi. The allegation is that Rajiv Gandhi directed the police to turn a blind eye when Hindu mobs targeted the Sikhs.
There is a growing fear in political parties that the BJP will sabotage the prospects of the opposition parties. If they can bribe or buy MLAs the BJP has enough money to do repeats elsewhere too. If they lose the election there is a threat that it may invent charges against the chief minister and send him to jail. The expectation is that following Sisodia they may try to arrest Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwat Maan as the state is ruled by the AAP. The BJP, furious about losing power in the Delhi Municipal Corporation, would not allow the AAP to take over charge for two months. The AAP seem to be the biggest threat to the BJP as it has won a few seats in several states and he is now contesting in Madhya Pradesh.
The Trinamool Congress which tries to project Mamata-didi as the next prime minister, won five seats in Meghalaya and would like to keep the BJP out of power. The only institution which can protect democracy in India is the Supreme Court. The BJP has been actively using the speakers of the legislative assembly to delay decisions on disqualification petitions. Clearly the BJP does not believe in democracy and will buy, bribe and engage in dadagiri to control state governments and go even to the extent rigging parliamentary elections.
BJP MLA’S BLACK MONEY!
FOR a Saturday following the week when BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa and his son Prashanth Madal in Karnataka, were caught red-handed by the Enforcement Directorate for being in possession of Rs8 crore black money. Though the arrest warrant has been issued they have not been able to arrest the MLA’s son because he is absconding. The MLA’s son Prashanth was caught red-handed on Thursday, March 2 to pass a tender for a government contract. This comes as a major embarrassment for the BJP which is ruling the state of Karnataka. This is all the more embarrassing as elections are due in Karnataka later this year. The curious part is when politicians in other states have been caught taking bribes they have been promptly arrested and cases filed against him. In the case of Karnataka the BJP does not seem to be very keen on arresting the father and the son. The BJP has not even suspended the MLA from the party. This shows the contempt of the BJP for public opinion.
This is not the first case of charges of bribing against the BJP in Karnataka. The BJP has been accused of trying to bribe the MLAs of the rival Congress party to quit and join the BJP. Karnataka is a gold mine for the BJP with its huge industrial complexes, including the electronic city.
Bengaluru is the headquarters of both Infosys and Wipro. Indeed, the electronic city in Bengaluru is one of the biggest employer, employing an estimated ten lakh people plus, and it is a separate city by itself.
The BJP keeps talking about strengthening infrastructure. Despite having been in power for almost ten years the BJP has done nothing to improve the infrastructure. Bengaluru has the worst roads, it took me two hours to travel from the airport to the Leela Hotel which is at a distance of only 15km. There was a time in the 60s when Bengaluru was considered a pensioners paradise. The only industry in Bengaluru then were the public sector units which included Hindustan Aeronautics, the Indian telephone industries and Hindustan Machine Tools amongst others.
All the public sector units have colonies their own and did not put pressure on city traffic. Bengaluru was really sussegad with no facilities for entertainment. The main diversion or recreation was to walk up and down the fancy Mahatma Gandhi road which have a large number of bookshops and restaurants. The air in Bengaluru was as fresh as that in Goa. Now Bengaluru has become a slum city with a huge increase in population. There is severe water shortage, lack of public transport and very poor waste management. The BJP which boasts so much about infra-structure has done nothing for the benefit of the long-suffering residents of Bengaluru which was Bangalore.
And last stray thoughts on when the Supreme Court made it clear that it will always protect the freedom of speech and expression. Many BJP new ruled states have been arrested politicians, artist and individuals for facebook post against Modi and the BJP government. The BJP government are filling cases against them and keeping them in custody. Recently a Tamil Folk singer Kovan who was arrested for his comments on Modi and Amit Shah. Hundreds if not thousands of people have been arrested for facebook post. The Supreme Court has made it clear that no arrest can be made on the basis of commence in the social media.