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Posts Tagged ‘BJP’

RSS and BJP using Hazare movement as a new vehicle for undermining democratic institutions

In Commentary on December 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

From: tehelka.com, 21 December 2011

Ramped up, yet no harbinger

Ram Puniyani examines RSS and its tenets of Hindutva that have found a new shoulder

THIS DECEMBER, the Babri demolition anniversary completed 19 years. On the occasion, many Muslim groups demanded the reconstruction of the masjid, a demand which is just, but mired in complex legalities as it involves diverse players. Once again it calls for the redefinition of Hindutva, which is not a religion of Hindus – Hinduism is. Hindutva is the politics of RSS; it is politics with sectarian vision. This is the vision of the affluent upper caste-elite aiming to abolish democracy. Their aim is to bring in a nation on the basis of a Hindu religion where the upper crust of society can rule as per the norms prevalent in the feudal society. The birth based hierarchy is presented as a glorious tradition in modern form and language. Babri Masjid was not just the demolition of a national monument; it was also the beginning of a phase of politics where the communal undercurrents of Indian politics surfaced amid the political scenario in the country. It was a signal for minority violence. It was a blatant insult for what the Indian Constitution stands for. It was also the first major step for communal parties that allowed them to occupy the seats of power at the Centre.

After the initial sacking of the BJP-ruled states, the polarisation caused by demolition and post-demolition violence rose to frightening levels. The communalised BJP that until then was at the margins of the political structure came to the fore as a major Opposition party. Its parent organisation, the real controller of Hindutva politics, RSS, started becoming more respectable and social thinking was further vitiated with the bias against minorities.

In due course of time, the other minority, the Christians were also brought under the firing range of the communalists. It led to the ghastly burning of Pastor Graham Staines, which was followed up by more attacks on Christian missionaries working in adivasi areas. All this culminated in the horrific Kandhamal carnage.

For the first time the BJP, inherently committed to the anti-democratic notion of Hindu Rashtra, came to power at the Centre in 1996, even as other parties initially refused to ally with it to share the spoils of power. But that changed soon enough, and other political parties, obsessed with power opportunism shared power with those accused of the Babri demolition. The coming to power of BJP at the Centre opened the floodgates of the political space. Soon enough, parties under the aegis of RSS, like the VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram received encouragement. The state apparatus and police bureaucracy were further communalised. Education was communalised with a hint faith-based promotion, and at the cost of scientific temper and rational thought.

The success of RSS propaganda is not that it targets the minorities. Its bigger success lies in instilling fear in the mind of the majority, of the threat that minority creates. There is a ripple effect of this process and then a section of ‘middle of the road elements’ also start turning over to support the Hindutva parties. Karnataka opened the floodgates of BJP for its entry into South.

The Babri demolition led to multiple processes; denial of justice to victims of violence became structural, and the minorities started being relegated to second class citizenship. The demonisation of minorities has gone to extremely bad levels. This process of demonisation of Muslim minorities later started being created around the issue related to terrorism. US media coined the word Islamic terrorism, and the politics for control over oil resources was taken to absurd ideological manipulation and a religion and a religious community were subjected to immense profiling. In India too, the propaganda against Muslims was taken to worse levels with the global phenomenon of terror, falsely and cleverly attributed to teachings of Islam.

NOW, RSS-BJP politics is entering the new phase. Having reached the acme of anti-minority polarisation, it has found the Hazare movement as the new vehicle for its politics of undermining democratic institutions to bring in a parallel authoritarian structure where the Lokpal plays the big brother. Though this sounds innocuous and is presented as a step to solve the problems, this is likely to create a new institution beyond the control of democratic norms. A few people and groups who are calling the shots and asserting that they are ‘The People’, ‘Anna is above parliament’, will rule through various proxies. This Hazare movement has polarised the social layers according to those who look at either identity issues (Ram Temple) or symptomatic issues (corruption) as the major issues while undermining the problems of Dalits, minorities and other deprived sections of society. Identity issues or matters focussed around symptoms, which are meant to preserve the status quo of political dynamics, is what politics in the name of religion desires.

Since the Ram Temple appeal is fading, those for sociopolitical status quo have jumped on the anti-corruption bandwagon. This is a shrewd move. Marginalised sections feel left out from ‘I am Anna’, ‘We are the People’ type of assertions, the message is that only ‘shining India’ will have say in the shaping of a nation, while the deprived India, will be permanently on the margins.

In a sense, the RSS-Hindutva politics is constantly changing its strategies to communalise, polarise the society and to distract social attention from core issues. While initially, the rath yatras and communal violence played their role in polarising the nation along religious lines, now the issue of corruption is being used to further strengthen the hold of politics aimed at retaining social inequalities.

Ram Puniyani is a communal harmony activist based in Mumbai

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The glue that binds both BJP and Team Anna is amoral pragmatism (Jyotirmaya Sharma)

In Commentary on December 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

[. . .]
Anna Hazare has lent crucial and tactical support to the BJP’s dream of unravelling Indian parliamentary democracy.

Hazare, the quintessential non- Gandhian, has made the methods of the Taliban seem not so unreasonable; turning the other cheek seems so uncool in the age of Hazare and Gandhi is made to seem like a puny coward in comparison to this self- righteous, but effective, bully from the army barracks.

Both the BJP and the Hazare fanatics sell the naïve idea that a people can never have any interest in ruling itself badly.

If only the people ruled themselves directly, there would be no abuse of power and restoring popular sovereignty is the only way to legitimise a government.

The fine print of this argument is the same as the one propounded by Codreanu, the Romanian Fascist leader: There must be a sovereign, unified people, living in a new atmosphere of perfect spirituality, entirely free from the power of evil. Who will redeem people from the power of evil? Codreanu believed this to be possible only when people are led by ‘ the finest souls that our minds can conceive, the proudest, tallest, straightest, strongest, cleverest, bravest and most hard- working that our race can produce’. If this isn’t Hazare’s self- description, what else could it be? But be sure that L. K. Advani also secretly shares the same selfimage as Hazare. And so do all those in the BJP who want to be Prime Minister.

Parliament

Politics for the BJP and the likes of Hazare is nothing more than a religious crusade: get rid of the evil and evil- doers in society by having faith in us. In their universe, national unity can never be forged through reason, consensus, moderation, parliamentary democracy or even economic interest. It has to be based on either faith or in the construction of a myth.

Faith as well as myth has to be built around a strong and decisive leader who is free of the constraints that the rule of law and procedures impose on people.

Arbitrary power is desirable in the hands of a leader whose self- image is that of a man who has risen above the petty constraints of the world and is not like us, ordinary human beings.

Therefore, the BJP’s disdain for Parliament stems from two reasons. In its internal functioning, it has reduced itself to factions, just like any statelevel Congress unit. Moreover, it has lost the only viable myth it had created, namely, the liberal and reasonable Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But the other reason is more significant. In its public posturing, it has reduced itself to being Hazare’s B- Team. The glue that binds both the A and B teams is one that the RSS had long perfected: amoral pragmatism.

Full text at: http://www.sacw.net/article2452.html

Is there a communal angle to the Anna Hazare upsurge? (Ram Puniyani)

In Perspective on September 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

From: South Asia Citizens Web – 12 September 2011

The nation heaved a sigh of relief when Anna Hazare broke his fast (August 2011). The breaking of the fast with coconut water offered by a dalit and a Muslim girl was an attempt to project as if Anna’s upsurge represents all the sections of society and is not just having a narrow social base of elite middle class. Now as the matters stand a large section of dalits and Muslims are standing up to raise their voices against the ‘Anna claim’ that it is an inclusive upsurge. Congress in its frustration said that Anna Hazare is an agent of RSS, how far is this true?

A survey conducted by an agency, post Anna upsurge, showed that the episode of Anna fasting has changed the political equations quite a bit. One, the BJP support base has expanded and that of Congress has declined. Two, the popularity of Rahul Gandhi has taken a beating and that of Anna Hazare has zoomed up to the sky. Enthused by these developments, the professional Rath yatri, whose Rath yatras led to the process of demolition of Babri masjid, massive communal violence and polarization of Indians along religious lines, has jumped into the band wagon of anti corruption movement and has declared that he will take out an anti Corruption yatra. Life has strange paradoxes. BJP, where ever in power has been as corrupt as possible and now with this rath yatra, on one hand Advani is throwing his hat into the race for being Prime-ministerial candidate for BJP in forthcoming Loksabha elections, and on the other hand BJP by supporting the permanent aspirant for prime-ministership, is also trying to show as if it is really above being the allurement of corruption. A case of ‘nau so chuhe kha kar billi chali haj ko!’ (After eating 900 rats, cat is trying to strike a pious pose) Team Anna after feeling that they have gained legitimacy in popular psyche is now planning various train yatras in states facing elections. The Kejrivals and Kiran Bedis do know who will electorally benefit from their efforts.

One is not sure if Anna has been a lathi wielding, Hindu Rashtra indoctrinated swayamsevak, or a member of any of RSS affiliates (BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal etc.) Still one knows that RSS top functionary H.V. Sheshadri has written a book lauding Anna’s work in Ralegaon Siddhi experiment; calling it as an ideal village, close to the vision of RSS’s ‘model’ village. In this village there are no elections for any bodies, the dictates of Anna run for most of the things. In this village, drinking was eradicated, probably by tying one who drank to the pole, beating him with shoes and then forcing making him to ride on a donkey. This is a village where traditional caste system has been upheld in more ways than one.

It was in March 2011 when RSS decided to launch anti corruption movement. It was the time when RSS’s political child BJP was on a free fall course, the Hindutva-saffron terror network was getting exposed by the day and the criminal cases against Narendra Modi were taking a concrete shape. RSS had struck an understanding with Baba Ramdev for such a movement, and in addition to Ramdev’s yoga following, RSS had committed the support of its vast visible and invisible network. At the same time Anna also began his own efforts for Jan Lokpal Bill. With ‘Kudasan’ (Baba jumping amongst women to prevent being arrested by police) collapse of Baba; Anna became the sole vehicle for anti corruption strategies. Even in the April fast by Anna, RSS had mobilized its support base, the ‘shining India’ class, IT generation-MBA class, in large numbers. With joint team for drafting the bill being formed, the fast was suspended.

First time around (April) the hand of RSS in the fast was clear with Bharat Mata in the backdrop, and cry of Vande Matram and ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ in the air. In the second round, 16th August onwards, Anna modified the strategy in the light of criticism of the first fast. The primary mobilization was done by various outfits of RSS, including Youth against Corruption, an ABVP outfit. ABVP is the student wing of RSS. Needless to say the mobilization was joined in by a huge diverse sections also, who are very dissatisfied with problems of daily life, burden of price rise, withdrawal of social welfare by state, petty corruption by officers and what have you. The mobilization in practice was equally contributed by the corporate controlled media. First time (April) the overt signature of RSS was obvious with Ram Madhav, Sadhvi Ritmabhara and the back room ideologues like Govindacharaya being on call for strategy making. This time (August) around the caution was exercised and the overt RSS faces were replaced by less visible ones’, still all levers of control were with RSS swayamsevaks. RSS chief openly supported the Anna upsurge and that was message enough. VHP supporters funded and manned food stalls for those coming to show solidarity with fasting Anna. Mauvadi organizations and Khaps were in toe. BJP, itself drenched in corruption of various types, was too clever and gave a public impression that it is fully with Anna.

One has noticed that RSS progeny BJP, though claims to be fully against corruption, is no different than any other party in matters of corruption, as the real cause of corruption is much deeper than being projected by this movement, which is talking merely of punishing just those who receive bribe and not those who give, neither of the system which creates this corruption. We know ‘Power Corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. How the strategy of those behind Anna worked? One outcome of this is visible at electoral level. As pointed out above as per the surveys after the Anna episode, the support base of Congress has declined and that of BJP gone up. BJP has always taken up the issues which are primarily based on identity like Ram Janmbhoomi or Ram Setu. With every emotive issue, with most episodes of communal violence, support base of BJP expands. After Babri demolition it jumped from two MP’s to a large number, after Gujarat violence again BJP base went up and now the survey reports show that BJP has benefitted a lot from Anna upsurge. RSS combine’s appeal is to the particular sections of society who are not very appreciative of affirmative action of state, reservations, social welfare schemes, Mahatma Gandhi NAREGA and the like. This class is becoming stronger in number during last few decades. With BJP support base going up due to Anna movement, it becomes clearer as to who has been working behind the scene to create the upsurge around Anna!

BJP double speak on ombudsman; High court raps Modi govt on Lokpal

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm

[two articles follow.]

From: The Tribune (Chandigarh)

BJP double speak on ombudsman

Anita Katyal

Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, September 2 [2011]

There is a clear contradiction in the stand taken by the BJP on the selection process of the Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayukta in Gujarat.

Pointing out various shortcomings in the government’s Lokpal Bill, the BJP had expressed serious misgivings about the dominance of government representatives on the selection committee which is to recommend names for the ombudsman’s post. This was one of the main objections which the BJP speakers raised during last week’s debate on the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

But the BJP is silent on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to amend the Lokayukta Act in the state, giving the government greater say in the appointment of the ombudsman.

The Modi government had sent an ordinance to Gujarat governor Kamal Beniwal on August 18 proposing the constitution of a committee which would empower the Chief Minister to recommend the Lokayukta’s name. In fact, the selection process suggested by Modi is much on the lines provided for in the official Lokpal Bill at the Centre.

Beniwal refused to give her assent to the ordinance and instead went ahead with the appointment of a Lokayukta which has sparked off a fierce confrontation between the BJP and the Congress with the saffron party disrupting Parliament and petitioning President Pratibha Patil for the Governor’s removal.

According to the ordinance, the government suggested that the selection committee for the appointment of the Lokayukta should be headed by the CM and comprises the leader of opposition and a private member from among the citizens.

The present Lokayukta Act do not give the Chief Minister or the state government any direct role in the selection of the ombudsman.

Instead, sub-section one of the Act lays down that the Governor has the powers to appoint a Lokayukta after consultations with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the leader of opposition.

While Modi wants to have a say in the appointment of a Lokayukta, the BJP leadership in Delhi has slammed the official Lokpal Bill for giving excessive representation to government nominees on the selection panel. Hitting out at the government during last week’s debate, Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, had pushed for greater balance with inclusion of both government and non-government members.

o o o

TwoCircles.net, 19 August 2011

HC slap on Modi govt, asks ‘why no Lokpal for seven years’

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court notice asking the state government why it has not appointed a Lokayukta for the last seven years has come as a tight slap on the face of chief minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party which is supporting Anna Hazare’s movement for a Jan Lokpal at the centre.

The notice was issued on Thursday by a division bench comprising Justices Aqil Qureshi and Sonia Gokani on a petition filed by Bhikhabhia, father of slain RTI activist Amit Jethwa. Jethwa was shot dead outside the high court premises in July 2010.

Citing a provision of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, which says that the Lokyukta cannot inquire into the complaints of more than five years old, the petitioner said that since there was no ombudsman in the state since November 2003, it meant that complaints of irregularities and corruption against chief minister and ministers pertaining to actions taken by them before November 2006 could not be entertained and these influential would go scot-free.

The petitioner mentioned that huge tracts of land in coastal areas of Kutch district had been allotted to Adanis and other corporate houses in the last six to seven years without following proper procedures. Going by the provisions in the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, the chief minister and ministers who misused their powers to extend benefits to industrial houses could not be held accountable for it whenever the next Lokyukta was appointed.

The petitioner pointed out that there was no other machinery available to hold ministers and other government functionaries accountable for their omissions and commissions. With no Lokyukta since November 2003, it meant that all the ministers and senior bureaucrats having violated the norms would go scot-free.

Bhikhabhai had filed a similar application in 2010 as well. However, his petition was disposed of by the high court after AAG Tushar Mehta told the court on July 16, 2010, that the state government had begun the process to appoint a Lokayukta. He had assured the court that the Lokayukta would be appointed in three months. But a year has passed since then, there is no Lokyukta in the state.

Why I didn’t join Anna Hazare (Javed Anand)

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

From: Indian Express

Why I didn’t join Anna Hazare

by Javed Anand

April 14 2011

A few weeks ago, I received a call from Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai coordinator of ‘India Against Corruption’, inviting me to be part of a panel in Mumbai to address a press conference on the then upcoming fast by Anna Hazare. “Your name has been suggested to me by Swami Agnivesh. We want Muslims like you, not fanatical Muslims. So please join us and suggest other Muslim names”, I was told.

Great, I thought: Which Indian is not sick of corruption? Here was a budding movement, clearly focused on a single issue but not blind to related concerns. The Mumbai coordinator of the campaign was very clear that they were only interested in “good Muslims” like me and did not wish to get mixed up with the fundamentalist lot. So I thanked him for the invitation and promised to get back in a day or two.

But something I read in the newspapers the next morning made me uneasy, a question popped up from nowhere. Who is presently facing the heat over corruption and who is leading the charge against this malaise? No prizes for getting it right: tainted by scam after scam, the Congress and its DMK ally are the sinners, the BJP are the saints (forget the kalyug in Karnataka).

One doubt led to another. Haven’t we lived through two nationwide anti-corruption movements before, the JP movement in the early ’70s, the V.P. Singh movement in the late ’80s? Neither of them succeeded in rooting out corruption. But both, however innocently and unwittingly, contributed to the poisoning of national politics. JP’s movement and the Janata government that followed gave respectability to Hindu communalism. The V.P. Singh government, opportunistically supported by the BJP from the outside, paved the way for the meteoric rise of the BJP — from two seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 to 79 in 1989 — which in turn laid the foundation for the first ever Hindutva-led government in New Delhi. No one in his right mind would accuse JP or V.P. Singh of being communal. I admired and identified with the movements they led. But do ponder the outcome of their movements.

So I called back two days later and said I was keen on joining the movement against corruption but conditions apply: I would be keen on the company I would be required to keep. For example, I was happy to know we wouldn’t have to rub shoulders with “bad Muslims” but what about “bad Hindus”? Or, for that matter, would I find myself sharing a platform with people known for their promotion of “Mr Clean” Modi as prime ministerial candidate? If so, do I have the freedom to declare from the same platform that to me, sponsorship of mass crimes was the worst form of corruption?

The answer was unhesitating, clear and precise: “We are only concerned with ending corruption. No one will be allowed to talk politics from our platform. Beyond that we are not concerned with people’s political affiliation.” Why then the concern about “fanatical Muslims”? But that seemed like a rude question. So I wished the movement success while expressing my inability to join.

That was then. I do not wish to spoil the show for those celebrating the “second movement for Independence” that Anna has won for us. But I cannot hide the fact that I with my missing foreskin continue to feel uneasy about the Anna revolution, for more reasons than one.

Though V.D. Savarkar and Guru Golwalkar thought otherwise, we are all her children. So I am okay with “Bharat Mata” providing the backdrop to the fasting Anna. But did the mahatma in our midst have no problems with the Hindu Mahasabha jumping onto his bandwagon? Did he have to apologise to Uma Bharti (who had jumped on Murli Manohar Joshi’s back in ecstasy as the domes of the Babri Masjid were knocked down), when his own supporters showed the good sense of preventing her from joining the dharna at Jantar Mantar? Did Anna feel any discomfort on seeing Baba Ramdev descend on Jantar Mantar in the company of Ram Madhav of the RSS? If he did, why did he not speak his mind?

Nor did Anna speak when Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Anna’s fast had “created an Emergency-like situation in the country.” Since Modi is no political ignoramus what could that statement possibly mean?

But thank you, Anna, for speaking up now. I was assured that no one would be allowed to make political use of your anti-corruption platform. But who can stop the leader from speaking? So we know now that in your post-corrupt utopia, we should look forward to leaders like Narendra Modi.

Am I being unfair to you since you have quickly clarified that you are against “communal disharmony”. Modi never proclaimed himself in favour of “communal disharmony” either. But your own close associates, lawyers Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh could tell you more. Interested?

The writer is general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy

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