Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended its Dabangah Parliamentarian Kirti Azad for anti-party activities. Incensed over his public diatribe against finance minister over alleged cricket corruption, BJP has shown it is no longer a party with a difference. Unlike Congress, BJP had so far shown deep restraint when dealing with dissidents, especially in Bihar. Earlier, BJP had suspended Uma Bharti to take her back soon after while Jaswant Singh moved out on his own when denied a ticket in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The new entrant on political scene in Aaam Aadmi Party (AAP) soon after sweeping power in Delhi Assembly showed the door to its founders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. Congress has a history of showing the door to those who do not find favour with the high command. That leaves the voter searching for the party with a difference.
He was born 100 years ago and died in 1987. Not a word was heard about him during last 20 years. Why then is he the national headline? Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Union Finance Minister and J&K Chief Minister, among others, got together to observe Congress veteran G L Dogra birth anniversary in Jammu. Dogra fits in perfectly into the new age anniversary politics promoted by NDA under Modi. PM is on a mission to celebrate contribution of national icons of all political hues. Not being prisoner of your own ideology and placing service to the nation above all is a welcome step. The Modi pitch was first evident during Lok Sabha polls when he hailed Sardar Patel. NDA then set up a memorial for Narasimaha Rao denied to him by Congress. Get set now for Kamraj Darshan! Congress apart, no one else is complaining.
Congress Chief Ministers’ staying away from the Niti Ayog meet chaired by Prime Minister has not come as a surprise. But the political import of the boycott should not be lost on anyone. The open confrontation between non NDA ruled states and Centre on Land Bill does not augur well for India. NDA came into power promising to govern under the spirit of ‘Team India’! The mood in recent months, however, has turned negative. Fears of monsoon session being washed out abound. India voted decisively for it badly seeks change for positive. Individual egos have to merge into the brand ego of India. Realpolitik demands greater understanding of dissent. The responsibility for materializing dreams of millions of Indians lies equally at the doorstep of each elected representative. As first among equals, Modi has to lead by example. Remember numbers don’t lie!
The NDA government has been battling LaMoTitis for the past week. The opposition has sensed blood and is no mood to relent. Will Modi government act under pressure or wait for the tide to pass? Prime Minister has yet maintained studied silence. Is he riding his luck? He began his innings with oil prices calming down soon after. Now there is the news of monsoon this year doing better than expected. As of mid June the monsoon was 10% above the normal. The Met department says this whole month would witness good rainfall. An overall good monsoon would keep economy in good health. Key issue to remember is voters want to be lucky with Modi government. For that the government has to do lot more than just wait for a miracle to happen. They say luck favours the brave!
For many months of NDA government, you just heard one voice, again and again. Suddenly, you are spoiled for choice! NDA’s Land Bill has gifted the opposition its voice back. Using unseasonal rains (that added to the woes of farmers in many parts of the country) as a God sent opportunity, politicians are out to outdo one-another, as they aim to draw political dividend. Rahul Gandhi is busy completing his Left turn while the Left is happy to toe the Congress line. Having successfully killed internal democracy, Arvind Kejriwal too is busy farming his national ambition. Then there is the Parivar just united by the quest for power. Suddenly there is huge competition for share of opposition voice. It is Achhe Din for democracy if only there is more to it than mere re-launches. To keep noise out, welcome genuine differentiators!
Given the huge interest in his absence, his return is yet a non event. Remember how family retainers pushed the right to leave argument amid controversy over his sudden departure. Now the Parivar was there to receive him on behalf of the party. The customary loud bursting of firecrackers outside Rahul Gandh’s house has though failed to deafen the rising noise over his future. There is no visible excitement even as loyalists claim to draw up a busy itinerary ahead to proclaim his work ethics. The moot question is did anyone in the party (except immediate family) miss him? When family is another name for party the ground reality does not always reflect. Gandhi deserves a holiday as much as the party deserves a leader who can take it out from the long sabbatical it has got into.
This fiscal closes with an interesting battle for ‘supremacy’. This time it is not about India Inc but about the number one party claim. As BJP claims to be world’s No 1 party with 8.8 core members, rattled Congress calls the ruling party a “missed call” party. BJP got to the imposing number in flat 143 days. A comparable statistic incidentally comes from the wireless mobility domain. India took almost 24 years to reach 955 million wireless subscribers (as of January end this year). Driven by its missed call strategy, BJP now aims to race to 10-crore mark. Are these numbers for real? If wireless world holds the mirror then there indeed is a gap between connections and active users. Bogus members is a challenge that BJP would ignore to its peril. Membership drive is healthy. But sure avoid call drops?