Politicians Vs Bureaucrats
The power battle in Delhi has crossed all limits. The alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash last week by two MLAs during an emergency meeting has led to an ugly face-off between Chief Minister Kejriwal and his bureaucracy, which refuses to die out. In fact, it’s become uglier leading to demand for action against the two MLAs who were sent to judicial custody and later released on bail, the IAS Association deciding that officers wouldn’t meet or talk even over the phone to Chief Minister Kejriwal, his ministers or MLAs till the CM apologised and a 55-strong police team swooping down on Kejriwal’s residence, without intimation to check footage of the 21 CCTV cameras for ‘scientific evidence’. While the government employees justify their action saying the assault breaches their faith in the political executive of Delhi, Kejriwal and team deny the altercation and have knocked on Lt Governor Baijal’s door to break the impasse-of mistrust between the two sides. Chances of an early rapprochement don’t look too bright. More so, as Kejriwal continues his tirade against the Centre. He accused Modi government of indulging in dadagiri aimed at “insulting and humiliating” him. Sadly, the tu-tu-mein-mein gets worse and it is aam admi who at the end will suffer the most. Does the Executive or the bureaucracy give a damn?
Rajasthan has a knack for courting agitations! This time round the BJP-ruled State has egged on the farmers. Led by the All India Kisan Sabha, the farmers have accused the Vasundhara Raje government of reneging on its promise of farm loan waiver. They threatened to lay an indefinite siege on the Assembly on Thursday last, as the budgetary announcement dashed their hopes of getting their rightful dues. The government, however, appears to be spoiling for a fight. As it has been doing over the years with the Jats reservation issue. It has turned down the farmers’ demand of a blanket loan waiver and unleashed a crackdown on farmers’ leaders, arrested hundreds and asked authorities to ensure they didn’t enter capital Jaipur. But the National Highway was brought to a standstill, farmers held protests in various parts of Jaipur and several towns. The simmering anger is far from receding and the BJP, which suffered heavily in the recent bypolls must rethink and act fast, only to avoid a bigger blow.
Punjab’s Revisits Khalistan
Punjab did finally keep its date with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday last, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh did well to take the opportunity and raise the Khalistan issue. Without mincing any words, he sought the Canadian government initiate tough action against ‘radical elements’ and even handed a list of nine Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in “target killings, hate crimes in Punjab, trying to radicalise the youth and financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities.” Obviously, he was well-prepared for the meeting, despite speculation in the media whether he would or not. Singh even shook hands with ‘Khalistani sympathiser’ Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, whom he had declined to meet last. At the end, Trudeau not only assured Singh his country didn’t support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere, but agreed on strengthening ties in higher education, technology, scientific research, innovation and skill development. Whether Ottawa delivers, is worth a watch.
Assam is embroiled in an awkward controversy. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has ruffled feathers of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), forcing its MP Maulana Badruddin to knock on Rashtrapati Bhavan doors. At a recent seminar on North East region, the General made note of population dynamics and singled out the AIDUF. He said if one looks at it, they have grown faster than the BJP over the years. “What will be the state of Assam, we will take a call on it…the demography can no longer be changed…,” he lamented. Predictably, Badruddin hit back terming it as a “political statement” and wondered why a party of ‘democratic and secular values,’ rising faster than BJP, was the General’s concern? The indulgence was against Rawat’s mandate and urged President Kovind to act. Obviously, the General was hinting at what is suspected, i.e. the AIUDF is behind migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the NRC updation underway, the issue is indeed a hot potato.
TN Filmy Politics
A masala-laden political script is unfolding in Tamil Nadu. With actor-politician Kamal Haasan finally launching his political party Makkal Neethi Mayyam in Madurai on Wednesday last, Thalaivar Rajinikanth would need to complete his script quickly. He needs to go beyond launching of his website and an Android application “Rajini Mandram”, where people can register as members. Plus, will he direct a political party or join the BJP? Indeed, the unfolding plot is unlike a typical film, wherein one rarely sees two super actors playing the lead role. Who of the two will eventually turn out to be the hero and the villain, is another big question. Apparently, fearing an unsavoury twist, Haasan is said to have told his co-star that the two must maintain ‘dignity’ even if they became rivals later and there should be no room for “abusive politics”. This may not click. Today the rivalry between the DMK and AIADMK, founded by film stars CN Annadurai and MG Ramachandran respectively, is bitter and unsavoury, to say the least. Will the two new entrants be able to give a fresh political direction in the southern State and will they co-opt others for blockbuster 2019?
How Happy Is MP
Madhya Pradesh is raring to know how happy its population is. The BJP-rules State is all set to undertake a pilot project in 10 schools with its own prepared happiness index activities. Under Department Anand, a draft report has been prepared keeping in mind the students’ emotional needs and how to improve their personalities so they can lead a meaningful life. Sadly though, the index has a lengthy questionnaire, 168 and a set of 14 domains such as “life satisfaction, relationship, environment, health, governance and administration, education, safety and security, income, infrastructure, transportation, social inclusivity, social and cultural life, time use and meaningful engagement.” Experts warn the interviews will take much longer and may not reflect the accurate level of happiness. Thus, the purpose of giving the people a voice and the government getting an idea of what more needs to be done, will get lost in the jumble. Is the government going to miss the woods for the trees? —INFA