Stokes ‘outsider’ debate

Gujarat Exodus

By Insaf

Mahatma Gandhi would be turning in his grave. Gujarat hate attacks have forced thousands of Hindi-speaking migrants flee the State. The exodus triggered by violence and threats of being thrashed if they didn’t leave, sadly confirms the rising mob mentality in the country as well as the “outsiders’ narrative. The ‘rape’ of a child allegedly by a migrant worker is reprehensible, but so is the reaction, against workers from UP and Bihar, incidentally BJP-ruled States. While Rupani government tries to bring some semblance of order, it hasn’t succeeded in dispelling fear among migrants and stop them from heading home, job or no job. Worse, instead of getting to the root of the problem, which is joblessness, the political dispensation as busy in the all-too-familiar blame game. The BJP accuses Congress MLA Thakor for instigating the violence. It is alleged in a video which went viral on social media, he said: “Non-Gujaratis are stealing your jobs. Gujaratis are being expelled from other States. Now, Gujaratis are jobless in Gujarat itself.” No, “the root causes of violence are the closed factories and unemployment. Both the system and economy are on the verge of collapse…” Alas, in the violence and the bitter tu tu mein mein, Gandhi’s quote “An eye for an eye will make the world blind,’ is forgotten!
Secret, Farce Polls?
The divide between Jammu and Kashmir is menacingly more conspicuous. Was bulldozing local elections the only option for Centre to usher in grass root democracy? Certainly not, as the Valley has said a big boo to the polls. As compared to Jammu region’s voter turnout of nearly 70%, the Valley ‘recorded’ just 8.2%. What else should have the authorities expected when principal parties– the NC and PDP-had boycotted the polls. Plus, elections with no campaigning and worse no idea of who the candidate was in their area, makes the entire exercise a mockery. Reports from many wards, particularly in south Kashmir, said no candidate filed nomination papers; for ensuring candidate’s security they were moved to safe locations and their details not made public! A scenario is thus: a voter walks in, the Presiding officer reads out names of candidates, shows their symbol, and says press what you like in the EVMs! Actually, why take the trouble of going to polling booths for there is barely a contest as seen in 13 municipal bodies, where 61 candidates got elected unopposed! But if at the end, the authorities’ glee over super enthusiasm in Jammu, Kashmir should make them cringe. Are those elected actually Peoples’ representatives?
Bengal Durga Puja
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to have the blessing of Goddess Durga! In a major reprieve for didi, on Wednesday last, the Calcutta High Court refused to interfere in the State government’s decision to give Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga puja committees, saying it was the legislature which is the appropriate forum to decide on such expenditure. It thus vacated the interim stay granted by the court on disbursal of funds following a PIL challenging the TMC government’s decision. While both the TMC and puja committees have reason to be jubilant, Mamata’s decision to provide this selective largesse irked Muslim groups, who promptly launched a massive protest in Kolkata demanding an instant raise in the measly monthly stipends given to imams. Notwithstanding the court order, will she eventually yield to their demand after the pujas? Her policy of appeasement has paid dividends, which the TMC can ill-afford to lose.
Delhi Pin Pricks
When it comes to Delhi, some things will never change. The Centre refuses to give Chief Minister Kejriwal a breather. Now IT authorities have conducted raids at 16 locations, including Gurgaon, in an alleged tax evasion case linked to Transport minister Kailash Gahlot. Apparently, the two firms under probe are operated and owned by Gahlot’s “family members” and that multiple transactions and alleged under-reporting of profits has taken place. AAP and Kejriwal have termed these raids as yet another example of “BJP’s political vendetta.” In a tweet, he reminded Prime Minister Modi of the earlier three raids-one on him and two Cabinet colleagues, where these drew a blank. He suggests that before the next raid, he must apologise to the people of Delhi for “harassing their elected government.” In the end, who will say sorry, is the big question.
Flutter in Mizo Cong
All is not well with the Congress in Mizoram. With Assembly elections next month, desertion is simmering in the ruling party. While so far the number is only two out of 34 MLAs, those who have exited are big wigs– Home Minister also State party Vice President and a former minister and it simply can’t be taken lightly. But Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is not worried, rather very confident and claims the winning streak shall continue and the party will score a hat-trick. Two have left, but ‘hundred others’ are joining, is the reassurance given to cadres. But this is creating a problem– nagging fear amongst some MLAs that their future is bleak as the grand old party, now under Rahul Gandhi, wants to bring in new blood. “At least 40% of the candidates would be below the age of 40,” is what the party in-charge has declared and said the top leadership wants to axe some who are “too old to contest or may struggle to win”. Giving room for a rebel lobby or allowing other parties-Mizo National front and the Mizo Peoples’ Conference to pick and choose. Worth watching results to see whether Congress, ruling the State since 2008, is able to hold on to its last bastion in the North East?
School For Politicians
A better breed of politicians is what UP aspires for. Politics is like any other profession, get trained, we will help you, is the government’s message to young aspirants. On Wednesday last, Yogi Adityanath’s Cabinet approved the setting up ‘one of its kind political training institute’. It will provide lessons on legislature decorum, how to conduct oneself in public, their constituencies, on social media and how to not only contest elections but be a winner. The aspirants won’t have to go through exams or get a degree/certificate, but acquire only skills to be better politicians. The idea obviously emanates from the behaviour of MLAs seen in the past few years – unruly, whistling and throwing paper balls at the Governor Naik’s customary address in 2017; an MLA taking an officer hostage in a guest house and thrashing him, another beating a bank manager and yet another threatening an Additional SP; some are in jail for gang rape and molestation et al. This school for politicians will be in Ghaziabad and will cost Rs 200 crore. Wonder whether the money will be well spent!- INFA

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