Showing posts with label Prashant Bhushan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prashant Bhushan. Show all posts

Thursday, April 9, 2015


AAP in Turmoil

By Amba Charan Vashishth

When in February this year CM Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)  obliterated Congress and badly mauled BJP in Delhi assembly elections, it appeared as if, at least in Delhi, the party is over for both the national parties and it would well nigh be impossible for both to challenge it for the next decide if not more.  But in just one month of power,it now the scenario seems to have reversed. The party which witnessed a meteoric rise appears to be coming down  like a meteor to crash on the ground with a thud.

 Initially, the creators of AAP  generated a great euphoria. Hum aam aadmi hain jiI, Kejriwal would stress in every public meeting. We are not like all others, we are different, transparent. Our policies will be decided by you (people). Who will fight the election will be decided by you. Our election manifesto will be drafted by you, not us. That was his repeated rhetoric. That appeal to the people. That clicked with the voter. Today, recalling those pious words looks ironic. It attracts snide comments.

Whether the allegations against Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Admiral Ramdas who have been removed from the National Executive,   are true or not, and  to what extent, no one can say for sure.  But what dismayed those who had faith in the party was the ugly spectacle of lack of internal  democracy and transparency in the party. Those expelled were neither served any charge-sheet nor given time to reply to the charges and nor opportunity to present their case in the meeting. Strong arm tactics were used. Bouncers were there — and were allegedly used — to browbeat the dissenters. They were summarily dismissed and dishonoured. Sufficient to speak of the kind of democracy and decency  in the AAP.

Kejriwal set the tone with a "sentimental" speech exhorting those present to "choose between them and me". He even threatened to leave the party. Nobody else was allowed to speak — for or against — on the motion to expel the founding fathers of the party. He gave substance to the opposition charge that Kejriwal Party is a replica of the self-righteous naxalites-maoists on prowl in the streets of Delhi. He presented himself as indispensable to the party and government. He wanted to be the unchallenged boss against whom nobody should dare raise a voice or finger. All through, Kejriwal had decried personality cult in other parties. But he himself ignited this very cult when he called upon the party workers to choose between him and his detractors.

We have heard of people being asked to attend a meeting of which they are members. But AAP created a history by asking some inconvenient members not to attend the national executive meeting at Delhi.

AAP could not succeed in having the Delhi government or the Central government to enact a Lokpal bill. But it did earn the distinction of being the first political organization to have an internal Lokpal in the person of Admiral Ramdas. But AAP again made history when it directed its own Lokpal not to attend the meeting and, later, removed him. Prashant Bhushan has described all this as dictatorial and reminiscent of "Stalinist purge".  

Kejriwal in an audio clip released recently threatened to leave the party and form a new one. Suffice to say about his love and commitment to the party he created and the arrogance of power that had crept in his personality. He used filthy and fowl language against his opponents.

Disgusted at the "tamasha" and alleging that "political principles are being trampled upon in the party," veteran social activist Medha Patkar resigned from AAP. There are reports of fissures within the AAP state units of Punjab, Maharashtra and elsewhere.

The goings-on in the party have given the impression as if AAP is going broke ideologically, politically and financially. That is why like worried creditors many have started asking for return of their investment. One NRI has demanded back Rs. 2 lakh he donated. He also wants the Wagon-R car he gifted and which Kejriwal rode famously to be returned to him.

Similarly, the person who created the broom logo for AAP has asked Kejriwal to stop using the same. "I designed the logo but I don't want the party to use it anymore. I was working for a party which stood for certain values" which today stand abandoned.

It is difficult to say whether for AAP it is the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.                                                                                                                              ***

The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Of Fuss & Controversy Unwarranted

Of Fuss & Controversy Unwarranted
One fails to understand the fuss over counsel for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) Prashant Bhushan being pressed for disclosing the name of the whistleblower who provided him a copy of the entry register maintained at CBI Director Ranjit Sinnha's residence containing the names of persons who met him at his official residence.
To an extent, Prashant Bhushan is right in refusing to divulge the whistleblower's identity in the interest of the latter's personal safety claiming that "it would expose him to serious risks of bodily harm, harassment and victimisation besides setting a bad precedent". Among those who waited upon the CBI Director at his house are very influential and resourceful people who felt as much embarrassed by the disclosures as did the CBI Director. Question naturally arises Why did they prefer Sinha's residence over his office and why did he condescend to entertain them at his residence and not in his office?
Disclosure by such daredevils of information has embarrassed high-ups, landed them in trouble in criminal investigations and some found guilty by courts. There is also no dearth of instances where numerous people who dared to make incriminating information public had to face the wrath of government functionaries and others. Some of them had to lose their right to life even. So their security of life remains of paramount concern.
In these circumstances, what is vital is not the identity of the whistleblower who lifted the veil of secrecy but the veracity of the disclosures.  As long as the facts brought out by them are not disputed, their identity is immaterial. They need to be identified and named the moment they are discovered to have played havoc with facts causing unwarranted hurt to the image of the persons harmed by their disclosures which they knew were not genuine. In such an eventuality, they not only need to be fully exposed but severely punished too.
In the meantime, the Supreme Court on September 22 decided to review its order directing Prashant Bhushan to disclose the identity of the person who provided him the information.
Politics in the country seems to be touching a new low each day. The latest is the instance of the former Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh who whipped up public sentiments on the petty issue of his being asked to vacate his official residence in Delhi after the people of his area rejected him in the June elections to Parliament and he ceased to be a minister. On the one hand he announced that he is going to vacate the official residence and, on the other, he whipped up people's sentiments by organising a violent protest in his area where his supporters even threatened to cut-off water supply to Delhi.
He had been occupying this very house which was the residence of his late father Chaudhary Charan Singh who became prime minister of the country courtesy not a majority in Lok Sabha but of an intrigue hatched by late Mrs. Indira Gandhi who was not fascinated by him to see him a prime minister of the country but smarting at the loss of power and yearning for revenge to overthrow by hook or crook the then Janta Party government headed by  Morarjee Desai. Charan Singh fell into Indira's trap. After parting company with Morarjee and his Janta Party, he was able to be sworn in as PM on July 28, 1979 but had to resign on August 24 when Mrs. Gandhi refused to honour her promise of support. Instead of going to Parliament waiting for him to seek a vote of confidence Chaudhary Charan Singh went to the President to resign. He earned the distinction of being a Prime Minister just for 24 days without having faced the Parliament. Ajit Singh inherited the political legacy of his father by representing the latter's Baghpat parliamentary constituency unhindered. In the process he made history by his party RLD enter into a marriage of convenience with friends and foes alike. Thus he made the proverbial term of "sleeping with the enemy" a reality in his political career. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections his party contested as an NDA constituent but when BJP led NDA failed to make the mark the magnet of power was strong enough to lure Ajit Singh to part company with NDA and land into the Congress lap against whom his party had fought elections.

Ajit Singh's demand to convert the house he was occupying as a memorial  for his late father and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh was a ploy to retain this house on one pretext or the other. On the vey face of it, his belated demand now looks funny. Charan Singh died on May 29, 1987. In VP Singh's Janta Dal government in 1989 and later in UPA government Ajit Singh was the Industry Minister amd Civil Aviation Minister, respectively. During the last 27 years never did it occur to him that his father deserved a memorial and that too the house he was occupying. No further comment needed.                                                    ***