COMMENT POLITICS NATION
|Tathagata Satpathy ex-MP…Opiate
By Tathagata Satpathy, ex-MP
NOTHING HAS changed; nothing probably will; history merely repeats itself. Many had thought they had already seen the lowliest of the low of politics. Were they surprised! What has happened and is happening in Maharashtra reaffirms that there is always a ‘new’ low for politicos and politicians to sink to.
There is practically no sight of a ‘rock bottom’ for Indian politics. The BJP, which had cried foul about the ways of the Congress in the decades that party held power over India and was in the forefront of the anti-corruption crusade, is now clearly not the goody two shoes it masqueraded for long. It certainly has lost the moral authority to claim its corruption-free political party mantle. There is no contesting the fact that clean politics is an oxymoron. Power matters when a party or a leader has to fill its coffers, not promises. In Maharashtra, the BJP is doing just that and party supporters will forgive it for they are delirious of the victory.
That vague word ‘Jan adesh’ (People’s command) has turned out to be Jan ko adesh (command to the people) for the BJP leader Narendra Modi and his followers. This desperation for electoral victory at any cost was first visible in November 2016, just prior to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. At that time, it was Demon-etization that was used as a tool for poll victory.
Now on hindsight, citizens with even the feeblest of mental faculties have realized how that single politically motivated crazy action has destroyed the painstakingly built economy of this country. No politician or political party could stake claim to have built the Indian economy to the level it had reached till 2016. It was the contribution of every single toiling individual of this country. All those decades of pain and labour were thrown to the winds by the single televised rejection of the nation’s currency. Then began the meticulous demolition of the Reserve Bank of India, the National Sample Survey Organization, the Election Commission of India, the Supreme Court, major educational institutions and this list goes on to include every single known and unknown system and organizations tasked with protecting those systems.
All these efforts seem to have reached an apex with the manner the office of the President of the Union and the Governor have been dealt with in the Maharashtra government formation.
It was understandable that the BJP as the single largest party in Maharashtra was undoubtedly unhappy and unwilling to accept the reality of sitting in the opposition benches, something it had not done for half a decade. The lust for power is truly amazing. Yet the respect for democracy was supposed to keep that very essential lower instinct of the politicians at bay.
But the BJP appears to have managed to break not only a fragile and shaky alliance with the Shiv Sena, the other strident Hindutva outfit, but has also, without batting an eyelid, damaged the very credibility of the democratic system that Indians had been cherishing for long. That India could sustain that system for such a long time while many other nations failed midway was acknowledged globally.
The BJP, as an anti-corruption political party has created a situation of its own making which has already given Ajit Pawar the leverage to land him the deputy chief minister’s post. People have not forgotten how the Maharashtra BJP leaders were shrieking and shouting about junior Pawar’s 70,000-crore irrigation scam a few years ago. Such issues were under scrutiny of the relevant authorities but will obviously be put in the cold storage under present circumstances.
The question now is not whether the lure, (supposedly the going rate per MLA is 75 crore in Bombay) will fetch the BJP sufficient legislators to form a stable government. The question is whether that government is the one that people of that state want or need.
It is a known fact that when a leader or political party with a clear cut malafide agenda has both the Union and State government machineries under absolute control, anything is possible in India. Now with the charming legacy left behind by Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India, in the Supreme Court, it will be interesting to note what the 3 Judge Bench decides on the issue. Time is all that is needed by the BJP. The Court can hear the case for the next ten days. The Governor has already given seven days to Devendra Fadnavis to prove his strength on the Floor of the Legislative Assembly.
However, the funny side of this whole convoluted event was the fate of the media. While every print media had headlined on front page of their issues on 23 November morning and virtually most TV channels had announced on 22 November evening that Uddhav Thackeray would be sworn in as Chief Minister, all the forecast pundits were taken aback on 23 November morning when, at 8 am, live TV showed Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar taking oath as CM and Dy CM respectively. Indian media must have realized that no matter how smart they all think themselves to be, the Indian politicians are many steps ahead.
Maybe for this reason, some headlines screamed ‘We The Idiots’ (probably suggesting replacing the Preamble of the Indian Constitution that states We the People) while some others bravely went to the extent of saying WTFadnavis. Indeed, that is valid not only for the media, but the nation as a whole.