Inability to do anything about Robert Vadra – will the BJP pay ?

There are a number of people who have an incredible faith in the BJP, that it is indeed a party with a difference with much lower levels of corruption. And Modi is a symbol of all that, he has no children who can gain from any corruption, that he has led Gujarat without any corruption for more than a decade, and so on; and to some extent, all that is true. However, there are others who believe that the Congress and BJP are the same, both have their own levels of corruption and one should not really hope for too much. The BJP has been impacted by corruption in the past, where it had to dump a Chief Minister in Karnataka because of perceived corruption, and had to change another chief minister in Uttarakhand before polls so to try and project a honest image (the existing one was seen to be totally corrupt) – in both the cases, the population was not impressed and did not vote the BJP back to power.
In 2014 however, the Congress had been ruling for 10 years and even though the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seen to be as not corrupt, he was also perceived to be a dummy with the true control of power being in the hands of the Gandhis. They have apparently learnt a lot from Sharad Pawar about how to operate from behind the public image in terms of making money, but one member of the family was seen as an emblem of corruption and misuse of power. This was Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of the family and the husband of Priyanka Gandhi. It did not help the party that along with this corruption, there were many other evidence of corruption that kept the Government on edge for almost the entire last 5 years. By the time the 2014 Lok Sabha elections came, everybody knew the writing on the wall. The Congress tried to be brave, but knew it would be whipped, the BJP and Narendra Modi were all ready to take power and the other parties knew they would not be able to do anything. Continue reading Inability to do anything about Robert Vadra – will the BJP pay ?

The 1984 Sikh riots cases – will they ever be resolved ?

India has a history of riots; small level riots happen all the time and are usually limited in scope to small events that happen in towns all over India, and normally lead to a small number of casualties (dead and injured) before the police and administration intervene – sometimes this needs some people being killed in police firing before the situation comes into control. However, from time to time, there have been riots that have taken on the scale of mass killings and lead to hundreds or more of people dying in such incidents. These have happened in states all over India, the public perception being that of these happening in the Hindi heartland, but that is not totally true, they have happened even in a state such as Assam (the Nellie massacre of 1983). Now, whatever be the reason for these massacres, the fundamental common point common to all of them is the total lack of accountability post the violence. One would expect that with a massacre in which hundreds or even thousands of people dead, there would be a comprehensive investigation, the state government would be shamed to taking quick action including trials and punishment. But the sad truth is that for most of the large riots that have happened, the people in the forefront have not been punished, and it goes without saying that those who were inciting the incident would never have been even investigated, forget charged.
Of the communities in India, in 1984, the Sikh community was in turmoil. Ethnically, they are close to the Hindu community although the ongoing Khalistan movement had increased the tension between the communities, especially in the state of Punjab which has almost an even population mix between these two communities. However, Delhi also has a large population of Punjabi / Sikh communities. During and after partition, the violence that killed large numbers on both sides of the border also impacted the Sikh community massively and as a result, there are sections of the city that have large resettlement colonies populated by refugees from Pakistan. There are parts of Delhi which have concentrations of the sikh community, across income and wealth levels. Continue reading The 1984 Sikh riots cases – will they ever be resolved ?

The collapse of the Congress – going steadily down

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections were like a kick to the teeth of the Congress. Reaching a historic low of 44 parliamentary seats, and being totally elbowed out of the Hindi heartland would be a rude shock to the party, but it was not exactly a sudden disaster. State elections before the Lok Sabha election had conveyed exactly what would happen, and the corruption and non-performance of the UPA Government was visible to everyone. However, if one had expected some kind of soul-searching to happen in the party about what had happened, and what could be done, it was not going to happen. There was some talk about change and accountability, but such talk can only carry some weight if there is conviction behind it. After the state elections that happened prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress lost them all and came out with a statement that it will change and try to ensure that it will listen to the rank and file.
However, soon enough it was clear that there was going to be no serious introspection. Soon after the Lok Sabha humiliation, the ritual of introspection happened – and what it did was pass full confidence in the leadership of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, and this was the extent of introspection. However, when a party comes down in terms of power, there is an impact. Already, a number of Congressmen had moved to the BJP before the elections and won the Lok Sabha seats – this defiance of the Congress high command and their easy acceptability in the BJP should have further scared the Congress leadership. What this has managed to do is to reduce the power of the High command (the Gandhi family) and emboldened the party leaders in different states (depending on the abilities of these state leaders to make their demands). Continue reading The collapse of the Congress – going steadily down