AAP – a series of debacles – recovery ?

There is a sense of mystery and intrigue regarding the fortunes of AAP. After its first government resigned, there was a sense of distrust about the reasons for the resignation, and the other parties jumped on that one. However, the second election in Delhi after that (which should have been a cakealk for the BJP given its immense wins in the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi and nationally) was an election in which the AAP won an immense victory (winning more than 50% of the vote and winning 67 of the seats up for grabs is an immense victory).
However, soon after the second innings of the AAP in Delhi, there was an immense shock. The party had 3 main people at the helm – Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. Soon, there was news that there was an internal battle going on within the party and that there was not likely to be a reconciliation and resettlement. And so both Yadav and Bhushan were kicked out of the party (along with a couple others) and incidentally also losing the support of 2 out of the 4 MP’s that the party had from Punjab. This was a factor that provided a continuing ground for resentment at the treatment of the duo, and talk of a coterie around Kejriwal and leader kind of culture.
At the same time, the party government in Delhi is suffering from severe constraints. One of the main planks of the party’s campaign was about the Lokpal and about the reduction of corruption in the city. However, the Anti Corruption Bureau was taken away from the control of the AAP, thus taking away the main plank of the fight against corruption. And a running tiff with the LG about who has ultimate power in the city dents the power of the government and also leads to some amount of perception that the party cannot live with constraints, but always searches for reasons about why things are not working (although one major effort has been that any kind of problems regarding law and order is now seen as a problem with the police and not with the state government). Continue reading AAP – a series of debacles – recovery ?

Uttar Pradesh and the BJP effort – the Dalit vote

The state of Uttar Pradesh is key to the BJP and its long term political dominance of the country. As of now, even more than 2 years into the term of Narendra Modi and the BJP, people are satisfied with their performance; not enthusiastic, not ecstatic, but satisified. And the BJP would be fine with the electorate remaining satisfied. In the next elections to the country in 2019, they need people to feel that the Government worked and tried to make their lives better; even if they are not able to see a major change in their lives, as long as they feel that the people at the top are not corrupt, are trying hard and seemingly devoted to the job of Government, they will vote for the Government in enough numbers that the BJP will retain its Government (after all, it itself got only 31% of the vote, but that is more than adequate to defeat its rivals convincingly and especially when the Congress still remains down in the dumps). Back to UP.
The state of Uttar Pradesh was a stupendous success for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Except for seats for the Yadav clan and for the Gandhi clan, nobody else won a single seat – they all went to the BJP. This stupendous number of seats accounted for approx. 1/4th of the total count of BJP seats in the Lok Sabha, and one really does not need to explain the importance of this number of MP’s for getting control of the Government. The vote percentage of the BJP saw a higher trend, which was not seen in the previous state assembly elections where the BJP just managed to avoid being in the last place, coming above the Congress in the tally. The presence of Modi in the campaign and as the leader, the turmoil and polization in Western UP, the disgust with the current Government, all of these factors played a role in the impressive performance of the BJP. Continue reading Uttar Pradesh and the BJP effort – the Dalit vote

The violence of the cow protection vigilantes, and government responsibility

For some months now, there have been reports and videos of cow vigilatism coming in from the Hindi heartland, on the borders of Delhi and Haryana, and other places in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It was quite clear that these vigilantes were not an insignificant number, and it was equally clear that what they were doing was outside the scope of the law. No law gives the right to intercept vehicles or other people unless you are a law enforcer (police or similar agency). The police should be the first one to object to any private citizens taking the law into their own hands, but in this case, the police did not take any action. Now, it is not an unfair proposition that this was because of political influences, and it is only the BJP (and the parent organization, the RSS) which is encouraging this tactic, of promoting the cow as a symbol of Hindu and national pride, the mother animal for the entire country. This came dramatically to the forefront during the attack in Dadri, where mere suspicion of the consumption of cow meat caused the death of a Muslim man. This attack horrified large sections of the country, but the local BJP leaders were not at all defensive. They rose to the defense of those people charged with the death, and there were politicians from to place who claimed that the cow was the holy mother, and anybody taking action against the cow would be threatened.
Now, when somebody threatens something, and sees that there is really no action being taken by the police against others taking such action, there is a lot of confidence that there is no responsibility behind such an action. The plus point was that typically the meat business at the local level (or the local butchers) is handled by Muslims (even if ownership of larger such operations would be with Hindus). However, at some point or the other, such action will have consequences that are adverse, and so it happened in this case. Continue reading The violence of the cow protection vigilantes, and government responsibility