Stop the Vendetta by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (December 25, 2015)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
The last few weeks have been as disturbing as the preceding weeks. The slander campaign against Muslims accompanied by organised violence against them in different areas of the country and the attacks on, and murder of, liberals like Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi have slowed down in the wake of an unprecedented wave of protests. As those attacks began to taper off, another campaign was launched by the saffron leadership of the Union government against political rivals.
A government that kept silent over charges of corruption against foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, BJP chief minister Vasundraraje Scindia of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, also of BJP. However, on flimsy, unsustainable charges against the top bureaucrat in the Delhi state government, the Delhi CM’s office as well as the bureaucrat’s home was raided by CBI. Nothing incriminating was found in the raids.
The entire AAP was agitated over it. Common people were scandalised and wondered to what abysmal low the Centre could sink in its goal of harassing the Opposition. The general feeling was that BJP wanted to have a strange kind of democracy which did not have an Opposition. Anywhere else on earth nobody can imagine a democracy without an Opposition.
The Delhi government clarified that taking advantage of the raid the Union government wanted to take away the files on the irregularities committed by Arun Jaitley who happens to be the Union finance minister today. Rule-of-law, fair play and justice have become the initial victims of the politics of vendetta.
This is also a case of selective justice as one set of people (BJP chief ministers and India’s foreign minister) are let off without a word, while another CM, who belongs to another party, is hounded and humiliated like an ordinary criminal, setting aside all norms of decency and political dignity.
Look at the enormity of people like Amit Shah, Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani walking free despite their dark deeds. Babu Bajrangi boasted on camera about his involvement in the mass murder of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Yet, they are free people today.
The most vicious attacks of all these has been launched against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi by the habitually mischievous BJP man Subramaniam Swami. He has claimed that in 2016 both Mrs Gandhi and Rahul will be in jail in a case he has filed against the alleged mismanagement of Associated Journals Ltd., a company that used to bring out National Herald and its sister publications.
As everyone knows, these newspaper were founded by the Congress Party, especially by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Rafi Ahmad Kidwai. Since before Independence these publications had been articulating Congress Party’s concerns and policies till a few years back when they ceased publication.
Interestingly, neither Mrs Gandhi nor Rahul were on the board of AJL, or the separate body that independently ran the AJL. Hence, it is a far-fetched project to implicate them in its mismanagement. The case is unsustainable. Hence they got bail easily last week.
However, it was not the bail that was important, but the huge wave of sympathy in the public that saw the mother and son as victims of BJP’s mean-spirited politics of vendetta. The huge turnout of Congress leaders and workers on the occasion, too, showed that the Congress Party had been galvanised into a fighting mode as they saw their leaders being framed up.
The powers that be must keep in mind that the persecution of the Gandhis is a sure way of reviving the Congress Party. I am saying this from the experience of the fate of Janata Party’s short-lived, two-year rule. In 1977 general elections the Congress Party was totally wiped off, and even its charismatic leader, Mrs Indira Gandhi, lost election. That paved the way for Janata Party rule, which quickly squandered its mandate.
Soon after its coming into power, the Janata Dal government got busy persecuting Mrs Indira Gandhi. They even put her in jail. That made the Congress Party stand up and fight. Simultaneously, an impression gained ground in public that the Janata government was not interested in governance but infighting and vendetta against Mrs Gandhi. As a result a huge wave of sympathy for Mrs Gandhi swept away the Janata circus within two years.
From the kind of show of unity and willingness to fight political vendetta presented by the Congress Party leaders and workers on the day of the court appearance of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul it is clear that by persecuting them BJP is out to harm itself. They even tried to persecute Sonia Gandhi’s daughter and son-in-law earlier, but failed miserably. This case, too, is not going to succeed.