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Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 11, March 7, 2015

Vigilance: Need of the Hour

Monday 9 March 2015, by SC


The Finance Minister’s presentation of the Union Budget on the last day of February naturally attracted national attention. However, several other develop-ments have also hogged the headlines of late.

Serious infighting within the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has led to two founder members of the party, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, being removed from the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) by majority vote (11-8) in the party’s National Executive (which has 22 members with voting rights). This happened yesterday; and it only goes to show that while the party’s national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who scripted the AAP’s spectacular victory in the Delhi Assembly poll last month, continues to enjoy overwhelming support in the party’s decision-making apparatus, the dissenters within the organisation too are not bereft of support. That is why the consensual approach was the best course available for the leadership; instead it decided to ride roughshod and silence dissent. How then can the organisation claim to be different from the other established political parties of the convential mould—the BJP and Congress?

Meanwhile it was most encouraging to find the Union Government being highly embarrassed with the passage of an amendment to the motion of thanks to the President’s address to both Houses of Parliament backed by all the Opposition parties—from the Trinamul to CPM, from the SP to BSP—in the Rajya Sabha. The amendment regretted that the speech by the President had omitted to mention the failure of the Modi Government to curb high-level corruption and bring back black money allegedly stashed abroad. It was adopted by 118 votes in its favour and 57 against thereby magnifying the government’s woeful lack of numbers in the Upper House. At the same time the PM’s speech in the Rajya Sabha once again highlighted his authoritarian proclivities while it also exposed his inability to speak in Parliament by addressing the Chair.

With the PDP-BJP Government in saddle in J&K a unique experiment is underway in the State. CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is engaged in his life’s boldest gamble—how far he would succeed is anyone’s guess. Since his alliance with the BJP has considerably weakened his position, he had to make amends soon after the swearing-in ceremony in Jammu and come out with statements (which fuelled misgivings in certain quarters) to bolster his image in the Valley. The thanks he extended to the militants, terrorists and Pakistan for the successful completion of elections in the State ignoring the tireless work of the Election Commission and security forces were indeed uncalled for. But his utterances on Afzal Guru’s assassination were both necessary and timely to offer the much-awaited healing touch.

However, one must be always wary of the motives behind the Modi-Shah duo running the ruling BJP and the government at the Centre. The prevailing highly complex situation calls for vigilance at all levels. After all, eternal vigilance is the price one has to pay to protect one’s liberty, isn’t it? Let there be no mistake: under the present dispensation it is that liberty which is in peril.

March 5 S.C.