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Mainstream, VOL LV No 17 New Delhi April 15, 2017

Fight Against Treason Call of Hindu Rashtra by BJP

Wednesday 19 April 2017, by Rajindar Sachar

The results of the UP State Assembly elections have come as a shock to all parties including the pollsters. The appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of UP is the worst outcome. I feel that it requires all political parties, the secular and Leftists (I am using loosely because unfortunately the meanings of the terms have become quite barren), to come close to each other.

I am mentioning some items which all of us could take up, as these have no party monopoly. Of course my suggestions are very tentative and can be finalised at a separate meeting of all parties, of the Leftist parties, trade unions. This is necessary because the BJP Government is determined to dismantle the public sector, the sheet-anchor for a socialist society.

A. Minimum of 30 per cent Income Tax on those with higher income including the Corporate Sector.

B. Inheritance Tax to reduce gross inequality in the society; even the conservative Governor of the Reserve Bank is suggesting it.

C. Disclose in public the names of big defaulters of public sector banks, the total amount being Rs 8 lakh crores. Why should they be shielded, when they are endangering the public interest and economy?

D. Napams and anti-corridor battle could be jointly fought out.

E. Prohibition against any election funding by the corporate sector even in the guise of separate electoral trusts formed by the corporate sector.

I am also suggesting some other common items in the programme for action immediately like: Revival of women’s reservation in State Legis-latures and Parliament.

Fight against the government’s misuse of perverting the Lok Sabha Speaker’s power to certify certain legislations as Money Bill in order to avoid defeat in the Rajya Sabha.

There is a gross misuse of the majority in the Lok Sabha by the BJP Government. The BJP’s Central Government has already started working unconstitutionally, as is clear from its misuse of Article 110 of the Constitution—regarding the Finance Bill. This is done obviously because it could not modify the Income Tax Law or the Companies Act for making such vital changes against the established rights of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution as it has no majority in the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP’s Central Government is tearing all established conventions, including amendments on the Companies Act, which is most mischievous. At present under the Companies Act there is a ceiling for donation, especially making it anonymous. The Central Government’s amend-ment will result in what an American commen-tator has said after the Citizens case in the USA, “that the nation” will have corporate democracy and not people’s democracy.

I believe one could go to court against the provisions incorporated in the Income Tax Act and Companies Act on the ground of violation of Article 14, and the irrelevance of these legis-lations behind the passing of the Finance Bill.

I know political funding is a touchy subject for the Congress but then larger public interest requires it to be challenged. The misuse of Aadhar to make each one of the provisions of secrecy of the Income Tax Act, the banking law a nullity is a further assault of the individual rights of citizens.

Speaking personally, we must refuse to file Income Tax Returns or opening of Bank accounts by getting Aadhar, which I believe is a serious inroad into the privacy of the individual except in the case of those programmes like subsidies schemes to avoid possibly the wrong person getting the benefit. I know the Congress Govern-ment brought in Aadhar. But really its misuse by the Modi Government requires action by the Congress. I would suggest that the Congress and entire Opposition should bring a legislation in the Rajya Sabha opposing the changes made in the Companies Act and Income Tax by the BJP as incorporated in the Finance Bill (where it will be passed because it has a majority in the Rajya Sabha). This will create a constitutional crisis and bring the matter strongly to the notice of the public on these issues.

  The extreme danger of the BJP choosing Yogi Adityanath and his open declaration that India is a

Hindu Rashtra

has shown the deep viciousness of the RSS and BJP. For this purpose other parties will have to make serious mutual adjustments—of course subject to the ruling parties in other States also playing fair. I would provisionally suggest that the distribution of seats in respective States should be done by non-BJP parties in such a manner that there is a single candidate opposing the BJP candidate. Of course the Opposition-ruled States like Mamata in Bengal, Patnaik in Odisha, the Congress in Punjab and Karnataka will have to make equitable adjustments, but the other parties must also go for deep adjustment. Only in this way can the evil of the BJP headed by the Yogi in UP, with its obvious call for Hindu Rashtra (a treasonable slogan by the ruling party at the Centre) can be successfully met to prevent fascism in our country.

Let all the parties sit together and work out concrete specific programmes and policies to meet this menace. If the parties will not show this adjustment, the public in India will never forgive the Opposition parties for failing to show that foresight, self-abnegation before the attack on secularism, the basic feature of our Constitution. We should start an open debate and launch public meetings to point out the danger to our democracy. This will require approaching all political parties to draw up a common programme. In this certain ground rules will have to be worked out. Both the political parties, which are in power in respective States, and the non-BJP Opposition parties will have to work out a joint strategy for mutual benefit of each other.

In order to meet the 2019 parliamentary electoral challenge, I feel that all non-BJP parties should work on a commonly agreed programme. Loose general talks separately will not work. I feel we need to develop Dr Lohia’s election strategy of 1967 where we had non-Congress Opposition- ruled governments in nine States. We only have to work for similar non-BJP Opposition ruled States—this alone will create an atmosphere which may result in non-BJP parties forming the government at the Centre in Delhi.

The author, a retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, was the Chairperson of the Prime Minister’s high-level Committee on the Status of Muslims and the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing. A former President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), he is a tireless champion of human rights. He can be contacted at e-mail: rsachar1[AT]vsnl.net/rsachar23 [AT]bol.net.in