Posts Tagged ‘Digvijaya Singh’
The mother-son duo may now consider leasing out State Congress units to the highest bidders for specified periods, with the understandable clauses incorporated in the agreement, such as, no criticism, in any form, of mother and son will be permitted, full weightage will be given to the advice of the ‘controlling authority’ (meaning high command in Delhi) in the selection of candidates for Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, certain quotas will be fixed for the high command in the selection of candidates for Assemblies, and so on. This will bring, on a regular basis, good amounts of funds to the coffers in AICC. More importantly, it will check waywardness presently witnessed in State Congress units all over the country. In any case, the State party bosses are running the organisation as if it has been leased out to them with the minus point that others in the State do not accept it.
It’s now ages that one has seen a State unit of the grand old party working in cohesion anywhere in the country, or the high command taking any firm steps to ensure at least a semblance of unity in the party. Not infrequently, the high command has shown utter unconcern for the workings in the State units. Take, for instance, the matter of Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The rules prescribe that a meeting of the party MLAs will be convened specifically for the election of the Leader. A formal resolution will be adopted for the purpose. Election may be unanimously or by a majority vote. The copy of the resolution will be communicated to the Speaker of the Assembly in a prescribed manner. The Speaker announces his approval in the Assembly. Then only he/she becomes Leader of Opposition.
In Madhya Pradesh, an observer of AICC or the AICC general secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh gets signatures of party MLAs on a single-line resolution authorising Sonia Gandhi to name the Leader. The general secretary in-charge then gets the signature of Sonia Gandhi and a copy of that is sent to the Speaker somehow and the Speaker promptly gives his approval. This happened in the last Assembly when Ajay Singh (Rahul Bhaiya) was the ‘Leader of Opposition’ and this happened in the present Assembly when Satyadev Katare is the ‘Leader of Opposition’. On both the occasions, even after getting Sonia Gandhi’s approval, it was not felt necessary to convene a meeting of MLAs to fulfil the formality of adopting the required resolution. If the Speaker did not point out the irregularities in election of the Leader and in communication to the Speaker, it was because it suited the ruling BJP.
The MLAs do not give due regard to the Leader because they feel they were not directly involved even in the so-called election, with the result that the Leader keeps gets his substantial perks as Leader of Opposition, hobnobs with the ruling bosses who are always eager to please him and his small coterie. MLAs work almost independently in the Assembly, sometimes even working at cross purposes. Occasionally meetings of Legislature Party are convened to discuss ‘party strategy’ in the House but only rarely a concerted effort of the party was seen to corner the government.
In Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has been made the PCC chief, not for his life-long dedication to the Congress or that he enjoys support and confidence of all party activists. He has been hopping between Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal and had been a votary of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution seeking ultimately a separate Khalistan and later was signatory to the succession document known as Amritsar Declaration after the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple to flush out the Bhindrawale gang of terrorists. A scion of the powerful erstwhile kingdom of Patiala, he is a dashing politician, has money and knows how to use that. But he would not allow other party chiefs to function and when he is the party chief he wants total loyalty like a former Maharaj of Patiala which all Congress leaders cannot do. Those who have been removed from positions because of him feel particularly piqued at his style of functioning.
The Captain’s clout
His clout can be gauged from the facts that the Congress party lost Assembly elections twice under his stewardship, held, in an interview to The Indian Express, Rahul Gandhi’s ‘divisive policies’ within the party for the debacle of the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The paper quoted him as having said, ‘I told him pre-2012 that ‘You will divide each village, which will have its own Youth Congress, and that means it will get divided right to the top; even parents take sides in such a situation, we will have problem’. He didn’t listen and that is exactly what happened’.
Anyone else, if he had said such things about Rahul Gandhi, would have been shown his place. But not the Captain. He has been made the PCC chief to run not the Congress party but his own faction as he is doing now on the eve of the Assembly elections.
With a similar mindset, Digvijaya Singh, too, does not allow anyone to run the party smoothly. When Arun Yadav was made PCC chief he started his job with apparent enthusiasm. At the first meeting of PCC, Jagdish Yadav, PCC secretary and a friend of Arun Yadav, described as inauspicious the name of Digvijaya Singh. He was promptly suspended, which gave a clear message to the party workers that new PCC chief Arun Yadav would not tolerate ‘indiscipline’ by any party leader or worker, even though he may be his personal fried. However, before the day was out, Digvijaya Singh called Arun Yadav (and also made it public) that suspension of Jagdish Yadav should be revoked as he (Jagdish Yadav) was a dedicated Congressman. Many Congressmen were surprised to know Digvijaya Singh’s latest views about Jagdish Yadav because he was never known to have liked Jagdish Yadav or any Yadav leader for that matter. Thus snubbed publicly even for working in the party interest, Arun Yadav lost whatever zeal he had and started on the safe path of running his own faction in the party and, in the process, inviting unsavoury allegations. The party high command was not concerned.
When Suresh Pachauri was PCC chief in Madhya Pradesh, (the late) Jamuna Devi was the Leader of Opposition. A rival Congress leader of Jamuna Devi from her Dhar district brought 200 persons to Bhopal. They held a demonstration against Jamuna Devi and presented a memorandum to Pachauri seeking removal of Jamuna Devi. Pachauri entertained them properly, gladly accepted the memorandum and assured them that he would take it to the Congress president. Irrespective of whether he took it to the Congress president, the party high command never tried to stem the rot. The two continued in their separate ways, often working against each other. However, Jamuna Devi never betrayed the party interests. Pachauri did with impunity.
Uttarakhand and Assam are recent history. The Congress high command never tried to stem the rot which had long been going on in the two States. If the Congress government was saved in Uttarakhand, it was because of judicial intervention for which Arun Jaitley (read Modi government) is seething with anger and must be thinking of some ways to show the Judiciary its place. Assam has slipped away from the hands of Congress. Now it fears the crisis of existence in the entire North-East as well as in the South Indian States where high command has never stepped in to bring the warring groups within the party together.
The Congress government of Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand is facing a crisis following large scale defections from the ruling party. Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal has tried to save the government, for the time being, by allowing the Appropriation Bill to be passed by a voice vote. But Kunjwal has only followed what Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma had done last year. Kunjwal did it to save government. Sharma had done it to save corruption.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has described Kunjwal as an agent of chief minister Harish Rawat and has accused him of violating the provisions of the Constitution by allowing the Appropriation Bill to be passed by voice vote. BJP spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan said that ‘he (Kunjwal) has no moral right to preside over the proceedings of the State Assembly as he has brought his office into disrepute. He should resign immediately if he has even an iota of self-respect left in him’. BJP leaders perhaps think that only Congressmen should have self-respect, those belonging to BJP do not require it.
Appropriation Bill is a Constitutional provision. After the budget estimates have been passed by the Assembly, the Appropriation Bill is presented to the House in a prescribed manner, debated and voted, if the members so desire, and passed. The BJP leaders’ allegation is that Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Kunjwal has not put the Appropriation Bill to vote as the members had desired and thus violated the provision of the Constitution. Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma had done worse in his eagerness to save chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Vyapam scam-related embarrassment.
Last year the budget session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly was due to start on February 18. Two days before that, Digvijaya Singh threw a virtual bombshell. He submitted a sworn affidavit to the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) claiming that the excel sheets in the computers of the Vyapam had been tampered with to save chief minister Chouhan. Later he released a copy of his affidavit with the “tampered” excel sheets at a press conference.
On February 24, STF told the media that an FIR had been registered against the Governor on the basis of the statements made by some Vyapam officials who had been arrested by Special Task Force (STF) over a year earlier and were in judicial custody. The STF did not explain why it waited for over a year to act on the allegations made by the Vyapam officials in custody.
The FIR against the Governor created a sensation but it did not dampen the clamour against the chief minister. As Chouhan found it too embarrassing to face the incessant Opposition demand in the House for his resignation, Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma abruptly adjourned the budget session sine die on a motion of Legal Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra as the House assembled on February 26 (though it was scheduled to last till March 27). Before adjourning the House, the Speaker declared the budget passed – as well as the Appropriation Bill introduced, admitted and passed, in flagrant violation of the rules.
The Appropriation Bill cannot be passed at 11 AM. Rule 158(2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha says that after introduction of the Appropriation Bill in the Vidhan Sabha, the Speaker will allot day or days for discussion of its various stages and “shall at 5.0 clock on the allotted day or as the case may be, the last of the allotted days, forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of all the outstanding matters in connection with the stage or stages for which the day or days have been allotted”. Apparently, for Speaker Sharma, saving the chief minister from continued embarrassment was more important than observance of the rules and propriety.