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Posts Tagged ‘Mayawati

Kamal Nath, 72, as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh has been a disappointment. At least so far. He has been active in Parliament since 1980 when he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. He has handled several ministries at the Centre admirably. It was expected that he would, as Chief Minister, provide a good government to the State by toning up the administration. But he started with a handicap. He had little choice either in picking up his ministers or allotting them portfolios. Nor has he been able to control the wayward bureaucracy or the ‘criminals in uniform’ as MP’s police force was once described by the State High Court.
After a procrastinated tussle with Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia (who was chairman of Campaign Committee during the poll campaign), PCC chief Kamal Nath was selected to be the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). He took oath as Chief Minister on December 17. Selection of ministers turned out to be more difficult. Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh ardently pressed the claims for their supporters. Several meetings were held in Bhopal and Delhi. At one stage even party president Rahul Gandhi intervened. The only point of agreement was that the first time MLAs should not be included in the Council of Ministers. Haggling continued for over a week. In sheer exasperation, Kamal Nath accepted the names and appointed 28 ministers. As Scindia and Singh were said to be insisting on cabinet rank for some of their supporters who had never been ministers in the past, Kamal Nath gave cabinet rank to all of them. Only six of them were with previous experience as ministers, while 22 had been made ministers for the first time. He distributed the departments as demanded.
Within days of formation of the cabinet, the Kamal Nath government courted controversy by invoking National Security Act (NSA) against three persons suspected of cow slaughter in Khandwa district. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati condemned it and wondered if there was difference between BJP government of Uttar Pradesh and Congress government of Madhya Pradesh. Even Digvijaya Singh, who is the real force behind the Kamal Nath government, publicly criticised the decision to invoke NSA.
Worsening law & order situation
The government tried to blame it on the district administration. The fact is that the government is completely directionless. The law and order situation, which was pretty bad during the previous BJP government, has been further deteriorating after formation of the Congress government, with heinous crimes like murder, rape and molestation being reported from various parts. The kidnapping of two six-year-old twins from the school bus at gun point in Chitrakoot and recovery of their bodies 12 days later have raised questions about the efficiency and honesty of the State’s police. The father of the twins is an industrialist of the area and was said to have paid Rs 20 lakh as ransom against the demand of Rs one crore. The police had claimed to have pressed 500-strong posse to scour the area and sealed the entry points to the adjoining Uttar Pradesh. Later it emerged that the children were kept at Chitrakoot itself for two days and then taken to Uttar Pradesh and the 500-strong police force scouring the area had no clue. Or had the police cut a deal with the kidnappers for a share in the ransom?
Not only has Kamal Nath failed to give directions to the police and the bureaucracy but to his cabinet colleagues also. The ruling party faced a great embarrassment when his ministers justified in the Assembly the previous government’s ‘misdeeds’ which the Congress government had made an issue in the election campaign. A ‘colossus blunder’ was committed by Home Minister Bala Bachan when he justified police firing on farmers in Mandsaur district on June 6, 2017. The Congress had all along been agitating against the wanton police firing. Party president Rahul Gandhi visited Mandsaur on the first anniversary of police firing on farmers and declared that farmers’ loans would be waived within ten days if the Congress came to power. Mandsaur police firing on farmers had become a major part of Congress campaign for the elections.
In 2017, then BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made a parikrama of river Narmada and got six crore saplings ‘planted’ on the banks of the river. Later Digvijaya Singh made a parikrama of the holy river and claimed that there was no trace of the saplings and the huge amount spent on the plantation had been misappropriated. Earlier, the Chouhan government was accused of bungling to the tune of Rs 4500 crore in organising the Ujjain Kumbh Mela. These too had been made part of the Congress election campaign against the BJP government. However, Kamal Nath’s Forest Minister and Urban Development Minister ruled out any bungling or irregularity in the Narmada plantations or Kumbh Mela management. Digvijaya Singh was furious. More so, because Urban Development Minister is none other than his own son, Jaivardhan Singh, who is a second time MLA.
Nearly a thousand transfers have been effected in the past two months. Some of the officers were transferred and retransferred within days. Kamal Nath had appointed Bhupendra Gupta, R K Miglani and Sanjay Shrivastava as Advisers to the Chief Minister and made them Officers on Special Duty (OSDs). They resigned to take up some political assignments — only a month or so later.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity registered a sharp decline towards the close of 2018 — merely four and a half years after he had come to power with a bang. During the year he was surrounded by many unsavoury controversies. After the BJP’s drubbing in the Assembly elections in the five States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram, he has become more and more incoherent and occasionally irritable in his public speeches. The election results show that he has ceased to be a vote-catcher; rather, he has become a liability for the BJP.
That the people voted decisively against the BJP in all the five States where elections were held in November-December was much too evident. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh the party could not retain its government in spite of spending a scandalous amount of money on the campaign. The BJP had fielded its candidates on almost all the seats in Telangana and Mizoram. BJP general secretary in charge of north-east Ram Madhav had announced much ahead of the polling day in Mizoram: “we are willing to forge an alliance with like-minded non-Congress parties after the elections.” But the BJP could win only one seat out of 39 it contested (Mizoram Assembly has 40 members), and its dream of ruling, directly or indirectly, the entire north-east was shattered. So was the case in Telangana where it was hopeful of an impressive electoral victory to dictate terms to Telangana’s ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP could get only one seat in Telangana also.
According to an IndiaSpend analysis of electoral data, the BJP lost more than 70 per cent of the Assembly constituencies where Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in the five States. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath fared slightly better than Modi, with a winning percentage of 39 as against Modi’s less than 30.
Even though Prime Minister Modi’s two major “achievements” did not figure prominently in the high-pitched campaigns, these two seemed to have considerably influenced the mind of the voters, particularly in the three Hindi heartland States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The scars created by the demonetisation on the middle and lower classes have not healed so far. Similarly, the GST continues to be a sore point with the middle rung traders. The party leaders in the three States were apparently aware of this because the party in the three States did not seek the vote in the name of Narendra Modi but in the names of their chief ministers, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan, Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh. In the full page newspaper advertisements also, the photos of the chief ministers were displayed prominently while a small photo of Narendra Modi was tucked behind the chief minister of the State.
The people just wanted to oust the BJP in the three States though they did not repose full confidence in the Congress, except in Chhattisgarh where it won 68 seats in a House of 90. The BJP got only 15 seats. Former Congress Chief Minister Ajit Jogi had formed his own party Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC). He had entered into an alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the hope of emerging as an alternative to the BJP and the Congress but the alliance could get only 7 seats — JCC 5 and BSP 2.
In both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress failed to get the clear majority. In Madhya Pradesh, its tally stopped at 114 seats in a House of 230. The BJP won in 109 constituencies. As many as 120 parties were in the fray in Madhya Pradesh. Only two of them could taste victory: Bahujan Samaj Party got two seats and Samajwadi Party was able to win one seat. Four independents also got through. These seven members lent their support to the Congress, raising the strength of the alliance to 121 and, thus, allowing the Congress to form the government. It was ironic that BJP received slightly more votes in Madhya Pradesh than the Congress but the Congress got more seats. The BJP received 41 per cent (1, 56, 42,980 votes) of the total votes cast while the share of the Congress was 40.9 per cent (1, 55, 95,153 votes). Besides, in as many as 22 constituencies, the votes cast for NOTA (none of the above) exceeded the victory margins of the winning candidates. In Rajasthan, too, the Congress reached near-majority point, getting 99 seats in a House of 200. The election for one constituency was countermanded following the death of a BSP candidate.


June 2019
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Justice should not be cloistered

Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.

— Lord Atkin in a contempt case in 1936

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