piyush kaviraj

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BJP and the AAP Position : From The Indian Express


There is a joke in Delhi that the middle class that wants to participate by Twitter joins the BJP; the middle class that actually wants to participate will join the AAP – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bjp-and-the-aaposition/#comments

In politics, it is easy to become a victim of traps laid by our own convictions. We then cease to distinguish between political analysis and political endorsement. We cease to pay attention to trends. The Delhi election is indeed deeply important. It is shaping up to be a closer contest than anyone imagined six months ago. Much will depend on the AAP’s political campaign. But there is little doubt that there is space for it to re-emerge as a potent political force. On the evidence of their campaign so far, the BJP seems to be struggling to understand the nature of this challenge. It would do well to heed the warning signs.

The general election was a product of the twin narratives of fear of paralysis and fear of plutocracy. It was the anti-corruption movement, which morphed into the AAP, that took a battering ram to the legitimacy of the UPA. Modi walked into the breach. He seemed, with good reason, the best candidate, to overcome paralysis and restore a sense of possibility. Even if we argue that the jury is still out on where the NDA government is headed, other narratives are now opening up once again.

The fear of plutocracy has not gone away. It may have been overshadowed by the fear of paralysis. But corruption and unseemly conflicts of interest are still challenges. The government at the Centre may not have been rocked yet by a scandal. But it has done little to restore confidence in accountability institutions. The investigative arms of government remain mired in suspicion of extensive partisanship..

Parliament seems unlikely to exercise an oversight function and fears of the undue influence of capitalists are not entirely misplaced. The private sector’s fear about the legitimacy of PPPs is a backhanded acknowledgment of this reality. Except for dissimulation on black money, the government has no reform proposals to show. The problem with the AAP’s traditional approach was its overinvestment in top-down institutions like the Lokpal. But the presence of the AAP itself generates accountability, by inducing a different fear. It was a small party with disproportionate effect. The power of its own example is not inconsiderable. For the most part, its method of financing elections seems the most transparent that any political party has ever seen, setting a new trend. The AAP’s institutional promise rested on a new paradigm of citizen participation. Government by SMS or continual referendum is not a sustainable idea. But the idea that, in some crucial areas, we might need more participatory modes of government is powerful. Whatever the internal story with the AAP, it still takes the model of governance as a friendly, inclusive, neighbourly chat seriously. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bjp-and-the-aaposition/#comments

Written by Pratap Bhanu Mehta


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Public Expectations and Government: in search of ‘Achhe Din’


 

In the recent past, someone had remarked- Modi is probably the last gamble by Indian public. And the citizens left no stone unturned in order not to have any regret left for not giving a majority to Modi sarkar. Riding on a Modi wave, full support from media and a whirlwind of expectations, BJP got a thumping majority and NaMo became the PM, to the delight of millions.

But there lies the glitch. The lured public clearly wants results as the wait for good days or ‘Achhe Din’ has been in suspension for more than 60 years. It was visible through daily scrutiny of the Aam Aadmi Party government at Delhi. Continuing with the same, the public would keep the NaMo sarkar under scanner till it is relieved of its daily tensions, from workplace to home, from social development to economic strengthening. The public is, but losing its patience in an exasperated hope of reviving the situation.

In such a situation, every move of the government would be introspected as per merit and it won’t be easy for the new government which already knows that governing India during the present situation is the crown of thorns marred by acute inflation, chronic poverty, mounting unemployment, snail pace development, fractured economy and beleaguered finances. Hence massive reforms are needed to counter the problems. The honeymoon period with media already seems to be jolted with hash tags of ‘achhe din delayed’ and ‘bitter rail pill”. Price regulation for petroleum is not my forte but the government will have to bear the brunt with every increment. Though minor hiccups were felt during Iraq problem and the ‘Hindi circular’, the first tremor has come with the rail fare and freight hike. There seems to be huge disappointment among people, especially the daily and regular commuters of railways. The cost of Mumbai sub-urban passes have gone up with 200-300% increase, not to mention the first and second AC fare is already giving stiff competition to the low-cost airlines. No doubt many people will prefer to spend a few bucks more to save 10-20 hours, through air journey. However, the sleeper and general class  passengers have a compulsion to remain loyal to their railways, even though it means shelling out extra bucks from their savings. Finance Minister asks if we want a world class railway or the present dilapidated one. Well, Jaitleyji, the rail makeover to world class can’t be achieved through fare hike. There is a limit to it. Price hike could be a necessity with the continuing inflation and that may be a reason good enough. Is there a need to issue such statements?

No doubt it is difficult to stand up to the public expectations as it has almost lost all the hopes on the traditional politicians, most of them christened with murder/rape and baptized with criminal cases. The level of saturation is dangerously close as was evident during Anna’s India against corruption movement with mass participation of public, swarming to the call against the prevailing issues. It was in full public glare when huge protests erupted against the heinously barbaric Nirbhaya incident. It has been clearly visible among the angry Delhi people since Arvind Kejriwal resigned. The frustration that has been building up since 60 years is something which shouldn’t be exploited otherwise. This is the time to perform or perish, in a reasonable time, without unreasonable arguments and statements. Because, Janata maaf nahi karegi!!

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