Monday, December 30, 2013

Minority-appeasing Manmohan shames Indian Constitution


Minority-appeasing Manmohan shames Indian Constitution


Ram Kumar Ohri

25 Sep 2013


In no other democracy across the world, the Constitution of the nation is violated with such impunity as it is done in India. Time has come to analyse how and why the political leadership of the country is able to trample upon the Constitution in such an ugly manner.


Like every democratic country, the Indian Constitution enjoins that the Prime Minister, including every Minister of his Cabinet and Ministers of State of the Union will take an Oath of Office on appointment to his/her august office. The oath prescribed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution is mandatory and inviolable. Similarly, every Chief Minister and Minister of a State Government appointed to his/her office is required to take an Oath of Office which binds him or her to abide by the Constitution while discharging his or her duties.


Surprisingly, neither any political analyst, nor any member of the media commentariat has cared to highlight that the solemn oath prescribed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution, which has been blatantly violated by the current Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and quite a few Chief Ministers. Many brazen violations have been done in the name of secularism and on the pretext of the holy grail of inclusive growth.


The most notorious violation of the Oath of Office was made by Manmohan Singh, on December 9, 2006, while addressing the National Development Council saying, "Minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the first claim" on the country's resources. It is indeed a tribute to the pliability of the mainstream media that no one dared to question the Constitutional validity of the Prime Minister's communal policy statement. No one, neither any columnist, nor media anchor of the 24X7 television channels raised finger at him over his unprecedented willful violation of the Oath of Office taken by him in 2009. Among other things, the Oath of Office prescribed in the Third Schedule, Part I of the Constitution specifically enjoins that the Prime Minister should discharge his duties towards all Indian nationals, "without fear or favour, affection or will" and in accordance with the Constitution.

For facility of ready reference, the oath taken by the Prime Minister of India is reproduced below verbatim: "I swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will discharge my duties as the Prime Minister for the Union and I will do right to all in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will." In sharp contrast to his Oath of Office, the Prime Minister's historic policy statement of December 9, 2006, clearly express an unmistakable 'affection' for the minorities, 'especially the Muslims'. This public announcement was a gross violation of the Oath of Office taken by the Prime Minister. Most importantly, the violation was a deliberate one.


The second intent of the Prime Minister, inherent in the wonky pronouncement, was an open expression of bias and ill-will towards the Hindus who constitute 80 per cent of the country's population by denying to them an equitable share in the country's resources. It further indicated that the ruling political dispensation, headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, considered all members of the majority community (read Hindus) to be reduced to the status of second class citizens of India. Briefly, the implications of the policy statement of Dr Manmohan Singh were as follows:


It was publicly made clear by the Prime Minister that in future the Hindus would be entitled merely to the left-over crumbs – after the Muslims and other minorities had partaken of the lion's share of the national resources.


The pronouncement was also a public expression of his "ill-will" towards the majority community – specifically prohibited by the Indian Constitution. It was also a flagrant violation of the Constitutional commitment to secularism, as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. Additionally, the announcement of the Prime Minister on December 9, 2006, favouring the Muslims and other minorities extinguished the Right to Equality of the Majority community. Such indeed is the pusillanimity of the Hindu leadership and elitist secularism-doped middle class that no one had the guts to stand up in the meeting of the National Development Council and advise the Prime Minister to withdraw the communally divisive statement and point out that he was violating the solemn oath of the august office held by him.


Amazingly, there were no protest marches in any city or town, nor any stinging criticism of the Prime Minister's partisan and communal-coloured policy statement by our ever-ebullient media. The marginalisation of the majority community by the Indian State, publicly and stoutly announced by Dr Manmohan Singh, was thus timidly accepted by leaders of the Hindu community virtually unchallenged. The result was that the Central Government and many votebank besotted chieftains of State Governments like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal went into overdrive of showering millions of free scholarships and financial largesse of crores of rupees in the shape of dirt-cheap educational and entrepreneurial loans on the super-citizens belonging to five privileged minorities, namely the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs – together constituting 20 per cent of India's population. All this was done on the basis of Sachar Committee Report – an untruthful document full of suppressio veri, suggestion falsi.


On May 29, 2012, the then Minister for Minority Affairs, Salman Khurshid, listed the achievements of his four-pronged strategy for the welfare of minorities. He claimed that his Ministry had implemented the following six schemes for educational empowerment of minorities:


i) Pre-matric scholarship scheme,

ii) Post-matric scholarship scheme,

iii ) Merit-cum-Means scholarship scheme,

iv) Maulana Azad National Fellowships scheme,

v) Free coaching and allied scheme, and

vi) Maulana Azad Educational Foundation Scholarship scheme for meritorious minority girls of class XI and XII.


The only religious community excluded from two million scholarships and financial concessions amounting to several lakh crore rupees was the politically-pariahed majority community, namely the poorest sections of Hindus who remained ignorant of the discrimination practiced by the so-called secular political dispensation ruling India – albeit deviously and unconstitutionally. Subsequently, several schemes worth lakhs crore of Rupees were announced and implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, with due approval of the Prime Minister. The lead given by the Prime Minister to his 'Muslims First' policy was followed with vengeance by the votebank-besotted chieftains of several State Governments like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. They, too, like our Muslim-oriented Prime Minister showered multiple financial goodies on the five minority communities by trampling upon their Oath of Office.


The Prime Minister and his pro-Muslim Chief Ministers are aware that the Christians, the Buddhists, the Parsis and the Sikhs have much higher literacy ratio than the Hindus. More importantly, all the five minorities are economically better placed than the Hindus!

Mera Bharat Mahan!


AAP owes its Delhi seats to the Communal votes by Muslims.

The following is my comment to Ashok Malik's article in . The main article by Mr Malik can be read below.

It was not an aam admi vote that AAP got in Delhi. It was a communal vote, with Muslims voting en bloc for the AAP. It was openly declared by Muslim clerics in the last few days before the elections that Muslims must vote for AAP. Five out of eight Congress victories being Muslims show that it was a communal vote of Muslims preferring Muslims among Congress candidates and opting for AAP in other places. Is this a victory for aam admi? Why no writer is writing on this core issue? Moreover, out of 28 seats that AAP won, it won with less than 1000 vote margin in 4 seats and with a margin between 1000 to 2000 votes in 4 other seats. The margin is not high in many other constituencies. This inside story is not discussed by MSM, why? Had the Muslims not voted for AAP, even these 8 seats would have been lost. In the final analysis, the muckraker candidates would not lose out as a natural corollary, if the communal vote is going to persist. This is a real danger for Indian democracy.


Can AAP Go National in 2014?

More than serious and long-term contenders, they appear to represent the muckraker tradition that so energised American politics in the early 20th century

Image: Getty Images
Arvind Kejriwal with party leaders during Aam Aadmi Party's victory rally after the party's good show in Delhi Assembly polls
I s the extraordinary debut of Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly election a revolt, a revolution or a flash in the pan? Can it be expanded to new geographies and states? Can it be scaled up to leave its impact on the 2014 Lok Sabha election? Is AAP's success a function of the small constituencies and unique socio-economic conditions of Delhi—or is it a larger political phenomenon?

If AAP had won say six or even 10 seats in the Delhi election, the answers and conclusions would have been fairly easy. The diffidence in making predictions has occurred because AAP did much better than anybody expected—whether critics or adherents—and took home 40 percent of the assembly's seats.
To try and guess where Kejriwal and the AAP movement will go, it would be helpful to analyse why they won 28 seats in Delhi and the motivations of those who voted for them. The vote for AAP was not a vote for local candidates or grassroots stalwarts. It was a vote for Kejriwal. Quite simply, he emerged as the personality of the Delhi election. In turn, the vote for Kejriwal was not a vote for hope or a bet on a vision of a golden future—it was a gigantic and devastating protest vote.

In the days before polling, the most common explanation of people who said they would vote for Kejriwal was: "At least he says things that need to be said." They were not concerned with his economic philosophy—many who backed him are still innocent of it—and did not instinctually believe the institution of the Lok Pal would finish corruption and eradicate the black market for gas cylinders. They just saw Kejriwal as a brave "person like us" who named names, spoke about cronyism in high places and attacked everybody and her son-in-law. Broadly, he sliced into the Congress vote, while the BJP vote remained roughly where it was.

Kejriwal's appeal can work in Delhi and Gurgaon and perhaps parts of Mumbai. Maybe it can work in Bangalore as well, provided he can find the linguistic connect and local faces that can use a mix of populism, indignation and cynicism to forge an unlikely alliance between slums and gated neighbourhoods. Of course, local faces who speak the local language may not need the AAP label at all. Some of them may fancy they can project themselves in the immediate community while being autonomous of Kejriwal. In the process, they could further fragment the vote.

In a Chennai or a Kolkata, local politics is dominated by strong regional parties that are not affected by the current anti-Congress mood and are served by a tight network of party workers and transactional syndicates. Here Kejriwal will find it still harder to make inroads.

Three points flow from this. First, the smaller the constituency size, the greater will be the impact of AAP or an AAP-type electoral intervention. Few states in India have assembly constituencies and electorates as small as Delhi's. In municipal elections in big urban centres, Kejriwal and those inspired by him could make a significant dent. As voting blocs get consolidated into larger parliamentary constituencies, this will become difficult. As such, the Lok Sabha election of 2014 may be far tougher for Kejriwal not just across urban India but even in Delhi itself.

Second, does Kejriwal threaten Narendra Modi or does he represent a microcosm of the same appeal? Like Modi—but admittedly unlike the BJP as a political party—Kejriwal positions himself as the untainted outsider, the man from nowhere, the truth teller, the unabashed and unafraid angry Indian, without a well-chronicled family history, bashing away at a culture of privilege. The two men tap into exactly the same sentiment. This is a reality accepted by AAP functionaries. They admit many of those who voted for them in the Delhi assembly polls, particularly the young and the restless, indicated they would opt for Modi in six months.

Third, Kejriwal and AAP are confronted with competing choices: Focus energies on the (expected) second assembly election as well as Lok Sabha election in Delhi; or stretch resources thin and go in for a rapid expansion. Option two has the makings of a bubble that could burst very quickly. As for option one, yes, it could lead to a possible victory and government formation in Delhi, and yield a couple of Lok Sabha seats. Equally, if the BJP rectifies some of the mistakes it made in December 2013, it could leave AAP even further behind in a possible May 2014 Delhi state campaign that will have the additional advantage of piggybacking on Modi's national campaign.

Ultimately, where does one place Kejriwal and AAP? More than serious and long-term contenders, they appear to represent the muckraker tradition that so energised American politics in the early 20th century. Activists, writers, woolly-headed but well-meaning socialists, utopians: The muckrakers were a reaction to the excesses of the Gilded Age, a period of enormous economic growth as well as massive corruption in the United States.

Backed by a seething public as well as by sections of big business, which wanted greater transparency and reform, the muckrakers attacked the cosy arrangements of the establishment. They produced pamphlets and made a habit of political overstatement, attacking the rich and the famous, the great and the good, the high and the mighty. Political opponents accused them of hype and exaggeration.

With their crackpot policy agenda, muckraker candidates didn't make it very far electorally. However, they did provide a check on the extremes of a completely unwholesome rendition of capitalism and of industrial democracy, and acted as catalysts in a cleansing of American public life. The muckrakers came to symbolise a cathartic moment that was greater than their individual electoral legacy. In six months to a year, will we be saying the same thing about Arvind Kejriwal?