The Indian Express:Sudheendra Kulkarni: Sun Feb 19 2012, 03:26 hrs
The Dynasty is angry. The Dynasty is frustrated. The Dynasty is rolling up its sleeves. The Dynasty is, literally, tearing up the Opposition parties’ right to make promises in their manifestos, claiming that right exclusively to itself. The Dynasty has ordered its minions to defy the Election Commission. The Dynasty is also parading its seventh generation. In a side-show, its son-in-law is saying, “My time will also come.” The dynastically enslaved Congress party is doing all this and more in the ongoing elections to the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.
The Congress campaign in UP has so far presented three distinctive features, all of which show its growing desperation. Firstly, Rahul Gandhi has so completely personalised his party’s battle as to make the poll outcome a virtual referendum on his own leadership. In the process, he has demonstrated an unusual degree of anger, aggression and immaturity, which puts a big question mark over his suitability to become India’s next prime minister. And make no mistake. Even a relative improvement in the Congress party’s performance in UP—it had won only 22 seats in the 403-member assembly in 2007—will embolden the Dynasty’s sycophants to demand that Dr Manmohan Singh be replaced by the ‘Yuvaraj’ ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.
Secondly, the Congress party has, as a matter of deliberate strategy, chosen to communalise the UP elections in order to wean away Muslim votes, which so far have remained the mainstay of the Samajwadi Party’s dominance in state politics. The UPA government’s poll-eve—and blatantly unconstitutional—decision of carving out a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for “minorities” within the 27 per cent OBC quota was quickly followed by Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s announcement that the reservation for “backward Muslims” (never mind that they are already covered in the OBC category) would be increased to 9 per cent.
Realising perhaps that appeasement through a communal quota alone wasn’t enough to take the Muslim vote-bank away from Mulayam Singh’s party, which has promised an 18 per cent quota for all Muslims, Congress leaders then raked up the issue of the Batla House encounter in New Delhi in 2008. The Union Home Ministry has unambiguously affirmed that the encounter was genuine. This hasn’t deterred Digvijay Singh, Salman Khurshid and other Congress campaigners from questioning their own government’s integrity in this matter. Digvijay Singh, the Dynasty’s chief mentor and spokesman, had similarly thrown his weight behind the ludicrous theory that it was “Hindu terrorists” who killed police officer Hemant Karkare during the Pakistan-based terrorists’ attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008. Khurshid even claimed at a rally in Azamgarh that the head of the Dynasty “cried bitterly” when she saw pictures of the terrorists killed by the cops in the Batla House encounter.
Why do Congress leaders demean Indian Muslims in this manner? Why do they believe that the only way to appeal to the hearts and minds of our Muslim brethren is to show that the latter sympathise with terrorists and anti-national elements? During a TV debate on this subject last week, I said that it is absolutely wrong to think that all Muslims in Azamgarh and Batla House are either terrorists or sympathisers of terrorism. However, I also asked: “Isn’t it rank communalism to whitewash acts of terrorism?” It’s hardly surprising that the Congress manifesto for UP elections doesn’t even mention the word “security”. The Dynasty either believes that the state and the nation face no danger at all from the operatives of SIMI, HuJI and ISI, who have found safe havens in many parts of UP, or that mentioning this danger would alienate Muslim voters.
The third element in the Congress strategy for UP, green-signalled by the Dynasty, is to defy even the Election Commission’s model code of conduct if it comes in the way of the party’s game plan to play the Muslim card. Two central ministers, Khurshid and Beni Prasad Verma, have already done so. The law minister proved himself to be a lawless minister and, in the end, got away unscathed with a mere expression of regret over his contemptuous challenge to the EC’s authority. What was more significant in this entire episode was how Priyanka Gandhi defended Khurshid’s offence. “We are a democracy,” she smugly rationalised, adding, “The minister is free to give his opinion. The EC is also free to give its opinion.” Look how the Dynasty was dismissively disparaging a Constitutional body.
Communalising the UP election is not an after-thought for the Congress party. It is consistent with the Dynasty’s realisation—nay, supposition—that the only way for it to survive is to play the minority appeasement card more and more brazenly. Remember the Communal Violence Bill mooted by the National Advisory Council? Turning the basic canon of justice upside down, this poisonous bill explicitly criminalises the majority community, presumptuously adjudging it guilty for any and every incident of communal violence or tension. It axiomatically regards the minority community to always be a victim, irrespective of the facts of the case.
India must marginalise the Dynasty for the sake of re-establishing genuine secularism in our country, for doing away with the artificial and British-conspired majority-minority schism, for enabling our democracy to deliver what it truly promises—equal opportunity and a level-playing field for all—and for paving the way for good governance, so essential for the integral development of every section of our diverse society. Hopefully, UP, where the Dynasty was born, will ensure its defeat in this election.