The functioning of government in Delhi today, that is, after the UP Assembly victory for the BJP, seems a bit directionless. The PM is talking suddenly about working for a New India! What this New India means?

No one is explaining!

At AICC, #7, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi in the year 1967

At AICC, #7, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi in the year 1967

As for the Delhi political scene, we see a certain emptiness. Mr.Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi government chief minister is the other politician in the Capital to create some news or other. But he too seems to be indulging in some theatrics or other. He has imposed a debt of nearly Rs.3.5 crores in the form of litigation expenses on the Delhi citizens. Mr.Jethmalani is charging this fee for fighting a defamation suit filed by Arun Jaitley against Kejriwal. Or Kejriwal is also a good candidate for this type of news. One other was his expense for a lunch or dinner for a few at the coast of Rs.13, 000 odd for each guest! What serious news we have in the form of substantial issues.

Is this mock fight of superficial issues what grips public attention? None it seems. As for substantial issues, there are many basic reforms. Electoral reforms, why even economic reforms cry for attention and action.

The other day, the President Mr.Pranab Mukerjee participated in a forum that was attended by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Khehar and the next senior most judge of the Supreme Court. It was said that the electoral reforms cry for serious attention as more and more electoral malpractices, like the latest one from Tamil Nadu where the now-split AIADMK parties had brazenly distributed cash in such blatant manner that while the election campaign is still on, the income tax raids too place across the state! Cash was found in crores and the state election commissioner could do nothing!

It is no secret that the Election Commission (EC) under the existing provisions can’t do much. It can’t even disqualify the candidates violating the conduct rules and even to postpone the elections takes time! The EC is really impotent in the emerging new political realities.
So, the President, the Chief Justice and the senior most judge, all wanted reforms. Who would take the initiative?

There is simply a standstill in the top echelons of the government today. As for the political parties, the two major parties have their own priorities. The BJP wants to spread out and capture power in all the states. So, it is concentrating all its energies on building up the party. The BJP is becoming more and more aggressive in its confidence to bring the whole of the Indian states under one party rule!

What the Congress is doing?

As for the Congress party it is still in coma! There has not been one single initiative since it was routed in 2014. Not a peon has been changed at the AICC!

The faces you see at the AICC at any time of the day are not the real faces! The real faces are hidden in various government bungalows allotted to the old functionaries who also double themselves as members of the Rajya Sabha and other bodies or under some bending of the rules to occupy some piece of real estate in New Delhi’s cosy Lutyen’s bungalow zone.
What would you normally expect the defeated party heavyweights would be doing?
They would go back to their constituencies? They would be busy doing party revival work?
No, not in the Congress party!

All the heavyweights, those who enjoyed power, enjoyed ministerial positions, Cabinet rank and what have you are right in New Delhi and doing their own private work!
Yes, some of the bright lights of the party, first, are also first rate lawyers who are busy with their court cases. Some are first rate criminal lawyers? Some are also experts in various branches of law.

Also, some also act as party spokespersons!

They are all so busy that you can’t hope to encounter them at the AICC .The offices at the AICC are always empty, only the lower functionaries are hanging around. What about such leading lights like Manmohan Singh, Kapil Sibal or P.Chidambaram are doing?

Manmohan Singh, as the Prime Minister for two terms without contesting an election is now busy; it seems, with his Rajya Sabha work!

One would ordinarily expect such a leading intellectual and expert to sit at the AICC and concentrate on putting forth a working paper for others to deliberate on the ways in which the party can be brought back to some serious alternative path to power. No, it doesn’t seem to be Singh’s priority at all. Not a single word he had uttered in the last three years on the revival of the Congress party back to power.

There is not even any hint that he met Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi in this regard!

As for the lawyer-politicians, the less said the better! Leaders like Kapil Sibal and P.Chidambaram could do a much better job. In Delhi, the constituency of Sibal he could have inspired a team of loyal workers. He could have given much input in the form of alternative points of view, be it economic or education or even in secularism etc.

As for PC he could have revived the Congress, given his clout at various level in the state. The TN Congress is at the lap of the DMK! This after three years! And the new TN Congress has rank party defectors, from the very same Dravidian parties, defectors, turncoats and film actresses and what you expect in a state like TN!

So, we needn’t dwell further on the state of the Congress, it seems. The Congress party is clearly a leaking boat! The Congress party is sinking. All the seniors, PCC presidents, all respected names are deserting the party.

And the supreme irony is that no one around Sonia are leaving her to function even freely. The coterie is surrounding the party so that they can continue to enjoy the perks and privileges, whatever they are!

I was in Delhi recently for a few days and as it is my wont I was soaking myself, so to say, in the history of Delhi, more so the Mughal history. The more I read the latest books, the more I was drawing to the last days of the Mughal days. I took pity on the last Moghul, Bahadur Shah Zafar. I was suddenly, why rather rudely reminded that poor Zafar; his last days were spent in some penury.

While, I wondered, the present Congress party even in Opposition seems to enjoy a bigger treasury! There is so much unaccounted funds with the political parties! Where there is money, more so the unaccounted money, there would be party crowds, right?

That may be one reason why the politicians, defeated and others, still hover around the New Delhi scene. Back in the states, in their rural hinterlands, what work they would be inclined to do?

Judicial system overburdened

Anyway, in the forum we mentioned above where the President of India and the Chief Justice of India participated the working of our independent judiciary was also touched, though briefly. Certainly, the judicial system is over-burdened.

As discussed by a distinguished lawyer, Kaleeswaram Raj (Rethinking Judicial Reforms, 2017) fighting in the courts have become now a five star lawyers’ wars. The author refers to “Supreme Court litigation is a multi-crore affairs, very few can afford. This he says is an irony in a socialist preamble in its Constitution, the Legal aid to the poor does not enable the poor to choose the lawyer, nor the lawyer to choose the poor”. Yes, such ironies abound in the country increasingly.
Also, see what the Opposition party, namely, the Congress sis doing.

Manmohan Singh, the former Prime mMini8ster is now a member of the Rajya Sabha. It seems he busies himself with his Rajya Sabha deliberations. He, in one latest instance, it seems, urged his colleagues to given in to the passing of the GST bill, not to move any amendments. He was hailed by his colleagues that Singh is a statesman, not a politician! Fine, fine!

We thought that Singh, after bring about such a monumental defeat for the party might be turning his attention to rebuild the party, he might devote his time to this task. No, he is busy with the Rajya Sabha deliberations! Irony of ironies. This is the same statesman who the other day called the demonetisation as “organised loot, legalised plunder”. A statesman indeed! That is the plight of the Congress party in distress.

Who knows, the Congress must be praying in secret that”! God, Lord or whatever, give us show us some light for us to exit honourably!”.Given Rahul’s tantrums that send out many senior Congress men and women to leave the party, what exit route the party has to deliver itself an honourable alternative path? A day thought indeed!

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