It will be a mistake to exclude the AAP from an anti-BJP grand alliance.
It’s is for the AAP to decide
M. B. Rajesh
At a time when the Narendra Modi government is trying to use fake nationalism and fake patriotism as a way to divide people, it is imperative for the Opposition parties to come together to see how they can stop them in the run-up to the presidential polls. However, it is for the Aam Aadmi Party to decide whether or not it wants to join. Earlier, they were not keen on participating in the Opposition causes. So if they come onboard now, then other parties should not have a problem.
The AAP has not participated in any of the Opposition programmes till now. The need of the hour is for a consensus candidate as proposed by the Opposition to ensure that a secular voice occupies Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Hindutva forces, led by the Modi government, are trying to not only undermine the secular fabric of the country, but also weaken the very idea of India. Thus, it is important that the next President should be a person who has a deep commitment to secularism and the idea of India.
The BJP, or rather the Modi-Amit Shah combine, is trying to misrepresent the nationalist agenda. They have managed to create a division in the country on the basis on these issues. The recent ban on sale of cattle for slaughter is a case in point. All this is creating unnecessary divisions among people.
The Modi-led BJP has been using all tactics to intimidate and finish off the Opposition. It is in this background that the Opposition needs to come together for the presidential polls. The CPI(M) leadership has already taken initiatives by holding discussions with various parties regarding presidential polls and there is a general understanding to take on the NDA on ideological grounds by fielding a joint presidential candidate. So it is but natural that the AAP joins the other parties.
We must realise that the BJP’s sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh, getting over three-fourths of the seats in the Assembly, was accomplished by a mix of rank communal appeal, through social engineering forging a wide-ranging caste coalition, and an unprecedented display of money donated by corporates. The BJP simply maintained its momentum of the 2014 general election.
Following these recent election victories, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the RSS-BJP has intensified its activities aimed at sharpening communal polarisation through various means. Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, the RSS has been rapidly spreading its wings in various parts of the country.
The Modi government has indulged in the height of duplicity by hoodwinking the people of this country with its loud pronouncements of cleansing corruption, particularly in the electoral process. The agrarian distress continues to impose miseries in vast tracts of rural areas.
The NDA government has reneged on its promise of increasing the MSP to levels of one and half times the cost of production. Unless this is done, a mere waiver of loans even if it is implemented cannot be a solution in the long run to resolve the crisis engulfing our agricultural sector.
Look at the incident in Mandsaur: the BJP government had fired bullets at farmers! As we speak, farmers are agitating in the states ruled by the BJP. The cattle slaughter ban is yet another economic onslaught on the poor farmers.
The writer is a CPI(M) MP from Palakkad, Kerala
The AAP is in collusion with the BJP
I would like to say that it would be a mistake to include the AAP in the Opposition camp. The party has contested elections in the states of Punjab and Goa. In both states, it positioned itselfbetween the Congress and the BJP. This decision by leaders of the AAP was taken specifically to benefit the BJP. The plan was to divide the anti-BJP vote so that the BJP could win. But people saw this in Punjab and the Congress won handsomely. In Goa, it is for all to see what happened. Interestingly, in 2016, Goa in-charge of the BJP Nitin Gadkari had said that the AAP will help the BJP make Goa Congress-free. Again, the AAP specifically did not contest elections in Haryana, as it did not want to spoil the prospects of the BJP. So the AAP is in collusion with the BJP for their “Congress-mukt “ Bharat mission.
If Arvind Kejriwal is included in the anti-BJP grand alliance, it would be like placing a RSS-BJP spy in the Opposition camp. It is a well-known fact that RSS ideologue Govindacharya had met Mr Kejriwal before the 2014 elections to synergise activities. Since 2011, Mr Kejriwal spearheaded the entire movement against the Congress at the behest of the Sangh Parivar. Allegations have flown thick and fast that the movement had the financial backing from people close to the Sangh.
At present, Mr Kejriwal is playing the role of a “jester” to his political master, the BJP. Every now and then, he and his party distract attention from the failures of the Narendra Modi government by doing tamasha. Ever since Mr Kejriwal has been planted in the political sphere by the RSS the level of discussion on governance of the government has fallen. Instead, the space has been replaced by the nautanki of the AAP, which suits both the BJP and the AAP, as they are found wanting on real issues of governance which they had promised big time before coming to power.
We have not heard from the AAP on violence against dalits in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Did Mr Kejriwal or any other delegation of the AAP go there? GDP figures for the fourth quarter are out — did the AAP make any noise that it has fallen to 6.1 per cent? The massive unemployment is for all of us to see, but not a single noise from the AAP camp!
Lastly, we all know about the prevalent agrarian distress. There was firing on farmers in Mandsaur, where farmers were killed, any word from Mr Kejriwal? These are the indicators that he wants to divert issues that are uncomfortable to the BJP. Even in the cases of corruption against him, there is no action taken against him personally. Serious allegations have been made by the AAP’s Kapil Mishra, but no FIR has been registered against Mr Kejriwal. Not a single FIR has been registered against him by the Modi government! Yes, for optics, action has being taken against his partymen, but all this is shadow boxing. Both the AAP and the BJP thrive on each other. There have been selective leaks against Mr Kejriwal, but these occupy only public space and no real action is taken. Mr Kejriwal in the past or even now has got financial assistance from the BJP-RSS.
The Congress along with like-minded parties is sewing up an alliance to take on a dictatorial force at the Centre. Hence, placing people like Mr Kejriwal will only harm the cause. If Mr Kejriwal is anti-Modi, then he should back the candidate who the grand alliance will put up. Hence, having Mr Kejriwal in the Opposition camp will only be detrimental to the cause.
The writer is a Delhi Congress spokesman