V for vendetta

Bal Thackeray passed away on November 17 after heading the Shiv Sena for close to five decades. Balasaheb was given an emotional sendoff — two million people turned up for his funeral at Shivaji Park.

Thackeray’s death has dealt a big blow to the Shiv Sena, which was already in a bad shape and in decline for years. So it will be no surprise if his son, Uddhav Thackeray, and nephew, Raj Thackeray, both go in different directions. Uddhav’s Shiv Sena and Raj’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) will now fight for the legacy of Bal Thackeray. Although Raj has an upper hand in terms of fan following, it is difficult to predict the winner between the two as
of now.
Maharashtra, with 48 Lok Sabha seats, is the second-largest state after Uttar Pradesh. The stakes are high and that is why both the Congress-NCP and the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance have their own issues to deal with. It is difficult to say who is in greater trouble as succession issues plague the NCP and the Shiv Sena and the BJP struggles over who is going to be the man at the “top”.
The turmoil in the BJP is going from bad to worse. Fresh trouble started when senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha issued a statement demanding BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s resignation in the light of allegations of dubious sources of funding for the Purti group, which
Mr Gadkari claimed as his own.
Mr Gadkari’s supporters retaliated by putting up posters of Mr Sinha near the BJP headquarters, which levelled allegations of scam and accused him of betrayal. All this is unfortunate. But it is not an isolated incident. In June this year, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi too faced a similar kind of protest. Sanjay Joshi, Mr Modi’s friend-turned-foe, was forced out of the BJP’s national executive on
Mr Modi’s insistence. After Mr Joshi quit the party, anti-Modi posters surfaced in Rajkot, Gujarat. Given these two incidents, there is a possibility that in future
dissidents will use facemasks to register their protest.
However the BJP tackles dissidents, the fact is that Mr Gadkari continuing as the president of the party has not gone down well with many senior leaders — Ram Jethmalani, Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Jaswant Singh — and they have all openly expressed their opinion against
Mr Gadkari. Although the BJP has suspended Mr Jethmalani, the question is, will it take action against all leaders who speak against Mr Gadkari?
The aam aadmi is watching every move, and public perception can be very different from internal clean chits and posters, facemasks and planned hate mail. Vendetta politics against those holding a view different from that of the party leaders is not going to work and disciplinary action against
Mr Jethmalani for demanding
Mr Gadkari’s resignation and disagreeing with the party’s stand on the appointment of a new CBI director will only bring more dissenters to the forefront.
What is happening in Karnataka can take place in other states, too. Vasundhara Raje Scindia was “defeated” by the BJP, her own party, in Rajasthan, and this can happen again; for not every
chief minister in the BJP is Narendra Modi.

The 2G controversy surfaced once again with statements from former Comptroller and Auditor-General R.P. Singh that 2G spectrum allocation losses were fudged. It is sad that the telecom sector — which has given the aam aadmi much more than any other
reform initiated in any sector — is on the verge of collapse.
A spate of apologies were issued to the courts on comments made in the media on the 2G case. While it is good to see the rule of law working, the fallout of the 2G scam is substantial.
Those elected to govern are no longer in a position to take any critical decision. Every decision is subject to presumptions based on select “leaks and spills”. It seems media trials and their instant verdicts have brought the system to a halt. The 2G scam may well force us to look afresh at issues concerning governance, in particular the accountability norms between the three wings of governance — the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.

The most disturbing news of the week is that the Delhi high court, slamming the police for “serious lapses” in probe of the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast, acquitted two alleged Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front militants, sentenced with capital punishment in the case, and commuted the death penalty of the third terrorist to life imprisonment. The three were languishing in jail for 16 years.
While complimenting the high court for its decision, should not those who investigated these cases and those who awarded the death sentence be asked to give an explanation? Innocent men were made to spend 16 years in jail. The question is: Is this a solitary instance or has this happened before? And what are the corrective steps being taken in this regard by the three wings of governance?

The writer is a former Union minister

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