Thursday, February 04, 2010

Maharashtra Mess: Blame Congress' Politics, Not Just Shiv Sena-MNS

While Shiv Sena has been criticised from all quarters for dividing the society on linguistic and regionalistic lines, the role of the supposedly responsible Congress and its strategy hasn't got enough attention.

In fact, the party is again back to its old style of dangerous politics: Procrastinate, panic and pander.

Congress is at the helm at the Centre and in Maharashtra and no where elections are due in near future. But still, it has chosen to remain inactive.

Threats to Hindi speakers, North Indians, letters to cinema hall owners and actors are all in public domain. There are evidences sufficient to take action and prosecute the culprits who are dividing the society.

In case of any ordinary citizen issuing a mildly irresponsible statement, section 153 (A) of Indian Penal Code is applied. Ordinary citizen who breaks law a couple of times gets booked under NSA or is externed. 

Why no action has been taken against Sena? Who stops the Congress? The party is simply playing politics. Clearly, it enjoys the sight of Shiv Sena and MNS fighting and taking the fascistic rhetoric up in their tussle to score over each other, as it helps the party in the longer run.

Else, in a situation of such constitutional breakdown where MLAs are beaten up in Assembly for taking oath in Hindi and threats are openly issued, the government should have taken sternest measures. Both Raj and Uddhav should have been charged with such sections.

Two small parties, none of which is in power in a state, are running the state by proxy through terror and hooliganism. In a situation when even BJP has opposed Sena, Congress' silence could would shame any responsible political outfit.

Its chief minister, Ashok Chavan, recently issued a similar diktat about Marathi to taxi drivers. Though it was withdrawn after Delhi's intervention and Chavan 'clarified' what he meant, the truth is that Congress must get more blame for the crisis, than the small recalcitrant outfits--Sena or the MNS. What was the need for such a statement?

What the Maharashtra unit of party merely says is, 'we will take action'. Nonsense. What action and when. You can't provide security or lock up rowdies. Theatre owners themselves remove posters of Shahrukh Khan's movie, fearing trouble. So where is the government that was elected to provide security?

When the distrust among communities would reach a higher level and if things would take a nasty turn, it will start pandering to both sections. That will further create a divide. This has been the style of Congress until 90s. In Sonia Gandhi's first term, the party seemed changing the direction but now it's back to its old role.


Congress leader Digvijay Singh reached Azamgarh and said that he had his doubts about the Batla House encounter. It's again a similar story. Firstly, it was the Congress-led UPA government that was at the helm when the incident occurred.

In any case of police encounter, judicial inquiry is held. Congress is also the ruling party in Delhi. But the Delhi police affidavit in the court, contesting the demand for inquiry and the Lieutenant Governor's refusal to give nod for the probe, are proof of the party's position.

Doesn't the Delhi police function under Chief Minister Sheila Dixit? And because Muslims in UP have alternatives--BSP and SP, the party lets its national general secretary Digvijay Singh state that the encounter was held in suspicious circumstances.

It's crystal clear that the Congress is fast getting back to its old culture when it couldn't bear the sight of a communist government and got it toppled, when it didn't like the idea of Akalis ruling Punjab and in order to grab this small state created a frankenstein, Bhindranwale, and when the situation went out of hand, went for the unfortunate Operation Blue Star.

Don't redress the issue in the beginning and let the wounds fester until it reaches critical stage--that's the Congress style. Hindus were upset due to killings in Punjab, so the Ram temple issue was given a fresh lease of life.

As Muslims got angry, Congress tried to assuage their feelings in Shahbano case. Now Hindus were more angry. The party put India's social fabric at stake. It dind't want to take a blame. It neither fought Hindu right-wing movement, nor acepted its mistake. It didn't order firing or keeping the premises secure.

Ultimately BJP and Mulayam Singh Yadav became the aggressors and the defenders respectively while Congress cleverly exited the state. But the party and the country paid price. And it took it two decades to recover for Congress but once again, it's back to its past political style.

The party could have contained MNS in the beginning but it used Raj's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to cut into Sena's vote. Now both fight an ugly battle and India suffers. We blame Australians for the attacks on Indians in Oz.

But can we take action and keep our house in order? Sometimes one does feel that had there been no Gujarat carnage and the arrogance & non-repentence of party leadership in the state, Muslims won't have returned to the often-arrogant Congress' fold in such hurry.

In the end Congress remains Congress.