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Singling Out Congress

Singling Out Congress

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as the Congress President was a foregone conclusion on the day it was announced that he would contest the Amethi Lok Sabha seat in 2004. The only question was when. He has beaten several expert predictions on this, before finally agreeing to take over formally as the party chief from his mother, Sonia Gandhi.Of course there will be an officially choreographed election process towards his elevation.

The focus of the media will predictably be on the dynastic process that is being followed in the Congress and the lack of inner-party democracy. These worthies will never ask how public listed companies can have children taking over from their parents despite not holding majority shareholding. And even when it comes to politics, the focus is limited to the Gandhis although almost every other party has taken a leaf out of the Congress book.

Even those who talk about having a contest for the Congress President’s post, never examine the fact that no party in India allows a contest to the top post. The last one in a major party took place in the Congress, when Jitendra Prasad contested against Sonia Gandhi. Prior to that, Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot contested against Sitaram Kesri, again in the Congress.

But when did we have a contest in the BJP? Did Vajpayee contest against Advani or vice-versa? Every BJP president has been selected as per wishes of the RSS and the understanding of the top leaders of the BJP. It was Deoras/Raju Bhaiya/Sudarshan who did this selection along with Vajpayee and Advani once. It is Narendra Modi and Mohan Bhagwat who do it now. The only question that remains today is whether Bhagwat would even privatelyoppose a candidate that Modi proposes for party presidency. The less said the better about the Shiv Sena, NCP, Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, BSP, DMK or any other party of significance. So what democracy in which party is the media talking about when they keep badgering the Gandhis?

Of course two wrongs do not make a right. But the Congress’ history is replete with splits and schisms following contest to the party president’s post. One may just give a simplistic explanation to this: Indian politicians are not used to respecting the wishes of the victor/vanquished and hence a contest leads to rifts and splits. This could be the reason why even in the CPI(M), where elections are held democratically, the top boss is ‘unanimously elected’ after negotiations between factions.

An Arvind Kejriwal may not induct his son to take over the Aam Aadmi Party if it doesn’t lose relevance by such time but he sure selected his confidant Manish Sisodia to run the administration of the Delhi Government, while side-lining or expelling the likes of Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, who too played a stellar role in the formation of AAP.

All this just goes to show that inner-party democracy does not exist in Indian political parties. Hence, the bias of the media becomes evident when it singles out a party just because leaders of that party agree to have a formal boss from the Nehru-Gandhi family to play arbiter between conflicting and often warring groups and factions.That the media does it while not applying the same yardstick to other parties just goes to show how afraid it is of other parties and how tolerant Indira Gandhi’s and Sanjay Gandhi’s party has turned out to be in the new millennium.

Trivial Pursuit

The singling out of the Congress can be justified when it is in power at the Centre and in states. But how sold out and scared several media outlets have become is evident when they fail to follow up on real issues while continuing with ‘Padmavati’ for the second week running.

In the week when serious allegations were made against defence deals signed by the Modi Government, it was natural to expect news channels to focus on ‘Padmavati’ and Karni Sena. But the disturbing trend this week was to see the print medium almost towing the TV line or to be precise the line that the BJP government would desire.

Even a newspaper that makes claims of practising ‘journalism of courage’ seems to have lost all gumption to follow up reports that has raised questions on the death of judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya . The judge in question was not just anyone. He was special CBI judge who was asked to probe the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

The case relates to the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati and was transferred from Gujarat to Maharashtra by the Supreme Court. One of the accused in the case was BJP President Amit Shah, until he was acquitted recently by the judge who succeeded Loya.

It may be just a false claim, one could argue, but should not the rest of the media report news carried by ‘Caravan’ magazine that Loya’s sister has alleged that there was foul play that led to his death and that he had told her before his death that then chief justice of the Bombay high court had ‘offered him Rs 100 crore to settle the encounter case favourably’?

In the run up to 2014Lok Sabha elections, political campaign of the main Opposition, BJP, was carried out strongly through television channels, newspapers and social media. Since 2014, there is only social media and a few internet news portals that seem to be raising issues of serious concern.

MIT Cell

Amit Malviya is the head of the BJP’s Information and Technology Cell. It becomes evident to anyone who sees his tweets that his existence is only to spread misinformation.

Last weekend international rating agency, Moody’s, upgraded India’s rating. Western endorsement has always been the ultimate recognition for RSS specimens and while they rejoiced, Malviya tweeted about the ‘amusing sight of CPM trolls defacing cricketer Tom Moody’s Facebook page’, while also taking a dig at Kerala’s literacy. He also got a pro-RSS reporter of a national daily to report the issue.

However, newsportal ‘Alt News’, exposed the half-baked plot by cross-checking on the previous activities of the so-called ‘CPM trolls’. They all happened to have pro-RSS antecedents. There has been a pattern is such activities. It seems that Malviya managed to get his army of mis-informers to first pose as CPM supporters, invade the Facebook page of Tom Moody and post protests and obscene messages.

May be, Malviya should rename the outfit he heads as MIT Cell and probably convince his ardent followers that it belongs to Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If MIT objects he can always explain that the initials stand for Malware India Technology.

( abey.kay@gmail.com)

(Published on 27th November 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 48)