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BJP same as Congress?

Publication Date : 15-07-2014

 

Two distinguished lawyers, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, as senior cabinet ministers, acted as spokesmen for the government and justified its decisions.

The result was pathetic. The BJP (the Indian People's Party) stand on various issues that emerges from their views is one of evasion and obfuscation, ignoring the real criticism being voiced. Consider the justification offered by these worthies for some of the questions raised about the government’s decisions.

With regard to the appointment of Nripendra Misra as secretary in the PMO, Jaitley argues that the Prime Minister has the right to choose his officers. He said the law that prevented Misra from assuming the post was flawed and needed to be changed. Conceded. But the issue was that the PM should have changed the law and then appointed
Misra.

He violated the law by appointing Misra first, then start the process of changing the law. This brazen act sets the tone of this government regarding observance of procedures and norms. How will it influence officials lower down the line?

With regard to blocking the appointment of Gopal Subramaniam as a Supreme Court Judge, the BJP points out his unsuitability for the post. Again, that is not the issue. The government had no business in violating procedure and directly approaching the President to cut off his name from the list of judges recommended by the Supreme Court instead of first informing the Supreme Court Collegium about its decision and its reasons for reaching it. Subramaniam’s suitability or otherwise was irrelevant.

BJP leaders, after appointing Amit Shah as the party president even as he faces court cases pertaining to murder and is presently on bail, justify his elevation by stating that there was no merit in the charges and these were orchestrated by a motivated opposition.

How stupid can BJP leaders get? Is it for them to pass judgment on the cases or the courts that are hearing the cases? What kind of credibility will the judgment have in the eyes of the public if the courts in these circumstances find Shah innocent? Either way, whatever the final judgment, the damage inflicted to governance is irreparable.

Smriti Irani had filed wrong information regarding her educational qualifications in an affidavit which is a criminal offence. In her defence Ravi Shankar Prasad pointed out her abilities as a minister. Can an argument for justification be sillier?

The lawyer who represented big firms in the ongoing 2G corruption court case, Mukhul Rohtagi, has been appointed as the Attorney General. Many more examples can be summoned to indicate how the government junks procedure and norms in the pursuit of expedient decisions. Strict observance of procedure is the very foundation of good governance.

Both Jaitley and Prasad are too knowledgeable to be unaware of this. Yet with cynical expediency they merrily proceed with evading criticism and confusing the truth. This cynicism will cost their government dear.

This contempt for procedure is accompanied by inexplicable political decisions. Despite the party’s avowed pledge to eradicate corruption the government is doing everything possible to protect Sheila Dikshit from appearance in court.

The party may respond favourably to high profile Congress leader Margaret Alva’s offer to switch loyalties. She wants another term as governor. If BJP responds positively, it will doubtlessly hail it as a feather in its cap. The party has absolute majority with a large number of members who toiled for its success, and yet wait to be suitably accommodated.

The Modi government is establishing a political culture no better than that of the Congress. Without immediate course correction, it will destroy governance. For all the starry eyed supporters of the Prime Minister who eagerly await “achhe din’, welcome to the real world!

 

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