Wednesday 14 September 2011

BJP Sacrificed Nishank for Considerations which go beyond Corruption Charges

Written by Anil Singh

Political analysis of “actions taken by political parties in and out of Government” is a fine art. An art, which appears lacking, most of the times, in our Print and Electronic media’ ; to such an extent that, in 9 occasions out of 10, the media personnel in our country seem to be eating out of the hands of the politicians.

This is again proved by a recent article, a comment sort of, by Sunita Aron published on Hindustan Times Blog. The article titled “Oh! Our Thick-skinned politicians”, is Ms Aron’s criticism of how the unseated Uttarakhand CM Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal or Nishank, behaved during the swearing-in ceremony of the new CM B C Khanduri.

To summarize, the article called Pokhriyal Thick skinned (devoid of any shame), when he should have locked himself in his room for a month (out of shame).

It’s unfortunate to hear such a one-sided and shallow analysis from a journalist belonging from a top national Daily.

Why I think so? As rather than “the question of corruption or the image of Mr. Pokhriyal among the masses” there are other factors which may have compelled BJP Top Brass to go for a leadership change in Uttarakhand.

To save time, let I put the factors in point form.

Reasons why BJP brought back Mr. Khanduri OR unseated Mr. Pokhriyal:

1) There are about 7.5 Lakh ex service men (Army, paramilitary) in Uttarakhand. If one assumes that, each ex serviceman has three direct dependents in his family, then 28 Lakh people in Uttarakhand (30 percent of the total state population of 90 Lakh), have an army link. Add to this the people who are still in Army, and you will find that, more than half of Uttarakhand’s population has some army or defense background.

2) BJP knows that this army vote bank has learned how to turn things in its favor, hence if this vote bank is not taken care of, then it’ll be hard to win the next assembly election.

3) On contrary, the fact that, non-army population in the state votes unquestionably to either BJP or Congress or others; hence none of the political parties in state is bothered to rally that vote bank in their favor.

4) To take care of the army votebank, BJP has only one face in Uttarakhand, which it believes can make this entire vote bank, vote in its favour – Retired Major General BC Khanduri.

5) By bringing Khanduri to the helm, BJP wants to shot two birds with a single arrow—A) Garner the army personnel support in the state and B) Curb the threat posed by Retired Lieutenant General TPS Rawat led, Third Front; which has the potential to divide the army vote bank. Notably, that’s why BJP has still not accepted Lieutenant General’s Resignation.

The above five points should be seen under the light of announcements made by the BJP Government in Uttarakhand in recent times with respect to army. Like in one announcement, the Uttarakhand Government announced to increase the dependency pension of army spouses by Rs 1000; which brings to fore one question, if the "Manahgai" of present times, demand an increase of the pension of a defense personnel dependent; then How can a non-army senior citizen in the state, with no means of income, can live on a Senior Citizen pension of a meager Rs 500; that too paid once in three months.

On contrary, if one sees the track record of this Government, then it should be seen that it hasn’t done much from the non-army population point of view: All the recruitment exams are now being conducted hastily- with a Samuh Ga examiner having to travel hundreds of kilometers & spend hundreds of rupees to reach to his/her examination centre, there’s not much done in maintaining the infrastructure of the state, roads etc., courtesy lack of time and funds, the state and centrally aided welfare schemes for masses are put on the back burner from the last one year.

Contrary to the corruption line towed by many in ‘Print and Electronic media’, politics in Uttarakhand is still run on army and non-army consideration. Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal may have a much grey image than Mr. Khanduri, but bringing the latter to fore, just a couple of months before Assembly Elections is fuelled by many factors than simply the corruption.

The fact that many people in the state don’t yet realize that army vote bank in the state has clearly been segregated into power groups; which every political party in the state wants to become favorite of, hence politicians, especially in power, take non-army vote bank for granted.

Democracy demands voting those people and parties to power, which promise to fulfill your personal, family and societal demands; with the priority in most cases given to one's personal demands-- Those demands which better the person's life as an individual.

A simple rule of thumb to vote to the right person or party, is to ask yourself, one simple questions: "What the person/party has previously done for you; and will it fulfill your demands, if it comes back to power?".

Failing to put this simple question, or ignoring it altogether, can put you in risk of getting sidelined.

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