General Elections 2014: Day 30
Imagine this scene:
A livid old man, a throng of crowd. The crowd lifts him…he climbs over their shoulders and desperately tries to tear his rival’s poster and replace it with his own. He attempts again and again…looks like he had not ensured enough glue on the poster because it keeps falling down. By now, the police intervene and like a coconut tree climber, he climbs down the billboard-post amid a boisterous crowd.
No, we don’t think he put his poster up because the rival was still smiling at him from the billboard.
Does this seem straight from a comic? No, it is straight from an election campaign and the action hero in this paragraph is Congress General Secretary Madhusudhan Mistry, who is 69 years old and is running against Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Why did he get into such an act? Because the BJP had booked all the major advertising kiosks and had put up hundreds of hoardings of Modi. Now, our Mistry, when he got know that he will be contesting against Modi, demanded equal share of space for advertisements. The municipal corporation refused saying that the space has already been allocated to the BJP. That was it! Mistry’s temper rose and he decided to rise up the billboard-post.
This is a leader we are talking about – a leader whom the citizens of India intend to look up to for good governance. Can he afford to resort to such behaviour? Narrowing down to a more generic scenario, can a leader be blinded by anger like Mistry was today and afford not regret his actions thereafter? Isn’t a leader like him expected to maintain calm and poise and come up with apt solutions even during trying times? Guess not, especially when his motive is to grab attention which looks so in this case.
What if all these actually become a reality:
• Cameras to be installed in court rooms and court proceedings to be made accessible through RTIs.
• Courts to be doubled in number, and number of judges to be increased in five years.
• Police reforms to be implemented to ensure women safety.
• Strong system of reward and punishment…not lodging FIRs to be made an offence.
• CCTV cameras to be installed even in interrogation rooms of police station.
• Citizens’ charter to have a fixed time frame. If work is not completed within time, officers to be punished.
• Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed. The Bill will cover a peon as well as the PM.
Well, India will definitely be a better place.
These are some of the promises in the manifesto released by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today. Besides this, the manifesto also talked about setting an upper limit for politicians, zero tolerance for cross-border terrorism and emphasis on pro-business and pro-development, among other points. Overall, the manifesto promises to combat corruption and decentralize politics.
The rival Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to release its manifesto. News has it that it will be released only on Monday. Isn’t that a little too late? Aren’t manifestoes supposed to give inkling to people about the party’s intentions, or else how can one judge them? Above all, no manifesto till now, for a lay man, may mean lack of clarity in what the party wants to achieve and do for the people. Can BJP afford such a perception at this juncture?
Meanwhile, AAP has found its own NaMo in Odisha. Narendra Mohanty is the name and he is supposed to have 28 criminal charges against him. However, AAP is very proud of him and said that Mohanty is a social activist and has been fighting against fake encounters by the police in the backward areas, and is also active in spearheading anti-liquor campaigns. They also added that the cases against him, which include murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, were not on the basis of FIRs filed by individuals but on police information. If AAP is saying this, we cannot but believe that it is the truth. For, today AAP stands for truth and anti-corruption, or doesn’t it?
AAP once again reiterated the fact that it was the BJP and the Congress that were responsible for them quitting the government in Delhi. AAP chief Kejriwal alleged that BJP and Congress were favouring Mukesh Ambani and wanted to hike the price of natural gas. He added that because of the efforts of AAP, it did not happen.
Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani will be filing his nomination from Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Saturday. And accompanying him will be none other than the man himself – Modi. After the nomination, he and Advani are supposed to address party workers, local leaders and then inaugurate the election office of Advani.
So much attention for Advani from Modi! Well, that is the least Modi can do after sidelining the veteran leader. But still one can’t say if Advani is better off than expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh. Both had demanded different constituencies than what was decided for them by the party high command. Advani, after a day of sulking, agreed to accept what the leadership had decided, while Jaswant was adamant on his demand, which ultimately led to his expulsion.
Campaigning in Haryana, Modi left no stones unturned to launch a scathing attack on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. He said, “The people want to know what goes on in your house? Who has earned 50 crores in three months?” This was an indirect reference to Robert Vadra, who is married to Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi.
As if the attack on Rahul Gandhi was not enough, he charged Congress President Sonia Gandhi of open communalism over her meeting with top Muslim religious leaders yesterday. The Election Commission (EC) had earlier said that if a complaint is filed regarding this issue, they would look into it. We hear now that the BJP has filed a formal objection with the EC.
With all the policing that the EC is doing, some leaders are clearly disgruntled. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today described the EC’s rules as arbitrary and over-reaching and said she would challenge the rules. This reaction comes with the EC directing Jayalalithaa to assign the costs of her rallies to the 70-lakh limit while campaigning for candidates.
Emotions will overflow…people will be angry, they will sulk, they will attack, they right now are capable of anything…we are talking about political parties and their leaders. Stay tuned with us as we cover the madness of General Elections 2014.