Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tyranny of the unelected

Some Congress members refer to the demands by Anna Hazare group about Lokpal Bill as tyranny of the unelected and unelectable. They are against fast as protest and call it blackmail. Congress has a history of tyranny of the unelected.

In 1939 Mohandas Gandhi’s candidate Pattabhi Sitaramaiah lost and Subhash Chandra Bose won the election to become Congress President. Mohandas Gandhi said Pattabhi Sitaramaiah’s defeat is my defeat. It became difficult for Subhash Chandra Bose to function as Congress President. He had to resign some months later.

In January 1948 India was fighting a war with Pakistan over Kashmir. India had stopped transfer of 55 crore rupees to Pakistan as that would have been used against India. Mohandas Gandhi went on fast against government decision and the government that had Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel agreed to Mohandas Gandhi’s demand.

In 1952 Morarji Desai lost Legislative Assembly election. Congress made him Chief Minister of Bombay claiming he was victorious leader of the victorious party.

Sanjay Gandhi exercised power when he was unelected.

In 1991 Narasimha Rao who was not an MP became PM.

In 1998 Sonia Gandhi who was neither a member of CWC nor an MP dislodged Sitaram Kesri as Congress President and became chairperson of CPP, a post created for her.

Over the years Congress had appointed many unelected people as chief ministers and ministers. Many who have lost elections have been made governors.

BJP refers to Manmohan Singh as unelectable. He became a Rajya Sabha member from Assam when there was a law that a Rajya Sabha member must be a resident of that state. Later that law was abrogated. He contested a Lok Sabha election and lost. He continues as a Rajya Sabha member.

What Congress has to say about judiciary usurping the power of legislature or executive? Judiciary has made or abrogated laws by its judgments. Sometimes it has amended the constitution by its judgments. Recently Bombay High Court struck down mandatory death penalty for repeat offence under Section 31A of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Act, 1985.

A Supreme Court judge has written to PM asking to release Pakistani prisoner Chisti from Ajmer Jail saying if he dies in prison it will be bad for India. Such arguments were made in UK for the release of Lockerbie bomber saying he had three months to live. After his release it was said that he had 10 years to live. Oil exploration contract for BP in Libya was said to be the reason for the release. BJP finds it odd that a Supreme Court judge has written to PM for release of a Pakistani prisoner but has no problem if Chisti is exchanged for Sarabjit Singh who is in a Pakistani jai.

What about the tyranny of the unelected who resort to violence and announce money for murder? People who threw flower pots on Taslima Nasreen got away with it. Maqbool Fida Husain’s painting exhibitions were disrupted. He received death threats. Someone announced crores of rupees for anyone who murders Maqbool Fida Husain. Maqbool Fida Husain left the country, became a Qatari national and died and was buried in London.

What about industrialists who dictate who should or should not a hold particular portfolio? Usually when there is a CAG or some other report about some irregularity BJP is quick to demand the minister’s resignation. CAG report on Reliance and other oil companies had not elicited any response from BJP for some days. Then BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi wanted the government to investigate how CAG report got leaked instead of demanding the resignation of Murli Deora which BJP had done in cases of Shashi Taroor, A. Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and P. Chidambaram exposing BJP’s double standards.

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