Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Alok Verma Removed

Removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director is the latest twist in CBI versus CBI saga. We do not know whether there will be more twists.
On 8/1/2019 Supreme Court bench consisting of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S. K. Kaul and K. M. Joseph set aside the order dt. 23/10/2018 divesting Alok Verma of his powers as CBI Director. It rejected government stand that he was sent on leave and there was no transfer. However it barred Alok Verma from taking policy decisions and asked the CBI Selection Committee comprising of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CJI and Leader of Opposition to decide on his removal within a week. CJI Ranjan Gogoi recused himself and asked Justice A. K. Sikri to represent him. There is no Leader of Opposition and leader of the largest party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge took part in the meetings on 9 & 10/1/2019. On 10/1/2019 the Committee by 2-1 vote removed Alok Verma as CBI Director on grounds of corruption and dereliction of duty. Narendra Modi and A. K. Sikri voted for removal. Mallikarjuna Kharge voted against removal.
Alok Verma’s term was to end on 31/1/2019. For the remainder of his term Alok Verma is appointed Director General, Fire and Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
After resuming charge Alok Verma had reinstated officers close to him who were transferred after he was sent on leave. Now it can be game of musical chairs in CBI. M. Nageshwar Rao is back as Acting Director of CBI.
Corrupt officers should be sacked. They should not be given other positions.
Congress and other opposition politicians were happy at Supreme Court judgment. Now they are disappointed.
It will be interesting to watch what happens to CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana who was sent on leave.
Supreme Court could have first asked the Selection Committee to meet and decide about Alok Verma. After reinstating Alok Verma with limited powers and asking Selection Committee to decide about him Supreme Court created an embarrassing situation.

Gadkari versus Modi and Shah

On 11/12/2018 election results of five states were out. BJP lost Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh after 15 years and Rajasthan after five years. After that Nitin Gadkari has been critical of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
“Party leadership should own up to defeat and failures. Nobody is willing to take responsibility of failure, unlike successes.”
“Leadership should have the tendency to own up the defeat and failures. Loyalty of the leadership towards the organization will not be proved till the time it owns up responsibility for the defeat.”
“If I am the party president and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well then who is responsible?”
Three years back in 2015 after defeat in Bihar election, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha wanted review of the defeat and fix responsibility. Nitin Gadkari and three other former BJP presidents had issued a statement that victory or defeat was collective responsibility as had happened in the past. Now Gadkari makes contrary statements.
Gadkari is a Nagpur resident. RSS had headquarters in Nagpur. Some think Gadkari’s words come from RSS. Mohan Bhagwat had contradicted Modi on Congress-Free India and said that is a political slogan, RSS wants to take all along.
Chief Ministers lead state governments. Credit for victory or blame for defeat should go to them. However party presidents or Prime Ministers take credit when their party wins in a state, so they should be ready to own defeat also.
After Modi became PM, BJP had its share of ups and downs. It had lost in Delhi and Bihar. It had lost Punjab where its ally SAD was senior partner. Losing Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is a major blow to BJP unlike any other.
Lok Sabha elections are due in April and May. If BJP does not get 272 seats there will be challenge to Modi’s leadership. Some regional leaders want a non-BJP, non-Congress Front. Modi can not rely on Shiv Sena. Some partners like Apna Dal are playing truant. BJP has lost recent Lok Sabha by-elections in Uttar Pradesh. Gadkari, with the backing of RSS, seems to challenge Modi.

Return of Congress

Congress has returned to power in Rajasthan after 5 years and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh after 15 years.
Narendra Modi’s Congress-Free India dream is shattered. It may turn into nightmare of BJP-Free India. Congress was able to hold on to power in Karnataka by supporting JD(S). Now it has returned to power in Chhattisgarh.

In Madhya Pradesh out of 230 seats Congress got 114, BJP 109, BSP 2, SP 1, Independents 4.

Ajit Jogi was CM of Chhattisgarh 15 years back. Now he heads Janata Chhattisgarh Congress (J). His alliance with BSP did not get him victory. His party got 5 seats, BSP 2. His plan of playing kingmaker also failed. Congress got 68 seats out of 90. BJP got 15.

In Rajasthan out of 199 seats Congress got 99, BJP 73, BSP 6, CPI(M) 2, others 19. The strength of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly is 200. Election was not held in one constituency.

KCR’s gamble of dissolving Legislative Assembly 10 months ahead of schedule paid off. TRS got 88 seats out of 119. Strange alliance of Congress and TDP failed in Telangana. BJP did not have much chance. Congress got 19, TDP 2, AIMIM 7, BJP 1, Independent 1. KCR now wants to become PM. That is tough. Non-BJP, Non-Congress parties have many leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati who want to be PM.

Mizo National Front won in Mizoram. It got 26 seats. Congress was in power. It got 5. BJP 1, others 8. Total 40.

In 2003 BJP had won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In 2004 it lost Lok Sabha elections at national level. There is no guarantee that Congress will win Lok Sabha elections even if it repeats its success in the three states.

Rahul Gandhi visited many temples. He too played Hindutva card. If you can not beat them, join them. He visited at least one mosque to assure Muslims he was on their side, he has not abandoned them.

Yogi Adityanath campaigned in the states. His record as UP CM is not favourable to get Muslim votes for BJP. His desire to erase all signs of Muslim rule has led to apprehensions outside UP. Change of names from Allahabad to Prayagraj, Faizabad to Ayodhya, Mughalsarai to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar has further alienated Muslims after acts of cow protectors.

There are many losers. AAP tops the list. It did not win any seat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It got less than 1% of votes. Its candidates lost deposits. BSP, SP and TDP are among losers.

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will escape blame for BJP loss. It will be termed collective failure as happened after BJP defeat in Bihar in 2015.

Contest for Lok Sabha 2019 is wide open.

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