Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

BJP and allies

Narendra Modi called attempts by opposition parties to form grand alliance as grand adulteration. Now his party is on similar path.
BJP did not show self-respect by allying with Shiv Sena which has humiliated it many times. Uddhav Thackeray referred to Modi as thief. Many times Shiv Sena MPs sided with opposition. BJP had done well without Shiv Sena in 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections. May be Modi is not sure of victory in Lok Sabha elections after losses in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly elections. Those elections are not harbingers of things to come. In 2003 BJP had won in those states and lost Lok Sabha elections in 2004.
BJP’s alliance in Tamil Nadu shows it is ready to play junior partner to AIADMK and PMK. AIADMK is controlled by BJP. Its state government is work of BJP. Last time BJP had alliance with some parties but they did not do well. BJP won one seat. AIADMK under Jayalalitha won 37 seats. Now AIADMK does not have a leader like Jayalalitha. This time there is talk of Modi contesting from Tamil Nadu in addition to Varanasi. A candidate should not be allowed to contest from more than one constituency.
Last time TDP was an ally of BJP. Andhra Pradesh did not get special category status so TDP quit BJP-led NDA.
BJP does not have a strong ally in Jammu & Kashmir after it parted company with PDP.
Nitish Kumar is not a reliable ally. BJP conceded his demand for equal seats to contest in Bihar. It was Modi’s folly.
Modi’s dream of Congress-Free India shattered after Congress victory in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress deprived BJP of Karnataka by support to JD(S). Supreme Court cut short time of 15 days given to B. S. Yediyurappa by Governor and he had to quit. Subsequent attempts by BJP to topple H. D. Kumaraswamy government were unsuccessful.
Opposition parties have various permutations and combinations. BJD does not want any alliance. TRS does not want to be part of any alliance with Congress. SP and BSP have an alliance with UP. Congress does not want alliance with AAP. Congress and TMC alliance in West Bengal is doubtful.
The strong man is strongest when he fights alone. Modi could have decided to contest all 543 seats by BJP. Alliance is a zero sum game. If BJP gets less than 272 seats, it is open to threats by allies.

Minority Community

A minority community is one which is less than 50% of the population.
Article 29 of the Constitution of India gives a minority the right to conserve its distinct language, script or culture.
Article 30 gives minorities based or language or religion the right to establish and administer educational institutions.
National Commission for Minorities recognises Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians as religious minorities. Bahais, Jews and tribal religious communities are not included. Linguistic minorities are not mentioned.
On 11/2/2019 Supreme Court bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked National Commission for Minorities to decide in three months whether Hindus in states where they are a minority should get benefits for minorities and should minority status be at state level rather than national level. This was in response to a petition dt. 17/11/2017 seeking minority status for Hindus in states where they are a minority.
As per 2011 census Hindus are minority in Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Jammu & Kashmir (28.44%), Lakshadweep (2.5%), Manipur (31.39%), Meghalaya (11.53%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%) and Punjab (38.40%).
Supreme Court should have asked Central Government to decide about the matter. It is the Government of India notification dt. 23/10/1993 notified Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians as religious minorities and notification dt. 27/1/2014 notified Jains as religious minority.
National Commission for Minorities can reply it has to be an executive decision by Government of India that can decide on minority status at state level.
In states where Hindus are a majority, Hindus who are a linguistic minority claim minority benefits. In Karnataka, Hindus who speak Kodava, Konkani, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Tulu have minority educational institutions.
At national level any linguistic community can claim to be minority because the number is less than 50%. In a state all religious or linguistic communities can be minorities. As per 2011 census all religious and linguistic communities and Arunachal Pradesh are minorities.

Priyanka Gandhi in politics

Priyanka Gandhi has been in politics for a long time. It was mostly unofficial and she did not get much publicity for it. During elections she campaigned in Amethi and Rae Bareli. Once in a meeting with elders she said her cousin Feroze Varun Gandhi has gone astray. They should bring him back.
Many Congress members wanted Priyanka to be in politics for a long time. There were periodic demands. They think her charisma will get victory for Congress. She worked in background. She did not get credit when things went right or blame when things went wrong.
Rahul Gandhi wanted to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh. He had hired Prashant Kishor for strategy. Prashant’s slogan meant for 27 years UP has been miserable. (Sattavees saal UP behaal). He suggested Rahul Gandhi as No. 1 CM candidate, Priyanka Gandhi as No. 2 CM candidate and Sheila Dikshit as No. 3 CM candidate. Priyanka did not want that. She wanted alliance with SP. Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav were projected as UP’s young men and Narendra Modi as outsider. The alliance was a disaster. Both parties lost heavily. Congress votes did not go to SP and vice versa. Besides, there was infighting in SP with Shivpal Yadav’s candidates fighting against Akhilesh Yadav’s candidates. BJP won with more than three-fourth majority. Yogi Adityanath became UP CM.
When Punjab Assembly elections were near there was talk of Navjot Singh Sidhu joining AAP. Sidhu’s meetings with AAP leaders got publicity. AAP leaders were sure Sidhu will join them. They took his entry for granted. Priyanka contacted Sidhu. Their meetings remained secret. Sidhu joined Congress. Congress won in Punjab. Sidhu became a minister.
Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May. SP and BSP entered into an alliance and kept Congress out of it. They left Amethi and Rae Bareli seats for Congress. Congress announced it will contest all seats in UP.
With her official entry into Congress, Priyanka is general secretary in charge of eastern UP. Jyotiraditya Scindia is general secretary in charge of western UP. May be if things go wrong in UP, half of the blame will go to Scindia.
Recently Congress won in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan without Priyanka. Congress has some good leaders. Victory and defeat are part of elections. Effect of Priyanka’s entry into politics remains to be seen.
Some parties want to defeat BJP and they are ready to align with Congress. Some parties want non-BJP, non-Congress Third Front. Naveen Patnaik said BJD will not align with any party. Priyanka will have a say in selection of Congress candidates and alliances of Congress at state or national level.

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