Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Harjit Masih is right

Right is right even though nobody is right. Wrong is wrong even though everybody is wrong.

Truth is not a matter of numbers. Lunar eclipse takes place during full moon. Everybody saying lunar eclipse takes place during new moon does not make it true.

Sushma Swaraj was wrong about 39 Indians in Mosul and is wrong about Harjit Masih. So amount of subterfuge and convoluted and twisted reasoning can make her right.

Harjit Masih had told the government officials about ISIS killing 39 Indians. They wanted to suppress the truth. The government did not want the country to know the truth. Modi government had taken over on 26/5/2014 and it did not want bad news of the death of Indians in Mosul to be known. For long it suppressed the truth.

Harjet Masih was part of the group that was abducted in 2014 while trying to escape an ISIS attack on Mosul on 11/6/2014. After he returned to India, the government had kept him in “protective custody” as Foreign Minister had told parliament in November 2014. Harjit Masih was told family members of other Indians were angry with him. He wondered why they were angry with him.

The officers who dealt with him in protective custody lured him with the promise of a job and told him to say that the others were not dead. They told him to say I don’t know about the others and that he escaped. He was treated well while in protective custody during which he was kept in Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Greater Noida.

Out of protective custody Harjit Masih went public with death of 39 Indians. Modi government hit by having cases of trafficking registered against him by the families of 39 deceased. His father died because of this tension. He had to spend six months in jail.

Sushma Swaraj had personally met the families of the abducted persons several times and assured them that the government was “fully and continuously engaged” and “every possible effort” was being made to ensure their release.

On 14/5/2015 Sushma Swaraj contradicted Harjit Masih. She said the Indians were alive. “We had six sources before. Now we have eight sources. All say Indians are alive. There is no question of not believing the eighth source.” Who was her eighth source? Narendra Modi?

All was well for Sushma Swaraj till Mosul and surrounding areas were under ISIS control. In June 2017 Iraq defeated ISIS and captured Mosul and surrounding areas. Soon it was obvious Indians were not there. There were reports that they were in Badush prison. It was found Badush prison was in ruins, destroyed after ISIS victory in 2014. No traces of Indians. Now some family members started to doubt Sushma Swaraj? They asked “Why will Harjit Masih lie?”

Sushma Swaraj started avoiding meeting family members of the dead and taking their phone calls. One MP who questioned her on this on Twitter was blocked.

On 20/3/2018 Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha announced the death of 39 Indians. Till then she had denied they were dead. Harjit Masih said the statement on Tuesday about the death of 39 Indians in Mosul confirms what he has been telling the government all along.

The family members of 39 Indians were devastated. They had trusted Sushma Swaraj even though they had heard Harjit Masih say those Indians were dead. The government knew they were dead but claimed otherwise.

BJP apologists have excuses for what Sushma Swaraj did. They can fool themselves, not others. Some do not want opposition parties to politicise the issue. Politicians are there to politicise. If politicians do not politicise who else will politicise? BJP would have done the same if it was in opposition.

Mamata Banerjee as PM candidate

Ram Jethmalani on Sunday 18/3/2018 called for formation of a third front led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to “oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi” in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Both Congress and BJP governments have been deliberately apathetic to recovery of black money stashed in “Germany and other countries”, Jethmalani said, speaking to reporters at Indore.

“They have committed a joint crime of cheating people. Therefore, a third front of honest leaders is needed.”

“I want Mamata Banerjee to lead the third front to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next general elections. Mamata has the ability to be the prime minister.”

Ram Jethmalani was once a Modi supporter. He expected Modi to recover black money from foreign countries. That did not happen. He turned against Modi.

Ram Jethmalani criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the NDA government over their policy on black money. The NDA government has no right to stay in power, he said.

Ram Jethmalani wants Modi to run out of India and Jaitley in jail.

Jethmalani had written a letter to Arun Shourie, Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha, who had reached out to Jethmalani in their fight against Narendra Modi that he has now thrown his weight behind Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whom he described as his “selected heroine as the ruler of Indian democracy”.

BJP had expelled Jethmalani. Jethmalani was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar on an RJD ticket for the sixth time in 2016.

“I am sorry I have thrown my lot and talent at the total disposal of Mamata Banerjee and she has responded beautifully to my gesture and spoken out bravely that she would destroy the present BJP regime…I write this to make the lady of Bengal who is my selected heroine as the ruler of Indian democracy,” Jethmalani, who was expelled from the BJP in 2013, said.

Mamata Banerjee has prime ministerial ambitions like many other politicians. TMC does not have much presence outside West Bengal. Becoming PM is possible if she leads a coalition successfully or emerges leader of a coalition after elections. KCR wants a non-BJP, non-Congress Front. His TRS is a state party. It does not have presence outside Telangana. Mamata Banerjee has to decide whether she wants to be part of a coalition with Congress. Many parties like AIADMK and BJD are likely to go alone during Lok Sabha elections.

Interestingly it was Mamata Banerjee’s agitation against Tata Nano Plant in Singur that led to rise of Narendra Modi. He welcomed Ratan Tata to Gujarat and Tata Nano Plant came up in Sanand. Soon businessmen supported Modi as PM candidate. Mamata’s TMC won West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections and dislodged Left Front after 34 years. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP won 282 seats and its allies won around 50 seats. TMC’s 34 seats did not make a difference.

BJP loses Gorakhpur

A week is a long time in politics.
Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan which BJP had won in 2014 and held on to its two Legislative Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh. BJP was disappointed. Congress was jubilant.
Then came state elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. BJP wrested Tripura from CPI(M) and formed governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland. BJP was jubilant. Congress, CPI(M) and some other parties were disappointed.
On 14/3/2018 results of Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Araria Lok Sabha constituencies and Bhabua and Jehanabad constituencies were out. SP won in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. RJD won Araria and Jehanabad. BJP won Bhabua.
It is SP victory in Gorakhpur that is significant. SP candidate Pravin Kumar Nishad won the seat by 21,916 votes. Yogi Adityanath had held Gorakhpur seat five times in succession. Before that it was held by Mahant Avaidyanath thrice in succession. Yogi Adityanath becoming UP CM had necessitated by-election in Gorkhpur and Keshav Prasad Maurya becoming Deputy CM had necessitated by-election in Phulpur.
Till six months back BJP was sure of winning 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Loss in Gorakhpur has put a question mark over that. In 2014 BJP had 282 Lok Sabha seats, Congress 44, SP 5. Now BJP has 274, Congress 48, SP 7. Modi’s dream of Congress-Free India is more difficult now.
Various reasons are given for BJP’s defeat. BSP supported SP. That made a difference. BJP candidate Upendra Shukla was not from Gorakhnath temple. It is difficult to say whether that made any difference. Children deaths in BRD Medical College is a reason. Yogi Adityanath said BJP was overconfident.
UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats. BJP had won 71 seats in 2014. Its ally Apna Desh had won 2 seats. SP got 5, Congress 2. UP was the reason BJP got a majority of its own in 2014. Now that majority is reduced to 2 seats.
Gorakhpur defeat is a blow to Yogi Adityanath and people who saw him as an alternative to Narendra Modi. Some days back Aaj Tak/India Today journalist had held a Twitter poll asking people to choose between Modi and Yogi as preferred PM candidate.
Alliance of opposition parties can damage BJP. More damage to BJP is by its acts of commission and omission. Nirav Modi defrauding PNB has damaged BJP. Blaming Congress has not worked. Courts have acquitted all accused in 2G case and telephone exchange case. Soldiers continue to die in Kashmir. CRPF jawans continue to die in Naxal areas. Modi government has shown weakness by asking government officials not to attend programmes commemorating 60 years of Tibetan exile. Nepal and Maldives do not care about India. BJP wants to promote vegetarianism and yoga and wants to rewrite history. Gorakhpur loss has shown no seat is safe for BJP. If BJP does not improve, people can throw BJP to dust bin of history. People don’t want BJP jokers to tell that Taj Mahal and Red Fort were built by Hindu rulers.

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