The Political air of Delhi and Varanasi
We were used to thinking about Rajya Sabha being mere stage of formality as after legislation went through Lok Sabha it was considered almost formality to get through legislation smoothly. In fact many experts argue that this is a dispensable formality and it should be abolished. There are many reason for such a thinking as it is not only indirectly elected house but also not representing people who are connected closely to the commoners. It was supposed to be a house which applies a wise second check on the law being passed and its counsel carried weight. Now it is no longer a house of intellectuals or scientists or those who represented important segments of society and professions. It has become a refuge to accommodate defeated politicians and in few cases business men carrying money bags. It is a pity that 20 seats which are occupied by people nominated by the President of India are also not meant for artists or scientists or distinguished performers but many politicians are inducted here too. Many a time sportsmen or artists who are nominated to this quota are attending it rarely but reap its perks and prestige.The house of elite politicians is considered by many as redundant like the post of Governors in the states.
When I visited Varanasi recently I found everyone was busy in analyzing UP elections of ten members of Rajya Sabha. It was keenly watched affair as BJP had lost two bye – elections for Lok Sabha already and now all eyes were glued on these ten seats especially due to recently grown value of these seats. It was common talk that earlier two bye elections were lost as Yogi Adityanath choice of candidates was not taken care due to caste considerations. He was still so popular and no one blamed him for the fiasco. This turned out to be true. BJP won 9 seats and Mayavati’ candidate symbolically christened Bhimarao Ambedkar, faced rout for one seat doubtfully supported by SP. In Varanasi every one was displaying faith in Modi with massive development going on . A rickshawala puts it characteristically ‘Varanasi chamke ga sahib’. But now it is full of dust, I say pointing out to construction and debris. He is sharp to rebut ‘Sir time to lagta hai makan banana main bhi’. This man truly summed up common man story who still has faith in Modi despite trouble and inconvenience to him.
Back in Delhi I find the air full of rumors and Rahul jokes in different addas. Unlike Varanasi Delhi is now worried about 2019 and opposition unity. No one is thinking of Kejriwal who is considered incorrigible apology seeker after making slanderous statements. Four years back here the mention of Kejriwal used to light up faces and he was considered the future of India. What a rise and fall of a charlatan. No one seemed to be sure of who will lead opposition unity. No one is front runner. Akhlesh has only UP bound ambition whereas Lalu is in jail , Chanderbhanu Naidu is recently divorced from BJP and is mercurial leader. Mamta is only possible candidate who is running around the country and is voluble enough. She could speak Hindi in Bengali which Parnab Mukerjee considered a handicap to become PM but after all we had Devgowda who did not know much. Back home she is also worried as RSS is invading her citadel in massive strength with 131 more Shakhas this year. Anna Hazare ‘s fast is attracting not much crowd and is not yet a revolution. How to get rid of Modi, no one knows, yet everyone is talking about it if he gets a chance. Some BJP men are shatrus and one does not know if they will jump in the arena. It is gradually becoming clear that Rahul will not lead the united opposition though he might play secondary role. In the meantime Politics is getting dirtier day by day by data leaks and shouting matches called debates.
(The Writer is former Chairman International Airports Authority of India)
By Prof. NK Singh