People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

August 29, 2004

   BJP’s Method In Madness

  N S Arjun


IS there a method in this madness? One cannot but raise this question seeing the by now routine disruption/obstruction of parliament by the BJP-led NDA opposition. The first budget/monsoon session of parliament under the new United Progressive Alliance government appears to be as good as “washed away” in this opposition made ruckus. No less a “statesman” than former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee asserted publicly that the opposition would allow only the passing of budget without discussion (small mercy!) but not any other business of parliament. It is a different matter that the same gentleman was lecturing from treasury benches in the not-too-distant past about maintaining parliamentary principles.


Coming back to the question, let us recount the issues which were picked up by the BJP as a ruse to obstruct parliamentary proceedings. First, they raised the issue of tainted ministers in Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers and took it to absurd heights, surprising those who believed that any new government would have at least 100 days of honeymoon period. Secondly, they latched on to the legitimate removal of four RSS governors and prolonged the ruckus. Thirdly, creating an incident in Lok Sabha with an unprecedented attack on the Chair, the BJP recklessly announced boycott of standing committees – a historic first, thus displaying once again their utter contempt for democratic institutions.


Realising that this was not going down well with the people, the BJP clutched on to the face-saver offered by Lok Sabha speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, and retracted its boycott decision. However, immediately after parliament reconvened, the BJP-led opposition resorted to same old tactics. This time they picked up Savarkar and Uma Bharti issues as a ruse and stalled the functioning of both the houses. Their attempts to defend Savarkar’s inglorious record were, ironically, punctured by the RSS spokeman Ram Madhav. He had released to the press a letter written by Sardar Patel to the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in which he makes a plea that RSS might not have been behind Gandhiji’s murder. In the same letter, two paragraphs later, Sardar Patel emphatically states that Savarkar was the inspiration for Gandhiji’s murder. CPI(M) leader in Rajya Sabha, Nilotpal Basu, pointed this out and questioned how can one part of the letter be acceptable and the other not. About Uma Bharti’s shameless attempts to portray herself as a martyr in the defence of the national flag, the less said the better. This sanyasin’s propensity for histrionics is well known and documented. Her claims of renunciation sound so hollow when one sees the fact that she submitted her resignation only after the Karnataka court rejected her petition seeking dismissal of the case. Indian people are not so foolish as to not see that it is a clear case of inciting riots and murder which cost Uma Bharti her chair and that it had nothing to do with the national flag.




During the first half of the session, the tactics of the BJP gave distinct impression that the party is yet to reconcile to the fact that they have been thrown out of power by the people. Their reaction to every move of the new government appeared to smack of “how dare you govern” approach. Interestingly, there were reports in the media that top leaders of BJP were taking seriously the predictions of a renowned astrologer that the Manmohan Singh government would fall by September end.


But, the method in the madness became evident when the second half of the session began. At this point of time skeletons from the cupboards of three key figures and ex-union ministers in the BJP-NDA dispensation – George Fernandes, M Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Shourie – had tumbled out. The shady dealings of Fernandes as defence minister in the Rs 1,257 crore Barak missile systems procurement were exposed in a substantive manner in Outlook magazine (issue dated August 30, 2004). Rajesh Ramchandran lays bare why the deal went to the Israeli Barak while there were ten more bidders. (See page 14) It was reported that the new government is looking into it.  Fresh revelations about BJP president Venkaiah Naidu’s corruption during his tenure as union rural development minister came into the open when Punjab Kesri splashed on its front page a story detailing this corruption. (See page 14) BJP’s poster boy for disinvestment/privatisation, Arun Shourie was caught pants down on the sale of second Centaur hotel in Juhu. CPI(M) MP Dipankar Mukherjee had brought out in his article in People’s Democracy, dated August 22, the crony corruption of this “crusader”.


All these important matters would have been the subject matter of discussion in both houses of parliament. Even the government would have been forced to come out with the exact status of affairs, the time-frame of any investigations etc.


The BJP, like true fascists, fell back on the classic formula of keeping these issues away from parliamentary and public gaze. It not only belligerently obstructed the functioning of parliament but also attempted to raise the emotional issue of the national flag – when it actually was all about misuse of national flag for instigating communal violence. The BJP-led NDA hopes these tactics will prevent the truth of their misrule from registering in the people’s minds. It will learn to its cost, once again, that the people of India are capable of seeing through their game. (INN)