Trickery has its cost, and the Congress realised it twices recently. First, Congress? bid to get Jaya Bachchan disqualified from Rajya Sabha cost Sonia Gandhi her seat in Lok Sabha and Chairpersonship of National Advisory Council (NAC). Secondly, Congress realizses that Arjun Singh'sgimmickry over inflated OBC quota in IIT and IIMs is a politically accursed move.
The shrewd move to get Smt. Jaya Bacchan disqualified from the Rajya Sabha, on ground that she holds an office of profit, viz. Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Film Development Board might have been simply a product of Gandhi family'svendetta against the Bachchans. The idea might have germinated in minds of Sonia Gandhi'sminions who are ?more loyal than the Queen?. A non-descript Congress leader Madan Mohan of Kanpur who filed the complaint to the Election Commission is more likely to act out of ?competitive sycophancy? than political morality. Or was in merely acting as henchman? I am sure he has now become the villain of the piece after his move redounded upon one she tried to please most. It had cost Sonia Gandhi her ?Super Prime Minister? post, as the Chairperson of National Advisory Committee is called, in colloquial terms. It also cost her Lok Sabha MP-ship although she is sure to recover it on May 6, when the Rai Barelli state-elections are held.
Sonia'sresignation from MP-ship and Chairperson of NAC was followed by string of other resignations over a period of three weeks. She sent her resignation as Chairperson of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, Jawaharlal Memorial, Swaraj Bhawan Trust, Indian Council for Child Welfare and Jalianwala Bagh Memorial Trust. She tacitly gave her up the Presidency of Kamala Nehru Memorial and patron status of the Nehru Trust for Cambridge University and Round Square (International Grammar Schools UK). These resignations were kept as unpublicised as possible, but the media found them out.
These were done to avert possible disqualification from contesting for Lok Sabha. Little publicity attended these ?sacrifices?. She had lorded over some of these Foundations/Trusts as a matter of employment between 1991 and 1998. Lately she sent back her trusted aides SV Pillai and PP Madhavan to their respective departments. They were class II employees in central government who drew their salary from PMO and Home Ministry respectively.
Sonia Gandhi'sresignation left the bringing of an ordinance redundant, because the ordinance was being brought to protect a particular person from getting disqualified. Congress was not interested in protecting its other MPs (or MPs of its allies from Left). One remembers, how Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency shortly after her election from Rae Barelli seat was declared void by a bench of Allahabad High Court. In the darkness of Emergency, with her opponents pushed behind bars, she amended the People'sRepresentation Act, 1951 with retrospective effect.
Problems begin when laws are moulded to suit a particular individual. Had the Congress, in consultation with other political parties, went about amending the Constitution or introducing fresh provisions the case would have been otherwise.
HRD Minister Arjun Singh is becoming a liability for the UPA government in the same manner Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar who had to be given a different portfolio. The National Knowledge Commission constituted last June by the Prime Minister under the chairpersonship of Sam Pitroda to ?sharpen India'sknowledge edge? has sharply criticised his perilous step of augmenting the reserved quota in IITs and IIMs to half of seats available. The Cabinet Secretariat has returned the draft bill, and Election Commission finds Arjun Singh'sdefence unsatisfactory. The motive behind the proposal to reserve 27 per cent seats in all Central Universities and Colleges- including IITs and IIMs – is less than fair. It might harm others, but not benefit the OBCs. Nor was it undertaken with a view to benefit to the OBCs V.P. Singh'simplementation of Mandal Commission report was simply a game plan to outsmart his Deputy Prime Minister and Jat Leader Chaudhary Devi Lal'sclout.
Congress is indulging into a casteist politics, the weapon through which parties like Samajwadi and RJD had politically finished it in the Hindi heartland. The other objective is to enervating the Hindu society. This would be much to the liking of Jihadi forces. In 1990, V.P. Singh had pitted the Hindu society against itself. V.H.P'sRam Janmabhoomi Andolan and L.K. Advani'sRath Yatra had helped reintegrate the society at that crucial juncture. But the Congress will only alienate the rest of the electorate with this ill-conceived move. As this realisation dawns upon the Congress, there is disquiet.
It is no body'scase that any political party is against emancipation of deprived and backwardness sections of the society. Rajnath Singh, on becoming the President of the BJP, had laid special emphasis on uplift on socially and economically disadvantageous sections. But it is our experience that crash casteist politics has only perpetuated backwardness.
As the economy of India grows, more and more competent managers are needed. The Nasscom-Mckinsey Study/Ministry for Communication and IT Task Force Report, 2003 predicted a major shortfall of professionals in knowledge-based industries. The five million jobs, predicted to be created between 2004 and 2112, might go short of hand.
What the government is failing to realise that it is demand and supply discrepancy. The great Indian Middle Class frequently complaints about inadequate number of schools, colleges and universities. Even with sterling marks it becomes difficult for a child to get admission. Today we should have 30 IITs and IIMs, instead of six/seven. Dr Murli Monohar Joshi, in his controversial decision, sought no lower the fee structure and increase the number of seats. The idea was to make management education more accessible, although it was feared that quality might suffer. Shri Arjun Singh has done none-lessening the fee or increasing the seats. It would not make IITs and IIMs accessible to OBCs (who it is assumed here are financially weak) but make its out of bounds for many meritorious students. Hence, on ground level, it is nothing more than political gimmickry. The quality of education will automatically suffer when a class is divided down the middle by merit.