Congress Crumbling in Rajasthan
Underdevelopment, corruption and crime turning out to be Key Issues
Vivekananda in Jaipur and Aditya in New Delhi
The state of Rajasthan, famous as a birth place of Maharana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan and Meera Bai, is now known as a state run by government consisting of ministers with a loose character. From past five years, Rajasthan is recognised as a state which is highly corrupt, leader in crime and governed with a platitude approach. While the state is badly lagging behind in the development, it is leading in the crime chart of the nation. The incumbent Congress Government has also closed down 32 welfare schemes introduced by the earlier BJP Government.
The deteriorating situation can be gauged by the fact that on July 21, 2012, Jodhpur high court passed a remark that such weak government was not visible in the state earlier. On July 21, 2012, Supreme Court also passed a critical comment “there is complete absence of ‘rule of law’ and such government have no right to remain in power.” State’s 3 senior ministers are behind the bars for cases of rape and murders and this is just a minor picture of the whole truth of the state government.
The truth of the Congress Government which claims to be with the common man is actually the government which has increased power tariffs nine times in the last five years. Rajasthan is occupying the top position in polluted drinking water. 48 percent of the water sources in the state are not drinkable. The state is lagging behind in the 3 most important sectors which is power, water and roadways.
Including the chief minister Ashok Gehlot, , many other ministers are facing the corruption charges. Jalmahal lease, air force land scandal, Jodhpur mining scandal and appointment of kith and kin as professors in Jodhpur University are the scandals Ashok Gehlot has been accused of. Even allegations of all this scandal has reached to his son Vaibhav Gehlot and daughter Sonia.
A senior minister of the government Shanti Dharival Ganpati is in jail in a construction scam at New Jaipur while industry minister Rajendra Parik is struck in Dalda mill scandal. Cooperative minister Parsadi Lal Meena is accused in looting farmers in the name waving loans and a loan scam of land development bank . Along with state minister for agriculture Barosi Lal Jatav, women and child development minister Beena kak, agriculture minister Har Jiram Burdak, power minister Jitenedra Singh, PWD minister Pramod Jain, and many other ministers are already accused in various scams.
On one hand, where Congress Government ministers are making new records in corruption cases and on other hand, ex- Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna, ex state minister for Forest and Environment Ramlal Jaat, ex-minister Babulal Nagar, MLA Malkhan Singh Bishnoi and MLA Uday Lala Anjana are accused in various cases of sexual assault. At present, many of them are behind the bars. This was the reason – Ashok Gehlot had to change the portfolios of 13 ministers and sack 5 ministers.
According to National crime records bureau, Rajasthan has became the 2nd most unsafe place in the country. Jaipur city has become crime city instead of pink city. In count of criminal cases related to women, city comes at the 4th place in the country. With the rate of 24.13 percent, city is at 1st place in economic crimes. From past five years, state has witnessed 24 communal riots and tensed situations at 80 places.
2570 posts of doctors are still vacant in the state and 1200 doctors have applied for voluntary retirement. The point to be noted is that 400 doctors are missing and about whom nobody knows their whereabouts while being in the service.
In Rajasthan, 40.4 percent of children are malnourished. The state is also leading in cases of female feticide. The situation of the state is alarming in infant mortality rate, maternal mortality and sex ratio. The Congress Government has completely neglected the infrastructural facilities while self praising on free medication and free check up schemes. Out of 874 positions of the government farmacists 840 are still vacant..
If we take the case of education sector, merely 89 district officers are managing 1.25 lac schools in the state. . Rajasthan is at 22nd position on the education index. 2117 schools of the state don’t have any proper infrastructure for ensuring good quality of education for the children, 6185 schools don’t have any facility of drinkable water, 10000 schools don’t have proper classrooms and 14 thousand schools don’t have library facility.
The lethargy and apathy in governance of the state is visible by non completion of 11 out 13 schemes sponsored by the center and 60% of the funds remaining unutilised. The government of Rajasthan does not have any concern for the common masses nor it is accountable to them. This is perhaps the reason that most of the surveys are predicting a BHP wave led by Vasundhara Raje Poll Predictions of CNN-IBN Survey.
KEY FACTORS AFFECTING RAJASTHAN ELECTIONS
- 3 ministers of the state are in jail as accused in rape and murder cases
- According to National Crime Records Bureau , Rajasthan is on 4th position for the crime against women
- 32 welfare schemes introduced by the earlier BJP Government were closed down by the Congress Government
- On October 11, 2011 even Jodhpur High Court called the Government in Rajasthan as weak
- Water of state’s 62 water bodies is impure and 48 percent of the water sources are not drinkable
- 40.4 percent of total children are suffering from malnutrition
- Out of 13 projects, run by the central government, 11 project’s work is still incomplete. 60 percent of fund money is still not been used.
From Debobrat Ghose in Bhopal
As the five states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Chhattisgarh and Mizoram go to polls, the MP Chief Minister Shrivaj Singh Chouhan of the BJP has been predicted as the ‘safest’ Chief Minister amongst his four counterparts to get a third term.
Even a pre-poll survey conducted by the CNN-IBN, The Week and the CSDS forecasts that the BJP in MP would get 148-160 seats, and its opponent Congress 52-62 seats – a decline of 10-15 seats from 2008. Even on the parameter of corruption, MP has emerged as the least corrupt state amongst the other three Hindi speaking states, thus making Shri Chouhan the most preferred choice for CM for the third time in a row, even among a good chunk of traditional Congress supporters. His overall rating as per the survey is 44, followed by Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia at 20 and former two-time CM Shri Digvijay Singh at 2.
Despite good tidings, it’s not all hunky-dory for Chouhan as well as for the state BJP. The internal dissension over distribution of tickets, protests by disgruntled party leaders and workers, the sudden death of Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani, ouster of former Finance Minister Raghavji on charges of sodomy and resignation of a Minister of State Devsingh Sayam from the primary membership of BJP — all these are keeping the CM and the party on tenterhooks.
The CM, who will contest from Budhni and Vidisha seats – his self-promotion style of appealling to the masses in rallies like ‘Vote for Shivraj’ or “Will you make Shivraj the next CM” and “Phir BJP, Phir Shivraj” during concluding ceremony of his Jan Aashirwaad Yatra at Indore, has not been taken well by many within the party and the RSS.
But, none can beat the Congress in open war of words. The ticket distribution has fuelled anger among party leaders and workers in both the parties. The internal feud within the Congress has become public, with the resignation of some state heavy-weights from respective posts. A section of Congress workers in MP are openly questioning the credibility of Rahul Gandhi’s ticket distribution formula. Denial of tickets to Digvijay Singh’s trusted lieutenant and district president PC Sharma and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) vice president Manak Agrawal – are case in point. Both the leaders have resigned from their posts in protest. But, Digvijay managed ticket for his son Jaivardhan Singh from Raghogarh. Anger amongst Congress workers turned into a fierce demonstration on November 7, as they unleashed havoc by going berserk at Congress headquarters in Bhopal. Agrawal has openly been spewing venom against the party high command.
However, the most surprising element in the Congress camp is the former PCC chief Shri Suresh Pachouri, who has been given ticket to contest from Bhojpur constituency against the sitting BJP MLA Shri Surendra Patwa, son of former CM Shri Sunderlal Patwa. “Pachouri in his lifetime has contested only a single election for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat against Uma Bharati and lost by 2.5 lakh votes. He has neither any mass appeal nor is a winning candidate, so why has he been given a ticket is a mystery,” quipped a senior Congress leader.
The rebels within the Congress rank and file have burned effigies of leaders in Indore, Burhanpur and vandalised party offices. Narsingh Malviya, a Congress leader from Agar (80 km from Indore) committed suicide after ticket was denied to him. A section of Muslims within the Congress has registered protest for denial of ticket to the Congress Minority Cell president Mohd Salim. As a result, deadlock persists even on November 7 over the announcement of the three most important Bhopal seats.
Announcement of candidates’ lists has virtually exposed the infighting and fissures once again within the Congress. “Resentment and public display of anger are there in both the parties, and it happens only when there is lack of control, discipline and weak leadership at organisational level,” observes Bhopal-based political analyst Shri Girija Shankar.
Out of power for 10 years, with ageing state leadership, the faction-ridden Congress gave Shri Scindia the responsibility to spearhead the party as chief of Assembly election campaign committee. His relatively clean image initially stirred up enthusiasm among party workers, but with the announcement of contesting candidates, the dissension has come to fore. The three-time MP and a Union Minister, Scindia’s influence is limited to Guna and Gwalior region.
“Scindia’s entry won’t cause any dent to BJP because he hardly has any influence in his own Lok Sabha constituency Guna-Shivpuri and Congress lost all the seven Assembly seats under him from this region,” Shri Prabhat Jha BJP vice-president remarked. “He’s no match to his father late Madhavrao Scindia, against whom we had successfully contested”.
Good governance and development, better roads and improved power supply are the top three reasons going in favour of Chouhan. Even among first-time voters Chouhan is the preferred choice. Satisfaction with BJP government remains high at 72% against 76% (2008). Pro-incumbency is nearly as high as it was in 2008, giving Chouhan a huge advantage.
Following the survey that says the BJP has made inroads among Muslims in MP, the ruling party has fielded a Muslim candidate Shri Arif Beg for the first time after 1998. Former minister Beg has been pitted against four-time MLA and Congress heavy-weight Shri Arif Aqueel from Bhopal North seat.
Muslim-dominated Bhopal North seat is considered a Congress bastion and Shri Chouhan was given the charge to end Congress dominance from this seat. “CM has given ticket to Beg to put up a secular image and convey the message that Muslims are also a part of BJP,” a party insider said.
Amid resentments, to know the actual rebels who could dent the partyies prospects—one needs to wait till November 11 till the withdrawal of nominations, if any. But, till then one can easily bet for Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan for a third term.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist, who writes extensively on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh: [email protected])
AAP turns into Congress ‘B’ team: Kejriwal seeks fanatics support
The greed of Muslim votes took Aam Adami Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal to the controversial Muslim cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan in Bareilly with a request to campaign for him during the Assembly elections. It is the same Tauqeer who had issued a fatwa and announced a bounty for beheading exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen and a bounty of Rs one crore for killing former US president George W Bush.
Imitating the Congress line of secularism, Kejriwal defended Tauqeer saying “the charges levelled against him regarding the fatwa are ‘wrong’ and he went on to term Tauqeer ‘a respected man’.” Former state BJP president Vijender Gupta said, “Kejriwal goes and meets a Maulana who speaks the language worse than terrorists. AAP have fallen to this level for votes.” Former Union Law Minister and senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy alleged that Kejriwal was working hand-in-glove with the Congress. “Although the AAP talked of corruption it had not pursued any of the cases to logical conclusion. Did they go to the court (in the Robert Vadra case). They just shoot and scoot,” he said.
Meanwhile the exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen lashed out at Kejriwal for seeking support of Tauqeer Raza. “A politician goes to a fundamentalist who declared a price on my head knowing it is illegal and against the Indian Constitution,” she told media. “I am surprised politicians go to such fanatics and fundamentalists for support. If they need the support of Muslims, why don’t they go to ordinary Muslims? Instead, politicians go to Muslim fanatics responsible for the community’s backwardness,” Nasrin said further adding, “Since the days after Independence, Indian politicians have been seeking help of clerics who don’t respect human rights and are against freedom of expression and the Indian Constitution.
Nasrin stressed that such clerics did not represent the ordinary Muslim. “These clerics are not bothered about education, enlightenment or jobs for the Muslim community. They champion madrasa education and prevent society from moving forward. They encourage building a mosque instead of a school for secular education. Such clerics are guided by blind faith,” she said, adding, “These fanatics are responsible for keeping the Muslim community in the dark ages and reaping benefits at their expense.” She urged the Indian people to resist the unholy nexus between politicians and religious fundamentalists. “It’s high time the people of India spoke up against fundamentalists who vitiate the society and push communities backward and politicians who encourage them. Else, it is bad news for democracy,” said Nasrin.
First phase polls under the shadow of guns…?
Fear and uncertainty loom amid an eerie silence all over the Bastar region. Any noise in the interiors of this Vanvasi belt could either be of chirping of birds, crackling of dry leaves and twigs or of any occasional moving vehicle. But, not the usual sloganeering we get to hear during elections. The first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly polls in Bastar and Rajnandgoan belt scheduled on November 11 will take place under the shadow of guns.
After all, Bastar falls on the infamous Maoist-infested Red Corridor passing through Chhattisgarh, where power of the barrel rules the roost.
The Election Commission (EC) has ensured heavy deployment of security forces in the region, to conduct a peaceful polling, as the Maoists have already called for a boycott. Additional troops from the other four poll-bound states have been deployed in Bastar region. The horrifying memories of previous Maoist ambushes those killed large number of security personnel and top Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh – are still haunting the voters of Bastar.
Largely a Vanvasi-dominated region, the future of a political party depends on Vanvasi voters, who are under constant threat from the red cadre. This highly sensitive region, a Maoist hotbed comprises 18 constituencies — is equally important as it will prove to be a game changer in Chhattisgarh election. At present majority of seats are with the BJP, and the party that wins more number of seats in this election from this region, will be a gainer.
Interestingly, Rajnandgaon, the home turf of Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh falls in this region. Apart from the CM, another important face contesting the poll is Devati Karma, the widow of slain Congress leader Shri Mahendra Karma. The Maoists always perceive the Karma family as a threat to their mission. Devati Karma will be contesting from Dantewada – a hotbed of Maoist activities. In 2008 election, this seat went to BJP’s Bhima Mandavi, whereas the second winner was CPI’s Manish Kunjam, and Mahendra Karma was ranked third.
Using Rahul Gandhi’s survey formula, the Congress has given ticket to a Christian Vanvasi Shamu Kashyap from Jagdalpur. Only the result will tell how effective the formula was.
The entire region, which has virtually tuned into a war zone, is in a state of shock and panic, and the voters who are mostly poor villagers from various tribes are under fear psychosis.
The fear in the eyes of the rural and Vanvasi voters living in these Naxal-infested districts is clearly visible, as they are afraid of a backlash post-election. “If the top leaders could be killed so ruthlessly in broad daylight at Darbha Ghati, we’re easy victims,” a villager’s group in Dantewada said.
According to Chhattisgarh government there are as many as 233 polling stations across 18 districts face a high Naxal threat. The voters of Bastar are in two minds whether to vote or not.
The audacious drive of the Maoists can be perceived as the red cadres have openly come up their anti-poll offensive by putting flags, banners, distribution of pamphlets and at certain places hanged posters of Raman Singh with a note of caution (read threat) to boycott polls.
The region has virtually turned into a war zone where one can easily get to see security men armed with AK-47, INSAS Rifle, LMG, Sten guns etc similar to a Hollywood action flick.