. Indian Democracy RIP.
Jayalalitha in Kurta
With Modi completing 100 days in power, we can expect many analyses from several quarters both for and against. Some may be quite lavish in their praise, yet others can be expected to be quite unforgiving.
For my part I think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved to be a Jayalalitha in kurta. Both Jayalalitha and Modi have a lot of similarities. Both are more wary of their friends rather than of their enemies. Both rule like an autocrat rather than as an administrator. Both are sceptical or rather suspicious of their own ministerial colleagues and their bureaucrats. Both are narcissists. Both suffer from paranoia. Both believe in their intelligence and law enforcement machinery rather than in officials or politicians. In fact they are distrustful of their political colleagues. Both don’t meet the press for a free interaction and both are content with issuing press releases regularly. Both have scant regard for rule of law. While Jayalalitha deliberately filed nominations in four constituencies, Modi displayed election symbol in polling booth.
So then the fate of democracy in TN under Amma is awaiting the country at large in the not too distant future.
Modi’s ascent to power itself gave enough indications about what was to come and he has proved that the political pundits were not wrong. His primary concern appears to be keeping his colleagues in check rather than concentrate on administration. Just like the way the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister sidelined her party seniors who were part of the MGR cabinet, Modi has ensured that the old war horses LK Advani and MM Joshi are not part of the BJP’s parliamentary board.
The BJP Parliamentary Board is a place where Modi has a brute majority, and Modi’s word is writ. But, a Machiavellian politician he is, he ensured that the two senior leaders were thrown out of that too – the last place where their words could have carried some weight.
The Prime Minister’s post in Indian democracy is not an authoritarian one but something that is meant to guide the cabinet and the country through collective decision making. But Modi’s style of functioning appears to be that of shoving his views down the throats of his ministers, and the cabinet meetings appear to be a mere facade. In fact, many ministers are complaining that they are not even allowed to choose their own personal secretaries. The way the houses of ministers are bugged and the ministers being kept under surveillance shows Modi is one insecure man.
Even the RSS appears to be losing its hold over Modi. The Human Resources Development Ministry, for instance, always used to be entrusted with the heavy weights in the party.
In the previous BJP government, HRD Ministry was allotted to the BJP veteran Murali Manohar Joshi who tried at every given opportunity to tinker with history books and sow the seeds of Hindutva.
However, this time, a political novice or rather a stupid damsel viz. Smriti Irani, who confuses a certificate course at Yale with a degree has been entrusted with the crucial portfolio. Still, the parivar’s agenda of Sanskritisation and imposition of Hindi does continue, albeit in smaller doses.
That apart, the transition from Gujarat where he ruled it with an iron fist to 7, Race Course Road, New Delhi, is not proving all that smooth for Mr Modi.
Sources in Delhi reveal that Modi and his confidant Amit Shah never had any inkling of the enormity of the problems of governance, more so in the context of the tall promises made during the campaign.
Except for the cosmetic announcements both in the Railway budget and in the general budget, Modi is not able to make any significant progress on his poll promises. The party which made fun of the 49-day AAP government is not able to deliver half of what the AAP government did.
While Kejriwal, within the 29 days of power in Delhi, managed to deliver on several of his promises, like reducing power tariff, launching a drive against corruption and so on, the Modi government is not able deliver even on such a simple promise like raising the tax exemption slab to Rs.5 lakh.
Besides the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine is as unscrupulous as Tamil Nadu’s very own Jayalalitha-Sasikala team. It is Shah’s writ that runs whether in the government or in the party.
The power of Amit Shah became obvious when former CJI Sathasivam’s name was sent to the President for appointment as Governor of Kerala.
Sathasivam, has a dubious reputation of filling the Madras HC with his own community people and also of helping Jayalalitha in the assets case.
After his retirement, his name was doing the rounds for appointment as the Lokpal. However, since the SC has reportedly thrown a spanner in the works on that front, Sathasivam is being made Kerala governor, say sources.
OK, what is the nexus between Amit Shah and Justice P.Sathasivam? In April 2013, a Bench headed by P.Sathasivam quashed the second FIR filed against Amit Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case, holding that it was part and parcel of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case and hence did not require registration of a separate case. Judgment.
Sathasivam, who wrote the judgment said, “We are of the view that filing of the second FIR and fresh charge sheet is violative of fundamental rights under Article 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution since the same relate to alleged offence in respect of which an FIR had already been filed and the court has taken cognizance”. What concern for the right of the accused, a former minister allegedly involved a few other encounter cases too.
The generosity shown by His Lordship brings in its own dividends a year later. That the people could take the appointment amiss in the context of that judgement doesn’t seem to bother the Modi establishment, not to mention Mr Sathasivam who had been reportedly moving heaven and earth for a gubernatorial posting.
First it was rumoured he might get into the Karnataka Raj Bhavan, giving him enough leverage in the Jaya assets case. Mercifully it has not happened, so the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s fate still hangs in balance.
There is yet another TN angle to the Modi-100 review. The man has indeed done a great service to the state by nudging the authorities to initiate action against the KD brothers (Kalanidhi & Dayanidhi).
The illegal telephone exchange case which was put into cold storage by the previous government and by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, has been revived and investigations begun in right earnest. The brothers had ‘managed’ Ranjit Sinha and ensured that charge sheet was never filed in the Aircel-Maxis case, it may be recalled here. Now the chare-sheet has indeed been filed, and they could be arrested soon, it is said.
Not just that, citing security reasons, Kal Cables, the MSO giant of the KD brothers, has also been shown the door by cancelling their licenses, thus choking a major source of revenue for the Sun conglomerate. Tough times ahead for this duo who were calling shots in the cable segment in the state.
And what kind of times for the nation as a whole, well one can only keep fingers crossed.
Delighted as one is over such developments, the situation is worrying on a host of other fronts. For Modi’s rule of 100 days is certainly reminiscent of Hitler’s.
Am not exaggerating. By studying Modi’s personality for quite some time, I strongly feel that if Modi apprehends that he won’t win in the next parliamentary polls, he might not hesitate to declare an emergency to retain power.
That is the lesson of the first 100 days of Narendra Damodardas Modi as the Prime Minister of India, that is Bharat