Tag Archives: Janata party

“The Enabler Narendra Modi: Breaking Stereotypes”

Latest Book review by Newsroom24x7

It has been a year since Narendra Modi came to power after leading the Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide victory in the 2014 parliamentary election.

Modi in a few months after his inauguration shut down the Planning Commission, which by default subverted the idea of India being a federal democracy. All chief ministers as a matter of routine would line up each year to get their annual plan approved by the Planning Commission. Modi has in place inaugurated NITI Aayog wherein the chief ministers head sub-groups on various subjects. But most importantly Modi assured from the ramparts of the Red Fort, that he would ‘neither take bribe nor allow others to do the same (naa khaaoonga, naa khane doonga)’. No Prime Minister before him acknowledged the cancer of corruption and owned up responsibility to crush it down. A year has passed by since the inauguration of Modi and the economy has resumed its journey on the upward trajectory, but the real-estate prices in Delhi and satellite towns around have slumped by at least 20 per cent. The real-estate in Delhi zone thrived because the black money was in ample supply. The tap appears to have been turned off and there is tangible effect on the grounds.

ENABLER NARENDRA MODIManish Anand in his book: “THE ENABLER NARENDRA MODI: BREAKING STEREOTYPES” describes Modi as an Emperor of Indian democracy. The author prefers not to draw a parallel but goes on to emphasise that Modi has surpassed the stature of Indira Gandhi of 1971 when she was India’s most powerful leader and had unveiled a single party rule in the country. Modi’s position is both ominous and providential, he says adding his position could be ominous because he may throttle dissent and cause serious damage to Indian democracy. At the same time it could also be providential because he can guide India onto a new path and liberate the shackled potential of the country.

In the preface, Modi has been described as “arguably” India’s first non-Congress Prime Minister. To drive home the point Manish says there were seven Prime Ministers of India, who headed non-Congress governments. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee of BJP was Prime Minister for about six years. Yet, Modi is the first non-Congress Prime Minister in the true sense. Congress in India is not just a political party but a culture. And that culture was seeded deep into Indian democracy by Indira Gandhi. Her stature was such in her prime time that she ensured Constitution Amendment (42nd) to give India the character of a welfare state. All her successors, barring Modi, bore her imprints in their statecraft.

Carrying forward the argument Manish underscores how PV Narsimha Rao, ably assisted by his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, sought to force open the window to the world, which was further carried forward by Vajpayee, they could not lay their hands on a formidable electoral template. Both were consequently rejected by the people. Both suffered from contradictions. They wanted to write new chapters in Indian economy and polity yet could not shun the ideological imprints of Indira Gandhi fully. Rao was a Congress man, but had vision to think beyond the Nehru-Gandhi bank of party ideas. Vajpayee was an RSS man, but had co-opted socialists, who were non-Congressmen for just namesake. Vajpayee was a minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet. The old man was a hardcore Congress man and a rival of Indira Gandhi in her party. Vajpayee propped up VP Singh as Prime Minister also with the support of the Left parties. VP Singh had spent his life in the Congress and quit the party to head the Janata Party, which was essentially a loose confederation of provincial caste chieftains. Vajpayaee in his thoughts was centrist, with little leaning to the right.

In this backdrop, Manish goes on to examine the Congress party and what it stands for. Congress essentially is a political culture wherein the power of decision making is centralized. Popularly it is called a ‘High Command’ culture. This bears strong imprints in the statecraft. Even though India is a Union of states, with much thrust on federalism, Indian statecraft essentially is of centralized planning and decision making. The Centre decides what the states should do. The Centre decides how much money states should spend and under what heads. The Centre decides what laws states should have.

The author has illustrated the point vis-a-vis the Congress by drawing attention to the Indian Parliament enacting a law on acquisition of land in 2013, which was actually a political legislation thrust upon the government due to Rahul Gandhi’s obsession to do the politics of land. Land is a state subject and all state governments have their own respective policies or laws on acquisition of land. Then what was the need for the Centre to enact a law on land and whose amendments Modi is desperately seeking, because he believes it has forced a lock-down on development. If not for Rahul Gandhi ambushing Bhatta-Parsaul to throw his weight behind arguably relatively rich farmers of western Uttar Pradesh, India may have continued with the British time law on acquisition of land. The basic idea is that the Centre essentially lacks trust in state governments to be fair in dealing with its people. And that must sound ludicrous, because the state governments have more connect with the people than the state.

Carrying forward the argument, Manish says Modi is the first non-Congress Prime Minister because he has not been touched by the ideology and culture of the grand old party. Because he was chief minister of Gujarat for about 12 years with strong majority in the state Assembly. He never needed to bend even little to allow Congress to cast its imprints on him. Congress and New Delhi are a lot similar, because they too have the same culture.

The book, by Manish, who is a seasoned journalist covering the political beat for The Asian Age in Delhi, is a treatise on Indian politics and an in-depth analysis of the political philosophy and style of working of Prime Minister Modi and what sets him apart from his predecessors when it comes to vision and setting the agenda for the nation.

 

PEB scam: Office of Governor comes under a cloud

Lalit Shastri

Ram Naresh Yadav
Ram Naresh Yadav

Ram Naresh Yadav was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1977 to 1979.  He was formerly with Janata Party and later joined the Congress and was appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh in August 2011.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

After the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh Police registered an FIR against Ram Naresh Yadav on February 24 following Jabalpur High Court’s intervention and disclosures by the prime accused and also on the basis of prima facie evidence showing his alleged involvement in the masssive State professional examination Board scam, the Union Home Ministry asked him to resign.

The Congress decision to hand-pick Yadav and his appointment as Madhya Pradesh Governor during the previous Manmohan Singh regime does raise eye brows. The Intelligence Bureau has a state unit in Bhopal and is supposed to keep a tab and report to the Centre if the working of the Governor, his family members and officials is not above board and lowers the prestige of the Constitutional office of the Governor. Such reports should help in containing a problem before it blows up into a crisis. This is exactly what did not happen that too when even commoners had started shouting from rooftop about the involvement of “Rajbhawan” in the PEB scam, which is linked with the recruitment of government employees.

It would be naive to imagine that those at the helm of the Congress-led UPA Government were unaware of the goings on at Rajbhawan in Bhopal. Obviously the Congress bosses had brought Yadav as Governor of Madhya Pradesh with the motive of using whatever influence he might be having in Uttar Pradesh in the Yadav community to counter Mulyama Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party during elections and in return the Manmohan Singh Government chose to tun a nelson’s eye to all that was going on in Rajbhawan. Already the axed OSD to the Governor Dhanraj Yadav is in jail facing prosecution in the PEB scam case.

Perhaps this is for the first time since Independence, we have a Governor against whom an FIR has been registered by the Police under several Sections of the IPC and also the Anti-corruption law.

While the President is elected by the representatives of the people, namely, the Members of Parliament and the Members of the State Legislatures, the Governor is merely appointed by the President which really means, by the Union Council of Ministers. The Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President and can be removed by the President at any time.

As Yadav refused to hold the high moral ground and chose not to submit his papers when his name was dragged in the first instance in the PEB scam, the Centre should have intervened and asked him to go. Failure on his part to oblige should have led to his removal by the President–obviously on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. This would have helped in upholding the dignity of the high office of the Governor.

The Indian Constitution and Governor’s authority

  • Article 154 vests the executive power of the State in the Governor.
  • Article 159 prescribes the oath, which a Governor has to take before entering upon his office. He has to swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that he “will faithfully execute the office of Governor (or discharge the functions of the Governor) and will to the best of ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and will devote to the service and well-being of the people.
  • According to Article 168, the Legislature of a State shall consist of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 161 vests in the Governor the power to grant pardons, reprieves, etc.
  • Article 164(1) says “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister and shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor”.
  • Assent to Bills under Article 200 says the Governor shall not assent to, but shall reserve for the consideration of the President, any Bill which in the opinion of the Governor would, if it became law, so derogate from the powers of the High Court as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill.