Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Men of Action Bhagwant Mann and Navjot Singh Sidhu By Amba Charan Vashishth AAP and its Punjab CM nominee Bhagwant Mann seem either to be unaware of some of the healthy traditions or bent upon smashing these in the matter of installing a new CM. As per the tradition, when a political party was voted into power on its own strength, it convened a meeting of the newly-elected MLAs to elect its leader to be the CM. The person so elected accompanied by a few party MLAs called on the Governor with the claim to form a government. When a person whose party had not been blessed with an absolute majority, he was first elected leader of that party and with a copy of a number of MLAs belonging to other party/parties signing support for his/her meets the governor seeking his invitation to form a government. But AAP went forward defying the tradition. Mann was not elected the leader of the AAP legislature party but went to the governor with a letter signed by all the AAP MLAs expressing support for Bhagwant Singh Mann to form a new government. Mann has committed, deliberately or otherwise, an impropriety by ordering the police to withdraw the security from about 122 individuals, who include Panjab politicians, ex-ministers, and others. When a State Police Additional Director-General (ADGP) paid a courtesy call to Mann, the latter is reported to have directed him to do so. The ADG was over-smart and he issued directions the very next day. It needs to be kept in mind that Mann was not the CM at that time. It is still Charanjit Singh Channi who, though has resigned, as is the tradition, has been asked by the Governor to continue as acting CM till alternative arrangements are made. He will cease to be the acting CM the moment the Governor administers the oath to Mann. It is worthwhile to recall the great tradition in the USA. A new President is elected on the first Tuesday of November. The person elected continues to be President-elect till 21st January next year when an oath is administered to him. George Bush was the President of the USA completing his second term. His party’s candidate had lost the election to Bill Clinton. In the meantime, President Bush continued to pound bombs on Iraq. A press reporter went to Clinton and said you are the President-elect and Bush’s party candidate had been defeated. How can Bush continue to do that? Clinton’s response was marvelous in keeping with the tradition. He said, look, George Bush is my (and nation’s) President till January 21 and I support him for whatever he does till my oath-taking. Mann has also withdrawn the security of the incumbent Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. Perhaps Mann is not aware of the Constitutional position that a Speaker of the Assembly continues to function till a new person is elected by the new assembly. Even when the state assembly has been dissolved and it is under President’s rule, the office of the Speaker continues to function till a new person is elected after fresh elections. That can be because of a lack of knowledge and experience. SIDHU, TO WHERE? There is one and the only Sidhu in the country, maybe in the world even: Navjot Singh Sidhu. Don’t confuse him with his wife whose name is also Navjot Kaur Sidhu. They make a lovely couple, made for each other. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amritsar (Panjab) as a BJP nominee in 2004 and again in 2009. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from where he resigned shortly afterward. Later, he joined the Congress and was elected as MLA from Amritsar in 2017. He was made a cabinet minister in Capt, Amrinder Singh’s ministry. He fell out with the CM and resigned. He secured a meteoric rise in Congress and became the State Congress President in less than five years in the party. But his eyes were always at the post of CM. When Imran Khan won elections in Pakistan he invited many Indian cricketers, including Sidhu for his oath ceremony as Pak PM. It was only Sidhu who took part in the ceremony. Besides hurling praises on PM Imran, he also hugged Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who, in India is seen as the perpetrator of proxy war against India and responsible for many killings of innocent citizens in Kashmir as also Indian soldiers and paramilitary men. Sidhu continued to take pride in his friendship with Pak PM. This cost him heavily in his image in India. Since his resigning from BJP and joining Congress Sidhu continued to stress very boldly and proudly that you will find Sidhu where there is the interest of Punjab. Sidhu lost the Amritsar seat as a Congress nominee and the Panjab Congress President to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee. With the Panjab electorate having given a massive majority to AAP, they have clearly given their verdict that Panjab’s interests lie safely in the hands of AAP. What will Sidhu do now? His vociferous declarations that people will find him standing where lay the interests of Punjab, i.e. with AAP. Where will now he be found standing? ***

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Personal Right to Wear Hijab Can’t be Gate-crashed into Public Institutions

Personal Right to Wear Hijab Can’t be Gate-crashed into Public Institutions By Amba Charan Vashishth Joining issue with the controversy raised about the right of women to wear Hijab in schools and colleges, Gandhi family scion and Congress General Secretary Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “Whether it is a bikini, a ghoonghat (veil), a pair of jeans or a hijab, it is a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear. This right is GUARANTEED by the Indian constitution. Stop harassing women”. Her comment implies that, if they wish and like, women can go to a school or college in a swimsuit, a burqa, or any other dress they wish to. We also speak of gender equality in every sphere of life. As a corollary to this rightful opinion, it means that liberal leaders, like her, would also respect a man’s “right to decide what” he “wants to wear” as this “right is guaranteed by the Indian constitution”. Tinkering with this right would not only amount to “harassing” men but also be an act of discrimination against them and a flagrant violation of the provisions of the constitution. Thus, the school and college boys have the freedom to go to their alma mater wearing just a langot, underwear, a pair of bunyan, nicker, and even a half-pant. If this freedom of both the sexes was respected, the present turmoil in the student community would evaporate altogether, instantly. It will add up to parity and generate a greater sense of amity and camaraderie between both the sexes More, why should this freedom be restricted to school and college students only? This should also extend to the right of men and women working in other vocations and avocations, like the courts, lawyers, doctors, staff working in health services, drivers and conductors, police, security forces, hotel staff, airlines, and the like. How can the right guaranteed by the constitution to decide what one wants to wear be denied to other sections of Indian citizens? Some people are citing the instance of the Sikhs who are allowed to wear turbans everywhere. It needs to be understood that the turban (pagdi} worn by the Sikh community as per the religious edicts is not its exclusive headgear; it is worn by choice by almost every section of society. It is proudly put on by a bridegroom and his relatives on the occasion of a marriage ceremony in most of the castes and communities in almost every part of the country. But the burqa and hijab have just a communal tinge as these are donned by Muslim women only. The current controversy was initially generated by Muslim students of various schools and colleges in Karnataka, asserting their right to come to school in hijab defying the dress code prescribed by their educational institutions definitely strikes a communal chord, particularly in view of the ongoing assembly elections in five states of the country. These students had been putting on the school and college dress decided by these institutions. Why has the insistence of Muslim women to don it surfaced at this time? This virus has now spread to other states too. When a student seeks and gets admission, he/she agrees to abide by the dress code and other disciplines prescribed by the institution. If any restriction is not acceptable to the student or the family, they are free to try their luck elsewhere where the conditions are conducive to their liking. No student and his family have a right to impose their caste or community edicts on any institution. Every school has its own morning prayer. Will that institute have to change it only because a minuscule minority of students objects to it and wants a prayer it wishes to sing? The country has many educational institutions run by various religious bodies — public schools by Christian organisations, Sanatan Dharma Sabhas, Arya Samaj, Muslim, social establishments, and others. All these educational establishments are open to admission to one and all irrespective of their caste and creed. The same is true of the schools and colleges run by state governments. Every institute has its own dress code. This provides their students with a distinct identity of its own. It also eliminates any caste, creed, social and economic disparities among the students that do become prominent in the absence of a dress regulation. It would be a heterogeneously awkward scene in a class of a school or college where every student — boy or girl — is there in a dress of his/her own individual choice. The situation is analogous to a person getting his child admitted to a public school with English as the medium of instruction but insisting his ward’s constitutional right to be taught in a language of his choice — Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, or any other language of the country. Or a devout Hindu visiting the Vatican City wishing to conduct his puja and perform a havan in a church demanding protection of his human and minority rights. It needs to be understood that the personal law may be the ultimate for the followers and faithfuls within the four walls of the person or the contours of the society but it remains and remains personal to them. It cannot be imposed on others and the public institutions which are open for all. Outside one’s family and society, it is the Constitution that is supreme and the superior law of all, no questions raised and asked. The present squabble makes one wonder whether the students go to their school or college to learn or to promote attires signifying their religious identity of differences. It also looks that at the time of taking admission the students and the parents were not careful enough to see that the institution caters to their religious, linguistic and regional susceptibilities. Instead of creating scenes now, the best course for them remains to leave the institution that does not conform to their tastes and requirements and join the one that does. This will eliminate the type of turmoil that is now being raised with political and electoral objectives in view. Further, we have to respect what the Hon'ble High Court ultimately directs on the issue. ***

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Will the Election Commission of India take notice? 1. The Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal in Panjab promised that if his party will be voted into power, it will transfer ₹1000 per month to the accounts of every woman, ₹5000 to the account of every unemployed. 2. Further he promised 300 units of power free to every household. 3. Akali Dal went ahead’ it promised ₹2000 every month. 4. In some States other freebies like the remission of agricultural loans etc. 5. Many other political parties followed and even went further ahead with more enticing offers. It must be noted that promising a welfare programme is much different than promising monetary gains to individuals. A welfare programme benefits collectively all people. But the above programmes are individual-centric. It amounts to bribing the voter. One offers a bribe to a person if the latter gets his work done. Therefore, it is an open offer of bribe to the voter. It is a case of openly bribing the individual voter. What a shame that political parties are putting our women voters on a bid, the highest bidder getting their votes. Therefore, it not only amounts to a criminal offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Representation of People’s Act. The Election Commission will certainly take cognizance of this criminal act committed during the elections. ***

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Narendra Modi is not an individual He occupies an Institution of the Constitution

Narendra Modi is not an individual He occupies an Institution of the Constitution His Security is Paramount By Amba Charan Vashishth There was something lacking in PM Narendra Modi’s security during his visit to Bhatinda in Panjab on January 05. It was the first of its kind incident that happened in India during the last 74 years of independence. Politics jumped in. The Congress government in the state tried to wash its hands of its responsibility for the lapse but others held it answerable for the PM having to get stuck on a flyover on the road for about 20 minutes. The Supreme Court of India took a serious note of this failure and constituted a 5-member committee headed by a retired SC judge to fix responsibility for what happened and suggest steps that such incidents do not occur in the future. In the first instance, it needs to be understood that Shri Narender Modi — and for that matter, every person in the past — was/is not an individual but an institution, the institution of the Constitution as Prime Minister of India. He may have come to occupy this exalted office by virtue of his party, Bhartiya Janata Party having won the people’s mandate in the election, yet he is the prime minister for one and all in the country. That is why his security is paramount for the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cavalcade was held up for about 20 minutes on a flyover on the road leading to Hussainiwala on that day. It was a situation the country had not witnessed since India won her independence in August 1947. As per the visuals shown on the electronic news channels, it was only the SGP that could be seen standing alert with weapons surrounding the car in which PM was sitting. The Panjab police was nowhere to be seen. There are reports that the Panjab Policemen there did not cordon off the PM's entourage. They were busy taking tea at that time as if no VVIP was to pass that way. The kissan agitators were just about 10 meters away from the PM's cavalcade. The belligerent border with Pakistan was just about 20 Kms. from that place. That made the PM's halt there all the more vulnerable to mischief from across the border. Further, PM's hold-up there made him all the more an easy target from below the flyover, Since the weather at Bhathinda was inhospitable, an alternative stand-by route by road should already have been kept in full readiness, as is the practice and requirement. The leader of the protesting farmers made a disclosure to the media persons that it was the Police officers who told them that PM is traveling by this road. On January 04, it was announced that the farmers' unions had agreed not to block the road following an agreement having been reached with the Panjab government. Panjab CM also said that the agreement was the result of a marathon meeting which went on till 03 AM (05 January). But the leader of farmers at that place denied that they had any negotiations with the CM. It is an essential routine that a police vehicle passes through the route of the PM about 5-7 minutes ahead to ensure that everything is in order for a peaceful passage. On seeing the crowd, the police officers should have made the PM entourage halt much earlier and diverted him by another route to avoid the agitators. Panjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi stated that he could not go to receive the PM because he had got infected with Covid-19. If he was, how could he have engaged himself for a marathon negotiation with agitating farmers till 3 AM, as he claimed? Further, there were reports in the electronic news channels two days earlier that Punjab CM would not be present to receive the PM at Bhathinda. The protocol makes it mandatory that the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police of the state concerned should be present when a PM visits their state. It remains a mystery why these two topmost officers were absent. Panjab government and the ruling party seem to be confused and inconsistent. On the one hand, Panjab CM washed his hands saying there was no lapse on the part of his government and, on the other, he suspended some police officers. After three days on January 08, Panjab government also registered a criminal case against about two hundred people. It was a good gesture on the part of Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to immediately speak to the CM after the incident and to direct that the lapse should be investigated and the guilty punished. Some senior Congress leaders have also come out in support of an inquiry and punishment for the guilty. On January 08 Panjab CM once again defended himself and the government on the issue. But the derogatory language he used against the PM has not gone well with the people of Panjab in particular and of the country, in general. His words do certainly not behove a person holding the constitutional office of the chief minister. The Supreme Court of India has now constituted a 5-committee committee headed by Justice Indu Malhotra, a retired SC judge to look into the whole matter to ascertain what went wrong and fix responsibility. The committee will also recommend measures to prevent such a happening in the future. This unfortunate occurring has its ramifications all over the world too. It will send a wrong message about the country's capability to ensure the safety and security of world leaders visiting India. The SC intervention will certainly infuse a sense of confidence among the people of India and the world that the January 05 incident was an aberration and not the rule. *** The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

 No-holds-barredin run-up to Stateassembly elections  By AmbaCharan Vashishth                   As the elections to theassemblies in five states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur — in February-March next year are drawing nearer, almost everypolitical party seems to be trying to do everything that can appeal to theconstituency of its voters to support it.Gone are the days whenindividuals and political parties did not openly appeal to castes and creedsalthough discreetly they did. Caste and religion did matter as parties gavetickets to their candidates based on the majority of the caste and religion inthe constituency. But this time it is all open. Political parties areorganizing caste sammelans and appealing on community lines too..Is this notbanned under the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples’ Act? But theywill claim that the Election Commission (EC) of India has, so far, notannounced the election schedule and, therefore, this Act cannot be invoked. JINNAH’S GIN Everythingis fair in love and war. Now it is being extended to the sphere of politicalelections too. In the run-up to the elections to five State Assemblies leaders of differentpolitical parties are desperately trying every tool for the game. The former UPchief minister, Akhilesh Yadav has equated Mohammad Ali Jinnah with MahatmaGandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, He said all of them studiedlaw at the same institute and worked as barristers. He credited Jinnah withhelping India get freedom. One fails to understand Akhilesh’s logic and facts. Jinnah’s only achievementis the division of India which resulted in the killing of lakhs of people andworld’s first such a great migration of population from one country to theother. The people of India can never pardon Jinnah for this treachery. IfAkhilesh thinks that by praising Jinnah he can win the heart of Muslims inIndia, he is under a wrong impression. If the Muslims of India were soenamoured of him, they would not have continued to stay in the partitioned India,but migrated to Pakistan.   Almostevery political party is trying to lure the Muslim votes, particularly in UP wherethey command 19 percent of the voter strength. It is also believed that thiscommunity exercises its right to franchise almost collectively in favour of oneparty. They also, at times, decide to favour a person or party which can causethe defeat of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The AllIndia Majlis-e-ittehadi (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi has already argued thatif Yadav’s with a vote value of just 9 percent can form a government, why can’tMuslims with a chunk of 19 percent strength of voters can't.  

Monday, October 25, 2021

JIO silent on its promise

It was more than four years.back when tJIO launched a mobile for Rs 1500 with a promise to get back the instrument for the same amount, I.e.Rs 1500 after 3 years. The three years period was over last year but JIO remains silent on its promise. This amounts to cheating the consumer/buyer. Wll the JIO wake up to its unfulfilled promise? Nonfulfilling of its.promise puts a question mark on its credibility too.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

आओ सब चलें पालिटिक्स के नए तीर्थस्थल लखीमपुर खेडी व हनुमानगढ़ के दर्शन करने

हास्य-व्यंग आओ सब चलें पालिटिक्स के नए तीर्थस्थल लखीमपुर खेडी व हनुमानगढ़ के दर्शन करने बेटा: पिताजी| पिता: हाँ, बेटा| बेटा: पिताजी, आप उत्तर प्रदेश के लखीमपुर खेडी नहीं जा रहे? पिता: क्यों? बेटा: अनेकों नेता व कार्यकर्त्ता वहां जा रहे हैं और आप कह रहे हैं कि मैं क्यों जाऊं? राहुलजी और प्रियांकाजी ने तो वहां जाने केलिए धरने तक दे दिये | पिता: अगर वह जा रहे हैं तो इसका मतलब यह नहीं कि मैं भी जाऊं? सब जाएँ? बेटा: पिताजी, ऐसा ही हो रहा हैं| सब नेता-कार्यकर्ता वहां पहले पहुँचने की होड़ में हैं| पिता: अच्छा? बेटा: पिताजी, पहले तो उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार और किसानों के बीच समझौता हो गया कि सरकार सभी 8 मृतकों को ₹45-45 लाख का मुआवजा देगी| उनके परिवार के एक सदस्य को सरकारी नौकरी भी मिलेगी| इनमें 4 किसान हैं, 3 पार्टी कार्यकर्ता और एक पत्रकार| घायलों को ₹10-10 लाख दिया जायेगा| दोषियों पर मुकद्दमा चलेगा और उन्हें सजा दिलाई जाएगी| इसके फलस्वरूप किसानों ने वहां अपना आन्दोलन समाप्त कर दिया| पिता: तो फिर झगडा क्या रह गया? बेटा: पिताजी, यह घटना स्थानीय थी और गाँव वालों ने आपस में बैठकर एक समझौता कर लिया जिसमें प्रदेश प्रशासन और किसान संगठन के नेता राकेश टिकैतजी भी उपस्थित थे| अब पोलिटिक्स वालों ने अपनी चाल चला दी| कह दिया कि इस समझौते से मृतकों के साथ न्याय नहीं हुआ| पिता: तेरा मतलब कि पीड़ित परिवार और किसान नेता राकेश टिकैत ने जो सुलह-सफाई कर ली वह गाँव के बाहर के लोगों को मंज़ूर नहीं है| तो उन्होंने क्या किया? बेटा: कमाल हो गया| पंजाब और छत्तीसगढ़ के मुख्य मंत्री अपने सरकारी जहाजों में उड़ कर आये और उन्होंने चारों मृत किसानों व पत्रकार के परिवारों को ₹50-50 लाख अलग-अलग से दे दिए| पिता: मतलब उन सबको एक-एक करोड़ रुपये और मिल गए? ₹45 लाख देने का इलान तो प्रदेश सरकार ने पहले ही कर दिया है| बेटा: बिलकुल| पिता: पार्टी के लोगो को भी? बेटा: उन्हें नहीं| शायद वह दूसरी पार्टी के थे| पिता: पर बेटा यह तो अन्याय और भेदभाव की मिसाल है| आखिर सब थे तो एक ही गाँव के जो मरे एक ही घटना में और एक ही कारण से| बेटा: मेरे को तो पिताजी इसमें पालिटिक्स की सुगंध आती लगती है| पिता: सुगंध नहीं बू| बेटा: पंजाब और छत्तीसगढ़ सरकार ने घायलों को भी अपनी ओर से कुछ दिया? पिता: नहीं| तब तो घायलों के मन में रह-रह कर यही अफ़सोस कचोट रहा होगा कि काश वह भी शहीद हो जाते और छप्पड़ फाड़ कर जो सहायता अन्य को मिली वह उनके परिवारवालों के भाग्य में भी आ जाती| बेटा: पिताजी, यही नहीं| पंजाब के प्रदेश कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष नवजोत सिंह सिद्धू दस हज़ार ट्रैक्टरों के लावलश्कर के साथ पंजाब के लोगों की ओर से उन चार किसानों की शहादत पर अपनी संवेदना प्रकट करने गए थे| पिता: और मैंने अखबार में पढ़ा कि पंजाब कांग्रेस प्रभारी और उत्तराखंड के पूर्व मुख्य मंत्री हरीश रावत तो 20 हज़ार ट्रैक्टरों के साथ इसी उद्देश्य से लखीमपुर खेडी पहुंचेगे| क्या वह भी अपनी ओर से और सहायता राशि देंगे? बेटा: नहीं| अगर वहां भी उनकी कांग्रेस सरकार होती तो वह भी अवश्य देते| पिता: कांग्रेस की सरकार तो राजस्थान में भी है| वहां के मुख्या मंत्री क्यों नहीं आये? उन्हें इस घटना पर दुःख नहीं हुआ? बेटा: वहां चुनाव अभी दूर हैं| दूसरे राजस्थान में दो दलित युवकों की मार-मार कर हत्या भी तो कर दी गयी है| पिता: महाराष्ट्र के मुख्य मंत्री भी नहीं आये| वहां भी कांग्रेस गठबंधन सरकार का अभिन्न अंग है| बेटा: वहां भी वही बात है| चुनाव अभी काफी दूर हैं| पिता: तेरा मतलब जनता के खजाने को सत्ताधारी दल के चुनावी हित केलिए उपयोग में लाया जा रहा है| लखीमपुर राजनीतिक धर्मस्थल केवल उन राज्यों व पार्टियों केलिए तीर्थस्थल बन गया है जहाँ चुनाव हैं, अन्य केलिए नहीं| बेटा: कुछ भी हो पर अभी तक तो ऐसा ही लग रहा है| पिता: जब अलग-अलग प्रदेशों से इतने ट्रेक्टर व कारें आ-जा रहीं हैं उससे तो ऐसा लग रहा है कि पंजाब और उत्तराखंड में पेट्रोल और डीज़ल सस्ता हो गया हैं| पिता: सस्ता तो कहीं नहीं हुआ है| मुझे तो ऐसा भी लग रहा है कि यह सारा शोर है राजनीतिक| एक ओर तो पेट्रोल और डीज़ल के दामों की बढौतरी पर बड़ी चीख-पुकार हो रही है और दूसरी ओर ट्रेक्टर-कारें अनेक प्रदर्शनों केलिए हजारों में लाई जा रही हैं| हाल ही में जारी आंकड़ों के अनुसार मोटर गाड़ियों की बिक्री भी बढती जार रही है| बेटा: तो फिर इन गरीब किसानों या कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं के पास इतना धन कहाँ से आ गया कि वह लखीमपुर जाने-आने का खर्च बर्दाश्त कर सकें? तो इन किसानों को अमीर समझें या गरीब? पिता: जाने को तो उत्तर प्रदेश के अंदर से और अन्य प्रदेशों से भी बहुत सारे नेता अपनी पूरी शक्ति का प्रदर्शन करने वहां पहुँच रहे हैं| तो क्या वह भी ₹50-50 लाख और दे आयेंगे? बेटा: मुझे तो आशा नहीं लगती क्योंकि उत्तराखंड में तो कांग्रेस सत्ता में नहीं है| यह दरियादिली तो अपनी जेव के पैसे से नहीं सरकारी खजाने से ही दिखाई जाती है| पिता: पर बेटा मुझे ऐसा लगता है कि वह शहीद परिवारों से वादा कर आयेंगे कि यदि जनताजनार्दन ने उनकी सरकार बना दी तो वह ₹50 लाख तो क्या उससे भी ज़्यादा की मदद कर देंगे| बेटा: इस में क्या नया है? हम सब मंदिर जाकर देवी-देवताओं से याचना करते है कि यदि हमारी कामना पूरी हो जायेगी तो यह करदेंगे/वह कर देंगे| पिता: बिलकुल सही| यह पालिटिक्स के लोग जनता के दरबार में यही तो दावा करते हैं कि यदि हम जीत जायेंगे तो ऐसा कर देंगे/वैसा करदेंगे| यह अलग बात है कि जीतने के बाद वह बहुत कुछ भूल जाते हैं| बेटा: अच्छा! अब समझा| तभी पालिटिक्स में व्यस्त लोग नवरात्रों में मंदिर जाने के स्थान पर लखीमपुर जा कर अपने आप को धन्य क्यों कर रहे हैं| पिता: अच्छा? यह बात तो ठीक लगती है| बेटा: एक कारण यह भी तो है कि तीनों राज्यों पंजाब, उत्तर प्रदेश और उत्तराखंड में चुनाव होने वाले हैं| इसलिए यदि नवरात्रों में मतदाता की पूजा-अर्चना की जाये तो इससे बड़ा शुभ लाभ प्राप्त हो सकता है| पिता: बेटा, एक ओर तो नेता शोर मचा रहे हैं कि पट्रोल व डीज़ल के भाव बढ़ रहे हैं और सब इस महंगाई के नीचे दबते जा रहे हैं| किसान के ग़रीब होने और ऋण न चुका पाने के कारण आत्महत्या तक करने पर मजबूर हो रहे है| किसान आन्दोलन के कारण जनता शशोपंज में पड़ गई है| यदि यह नेता इस पट्रोल-डीज़ल को बचा लेते तो इस बचत से हज़ारों-सैंकड़ों किसानो का भला कर सकते थे| मेरे मन में तो एक विचार और आ रहा है| बेटा: क्या? पिता: लखीमपुर की पंचायत को उनके गाँव में प्रवेश करने वाले सभी श्रद्धालुओं पर प्रति व्यक्ति ₹100 और प्रति ट्रेक्टर-कार आदि पर ₹500 प्रवेश शुल्क लगा देना चाहिए| सभी खुश हो कर दे देंगे और इस धन से गाँव का भला भी हो जाता| बेटा: आपका विचार तो पिताजी बहुत बढ़िया है, पर देर हो गई| इतने में तो वहां जाने वालों का जमघट कम हो जायेगा| पिता: तुमने एक और बात सुनी? बेटा: कोलकाता में इस नवरात्री में दुर्गा माँ के पंडालों में पश्चिमी बंगाल की मुख्य मंत्री सुश्री ममता बनर्जी के भी बड़े-बड़े पोस्टर लगा दिए हैं जिनमें उनको दुर्गा मां के रूप में प्रस्तुत किया गया है| जब लोग ऐसे पंडालों में जायेंगे तो उनको ममता दीदी के इस रूप के दर्शन भी हों जायेंगे| पिता: मतलब टू-इन-वन| दुर्गा माता के साथ ममता दीदी के भी दर्शन| ऐसे ही कांग्रेस की महामंत्री श्रीमती प्रियंका गाँधी वडरा के साथ वाराणसी में हुआ| वहां भी उनके प्रशंसकों ने दुर्गा माँ के चित्र में मुखड़ा प्रियांकाजी का लगा दिया है| बेटा: इस बार कुछ अलग ही घट रहा है| पिता: बेटा भारत की पालिटिक्स में व्यक्ति-पूजा का चलन तो सदा ही रहा है| यह सब मामला व्यक्तिगत है| व्यक्ति की अपनी आस्था और मान्यता का प्रश्न है| हमें तो उसका सम्मान करना ही पड़ेगा| बेटा: पर पिताजी यह सिलसिला तो थमने का नाम नहीं ले रहा| अब तो लखीमपुर खेडी की तर्ज़ पर एक और प्रार्थना स्थल उभरने जा रहा है| राजस्थान के हनुमानगढ़ में एक दलित युवक की कुछ लोगों ने बुरी तरह लाठियों से पीट-पीट कर निर्मम हत्या कर दी है| पिता: यह घटना तो बेटा और भी निंदनीय और अमानवीय है| बेटा: अब इस पर भी यूपी के लखीमपुर की तरह ही बखेड़ा खड़ा हो जायेगा| फर्क केवल इतना है कि राजस्थान में कांग्रेस की सरकार है जबकि लखीमपुर में भाजपा की| पिता: इस पर भी पालिटिक्स सक्रिय हो गई है| कांग्रेस विरोधी तो अब पूछ रहे हैं कि क्या प्रियंका व राहुलजी वही ड्रामा राजस्थान में करेंगे जो उन्होंने यूपी में किया? क्या पंजाब और छत्तीसगढ़ के मुख्य मंत्री भी वहां जाकर उस दलित के परिवार को अलग-अलग से ₹50-50 लाख की राशि देकर आएंगे? बेटा: बहुजन समाज पार्टी की सुप्रीमो सुश्री मायावती जी ने तो यह प्रश्न कांग्रेस पर कर ही दिया है| पिता: मैं तो नहीं समझता कि इसमें ये दोनों मुख्य मंत्री ऐसा करने से हिचकिचाएंगे ही| उन्होंने पैसे कौनसे अपनी जेब से देने हैं? जनता के ही खजाने से देने हैं, दे देंगे| बेटा: सिद्धूजी आदि नेता भी पालिटिक्स के इस नए तीर्थस्थल के दर्शन कर आये हैं| दो साल बाद उन्होंने राजस्थान से भी तो वोट मांगने हैं| पिता: पर बेटा यह क्रम रुकता तो लगता नहीं| ऐसी घटनाएं तो आये दिन होती ही रहेंगी| चलो जो भी होगा, ठीक ही होगा| ***

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Are the Ugly Scenes in Parliament Mandated by the Electorate and Sanctioned by the Constitution?

Are the Ugly Scenes in Parliament Mandated by the Electorate and Sanctioned by the Constitution? Unruly and ugly scenes in parliament and state assemblies have become an order of the day. It is wisely said that when a person runs bankrupt of arguments and logic, he comes to yelling, abusing and, finally resorts to blows. This may or may not be true of the frequent happenings in the temple of democracy, the Parliament. Yet the sanctity of this temple needs to be maintained. Ours is a ‘secular’ country. That is why, it looks, ‘secular’ people do not find any obnoxious in playing politics in the precincts of this temple at the cost of the common man Why should the rebellious individual not be held responsible for the loss and made to compensate the state exchequer. The Chief Justice of India has also expressed his dismay at the goings-on in Parliament. The Supreme Court should ipso facto take cognizance of the happenings and consider whether the MPs have the mandate of the people for such acts in the Parliament and whether such acts violate or not the letter and spirit of the Constitution. By Amba Charan Vashishth In ancient times in India, there was hardly an instance of raja-maharajas having been an autocrat and cruel to his subjects. If there was any, he was dethroned sooner than later. The parliamentary institutions and elections, like the ones in the present times, were something unknown, unheard of then. The institution of village panchayats did exist much earlier. People had great faith and respect for this institution and its members who were hailed as panch parmeshwar. The raja-maharajas discussed every matter concerning their state in an open court where the wazirs (ministers), the saintly aacharyas, heads of the army and elders were always there for advice. The holy gurus commanded great respect as their advice was in accordance with the tenets of morality and ethics. The rulers too held them in high esteem. At times, they even overruled the king who accepted their opinion without protest. They were there not just as courtiers shaking their heads always in agreement with whatever the king thought and wanted. Though not elected by the people, yet they always had their fingers at the pulse of the people. They enjoyed people’s faith and respect. The rulers were always one with the joys and sorrows of the people. In times of natural calamities, like drought, famine etc., they suffered as much as did their subjects. That is why the erstwhile rulers and their dynasties, though not in power now for the last over 75 years, still continue to be held in high esteem by their people. In elections to state assemblies and parliament they, in a majority of cases proved their sway among the people. On the other hand, those who begged for peoples’ votes with folded hands during election campaigns become masters (with very few exceptions) of the people once they get elected. They luxuriate at the cost of the people. The erstwhile princely states surrendered their properties and lands running into ₹tens of crores to integrate with the Union of India. In return, the then government at the Centre promised to pay them privy purses in token of nation’s gratitude to them. The amount of privy purses to them ranged from ₹5000 to ₹one and two lakhs annually. Only 5-6 erstwhile rulers, like Hyderabad and Patiala, were given a privy purse of about ₹42 lakhs, later reduced to ₹ 20 lakhs. The late PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi abolished this constitutional obligation altogether. According to reports, the Parliamentarians are given ₹ 50,000 (increased to ₹one lakh, but reduced by 30% for a year because of Covid-19 pandemic) as monthly salary, electorate allowance of ₹ 40,000, ₹15,000 as office expenses and ₹30,000 as Secretarial assistance expenses, which works out to a total of ₹1,40,000 per month to each person. In addition, they are also provided with 34 free journeys by air and unlimited rail and road journeys across a year. Above all this is ₹5 crore placed at their disposal every year as Local Area Development Fund. India adopted the UK’s Westminster style of parliamentary democracy. The main functions of the UK — and Indian — Parliament are (1) to check and challenge the work of the Government (scrutiny); (2) to make and change laws (legislation); (3) to debate the important issues of the day (debating); and to check and approve Government spending (budget/taxes). The way the two houses of Parliament — the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha — functioned during the just concluded Monsoon session — and earlier sessions too —leaves no one in doubt that parliamentarians in India have just the rights to pay, perks, privileges and other facilities but no duties at all either towards the country and the people who voted for them. The conduct of a section of parliamentarians in the temple of democracy, the parliament, has not made the people of the country to raise their heads with pride. Before the session commenced a section of members had left no one in doubt that they were determined not to let both the houses of parliament to function. The meetings the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman held with the opposition leaders on the eve of the session for a peaceful going proved of no consequence. The Prime Minister and other ministers in the house and outside declared that they were ready to discuss and debate any issue in the house. As the session commenced the opposition looked united not to let the parliament function and discharge its obligation towards the people. The question arises: Did the people give their mandate to their representatives for the conduct they exhibited in the house? Outside the house, the leaders alleged that the ruling party was denying them their right to speak but in the house it was just uproar and nothing else. A section of the parliamentarians demanded repeal of the CAA, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the three agricultural laws. A minority of parliamentarians seems to be trying to impose their will on the majority, a negation of the spirit of democracy. They accuse the ruling party of being fascist. But the boot seems to be in the other leg. They don’t have with them the strength of majority or logic but only the road-roller weight of shouting, unruly and rowdy behavior on their side. Further, the house of parliament is not the place where political parties should promote their political agenda at public cost. What was the signal the parliamentarians sent out to children, young, adults and the elders of the country and other democracies of the world? It seems, they think that it is their divine political right to create ugly and rowdy scenes not to let parliament function. The disruptions in parliament have left the public exchequer bleed from two sides. One, the public representatives hold a tamasha at the cost of the people as they continue to draw full pay, allowances and perks. Two, by not allowing the house to conduct its legislative business the state exchequer, this time, was put to a further loss of ₹144 crores, i.e. ₹2.5 lakhs per minute. This situation also raises the question whether what they do in the house has the mandate of the people who elected them? Has it also the sanction of the Constitution? Or does this unruly conduct in the house forms a part of their parliamentary privileges? However, there has been an exception too. A public representative from Biju Janta Dal, Shri Jai Panda, did declare that he will not accept the salary for two months since parliament has not been able to work for the welfare of the people during this period. Amidst the ugly scenes and sloganeering some bills were passed by the parliament. This has attracted the ire of the Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana over bills hurriedly passed without debate and discussion. This raises another question: Can a minority in a house hold the majority to ransom preventing the parliament from performing its constitutional functions? If it can, then it will mean minority sitting lord over the majority, a negation of the spirit of democracy. It is time to remedy the situation lest we are rendered a laughing stock of all. The honour and prestige of the country and the future of democracy is at stake. *** The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator

Friday, August 6, 2021

Constitution and Law Subject to ‘Secular-Liberal’ Nod? Some more innocent than others

Constitution and Law Subject to ‘Secular-Liberal’ Nod? Some more innocent than others By Amba Charan Vashishth It is unfortunate that for political mileage people in politics can go to any length. They can dance to the tunes death even. It is immaterial whether the cause of death of a person is an accident, enmity between two individuals or groups, and even rape. It is natural that the victim or the accused must belong to some caste, religion, sex, political party or region, and be rich or poor. That makes it easier for them to make it a case of conflict between individuals and a section of society. The country is replete with such instances. The latest is the death of Jesuit Father Stan Swamy. To an extent this has also resulted in politicalisation of crime and vice versa. Death loves every human being on earth. It is an unrequited love, one sided affair. No person in this universe, on the other hand, loves death. Everybody loves to live; none to die. Demise of any person is a matter of sorrow and grief. It is the greatness of India’s culture and traditions that people do not go uninvited to their closest of friends and nearest of relatives to join them in any celebration of a happy occasion — a marriage, a birthday, a promotion and the like. At the same time, they do not miss to hasten to join, uninvited, to share the grief and sorrow of the family of their fiercest enemy on the loss of their dear and near one. THE DEPARTED SOUL Further, a person’s faults, shortcomings and, even his crimes and sins, get consigned to oblivion with his cremation. Only positive qualities of head and heart are left behind to be narrated and recollected time and again. It is this great tradition that makes us all stand together to condole the death of Jesuit Father Stan Swamy. There are exceptions too. Some of the 84-year old frail Father’s friends and admirers — the ‘liberal-secular’ intelligentsia and a section of the electronic and print media — as is their wont, have gone to the extent of declaring that he, in the words of the prominent writer Nayantara Sahgal, in her article “DEATH OF A PRIEST” in the Indian Express (July 12, 2021) did not die in the normal course, but was “killed”. This, she tries to make everyone believe, she witnessed from Dehradun what happened to him in the far away Mumbai. Although the investigating agency found “No evidence of any wrongdoing” yet, she goes on, he was “arrested and put behind bars” for “sedition and subversion” in the Bhima Koregaon case. It is worth recalling that Mrs. Nayantara Sahgal is the same veteran novelist and writer whose conscience had once earlier in 2015 felt so severely hurt that she launched the ‘award wapsi’ campaign in protest against increasing ‘intolerance’ towards right to dissent in the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence" on the “reign of terror". She added, “The ruling ideology today is a fascist ideology and that is what is worrying me now. We did not have a fascist government until now... I am doing whatever I believe in." In this way Mrs. Sahgal wishes the Indian people to believe that the state of Emergency declared by her aunt, the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1975 imposing draconian laws, censorship on media, gagging freedom of speech, putting thousands of leaders and workers of political parties in jails, was not a “reign of terror” and not “a fascist ideology”. It implies that the Emergency was an instance of an ideal democracy in letter and spirit because, she adds, “We did not have a fascist government until now”. 1975 EMERGENCY WAS ‘NO FASCIST’ Mrs. Sahgal usurped the functions both of the investigating agency and the court to add that Father Swamy’s house was raided and “No evidence of any wrongdoing is found”. She goes further: “Indian jails are filled with men and women, known and unknown, who have dared to fight for them (Adivasis)”. A letter signed by some eminent members of the ‘liberal-secular’ intelligentsia and politics including the Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, some sitting and former chief ministers, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, and others, was sent to the President of India expressing “deep outrage” and demanding of him to direct “your government” to act against those responsible for “foisting false cases” against Father Stan and his continuous detention in jail on “trumped up charges“. It, in effect, amounts to expression of their lack of faith in one of the strong pillars of the constitution and democracy — the judiciary. The signatories are, thus, guilty of generating, deliberately or otherwise, lack of trust in the rule of law and the Constitution in the minds of the general public. BY COURTS, NOT GOVERNMENT One wonders what made these elite persons to forget that bail to an accused (Father Stan in the present case) is not granted or refused by a government but by courts of law on merits. According to charges, Stan Swamy not only subscribed to Maoist ideology but was also connected to Maoists who used that ideology as a weapon in their war against the state. Further, after considering his medical report about his illness it was the court which had ordered that the Jesuit preacher be admitted in a private hospital (which was not an ordinary medical institution). Furthermore, Father Stan was only technically in jail at that time; actually he was in the hospital as much a free person as were other patients there. The jail or police officials were there outside his room just for his security. One of Father’s disciples has said that he “spoke everyday to Swamy for a month”. An ordinary prisoner in a jail is not extended such a liberty. THEY PREFER HOSPITAL TO JAIL It is a well-known fact that wealthy and resourceful people when denied pre-arrest bail and are arrested, they complain of chest pain, difficulty in breathing etc., in an effort to get shifted to a hospital from jail. The moment they get bail, they do not continue to stay in hospital but get instantly alright in the company of their family in the comforts of their homes. It is very common and normal to say that had the Jesuit preacher been admitted to this or that hospital, his precious life could have been saved. Just to quote a recent instance. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee was admitted in the country’s premier Military Hospital at New Delhi. Unfortunately, despite best medical treatment, attention and efforts, his precious life could not be saved. One cannot say that he did not receive proper treatment he deserved as a former First Citizen of the country. No hospital, however prominent it may be in the country or the world, can claim that it had no history of deaths of patients. GUARANTEE HUNDRED PERCENT In this connection a joke is very relevant to this controversy. A patient went to a doctor and asked whether he would be fully cured of his ailment. The doctor forcefully assured: “Hundred percent”. To stress his point further he added, “Only one out of ten persons suffering from this disease is cured and nine of my patients suffering from this very ailment have since died”. NO HUMAN RIGHTS OF INNOCENTS Naxalite and Maoist organizations are guilty of killing thousands of innocent civilians — men, women, children and senior citizens —, police, military and paramilitary personnel performing their official duties towards the nation. Yet these diehard criminals and those acting as go-betweens get the protection of their Human Rights (HR). What an irony? Our HR activists and organizations burn midnight oil and shed tears for protection of HRs of those guilty of brutally violating the HRs of innocent people to their right to life and live peacefully. These HR organizations lack any record of having worked for protection of the rights of innocents and having done anything for them. The innocent people, in their view, seem to have been born to be slaughtered, like animals, at the hands of Naxalite-Maoists and other criminals. But even animal rights are recognized and protected. Torturing and slaughtering of animals is a crime, punishable. There are organizations for protection of animal rights and these rightly do. A few years back, to cite a single instance, Dr. Vinayak Sen was found guilty of sedition for helping Maoists and sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Chhattisgarh. Presently, he is on bail granted by the Supreme Court. He is hailed by Indian and international human rights organizations as a “renowned civil rights activist”. The court had found him guilty of carrying letters with seditious content between dreaded Naxal prisoner Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata-based businessman Piyush Guha, an alleged Maoist sympathiser. In the police diaries, Sanyal is the mastermind behind the attack on former Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu and the Jehananabad jailbreak in Bihar that facilitated escape of 340 prisoners including Maoists. Dr. Sen’s appeal against conviction is pending with the SC. Yet, within days of his being released on bail by the SC, he was appointed by the UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh to a prestigious health committee of the then Planning Commission. This single case of Father Stan who died in a hospital has made the ‘liberal-secular’ society cry aghast but they have always remained blind, dumb and deaf to other cases, to quote just the recent ones, of dozens of people killed, women raped and property destroyed in the aftermath of West Bengal elections, The HR commission has castigated the TMC government. Palghar lynching of Hindu priests, Kashmiri Pandits who were made to leave their homes and hearths to live a miserable life as refugees in their own country. But in these cases the HR activists and organizations remain silent. THEY FORGET DR MOOKERJEE DEATH Former J&K chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah were very sporting to sign a letter to President about the death of Father Stan. They forgot that it was in the custody of J&K police under the then CM Sheikh Abdullah that All-India Jana Sangh President Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee died in mysterious circumstances without any medical aid. He was not charged of any heinous crime. He was a political leader who had just entered J&K without a permit to show that it was just like other States of the country where a citizen India did not need a permit to enter. Why did their father and grandfather or PM Jawaharlal Nehru not hold an independent and impartial inquiry into Mukherjea’s death? Was Dr. Mookerjee less innocent and his life less precious than others? It is interesting to recall the way another signatory to the letter to President, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar too sat on judgement on the conduct of his party leader and Maharashtra Home Minister (HM) Anil Deshmukh against whom allegations of bribery had been made in writing by no less a person than his former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Shri Pawar on March 22, 2021 declared that the charges against HM Deshmukh were false and reiterated that they will back the minister and not seek his resignation over the allegations. But later Deshmukh not only resigned but is also at pains to save his skin. It is a travesty of the politics and the right to freedom of opinion and expression that whenever people in politics, media, intelligentsia are hauled up for an alleged crime, there is a chorus of voices to counter allege that people in opposition to the government are being denied their right to criticize and oppose the government. HABITUAL CRIMINALS, HABITUALLY INNOCENT From the nature of commotion that is raised when police, CBI, Enforcement Directorate or any other agency acts against a politician, a newspaper magnate, a journalist, a non-Hindu seer, anybody from the film world, it looks, there is need for the Constitution to be amended. During the British rule, some castes and tribes had been identified as “habitual criminals”. On that analogy the Constitution needs to identify all these individuals, groups and institutions as “habitually innocent” who cannot, directly or indirectly, under any circumstances commit a crime and, therefore, these sections should be declared touch-me-nots for the government agencies for violation of any law of the land so that the controversies, the like of which arose in the aftermath of action taken against Father Stan Swamy and Dr. Vinayak Sen, do not arise. *** The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

For Kejriwal a bouquet of freebie of power is enough to capture the heart of Punjab voter By Amba Charan Vashishth Delhi CM and AAP supremo threw his hat in the Punjab assembly elections just about six months away with announcing a 300 units of power to every household free. Here he will understand that the same promise and slogan does not hold good in every election. He will also come to understand, to his dismay, that Panjab is not Delhi and vice versa. There is no gainsaying the fact that once a prosperous state in the country is today Panjab is a poor state inhabited by rich people. They are the people wh0 dine, dance and lead a life of janoon and joviality. And above all, they are the people who derive a great sense of pleasure in being a perfect host to their relations, friends, acquaintances and others to the best of their heart. They are the people who never wish to leave their homes and hearths on the international borders to ensure that no one can cast an evil eye on their sacred motherland. Whenever there have been wars between India and Pakistan with borders lit with enemy fire, it is these very people who politely defy government wish to move them to safer places. In the midst of volley of enemy fire they feel pleased and proud to reach with sumptuous and tasty home-made food for their soldier brethrens who have staked their life to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. Now that elections in Punjab are just about six months away, the atmosphere in the state seems to be warming up for the great battle of the ballet to decide who and which party should determine their fate for the next five years. It was in this situation that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the State in the last week of June to throw the same gauntlet in Punjab with which it came to power in Delhi — the promise of providing 300 units of electricity free to every household every month. The political and administrative elites who have the experience of watching the trend of elections in the country are aware of the fact that no party can win every election in every state with the same old, stale slogans and promises. In Punjab —and elsewhere too — a common prayer to god om jai jagdish hare is sung in numerous houses every day saying that whatever they offer to god is whatever god had bestowed on them. The same is true of what Kejriwal has promised; he or his party is not going to give anything from their pocket. Whatever the cost of implementing this promise, every single paisa has to come from the state exchequer contributed by the people of Punjab in the form of taxes. It is just perfecting mastery on the art of jugglery of facts and words. During the last assembly election campaign Kejriwal had raised a great cry over rising drug addiction, painting a scene as if every youth in the state was a drug addict. AAP and Congress were on the same wavelength on this issue. Kejriwal had held an Akali minister of being responsible for the situation and boldly declared that after the elections he would catch hold of the Akali minister by the collar and drag him to jail. But neither Congress nor the main opposition AAP joined hands to eradicate this malaise from the state during the last five years. Kejriwal’s freebie of providing 300 units of electricity to every household of Punjab every month will further harm the state’s economy already reeling under the impact of annual power subsidy bill. The promise is likely to further push up the burden to more than ₹15,000 crores from the existing ₹10,668 crores (of which ₹6,735 crore is in free electricity for farmers) as all consumers will stand to benefit from this largesse. Kejriwal went further. He has asked the people not to pay their power bills, promising that all the pending arrears of electric consumption will be waived off. This is an instigation to power consumers not to pay their current bills and wait for the AAP government to take over. This will further derail the power budget of the state. But what if people do not usher in an AAP government in Punjab? It is a pity that once a prosperous state, Panjab has fallen into bad days because the successive governments played ducks and drakes with finances of the state. Terrorism in the state for about a decade had also depleted state’s revenues and adversely affected state’s industries. State’s per capita income is ₹1,15,882 as against the national income of ₹41,16,067. Its per capita expenditure stands at ₹869 while the national average is ₹3,509. In social sector expenditure the state lags behind the national average of ₹8,981 with its figure being just ₹6,981. In per capita farm household indebtedness, according to 2009-10 budget, Panjab with ₹41,576 stands at the top while the all-India average is ₹12,585. In the decade since then it must have risen further. In view of the hard facts, if AAP was voted to power it will need to strike a miracle to live up to its promise. It could either do it by burdening the people with more taxes or abandoning certain developmental projects. People will, thus, gain here at the cost of what they will lose elsewhere. In Delhi it has survived by charging the Modi government at the Centre of starving it of funds which it cannot do in Punjab. Sooner or later, Kejriwal will come to realize that Punjab is not Delhi and vice versa. *** The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.