AAP-BJP conflict: How Delhi’s current situation is a reminder of the 1960s political scenario of Bengal

New Delhi: Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung before administrating the oath of office and secrecy to Arvind Kejriwal as the Delhi Chief Minister at Ramlila maidan in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan(PTI12_28_2013_000077B)


By Dr. Kallol Guha

In reference to the conflict between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Delhi government and the Central government, it may be relevant to recall the fate of the first non-Congress government of Kerala back in 1957. Chief Minister Namboodripad’s CPI government had introduced a Bill for reforms in land and education that threatened the power of local landowners and their allies (Nair Service Society),  including the Christian churches.

Statewide agitation against the government continued under the leadership of the Indian National Congress, which was at the Centre. The landlord community (Nair Service Society), church groups along with several other opposition parties, with the support of Central Intelligence Agency, as claimed by CPI, joined the agitation. This led to President’s rule in the state as the state government of CPI was dismissed under the pretext of law and order in July 1959.

A similar incident occurred in 1967 in West Bengal when the first non-Congress government under the leadership of United Left Front (ULF) was formed. They tried to introduce marginal reforms in favor of workers, peasants and lower middle class. Propertied class felt threatened, mainstream media turned their ‘marketing tools’ on to discredit the ULF. Congress, which was in power at the centre, organized agitation against the ULF on various issues. One fine morning, the state government was dismissed and governor’s rule was introduced. ULF then returned to power, compromising with the classes they ostensibly opposed and picked on the leftovers until booted out by All India Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Aam Aadmi Vs Ruling Class

Let us try to understand, in the above context, the genesis of the quarrel between the AAP government in Delhi and the BJP government at the Centre. There are different types of government across the world which are identified with various nomenclature. For instance, military dictatorship in Burma, monarchy in Saudi Arabia, socialist like North Vietnam and North Korea among others. Anglophonic countries are identified as democratic simply because people have voting rights to elect a government.

The real administrative power on issues such as land and industry, judiciary and executive, police and army, mainstream media still remains under the control of land-owners and well-known industrialists. This class, in left political circle, is branded as ‘Ruling Class’. In straight words, the administration of a given country always functions to protect the interest of this ruling class. This basic principle must be kept in mind to understand the conflict between the Delhi state government and the Central government.

AAP, at this point of time, seems to be committed to curb corruption by all means at their disposal. Whatever corruption they might have curbed by now, it has invariably threatened the interest of the ruling class in several ways. The ruling class might have lost significant income from illicit sources. If corruption is allowed to be curbed, this trend will invariably increase not just in Delhi but throughout the nation which will be a political suicide for the ruling class. The mask of democracy, prosperity and development might be torn from the face of the ruling parties if AAP is allowed to function undisturbed. The mainstream media whose role is to make people believe, through the modern marketing tools, that the ruling party will make common man’s life better is threatened that people might discover that the brand of  democracy is in fact, an exercise of a flock of sheep choosing their own butcher.

Freedom of Press or Propaganda 

BJP Government will continue to use their tools, notably the Lieutenant Governor and bureaucracy, to make sure that AAP is unable to function well enough to deliver services to the masses. The mainstream media will then use their ‘freedom of press’ and ‘freedom of expression’ to showcase AAP’s inefficiency to govern and hence  portray BJP as the one who can deliver the services.

Here people’s verdict does not matter. Democracy does not matter. Quality of people’s  lives does not matter. National development does not matter. The only thing that matters is material gain of the ruling class and the power and influence required to safeguard that gain.

Prosperity of India, if any, is definitely not due to the government. This prosperity, however marginal, is solely a product of Indian people’s brilliance, stamina and entrepreneurship. Those who were in power during the last 65 years, though reduced to their minimum existence in political terms, are not only untouched by the mainstream media but there is a distinct plot by the media to gradually drag them into the limelight.

Therefore, it is understandable why the mainstream media, most of it foreign owned, is using all their marketing tools to brand AAP as the ‘devil’ and it will not be otherwise as long as AAP holds on to their pro-people agenda.  On Wednesday, Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN conducted a debate on whether the relation between Central and the Delhi government is heading towards dismissal of AAP Government under the pretext of violation of Constitution.

It is pertinent to recall the Left-Wing doctrine. They declared that propertied ruling class will never ever relinquish power on their own. They will put up with ‘democracy’ and ‘free election’ as long as it does not threaten their control over wealth of the nation. In the past, government elected by the people has been dissolved under some pretext or replaced by military intervention, when they tried to implement policies in favor of common people. Last century, it happened in almost every country in South America, Brazil, Congo, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam and Korea.  Now history is repeating itself in Delhi.

What can AAP do under the present circumstances? One possibility is that they pay lip service to ideas of improving quality of life for the common people but in fact compromise with the culture of ruling class which is characterized by corruption, chaos and chronic under-development. Other possibility is to mobilize general population by convincing them about the real nature of the rat trap they are stuck in under the illusion of ‘democracy’ and ‘free election’ and prepare them to take a stand in favor of their own destiny.