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

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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)

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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.

  • Neeru Bahl

    Many thanks Dr Guha for explaining so nicely, why BJP-Combo wants AAPGovt dysfunctional. After reading this piece even BJP supporters would be forced to analyse BJP-Cong hidden agenda.

  • Just Faking

    Wonderful gem…i read many article but hardly come across such brilliiant stuff… for a moment i thought orwell is back….enough said!

  • Kallol Guha Phd

    Delhi was once invaded by Taimur, Nadir Shah, Ahmed Abdali, British during first war of independence in 1857. Those invaders appeared and disappeared like lightning. Now there are new species of invaders who are here to stay- who jabber “FREEDOM OF PRESS” and “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” wear the mask of “WORLD’S LARGEST DEMOCRACY” when it suits them. But show no respect for people’s mandate when it goes against their selfish interest.

  • kirti Kumar pal

    AAP govt. indeed have difficult choice. Only viable and wise alternative left for them is to make constant contact with public and make them aware of evil design of ruling elites. ultimately against all odds and knowing pitfalls in electing AAO ,it is people of Delhi who made them victorious ,thrashing hopes of various vested interests.

  • programmer

    I agree that AAP has intentions to remove the corrptions, however I doubt if they will be successful. Corruption is in our DNA. We have huge population with limited resources. So there will always be competition for getting hold of resources by any means.

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  • Neeru Bahl

    Many thanks Dr Guha for explaining so nicely, why BJP-Combo wants AAPGovt dysfunctional. After reading this piece even BJP supporters would be forced to analyse BJP-Cong hidden agenda.

  • Just Faking

    Wonderful gem…i read many article but hardly come across such brilliiant stuff… for a moment i thought orwell is back….enough said!

  • Kallol Guha Phd

    Delhi was once invaded by Taimur, Nadir Shah, Ahmed Abdali, British during first war of independence in 1857. Those invaders appeared and disappeared like lightning. Now there are new species of invaders who are here to stay- who jabber “FREEDOM OF PRESS” and “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” wear the mask of “WORLD’S LARGEST DEMOCRACY” when it suits them. But show no respect for people’s mandate when it goes against their selfish interest.

  • kirti Kumar pal

    AAP govt. indeed have difficult choice. Only viable and wise alternative left for them is to make constant contact with public and make them aware of evil design of ruling elites. ultimately against all odds and knowing pitfalls in electing AAO ,it is people of Delhi who made them victorious ,thrashing hopes of various vested interests.

  • programmer

    I agree that AAP has intentions to remove the corrptions, however I doubt if they will be successful. Corruption is in our DNA. We have huge population with limited resources. So there will always be competition for getting hold of resources by any means.

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National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

The city of Delhi has slowly and gradually reopened

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Shutters are lifted and shops spruced up as Delhi's markets open after two months as lockdown restrictions are eased. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.

Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.

However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.

Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.

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Though markets are open, they are seeing few customers as people remain wary amid the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.

The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff.  Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.

“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.

Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.

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A customer turns up to buy baking tins — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking has been a therapy for people confined indoors. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.

“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.

“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.

That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.

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Most customers head to shops selling essentials like groceries and medicines. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.

“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.

The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.

“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.

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Shops display signs asking people to wear masks and take precautions as new rules are put in place to cope with the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.

“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.

The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.

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Auto rickshaw drivers don’t see too many customers as most people still hesitate to venture outside. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
 A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.

Also Read: COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Mohammad Parvez Khan decided to brave the city’s sizzling summer temperatures to ply his auto rickshaw even during Ramadan because his savings were running out.

“Only we know how we passed these last two months,” he said.

“Every day, when I fasted, I prayed that let the coronavirus go quickly, and may everything come back to how it used to be,” he said. (VOA)

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“We Have to Learn to Live With COVID-19”, Says Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

Initially it was believed that the coronavirus will die with the rise in temprature, but it didn't

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Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says that we need to learn to live with COVID-19. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said while earlier it was believed that the coronavirus will die with the rise in mercury, but even in countries with very high temperature the infection is increasing and this shows that we have to learn to live with COVID-19.

Speaking to the media, Jain said while the cases are increasing, the rate of increase is just five per cent.

“There was a time when we all thought that this pandemic will be over by May 1 due to the summer. But now we have seen that in the Latin American countries also the pandemic is increasing. The temperature of these countries is very high. This shows that we have to learn to live with COVID-19,” Jain said.

He also said that in the last two months, in the lockdown, we have learned various lessons from the COVID-19.

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“If we wear masks, maintain social distancing and wash hands regularly then people will be 90-95 per cent safer,” he said. Pixabay

“If we wear masks, maintain social distancing and wash hands regularly then people will be 90-95 per cent safer,” he said.

Jain said on Thursday, India’s growth rate of COVID was five per cent and earlier there was a time when the growth rate was 20 per cent. “I believe that the numbers should be seen in terms of the percentage increase.”

He said the new cases in Delhi are coming from the containment zones as well as from outside the containment zones.

“We have received various suggestions from the residents of Delhi and based on those we have sent our suggestions to the central government regarding the relaxation of the lockdown. The key suggestions from the people are that every person should wear a mask in public place and social distancing should be maintained all the time. People have also suggested that public transportation should start for example, buses and metros with limited capacity.”

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“People have also suggested that public transportation should start for example, buses and metros with limited capacity.”, tells Jain. Wikimedia Commons

Regarding the malls, he said people have suggested that in the limited capacity of either 25 per cent or 50 per cent the malls of the city should be opened. They have also suggested that the markets should be opened following either odd-even rules or only three days a week.

Read More: WhatsApp Launches Campaign to Reduce Spread of Fake News Amid COVID-19

“The Delhi government believes that there should be a balance between the fight against COVID and economic activities. We are fighting against the COVID-19 with full effort, but now we have to start the economic activities, therefore, the measures should be followed. When the lockdown was imposed at that time we were not prepared to fight this pandemic, but now we are prepared to fight this pandemic.”

Regarding the issue of the migrant labourers, Jain said there are two kinds of people.

“One is the migrant labourer of Delhi and the second is the migrant labourer of other states who are passing through Delhi. For the migrants, the government has arranged stay and food across Delhi. Any such person you meet can be sent to the nearby shelter of the Delhi government. We are providing lunch and dinner to nearly 10 lakh poor people every day.” (IANS)

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Finance Minister’s Announcements Will Boost MSMEs: PM Modi

Modi praised the announcements made by the Finance Minister in a tweet

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to appreciate the announcements made by the Finance Minister. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to aid the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which have taken a beating during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Modi tweeted, “Today’s announcements by FM @nsitharaman will go a long way in addressing issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs. The steps announced will boost liquidity, empower the entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit.

He also used the hashtag ‘Atma-nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, which is a reference to self-reliant India, something which he vowed to turn the country into during his televised address to the nation on Tuesday night.

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Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit on Wednesday. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking to the media here on Wednesday, Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit. Another criteria, turnover of the company, has also been added to the required norms for classification of MSMEs.

Read More: Bars, Guest Houses Allowed to Open in Lockdown 4, Urges Goa Minister

Sitharaman also announced a collateral-free automatic loan for MSMEs of up to Rs 3 lakh crore, among other liquidity measures.

In a move to provide more scope for Indian companies, including MSMEs, the Centre has decided to disallow global firms from participating in government procurement tenders up to Rs 200 crore.

These were part of a multi-pronged approach of the government to rejuvenate the sector which has been badly hit by the suspension of economic activities in the country in the wake of the nationwide lockdown which is place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. (IANS)