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Lalu acting as proxy leader to unleash ‘jungleraj 2’ in Bihar

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New Delhi: Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD Chief and the former Chief Minister of Bihar got entangled yet again in a controversy when BJP alleged that he was acting as the ‘proxy’ leader and (mis)using his son’s political power.

The matter came up to light when Dr Sriram Singh, a civil surgeon wrote a letter to the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital’s (DMCH) medical superintendent to reinstate recently removed Mamata staff workers. Singh alleged said that Lalu had instructed for reinstating the workers.

Earlier, Lalu made a surprise inspection to the Patna’s Indira Gandhi Medical Institute.

Notably, Tej Pratap, Lalu’s son, is the Health Minister of Bihar.

It might be mentioned that Lalu Prasad Yadav was barred from contesting polls for 11 years following his alleged involvement in the fodder scam. This order also prohibits him to have a direct say in the government’s official work.

Following the landslide victory of the RJD-JD(U) in the recent Bihar assembly polls, it was obvious that the former Bihar CM would greatly influence the functioning of the government.

It was undeniable that it was the shrewdness of the RJD leader that helped Nitish become the Chief Minister of Bihar. However, it was expected that Lalu would control the reins indirectly. Nitish giving prized ministerial portfolios to Lalu’s sons was an indication that Bihar was again coming under the control of the RJD stalwart.

Lalu’s new avatar of unauthorised entry into the administrative works gave the BJP to go for an outright attack on the state’s government. BJP had been vehement in their attack on the government claiming that this Lalu-Nitish regime would be  ‘Jungleraj 2’.

With the gruesome murder of a policeman in Vaishali district last week, BJP’s allegation seems to have some potential.

With the RJD supremo wielding his illegitimate supremacy in Bihar, it is the people of Bihar who feels cheated. They might be regretting voting for the grand alliance rather than BJP who promised of a change and “achhe din”.

Political pundits opine that Lalu and his partymen have been blinded by the power. There was a time when everyone thought that the ban on Lalu would end his political career. But the comeback proved them all wrong.

Lalu’s antics would not only hurt the sentiments of the voters but would also hand a weapon to the BJP leaders who are ready to unleash an attack to topple the government.

Lalu tried to do the same when his wife Rabdi Devi became the CM of Bihar. Nitish should remember the attitude of his present ally whom he had booted out earlier.

The nightmare that the Lalu-Nitish liaison would not work out seems to be coming true with both the leaders differing in their opinion on the Pathankot attack.

It will be BJP who would be in the driver’s seat when the wheels of the new government come off.

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What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)