100 days: ‘Policies’ the Modi govt and BJP won’t talk about
by Chandrakant Naidu Aug 30, 2014

The Modi regime would have a lot to gloat about when it completes 100 days in power. It indeed has been a busy government. After the policy paralysis there’s now a glut of policies. There is a look-East policy on foreign affairs, a look North-East policy – especially Mizoram–for the hostile governors who won’t vacate the Raj Bhavans for the old faithful waiting to be rehabilitated; and, there is a policy for some old not-so faithful that are beyond rehabilitation. The Raj Bhawan revolving doors are in service overtime.

Most of what the government has done so far in terms of policy – a big part of it is certainly praise-worthy – would be part of what it chooses to dish out for public consumption, but here are a few policies – we have seen ample of these so far – it would love to brush under the carpet. As usual, it has been the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo at work. So here we go.

Waste management policy

It wasn’t easy to bring about a paradigm shift in favour of the new generation in a geriatric party. Even his critics see merit in the strategy of the duo and its execution. Atal Behari Vajpayee is neither an admirer of Modi nor is he in the physical or mental frame to resist him. But, the party can still milk the goodwill his name evokes. So, he has been archived in the advisory council or Margadarshak Mandal. The other two, Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani have to be accommodated for some semblance of political propriety. Old party hands and the media are lampooning the Margadarshak Mandal as Mookadarshak Mandal (mute spectators’ council). The prime minister and the immediate past president are there to keep company and stave off criticism over insensitivity to party elders.

But, is there any provision for an advisory council in the party constitution? Has the party notified a change in the constitution if it stealthily affected overnight? The irony is that the members of hallowed advisory council were neither consulted nor informed about such a move. The man who spurred the party into action through the rath yatra in 1990 and then stood by Narendra Modi, when most others had cast their weight against him after the Gujarat riots in 2002, learnt of his official marginalisation through the media and not from the party. Modi and Amit Shah, who have taken upon themselves to carry out dirty jobs for the RSS, may have acted characteristically. But, why is no one sympathising with Advani and Joshi?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this file photo. PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this file photo. PTI

Follow the UPA policy

Those irked by the outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s perennial mute mode can find him doing some talking through the new government’s “follow the UPA policy” which began with the rail fare hike and continues with the sustenance of Aadhar and Jan Dhan scheme. The Yojana Bhawan was already anticipating some changes under the UPA as even P Chidambaram had advocated downsizing of the Planning Commission. The so-called populist schemes stay and there are going to be addition of a few more. Never mind the plagiarism being wrapped in new packages and sold with orchestrated accompaniments for the hype. Modi administration had now seen the wisdom of UPA government’s initiative in trying to reach a land boundary agreement with Bangladesh which the BJP had opposed last year.

Nothing wrong about such plagiarism though, the only problem is the BJP had bitterly denounced and obstructed all these when in opposition. Modi, as the chief campaigner of the party in the general elections, had made it a point to mock the UPA over all its policies.

Reward the polarisers policy

The brash move to provide Z plus security to Sangeet Som, who was involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots and whose case is pending before the High Court, was clearly in keeping with the new reward the polarisers policy. It is not the hapless public that needs to be guarded against communal hate-mongers, it is the latter who need to be protected with a strong security cover, the BJP seems to believe. It’s not that other parties in power did not reward similar worthies with sarkari protection earlier, the only difference is the BJP has been taking a holier-than-thou position on the matter all the time.

Yogi Adityanath, the other polarising agent from Gorakhpur, will be the party’s key campaigner for by-elections in Uttar Pradesh. Of the 11 seats up for by-elections, four are in western UP, which was torn apart by deadly riots a year ago. Political rivals see in Adityanath’s appointment and in the change in the BJP’s tenor in UP, an attempt to polarise voters ahead of the by-elections. Adityanath is dead serious on making ‘love jihad’ an election issue. The undated video purportedly showing him vowing to convert 100 Muslim girls to Hinduism for every Hindu girl converted to Islam is quite possibly a deliberate ploy to raise the communal heat in Uttar Pradesh. Even senior BJP leader and Union minister Kalraj Mishra has extended tacit support to taking this up as a poll issue.

Turn a blind eye policy

The murderers of the Pune techie and their organisation, Hindu Rashtra Sena, have been conveniently forgotten on every speech the prime minister made on moderation and communal harmony. He has also chosen to overlook the groups that celebrated the death of UR Ananthamurthy shortly after he had offered condolences. Hindutva forces have become brazen about propagating their illiberal, regressive worldview. The government has chosen to be silent about the growing communalisation of the society, as if it is not its responsibility to protect the liberal fabric of the society.

Against this backdrop, a constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday left it to the discretion of the Prime Minister to decide on whether to retain or sack the tainted minister his cabinet. Of the 186 members of the parliament facing criminal charges precisely half belong to the ruling party. There are 14 ministers facing criminal charges led by water resources minister Uma Bharti who faces 13 criminal cases including two related to murder and six to riots. The judges on the constitution bench said though there was no bar on the prime minister recommending any person to be a minister, being a custodian of constitutional morality and trust, he is expected not to make tainted people ministers.

Of course, these are ‘policies’ the government won’t talk about. But rest assured, these are going to debated much more than what Modi does on the economic front in the coming days.