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24 October 2011

Uttar Pradesh Elections: BJP should clean its stable first

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By Mohammad Shahid Parvez
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Three rath yatras of the Bharatiya Janata Party criss-crossed the state of Uttar Pradesh this month. While Anti-Corruption Yatra of LK Advani starting from Bihar entered the state, two Jan Swabhiman yatras of the party each led by senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Misra, began in the state simultaneously. Although the party leaders claim that the yatras are apolitical and meant to awaken the people to the monster of anti-corruption and their self respect (swabhiman), their speaches during the course of yatra have all the ingredients of election meetings. They all are highlighting corruption in Congress and BSP to gain mileage in the elections.

The two swabhiman yatras in UP target the Center and the state governments for promoting corruption and ignoring the common man and stressing that only a BJP government can root out all evils from the society and the government.Thus Uma Bharati in one of meetings during the yatra called upon the people to change the government in UP to bring a change at the Centre. ‘It is your responsibility to change the rule and we promise to change this system’ she asked. And what type of change her party will bring Bharati declared ‘Ram Rajya ki taiyyari karo (prepare for Ram Rajya)’. Bharati however did not elaborate what type of Ram Rajya she is talking about as the party has given to the people of Karnataka, Gujarat or Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh?

Then there is veteran yatri L.K. Advani who has the credit of taking Ram Rath Yatra about two decades ago that terrorized the nation to the envy of the greatest of terrorists and incited large scale violence that the nation can never forget. This time he has taken Anti-corruption Yatra as if Anna’s movement against corruption was not enough to awaken the masses about corruption rampant in our polity. However this time his party colleague, the Karnataka strongman and former state Chief Minister YS Yeddurappa has embarrassed him by undertaking ‘Jail Yatra.’ Advani himself admitted to this embarrassment and clarified that his yatra was not against any particular person or party but against corruption wherever it exists.

Whatever may Advani claim about the motive of his yatra the people, and also his party colleagues know that it is neither the concern for corruption nor his love for the party but his own seclusion in the party that has prompted him to take this ardous yatra at this age. Buoyed by the post-Anna fast surveys that show the BJP ahead of the Congress in popularity chart the party has started dreaming to regain power at the Centre and a race for the prime ministership among its leaders began. While Narendra Modi, in order to increase his acceptability, organized sadbhavna fast to wash off his past misdeeds and tried in vain to pose a changed man who believes in secularism his one time mentor decided to embark on rath yatra to prove his claim to the post which he considers his right in the event of BJP coming to power at the Centre.By starting his yatra from Bihar flagged by Nitish Kumar and not from Gujarat Advani has tried to convey the message to the Sangh Parivar that he has the support of allies. The wish of the Maharathi found a voice in Uma Bharati’s statement in the course of the rally at Varanasi when she advocated projecting Advani as the party’s prime ministerial candidate to the annoyance of the party.

Advani may or may not succeed in his personal mission but the party’s crusade against corruption has certainly got a jolt by the Yadurappa episode. Corruption, not only financial but all types has infilterated deep into our polity and no party can claim to be overboard on this issue. Moreover rath yatras do not bring a party to power unless backed by some good work and BJP has nothing to boast of except corruption and dividing the state on communal lines during its rule at the Centre and in states.The BJP which claims to be the only party that can give a clean government should clean its own stable first before pointing a finger at others. With the party’s governments in Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttaranchal and some other states mired in corruption its promise to provide a clean government and bring Ram Rajya appears hallow.

[Mohammad Shahid Parvez is former News Editor, National Herald, Lucknow. He recently joined IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Uttar Pradesh). He can be contacted at mshahidparvez@gmail.com]

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