Witness the BJP-led Modi government. It has become more party-focused than country-concerned these last several months. The impression gaining ground is that the party’s base is dictating the government’s behaviour. Like in the appointments of Supreme Court judges. Ideally, the government should not be seen playing politics in such serious endeavours. A report for Different Truths.
Guess governments start to get more and more influenced by the party that forms the government as general elections approach. Witness the BJP-led Modi government. It has become more party-focused than country-concerned these last several months.
The impression gaining ground is that the party’s base is dictating the government’s behaviour. Like in the appointments of Supreme Court judges. Ideally, the government should not be seen playing politics in such serious endeavours. But the way the government has treated Justice KM Joseph’s appointment is downright petty if not mean.
The Supreme Court collegium cleared Justice Joseph’s name in January. “While recommending the name of Justice KM Joseph, the collegium has taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisine Judges of High Courts, apart from their merit and integrity,” the collegium wrote.
What did the government do? It sat on the appointment for four months. Then it sent back his file for “reconsideration”, stating that he was “not senior enough”; and that having two judges from Kerala in the apex court would be against the principles of regional representation. If the first reason was petty, the second was ingloriously mean!
In July 2018, the collegium “reconsidered” and “considered” it proper to once again recommend Justice KM Joseph’s name. Now, the government had no excuse to deny him his due. So, it played dirty in a different manner. In an August 3 notification clearing Justice KM Joseph’s name, the names of two other justices – Justices Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran – were listed above him.
It was a sleight of ‘intention’. The collegium had recommended Justice KM Joseph’s name first. But it ended up last in the list of three, effectively rendering him “junior” to the other two. Accepted Supreme Court tradition is that seniority is set by who takes oath before whom? And the order of names on a list decides who will take oath first, second and…
Other Supreme Court judges and the collegium were not amused. They discussed it among themselves and have reportedly decided to take up the matter with the Chief Justice of India, ask him to “remedy the situation.” Will that work? Any such move will erupt on twitter and BJP trolls will have a field day. Justice KM Joseph’s religion will be mentioned. It will be one big brouhaha followed by a bigger hoo-ha!
Remember what happened to Sushma Swaraj? She was set upon by every so-called “bhakt” in town and millions out of town. Foul-mouthed by people who have given vigilantism an entirely new connotation. And the BJP top brass is scared #@*% of this huge amorphous and heartless horde possessed with a herd mentality that invades crappy lanes and by-lanes.
An estimated 31% of the electorate voted BJP to power in 2014. In the four years since, the party has won several states. Means more of the electorate voted B JP. Must be because the Modi government saw to it that nothing was done to upset the party’s Hindutva base. The feeling is that polarisation is working favourably for the BJP.
So, every attempt should be made to polarise. Every avenue explored. Cow protection. Cow vigilantism. Physically targeting opponents. Holding up appointments of judges perceived to be anti-BJP. All these will fire up the party’s hardcore Hindutva base. Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Soft Hindutva’ should not be allowed to build momentum. So, give the sentiment ‘India for Hindus’ a leg-up? Boost. Bournvita. Complan. Oats with cow’s milk. Daliya!
Other recent signs also show that that the government is hostage to the party’s overarching goals. For instance, the treatment meted out to Swami Agnivesh in BJP-ruled Jharkhand. Cornered and beaten, the social activist, his turban snatched away, looked like a complete total stranger!
BJP youth wing cadre from the BJYM and ABVP caught hold of him and left him nearly senseless, clothes torn and dignity lost. In the 15 days since, no investigation has been conducted. No arrests made. A tent falls at a Modi rally in West Bengal and everybody standing including policemen are questioned. But Swami Agnivesh gets punched and dragged and nobody even drunk is suspected.
It beats logic. But it should not. With D-Day 2019 approaching, Modi and Shah are gearing up for the big imperative push. Many of the promises made are yet to be fulfilled. So-called Lutyen’s Media is getting bolder by the day. It was ‘Okay’ so long as it was the Angrezi media. But if the Hindiwala media is getting out of hand, it’s a warning.
Opposition moves to form a grand alliance shook up the establishment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants another term to “transform India”. Amit Shah has to keep the cadre/base fired up to deliver Modi a second term. And for that, even the government has to cooperate, fall in line.
Photo from the Internet