And now we have a new ‘dynasty’ ruling Uttar Pradesh and working at forming an alliance of diverse hues to rule from the Centre. This group’s excitement at the mere possibility of ruling from Delhi is palpable. The new chief minister of UP, who continues, in fact, to be the ‘yuvraj’, taking instructions from daddy, has made Kunwar Raghuraj Pratap Singh — Raja Bhaiya — a man with many alleged criminal records and pending cases, the minister for prisons. That one act in itself deserves to be the main plot of a raunchy novella. Maybe the definitions of integrity, honesty and other such values that some of us disconnected Indians grew up with and were forced to live by, are just different from the way the majority of India defines right and wrong. We are the misfits.
If you want to lead an honest life, according to the old definition of honesty that we, the minority, lived by, you either have to go by absolutely ridiculous laws that belong to the dark ages, and therefore, pull a string or two to get your legitimate dues such as a passport sanctioned, or you have to bribe a tout to do it illegally. This is the tragedy of being honest in India. For the same ‘act’, the dishonest will just order the tout and, at a price, get the ‘job’ done with no stress or strain, without having asked any favour or having demeaned himself. This is one tiny example but there is a plethora of such ghastly everyday realities that Indians have to endure as they lead their shoddy lives in this country, their humanity and integrity being insulted every minute. The government and its babu continue to work against the people and in total isolation, which has lead to repeated rebellions against the State.
In the Congress, the men and women who have corroded the grand structure built by the founding fathers, are sniggering with glee as they strut about, touting the failure of Rahul Gandhi. That is how shameless the exercise is at the moment. Needless to say, on the surface, they genuflect like true sycophants. It is sickening because much has happened in UP that does not get reflected in the first-past-the-post voting, and any intelligent person knows this. The Congress must overhaul itself radically if it has to reinvent itself as a contemporary, inclusive and liberal party, representative of all the layers of Indian polity. Within the next two months, there must be a fresh election to the post of the Congress president. That will rid the broad walk of all the ‘strutters’.
Would Rahul Gandhi win that election within the party or would there be such contenders to the throne as Digvijay Singh, Salman Khurshid, Janardhan Dwivedi and others, from an unending list of wannabes? Hypothetically, would the same men who are criticizing him and his political abilities, mocking and blaming him for ‘defeat’, have the guts to fight him straight in an election for the post of the Congress president? Does the Congress have a leader who commands the nationwide respect that is a prerequisite to the fight for a place in the sun? Or are they all so puny that they manipulate from behind the scenes but then hide ‘behind the Gandhi clan’?
The alternative is equally disturbing — the regional satraps are eyeing Delhi rather than helping their states excel. It is not difficult to put things on the right path if there is a will. Or, are we looking at the balkanization of the idea of India? Why does Akhilesh Yadav not have his statute book re-written in the next two months by a league of lawyers and accountants — the best and the most non-partisan in the business — and put UP back on the rails, with appropriate laws? Why is he carrying the baggage of the last generation? Where is the national press? Where are the hard questions?