It has been abundantly clear during the past several months that the Congress popularity amongst the electorate was nose diving. The more the adverse reaction of the electorate was visible, the shriller was the campaign of the Congress party. Hundreds of crores were spent from the government coffers for the Bharat Nirman advertisements. The conferment of statutory rights to people without backup financial support and administrative mechanism makes the right fictional. Yet the propaganda about the rights based approach was so large that Congress men were the only persons who were buying their propaganda.
Most Congress men believe that they were born to rule. Certainly the first family of the Congress firmly believes that. They rely on possessory rights on the “Idea of India” and the “Heart of India”. Losing claim over the “Vote of India” and consoling themselves by representing the “Heart” and “Idea” of India is only a self deception.
What after all is the “Idea of India”? It is a turn of phrase which represented the title of a book by a leading Indian political scientist. Can there be only one “Idea of India”? In an ideologically pluralistic society, every ideological combination, every social group, every economic thinker is entitled to have a vision which is his own “Idea of India”. Since the Congress party has claimed a copyright over the “Idea of India”, it needs to be reminded of what is not the “Idea of India”.
The Nehruvian vision on Jammu & Kashmir and the Himalayan blunder of 1962 were certainly not the “Ideas of India”. Losing territory to Pakistan and China during the Nehruvian regime is not my “Idea of India”. Dictatorship of Indira Gandhi during the Emergency was not my “Idea of India”, superseding the Judges in the name of a judiciary with social philosophy and censoring newspapers is not my “Idea of India. The 1984 massacre of Sikhs is not my “Idea of India”. Scandalous deals like Bofors, HDW submarine deal, bribing MPs in JMM case and the cash for vote scam, 2G spectrum scandal, coal block scandal are not my “Ideas of India”. 30% of Indians are living in poverty 67 years after independence can’t be an “Idea of India”. An India perpetually on the terrorists radar can hardly be anyone’s “Idea of India”.
Elections are about real issues not manufactured ones. The real issues are decided in the context of the current political situation. An ideological debate detached from the realities of governance is in the abstract. It will hardly help the Congress party any further.
A Query To The Captain
One of the issues being raised in the Amritsar Parliamentary constituency relates to the levy of Property Tax. How did this levy come about? On 8th December, 2006 just before the code of conduct for the February, 2007 elections were to be announced, the Government of Punjab headed by Capt. Amarinder Singh and the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar headed by its Mayor Sunil Datti entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Govt. of India on 8th December, 2006, accepting all conditions imposed by the Congress led Government of India, for giving grants to Punjab under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. A handwritten note signed by the Govt. of India, Punjab Government and the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar stated that “Subject to commitments given by the Govt. of Punjab vide the Chief Secretary’s letter No.SUDA/JNNURM/6/148 dated 7.12.2006”. This sentence was interpolated by hand in the MOU.
The letter of the Chief Secretary of Punjab dated 7th December, 2006 itself committed to the Government of India that “the Government of Punjab would modify the existing rates of user charges of water supply and sewage as well as, put in place, a new system of taxation of municipal properties latest by 30th June, 2007 in all municipalities specially those covered under JNNURM”. After taking over the Government in 2007, the SAD-BJP government deferred the implementation of this proposal by at least six years since they were an imposed.
Is it not true that this Capt. Amarinder Singh heading the Punjab Government in 2006 and Sunil Datti heading the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar, who are responsible for having initiated, committed this new system of levy of Property Tax?