Skip to main content

All guns blazing

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seems intent on proving that he is in no way politically or morally obliged to the Congress, which is supporting his government from the outside. By lodging an FIR against former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in connection with a street light project that was implemented ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch furthered the political agenda of the Aam Aadmi Party government. It reinforced one of the core points of the AAP campaign, fighting corruption in high places. It also demonstrated the AAP’s resolve not to engage in any political compromises in return for an extended lease in power. The Delhi Police are not under the control of the AAP government, and Mr. Kejriwal therefore used his government’s own arm, the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch, which is staffed by personnel on deputation from the Delhi Police, to register the case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. Of course, it is not as if the AAP government brought up the case out of thin air to prove a few political points. The findings of the Shunglu Committee and the Comptroller and Auditor General had pointed to irregularities in the tendering and allocation of work for street lights. Although the CBI registered a Preliminary Enquiry in this case, it could not find anything irregular against Ms. Dikshit. Mr. Kejriwal must be hoping that the ACB will come up with something substantial against his political rival.

The AAP recently targeted top politicians, including Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, P. Chidambaram, and Kapil Sibal, branding them all as corrupt. While the minority AAP government being supported by the Congress is unlikely to last very long, the Congress cannot obviously bring down Mr. Kejriwal on the ground that he is attacking its leaders as corrupt. The Congress strategy would be guided by political calculations, and party leaders might want to allow Mr. Kejriwal to continue for a little beyond the Lok Sabha election. So far, the Kejriwal government has shown that it wants to use power in Delhi to enhance its national image as an anti-corruption crusader. Governance benefits for the people of Delhi are only incidental to this larger agenda. How far the corruption case against Ms. Dikshit would go is not very clear, but the AAP government might already have achieved what it set out to do: present itself as a relentless crusader against corruption. Born as it was of a social movement, the AAP sees power as being only incidental to the larger purpose of eradicating big ticket corruption, and is ready to go down with all guns blazing.


Popular posts from this blog

Cloud seeding

Demonstrating the function of the flare rack that carries silver iodide for cloud-seeding through an aircraft. 
Water is essential for life on the earth. Precipitation from the skies is the only source for it. India and the rest of Asia are dependent on the monsoons for rains. While the South West Monsoon is the main source for India as a whole, Tamil Nadu and coastal areas of South Andhra Pradesh get the benefit of the North East Monsoon, which is just a less dependable beat on the reversal of the South West Monsoon winds.

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…