I must say that if Lalu came to embrace Kejriwal and Kejriwal wasn’t publicly rude to him at a celebratory event, and if we judge our politicians by these yardsticks, that is very sad for our democracy. I would rather judge Kejriwal by his attempts to check license raj, have an anti-corruption ombudsman, fire a minister immediately when his corruption came to light, have an initiative by which very many Delhites got employment, run ‘mohalla’ clinics that are a massive hit with the poor, reducing power cuts, having the courage to reject the support of cleric Imam Bukhari and strip the Delhi Waqf Board of many of its powers, his legislative initiative to penalize officers for delay in public service, his launching a witness protection mechanism, his honesty in utilizing public funds acknowledged even by a BJP leader like NV Naidu etc. Most (not all) of the people with the hug complaint are Modi-supporters; so, they need to ponder over the following questions (I’ve deliberately not included questions pertaining to the concerns that are specific to our fellow citizens who are Muslims or Christians, for concerns specific to them are quite unfortunately, in any case, not very high on the agenda of very many BJP-supporters*, though I’ve raised issues specific to our Muslim and Christian countrymen in other articles on this portal, like this one and this one)-
1. What about India’s falling exports?
2. What about the falling Sensex?
3. What about the failure to prevent repeated Vyapam deaths?
4. What about the terror strikes in Bangalore, Burdhwan, Kathua, Samba, Tral, Shopian and of course, Gurdaspur and Udhampur?
5. What about the pittance given as compensation given to farmers in times of drought in BJP-ruled states? (The AAP gave sizable chunks of money to farmers in Delhi.)
6. Since you have such huge issues with Lalu, can you explain why the BJP fielded the most candidates with criminal charges in Bihar?
7. If the AAP was not contesting elections in Bihar, how does that stop them from opining on who should be the CM, and how does Lalu’s conviction, when he is not being supported for CM, make such a huge difference when the BJP is full of corrupt folks and even criminals like Vittalbhai Radadia?
8. You say that the AAP should never be compared with other parties and its performance and politics on every front should be 102% perfect, for it claims to be an alternative. But don’t you claim that the party you support is a party with a difference?
9. Why did Modi, as CM of Gujarat, come up with an ultra-weak Lokayukta Act, wherein the lokayukta needed the CM’s permission to investigate any minister, and still not appoint any lokayukta? And why did the BJP prevent lokayuktas from becoming constitutional bodies, misinterpreting Article 253 of the Indian constitution, and join hands with the Congress later to have a lokpal legislation having none of the points over which Anna Hazare broke his fast, despite the BJP apparently supporting Anna a lot earlier? And then not appoint any lokpal after coming to power with such a huge majority?
10. Since the party you support supposedly aims at eradicating corruption, why has it diluted the RTI Act and Whistleblowers Protection Act?
11. Since the party you support supposedly aims at public accountability, why has it made it difficult, by way of law, to even lodge an FIR against an MLA in Maharashtra?
12. Since the party you support apparently cares very much for the Kashmiri Pandits, what steps have been taken by it to put on trial militants (like Bitta Karate who confessed to his crimes in a televised interview) who killed or forcibly displaced most of them?
13. Since the party you support apparently cares very much for the Kashmiri Pandits, in the wake of the cancellation of their Kosur Nag pilgrimage by the J&K government (then under the National Conference, not even an ally of the BJP), why was it that the present home minister of India, Rajnath Singh, in a speech in parliament, trivialized the forced displacement of the Hindus of the valley, calling it a migration, tried to suggest that while the Kosur Nag pilgrimage, though a real pilgrimage, had not been a very regular one (how is that relevant?) and that the incident of the Kashmiri Pandits being barred access for the pilgrimage had no bearing on them being rehabilitated in their homeland, as if the Kashmiri Pandits, on seeing this incident of being denied pilgrimage access, would feel encouraged to return to Kashmir and settle down there for good?!
14. Since the party you support apparently cares very much for the Kashmiri Pandits, why has it done a U-turn on the promise of separate colonies for them in Kashmir?
15. Since the party you support apparently cares very much for the Kashmiri Pandits, why did it oppose a legislative proposal relating to state ownership and protection of Hindu temples in Kashmir (on very flimsy grounds citing the Amarnath precedent wherein land given to the Amarnath shrine board was withdrawn instead of any step being taken to help yatris) leading to protests from Kashmiri Pandits? And by the way, an AAP leader in J&K spoke up for the Kashmiri Pandits on that occasion.
16. Since the party you support apparently cares very much for the victims of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, what has it ever done to bring the senior Congress leaders allegedly involved to book?
Let’s deal with these things first, and then, if at all, let’s bother about hugs and handshakes!
*While I do certainly believe that Hindus in India must care about the genuine concerns of the Muslim and Christian minorities [I would appeal to anyone resentful of Muslims as such to peruse with an open mind (not skim through and judge based on preconceived notions) this e-book of mine available for free download], the same holds true vice versa too, and the religious minorities must not also exaggerate their victimhood as if to suggest perennial oppression. I must say to those particular Indian Muslims and Christians who complain of generalised victimhood of any kind (I am certainly not talking about all Indian Muslims or all Indian Christians) that they instead ought to speak up more openly against their own politicians like Azam Khan (who hasn’t even been charge-sheeted for his alleged role in the riots in Muzaffarnagar and Sahranpur, unlike Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi in connection with the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, or Manoj Pradhan and Ashok Sahu convicted in connection with the anti-Christian riots in the Kandhamal district of Odisha in 2008, who were duly convicted, and my point is not with respect to how much evidence is available in which case for what sentence, but whether the narrative of “Hindu riot-instigating politicians always go scot-free and Muslims are only victims, not perpetrators of riots” is true, and I believe that the issue should be ‘powerful vs. non-powerful’, ‘vote-bank politics vs. the spirit of democracy’ and so on, rather than “Hindu oppressors vs. Muslim oppressed”, which would actually be half-true or even false in many contexts), the forced displacement of the Kashmiri Hindus (as for rebutting the conspiracy theories and rationalizations offered about the exodus of the Kashmiri Hindus from their homeland, have a look at this piece) and even Reang Hindus from Mizoram by some Mizo Christians, Christian extremist militants who have imposed restrictions on Hindus’ religious freedom in pockets of Tripura, the terrorism unleashed against innocent rail passengers in the name of Christianity by some terrorists in Nagaland, other instances of violence against innocent Hindus (take, for instance, the recent news of a Hindu boy in Bihar being murdered by Muslim extremists for marrying a Muslim girl, or the killings of innocent Hindus in a communal riot in Rampur over a petty issue of some Hindu farmers’ cattle having strayed into Muslim peasants’ farms or how before the Dadri incident, an innocent constable in Maharashtra was killed as a retaliation against the beef ban in that state, or how very many innocent Hindus were killed by Muslim rioters in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 and Gujarat in 2002 and not only the reverse), the open religious propaganda of some Christian politicians and bureaucrats who have otherwise declared that they would operate as per the Indian constitution and so on. However, that the wrongdoings of some Muslims and Christians are relatively overlooked by sections of our civil society, in no way, validates the wrongs of the Hindu right, as if a more highlighted wrongdoing is any less of a wrongdoing.