J&K’s Accession: An insider’s account – Punarvasu Parekh

Pandit Ram Chandra Kak & Maharaja Hari Singh
JournalistThe failure of the Indian state to find a solution to the J&K dispute is rooted in its refusal to face the facts. – Punarvasu Parekh

“What Sheikh Abdullah was really gambling for … was an independent principality whose continued existence would be guaranteed by the Indian armed forces and whose solvency was secured by the Indian treasury. There was, however, no idea of a quid pro quo from his side. He did not expect to be called to account either in respect of the internal administration of the state or the utilization of funds supplied to him by the government of India.”

How prophetic these words penned way back in 1955 have been! As Indian soldiers shed their blood to protect J&K from troublemakers of all sorts and as the Indian treasury bleeds to keep it solvent, only to be greeted by chants of “Azadi” from stone-pelting mobs and demand for “greater autonomy” from local sundries, we realize how farsighted the author was in warning us that “Sheikh Abdullah stood only for his own aggrandizement and had no affection for India and no use for her except to the extent she sub-served his ends.” The Abdullah tribe has multiplied several times since then, but its genes and DNAs remain unchanged.

The author Pandit Ram Chandra Kak was the prime minister of princely state of Jammu & Kashmir during the period leading up to the state’s accession to India in October 1947. He left behind a document that records the devious political games played to transfer authority over this Hindu-Buddhist kingdom to Muslims, specifically to Sheikh Abdullah.

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil OnlineUnsurprisingly, the document is barely known in “secular” India; its only known public copy is in UK. In a monumental piece of investigative journalism, Radha Rajan presents this document in full, along with her analysis of the communal political game played by Congress leadership in general and Nehru and Gandhi in particular, which has converted Kashmir into a festering sore in Indian polity.

Pandit Kak’s document traverses familiar ground, though it does highlight some less known facts. Its chief merit consists in providing a clear and consistent exposition of the dilemma faced by the State of J&K over accession to India on the eve of independence, by a perceptive patriotic powerful insider who was privy to overt happenings as well as covert machinations in the state, who was in the centre of the storm facing winds blowing from all directions. It tells us why things went the way they did and how India could have averted the current impasse. From the document, Pandit Kak emerges as a man of learning and character, a sterling patriot who had the courage to suffer for his convictions.

In her comments on the selected passages from the document, Radha Rajan shows that what happened in J&K was not accidental, but a logical culmination of the attitudes and policies consciously adopted by Gandhi, Nehru and Congress towards princely states, especially those with Hindu rulers.

The question of accession to India came up before J&K twice in less than a year, though in very different circumstances. Its decision on both the occasions was the same, but for different reasons. Then again, Prime Minister Kak and Maharaja Hari Singh concurred in their conclusion, but not for identical reasons.

Late in 1946, the state was sounded out by the Government of India on the accession to India after the Cabinet Mission had completed its consultations with Government of India and Indian leaders in Delhi. At that time, partition was not on the horizon except as a remote contingency and the accession was envisaged only to the newly-to-be-created Dominion of India.

Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru

Pandit Kak tells us that as regards welding India into a single unit, he was not opposed to accession pure and simple. But there was a problem: Sheikh Abdullah, Congress leaders’ (especially Nehru’s) complete identification with him and their refusal to see any other point of view than his.

Sheikh Abdullah started his political career in 1931 as one of the two protagonists of Muslim Conference, an unabashed self-professed communal body. Later he fell out with the other protagonist Ch. Ghulam Abbas and set up his own outfit National Conference. As Ghulam Abbas managed to get close to Jinnah and Muslim League, Sheikh Abdullah approached Pundit Nehru for support. This he received in ample measure and soon he found himself a leading luminary in Congress firmament and President of All India States’ Peoples Conference.

While paying lip service to Congress ideals, Abdullah never forgot his original aim and ambition: absolute control over the state. With the power and prestige of Congress behind him, he started resorting to coercion and bullying against those who disagreed with him, including dissident Muslim groups. Some residents of Srinagar were for years unable to visit other parts of the town for fear of harassment. A maulavi who favoured Muslim Conference was prevented from preaching at the mosque where he and his forefathers had preached for generations before. Hindus began to live in perpetual fear. During the so-called Quit Kashmir agitation in 1946, thousands-strong mobs would surround houses of respectable persons for hours together, terrorise inmates and hurl stones and filthy abuses not sparing women folk of the house. For this reason, he was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to three years of imprisonment by the state administration.

This was the man backed to the hilt by Congress and its leaders right from the beginning. Nehru, Maulana Azad, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and others visited Kashmir and participated in deliberations and demonstrations of National Conference, which often culminated in violence. After Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest Pundit Nehru insisted on visiting Srinagar despite being told that his visit would be most undesirable in the prevailing circumstances. Nehru was detained in the Dak Bangalow at Muzaffarabad, provided all the facilities possible and the state arranged for his return to Delhi when he so decided. Indeed, after a meeting with Sardar Patel in Mumbai where Gandhi also was present, Pandit Kak facilitated Nehru’s visit to Srinagar in July 1946. Yet, it seems, Nehru never forgave Maharaja and Pandit Kak for his detention.

Against this background, it is not surprising that the decisive factor which influenced Pandit Kak in rejecting accession was the attitude of the Indian National Congress as regards the affairs of the state.

Radha Rajan points out that in the attitude of the Indian National Congress towards princely states, there was nothing peculiar to J&K. It is strange but true that Congress under Gandhi who reached out to the likes of Ali brothers, Muslim League, Jinnah and even Britishers nurtured undisguised hostility towards princely states and sought to undermine them on every conceivable occasion. J&K is the best example to show that this hostility has cost the country dearly.

The issue of accession came up again on the eve of independence when partition had been agreed upon and princely states, which were to regain sovereignty after the lapse of the British paramountcy, were advised to join either India or Pakistan.

J&K again found itself on the horns of a dilemma. It was Jinnah or Nehru-backed Abdullah. Lord Mountbatten told Pandit Kak “you must consider your geographical position, your political situation and composition of your population and then decide.” Pandit Kak rejoined “that means you advise us to accede to Pakistan. It is not possible for us to do that. And since that is so, we cannot accede to India.”

India was divided on communal lines and the only rational course of action for any state before deciding on accession was to ascertain whether its people would support the accession. And with 76 per cent Muslim population, J&K could not be sure of the support of its people if it acceded to India. Accession to India was also hobbled by Congress’s infatuation with Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah was in prison at the time of independence. Top Congress leaders were insisting not merely that he be released forthwith, but also that a new constitution be drafted for the state with their advice and power transferred to Sheikh Abdullah. Accession to Pakistan was ruled out because Pandit Kak had no illusions about the nature of Islamic state that was coming up. In other words, Kashmir would not accede to Pakistan and could not accede to India.

Pandit Kak met Jinnah who advised him to join Pakistan and offered favourable terms. However, when Jinnah was told that J&K’s decision not to accede was final, he said so long as the state did not accede to India he would not mind if it did not accede to Pakistan. Of course, he had no intention of honouring this assurance. Less than ten weeks after its formation, Pakistan invaded J&K.

From Government of India side, V. P. Menon, secretary, Ministry of States, had a lengthy discussion with Pandit Kak in Delhi and it was decided that Menon would pay a visit to Srinagar after 15 August 1947 to discuss the future course of action. Pandit Kak, therefore, resolved that under the given circumstances, it would be ideal for all stakeholders if J&K became an independent state, maintaining good relations with India and Pakistan.

Maharaja Hari Singh came to the same conclusion, though for more grandiose, if irrational, reasons. He was dreaming not just of remaining independent, but also of ruling over a larger territory. Fuelling his ambitions was Swami Sant Dev, part of the assortment of swamis, gurus, astrologers and others claiming direct communion with the supernatural collected by Maharaja Hari Singh’s uncle and predecessor Maharaja Pratap Singh. Such was the influence acquired by the Swami on Maharaja that even Pundit Nehru paid him a visit when he came to Kashmir in 1946.

For all his supposed spirituality, the Swami did not neglect the mundane. He was keen to earn jobs, contracts and other favours for his large but non-descript followers and constantly made suggestions to the administration on behalf of his cronies. On most of the occasions, Pandit Kak found it hard to oblige him. The enraged Swami started looking for an opportunity to get rid of the “obstinate” prime minister.

The opportunity came when accession became a live issue. The Maharaja was convinced that after the departure of the British, with the potency of Swami’s supernatural powers, he would be able to extend his rule to new areas. In June 1947, he met with rulers of some adjoining princely states and planned a federation of J&K and some areas now in Himachal Pradesh. When Maharaja Hari Singh sought Pandit Kak’s opinion about his plan, the latter explained to him that it was a futile and impracticable idea; it was utterly unrealistic to imagine that forces which had compelled the British to leave India would allow the creation of a new empire in their midst.

Neither Maharaja nor Swami forgave Pandit Kak for this candid advice, the cold douche he administered to their towering aspirations. Machinations started to remove him from the office. Matters reached Sardar Patel who asked Pandit Kak to convey to the Maharaja that in those crucial days it was essential that the Maharaja and his Prime Minister pulled together, and if that was not possible the situation must be brought to an end immediately. In other words, Maharaja Hari Singh had to choose between swami and Kak. Inevitably, he chose the Swami.

From that point, it was a downhill journey. On 11 August 1947, Maharaja gave Pandit Kak “permission to retire.” It was followed by decapitation of the entire administration. Top officers including Chief Secretary, Chief of the Army Staff, the IGP, Governor of Kashmir, Director of Civil Supplies, the Chief Engineer and several other important officers were removed and replaced by people of little or no experience. Sheikh Abdullah was released in September and lost no time in spreading his tentacles. These developments disheartened and alarmed the citizenry. The result was that when Pakistan attacked the state around 22nd October, it was in no position to counter it. Its helplessness was aggravated by perfidy of the British officers and treachery of the Muslim soldiery.

Pandit Kak had to pay a heavy personal price for his love of truth and candour. Charges of trumpery were forged against him and he was denied permission to leave the state even though he feared for his safety. This enabled Sheikh Abdullah to have his revenge when he paraded Kak and his elder brother through the streets of Srinagar with their hands tied and residents asked to shower shit and filth on them. Kak was pressured to give statement against Maharaja Hari Singh rule. But he did not utter a single word against the Maharaja. Kak later migrated to Kasauli.

The Hindustan Times

With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that Pandit Kak’s idea of an independent state of J&K was not viable. Pakistan would not let it remain in peace. Given its location, onset of the Cold War and China’s ambitions, it would have been a hotbed of international intrigues and a constant source of anxiety to India.

Ideally, J&K should have been fully integrated into India, just like hundreds of other states, small and big. What we now have is a halfway house, an arrangement in which India has the worst of both the worlds. For all nationalist objectives, J&K is an alien state—the steadfast refusal of Sunni Kashmiri politicians to the return of Kashmiri Pundits, establishment of sainik colonies or even temporary facilities for Amarnath pilgrims should clinch the issue. However, India has all the obligations regarding its security and solvency.

Pandit Kak’s document tells us how we could have avoided landing in this position of no rights and all responsibilities. India could and should have insisted that accession of J&K to India would be on the same terms as that of any other state. There was no insurmountable reason why it should be on a different basis. There was no need for India either to accept Mountbatten’s suggestion to make accession conditional upon a plebiscite or transfer power to Sheikh Abdullah or agree to a separate constituent assembly for the state. The Indian army was fighting the state’s battle and the simplest thing was to set up a military administration as was done subsequently in Hyderabad. By the time the military operations ended, a lot of things would have become clear. Then again, there was no need to allow Sheikh Abdullah to oust Maharaja Hari Singh and elect a new Head of State when the issue was being debated in the UN Security Council.

The failure of the Indian state to find a solution to the J&K dispute is rooted in its refusal to face the facts. The two-nation theory was false and pernicious, but after conceding Pakistan Congress lost moral right to oppose it. The country was divided on communal lines and the logic of partition has to be accepted. The existence of a large Muslim population in India does not alter the reality that after the secession of the Muslim component, what remained was and is Hindu Rashtra.

How could India expect to retain the valley of Kashmir with a 95 per cent Muslim population contiguous to the entirely Muslim province of NWFP? Replying to this poser in 1950 by Gordon Walker, then secretary of state for commonwealth relations, Pandit Kak pointed out that it was wrong to assume that the status of the valley affects only its residents and therefore they alone could decide its future. From time immemorial, Kashmir has been cradle to a vital corpus of Hindu thought and rituals. For that reason all the Hindus in India and beyond have a stake in the fate of Kashmir. Kashmir has always been a part of the Hindu Holy Land (punyabhoomi) and the question of handing it over to those who are hell-bent on destroying its Hindu ethos does not arise.

To sum up, reading this book would be a sobering, painful experience for any patriotic Indian. It narrates a sordid tale of historical vicissitudes and human weaknesses from which no player emerges unscathed. But truth, however unpalatable, must be faced. For truth alone liberates from bondage of fear, from folly and its consequences. That is the significance of Radha Rajan’s book.

»  Punarvasu Parekh is an independent journalist in Mumbai.
» Radha Rajan is a political commentator and animal rights activist in Chennai. Pandit Kak’s original document (PDF) is available on Radha Rajan’s website Vigil Online.

Jammu and Kashmir: Dilemma of accession: A historical analysis and lesson by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak

       Published by Voice of India, New Delhi.  Pages 140, Maps 2, Price Rs 300 

Order from Voice of India or Amazon

New Book: Jammu and Kashmir Dilemma of Accession: A Historical Analysis and Lesson – Radha Rajan

Jammu and Kashmir Dilemma of Accession: A historical analysis and lesson by Radha Rajan

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil OnlineJammu and Kashmir Dilemma of Accession: A Historical Analysis and Lesson authored by Radha Rajan analyses Prime Minister Pandit Ramchandra Kak‘s first-hand narrative of the tragic events which shook the Kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and the Tibets in the critical years of 1946-47 when Pandit Ramchandra Kak was Prime Minister of the kingdom.

Prime Minister Kak describes the role played by the Indian National Congress in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir from 1938 onwards and explains why the Kingdom could not accede to India in 1946 when the offer to accede was first made and again in 1947 when the Prime Minister came under pressure from several quarters to accede to Pakistan and to India. While V. P. Menon’s book for reasons unknown does not touch upon the critically important details which culminated in the tragedy of absolute power and total control over the entire kingdom being transferred to Sheikh Abdullah, it nevertheless provides critical insights and information which supplement Prime Minister Kak’s narrative; and read together, they provide all missing links in the official history of the tragedy.

Pandit Kak’s document is not available in India and while the original is with a family member, a copy of the original is housed in the India Office Library and Records, London. (A copy of the original is available on Radha Rajan’s website.)

Voice of India Publications through Radha Rajan’s book places this document for the first time since independence in the public domain in India.

ISBN 9789385485107, Voice of India, New Delhi,  Pages 140, Maps 2, Price Rs 300 

Order from Voice of India or Amazon

Why do so many Indians demean India? – Minhaz Merchant

Minhaz Merchant“The BJP behaves as if it is in office, but not in power. The more accommodative it tries to be with the Congress, TMC, JD(U) and the Left, the more aggressive the Opposition becomes. … The Congress is out of power but the ecosystem it has created over decades enables it to punch above its weight. The talent deficit in the Modi government exacerbates matters. Apart from eight to ten ministers and a few dozen MPs (out of 281) in the Lok Sabha, the BJP lacks intellectual breadth.” – Minhaz Merchant

Shashi TharoorIn an extraordinarily misconceived video comment for The Guardian last week, Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, said: “The impression has gained ground that India is now governed by obtrusive and intolerant forces determined to put minorities, rationalists and liberals in their place, somewhere not far from the dustbin.” Narendra Modi’s war on pluralism is destroying India’s reputation, The Guardian interpreted Tharoor as saying.

It is difficult to think of a more concentrated piece of incendiary nonsense in a 2.42 minute video comment.

The corrupt Lutyens’ ecosystem meanwhile roared with delight. India was getting a good, little bashing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that arriviste, was being shown his place.

Why do so many Indians so often demean India?

V. S. Naipaul put his finger on it when he said India remains a wounded civilisation. Hinduism has been in retreat for centuries—first through internal caste divisions, then Islamic invasions, and finally colonial occupation.

The anti-Indian rantings of Arundhati Roy should not be taken seriously. Every country has its share of dissenters and critics, many with outlandish and (as in Roy’s case) subversive ideas. In a democracy they should be welcome. Such views need sunlight: they will then be disinfected. Democracy is a great leveller in the fullness of time.

In India, though, the enemy lies within.

Jairam Ramesh, a former Union minister, speaking on carbon emissions, said this three days before the climate change summit in Paris earlier this month: “Unfortunately, India’s style has been very confrontational, very argumentative. It is a Krishna Menon style, it is a moralistic style. I think the world does not like that. As far as Africa and the Small Island States are concerned, we are part of the problem. So India must be less moralistic, less argumentative, less confrontational and more in an engagement mode.”

Maneka Gandhi Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child development, told a television channel just as India was battling to get a fair deal for the developing world at the climate change summit: “Historically (the fact that) the polluters have been the West doesn’t absolve India from the fact that it is today one of the major polluters. It is a question of putting the blame always … the West did it. They may have done it hundred years ago. India is one of the main players destroying the climate. We, China and Brazil are the largest producers of methane. Coal, animals and rice, these are the three reasons for methane and methane is 26 per cent more powerful than carbon dioxide in creating climate change.”

What do these two ministers, past and present, have in common? They compromise India’s interests at crucial times and play into the West’s hands.

It gets worse.

Last month in Pakistan, former Union ministers Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid made public remarks that were perverse in intent. Aiyar told a Pakistani television talk show host: “First, you need to remove Modi … otherwise the talks will not move forward.”

Khurshid at a conference in the Jinnah Institute in Islamabad said: “If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, far-sighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit. If there has been a leader of democratic Pakistan who wanted peace with India, it is (Nawaz Sharif who) was the first non-military (Pakistani) leader to try for peace.”

Subramanian Swamy & Rajiv GandhiWhat went wrong

In a recent interview with Swarajya magazine, five-time MP Dr Subramanian Swamy recalled his close friendship with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi: “I thought well of Rajiv. He was a great patriot, I thought he would make a great prime minister if he came back for the second time around, and I supported him. Openly, on the floor of Parliament (I said) he didn’t get the Bofors money, (Ottavio) Quattrocchi (Sonia Gandhi’s close friend) got it, and these were proved quite later, too late.

“(When) I had a ministerial rank position in (Narasimha Rao’s) government, as the chairman of a commission (Sonia) used to meet me once a week for tea. She, in fact, told me, ‘I’m more Sicilian than an Indian.’ I said, ‘Why do you say that?’ She said, ‘Indians like to be kicked.’ That’s what she told me. ‘Whereas you are a ruthless person,’ she told me.”

This conversation can’t be independently verified and remains Dr Swamy’s version. Pertinently though, no one has ever sued Dr Swamy for defamation despite the several serious allegations of corruption he has levelled against, especially, the Gandhis.

In contrast, the BJP (apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi) remains resolutely respectful of the Gandhis. In return, it periodically gets kicked in the teeth. The body language of several BJP ministers and MPs is deferential—in Parliament, in TV studios, and in public.

The sight of parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu pleading with a handful of Opposition MPs tells multiple stories. The BJP behaves as if it is in office, but not in power. The more accommodative it Venkaiah Naidutries to be with the Congress, TMC, JD(U) and the Left, the more aggressive the Opposition becomes.

The Congress and its handmaidens—AAP, RJD, JD(U), the Left, TMC and National Conference—meanwhile swagger their way through Parliament, TV debates, media interviews and public functions. The Congress is out of power but the ecosystem it has created over decades enables it to punch above its weight. The talent deficit in the Modi government exacerbates matters. Apart from eight to ten ministers and a few dozen MPs (out of 281) in the Lok Sabha, the BJP lacks intellectual breadth.

Modi has begun to turn the economy around, reboot foreign policy and reform infrastructure financing among many other achievements. But the positive message is hijacked by an Opposition well versed, as embattled finance minister Jaitley observed, in Gobblesian propaganda. The BJP’s Delhi unit has been ineffective for years. It is time talented and honest administrators are brought into the party’s Delhi unit or its 67-3 rout in the February 2015 Assembly elections will not be the last.

The Congress behaves like a colonial master, the BJP, despite attempts at retaliation, like a deferential subject in a colony where it has the majority but not the wit to enforce its will. While Modi has his hands full cleaning up the detritus left behind by the scam-tainted, policy-paralysed ten-year regime of the UPA, he must now turn his attention to bridging the talent deficit in the government. He also needs to change the over-deferential psychological mindset of the BJP.

That doesn’t mean emulating the Congress’ empty swagger but being clinically assertive. “Playing nice” will not work with colonial-clone bullies. As with all bullies, aggression conceals cowardice. There’s only one way to deal with that: stand up to it.

Sonia & Rahul GandhiPostscript to National Herald case

Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) announced through advertisements in newspapers last week that an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of its shareholders would be held in Lucknow on January 21, 2016. The aim: to seek approval to convert the AJL into a section 8 company under the Companies Act 2013 (equivalent to a section 25 company under the old Companies Act, 1956) and change its name.

The notice, clearly sparked by recent court events in the National Herald case, says: “The board of the company has been considering for more than four years that the company should not be commercially motivated with a view to distribute any benefits or dividends to its members. It should, instead, operate and undertake its activities for the larger public good. As such, the board has decided to take necessary steps to convert the company into a non-for-profit section 8 company under the Companies Act, 2013.”

A close reading of the Companies Act, 2013, Business Standard reported, reveals that under sub-section (9) of section 8, “If on the winding up or dissolution of a company registered under this section, there remains, after the satisfaction of its debts and liabilities, any assets, they may be transferred to another company registered under this section and having similar objects, subject to such conditions as the tribunal may impose, or may be sold and proceeds thereof credited to the Rehabilitation and Insolvency Fund formed under section 269.”

As Business Standard correctly pointed out: “This means that the assets, after meeting debts and liabilities, could be transferred to another section 8 company. The assets could also be sold and the proceeds credited to the government’s Rehabilitation and Insolvency Fund. A section 8 company could also be converted into a regular company after meeting some prescribed requirements under the companies law.”

This last critical fact significantly weakens the not-for-profit argument on which Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s lawyers have based their defence against Dr Swamy’s complaint. – Daily O, 22 December 2015

Herald House Lucknow

Sonia & Rahul summoned in National Herald newspaper case – IANS

Copy of the National Herald

Subramanian Swamy“The judge … added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.” – IANS

A court here Thursday issued summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on charges of misappropriating funds of a company that used to publish the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

In response to a private complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy, Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said: “I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused.”

The court directed them to appear before it Aug 7.

The Congress called it “a motivated complaint”. “The allegations are baseless,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

A party statement added: “All the people named in the National Herald matter will seek legal advice and do the needful.”

Apart from the Gandhis, the court also summoned Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda, who was an advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and former journalist Suman Dubey, who is close to the Gandhi family.

The complaint alleged that the Gandhis formed a company, Young Indian, in 2010 with 38 percent share each to take control of Rs. 2,000 crore worth of assets of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which published the National Herald.

The National Herald was started in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru. Over the decades, it lost circulation and ran into major financial losses, leading to its closure in 2008.

“Since all the accused persons have allegedly acted in consortium with each other to achieve the said nefarious purpose/design, there are sufficient grounds for proceedings against all of them,” the court said.

However, the judge added in a 20-page order that “it goes without saying that guilt of an accused is determined after trial when the burden of proof is discharged beyond reasonable doubt.

Sonia Gandhi + Rahul Gandhi“This is only the stage of summoning of the accused. When the accused appear before the court they shall be at liberty to refute the allegations of (Swamy), cross examine the witnesses.”

The judge, however, added that the complainant had established a prime facie case of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The summons were also served on Young Indian.

“The chain of circumstance appears to give rise to a conclusive or irresistible inference of an agreement between the accused to commit the offences as alleged in a pre-planned manner,” the court observed.

It noted that “though the language in the documents is shrouded in ambiguity, it is not difficult to understand that the control over public money/assets appear to have been cleverly transferred to the hands of the few by creating a company (Young Indian) for this purpose”.

Speaking to reporters, Swamy said: “This is a fraud, criminal breach of trust as they have managed to misappropriate the fund of Rs. 2,000 crore.

“It is important for the court to take away the passports of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi so that they do not run away from the country.”

Rebutting the charges, Singhvi accused Swamy of running a “motivated campaign” against the Congress.

“This is a stale complaint made some time in 2013. About a year later, we heard in the press that a summons is being issued. We have not even received it yet. You can rest assured that a fitting response will be given after we receive the papers,” Singhvi said.

“Dr. Swamy is known for his motivated campaign against the Congress,” he added.

“Allegations made over a year ago lead to only a process. Issuance of process on a stale complain over a year ago is not something we are excited about. Let us receive the paper which we have not received and seek comprehensive legal advice and you will see how all allegations in this respect are going to be legally demolished.”

Herald House LucknowHe said the offence was made possible because of the Gandhis’ “crony control over the Congress party and AJL”.

He alleged that they closed AJL in 2008 due to financial crisis and stopped printing the National Herald and sister publications Navjivan (Hindi) and Qaumi Awaz (Urdu), which were saddled with huge debts.

To resolve the financial crisis, AJL transferred the share equity to Young Indian by payment of a mere Rs. 50 lakh without taking any reference from the shareholders.

Young Indian thus acquired the complete ownership of AJL real estate assets of at least Rs. 2,000 crore, including a multi-storeyed building in a prime location in Delhi.

The court observed that the office bearers of Congress by advancing interest-free loan to the AJL, a public limited company involved in commercial activities, appeared to have defrauded a large number of persons who contributed to the political party by way of donation.

The court observed that the revenue generated by the properties belonging to AJL is being dishonestly misappropriated by the directors of Young Indian. – Business Standard, 28 June 2014

See also

Hotel Tihar

Countering AAP: What BJP should do – Virendra Parekh

Virendra Parekh“BJP should quietly focus on its core—in fact, its only—support base: Hindus. Hindus constitutes 82 per cent of the population. Even if half of them come your way and actually vote for you, you will sweep the polls. While BJP is loath to call itself a party of Hindu nationalism, the fact remains that Hindu nationalism is its raison d’être and Hindus alone can put it in power it they want to.” – Virendra Parekh

Aam Aadmi Party LogoThe entry of Aam Adhmi Party (AAP) with a bang is fast changing the political scene of the country. People from all walks of life and all statras of society are joining it in thousands by the day. Sensing the groundswell of public response to its brand of politics, the party has lost no time in announcing its national ambitions—the latest reports say it will contest 400 Lok sabha seats and raise Rs. 400 crore from big and small donations to fund its campaign. Media is going ga-ga over it. Reigning scion of a political dynasty has informed us that the race for the PM is no longer a two-horse one. All parties are forced to revisit their calculations and strategies. Expectedly, their public reactions are dictated by convenience and profit. Internally, there is a sense of discomfort at the prospect of having to cope with this unknown quantity.

BJP FlagOf all the parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has greatest reason to be rattled by the new and unexpected development. Its objective of forming a Narendra Modi-led government at the centre, which appeared quite within its grasp just a few weeks ago, now looks distant and uncertain. The BJP rightly fears the split in anti-establishment votes in areas and among sections which it expected to gravitate to itself almost as a natural course. In a fractured polity like India’s, loss of even a small percentage of votes could party dearly in terms of seats. If it wants to see Modi as India’s prime minister it must win upwards of 220 seats to become the dominant partner in a coalition. Anything less would induce allies to set terms for their support.

This is a precarious scenario which will certainly be exploited by BJP’s arch enemies—Congress and AAP. Congress, having given up all hope of returning to power on its own, has now focused on its second-best objective: anyone-but-Modi. In an all-out bid to keep Modi-led BJP out of power at any cost, it will egg on and facilitate AAP to spoil BJP’s chances to the maximum and confine BJP’s seat tally to 180 or below. As things appear to be today (looks can be deceptive as much in politics as elsewhere in real life), this is not very difficult. AAP managed to win 40 per cent seats (28/70) in Delhi with a vote share of 30 per cent. If it wins only 40-45 seats in Lok Sabha that would be enough to sink Narendra Modi’s dream of leading a government at the centre. It works out to less than 10 per cent of the total.

It would be a tragedy for the country if this possibility, which can no longer be dismissed out of hand, becomes reality. The stakes in the forthcoming elections are enormously high not just for the BJP but for the whole country. For the first time since Independence, the country is presented with a genuinely non-Congress non-Nehruvian alternative which is both credible and creditable. The outcome of the elections will determine not only who will form the government but the ideology, political philosophy, economic policy and civilisational direction that the country will take in the next decade. It is a golden opportunity to throw away the Nehruvian garbage that has ruled and ruined this country for most of the post-Independence period.

Bhagwa DwajaThe Hindus in particular have to be extraordinarily alert. What is at stake is nothing less than the fate of Hinduism and the pride and power of Hindus in the only country they can call their own. It may be too late for them to reverse the drift to subservience (if not oblivion), if this opportunity is missed.

An easy option for BJP is to trust its luck and wait for AAP to discredit itself with its ineptness and contradictions. It is only a matter of time.

The populist measures announced by AAP so far purportedly to fulfill its election promises are short-sighted, half-baked and ill-conceived. The decision to supply 20 kilolitres of water free to every household will leave high and dry the large sections which are not covered by water pipeline network. It will also encourage meter tempering and corruption by those whose consumption is close to the threshold. On power, instead of forcing the companies to reduce tariff it has announced subsidy at the cost of the state exchequer. Both the measures, while costing the state heavily, would leave out large and vocal segments who were in forefront of its campaign. Their discontent would become manifest soon. AAP’s promise to regularize unauthorized colonies and slums will give free hand to land mafias and squatters including Bangladeshi infiltrators to encroach on public land, put up all sorts of structures and claim regularisation in the name of aam aadmi.

AAP’s platform of anti-corruption and responsive governance has universal appeal, but it cannot overcome conflicts of interest and approach. Its opposition to FDI in retail has been hailed by the traders, but criticized by upper class new comers like Captain Gopinath. Between strongly unionized and pampered workers (auto drivers, bank staff, teachers) on strike and the hapless citizenry, whom will AAP side with? When high net-worth individuals donate big sums to the party, will they expect nothing in return?

As AAP has ideologically positioned itself against political establishment as a whole, it will find it difficult to work with other parties to secure common objectives. The disdain will be mutual. In Delhi, Congress put up with the humiliation of supporting AAP on the latter’s terms to deny BJP power. In the post-election scenario, other parties may not be so obliging. Imagine Jayalalithaa’s reaction to AAP’s conditions for accepting her support! In fact, unaligned regional parties may feel more comfortable dealing with BJP than AAP.

Wheel of FortunaThe point is that the challenge of AAP may not be as strong as it may appear at first sight. However, the Goddess of Fortune rarely blesses those who rely solely on her to solve their problems. The BJP can ignore AAP’s challenge only at its own peril. It has to change its strategy in double-quick time if it wants to recapture and build upon the lead that it enjoyed earlier.

First, stop blasting Congress. It is no longer necessary. The BJP and its star campaigner must realize that lambasting Congress is like a flogging a dead horse. The unbearable price rise and stinking corruption has decimated popular support. In the little time that it still has in office, it may try to refurbish image of its Shahzada, but cannot make any real difference to the lives of the people. So, when you frontally assault Congress, its first family and the Shahzada, people are restless. It is not that they disagree, but they want to hear something else, something which is related to their own lives.

Secondly, BJP has to be very careful in attacking AAP, which is a sanitized version of Indira’s Congress in terms of economic ideology and political philosophy. There are many weaknesses in AAP’s actions, policies and thinking. But as a party which has been in office for less than a month, it enjoys a measure of public sympathy. If you attack it for not fulfilling election promises, it can say that will be done later. For everything that AAP does, spell out clearly what else you would do and why it would be better.

Thirdly, BJP should quietly focus on its core—in fact, its only—support base: Hindus. Hindus constitutes 82 per cent of the population. Even if half of them come your way and actually vote for you, you will sweep the polls. While BJP is loath to call itself a party of Hindu nationalism, the fact remains that Hindu nationalism is its raison d’être and Hindus alone can put it in power it they want to.

There are two very important Hindu issues that the BJP can raise without inviting opprobrium: one, ending the government control of and interference with Hindu temples and second, teaching of Hinduism in government-aided educational institutions. It would be a good idea constitutionally because it would be plea to end discrimination based on religion and politically because non-Hindus will not be affected by it.

Modi speaking at a rally.On the other hand, no amount of distributing skull caps and burquas or sadbhavna yatras will win BJP a single Muslim vote. Muslims perceive them for what they are: vote catching gestures. In wooing Muslim as Muslims, BJP can never compete with the likes of Congress, Trinamool Congress or Samajwadi Party. If it wants Muslims to vote for it, it should appeal to them over the heads of mullahs and maulavis and address their secular aspirations at par with others and without singling them out as a group.

Modi's Trichy MeetingFor long, BJP leaders have conducted their campaigns in negative terms. That strategy is now due to diminishing returns. BJP needs to announce a series of concrete actions and measures—not rosy but hazy visions of a resurgent India—that will set it apart from other parties and tell its backers what to expect. Abolition of personal income tax is a good example. Other measures could be abolition of planning commission, reduction in number of economic ministries at the centre (why on earth do we need a ministry for food processing, steel, coal or textiles?), clear and unambiguous environment policy, freeing agricultural markets across the country, ban on futures trading in edible agricultural commodities including sugar and edible oils and their replacement with delivery-based forward contracts. It should spell out its approach to dialogue with Pakistan, treatment of jihadis captured by security forces, Chinese incursions into Indian territories, FDI in defence and so on.

Instead of committing itself on all these irrevocably it could seek expert opinion (no mohalla level meetings please) on these ideas and promise to fashion its policies accordingly.

Eyes of all right thinking Indians are on BJP to see how it rises to the challenge of AAP. While the party has shown awareness of the new impediment in its path, it is still looking for a handle to wrench the fresh challenger. Here it is.

AAP has projected itself as a party of the Common Man; BJP should project itself as the party of the Common Sense.

» Virendra Parekh is the executive editor of Corporate India magazine and lives in Mumbai.

Arvind Kejriwal: Populism’s Comprador – Ravi Shankar Etteth

Ravi Shankar Etteth“Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it also reveals a bankruptcy of ideas. By sporting saffron caps a la Kejri, the BJP is borrowing AAP’s iconography, thereby becoming its own caricature. The middle class is the new political power, and all three know this. But the BJP is its own nemesis. A cabal is attempting to sabotage the vision to abolish multi-tax chaos—which would be the biggest game changer with the middle classes and traders, the BJP’s main votebank. It is obvious that a section in the BJP is supporting both Kejri and the Congress by default, to hobble Modi’s chances.” – Ravi Shankar Etteth

M.K. Gandhi &n Sarojini Naidu on the Salt March, 1930There are images in history that are forever embedded in the mythos of a people, defining the symbols of the age—usually chaotic with the churning of public opinion. They represent change. Mahatma Gandhi walking towards the eternal seashore of Dandi is a defining symbol of India’s freedom struggle. He transformed khadi into a symbol of national pride, and the burning of British goods—which may have been superior in quality—was a watershed moment in Indian history. The image of the “half-naked fakir”, as Winston Churchill called him, spinning a charkha is even today a metaphor of Swaraj. The bulldog-faced Churchill, with the defiant cigar in a grim mouth, symbolised implacable chutzpah against Hitler’s war machine. There are more—Lenin’s statues in unforgiving profile, Nehru’s flamboyant red rose, Ho Chi Minh’s conical hat. These form the lithography of change.

Kejriwal the 'free' electrician!India has minted itself a new icon. A bespectacled man wearing a trademark cap and a lumpy pullover, sporting a toothbrush moustache and a muffler wrapped around his neck, standing by an electric pole, pliers in hand, cutting wires. Arvind Kejriwal is India’s new hero. Only, he is breaking the law he is sworn to uphold as Delhi’s chief minister. In a sweeping gesture of lumpen populism, all cases against power theft accused would be withdrawn. Those who haven’t paid their power bills would be forgiven—losses to the exchequer be damned. Case in point: post-privatisation, losses to Delhi government were reduced by 70 per cent, saving Rs 37, 000 crore of public money. Power theft went down from 45 per cent to 5 per cent. However comical the comparison, men like Gandhi defied the law to create freedom while men like Kejri are breaking the law to create anarchy. Citizen cops to carry out sting operations is a populist masterstroke, but only the small fish would fall in the net—the policeman who takes a Rs 100 bribe or the sanitary inspector who pockets Rs 500. The big players who bribe politicians with crores of rupees for public contracts do not do sting operations because they would be the losers.

Rahul-G Kejri is only doing what Rahul Gandhi wishes to do. They are doppelgangers, and perhaps ideological confederates, supposedly working to sweep anti-people rot from the system. Rahul is for massive subsidies for votebanks. So is Kejri. Waiving farmers’ loans encourages defaulters and is not empowerment. Rahul is for minority reservation, while Kejri woos Muslim votes and wants reservation for Delhi students; just like Marathi manoos Raj Thackeray. Rahul is against big business, so is Kejri who opposes FDI in retail. Kejri could decimate the ageing venal Congress leadership—which is Rahul’s aim. Kejri is India’s new Rahul Gandhi while the Congress party’s Kejri is willing to let his alter ego do the job. Rahul knows Kejri is the only challenger to what Narendra Modi stands for and is allowing the next election to become a contest not between him and Modi, but between Kejri and Modi. Thus, by devaluing the Modi franchise, the Congress plays the puppeteer once more.

BJP copies AAP's caps!The joker in the pack is the BJP. Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it also reveals a bankruptcy of ideas. By sporting saffron caps a la Kejri, the BJP is borrowing AAP’s iconography, thereby becoming its own caricature. The middle class is the new political power, and all three know this. But the BJP is its own nemesis. A cabal is attempting to sabotage the vision to abolish multi-tax chaos—which would be the biggest game changer with the middle classes and traders, the BJP’s main votebank. It is obvious that a section in the BJP is supporting both Kejri and the Congress by default, to hobble Modi’s chances.

Replicating the Delhi model at the Centre could be a feasible post-poll scenario, and other ‘secular’ parties would support Kejri to keep Modi and the BJP out. The Congress perpetuates itself by supporting the enemy outside, while the enemy within could destroy the BJP. – The New Indian Express, 12 January 2013

» Ravi Shankar Etteth is a columnist for The New Indian Express. He can be contacted at ravi@newindianexpress.com

Don’t waste your vote on AAP – Virendra Parekh

Virendra Parekh“While AAP has been quick to declare its national ambitions, it has been loath to spell out its national vision or its position on important national issues—economic, social, security and foreign affairs. We know nothing about its roadmap to restore growth momentum, curb inflation, control fiscal and current account deficit or its position on tax reform, FDI in retail, defence, insurance or railways, growth-inflation balance, not to mention jihadi terrorism, Maoist threat, China and Pakistan.” – Virendra Parekh

Arvind Kumar KejriwalMake no mistake about it. The millions of countrymen, especially the young generation yearning for deliverance from the corrupt, insensitive and decrepit UPA regime will be wasting their vote if they are swayed by the syrupy rhetoric of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and decide to support it in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. A vote for AAP would mean a vote for more of the same though in a different packaging. Worse, it would push away by about a decade the credible chance for a real change which is now within their grasp.

No doubt the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party  from its inception a year ago to forming the government of Delhi recently is an extraordinary phenomenon. Few other movements in recent history have gripped the popular imagination—as much of the elite as of the masses—with such fervour. It has kindled great hopes for clean governance in Delhi and beyond, aroused strong misgivings about its economic policies and political leanings and, last but not the least, upset all the political calculations about the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections—all in the span of just a few weeks.

The party is basking in the groundswell of popular support all over the country. Cutting across barriers of classes, castes and communities people are joining it in thousands every day. The target of 1 crore members by 26 January looks quite achievable. They are driven by the hope that AAP will sharply reduce if not eliminate the burden of corruption, extortion and bribery which weighs heavily on people in dealing with the official agencies.

Significantly, it is not just ordinary people, some of them too poor to pay even membership fee of Rs. 10, who are pouring in in droves. High-profile professionals from diverse walks of life are also increasingly inclined to take plunge into what was till recently regarded as a cesspool of corruption, dishonesty and manipulation of the worst kind. Earlier, professionals kept away from politics, since only those with political lineage, muscle and black money could succeed in the political arena. But AAP has suddenly created space for others. Notable personalities to join AAP in the last few days include former banker Meera Sanyal, former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan, industrialists Pawan Munjal and Adarsh Shastri, former Star TV boss Sameer Nair, TV journalist Ashutosh, danseuse Mallika Sarabhai and singers Remo Fernandes and Rabbi Shergil, to name a few.

Of course, not all those who are joining the party are motivated by disinterested idealism. Indian politics is never short of opportunists, attention-seekers and Page 3 people waiting to jump on to any bandwagon that promises them a free ride, even if it be a tiny speck of limelight.

Indian General Election 2014Elated by the popular response, AAP has announced its intention to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections on a large scale. The current indications are that it will contest most of the seats in the western and northern India. Apart from Delhi, it is eyeing Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.

The alacrity with which AAP announced its national ambitions raises suspicions. Here is a party (or, more appropriately, association of persons) which has come to power on the promise of a single point agenda of clean and responsive administration. It is yet to deliver on it. The measures announced so far were easy pickings. Anyone can distribute goodies and largesse at the expense of the public treasury. Announcing a helpline for reporting bribery is not exactly the same thing as eliminating corruption. Setting examples in simple living is of great symbolic value, but it can hardly make any difference to the financial health of the state. One would have thought that AAP would consolidate its position by governing one state well, building a strong cadre and earning credibility by being true to its words before making a bid for power at the centre. But AAP seems to be in an unseemly haste to serve the whole nation by cashing in on the popularity wave before it begins to ebb.

Congress has been quick to see the opportunity and welcome it with open arms. It never expected such a powerful agent to split the anti-Congress vote. Just listen to the soothing if not laudatory words from the party leaders about its apparent enemy. Also notice how the pro-Congress media is playing up the new challenger. AAP will be focusing on states where BJP expects to do well. Is it purely coincidence?

To put it brusquely, AAP’s entry into the national arena has upset the BJP’s applecart. Adversaries of BJP in general and Narendra Modi in particular are unable to conceal their glee. The very same people who served as social, cultural and intellectual props of the Congress and the UPA Government are fast shifting their preference to AAP. Media houses are going ga-ga over the new kid on the block. Not just the Congressmen, but the entire secularist class that dominates politics, media and academia seems convinced that the momentum has gone out of the Modi campaign. Just as Hurricane Katrina had blown away the Republican challenge to the Obama presidency in 2012, they feel, the AAP wave is all set to wash away Modi’s dreams. Modi, we are told in no uncertain terms, has “lost the plot”. At least two leading columnists have asked people to think the unthinkable: Arvind Kejriwal as the next Is the 2014 general election a contest between Modi and Kejriwal?prime minister.

The argument is that if Aam Aadmi Party can scale up nationally, conventional analysis that the next national government will be headed by the BJP will become junk. In Delhi, the AAP won 28 out of 70 seats, with 30 per cent of the popular vote. In the general elections, it simply has to win just 40 seats out of 543. That could sink Narendra Modi’s hopes of heading a BJP-led coalition. A Third Front government, including neither the Congress nor BJP, is a clear possibility.

This is not a far-fetched scenario. India has 53 cities with a population of over one million. The big metros alone account for over 50 seats. Urban India as a whole accounts for around 110 of 543 seats. Even in the so-called rural areas, there are many settlements with a population of 10,000. These will provide fertile ground for AAP to flourish. And why must we presume that in these days of 24×7 TV channels the rural folks will be totally impervious to the Idea that swept so many Delhiites off their feet?

If AAP wins 40-odd seats, it may become the biggest constituent of the Third Front, bigger than any regional party. Kejariwal, we are told, will have excellent credentials to become prime minister of a Third Front government. He would have significant numbers and also the moral authority of the man who toppled Congress and also prevented the BJP from taking its place.

Agreed, all this is pure speculation. Delhi is not India, in more than one sense. But, argue the learned columnists, if the unthinkable could happen last year, it could happen this year also.

This is the scenario that reassures and enthuses the tribe of individuals who are routinely rewarded by the current dispensation with committee memberships, research grants by ministries and umpteen business class tickets for seminars in the West. In the orchestrated buzz over AAP, they see a twin opportunity: to stop their ideological enemy Narendra Modi from reaching Delhi and, more importantly, to hold on to the perks of being on the right side of the establishment.

Kejriwal's Chaos: Not the way to govern a country!However, this is also the scenario that frightens and worries all those who are committed to a strong and resurgent India taking big strides on the growth path, zealously guarding its borders, restoring its pride and claiming its rightful place in the comity of nations. The prospect of another weak, incoherent and unstable government at the centre is giving nightmares to all those who had pinned their hopes on a strong and dynamic leadership taking charge of the national affairs after the next elections. Of course, we need a clean and responsive government; but we also need growth, jobs, security, economic freedom and pride.

While AAP has been quick to declare its national ambitions, it has been loath to spell out its national vision or its position on important national issues—economic, social, security and foreign affairs. We know nothing about its roadmap to restore growth momentum, curb inflation, control fiscal and current account deficit or its position on tax reform, FDI in retail, defence, insurance or railways, growth-inflation balance, not to mention jihadi terrorism, Maoist threat, China and Pakistan.

On corruption, the party talks a lot about Jan Lok Pal, which if enacted would be a larger edition of the anti-corruption bureaus that most states have. It is silent on the real sources of corruption: discretionary powers enjoyed by netas and babus and distortion of markets.

Its actions so far betray a preference for theatricals, symbolism and the line of least resistance. Mr. Kejriwal and his colleagues are full of good intentions and sincerity, but these are no substitute for sound policies and administrative skills.

For instance, AAP government has ordered the Delhi Jal Nigam to supply 20 kilolitres of free water to all households. The move will do substantial damage to the already weak finances of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and to basic principles of sustainable urban water pricing policy. It would not help (and may hurt) the 30-40 per cent of Delhi’s residents who do not have piped water. It does nothing to solve the 40-50 per cent leakage of Delhi water supply (both real leakage in a poorly maintained system and “leakage” to tanker mafias); and it sharply increases the incentives for meter-tampering Cow + Water(and associated corruption) by all households consuming close to 20 kilolitres per month.

In between we have heard talks of holding referendum in J&K over presence of army, 90 per cent reservations in Delhi colleges for the locals and more caste-based reservations.

Holding Janata Darbar for direct interaction with people to hear their grievances (the first one ended in chaos) is needless distraction. Let us assume its ministers would not make money. But the real challenge lies in doing some of the most unglamorous things, such as making auto rickshaws run on meters and observe traffic rules, expanding the water pipeline network, installing correct meters in rickshaws, water pipes and power connections, toning up administration, taking away discretionary powers of babus, following a policy that will be fair to both the service providers and consumers etc. These are small things, but cumulatively impinge on the quality of daily life of all citizens. But can AAP do it?

All in all, AAP comes out increasingly as a single issue party without a public policy, or any idea of what ails India, or about its geographical borders and threats to those borders. Its sole stance is shouting ‘chor!,’ ‘chor!’ at all other players in the field.

True to style, Mr. Kejriwal has asked suggestions from the people for preparing the party’s manifesto, looking very much like an author in search of a plot. He will receive plenty of suggestions serving sectional interests, which are often conflicting. If he or his team has vision or wisdom to balance the various conflicting sectional interests to serve the common good, they are yet to show it.

Kejriwal & Kapil Sibal hug at a Dilli mosque!History moves in strange ways. The biggest beneficiaries of AAP’s influence in the coming elections will be none other than the Congress and its allies. It will be the ultimate irony if AAP, product of a movement against corruption, ends up benefiting the most corrupt party in the country. AAP leaders may not see it in their zeal to ‘serve the people’. That is no reason for us citizens to ignore it. Remember, in a democracy people get the government that they deserve and not as they desire. India deserves better than Congress or its surrogate allies.

» Virendra Parekh is the executive editor of Corporate India magazine and lives in Mumbai.

Kejriwal's AAP: Allahu Akbar Party