‘Vir Sanghvi is being elitist’

BY Anand Kumar| IN Opinion | 24/03/2009
Those could be his opinions but they fail two important tests. One, they fail to take cognizance of facts. Two they fail the test of neutrality.
ANAND KUMAR, in a letter to the Hoot.

This has reference to Mr Vir Sanghvi’s article ‘Third Front’s a Crowd’, which appeared in the Hindustan Times, March 15. It is not only against the fundamental tenets of democracy, it reflects the snobbish attitude of Mr. Sanghvi. It appears that he cannot digest the fact of leaderships emerging from below and has advocated a case for elitist leadership. He has indulged in the favourite pastime of the elite today, Mayawati bashing, trashing the Third Front and declaring even the Bharatiya Janata Party  a better option.


Those could be his opinions but they fail two important tests. One, they fail to take cognizance of facts. Two they fail the test of neutrality.


He is exceptionally vocal in expressing his contempt for Mayawati. In an earlier article in this very column he had called her ‘stupid’. Such expressions he has never used, and I am sure will never use, for other leaders like Narendra Modi, Bal or Raj Thakarey to name just a few. Perhaps his bias made him forget to comment on that Marathi Manush, Sharad Pawar, who has also made clear his prime ministerial aspirations in no uncertain terms.


For Mayawati he has some questions like how would she deal with the economic crisis? What would she do about foreign policy issues? Not only this, he goes on to spew venom on her by suggesting that all she can do is sell the Taj Mahal or collect money on her birthday for she is not capable of anything better.


He conveniently forgets that the present economic crisis is the creation of the best brains in the USA and Europe whose advice the experts in our country, including the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, have been blindly following in the name of globalization and liberalization. We must thank the communist parties who prevented them from taking the drastic steps of privatising banks and insurance companies. Can we forget that the major economic scams have taken place during the rule of Congress and BJP governments? Before asking how Mayawati will deal with the crisis perhaps one should question the capabilities of those who brought about this crisis in the first place. Those responsible for the present mess are alleged to have the best of intellects in this country.


As regards foreign policy issues the record of the present government and especially the Prime Minister is not very admirable. If pleasing George Bush and becoming an ally of the United States of America is good foreign policy then it is a matter of great concern. Our PM’s slavish declaration of love for the outgoing Bush must have embarrassed even those who support this shift in foreign policy. The Prime Minister recently staked his government to fulfil his commitment to Mr. Bush on the nuclear deal against the wishes of a large section of people in the country. There was nothing in the deal that could not have waited for a new president in the US to be elected. The follies of this and preceding governments are too many to be listed here. They however do not invite invectives like ‘stupid’ from Sanghvi.


As far as corruption is concerned everyone in the country watched on TV how the present government was saved by employing the services of the well known ‘fixer’ Amar Singh. So much for handling of the foreign policy matters by eminent and highly educated people as opposed to the ‘illiterate’ Mayawati. It is also true that in the art of corruption Mayawati stands nowhere before the leaders of the Congress and BJP. Leaders of those parties have a huge list of their accomplishments from the Nagarwala scam to Bofors to other murky deals like the one uncovered by the Tehelka expose.


Sanghvi heaps ridicule on Mayawati by saying she may sell the Taj Mahal when he too knows who sold the family jewels in this country. Profit making Public Sector ventures (Balco, VSNL, Centaur Hotels etc.) were sold at dirt cheap rates by Arun Shourie during BJP regime. The Taj Mahal cannot be sold but some of our venerated leaders have sold many other things including pieces of our sovereignty.


The Third Front may be a crowd but most of its leaders have come up from the grass roots. These parties have emerged because of the failures of the Congress and BJP. What is the Congress today? A motley crowd that is bound together by slavery to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Even the seniormost of its leaders kowtows to a greenhorn, who does not know the difference between the nuclear deal and the reasons for the darkness in a poor dalit’s house.  And God save the country from a party with jingoist leaders like Modi. Leaders like Mayawati have not emerged by just ‘leveraging caste’ votes as Sanghvi alleges. She is only doing it openly whereas all those great leaders of BJP and Congress have done it all along. Mayawati rose to where she is today after slogging for over 20 years to build a movement of the most oppressed castes. Is that not permissible in a democracy? If not, then what other means of assertion of their rights are being suggested by Sanghvi?


Why should people choose only between Congress and BJP? People have already tested Congress for more than 50 years and BJP for the last 20 years. The Constitution makes  no provision for the party system. It just envisages representation of people. The Third Front is a reflection of the deepening of democracy in India. It is incomprehensible why Mr. Sanghvi is afraid of this process of maturing of Indian democracy? 


In the end, what gives Mr Sanghvi the right to say categorically, "There should be no Third Front?" Has he ever said that about parties like the Shiv Sena or Maharashtra Navnirman Sena? Too scared to dole out such prescriptions to others?


Anand Kumar


March 23, 2009 

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