Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Commentary: is the NDA government being obstructionist in Delhi?

During the last parliamentary session each time the Congress party was accused of being obstructionist, the Congress spokesmen referred to the conduct of the BJP in the past and their equally obstructionist behavior. So tit for tat is the logic that seems to rule our elected bodies which only leads to legislative and executive paralysis for everyone. It is the common citizen who suffers the outcomes of the non-stop tug of war. Currently however it is the BJP that has been self-righteously accusing the Congress of being a spoil sport in the upper house where it has a big majority. With ample justification too! But is the BJP behaving any better even today?

The fact is the BJP government at the center has been playing the obstructionist game in Delhi through its Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jang and its Police Commissioner B S Bassi. In fact their very brief seems to be a constant needling and harassment of the AAP government preventing it from keeping its election promises. The AAP leaders on the other hand have proved hard to be cowed down and are giving both the officials as well as the central leaders of BJP a tough time.

To take up a specific case, this report dwells in some detail on how the Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi is doing all he can to obstruct the recent move of the AAP government in Delhi to undo some of the pollution and the smog through the ‘odd-even scheme’ whereby a person owning a vehicle can use it only on alternate days. AAP does not claim it to be a complete solution but it is a good beginning for any city in India – it shows a willingness on the part of a government and also a large number of citizens to make an effort to clear up the toxic skies. Commissioner Bassi however takes a purely negative attitude by complaining that the odd-even scheme does not make a blanket ban but provides exemptions to a people such as the sick. Common sense dictates that some kind of exemptions have to be made for emergencies and the deserving.  Secondly, Commissioner Bassi instead of joining the laudable effort is more busy issuing threats to the likely AAP volunteers who may check the vehicles on the Delhi roads. So it seems Bassi’s chief interest is not the implementation of what may turn out to be quite beneficial for Delhi but to hunt for AAP volunteers if any and arrest them. 

The moral may be – if the BJP had a right to complain about the conduct of the Congress, its own behavior in Delhi demolishes the moral high ground taken in the parliament. An unsparing interview with Arvind Kejriwal by Barkha Dutt, though a bit lengthy says it all. 

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