Society & Lifestyle
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|by Dr. Amitabh Mitra|
Many years back I had written to Anand Sharmaji asking him if there is a remote possibility of me getting a Congress I nomination for the Gwalior Lok Sabha Polls. I had told him in no uncertain terms that I lack financial clout in spite of the people of rural and urban Gwalior loving me.
Anand Sharmaji was a leader of the Youth Congress during those days. It was an abrupt question to which he had no answer, other than asking me to spend more time in Delhi.
Is it possible for an ordinary Indian like me to have dreams of being a part of the August body, the Indian Parliament?
I belong to the town of Gwalior, a ramshackle old place with heritage and honor which I proudly share with its entire people.
The auto driver tells me in chaste bad land Hindi 'Doctorji. Please don't come back to Gwalior, because it is painful for all of us when you leave' In typical Hindi / Urdu mixed dialect he adds that I give urticaria (Khujli) to everybody here, the journalists, doctors, engineers and politicians. We keep on scratching even after you have gone. This would not happen if I settle down permanently back in Gwalior.
The palace in the middle of the town has kept the common man in awe for centuries and in the 60th year of independence, palace politics dominates the Lok Sabha elections also.
Member of Parliament who brought shame to the people of Gwalior is Ram Sevak Singh of Congress I Member of Parliament from Lok Sabha . He was caught on camera accepting 50,000 rupees for asking five questions in the Parliament. The sting operation rolled by the news channel Aaj Tak caught 11 MPs taking bribes representing different political parties. Ram Sevak Singh, a virtually unknown face in Gwalior was pushed up suddenly by the Congress I and given a parliamentary seat. It is a well known fact that parliamentary seats are given and not won. Congress I had to remove him from his primary membership as a face saving gesture.
On Sunday March 11, 2007 Yashodhara Raje Scindia of the BJP was declared elected to the Gwalior Lok Sabha seat. She defeated her nearest Congress rival Ashok Singh by over 35,000 votes. The misfortune is that Yashodhara Raje never belonged to Gwalior.
Yashodhara Raje Scindia a fabled billionaire in her own right was pitted in a 24-candidate contest. Businessman Ashok Singh also a millionaire and owner of prime properties in Gwalior of the Congress is her main rival.
Besides 18 independents, Mr Munnalal Goyal of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party nominee Kedar Singh Vidhuri and Lok Janshakti Party's Phool Singh Baraiya were also in the fray.
Dreaded dacoit Rambabu Gadaria's sister Ramshri Baghel was also in the fray as Rashtriya Samanata Dal nominee.
About 14 lakh people exercised their franchise in 1470 polling stations on March 8. The votes were counted on March 11.
In the faction-ridden Congress in Madhya Pradesh, political compulsions forced Jyotiraditya to campaign for party nominee Ashok Singh, who is considered close to AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh.
For the foreign-educated Yashodhara, her elder sister and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had taken over the campaigning reminding the electorate about the contributions of the late Rajmata.
Late Rajmata (Cong) and Vajpayee (Jan Sangh) were earlier elected from Gwalior in 1962 and 1971 respectively. The late Madhavrao Scindia represented the constituency in 1984, 1989 and 1991.
In 1996, the BJP had not fielded its candidate to facilitate the victory of Madhavrao, who was in the fray as a candidate of Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress after the Congress denied him a ticket along with other hawala-tainted dreaded dacoit Rambabu Gadaria's sister Ramshri Baghel who was also in the fray as Rashtriya Samanata Dal nominated leader.
Yashodhara Raje Scindia of the BJP got 252314 votes and was declared elected to the fifteenth Lok Sabha. Ashok Singh of the Congress I got 225723 votes and was defeated again.
So why the Congress high command did gave Ashok Singh a seat in spite of losing in the previous elections.
The parliamentary seat always went to obscure people who obviously have used their financial clout to get a seat allotted for them. M.J. Akbar, a former Member of Parliament and a well known literary figure has confessed in his blog about the vast amount of money which each contesting member spends to retain the constituency
Jaswant Singh has won from Darjeeling. Like Yashodhara Raje of Gwalior, he doesn't have any connection with Darjeeling. I had met a Punjabi journalist in Bhutan during 1985 who revealed that he is a Member of Parliament of Darjeeling. I couldn't stop my laughter when he couldn't reply me in Nepali.
I believe that I can speak better Nepali and have a better understanding of the Nepali psyche of the Gorkhaland areas than Jaswant Singhji.
Jaswant Singhji also knows that a separate Gorkhaland state is just a dream. He is playing a dangerous game with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the aspirations of people there.
Rahul Gandhi, I believe had a dream of bringing professionals to the forefront of politics irrespective of their financial status or family background.
Let me see if such things happen in the distant politics of India.
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