Lead­er­ship Cri­sis In Delhi

BJP, Congress and new born AAP — all sail in same boat in to­day’s Delhi-NCT pol­i­tics

The Day After - - CONTENT - By Anil AnAnd

It might have been tiny in size, both in pre and post In­de­pen­dence eras, but Delhi has al­ways main­tained its po­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. The sig­nif­i­cance, un­like Ut­tar Pradesh and Bi­har, was not on the ba­sis of sheer num­bers of Lok Sabha seats but be­cause it has all along been the cen­tre of po­lit­i­cal power. The po­lit­i­cal move­ments might have been built else­where but Delhi be­ing the cen­tre­point helped spread the same to the rest of the coun­try like a stone hit­ting mid­dle of a pond tick­ing the con­cen­tric cir­cles.

The tow­er­ing lead­ers of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties or those who stirred po­lit­i­cal move­ments were all from other parts of the coun­try but Delhi had its fair share of lead­ing lights that helped in mak­ing the cap­i­tal city a strong base for the waves to spread else­where. It is an­other mat­ter that some of these lead­ing lights, though in the sub­se­quent years, made Delhi as their po­lit­i­cal base. Top­ping this list are vet­eran BJP lead­ers LK Ad­vani, late Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee and Congress lead­ers such as Ar­jun Singh. The cine-stars turned politi­cians Ra­jesh Khanna (Congress) and Sha­trughan Sinha (BJP) also cut their teeth in pol­i­tics in Delhi it­self.

Delhi has since ages un­der­gone churn­ing of all sorts. The last churn led to demo­cratic rule af­ter cen­turies of monar­chy/au­toc­racy and the Bri­tish rule. In terms of Delhi’s lo­cal po­lit­i­cal sce­nario this lap of the churn­ing had well be­gun as it gave the cap­i­tal city, now called the cen­tre of Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion, lead­ers of iconic stature and mass­base. The dark­est part of this churn is the sharp de­cline in the stature of the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship over the years.

Congress and the BJP and ear­lier its erst­while ‘av­tar’ Jan Sangh, used to be in di­rect con­test till the ad­vent of a new po­lit­i­cal ex­per­i­ment in the form of Aam Aadmi Party with a new breed of lead­er­ship. Other rea­sons apart, it has been due to the to­tal de­cline and fail­ure of both the Congress and BJP to pro­duce more lo­cal lead­ers of stature that Arvind Ke­jri­wal-led AAP dec­i­mated both the par­ties in a short span of time.

Com­par­isons are dan­ger­ous but are some­times ne­ces­si­tated even for the pur­poses an­a­lyz­ing a par­tic­u­larly sit­u­a­tion or sub­ject. The com­par­i­son has be­come nec­es­sary if one has to an­a­lyze the de­cline of both the na­tional par­ties in Delhi. Once upon a time erst­while Jan Sangh and its cur­rent form BJP could boast of hav­ing lead­ers such as Ad­vani, Kedar­nath Sahni, VK Mal­ho­tra, ML Khu­rana and many oth­ers build­ing the party from scratch to ul­ti­mately cap­tur­ing power in Metropoli­tan Coun­cil, which was changed to As­sem­bly in 1991, MCD and later Khu­rana be­com­ing sec­ond chief min­is­ter of Delhi in 1993 when the cap­i­tal city got back As­sem­bly af­ter over four decades.

There was a gal­axy of lead­ers in the Congress ranks as well led by Chaud­hary Brahm Prakash, a mass leader with a grip on Delhi’s pol­i­tics. He be­came the first chief min­is­ter af­ter Delhi Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly was first con­sti­tuted on March 7, 1952 un­der the Gov­ern­ment of Part C States Act, 1951. He had the com­pany of po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights such as Radha Ra­man, Jag Parvesh Chan­dra and later came HKL Bha­gat, known as Delhi

strong­man, Chaud­hary Prem Singh and Lalit Maken who was also labour leader of great stature.

There is no deny­ing the fact that there is a se­ri­ous lead­er­ship cri­sis in both Congress and BJP so far as Delhi is con­cerned. The cri­sis is more se­vere in BJP than Congress with na­tional lead­er­ship of the party play­ing a spoil sport and AAP mak­ing mat­ter worst for them.

It was in 1957 that Ad­vani shifted his base to Delhi from Ra­jasthan to as­sist Va­j­payee and in turn start his own po­lit­i­cal in­nings. His first en­try into Delhi pol­i­tics was through man­ag­ing mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs as he was asked to look af­ter the Delhi unit of Jana Sangh as its gen­eral sec­re­tary. It was due to his ef­forts that his party en­tered into an al­liance with CPI to run the af­fairs of Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion.

For him this was a use­ful ini­ti­a­tion in the art of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship and strat­e­gy­mak­ing. He says “I can con­fi­dently say that this is where I had my ini­tial ground­ing in al­liance pol­i­tics, some­thing that held me in good stead on many oc­ca­sions in sub­se­quent years and decades.”

Later Ad­vani be­came chair­man of the Metropoli­tan Coun­cil af­ter Jan Sangh won three elec­tions to the Coun­cil, Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and Lok Sabha. He did not con­test the Coun­cil polls but was sub­se­quently nom­i­nated to it and be­came the chair­man. At the same time Sahni, VK Mal­ho­tra and ML Khu­rana emerged as em­i­nent lead­ers and helped groom next gen­er­a­tions of BJP lead­ers.

To­day’s BJP is not even a poor shade of what it used to be in yore. The dec­i­ma­tion has been more due to high-hand­ed­ness of the na­tional lead­er­ship par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the last four years, than any­thing else. The elec­toral de­feat even in the midst of strong Naren­dra Modi wave, was a re­flec­tion of the pol­i­tics of in­se­cu­rity played by Modi-Amit Shah duo re­sult­ing into all es­tab­lished and old lead­ers like Mal­ho­tra, Dr Harsh­vard­han and Vi­jay Goel were ei­ther ig­nored or shifted to Cen­tre with no say in Delhi af­fairs. A rank out­sider Manoj Ti­wari, who be­came MP from Delhi due to Modi wave, sub­se­quently be­came Delhi BJP chief thereby caus­ing fur­ther dam­age to the party.

The Congress had mass lead­ers such as HKL Bha­gat and Chaud­hary Prem Singh and charis­matic per­son­al­i­ties Jag Parvesh Chan­dra to guide the party’s des­tiny. Un­for­tu­nately the ca­reer of promis­ing Lalit Maken was cut short as he was killed by Sikh mil­i­tants. Sheila Dik­shit, af­ter she shifted po­lit­i­cal base from UP, did gave a new lease of life to Congress and re­mained chief min­is­ter for three terms. Among the later set of lead­ers Lalit Maken’s nephew and cur­rent Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken did show prom­ise and has a proven track record though he is fac­ing many con­tra­dic­tions within the Congress and lately con­fronted by health is­sues.

Delhi pol­i­tics is cur­rently stand­ing at cross-roads with tra­di­tional ri­vals Congress and BJP find­ing them­selves on the mar­gins. The AAP’s new brand of lead­er­ship is also prov­ing un­equal to the task (to pro­vide po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship). So the un­cer­tainty pre­vails.

The Congress had mass lead­ers such as HKL Bha­gat and Chaud­hary Prem Singh and charis­matic per­son­al­i­ties Jag Parvesh Chan­dra to guide the party’s des­tiny. Un­for­tu­nately the ca­reer of promis­ing Lalit Maken was cut short as he was killed by Sikh mil­i­tants

Congress lead­ers of Delhi in 1984 - HKL Bha­gat, Sa­j­jan Ku­mar, and Jagdish Tytler

Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal with Dy CM Man­ish Siso­dia and Satyen­dra Jain

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.