View from the right: Toning down dissenthttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/jnu-sedition-row-kanhaiya-kumar-5550976/

View from the right: Toning down dissent

An editorial in Organiser suggests that the 2016 JNU event was organised on the occasion of the anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging and whether this act can be considered just as a criticism of the present government is the key question before the court.

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Former JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was named in the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the 2016 sedition case.

An editorial in Organiser claims that after thorough investigation, the Delhi Police has filed a chargesheet against the so-called dissenting student voices from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University with the strong charge of sedition. Whether or not the charge will stick in a court of law, it says, only time will tell. However, it has certainly evoked a debate on the issue of “sedition”.

The editorial adds that in 2011, the Congress-led UPA government, while arresting Anna Hazare for his Lokpal agitation, had claimed that Team Anna comprised “armchair fascists, overground Maoists, closet anarchists… lurking behind forces of right reaction and funded by invisible donors whose links may go back a long way abroad”. It also claims that Kapil Sibal was very much a part of the same government, and, he was annoyed with the Anna agitation: “Anna movement was definitely… based on Gandhian methods, while the JNU event was meant to openly support the terrorists hanged after the judicial verdict”. It also asserts that if, as the chargesheet suggests, the event was organised on the occasion of the anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging — which was also evident from the protests later held at Jantar Mantar — then, whether this act can be considered just as a criticism of the present government is the key question before the court.

“If the agitators have conviction about their ‘Azadi slogans’ and the organisation of the event called ‘Cultural Evening’ against what they called the ‘Judicial killing of Afzal Guru’, then they must stand up like Mahatma Gandhi and face the penalty as per the Constitution,” the editorial claims. It further says that the reality is, neither the students nor their real masters in and outside the campus believe in Gandhi or Ambedkar. “They believe in Marxist Jihadism, the same mindset that criticised both Gandhi and Ambedkar when they were alive, and they are now using them to further their anti-Bharat, violent ideology. This hypocrisy is seditious and no sane voice would stand by the same,” it states.

Crisis down South

On the recent political crisis in Karnataka, an analysis article in Organiser says that with hardly a few months in power, the minority JDS government of H D Kumaraswamy was teetering towards another political crisis, as its disgruntled partner was threatening to plunge the state into chaos. “[The] Congress may have been ‘delighted’ at the ‘lotus wilting’ as the Independents ingratiate themselves back into the Congress fold, leaving the BJP in the lurch. Still, it is clear that all is not well with the Kumaraswamy government,” the article claims. It further says that the state’s political drama seems a lot like a prelude to the general elections. “For instance, BJP wants to show that the mahagadbandhan, be it at a regional level or national level, is bound to collapse. Similarly, by hook or crook, Congress wants to ensure that 2019 isn’t easy for PM Modi. So the unholy alliance will continue till the Lok Sabha polls,” the article asserts. It adds that Karnataka politics suffered a crisis as seat-sharing talks for 2019 began between the JDS and Congress. “Congress pressurised Kumaraswamy to implement their manifesto — loan waiver to farmers. Only 800 farmers’ loans were waived. PM Modi criticised the Congress-JDS coalition for failing to implement its election manifesto. When irritations begun to surface, obviously the Congress lost foothold. Siddaramaiah played his cards well. His son becoming chief minister revived the dream of father H D Deve Gowda of becoming the Prime Minister yet again. This is another major headache for the Congress,” the analysis article reads.

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It adds that whatever is happening is not politics based on ideological issues, but on lust for power and competition for the caste and religion-based vote banks. The two dominant castes — Lingayats and Vokkaligas in Karnataka — encouraged by political coercion, also play district-level politics.

Politics and farmers

An article in Organiser on farmer distress and loan waivers suggests an urgent, holistic review of agricultural policies. It states that if the politics over farm loan waivers is not stopped, then the economy of the country will be crippled. These remarks in the RSS mouthpiece came a few days after the new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh promptly announced farm loan waivers.

The article claims that the government must set up either a Parliamentary Committee or an Experts Commission to undertake a de novo holistic review on “farm loan waivers” based on criteria and conditions specific to each region and category of farmers. It further suggests that all political parties must stop indulging in popular but economy-sapping “farm loan waivers” and “farmer’ distress” as part of their desperate vote bank politics.