Sunday, February 17, 2008

Aaj ka GundaRAJ

There was a movie by this name, released sometime in the 90s. Somehow this title aptly sums up the current political situation in Maharashtra. The recent attacks by the MNS on the North Indians, followed by the retaliations by the Samajwadi Party, coupled with a spineless government that is scared to hell about taking strong action against the offenders, have made a complete mockery of the world's largest democracy.

Why is the government dithering so much about prosecuting Raj Thackeray? It is scared that this will turn him into a 'hero'. And how was he granted bail so easily? The whole drama is just an eyewash. The government is under pressure from both ends - the MNS supporters who threaten violent consequences if Raj is arrested, and the prospect of it losing its credibility in front of the general public if it doesn't go ahead with the arrest. So it finds an easy way out - arrest him temporarily to "show off" its courage, and then release him on the same day to avoid any violent aftermath. It is an attempt to fool the gullible public.

Taking a holistic view of the entire situation, it becomes disturbingly clear that each and every political party involved in this issue has it's own political agenda. The actions taken by each political party reeks of votebank politics. The MNS obviously wants to get noticed among the "Marathi Manoos" and is resorting to this extreme political stunt which seems to have failed miserably, as Raj has been made out to be a villain, by a large part of the media as well as the general public. The Samajwadi party is trying to cash in on this situation, trying to get the support of the substantial North Indian population in the city. The Shiv Sena has been taken by surprise by this sudden aggressive development, and is trying to work out a strategy to get the support of the North Indians, while at the same time trying not to lose the support of it's loyal Marathi-speaking populace. The Congress government is the one that looks completely clueless - right now it resembles a lamb caught in a rhino stampede.

Ultimately, the people who suffer are the general public - The exodus of people from Nashik has let to a drastic increase in the prices of fruits, vegetables and other such commodities. Damage to public transport vehicles will ultimately be borne by the common man in the form of increased taxes and cesses. And will the offenders be made to pay for this? No. They go away scot-free, their mission accomplished. That's the dirty game called politics.

After the 1993 riots, people indulged in bouts of self-praise, claiming that Mumbai has now become more sensible, it is now unaffected by trivial issues like caste-based or mothertongue-based politics. But the recent events have only reconfirmed that Mumbai has learnt nothing from its past experiences. It is still like the Diwali bomb that needs a single spark like Raj Thackeray to explode.

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