Dr. Abhishek Singhvi said as the Karnataka elections approach, the fear, the frustration and the follies of the BJP grow. This combination of 3Fs or the F3 factor is reflected in the idioms and the language used firstly by the Prime Minister totally unbefitting a Prime Minister. It is found and you saw yesterday in the false and superficial statements regarding Gen. Cariappa and Gen. Thimayya, which prove beyond doubt two things – one – the country’s CEOs lack of grasp of history and secondly the incapacity of his army of researchers to properly feed him correct information but that is minor compared to the fact that the Prime Minister in his insatiable urge bordering on greed to attack the Congress Party actually ended up insulting comprehensively the people of Karnataka, insulting each and every one of its entrepreneurs, insulting each and one of its IT Technologists and labeling Bengaluru as the ‘Valley of Sin’from the ‘Silicon Valley’.
We all understand ‘Jumlebazi’, we all understand electoral heat but a city and a State which symbolizes development, it symbolizes aspirations youth opportunities, it is in that sense truly the ‘City of Dreams’ has been reduced to the ‘City of Sins’ by no less than the Prime Minister of the country. This is SIN – a ‘Special Insult ‘S’ for special and IN for insult which the Prime Minister of the country has heaped upon Bengaluru and the people of Karnataka. It is a birth place of IT giants, a technological hub, a Start-up’ hub – a real ‘Start-up’ hub, not the Make-in-India, the Stand Up India, Sit Down India – real start up hub and the Prime Minister ignores the ‘S’ for superior, the ‘I’ for Information Technology and ‘N’ for Novelty and calls it ‘SIN’. The Prime Minister ignores the ‘S’ for Super Highway which Bengaluru and its IT industry is, ignores the ‘I’ for IT and the ‘N’ for Network. He only finds SIN and that is deplorable, you do not create jobs, you can’t stop farmers’ suicides, you have the lowest agricultural growth rates in the country in a very-very long time and you accuse Bengaluru, the ‘Kannadiga’ of being a ‘Valley of Sin’. I think it is shameful and I think the country needs an apology which I am sure we will never get from the Prime Minister of India. In addition, as you see the heat mounting up on this campaign, you find the defamatory, the criminal culpable statements coming, deliberately inflaming and inciting communal passions, deliberately polarizing communities, religious and groups and comprising blatant falsehood. One example – we have yesterday and I was privileged to deal a delegation to the Election Commission which is not only a violation of Model of Code of Conduct, that of course it is, direct violation of statutory law of India, Criminal Law of India – Indian Penal Code and Representation of Peoples Act and we were assured by the Election Commission that repetition will be stopped and it is interesting that the silhouettes of Shri Rahul Gandhi are portrayed in their objectionable advertisement clearly establishing that the BJP is even scared of his shadow.
The higher the divisiveness factor, the higher goes the BJP’s decibel. Their decibel is linked to divisiveness. Why this – to digress and draw the attention of the people of Bengaluru and Karnataka away from their failures in one day yesterday. I am giving only one example in one day yesterday you saw two memorable failures of this Government. It was chastised by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and resulted in a warning which is not in the interest of the people of Karnataka as far as the Cauvery waters are concerned. The custodian of federal cooperation, the custodian of federal equilibrium between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu failed completely to protect the interests of Karnataka in the Cauvery matter and was chastised by the Hon’ble Supreme Court yesterday and here is the Prime Minister calling Bengaluru ‘Valley of Sin’.
On the same day, in a different Court room, much more seriously, the Prime Minister the Government of India who shed crocodile tears on SC/ST issue, who point fingers at the Congress Party, first allow even uproar insufficient representation and had an order which limits and inhibits the powers to file under SC/ ST Atrocities Act. Fear is compounded yesterday by failing to pursue it in the Hon’ble Supreme Court to alter the order. That is why you have this sensationalism, this ‘Jumlebazi’, this insult to the people of Bengaluru. Complete failures, a Government with a track record of Rohit Vemula, Una and Alwar and then the SC/ST Atrocities Act failing yet again in the Hon’ble Supreme Court and lecturing and sermonizing to other parties in Bengaluru.
This is a clear proof, positive that the BJP has seen the writing on the wall, in Karnataka, right in front of them in big black and bold and red and black letters and is doing everything in desperation to turn your mind away from it.
Two other short points – (1) another reason why the ‘Jumlebazi’ from garbage city to Valley of Sin – imagine the amount of insult heaped on one State ‘garbage city’, ‘Valley of Sins’, the ‘crime city’ is. Is this how you describe proud Bangloreans and proud Kannadigas.
The other two reasons apart from the SC/ST point I mentioned the Cauvery point I mentioned, apart from the failure on jobs, the other two reasons are that rural wages farmer distress is an all time high and this is not me or the Congress Party saying so – a recent study a by a very-very well detailed academic study by a senior Researcher of the RBI – one Shri Kundu, published a few days ago – has been published and he finds in a detailed statistical study that rural wages have suffered a significant deceleration. I am quoting ‘significant deceleration’ it is not my phrase. From 2014 onwards, on the one hand wages are low but what is more important real wages have suffered an absolute decline because of inflation in basic food items. And therefore, I again quote – this paper says, this is the RBI’s Researchers’ paper ‘because of a spell of high inflation, growth in real wages even slipped into negative territory. And this is the result of abusing the MGNREGA – the world’s largest social scheme the Congress Party gave’. In those days, did you ever hear of deceleration in rural wages in 2008 and later again in 2010-11 had the global slowdown but the one set of people who are able to stand up for our rural labourers because of MGNREGA. You have abused, you have cursed MGNREGA, you have given step fatherly, step motherly treatment and therefore, you have these results.
And lastly, this also is nipped to the fact that you are not able to have the guts to put petrol and diesel under the GST. We have been demanding not only petrol and diesel but also real estate and sooner enough also alcohol. Since the Modi Government has assumed power, the international crude oil prices have declined to 67%. So, international level, they had a benefit of 67% decrease in price but on other side the Petrol and Diesel have increased to 104% in Petrol, 109% in diesel which is say averaged at 110% on both these products.
Why have you not put it under GST? GST is bad, you have 18% on some products and 27% but GST is not as bad as this price is. Today these prices functioning, the taxes are functioning outside of GST. No answer.
On the question of Congress’ stand on Collegium, Dr. Singhvi said the stand of the Congress Party is not in the habit of commenting directly on judicial decisions even those though they are not judicial but of the Collegium. It is the capacity of collegiums which is administrative but even then we are very restraint in our comments. However, let me be very clear, that the Congress Party cannot support a situation where we believe that there has been a content based discrimination against a particular Judge or certain Judges both in appointment, both in elevation, and both in transfer. Secondly, content based assault on independence of judiciary makes a mockery of that phrase. It is discrimination and assault on independence of judiciary making it into seminar room or a drawing room phrase based on what you think and write in judgment.
Thirdly, we believe and I have said so from this podium before you. Let me repeat it again that it is the majesty of the principle of the independence of judiciary, which is most important. It is nothing to do with the Congress Party, nothing to do with the BJP, nothing to do with you or me. It is not even to do with Judge Justice Joseph according to me. It is to do with the much higher principle of independence of judiciary which is why I said from this podium, a few days ago. I am repeating – first there should have been an immediate reiteration of the recommendation. And therefore, as per your question, we would not agree with the delay which has happened on the reiteration. It should have happened forthwith. Secondly, and that is more important as a principle as a message. Secondly there should have been a question and a show cause to the Government on the judicial side as to why it took 4-1/2 months to even reject it.
Thirdly, is there a proposal in the Government to be too clever by half that even when you reiterate and there is no reiteration yet which is very bad – even when you will treat it as a fresh recommendation because that was for two – Justice Joseph and Malhotra – this is for one. I hope that is not true. I have asked this question myself personally and I am asking through you if the Government has this plans, it should be condemned by each citizen of this country. It is unconstitutional; it is fraud on the Constitution to play such game.
Fourthly, if and I am not recommending it. I am only making a rhetorical point. If the dark day comes when again a second reiteration after having been made is again blocked or delayed by the Government. I am talking hypothetical, speculative and I hope that day never comes. Don’t think I am recommending it. I am giving you the principle stand. After reiteration which should happen immediately then there is delay and blockage or such games as I am saying. Then Shri T.N. Seshan has set an example – wrong example but still example for a higher principle. I will have no elections till you make all the appointments. That is the majesty of the independence of the judiciary and we would implore, we would urge the collegium and the Judges to uphold that majesty because that majesty transcends all other individual Institutions political parties. It is the heart and soul of our Constitution and if you do not assert it and do not uphold, then you are forever losing it. Even Session was not saying, he is right, he said he will not have elections. In making a point a rhetorical point that if you had the principle, a large principle, then we have to uphold an even larger principle.
On the reaction of the Congress Party on the tweet on the official handle of Pakistan on Tipu Sultan, Dr. Singhvi said he has no idea. I really generally have no idea but I will not brush it aside if off by saying that I will check it up and revert.
Firstly, you should be clapping for this uncanny timing. Our dear close Pakistani friends were sleeping for all these decades and never thought of this tweet. I wonder how Pakistanis have suddenly woken up for one week before Karnataka election to do a tweet. It is an amazing coincidence but there is a saying in English that sometimes is not a coincidence. It is what is known as a deliberately created coincidence and I think those who are trying to be too clever by half are as they say in English ‘hoist on their own petard’. They are now become a victim of their own over cleverness because the whole country will ask, how convenient who is in collision and collaboration – the Pakistan official handling of the tweet and the comment of the BJP that is what I call perfect concert and coalition.