Sidharth Mishra 2

With Congress Fortunes On Upswing, Kejriwal’s Attempts At Alliance in Delhi Could Come Cropper

Delhi Assembly is celebrating 25 years of its existence in it’s present form. In keeping with the current political trend in the national Capital, this event too has courted controversy. The polls in Delhi assembly, ever since it came into existence in 1993, too were used to be held along with states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh (since 2003), Rajasthan and Mizoram.

The cycle broke in 2013 following the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The polls five years ago threw up a hung house in the national Capital and Arvind Kejriwal became Chief Minister for the first time, with the support of eight Congress MLAs. Kejriwal did not hold onto the chair for long and soon resigned from office leading to subsequent dissolution of the assembly and fresh polls in 2015.

Kejriwal’s rise in Delhi was at the cost of the Congress party, which till then had won three assembly elections (1998, 2003 and 2008) under the stewardship of Sheila Dikshit, who held the office of the Chief Minister for three unprecedented terms. Despite being an icon of development-oriented politics, Dikshit could not withstand the political tsunami created by charges of corruption brought mostly against the central Congress leaders and faced humiliating defeat in 2013.

Sidharth Mishra

Waterway On Ganga Would Make The River Lifeless

The inauguration of the first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river in Varanasi last month was publicised by the Centre as a major breakthrough in search for cheap mode of transport. It also was feted as major feet for generating employment in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi. The cargo route is soon to be extended up to Allahabad aka Prayagraj.

However, down the stream, the move has not generated much appreciation, as the river closer to the delta especially as it flows east of Patna into Jharkhand and West Bengal before joining the Bay of Bengal. This stretch is home to the threatened Gangetic Dolphins, which ironically has been christened by the government as the National Aquatic Animal.

The NDA government enacted National Waterways Act, 2016, which declared 111 inland waterways as National Waterways (NWs) in addition to the five existing NWs across 24 states for utilising them as sustainable mode of transport. Point to be noted is that out of total 111 inland waterways, 38 are habitat of the riverine dolphins.

Sidharth Mishra 2

Delhi Choked By Quest For Votes

Sometime back Punjab chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh has questioned his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal’s wisdom in claiming that stubble burning in Punjab was solely responsible for the high pollution levels in the national capital. He had wondered how Kejriwal, an IIT graduate, be talking in most unscientific manner. Singh and Kejriwal are political rivals in Punjab and thus the statement was passed off as another instance of political skirmish.

Captain’s dig at Delhi CM, on the hind side, was not without basis. Severe air pollution is a harsh reality that the Delhi government failed to do anything on despite making big claims. The city population has today grown to approximately 25 million with a huge floating population, from 1.7 million people in 1947.

The city has grown manifold both vertically and horizontally with proportionate rise in the density of population. This growth however has been haphazard and unplanned, facilitated by leaders from almost all the political hues. In their eagerness to win over votes, little did they realise the pressure they would be creating on natural resources, which is limited.

Sidharth Mishra

Delhi Needs A Bridge to Rebuild Political Dialogue

The Signature Bridge inaugurated by the Arvind Kejriwal government a day before ‘Dhanteras’ came with the fireworks generally reserved for Diwali. The bad air engulfing the city has had its ill effect on city’s political culture, known so for dialogue and mutual respect between political rivals. The Sunday evening incident sounded the last bugle to such engagements where a city level Congress leader could walk up to BJP’s tallest leader with a complaint against his party men.

The Signature Bridge inaugural, and the two inaugurations before that of the Rani Jhansi flyover and the ITO Skywalk, made news not for the engineering marvel being given to the city but for the political bitter talk. Both Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, or for that matter Centre’s designated Minister for Delhi Hardeep Singh Puri, in his capacity as the in charge of Urban Development, have little to with the completion of these projects.

They are like the railway gatemen who stand with a flag when a train, in whose running they don’t have much of a role, comes to a particular gate at a given time. Destiny ordained that they would be holding respective chairs when these facilities are inaugurated, so they were there inaugurating them. While the stone plaques bearing their names would fade with time, the history would recall the small talk and ruckus these inaugurations created.

Sidharth Mishra 2

Madanlal Khurana Once Ruled Delhi; He Left Without Much Ado

It was a reflection of the changing times that when the carriage carrying the corpse of former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana arrived at the Delhi BJP office on Pandit Pant Marg, it went off as mostly a non-event. The sorrow on social media did not really converge on the streets of Delhi, where once Khurana ruled the roost.

In the heydays, Khurana was referred to as Dilli Ka Sher or the Lion of Delhi. He won Lok Sabha elections from south Delhi in 1989 and 1991, defeating Subhash Chopra and Romesh Bhandari, respectively, building the momentum for the assembly polls in the national capital in 1993 when it was provided the legislative body. During this period Khurana also played a substantial role in the success of the Rath Yatra that was led by LK Advani in 1992 during the Ramjanmabhoomi movement. The assembly of the huge sea of supporters in 1992 welcoming Advani when he reached Delhi was credited to Khurana.

In Khurana, Congress strongman HKL Bhagat, another Punjabi refugee leader, had found a match. Delhi became the National Capital Territory in 1993. Elections for the state assembly followed with Khurana leading the BJP and Bhagat the Congress. ‘Dilli Ka Ek Hi Lal, Madan Lal, Madan Lal’ resonated in the air. The BJP scored a big victory, Khurana was sworn in as the chief minister in December 1993.