Mulayam's politics of
freebies and snow
Countersign/Satya Pal Singh
The Samajwadi Party's political spectrum now gets awfully mired in a new low, at a time when party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has kindled within himself a burning prime ministerial ambition. But this Yadav doesn't know that he has inadvertently embarked on a self-effacing path that robs him of all the credentials that he earned as a socialist leader. Muzaffarnagar riots and their aftermath have exposed the Mulayam family to public anger and ridicule, as the suffering riot victims' curse slowly catches on the family. If the old adage, 'vinash kale vipreet budhi' so suitably fits in the present composure of their leadership, let them go this way!
Here, story of ancient Rome sharply comes to my mind, where in A.D.64, Romans helplessly watched for days and nights as their city burned. The fire consumed 70 per cent of the city; what remained were scorched and mangled ruins. Of the million-strong population, an estimated half was rendered homeless. Rumours had it that the fire was set on orders from Emperor Nero himself who watched the fire from his palace, singing and playing the lyre while Rome burned. These rumours gained credence as Nero later rebuilt Rome in a new style more to his liking, and some believed that he used the fire as an excuse for re-laying a city that matched his whims.
In the midst of such charges, historical accounts suggest, the emperor found a scapegoat in the 'Christians for their abominations' and persecuted them ruthlessly, torturing and executing them in most frightful ways, giving the impression they were the culprits. But the public still thought that a mad tyrant who preferred to play music rather than offer relief to his people could do anything.
The Nero myth is busted in history in various accounts, but it has a deep parallel in actions of the Akhilesh regime that so irresponsibly failed to restore the victims' confidence and provide them proper shelters, ignoring the nationwide clamour for their immediate rehabilitation. In the first place, as the communal riots sparked in September, caused by criminal acts of a couple of youths belonging to different communities, the govt machinery did not act swiftly to control the killings. A la Nero, the Mulayam-Akhilesh duo watched the gore on TV sitting in their cozy bungalows, as some 64 people were butchered in streets and in homes and thousands fled to escape killings.
If these ruling 'callous clowns' have left the riot victims to their cruel fate, to die in the freezing cold under the open sky, it's their unthinking stupidity, brutish roguery and, perhaps, irresponsible 'murder' for which the people will never forgive them, should they get a chance to retribute. Just when they need state safety net and hearty healing, Akhilesh chooses to embark on a course of callous actions that send fie upon him, as the nation watches him and his self-acclaimed 'Lohiaite' father in utter disgust. As if to rub salt on the wounds of these riot victims, the insensitive Yadavs criminally choose to stage a filmi bash of sleaze and perversion, costing a whopping Rs 16 crores at their native place, Saifai, as part of a three-day festivity. Bollywood A-listers, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Ranvir Singh, Alia Bhatt, Sonal Chauhan and many more, gyrated to Hindi film numbers. Live coverage of the glitzy finale was banned, ostensibly to hide the view from rest of India, to avoid critical reactions at a time when children continue to die in Muzaffarnagar camps, taking the toll to above 34. Yet, the channels ran clips of earlier rehearsals that drew sharp national outrage.
As if that were not enough, they have now sent dozens of Ministers and MLAs on an 18-day foreign jaunt, to seven Eurasian countries in the name of "Commonwealth study tour." Chartered flights were arranged for these 'VIPs" and they were given close to Rs 58,000 as advance, even though the politicians on this mission claimed they were going on the trip, for the most part, on their personal expenses. They have not taken lessons from Karnataka legislators, who were found hanging in "cozy places" abroad, rather than working on the official assignments.
Political hypocrisy reigns at the flag-top level in UP, with beguiling assertiveness of a sinking regime, as the state affairs go to the dogs - finances dwindling, crime graph rising, charge-sheeted terrorists being released in an exercise of open appeasement, SP workers' aggressiveness ever-growing, nepotism ruling the power corridors, honest bureaucrats kept muzzled under pressure, freebies being increasingly doled to hoodwink the voter at the expense of a poor exchequer. But there is really not much for the riot victims, who continue to suffer the ordeal, as Mulayam Singh arrogantly dismisses them as "conspirators" planted by political opponents. Isn't it a worst euphemism in cruelty? Live long Mulayam brand of socialism!