A gag is running in the social networking sites these days, making Congress the butt of this joke: “Forget the Tigers. Save Congress. Just 44 left“.
So forget about Congress’s desperate and obtrusive attempt to get into the LoP mantle, for some obvious reasons, it has now turned into a party of big protests, leaving the leftover Lefts, far behind!
And the man who is leading these big protests these days is Delhi Congress President, Arvinder Singh Lovely! Congress is calling it, the grand party’s comeback strategy. Assuming that, Delhi’s Assembly Election might be held, anytime this year.
After Delhi’s Miracle Man Arvind Kejriwal left the CM’s post in typical Mr. India style, Delhi’s Assembly is in suspended animation. Mind it, Mr. Kejriwal is still occupying the CM’s Bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi and his Ministers and MLAs have never resigned from their posts (who want to forego the parks and pension?)
There is a rumour floating around Delhi’s Congress Circle that, many of the State leadership earnestly wising that, some of the Congress MLAs just defect and join AAP to form a Government…at least people’s residue trust and vote share will deplete in no time, paving Congress’s way to power!
But another rumour is already there, Kejriwal is not going to bite the offer…for obvious reasons!
He is damn sure that, in the Next Election, if not the Chief Ministership, no one can stop him from the post of the Opposition Leader in Delhi Assembly. As the post of Opposition Leader gets the equal status of a Cabinet Minister, no one can also take away his Bungalow at tony Central Delhi Locality!
So, no one in Congress is talking about Ajay Maken anymore as the probable CM. Sandeep Dixit, Kapil Sibal, Kiran Walia, Krishna Tirath, A.K.Walia or J.P. Aggarwal…nowhere to be seen!
It’s Arvinder Singh Lovely and his cronies creating all the heat and dust in Delhi…stage managing protests over Bijli and Pani, for over a month now!
Na Na Na Na Naa Re Naa Re!!!
Despite knowing the fact that the Central Government has no tangible role in a State’s Power problem, and the mess created by the former ruling Government over all these years, Congress is creating a big ruckus on the streets to attract public sympathy!
Let’s Look At Some Hard Facts
Delhi’s power distribution was privatised in July 2002, allegedly in a hurried and hush hush manner.
At the time of privatisation, the three private companies were given a hefty relief of Rs 3450 crore. The huge assets of Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) estimated at around Rs 10,000 crores were given to these private power distribution companies on lease of just Re1!
The over generous Delhi Government gave an additional bailout package of Rs 500 crore, as compensation for keeping the tariff lower, to these private companies.
Surprisingly enough, though the Delhi Government has 49% of the shares in the distribution companies (Discoms), it does not seem to have played any visible role, in the management of these Discoms.
What more, while a major stake of public exchequer is involved in this endeavour, the Discoms have been put out the purview of CAG!
Also the Discoms, which are joint ventures with Delhi Government, are kept out of the ambit of RTI act!
Despite all the subsidies and reliefs, the Discoms made an increase of around 328% of tariffs for domestic consumers after privatisation – Rs 1.37 per unit in 2002 to Rs 5.87 per unit in 2013.
Incidentally, the former Chairman of DERC Bijender Singh had estimated in 2011 that the Discoms have earned profit in the tune of Rs 5200 crore. In view of this, he had advised for 20 per cent reduction in power tariff.
His calculations were that the Discoms are overcharging the consumers Rs. 300 crore per month.
No need to mention, no visible actions were taken, on his suggestions, for the relief of the consumers.
When Bijender Singh retired, PD Sudhakar became the Chairman of DERC. Almost immediately, there was an increase in power tariff by 22 per cent on August 26, 2011.
The privatisation of Delhi’s power distribution has also come under the scrutiny of CAG. The CAG Report had specified that the assets of Delhi Vidyut Board were undervalued by a whopping Rs 3,107 crores!
Additionally, the Delhi Government had paid the Discoms 10 times more as subsidy 3,500 crore – than what they brought in as equity.
In 2006, Delhi Government’s own Public Accounts Committee (PAC), headed by senior Congress leader and MLA, S.C. Vats found that the power privatisation process was full of anomalies and recommended a CBI enquiry. The Sheila Dikshit Government did not even table the report in the Assembly!
Is disgust, Dr. Vats resigned as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, protesting against “attempts” to “sabotage” the tabling of the PAC report in the monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly.
Reportedly, it had indicted the Government over the issue of privatisation of power. Dr. Vats said that conditions were seemed changed under the influence of business interests.
The report had embarrassing indications, putting a question mark over the manner in which the Core Committee comprising senior bureaucrats had handled the issue of awarding the contract to the private power companies.
The report understandably had indicted the Delhi Government for completely violating the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines and norms in appointment of SBI Caps as private consultants for working out the privatisation process.
It became obvious, from PAC Chairman’s resignation in sheer despair that Delhi’s power distribution privatisation was intended in a manner to provide the private companies with a carte blanche – almost like an open offer.
Remarkably, the Delhi’s Power Ministry was under the CM’s office at this time around!
I still wonder, why BJP, specially Prof. Jadish Mukhi, the senior BJP leader and the Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, who constantly kept an watch on the privatisation process, has not come out in public, in recent times, to let people know about the real scenario!
Just before Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister, on 28 December, a surge of panic started rising in various Departments of Delhi’s Government.
A sting operation named “Operation Kejriwal” by TV Channels ‘Aaj Tak’ and ‘Headlines Today’ showed that how numerous files were being destroyed, documents being shredded, and doubtful data was discretely erased in Delhi Government offices!
The TV team carried out clandestine operation, accompanied by spy cameras into the offices of Ministers at Delhi Secretariat near ITO and at the office of Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
As per the TV Channels’ Sting: Arvinder Singh Lovely’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) was seen destroying files and the documents!
The Channels got Mr. Lovely on another Sting: ‘Operation 440 Volt’, where Arvinder Singh Lovely was critically speaking against Kejriwal’s decision to make electricity cheaper by half …he even called the decision “illegal!”! Surprisingly, Congress was then supporting the AAP Government!
The same Mr. Lovely is now so much concerned about the Bijli -Pani problem faced by the Delhi voters!
People With Him
Mr. Lovely’s extended protests against Delhi’s Bijli-Pani problems have not seen much Delhi Congress Stalwarts with him.
Among those who didn’t participate in the protests included Ajay Maken, Sandip Dixit, Kapil Sibal, Krishna Tirath, A.K. Walia, Kiran Walia., Rajkumar Chauhan or J.P. Aggarwal, the former Delhi Congress President.
While the people who joined the protests with Lovely are none other than Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, the two Congress veterans whose names were embroiled with 1984, anti-Sikh Riots in Delhi.
Delhi has a Sikh population of around 4.6%
Major numbers of Sikh voters are only in a few Lok Sabha Constituencies.
WEST DELHI: 9% Major Sikh areas: Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Vishnu Garden and Janakpuri.
NEW DELHI: 4% Major Sikh areas: Patel Nagar, Rajinder Nagar, Moti Nagar, Malviya Nagar and GK-I.
CHANDNI CHOWK: 3.94% Major Sikh areas: Pratap Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Tri Nagar, Roshanara Road, Lawrence Road and Rani Bagh.
Sheila Dikshit always showcased Lovely, for Sikh votes in the Past along with former Chandni Chowk MLA Prahlad Singh Sawhney.
Despite massive AAP onslaught, Sawhney won the seat in the last election. Lovely retained the Gandhi Nagar seat for the fourth time. Lovely has been representing the seat in Delhi Assembly since 1998.
As the trend in last Lok Sabha election has shown that Delhi’s Muslim votes, despite Delhi’s Jama Masjid Imam’s appeal, predominantly went to AAP, Congress is putting some stress on Sikh votes now. That may be a reason to make Arvinder Singh Lovely, the State Party President.
In May, after the Lok Sabha election results came out, Congress had dissolved Delhi’s 14 district and 140 block committees and gave Lovely a “free hand” to build up the party afresh.
But his visibility with people like Sajjan Kumar or Jagdish Tytler may not impress the Sikh voters.
Congress faced a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha Election this year. All the seven Congress MPs, including two Union ministers, managed to get the third positions in the respective constituencies.
The party also had suffered a big defeat in the Assembly Polls in December last year. After being in power for 15 consecutive years. The party could win just eight seats in the 70-member House!
Congress got a big drubbing in the Municipal Polls in 2012 too.
Lovely was once close to Ajay Maken. But it’s not known what the relation between them now is. From a small time activist he has come a long way, indeed.
In the August 2012 cabinet reshuffle, Arvinder Singh Lovely emerged as the CM Dikshit’s most trusted man with a clutch of important portfolios, including urban development and revenue. He almost displaced, once powerful A K Walia.
Being an MLA at 30, Lovely owes his entry and rise in the Congress to his father Balwinder Singh.
Its alleged that in 1986, Balwinder Singh gave an affidavit to the Misra Commission in favour of HKL Bhagat, one of the 1984 riot’s main accused. Some people also remember that In 1989, Balwinder Singh organised a function where Bhagat was accorded a Saropa, a Sikh ceremonial honour!
Congress In A Mess
The latest news is that, six Congress MLAs are seriously thinking about supporting a BJP led government in Delhi as future seems developing in favour of BJP in possible Assembly polls after the party won all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.
Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely is trying hard to stop the defection, but the political circuit is abuzz with the news of clandestine meetings between BJP State honchos and Congress MLAs.
Congress’s Okhla MLA Asif Mohd, the Mustafabad MLA Hasan Ahmad and Seelampur MLA Mateen Ahmad ate reportedly thinking of forming a breakaway group to give outside support to BJP.
It’s also reported that four of unhappy Congress MLAs had a meeting with BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri at the Shangrila hotel, just a fortnight back.
Ajay Maken, who was seen as a replacement of Sheila Dikshit, in case of a Congress win, is seen nowhere these days. Though assumed close to Rahul Gandhi, his downfall began when he lost the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat to Meenakshi Lekhi. Maken was to take over the State Congress organisation in a post Sheila era, but he finished third like six other Congress MPs.
It was also expected that the son will carry forward the Sheila legacy. But Sandeep Dikshit also lost the East Delhi seat to BJP’s Mahesh Giri and lying low these days.
Former Congress President J.P. Agarwal is a dejected man these days, after he took the responsibility for party’s defeat and resigned. His bitter rivalry with Sheila Dikshit was well known.
People in Congress High Command seeing not much hope in reviving the Delhi unit, soon. It was always a problem area. Lovely can stay for some time as a stop gap arrangement.
And he is not holding a worth team with him too. Congress insiders have started saying that, to be in the limelight, he has already irritated many Congress old guards…and apart Mukesh Sharma and Harun Yusuf, who are there with him!
BJP under its new President, Amit Shah, must have some big plans for Delhi
By: Deep Basu
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