Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord Ram’s Ideals To Capture Power

Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord Ram’s Ideals To Capture Power

Referring to his personal experience with such temptation, he narrated an incident relating to an opportunity to encourage defection of four MLAs from Congress to form BJP government in late eighties.

KS TomarUpdated: Friday, April 12, 2024, 05:42 PM IST
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Unlike a high percentage of modern-day politicians, often seen as “demagogues” who are bigoted, pernicious and manipulative, Himachal Pradesh’s two-time chief minister and an RSS product of early sixties, Shanta Kumar can be placed in a ‘Stand-Alone Category’ that swears by value-based politics. He recently underlined that by questioning BJP’s deviation from ideals of Lord Rama. “Nothing will be achieved by mere construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya unless we follow his ideals.

Amidst the storm of religious sentiments blowing across the country mainly in Hindi heartland, he said, “We will have to adopt the ideals of Lord Ram and pray for good counsel prevailing upon politicians who must work to preserve our nation’s dignity which was prevalent even when we were slaves. Politics in free India is being practiced for snatching power and my party has also fallen prey to such temptation.”

Regarding the arrests of some opposition leaders by ED even during the prevalence of model code of conduct, the former CM said, “BJP is definitely coming to power hence there is no need of indulging in such immoral acts which might not be appreciated by the people.” He felt that political corruption has attained ascendancy even after burying the corruption ridden Congress party which is evident from the transparency international report. The importing of the corrupt leaders from various parties and defections may hurt original and dedicated workers of BJP in long run and it is unfortunate and dishonest to topple elected governments. He quoted the Chandigarh Mayoral election fiasco which did not send a good signal about his party.

Referring to his personal experience with such temptation, he narrated an incident relating to an opportunity to encourage defection of four MLAs from Congress to form BJP government in late eighties. He said “I told the former PM, late Atalji, please change the leader as my conscience does not permit to indulge in immoral acts. Atalji telephoned me from Jaipur that there is no need to stoop low and better sit in opposition which bore fruit in 1990 assembly polls when we won 49 out of 61 seats contested by the BJP.”

Shanta Kumar could be one of the few leaders in India who has got a track record of putting his political career at risk as he dared to speak about Gujarat riots and other intra-party issues though he justified Modi’s becoming of prime minister. He felt ashamed over the release of rapists by Gujarat government and quipped “after hearing about the release of convicts, I bow my head in shame. How can any government permit such remission to the rapists? The Gujarat government should hang these convicts and roll back its decision?”

Former CM is one of the octogenarian leaders including L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi etc. who were forcibly retired by the BJP and placed among “Marg Darshaks” but hardly sought their piece of advice. Shanta is a different type of politician who regularly reacts to the current scenario of power politics in the country and states irrespective of political parties and affiliations.

Shanta Kumar is also averse to throttling the democracy and laments alienation of the BJP from the principles of Jan Sangh and later RSS which had been part and parcel of his life since 1951.He says that we should not attain power through manipulations which amount to a complete disregard for tenets and canons of democracy. BJP has become the biggest organization in the world, which can be attributed to three ideals viz. principled politics, commitment and patriotism which are being gradually forgotten and there is dire need of preserving these ideals.

Kumar does not hesitate in praising even opposition congress government which was visible during the handling of the unprecedented catastrophe in 2023 by Sukhu government which was in variance of party leaders including his loyalist and opposition leader, Jai Ram Thakur who was critical of the government. "The government is coping with the disaster in a good way. The government should seek cooperation from the opposition and the entire opposition should help the government. I congratulate the government for evacuating thousands of tourists from difficult areas. I would like to see the whole state fighting this disaster unitedly," Shanta Kumar said.

While having a cursory look at the political journey of the former chief minister, it is an established fact that he has exhibited his inbuilt quality of standing by his principles even during his 2nd term as chief minister. The issue pertained to employees' agitation and his rigid stand to apply the principle of ‘No Work No Pay’ to the striking employees, which had cost the party power in the early nineties.

Shanta Kumar has shown his commitment to zero tolerance on corruption through his inflexible stand against former Karnataka CM, Yeddyurappa. The BJP high command had sent him as an in-charge of this crucial state, but he refused to budge from his criticism of Yeddyurappa who was accused of corruption and nepotism which had pushed the BJP in an embarrassing position. He did not hesitate in raising his voice against the VYAPAM scam in Madhya Pradesh which was then ruled by BJP and Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan was CM. Similarly, allegations of corruption against Himachal government in 2002-03 had been highlighted by him and he also spoke against the Bangaru Laxman bribery scandal which had shown BJP in bad light.

Analysts say politics has been driven by the sole idea of snatching power leaving no room for morality or principles which eclipses any optimism of having clean politics in future in India.

(The writer is a political analyst and senior journalist based in Shimla)

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