No party immune to vendetta politics

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, April 28, 2022, 07:57 AM IST
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Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani re-arrested in a new case after being granted bail in a case over tweets on PM Modi | Photo: PTI

Abuse of power to settle scores with political rivals is not new. Over the years there have been numerous cases of ruling parties foisting false cases against people who may be considered inconvenient. However, in recent times, this undesirable trend may have assumed dire proportions. Though there is an impression that the Centre alone resorts to these underhand tactics, every party in power is guilty of practising vendetta politics. Take, for instance, a slew of FIRs filed against critics of the AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in Punjab, following the installation of the party government headed by Bhagwant Mann. Because the Delhi Police is under the Centre, Kejriwal has pressed the Punjab Police to go after his critics. The most prominent being the poet-activist Kumar Vishwas. Earlier this week, he approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the quashing of the FIR. Vishwas was a senior AAP leader but found himself ejected from the party, like several others, for not being deferential to Kejriwal. In the run-up to the Punjab poll, he incurred the wrath of the AAP supremo for claiming that the latter would even compromise with Khalistani activists for the sake of winning elections. Criminal cases were also registered against a couple of Delhi-based leaders of the Congress Party and the BJP for their criticism of Kejriwal.

Again, the harassment of the Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani by the Assam Government seems to be a case of blatant abuse of power. For a tweet against the PM, which he promptly deleted, the independent MLA was picked up from Gujarat and taken to Kokrajhar district in Assam. And, on being freed on bail, was immediately arrested on yet another trumped-up charge. In the same category is the more glaring abuse of power by the Maharashtra Government which slapped sedition charges against the MP-MLA couple, Navneet and Ravi Rana. They had given notice of reciting Hanuman Chalisa outside the residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Before they could get anywhere near his house they were picked up by the local police while a raucous group of Sena roughnecks bayed for their blood. Intimidation and threats against its critics have been an integral part of the Sena’s SOP for long, and while in power the Sainiks get further emboldened. Besides, the ongoing confrontation between the MVA and the BJP-led Centre has seen the lid being lifted on the alleged corruption of several members of the Maharashtra alliance, causing the latter to try and pay back its rivals in their own coin. Unless there is a broad consensus among all parties to end the politics of confrontation and vendetta, of which unfortunately there seems little hope at this juncture, it will be left to the higher judiciary to firmly lay down the law and prevent the gross abuse of the police and other State agencies for settling personal scores.

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