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The Medha Patkar-Arundhati Roy duo has lent an edge to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's campaign to construct a Ram temple in Ayodhya. And here is how.
The celebrated author and the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader had castigated the Supreme Court judgment that recently gave the go-ahead on the Sardar Sarovar dam project.
Both vowed to fight the judgment tooth and nail, maintaining that the will of the people was superior to any judicial pronouncement.
And it is here, in this bit about the will-of-the-people being bigger than the biggest judge, that the VHP finds some teeth.
Referring to the anti-court diatribe of the jholewalas, as the aggressively secularist-progressive class is dubbed in the Sangh Parivar, senior VHP leaders were happy to point out that this was precisely what they had argued in the case of the Ayodhya movement.
That is, "the construction of a temple where Lord Rama was born was a matter of faith and not open to judicial determination".
In the famous words of Kalyan Singh, who has since reneged on the Sangh Parivar and, consequently, on the Ram temple campaign, he "was accountable to a court higher than the Supreme Court. And that was the court of God."
VHP chief Ashok Singhal was quick to point out what he called the double standards of the media when NBA leaders thumbed their noses at the highest court. Now Patkar was echoing him, albeit in a different context, wasn't she? So why, oh why, had the media chosen to make light of her defiance?
The junior giveth way to the senior...
Union Minister for Law and Company Affairs and Shipping and Ports Arun Jaitley has a problem.
The young politician, who very graciously placed his official bungalow at the disposal of the Sangh Parivar and continues to stay in his private house in south Delhi, has no room for an office in the department of shipping and ports.
Minister of State for Shipping and Ports Hukamdeo Narain Yadav occupies the only ministerial office available at Transport Bhawan. While Jaitley, as law minister, has a spacious office at Shastri Bhawan, he cannot oversee his shipping and ports responsibilities from there.
Since ministers fight over every inch in their respective domains, it is inconceivable that other departments housed at Transport Bhawan would lend a room to Jaitley.
Inevitably, a senior babu in the ministry will have to yield place to Jaitley. The babu in turn will squeeze out one of his juniors. And so it will go, till the junior-most clerk in the ministry is forced to occupy some dingy corridor!
The charge of the Ram brigade
The winter session of Parliament, opening on November 20, will see a new pairing in action.
Legal eagles Ram Jethmalani and Kapil Sibal, both members of the Rajya Sabha, though on opposite sides, are likely to target their attack on the government to satiate their old and as yet unspent anger on Attorney General Soli Sorabjee.
Meanwhile, the matter of Jethmalani versus Chief Justice of India Adarsh Sein Anand has taken a curious turn, with a current associate of the former law minister demanding the latter's resignation in a missive to him. And the CJI initiating contempt proceedings against this gent.
The election of Congress president, which predictably saw Sonia Gandhi win with a huge margin, led a senior party leader to comment, only half in jest: "How could one expect our own Kim Il Sung to win without an overwhelming majority? Over 90 per cent polling elsewhere evokes charges of rigging. In our party, it is taken as proof of loyalty to the Supreme Leader."
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