This evening, I was going for my music class. As I turned onto the Janak Puri Road, the one I take every day, I saw it blocked. I was already late for the class. It was quite a nuisance to see this tent pitched in the middle. I went around it and noticed two police men. Turned out that some BJP meeting was planned to take place in that pandal. I asked the beat officers if the organizers had permission to hold this assembly in the middle of the road. He said that he did not know. I went up near the stage. The meeting had not started yet. Few people were seated in the chairs. I enquired with one of the guys in the front to learn who the organizer was. He said, “I am the organizer, tell me”. I said, “Do you have the required permission to hold this event at this place?”. He asked why I wanted to know that. I told him that I am a citizen and if a road that I use every day, and specially the one I pay tax for, is used for purposes other than vehicles or pedestrians, then I had every right to know that. He pulled out a paper, and told me that that was the permission letter. As I began to read that, some other saffron clad man snatched that from my hands and asked me who I was. I tried to tell him the same. He asked me to leave and kept asking who I was. The organizer told me to come with him to the beat officers, they would show me the permission letter. I told him that they didn’t have that, that was why I came to him in the first place. Regardless, he brought me back to the constables. As we got there, some other men reached there and told the officer that I was disturbing their assembly. I explained the situation. Some guys hit me. The two constables did nothing. When they tried to charge at me again, constables tried to intervene, one of the men succeeded anyway. Police officers asked me to leave. I asked officers if they were going to press charges against those goons. He asked why I was talking inappropriately. I couldn’t believe this, a group of men just punched me in front of them and they are not saying a word of censure. There was some verbal duel. I asked him if this was why he wore uniform, to just watch? An offense of culpable homicide happened just happened in front of so many eye witnesses. He asked where the eye witnesses were and told me that he would arrest me if I spoke further.
This was a meeting to ask for votes. This is the foundation of electoral democracy in a city – municipal elections. If the idea of ‘development’ is founded on violence and injustice, do we want such ‘development’ ?
One Modi, if at all he genuinely wants to fix this high headedness, cannot fix this arrogance and sense of impunity across the party and supporters. Manoj Tiwari, the head of Delhi BJP already has been seen showing the same attitude of hierarchy. Unless this intolerance of questions goes away, unless these political parties begin to respect ordinary voter and his questions, there is no way I can vote for them.
PS: Not voting for BJP or Congress does not simply translate to a vote for AAP. Any voter can dislike or like more than one political party or leader. Not to forget that there is always the option of ‘None of the above.
PPS: I went to a similar assembly some weekends ago, where AAP candidate was going door to door with his supporters. I asked him questions. Sure enough, he was visibly discomforted. But not once did him or his supporters dare to even touch me. And there was no police there. Rather, I got him to sign an undertaking that if he failed to deliver, he would quit.