Friday, September 14, 2012

Vishal Jolly, Why Do You Regret?

Vishal Jolly, Why Do You Regret?

By Zubair Ahmed

No doubt, politics and politicians are always objects of contempt and disdain. With no prerequisites and criteria to qualify as a politician, irrespective of their position or standing, generally, they have to bear the sneer and jeer of everyone. The way they conduct in their public and private zones are equally responsible for the zoomed lenses focussed on them.

When Vishal Jolly, the alternating politician-cum-businessman and the ex-president of BJP thought of encashing the submerged land, he did not expect such hue and cry from outside and inside the party he belongs to.

Vishal Jolly, once an active politician and the protégé of Bishnu Pada Ray became a public figure after he got elevated as the Adhyaksh of Zilla Parishad and proved to be one of the most corrupt one.

Skirmishes between the Guru and Shishya had started to surface on the horizon soon after Vishal started sidelining Bishnu. During his term as State President, tussles became too open to contain. With the diktat of Vishal banishing Bishnu, the sitting MP from State Headquarters brought a cataclysm in the political sphere of the Islands. Bishnu was forced to rethink his political strategy which finally resulted in the launch of Trinamool Congress, with the blessings of both Bhakta and Bishnu, the two disgruntled politicians of the major parties. The move deeply affected the prospects of BJP in the Panchayat/Municipal elections.

In the last couple of years, an unprofessed armistice between the two resulted in Bishnu getting closer to the party and Vishal getting far away from it. When Bishnu concentrated on consolidating his position as a politician in and around the party, Vishal focussed on establishing a mini-business empire, far far away from the maddening political realm.

He became an irregular politician showing his face whenever he had to assert himself before the national leaders when they visited the Islands. Recently, he shared dias with Rajnath Singh and forcefully spoke against the Admn for their insensitive approach towards the tsunami-affected farmers. Initially, Vishal had led the movement as a politician as well as an affected landowner, but his prolonged hiatus from the political scene had left a void, which Bishnu easily filled.

Grabbing the opportunity, Bishnu made deep inroads into the hearts of tsunami-affected farmers and took their fight to various possible levels. With BJP putting its weight behind Bishnu and formally taking him back into the party-fold, Bishnu became the face of the Tsunami affected farmers. Vishal did not even try to recoup and join the fight, and was left far behind.

The issue, which forced Vishal to retract and come out with a clarification, is very common among politicians. They always fail to walk the talk.

However, is the issue as simple as that? Why the ANI Admn is bent upon publishing photographs of all beneficiaries of the compensation paid to them? What kind of message does the Admn want to convey through the whole publicity stunt? Is there an implied battle ensuing where Admn is trying to gain a lead over somebody?

In fact, the State machinery is very powerful in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Nobody can go against the State and win anything. But, that does not imply that the Islanders have to behave like slaves and accept whatever is thrown at them. The bureaucracy with absolute support from the Administrator and ground support from Congress (I) has taken the Islanders for a blind ride is not a secret to be unveiled.

The compensation paid to the farmers is their right, and not charity. The farmers had a genuine demand that their land should not be surrendered for claiming the compensation. The Administration including the Administrator miserably failed in convincing both the farmers as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and faltered at every step. In contrast, they tried to convince the farmers to take the compensation. Just a few days back, when the farmers with active support from BJP and its outspoken MP Bishnu Pada Ray came out with a protest march, the Deputy Commissioner had assured that the matter would be taken up with the Centre. Nobody knows what happened to that vague promise. The Administration never followed a transparent policy in any matter concerned with the Islanders.

The compensation amount now distributed with much fanfare is indirectly the result of the farmers protests held at different intervals. Otherwise, the file would have taken another decade to move from one table to another.

In this cockfight between the farmers and the Administration, the final victory rests with the Administration, as they are unison in fighting the citizens. The farmers are completely perplexed with the day-to-day turn of events, with the Admn sadistically and psychologically trying all shots to show their might.

In Vishal Jolly, the Admn got the right opportunity to further demoralise the battle of the farmers. When usually they published one photograph of the "solemn" functions, this time they went ahead with publishing three photographs in which two of it featured Vishal Jolly.

There are farmers who are in dire need of the compensation package, but for their dignity, are still eagerly waiting for a positive response where they expect the Admn to give them an assurance that their land will remain with them. Instead of such a move, the Admn finds its own happy moments by breaking the movement bit by bit whenever they get an opportunity.

It will not make any difference even if the seat of Member of Parliament is taken away from the Islands, as in any matters concerned with the Islands, his say does not matter anywhere. The bureaucrat takes most of the decisions on behalf of the Islanders and we shed tears to protect the sovereignty of the republic.

Vishal Jolly at least had the guts to apologize, as he is a politician and will have to face the Islanders. Nevertheless, will the Administration or the Administrator, who too behave as politicians dare to apologize to the Islanders for the innumerable blunders they have committed including the Buffer Zone and the Farmers' Compensation Issue? They are safe playing whatever dirty games they can conjure, as they are not accountable to anybody in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

1 comment:


A thought provoking insight, laying bare the truths behind the dirty game of tsunami compensation.
It is true the authorities failed miserably in protecting the rights of the farmers whose land got submerged. By highlighting the news of compensation being paid to a section of farmers, the authorities aim to demoralising those remaining farmers who despite being affected badly by the 2004 tsunami had the guts to say no to compensation in lieu of submerged land.
I salute the author Mr Zubair Ahmed, Light of Andamans and all those farmers who showed tremendous courage to stand firm against the wind.