From Sonia-Rahul's protest to AAP's slogans: 2015 was a year of mobocracy for Delhi politics

by Ambikanand Sahay

Mobocracy is, according to Wikipedia, synonymous in meaning and usage to ochlocracy. And ochlocracy is democracy spoiled by demagoguery and the rule of passion over reason, just as oligarchy is aristocracy spoiled by corruption and tyranny is monarchy spoiled by lack of virtue. Just to refresh your memory, here is what you saw cumulatively:

Scene 1, 19 December: In response to a summon issued by Patiala House Court on a criminal case over the National Herald issue, Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, drove down rather ceremoniously in a motorcade to the magistrate’s office along with all the big-wigs of the Congress. Thousands of party supporters drawn from different districts including Amethi and Raibareli had thronged the streets leading to both the Court Complex and the Congress Headquarters at 24 Akbar Road. Traffic had come to a standstill in these areas of Central Delhi. The air was rent with the marchers’ war-cry: “Rahul tum sangharsh karo; hum tumhare saath hain (Carry on your crusade, Rahul; we are with you)”. Some of them also carried “Down with dictatorship” placards.

 From Sonia-Rahuls protest to AAPs slogans: 2015 was a year of mobocracy for Delhi politics

Scenes of protests in Delhi during the court of the last one month. PTI

The common man, who was at the receiving-end of the traffic-jam, wondered: How on earth can you put on display your political prowess on the streets in a legal-tangle? What the hell is going on?

Scene 2, 21 December: Close on the heels of what the Congressmen did two days before on the streets, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders including Cabinet colleagues, MPs, MLAs and important party functionaries along with a posse of policemen gathered around the Court Complex to file a criminal defamation case. Their supporters thronged the streets in even larger numbers to display solidarity with their leader. And in their eagerness to outdo the Congress on the streets they perhaps forgot that they were a Ruling Party.

Caught in the traffic-jam yet again, the common man wondered: How on earth can a Ruling Party assemble on the roads, especially when the Parliament is in session? If you want to file a defamation suit, why can’t you do it in a dignified manner soberly in a court of law. And why the hell are you trying to emulate the feat of a terribly weak opposition party?

Scene 3, 22 December: The apparently unsavory side of brute majoritarianism was witnessed in the Delhi State Assembly when, during a special session of the House, the State Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, unleashed all the verbal firepower under his command to attack the Prime Minister. Agitated over the CBI raids on the Delhi Government headquarters, he even described the Prime Minister as a coward and a psychopath.

Arun Jaitley was quick to retaliate with caustic comments on his blog: “Is vulgarity the new norm of Indian politics? People in positions are expected to act with restraint. They cannot be outlandish. Falsehood delivered with vulgar overtones is not a substitute for truth. Lumpenisation of public discourse can never be the high point of politics.

Outside the Assembly building, hundreds of BJP workers kept on shouting slogans against Kejriwal and his AAP. The common man wondered yet again: What the hell is going on?

Scene 4, 23 December: Thousands of AAP workers converged around Arun Jaitely’s residence on the Race Course Road. They were raising provocative slogans. Unfazed by police resistance, some of them even scaled the barricades. The police then used water-canons to disperse them. The AAP vs Jaitley row had reached its peak.

The common man kept on wondering if the Capital was getting too polluted politically also. How long will it last?

Scene 5, 28 December: Scores of BJP workers, in retaliation, staged their protest around Kejriwal’s residence vociferously in New Delhi. Led by Satish Upadhyay, party’s Delhi unit chief, they demanded the Chief Minister’s resignation in the face of what is known as “auto-rickshaw permit scam”.

The common man couldn’t figure out the truth behind scam versus scam politics. Dumbfounded, he is still groping in the dark. Perhaps, it was time for him to recall what the special CBI Judge, Vinod Kumar, observed while hearing arguments on the Delhi Secretariat raid: “This is sarkar versus sarkar. This is very strange”. It was obvious that the judge was referring to the AAP versus Centre spat.

The New Year is knocking on the door. Who knows things might improve and the common Dilliwala heaves a sigh of relief!!!

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Updated Date: Dec 31, 2015 14:21:44 IST