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No laughing matter, blame it on personality politics

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By Sidharth Mishra

When Member of Parliament from South Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri was making the  abusive remarks in the Lok Sabha, two very seasoned members from his party Dr Harshvardhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad were seen laughing.

The three decades long exposure covering politics, especially Delhi, has given opportunity for several interactions with these gentlemen. That Ramesh Bidhuri could speak the way he did, despite now almost a decade in Parliament, and before that in state assembly, was not surprising but that Harshvardhan and Prasad could find it to be a laughing matter surprised many.

It’s difficult to believe that given their career trajectory, they could at the spur of the moment ‘endorse’ of what Bidhuri said. Both Harshvardhan and Prasad are today in political wilderness, and its easy to believe that they were probably laughhing at the muck which the ‘blue-eyed boy’ of ruling dispensation was bringing on the party.

In fact many in the ruling BJP benches are dismayed by Bidhuri’s behaviour, especially considering that this incident occurred on a day when the party was celebrating the passage of the Women’s Bill and the success of Chandrayaan mission, Both of these the BJP wants to  showcase in the tun-up to the next Lok Sabha polls. When the leaders of the ruling benches have visibly toned down their body language and shown to be more receptive towards Opposition, leading to productive functioning of the House, here comes the fusillade with the lethal potential to destroy government's goodwill.

Other interesting narrative which has emerged from the abusive act is, how could the people of South Delhi elect someone like Bidhuri as their representative. Foremost, it’s to be understood that posh South Delhi colonies do not any more form part of the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.

The current areas of this seat were earlier part of the Outer Delhi constituency, and following the delimitation in 2009 polls, they became part of the South Delhi seat. Majority of the posh colonies of erstwhile South Delhi seat meanwhile became either part of the exapanded New Delhi seat or the rearranged West Delhi seat.

The areas now under South Delhi seat are those which were part of rural Delhi and are now home to a large number of unauthorised colonies. In the older times BJP’s Sahib Singh Verma and Congress’s Sajjan Kumar represented these seats. Both belonged to the Jat community, however, following the 2009 delimitation it’s the rival Gujjar community which has come to gain upper-hand and thus the rise of Ramesh Bidhuri.

However, Bidhuri is not an unchallenged leader of the constituency. His success in the polls is attributable to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charism, or how else even people from his close family lose in the local municipal and state assembly polls. Of the 10 assembly seats in the South Delhi parliamentary segment, the BJP could manage to win just one seat in the 2020 polls. This seat too has been won by a vetern party-hopper Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, the present leader of Opposition in Delhi assembly.

The past two assembly polls and the two Lok Sabha polls have revealed that the voter in Delhi is either voting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Here the merits of the local candidates are getting dwarfed, which is very harmful for the parliamentary form of democracy.


The question is, who is to be held responsible for the behaviour of Ramesh Bidhuri, the party which gave him ticket or the people who elected him. The people of South Delhi can safely say that they voted for Prime Minister Modi and not Bidhuri. In that case, will the party discipline Bidhuri or retain him to be spearhed of the anti-minority narrative? 

(First Published in The Morning Standard)


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