|Sanjiv Bhatt with wife Shweta|
There is a school of thought about fighting the system from within. It rarely works. The system eats you before you can even bring out your fork or finger it.
There is also the halo-giri, where it is assumed that the fight is being done for honour. One such instance is now before us.
Suspended Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta on Friday announced that she will contest the State Assembly elections on a Congress ticket against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in the city.
This is most certainly not a decision she took on her own. She has the backing of her husband, who in turn is backed by the Congress now. I emphasise ‘now’ because he did depose before the Nanavati Commission against Narendra Modi when he, Bhatt, was part of the IPS cadre in Gujarat and wrote to the Supreme Court indicting Modi for complicity. He was suspended.
Shweta Bhatt says:
“We have moved far away from democracy in Gujarat and to restore it, everyone has to do whatever they can. Fighting election against Modi is the logical step in our quest for democracy and to curb anti-democratic forces.”
Electoral democracy means people going to vote and whoever wins is accepted. So Gujarat is a democracy in that limited sense. She could have chosen a word like secularism. Or even dictatorship. But, these are loaded terms and can apply to the party she is now with. By pitting his wife against Modi, he has lost the moral spine of a real dissenter. He stands bare, as one more opportunist willing to sleep with the enemy’s enemy.
Despite some obfuscation and delay on his part, Sanjiv Bhatt did offer a little hope for those who do believe the chief minister owes responsibility for what happens in the state he governs. In a state where Modi is master, the Congress has had no major role to play and, therefore, prove. It knows Modi will win. It does not matter whether they put up a lamp-post against him or Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife. That should concern the officer and gentleman. It will in no way help diminish the crimes he has been fighting against. If anything, he has placed himself in an awkward position where his wife losing could well be used by the Congress as evidence of martyrdom, of having suffered because her husband is a hounded creature.
Well, that is not the case. And Bhatt is probably doing this to keep his options open. A quid pro quo cannot be ruled out, with the Congress promising a Rajya Sabha seat or other goodies. These are political gains.
Modi must be happier than usual. The man who ‘took him on’ on a matter of principle is now playing ball on another court.
(c) Farzana Versey
(c) Farzana Versey