What should have primacy? Saving people from the grip of the countrymen from deadly Coronavirus or beautification and reconstruction of the parliament house as well as the residences of the Prime Minister and the Vice-President? Which one should receive the tag of an essential service-providing corona vaccine or beautification project? In imperialist India under the fascist autocratic rule of the BJP government led by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, the second one is considered to be sine qua non even if several lakhs of people die of the pandemic. No construction is allowed in Delhi’s lockdown unless workers live on site. But 180 vehicles have been given permission to bring workers to the Central Vista. Sounds incredible? But that is the truth because the self-applauding PM has his own rule of deciding priorities based on what he can use it to spuriously boost his own image.
‘Central Vista’ project is a testimony to that. The present Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Blocks, Rajpath, India Gate, National Archives and the Princes’ Houses around India Gate in Delhi were constructed in 1931.Entire architecture was known as Central Vista. Many of the museums and archives situated in the vista were supposed to be protected under the National Heritage Act. But just one year after he assumed the Prime Ministership, PM Modi decided to redecorate the entire area in his own way in May 2015. He wanted and continues to want Modi’s Delhi to leave behind his legacy of immortality. The redevelopment project includes converting North and South Blocks into public museums, while creating an ensemble of new secretariat buildings to house all ministries, relocating the Vice President and the Prime Minister’s offices and residences near the North and South Blocks, and revamping the 3 km long Rajpath between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate. A preliminary estimate of the cost of whole project was put at Rs 20,000 crores which is expected finally to be much more. Entire project is tasked with the corporate oligarch bidders in phases side-lining the government organisations. While around Rs 1,000 crores contract is given to Tata Project Ltd for the construction of the new Parliament, Rs.13,500 crore contract is offered to Gujarat based Sapoorji Pallonji Group for redevelopment of the Avenue. The inauguration of the renovated area is slated to be inaugurated by PM Modi on the occasion of observance of 75 years of Indian independence in 2022. Hardeep Singh Puri, Union BJP of Housing and Urban Affairs has made it clear that the whole idea is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “dream project”. Just as Shah Jahan decided to build a grand mausoleum for his wife, Modi wants to build a new capital for his vanity. So, when next Parliament election would be held in 2024, the ruling BJP would triumphantly showcase this new capital as signature of New India that has emerged under the stewardship of PM Modi. This is not the end. Narendra Modi’s political aspirations go far ahead. He is not just a BJP leader. In fact, he is an RSS preacher. The RSS never works to simply win votes for the BJP. It’s main objective is to firm up arch communal obscurantist Hindutva doctrine in India, deny all kinds of the non-Hindutva traditions of the country and destroy all signs and marks that do not conform to Hindutva. Coinciding would be the centenary of the RSS in 2025. ‘Central Vista’ is therefore not only the personal legacy of Narendra Modi. It is also the centenary tradition of the RSS, the cradle of his politics in the heart of Delhi. That is why, the entire project site is barricaded to be off from public view and engagement of the labourers at the site is in clear violation of Covid 19 protocols. Some of the labourers have also been reported to be working in most unhygienic condition with fear of pandemic attack and even without any payment. But their hardship is of no concern-what matters most is adhering to the deadline of completion of the project that would ‘heighten the image of the PM’.
Thus all the burning problems of people’s life-the horror of pandemic, soaring price line, growing unemployment, mounting inequality, hunger, starvation, hoarding and black-marketing, promulgation of one after another Black Act to stifle voice of protest, Black Farm Laws to facilitate corporate takeover of agriculture, rising peasants’ suicides, so called labour law reforms to put the last nail into the coffin of the workers and employees, reckless privatization and commercialization of health and education, spiralling crime against women-everything would be prevented from surfacing during the poll. It would only the self-arrogated credit of PM Modi and the RSS-BJP combine for the refurnished central vista spending thousands of crores of rupees from people’s exchequer when there is stated to be a fund crunch for vaccines and life-saving oxygen cylinders, for providing requisite cash subsidy to the wretched millions and such other public welfare schemes.
Which sections of people other than the handful of super-rich, beneficiary corporate behemoths and the ruling party leaders alongwith their bootlickers are vitally interested in the project? How is it that when two petitioners filed a petition in Delhi High Court seeking stay on the construction of ‘Central Vista’ in view of the crucial situation arrived due to recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the national capital and the threat posed by the construction work as a potential super spreader amidst the second wave of pandemic in Delhi, the government has managed to secure a judicial verdict to impose penalty on petitioners for raising genuine issues of public health and questioning the actions of the government in giving precedence to a beatification programme over securing people’s health and life?
This very move has once again unveiled the inhuman face of the ruling BJP in faithful servitude of the ruling monopolists who are thriving on the rising misery and penury of the oppressed millions. Would the suffering multitudes allow this brutality or imbibe the necessity of rising in united organized protest to compel the heartless self-serving bourgeois rulers?
(Sources scroll.in 27-04-21,The Hindu 31-05-21, The Print 15-05-21 and 31-05-21, Indian Express 01-06-21, Ananda Bazar Patrika 27-05-21 )