Dear Dr. Harshavardhan,
Congratulations on becoming the candidate for Chief Minister for Delhi. I am not very aware of your career, but am assured by several people that you were chosen because of your spotless record with regard to corruption. This, in itself is quite remarkable in India, and you should be justifiably proud.
I had never thought I'd have to ask this, but in the interest of citizens knowing what they vote for, these questions become important.
I would like you to answer these questions:
- Do you believe women of Delhi are independent citizens in their own right with the fundamental rights and freedoms and protections from law that are due to any citizen of India (with the possible exception of women in Gujarat since it seems a bit disputed at the moment)? And that fundamental rights cannot be overruled by another person just because they would like to?
- Will you agree, if elected to obey the law and to not misuse authority vested in you by the people for personal ends and against the people, particularly in activities illegal under current laws?
- Do you believe that it is possible for a third person to know that a person is being harassed while the victim voluntarily seeks the company of the supposed harasser? And if so, do you believe that the appropriate action is to not file a police complaint, but to approach you for some off the record "protection"?
- Do you believe that parents have the right to use personal connections and off the record Chief Minister and police services to find out information about their adult independent citizen children without their informed consent - information that the adult independent citizen children may not voluntarily give them? (whether someone is in their hotel room at 11pm, for example)
- Do you believe that a consensual relationship between adults can be termed as harassment and intervened off the record by the state if the parents of one or more people involved in it don't like it?
- Do you believe that a Chief Minister is obliged to violate the rights of citizens if requested by a personal friend or relative or business contact or any other non-authority?
Additionally, it would be nice if you stated your views on surveillance.
I understand that the questions are rather offensive and amount to a questioning of your character and integrity, when you have been chosen specifically for those; and I regret that this is so. However the current BJP stand on some alarming revelations on illegal surveillance makes these questions necessary as it appears that there is a misunderstanding on what an accountable state is and what citizen rights are. I am sure you will agree that it is important that citizens knowingly vote for a Chief Minister whose views on their rights is acceptable to them.
I understand that the questions may seem a little repetitive with very minor differences, but I request you to indulge the paranoia of a woman seriously rattled by the prospect that the freedoms she believed she had may not be present in the eyes of the state at all. For someone like me, my parents coming to know everything I do would likely be very offensive and not entirely good for my parent's health either, though they may be foolish enough to want it, if they came across a willing Chief Minister.
Urgent replies will be appreciated, as there isn't much time for the polls.
An extremely alarmed citizen.
(This post has been written by Vidyut on behalf of a Delhi citizen who would rather not be named, but wants to know these answers)