Showing posts with label Arvind Kejriwal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arvind Kejriwal. Show all posts

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Miracle: Kejriwal plays ducks & drakes with public money without "power to buy a pen"

A Miracle: Kejriwal plays ducks & drakes with public money without "power to buy a pen"

By Amba Charan Vashishth

A few days back the Delhi Chief Minister who blames the Prime Minister Narendra Modi even if a tree gets uprooted in the NCR because of heavy rain and howling wind, tweeted, ""The CM and ministers are left with no power now, even to buy a pen. LG and PM enjoy all powers".
That was a statement demeaning the office of a chief minister Kejriwal holds. Kejriwal represents the aam aadmi, his morals, ethos, hopes and aspirations. Those who took Kejriwal at his words, felt pained at this situation. But one can believe Kejriwal at the risk of one's own credibility. It is a different matter if the self-proclaimed "anarchist" in him is not worried about such political decencies and niceties.
Immediately on taking oath Kejriwal had declared that the State exchequer was people's money and each penny shall be spent on the aam aadmi. A month after the first "Swaraj" budget of AAP government was passed Kejriwal set aside 526 crores in the annual budget for publicity and advertisements which was opposed by the opposition and even an AAP MLA as just self-promotion.
This very chief minister, according to an RTI revelation, could yet manipulate "power" to spend aam aadmi's 100 crores for self-promotion between February 10 and May 10, 2016. This amount, it is said, pertained to newspaper advertisements only; money spent on TV, radio ads and publicity hoardings was in addition.
This financially 'powerless' Kejriwal government has reportedly been pulled up by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for spending 28 crore on advertisements and publicity campaign outside of Delhi at places as far off as Bengaluru, Chennai and Kerala. Kejriwal, obviously, was not promoting his government but his party for political and electoral purposes there.
Although Arvind Kejriwal had "no power to buy a pen" yet he could still afford to pay an electricity bill of about ₹91,000 for the two months of April and May at his Civil Lines residence, according to an RTI reply.
Further, Kejriwal could still exercise powers to appoint 21 of his MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries with hefty perks.
Kejriwal Government appointed Women Commission Chairman Swati Maliwal could recruit hundreds of people and give them financial benefits illegally without observing the rules. Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has registered "a case under Sections 13(D) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the IPC against Maliwal," said a senior ACB officer.  There are allegations that 90 percent of persons selected by her are AAP workers.
This aam aadmi Chief Minister wanted to undertake in royal splendour his yatra to Vatican City to be present at Mother Teressa's canonisation accompanies by his  OSD, his Chief Secretary, his Health Minister Satyendra Jain and his OSD. But Lt. Governor put his foot down and allowed only the CM, his OSD and Satyendra Jain and none else. Lakhs of rupees out of public funds were spent. 
All said and done, Kejriwal government yet had the “power” to get the Delhi assembly pass the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill raising the pay and perks of the chief minister, ministers and MLAs by 400 percent. It raised the monthly package of MLAs from ₹88,000 to ₹2.5 lakh per month while their annual travelling allowance has been raised from ₹50,000 to ₹3 lakh per year, with other perks. A Delhi MLA would get a basic salary of ₹50,000, constituency allowance of ₹50,000, conveyance allowance of ₹30,000, communication allowance of ₹10,000 and secretarial allowance of ₹70,000. The basic salary of ministers has been increased from ₹20,000 to ₹80,000 and their constituency allowance to ₹50,000 from ₹18,000. This has been done with a view not to "deny the need for money (to legislators) when it comes to serving the people". During discussion on the Bill some AAP MLAs claimed that "with their current salaries, they could not attend weddings as they didn't have enough money to buy gifts". They want public money to buy gifts to their electorate.
If "with no power now, even to buy a pen" CM Kejriwal and his ministers could play havoc with the public funds, what would have they done if they had all the "powers"? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ignorance can't be bliss for Arvind & Nitish

Ignorance can't be bliss for Arvind & Nitish

The way the self-confessed "anarchist" Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is behaving and blurring, it provides justification for denial of Statehood to Delhi, not at least under a maverick politician like him. Instances of his words and actions which do not behove a chief minister are unending. Sufficient to question his latest soundbite. Mahesh Giri MP "should be arrested n interrogated by Modi Police" for NDMC official MM Khan's "murder", Kejriwal tweeted, charging that "Modi Police was shielding him".
On the other hand, the beleaguered and bereaved family of Khan has pleaded with politicians not to play politics with their family loss but help get them justice.
Granting statehood to Delhi, in these circumstances, shall be like handing over a loaded gun to a child. The Delhi chief minister seems to be ignorant that under the law a chief minister — or, for that matter, even a prime minister — have no constitutional authority to order the arrest of an individual however heinous the crime of an accused may be.  It is for the police to register a case on receiving a complaint and investigate it. Going by his conduct, had Kejriwal been the chief minister of a full-fledged State of Delhi, he would certainly have ordered "Kejriwal" police to "arrest and interrogate" Giri for the alleged murder.
Similarly, we have another chief minister, Nitish Kumar of Bihar, displaying ignorance of law and the reality. While the world was celebrating the second Yoga International Day on June 21, it goes to the credit of Nitish Kumar to decide not to observe it, apparently taking offence at the BJP-led central government cold shouldering his call for countrywide prohibition.
Ignorance of law and the constitution may be bliss for the ignorant but not for a chief minister like Nitish or Kejriwal who share a common wish, at one time or the other, to be the country's prime minister. The home truth is that in his own State Nitish Kumar's Grand 'Secular' Alliance may have won 178 seats in a 243-member house but only with 41.9 percent votes against NDA's 34.1 percent votes with just 58 seats.
Further, he needs to understand that prohibition is a State specific policy and the Modi government has no authority to impose Nitish's will on the rest of the country. If NDA did, it would be the likes of Nitish and Kejriwal who will be the first to shout from the housetops that Modi government was transgressing on the rights of the States and arbitrarily imposing its will on the unwilling States for which it has no authority. They will then further allege that the States were not consulted and no effort was made to find a consensus.
Or is Nitish Kumar trying to build a ground to put the blame on the Centre if he fails to effectively enforce prohibition policy in the State?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Panacea for innocence: Harish Rawat style

Today's Take (May 25)

Panacea for innocence: Harish Rawat style

 It is but natural that Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat should feel uneasy over the prick of an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over the allegged sting operation in which he is allegedly shown to be promising money to MLAs for supporting him in the vote of confidence in the Assembly. Now that he has won the vote and is back in chair, the CBI questioning him in connection with the sting operation adds to his uneasiness. On May 24 he is reported to have been quizzed by the CBI in Delhi for about five hours. There are reports that he may be called once again for interrogation.

What transpired during investigation is not known, but reports of his being summoned again give a clear indication that Rawat is not out of woods for the moment. That seems to be the cause of his frustration when he threatened PM Narendra Modi saying "Sometimes even an ant can trouble an elephant". But such diatribes do not amount to anyone's innocence. Rawat needs to understand that no chief minister is above law. A floor test on the floor of the legislature can enthrone or dethrone an individual as chief minister but it cannot be a verdict on a crime he/she may or may not have committed. His innocence can be proved only during investigation or in a court trial.

He also needs to understand that if the CBI probe stings him, the sting irritates the eyes of the common man who saw it on the news channels. The people and the representatives of the people had not chosen him for what he is alleged to have been shown in the sting. Let the truth come out and Rawat can certainly help in this matter.

Delhi Power Shortage
Bold Words no Substitute for Action

Cornered by both the opposition groups, BJP and Congress, over the deteriorating power situation in Delhi at a time when the day temperatures are touching new high and June is still a week ahead, the Delhi Chief Minister  Arvind Kejriwal decided to go bold. In a stern warning to the private power distribution companies to address the problem of outages saying government will not hesitate to cancel their licences if they fail to comply with the directive. So far, so good.

But the warning is not the solution. This could be the panacea if the Kejriwal government was sure and convinced that the power companies were the culprit and they had ample power to distribute to meet the everyday growing demand in this summer season. On the face of it, it is not the companies who appear to be the only deliberate villain.

But has the Kejriwal government an emergency and alternative in position. In case the companies fail to come up to the expectation of the government and the people and Kejriwal proves true to his threat and cancels the licences, will the situation improve on its own, automatically? Will the national capital not be pushed to a state of darkness and misery in this burning hot season? No government agency or a new company can instantly come into operation the moment licences of old companies are cancelled.

Provoking to name a Toilet after Rahul

Congress is not used to taking things lying down. Only the other day actor Rishi Kapoor questioned why innumerable public institutions have been named after Gandhi-Nehru family. Baap ka maal samajh rakha tha? (Did they consider it their father's property?), tweeted the actor.

As a matter of fact, Congress has no convincing explanation. Former prime ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri, P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Presidents, Sardar Patel and many others have been pushed to oblivion.

But Congress workers did not let the things to rest at that. In Allahabad some Congress enthusiasts went to the extent of retorting by 'naming' a Sulabh public toilet after the actor Rishi Kapoor. They hung a poster "Rishi Kapoor" naming it as such.

So far, Congress party has not come out with its reaction on the action. But has the Congress not given its detractors the handle and provocation to name similar places by Rahul and Gandhi-Nehru family? Will it then come out with a sporting and smiling reaction?                                                                            ***

Thursday, April 9, 2015


AAP in Turmoil

By Amba Charan Vashishth

When in February this year CM Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)  obliterated Congress and badly mauled BJP in Delhi assembly elections, it appeared as if, at least in Delhi, the party is over for both the national parties and it would well nigh be impossible for both to challenge it for the next decide if not more.  But in just one month of power,it now the scenario seems to have reversed. The party which witnessed a meteoric rise appears to be coming down  like a meteor to crash on the ground with a thud.

 Initially, the creators of AAP  generated a great euphoria. Hum aam aadmi hain jiI, Kejriwal would stress in every public meeting. We are not like all others, we are different, transparent. Our policies will be decided by you (people). Who will fight the election will be decided by you. Our election manifesto will be drafted by you, not us. That was his repeated rhetoric. That appeal to the people. That clicked with the voter. Today, recalling those pious words looks ironic. It attracts snide comments.

Whether the allegations against Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Admiral Ramdas who have been removed from the National Executive,   are true or not, and  to what extent, no one can say for sure.  But what dismayed those who had faith in the party was the ugly spectacle of lack of internal  democracy and transparency in the party. Those expelled were neither served any charge-sheet nor given time to reply to the charges and nor opportunity to present their case in the meeting. Strong arm tactics were used. Bouncers were there — and were allegedly used — to browbeat the dissenters. They were summarily dismissed and dishonoured. Sufficient to speak of the kind of democracy and decency  in the AAP.

Kejriwal set the tone with a "sentimental" speech exhorting those present to "choose between them and me". He even threatened to leave the party. Nobody else was allowed to speak — for or against — on the motion to expel the founding fathers of the party. He gave substance to the opposition charge that Kejriwal Party is a replica of the self-righteous naxalites-maoists on prowl in the streets of Delhi. He presented himself as indispensable to the party and government. He wanted to be the unchallenged boss against whom nobody should dare raise a voice or finger. All through, Kejriwal had decried personality cult in other parties. But he himself ignited this very cult when he called upon the party workers to choose between him and his detractors.

We have heard of people being asked to attend a meeting of which they are members. But AAP created a history by asking some inconvenient members not to attend the national executive meeting at Delhi.

AAP could not succeed in having the Delhi government or the Central government to enact a Lokpal bill. But it did earn the distinction of being the first political organization to have an internal Lokpal in the person of Admiral Ramdas. But AAP again made history when it directed its own Lokpal not to attend the meeting and, later, removed him. Prashant Bhushan has described all this as dictatorial and reminiscent of "Stalinist purge".  

Kejriwal in an audio clip released recently threatened to leave the party and form a new one. Suffice to say about his love and commitment to the party he created and the arrogance of power that had crept in his personality. He used filthy and fowl language against his opponents.

Disgusted at the "tamasha" and alleging that "political principles are being trampled upon in the party," veteran social activist Medha Patkar resigned from AAP. There are reports of fissures within the AAP state units of Punjab, Maharashtra and elsewhere.

The goings-on in the party have given the impression as if AAP is going broke ideologically, politically and financially. That is why like worried creditors many have started asking for return of their investment. One NRI has demanded back Rs. 2 lakh he donated. He also wants the Wagon-R car he gifted and which Kejriwal rode famously to be returned to him.

Similarly, the person who created the broom logo for AAP has asked Kejriwal to stop using the same. "I designed the logo but I don't want the party to use it anymore. I was working for a party which stood for certain values" which today stand abandoned.

It is difficult to say whether for AAP it is the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.                                                                                                                              ***

The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


TIMES NOW Debate: KiranVsKejriwal

By Amba Charan Vashishth

The yesterday (20 January, 2015) Newshour Debate on Times Now was interesting and lively. But many important points seem to have drowned in the din of the debaters speaking to each other.
A point was made that Kiran Bedi should have taken on Kejriwal from New Delhi constituency against Kejriwal. Although Ajay Maken is contesting against Kejriwal, yet he has not been projected as Congress chief ministerial candidate. Why? Is it her opponents or the media to decide it? It is for her and the Party to decide from where she should fight the election.
If one were to go by the arguments of the anchor and the participants, they wish to throw a new tradition in our democracy where the chief (or prime) ministerial candidates should be made to fight each other in one constituency. This has never happened in a parliamentary democracy, neither in UK nor in USA. The only difference in USA is that there is a direct contest between the contestants, there being only two parties in the fray. But in India we have a few hundred parties and each will declare its own chief ministerial candidate.
Then who will decide the name of the constituency from where all the chief ministerial candidates should fight each other?
In the past no chief (or prime) ministerial candidate has chosen to challenge his rival from the same constituency. The only exception is Kejriwal who contested from Varanasi against Modi. But he was a self-propelled (and to an extent Media) prime ministerial candidate. The results have shown how laughable was his claim. Further, Modi was fighting from Vadodra in Gujarat also. Why did Kejriwal not contest from there?
In the past neither Indira Gandhi, nor Manmohan Singh contested against their prime ministerial probables in the opposition. In 2009 elections Dr. Manmohan Singh did not challenge to contest against L. K. Advani. This time too though Congress and media made it as Modi Vs Rahul contest, Rahul or his mother did not fight elections against Modi in either of the two seats. Then, why this so much hulla-bulla in the case of Kiran Bedi?

It was alleged that Kiran Bedi had been made to contest from a safe seat for BJP. Does that mean that even before the nominations have been filed, both AAP and Congress have accepted their defeat from Krishnanagar?


Sunday, February 9, 2014

KEJRIWAL — A Freak Crusader Against Corrrupton

KEJRIWAL — A Freak Crusader Against Corrrupton

Addressing a meeting of his party's national executive on January 31st the Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal released a list of 27 politicians belonging to different political organisations whom he dubbed as "corrupt". The list does not include any name from his own outfit because AAP leaders, in his view, are all icons of honesty notwithstanding the fact that a number of allegations have appeared in the media against one of his favourite minister. An AAP MLA has also been accused of sexual molestation of a woman.

There is nothing new in Kejriwal's rhetoric. He is used to this kind of language and conduct. During the last one year of his life as a politician he has charged as "corrupt" numerous politicians spanning almost every political hue.  To him, it looks, the only way to trumpet to the world that he — and his AAP — is the only 'honest' politician in the country is to drum up all others as 'corrupt'.

 Against certain politicians Kejriwal had been very specific and concrete in his accusations.  He had levelled serious charges against his predecessor Delhi chief minister Mrs. Sheila Dikshit and declared that within a few days of his taking over, she and most of her ministers would be behind bars. The Delhi people gave him the chance to come out true to his words but  45 days after his taking over, nothing seems to have moved decisively in the right direction. So far, the only achievement is having nabbed about three police constables and one junior official on charges of graft. It is, as yet, too much to believe that Delhi administration stands sanitized of corruption with Kejriwal taking over the reins of office.
Lacks the spark
It is now clear that Kejriwal lacks the spark and the spirit of a genuine crusader against corruption. He seems to be failing in his conviction and commitment to the pious cause of cleansing politics, public life and governance. His verbiage is more directed to appeal to the gallery than doing anything great when he himself is at the helm of affairs in Delhi government.  On the basis of documents and evidence in his possession against his targets he would have, if he were sincere to the cause, lost no time in knocking the door of courts to seek orders for registration of criminal cases against those he accuses of graft. On the contrary, he preferred to get fascinated only to the glamour of media glare. His leaving the matter at that after his own media exposure shows he, like any other politician, wanted just to reap a harvest of electoral gains for which he had not undertaken the toil of sowing the seeds. During election campaign every political party — Congress too did do that in 2004 and 2009 — promises a clean government only to forget its words after mounting the high pedestal of power.

Lost opportunity

During elections to Delhi assembly in November last year, a CD was released containing serious charges of corruption and misdoings against persons contesting elections on his AAP's symbol. One of the CD showed Kejriwal having himself sent an SMS to his party man saying that he had allegedly sold his party's nomination to a person for ` 2 crores. After first denying the allegations Kejriwal then constituted a committee composed of his own men of confidence to look into the allegations. AAP absolved everybody of any wrongdoing. He did lose the opportunity to rise morally high by failing to set a model for others to follow by ordering a probe into the CD. He just treaded on the path beaten by every other political party in such a situation in the past — a conduct he had been criticizing with a sharp tongue. The ugly stains of the kind of allegations contained in the CD cannot so easily be removed with the detergent of an inner party investigation by interested individuals. It cannot infuse confidence. The truth could only be known if there was a free, fair and impartial inquiry.

What would be Kejriwal's reaction if following his example every political party, like him, ordered an in-house inquiry by its own men into allegations made by him and gave a certificate of innocence and honesty to those he accuses them of having indulged in corruption? He has now lost his moral authority to question their conduct and motives.
 Double standards
If a political party or a leader receives funds from an organization based within or outside the country, for people like Kejriwal it is rank corruption.  But if the latter is/are the recipient(s), he/they claim it an innocent and honest donation for a genuine aam aadmi cause. This hypocrisy needs to end.

A PIL had been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking registration of a criminal case against AAP leaders for receiving foreign funds. According a statement filed by Ministry of Home Affairs, the AAP has not supplied information sought by the Ministry.  AAP claims transparency in all its functioning. Then why should it prevaricate in supplying the information when its hands are clean?

The grandiloquence and conduct of Kejriwal party boils down to a simple conclusion: His fight against graft is not aimed at eradicating corruption but confined to earning political mileage and deriving electoral dividends, nothing less than that. AAP suffers from the same fallings and failings every other political party suffers from and he speaks against. By his words and actions he has only exposed himself and failed to prove different from others of his clan.                                                                                           ***

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News Analysis Badle badle meri (AAP) sarkar nazar aate hain, ghar ki…

News Analysis
Badle badle meri (AAP) sarkar nazar aate hain, ghar ki…

By Amba Charan Vashishth

Great Britain has no written constitution. The monarchical Westminster form of parliamentary democracy there hinges on its great traditions and precedents. The British take pride in being strict sticklers to the law, traditions and precedents. But, on the contrary, in our form of parliamentary democracy where we claim to be following the Westminster style, we take pride in breaking the traditions and precedents.  We do swear by the Constitution but, at the same time, the ruling political party does everything to tame it to realize party’s narrow political ambitions and sectarian electoral goals in which the interest of the nation, invariably, stand isolated.

A new political outfit named Aam Aadmi Party  (AAP) composed mostly of novices in the field in just one year of its existence succeeded to catch the imagination of the metro city of Delhi to capture 28 out of 70 seats and also to defeat the chief minister Mrs. Sheila Dixit by a huge margin of about 26 thousand votes. It is an unusual happening in the electoral history of India. Though BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats, four short of absolute majority, yet it preferred not to form a government than indulge in horse-trading. The ruling Congress stood reduced to paltry 8 seats. JD(U) won one seat and one went to an independent.

Even a day before declaration of results, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal swore by his children (God, save them!) stressing that his party would neither seek nor extend support to either BJP or Congress. Initially, it looked as if Delhi would have to suffer the travail of being denied a representative government with president’s rule being imposed in the State for six months. That is why for a fortnight Delhi virtually remained without a government as the incumbent ministry had resigned and, as per tradition, the Lt. Government had asked Sheila government to continue till alternative arrangement was made. 

After haggling and bargaining the Congress decided to extend ‘unconditional’ support of its 8-member group from outside to AAP government
It was the miracle of this parliamentary democracy that a ruling party badly mauled at the hustings could still be on the right side of power enjoying all the privileges of a ruling party except government bungalows, red beacon lights fitted luxury cars and staff. It provides fuse to the AAP government and luxuriates at the cost of government without accountability.

The ‘honest’ AAP stooped down to accept support from ‘corrupt’ Congress — the same Congress most of whose ministers, till the declaration of election results, the party had been vowing to throw in jail for ‘corruption’.

Finally, AAP government with Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister took oath on December 23. It was asked to prove majority in the house by January 3. In the process many unusual happenings took place. Many of the great traditions and precedents got crashed into rubble.

Since India won independence, it had been a tradition that the senior most MLA belonging to any party was nominated by the governor to function as pro-tem speaker to administer oath to newly elected MLAs. When Lt. Governor nominated the senior most MLA belonging to BJP as pro-tem speaker, the latter declined the offer. Congress followed suit. Ultimately, an AAP MLA was nominated as pro-tem speaker. After oath of MLAs, the pro-tem speaker used to conduct the election of the speaker. Thereafter the Governor/Lt. Governor addressed the newly elected assembly in which the future programmes and policies of the new government were enunciated.  It was only after that the house ccould conduct its normal business and take up the vote of confidence. In fact, the election of speaker itself is the virtual floor test of the strength of the incumbent government. All this was dispensed with.

Two days before the confidence vote Kejriwal himself said: “He has only 48 hours left with him”.  He claimed that his government may continue or be defeated in the house, he is not bothered. He wished to fulfill some of the promises made to the electorate. It was a political ploy and electoral game plan. In the event of his losing the vote of confidence, he wished to present the successor with fait accompli. If his government was defeated, he could shout from the house top: Look my government did what it could and should; it was defeated by vested interests because his government took these people-friendly decisions.

It is beside the point that many point out that neither the electricity relief is fifty percent nor the water supply concession is as promised because about half the population does not have electric and water connections in their houses and they are the real aam aadmi. Congress claimed that only subsidy had been increased.
But the question arises: Is a government which has yet to prove its majority and consequently its legitimacy constitutionally by tradition and by law empowered to do so? 

AS a rule, a vote of confidence is moved by the chief minister or the prime minister. It is he who replies on the conclusion of the debate and seeks approval of the house. This practice too was dispensed with. The motion was not moved by chief minister Kejriwal but by one of his colleagues. Both the opposition BJP and ally Congress made certain points, sought certain clarifications and made certain allegations during the debate. Congress declared that their support will continue as long as the AAP government took people-friendly decisions and adopted policies which were, in the opinion of Congress, helping the aam aadmi. The discussion was not wound up and replied by the mover of the resolution but by the chief minister Kejriwal. It was also for the first time that a chief minister chose to completely ignore all the points raised and allegations made during the debate. He preferred to keep silent on controversial issues as he felt convinced that silence was gold in the circumstances. He forgot his pre-result brave words that “corrupt” Congress leaders would be behind bars immediately after AAP government took over and that a strong Lokpal shall be passed on December 29 at Ramlila Maidan. He did vow a Lokpal within a fortnight. He did kept the hope alive that corruption will not be tolerated at any level by any individual to whichever party he/she may belong. But nothing new. Similar words have repeatedly been reiterated by Congress leadership too. Then what is different? 

What was starkly eloquent and piercing the ears of the viewers was the absence of the sharpness of Kejriwal's determination and commitment to stand by each and every word he gave to the people.

Kejriwal made name for coming out with specific allegations of corruption and malpractices against the then chief minister Mrs. Sheila Dixit and her government. For the last about one year he had been branding Congress and CM Sheila Dixit as “corrupt” and claiming himself to be “honest” on posters pasted on the back of hundreds of auto-rickshaws plying in Delhi. Ironically today, he is challenging the opposition to come out with proof against Sheila government.
This reminds us of the scene before 1989 Lok Sabha elections when in public meetings V. P. Singh used to boldly take out a piece of paper from his pocket saying it contains the names of those who received the Bofors kickbacks. But after he became Prime Minister he forgot everything and that piece of paper too disappeared.

 V. P. Singh history seems to be repeating in the case of Kejriwal. Now one only recalls a popular Hindi film song: Ab to badle badle (AAP) sarkar nazar aate hain, ghar ki………..   

Also published in the weekly ORGANISER, weekly UDAYINDIA.                                                                                                     ***

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SUNDAY SENTIMENT AAP trying to wriggle out of its electoral promises by not forming govt TRYING TO PUT CART BEFORE THE HORSE

AAP trying to wriggle out of its electoral promises by not forming govt

The cat is out. As the new day rises it is now becoming increasingly clear that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal is trying to get out of his responsibility to form a government in Delhi.

BJP has won 32 seats including one by its ally Akali Dal. It is short of at least 4 MLAs to form a government and no other political group — the Congress and AAP) is forthcoming to support it. Therefore, even though BJP emerged as the single largest party after Delhi assembly elections, yet it lacks the requisite numbers for a stable government.


It was, therefore, but natural that the Delhi Lt. Governor should call the next single party which has the numbers to cobble up a government. He called the AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for consultation on government formation. In the meantime, Congress wrote to the Lt. Governor that it would extend 'unconditional' support to AAP to form a stable government. With Congress support of 8 MLAs and two others, the AAP support in the assembly swells to 38 to give a stable government. But Mr. Kejriwal sought a 10-day time to decide on government formation.
But Mr. Kejriwal tried to put the cart before the horse by writing both to Congress and BJP seeking their support on 18 points, many of which were common and within the competence of the State government. Even BJP had said that it will extend constructive support to facilitate AAP government fulfill its election promises to the people.  

So far the history had been that a party with largest numbers sought the support of other smaller parties/groups by forming a post-election alliance or seeking support from outside. It was not the largest party which forced conditions for seeking their support but the smaller groups approached which haggled for more and more pound of flesh. This happened during the NDA rule from 1998-2004 and the UPA-I and UPA-II after 2004. In 1996 the then President invited the single largest party, BJP led by Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to form a government. He did form one but failed to hoggle support from other political parties and groups with the result that he had to resign just after 13 days of the formation of government. It was the price for support from other parties that BJP from 1998-2004 period had to put its important planks of Ram Mandir, repeal of Article 370 and Common Civil Code for all in the cold storage. In the instant case, AAP is seeking support of other parties on its own terms.

Even otherwise, there are many issues in the election manifesto of AAP — 700 litres of water free to every consumer, reduction in the electricity rates, regularization of illegal colonies, creation of Lokpal or Lokayukta, Statehood for Delhi, protection of women — which no political party, be it Congress or BJP, can afford to put hurdles in AAP government implementing these promises. If any party does, it will cost very dearly to it in the eyes of the people.

AAP is making a funny demand. Both BJP and Congress should give, in writing, their support on all the 18 points raised by it. First, both Congress and BJP are going vocal on the electronic channels and in the media about their stand on these issues. They could be confronted any time if they changed stand by seeking the footage of their statements made to the media and electronic channels. Supposing if they give in writing too, are political agreements and statements enforceable through the courts?

The matter does not end with Congress and BJP elaborating their stand on these 18 points in writing. AAP says that after they receive commitment from these parties, they would go to the people to seek their opinion whether they should — or should not — form a government in the given circumstances. The people in whatever number have given their mandate to AAP, even if it falls short of the clear majority, to form a government. Moreover, what is the methodology AAP will exercise to gauge the real mood of the party on government formation? These are all diversionary tactics.

Slowly and steadily, AAP is emerging as a party that is trying to wriggle out of its commitment made to the people by adopting dilly-dallying tactics not to form a government.                                                                                                    ***

Monday, November 25, 2013

SUNDAY SENTIMENT AAP & Tejpal: Doctor, heal thyself

AAP & Tejpal: Doctor, heal thyself

In the last week ending November 22 two idols which self-claimed to be crusaders against corruption and wrongdoing crashed to the ground: Tehalka's Tarun Tejpal and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal.

Arvind Kejriwal groomed himself in the lap of social activities and fighter against corruption Anna Hazare. He utilized Anna's movement against corruption to raise an institution called Lokpal to project himself as the number 2 in the movement. Initially, Kejriwal derided intrusion of politics into the campaign for Lokpal to fight corruption. It looked to him, then, that politics and politicians would pollute the campaign to cleanse administration and eradicate corruption. He turned away politicians who came to express their support and solidarity for the cause at Janta Mantar. But, in less than a year, he got so fascinated by the glare and glamour of politics that that he himself decided to have a plunge in the mud of politics. He, perhaps, thought that the mud would not stick to his oily body and clean white the stains on his clothes in the same way as do our detergents claim. He formed a political organization under the name and style of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). He made a debut in Delhi elections and was the first to project himself as the 'clean' challenger to the 'tainted' Congress chief minister Mrs. Sheila Dixit and to be the chief minister if his party was voted into power. He put stickers on auto-rickshaws and elsewhere to vote out Dixit and vote in 'honest' Kejriwal.

To buttress his image as a relentless and fearless fighter against corruption, he took pride in quick-start his political career by taking pride in coming out with charges of corruption and wrongdoing against various leaders. By targeting top leaders of almost every national political party worth the name, he projected himself and his party as the only clean man and the rest just corrupt and scamsters. He claimed that his allegations were hundred percent true. If anybody challenged his accusations, he tried to give the impression that the leader accused was just trying to save his skin by telling lies.

But last week, a person who was once a member of his close group, gave Kejriwal the taste of what he was serving to other political leaders. Kejriwal adopted the same line of defence which Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had been practicing — disappearing from the glare of media and television cameras pushing up their henchmen to defend them. It was akin to the commander shielding himself from the enemy strike by taking a position of safety behind his troops.
It now looks Kejriwal has moved ahead from his infancy to adulthood in politics. To specific charges against him and his cronies, Kejriwal is using the same shields and using the same techniques, words and arguments his opponents had been employing to face a barrage of attacks by him. His spokespersons are beating about the bush in their zeal to defend him and the party without satisfying the people on the specific allegations made against Kejriwal and other members. They have, so far, not volunteered a fair, free and impartial inquiry into the allegations by any judicial or investigating authority of their choice. Instead they have preferred to issue clean chits to the persons involved. He is threatening his accusers who are daring him to do so.

People are therefore left to draw their own conclusions.

God that failed

The Tarun Tejpal case in which he has been accused to sexual assault on his own journalist-employee has caused another storm. Tarun Tejpal had earned a name for himself as a sober investigative journalist who had exploded some scams. But now he has been caught in his own webb. A journalist on the roles of his paper has accused him of sexual assault on her in Goa. It goes to his credit that he did not go out to out-rightly reject the charges as false, untrue, malicious, aimed at character assassination and motivated by his detractors. As atonement he stepped down from the editorship of Tehalka for six months. He regretted his action too. His managing editor Mrs. Shobha Chaudhary tried to project it as a 'family affair' barred to the piercing eyes of outsiders. The management has also constituted a house committee to look into the incident.

This action on the part of Tehlka management attracted a comment that Tarun Tejpal is trying to be an accused, investigator and a judge — all by himself.
Needless to recall that when Tehlka resorted to sting operations against BJP president Bangaru Laxman or against the Defence Ministry officers, he did not want the matter to be treated as a "family affair", as the magazine now tries to do. Criminal cases were registered against the persons involved and punishment awarded following their being found guilty. But Tejpal wishes that a different yardstick should be employed in his case.

If 'atonement' was the adequate punishment, the self-styled godmen like Asaram Bapu too could take the same recourse and get away with punishment because criminal charges against them are not more heinous than those against Tejpal.
Now that Goa police has come into action registering a case and recording statements of the victim's colleagues and associates, including those of Shobha Verma, Tejpal too is reported to have developed second thoughts on his earlier statements. He is now trying to extricate himself from the involvement. He has even sought pre-arrest bail.

 Congress is making all out noise on the alleged surveillance of a girl in Gujarat and demanding a probe by a Supreme Court judge although no crime was involved as the girl herself and her father have said that all this was done with their knowledge and they have no complaint. But, intriguingly, this very party is keeping a stoic silence on this heinous crime against a woman. There are reports that some senior party and government functionaries are going the whole hog to protect him. Even the Central Women Commission does not seem to be stirred by this incident. Human Rights Commission too continues to keep mum.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the targets of Tejpal's sting operations and the stinging language in his magazines had always been non-Congress leaders and Hindu organizations and individuals connected with it. This fact now seems to have gagged the voice of these sections of society who derived political and social benefit from Tejpal exposures and disclosures.                              ***

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Tuesday Teaser

As the date of polling for Delhi assembly elections is drawing near, the bubble of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal seems to be getting burst.
Kejriwal rose on the shoulders of the great social and anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare. He basked in the glory of Anna's anti-corruption campaign for Lokpal. It is he and some of his cronies who are responsible for turning the massive people's movement for Lokpal ultimately flounder.  
It is Arvind Kejriwal and his friends who, initially, smelt foul if politicians jumped on the Anna bandwagon to support the movement. They thought it will pollute it. It was he who had made certain political leaders leave the stage when they came to express their solidarity with the cause. He then claimed that he wanted to keep the campaign non-political.  But soon he staged a smart about-turn.  He decided to launch a political outfit of his own. It was this decision of his which ultimately sounded the death-knell of the movement that had sparked off a spontaneous and unprecedented support for the Anna campaign for which people of their own free will thronged in support; there was no leader to exhort them to do so. Finally, many like Mrs. Kiran Bedi deserted Kejriwal's boat because they smelt political opportunism in him.
The Anna movement met its waterloo when Kejriwal and party announced that they will campaign against the Congress and those against the Lokpal during assembly elections in four States of UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. But, for unexplained reasons, they failed to turn up in those States. That cost the Anna movement credibility, primarily because of him.
When Kejriwal launched the party, he was highly idealist and utopian. The party will not be headed by anyone; it will be the people who will guide its destiny, he said. It would be the people who will decide its course of politics. The money for the party too will come from the people, he declared.
He belied what he stated. A political organization without a leader is like a body without a head. Contrary to his declarations, he became its convener. How did it matter and placed it at a pedestal different than other parties. Every party has its own constitution. Parties like the BJP, Congress, Janata Dal, are headed by their president. Communist parties are headed by their general secretary. For all intents and purposes "convener" who is Arvind Kejriwal himself is the head of Aam Aadmi Party whatever may be his/her designation.
AAP no different
Programmes and policies of this AAP are being framed by Arvind Kejriwal and his group. Where is the aam aadmi in it? What is the difference between the process of evolution and formation of the programmes and policies of AAP and other political parties? Every political party claims its aims and objectives are those which reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people. So what is new in AAP?
Anna Hazare was against the conversion of his movement into a political body. He snapped all his ties and connections with Kejriwal and party. He announced that he will not campaign for AAP and also advised Kejriwal not to exploit his name to further his political ambitions. Deliberately, but indirectly, he did continue to use the Anna name during his electoral campaign. That is why Anna had ultimately to address a Press conference in which he made certain allegations against Kejriwal and AAP.
Congress B team
If Kejriwal thinks that he will dethrone Congress and crown himself with the office of the chief minister, he is not a realist and is living in a fool's paradise, day-dreaming. He is equally vain if he thinks that by jumping into the electoral arena in the Delhi assembly, he is harming Congress and its chief minister Mrs. Shiela Dixit against whom he is contesting. If not hundred percent, 80 percent votes he and his AAP receive will be the anti-Congress one. Thus where Congress was going to lose by a narrow margin of a few thousand, he is going to be instrumental in their win. Then, whom is Kejriwal helping?
Transparency where?
During the Anna movement and after formation of AAP, Kejriwal had been drumming up about transparency in his party. The `19 crores he has been able to collect for his party, including donations from abroad, is beyond comprehension. No political party or individual — not even renowned author Chetan Bhagat who floated a new political party and contested Parliament elections — can make such a boast because no new party in the past had been that lucky. If he wishes to make the people believe that the money he raised is through petty donations from the common people, he is befooling none else but his own self. Nobody is going to take him at his word, not even the aaam aadmi and people of his own party. Ms Mayawati has raised huge dumps of fortune and she too claimed that it was through small donations from people and party men.
To silence his critics, Kejriwal has said that if he was so enamelled of money he would not have quit his lucrative job. But his wife, his critics point out, is still there.
If Kejriwal and his AAP are so lucky to raise those huge dumps of money in their infancy in politics, it looks the trickle of donations may turn into an incessant drizzle once it wins some seats. What will happen, good god, if ever Kejriwal's AAP was voted into power in any State!                                         ***

Saturday, December 8, 2012


How is Gadkari 'guilty' and Vadra 'innocent'?

It is normal in our kind of politics that whenever a person makes allegations we brand him our opposite political party's agent. Therefore, when, initially, Arvind Kejriwal of Nation Against Corruption (NAC) made certain allegations against Congressmen and ministers, he was branded as BJP agent by the party.
To erase this tage, Kejriwal on October 18, 2012 leveled certain serious allegations against BJP president Nitin Gadkari alleging wrongdoings in companies owned or managed by the latter. Gadkari was quick to respond with his readiness to face any inquiry by any agency. Despite the Manmohan government having acted in right earnest to undertake Income Tax raids on certain companies run by Gadkari, government appears, so far, to have failed to rake up any criminal case against him.
Allegations against Vadra
A week earlier on October 11, Kejriwal had made almost similar allegations against Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra. It was the Congress and Manmohan government which came out with instant denial of the serious charges against Vadra as if it was not Vadra but Congress and Manmohan government which was running his business that they readily knew the ins and outs of the functioning of his companies. Vadra came out to deny the charges later calling his accusers as "orange boys" and branding our democracy of which we all, citizens, Congress leaders and government alike, are all proud of. The same democracy which has showered on Vadra the privileges and perks not available to people's representatives and people holding public offices. Vadra did not dare to expose his business doings to public scrutiny to let anybody peep into the facts. Manmohan government did dismiss any demands for any independent and impartial inquiry.
Vadra 'innocent'
Even to a notice to the office of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, PMO  on November 28 gave a clean chit to Robert Vadra in an alleged land scam involving realty major DLF and told the Allahabad High Court that that the allegation against him (Vadra) "appear to be false, vexatious and based on hearsay". () In the affidavit, filed by Dheeraj Gupta, joint secretary in the PMO, it was stated that the case of Vadra and DLF was a matter between two individuals and a purely business transaction. It was also said that both parties have already explained their positions and hence the allegations made seem to be "false, vexatious and based on hearsay."  As per report, the PMO affidavit nowhere states that its contents are based on any examination of the allegations and the documents with Robert Vadra on the basis of which the PMO has come to this conclusion.  
On the contrary, in the matter of allegations against Nitin Gadkari the PMO or the Congress were not as gracious, as they were in the case of Vadra, that allegations against Gadkari too are ”a matter between two individuals and a purely business transaction". For them Vadra remains 'innocent' without inquiry and Gadkari 'tainted' and even 'guilty' of unexplained corruption, again, without proof and inquiry.
By coincidence – and more by design – the allegations against Gadkari were hurled 17 days before Himachal was to go to the polls on November 4. Kejriwal was sanguine to the fact that allegations against Vadra were not likely to have any adverse impact on Congress fortunes in Himachal polling.
Similarly, on December 4 Arvind Kejriwal again came out with some allegations against the Gujarat chief minister Narinder Modi at the height of electioneering to the State assembly going to polls on December 13 and 17. By coincidence these allegations were also made about 17 days (and 21 days for the second phase of polling) before Gujarat polls. According to Press reports, the allegations against Modi are a repeat and rehash of the allegations made by Congress against Modi in a memorandum submitted to the President of India a year back.
Kejriwal's choice of timing to make allegations against Gadkari and Modi clearly indicates a political design with an electoral punch. In both cases if there could be any beneficiary of Kejriwal's diatribes it could only be Congress and Congress alone because both in Himachal and Gujarat no other party matters. Since Kejriwal's own political outfit was not in fray in Himachal as also in Gujarat, the obvious conclusion is that he is just trying to make Congress derive as much electoral benefit as it can. The same Congress whom Kejriwal and party have been targeting as the fountain of corruption. With their conduct Kejriwal's Nation Against Corruption is only promoting corruption and helping the 'corrupt' Congress reap the bumper crop of electoral benefits.
Is then Kejriwal a Congress mole in the opposition camp?