Showing posts with label Manmohan Singh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manmohan Singh. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

EQUALITY BEFORE LAW — Myth on paper & unreal in practice

Myth on paper, unreal in practice

By Amba Charan Vasishth

Congress rallies in support of ex-PM Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Biz honchos come out in support of (Kumar Mangalam) Birla.

Human rights and social activists rally behind Teesta Setalvad alleging she is victim of an administration out to harrass her for her espousing the cause of the Gujarat riot victims.

These are some of the highlights of the headlines that appeared in the media recently. With such averments and behaviour by the people who matter, are they slowly and steadily not displaying their lack of faith in the rule of law, the investigating agencies and criminal jurisprudence of the country? Inadvertently or otherwise, it looks they are.

What for does this "support" stand for — support for the person who allegedly committed a crime for which his/her conduct is under investigation and trial? Does this conduct behove a responsible, law-abiding citizen of a free and democratic India? Does it ennoble political parties and leaders — some of whom are law-makers themselves — who boast of doing their very best to usher in a civil society where peace and prosperity reigns supreme where justice prevails, innocent are protected and guilty get punished? A regime under which the people have no sense of security of life and property and criminals do not dread the rod of law is a jungle raj.

Whenever a politician is brought to book for a crime he committed, whether in the discharge of his official duties holding a public office or in the performance of his political activities, the instant — and stock — reaction is that the case is "false, baseless, unfounded, politically motivated, an instance of political vendetta, aimed at character assisination" and what not.

 Take note of just a few cases during the last some years. Whether it was the Commonwealth Games scam, 2G scam, Coalgate or others, the then Congress-led UPA government had rubbished the CAG and his reports. On the contrary, the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi are on record having defended that no wrong had been done in violation of the UPA government policy They even issued 'honesty' certificates to the accused A. Raja and others. When Dr. Manmohan Singh's name surfaced in the Coalgate scam, the whole party stood behind him.  As the investigation progressed and facts oozed out, the then CAG Vinod Rai appears now to have the last laugh. The likes of UPA ministers Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram now turn the laughing stock of the people for their funny statements and logic.

Now that Dr. Manmohan Singh has been sum named as one of the accused in the Coalgate scam by a CBI court, the Congress party is standing as a pillar of support behind him.  The industry has come out unanimously behind Kumar Mangalam citing various reasons. Protest demonstrations too are not an unheard of even.

A public display of affinity amounts to undermining the credibility of the judicial system and faith in the law to dispense justice by giving a free and fair trial. The judicial system provides for at least two ladders of appeal to higher and the highest courts of the country to ensure that everybody gets justice. A media trial does justice to no party. But the way verdicts, without trial, of "guilty" or "not guilty" by the interested parties and well-wishers, particularly politicians or socially aligned to the accused, can be most harmful.

The Constitution may provide equality before law for all without discrimination on any ground but these gestures by the higher echelons of society seem to be presenting a different spectrum — a spectrum of the practice of law one for the elite and different for the ordinary mortals. A law under which the latter are paraded handcuffed and denied bail even for petty crimes and if allowed bail, they do not have the financial and social resources to fulfill the conditions. They are condemned as "guilty" instantly without trial. On the other hand, the privileges class even when charged with heinous crimes like rape, murder, cheating flashes a broad smile merrily waving to the crowd as if in a battlefield making a great sacrifice fighting for the nation. Even when found guilty and sentenced to prison, the ordinary being rots in jail undergoing rigorous punishment. But the elite enjoy their sentences in the luxury of 5-star hospitals or have fun getting every comfort in the four walls of a prison.

In a civilized society a crime cannot be a  matter of pride for one to raise one's head high and matter of curse and shame for the less privileged.

It is time for all to do something to stem the rot and not allow this notion overwhelm the mind of the common man. That would be disastrous for the democracy and the nation. The people who  matter need to ponder before it is too late.                                           ***

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Modi Government's stress

By Amba Charan Vashishth

Governance is the key to a good administration. The malady of our governments in the past has been that we had a bloated government but a weak apparatus for governance. The then Finance Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, Mr. P. Chidambaram, had himself once admitted that the malady of the UPA government lay in “governance deficit”. The government allowed the administration to drift. It seemed to believe that it need not have to act. It allowed the problems and issues to drift in the hope that in the course of time these will find their own solution.

But it is not so with the new BJP-led NDA government of Mr. Narendra Modi who has decided to take head on the problems and the issues confronting the nation. He doesn’t wish to take chances. He wishes to himself work and make his colleagues to lend him their helping hand to work out solutions.

Shri Modi convened a second meeting of his cabinet in just three days of his being sworn in. He exhorted his ministers to chalk out a 100-day agenda with focus on efficient governance, delivery and implementation of programmes. He wants to make the decision making process fast and an inclusive affair by giving priority to the issues highlighted by the States and the MPs crucial to the country’s development. As against the previous government where Ministers of State complained of having no work to perform, Shri Modi has asked cabinet ministers to assign work to their junior ministers  All these steps were in line with the PM’s 10-point vision which primarily involved increasing investment, completing infrastructure projects in a time-bound manner and exploiting the natural resources for the country’s benefit with the issues like the price rise, agriculture and women safety  remaining in the priority zone.

Shri Modi does not believe, like his predecessors, in sweeping away to the dust bin the programmes of the previous government he inherited. He has decided to take forward these rotting for want of action and decision.
From his experience Shri Modi is aware that implementing a decision is much more vital than framing a policy however beneficial to the people it may be.
Similarly, a programme or policy needs to be implemented with no less intensity of the spirit with which it is formulated. A faulty and corrupt implementation may take out the very life and spirit of a welfare programme.
That is why Shri Modi wishes to take along not only the political class but also the bureaucracy.

To inject a sense of belonging to the bureaucracy in the formation and implementation of a policy, Shri Modi made a new beginning by meeting and speaking to administrative secretaries of more than 75 ministries on June 4. He was displaying his zeal to generate a “positive environment” in administration.  He has given a lie to the general perception among the political class that babudom is a hindrance to the realisation of dreams of the government in power. He sent out a positive signal to the bureaucray that in his scheme of things its role is central to implement his agenda of “minimum government and maximum governance”. This gesture has infused such a positive signal that a senior secretary is reported to have commented: “”It was a different experience. For four years, we had gotten used to the idea of even someone like the Cabinet Secretary not having the time to spare for secretaries, forget about the Prime Minister”.  Added another secretary: "Ït was a pleasant change. One came away with the feeling that he (Modi) means business and has the ability to take important decisions".

The Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Amitabh Kant was so impressed that he tweeted: First time in my career frank and fearless interaction with the Prime Minister of the country. Highly motivating, great flow of ideas.

But some people  are trying to read something wrong in this positive gesture of the PM. Some have interpreted it as undermining the position of the ministers when secretaries meet the PM directly. It makes no difference as long as the bridges of communication between the three organs — the secretary, the minister and the Prime Minister — are kept alive. The problem will arise only when egos clash. And a conflict of egos never augurs well for anybody, high or low, in any situation.

Even if an idea directly propounded by a secretary clicks with the PM, it can ultimately come to fruition only in consultation with the minister concerned.  Moreover, it is a normal practice that in the event of a difference of opinion between a secretary and a minister on any issue, the matter goes to the prime minister (chief minister in a State) for final decision and if necessary, it can land in the council of ministers' court even.   

The doubts being aired that the bureaucracy will rule the roost overriding the ruling class are misplaced. unfounded and far-fetched. If under Shri Modi this could not happen in Gujarat, it can never occur in Delhi too.                        *** 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Sentiment MODI HAS ARRIVED

Sunday Sentiment

As the last two phases of polling on May 7 and 12 slowly inch towards a grand finale, the final picture, for sure, shall be know only on the afternoon of May 16. But the trends of reporting in the media have started trickling in of the mood of the electorate indicating that the BJP-led NDA is marching forward to dethrone the much disgraced Congress—led UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh where nothing moved without a nod from the Congress supremo Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and her son Vice-President Rahul Gandhi catapulted to the forefront for the last over one year with a definite plan to project him as the prime ministerial candidate.

There was, no doubt, something which has remained so far undisclosed what made Mrs. Sonia Gandhi surprise every Congressman by hurling the bombshell of ‘sacrifice’ after she returned from meeting the then President of India, Dr. APJ Kalam, where she had gone to seek an invitation to form a government with a claim for majority support to give a stable government. Whatever perceptible or not, the fact remains that the game was well-played. If she had not made the supreme “sacrifice” she would have then just remained a Prime Minister, but the ‘sacrifice’ gave her laddoos  in her hands. She virtually became a super Prime Minister. While her protégée Dr. Manmohan Singh had the post of Prime Minister, he had not the power; Mrs. Gandhi held no office but had full power and control. As a result she grabbed all the bouquets for anything and everything done by Manmohan government, she pushed every brickbat for failure towards Manmohan Singh. As Chairman of the extra-constitutional authority of National Advisory Council (NAC) she was the fountainhead of most of the policy decisions of the government and drafted enactments just to be presented to Parliament for approval. The Council of Ministers had just been reduced to the position of an implementing authority which owed an explanation to her for daring to delay implementation or defy her. Later, the Prime Minister had to look for a yes not just Mrs. Gandhi but from Rahul Gandhi too. He was instrumental in making UPA government to stage a smart about-turn on a policy on which it and Congress felt proud of.  In sum, it derailed the authority of the Prime Minister.

From all indications  an NDA government under Mr. Narendra Modi as Prime Minister is more than certain. Media reports suggest that BJP may make its presence felt even in States, like West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra ,where in the past its score had been zero. Media has started asking Mr. Modi what will he do on different matters and issues, as if he has already arrived on the scene. This has rattled the confidence of the Congress leaders. That explains their irrational, immature and irresponsible diatribes against Mr. Modi and BJP. Same is true of the other UPA partners and supporters from within or outside. Frustration is writ large on their faces and tongue. According to media reports, the satta bazaar has stopped betting and trading on the possibility of Mr. Rahul emerging as prime minister.

In a way the Congress leadership too has started seeing the writing on the wall. Important Congress ministers and functionaries, like Mr. Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel, have started dwelling on the post-result political scenario. One has claimed that Congress will form a government with the support of the ‘secular’ front, the other has spoken of helping it form a government to keep Mr. Modi out.  But that may be, on the one hand, a ruse not to let the morale of workers and leaders down for the remaining phases of polling and, one the other, can just be called as the last straw for a drowning party.

By all counts, the media, the opinion polls and the general perception among the masses is that BJP is sure to emerge as the single largest party and NDA the single largest pre-poll alliance. Its tally is likely to be near about the magic figure of 272 if not a clear majority and further support will swell voluntarily as the results start trickling down. If Congress is banking on any helping hand from its former “trouble-shooter” and now President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, it is hoping against hope. The President is not likely to do anything that goes against the precedents and the spirit of the Constitution.
Another indication is the fact that Congress wanted to nominate a judge for the so-called Snoopgate investigation before May 16, the day when results were to be out. That it wanted to haste appointing a judge in implementation of cabinet decision taken in December last shows that it had no hope of returning to power. All it wanted was to embarrass the new government. If it had the slightest hope, it would not have decided to go ahead with appointing a judge. The Congress could very well do this after being returned to power again. But it had read the writing on the wall. It is good that, in the end, good sense prevailed. But the likes of Kapil Sibal and Sushil Kumar Shinde once again left the Congress red-faced. It once again proved that Congress never consulted its allies and was taking such important decisions unilaterally in a fascist manner. 

Therefore, by all means there is nothing to stop Mr. Narendra Modii enter 7 Race Course Road and form an NDA government after a decade.  It will be a new era of hope and happiness for the nation.                                           ***

Monday, January 20, 2014

SUNDAY SENTIMENT Politics is the Art & Craft of Befooling People


It is politicians themselves alone who have defiled the precept and practice of politics. It is they who have degraded those who are in power today or can be tomorrow.  That is why politics is now being recognized as the art of befooling people. It is called the game scoundrels play. A writer defined politics as "the art of getting votes from the poor and money from the rich on the pretext of protecting each from the other".

Numerous instances can be quoted to support the above description of politics. There is no gainsaying the fact that politicians in India take the people as fools who, like herds of cattle, can be shouted away to any direction they like.  It is generally believed, more so by politicians, that people, nay voters, have a short memory and, therefore, easy and useful to cheat the people for their political and electoral purposes with their glib talk. This has paid dividends to politicians many a time.

But equally wrong is to think that people are fools or they can be befooled at all the occasions for all the time.

Latest in the Congress party's decision not to name its prime ministerial candidate for the coming 2014 parliament elections.  It is the unchallenged privilege of a political party to fight an election or not. Equally is it its right to project its chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate.

We follow the Westminster form of parliamentary democracy and many of the traditions followed in Great Britain. It has practically a two-party system. Therefore, the person under whose leadership the elections are held is the natural choice for prime ministership. In the alternative, the incumbent prime minister is the person who seeks a fresh mandate for his party.

Only those parties in opposition which do not contest all the seats in parliament do not — and need not — project their prime ministerial candidates because doing so amounts to becoming a laughing stock of the people. If a party that is not contesting that number of seats which can give it a majority and still announces its prime ministerial candidate, it is just kidding itself and the electorate?

In the present context, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has already declared that he will hang his boots after the next election. That means that if Congress-led UPA is returned to power once again, it has to have a person under whom the elections are held and who will be the prime minister if it wins at the hustings. Whenever the Congress went in for elections whether under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru or Mrs. Indira Gandhi, there was never a doubt in the mind of the party and the people as to who will be the prime minister if the party wins majority. It was never in doubt even when party contested 1984, 1989 or 1991 polls for Parliament under Rajiv Gandhi. It was a different matter when Rajiv Gandhi was killed during election campaign in 1991 elections and Narasimha Rao had to take his place.

The 1996 and 2004 elections to parliament were held under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's leadership with the electorate never in doubt that if Party wins she and she alone will be the prime minister. It remains a mystery that Mrs. Gandhi who went to meet the President with a claim to majority support in Parlament and to seek an invitation to form a government,  on return surprised everybody saying that she will not be the prime minister and instead nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh.

At the moment there was no shortage of top leadership demanding in a chorus that Rahul should be elevated as prime minister. Some wanted it right now. Even before and after the elections to five State assemblies in December 2013 Rahul Gandhi  being thrown up as the Congress Party's PM candidate were doing the rounds in media and political circles. Endorsing Rahul Gandhi, Dr. Singh on January 3 said that Rahul is an able person with all the "outstanding credentials" needed to be a prime minister.  Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on December 31 wanted Congress to name its prime ministerial candidate.

In an interview to the Hindi daily Bhaskar Rahul himself said, "In the national interest, it is necessary that Congress forms the government at the Centre; and in this direction whatever responsibilities the organisation has given me, I will discharge them with utmost sincerity and honesty." There was a media hype that on January 17 during the AICC meeting Rahul will be nominated the prime ministerial candidate. But Mrs. Sonia Gandhi put her foot down that Rahul will not be projected as party's prime ministerial candidate. Even when there were shouts in his favour, she remained unmoved.

It is a clever move on the part of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Rahul has been made the chief of the party election campaign committee. In this way both Mrs. Soniga and Rahul wish to eat the cake and have it too. In case the party wins, Rahul will hog all the limelight and emerge the 'natural' candidate for prime ministership. In case it is otherwise, Congress will claim that Rahul was not in the race. If he is made the prime ministerial hopeful and loses, it would amount to sealing Rahul's fate for ever.  This is what Mrs. Gandhi has strategized.

In this connection, BJP prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Narinder Modi's comment is apt: "When defeat is imminent, which mother will sacrifice her son politically. The heart of a mother decided to protect her son".  Congress took no chances; it did not gamble.

But Rahul had different explanation. He enlightened people that it is not the party but the Party MPs who elect a prime minister.   Convinced?                                                      ***

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: UPA has failed the country: Jaitley

Special interview

UPA has failed the country: Jaitley

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Shri Arun Jaitley, has behind him an illustrious career both as a leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and as a leading national figure of BJP.  He was also President of the Delhi University Students' Union. He distinguished himself as the Law Minister in Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government. He has also served the BJP as its general secretary and party spokesperson. His sharp and apt comments and intellectual prowess leaves his political opponents dumbfounded.  Amba Charan Vashishth interviewed him in the first week of August at his residence in New Delhi. The recent Pak intrusion into Indian side of Line of Control killing five of our brave soldiers has given Shri Jaitley's comment that "the UPA government has failed the country"  more substance and credence. Shri Jaitley freely answered wide-range of questions on various issues. Excerpts:

How does the political scenario in the country look to you at the moment?
There is an atmosphere of cynicism, anger, disgust in the country. People are extremely upset and angry. Their anguish is on account of deteriorating economic scenario in the country. The state of governance is extremely poor. Investment has almost stopped. Rupee has been devalued. Indian economy is becoming non-competitive. The whole era of showcasing the Indian economy to rest of the world is over. There is indecisiveness in the leadership. People are feeling vacuum of leadership. The UPA has failed the country. The outgoing leadership of UPA is non-inspirational. Those whom they are projecting as incoming leadership has not been able to establish his credentials. Corruption has further disillusioned people. Linking national security issues to vote bank politics rather than security has further caused concern in the country. The result of all these factors is that people are looking for change. People are looking for a hope.  In this situation people look towards BJP. They look at us with a huge sense of hope. They have one grievance with the BJP. The people of this country are willing to bring about a change. They want BJP to be ready to lead the change. And I only hope we are able to qualify for that aspiration of the people.
How far has the UPA decision to carve out Telangana changed the political and electoral scene in Andhra Pradesh?
See, the two political parties genuinely committed to Telangana are TRS and BJP. The UPA never wanted to create Telangana. In fact the Justice Shrikrishna report was a half-hearted effort merely intended to delay the process of Telangana.  Today their allies are marginalized in both coastal Andhra ,Rayalaseema and also in Telangana. The UPA has created Telangana not out of ideological conviction but merely because of political convenience. I only hope that they are able to walk the talk. But at the end of the day I don`t see UPA will be benefitted out of creation of Telangana because people in Telangana  know that UPA commitment to Telangana was not real. They will face a wrath in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema without much of gain in Telangana. It is a lose-lose situation for the UPA.
Congress seems determined to push through its political and electoral agenda during the monsoon session of Parliament this month. What is your assessment?
 Monsoon session of parliament is for only sixteen days. Out of these sixteen days four or five days are Fridays when private member's business is transacted. How much business they will be able to transact in all 12 days? I think Congress has consciously shortened the session because it is uncomfortable during parliament session. Therefore, there is external and internal barbados.
What do you think about the Food Security Ordinance recently promulgated?
I personally am in support of the idea of right to food. The right to livelihood can`t be in the abstract. It must inherently feed every stomach. I am one of those who genuinely feel committed to the fact of state subsidising food at least to the weaker sections. Now this extent of reach of the food, the quantum and quantity of the food to be given must be nutritious. It must reach the largest number of the people and the distribution network government is able to create must be effective. The earlier PDS has shown a lot of leakages and food going back into the system through the black market. And I only hope that does not happen because of the infrastructure for distribution has not been effectively created.
Do you think that Ordinance is going to have any impact in the coming State assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha elections?
I think it is for political purposes. But how much political advantage they will get, they will try and do that best. But I have my serious doubts. Ultimately it is the state governments which already have effective food programmes.  Some BJP ruled States already have effective PDS programme which is much better than Food Security Ordinance.
Elections to State assemblies in four important States of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are going to be held in the last quarter of this year. What are your expectations for BJP?
The main political advantage is that the political environment in this country is in our favour. In battle for leadership, we are way ahead of them. The electoral agenda of issues is loaded against them. I, therefore, think we have a good chance for winning all the four States. If we miss out any one State, it will not be their politics, probably will be our internal problems.
It is BJP's prerogative to announce its prime ministerial candidate at what time. But media and certain opposition groups have raised a controversy on some probable names. But the same media is silent on demanding Congress to announce its prime ministerial candidate. How do you see the situation?
See I tell you, we have so far appointed Shri Narinder Modi as Chairman of Election Campaign Committee. Obviously, Narendra Bhai’s name creates a lot of buzz and news as far as media is concerned and, therefore, there is a lot of excitement. There are groups and opinion against him. There is a very large and overwhelming opinion in his favour. In fact, he has, to a great extent, captured the imagination and support of the BJP cadres and of the political constituency that supports the BJP. It is, however, upto the national party through its Parliamentary Board to announce the name and finallise it at the appropriate time. But I am convinced that in the battle for leadership we are way ahead. The Congress has nobody to match the personality of some of our leaders. That is why they are trying to duck the leadership fight. Hence, you have statements coming from Congress leaders saying they may not even declare their leader.
UPA government and PMO recently refused to divulge information under RTI about Robert Vadra on the excuse of confidentiality. Earlier, it refused information about Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's treatment abroad at public expense. Now PMO has refused to share with people the information about the utilization of funds collected from people in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. On the one hand, Congress claims credit for having given people the RTI and on the other, it is denying information to people. What does it mean?
You see, they want to claim the credit for bringing the Right to Information Act but they also want to effectively deprive by using the exception. On matter of corruption and on matters of use and misuse of public funds, there cannot be ground of confidentiality.
How satisfied are you with the pace of investigation into the 2G spectrum, Coalgate, Railgate and other scams?
I am not satisfied as far as 2G case is concerned. The matter is pending in the court but the JPC which was to come out with its findings is being prevented by UPA members from coming to an effective findings. In Coalgate, UPA government was caught red-handed when its minister was trying to interfere with the preparation of CBI status report which was to be submitted to the Supreme Court. They tried to doctor that report. The Railgate comes to me as the bolt from the blue where minister and his family members are involved in the matter of auctioning important positions in the Railways and, at the same time, you find those who took the decision instead of being an accused have been made prime witnesses.
In the Isharat Jahan case, Congress government has put CBI and IB at daggers against each other. How do you see the situation?
Well, the Ishrat Jahan case was an IB operation. Now the facts are in public domain. It is clear now. You can’t uncover the functioning of the security agencies of India. Security agencies always function under a cover. Now when you uncover them and ask police investigation to investigate their functioning, you are hurting national security. That is what the UPA government is doing.
Recently, a group of MPs petitioned the US President not to grant visa to Shri Narendra Modi. How do you see the development?
It is highly improper that MPs decided to petition the US President. My personal advice to Shri Narinder Modi would be that he should not apply for US visa. Since 2005 he has actually not applied for it. The refusal of US to give him a visa is not the failure of the BJP or of Narinder Modi; it is failure of India’s foreign policy where this UPA government is mute spectator to the fact that the top elected leader in Indian democracy can be denied a visa and Government of India becomes a mute spectator.
How strong and united is BJP to face the challenge of ensuing State assembly and Lok Sabha elections next year?
We are united and determined. We lost two elections. We can’t afford to lose a third and I am sure there is great enthusiasm in our cadres also.               ***

Monday, August 5, 2013

ANALYSIS Congress hallucinations in Telangana & AP

Congress hallucinations in Telangana & AP

Congress may be, once again, trying its hand at kidding, as it normally does, the people of the country and Andhra Pradesh, as its general secretary in-charge of party's Andhra Affairs Digvijay Singh did,  by denying that "electoral considerations were behind the decision" to carve out a new State of Telengana. "Political expediency cannot be a reason for such a path-breaking decision; this has nothing to do with the elections", Singh added.  But he stood contradicted and real intentions of Congress exposed by none other than the Congress President Mrs.  Sonia Gandhi herself when she managed "to douse the fires" of coastal Andhra and Rayalseema urging them "to serve the overall interests of the party".

That the decision has been totally motivated with an eye on elections due simultaneously for State assembly and Parliament in April-May 2014 is proved by the fact that Congress failed to honour its commitment to create Telangana in its 2004 election manifesto and repeated in 2009. It felt encouraged to ignore the people of Telangana after Congress under late YSR Reddy was returned to power again with an overwhelming majority in State assembly and won 33 out of 42 seats to Parliament. That is the reason why it went back on Congress Home Minister's announcement on December 10, 2009 that government will start the process of formation of a new State of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. It was all politics.

If Congress was so honest in implementing its solemn pledge to the people of Andhra and Telangana why did it wait for about four more years during which period more numerous precious lives were lost, hundreds of people injured and property worth hundreds of crores destroyed? Therefore, it goes without saying that the decision to stage a U turn to the announcement by a home minister was as much political with electoral overtones as it is the decision now to carve out Telangana.

The decision was triggered by reports of a likely complete wipe out of Congress party, both in the State and Parliament elections. It now hopes to marginalize its arch rival Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress, Telugu Desam Party, and BJP. It hopes that Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) will merge with it, as had its President K. Chandrashekhar Rao earlier promised if Telangana was formed. It hopes to repeat a 2009 in Andhra and Telangana. Congress is planning to engineer defections in TRS if Rao doesn't fall in line.

In 2002 the then BJP-led NDA of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee created three States of Chhattisgarh (out of Madhya Pradesh), Jharkhand (out of Bihar) and Uttranchal (out of UP)– later rechristened Uttarakhand.  Congress  led by Ajit Jogi  in the new State of Chhattisgarh, BJP led by Babulal Marandi in Jharkhand and  BJP led by Nityanand Swami in Uttaranchal formed the first governments in the new States. But after the next assembly elections, Congress lost and BJP formed government in Chhattisgarh more because of Ajit Jogi's unpopularity, BJP lost in Uttranchal and managed to scrape through a hung verdict to form an alliance government.

Therefore, formation of Teleangana is no guarantee of a Congress return to power. It is a victory of the relentless struggle of the people at a great sacrifice of innocent lives and property. Congress played no constructive role. It is no favour it has bestowed on Telangana people.

Needless to recall that in a similar fashion in 1966 the Congress Working Committee with a similar wish had decided to create a Punjabi-speaking and a Hindi-speaking State of Haryana out of the existing Punjab. But in elections held next year in March Congress lost to pave the way for the first-ever non-Congress alliance government led by Justice (Retd.) Gurnam Singh of Akali Dal. In Haryana Congress did win but lost power in less than a month.

To hope for washing out its sins of corruption, incompetence, performance deficit, anti-incumbency both in AP and Telangana and at the Centre is a day-dream. It is akin to the British then hallucinating to defeat Congress in elections on the claim it that was the British who had granted freedom to the nation.                                                                                       ***

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Speaking My Mind

That every other day the Congress Party has to declare that it "disassociates" itself from what its official party spokesman said during an official briefing and interaction with media explains that the party has fallen short of talent for the purpose. Sometimes it has to declare that it was not the party position but the "individual or personal views" of the official spokesperson of the Party.
The latest was the gaffe the party spokespersons very eruditely said about the cost at which one can have a hearty fulsome nutritious meal. One said it could have had at `5 in Delhi, the other said it could be had at `12 in Mumbai. The Union Minister Farooq Abdullah who had chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir for pretty long went much further. He said one could fill one's stomach with just `1. All these statements and claims were not just ridiculous but these also went to ridicule the poverty and poor people of the country whom Congress claims to be the nearest to its heart. The redeeming feature was that all of them withdrew their words.


It is also a great ploy too. By saying one thing our politicians please one section of society and by later withdrawing or explaining the same, they try to soothe the tempers that may have been ruffled with such words. It acts as a double-edged weapon.

I am reminded of an incident narrated to me by a friend from Punjab. Decades back there was a political tussle between the then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon and his home Minister (who later became a chief minister himself) Darbara Singh. A signature campaign was launched by the two groups against each other. One MLA Chaudhary Sunder Singh was very close to Darbara Singh but the latter came to know that the former had signed a petition against him. After a day or two when Chaudhary Sunder Singh came to Darbara Singh's room instantly Darbara Singh burst out at him for having signed a petition against him. Very calmly Sunder Singh said: Why are you shouting at me like that? Calm down. I have signed in your favour too.
That exactly is the same the Congress Party seems to be doing. First it allows its spokespersons to say something and later disassociates from it to soothen the frayed tempers of others.


Since Congress-led UPA came to power in the country, there has never been one voice on what constitutes the population that lives below the poverty line. It has failed, so far, to come out with a specific income or expenditure criteria that divides the below and above poverty line, even in the Supreme Court of India. One government committee reports that more than 65 percent of India's population does not spend more than ` 25 per person per day. Only on July 23, 2013 the Planning Commission disclosed that Poverty in India declined to a record 22% in 2011-12

"Over the last decade, poverty has witnessed a consistent decline with the levels dropping from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 29.8% in 2009-10. The number of poor is now estimated at 269.3 million, of which 216.5 million reside in rural India" stated the Commission.

It is worth noting that Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is the Chairman and his close confidant Montek Singh Ahluwalia the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission. Yet, Manmohan Singh's own Law & Communitions and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has challenged the method used by the Planning Commission to calculate poverty. "If the Planning Commission said those who live above ` 5,000 a month are not at poverty line, obviously there is something wrong with the definition of poverty in this country. How can anybody live at `5,000?" Sibal asked.
On the Congress Party side too, there are diverse voices. The Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, otherwise considered close both to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandh, tweeted on July 27, "I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission's criteria for fixing the poverty line. It is too abstract. It can't be same for all areas". (

It is time the UPA government and the Congress put their house in order, have an open discussion between themselves and come to a uniform and one voice on the issue. Otherwise, it will end up being a laughing stock of the nation and hurting the sentiments of the poor.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The 'TAINT' and 'CORRUPTION' - The 'TAINT' and 'CORRUPTION' Hypocrisy of Politicians & Media


Hypocrisy of Politicians & Media

That Bharatiya Janata Party National President Nitin Gadkari had to quit on grounds of 'taint' and charges of 'corruption' against him. It is an internal matter of the Party. The common man is not concerned with it. The rightness or otherwise of the decision will be determined in the days and months to come when the Party faces the electorate in the important State assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka and the like later this year.

But what does the 'taint' and 'corruption' stand for? It cannot be the exclusive monopoly of the media and the politicians to brand anybody they oppose as 'tainted' or 'corrupt'. It is the same situation as is with 'secularism' and 'communalism'.  Every politician and political party claims itself to be 'secular' and, at will, dubs opponent as 'communal'. To a great extent the same is true with 'tainted' and 'corrupt'.

Our media and politicians have adopted different norms and standards to brand people and organizations as 'communal' and 'corrupt'. There is no denying the fact that the late Rajiv Gandhi was, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, involved in the Bofors scam. Successive police investigations failed to nail his involvement yet the fact remains that the `64-crore Bofors corruption case was a reality although everybody involved got scot free.

Similarly, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were communal in all its hue and for all intents and purposes. Sikhs are a minority community. Everybody recognizes this fact. In the aftermath of the unfortunate assassination of late prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, more than 5,000 Sikhs – and Sikhs alone – were killed (more than 3,000 in Delhi alone) only in Congress-ruled States all over the country. In States with non-Congress regimes the Sikhs remained safe and protected. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi himself justified the pogrom saying "when a big tree falls the earth shakes".  Yet, he remains the icon of 'secularism'.


There are numerous leaders who are facing criminal charges in various courts – like fodder scam, murder, rape, extortion, assets beyond known sources of income and corruption. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav is facing criminal charges for his alleged involvement in fodder scam. BSP supremo Ms Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are facing criminal cases for allegedly having accumulated assets beyond known sources of income. Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal had leveled charges not only against Mr. Nitin Gadkari but also against present Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh, 15 Union ministers including Prime Minister. The latter is involved in Coal scam too. Mr. Kejriwal has also levelled charges, more serious in nature than against Mr.  Gadkari also against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra. Yet, the media and politicians have reserved the epithet 'tainted' and 'corrupt' only for Gadkari and not against all those similarly placed and involved. Why? Can they explain it? 

The media is no exception. It too is not free from similar allegations. The Election Commission of India has expressed concern over allegations of paid news against certain newspapers and news channels. It has characterized this new phenomenon as a crime and threat to the spirit of  freedom of press. There is a case involving alleged extortion against a news channel. But, surprisingly, nobody uses the words 'tainted' and 'corrupt' against these members of the Fourth Estate. 

When certain Union ministers in Manmohan government were facing serious charges involving heinous crimes, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress took the stand that nobody can be held guilty unless he has been declared so by any court of law. But, in the case of leaders in the opposition the Congress stand is quite the opposite. 

Do double standards enhance the credibility of  our politicians and the media and promote country's good?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The best prime ministerial material

The best prime ministerial material

Everyone in the Congress, including the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, sings only one chorus: Rahul Gandhi is the best prime ministerial material with great ability and capability to deliver the best. Dr. Singh is on record having volunteered a resignation if Mrs. Sonia Gandhi desired him to do so to pave the way for Rahul’s incarnation.
He remains, no doubt, the “most eligible bachelor”. But nobody is able to enumerate the rare “qualities” and parameters on which the rank and file of Congressmen discover in him all the wherewithals that would make him a “good” prime minister.
Rahul’s likely coronation as PM has been in the air since the country went in for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. But nobody says when. Though expected to be projected as the prime ministerial candidate then, it was not done. The Tehelka weekly even published an interview with Rahul in which he claimed that if he wanted, he could have been the Prime Minister at the age of 25.  Tehelka made history when it later denied that it was an interview.
In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Congress increased its tally of wins from earlier 9 to 20 in Uttar Pradesh. The credit for the same was entirely given to Rahul’s campaign.
When UPA returned to power, there was speculation again. PM Manmohan Singh even offered him a ministerial berth but the Gandhi scion rejected it saying he wanted to gain more experience. He was made one of the general secretaries of the party though he appeared the most important next only to his mother. He was made incharge of the NSUI and Youth Congress.
Though never assigned any special assignment, yet Rahul assumed one he liked to make his mark as a matter of right. He took upon himself the Herculean task of taking to the shore the drowning boat of Congress in Bihar. As result of his strenuous and aggressive campaign, Congress score of earlier 8 seats went down to just 4. But nobody blamed him for the fiasco.
Rahul’s spirits were not down, not to speak of his being out. This time he shouldered the daunting task of reviving the lost glory of Congress in Uttar Pradesh from where he is an MP alongwith his mother. For about two years, he undertook a whirlwind solo election campaign with other leaders just dancing to his tunes. He became a champion of Bundelkhand region. On his demand the Prime Minster on May 22, 2011 doled out a special package of `7,266 crores with another `200 crore to solve the drinking problem of Bundelkhand. He credited Rahul for this bounty. Yet the Congress hope to reap a bumper crop of votes was dashed to the ground. He was able to get money for Bundelkhand but not votes from the people.  
He employed all the tricks of the trade to gain public support: gimmicks, histrionics and drama. He surprised everyone, including the then Mayawati government, by undertaking a tour of Bhatta Parsaul defying prohibitory orders riding on the pillion of a motorcycle followed by a gang of supporters. But the gimmick failed to earn the cash of votes. Congress failed badly here too.
In the end, Congress could just gain marginally, increasing its success tally to 28, a gain of six seats. In his own parliamentary constituency of Amethi, he could get only 2 seats out of 6, while his mother drew a blank in her Rae Bareily constituency. Same is the story in the local body elections held last month. Everybody else was responsible for this fiasco, but not the mother and son.
Rahul’s experiment with youth Congress and student bodies and zeal for injecting young blood in elections failed miserably in Kerala and Tamilnadu. Most of the ‘Amul babies’, as Kerala ex-chief minister Achutanandan called them, failed to make it to win. Similar was the fate in Punjab.
He has in his parliamentary career made, albeit read, only two speeches in Lok Sabha. The maiden one, much hyped on education and employment was watched by his doting mother by shifting from front row to the back one to have a glimpse of his performance. The second one was on the Lokpal Bill in 2011 at the height of Anna’s movement against corruption. He claimed it as a “game changer”. At the most it can only be called a game spoiler because nothing has happened since then and the stalemate continues as before.
His performance has rightly been described as cameo by none other than one of the Gandhi family loyalist, Union Minister Salman Khurshid, like an obscure batsman hitting 40 runs with just 15 balls being hailed as the greatest achiever, only to be seen being out for a duck in subsequent innings consecutively. He does make ‘cameo’ appearances and performances just to slide into the background soon afterwards.
Whenever the party or government is in crisis, the great leader is nowhere to be seen or heard. Recall the recent NCP-Congress standoff at the Centre and in Maharashtra and the effort of the party to rope in the support of Mamta’s TC and others. He was visible at the time of farewell to President Pratibha Patil and swearing-in of new President but not audible with his views on anything.
He is hardly seen open his mouth on vital issues, problems and crisis tormenting the country – terror, crime against women and senior citizens, price rise, inflation, corruption, aam aadmi’s plight and the like. He is yet to be seen or heard on the Assam riots plaguing the State. In Andhra the Congress is facing an existential crisis. But his expertise and acumen is not being put to douse the flames there. He has as yet to give his attention to revive the falling fortunes of Congress in Gujarat where elections are due in another three months. He himself and his Party, it appears, doesn’t want to foray into lands that are not safe for him and the party.
On July 18 Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi did break her silence when she said, "Rahul has to take a decision" himself on assuming greater responsibility in the organization and government. ( But the next day Rahul came out in the typical Lakhnavi style of pehle aap, pehle aap saying, "I will play a more proactive role in the party and the government. The decision has been taken, the timing is up to my two bosses -- the Congress President and the Prime Minister."  (
So the mystery remains: Who will bell the cat and when?
In spite of all that, he remains the best bet for the Congress. His only qualification and merit at the moment seems: he is the Gandhi family scion.