Monthly Archives: August 2011

Facts: Why was Lokayukta delayed in Gujarat for seven years?

Seven years without Lokayukta:Chronology of dates and events reveal fact

http://deshgujarat.com/2011/08/29/seven-years-without-lokayuktachronology-of-dates-and-events-reveal-fact/comment-page-1/#comment-64149

Gandhinagar, 29 August, 2011

Following is the state information department release on facts related to the entire Lokayukta controversy in the state. While it is fact that Gujarat had no Lokayukta for last 7.5 years, the details given below throw light on who was responsible for that – then Governor and the leader of opposition can not escape from being responsible for the delay.

Unconstitutional appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat

Chronology of dates and events

S. No. Date Events
7.8.2006 Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting with the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, to consult him on the subject of appointment of a suitable person as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.Hon’ble Chief Minister had suggested the name of Justice (Retired) Shri Kshitij R. Vyas and the Leader of Opposition suggested some other names. At the end of discussions, Hon’ble Chief Minister asked whether the Leader of Opposition had any specific objection against the name suggested by him. The Leader of Opposition specifically mentioned that he had no objection to the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister but he wanted that the names suggested by him should also be taken into consideration.
7.8.2006 A letter was sent to Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court as a part of consultation process to know his views on the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
8.8.2006 Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court conveyed his consent to the name suggested by the Hon’ble Chief Minister for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
10.8.2006 The file was sent to H.E. the Governor for appointment of Justice (Retired) Shri Kshitij R. Vyas as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
25.8.2006 H.E. the Governor desired that a copy of the minutes/ record of proceedings of the meeting held with the Leader of Opposition by the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 7.8.2006 may be furnished.
13.9.2006 A letter was received from the Raj Bhavan wherein, it was mentioned that H.E. the Governor desired to know the procedure adopted to fulfill the requirement of consultation with the Leader of Opposition and Hon’ble Chief Justice, etc. in the different States like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
27.2.2007 The information as called for by H.E. the Governor vide his letter dated 13.9.2006 was sent. Such information was to be obtained from different States and hence it took some time in gathering the information.
6.2.2009 H.E. the Governor returned the file with some observations.
2.7.2009 The file was resubmitted to H.E. the Governor explaining as to how the provisions of section 24(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 do not come in the way of appointment of the person suggested by the Government for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
10. 10.9.2009 H.E. the Governor returned the file with the following observation:“In view of sub-section (3) of section 6 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, since the person recommended by the Government has held the office of the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Maharashtra, the Government’s proposal for his appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State cannot be agreed to.”
11. 10.9.2009 The then H.E. the Governor sent a letter to Hon’ble Chief Minister mentioning that it was not possible to appoint Shri Kshitij R. Vyas as Lokayukta, Gujarat State in view of the clear provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.He also requested the Chief Minister to send a fresh proposal for appointment of Lokayukta after due consultation with the Chief Justice of the Gujarat high Court and the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly as per the provisions of section 3(1) of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.
12. 8.2.2010 A confidential letter was sent by Hon’ble Chief Minister to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court requesting him to suggest a panel of three Retired Judges of the High Court of Gujarat as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
13. 24.2.2010 Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent the panel of four Retired Judges of High Court of Gujarat for consideration for appointment of Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
14. 2.3.2010 A letter was sent by Hon’ble Chief Minister to the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly to participate in the meeting at 11 am on 4.3.2010 as a part of consultation process for appointment of Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
15. 3.3.2010 The Leader of Opposition objected to such process of consultation being initiated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. He also refused to join the consultation process with Hon’ble Chief Minister.
16. 3.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Leader of Opposition explaining the legal and Constitutional position obtaining in the matter and once again requested to remain present in the meeting of 4.3.2010.
17. 3.3.2010 A confidential letter dated 3.3.2010 was received from H.E. the Governor, wherein she inter alia mentioned that she had deemed it appropriate to initiate the matter of appointment of Lokayukta and had decided to hold consultation with the Leader of Opposition on 4.3.2010 at 10.30 a.m. in her office in Raj Bhavan, Gandhinagar.
18. 4.3.2010 The Leader of Opposition sent a letter saying that in the matter of appointment of a Lokayukta, the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers should not have any say. He also requested the Hon’ble Chief Minister to forthwith terminate the process of consultation initiated by him in the matter.The Leader of Opposition also informed that H.E. the Governor had already initiated the process of consultation with the Leader of Opposition and a meeting for the purpose was to take place at 10.30 a.m. on 4.3.2010.
19. 4.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Leader of Opposition once again requesting him to participate in the consultation process and to remain present in the meeting at 1 pm on 5.3.2010.
20. 4.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to H.E. the Governor wherein, he mentioned that since certain legal and Constitutional issues have been raised in her letter dated 3.3.2010, he considers it necessary to have a discussion on the subject with her. Hon’ble Chief Minister sought suitable date and time for such discussion/ meeting with H.E. the Governor.
21. 4.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting as per the schedule at 11 am on 4.3.2010 as a part of consultation process. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present in the meeting.
22. 5.3.2010 A letter dated 4.3.2010 was received from the Leader of Opposition intimating that he had already participated in the consultation process at 10.30 am on 4.3.2010 with H.E. the Governor of Gujarat and in view of the consultation already held by H.E. the Governor of Gujarat, he regretted his inability and unwillingness to be present in the meeting to be held by Hon’ble Chief Minister at 1 pm on 5.3.2010.
23. 5.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister held a meeting as per the schedule at 1 pm on 5.3.2010. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present.
24. 5.3.2010 A letter was received from the Principal Secretary to H.E. the Governor conveying that H.E. the Governor had given the time for the meeting with Hon’ble Chief Minister at 16.00 hrs. on 8.3.2010.
25. 8.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister along with the Hon’ble MoS (Law) called on H.E. the Governor and discussed the point at issue at length. Hon’ble Chief Minister also gave a folder containing all the relevant details pertaining to the issue and requested to resolve the issue at the earliest.
26. 18.3.2010 With a view to ensuring that the consultation process with the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly takes place, Hon’ble Chief Minister sent one more letter to the Leader of Opposition intimating him that he (Hon’ble CM) proposed to hold meeting for consultation process at 11 am on 22.3.2010 (Monday). He also inter alia made it clear that it was for the last time that he was making a request to attend the meeting for consultation process in the matter. Hon’ble Chief Minister had also quoted all the relevant judgments of High Courts/ Supreme Court including the relevant and operative portion to emphasize the factual, legal and constitutional position obtaining in the matter.
27. 22.3.2010 A letter dated 22.3.2010 received from the Leader of Opposition wherein, he inter aliamentioned that he had already been called for the consultation process by H.E. the Governor on 4.3.2010; the said process was already over; there can never be consultation twice: once by Her Excellency the Governor and second by the Chief Minister and/ or the Council of Ministers.At the end of the letter, the Leader of Opposition mentioned that Hon’ble Chief Minister should not persist in undertaking an exercise of consultation by him which lacks legal, moral and constitutional authority.
28. 22.3.2010 Hon’ble Chief Minister held the meeting as per the schedule at 11 am on 22.3.2010 in his office in Vidhan Sabha Complex. However, the Leader of Opposition did not remain present.
29. 31.3.2010 The name which was decided by the Hon’ble Chief Minister was placed before the Council of Ministers in the meeting of 31.3.2010. The Council of Ministers gave approval to the name.
30. 1.4.2010 The name which was approved by the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers was sent to H.E. the Governor for obtaining approval.
31. 5.5.2010 The file was returned by H.E. the Governor with the observation that in terms of the recent judgment of the Apex court, the Chief Justice of the High Court is not required to send a panel of the names but he has to send only one name. Accordingly, H.E. the Governor has referred the whole matter back to the Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court requesting him to re-examine the matter once again.
32. 31.12.2010 The Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent the fresh proposal to the State Government recommending only one name for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State.
33. 21.2.2011 The Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat high Court explaining as to how the process of appointment of Lokayukta could be expedited by appointing the person whose name was recommended earlier by the Government to H.E. the Governor instead of considering a new name.
34. 22.3.2011 The Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court sent a letter to Hon’ble Chief Minister saying that he would again request the Government to consider the name recommended by him vide his letter dated 31.12.2010.
35. 1.5.2011 The person whose name was recommended by the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court vide his letter dated 31.12.2010 sent a Fax Message to H.E. the Governor requesting her to recall his nomination.
36. 4.5.2011 Hon’ble Chief Minister sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court requesting him to recommend the name of the person in whose case the whole process of consideration had been gone through by the State Government for appointment as Lokayukta, Gujarat State. The matter is pending with the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.
37. 7.6.2011 The Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court recommended another name.
38. 16.6.2011 Hon’ble Chief Minister wrote to the Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court quoting detailed reasons as to why the name recommended by the CJ was not acceptable.
39. 2.8.2011 Chief Justice, Gujarat High Court has sent a letter which was received by the State Government and the State Government, in turn, has addressed a letter dated 18.8.2011 to the Chief Justice reiterating its earlier stand and this letter is still under consideration of the Chief Justice.
40. 25.8.2011 Despite the aforesaid developments, to the utter shock and surprise of the State Government, the H.E. the Governor issued the warrant dated 25.8.2011 appointing Justice (Retd.) Mr. R. A. Mehta as Lokayukta, Gujarat State, the copy of which has been received along with a letter dated 25.8.2011 addressed to the Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 26.8.2011.
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Modi is a dictator: Govindacharya

I think Govindacharya has been out in sun too long. Wonder what weed he has been smoking lately? We knew he was a gadfly but did not realize that he was a screwball too.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Aug 29, 2011, 11.06AM IST TNN

AHMEDABAD: Former BJP idealogue and founder of the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan (RSA) Govindacharya led a scathing attack on the issue of governance in Gujarat.

At a workshop organised by the Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP) at Preksha Vishwabharti near Koba circle, he said, “Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi functions like a dictator. The people of Gujarat will not tolerate this dictatorial style of functioning for long. In Gujarat, the extreme centralization of the decision making process has already hit the confidence level of the state machinery. Government officers are low on morale and are averse to taking initiatives because they fear reprimand. These tiers also lack opportunities to exercise their power of quick decision making. You cannot function like this for long.”

“The impression I get of the Gujarat government is that it only favours the rich and the industries, and ignores the poor farmers and people from small towns. On the appointment of justice R A Mehta as Gujarat’s Lokayukta, Govindacharya said, “By appointing an alternative, M B Shah commission, to probe major corruption charges against the state government, Modi has only lost his credibility before his own people. One should ask the chief minister’s office why the state dilly dallied on the appointment of Lokayukta for eight years,” he said.

Acharya further added, “The state government has not yet clarified or made public the points of reference and the scope of the M B Shah commission. Merely forming a commission does not give this government a clean chit. Let these cases be referred to the newly appointed Lokayukta.”

http://m.timesofindia.com/city/ahmedabad/Modi-is-a-dictator-Govindacharya/articleshow/9779799.cms

How the “civil” society got its groove back

Reproduced from http://barbarindians.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard this fable in one form or another:

A patient came from afar to see a doctor. After a thorough examination, the doctor asked him to come back the next day for his prescription. The patient was a bit peeved – “Doctor, couldn’t you give me my prescription today? I come from far away”. “Nope”, said the adamant doctor. The next day, when the patient arrived, the doctor prescribed him some ordinary vitamins – and oh, by the way, he must go on a strict sugar free diet. The patient was visibly rueful that just for this he had to make a second trip, but he thanked the doctor anyway, and left. The doctor’s assistant felt curious about this, he had known the doctor to be a very reasonable man. “Doctor, I am curious, why did you make him come back again? Couldn’t you have prescribed this yesterday? Poor fella had to make the long trip twice”. The doctor smiled enigmatically. “You see, yesterday I had several boxes of sweets sent by my classmate right here in the chamber. It would be a bit odd to ask the patient to go on a sugar free diet, wouldn’t it?”

After successfully subverting the democratic process of elections and converting the entire policy debate into a “civil” society led agit-prop movement for over a decade, the Congress party now expects the people to suddenly become fond of democracy and constitutionalism and start hating “civil” society. Right. That is working really well.
Let’s take a brief look at the dangerous road to anarchy the Congress party has led us down:
A “civil” society body called the NAC – completely illegal and extra-constitutional, now runs major policy decisions. The members of this NAC are hand picked from a group of Sonia Gandhi loyalists and dangerous subversionists, with manifest links with both the Maoists and now as it has come to light recently, even Pakistan’s ISPR. Just check out news reports – NAC is everywhere. Sonia Gandhi is the self-styled permanent chairman of this body, with no term limits and no provision for her removal.
=> The constitutional experts who sprouted after Anna Hazare’s fast started ostensibly had no reason to worry about this dangerous subversive institution.
After 2004, the Congress party led state Governments and not to mention the Central Govt has indulged in a massive orgy of loot. While #2G, CWG and the Adarsh remain the iconic scams against which public ire is directed, a brief look at the situation at Andhra Pradesh provides a worrying picture of hidden scams from which Congress has successfully dissociated itself. Former star CM of AP and the late YSR’sson’s house is being raided by CBI, this sordid chapter has revealed just how much the Congress party looted from Andhra Pradesh. The whole state now resembles a Jesus camp.
=> Media and public intellectuals simply did not find it worthwhile to dig into the AP story and nail the lies while camping out in non-Congress states for sniffing out even minor transgressions. Try convincing the Anna Team why we don’t need a Lok Pal?
Despite their self-proclaimed and oft repeated claims of love for Dalits, the contempt they have shown for Mayawati simply boggles the mind, including planted stories of rape. The Congress party and its media contingent descended in full force (accompanied by a small battalion of “civil” society activists) in a quaint UP hamlet and tried to scuttle a land deal. The Gandhi dynasty scion did his second best impression of Naavi Prince after Odisha and needless to say got completely friendly coverage in the media and hailed by activists. Meanwhile, the Congress run state Govt in Maharashtra was shooting at agitating farmers. The latter news was mostly blacked out.
=> We would like to hear from the suddenly democratic Congress intellectuals exactly why is politics of agit-prop bad? What would they like to tell Team Anna about why Rahul Gandhi defying 144 is constitutional and a-okay while Team Anna wanting permission to hold a rally dangerous?
A famous Diva journalist of a top news channel enthusiastically covered the “Arab Spring” earlier this year. She was nowhere to be seen at the Ramlila grounds. Overnight she had become a champion of stability, democracy etc. Too bad for her, because her credibility had been shot to pieces in the Radia tapes controversy. The entire MSM seemed to be completely depressed over the whole affair. Unfortunately for them, they had already been exposed for hunting with the foxes and running with the hare. Too late.
=> It would be interesting to see these morally compromised and corrupt individuals of media do a debate with Team Anna about why media should or should not be under the Lok Pal.
Let us take a look at the Bills the Congress party itself has in the pipeline. These include the Right to Education (RTE), Right to food, Communal Violence Prevention (CVB) and Land acquisition bill. Each of these bills were written unilaterally by the NAC. Each of these bills suffer from the same problems – amorphous and skewed selection process, massively anti-reform, creates gargantuan bureaucracies, hands out enormous powers into the hands of a select few individuals, destroys federal structure, has the potential to create major communal rift. All these bills also contain a spawn clause – i.e. the commissar can create new rules as he deems fit. The CVB does not even entertain the possibility that Hindus can be victims of communal violence. It also does not specify the conditions under which the extra-judicial powers can be exercised. If boys playing street cricket breaks a Church window, Harsh Mander can walk in and take over that district. Worse, if the minority community feels peeved at some movie or book (which they often do), even then Harsh Mander can walk in. Prevention, see? Does not matter who initiates or starts burning trains. The gist of the Right to Food bill is to divvy up foodgrains into communal quotas and don’t you dare touch the minority pot!
=> Now, what were the points again about the Lok Pal being too powerful, can undermine democracy etc.?
The Congress party has led us down the garden path and converted the country into a giant NGO, a carnival of continuous discontent, intrigue and subversion. They have been completely aided and abetted by country’s top intellectuals who have not spoken up even on a single instance of countless transgressions of their favorite political outfit – worse, they actively cheered them on. Now that the shyte has hit the fan, Congress intellectuals should just hold their Padmashris in their hands and spare us the sanctimony.

If Jan Lokpal Bill becomes law… This is what would happen. (In cartoons)

I could not help sharing this with you. It may not be politically correct, but it expresses people’s angst about corruption and Congress.
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Muslim Leaders are at it again

A side benefit of Anaa Hazare’s agitation: True colors of Muslim. Christian and Dalit leaders are out in open for all to see. These Muslim leaders, who have nothing to do with democracy world over, who ask for enforcing Sharia law wherever they have a clout,  who do not let a Hindu procession pass without creating trouble, are suddenly in love with democracy and parliament. Their gripe is that Sri  Sri Ravi Shankar,  Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Varun Gandhi are with Anaa. That Kiran Bedi and Kejriwal had supposedly opposed appointment of a Muslim for the position of  Chief Information Commissioner.  These “democratic” leaders have no compunction in denying others their rights. They want to decide who can and cannot support Anaa. Well, those days are coming to an end pretty fast because their sugar daddy, Congress is on its last legs. 

Zafaryab Jilani and his ‘head in the sand’ cohorts are shouting from the roof tops. Self styled messiahs of the Dalits and Christians like Udit Raj, Kancha Ilaiah, John Dayal and Joseph D’Souza want reservations within Lokpals and Lokayuktas and yet they talk of democracy. 

Whether it is singing of Vande Mataram or Sarswati Vandana, or Ram Manidr at Ayodhya, they have missed the bus to join the mainstream many a times. These time they are missing the bus once again but this is the last bus.  All thinking citizens should expose these characters, not because of their religious persuasion but because of their anti-Hindu tirade.  let us throw them in the dustbin of history.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav 

Courtesy: Indian Express 

Why the Ramlila Surge Worries Minorities and those on Margins

 

 

Posted: Thu Aug 25 2011, 02:16 hrs New Delhi:
In the unseen and unheard margins of Team Anna’s Ramlila Surge, there’s a growing sense of disquiet —especially among minority and marginalised groups. Despite carefully choreographed images of Muslim children publicly breaking their Ramzaan fast with Anna Hazare, prominent Dalit, Muslim and Christian leaders are deeply suspicious of the faces on display and the voices emanating from the crowds.They argue that Anna’s ends — fighting corruption — is undoubtedly justified, they condemn his arrest and the decision to send him to Tihar Jail. But behind his cause, they see a clear disdain for the very institutions crucial in safeguarding democratic freedom and rights. In Team Anna’s contemptuous indictment of Parliament, they see a tarring of representative politics and, in effect, an indictment of the vital safeguards of minorities.In fact, so strong is the suspicion that even Prashant Bhushan’s left-liberal credentials as one who played a proactive role in the Gujarat riots cases isn’t dispelling these fears. Varun Gandhi’s much-hyped appearance at Ramlila today only reinforced these — in his hate-Muslim election speech in 2009, he had threatened to “cut the hand” of anyone who “raises a finger at the Hindus.”

Says Akhtar-ul Wasey, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia: “The issue of corruption is such that there’s tremendous pressure to join the crowd. Because if we oppose this particular movement, they will say we are corrupt. Price rise, corruption and unemployment have given a fillip to such forces. Corruption ki aarh mein, (in the garb of corruption) they want to push all kinds of defeated and empty slogans and agendas. Now the government’s timidity in the face of a crowd is fanning this instability. Muslims, of course, want corruption to end but don’t want to make common cause with elements that want to rock the system, the only preserve of our rights and freedoms.”

No wonder that Deoband’s new Mohtamim, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, has said that they have not supported this movement: “The movement is basically suspect. The security and protection of Parliament and (to honour the) glory of democracy is the duty of every citizen.”

Mahmud Madani, MP and a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the only prominent Muslim face among the 20 founders of India Against Corruption — Team Anna’s virtual platform — is now in Saharanpur and practically in communicado. Zafaryab Jilani, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, has made it clear that the Board has nothing to do with this agitation. Says Maulana Ahmed Khizar Shah Kashmiri of the Tanzeem Ulema-e-Hind: “The idea behind this campaign is to weaken Parliamentary system and democracy and this is a blow to secular India.”

Maulana Umer Ilyasi of the India Imam Organisation has called the campaign a “political conspiracy” saying: “There is no question of any one person being above the country’s Constitution and Parliament. There is no question of Muslims being part and parcel of this.”

This chorus is heard the Urdu press as well. The Mumbai, Kanpur, Bareilly, Lucknow and Delhi-based Inquilab on August 17 interviewed several prominent community leaders, including chief of the Jamat-e-Islami, Maulana Jalaluddin Umri. Their refrain: We agree with the need for a strong Lokpal but not with the method of pushing it through.

Critics are also wary of those who have clambered aboard the Anna bandwagon. Ramdev may have stepped back but there are questions about the more urbane Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living and youth factions who shared the stage with the anti-reservation Youth for Equality. Less than 10 days ago, they took part in the Hindu Unity Day, in Texas. Also present was Subramaniam Swamy, most recently in the news for writing that Muslims should be denied voting rights if they do not accept their “Hindu legacy.”

Indeed, reflecting this unease, Dalit activists and writers including Udit Raj, Kancha Ilaiah, John Dayal and Joseph D’Souza, have argued for reservation in the Lokpal set-up for SC/STs, OBCs and minorities “to ensure that there is no injustice done to the backward and marginalised.”

The politics of Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi may be fuzzy but their association with certain “causes” has raised questions, too. Last year, Kejriwal and Bedi herself led the drive to target the Chief Information Commissioner and insist that Bedi be made the CIC. In fact, when then CIC Wajahat Habibullah resigned last year and there was a chance that M M Ansari (now Kashmir interlocutor) would take over, Kejriwal lobbied with Leader of Opposition L K Advani keen to ensure that his name not be accepted.

Kejriwal and Bedi have also shared platforms put up by Youth for Equality and Art of Living. On March 1 in 2009, for example, Kejriwal and Bedi addressed the Youth for Equality and talked of both terrorism and corruption. Youth for Equality has blamed reservation for shrinking opportunities.

Archbishop of Delhi Father Vincent Concessao, a founder-member of the IAC, is nowhere to be seen. Contacted, he told The Indian Express: “This is pressure and a fast unto death is suicidal…there is no way we will allow for our established Parliamentary practices to be bypassed. We are with the issue but not with the means. How can they say only one particular version of the Bill is to be followed?”

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/why-the-ramlila-surge-worries-minorities-and-those-on-margins/836750/0

India needs a Prime Minister. Now!- The Pioneer Editorial

Crisis of leadership
August 23, 2011   12:15:59 AM


It is obvious to all that there is great ferment among the masses which is manifested in the large turnout of people, especially young men and women in their twenties, in support of Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption. Anger over the rampant loot of public funds as witnessed during the run-up to the Commonwealth Games and the outrageous emptying of the till by Ministers, like A Raja did while ‘auctioning’ 2G Spectrum, among other sins of omission and commission committed by the Congress-led UPA regime, as well as the Government’s crude attempts to white-wash these criminal misdeeds, is visible on the faces of the protesters. There is also a sense of mounting frustration — over the system failing in so abysmal a manner and popular sentiments being treated with callous contempt by those in power, at the sight of politicians cocking a snook at both law-enforcers and the people, at not being able to play an interventionist role in preventing further robbery by those who are supposed to guard the public exchequer, and, at being forced to grease the palms of public servants for the smallest of services to which citizens are entitled. The blowback was waiting to happen, and now that it is happening, it is threatening to sweep away logic and reason from public discourse. As Descartes famously said of the angry person: “I’m angry, therefore I can’t think.” At such moments, what is needed the most is leadership, or the assertion of leadership, by the Prime Minister. Tragically, what we have seen till now is prevarication and obfuscation by a clueless, rudderless Government on the verge of foundering on the rock of its cumulative follies. The Prime Minister, as always, is missing at this moment of crisis; his feeble voice has been rendered even more irrelevant than ever before.

True, it would be unfair to expect Mr Manmohan Singh to break free of his image, get rid of the accumulated public perception of his being in office but not in power, and assert his leadership to restore reason, smoothen ruffled feathers and steer the nation to calm waters. Ever since he became Prime Minister in the summer of 2004, Mr Singh has chosen silence over speaking to the people, inaction over acting decisively, indecisiveness over purposeful assertion of authority. His cultivated humility has proved to be no more than a cloak to hide his inability to rise to the occasion, to confront challenges and turn them into opportunities, to demonstrate that he will countenance nothing but absolute integrity and unimpeachable probity among his colleagues. As a result, he has silently presided over unrestrained loot by corrupt Ministers, meekly promoted tainted babus and slyly tried to blame others for his many failures that have contributed to the governance deficit which in turn has led to the outpouring of anger that we are witnessing. Had he truly been honest, he would have acknowledged the fact that he has no clout in the Congress and admitted that his writ does not run in the Government he nominally heads. And had he been a man of integrity, he would have stepped down from office long ago, rather than enjoy the perquisites and benefits that come along with the Prime Minister’s job. The nation deserves better. India deserves a leader, not a caricature of a Prime Minister.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/362743/Crisis-of-leadership.html

Rajiv Gandhi’s Birthday: 108 Ads across 48 pages on Your Dime

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.” 
 

And Manish Tiwari takes issue with Anna Hazare’s birthday celebration expenses???

————

What a shame! And the last paragraph on Manish Tiwari really says it all. How long will this hypocrisy of the Congress and the looting of the nation continue? Was this budgeted expenditure? Isn’t there any authority that can object to this? Cannot the CAG put these wasteful expenditures in their report? 

Lal Bahadur Shastri was the PM when we fought the 1965 War with Pakistan; how come his birthday, or his tragic death in Tashkent, never draws this kind of advertisement blitzkreig? Why, even the real Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, does not get this kind of accolade! With this Nehru-Gandhy (the original spelling of Feroze Khan Gandhy’s name) family’s dynastic rule we will soon wash the likes of C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Zakir Hussain, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Subhas Chandra Bose, Annie Besant, Lal Bahadur Sastri and Gulzarilal Nanda (this list is not exhaustive but only illustrative) out of our memories forever and thereafter, if they have their way, out of our history books!

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: There is yet another advertising blitzkrieg by Union ministries and Congress-led State governments and departments in today’s newspapers on the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi‘s birthday.
And it beats the number of ads on Rajiv’s death anniversary hollow.
While there were 69 ads amounting to 41 published pages in 12 newspapers on May 21, there are 108 ads amounting to 48¼ published pages in the same 12 newspapers today.

Hindustan Times: 24-page issue; 14 RG ads amounting to 7 broadsheet pages
The Times of India: 32-page issue; 21 ads amounting to 9 broadsheet pages
Indian Express: 28-page issue; 15 ads amounting to 6½ broadsheet pages
Mail Today (compact): 36-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 6½ compact pages
The Hindu: 24-page issue; 13 ads amounting to 5 broadsheet pages
The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 7 ads amounting to 3 broadsheet pages
The Telegraph: 26-page issue; 9 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
***
The Economic Times: 16-page issue; 2 ads amounting to ¾ of a page
Business Standard: 18-page issue; 2 ads amouning to ¾ of a page
Financial Express: 22-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ pages
Mint (Berliner): 16-page issue; 0 ads

This computation is only for 12 English newspapers; many other English papers have been left, as indeed has the entire language media which are more numerous than the English ones, several times over.
Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historianRamachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

Among the 21 advertisers wishing the dear departed leader happy birthday this year are the ministries of information and broadcasting, micro small and medium enterprises, power, health and family welfare, tourism, housing and urban poverty alleviation, new and renewable energy, women and child development, commerce and industry, steel, and social justice and empowerment.
The state governments advertising their love are those of Rajasthan, Haryana, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, all Congress-ruled States. And the departments putting their money where their mouth is are the Rajiv Gandhi centre for biotechnology, Navodaya vidyalaya samiti, national small industries corporation, national commission for women, and the coir board.
And, of course, the Indian National Congress.

AND THAT CONGRESS MEDIA MAN MANISH TIWARY WAS SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT ANNA BEING CORRUPT OVER SOME CELEBRATION HIS FOLLOWERS ORGANIZED ON HIS BIRTHDAY??

Sonia Gandhi- What if?

Since Sonia Gandhi has chosen to keep secret her medical condition and whereabouts from the nation, one may be excused to speculate. Innocent citizens cannot be faulted for rumors and innuendos since they are deprived of authentic information by the Gandhi family itself.

 Here is one possible scenario.

 Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Sonia Gandhi’s Surgery? 

Ever wondered why the Congress is so tight lipped about this so called ‘surgery’?

Ever wondered why this shroud of secrecy behind her surgery?

 Ever wondered why Madam Gandhi had to go at this time for surgery?

And what was the ailment that could not have been attended to by Indian doctors?

Ever wondered that she is accompnied by her family members AND NOT A SINGLE DOCTOR (NOT EVEN HER PERSONAL PHYSICIAN) has accompanied her.  Most unusual!

If the then Prime MInister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s knees could have been replaced in Mumbai by a surgeon of Indian origin, why Madam Gandhi needed to go abroad for her surgery?

And even Manmohan Singh though a pensioner of the World bank and able to get free medical treatment in the US, got his heart surgery done in Delhi…….

And has she actually gone to the US or some other country?

It is strongly suspected that the need for her to go abroad at this time is linked to the fact that Dr. Subramaniam Swamy’s petition for the permission to prosecute Madam Gandhi (an MP) for corruption charges, pending with the Prime Minister’s Office, has to be decided before the end of August this year.

Dr. Swamy has given incontrovertible proof of Sonia Gandhi’s accounts in foreign banks,  and these cannot be overlooked or ignored

Madam Gandhi is actually suffering from an acute enlargement of her wealth gland. 

The real surgery for which Madam Gandhi has gone abroad has to do with the operation of her illegal bank accounts, as time is running out for her and her cronies.

 That is why even Kalanidhi Maran has disappeared from Chennai and is rumored to have escaped to Zurich. 

Why Anna Hazare should enter electoral politics, not be an outsider

Courtesy: Firstpost.com

Venky Vembu Aug 16, 2011

Why Anna Hazare should enter electoral politics, not be an outsider

By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. Gurinder Osan/AP

The events of recent weeks, culminating in Anna Hazare’s detention this morning, mark in many ways a defining moment in India’s evolution as a democracy. The upsurge of popular sentiment in cities across India this morning in solidarity with Team Anna’s detention is stunning. And the readiness with which people who normally go to elaborate lengths to avoid engagement with “dirty” politics are now courting arrest or are otherwise organising public protests – or even just quietly observing a day’s fast at home — to give expression to their sense of disgust with the UPA government’s handling of the Lokpal Bill exercise is quite unprecedented in independent India.

I know of professionals who have taken leave from their investment banking jobs abroad, where they earn six-figure dollar salaries and bonuses, just to be in India today to be part of this movement. One of them has even prepared his young wife for the inevitability of his arrest – which in his family would normally be considered a shame and a scandal – and has been organising protests in Mumbai for the past few days.

At NRI gatherings of Indians Against Corruption, the energy of young Indians sharing ideas to make India corruption-free has been palpable. The extent to which they are ready to step outside of their 9-to-5 grind and donate time and money for the biggest public cause that confronts India is a surprise – even to them. They say they used to think of themselves as apathetic to politics. But now, they’ve found a cause they believe in.

Watch images from the protests

Hazare supporters stop police vehicle carrying Indian social activist Anna Hazare after his arrest. AFP Image

This is the second time in the past few months that Anna Hazare has convincingly demonstrated the popular, mass-based nature of the support that his campaign enjoys, across class, caste and religious distinctions that normally divide us. We first saw it in April, when he launched his fast at Jantar Mantar, and electrified India. Since that time, he and his team have had the entire political establishment — and, to be honest, a cross-section of media commentators – clueless about how a man with little or no financial resources can command so large a following with only rustic simplicity and the power of a message that has great resonance with millions of people.

So, the fact that Anna Hazare and his team enjoys enormous goodwill with a large-enough constituency of people who are sick of corruption and jaded with politics as usual and who have completely lost faith in the political establishment in its entirety is blindingly obvious.

What next?

Anna Hazare
Manish Swarup/AP
Team Anna’s one major success has been in giving voice to and amplifying the popular disgust with the top-down, 360-degree corruption that pervades our public life .

The question then arises: how can Team Anna now leverage this goodwill? Should it continue to remain the “outsider” calling the political establishment to account? What are the odds that it can succeed? How can it channel the deep-seated distrust of the political establishment and bring about demonstrable change.

To address that, it helps to assess the extent of “success” that Team Anna’s campaign has had. It’s beyond dispute that Team Anna’s one major success has been in giving voice to and amplifying the popular disgust with the top-down, 360-degree corruption that pervades our public life — and in showing up starkly that for all the power games that go on with the various political parties, they are pretty much united in their opposition to a strong Lokpal institution.

Yet, while Team Anna gets full marks for elevating the issue of corruption to the top of the agenda and for creating mass awareness, its attempts beyond that have only met with limited success. For instance, the Lokpal Bill that’s now before Parliament is a mere shadow of the strong anti-corruption agency it envisaged. And even those who are willing to stand up and be counted along with Anna aren’t fully convinced that Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal is the answer to corruption. If you can’t convince even those who support you, what chances do you stand against those who oppose you?

It is in that context that Team Anna needs to formulate a forward-looking political strategy.

Since it’s the current UPA government that is now doing its damnedest to water down the Lokpal Bill, it’s fair to say that it will pay a big political price when general elections are due next in 2014. By default, an alternative political formation could then come to power. But even in the event of, say, a BJP-led grouping coming to power, there’s nothing to suggest that it will work to change the system because it’s now too entrenched in the wily ways of electoral game-playing (as was demonstrated most strikingly in its handling of affairs in Karnataka). The BJP has thus far adopted only a wishy-washy stand on the Lokpal Bill, which validates the suspicion that it doesn’t want to alter the rules of the political game too drastically.

Enter the political arena

In any case, why should Team Anna do all the grunge work only to see another status quo-ist party ride on its back and come to power? Why not bite the bullet and enter the “dirty” political fray yourself?

It’s true that Anna Hazare has a disdain for electoral politics as it is practised now, where – in his words – people sell their vote for a bottle of liquor. He also considers himself “unelectable”, given the reality of the political arena. Yet, the biggest criticism that cripples the movement today is that since it is not elected – “or electable” – it has no right to influence the discourse on the Lokpal Bill, now that it is before Parliament.

It’s not just Congress lackeys who make that criticism. Even non-Congress politicians andinsightful commentators make that point.

On that count, Team Anna’s best days as an agent of change from the “outside” may be already over. From here on, it only risks elevating its politics of confrontation, which could erode the political goodwill it now enjoys. It’s perhaps time for Team Anna to enter the political arena and work for change from within.

Even if it does that, it doesn’t have to become just another political party. With the goodwill that it now enjoys and the energy it has infused in its supporters, it can change the way politics is played in India. What it lacks in money power, it can make up for with a bottom-up movement that, as has been already demonstrated, enjoys great resonance. In any case, as we saw with the routing of the DMK in Tamil Nadu, money power stands no chance when a people are set on throwing out a corrupt regime.

The challenges to becoming a mainstream political party are formidable, particularly when you’re (for now) only a one-issue party. But that issue – corruption — is one that is right at the top of people’s consciousness. And as the only political force that today enjoys a nationwide profile, is untainted by corruption, has a vision for changing the system – and a volunteer force that can more than compensate for the money power of its opponents with boots-on-the-ground campaign, Team Anna has enormous strengths in this battle.

Moments such as this come only once in a generation. By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. It is time for it to seize the moment, stop being an outsider that has exhausted its influence as a change agent, enter electoral politics, and recreate an India in its own image.

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/why-anna-hazare-should-enter-electoral-politics-not-be-an-outsider-61536.html#.TkokYi-iSSk.twitter

Why Sibal’s words mean little and Anna’s gestures speak volumes

How lawyer-turned-politicians have got their script wrong
AJAY SINGH | NEW DELHI | AUGUST 16 2011
Photos:Chinky Shukla

Protest at India Gate
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Ajay Singh is the Managing Editor of Governance Now.

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“Saala jhooth bolela, kaali dilli ka chhora saala jhooth bolela” was a soulful but rebellious rendition of a Bhojpuri song which found resonance across eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1988-89. A rather little-known Bhojpuri singer named Baleshwar Yadav sung this song at the peak of the Bofors controversy and alluded to the involvement of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the corruption scandal by referring to him as “kaali Dilli ka chhora (lad from black Delhi)”. Given the melodious nature of the Bhojpuri language, this song was certainly coarse. Yet, it struck the chord with the Bhojpuri belt.

Obviously, in people’s court Rajiv Gandhi was held guilty of the Bofors pay-off in 1989 even though in legal parlance he was innocent. That Baleshwar Yadav’s song conveyed a far deeper political message than legal language was evident in 1989 elections when the Congress was decimated in the polls. Though Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts tried to defend their position by applying legalese, it only made an adverse impact. V P Singh grew in stature and acceptance, not because of application of his superior oratory or logic but because his political idioms were carried to people like Baleshwar Yadav.

Obviously, the government of the day cannot be faulted for its lack of understanding of India’s political history. Prime minister Manmohan Singh is essentially a career bureaucrat whose brush with politics is self-admittedly a fortuitous event. But there is a battery of leaders within the party who know it quite well that the application of legalese and superior logic is bound to recoil on the government. This is significant in view of the fact that the government has marshalled top-notch lawyers in the garb of politicians to defend its position.

Take, for instance, the spirited defence put up by union home minister P Chidambaram, HRD minister Kapil Sibal or law minister Salman Khursheed who have been targeting and attacking Anna Hazare as if they were performing in a court of law. In a series of press conferences, these ministers have given long expositions on constitutional matters related to individual’s rights, role of parliament and judiciary and executive in a democracy.

The Congress has simultaneously unleashed another lawyer-turned-MP, Manish Tewari, to call Anna names and describe him and his associates as “company” quite akin to the D company. There is no doubt that the government and the Congress have jointly unleashed a battery of lawyers to employ their language to demolish Anna Hazare’s campaign, vilify him and neutralise him with their superior skill of logic.

Contrast this with Anna Hazare’s one-liners coming straight out of innocent rusticity prevalent in India. He offered to serve Kapil Sibal and carry a “bucket of water” for him (“Sibal ke yahan paani bharoonga”) if the Lokpal turns out to be ineffective in tackling corruption. He is not ashamed of showing his ignorance about the complex legalese employed by legal hawks, academia or social elites of Delhi. His certain expressions may sound “anarchic” to constitutionalists. But is India not called a “functional anarchy” by the same set of people?

By all indications, Anna’s political project of getting India rid of corruption has found greater acceptance among people despite the superior logic of his opponents. However, it appears quite amazing that the opposition has still failed to assess the mood of people and has been relying more on the prowess of legalese and complex language and less on its political instincts to comprehend this phenomenon. This is evident by the manner in which the principal opposition, BJP, has not been as forthright in its political response as its ally, Nitish Kumar, with regard to Anna Hazare’s campaign.

There are many instances in Indian political history when people rejected sophisticated language of rulers and opted for a coarse and rustic idiom which found resonance with the people. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s famous line “Singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai” (vacate the throne lest people come) was an instant hit during the emergency period though there were cries of “India is Indira and Indira is India” in a very sophisticated English language by Devkant Baruah.

http://www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/why-sibal-s-words-mean-little-and-annas-gestures-speak-volumes

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