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May 6, 2019 evening Shivaram Singh’s Roadshow in Bhopal
I flew into Bhopal from Varanasi on May 6th afternoon. It was a circuitous route. I had to fly all the way to Bangalaru, wait three hours and then fly to Bhopal. So, an ordinarily two-hour journey took eight hours. Of course, it was a delight to see Bangalaru’s world-class airport. I was last in Bangalaru in 2006, when the airport was nondescript.
My hosts were Drs. Ajay Shankar and Savita Mehta. I have known them for some time as Ajaybhai is involved with our NGO, Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV) and he is also, the younger brother of my good friend and the general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sanjay Mehta. my four-day stay at their home was enjoyable and Ajaybhai’s guidance proved invaluable. The whole family is dedicated to Rashtra Nirman.
Through Ajaybhai’s efforts, I was connected to a youth group, MoMo (Modi Once More), that was participating that evening in Shivraj Singh’s roadshow. I was dropped at Curfewwala mandir chawk (interesting name, isn’t it?) It was jammed pack with the evening traffic and the enthusiastic and swelling crowd of BJP supporters. It was muggy and quite hot too even at 7 PM. There were a couple of experts who were wrapping Safa (a headgear using a long piece of colored cloth) on the team members. you can see me in the headgear in the photos.
The young leaders of MoMo group. Rekha Sharma (on the left) was dynamic and full of vigor. Sushant Kaushal took my care as if he were my son. He held onto my hand most of the time to make sure that I wouldn’t get separated. Such loving people!
There were drums, band, lighted canopies, balloons, flowers, and all the paraphernalia that go into making a roadshow, a “show.” The noise was deafening and the surge of the crowd was crushing. We had to wait for a good two hours before the caravan of Shivraj Singh Ji, the ex-chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, arrived from another rally which was about 100 KMs away. Shivraj Singh Ji is popularly known as Mama. He was quite hassled and looked tired but energetic. Once his roadshow was on the way, we decamped for our own destinations.
These roadshows are unique to Bharat as I haven’t witnessed such things in the USA. I do not know if such shows help change the voter’s mind in favor of a particular party or a candidate but it does help build up momentum and enthuse the cadres.
You feel young in such settings, no matter what is your chronological age.
A glimpse of the Josh!
One reason, there was so much interest, was the candidacy of Sadhwi Pragya Sinh Thakur, who has become a symbol of Satyagraha against Hindu Terror bogey crafted by the Willey Congress party and promoted by Digvijay Singh, who as the Congress candidate for Bhopal is Sadwiji’s Bete Noire.
I reached my host picked me up and we reached home after 9 PM. At about 11:30 pm we went back to Sadhwiji’s residence and waited for her. She was out campaigning and returned only after 12:30 AM. She was totally exhausted so Dr. Ajay Mehta introduced me to her briefly and we decided to meet again. I conveyed to her that hundreds of volunteers from across the globe were working for her victory.
After the Gujarat election concluded on April 23, where I had the privilege to campaign in Junagadh district and partly in Karnavati (Amdavad), my calling was for Uttar Pradesh.
I reached Varanasi almost at midnight on the 29th, flying to Lucknow early in the morning and then taking a train to Varanasi which took 10.5 hours instead of scheduled eight hours. Why I had to go though Lucknow is another story.
i had very warm welcome and assistance in Lucknow from Nishant Mishra, a young volunteer of Ekal Vidyalaya. He accompanied me from the airport to the railway stationed and stayed with me till I boarded the train (Ganga-Sutlej Express).
Lucknow Railway Station⬇️⬇️⬇️
With Nishant Mishra at Lucknow railway station
My ticket was purchased at a very short notice by another Ekal Vidyalaya adhikari- Ramchandra Ji. Such is the power of bonding of selfless organizations that draw inspiration from Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sanmgh (RSS.)
NEXT: First Day of Campaigning in Varanasi
It is hilarious except that if these were to happen these would be the reactions of Trump’s enablers.
Dear Donald Trump, you are an illegitimate President-elect; you will be a less than legitimate President
By Ujal Dosanjh
(Dosanjh is former Premier of British Columbia, and former Canadian Minister of Health.)
Dear Donald, you and your surrogates have been noxiously complaining that the US Democrats are raising the bogey of Russian hacking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to delegitimise your electoral victory and undermine your presidency. I am a citizen of the increasingly smaller world: A Canadian citizen; and by heritage an Indian of India. I am baffled how one undermines something already illegitimate. I thought I should let you know well before your swearing in that as far as many Americans and people across the world are concerned your Presidency is void ab initio. You are an illegitimate President-Elect; and you will be an illegitimate President. Stop complaining about it. Just grin and bear it.
And you may ask why?
Where do you want me to start?
For beginners, as one who had sought to undermine the Presidency of a duly elected Barack Obama by leading the most disgusting chorus of the Birther Lie against the first black president in the history of the USA, you don’t deserve to be the President, and that too as the standard bearer of the party of the slayer and abolisher of slavery, Abraham Lincoln.
You campaigned on “draining the swamp” of the rich and powerful in Washington. That appears to have been another one of your grotesque lies because your proposed cabinet is full of billionaires and multimillionaires quite at home, and used to swimming, in the swamp of which they are an integral part.
Your electoral college victory was founded upon a campaign of hate and racism against Muslims and Mexicans that appealed to the latent racism of quite a significant section of white Americans still undoubtedly harbouring racism, fear of the other and economic anxieties afflicting them leading them to buy your snake oil of how everything will be fine when you ban all Muslims from entering the country, set up a mandatory registry for American Muslims, instantly deport 11 million Mexicans from the USA back into Mexico and build a wall on the border with Mexico. You lied to the American people that you will make Mexico pay for the wall which you are now asking Americans to pay for. And we are happy that it will be less than a wall; but still another lie.
To make matters worse you have told scores of other monstrous, consequential and inconsequential lies in your lifetime and in the campaign. So much so that it compelled James Warren writing in Vanity Fair to label you “the least honest politician alive”. And even after getting elected you haven’t stopped lengthening the already too long a screed of lies.
I confess Hillary Clinton was not the greatest opponent you could have faced. She had excessive baggage from years of being in the public and political domains: the history the Clinton Foundation, her own emails from her time as Secretary of State and much more. According to the report of the US intelligence, in came the Russians with the clear intent to sow distrust in the US election process, hurt the Clinton candidacy and help yours, their preferred candidate. The Russians hacked the DNC and other Clinton related emails and conspired with the Wikileaks to strategically release such materials during the campaign. The drip-drip of the Russian hacked and Wikileaks released material effectively damaged Clinton’s chances of beating you; Russia put its thumb on the scale to help you, their favourite candidate; you became Russia’s “Manchurian” candidate. Russia didn’t interfere with the voting machines or the tallying of the votes. But it certainly did interfere with and influence the election in your favour. With Russia’s clear and covert help, you defeated Clinton.
There are as yet unsubstantiated claims that the Russians possess a dossier of compromising personal and other information on you with which, if true, you could be subject to blackmail endangering the national security of the United States of America. The intelligence chiefs felt the information, though unproven, was germane enough to their duty to protect USA and its government that they briefed President Obama and you on it. The briefing material was leaked but according to the intelligence chiefs not by them or their organisations. You had a hissy fit during what the Guardian described as a train wreck of a press conference, and compared your intelligence chiefs to the Nazis. Such irresponsible conduct is more proof that you aren’t fit to be the President of the most powerful country on earth.
Mind you, Russia isn’t unique in the world in trying to subvert other nation’s politics and governments. American governments have been no international angels. They have encouraged countless coups and revolts and interfered in elections all over the world. The government s your country helped come to power in other countries were equally illegitimate, be it the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines or Augusto Pinochet in Chile.
Russian interference and influence in the US election in your favour, more than the lies and hate you spewed, has certainly meant the demise of your presidency’s legitimacy at its very beginning. Your campaign of lies, hate and racism along with the well documented help you received from the Russians in damaging your opponent has made yours an illegitimate presidency.
But you, your supporters and surrogates argue the fact that you have been elected should be the end of discussion; perhaps so, particularly because the American electorate has never been considered to be well informed and aware anyway. As the late Gore Vidal once lamented, “Half of the Americans have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half”.
So the world is the poorer for having to live with your less than legitimate Presidency. Do us a favour: Just grin and bear it.
The views expressed by the author are personal. Dosanjh is former Premier of British Columbia, and former Canadian Minister of Health.
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Transforming India for Global Leadership through Rural Empowerment & Citizen Awareness Campaign
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ANNUAL MEETING at The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newton, MA
July 30 & 31, 2016
Saturday, July 30, 2016
8:00 AM to 8:45 AM Breakfast
Session 1 (09:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
09:00 AM to 09:05 AM Welcome Pawan Roy
09:05 Am to 09:20 AM Vision Mission, Goals and Updates Kanchan Banerjee
09:30 AM to 10:40 AM Interactive, online session with Networking partners in Bharat
(Hiral Mehta, All India Rural Empowerment Program, Amdavad; Urvish Kantharia, GIBV, Bharat, Amdavad; Srikanth, Karnataka Village Development, Bangalaru)
10:40 AM to 10:50 AM Break
Session 2 (10:45 AM to 12:15 PM)
10:50 AM to 11:10 AM Our role in USA Girish Gandhi
11:10 AM to 11:30 AM Our role in Bharat Gaurang Vaishnav
11:30 AM to 12:15 PM Scope and Opportunities working with other organizations in Bharat
Dr. Mahesh Mehta
12:15 PM to 01:15 PM Lunch
Session 3 (01:30 PM to 03:30 PM)
01:30 PM to 03:30 PM Work in the USA- Details, What, how to
(Moderator: Balaguru Teertha, Kunal Shah)
- Chapters & Volunteers Avanish Raj
- Membership & Fund-Raising Girish Gandhi
- Media & PR Somanjana Chatterjee
- Communication, Internal & External Sonali Dave
- Social Media Achalesh Amar
03:30 PM to 4:00 PM Tea Break
Session 4 (04:00 PM to 05:15 PM)
04:00 PM to 04:15 PM Demonstrating Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
04:15 PM to 05:15 PM Create Task Lists Kanchan Banerjee
06:00 PM to 09:00 PM Event with invited Guests
(Pawan Roy, Mahesh Mehta, Kanchan Banerjee, Kunal Shah, Girish Gandhi)
06:00 PM to 06:45 PM Reception
06:45 PM to 08:15 PM Presentation & discussion
08:15 PM to 09:15 PM Dinner
Sunday, July 31, 2016
8:00 AM to 8:45 AM Breakfast
Session 5 (09:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
09:00 AM to 09:15 AM Global Indian Business Council (GIBC) Dhirendra Shah
09:15 AM to 09:55 AM Working in Bharat- Village matrix Gaurang Vaishnav
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Interactive session with Networking partners in Bharat
(Dr. Ajay Mehta, Bhopal; Shobhit Mathur, Vision India Foundation,
Delhi; Manish Manjul, Lead India 2020, Delhi)
11:10 AM to 11:45 AM Action Items, Assignments Kanchan Banerjee, Sneha Mehta
Next meeting Dates and Place Girish Gandhi
11:45 PM to 12:00 PM Concluding Remarks Dr. Anju Preet
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If in case it was all too confusing for you, here’s a summary:
President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy who got so nasty his people rebelled and the Rebels (who are good) started winning (hurrah!).
But then some of the rebels turned a bit nasty and are now called Islamic State (who are definitely bad!) while some continued to support democracy (who are still good.)
So the Americans (who are good ) started bombing Islamic State (who are bad ) and giving arms to the Syrian Rebels (who are good ) so they could fight Assad (who is still bad) which was good.
There is a breakaway state in the north run by the Kurds who want to fight IS (which is good) but the Turkish authorities think they are bad, so the U.S. says they are bad while secretly thinking they’re good and giving them guns to fight IS (which is good) but that is another matter.
Getting back to Syria.
So President Putin (who is bad because he invaded Crimea and the Ukraine and killed lots of folks, including that nice Russian man in London with polonium poisoned sushi, has decided to back Assad (who is still bad) by attacking IS (who are also bad ) which is sort of a good thing (!?).
But Putin (still bad) thinks the Syrian Rebels (who are good) are also bad, and so he bombs them too, much to the annoyance of the Americans (who are good) who are busy backing and arming the rebels (who are also good).
Now Iran (who used to be bad, but now they have agreed not to build any nuclear weapons with which to bomb Israel are now good) are going to provide ground troops to support Assad (still bad) as are the Russians (bad) who now have ground troops and aircraft in Syria.
So a Coalition of Assad (still bad) Putin (extra bad) and the Iranians (good, but in a bad sort of way) are going to attack IS (who are bad which is good, but also the Syrian Rebels (who are good) which is bad.
Now the British (obviously good, except that silly anti-Semite who leads the Labor Party, Mr. Corbyn in the corduroy jacket, who is bad) and the Americans (also good) cannot attack Assad (still bad) for fear of upsetting Putin (bad) and Iran (good/bad) and now they have to accept that Assad might not be that bad after all compared to IS (super bad — see Paris, November 2015).
So Assad (bad) is now probably good, being better than IS and, because Putin and Iran are also fighting IS, that may now make them good. America (still good) will find it hard to arm a group of rebels being attacked by the Russians for fear of upsetting Mr. Putin (now good) and that nice mad Ayatollah in Iran (also good?) and so they may be forced to say that the Rebels are now bad, or at the very least abandon them to their fate. This will lead most of them to flee to Turkey and on to Europe or join IS (still the only consistently bad).
To Sunni Muslims an attack by Shia Muslims (Assad and Iran) backed by Russians will be seen as something of a Holy War. Therefore, the ranks of IS will now be seen by the Sunnis as the only Jihadis fighting in the Holy War and hence many Muslims will now see IS as good (duh).
Sunni Muslims will also see the lack of action by Britain and America in support of their Sunni rebel brothers as something of a betrayal (might have a point?) and hence we will be seen as bad.
So now we have America (now bad) and Britain (also bad) providing limited support to Sunni Rebels (bad ) many of whom are looking to IS (good/bad ) for support against Assad (now good) who, along with Iran (also good) and Putin (now, straining credulity, good ) are attempting to retake the country Assad used to run before all this started.