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Happy Teacher’s Day- UPA Style, Of Course!

Happy Teacher’s Day

Time for PM to sanction prosecution of Ms. Sonia Gandhi- S. Gurumurthy

An ominous sign for government

By S Gurumurthy
31 Jan 2012 11:31:00 PM IST

Here is a telling contrast in fighting corruption. The nation has seen in the last couple of years two distinct endeavours to fight corruption. One is the fight for a new anti-corruption law with the blessings of even the suspects. And the other is identifying the suspects and fighting them under existing laws. Anna Hazare and his team have launched an agitation for an anti-corruption law — the Lokpal Bill — without which, they told the nation, corruption could not be fought or contained. In their enterprise against corruption they first appealed to Sonia Gandhi for her support to fight corruption! And she also wrote to Anna offering her support! Subramanian Swamy, on the other hand, took the view that corruption could well be fought under the existing anti-corruption law provided the corrupt are targeted directly. First, he filed an application with the prime minister for prosecuting A Raja for his role in the 2G scam. Next he applied to the prime minister for sanction to prosecute Sonia Gandhi, whose support Anna had sought to stop corruption. Swamy, a seasoned politician and accomplished intellectual, knew that without the visible picture of the corrupt, corruption is a theoretical issue — a point which the apolitical Anna and team had missed.

How Subramanian Swamy has cornered the UPA finally is not a complex story. The 2G licence issue had all the trappings of an open air theatre scam from the day the licences were fraudulently issued, namely, on January 10, 2008. When the government was covering up the 2G issue, everyone was merely wondering how to fix the government. But Swamy acted. He filed an application on November 24, 2008, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for permission to prosecute A Raja who had issued the 2G licences. At that time Raja was a powerful minister in the ministry of UPA-I, being from the DMK that was dominant in the alliance. The anti-corruption law mandates that no court can look at a complaint against a public servant “except with the previous sanction” of the authority competent to remove the public servant from office. Since Raja was a minister, who could be removed by the PM, Swamy approached the PM for the sanction.

The likes of Sibals and Chidambarams were perhaps laughing at Swamy. But Swamy persisted. He kept on writing letters to the prime minister reminding him about his application. He ceaselessly kept talking about it in public and through the media. But the prime minister, as he is sworn to in most matters, kept silent. The silence of the PM had made the government and the ruling party happy. But Swamy moved the Delhi High Court for a direction to the PM to take a decision on his plea. The high court dismissed Swamy’s petition. The ruling government and party were in ecstasy. But, undeterred, Swamy moved the Supreme Court. The PM had written to Swamy on March 10, 2010, that Swamy’s plea for prosecuting Raja was premature as the CBI was investigating the matter — a response authored by amateur legalism. After having trivialised Swamy thus, on April 26, 2010, the PM told the media — which asked him whether Raja’s statement that he had the approval of the PM to do what he did — that Raja had consulted him before issuing the licences. That what the PM had accepted as consultation, Raja has asserted as permission.

Swamy also complained to the Supreme Court about the inordinate delay by the PM in deciding the matter. Meanwhile, the 2G issue had exploded on the face of the government with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India saying that the loss to the government was, on the lower side, some `69,000 crore and could be as high as `1,75,000 crore. The Supreme Court, seeing the government prevaricating at all levels, began monitoring the CBI investigation of the scam. The petition by Swamy too became part of the 2G scam litigation in the Supreme Court. The CBI did file charge-sheets in some cases of scam, including Raja as an accused in all except one. But Swamy’s plea to the PM to prosecute Raja and the PM’s inaction on it survived for consideration by the Supreme Court. The apex court did go deep into the matter, called for the records of the PMO and asked for an explanation from the PMO for the delay. By now, the ruling party and the government stopped laughing at Swamy. It became the turn of Swamy to laugh at them. It is the plea of Swamy to the PM to allow him to prosecute Raja which has been decided by the Supreme Court on January 31, 2012, in a landmark judgment.

First, the court has set aside the judgment of the Delhi High Court that had refused to direct the PM to decide on Swamy’s plea. Second, it has ruled that it is the constitutional right of a citizen to move to prosecute any public servant. Third, the authority to whom the application is made for permission to prosecute should take a decision within three months and if, within four months, no decision is taken, the permission shall be deemed to be granted. The import of the Supreme Court judgment is evident. The court has clearly indicted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for delaying the decision on Swamy’s plea. It has also directed him to decide on Swamy’s plea in 90 days. The court has also said that Parliament should lay down the guidelines for 2G prosecution. Finally, the court has said that for ordering inquiries into corruption against any public servant, criminal courts do not need sanction.

It may appear at the first sight that the judgment is against Raja and the PM. But, in substance, it is just an ant-bite on Raja and an embarrassment for the PM. Raja, already charge-sheeted, is in jail. The PM will have no difficulty in allowing one more complaint — that of Swamy — against Raja. But the real danger lies in the other application by Swamy — for permission to prosecute Sonia Gandhi — which the PM has labelled as “premature” and ducked. Under the anti-corruption law, the PM can sack Sonia, the chairperson of National Advisory Council, even though he himself may be removed by her. Swamy can now ask the PM whether the complaint has matured. He can also move the criminal court for inquiry against Sonia Gandhi for which, the Supreme Court has ruled, no sanction is needed. Swamy’s statement that he “can bypass Vadra and go straight to Sonia” is ominous. The Congress cannot laugh at him now.

(Views expressed in the column are the author’s own)
S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.
E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net

Modi, Media and the Congress’ myopic vision- Dr. Hilda Raja

The Supreme Court has not indicted Modi and his government in the Gulbarg Society case-The SC refused to pass any order on Modi’s involvement in the 2002 riots. The SC has referred the case to the trial court  saying that it need not monitor the case any longer and has directed the Special Investigation  Team  to file a final report with the magistrate court concerned, which will henceforth deal with the findings as per law. This has given a chance for Modi bashers-the Congress  the Left parties and the NGOs to do what they are accustomed to do. Even though the SC has not indicted Modi and does not find his involvement  in the Gulbarg case the Congress ,the Left and Teesta find Modi accused and want him convicted. The media has also lapped up their views because as far as Modi is concerned, the media has always been anti-Modi. Hence it puts Modi on trial. If the TOI splashes ‘SC breather, Modi exhales’ Ram Jethmalini demolishes it by stating that ‘Narendra Modi can’t get a breather because he was never suffocated. There was never any evidence against him. It is a vindication of his innocence’. The media also whips up passions and polarizes opinions when it brings in at this juncture the idea of Modi as prospective PM candidate. Even Modi may not have given a thought to it. He is full of Gujarat and its development. May be his admirers had on various occasions articulated such a proposition. Only goes to show the stuff he is made of. It speaks of his caliber as an able administrator, as a dedicated CM,  as one who spares no effort and stands out as a non-corrupt and incorruptible person.
The media goes further to analyze who are Modi supporters-who are the fence sitters and who are wary of Modi in the BJP. This kind of uncalled for expose will not be done say in the case of Rahul Gandhi, who is projected as the crown prince. Will the media tell us who his supporters are in the Congress-who are the fence sitters and who are wary of RG? The media has a very crucial role to play in a democracy it must play fair-project the truth and nothing but the truth. It cannot play politics. So what is apparent is that the media is terribly biased against Modi.According to Abhishek Manu Singhvi the SC has not given Modi a clean chit-it has left everything open for the magistrate to look into all aspects. And Salman Kurshid wants us to believe that the BJP is privy to court documents and hence is claiming Modi to be innocent. So one has to believe by these utterances that the SC did not look into the case at all and has simply referred the case to the trial court. The media of course uses this as an opportunity to put Modi on trial. No body thinks that the whole case is sub-judice and hence apart from giving out the SC’s verdict they cannot discuss it thread bare and give their own judgements. The Congress spokespersons in other cases like the CWG scam-the Adarsh scam the 2-G spectrum scam et al excused themselves from commenting because these are sub-judice. But in Modi’s case they are ready to pronounce him guilty as the media runs the trial. The bias is so obvious. What is the reason-just vote bank politics.

It was not long ago that P.Chidambaram appealed to the Sikh community to put the massacre of the Sikhs at rest and to move forward. This when 100 times more persons of the minority community were massacred-brutalized, raped and killed. Time to move on was his appeal. But when it comes to the Gujarat riots it has to be fixed at that riot incident-Time and again it has been used against Modi. Come elections the NGOs canvass with the CDs of the riots-the wailing and the weeping of the victims and their relatives must be kept ever fresh. Why this double standard? Did the Congress leaders not lead the massacre brigade and supervise the killings of the Sikhs? Did not the Delhi government abet it by silently watching the burning and the killings? Did not Rajiv Gandhi justify this? So what moral right has the Congress to fault Modi and his government? It must be also noted that this is not the first time Gujarat witnessed riots-not only Gujarat but all over India there have been any number of riots. No one person has been maligned as Modi has been.

Vote bank politics has marred every single perception and action of the UPA government. There have been 7 attacks since 2010 after P. Chidambaram became the Home Minister. The Sept 7th bomb blast at gate 5 of the Delhi High court is the 8th attack. This left 13 dead and 88 injured. PC has suddenly become color blind. He who was so obsessed with ‘saffron’ terror suddenly finds just these as terror attacks and is quick also in his briefing to Parliament to caution the country of Naxal terror. No lessons learned. The issue before him is Islamic terror and he is afraid even to term it so. It becomes just terror. And our PM joins in the chorus to mouth hollow words that the perpetrators would be punished. In which terror attack has the perpetrators been punished may we know? So why mouth such promises?

Rahul Gandhi goes to visit the victims of the Sept High court bomb blast at the RML hospital. He has forgotten to think because he had earlier stated after his famous draft reading in Parliament that he took so long to react to the LokPal bill because he had to think. Well one does not know if to read a draft one has to put on the thinking cap and take such a long period of thinking. When he visited the hospital he did not utter a single word. Either he forgot to put his thinking cap on or there were no draft writers by his side. Can this crown prince not spontaneously offer a few words of comfort and listen to the anguish of the grieving victims. And we are promised that this youth icon will bring in much desired change.

This brings up corruption. The Congress advises the rest not to politicize corruption. The same song it sings for every issue ‘Don’t politicize terror attacks’-‘don’t politicize corruption is the litany the Congress leaders chorus. But there is politics in corruption. It is the vested interest of the politicians that gave birth to corruption. It is the greed for power that makes the politicians abet corruption and it is the attraction to status and power that makes the politicians to sell his/her conscience and become corrupt. In the process they corrupt others too. And as long as the Congress is the mother head of corruption one cannot expect the Congress to fight corruption. It is now blatantly stated in the emails which are circulated that “Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the most powerful woman is the most corrupt”. It is not just only one person nay the family too. No wonder it is also said that it took 100 years for  Tata to become a billionaire, it took 50 years for Ambani to become a billionaire but it has taken only ten years for Robert Vadra to become a billionaire. From where does this money for chartered planes-treatment in the USA-special facility apartment there et al and lavish spending come from? So it is understandable when one is so filthy rich that Mrs Priyanka Vadra can toss her head and order her two storied house in Himachal Pradesh to be razed to the ground. A new site to be bought and new house to be built. A house in which crores and crores would have been spent is just to be demolished because it did not suit the environment and her fancy. All this after she had been supervising and instructing while the construction was on. Did she not know what materials were used for it? This I narrate only as an example of the arrogance of money power. No second thoughts .We see children by the seaside kick the sand castles and built new ones according to their whims. The same kind of attitude and mindset was displayed by Mrs Vadra which is a dangerous streak and exhibits a disdain for loss of money and labor. The mention of this is also meant to prove that Rahul Gandhi’s multi prong strategy to fight corruption is a farce and mere rhetoric. He has to clean up his own household first.

We had Chidambaram the other day stating that communalizing violence is dangerous. We are no fools and we know what made PC make such a statement. This government will not fight terrorism because it will not embarrass the Muslims. This is clear in it bringing up the Communal violence bill which just will not fight communalism but abets communalism. First the National Advisory Council had no business to draft such a bill. The NAC which is an unconstitutional body acts as a super cabinet and a mini Parliament. This was meant to give a cabinet ranking to Mrs. Sonia and legitimize her face in all the GOI advertisements. Second it has also all Modi bashers and baiters as members. It has a hidden agenda and is biased. Hence the communal violence bill is pro minority and anti majority. How can it fight communalism when the very premise of it abets communalism?

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

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.

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

Trust gone, UPA’s defeat in next poll is inevitable

G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, LensOnNews

In the life cycle of elected governments, a time comes when the public support decisively swings from one of enjoying inherent trust to one in which people have lost implicit trust. In case of some governments, this happens very rapidly and in some others, it takes a very long time as was the case with the Left Front in West Bengal which had an uninterrupted reign of 34 years.

Usually, a major decision or action precipitates this dramatic shift of public perceptions about an elected government. In Left ruled West Bengal, the agitation in Singur provided the stimulus. In the case of the UPA government, the midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters – after meekly acquiescing to him and rolling out the red carpet at Delhi airport – has provided that spark.

I have been keeping tabs on public opinion for several months now and the extensive ground level feedback that we have gathered shows that the midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s fast was the turning point and turned the supporting masses against the Congress led government at the Centre. Admittedly, it has taken many years in office and many scams in its wake to pierce the credibility of the Congress led government at the Centre. And, once the credibility of a regime is eroded, it is impossible to regain it. Rajiv Gandhi government never recovered from the Bofors scandal that broke out just two years after he won a landslide victory in 1984 and faced a humiliating defeat in 1989. Similarly, P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government never recovered from a series of scandals – securities scam, JMM scandal, Sukhram’s telecom scam, Urea scam, etc. –that led to its devastating poll defeat in 1996.

It is instructive to study how the governments in the past tried to recover ground when they were confronted with extremely adverse situations. Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in 1975 following Allahabad High Court’s verdict declaring her election to Lok Sabha as void; Rajiv Gandhi’s associates forged documents purporting to show that his principal challenger V.P. Singh had a secret bank account in a foreign bank in St. Kitts; V.P. Singh himself unleashed the anti-quota stir by implementing the Mandal Commission recommendations in 1990; P.V. Narasimha Rao raked up years old Hawala scandal to fix political rivals in 1995 etc.

Circa 2011, the Congress party facing an unprecedented crisis over corruption charges can be expected to do all that the past governments have done and much more to survive politically. But the UPA presently has a serious problem at hand.

First, it faces a multitude of scams and myriad issues like black money, corruption, price rise etc. With every passing week, new scams are coming out of the closet. Undoubtedly, 2G is one scam that has damaged the UPA government the most. The scale of the loot and its brazen manner has had a devastating impact on the public. Curiously, the 2G scam which has claimed many top leaders of the DMK hasn’t yet reached the Congress’s doorstep. The manner in which the Congress party stymied the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) probe led by the BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and the tardy functioning of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G scam have aroused suspicions about the Congress party’s motives and involvement.

Second, unlike in the past when governments faced one major scam and a clearly identified political rival, the Congress party is faced with a barrage of attacks from an active judiciary, a demanding civil society led by popular Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, a rejuvenated opposition, vigilant media and statutory institutions like the CAG. Despite the Sonia Gandhi led Congress party’s best attempts to emasculate high offices of the Prime Minister, President by appointing pliable individuals to these venerable institutions, the Congress party has not been able to avoid public scrutiny as other institutions of the government have turned their heat on the government.

True to its habit, the Congress party will attempt some drastic actions to regain its lost credibility. It will unleash vendetta against opposition leaders and attempt to show that all those arraigned against the Congress are corrupt. It will create and exploit every opportunity to rake up non-issues to divert public attention.

It may even resort to dividing the electorate on caste, communal or some other lines to minimize the electoral damage. This may actually backfire on the Congress party that traditionally has had a wide appeal across various caste and other groups. Yet, a desperate Congress party may make some cynical moves to get out of the corruption rut. Attempts to link activists like Anna Hazare with the RSS are a part of this cynical strategy.

Take my word: nothing will help restore the present government’s credibility. Let me explain this from my experience as a poll analyst for two decades. When a government enjoys public trust, all its actions are generally seen from a positive perspective. And, when a government is seen to be inherently untrustworthy, all its actions become suspect. All actions of the Manmohan Singh government will henceforth be viewed from a negative perspective due to the credibility crisis that envelopes it.

The Manmohan Singh government, despite enjoying a parliamentary majority is a lame duck government. Whether it lasts the full term or dies a premature death will depend on its political survival strategies. For sure, in the public mind, it has already lost its mandate. Its defeat at polls, whenever they are held, is an inevitability that stares it in its face.

GVL Narasimha Rao is a noted poll analyst

http://www.lensonnews.com/lensonarticles/2/2/3041/1/trust-gone,-upa-is-a-lame-duck-government.html

THE BABA POLITICS: Utpal Kumar- An incisive article from The Pioneer

This article from the Pioneer is one of the best articles that I have seen; it is precise, objective and thought provoking. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

AGENDA | Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Email | Print |  | Back

June 13, 2011   11:21:30 AM

The vengeance with which the UPA has gone after Baba Ramdev shows its Emergency-like streak. However, it must understand that Ramdev and Anna Hazare are legitimate representatives of a society disgusted with corruption in high places. The authorities can suppress their voices, but the vacuum it will create will be filled by more violent and assertive forces, warns Utpal Kumar

 

Indiais on the brink of a ‘revolution’. In fact, two revolutions. One unleashed by an ‘austere’ man in a white cap not many would prefer to wear today. And, the other by a saffron-clad yoga guru, who doesn’t believe sannyasis can’t indulge in politics. One is a Gandhian who can sit cross-legged for hours, and is the darling of the metropolitan literati and chatterati. The other teaches indigenous ways to keep oneself healthy and has an unassailable hold over the masses of what is romantically called ‘Middle India’. The two complement each other. But that’s not the way the political establishment and the mainstream English media see it.

 

This disconnect was evident on a train from Bihar toDelhia day after the midnight drama was enacted at Ramlila Maidan. “How can police beat up people, most of them women and children, who have come from faraway places to participate in a satyagraha? They were not at all violent, were they? Imagine their plight in an unknown city in the middle of the night,” said a co-passenger, aDelhiUniversitystudent whose father worked on a farmland inBihar. “This Government can allow a Hurriyat hardliner led by a pro-Maoist writer-cum-activist to script a separatist agenda in the Capital, but it can’t endure a peaceful protest against growing corruption in the country,” he added.

 

Soon, others joined the debate. One was an Army jawan, another a salesman, and yet another a bank employee — all truly representatives of what Mahatma Gandhi called the realIndia. The number increased, but the sentiment remained more or less the same: That the UPA has acted in a most undemocratic manner to quell the protest; that the Government wouldn’t have dared to come down highhandedly had the protesters been fromDelhi’s upper classes, as was the case with Anna Hazare’s agitation at Jantar Mantar not very long ago.

 

InDelhi, however, one witnessed an altogether different political discourse, with focus not much on the issue of corruption and the Government’s crackdown on innocent people, but on whether the Baba was at all the right person to hold any such agitation. The central-peripheral divide never looked sharper. The media, too, wasn’t spared: While the English news channels — either cut-off from the realities of sub-urban India or owing to their compulsions to cater to their elite and upper middle class audience for whom the Baba and his followers were just another “funny characters” — toed the Government line, focussing on the alleged misdeeds of Ramdev and his colleagues. It seemed they blindly followed Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s Baba’s-a-thug line. In the process, they forgot to ask a few tough questions: How could the Government suddenly stumble upon so much evidence against the yoga guru? Does it mean that it keeps such evidences as an arm-twisting tool against its opponents for more opportune times? If so, doesn’t it implicate the Government for being hypocritical on the issue of corruption? If the UPA was so sure about the Baba’s ill practices, why did it dispatch four ministers to receive him at theDelhiairport? And, if it was so uneasy about his saffron links, why did it entertain him for hours at a five-star hotel inDelhi?

 

The Hindi news channels, in contrast, showcased a slightly more realistic picture of how the country was reacting to the Government’s midnight crackdown at Ramlila Maidan. Perhaps, because their TRPs are determined by the masses in small towns and villages!

 

ANNA VERSUS RAMDEV

 

Hazare may have inspired a large section of the metropolitan population into expressing concern over the culture of corruption, but the burgeoning small towns and villages remained mostly untouched by the Anna phenomenon. That is where Ramdev’s role comes into play, as any fight against corruption can’t succeed without the support of Middle India.

 

Ironically, those who welcomed Hazare’s call to clean the system are today circumspect about Ramdev. Not very long ago, it was a field day for celebrities — from Aamir Khan to Kabir Bedi — to show their solidarity with the Gandhian movement at Jantar Mantar. On Ramdev, however, the response has been plain disdainful. Salman Khan quipped, “Why is he going on a hunger strike? Isn’t he a yogi teaching yoga?” As for Shah Rukh Khan, he discovered “an agenda” in the Baba’s agitation!

 

The literati’s love for Hazare is both understandable and enigmatic. It’s understandable because this class detests everything mass-oriented and accepts anything coming from the media. And, Hazare is largely a media construct. If a magazine report is to be believed, about 15 years ago, when Hazare went on a fast to protest against corruption in the then Maharashtra Government, a group of reporters from the vernacular press virtually became his publicity agents. Facts were twisted, and numbers inflated to provide legitimacy to his movement. A week into the fast, when these fellow reporters told Hazare that they couldn’t sustain the movement any longer, the Gandhian wilfully relented to call it off on a Sunday. Here, again, there was a problem: On the proposed day, local elections were to be held in the State, an event that would obviously hog all the limelight. Hazare right away shifted his programme to Monday!

 

It’s enigmatic because there’s more about Hazare that should disorient the educated, elite class. Going by the way he runs a village in Maharashtra, he cannot be called ‘democratic’ by any means: He prefers the hands of a thief to be chopped off; he wants anyone found drinking to be tied to a pole and publicly flogged; he believes in rigid implementation of family planning, including forced vasectomies; and, he advocates the corrupt be hanged to death!

 

Maybe Hazare is acceptable because he doesn’t seem to threaten the status quoist upper middle class dreams. He just wants cosmetic changes at the top — bring the Lok Pal Bill and all’s well! It must be understood that while the upper middle class has the right to be disgusted with corruption, it is also a major beneficiary of the malaise. After all, despite it raising this issue, it is primarily this class that gets the maximum benefits from the bribes MNCs pay to politicians to create a hurdle-free economic milieu. Bribes, in a way, are needed for ‘swift’ economic development in the country where governance isn’t truly efficient. It is a way of buying efficiency, as a bureaucrat working in the Finance Ministry said.

 

Today’sBiharis the best example of this trend. People in the State complain that with development, bureaucratic corruption has touched new heights. “Pahle jo kaam pachas rupaye mein hota tha, ab 5,000 mein bhi nahin hota (Earlier a work could be done in Rs 50, but today even Rs 5,000 is not enough),” said a schoolteacher in a northeastern district of Bihar. Yet, people seem content as the State has never witnessed such unprecedented flow of money. “Everyone is getting richer here. Lifestyle has improved. So, people doesn’t mind paying bribes to get their work done in the State,” said a Patna-based businessman. Some, including a Patna Women’s College professor, however, believe the Nitish Government should curb this malaise before it actually gets institutionalised.

 

The upper middle class, therefore, isn’t quite the victim of corruption as it pretends to be. Instead, it is the beneficiary of the system, however corrupt it may be. The real victims are the ones that have been left out or are on the fringes of the emerging economy. The Baba represents this section of Indian society. And, it’s for this reason that his movement needs to be welcomed, and not derided.

 

What’s further bolstering Ramdev’s case is that unlike other gurus, he is not “foreign-imported”, as one of his ardent followers says. He first strengthened his network in the country, and it was only in 2006 that he made his first trip abroad. No wonder, his worldview is rural-oriented, and he wants technical courses to be taught in the mother language. It’s, therefore, hardly a surprise that his politico-economic ideas became an instant hit among rural Indians, left behind in the race for economic prosperity by the English-speaking elite. What helped him strike a chord was a daily TV show being aired on the Aastha channel since 2005.

 

BLAME THE GOVERNMENT

 

Ramdev is as much the product of skewed globalisation as he is of the failure of our political leadership to deliver. After all, today we face the possibility of a political movement led by a yoga guru simply because our political leadership has failed us. Had Suresh Kalmadi been forced to resign when the Commonwealth shames first surfaced, the scandal would have died a natural death! Had A Raja been removed from his office the moment bad press appeared against him, the 2G scandal would have lost much of its sting! Nothing of the sort happened, hence the full-throated demand for a ‘systemic change’. Hence the emergence of a Baba and a Gandhian!

 

Well into its second term, the UPA seems both rudderless and directionless. So is Manmohan Singh. This was a man who gave his Government “six on 10” in a report card in 2005, one year after he became Prime Minister. People then thought he was being modest. Six years down the line, post several mind-boggling financial irregularities, Singh is neither modest, nor he pretends to be the one; he arbitrarily gives his Government “seven out of 10”. He puts the entire blame on coalition politics. For him, the DMK should be solely blamed for the 2G scam! And, Sharad Pawar’s NCP should be responsible for food inflation!

 

Such excuses would have worked well during the UPA-I regime when the Congress had 145 seats, but not in 2009, when the party is just 66 seats short of an absolute majority of 272. No ruling party has been so ‘secure’ in the Lok Sabha since 1991. But then the humility of 2005 has given way to the arrogance of 2011. And, it was this arrogance that was seen at Ramlila Maidan early this month.

 

The vengeance with which the Government is going after the Baba shows its Emergency-like streak. The powers-that-be must understand that Ramdev and Hazare are two sides of the same coin. Inventing cases of corruption against those who are asking tough questions would make people cynical and force them to take recourse to more extreme measures. Look what’s happening inWest Asia! Who would have imagined six months ago that the Arab world would be in such a state of turmoil, as it is now? Hazare and Ramdev are for the good of the Government: They are its safety valve.

 

COMMENTS BOARD ::

 

 Truth about India’s flaky economy.

By K P Ganesh on 6/12/2011 8:40:42 PM

 

I wish readers of this article to google for DEBATE ON GATT a wonderful speech given way back in 1994 by Sri. S Gurumurthy on how India’s quest for globalization has resulted in this kind of catastrophic effect, marginalizing the so called middle India who are working thrice as hard to keep India afloat, compared to their urban dwelling brothers and sisters.

 

 UPA folly

By Ramesh on 6/12/2011 3:57:47 PM

 

UPA is waiting for a West Asia-like situation to happen in this country.

 

 literarti and Hazare

By SM Singh on 6/12/2011 3:32:10 PM

 

Really loved this line of yours: “The literati’s love for Hazare is both understandable and enigmatic. It’s understandable because this class detests everything mass-oriented and accepts anything coming from the media. And, Hazare is largely a media construct.” Great piece.

 

 sad

By Raj on 6/12/2011 12:14:49 PM

 

Good that swamiji today ended his fast. However, this has exposed how insensitive the rulers are.

 

 congrats

By abhinav kumar on 6/12/2011 10:57:46 AM

 

A true and an excellent peice of an article!!! well done u have presented the true picture.

 

 THE BABA POLITICS

By Hare Ram on 6/12/2011 9:21:59 AM

 

Very well written. This is a first positive article ever read on media about Baba. Seems like all other medias joined Congress. I don’t care how much money Baba made but all the issues he raised are legitimate. I don’t think he cheated any one.

 

 More leaders needed

By Rahul on 6/12/2011 8:15:32 AM

 

Lessons from the freedom movement is (particularly after Gandhiji’s 1915 India arrival), do not allow the rulers to highlight only one or two netas with whom they are comfortable with and undermine other Leaders of the movement. Bapu and hon J Nehru were the two netas overshadowing others during the transfer of power in 1947 and the bloody partition of the Country. A similar pattern of Hazare undermining all other leaders of the anti corruption movement must be prevented from developing.

 

 A Million Revolutions In a Wounded Civilization

By Maheswar inKathmanduon 6/12/2011 7:14:26 AM

 

V S Naipaul astutely foresaw the million revolutions bubbling, all overIndia, having first viewed it as a wounded civilization. All these revolts and wounds are now surfacing as the voice of the ‘real’India, the vast new middle class that barely earn $2-4 per day, who are vulnerable to the downswings of globalization, its inequities and immoralities. They want modernity with their traditional identities in place; not be caricatures of the West as are the upper middle classes.

 

 The truth few in India Know.

By sadia on 6/12/2011 4:12:22 AM

 

Indialost its independent status the day an illiterate but KGB trained honey trap appeared in Rajiv’s life. Then she lined up a job for being an interpreter of RAW with Italian secret service. She had already converted Rajiv from Muslim to Roberto to marry her.She brought Italian Mafia in form of Quotrocchi. Rajiv already had started receving money from Soviet government in swiss Bank. When Rajiv threatened to divorce her Quotrocchi met Prabhakaran to sort problem out.

 

 The BABA politics

By panchali on 6/12/2011 12:59:36 AM

 

Very well commented. I totally agree with you that the UPA’s mistreatment of Baba Ramdev is going to backfire on the Government big time. I also liked you Anna versus Baba comparision. But the best was the safety valve theory.

 

 Thank God for this article

By Soumya Dutta on 6/12/2011 12:45:25 AM

 

I was losing belief completely and truly in the Indian print media when the involuntary death of MF Hussain was being given greater preference to the well meaning and fully voluntary fast undertaken by Ramdev. It is a shame that the media derides the yoga guru who has today undertaken a fast to cleanse the system of its 60 years-old evil by petty journalism. Having said and that and then having read this article, I firmly believe not everything has been lost.

 

http://www.dailypioneer.com/DisplayContent.aspx?ContentID=345167&URLName=THE-BABA-POLITICS

The adharma of politicians: Joginder Singh in The Pioneer

June 13, 2011   10:52:12 AM

Joginder Singh

Whenever politicians are caught with their hand in the till they cry foul and claim innocence. M Karunanidhi’s defence of Kanimozhi demonstrates this point.

The paterfamilias of the first family of the DMK which was routed in the recent Assembly election, has said that his daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP who is in jail for her alleged role in the 2G Spectrum scandal, has been imprisoned “either because of an instruction from the Centre or due to the negligence of the Centre”. Earlier, Mr M Karunanidhi, had also said that “bad friendship” would end in trouble.

According to the CBI’s chargesheet, Kanimozhi was arrested along with the managing director of Kalaignar TV for allegedly receiving `200 crore in the 2G Spectrum allocation scam. Mr Karunanidhi, however, claimed that the investigating agency had arrested his daughter as it needed someone to take the blame.

Having seen the CBI work from close quarters, I know for a fact that whenever a politician involved in a scam or a scandal is arrested, the standard response is that he or she has been falsely implicated and that it is a part of vendetta against an innocent person. I have also noticed that politicians and the truth rarely go hand-in-hand. Moreover, if the politician has held a position of power, his or her approach has generally been to loot as much as possible as if there is no tomorrow and he or she would never be held accountable.

In this context, I am reminded of a dialogue between dharma and the eldest Pandav brother, Yudhisthir. dharma asked Yudhisthir, “What is the biggest wonder of the world?” Yudhisthir replied, “The biggest wonder of the world is that people should see others dying and still somehow believe that death will bypass them.” In other words, people tend to forget that nature too works along Newton’s Third Principle: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In the name of coalition dharma, partners in a coalition tend to become law unto themselves. Minority partners hold the majority party at gunpoint and the latter conveniently looks away so that they may all continue to remain in power. Yet, no dharma permits such adharma that allows the evil of corruption to thrive. In our country, the laws have been so framed that any investigation may be strangled by the Government at any step.

For example, according to the CVC Act the CBI cannot start any investigation against any officer of the level of Joint Secretary and above, which would include Ministers, without the Government’s sanction that can come only after the matter has been investigated. Thus, the CBI or any anti-corruption agency is left to deal with peons and clerks or junior officials at best, when everybody knows that the rot starts at the top.

The UPA Government went all out to save former Telecommunications Minister A Raja for nearly14 months, till such time the Supreme Court took over the monitoring of investigations into the 2G Spectrum scam. Only after that was A Raja arrested and a case registered against him. Three months later, Kanimozhi was also put behind bars. Now, the politicians are making a fine distinction between what is moral and what is legal as a subterfuge to escape punishment for their crimes. The Government, of course, is still doing its best to save the thieves and robbers, especially if they happen to belong to the ruling alliance. The only barrier that stands in its way is the judiciary.

This is not the case only in India; it is the same the world over. The famous American journalist Frank I Cobb once said about the US what is now equally applicable to India: “If the author of the Declaration of Independence were to utter such a sentiment today, the Post Office Department could exclude him from the mail, grand juries could indict him for sedition and criminal syndicalism, legislative committees could seize his private papers … and United States Senators would be clamouring for his deportation that he… should be sent back to live with the rest of the terrorists.”

The system today continues to be unjust to the masses with the result that people with lots of money and the ability to afford expensive lawyers often go unpunished. Regarding the Government’s indifference to the criminal justice system, the Supreme Court recently said, “The criminal justice system has been destroyed by the Government. They are not providing (adequate) funds to the police and the courts.” The observation only proves that the Government has actually done more than enough to bail out criminals, contrary to what Mr Karunanidhi would like to believe.

Moreover, by ensuring that the CBI remains under-staffed and hamstrung, the Government has significantly weakened its main anti-corruption agency as well. According to the CBI’s data, some 915 posts at the executive officers level — these include positions for Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors, Deputy Superintendents of Police, Superintendents of Police, Deputy Inspectors-General, Additional and Special Directors, Law Officers — are currently vacant. Hence, Mr Karunanidhi’s charge that the Union Government has not done enough to save his daughter does not stand up to scrutiny.

The only reason why Kanimozhi is in jail is because her case is being directly monitored by the Supreme Court. Once a case comes under the scrutiny of the judiciary, the Government has no say and cannot even direct the CBI. However, the abuse and misuse of the police and other law enforcement agencies will continue unless they are given a constitutional status. But we can only dream about such things since no politician would like to place a noose around his or her own neck. The State Governments have not even implemented the September 2006 directives of the Supreme Court for minimum reforms within the police department.

Mr Karunanidhi’s statements thus reflect the mindset of today’s politicians who, like our erstwhile colonial rulers, are habituated to using the police as puppets to implement their wishes as was evident during the eviction of Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Delhi — they had gathered to protest against corruption and press their demand that the Government should bring back the black money stashed in safe havens abroad.

It is a fact that fighting corruption has never been on the agenda of any political party. Though there are some honest politicians, most others use black money to fund their election campaign. This is done with the explicit help of the Government. Therefore, it is the Government’s duty to ensure that everyone declares their source of income. But perhaps it is never going to happen. So anybody who leads a movement against black money and corruption would be doing a signal service.

Many people say that democracy does not work. Of course it works. But we are the ones who have to make it work.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/345368/The-adharma-of-politicians.html

An empress of India in new clothes: John MacLithon

Source: Express buzz
12 Nov 2010 12:23:00 AM

Like Sonia Gandhi, I am a Westerner and a brought-up Christian. Like Sonia Gandhi, I have lived in India many years and I have adopted this country as my own.

But the comparison ends there. I did land in India with a certain amount of prejudices, clichés and false ideas, and I did think in the enthusiasm of my youth to become a missionary to bring back Indian ‘pagans’ to the ‘true god’. But the moment I stepped in India I felt that there was nothing much that I could give to India, rather it was India which was bestowing me. In fact in all my years here India has given me so much — professionally, spiritually, sentimentally. Most Westerners, who come here, still think they are here to ‘give’ something to a country, which, unconsciously of course, they think is lesser than theirs. It was true of the British, it was true of Mother Teresa, it is true of Sonia Gandhi.

It is a fact that Sonia brought discipline, order and cohesion into the Indian National Congress. But the amount of power that she, a person of foreign origin, an elected MP like hundreds of others, possesses should frighten her. All the television channels report without a blink that Maharashtra CM rushes to Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi to plead for his life. But should not Chavan have gone to the prime minister first?

The CBI blatantly and shamelessly quashed all injunctions against Ottavio Quattrocchi and even allowed him to get away with billions of rupees which he had stolen from India. Yet, without batting an eyelid, and with the Indian media turning a blind eye, it goes ruthlessly after the chief minister of the most efficiently run state, the most corruption free. Today the Congress, with Sonia’s overt or silent consent, pays crores of rupees to buy MPs to topple non-Congress governments. Her governors shamelessly hijack democracy by twisting the law.

Are Indians aware that their country has entered a state of semi-autocracy where every important decision comes from a single individual residing in her fortress of 10 Janpath surrounded by dozens of security men, an empress of India? Do they know that the huge amounts of the scams, whether the 2G, the CWG, or the Adarsh housing society scam, do not go into politicians’ pockets (only a fraction), but to the coffers of the Congress for the next general elections, and more than anything to please Sonia Gandhi? Nobody seems to notice what is happening under the reign of Sonia Gandhi.

That an Arundhati Roy is allowed to preach secession in India, whereas on the other hand the Congress government has been going after the army, the last body in India to uphold the time-honoured values of the Kshatriyas — courage, honour, devotion to the Motherland. They alone today practise true secularism, never differentiating between a Muslim or Hindu soldier and who for a pittance daily give their lives to their country. First it was the attempt of a caste census, a divide-and-rule ploy if there is one; then there are the first signs that the government is thinking about thinning down the presence of the Indian army in the Kashmir valley, which will suit Pakistan perfectly. And now there is the Adarsh housing society scam in which the army officers, at the worst, were innocently dragged into it. We know now that it was the politicians of the Congress who benefited the most out of it.

It would be impossible in France, for example, to have a non-Christian tell a Hindu (who is a non-elected president or PM) to be the absolute ruler of the country behind the scenes, superseding even the PM. There are many capable people in the Congress. Why can’t a billion Indians find one of their own, who will understand the complexity and subtlety of India, to govern themselves? Not only that, but her very presence at the top has unleashed forces, visible and invisible that are detrimental to the country. There is nothing wrong in espousing the best of the values of the West — democracy, technological perfection, higher standards of living — but many of the institutions are crumbling in the West: two out of three marriages end in divorce, kids shoot each other, parents are not cared for in their old age, depression is rampant and Westerners are actually looking for answers elsewhere, in India notably.

One does not understand this craze to Westernise India at all costs, while discarding its ancient values. Sonia Gandhi should do well to remember that there still are 850 million Hindus in India, a billion worldwide and that whatever good inputs were brought by different invasions, it is the ancient values of spirituality behind Hinduism which have made India so special and which gives it today unique qualities making an Indian Christian different from an American Christian, or an Indian Muslim different from a Saudi Muslim. It is an insult to these tolerant Hindus to show United States President Barack Obama as his first input of the Indian capital the tomb of Humayun, a man who slaughtered Hindus in thousands, taking Hindu women and children as captives. He even subjected his elder brother Kamran to brutal torture, gauging his eyes out and pouring lemon into them.

The tragedy of India is that it was colonised for too long. And unlike China, it always looks to the West for a solution to its problems. Sonia Gandhi, whatever her qualities, is just an incarnation of that hangover, an empress of India in new clothes.

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