Of course, no Main stream media (MMS) story can be complete without obligatory reference to Gujarat riots and Ayodhya-Babri structure. But barring that, the following article invites those who support blindly Mr. Kejriwal and his party, AAP to do a serious rethink.
Economic Times: Poke Me: Why Kejriwal is losing the plot
This week’s ” Poke Me”, invites your comments on why Kejriwal is losing the plot. The feature will be reproduced on the edit page of the Saturday edition of the newspaper with a pick of readers’ best comments.
So be poked and fire in your comments to us right away. Comments reproduced in the paper will be the ones that support or oppose the views expressed here intelligently. Feel free to add reference links etc., in support of your comments.
Supreme Court Justice B N Agarwal is being sorely missed. It took him precisely 15 minutes to get a flustered Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi running from Chennai’s famed Marina beach to the secretariat and start working. That was after the DMK patriarch had said he would fast for the cause of Lankan Tamils, in April, 2009. The slightest of hints about the dreaded Article 356 of the Constitution did the trick.
As TV started flashing Justice Agarwal’s remarks on the incongruity of a constitutional functionary going on a fast, the chief minister had no option but to make a dash for his office before lunch.
Fortunately for Kejriwal, Justice Agarwal has since demitted office. Fortuitously for him too, the party that’s holding the reins of power at the Centre is famous for fiddling over issues. In this power vacuum, self-styled anarchist Kejriwal seems to think he can rule the law from the street instead of living by the rule of law, throwing constitutional norms and principles to the wind; all in the name of unconventional politics.
His politics as Delhi’s chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has been a dangerous mix of self-righteousness and lynch-mob vigilantism, designed to mask his incapability to push through any of the major changes he had promised. The agenda of Somnath Bharti, his law minister, is equally insidious: subvert the existing criminal justice system to ensure khap panchayat style justice, ignore both facts and the law.
In recent days, the minister has raided (with an unruly mob in tow) houses in his constituency on the suspicion of soliciting and drug-trafficking, dragged away African women and forced them to submit in public to urine samples for medical analyses, all in the name of justice.
Pray how is the AAP any different from the Sri Ram Sene which doesn’t hesitate to play judge, jury and executioner on Valentines’ day in Karnataka and has assaulted AAP leaderPrashant Bhushan for his long-held views on Kashmir? How is Bharti any different from the Shahabuddins of yore who took the law into their own hands? Or the Mumbai underworld?
The criminal justice system as it stands today, one has to concede to Bhushan, is full of shortcomings. It is slow, expensive and has been hijacked by those who know how to manipulate the system. Conviction figures are low.
However, the way ahead cannot be the Kejriwal way — hold the city and people who propelled you to power to ransom and offer the voter street corner vigilante justice in the name of deliverance. The Kejriwal brand of politics is inherently disrespectful of all constitutional values we hold dear; the basic presumption of innocent till proven guilty, the principles of federalism and separation of powers. It holds out a simplistic and a potentially dangerous solution to a people impatient for change – take the law into your own hands like Bharti and fellow MLA Rakhi Birla.
Instead of disowning them, Kejriwal indulged in his own bit of lawlessness when he defied prohibitory orders to sit on a dharna demanding that the Centre hand over control over the city cops to him. He will have us believe that all corruption in Delhi would go once he controls the cops. Finally, on Tuesday, he backed down and settled for peanuts: getting a few cops who dared cross his government’s path to go on paid leave.
The man’s histrionics captured eyeballs; his shrill rhetoric caused panic and chaos in the city.
A few cops under his belt, Kejriwal called off the dharna before things turned ugly and passed it off as a victory for the people of Delhi. Many fell for his theories of police inaction to justify his means.
Riling people against another section is fraught with dangerous consequences for this polity, as we have seen in earlier instances of mass political mobilization whether in Gujarat or Ayodhya. Will saner elements in the party prevail before all its political goodwill is frittered away?
Or is it that Kejriwal is merely pandering to his constituency, the lower middle class, the disgruntled and the poor who wish to be rid of the existing inequitable system? Is he is trying to overthrow the system even though he chose to go the ballot way?
The educated AAP supporter has a lot of thinking to do in the days leading up to the Lok Sabha polls. Is this what he signed up for when he voted AAP in 2013? Surely Kejriwal’s cure, fraught with the danger of unleashing unparalleled violence and strife, is worse than the disease? Maybe, Kejriwal should call for another referendum on the means to his end if there is one. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he may just lose that one.
क्या हमारे देश के नकलची और गुलाम बुद्घिजीवी आशा भोंसले और तीजनबाई से कोई सबक लेंगे? ये वे लोग हैं, जो मौलिक है और प्रथम श्रेणी के हैं जबकि सड़ी-गली अंग्रेजी झाड़नेवाले हमारे तथाकथित बुद्घिजीवियों को पश्चिमी समाज नकलची और दोयम दर्जे का मानता है| वह उन्हें नोबेल और बुकर आदि पुरस्कार इसलिए भी दे देता है कि वे अपने-अपने देशों में अंग्रेजी के सांस्कृतिक साम्राज्यवाद के मुखर चौकीदार की भूमिका निभाते रहें| उनकी जड़ें अपनी जमीन में नीचे नहीं होतीं, ऊपर होती हैं| वे चमगादड़ों की तरह सिर के बल उल्टे लटके होते हैं| आशा भोंसले ने दिल्लीवालों के बहाने उन्हीं की खबर ली है|
|16 Aug 2011|
If a single event encapsulates the corruption, sleaze and political callousness that bedevils the common man today, it is the Commonwealth Games of 2010, whose reverberations are still roiling the polity and the ruling Congress party. Even as unending price rise drives the middle class and poor to despair, and the Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank insist no relief is likely, a brazen Delhi Government threatens citizens with a staggering 60% hike in power tariffs, after having scandalously intervened last year to inhibit a price cut that was originally envisaged by the relevant authority.
That is the true measure of the rot wrought by chief minister Sheila Dikshit. A necessary corrective would be to return this essential service to the public sector, while ensuring zero protection to power theft that makes the utility unviable. In fact, the profit allowed to the private companies would have ensured the necessary modernization of equipment, on which they anyway dragged their feet.
Ms Dikshit, meanwhile, despite blistering indictments by the Prime Minister-appointed V.K. Shunglu Committee and the Comptroller & Auditor General’s report on the Commonwealth Games, got powerful protection from the chief control of the Congress party and the fraying UPA coalition. She refused to resign, forcing the Congress to make a dramatic volte face, from bragging about how it secured the resignations of Shashi Tharoor, Suresh Kalmadi, Andimuthu Raja and others caught in one or other controversy, to rallying around the impugned chief minister. Ironically, the BJP had forced Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyyurappa to resign only so it could confront her.
Both Shunglu Committee and CAG Report brought the spotlight of corruption on Sheila Dikshit who was in-charge of the major expenditure, totalling Rs 16,560 crore on just eight city projects (including the sub-standard Barapullah flyover). Both found that the Delhi government overspent and wasted money by manufacturing an artificial crisis of deadlines by delaying the start of CWG-related projects till literally the last three years of a seven-year timeframe. This led to ‘emergency’ decisions, compromising cost and quality.
Though a full year has not passed since the Games were held, a drive through Games-related areas shows pot-holed roads, bumpy flyovers, crumbling pavements and chipped tiles, dead or dying plants on road dividers and the peculiar green net and stakes installed to hold the plants spilling out on the roads, creating a traffic hazard. They should be removed without further ado, before they cause accidents like the utterly ill-conceived and murderous BRT corridors. The BRT corridors – another money-making consultant-driven scheme – need to be ripped up, not extended. Even if workable in theory, the Metro makes them redundant.
In this writer’s mind, the most evocative image of the Commonwealth Games concerns the collapse of the new foot over-bridge near Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, just 12 days before the inauguration ceremony, critically injuring several workers. PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan (recently indicted by Delhi Lokayukta but protected by his boss), glibly asserted that the structure collapsed because the pins were not secured properly. Then Urban Development minister Jaipal Reddy said, “This is a minor incident. The Commonwealth Games will not be judged by this.”
But Ms Dikshit took the cake. Stupefied citizens saw her on television, brushing aside the media with Antoinette-like memorable words: “The over-bridge was for spectators, not for the games officials or the athletes…” Did she mean she could bump off spectators, ordinary citizens like us? She got away with it because the Prime Minister appealed to let the Games happen for the sake of the nation, and old fashioned nationalism carried the day. But in those heady months of untrammelled power, Dikshit merrily spurned the Commonwealth Games Federation’s screams over the state of the Games Village, even as the filth of the residential towers became an international scandal.
Actually, the Commonwealth Games was from inception a non-government entity. Bizarre as it sounds, it was the brainchild, not of the then ruling party, but of the then Leader of the Opposition! This explains much of the confusion in execution, and the ability of the London-based Federation to covertly foist Mr. Suresh Kalmadi as chairman of the Organising Committee, keeping governmental supervision at bay (to its own regret).
The Delhi government’s functioning was opaque; selection of consultants arbitrary; standards and specifications amenable to instant modifications, and budgets eminently stretchable. The CAG found overspending of over Rs. 100 crore on streetscaping and beautification alone, with average cost for projects pegged at Rs. 4.8 cr/km. By contrast, a four-lane national highway costs Rs 9.5 crore/km; railway tracks come at Rs 4.1 crore/km!
Money was made on street lights (forget the contract to a disqualified firm). Violating norms, tenders were restricted to manufacturers of luminaries of international repute and higher financial eligibility, keeping competition restricted. MCD allowed deviance from design specifications in lighting standards, leading to larger number of poles and luminaries on certain roads and avoidable expenditure. Bids were altered in Phase I and II of tendering, again escalating costs.
The CAG found that the chief minister ordered imported lighting equipments in Type A and Type B roads, and indigenous lights for Type C roads. Besides creating a caste hierarchy of city roads, she permitted a huge cost differential which benefitted two private firms. One firm imported luminaries from a Gulf country at the rate of Rs 5,440/unit while charging Rs 25,704/unit. Worse, the chief minister imperiously ordered ripping out all tiles installed in Connaught Place as she did not like the colour!
If Dr Manmohan Singh wishes to restore public confidence in his government, he must give the CBI a free hand to investigate the chief minister, her erring colleagues and protégés, and bring them to book. We must know if we are a free country or a banana republic.
The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com
Last Updated : 11 Aug 2011 08:17:26 AM IST
The facts unfolded here reveal a conspiracy – a hostile political strategy to communalise, thus weaponise, an illegal encounter killing to demonise a selected State; to oust its leader, outside ballot process. That State is the least sinner in fake encounters, just one in a hundred. Yet, its leader is vilified as ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ [merchant of death]. So, the selected State’s leader is the target, not fake encounters as evil.
The State selected? Needs no guess. It is Gujarat, certified as the best governed, most prosperous.
The leader targeted? Needs no mention. Narendra Modi, known as the cleanest, also the ablest.
The National Human Rights Commission’s list of 440 fake encounters from 2002 to 2007 under inquest shows the share of Gujarat as just 5, almost the lowest. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 231, followed by Rajasthan 33, Maharashtra 31, Delhi 26, Andhra Pradesh 22, Uttaranchal 19, Assam 12, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka 10 each, Tamil Nadu 9, West Bengal 8, Bihar and Haryana 6 each. More. At 7.25 am, on 8.8.2011, the NewX channel reported a further 120 fake encounter deaths in UP after 2007!
Yet, from 2006, the ‘secular’ media has been obsessed with, not the most guilty in encounter sins, but the least — Gujarat; and with only one of the 440 encounters — of Syed Sohrabuddin in Gujarat, none from the rest. Baying for Modi’s scalp, the media relentlessly pursued Sohrabuddin’s case, charged Gujarat with killing him [and his wife, Kausar Bi] only because of his religion. It made Sohrabuddin the poster boy of secularism, insisted on CBI probe to cover Amit Shah, Gujarat Home Minister then, and Modi himself. The judiciary too chose for CBI probe only Sohrabuddin’s case out of the 440 encounters. Later when CBI misused the court mandate, resorted to patent illegalities to fix Shah and target Gujarat and Modi, the media even seemed relieved.
Interrogatories to ‘secular’ media on its role in the Sohrabuddin case are overdue. Here are some.
- Did the media even hint that, like Sohrabuddin’s in Gujarat, there were 435 other encounters outside, being inquired into by NHRC? No.
- And did it ever ask for CBI probe into them? No.
- Did it ever tell the true facts about Sohrabuddin, other than about his religion, like that he was a dreaded criminal, a crony of Sharif Khan, Dawood Ibrahim’s Gujarat head; or that he was arms carrier for ISI; or that a huge cache of 24 AK-47s, 22 grenades, 5250 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, and 81 magazines, adequate for a 1993 Mumbai blast were recovered from his farm house; or that he served a 5-year jail term under terror law? Never.
- Did it ever say that he had 21 big crime cases against him – two, under anti-terror law and nine, under Arms and Explosives law – in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan? No
- Did it even remotely hint that he had had connections with LTTE’s drug peddlers or that he contract-murdered in broad day light in Chennai an advocate who had tipped off the Narcotic Control Bureau about LTTE or that he killed a gangster, Karim Lala, in Udaipur in December 2004 and took over his extortion business in Rajasthan – for which Rajasthan was after him? Never, ever. In contrast, one magazine even profiled him as a ‘Muslim businessman’!
- The media hid Sohrabuddin’s criminality and sanitised him as Modi’s victim. The Congress party improved it. It made him the main issue in the 2007 Gujarat Assembly elections, thus adding communal poison to an illegal killing to make it deadly. Sonia Gandhi, adopting Sohrabuddin as the party’s poster boy, charged Narendra Modi as “Maut Ka Saudagar”. The media even saw the use of Sohrabuddin – an extortionist, arms-carrier, a murderer and the point man of Dawood – in the elections as strategic.
Now begins the sickening story of how the CBI subverted the Sohrabuddin probe to suit Congress party’s politics.
Not just BJP governments in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Congress government in AP, headed by Sonia Gandhi’s pet YS Rajasekara Reddy then, too was deeply involved in the killing. Did the media ever highlight this fact? No.
If it had, the encounter would lose its all-BJP – read ‘communal’ – character; with the Congress-mix, the killing would become secular! The Gujarat police probe in the Sohrabuddin case led by Geeta Johri, an honest police officer, showed that seven AP police officials, including two drivers, were involved in the offence; that one Kalmuddin, had invited the Sohrabuddin couple to Hyderabad; that after their stay Sohrabuddin couple boarded a bus to Sangli; that the AP and Gujarat police officials, acting in concert, intercepted the bus, disembarked the couple, took them in their vehicles; the caravan which included two Tata Sumo vehicles used by AP police reached Ahmedabad where the couple were killed. The Gujarat CID probe on the encounter in Hyderabad was moving right, but slowly, when the CBI took over the case in January 2010. The CBI charge sheet of 23 July 2010 itself admits that AP police were party to the offence. But where did the Gujarat CID probe hit the roadblock in Hyderabad?
Geeta Johri, who uncovered the fake encounter, arrested her own colleagues, had sought the co-operation of Balwinder Singh, the Commissioner of Police at Hyderabad then, for three purposes: one, to question the AP police officials who had assisted the Gujarat police; two, to trace the missing Vehicle Entry Register of the AP IPS Officers Mess for the period August 2005 to May 2006 that would identify the two Tata Sumo vehicles, their drivers and also AP officials who went in them all the way to Ahmedabad; three, to track down Kalimuddin, who hosted Sohrabuddin at Hyderabad. But Balwinder Singh would not co-operate.
QED: the Congress was determined not to expose its role in the sin. See what it did instead. Who did it choose to head the CBI probe? Balwinder Singh! The very officer who shielded the AP police officials now heads the CBI to probe the role of the very AP – Congress? – Police! Shocked? It is just the beginning, with more shocks to come.
New Delhi, July 13 : A chronology of recent terror attacks in India:
IANSJuly 13, 2011: At least 21 people are killed and more than 140 injured in three bomb blasts in Mumbai.
Dec 7, 2010: A bomb explodes on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh during evening prayers, killing a a girl and injuring 20 people, including some foreigners.
Oct 14, 2010: At least five people injured in a minor bomb explosion in Kanpur city of Uttar Pradesh.
Feb 13, 2010: A blast in German Bakery in Pune city of Maharashtra kills nine people and injures 45.
April 6, 2009: A car bomb blast in Guwahati kills six people and injures 32.
Nov 26-29, 2008: Terror attack in Mumbai kills 166 Indians and foreigners.
October 30, 2008: Terror attack in Guwahati kills 61 and injures 300.
Sep 29, 2008: Blast in Malegaon in Maharashtra kills eight people and injures 80.
Sep 13, 2008: Serial blasts in Delhi kill 30 people and injure more than 100.
July 26, 2008: Serial blasts in Ahmedabad kill 40 people and injure more than 50.
July 25, 2008: Nine explosions in Bangalore kill one and injuring 12.
May 13, 2008: Eight serial blasts rock Jaipur in a span of 12 minutes leaving 65 dead and over 150 injured.
Oct 11, 2007: Bomb blast inside Ajmer Sharif shrine during Ramadan kills three and injures 28.
Aug 25, 2007: 32 dead, 60 hurt in Hyderabad terror blast.
May 18, 2007: A bomb at Mecca mosque in Hyderabad kills 14 people.
Feb 19, 2007: Two bombs explode aboard a train from India to Pakistan, charring at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, to death.
Sep 8, 2006: 30 dead and 100 hurt in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon in Maharashtra.
July 11, 2006: Seven bombs explode on Mumbai’s trains killing over 200 and injuring more than 200.
(Note: I have updated the figures of the dead and injured in yesterday’s Mumbai blasts from waht appeared in this article.- Gaurang G. Vaishnav)
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 05, 2011 07:18 IST
New Delhi: The fragile coalition between civil society activists and the government has come completely undone over yoga icon Baba Ramdev’s eviction and police action against thousands of his supporters late last night in Delhi.
“The government should resign and a caretaker government should take over,” said Shanti Bhushan, a leader of the activists who have united in recent months under an organization called India Against Corruption. The goal of these non-elected representatives is to push the government to take major new steps in tackling the systematic corruption that has been exposed through a series of scandals.
Mr Ramdev was on an indefinite hunger strike at a public ground. His movement against corruption had drawn nearly 75000 people to the venue.
After negotiations between the Baba and the government exploded into accusations of lying and cheating by both sides, the police evicted the Baba. As his supporters tried to hide him and protect him with a human cordon, a lathicharge and teargas was used by the police. The Baba was finally located and driven away.
Accusing the government of excesses comparable to the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, Mr Bhushan said that while he does not necessarily agree with how Mr Ramdev has conducted his negotations with the government, there is no justification for how the Baba’s largely-peaceful demonstration was ended last night.
Mr Bhushan is a close ally of Anna Hazare, the Gandhian who shook the government in April with a nearly week-long hunger strike. Mr Hazare, backed publicly by lakhs of middle class supporters, got his way. The government accepted that a new bill to tackle corruption-the Lokpal Bill-would be presented to parliament by the end of June. More importantly, the government agreed that five activists including Mr Hazare and Mr Bhushan would be included in a committee that would draft this bill. Mr Bhushan was made co-chairman of the committee, along with the government’s senior-most minister, Pranab Mukherjee.
The partnership of ministers and activists has been a complicated one. Just last week, the activists on the committee said the government seemed bent on introducing a weak law that was designed to fail in combating corruption.
Mr Ramdev’s hunger strike was seen by critics as an attempt to project himself as a bigger mass leader-one who would eclipse Mr Hazare, who enjoys expansive goodwill among the people.
Police crackdown on Ramdev is Ravanlila at Ramlila Ground: Narendra Modi
PTI / Sunday, June 5, 2011 13:00 IST
Gujarat chief minister today alleged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible for the crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his followers in New Delhi and dubbed the police action as “Ravanlila in Ramlila Ground”.
Condemning the incident as the “worst” day in the history of India, Modi said, “The PM had said during the elections that he would bring back black money stashed in Swiss banks within 100 days of coming into power. But today, it is two years and nothing has happened”.
Modi, who was inaugurating a new dental college here, said “Congress will have to answer 120 crore people of India about the use of violence on innocent people”.
“I would like to tell Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that you cannot escape by saying that you did not know. You are directly responsible for what has happened at the Ramlila ground in Delhi,” Modi said.
“The lathi-charge on innocent people has been at your (Manmohan Singh) behest on behalf of the Delhi sultanate and not by the Sheila Dixit government,” Modi said.
He said the lathi-charge by police while people were sleep, was “Ravanlila at Ramlila ground.”
The police first attacked people in their sleep and then took away Baba Ramdev and did not disclose where he has been taken, Modi said adding “even the US after killing (Osama bin) Laden had revealed to the world what they had done in two hours.”
“The Delhi sultanate is bound on suppressing the voice against corruption,” he added.
Modi said the government’s action against Baba Ramdev reminded him of the days of the Emergency, which too coincidently was in the month of June in 1975.
“The intervening night of June 4-5 is the beginning of the end of the Delhi Sultanate,” he warned.