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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

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

India On Verge of Major Upheaval – Subramanian Swamy

India On Verge of Major Upheaval – Subramanian Swamy

INDIA JOURNAL – 08/04/2011
K.B.NAIRCERRITOS , CA – In a hard hitting speech Janata Party Leader, Dr Subramanian Swamy lashed out at the Congress administration and its role in the several corruption scandals which are rocking India and proclaimed that the country is on the verge of a major upheaval in which by the end of the year many in the present Government would find themselves out of power and behind bars. He made this statement at a public meeting organized by the Bhartiya Vichar Manch in the Sierra Room of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on July 31. He went on to state that the strong movement against corruption is gaining momentum and predicted it would lead to elections being called early next year.

Dr Swamy started his address following the screening of a short video titled “ India- Republic of Scams” which briefly outlines the state of affairs in India resulting from alleged large scale scams and urges people to get involved in saving the country from disaster. Against this background Dr Swamy broke down his speech into three broad headings starting with what is corruption, followed by how it negatively impacts the country and finally what is the solution to the problem.

In defining corruption as a crime when a public office is misused for private gain, Dr Swamy said he was not referring to the small sums of money which changes hands at lower administrative levels which he thinks is unpreventable. What he finds disturbing is the scale to which corruption has escalated depriving the Government of several million dollars of revenue and thereby seriously undermining the financial stability of the nation. He went into the details a couple of such cases where ministers had used their positions for their personal financial gain or their kith and kin. The first he touched on related to the construction of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project which proposed to link the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Manar. Dr Swamy alleges the project was aggressively promoted with the intention of benefiting the companies of family and relatives of the then Shipping Minister through construction, shipping and dredging contracts related to the project.

The second was the most volatile and recent 2G scam over which controversy is still raging across the country. A significant part of his address was devoted to this subject in which after explaining its technical details he went on to describe how the then Telecommunications Minister A. Raja, by twisting the rules, masterminded the sale of spectrum to Swan and Unitech in which he had a stake, at throwaway prices on account of which the nation lost a staggering $ 40 billion in revenue.

This apart, he added the complex international financial transactions involved in the process would in itself pose immense security risks as anti national individuals and organizations had stakes in the foreign companies associated with the scheme, which in turn could be utilized to finance and support its own terrorist activities in India. Dr.Swamy named individuals who had connections to the gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI.

Every time Dr Subramanian Swamy quoted how he had thwarted efforts by those in power to cover the scams by moving the Courts, he was met with thunderous applause from the audience.

Among the more serious ramifications of accumulation of such huge quantities of unaccounted wealth Dr Swamy stated was the lavish life style of those possessing them because of which there is an alarming shift from production of consumer goods for the average general public to the catering of luxury goods to the rich where the margins are far more attractive. Also inevitable is the skyrocketing prices of real estate and the illegal trade in food items and necessities resulting in inflation shooting to 16%. Another is the stashing of undeclared wealth in foreign banks which not only do not pay interest but charge a 2% service fee thus depriving the country of crores of rupees of revenue for its social programs. He also went on to explain procedures through which by the use of “participatory notes” the payment of Capital gains tax is cleverly avoided in transactions involving foreign currency.

In providing solutions to the colossal corruption problem Dr Swamy expressed the prevailing laws are sufficient but time consuming but in the short term he suggested the appointment of an independent prosecutor with sufficient powers to proceed legally against those who break the law so swift justice is arrived at. As an example he quoted the case of Bernie Madoff in the US who was convicted and incarcerated within 6 months whereas Ramalinga Raju’s case in the Satyam scandal is still pending mired in the Indian legal system for years. In the long term he called for a Renaissance of Indian traditional social values of Sanatan Dharma and by giving up the current trend of the relentless pursuit of making money ushered in by the hunger for material prosperity and globalization. He pointed out that money alone does not bring happiness as it proven by the fact that droves of wealthy individuals are arriving in India to find peace and purpose in their lives.

 

Response to comments on: Kasab’s Birthday Gift

In response to my write up: Kasab’s Birthday Gift to US- Mumbai Blasts,  in a discussion group which also appeared on this blog on July 14,  one Mr. Chauhan, supposedly a Major General representing <Sainik Sangh> made several incidery remarks. Here I reproduce his comments with my responses. (His comments are in bold. My response start with >>>. are in italics and in navy blue color.)

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Those who think BJP is the salvation are nothing but bania brahmin caucus in another demoniac form

 >>> Who said anything about BJP? Your prejudice starts with your fist sentence. Can you prove with figures that BJP= Bania+Brahmin? Are Advani, Bangaru Laxman, V. Naidu, Modi, Rajnath Singh, etc., Bania/Brahmin? How would you define demonic?

What does Modi know about running a modern State  He may have delivered for the fat profiteers and Hindu Jews which doesn’t make a State 

>>> You must be living in la-la land to make such a stupendous statement. Of course, you have not lived in Gujarat so your ignorance can be forgiven. What fits your definition of modern state? Bihar, UP, Orissa? 

What does BJP know about nationalism which is not obscurantism and building temples  ? The masses are in grip of renegade capitalism  which must be replaced by nationlism not Jews .

>>> I do not know why you keep harping on BJP when I have suggested that Congress be thrown out? Capitalism is an economic system, nationalism is not. Capitalism can be replaced with socialism, communism, etc. but not with nationalism. Are you aware that BJP  believes in Integral Humanism as an economic system? Do you even know what it mans and who propounded that concept? Please Google and study it. Suffice is to say that capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. have inherent weaknesses because they are not built around needs of human beings. Integral Humanism aspires to build economic system keeping human beings at the center.

 Does BJP know about nationalism? Who has stood for total integration of Kashmir with Bharat? Who has stood for uniform Civil Code? Who has maintained that there are hundreds of national heroes (who have been ignored by design) of freedom struggle besides Nehrus and Gandhis? Who had the guts to conduct nuclear explosion and stand up against mighty USA?

What a small vision hanging of Afzal Will this deliver the nation from every day shame? Just diversion

>>> Hanging one individual will not solve all problems, but then you can make that argument for any step that the government takes or does not take. Afzal Guru is a convicted terrorist. Terrorism is meant to sap a society of its confidence and lead it into submission. Keeping Afzal and Kasab alive despite court orders is hastening that process of submission. Therefore, it is not a small vision, but an effective prescription for one of or serious national maladies, i.e., the feeling of helplessness against abject terror. 

 In any case, unless you are against the rule of law, or have some personal affinity for Afzal, you would not question hanging of Afzal. 

Afzal is already a martyr with his poeple MANY MORE ARE READY TO FOLLOW HIM.

>>> Osama bin Laden was a hero too to millions of Muslims in Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, USA, UK, Bharat, etc. Where is he now? He was gunned down like a rabid street dog and is at the bottom of an ocean. Those who are ready to follow him will meet the same fate or worse. It is only a matter of time before present rulers in Bharat are replaced with a government that will not tolerate and mollycoddle terrorists- mind you, I am not saying BJP, it could be any party or combination of parties that will come to power and take the initiative.’ Then so called martyrs will be sent for a meeting with their creator because of the pressure that will build up from the suffering populace. Congress can do the same and win people’s hearts but to do that it has to first purge itself of its entire leadership which is anti-Bharat, anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim and corrupt to the core.

Is Modi ready to field his in retaliation?

>>> Why do you pick on Modi? When I am raising issue of fighting terrorism and asking that guilty be hanged, which is a central government issue, how does Modi figure in the discussion? Mr. Modi has proved his credentials by catching would be terrorists before they could inflict harm on the innocent. Compare Gujarat with Maharashtra and see the difference in number of terrorist attacks. Ishrat Jahan and Soharabuddin would have been garlanded and given ministerial posts, had they been in a Congress ruled state.

 Modi does not have to retaliate because he is proactive. he does not weigh his actions against how a particular community would feel or vote before he takes a step that he feels is in the interest of Gujarat and the nation.

Why cant BJP send out sallies  in return.

>>> Why is it BJP’s burden to send out “sallies” (I do not know what this word means but I assume you mean retaliating force”)?  Who is in power? Congress or BJP? Suppose, BJP were to take up your suggestion, you will be the first one to blame it as a Hindu terrorist party supported by Jews.

The French President  visited Kabul the other day and gloried the role of NATO in foighting terrorism. The next day ficew French soldiers were killed. BJP AND ITS BANIAS  Learn from PASHTUNS! 

>>> I will take your argument and turn it on its head to show its hollowness.. BJP or Congress can take the killing of the French soldiers to man that any action against terrorists would mean killing of Bharatiya soldiers and civilians. So, it would be better not to act.

 Further, we have a history of brave men and women, who have given their lives and fought on the battlefield within the bounds of Dharma. We do not need to learn from Pashtuns or terrorists who are nothing but modern day asuras and  rakshasas.

PEOPLE ARE NOW GETTING WISE AS TO WHO  SIT SNUGLY MAKING MONEY AND FIELD OTHERS TO FIGHT . GERMANS WERE RIGHT ABOUT THE JEWS WE HAVE SO MANY VARIETY OF THESE !

>>> Apparently you are a big fan of Hitler. That should preclude you automatically from this discussion because this group is for people who believe in democratic norms and  meaningful discussion.  

 You are right about people getting wise. They now know that it is the Congress and UPA that sit smugly and make billions through Commonwealth Games, 2G, Adarsh Housing Society and multitude of scams. Kalmadis, Rajas, Kanimozhis, Marans, Chidambarams, etc. are the glaring example of this rot and they do not belong to BJP. People are wizened to the fact that while these Congress demons are looting the nation, they feed the common man to the wolves, i.e., terrorists.

Mumbai walas are fools They listen  to perverted politicians such as the Home Minister and  do not demand his dismissal .

>>> In past, Mumbaiwalas have  taken scalps of their Chief Ministers and they will do it again. Have you watched 2008 film, “Wednesday” with Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in lead roles? There is a telling dialogue where Naseeruddin Shah, the common man says: “we are resilient, not by choice but by force because we have to go out next day and earn our livelihood.”  That is exactly why people go on with their routine even after the bomb blasts. But once this reaches a flash point, all bets will be off.

 The same happened last time and the sam w will happen again!

>>> So, what you as an individual will do about it to change the course? That “same will happen again” is a given, but the end results may not be same. Even a goat gets up on its hind legs when totally cornered or its kids are threatened. Once the patience runs out, events take unpredictable course and no politician or police force would be able to contain them. People in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, etc. are much more suppressed than people in Bharat. yet, they came to a point where they shed their fears and either brought down, or are in process of doing so, sitting government/dictator.

People get the rulers they deserve .

>>> That is a good dose of opium. You may be OK with the Government that you have gotten, millions of  Bharatiyas and I are not.

HINDU history is replete      

>>> A jaundiced person can see nothing but yellow. Perhaps, you have had no chance to read real history of Bharat. Like many others you might have been taught Macaulayian and Nehruvian history. This is a subject of entirely another discussion.

 Our history is of people who have wished well for the entire humanity, kings who gave away their kingdoms for upholding Dharma, soldiers who obeyed all dharmic rules of warfare even when fighting against those who had no concept of Dharma. Ours is the history of Rama and Krishna, of Arjun and Abhimanyu, of Mahaveer and Buddha, of king Puru and Pruthviraj, of Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, of Chankaya and Chandragupt, of Mirabai and Narsinh Mehta, Of Kabir and  Thiruvalluvar, of Shivaji and Rana Pratap, of Nanak and Guru Govind Singh, of Maharani Laxmibai and Tatya Tope, of Bhagat Singh and Madan Lal Dhingra, of Khudiram Bose and Jatin Das, of  Shyamji Krishna Varma and madam Cama, of Veer Savarkar and Subhashchandra Bose, of Lala Lajpatrai and Chapekar brothers, of Ramakrishna, Vivekanand and Aurbindo, of Sardar Patel and Gandhiji. This is just a sampling. Remember,  our is not the history of Jawaharlal, Indira, Sanjay, Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka. They are an aberration and a blot on our history.

chauhan, maj general   <gs@sainiksangh.org>

>>> With an organization named Sainik Sangh, last name  Chauhan and a title like Major General, one would expect from you valor, courage, indefatigable  confidence and deep love for motherland. One would expect you to lead from the front and not discourage those who are fighting. One should be excused if he/she is led to believe that the organization as well as your name and title are phony.

 

 Finally, you may not realize but Internet etiquette dictates that all CAPS or all bold text be not used in any correspondence. All bold is akin to shouting. I am sure that you wanted to discuss and not shout.

You seem to have pathological hatred for BJP, Modi and Hindus which is abundantly clear from your writing. Your disdain for Jews is a disease that led to Hitler’s massacre and second world war. You may think in narrow terms of Brahmin and Bania, I believe that we are all Hindus, first and last. I will gladly accept the intelligence of Brahmin, courage of Kshatriya, pragmatism of Vaishya and sense of selfless service from Shudra because, according to Purush Sukta, they are all parts of same body. We are all Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra; our real caste is whatever quality out of these four is predominant in our life at a given time.

 It is the Congress culture to divide the society in the name of caste and religion. Rise above it and join those who have come forward to end the misgovernance rather than standing on the sides and making baseless, derogatory statements.

 Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Give Bail to Kanimozi and Raja- Jaswant Singh Really?

Dear Sir
Please publish the following in your esteemed daily:

JASWANT FIT FOR NIMHANS
———————————————————-

A pick-pocket if he is caught,  is thrashed in such a way that sometimes, he dies of injuries.And he is hand-cuffed and jailed.  The amount involved may be small.  But still crime is a crime.

Raja and Kanimozhi and co. had looted India – depriving the poor and the downtrodden of many essential things in life.  Instead of coming down heavily on corruption and corrupt practices, Jaswant wants the judiciary to be soft on Kanimozhi and Raja.  I think, there is some quid pro quo.  In fact, neither Jaswant nor the BJP is taking anything seriously.

They, along with cogress buried the Bofors.  They along with congress ignored the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Kashmir. In fact,Subramanian Swamy and a couple of newspapers – like TNIE, Pioneer,Deccan chronicle. etc, keep the issue alive for logical conclusion.

Advani,Sushma,Gadkari and the supreme court Lawyer, Jaitley – all are behaving like clowns. They have never fought a single issue to the logical end.

Inspite of huge scams, congress is running the government as if nothing has happened.
Why?  Because, the BJP as opposition is useless.  Now people begin to wonder whether BJP may be having skeletons in their cupboards – hence, the quid pro quo.  If this situation continues, BJP may be decimated in the next elections.

Jaswant is a shame on BJP and BJP is a shame on India.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

N.Mohan
42-4 canal road
thiruvanmiyur
chennai41
30/6/11

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

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