And Manish Tiwari takes issue with Anna Hazare’s birthday celebration expenses???
Hindustan Times: 24-page issue; 14 RG ads amounting to 7 broadsheet pages
The Times of India: 32-page issue; 21 ads amounting to 9 broadsheet pages
Indian Express: 28-page issue; 15 ads amounting to 6½ broadsheet pages
Mail Today (compact): 36-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 6½ compact pages
The Hindu: 24-page issue; 13 ads amounting to 5 broadsheet pages
The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 11 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 7 ads amounting to 3 broadsheet pages
The Telegraph: 26-page issue; 9 ads amounting to 3¾ broadsheet pages
The Economic Times: 16-page issue; 2 ads amounting to ¾ of a page
Business Standard: 18-page issue; 2 ads amouning to ¾ of a page
Financial Express: 22-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ pages
Mint (Berliner): 16-page issue; 0 ads
“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”
AND THAT CONGRESS MEDIA MAN MANISH TIWARY WAS SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT ANNA BEING CORRUPT OVER SOME CELEBRATION HIS FOLLOWERS ORGANIZED ON HIS BIRTHDAY??
“Saala jhooth bolela, kaali dilli ka chhora saala jhooth bolela” was a soulful but rebellious rendition of a Bhojpuri song which found resonance across eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1988-89. A rather little-known Bhojpuri singer named Baleshwar Yadav sung this song at the peak of the Bofors controversy and alluded to the involvement of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the corruption scandal by referring to him as “kaali Dilli ka chhora (lad from black Delhi)”. Given the melodious nature of the Bhojpuri language, this song was certainly coarse. Yet, it struck the chord with the Bhojpuri belt.
Obviously, in people’s court Rajiv Gandhi was held guilty of the Bofors pay-off in 1989 even though in legal parlance he was innocent. That Baleshwar Yadav’s song conveyed a far deeper political message than legal language was evident in 1989 elections when the Congress was decimated in the polls. Though Rajiv Gandhi and his cohorts tried to defend their position by applying legalese, it only made an adverse impact. V P Singh grew in stature and acceptance, not because of application of his superior oratory or logic but because his political idioms were carried to people like Baleshwar Yadav.
Obviously, the government of the day cannot be faulted for its lack of understanding of India’s political history. Prime minister Manmohan Singh is essentially a career bureaucrat whose brush with politics is self-admittedly a fortuitous event. But there is a battery of leaders within the party who know it quite well that the application of legalese and superior logic is bound to recoil on the government. This is significant in view of the fact that the government has marshalled top-notch lawyers in the garb of politicians to defend its position.
Take, for instance, the spirited defence put up by union home minister P Chidambaram, HRD minister Kapil Sibal or law minister Salman Khursheed who have been targeting and attacking Anna Hazare as if they were performing in a court of law. In a series of press conferences, these ministers have given long expositions on constitutional matters related to individual’s rights, role of parliament and judiciary and executive in a democracy.
The Congress has simultaneously unleashed another lawyer-turned-MP, Manish Tewari, to call Anna names and describe him and his associates as “company” quite akin to the D company. There is no doubt that the government and the Congress have jointly unleashed a battery of lawyers to employ their language to demolish Anna Hazare’s campaign, vilify him and neutralise him with their superior skill of logic.
Contrast this with Anna Hazare’s one-liners coming straight out of innocent rusticity prevalent in India. He offered to serve Kapil Sibal and carry a “bucket of water” for him (“Sibal ke yahan paani bharoonga”) if the Lokpal turns out to be ineffective in tackling corruption. He is not ashamed of showing his ignorance about the complex legalese employed by legal hawks, academia or social elites of Delhi. His certain expressions may sound “anarchic” to constitutionalists. But is India not called a “functional anarchy” by the same set of people?
By all indications, Anna’s political project of getting India rid of corruption has found greater acceptance among people despite the superior logic of his opponents. However, it appears quite amazing that the opposition has still failed to assess the mood of people and has been relying more on the prowess of legalese and complex language and less on its political instincts to comprehend this phenomenon. This is evident by the manner in which the principal opposition, BJP, has not been as forthright in its political response as its ally, Nitish Kumar, with regard to Anna Hazare’s campaign.
There are many instances in Indian political history when people rejected sophisticated language of rulers and opted for a coarse and rustic idiom which found resonance with the people. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s famous line “Singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai” (vacate the throne lest people come) was an instant hit during the emergency period though there were cries of “India is Indira and Indira is India” in a very sophisticated English language by Devkant Baruah.
Though this article is more than 10 years old, it is very relevant today; it sheds light on how Sonia Gandhi has lied, broken laws and looted the country- Moderator
September 13, 1999
The day I entered Indiraji’s household I became an Indian, the rest is just technical — that is Sonia Gandhi’s latest explanation for not having acquired Indian citizenship till fourteen years after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi.
First the facts. Surya Prakash, the Consulting Editor of The Pioneer, has documented these in detail. Sonia married Rajiv on 25 February, 1968. Under section 5(c) of the Indian Citizenship Act she became eligible to register herself as a citizen ofIndiaon 25 February, 1973. She chose to continue as a citizen ofItaly. She applied for Indian citizenship only ten years later, on 7 April, 1983.
A foreigner seeking Indian citizenship has to state on oath that he or she has relinquished his or her citizenship of the original country. This requirement was all the more necessary in the case of an Italian citizen: under Italian law, an Italian taking citizenship of another country continues to retain his or her Italian citizenship. Sonia Gandhi’s application did not have the requisite statement, nor did it have any official document from the appropriate authorities inItaly. The omission was made up in a curious way: the Ambassador of Italy stepped in, and wrote to the Government saying that Sonia Gandhi had indeed given up her citizenship ofItaly. He did so on 27 April, 1983. Sonia got her citizenship forthwith — on 30 April, 1983.
Another nugget Surya Prakash has unearthed is that while Sonia became a citizen on 30 April, 1983, her name made its way to the electoral rolls as of 1 January, 1980! In response to an objection, it had to be deleted in late 1982. But sure enough, it was put back on the electoral roll as of 1 January, 1983. She hadn’t even applied for citizenship till then.
All technicalities! If any ordinary person were to proceed in the same way, he would be up for stern prosecution.
Maruti was one of the most odious scandals connected with Mrs Indira Gandhi and her family. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice A C Gupta recorded that, though she was at the time a foreigner, Sonia Gandhi secured shares in two of their family concerns: Maruti Technical Services Pvt. Ltd. (in 1970 and again in 1974), and Maruti Heavy Vehicles (in 1974). The acquisition of these shares was in contravention of the very Act that Mrs Gandhi used to such diabolic effect in persecuting her political opponents, the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973. Just another technicality!
But the Mother of Technicalities, so to say, is to be found in the way Sonia Gandhi, without having any known sources of income, has become the controller of one of the largest empires of property and patronage inDelhi. The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library and Museum is one of the principal institutions for research on contemporary Indian history. It is situated in and controls real estate which, because of its historical importance, cannot even be valued. The institution runs entirely on grants from the Government of India. Sonia Gandhi has absolutely no qualification that could by any stretch of imagination entitle her to head the institution: has she secured even an elementary university degree, to say nothing of having done anything that would even suggest some specialization in subjects which the institution has been set up to study. But by mysterious technicalities she is today the head of this institution. So much so that she even decides which scholar may have access to papers — even official papers — of Pandit Nehru and others of that family, including, if I may stretch the term, Lady Mountbatten.
Real estate, only slightly less valuable, has been acquired on Raisina Road. The land was meant to house offices of the Congress. A large, ultra-modern building was built — the finance being provided by another bunch of technical devices which remain a mystery. The building had but to get completed, and Sonia appropriated it for the other Foundation she completely controls — the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The Congress(I) did not just oblige by keeping silent about the takeover of its building, in the very first budget its Government presented upon returning to power, it provided Rs 100 crores to this Foundation. The furore that give-away caused was so great that the largesse had to be canceled. No problem. Business house after business house, even public sector enterprises incurring huge losses, coughed up crores.
The Foundation has performed two principal functions. The projection of Sonia Gandhi. And enticing an array of leaders, intellectuals, journalists etc. into nets of patronage and pelf.
But the audacity with which the land and building were usurped and funds raised for this Foundation falls into the second order of smalls when they are set alongside what has been done in regard to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.
This Centre was set up as a trust in 1987 by a resolution of the Cabinet. The Government of India gave Rs. 50 crores out of the Consolidated Fund of India as a corpus fund to this Centre. It transferred 23 acres of land along what is surely one of the costliest sites in the world –Central Vista, the stretch that runs between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate — to this Trust. Furthermore, it granted another Rs. 84 crores for the Trust to construct its building.
The land was government land. The funds were government funds. Accordingly, care was taken to ensure that the Trust would remain under the overall control of the Government of India. Therefore, the Deed of the Trust provided, inter alia,
- Every ten years two-thirds of the trustees would retire. One half of the vacancies caused would be filled by the Government. One half would be filled by nominations made by the retiring trustees.
- The Member Secretary of the Trust would be nominated by the Government on such terms and conditions as the Government may decide.
- The President of India would appoint a committee from time to time to review the working of the Trust, and the recommendations of the committee would be binding on the Trust.
- No changes would be made in the deed of the Trust except by prior written sanction of the Government, and even then the changes may be adopted only by three-quarters of the Trustees agreeing to them at a meeting specially convened for the purpose.
Now, just see what technical wonders were performed one fine afternoon.
A meeting like any other meeting of the trustees was convened on 18 May, 1995. The minutes of this meeting which I have before me list all the subjects which were discussed — the minutes were circulated officially by Dr Kapila Vatsyayan in her capacity as the Director of the Centre with the observation, “The Minutes of this meeting have been approved by Smt Sonia Gandhi, President of the IGNCA Trust.”
What did the assembled personages discuss and approve? Even if the topics seem mundane, do read them carefully — for they contain a vital clue, the Sherlock Holmes clue so to say, about what did not happen.
The minutes report that the following subjects were discussed:
1: Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship Scheme and the Research Grant Scheme.
2: Commemoration volume in the memory of Stella Kramrisch.
3: Sale of publications of the IGNCA.
4: Manuscripts on music and dance belonging to the former ruling house of Raigarh in M P
5: Report on the 10th and 11th meetings of the Executive Committee.
6: Approval and adoption of the Annual Report and Annual Accounts, 1993-94.
7: Bilateral and multilateral programmes of IGNCA, and aid from U N agencies, Ford Foundation, Japan Foundation, etc.
8: Brief report on implementation of programmes from April 1994 to March 1995.
9: Brief of initiatives taken by IGNCA to strengthen dialogue between Indian and Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China.
10: Documentation of cultural heritage of Indo-Christian, Indo-Islamic and Indo-Zoroastrian communities.
11: Gita Govinda project.
12: IGNCA newsletter.
13: Annual Action Plan, 1995-96.
14: Calendar of events. 15: Publications of IGNCA.
15: Matters relating to building project.
16: Allocations/release of funds for the IGNCA building project.
There is not one word in the minutes that the deed of the Trust was even mentioned.
This meeting took place on 18 May, 1995. On 30 May, 1995 Sonia Gandhi performed one of technical miracles. She wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources informing him of what she said were alterations in the Trust Deed which the trustees had unanimously approved. Pronto, the Minister wrote back, on 2 June, 1995: “I have great pleasure in communicating to you the Government of India’s approval to the alterations.”
The Minister? The ever-helpful, Madhav Rao Scindia. And wonder of wonders, in his other capacity he had attended the meeting on 18 May as a trustee of the IGNCA, the meeting which had not, according to the minutes approved by Sonia Gandhi, even discussed, far less “unanimously approved” changes in the Trust Deed.
And what were the changes that Sonia Gandhi managed to get through by this collusive exchange of two letters?
- She became President for life.
- The other trustees — two-thirds of whom were to retire every ten years — became trustees for life. The power of the Government to fill half the vacancies was snuffed out.
- The power of the Government to appoint the Member Secretary of the Trust was snuffed out; henceforth the Trust would appoint its own Member Secretary.
- The power of the President of India to appoint a committee to periodically review the functioning of the Trust was snuffed out; neither he nor Government would have any power to inquire into the working of the Trust.
A Government Trust, a Trust which had received over Rs. 134 crores of the tax-payers’ money, a Trust which had received twenty three acres of invaluable land was, by a simple collusive exchange of a letter each between Sonia Gandhi and one of her gilded attendants became property within her total control.
The usurpation was an absolute fraud. The Trust Deed itself provided that no amendment to it could come into force — on any reasonable reading could not even be initiated and adopted — without prior written permission of the Government. Far from any permission being taken, even information to the effect that changes were being contemplated was not sent to Government. An ex post “approval” was obtained from an obliging trustee.
That “approval” was in itself wholly without warrant. Such sanctions are governed by Rule 4 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961. This Rule prescribes that when a subject concerns more than one department, “no order be issued until all such departments have concurred, or failing such concurrence, a decision thereon has been taken by or under the authority of the Cabinet.” Other departments were manifestly concerned, concurrence from them was not even sought. The Cabinet was never apprised.
The rule proceeds to provide, “Unless the case is fully covered by powers to sanction expenditure or to appropriate or re-appropriate funds, conferred by any general or special orders made by the Ministry of Finance, no department shall, without the previous concurrence of the Ministry of Finance, issue any orders which may… (b) involve any grant of land or assignment of revenue or concession, grant… (d) otherwise have a financial bearing whether involving expenditure or not…”
And yet, just as concurrence of other departments had been dispensed with, no approval was taken from the Finance Ministry.
The Indian Express and other papers published details about the fraud by which what was a Government Trust had been converted into a private fief. Two members of Parliament — Justice Ghuman Mal Lodha and Mr. E. Balanandan — began seeking details, and raising objections.
For a full two and a half years, governments — of the Congress(I), and the two that were kept alive by the Congress(I), those of Mr. Deve Gowda and of Mr. I. K. Gujral — made sure that full facts would not be disclosed to the MPs, and that the concerned file would keep shuttling between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Law.
As a result, Sonia Gandhi continues to have complete control over governmental assets of incalculable value — through technicalities collusively arranged.
A latter-day Dalhousie — annexation of Indian principalities through technicalities!
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
Published: Friday, May 6, 2011, 2:21 IST
By Francois Gautier | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
One hopes that the people of India are not blind to the utter cynicism of some of its politicians. The way they are efficiently and ruthlessly killing the whole Lokpal movement with the help of deceit and slander is frightening. All the while, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, whose party is not only the main recipient of corruption but has actually institutionalised it, throw decoys at us with declarations of ‘zero tolerance of corruption’.
It is funny how this government is hell bent in preserving what is corrupt, untruthful, inefficient – as symbolised by the deal they have made with Karunanidhi that they will not touch his family – and fanatic about destroying what is free of corruption and is prosperous.
Sonia has been on a personal vendetta against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for a long time. She had a useful tool in Teesta Setalvad, who, it is now discovered, has bribed witnesses, filed false affidavits, and committed repeated perjuries in court. Teesta’s usefulness is nearing an end as she may soon land up in jail, so the Congress has now found another willing tool in Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt to implicate Modi in the post-Godhra riots.
The government has subverted its investigative instruments such that the CBI goes after Modi even as it closes its eyes to the wrongs that chief ministers of the Congress or its allies, such as the DMK, are openly doing.
For example, the CBI requested the judiciary to drop the case against Jagdish Tytler, who was seen by innumerable witnesses leading mobs to murder Sikhs, while it is going all guns blazing against Modi, who at best was caught off guard when the riots in Gujarat broke out in 2002, or at the worst, delayed in calling the army. But did not Rajiv Gandhi do the same thing (“When a big tree falls, the earth shakes,” he had said) after his mother was murdered by her own bodyguards? Rajiv also delayed calling in the security forces.
It is illogical that the legal instruments of Indian democracy are used to pin down the CM of India’s most lawful, and prosperous and least corrupt state, which impresses even non-BJP tycoons such Ratan Tata, when a Lalu Prasad was allowed to loot Biharand keep it in the most desolate state because he was an ally.
Is it logical today that the Indian media only highlight the 2002 Gujarat riots, carefully omitting the fact that they were triggered by the horrifying murder of 57 Hindus, 36 of them innocent women and children, burnt in the Sabarmati Express? Riots of that intensity do not happen in a day; they are the result of long-term pent-up anger and a spark – like the killing of Hindus, whose only crime was that they believed that Ram was born in Ayodhya.
It is widely known that the dreaded Khalistan movement in Punjab was quelled in the ’80’s by supercop KPS Gill in a ruthless manner by a number of ‘fake encounters’ that killed top Sikh separatists. This was done under a Congress government, both at the Centre and in Punjab. Rajiv was the PM then, but he was never indicted. This is so because terrorists have no law and they kill innocent people; and sometimes ruthless methods have to be used against them.
Why is Sonia going so single-mindedly against Modi? Because, he seems to be the only alternative to her son Rahul Gandhi becoming prime minister in the next general elections. We should give credit to Sonia for her cunning and ruthlessness.
It is no good being a Hindu in Sonia Gandhi’s India. It is better to be a Quattrocchi, who was exonerated by the CBI. Or a terrorist like Sohrabuddin from whose house in Madhya Pradesh 40 AK-47 rifles, and a number of live hand grenades and bullets were confiscated, who was declared “Wanted” in five states with 40 cases registered against him. Then you stand a chance to be protected by the government of India, while those who have at heart their country’s integrity go to jail.
Sonia has achieved such terrifying power, a glance of her, a silence, just being there, is enough for her inner circle to act; she has subverted so much of the instruments of Indian democracy and she controls such huge amounts of unlisted money that sooner or later this ‘karma’ may come back to her under one form or the other.
Source: Express buzz
22 Dec 2010 11:33:00 PM
The Indian media has begun even doubting Manmohan Singh’s integrity — mental, at least — as he must have been knowing for nearly two years that the Indian exchequer was defrauded of `1.76 lakh crores. But so far, Sonia Gandhi has been spared.
Yet, if you are an observer of Indian politics, as I have been, since I landed back in India in the early ’Sixties, you have to come to the conclusion that most of the funds of scams end up in the coffers of political parties, particularly of the Congress.
Today the DMK is taking the brunt of the blame, but actually political parties have been forced to follow suit after the grand old party of India’s independence, began using percentages allotted by foreign companies on mega deals, military and otherwise, to secretly fund its election campaigns and give freebies to poor villagers. Of course, Bofors was the first one of the big scams to be uncovered.
I remember in the mid-Eighties a Swiss radio colleague of mine from Radio Suisse Romande, telling me that Amitabh Bachchan’s brother, Ajitabh, (when the Bachchan family was still close to the Gandhis), was one of the first safe keepers of the kickbacks of the Swedish canon makers. Exposes of Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nhyeter further confirmed it, though Ajitabh went to court against them.
There is no doubt, further says my Swiss friend, that part of the Bofors money is still in Switzerland. Indeed, we are all waiting for the Swiss banks to reveal (under US pressure) the names of all the dictators, thieves, dishonest rulers of so many countries in the world, who have stashed their ill-gotten money in UBS bank or Credit Suisse.
Meanwhile, all roads seem to lead to Sonia Gandhi: she is the first Lady of India, although she is a simple MP like hundreds of others, the ultimate arbiter, and nothing of importance is decided without her caveat. The immense power she wields within the Congress cannot be only due to her charisma, of her having the Gandhi name or having brought cohesion in the Congress.
It is also, and perhaps mainly, because she holds the purse strings of tremendous amounts of money. These party funds are overt: all the foundations, Rajiv, Indira, Nehru, etc, which store thousands of crores; and covert, starting with the Bofors scam. Where are the secret bank accounts where the scam money is stored? Under whose names are they operated? How is the money brought back to India? Who will answer all these questions?
We know that Quattrochi, the man who could have spilt the beans, was shamelessly let off the hook, not only by the CBI which today is conducting — two years late — the investigation on the 2G scam, but also by the then law minister who is today the governor who pretends to be after corruption in Karnataka! Not only was Quattrochi spared, but was allowed to take the money he had looted from India and which was frozen in British banks, so that he would not talk.
Will Raja talk, if he is arrested, as it is rumoured? Surely he knows a lot of secrets, as some of the 2G, Adarsh CWG money, and other unknown scams, must also have gone into the Congress coffers. That is the question that the Congress leadership should debate instead of going after ‘Hindu terror’, a misnomer if there is one.
If you look at statistics for the last 1,000 years, it is Hindus who have been at the receiving end of terror — millions of them have died, including in Kashmir in the late ’Eighties, when Benazir Bhutto launched her ‘Azad Kashmir’ movement (I was there).
Yet Sonia Gandhi remains a mystery for many of us, even for me who has known her for a long time.
I found her quite likable when she was just Rajiv Gandhi’s (the pilot) spouse, a loving wife, who had adopted the Indian way of life; a good daughter -in-law: Indira Gandhi died on her lap on the way to the hospital, after being shot by her Sikh bodyguards; and more than everything, a good mother, who doted on her children and tried all her life to protect them.
I then knew that she had kept her Italian passport, even after taking the Indian nationality (India does not allow you to hold two passports), but I have met quite a few foreigners in Delhi who also retained their origin passports after having obtained the Indian one.
I myself toyed for some time with the idea of taking the Indian nationality, as I speak Hindi quite fluently, but it is too difficult to travel with an Indian passport. I do not mind also her remaining a Christian: after all, I am still one myself. Indeed, one of my Italian journalist friends told me that he prayed with her, along with Rajiv Gandhi, at a mass in Calicut with the bishop officiating — that is her private business.
But after her husband was blown to pieces by the LTTE, I observed a drastic change in her: she did not seem to trust anybody anymore, became aloof and suspicious. I also watched with dismay how the Congress leaders, some of them men and women of substance, whom I knew personally, applied pressure on her to enter politics for years.
Furthermore, I thought that in her fortress of Janpath, surrounded twenty-four hours by security, she gradually lost touch with the reality of India. Despite the fact that I met her a few times after Rajiv’s death, I thus took discreetly my distances with her. It is then that I came up with my famous phrase on Sonia, for which she never forgave me: “the moribund and leaderless Congress party has latched on to Sonia Gandhi who is Italian by birth and Roman Catholic by baptism”.
A ship about to sink
Times Of India
19 March 2011, 02:39 PM IST
I like Manmohan Singh. He has immaculate credentials. It’s these credentials that have seen the UPA through its most stormy years. If Singh wasn’t Prime Minister, the Government would have collapsed a long time back. No, not because of its inherent coalition contradictions but because it’s simply not possible for so many crooks with conflicting agendas to loot the country together, almost as if in perfect unison. The Indian Political Philharmonic Orchestra must be the world’s most amazing cacophony of rogues, rascals and robbers.
Luckily for the UPA, there was always Singh to fall back on. Most middle class Indians refuse to be cynical. We know exactly what’s happening around us, we criticise it constantly, but when it comes to the crunch we all rally around the nation and the flag. We are not bat-brained paranoids. Neither are we wide-eyed innocents ready to buy into every ridiculous explanation thrown our way to explain the loot that’s taking place in broad daylight. But the latest season of scams has flummoxed all. This is not just Alibaba and his chaalis chors. Everyone among the chaalis chors is another Alibaba with his own chaalis chors. That’s the way the pyramid of crime operates today. But because Singh, soft spoken and self effacing, is the face of this Government, India has kept faith.
But now, enough is enough. Neither Singh nor Pranab Mukherjee, nor anyone else is capable any more of saving this Government. It’s neck deep in its own sticky sleaze. What’s worse, you haven’t seen anything yet. All these scams are but the tip of the iceberg. Talk to anyone and you will get an instant dhobi list of scams in queue to break. No, I am not saying this. Congress leaders are, in private. Look at Singh, wan and waylost. Or Mukherjee going apopleptic in faux anger because he has to defend what he knows is indefensible. They look less convincing than Rakhi Sawant playing Joan of Arc.
The problem is: We have voted into power the stupidest bunch of thieves. They are such losers that they can’t steal a hamburger without leaving ketchup stains all over. Yet they are constantly trying to pull off the biggest scams in history. From Rs 64 crore in Bofors, they have upped the ante to Rs 170,0000 crore in 2G and no, I am not including hundreds of aircraft Air India bought while sinking into bankruptcy and preposterous sums spent on arms deals that have made India the world’s second largest arms buyer when we can’t provide food and healthcare to 60% Indians. Our leaders are making deals on the sly with greedy builders, land sharks, illegal mining companies, corporate fixers, shady arms dealers and, O yes, US diplomats who want to manipulate our political choices. And, what’s more amazing, they do it like bungling idiots. Even Inspector Clouseau can outwit them.
But that doesn’t mean they are not malevolent. These are people who are destroying India from within. They are not just robbing you, me, and the exchequer. They are destroying institutions, subverting laws, vandalising our heritage and history, and trying to build a dazzling, amoral edifice of crime and corruption unprecedented in the nation’s history. It’s a scary scenario that could turn the land of the Mahatma into one gigantic Gotham City with a flyover to hell.
But my question is more basic: Can we trust these idiots to run this great nation? If you travel and meet people across India, you will realise that for every scam that breaks—and currently there’s one breaking every week—there are ten more waiting in line. The media has never had it so good! And it’s the same gang whose names keep coming up. Kalmadi, Satish Sharma, Sant Chatwal, Ashok Chavan. The NCP lot. The DMK. And everyone, in private, is protesting his own innocence, pointing fingers at someone else. It’s a sure sign of a collapsing regime. It’s what happened when Rajiv with a staggering majority in parliament lost his mandate to govern. Rats alone don’t leap off a sinking ship. So do everyone else.
So even though Singh, like Pontius Pilate, may wash his hands off every scam that hits the headlines, the fact is: The longer this Government stays, the more compromised the Congress will be, and the less capable of coming back to power. You can’t allow the sovereignty of a nation to be compromised just to win a confidence vote. You can’t bribe MPs to get your way in parliament. You can’t allow a shady hotelier, with CBI cases against him, to play roving diplomat and, worse, give him a Padma Bhushan for it. You can’t appoint a tainted bureaucrat as the nation’s CVC. You can’t file a FIR against a corrupt CM and then allow him to melt away. You can’t let the prime witness to the nation’s biggest scam, who offered to turn approver, be murdered in broad daylight and pretend it’s a suicide.
If this is the best this Government can do, it’s time to step down.
What could be the best to stop this ?
Why the Congress is so keen to allied with DMK ?
How DMK is promising a Laptop to all ( with whose money they are buying ?
People should think , think and think . Be selective to vote to power and save state, country . This may the last chance to elect a good party to be in power, failing we people have no right to claim any thing, because we are not right .
R Jagannathan Jun 6, 2011 When Baba Ramdev was bundled out of Delhi unceremoniously, it was a forceful message from the Congress-led UPA government that it was not going to vacate space for civil society to muscle in on its turf — unless the civil society members happen to be Sonia Gandhi groupies. It is also an indication that orders for the crackdown on the Baba came from the political power centre – Sonia Gandhi herself. It marks a new assertion of party over government in order to seize the political initiative from a bumbling Manmohan Singh. But it is worth understanding what really transpired these last few weeks, when the government first started humouring the Baba, held detailed discussions with him, and then hit him on the head – metaphorically – with a club when he was least expecting it. Who betrayed whom? Was it the government, which came out waving a paper saying the Baba went back on his promise to call off the fast? Or was it the Baba, who found the government closing in on him, and decided to back away from a deal he knew was not good for his future? I believe it was the government which decided to pull the plug on the Baba deal. It flows from the answer to the question: why was the Congress schmoozing with the Baba in the first place when it knew he had deep Sangh Parivar connections? The Congress has a problem in the north, where the BJP is a potent threat everywhere, except Uttar Pradesh. This is where the Baba comes in handy. Reuters The answer: the Congress wined and dined him precisely because he was close to the Sangh Parivar. It was not something they discovered later, when Sadhvi Ritambara turned up at the Baba’s fast-fest. In the Congress book of dirty tricks, this is old hat. Whenever the Congress sees a looming political threat, it backs a rival in the same camp to break away and undercut the original threat. To deal with the Akalis in Punjab, Indira Gandhi backed Bhindranwale. To destroy the Shiv Sena, it backed Raj Thackeray, and won the last elections purely from this vote division. To undercut the National Conference, it broke bread with Mufti Sayeed’s PDP in the last decade before it dumped the PDP again for the National Conference. Of course, the Congress also reaps the whirlwind when it sows the wind (Indira was killed by Sikh extremists, and Rajiv fell to the LTTE’s suicide bomber), but that’s another story. It is also worth recalling that the Congress won the last elections in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu precisely because a third player (Praja Rajyam in Andhra, and Vijayakanth’s DMDK in Tamil Nadu) ate into opposition votes and brought the Congress (or the Congress alliance) victory. But for these spoilers, Chandrababu Naidu and AIADMK would have won in 2009. So who do you need to fix before 2014 in the same way? While there are obviously a whole range of regional and sectarian parties who are local threats to the Congress in various states, the only national threat is the BJP, which, despite being rudderless over the last seven years, is the only party capable of upsetting the Congress’ apple-cart. Within the BJP, the biggest threat is Narendra Modi, who has shown that he can get the measure of the Congress, and has the potential to galvanise the party and the majority community to action — given the right political circumstances, which, admittedly, don’t exist for now. But who knows what will be the scenario in 2014? It explains why the Congress is using activists like Teesta Setalvad and the National Advisory Council (NAC) and other one-dimensional secularists to fix him – whether in court or through a blatantly communal Bill to tackle communal violence. The Bill is specifically targetted at Hindu organisations, and no one else. It will never see the light of day, but that does not stop undemocratic NAC members from trying to force it down our throats. But, at another level, the Congress has a problem in the north, where the BJP is a potent threat everywhere, except Uttar Pradesh. This is where the Baba comes in handy. How? In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and also in the rest of the Hindi belt, the Baba could cut into BJP votes if he floats a political party. He doesn’t have to win any seats. If he merely takes away 4-5% of the BJP vote, it is enough for the Congress to win. This is the primary reason why the Congress has been humouring the Baba and talking of doing a deal with him on corruption. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, either because the Congress was trying to be too clever with him, or was trying to fix him in other ways – and he balked at the prospect. This is what forced the midnight swoop – something the Congress had not planned for when it began talking with him. The second reason why the Baba was useful to the Congress was his unwillingness to let the Anna Hazare group run off with the anti-corruption agenda. The Baba’s ego would not let him be a supporter of the Hazare camp, which had eminent lawyers well-versed in the art of drafting laws. It also had the support of the middle-class. The Congress egged on Baba with his rural and small-town clout to stymie the Hazare group. The Congress had no reason to let Anna & Co dictate the new Lokpal bill, and the Baba’s political ambitions proved useful to drive a wedge between the two camps. While the midnight action has temporarily allowed the two camps to kiss and make up, the two cannot ultimately work together. Since the Anna group has lost vital momentum, it is now possible for the Congress to impose its own Lokpal Bill with some minor concessions to civil society and reclaim the agenda. A perceptive comment by K Raman on Firstpost shows how the Baba has been neutered, and Anna sidelined: “A man who owns a private island in Scotland, has an annual turnover of Rs 1,000 crore and flies around in a private jet would obviously have a few skeletons in his cupboard… In the next 10 days, one after the other the skeletons will tumble down… The Baba could be fixed in that way..”. As for Anna & Co, Raman says: “..the government has clearly sent out the message that if they mess around, then they too will meet the same fate as the Baba. Shanti Bhushan’s statement that the Prime Minister and the government has to resign is not helpful, to say the least…Now with what face will this team go back and discuss with the same government on Lokpal Bill?” Clearly, the Congress used the Baba and discarded him when he did not toe the line. The BJP need not be too unhappy, too. The Baba was meant to cut it down to size. So while it may fulminate against the government for its midnight “Jallianwala Bagh”, it should be secretly happy that one potential rival for the Hindu vote is out of the way. The Congress has won – for now. While the Baba did not serve its short-term purpose, the party may still hold the high cards when it comes to getting him to float a party to cut into the BJP vote. But just as a week is a long time in politics, such political manoeuvres are not enduring. The only question is whether, when it is politics as usual, the ordinary citizen has lost out. The upsurge of grassroot support when Anna Hazare began his fast has died down. Cynicism rules. Congress gains.