On Reading Advani;s blog:
By Praven Patil, May 18, 2013
Sir, I have had the good fortune of attending more than a dozen of your public rallies across many cities and States over the last two decades; the latest being the one you addressed in the national college grounds of Bangalore in 2011 as part of your nationwide rath yatra against corruption. If you remember sir, in late 2011, when you addressed a mammoth rally of some 30 thousand odd people in Bangalore, it had started to rain heavily just as you began to speak. Organisers and BJP functionaries were worried that the people would rush out of the national college grounds to protect themselves from the wrath of the rain gods. But nothing of that sort happened on that day. People simply stood up and picked up the plastic chairs to raise them above their heads to shield themselves. They braved that incessant Bangalore rain to listen to you. That is how much the people of Bangalore and India loved you and respected you.
Exactly two decades ago, in 1991, you and Vajpayee ji addressed a huge rally in Mumbai where I was once again fortunate enough to be present. If you remember sir, the moment you faced the mike to speak out, there was an uproarious cry of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ from the gathered masses. Even though Vajpayee ji was known for his oratorical skills, a vast majority of the people in that gathering had come to listen to you, that is how much the people of Mumbai and India loved you and respected you.
Alas! Love and respect of the ordinary masses come with a sell-by date. Retirement at the peak is an art that Indians have rarely understood, thus we have a 40 something Sachin Tendulkar still wanting to play a game which has long moved past him. Advani ji, every day that you spend involved in active politics is costing you the love of a million of your fans / followers. Please ask yourself tonight after dinner, is the opium of active politics more important than the love and respect of ordinary Indians?
History is an unkindest of judges that human civilisation has bestowed upon us. History has no time for subtleties for it is devoid of human emotions and lacks the leisure of deciphering intentions. If history can be cruel enough to degrade the architect of Indian economic reforms into a modern day Nero who presided over the most corrupt regime India had ever seen, then history can be equally scathing to judge the father of modern India’s right-wing movement as just a faction leader of the BJP. This is how much time and tide have turned against you, sir.
Karnataka is the latest symptom of the disease
The BJP of Karnataka is not a disease sir, it is just the symptom of the underlying illness that the party is suffering from. Losing Karnataka is not the antidote for that disease as you have wrongly prescribed, in fact, the very opposite is true.
One of the last decisions that you, as the patriarch and guide, should take before quitting active politics is to assert that BJP is a political party and not a voluntary organisation. Sir, in a democracy, a political party exists to win elections and not to win TV studio debates or hash tag wars on Twitter. BJP is not RSS.
By choosing electoral defeat as a way forward to cure the perceived moral decline, you are committing a crime sir. It is a criminal act against the vast number of ordinary karyakartas of Karnataka who, by their sweat and blood, brought your party to power in south India. Pray, what are you telling these ordinary karyakartas? You are telling them that their sweat and blood was in vain, because you have decided to surrender the State to win a hollow moral victory over Congress/UPA in television studios!
Sir, you have always been politically correct in your utterances and actions over the decades. You have always addressed even your worst enemies with utmost respect. In fact, despite all her misdeeds and corruption, you have always addressed Sonia Gandhi as ‘Sonia ji’. Thus, to see you use a pejorative term of ‘Yeddi’ to address the former CM of Karnataka, was heart-breaking to say the least. Ask yourself sir, is this the way you would treat someone who has toiled hard for more than 4 decades to build your party in a south-Indian State, notwithstanding whatever differences you have developed lately? If the most vile and most corrupt ‘Sonia ji’ has acquired more respect in your political lexicon than the unwashed Yeddyurappa, then am afraid Indian Right has hit a new nadir.
The abolition of Jagirdari system and the Jan Sangh/BJP’s growth in Rajasthan is an inspiring tale indeed. But, sir, that is totally out of context to the Karnataka conundrum. What is more relevant to Karnataka is what happened in UP just a decade or so ago. The caste-matrix of Karnataka has its parallels in the muddy politics of UP and not in the royally majestic Rajasthan.
In Uttar Pradesh too, a section of upper caste BJP leaders decided to lose an election just to wrest the control of the party from Kalyan Singh. One election loss proved to be one too many, until today, when the BJP has been reduced to a bit player in the largest State.
If UP-isation of Karnataka is the solitary goal that BJP can aim at, then bringing back Yeddyurappa after a decade in wilderness, when he would be a spent force, is the ideal path to follow. Is this what you want to achieve Advani ji? Or do you believe that Anant Kumar ji will wake up one day and suddenly find himself the darling of Kannadigas by sheer magic? Let me remind you sir, that the possibility of the Kalraj Mishras and Lalji Tandons ever becoming mass leaders shrinks from 10 per cent to 3 per cent by the time it reaches the Anant Kumars and Prahlad Joshis, while traversing from UP to Karnataka.
Can the lies of the media beguile the patriarch?
For someone with such a legendary political acumen, it is surprising to note this new-found belief in unverified news reports churned by the usual suspects of Indian mainstream media. Sir, do you sincerely believe that Sonia Gandhi is acting against the corrupt Ministers of the UPA Government against the wishes of the PM? At the same time, you seem to believe that Yeddyurappa indulged in “unabashed corruption” as the CM of Karnataka!
Such callous statements by one of the founding fathers of the BJP leave not only the loyal karyakartas but us ordinary followers in complete disarray. When and how did you decide that Sonia-led Congress is fighting corruption, while BSY was the epitome of immorality?
Sir, you must pay a private visit to Bangalore, while you are at it, just take along any businessman well-versed with Bangalore’s realty scenario for a guided tour of the city and its surroundings. If you ever venture out to do so, you will get the real picture. You will find out that vast tracts of land belong to various politicians of many political parties. “SM Krishna’s son in law”, “Dharam Singh’s son”, “Deve Gowda’s relatives”, “Kumaraswamy” and even “Muttappa Rai” would be some of the names you will hear in this connection. The missing name will be that of “Yeddiyurappa and his sons or relatives”. That is the story that you have totally missed in your blind love for a certain Bangalore MP. The media and the intellectual brigade have either beguiled you with partial facts or you have deliberately chosen to remain blind.
Karnataka is not an exception sir, India is at stake here. Do we Indians deserve another UPA term, just so that you can play your moral one-upmanship? India is fed up with Congress and its non-governance, but please spare the country a moral lecture from Dilli and instead offer a winning alternative. If there is one thing and the only thing that you can do as your last act of nirvana, please liberate BJP from the clutches of Dilli. That should be the only lesson that BJP should learn from Karnataka, rest is all gloss.
A disheartened BJP supporter
Narendra Modi and the Muslim votebank
9 July 2012
Before, if ever, Narendra Modi becomes India’s prime minister, he will have to break the stranglehold of the Muslim votebank on Indian politics. His sadbhavna yatras (goodwill missions) to win the confidence of Muslims are good as far as they go. However, even hundreds of such yatras will not take him even an inch closer to the throne of Delhi. Hindus, and Hindus alone, can propel him to power at the Centre, if they choose to.
For BJP’s central leadership, Narendra Modi poses a dilemma: he is viewed as a great asset and also as a great liability. Modi’s popularity crossed the borders of Gujarat long ago. He emerged as a national leader on the back of resolute leadership, efficient administration and a clean image. He enjoys a good deal of support from the RSS, which in BJP is a trump card.
With ears close to the ground, easy accessibility and a sound track record of delivering on promises, Modi has acquired a measure of credibility and charisma which none of the BJP’s central leaders possess. Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh have also earned popularity on similar strengths, but neither appears to be keen, as of now, to play a leading role at the Centre. Modi is a different case. BJP bigwigs cannot ignore him or his ambitions.
However, if Modi is selected to command BJP forces in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, many BJP leaders will have to forget their ambitions and rein in their lust for power. The pull of such lust should not be underestimated.
These leaders want Modi to campaign for the party, not only in Gujarat, but also in other states where his presence can make a difference, while expecting him to confine his own ambitions to Gujarat. Modi is unwilling to oblige them, unless he could augment his own political capital by campaigning outside Gujarat. He wants to be the commander, not a foot soldier. This subtle tug of war is slowly becoming visible and will emerge out in the open by the time of the Lok Sabha election.
It is equally certain that if BJP selects Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, it will have to forget not only about the few (if any) Muslim votes it gets, but also about allies who are mortally scared of annoying Muslim votebanks. Therein lies the rub. Barring the Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena, all other parties in the NDA are enamoured of the ‘secular’ label. The hypocrisy of leaders like Nitish Kumar is infuriating. By insisting that the NDA candidate for prime minister must have a ‘secular’ image, he is playing to the green gallery while trying to keep a powerful rival off the field. The ploy is too transparent to be missed, but, unfortunately, it threatens to work.
Muslims are naturally amused to watch the game. In their view, their security (actually, political clout) lies in keeping out of power any party or leader who enjoys any credibility – real or fake – among the Hindus. And if Hindu leaders can articulate that position for them in as many words, so much the better.
This is a decisive moment, not just for the BJP or NDA, but for Hindu society. The modern Hindu intelligentsia has failed to grasp a basic fact: clout, influence, power or authority is central to human relations. Power that is not exercised eventually wears off and vanishes. Hindu intellectuals rarely examine any issue, development or trend in terms of Hindu influence or power. For most of them, such an exercise is weird and anti-secular if not anti-national. They think it is beneath them to indulge in it. Hindu society has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price for this failure of its intelligentsia.
In the post-independence period, Hindus have never asserted primacy of their civilisational identity at the political level. They have never claimed to be the essential national society, the fulcrum of the polity around which every institution and organization must arrange itself. In contrast, Muslims realize the centrality of power in relations with non-Muslims. They can and do use their votes as an effective political weapon. I do not criticize Muslims for doing so, just as I do not applaud Hindus for neglecting power equations in post-independence India.
Hence it is that Hindus have become political orphans in the only country they can call their own. Hence it is they are still maligned for Gujarat riots ten years after the event, while the original provocation (burning alive of 59 Hindus by a Muslim mob without any provocation) is all but forgotten. Hence it is that heartrending tales of Kashmiri pundits, who have suffered far greater atrocities for much longer, hardly ever evokes any sympathy at all from any political party – not even the BJP. Hence it is that Hindus can speak as Dalits, Adivasis, Jats, Yadavs, Kurmis, Lingayats, Reddys, Vanniars and Nairs, but not as Hindus. Hence it is that 12 per cent Muslims, without uttering a word, can frighten mighty Hindu politicians into rejecting anyone with Hindu credentials…
In the pre-independence period, a con game was played in the name of nationalism. Only that party, that leader was national (and could speak for the whole country) which was not opposed by the Muslim League. In this reckoning, the Congress was an organization of Hindu banias, but the Communist Party of India was a national organization. After independence, the same game is played in the name of secularism. Only that party, that leader, that programme or proposal is secular which is not opposed by Muslims. The name has changed, participants have changed, but the game remains unchanged. And so does its objective: to keep the Hindus on the defensive.
How history repeats itself! Congress is now saying about BJP whatever Jinnah used to say about Congress in 1940s: that it is a party of Hindu banias, that Muslims can never expect justice from it, that if it ever came to power then Muslims will have to fear for their lives and so on. Again the object is the same: to use Muslims as political pawns to delegitimize and checkmate nationalist sentiments.
Narendra Modi has the power to break this game. Without a single Muslim vote, without making any special or specific gesture to Muslims, he has swept assembly elections, not once, but twice, in Gujarat. He has demonstrated that if Hindus stand solidly behind any leader, he does not have to flatter Muslims. This is why he is regarded as a mortal enemy by most Muslims, all brokers of Muslim votes, and all parties hankering after the Muslim votebank.
If Modi can replicate at the national level what he has done in Gujarat, it will decisively break the stranglehold of Muslim votebanks on Indian politics, breathe a new self-confidence in Hindu society and force a rethink among Hindu politicians in non-BJP parties. Muslims will become just one of the many groups in Indian politics and thus join the national mainstream.
Whether Modi is interested in attempting this feat, whether BJP will give him an opportunity to make such an attempt is, of course, another matter. His sadbhavna yatras have aroused speculation that he, too, may be craving acceptability among circles that want BJP to shed every trace of Hinduness. As to BJP, it does not deserve a single Hindu vote as of now as a party of Hindu nationalism. But that does not affect the position outlined in the earlier passages.
If the BJP really regards itself as a party of Indian nationalism, it should distance itself from those hankering after the 12 per cent votebank and announce Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The author is Executive Editor, Corporate India, and lives in Mumbai
Divya Pal, TNN | Oct 17, 2011, 06.00PM IST
Irked with the question – Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is the students’ wing of which political party? – asked by Big B on KBCrecently, ABVP’s general secretary Umesh Dutt has demanded a public apology from the show’s producers.
ABVP strongly objected to this and wants the show to apologise for spreading wrong information about students’ organisation of India. Sunil Bansal, All India Co-organising Secretary, ABVP, told DT, “We have sent a letter to KBC team requesting them to rectify the mistake they made by asking a wrong question on their show. Unhone aise sawaal se logon ko galatmessage diya hai.
This error only questions the credibility of the game show. Not only have the showmakers asked the wrong question, they have also made the contestant win Rs 3, 20,000 by considering the reply correct. And what’s funny is that the contestant got the answer when she used her lifeline – phone a friend. Since Amitabh Bachchan is active on Twitter, people have tweeting their reactions to ensure immediate action is taken to set it right. Since the mistake happened on national TV, it would be best to rectify it on TV. We did get a call from KBC team on Wednesday and they have admitted their mistake. But what they will do is still not clear. They have asked for some time. If we don’t get a positive response from them within 7 days, then we will have to send them a legal notice demanding public apology.”
While the channel hasn’t commented on the issue, Vani Tripathi from Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha said the masses too believe this wring information to be correct. “ABVP is not the student wing of BJP. Just because many activists in BJP like Nitin Gatkari, Jaitley have been a part of ABVP during their college days, people think the organization is a part of the political party. In fact, BJP has only one youth wing Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha. ABVP has ideological coherence with RSS but in no way is the organization linked to any political party.””
Vikas Dahiya, who has been the national executive member of ABVP, said, “ABVP was formed in 1949. ABVP’s registration No. S-385/1949-50 People should be told about this. How can we let them accept wrong information about ABVP?””
I could not help sharing this with you. It may not be politically correct, but it expresses people’s angst about corruption and Congress.
Last One Is
A very balanced article on double standards of “secular” activists! – Moderator
MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR, TNN Apr 22, 2011, 12.00am IST
The disdain with which leading lights of the anti-corruption movement – Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava et al – are publicly threatening to dislodge Anna Hazare from the leadership role because he praised Narendra Modi’s rural development work in Gujarat indicates that the poor man was only being used as a convenient symbol that can be discarded as arbitrarily as he was chosen to lead the ‘movement’.
Human rights activists can retain their credibility only as long as they remain steadfastly non-partisan. To the person killed, it matters little whether the murderous mob was shouting ‘Lal Salaam’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘National Unity’ as did the mobs that massacred over 10,000 Sikhs in north India following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, the secular brigade shows a consistent soft corner for those who kill under the Maoist or communist banner as well as those who verbally profess secularism.
Narendra Modi’s acts of commission and omission during the 2002 riots deserve the strongest of condemnations. Those crimes need to be impartially investigated and the guilty punished. Just as we are proud that our democratic system ensured a fair trial even for a publicly identified ISI-associated terrorist like Kasab, so also we should let the courts take the Gujarat trials to their logical conclusions.
Those who ask for Modi’s head would do well to remember that hordes of Congressmen in Gujarat gleefully joined the BJP and RSS goons who went around massacring innocent people.
The overall track record of the Congress in this matter is no better, if not much worse, than that of the BJP. In addition to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in north India, it masterminded numerous other riots through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. None of the killers of politically engineered riots in Meerut, Malliana, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and scores of others were ever punished. The Congress also injected terrorism into Punjab by its covert support of Bhindranwale’s Khalistani brigades in order to wrest control of the SGPC that presides over well-endowed gurdwaras. It did incalculable harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils by creating a Frankenstein’s monster like the LTTE. The secessionist movement in Kashmir owes its origins and draws sustenance from the Congress party’s penchant for rigging elections to install puppet chief ministers.
Madhu Kishwar is a well known activist who has worked on behalf of street people, minority rights and authored number of books. See her profile at:
Offence is not always the best defence. Delhi’s ruling establishment is learning it the hard way. For the past few weeks, the UPA, the Congress and its megaphones have gone cacophonic with questions over the colour of the movements led by Anna Hazare and Ramdev against black money and corruption.
The reaction of the Government and the party to civil society’s champions defies not only logic but also consistency. They decided to defame and deride the same leaders whom they treated like manna from heaven until last week. Both Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written personal letters to both the reformers, praising them for their relentless drive against the same cause to which, both claimed, the Congress is equally committed. Over a dozen ministers were deputed to plead and pray together with Baba and Anna. No doubt, Manmohan Singh and Sonia later put together a very effective team comprising spin doctors, legal eagles, filibusters and sagacious leaders to deal and tame the rising revolt against the establishment. The team led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was expected to rein in both the crusaders by dialogue, debate and database.
They were also under instructions that if they failed in their endeavour, they should not spare any page in the rulebook to derail and demoralise the civil society groups through the use and misuse of the ever-ready investigative agencies. As the public outcry against the system acquires monumental proportions, the Government has devised a dangerous mechanism of dealing with dissent in a democracy. The message is clear: Join Us or Perish.
Once Anna and Baba refused to fall in line, the ruling establishment dubbed them as communal, corrupt, thugs and agents of unknown enemies of the state. But the Government fell into yet another trap for which they weren’t ready. Those who oppose both Anna and Baba chose to ask some questions like:
● Who were the donors who provided huge funds to both these campaigners?
● How are they spending their money?
● Why don’t civil society leaders declare their assets to the public?
● Are civil society leaders divided on many issues?
● How can a few selected people be allowed to dictate the nation’s agenda?
● Why do they want a live telecast of the proceedings of the panel on the Lokpal Bill?
● Why have they taken the support of organisations like the RSS and other allegedly communal organisations?
Interestingly, none of these issues were raised by any of the senior ministers who spent over 50 hours with Anna and Ramdev at the cost of government functioning, pleading for the agitation to be called off. As the Government and opinion-makers it sponsors mounted a tirade against Anna and Ramdev, they received an equally powerful rebuttal to each of the doubts raised about their motives. Team Anna turned the tables on the Government by putting out the assets of each key team member on their website.
Anna also ensured his website was brought to date by uploading the names of the movement’s donors, money spent on each rally, travel and so on and so forth. An earlier attempt to tar the image of Shanti Bhushan and his son by circulating a fake CD fell flat when two contradictory reports were handed over about the veracity of the discs. The Delhi Police have conveniently chosen to forget all about the case. Some prominent Government leaders issued veiled threats, promising reprisals against those who were part of the civil society movements. In Baba’s case, the threats were implemented; the Government selectively leaked reports on his business empire. It also sent out clear signals to all its departments to dig deep into the yoga guru’s past and present to try sabotage his future.
If the Government’s moves were aimed at silencing and demoralising both Baba and Anna, it failed miserably. Instead, it only brought them together.
Allegations of a division among civil society ranks were exposed by a massive protest fast at Rajghat by Anna and his team. They argue that when Parliament proceedings are telecast live, what is the problem with doing the same with the Lokpal Bill meetings? Civil society leaders were particularly upset with the way the Government treated Baba. Questions posed by the establishment were answered to with more inconvenient questions to the Congress and the Government. The most devastating question was on the legitimacy of the National Advisory Council led by Sonia. If, as the Government points out, unelected leaders like Anna and Baba are forcing it to set the tone for legislative business, then why is the NAC, with unknown members, being allowed to summon government files and officials for a brief on every law that the Government proposes to enact? The prime minister and all political parties are under pressure now to force ministers and leaders to declare assets on regular basis. Now, the public will ask the leaders to declare how much money was spent on each rally and also the names of donors who contributed towards these political shows.
Even the Election Commission that has failed to take any serious action against political parties for not filling their annual returns correctly will have to pull its socks. No political party has ever given out the names of those who give them money to run their political establishments and fight the elections.
According to credible estimates, over Rs 80,000 crore is spent by parties every five years on contesting polls and meeting their running costs. Most leaders now travel only by chartered planes.
It is now time to come down to earth. If the Government continues with its strong-arm tactics, it should be ready to confront a tsunami. After all, arrogance does bring agony.
FRONT PAGE | Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 2:02:55 AM
PNS |New Delhi
A day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee launched a frontal attack on anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his team, the civil society members hit back at the ruling dispensation in the Centre. Accusing the Congress of behaving in an “autocratic” manner, they decided to brief the UPA allies and the Opposition parties about the goings-on in the meetings of the Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) for Lokpal Bill.
“The Congress is not only excluding its UPA allies in the talks for the Lokpal Bill but also the Opposition parties. It thinks as if only the ruling party is important. It shows the Congress’ concern for parliamentary democracy,” said activist Arvind Kejriwal, while talking to mediapersons on Monday.
He said the civil society members would now brief the non-Congress parties on the issue. “We will brief them as to what all is happening at the JDC meetings,” he said.
The civil society would write to the political parties with details of the deliberations that have taken so far at the joint panel meetings. They would also attach the documents circulated during the meetings.
Kejriwal, a member on the joint panel, quoted Mukherjee as saying the MPs were elected representatives of the people and they had the powers to legislate laws. “But the MPs cannot become dictators if they are elected once in five years,” he retorted.
Replying to Mukherjee’s attack on Hazare, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said it was a proof of the Minister’s skewed understanding of democracy and arrogance of power. They have also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying an honest person like him should not be scared of being investigated by an independent Lokpal.
In turn, without naming Hazare Congress went all out against him by alleging that the Gandhian was an “unelected dictator” who was acting at the behest of “forces attempting to destablise the country”.
On Sunday, Mukherjee, who is the JDC chairman, had stated that the civil society’s agitations and fasts were undermining established institutions of democracy such as Parliament. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, both members on the joint panel, spoke to the mediapersons on Monday to trash the charges made by the Finance Minister.
Responding to Mukherjee’s charges, the civil society members, in a statement, said, “Such statements betray a distorted understanding of democracy and an arrogance of power.
They show a mistaken understanding that the people have no role to play in governance and law making once they have elected their representatives and they have formed a Government.”
While Mukherjee had taken a dig at the fast undertaken by Hazare in April, Bhushan retorted that fasting, as Gandhi had demonstrated, was the most non-violent and civilised means of expressing oneself and exerting democratic pressure on any Government. “Unfortunately, a party which considers itself as the political legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, is reviling civil society movements and fasting as anti-democratic,” he said.
Bhushan also objected to Mukherjee rejecting the demand of civil society to televise live the proceedings of the JDC and calling it a circus. He asked whether by this logic it meant that Parliament was also a circus and the MPs were animals in that circus.
Kejriwal repeated the points made in the letter written by all five civil society members to Manmohan Singh to buttress their argument that the PM should indeed be brought under the purview of Lokpal.
He reminded the Government that Mukherjee himself as the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill in 2001 under the NDA rule had recommended that the PM should covered under the ambit of Lokpal. Later, in January this year, in the draft law prepared by his Ministry, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily suggested inclusion of the PM in Lokpal’s purview, he said.
Kejriwal went on to state that the draft law was sent to Home Ministry under P Chidambaram, which also concurred in March with this view. Even Manmohan Singh had advocated the inclusion of PM in Lokpal’s ambit, he said, adding that in the last 10 years the Government’s view has been in favour of bringing the PM under the purview of Lokpal. Incidentally, three out of five Ministers – Mukherjee, Chidambaram and Moily – are on the joint panel for Lokpal Bill.
Kejriwal asked, “Now, all the three Ministers have suddenly taken a U-turn and they appear to be adamant on keeping the PMO out of the Lokpal’s ambit. We are wondering what happened post-March, which prompted the Government to suddenly take a u-turn on the issue?”
On the other hand, stepping up its attack on Hazare and BJP-RSS, Congress charged that the greatest danger to the democracy is from the unelected dictator. “If democracy faces its biggest peril, it is from the tyranny of the unelected and tyranny of the unelectable,” party spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons without naming Hazare or BJP or RSS.
Apparently sending the message to Hazare and his colleagues not to take the engagement with the Government for granted, he said there can be only one veto in Indian democracy and that is in the hands of people and “not any one individual”.
Taking strong exception to Hazare’s threat to go on an indefinite hunger strike from August 16, Tewari wondered whether it was democratic to talk about such threats when one is engaged in a dialogue with the Government.
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
The Congress – Government face-off that is now publicly evident in the
manner in which Baba Ramdev was received by 4 ministers at the instance of
the Prime Minister and invited for negotiations at Claridges Hotel – only to
be followed by the volte face of Police atrocity against 50000 innocent
citizens at Ramlila Maidan in the dead of night of June 4.
Some points occurred to me and I am sharing my thoughts aloud. This follows
articles by me (Sandhya), Smt Nancy Kaul and Smt Radha Rajan on this subject
at www.vijayvaani.com <http://www.vijayvaani.com/> and subsequent exchanges
with friends. Setting aside all emotions, I personally feel that the episode
– Whatever overt power she may still exercise over Congress and
Government, Sonia Gandhi is on a weak wicket, which is getting weaker,
though this may not be readily apparent as yet
– In fact, Sonia Gandhi may derive more power from the pusillanimity
of the BJP and some RSS ‘thekedars’ who primed Baba Ramdev to lead a
movement that was destined to be aborted [by them, for her] and thus help
Sonia to maintain her stranglehold over the Government via the NAC and the
Anna Hazare-Lokpal agenda – except that that is moving towards utter failure
– Sonia Gandhi’s Western support base has fractured and she knows
it, which is why she is desperate to ram Rahul Gandhi into the PM post, but
this desperation is making her and Rahul make costly mistakes [like Muslims
are surely going to perk up to the fact that Christian surrogates are being
primed for the post, and they will let their resentment show in some way.]
– The political establishment in London and Washington can see that
she is politically in the ‘diminishing returns’ mode and that Rahul is a
non-starter. So they are unlikely to invest energy in her. Just as they
dumped the unpopular Mubarak so that they could stay put behind the scenes
in Egypt, so they will not give momentum to her fight with Manmohan Singh
and the sections of Government and Bureaucracy that are uncomfortable with
Sonia and her behaviour.
– That leaves Sonia Gandhi with only the Church (Vatican and all the
rest) and their approach is muscular and aggressive, as if India is Latin
America, and this mistake will prove costly for her.
– Sonia is left with very poor allies who determine her agenda in
public [because she does not speak so as not to commit herself to a position
from which she may need to resile later; ditto for Rahul Gandhi]. These are
Digvijay Singh [who never recovered from the shock of his defeat in MP],
Anil Shastri who attacks her enemies via the Congress mouthpiece, and Kapil
Sibal who is actually a lawyer and not a politician. There is not a single
Congress stalwart batting on behalf of Sonia Gandhi today, and hence she is
not going very far. Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Government troubleshooter,
quietly slunk away when he realised the agenda has shifted from Government
to Congress/Sonia, and that should tell us a lot. Even P Chidambaram is
keeping a low profile.
These are my random thoughts on the events of the past week, and I just
wanted to put them across.
June 11, 2011 7:24:17 PM
Previously, the Congress was able to brazen out scandalous truth through bullying, deceit, lying and political cunning. Now it hopes that by slandering Ramdev and the RSS, it will be able to put a lid on mounting allegations of corruption against the party and the Government.
The world is a battlefield. All great gurus and avatars have incarnated themselves throughout the ages to help the forces of good, which in India are called ‘dharmic’, against forces which are inimical to the Evolution of Humanity and which are called ‘adharmic’, or even asuric.
The concept of the asura in India is very different from the West. There is no such thing here as the black and white renderings of American cartoons or the Christian idea of a benevolent god and a cruel devil. Keen observers of human history may have noticed that very often asuric forces take on the face of goodness and charity, or use half truths or semi-lies to appear good. But in the end, the harm they do should make them recognisable to all.
In this light, we can discard Mr Digvijay Singh: He incarnates the world of sycophancy, which is a perversion of the Indian bhakti tradition. Or even Mr Kapil Sibal, a more intelligent man, but who got so perverted by a lawyer’s mind that lying has become a second nature to him. History will probably judge Mr Manmohan Singh as a weak man, who was ready to close his eyes on everything just to stay in power.
But what about Ms Sonia Gandhi? What are the forces which are using her, maybe even in spite of her? Let us discard all those evil avatars attributed to her, such as her being a KGB or a Vatican agent, rumours which have been floating around for a long time. We should not also look at her personality, what she projects, or what people say about her, not even at her deeds. No, it is the visible consequences of her overt and covert actions which should tell us a story. What are the consequences of her being the unelected supreme authority in India since many years, one whose one word or glance can have innocent people teargassed and beaten up?
Well the first sign is the increase in terrorist onslaughts since she came to power; the 26/11 terror attacks and the inability of the Government to respond to them — on the spot, and later — are the best symbols of her presence at the top. There has also been a tremendous increase in Christian conversions since she came to power, a radicalisation of Islam in India and a galloping Westernisation, which is fast eradicating Indian culture in cities and major towns.
But to my mind, it is the attack on Hindu gurus, which is the most representative sign of her adharmic reign. For in Ms Gandhi’s India, Hindu gurus are not only mocked at, but they can also be imprisoned, attacked, killed one day. Nobody would dare touch an imam if he preaches secession, nor even a Christian bishop, but gurus are fair game today.
Now Swami Ramdev, who incarnates an old tradition of spirituality in India, of all these gurus who throughout the ages have come to teach and preserve this ancient knowledge which takes the form of hatha-yoga, pranayama, meditation or Ayurveda. Is he perfect? How to judge a guru, who is to grade them? Sri Aurobindo, in one of his aphorisms, said something like this: “Even if god were to manifest himself in front of thy very eyes, you would not recognise him.” I am not able to judge Ramdev, but I can say with confidence that what he teaches is good, because it has benefited thousands of people.
Why then is he run down so much by the Congress whose leaders have gone as far as calling him a thug? Well it’s an old British tradition which has been taken up by the Congress and part of the media. French historian Daniélou summed it up well in his History of India: “The British-controlled Congress utilised to the hilt its English-speaking Press to present the Hindu Mahashaba, which attempted to counterbalance the Muslim League’s influence, or the even more maligned Ram Rajya Parishad, as barbaric, fanatical, ridiculous; and the British media in turn, took-up, as parrots, the cry of their Indian counterparts.” (Histoire de l’Inde)
In the case of Swami Ramdev, there are also accusations of an ‘empire’ worth hundreds of crores and even an island. Well a guru has to decide: Either he stays in a cave and looks after his own salvation, or if he has come to help humanity, he will have first a few disciples, then a few hundreds, eventually thousands. He has to feed them, organize courses, satsangs, launch sewa projects. You need money for all that. Donations come, bigger and bigger, as the good work of this particular guru comes to be known. The funds have to be managed, more and more money is needed and gurus end up being like the head of a multinational corporation, with a hundred projects, all sewa-oriented, to manage. I have seen it at close hand.
The fact that Ramdev got manhandled is nothing new. Gurus come to save humanity, but men either mock them or even crucify them. That is also in the nature of things.
So who will win this battle of Kaliyuga? Sri Aurobindo came to announce the Supramental: He said that as there was man after the animal, so would there come a superman after man. Not the superman of the Hollywood series, but a man who is closer to beauty, love, compassion. One of the main attributes of the supermind, he stated, would be truth.
This is why at the moment in India, the magnifying glass of truth is put upon men and events and falsehood comes out in the form of the stupendous scams that have happened in the last few years.
Previously, the Congress was able to brazen it out, through bullying, deceit, lying and political cunning. Will it be able to do so this time? We have seen how it hopes that by slandering Ramdev and his very nice assistant, planting rumors, using the eternal scarecrow of the RSS (those old fuddy-fuddies, who most of the time could not harm a fly), it hopes to put a lid on all the suspicions which are hanging over their head.
For the first beneficiary of the 2G or the CWG scams, is not the DMK, but the Congress. They are the ones who have institutionalised political corruption, the bribing of parliamentarians and elections which cost hundred of crores to elect a single MP.
If truth does triumph, then Ms Gandhi’s role will also come in the open, along with the truth about Italian middleman Ottavio Quattrocchi and the enormous covert funds the Congress is believed to be controlling. It may take time, but karma is inevitable. That is also an ancient Indian truth.