Global Indians for Bharat Vikas
12 Pendleton Place, Edison, NJ 08820, USA http://www.gibv.org, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 570-884-GIBV
India: Basement, Meera Manan Arcade, Parimal Garden, Amdavad-380006, 079-2640-7771
May 18, 2014
Global Indian for Bharat Vikas (GIBV) is very happy to congratulate Shri Narendra Modi on leading BJP and NDA a to unprecedented and historical victory in the recently concluded national elections of India.
This election has far reaching consequences for India and the world. After 30 long years, era of coalition politics has come to an end. A stable government where BJP has clear majority will be able to take critical decisions without succumbing to pressures from small regional parties with narrow interests. India has huge potential for development. It has rich natural resources and largest population of people under age 35. Shri Narendra Modi is capable of unleashing this potential and harnessing energy of the youth and employing it for all round progress.
Another salient point of this election is end of dynastic rule of Nehru-Gandhi family. Congress, led by this family forever has been reduced to a paltry 44 seats, failing the minimum threshold to qualify for leader of opposition in the Loksabha. Most of its ministers and seasoned members have lost spectacularly. Shri Modi had promised Congress Mukta Bharat and the process has begun. Congress has failed to win a single seat in seven states and has not been able to cross double digit in any state. Disintegration of Congress is now only a matter of time.
From BJP’s tally in UP and Bihar, it is clear that people have voted crossing barriers of caste and religion and in favor of development and stability. Decimation of BSP and SP in their bastion points to the beginning of the end of caste driven politics. As a matter of fact thousands of migrant workers and employees of major corporations in Gujarat who hail from UP, Bihar and Odisha and have experienced benefits of Gujarat model firsthand became brand ambassador for Shri Narendra Modi in their respective states.
Shri Narendra Modi deserves praise for conceiving, planning and executing a superb campaign using all the tools available, be it the social media or Chai Pe Charcha. He has led from the front and enthused millions of volunteers across the globe to work for a clear majority for BJP and a formidable tally for NDA. He has turned every obstacle, every insult thrown at him into a formidable weapon, be it Chaiwala or Jehar ki Kheti (poison farming) or Nichee jati (lower caste.)
Under Shri Narendra Modi’s leadership, we look forward to a time when India will lead the world, not as a superpower but as a cultural Guru, where age old and time tested ethos of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (The whole universe is a family) and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah (May all be happy) will lead to an era of cooperation instead of conflict and nations would compete to provide better living conditions to their citizens instead of stockpiling weapons in a game of one-upmanship.
Congratulations are also in order to the voters of India. They voted in big numbers. They voted judiciously and decisively. They voted for better future. This exhibits maturity of Indian electorate.
We at Global Indians for Bharat Vikas, a USA based international organization interested in the long term development of India with a Nationalist government at the helm are proud to have 1000+ volunteers across the globe who helped Shri Modi’s campaign in different ways. We will continue to help a government headed by Shri Narendra Modi by providing critical input on issues of importance to the nation.
We wish Narendrabhai Modi grand success as he sets out to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems of a weak economy, all pervading corruption, stagnant job market, instability, terrorism, etc. We feel proud that a giant of a Man , a visionary and a nationalist is going to be sworn in as the Prime Minister of India within a few days. Indeed, Better Days are Ahead.
Dr. Mahesh Mehta Gaurang G. Vaishnav Anjlee Pandya
President National Convener Secretary, India operations
Boston., MA Edison, NJ Amdavad, Gujarat
A Very Powerful Indictment of Congress and Manmohan Singh- a must read for all
In Hindu tradition and culture the concept of renunciation has always been valued more than the idea of acquisition, and even though you may not accept this for fear of offending your party’s minority vote bank, let me allay your fears by reminding you that this is something preached by the Abrahamic religions also.
I would, therefore, urge you to seriously consider this option in your own interest as well as in the larger interest of this unfortunate country.
The government headed by you has already taken the country back to 1990 in sheer economic terms, and in terms of other social and public values we have reached the nadir of the Dark Ages.
The country had great hopes from you when it voted you to power in 2004, and even higher expectations when it renewed your mandate in 2009 after your sterling display of vision and courage in the nuclear deal. But you only flattered to deceive, and for reasons which are now becoming obvious, relinquished any pretense of leadership or governance.
A big ship needs a strong hand at the rudder-your hand- but you have handed it over to a motley crew of rank opportunists and faceless lascars who can only run it aground.
You were never a politician- a positive for most of the voters – and the two qualities that made us repose our trust in you were your honesty and your acknowledged status as an eminent economist. Today, both lie in tatters- you have betrayed our trust, not substantially but wholly, and therefore you must go.
Time to go Mr Prime Minister
Honesty is not divisible, and for those who exercise power there can be no nuances between personal honesty and public honesty. A person who allows others to loot cannot be honest. A Manager who does not raise his voice when illegalities are being committed by his subordinates cannot be honest.
A law maker who protects criminals cannot be honest. And a Prime Minister who does all this simply to remain in power cannot be honest. Your honesty has already cost the country dearly, Mr. Prime Minister, and we cannot sustain this cost any longer.
Your reputation as an economist may still follow you to Harvard or to the LSE after your retirement, but in this country its devaluation is proportionate to the devaluation of the Indian rupee. Where did you lose the plot?
You had everything going for you when you took over in 2004– an economy growing at 8-9%, a Current Account SURPLUS of US$ 10.56 billion, Foreign Exchange reserves in excess of US$ 400 billion, a comfortable net INFLOW of Foreign Direct Investment.
After nine years of your being at the helm, the growth rate is down to between 5% and 6% and falling, the Current Account has gone into a DEFICIT of US$ 20 billion and increasing, Foreign Exchange reserves are down to seven months’ import and depleting, the Fiscal Deficit is going to hit 6%, Foreign Exchange reserves are down to US $ 200 billions (with repayments of US$ 150 due before March 2014), there is a net OUTFLOW of FDI funds to the tune of almost US$ 7-10 billions every month.
The Rupee has reached an exchange rate of 65 to the dollar. Nobody believes Mr. Chidambaram anymore, the RBI Governor can only hyper-ventilate, and you, of course, continue to maintain your sphinx-like silence.
In the meantime inflation continues unabated, jobs are being lost by the millions ( unemployment actually rose by 2% between July 2011 and June 2012), Indian industry prefers to take its money abroad, infrastructure projects languish somewhere between Messers Jaiswal, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and a litre of cooking oil now costs more than two litres of beer! (Can you imagine, Mr. Prime Minister, what a field day Marie Antoinette would have had with this?!).
And this is at the precise time when the rest of the world is coming out of its downturn! No, sir, you and your band of forty thieves have been so busy with your petty politicking, with ensuring the survival of a particular dynasty, securing the financial well being of future generations of your party colleagues and allies, dividing communities and classes, that you have had no time for planning and taking decisions.
The only decisions you HAVE taken boggle the mind. We are already spending 75000 crores every year on our Public Distribution System: every single survey indicates that at least 40% of this, or 30000 crores is siphoned off by politicians, bureaucrats and middle-men. And now your govt. is determined to pour another 50000 crores into this bottomless pit through the Food Security Act! What for?
The BPL( Below Poverty Line) families and the Antyodaya (poorest of the poor) families are already covered under the existing PDS-the FSA will make no difference to them. Govt.’s own figures state that only 27% of our population is now below the poverty line; why then do you want to bring 67% of the population under the FSA, and spend a whopping 50000 crore on people who do not deserve this largesse?
And that too at a time when you have no money for infrastructure development or health and education( in both of which we now lag behind even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh!). Is it worth destroying a country just so your motley crew can win another election? Is this honesty, Mr. Prime Minister?
Had it been only the economic downturn we could perhaps have been more generous. For economics, as we all know, is not only a dismal science, it is also an uncertain one: as they say, even if one were to lay down all economists end to end, we still wouldn’t reach a conclusion!
After all, if Mr. Amartya Sen and Mr. Bhagwati cannot agree on what is good for India we can hardly expect you to have the answer. No sir, the economics is only a part of the mess: let me recount what the others are.
You have systematically sought to destroy every fibre of the democratic fabric of this nation. Constitutional authorities have been attacked publicly by your minions and sought to be humiliated at every turn: remember the diatribes against Vinod Rai and the Central Information Commissioner?
Statutory authorities like the CBI and the office of the Attorney General have been subverted and made to fall in line, your party’s line. Your oath of office demanded that you protect them, but you remained mute, as is your wont.
You have even done the unthinkable: set the Intelligence Bureau against the CBI, ensuring for ever that our premier intelligence agency will never cooperate with our premier criminal investigating agency- every terrorist, insurgent and crooks of all assorted types must be lining up outside Teksons to buy ” thank you” cards for you!
Such is your hubris that you have shown contempt for the orders of the Supreme Court even. The Court’s judgments, instead of being respected and seen as a matter for serious contemplation, are publicly criticised and sought to be by-passed by the collation of a consensus of those affected by the judgments (!) and a brute legislative majority.
So criminals can continue in Parliament. Merit will find no place in the selection of Doctors (at the senior most, Professor, level) even in Super specialty disciplines; minorities will get reservations in government jobs even though the Constitution forbids it.
This lack of respect for the final arbiter of the Constitution and the law is not only breeding a competitive defiance of the Court among other political parties but is also setting the stage for a show down with the judiciary a-la Pakistan and other banana republics.
You behave as if the Opposition is not part of the democratic process, that it is a nuisance that is best ignored; consequently, all communication between the two has now snapped, and the nation is a helpless witness to a Parliament that resembles a rugby locker room in both language and action and is in a permanent state of adjournment.
All parties are to blame for this, of course, but it is your party which laid down the rules of engagement. By refusing to walk the extra mile to accommodate even the legitimate demands of the Opposition, and by sabotaging time and again the Committees of Parliament, you have eviscerated this vital organ of democracy which under you has become as vestigious and irrelevant as your appendix.
Practically no legislative work has been done in the last two years: there are 116 bills pending in both Houses, of which 19 and 21 relate to financial and educational reforms, respectively, two of the areas that need immediate attention.
But your lack of concern is matched only by your shocking sense of priorities: instead of trying to push these bills, you have instead chosen to concentrate your fading energies on two other amendments that can only make politics murkier and more criminalised: removing the disqualification of convicted legislators, and exempting political parties from the RTI Act!
Perhaps the biggest price for your incompetence and your colleagues’ venality is being paid by our defense forces: all three are many years behind in terms of armaments and weaponry ( because another ” honest” Minister, Mr. Antony, will neither effect purchases from abroad nor allow FDI in defense production) and their very capacity to defend the country has been seriously eroded.
Who will defend our borders in such a scenario, Mr. Prime Minister- the lethal barbs of Mr. Manish Tewari, or the boomerangs of Mr. Digvijay Singh or the IEDs of Mr. Mani Shankar Iyer? Even worse, you have demoralized our armed forces by the constant interference of your Ministry and completely taken away their operational and tactical independence.
A succession of retired Army commanders have said so in recent times and the pusillanimous approach of our troops in response to violations of the LOC testify to this. (Of course, these same Army Commanders who have suddenly found their conscience and their voice also need to explain why they didn’t defend their operational independence more vigorously when they were enjoying the perks of their office!).
Under you we have become a whining nation- we whine when Pakistani troops shoot our soldiers, we whine when Chinese troops camp on our territory for weeks on end, we whine when Italian marines shoot our sailors, we whine when the Sri Lanka navy arrests our fishermen, we whine when our ex-President is frisked at an American airport.
Under you a once-proud nation is being kicked around by even a Maldives or a Bhutan. What in God’s name have you done to our image?
In communal terms we have always been a fractured society. But true leaders have in the past tried to bridge these fissures. To you, however, will go the dubious credit of widening and deepening these cracks between communities and castes.
In order to survive, your party has countenanced the retrograde decisions of allies that can only raise the confrontational pitch: earmarking of state budgets for a religious minority, reservations in jobs for the same community (which goes against the express provisions of our Constitution), reservations in promotions (which has been struck down by the courts), setting up of a central Commission to review the (criminal) cases of suspects of one community only.
It is your party which has put communalism at the center of the campaign for next year’s election, not the BJP or Mr. Modi. The former has consciously downplayed the Ram Mandir issue, and Modi had made it clear that development was going to be his plank. But this did not suit you since your party couldn’t possibly debate him on this plank, what with your miserable record of the last five years.
So you deliberately inserted the communal element, as did your allies, by harping only on the 2002 Gujarat riots. To his credit, Mr. Modi has so far not agreed to stoop so low, and I do not think your strategy will work.
But you have in the process vitiated the atmosphere for a long time to come, reopened old wounds that were beginning to heal, and provided a legitimate space for hot heads on both sides of the divide.
How much damage to the country is one Parliamentary seat worth, Mr. Prime Minister? How many more Partitions will you recreate to satisfy your party’s lust for power?
Your opportunistic creation of Telangana has sown the seeds of disputes and blood-letting in all parts of the country that will sorely test the federal integrity of our country for many years to come. There are twenty one more statehood specters waiting in the wings and by the time they are exorcised we may have ceased to exist as one nation.
Do I need to refer to the endemic corruption that your government has been indulging in these last ten years? And to your pathetic attempts to distance yourself from them, even though it is gradually becoming clearer with each passing day that you were aware of what was happening and did nothing to stop it? Why?
The quality of honesty, like that of mercy, cannot be strained: one cannot be honest and yet knowingly allow dishonesty on one’s watch.
Even worse, your increasing brazenness in the face of evidence against you boggles the mind: the Minister who doctored the Coalgate report has been made Special Envoy to Japan, a Minister whose nephew sold posts in The Railways for crores has not even been named in the charge sheet, the Minister on whose watch files relating to YOUR period of the coal scam have gone missing continues to bestride Shastri Bhavan like a colossus.
Who is this Faustian devil you have sold your soul to, Mr. Prime Minister?
Your deafening silence on all these matters-you have spoken in both houses of Parliament only fifty times in ten years-defies logic and conventional wisdom. And that leads me to speculate whether we are underestimating you.
Is there, after all, a method in your madness? Could it be that you are reconciled to losing the next elections and are therefore deliberately implementing a scorched earth policy?
That you will leave behind as a legacy for the next government an India that is bankrupt, ungovernable, riven by caste and communal conflicts, all its institutions destroyed?
An India that will soon be on its knees, begging for your party- the lone horseman riding in from the sunset, in Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s words, don’t forget-to take over the reins again, and save the country from perdition? But I forget, you never speak- so we’ll never know till the horseman is upon us.
Mr. Prime Minister, your party has stripped this country like a cloud of locusts. You have sown every type of poisonous seed known to your ilk and we shall be reaping the bitter harvest for many years hence. You have engendered an atmosphere of uncertainty,venality, indecision, communalism, opportunism, criminalisation and defiance of constitutional and statutory institutions which cannot be allowed to continue, for that way lies certain disaster.
Elections are nine months’ hence but we cannot allow this conception to come to full term: the seed sown by you can only destroy this country and must be aborted. The time has come for you to go, Mr. Prime Minister, and to go immediately.
Call for elections now, end the uncertainty, let us get on with our lives, give this country a chance to redeem itself. Do one last service to this nation, sir- stand not upon the order of your going, but go!
With best wishes,
A VOTING STATISTIC
The author retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains- he has made them his home.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta : Thu Jul 11 2013, 04:26 hrs
A story of destructive governance and citizens who did not speak out
First, the UPA came for the roads sector. They destroyed contracting. They slowed down road construction. They left highways half built. We did not speak out. After all, the only reason the NDA could have started the golden quadrilateral is because they wanted to spread Hindutva.
Next, they came for the airline sector. They let Air India suck more money from taxpayers. They let bad regulation destroy the private sector. They let crony banking sustain bad bets. They ensured India would never be an aviation hub. We did not speak out. After all, flying is what birds do, not humans. Besides, aviation is bad for climate change.
Then they came for the power sector. They confused creation of mega capacities with actual generation. They had no rational pricing plans. They were arbitrary in the awarding of licences. They could not make up their mind whether they wanted to protect the environment or destroy it. We did not speak out. After all, the only power that matters is political. Electricity be damned.
Then they came for education. They promulgated the RTE after 100 per cent enrolment. They expanded capacity, but cut-offs still rose. They regulated in such a way that there was a glut in some subjects and a shortage in others. They confused university buildings with building universities. We did not speak out. After all our, our low quality education left us incapable of speaking out.
Then they came for industry. They turned the clock back in every way and waged open war. Ensure that regulations become more complex and uncertain. Ensure that input costs rise. Ensure crummy infrastructure. Promulgate a land scam policy known as SEZ and sell it as industrial policy. They encouraged FDI. But they forgot which one they wanted: outbound or inbound. But we did not speak out. After all, India is a rural country.
Then they came for employment. There was some growth. But they decided that the only good employment is that which has the hand of the state. So the NREGA’s expansion was seen as a sign of success, not failure. By its own logic, if more people need the NREGA, the economy has failed. But we did not speak out. After all, the more people we have dependent on government, the more we think it is a good government.
Then they came for agriculture. First, they create artificial shortages through irrigation scams. Then they have a myopic policy for technology adoption. Then they decide India shall remain largely a wheat and rice economy; we will have shortages for everything else. Then they price everything to produce perverse incentives. But we did not speak out. After all, why worry about food production when the government is giving you a legal right? Is there anything more reassuring than social policy designed by and for lawyers?
Then they came for institutions. They always had. This has been Congress DNA for four decades. They drew up a list of institutions that remained unscathed: Parliament, the IB, bureaucracy and you name it. They then went after those. They used institutions as instruments of their political design. They demoralised every single branch of government. But we did not speak out. After all, this was reform by stealth. Destroy government from within.
Then they came for inflation. They confused a GDP target of 10 per cent with an inflation target. Inflation will come down next quarter, we were told. Then they tried to buy us out. Inflation: no problem. Simply get the government to spend even more. Then they pretended inflation is a problem for the rich. Then they simply stopped talking about it. We did not speak out. After all, for some, inflation is just a number
Then they came for the telecom sector. They got greedy and milked it. They got arbitrary and retrospectively taxed it. But we did not speak out. After all, new communication can be a threat to government. Besides, we can always revert to fixed lines. More digging is good.
Then they came for financial stability. They produced a large deficit. They brought the current account deficit close to an unsustainable point. They nearly wrecked the banking sector. They created every macro-economic instability you can imagine, which makes investment difficult. But we did not speak out. After all, what would you rather have: macro economic stability or a free lunch?
Then they came for regulation. It was back to the 1970s. More arbitrary regulation is good. More rules are good. Uncertainty makes business more adept. The answer to every administrative problem is enacting a new law. Multiple regulators are good because they represent the diversity of India. We did not speak out. After all, just like the religious confuse piety with mere ritual, the virtuous confuse regulation with outcomes.
Then they came after freedom. They promulgated more restrictive rules for everything: freedom of expression, right to assembly and protest, foreign scholars. They used sedition laws. They kept the architecture of colonial laws intact. They said they stood against communal forces. But then they let Digvijaya Singh keep the communal pot boiling. They matched BJP’s communal politicisation of terrorism at every step and then some. We did not speak out. After all, if they are not Hindutva forces, they cannot be a threat to peace and liberty.
Then they came for virtue itself. They preached, from the very summit of power: avoid responsibility. It will always be someone else’s fault. They legitimised being corrupt: you are entitled to it if you are the party of the poor. They encouraged subterfuge to the point that members of the cabinet were subverting each other. They pretended that integrity is a word that does not mean anything. To independent thinkers, they said: why think when there is 10 Janpath? We did not speak out. After all, virtue and thinking can both be outsourced.
Then they came for the poor. They visited their houses and slept in their homes. They liked the experience so much they decided to become growth sceptics. Enact policies that keep India in poverty a little longer. But we did not speak out. After all, once the poor have been used as an argument, all else is immobilised.
Then they came for the citizens. They used the secularism blackmail to reduce our choices. If you are not with us you are evil they said. Then they infantilised us. You are not capable of exercising choices so we will make them for you. They acted as if we were so stupid that the three topmost leaders felt no need to justify themselves to us. But we did not speak out. After all we do have the vote.
The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, and a contributing editor for ‘The Indian Express’
Some additions to the above:
Then they came for states. They looked at all states in the country and found out that they have pockets where they got their maximum vote share. They liked retaining them so much that they decided to break them down just on the eve of elections to maximize their gain and minimize the gain of opposition. But we are not speaking out. After all, what was India but a loose amalgamation of over 600 princely states unified into one.
Then they came for national security. They looked at all borders and neighbors of the country and told themselves that non-alignment is just another name for inaction and chose to take no decisions at all. But we did not speak out. After all, who cares about national security when personal future is not secure without any dependence on government.
Vasanth Ramadurai •
On another side, perhaps I would add…
Then they came for those who decided to speak out. Lathis & water cannons were used on students who protested the brutal rape of a young girl. People who requested a LokPal Bill were hounded into silence. One corrupt minister replaced another in the cabinet – with utmost disregard for people’s faith in democracy. They mistook our patience as powerlessness. After all, they know a lot of us have a very short-term memory & they will prevail come 2014.
last but not least – Congress ruined India, But we did not speak out. After all we are Indians.
Just one point… WE DID SPEAK OUT but the FIREWALL called MEDIA, BLOCKED it out, and let their own PAID/TWISTED logic spread…
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
Pioneer, 25 September 2012
India’s freshly-minted millionaire club lost a whopping 18% of its membership as the economic slowdown coincided with the exposure of multiple scams that tripped the gravy train of our crony capitalists. Most citizens would be shocked to learn that despite the global financial crisis ruining millions worldwide, the number of high net-worth individuals in India rose from 84,000 in 2008-09 to 126,700 by 2010 in the halcyon UPA years.
India’s top 100 richest are collectively worth $276 billion, whereas China’s total just $170 billion; also, India’s richest three surpass China’s top 24 billionaires. Amidst a manufacturing slump, economic slowdown and rising unemployment, one wonders how such staggering wealth accumulated in the hands of a chosen few.
As the Supreme Court noted while dealing with Coal-gate, the well-connected in the UPA regime have benefitted unduly from privatisation of public assets. Should the Hon’ble Court take a broader view, it may discern a link between the earlier privatisation of electricity distribution in several cities, which enabled private firms to make massive profits at public expense while taking over public assets for free, and the subsequent allotment of captive coal mines to the same and similar crony firms for sale of power at commercial rates!
The cussed refusal of some firms to redress customer grievances is now upsetting the Delhi chief minister, who thrust electricity privatisation on the capital and championed steeper tariffs without public audit or justification, because state elections are due. It is pertinent that when the British Raj delegated power to Indians, it first gave them charge of municipal services. Surely we must ask if regimes that cannot handle schools, sanitation, water and electric supply are at all legitimate.
Coalmine squatting by private capitalists stunted the growth of the power sector and the economy and denied mines to Coal India Ltd., forcing it to lay off over four lakh skilled workers, ruining their families. CIL is now likely to supervise extraction at the cancelled coal blocks. Government must expedite clearances needed by CIL for its own mines, and scuttle the mischief of subsidizing imported coal for private players.
Last week, the UPA imposed FDI in multi-brand retail, causing Trinamool Congress to quit the Government, and serenading the unpredictable UP stalwarts Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati for survival. Perhaps the Rs. 60 cr spent by Wal-Mart on lobbying in India, as per its disclosure to the US Senate, impacted the decision.
Yet the centre cannot claim that state governments can decide whether or not to allow FDI in their respective states. As several opposition members have argued, under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPAs) that India has signed, it will have to offer national treatment to investors. This means states will have to permit big retail, or face court cases.
News reports suggest Wal-Mart may come to India within 12 to 18 months. It is notable that its chief Michael Duke may soon be charged under America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for hundreds of illegal bribes paid by its Mexico division from September 2005 to May 2006, and the subsequent cover-up by successive executives. ANew York Times report says Wal-Mart captured nearly 50 per cent of Mexico’s retail market in 10 years in this manner.
Currently, India’s retail market is estimated at around $400 billion, with over 12 million retailers employing 40 million people. Wal-Mart has a matching turnover of approx. $420 billion, but employs just 2.1 million people. This means 38 million people (families) plus related ancillary traders face disaster.
Executives at Amul, India’s largest dairy cooperative, say FDI will hurt both farmers and retailers. Citing the International Farm Comparison Network, Managing Director R.S. Sodhi says milk producers in America received only 38 per cent share of the consumer’s dollar spent on milk; UK milk producers got 36 per cent. But Indian milk producers get over 70 per cent of the consumer’s rupee; those linked to cooperatives get over 80 per cent.
Worldwide, foreign retail hurts local shopkeepers, farmers and consumers. Farm incomes decline because big retail creates a formidable chain of middlemen – quality controller, certification agency, packaging consultant, who cut into the profits. Consumers are wooed with cheaper rates, but prices rise once the local competition is driven out.
FDI in multi-brand retail does not create backend infrastructure like cold storages to save food grains from rotting. FDI is already allowed in storage, but no investment has been made, even by Indian brands. The Planning Commission has noted that lack of capital forces farmers to ignore cold storage facilities even where they are available, mainly because of high rentals.
The transport of goods from farm to mandi and local markets or processing centres is critical to retail trade. The road transport sector handles nearly 73 per cent of the goods traded and contributes nearly 5 per cent of the GDP. It is an unorganized sector managed with small capital; roughly 18 crore population directly or indirectly depends on it. Big retail always monopolizes transportation of goods and could crush this entire sector.
Then, over 70% of the revenue of big retail stores derives from non-food items; the nature of sourcing and pricing of these items deserves wider study. Also, the UPA has totally ignored the fact that in recent years small retailers have vastly improved their shops and customer services.
In food processing, big retail forces farmers to alter crop selection. Thus, to service potato chip companies, farmers may skip the Dal season, which indirectly affects the prices of Dal, cereals and vegetables. Big buyers often force farmers to reduce prices, face contract cancellation on grounds of ‘quality’, face last minute changes in contracts, and so on. Then, over 90% of India’s farmers have less than 2 hectares of land; 79% are landless or own less than 1 hectare. Large corporates do not like doing business with small producers; they focus on few large farmers and compel the others to submit to a larger contractor or sell the land and quit.
With FDI in retail notified, fresh dangers loom in the form of increased foreign ownership of Indian public sector banks (currently capped at 20 percent); FDI in pensions, insurance, and so on. The very aspects of the Indian economy that gave confidence to the middle class and the poor are set to be undermined.
The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com
Courtesy: Rediff News September 06. 2012
By Seema Mustafa
The Washington Post in its story ‘India’s ‘silent’ prime minister becomes a tragic figure’ with the headline saying it all, is really a repetition of what has been appearing in sections of the Indian media for years now. There is little new in the report that has sent ripples of consternation down the government and the Congress party hierarchy, except for the fact that the American media has finally decided to end the honeymoon with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] in recognition of the fact that his honeymoon with the Indian middle class ended a long time ago.
Dr Singh does cut a sorry figure as he sits motionless, and expressionless, through the Parliament sessions and has more and more started appearing as a leader who has given up, or one should say given in. Nothing seems to move him, and the post of the prime minister has, in the process, been reduced to levels never seen before.
He does not meet people any more, he barely travels within India [ Images ], and seems unaware that he is sitting on top of one of the most corrupt governments this country has ever seen. Scam after scam rolls by without the weak doctor blinking an eyelid, as the government remains unaccountable and the institutions of democracy shake under the pressure.
The government’s response to the newspaper report is again a case of over-reaction, as surely it cannot be anyone’s case here that the media cannot write freely and independently. Particularly the world media that follows its own laws, and clearly perceives the prime minister to be far from functioning. The fuss, and the strong reactions seeking an apology from the Washington Post, arises from several factors, and unfortunately, none of them complimentary to the UPA government.
One, the report that is really a repetition of all the Indian media has said several times before hurts only because it is from theWashington Post. And this government cares more about the opinion there, than the opinion here as has been demonstrated over and over again by Dr Singh and his cabinet cronies before, and since, the India US civilian nuclear energy agreement. In short, it hurts and the government is finding it difficult to ignore it as it does the Indian media.
Two, the Post report also reflects the inability of this government and the ruling party to introspect. Instead of taking the criticism on board, and taking measures to revive the sagging image of the prime minister, the government and the Congress party have emerged fists flying in the belief that this will work in silencing the ‘opposition.’
It is not as the Washington Post, unlike the big media here, might not be as easily retract what it has reported as it has little to lose. And for every one report there will be several such reports as these cats, when out of the bag, have a tendency to multiply with increasing rapidity.
“ but as the image of the scrupulously honourable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government,” read the Washington Post report, brutal and frank in its assessment.
What it does not add is that the bureaucrat seems to have given up, as Dr Singh gives a pretty good demonstration of the civil servant who, pulled in all directions, is resigned to being a dummy. He does not have the politician’s courage to strike out for whatever he believes in, and seems to have resigned himself to servility on the one front, and abject inertia on the other.
In the process he has become the Washington Post headline, silent and tragic, more so perhaps for those who had expected great things from him at one point in time.
Those who have worked closely with Dr Singh when he was just a bureaucrat decades ago seem to have a better judgment of his personality and character. And see him as a bureaucrat who has managed to work the system to his advantage. His apparent humility has made him a favourite of the politician who are not threatened by his presence, and impressed by his knowledge. Unfortunately these qualities do not work for a prime minister who is required, and expected, to lead from the front and steer the complicated ship to some level of governance.
It is true that his cabinet colleagues are more loyal and responsive to their respective party presidents than to him. But surely it was for Dr Singh to crack the whip. He failed to do so, and now cannot really sit back and cry about the fact that no one listens to him. If that is true, as it appears to be, the prime minister should resign with the admission that he is not fit for the job assigned to him. He and his party must realise that there cannot be a government of any merit, without a prime minister to guide it. And a leader who believes in sitting it out, under a party that feels less threatened if he does exactly that, is not going to be able to manage this complex country, in or outside Parliament.
Governance is not about clever tricks, and the Manish Tiwari kind of rhetoric. These cannot replace decisions and action, but unfortunately this is all that seems to be happening. The flurry of activity over the Washington Post report is precisely this, a great deal of noise from empty vessels who are scared of introspection, and hence a recognition of the hollowness within. Thus, it is always better to beat the messenger in the hope that his news dies with him. It does not work, but then the Congress party and its government is too self absorbed to realise this.
Happy Teacher’s Day
Crisis of leadership
August 23, 2011 12:15:59 AM
It is obvious to all that there is great ferment among the masses which is manifested in the large turnout of people, especially young men and women in their twenties, in support of Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption. Anger over the rampant loot of public funds as witnessed during the run-up to the Commonwealth Games and the outrageous emptying of the till by Ministers, like A Raja did while ‘auctioning’ 2G Spectrum, among other sins of omission and commission committed by the Congress-led UPA regime, as well as the Government’s crude attempts to white-wash these criminal misdeeds, is visible on the faces of the protesters. There is also a sense of mounting frustration — over the system failing in so abysmal a manner and popular sentiments being treated with callous contempt by those in power, at the sight of politicians cocking a snook at both law-enforcers and the people, at not being able to play an interventionist role in preventing further robbery by those who are supposed to guard the public exchequer, and, at being forced to grease the palms of public servants for the smallest of services to which citizens are entitled. The blowback was waiting to happen, and now that it is happening, it is threatening to sweep away logic and reason from public discourse. As Descartes famously said of the angry person: “I’m angry, therefore I can’t think.” At such moments, what is needed the most is leadership, or the assertion of leadership, by the Prime Minister. Tragically, what we have seen till now is prevarication and obfuscation by a clueless, rudderless Government on the verge of foundering on the rock of its cumulative follies. The Prime Minister, as always, is missing at this moment of crisis; his feeble voice has been rendered even more irrelevant than ever before.
True, it would be unfair to expect Mr Manmohan Singh to break free of his image, get rid of the accumulated public perception of his being in office but not in power, and assert his leadership to restore reason, smoothen ruffled feathers and steer the nation to calm waters. Ever since he became Prime Minister in the summer of 2004, Mr Singh has chosen silence over speaking to the people, inaction over acting decisively, indecisiveness over purposeful assertion of authority. His cultivated humility has proved to be no more than a cloak to hide his inability to rise to the occasion, to confront challenges and turn them into opportunities, to demonstrate that he will countenance nothing but absolute integrity and unimpeachable probity among his colleagues. As a result, he has silently presided over unrestrained loot by corrupt Ministers, meekly promoted tainted babus and slyly tried to blame others for his many failures that have contributed to the governance deficit which in turn has led to the outpouring of anger that we are witnessing. Had he truly been honest, he would have acknowledged the fact that he has no clout in the Congress and admitted that his writ does not run in the Government he nominally heads. And had he been a man of integrity, he would have stepped down from office long ago, rather than enjoy the perquisites and benefits that come along with the Prime Minister’s job. The nation deserves better. India deserves a leader, not a caricature of a Prime Minister.
Here is one possible scenario.
Gaurang G. Vaishnav
Sonia Gandhi’s Surgery?
Ever wondered why the Congress is so tight lipped about this so called ‘surgery’?
Ever wondered why this shroud of secrecy behind her surgery?
Ever wondered why Madam Gandhi had to go at this time for surgery?
And what was the ailment that could not have been attended to by Indian doctors?
Ever wondered that she is accompnied by her family members AND NOT A SINGLE DOCTOR (NOT EVEN HER PERSONAL PHYSICIAN) has accompanied her. Most unusual!
If the then Prime MInister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s knees could have been replaced in Mumbai by a surgeon of Indian origin, why Madam Gandhi needed to go abroad for her surgery?
And even Manmohan Singh though a pensioner of the World bank and able to get free medical treatment in the US, got his heart surgery done in Delhi…….
And has she actually gone to the US or some other country?
It is strongly suspected that the need for her to go abroad at this time is linked to the fact that Dr. Subramaniam Swamy’s petition for the permission to prosecute Madam Gandhi (an MP) for corruption charges, pending with the Prime Minister’s Office, has to be decided before the end of August this year.
Dr. Swamy has given incontrovertible proof of Sonia Gandhi’s accounts in foreign banks, and these cannot be overlooked or ignored
Madam Gandhi is actually suffering from an acute enlargement of her wealth gland.
The real surgery for which Madam Gandhi has gone abroad has to do with the operation of her illegal bank accounts, as time is running out for her and her cronies.
That is why even Kalanidhi Maran has disappeared from Chennai and is rumored to have escaped to Zurich.
Venky Vembu Aug 16, 2011
By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. Gurinder Osan/AP
The events of recent weeks, culminating in Anna Hazare’s detention this morning, mark in many ways a defining moment in India’s evolution as a democracy. The upsurge of popular sentiment in cities across India this morning in solidarity with Team Anna’s detention is stunning. And the readiness with which people who normally go to elaborate lengths to avoid engagement with “dirty” politics are now courting arrest or are otherwise organising public protests – or even just quietly observing a day’s fast at home — to give expression to their sense of disgust with the UPA government’s handling of the Lokpal Bill exercise is quite unprecedented in independent India.
I know of professionals who have taken leave from their investment banking jobs abroad, where they earn six-figure dollar salaries and bonuses, just to be in India today to be part of this movement. One of them has even prepared his young wife for the inevitability of his arrest – which in his family would normally be considered a shame and a scandal – and has been organising protests in Mumbai for the past few days.
At NRI gatherings of Indians Against Corruption, the energy of young Indians sharing ideas to make India corruption-free has been palpable. The extent to which they are ready to step outside of their 9-to-5 grind and donate time and money for the biggest public cause that confronts India is a surprise – even to them. They say they used to think of themselves as apathetic to politics. But now, they’ve found a cause they believe in.
Watch images from the protests
This is the second time in the past few months that Anna Hazare has convincingly demonstrated the popular, mass-based nature of the support that his campaign enjoys, across class, caste and religious distinctions that normally divide us. We first saw it in April, when he launched his fast at Jantar Mantar, and electrified India. Since that time, he and his team have had the entire political establishment — and, to be honest, a cross-section of media commentators – clueless about how a man with little or no financial resources can command so large a following with only rustic simplicity and the power of a message that has great resonance with millions of people.
So, the fact that Anna Hazare and his team enjoys enormous goodwill with a large-enough constituency of people who are sick of corruption and jaded with politics as usual and who have completely lost faith in the political establishment in its entirety is blindingly obvious.
The question then arises: how can Team Anna now leverage this goodwill? Should it continue to remain the “outsider” calling the political establishment to account? What are the odds that it can succeed? How can it channel the deep-seated distrust of the political establishment and bring about demonstrable change.
To address that, it helps to assess the extent of “success” that Team Anna’s campaign has had. It’s beyond dispute that Team Anna’s one major success has been in giving voice to and amplifying the popular disgust with the top-down, 360-degree corruption that pervades our public life — and in showing up starkly that for all the power games that go on with the various political parties, they are pretty much united in their opposition to a strong Lokpal institution.
Yet, while Team Anna gets full marks for elevating the issue of corruption to the top of the agenda and for creating mass awareness, its attempts beyond that have only met with limited success. For instance, the Lokpal Bill that’s now before Parliament is a mere shadow of the strong anti-corruption agency it envisaged. And even those who are willing to stand up and be counted along with Anna aren’t fully convinced that Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal is the answer to corruption. If you can’t convince even those who support you, what chances do you stand against those who oppose you?
It is in that context that Team Anna needs to formulate a forward-looking political strategy.
Since it’s the current UPA government that is now doing its damnedest to water down the Lokpal Bill, it’s fair to say that it will pay a big political price when general elections are due next in 2014. By default, an alternative political formation could then come to power. But even in the event of, say, a BJP-led grouping coming to power, there’s nothing to suggest that it will work to change the system because it’s now too entrenched in the wily ways of electoral game-playing (as was demonstrated most strikingly in its handling of affairs in Karnataka). The BJP has thus far adopted only a wishy-washy stand on the Lokpal Bill, which validates the suspicion that it doesn’t want to alter the rules of the political game too drastically.
Enter the political arena
In any case, why should Team Anna do all the grunge work only to see another status quo-ist party ride on its back and come to power? Why not bite the bullet and enter the “dirty” political fray yourself?
It’s true that Anna Hazare has a disdain for electoral politics as it is practised now, where – in his words – people sell their vote for a bottle of liquor. He also considers himself “unelectable”, given the reality of the political arena. Yet, the biggest criticism that cripples the movement today is that since it is not elected – “or electable” – it has no right to influence the discourse on the Lokpal Bill, now that it is before Parliament.
It’s not just Congress lackeys who make that criticism. Even non-Congress politicians andinsightful commentators make that point.
On that count, Team Anna’s best days as an agent of change from the “outside” may be already over. From here on, it only risks elevating its politics of confrontation, which could erode the political goodwill it now enjoys. It’s perhaps time for Team Anna to enter the political arena and work for change from within.
Even if it does that, it doesn’t have to become just another political party. With the goodwill that it now enjoys and the energy it has infused in its supporters, it can change the way politics is played in India. What it lacks in money power, it can make up for with a bottom-up movement that, as has been already demonstrated, enjoys great resonance. In any case, as we saw with the routing of the DMK in Tamil Nadu, money power stands no chance when a people are set on throwing out a corrupt regime.
The challenges to becoming a mainstream political party are formidable, particularly when you’re (for now) only a one-issue party. But that issue – corruption — is one that is right at the top of people’s consciousness. And as the only political force that today enjoys a nationwide profile, is untainted by corruption, has a vision for changing the system – and a volunteer force that can more than compensate for the money power of its opponents with boots-on-the-ground campaign, Team Anna has enormous strengths in this battle.
Moments such as this come only once in a generation. By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. It is time for it to seize the moment, stop being an outsider that has exhausted its influence as a change agent, enter electoral politics, and recreate an India in its own image.