Bangalore sees another terror plot. Well, what’s new in that! Hold on. The big news is that the terror camps both inside the country and across the border were jolted with tremors because of the roaring reaction of our great home minister Shri Shivraj Patil who said, and I quote – “….Such incidents will not deter the government from pursuing its policy of dealing with anti-national elements in a resolute manner.”

Bravo Patil. Keep issuing such statements; we dont need any other anti-terror mechanism. Your statements are enough to terrorise the terrorists themselves!

Government stays

July 22, 2008

Its official, the UPA has survived the confidence motion. Congratulations.

Exactly how the multitude of deals behind the nuke deal and survival of the government were made is very suspect. The government, the political parties should all do some serious introspection and if we should continue to see such political immorality, the people are indeed doomed.

The left was probably right in saying that the UPA can win the vote but has lost the confidence.

Mr. Manish Tiwari says that the BJP has desecrated the parliament by bringing the notes to the house. The SP is saying that all the allegations of Mr. Advani are proven wrong.

Who do these people think they are fooling? The notes were brought to the house to expose the manner in which the horse trading was taking place. And by the same “desecration” logic, have the congress and SP and for that matter, all parties not desecrated the country by all the defection and buying of support.

I still think the whole thing reeks of a conspiracy, a coup by Manmohan Singh to dislodge the left from the ruling side.

About 3 months back, Manmohanji created an alliance with Amar Singh of SP. They confirmed their numbers and calculated the risk that they have to take for getting the extra support to replace the left’s support. He suddenly gets so eager on the deal that he pretends not to care about the left. And finally, with a ultimatum served to him, he has gotten rid of the left.

Of course by now the PM had already made arrangements to buy, entice etc. the other party members for the deal. The PM is for a long time extremely confident while all the other “deals” are being made.

Yesterday Pranab Mukherjee claims support of 276 people. And indeed, 275 votes are obtained by the government. Well orchestrated, good play of events actually, just that Mr. Amar Singh and Mr. Unclean Manmohan have given away the plot slightly before the actual turn of events. That apart a brilliant drama by the UPA.

Now, if it is said that BJP did not try hard enough, as is being alleged, I would actually be happy, because the parties which have tried hard have shown the limits that they can go to and it can only be a good thing that the BJP and the left have not tried in the same manner as Congress and SP and to some extent BSP have.

Ullu bana diya re..!

July 15, 2008

One fine evening SG, PK and AS-MSY met secretly in New Delhi to find out solutions to their woes, as they believed that each of them could help the rest in doing so.

SG started the conversation saying that the Congress had to do something regarding the nuke deal and something on the economic reforms with the trio of MMS-PC-MSA being at the helm of affairs and not doing anything will hurt the party’s prospects badly.

PK said that the Left could never be a part of something that is related to the US. Moreover, it can never allow the reforms to happen as they are opposed to its age-old philosophy. Also, their support base is shrinking in its own forts. It, some how, had to strengthen itself.

AS-MSY started crying that they have been caught badly in the mayajaal, which is even affecting the Congress and not allowing the prince to do anything in UP. And that the maya is very powerful that it has threatened their life.

SG, who was the madam-mind of the drama ‘the great sacrifice’ in 2004 came up a similar masterplan this time also. That, this plan would solve all their problems, it was agreed upon to implement at the earliest. Basically it was a simple, but very effective plan – the Left will oppose the deal to the extreme extent which will benefit itself. Stronger the opposition from the Left, stronger will become Congress’ image in people’s mind. Anyway, the Left has only to gain from this and nothing to lose, as the vehement opposition against the US will only consolidate its vote bank. And that AS-MSY were so much fed up with the maya,  supporting the UPA at the center will make them friends again and more importantly, now they can catch the maya itself! And maya will not dare to touch them further.

They all had a bash on that night. They were so impressed by SG’s plan that the Left promised a re-marriage after sometime and AS-MSY promised an unforgettable honeymoon on 22nd of this month.

Well..!

On 22nd July –

The government wins trust vote.

Gainers – the UPA, the Left, the SP, AA group which has ‘relied’ upon the current marriage.

Losers – national interest, the BJP and more importantly, the aam admi.

And the secret bash continues with more leaders from the Left joining in and several new faces.

aam admi ko ullu bana diya re!

Congress gamble

July 11, 2008

Somehow it appears that the nation is waking up to the left hypocrisy, the public sentiment shifting rightly against them. And I myself am not fond of the left, they are China’s fifth column in India amongst other pathetic things. But as much as I hate the left and their policies, the nuclear fall out is not the making of the left. For once, apart from being blindly anti-american and anti-bush (who finishes the term before the deal comes into force) and linking the deal awkwardly to the IPI pipeline, this time the left have got it right on most things. It is fishy when you find the left thinking about the “national interest” suddenly, but the congress has been fishier on the deal issue more than any other party.

Some fallacies when put in context give the plot away. Start with the absolutely mistimed enthusiasm on the deal- US is going for elections, there are bleak, if not, zero chances of the deal getting through the US related procedures before the elections. After having kept the deal in cold storage for more than 2 years, why would the congress suddenly be re-energised to take the deal through now, at the most inappropriate of times.

The entire fall out drama is all the congresses making, who wanted to get rid of the left. The left was more of a liability than a help and with differences solved between Cong and SP the Congress needed an excuse to get rid of the left who are a part of all decisions in the parliament, give no proper suggestions in the parliament, and yet criticize severely outside the parliament. The fall out was all pre-planned to get out of this damaging alliance. And SP, now has won the brownie points by playing the savior to the government and now by digging all the muck they can summon to spoil the reputation of BSP. The congress for its part has parted quite happily and deserve no sympathy.

Instead, the sympathy should go to the common people, since in all this ruckus the congress has forgotten and neglected the issues that concern the people most. The economic mismanagement and the other national issues are now being attempted to be overshadowed by the petty bickering in the ruling alliance to meet the political ends of Congress. Moreover, the issue that the congress used, the nuclear deal is also not really going to help anyone for a long time to come. Nuclear power has long since ceased to be a cheaper source and survives on the govt. subsidies. Whats more, the deal does not even have adequate safeguards to ensure regular supply. This nuclear technology for generation of electricity is not likely to be cheaper than the electricity generated using locally available coal. The deal which is highly debatable is not even being made public, and inflation and price rises remain the biggest problems of the people.

The deal is, the issue around the deal to deviate attention, the staged downfall; the entire political drama is all the “innocent looking” Manmohan Singhji’s making.

With Dr. Manmohan Singhji at helm has taken ethics in politics have fallen to a new abyss.

Left pulls the plug, finally. Amarsingh is singing ‘my dear Sonia’. Bush has suddenly become less harmful to Mulayam who won 2004 elections on anti-Bush campaign. Mehbooba Mufti, who pulled the carpet from under Ghulam Nabi is so fond of saving the government at the centre.

So whats the deal behind the deal?

1. J&K Govt?

2. Anil Ambani’s business?

3. Telangana state?

4. Reopening of Taj corridor case?

5. Keeping S M Krishna out of Karnataka politics?

6.

.

.

?

Big deal

June 26, 2008

Recently there were demands that Mr. Advani could be a “statesman” by coming out in support of the deal. The BJP points of opposition is somewhat different from the stance of the left, they are not opposed to the deal as such, they want that the deal be renegotiated and not agree to put a cap on the nuclear tests. Still listening to the calls for support, the PM aspirant has come out to spell it out again that they are not opposed to the deal as such. Besides the deal was a internal matter of UPA more than the NDA, and its not as if the Congress is engaged in trying to convince the BJP or the other NDA partners about the deal. The statements by Advani are indicative of a compromise in the stance to save the deal, and the PM has not spent any time to have a dialogue with the BJP to gain consensus. On an earlier occasion also the PM has been calling desperately for consensus when the political cards are played by Sonia.

And if the government falls because of the deal, it is not as if the BJP can support it because the governance has been pathetic on many counts and the BJP as the opposition has been critical of the bad policies of the government. The BJP could vote in favour of the deal in the parliament if the issue should come up, which it is not likely to. In any case the PM himself has not initiated any dialogue as such. Then what statesmanship are we talking about? The congress refuses to acknowledge that when most parties except itself are opposed to the deal, the deal should either be renegotiated or should be let go of. But the congress today has issued signs of indifference towards other parties’ opinions and said that they would go ahead with the deal.

The left has shown its true communal colours, this time in full glare of the media. It is increasingly obvious that their opposition to the deal was meant to pander to the minorities, placing the interests of a community over those of the nation.

The leaders of Muslim organisations for their part who had opposed the deal said that they were opposed to the deal because it was against national interest and that it had nothing to their Muslim identity. The SP also has said that they know the minorities very well. Somehow no one has opposed the claim that the SP has the Muslims in their pocket. Even the SP has not gone ahead to decline it, they have acknowledged the fact and said that they “know the minorities” very well and need not be lectured on the subject by the left.

The congress finally took some stance and did not yet make any efforts to get a real concensus with the opposition as well. Yet it did take a stance and while they pat their backs for it, we have to lament that this feat was reserved for a deal which is rather not in the interest of the country which inspite of all the claims by the congress is not a do-or-die situation. It is not imperative for the nation’s energy security, in the present form.

Reorganisation of states

June 21, 2008

Recent gorkhaland demands have sparked off a new debate about reorganisation of states. An interesting debate was published in the ET also. Mr. Peter Desouza gave an interesting opinion that enumerates the following reasons: –

  1. Five fold growth in electorate since independence.
  2. Democracy of communities
  3. Increased recognition of leaders at community level
  4. The fourth is the development deficit – politics weighs pros and cons, and if a communities gain is another communities loss the losers are bound to react and that will cause new protests and demands.[link]

The possibility of demand for telangana has been known for almost since formation of Andhra.

The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was not in favour of merging the Telangana region with the then Andhra state. Para 382 of States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said “..opinion in Andhra is overwhelmingly in favour of the larger unit, public opinion in Telangana has still to crystallize itself”. The concerns of Telanganas were manifold. The region had a less developed economy than Andhra, but a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than prohibited alcoholic beverages), which Telanganas feared might be diverted for use in Andhra. They also feared that planned dam projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though Telanganas controlled the headwaters of the rivers. Telanganas feared too that the people of Andhra would have the advantage in jobs, particularly in government and education. Para 386 of States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said “After taking all these factors into consideration we have come to the conclusions that it will be in the interests of Andhra as well as Telangana area is to constitute into a separate State, which may be known as the Hyderabad State with provision for its unification with Andhra after the general elections likely to be held in or about 1961 if by a two thirds majority the legislature of the residency Hyderabad State expresses itself in favor of such unification.”

The central government decided to ignore the SRC recommendations and established unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956. However, a “Gentlemen’s agreement” provided reassurances to the Telangana people.[link]

Please read that link on the gentlemen’s agreement, and the states reorganisation commission report on andhra and decide if all that was necessary at all. The state reorganisation committee discusses how to break and join the kanadda majority areas with karnataka and how to do the same for telugu majority areas. The lingual identities were not belonging in many cases to their respective states, this was grafted. Many districts hence remain under dispute. Absolutely illogical fashion of executing the formation of states!

I for one think that there are two main goals of a nation to maintain stability, one is to keep a national interest before any other, and to therefore have a strong national identity and patriotism. Other is to strengthen local economies, so that interdependence is not a constraint for co-operation. All non-local resources should be within the purview of the centre. Lingual identity reinforces a european model of nationalism which would fail miserably in our nation where there are many many different toungues. We already see the MNS issue, and the KaRaVe issue, and though some of both their concerns are indeed genuine, they both place their regional interest over the national interest.

Interestingly there is a rejoinder to Mr. Peter’s arguments by a certain Nilotpal Basu, from the CPI(M) central secretariat. Mr. Nilotpal, keeping in line with the glorious tradition of his party, has blamed everything from RSS to US imperialism for the gorkhaland and other state demands. He stops short of making a point when he starts with a correct premise.

However, the post-Independence period has not been free from tensions. The inherent nature of capitalist development has resulted in regional imbalances. Lack of development has been a basis for demanding new states, often undermining the principle of linguistic states. On the other hand, ethnic and linguistic considerations, which ignore the question of viability, have been pushed to the fore. Care has to be taken to evolve mechanisms like autonomous councils for some communities — with adequate constitutional safeguard for their respective identities and greater role in deciding their own future.[link]

Now it is inherent nature of capitalistic development which is the cause for the Gorkhaland demand in West bengal, which has neither had a capitalist government and nor has it seen any resemblence of development happen for the last 31 years. His own argument is out to hit him! And he is right about regional imbalances, and that can be overcome by strengthening the local economies by giving regional autonomy not by forming autonomous councils and more such complicated government sitting benches.

It is extremely worrisome that Mr. Nilotpal’s only argument is that since RSS demands it, we shall protest it. This bigotry stems from an absolute absence of strong ideology. Even RSS does not hesitate to praise Indira for somethings that they feel were good and in the nations interest. The hollowness of ideology in the communist parties is a sign of dark times ahead for my state of Bengal.

CPM on foreign policy

June 19, 2008

Prakash Karat and Bardhan have a great nack for delivering nonsense, still some times they manage to surprise me.

New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) India has been drawn into the strategic designs of the US, and the Indian government’s flourishing defence relations with Israel are a direct result of the paradigm shift pushed by Washington and Tel Aviv, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said here Sunday. Speaking at a function here, Karat said the issue of India’s defence ties with Israel cannot be separated from the “overarching” strategic relations with the US. All “patriotic, progressive and anti-imperialistic forces” should work to disentangle the country from the US-Israel axis, he added.

“On this point, there is no compromise on foreign policy,” he said, referring to the cause of creation of a separate Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

He alleged that Israeli defence companies, most of whom are state-owned enterprises, are “known to pay heavy bribes”.

“The Barack missile scandal is but an example. If our ties continues, it will subvert our won military and security establishment,” he said, referring to the defence deal which is now being probed.

The CPI-M leader, whose party supports the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government from outside, rebuffed the Indian government’s explanation for launching an Israel spy satellite earlier this year “as a purely commercial decision”

The function was also addressed by Issam Makhoul, a politburo member of the Communist Party of Israel, who ended a week-long visit to India.

Makhoul, a former secretary general of the party, was strongly critical of the military ties between Israel and India, which he pointed out had propelled Tel Aviv to be among the top five defence exporters in the world.[link]

One realises that there are a lot of problems in the middle east, some caused by Iran, Palestine, Syria etc. and many caused by Israel as well. Surely that can not be a reason for severing any ties, we have strategic interests that we should look out for, and thats the only rule in international relationships. They have been immensely helpful in the Kargil War by supplying arms without any agreement. Besides, like India, Israel too has suffered a lot at the hands of islamist terrorism and continues to suffer the presence of hostile neighbours. The Islamic world which has gone on the offensive towards the Israel in the past, prosecuted the jews in large numbers can not suddenly wave the white flag and expect peace. The minimum territorial integrity of Israel should be acknowledged as well.

What a fifth columnist party that Communist party of Israel is? India was a country which had welcomed the jews when they were being prosecuted world over. And the party sits in a function to support the cause for a palestenian state with jerusalem as the capital! Just how pathetic can communism be to advocate against the interest of your own people.

Even if we should not get into strong ties with Isreal, why should we support a palestine state with jerusalem as the capital. It is similar in temerity to the suggestion of Osama running for US president. The left should also know that these people they defend are going to be their worst enemies. The left at least has the freedom to form their communist party in Israel, and propogate such ideas, but no such freedom exists in the Islamic world.

Gujarat Drama

June 18, 2008

1. PM and Fm make referenced to take credit for Gujarat’s development saying that a lot of funds have been given to Gujarat. – in some speech.

2. Modi reacts saying only a meagre 5% of the tax paid by Gujarat’s people is given as funds from the centre and says that they are relying on falsehoods. He goes one more step ahead and says that the centre is more dependent on the state’s taxpayers. – in some rally

3. Issue blown over – The congress says that the data is not true as there was no data of taxes paid by states and calls for modi to be tried for treason (probably inspired by similar such calls from Nawaz Sharif recently), and says that Modi is questioning the very existance of the nation. They question the nationalism of the nationalist leader.

4. Modi asks them to go ahead with the absolutely ridiculous idea of the treason trial.

5. Congress says that Modi does not know the facts and produces facts to show that the Congress govt. did indeed give more funds to gujarat in their time than the NDA govt. did. The figures compare NDA contribution in 2002-03 and theirs in the last year showing about 25% increase over 4 years. This when the growth of Gujarat has been about 10% every year then. Also congress refutes the claim that the aid given to Gujarat is paltry, by discovering the amount taxes paid by the state to centre. One does not even know which taxes have been considered.

This is one of the better dramas unfolding in the recent past, the strong dialogues by Congress “leaders” (read sycophants like Manish Tiwari) like “trial for treason” have been interesting indeed. The congress have really given a good drama for a long time, its time they bowed out.

As for Modi, he should try and make sure he is quoted right and in correct context (he was only speaking at a rally). And he has a point, the state people work hard to produce some results in their neighbourhood. People work hard hoping that roads and infrastructure in their part of the world would improve and if any funds are going to the centre to put into sachar committees and to institute fudging experts and contract killers to maintain the sanctity of flagship pogroms oops sorry programs like NREGA.

The simple speech of Modi can shake the congress so much to call treason is testimony to the stature of Modi.

Recently, two people were killed in isolated independent incidents, both very alarming and revealing of an underlying untruth.

  • Mr. Lalit Mehta, an activist of Vikas Sahyog Kendra, was trying to organise social audits to help the NREGA function better.
We are deeply disturbed by the recent murder of Lalit Kumar Mehta, member of Vikas Sahyog Kendra (Palamau District), who was brutally killed on 14 May 2008 as he was returning from Daltonganj to Chhattarpur on a motorcycle.
The circumstances of this murder are disturbing. Lalit (aged 36), an active member of the right to food campaign and Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, has been working in this area for more than 15 years on issues related to the right to food and the right to work. He was a very gentle person and his work was widely appreciated. However he was also fearless in exposing corruption and exploitation, and often came in the way of vested interests.
At the time of this incident, Lalit was helping a team of volunteers from Delhi and elsewhere to conduct a social audit of NREGA works in Chainpur and Chhattarpur Blocks of Palamau District. Attempts had already been made to dissuade the team from conducting this investigation, particularly in Chainpur Block. Is it a coincidence that Lalit was murdered just one day after the investigation began?
If this murder was an act of intimidation, it did not succeed. Friends and supporters from all over Jharkhand gathered at Vikas Sahyog Kendra on 17 May. They unanimously resolved to continue the campaign against corruption and exploitation in this area. [link]
  • Mr. Kameshwar Yadav tried to use RTI to get the NREGA details, he was another activist who wanted to verify the system to help it work better.

Giridih, June 8: In a rerun of the Lalit Mehta murder case, Kameshwar Yadav, an NREGA activist, was killed by unidentified gunmen near Gaadi village about nine last night.

Kameshwar was returning to his Khatori residence — about 75km from here — after taking part in a CPI-ML bandh over the fuel price rise in block headquarters Deori.

Rajkumar Yadav, a CPI-ML state committee member, said being a morally upright person, Kameshwar had questioned — under the Right to Information Act — the nexus flourishing among officers, leaders, contractors and middlemen regarding minor irrigation work in Deori.

Kameshwar was also a block committee member of the party. CPI-ML leaders, including MLA Vinod Singh, blocked the Jamua-Koderma road for around six hours today demanding the arrest of criminals. Giridih SP Murari Lal Meena said that the killers would be arrested within June 13. [link]

NREGA is a wonderful scheme, it is aimed at guaranteeing the constitutional right to work to rural people by providing employment to one person from each household in rural areas. It is a flagship of the congress government and was flouted very proudly at the congress 4 year anniversary. But there are many skeletons in the closet. Mr. Mihir Shah writes about the discrepancies in implementation.

But even after the enactment of NREGA, things have been slow to change at the grass-roots. Displaying remarkable ingenuity, the old order is already finding ways to sidestep the radical provisions of the Act. Contractors deploy machines with impunity, even as forged muster rolls are filled up with fictitious names and thumb-marks of workers, to show as if the work was done by labour. This is especially the case in States like Jharkhand, which still do not have elected Gram Panchayats. [link]

Even Mr. Shourie in his article has raised some objections about how ‘right’ data is filled after initial data is pencilled in so that the performance of the flagship program of Congress remains grande.

After citing what the PM, FM, etc. have been saying about ensuring outcomes and not being lulled by outlays, Saxena asks, and ‘How is outcome delivered in the states?’, and answers, ‘By falsifying records!’ He cites the tour observations of a person in a position to know, and unlikely to state things that would embarrass the Government:

‘We discovered that all data of children at the centre for the past five months, weight, vaccinations, health records etc, were filled in with pencils. On probing further, I found it was done so that in case of an official inspection, the figures could be erased and “correct” data inserted to make the centre’s performance look good!’

The writer? The Congress MP, Sachin Pilot. Recalling such accounts, Saxena observes, ‘The practice is so widely prevalent in all the states, presumably with the connivance of senior officers, that the data reaching GOI [according to a recent study by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development] shows only 8% as the overall percentage of malnourished children in case of 0-3 years (with only one percent children severely malnourished), as against 46% reported by NFHS-3.

What is equally astonishing is the fact that records show a steep decline in the percentage of malnourished children from 29% to 8%, which is totally at variance with the findings of the various NFHS surveys. By sending bogus reports the field officials are thus able to escape from any sense of accountability for reducing malnutrition.’ [link]

Someone had felt constrained to exclaim at the state of affairs to describe it as ‘Loot for work program’, and after these killings, it is tending towards a ‘kill for work program’!

Lalit was killed on the 14th May, and the congress celebrated its four years on the 23rd May, touting NREGA as their proud achievement. Either the congress is cheeky enough to take us voters lightly or it is sure it wont return to power. Either way, we’ll show them.