The departure of Devender Gowd from Telugu Desam Party, has not only weakened TDP, but has raised many other interesting questions. Undoubtfully, this move adds to the Telangana movement, and throws the major parties in the state: Congress and TDP into defence. The Chandrababu Naidu led Telugu Desam Party is still unclear about its agenda on Telangana issue. Although Mr.Naidu has given statements that they are not against the formation of a new state, but they are vague unlike the previous general elections, where they have contested with the ‘Samaikya-Andhra’ (United Andhra Pradesh) agenda.

But, what is more interesting would be the analysis of the previous two elections in the Telangana region in the last 4 years. Even in 2004 general election, TDP hasn’t performed badly (infact better than other regions) in this region, though the Congress-TRS (Telangana Rastra Samiti) has got the major stake, by the anti-government wave. The recent by-election, because of the en masse resignations of the TRS party representatives in March 2008, also turned out to be against TRS. Ofcourse, this cannot be considered as a referendum over the creation, rather we can view it as a gradual decline of people’s faith in Chandrasekhara Rao led TRS. This probably would have led Devender Gowd to go for a new party based on Telangana issue, since we have witnessed TRS being wronged inspite of growing strength of the Telangana issue.

Telugu Desam Party, ideally would love to stick to the same idea of united-andhra, but seems to be left with not much of options. This is because the very identity of TDP lies on one-ness based on the language and the division in the state would envitably leaves the party with more ‘leaders’. The second tier leaders in TDP: Devender Gowd, Kadiyam Sri Hari etc., had been expressing their dissent over the past few days, has left the Mr.Naidu helpless. He would probably have to voice the same Telangana song to win an alliance with one of the parties with this agenda.

One more group which might be adversely affected with the present chain of events is Chiranjeevi, the superstar of Andhra Pradesh. He has already declared that he is coming up with a new party by the end of August. CPI has already offered strong backing to him, while CPI (M) is probably trying to rope him into the party itself. The reason why his ambitions of CM might decline is because both the left partys are strong in the Telangana region. Moreover, he has a strong support from fans in the Nizam area, which means loss of atleast around 10-15 Assembly constituencies. On the top of this, he would also have to make his agenda clear on the issue, which is another challenge for the Chiru-campaigners. But, if he takes the decision of supporting Telangana movement; he would join the league of TRS, BJP and Devender Gowd, which means Telangana might be envitable atleast over the next 5 years.


Afzal Guru – “Please don’t compare me with Sarabjit. The issues are separate. My sympathies are with him, but my fight is for the Kashmir conflict. Now, I am not even seeking any clemency and have no objection to the government deciding my fate.” [link]

Afzal Guru has also said something that MF Hussain also said sometime back. Paraphrasing : The UPA govt. biggest problem is its indecision, only the NDA can come and hang me and in case of Hussain that only NDA can bring me back to the country.

Afzal Guru is pending hanging for attacking the parliament, all courts from the lowest to the Supreme have sentenced him to death. The BJP is asking for an early implementation of the courts order so that justice is done to the brave soldiers who died fighting to protect the parliament.

The congress is in a different mood altogether, they have probably taken to Arundhati Roy’s advice “What is the hurry to hang him?”. Hope Ms. Roy got her answer from the horses mouth. The BJP does have a point in demanding action, more prolonged the issue, more communal a turn it takes. Earlier it would and should have been a simple hanging of a terrorist. The congress has managed to invent more angles to the issue in trying to protect him. Many muslim organisations have come out against terror, no muslim organisation as such opposes his hanging. What is the hold up?

Alright, if we want to move towards a no-hanging sort of a culture, then make the case for that, but do not please give it a communal angle and try to justify the innocence of Mr. Guru like human rights activists. The left would be more than happy to save some face as being a part of the govt. and help you formulate this. But why the delay?

Congress justifies. “There is no authenticity of Afzal’s statement, whether the interview was done with permission, and whether he actually said it or not. Rajnath Singh should know that is a constitutional process and hence it will take time,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.

Jayanthi Natarajan is trying to rub the delay off on the process, which does not exist. There are no procedures pending. No papers have moved on the issue, all trials are over and its plain action which is pending which the congress will not take. And as the matter gathers dust, it will seem as if those who ask for the court order to be obeyed are communal rascals.

The problem with congress is that they end up giving a communal angle to each issue.

Rahul Gandhi has been laying the hints for a while now, and if the sycophants really want to impress the yuvraj, they will have democracy within congress.

It would be mistaken to think that this will pose any challenge to the yuvraj’s or madam Sonia’s authority. The reason that they are at helm is not because she is simply the heir of the Nehru legacy and he the heir apparent, but more because the congress lacks leaders of stature and needs some dynasty to model in their posters for all the generations.

This could be an embarrassment to BJP in the making, the BJP will have to roll back its demand for any democracy to appear in the congress and if the congress uses it well the demand would rebound to hit the BJP as a damage to credibility.

But this has me thinking, whether the BJP demand itself is justified. First of all, BJP has partly the moral high ground because the party does not pin its hopes on a certain dynasty and does not promote people as leaders and picks emerging leaders instead. Of course, there is some misfit if some issues should arise at a high level and if a person would be a ideologue the democracy can be compromised and the leader elevated by virtue of their history with the party or because of their ideological maturity, like Arun Shourie. Still obviously there is no democracy in the party and it is pretty sad that the leader of a major party (claiming to be the largest) in the largest democracy uses the word democracy so loosely and irresponsibly without making any efforts to implement anything in his own party.

Although I have also said it otherwise in my previous post, it is debatable whether democracy in a party is relevant at all levels and good development or not. The deeper details need to looked into. Often the instance of democrats and republicans in US is used to say that democracy should come in at all levels. Definitely the party can not pick its leaders for the state or the office administrators etc. and democracy will only make the functioning of the party machinery slower. The party can pick its representatives, but that also is often done with some considerations in mind, like some political deals, caste equations etc. And as much as we resent it, these are realities in politics. Even otherwise, if all members of the party machinery and the party representatives are being elected, who is maintaining any seam of ideas which define a party? For a nation, democracy works because like the minds of people the country can undergo extreme regime changes and a nation should sustain that as the will of the people (unlike the “peoples republic of china”), but the parties can not be changing according to the wills of the people on some issues. And I realise that all the in the communist vote banks will remain communists and that the voting will not bring tendencies of capitalism or anything but the question is about the fine points. Like before internal polls, the congress may support the nuke deal and after the polls they may change their mind. That change goes away with out anyone left to take the accountability of the previous decisions and to account for the time and costs towards these changes.

This can be solved in two ways, i.e. two ways of defining democratic working in the party and country. The first would be the US model itself, where each cause is represented by a person and that person takes all blame and credit. Of course part of the blame and credit go to the persons who vote him in, but the person is responsible for what he decides. This system is not in place in the nation as such and will have to be confined to the parties which implement it, for now. The party democracy will remain restricted to the parts about nomination in polls etc.

The other system where this can work is like Switzerland, where all major decisions are elected for and the party machinery remaining as it is, the decisions of the people are taken up. Here the nominations can be made democratic in a different system which can be worked or not, because the decisions anyway are of the party vote base.

In both these systems, the application at a lower level seems less important than implementation at a higher level, because a lower level of political ground is not practically having a large enough vote base which is involved in politics, hence the difficulty of applying it, and because democracy at larger levels are more consequential and impacting. If you introduce a cog into the system at the lower levels it will not impact your party, most parties live with that. But if you bring a cog and make them the party president, then that has a huge imapct on the party and the nation.

The political reform of democracy will have impacts on the overall democratic system. Indian democratic system is quite retributive unlike the American or Swiss. In America, only bush is remembered as a war mongerer not the party which had a lot of people in support with the war as well. Somehow, Mccain says he wants to pull out troops from Iraq and he is on the same plane as Hillary and Obama w.r.t that Iraq issue. In switzerland, the parties do not decide anything, ruling or otherwise. The people decide everything major and obviously the responsibility also lies there. There is no question of retribution. These systems in India would probably make a lasting impact on the mainstay democracy as well and we could see some cleaning up being done.

In a breaking of tradition, will the parties will be a step ahead of the nation and be more democratic, it is left to be seen.

At last the BJP sees light at the end of the tunnel, hope it’s not that of an incoming train!

“Sangh Parivar outfits try to convert Karnataka into a Hindutva laboratory in the lines of Gujarat”, was the statement made by Deve Gowda, in October 2007, after the JD(S) turned down their promise of power-share with the BJP. After the JD (S) ‘betrayal’ and Governor’s rule, the result of the present Karnataka election seems more towards the dual-party BJP-Congress system, while BJP emerging as the single largest party and the JD(S) getting strongly rejected by the people. There are a number of reasons on the analysts’ minds which I will not discuss here.

Karnataka victory is something for the Lotus party to celebrate high. This is the first time, they cross the Vindhyas down to south with an complete majority, although they had coalitions previously. The BJP making forays in South, right at the Congress’s strongest state, is also pathbreaking. While it shall remove the previous images of BJP as a cow-belt party it establishes the party closer to the people South where RSS is as strong if not stronger. Moreover, this also reflects the increasing faith and credibility among the people about BJP, which might not be a good sign for the Congress.

Though the verdict brings joy in the heart of people who were bored of the same old Congress hypocrites and the whimsical Gowda and sons, the problems are far from over. Appeasing all has never been possible at any level of organizational activity. In such a process, new friends and foes are inevitable. When Kharge, the newly elected opposition leader was hinted at the possible rebellion within the BJP soon after the elections, TV channels and media sources have picked up the scent. Main stream leaders of the sorts of Shettar are unhappy for not being included in the cabinet. To top it even governor Thakur seems to be unsatisfied with his ruling term in the state. He seems to be doing all that’s possible to keep Mr. Yeddyurappa in agony. This could only be the tip of the Ice berg and more could be following in the first ever “right” term in the southern state of Karnataka. There is news that the Reddy brothers wouldn’t be getting forest and mining ministries. All this is only an indication of the political challenges that could prove to be a threat to the government.

While the Congress should get its act together, the task for BJP ahead is also tough. This time, its karo ya maro for the BJP. There are a lot of issues that people are looking up to the new party in power. It includes some of the most contentious issues such as the Cauvery water sharing, implementation of Sarojini Mahishi report, the border disputes with Kerala, TN, Maharashtra and Goa. Karnataka is the 2nd most drought prone state of our country and hence it’s important that the numerous irrigation projects be taken to a logical end. All this needs to be done oblivious of the fact that the government gives rice at Re. 2 or provide free electricity to farmers. The price rise is an easy issue to exploit; the BJP should strive even more so that they can keep it under control. The risk here is simply that they might give the incumbency advantage to the Congress in the union elections. The other challenge will be the farmer suicides. The state will have to make farmer friendly policies to address the issue suitably. Power shortage is a critical issue. With two ultra-mega power projects planned in the state and the locals opposing both, quite vehemently, Mr. Yeddy has a tight rope walk to do. Many fear that the government will be held for ransom by mining lobby and the first signs seem to prove it. The infrastructure crisis of Bangalore and equally or even more importantly, addressing the needs of North Karnataka are quite a challenge for the new government. Also, more critical is the naxalite problem; naxalites being mostly anti-BJP may intensify their operations in the state. Unfortunately, Karnataka has become a terror hub these days. Though the state government alone cannot do much, there is a need for proper coordination amongst the affected states. Hope, the government will take strong initiatives in this regard.

I only wish Mr.Yeddyurappa and his team overcome teething political problems and focus on solving the fundamental issues troubling the people of Karnataka.

May there be light!!

Minority politics will be taken to school when a chapter on the ‘marginalisation’ of Muslims is expected to be included in the NCERT textbooks.

To make students understand this phenomenon, the NCERT has introduced a chapter ‘Muslims and Marginalisation’ in the Class-VIII Social Sciences textbook which speaks about how the Muslims have not got proper benefit in the social and economic development in the country.

The chapter has also cited the findings of the study on Muslims’ status prepared by Justice Rajinder Sachar in 2006.

“Through the chapter, an effort has been made to explain how marginalisation is related to the feeling of prejudices and lack of ability. Marginalisation not only weakens the social status but also deprives the people of availing education and utilisation of resources,” said an NCERT official. [Link]

While the supposed saffronization of textbooks gave a lot of people sleepless nights, this seperatist move is a bigger dent on the secular Indian ethos. The inclusion of this chapter is absolutely unacceptable because this will give heed to a sense of victimisation and promote separatist and extremist tendencies. Such a chapter is on the lines of the Sachar committee recommendations to give separate preferences to the Muslims by secluding them from the mainstream. The NCERT official says that the feeling is related to prejudices and lack of ability, which are both untrue and very harmful for an impressionable child. What such a chapter would succeed to do will be to make people look at Muslims as a special group with specific advantages and disadvantages instead of looking at them as normal citizens.The inclusion of this chapter is unacceptable also because this will promote a feeling of separatist among other religion students. A poor student from any other religion studying this chapter would surely feel dejected. The goal of secular outlook to view all people equally would be heavily compromised by this move.

The political angle to this would be that development models for upliftment which actually benefit the minorities will be overtaken by the policy of giving doles to the minorities because of better print value. The Congress and other secular claimants would be the obvious beneficiaries.

Apart from the political angle to the issue, the claims themselves are refutable. The reasons for the backwardness of the Muslims is not because they are being prejudiced against, it is because the money to be spent for their welfare is being spent instead to send them for a pilgrimage or to “modernize” the primitive religious institutions called Madrassas, both of which do not help the Muslims actually [I know, the issue of Madrasa is highly debatable]. The other reason for the backwardness is that the Muslims are still left at the mercy of the clerics and their fatwas. Development of the nation and the inclusive growth for all poor, not only Muslims is a far better model and will help the Muslims better in the longer run.

To give such fodder to extremism and encourage separatism is against the nation’s interests and this modification to the textbook should be stalled. Free education for all, inclusive growth and development are the way forward.

This kind of education based on partial truth and divisive politics of religions is not acceptable. Let us not corrupt the young minds by our prejudices.

Mr. Shourie should probably not have asked — “What more is needed to stoke reaction?” The government has answered and the answer is not palatable to say in the least.