Friday, December 28, 2007

The importance of Development, Organization and governance


The results of the Gujarat elections are out and Modi has emerged the unscathed winner. Gujarat has crowned Modi by electing him and the media has done its bit by crowning the term “Moditva”.

Congress was drubbed and yet again the crowd that flocked to hear the leaders in the rallies failed to transform into votes. It would have been better if the Congress would have stuck to its own party members instead of allocating tickets to the rebel BJP leaders. These rebels were denied tickets by Modi and its no rocket science that Modi was aware that most of them will not be able to retain their seat and hence decided against giving them another chance. Yet Congress ignoring the obvious decided to ‘award’ these rebels. For the sake of a short term gain the party treaded on path to long term loss.

Time and again it has been said and seen that nothing serves better than a strong and sound state-district level organization and there is absolutely no substitute to that. Even For controlling and pulling strings you first need a puppet that is attached to the string that you intend to pull.

A person sitting in AICC headquarters in New Delhi cannot understand the ground realities of the situation in Patna or Rajkot. He will see what people want him to see. Till 22nd evening Sonia Gandhi was assured by the Gujarati leaders that Congress will win more than 115 seats. Ironically it was the BJP which won 117 seats. The Congress tasted success in 59 up from 51 five years ago.

The bridge between Delhi office and that of the state level functionaries needs to be strengthened. BJP is a much stronger at the lower level because it has the RSS and the VHP who operate on ground zero. It has achieved more penetration in the cities and the mohallas and Congress will always find it difficult to match BJP if it doesn’t works on strengthening its state level organizational cadre. The headquarters needs to give out a message that every state level organization is independent of each other and its day to day working is not in any way to be governed by what is happening at the Delhi Headquarters.

Development issues and religion based issues are two totally different things. Those who have lost the Gujarat elections are saying that it was Hindutva that sailed Modi through. Maybe it was Hindutva but can the same people stand up and say that it was only Hindutva and not the development work that romped BJP home.

NSUI and Youth Congress have become defunct in most of the states and even though Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Tanwar have launched a membership drive to rope in 2.5 crore workers still they need to understand that merely increasing the members won’t help much. The members need to be shown that they are a part of an organization that is alive and kicking.


At the time when Shivraj Singh Chauhan was made the Chief Minister , BJP in Madhya Pradesh was in dire straits. It was at that time the most vulnerable with Uma Bharti and intra-fighting threatening to destroy the whole organization. That was the best time for state Congress to demolish the BJP or at-least weaken it fatally but they threw away that chance.

Now after consolidating his position Shivraj singh has embarked on a development over-drive. With the election scheduled to be held next year the state administration is working tirelessly and that work can be seen in the streets of Bhopal and its appreciated by the voters. And it is not limited to the cities and the towns, rural areas have also been invited to the party.

Political workers need a strong leader whom they can follow; a person who has the faith of everyone. Sadly Subhash Yadav the state PCC chief is not that man. Everytime he seems to stand tall he is overshadowed by the Digvijays, the Kamalnaths and the Arjun Singhs.

Though Subhash yadav was successful in ensuring that his son wins an assembly by-election yet that necessarily doesn’t guarantees that it will be smooth sailing for him in the run up to the state election.

Similarly is the story of Congress in Chhattisgarh which also goes to poll next year. Ajit Jogi has and always had a following among the mass and in the party ranks. Yet his hand has been tied by the people sitting in Delhi after they discovered that was becoming too tall for their comfort.

With Moti Lal Vohra and Suresh Pachauri making sure that Jogi is denied a berth in the Union cabinet and Vohra successfully making his supporter C D Mahant the president of state PCC, the infighting between the party has grown more fierce. Who wins in Chhattisgarh next year will not be determined by the BJP but by VC shukla, Motilal Vohra and Ajit Jogi.

Somehow the high command at 10 Janpath will have to find a way to fit everyone in the scheme of things if it really wants to pose a serious challenge to the ruling BJP and Raman Singh.


Those who have been to Patna recently won't give much chance to Nitish Kumar of making a come back. Infrastructurally the age old Patliputra is in a mess. But lets not forget that this mess is a result of the 15 years old rule of another son of Bihar, and what was done in 15 years cannot be undone in 5 years.

A lot of changes needs to be brought. The mindset needs to be changed and that takes time. The bureaucracy is still nostalgic about the old days when there was no work.

Maybe Nitish kumar will not be able to fulfill all he promised but at-least he is trying. And that’s why he deserves another chance and I hope that he is not blown away by the so called ‘anti-incumbency’ wave.

Left- A fading mirage

The Soviet Union crumbled way back in 1992 and for the Left front in India it took 15 more years. They have not completely disintegrated in this part of this world but they are well on their way.

Leftist movement in India started in the 1920s. After independence it was a bastion of the intelligentsia. To be called a Leftist was an honor in itself. It was seen as a path that only the enlighted follow and a quality that makes one stand over the and above the rest. Even today university and college students spend long hours in discussing and understanding the leftist ideologies and its effect.

A leftist as in the general perception is a beacon for the mass and he is a different entity from the general mass It is his being a leftist that separates him from the right and the rest.

80 years and still the left is limited to only three states of Tripura ,Kerala and West Bengal. Comparatively BJP is a much younger party and yet it has gone in stature and is one of the two major national party of India. It has a much more wide spread presence in India than the Left.

If we pick up an imaginary ‘leftist preamble’ the first line will read that it is a party for the poor, the downtrodden and the downcast. The majority of this countries population comes under this definition and still the Left cannot say that it represents them.

The left prides itself with having horde of intelligentsia on board. Every political party would be more than happy to have the likes of Sumit Sarkar ,Praful Bidwai , Mahasweta Devi as its supporter. Post Nandigram most of them have come out in open criticizing the Leftist government in Bengal.

But what about the participation of the common mass? Why does it fails to invoke trust in the youths of the other parts of the country? And what about the poor and the trodden?

It has managed to rule Bengal for more than three decades and with around 55 MPs in a house of more than 540, has also managed to sway this country in which ever direction it wants to.

The cadre strength of the Left is one that every party would envy. And it is this cadre strength that makes sure that elections after elections are won by force and it’s this cadre that sees to it that protests are suppressed and territories are reclaimed by killing innocent people.

For the left economic development implies taking one step forward and two steps back, for them US is a greater evil than China and for them any foreign industrial body is East India company in disguise and a precursor to economic bondage.

Nandigram has exposed the truth about the left. Tasleema Nasreen’s eviction has shown that for the left hooliganism is more vital than freedom of speech.

Relish the fall of the Left for their will be nothing left of the Left after this. I may be wrong and the Left may still cling on for some more time but that doesn’t mean that they are here to stay. It only means that their fall will be more painfully prolonged.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Judiciary retreats-Executive wins-We lose

The Supreme court yesterday in a far reaching observation said that the judiciary has crossed the thin yet important line that separates the judiciary from the other two branches of governance ; the executive and legislature and the time has come for the courts to refrain from indulging in what it called ‘judicial over-reach’.

A two-judge Bench of Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju slammed the judiciary for over-reaching its limit and stepping into the shoes of legislature and executive.

The effects of yesterdays judgment were immediately felt as citing criticism of judicial over-reach, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court refused to hear a PIL seeking relief for ''sex workers''. The petition was filed in the form of a PIL by an NGO Prajwala seeking rehabilitation of victims of flesh trade.

The two bench observation humbly conceded that judicial activism has reached the fifth gear and it should be pulled back. They reiterated the same point which the legislative and the executives have been saying time and again, “Courts should be limited to overseeing that the existing laws are upheld and it shouldn’t take to creating laws.

The observations shocked the legal fraternity and the immediate effect was felt even on the Apex Court the following day as Justice S B Sinha and Justice H S Bedi, literally set the agenda for debate on judicial activism as their Lordships observed " Parameters for hearing the PIL now needed to be fixed by a larger bench ." 

They declined to hear the PIL which they had been hearing for the past four years and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for guidance. The petition was filed in the form of a PIL by an NGO Prajwala seeking rehabilitation of victims of flesh trade.

Same day, the Delhi High Court bench presided by Justice Mukul Mudgal, declined to hear the matter relating to ban on Begging in view of the forthcoming Commonwealth games and observed the court would proceed in the matter only after reading the observations of the Supreme Court.
The judiciary, particularly the High Courts and the Supreme Court were charged with governing the executives. Probably the statement holds an iota of truth. In many cases the courts intervened only when the executive failed to deliver goods to the common man, be it the ban on diesel run buses in New Delhi or commercialization of residential flats in the capital.
However, the Supreme Court had to face criticism when it issued guidelines for vote of confidence proceedings in Uttar Pradesh and then in Jharkhand state assembly and there were accusations that the judiciary encroached upon the functioning of the legislature.

Although it was the judiciary it-self that introspectively came out with the observation but for the present it seems that the executive and the legislature have had the last laugh. The humble self-judged comment by the two judge bench may push back the judiciary into a shell giving executive ample opportunity to deteriorate further.

Although it was the judiciary it-self that introspectively came out with the observation but for the present it seems that the executive and the legislature have had the last laugh. The humble self-judged comment by the two judge bench may push back the judiciary into a shell giving executive ample opportunity to deteriorate further.

Maybe the judiciary has erred while passing the above observations. Although it shows the level of maturity the judiciary possesses and the sanctity it has attained all through these years but the message that will go out would not be too good for the system in the larger context.

In a constitutional setup like ours none of the three branches of governance can be at the same footing, albeit this is what constitution calls for. Though the constitution talks about an ideal setup where each of the three branches of governance will work in its own distinct sphere still it can be reasonably expected that the either of the three will transcend its boundaries and unconsciously and for a good cause will dishonor the separation of power structure.

And if this tilt in balance occurs, as it is happening now then it should be in the favour of judiciary and the it’s the judiciary that should be on a higher pedestal.

Judicial activism traces it roots back to 1980s when the concept of PILs (public interest litigation) came into focus under the learned guidance of Justice P N bhagwati and Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer. It was these PILs that highlighted the environmental pollutions, the sorry state of river Ganga under a series of case filed by MC Mehta.

According to a study by Hans Dembowski, PIL has been successful in the sense of making official authorities accountable to civil society organizations in India. The executive in our country is in a sorry state and there needs to be an accountability that would push them to work efficiently. The courts are one such accountability tool.

Agreed, that as stated by the Supreme Court bench the judiciary has sometimes crossed the “Lakshman rekha” but as said earlier this things are expected. In Shakesperian language it’s about forgoing the lesser evil for a greater cause. And it should not be forgotten that we are not residing in a perfectly-built-ideally constructed world.

The court may have been forced into making these observations in view of the recent vociferous demands by the legislature for bringing judges accountability bill and this was evident when mincing no words the bench cautioned the judiciary to exercise restraint as the reactions from politicians may result in the curtailment of power and dent in independence of judiciary.

If a civil society faces problem and the executive thinks that problem doesn’t warrant attention then is it right to say that even the judiciary should tow the same line? Or the judiciary should portray a picture of blindfolded idol and say that since there is no law to deal with the problem hence there can be no enforcement or wait for a law to be enacted, violated and then decide to look into it.

The three arms of governance are independent and yet dependent on each other. If any one of them is given even a subtle hint of having a free run then there will chaos and anarchy and perhaps the executive has just received that message.

The judiciary is the always the last resort against the oppression of the executive and the legislature and if that last resort too decides to look the other way and ignore its ‘extra-resposible-activism, the country may still survive but then the picture will not be too bright.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The problem with me is that each day I love you more.... Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. The other problem is that you never realize it, not yesterday, not today..maybe tomorrow.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh Bhopal

In a chilly night on 3rd December, 1984 a gas leak took place and 3800 people died in Bhopal. It was as simple as this.

24 years have passed and those who lost their loved ones still fruitlessly yet religiously take out processions demanding action against Dow, the new owner of UCC, the company which was responsible for the leak. 

Warren Anderson, the then head of UCC is in US and his extradition constantly refused.

More than 1.5 lakh people were affected by the methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leak and now they are living their lives in complete oblivion. Though the same does not hold true for Dow. The US giant has been allowed to continue providing its service in India and in 2006 the Industrialist and investment commission headed by Ratan Tata requested the Planning Commission to absolve Dow of any liability so as to increase and strengthen the trade between the two country. Reliance too is now working with Dow in the chemical production field.

Another not so important fact that should be noted here is that under the Indian legal eyes UCC is still an absconder. Maybe the law will acquit UCC because it has managed to achieve what no one could do: put Bhopal on the world map.

Dow is represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi in India and just for the records the PMOs file on Bhopal gas tragedy contains legal opinions that have given by Singhvi. During my law-studying days I frequently use to hear the saying " I am the jury and I am the judge". At that time these lines were too complicated for my nascent mind and it would have been more helpful if we were taught the same principle by illustrating the above example. Now I know what this 'Jury-judge' connotes.

5 years ago while waiting for my train at the Bhopal station I met a crippled man and in the course of having tea on the platform we struck a conversation. He told me that he was an unfortunate survivor of the 3rd December holocaust and he lost his wife, mother and 2 daughters on that fateful night. With moist eyes he told me that was able to survive because he was sleeping on the floor, one on which her wife had recently applied a fresh coat of dung to keep the place warm and insect free. According to him the gas released from the dung neutralized the MIC gas. His family was not so fortunate as they were sleeping on the bed above the ground when the gas leaked.

The dung saved him, at-least that’s what he believes.. He also had one more belief : America used Bhopal as a testing ground for its chemical weapon- the MIC.

In the year 1999 on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy the city of Bhopal observed a two minutes silence in respect of the departed souls. December comes every year. And every year rallies are taken out, speeches made and victims remembered.

For many it is enough. What else do you expect for a bunch of unknown toddlers, aged-old infirm, men and women who died many years ago?

Maybe some justice, not much, but still a small token as to convey the message that those who lost their lives were not worthless and expendable.

3800 people may not be enough to bring people out on the streets of Delhi for a candle-lit protest at the India Gate. Maybe the number is not just enough to warrant a 2 minutes slot on the news channels.

The survivors have now accepted their fate. The Bhopal victims don’t shy away from their helplessness, they have learnt to love with that. Probably we all have.

But at-least we can try to delay the inevitable by 10 years. Can't we resist ourselves from inviting Dow and the UCC to India for some more years? Till the last of the remaining survivor go to a never ending sleep and never awakes to see the ignominy.

"We are not expendable. We are not flowers offered at the altar of profit and power. We are dancing flames committed to conquering darkness and to challenging those who threaten the planet and the magic and mystery of life."

-- Rashida Bee, Bhopal gas leak survivor

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The predicament of being North-eastern

When most of us were busy watching the India-pakistan test match, somewhere in the north-eastern state of Assam, tribals and villagers were being brutally beaten by a mob comprising the local 'urban' people and police personnels.

Their crime : They had taken out a procession demanding ST status and were on their way to stage a dharna in-front of the assembly.

What was meant to be a march for demanding their legal rights soon turned into a ‘rural versus urban’ battle. In the ensuing use of force more than 15 tribals were killed and more that 250 including woman and children were seriously injured. Those who died didn't fell to bullets but were beaten to a painful death.

The tribals who according to media reports were armed with bows and arrows were hopelessly outnumbered and when they sought protection from the police, the police threw them to the urban-educated-class who assaulted them with sticks and blows. In one of the TV footage a constable is seen handing over a teenage-protestor to his would be killers.

Amazingly the print media neglected the whole incident and most of them including The Times of India decided that the suicide attack in Pakistan was more important and as a touching gesture placed the Guwhati incident in s four line snippet with the details in the inside pages.

A couple of months back one of my colleagues in PTI who hails from Silchar, Assam expressed his sense of dejection and hopelessness after he saw a shootout in Mumbai where two gangsters were killed was given more media attention than a bomb blast in Assam where 15 innocent people lost their life. He sadly yet candidly said that life in the north-eastern states is cheap and expendable.

Sadly the term "Quality matters not the quantity" is now increasingly being used by the media houses to decide how important the news is.

Some section of the state population of the seven remote states of India are demanding separate statehood. Doesn't the step motherly treatment that has been meted out time and again by the Center to them justifies their demand ?

A journalist is manhandled in Bihar and the whole administrative machinery stirs up into action. Central ministers condemn the incident , talk shows on news channels take the front seat and the whole media unites in protest the assault.

But in these hill-locked states local journalists are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea in the form of the army and the militants. There have been instances where editors have been threatened for refusing media coverage to the militant organizations. Those who bow down to their demands are harassed by the army and police on charges of assisting the militants.

The region is also known as the land of seven sisters. The North eastern states are very different in many ways from the other part of India. These States have the maximum number of Tribals living within. Many tribal languages are spoken throughout these seven states. The northeastern states have the highest percentage of Christians. Territory wise this region is the most sensitive region touching many countries like China, Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar & Bangladesh.

Both Kashmir and NE-states face the same problem, extremism and lack of economic developmet. But Kashmir gets more attention and a seperate article of the constitution governs the state. '. Why are the North eastern states provided with the same exemptions and economic subsidies ? Is it because Kashmir is more important internationally?

Is Delhi waiting for situation is the seven states to get worse? or does it imply that until the Northern states encounter militancy of the same magnitude they won’t be attended to? Here comes the notion of "step-motherly treatment

It is hardly surprising that though India has made rapid industrial progress with growth rate touching 9% the entire northeastern region has remained largely an agrarian economy. The only industries that came up were set up by the public sector. The North East’s ties with the Indian hinterland have been expensive and regressive. The presence and discovery of oil reserves has brought some respite but that is not enought

The successive regimes in Delhi have not been able to appreciate the consequences of their isolationist policies.

To ‘fair-minded’ regimes who are more interested in consolidating power in the centre of Delhi , the North East are a burden , best left to army and police to manage. In the name of development military-used infrastructures have been erected.

India in recent years has embarked on a "look east policy but will it usher in a new era of economic growth and increasing trade and commerce in the region is a million dollar question.

The eastern region has absolute poverty ranging between 42-58% making it one of the most backward regions in India. Its per capita income too is far below the national average, with Assam having a per capita income of Rs 10,000 in 2001-02, compared to Rs 18,000 for India.

Intelligentsia and political leaders are raking up the issues of civil society, rule of law in view of the Nandigram violence. Authors, writers, artists are pressuring the government to protect Taslima and uphold the freedom of speech.

Less than 24 hours have passed and Assam has been forgotten.

What about these 'trivial-not so important states' ? Aren’t principles of civil society , rule of law and intellectual thinking applicable to these states?

Does the number of parliament seat allotted to a state decides the level of favour granted by the Centre? Is that why UP, Maharasthra and the south states more important for people sitting in Delhi?

It’s a very simple fact yet a very important one : 28 states constitute India not 21.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Battle lost

I am not the kind of person who holds grudges. But the same cannot be said about Quant. The age old rivalry between him and me saw more blood shed yesterday.

This battle took place at the 'CAT paper' ground and I was hopelessly outnumbered by 25:1. In the end I could only kill 6 of them but suffered a very heavy loss. My age old dream ( 3 months to be precise) of making IIMs my future abode was shattered.

Though I scored much more than the required cut-offs for IIMs in English and DI yet the wounds sustained during the fight with quant proved to be fatal and my ambitions died a slow death.

read this line somewhere...

If I die in combat zone
Box me up and send me home
Pin my medals to my chest
Tell my mom I did my best

Part II

Overheard someone murmuring " Jaan hai to jahan hai..IIM to paglo ka kabristan hai"..

No prize for guessing-- that someone was me. And 2 days down the CAT - Life's good..

"Tu nahee to koi aur sahee..koi aur nahee , koi aur sahee"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When the winds from past came calling...

Opinions and comments were found in abundance in 12-c Commerce section of JLNS. They used to be more frequent when a class was in progress. These vocal one-way dialogues were said in a way that was too subtle to be heard by the teacher yet loud enough to receive the attention and sometimes appreciation of the first row benchers.

One of them that I distinctly remember occurred when the ever charming Ms.Beena martin was taking our economics class. It was a hot summer noon and no one except the teacher was interested in the fall and the rise of the PPC curve.

We- the six of us were hibernating at theusual back benches. Our neighboring row belonged to the girls, and the last bench of that row was occupied by Snehal and Yogita. I cannot remember the exact words, but I assume that one of the two was probably discussing some issues which involved the use of word "Brown color". Maybe they were sorting out the color of Sari that they were going to wear or the color on the hair that they were going to apply. Whatever was the point of contention one thing was sure that it had nothing to do with any of us.

What happened next was totally un-expected and un-heard. As soon as one of my friend who until now was filing his notebook heard the word 'Brown' he turned his face towards Yogita and without blinking an eyelid said " Brown!!! What a co-incidence!! That is the color of the underwear that I am wearing today".

This was followed by a complete pin drop silence from our side and a suppressed giggling from the girls.

There were many such incidents of youthful exuberance that took place in the rooms of 12-c . All such events may have hardly lasted two minutes yet even today they bring a smile on the saddest of days.


All these memories came back into my mind when I was sitting in class room of a school for the CAT paper. Maybe the smell of chalk, the white-dust of the duster and the sight of 'total student -present-absent' that was written on the black board brought back the old days.

Such was the urge to pen down the 6 years old events that I wrote the whole thing while traveling on the metro on my way home. To write I used the only available piece of paper I had with me at that time: the CAT question paper.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Media, Religion and politics- all mixed into one

India is all about cultural tolerance. It has survived and prospered where other more powerful have disappeared and disintegrated. The greatness of this country is that it allows many different religions to co-exist together .It’s a great religious conflux where various religions co-habit just like the many rivers flowing in this country that lose their individual identity and merge into one.

This greatness can be attributed to the fact that India through thousand of years has seen many a rules. This country has seen Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian rulers and yet it has remained secular. Religious tolerance doesn’t comes easily. India has never been a Hindu or a Muslim state and it will never be one.

What happened in Gujarat in February 2002 was shameful and it should have never happened. But what has this particular sting operation achieved? They have not come out with anything so incriminating that can be termed as path breaking or one which can help the law in giving justice. Neither they have fished out something which was unknown. Is not Babu bajrangi a known Hindu fundamentalist? His name already figures in the list of those who have taken an active part in the riots. It has been for long being alleged that it was a state sponsored riots and if some fundamentalist says that the state machinery was supporting the Hindu mob than does this it proves it?

What this sting operation has done is freshen the wounds that the people of Gujarat got in February 2002 and which to some extent was healing.

Intelligence agencies have time and again said that the Islamic Militant groups have regularly used the Gujarat riots to breed terrorism in young susceptible minds. The lessons of Jihad that are taught to the innocent minds draw their reference from what happened in Gujarat. Thanks to this particular sting operation now every house has heard and seen what happened in Gujarat.

The Tehelka people approached every national channel for airing the tapes. Some of them refused fearing the authenticity and the the possible backlash the airing may generate and some of them refused because they were not able to pay the sum desired by Tehelka in exchange for trading the tapes. Ultimately it landed in the hands of the Aaj-Tak group which aired it, and those who have seen it will agree that the whole show was more of a couple of minutes of actual footage and subsequent discussions and more time was devoted to the advertisements. The Aaj Tak Group got more than what it had paid for the tapes and their TRPs soared. As like in most cases ultimately it is all about money and the ‘national interest’ was put on the back burner.

These so called ‘guardian of democracy’ talks about media ethics that dwells on bringing the truth out. But what about the delicate religious secular environment of the country? Don’t they find anything unethical in that? Don they think that by airing such footages they are inciting the religious fundamentalists to destroy the secular fabrics of the state?

They could have telecasted the whole thing without using the crude words and graphical representation and narration. But that would have meant missing out on the ‘masala-sensationalization’.

Media is a very powerful effective tool and it can influence minds in no small manner and this is what the people in this profession should keep in mind.

Election time is about to arrive and I strongly think that the general Elections should now be called as ‘Religious elections’ because this is what the leaders have made it. Elections should be contested on issues of development, but sadly even after 60 years of Independence we have not been able to stop ourselves from being influence by religious and caste rhetorics. Religious issues will never lead us anywhere though they may pull us some steps back.

30% of India’s population lives below poverty line, millions are dying from disease like malaria and aids, forest and natural resources are being depleted and corruption is eating into our system. And mind you all these and many other countless issues are age old phenomenon and yet we are still shackled by the same Hindu-Muslim debate.

Every politician has his/her take on local, religious and petty issues but not even a handful of them can independently decide that how the nuclear is deal going to affect our country. Most of them have no idea whether to say yes or no to the deal, except the Left. The Left has decided to say no to the deal, but they themselves are confused on what grounds they have decided so.

This country sure has some confused leaders running the show, leaders who have no belief in themselves, leave alone the whole country having belief in them. But on second thought if India has managed to survive for so long then there is no reason why it won’t continue to do so in the future…. Hopefully!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Congress fighting 'infighting' in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh

With the mid-term elections to the Lok Sabha looming large following constant threats from the Left , political parties have started to gear up for the forthcoming 'Dance of democracy'.
The Congress party across the state of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has its hands full with infighting plaguing the organization in both the states and it has is yet to decide on many a important appointments. Including that of who would be the PCC chief for 6 different states including Chhattisgarh.

Speculation is that Subhash Yadav who is the PCC chief of Madhya Pradesh will be removed from the post as to save the party from the infighting that has plagued the state organization for as long as one can remember.

The state has many a political leaders who have a heavy stake in the state. Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath,Jyotiraditya Scindia, Suresh Pachouri and not to forget the old stalwart Arjun singh, all are in a midst of a war so as to decide that who would emerge stronger. These leaders have found a ring to match their strength in view of the expectation that the appointment for the post of state Youth Congress president would be made soon.

Among those in the race for the post include Union Minister Suresh Pachouri-supported Vikalp Deria and Atul Sharma, and MLA Rajwardhan Singh, a close confidant of Gwalior's Jyotiraditya Scindia. Other contenders include Mr Kamleshwar Patel, a supporter of Union Minister Arjun Singh, Mr Dinesh Gurjar, a confidant of Union Minister Kamal Nath.The post of state Youth Congress President had been vacant since the past two years after the tenure of then incumbent Meenakshi Natrajan ended.

Arjun Singh just like his own ambition of becoming Prime minister harbours an age old ambition of seeing his MLA son Ajay Singh become the CM of Madhya Pradesh. Though Political analysts feel that it would be difficult for Ajay as he will have to counter many a more senior and suitable leaders on his path. His not so successful stint as a minister in the previous Digvijay singh government hasn't helped his cause much.

Similarly Digvijay Singh who till recently was more active at the central stage has shifted his focus towards his home state. Diggi Raja has a point or two to prove after his loss in the previous state election where congress was completely wiped out by Uma Bharti led BJP. His clash of interest with the other 'royal blood' leader, Jyotiraditya Scindia is not hidden. The battle between the two can be seen as fight between a veteran ruler trying to consolidate his position and a young turk trying to make his mark.

A more interesting situation is being witnessed in the state of Chhattisgarh. Here it is "one against all", With the minority guy being Ajit Jogi. The former CM who has been going through a tough period of late and he will have to garner all his strength and experience to win the 'make or break' battle in the tribal state. With the entry of V C Shukla in the party, his climb has become more steeper.

Charan Das Mahant, Moti Lal Vora and now VC shukla, it appears that the tribal leader has got his hands full. Mahant is by no means a novice and with the active support of Vora, he has been able to make situation sticky for Ajit Jogi. The state PCC has not had a PCC chief since the previous election as both the rival camp are yet to decide on a consensus candidate. Although Mahant was apppointed as chief , but that is a temporary measure.

Observers feel that the only leader who can match Jogi in drawing crowds is Shukla. The previous round was won by Jogi when he defeated VC with a heavy margin to win the Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat. Motilal Vohra is seen as the man who facilitated Shukla's re-entry into the congress.

Most of the congress MLAs from the state claim support to the Jogi faction and this is where the Mahant-Vora-Shukla group may lose out. Detractors, specially VC Shukla may rake up the murder case of National Congress party (NCP) treasurer Ram Avtar Jaggi who was allegedly killed in 2003 allegedly at the behest of Amit Jogi ,son of Ajit Jogi.

After falling out from the good books of Sonia Gandhi , Ajit Jogi has slowly but gradually regained his lost position. This was evident after he was able to successfully demand a congress ticket for her wife Dr.Renu Jogi from Kota for the by-assembly . The seat was won by Renu Jogi by more than 22,000 votes after defeating BJP's Bhupendra Singh Thakur in a keenly contested by-election, for which she had got the ticket at the last minute amid protests from senior party leaders.

The Kota battle was dubbed a battle of prestige between the BJP and Ajit Jogi and was seen as a referendum on the state government. The BJP treating it as a prestige issue used all its weight andRaman Singh deployed all his 12 ministers for campaigning. RSS memebers also flew in from New Delhi.

After coming into power BJP hasn't had much opportunity to weaken the state Congress as this was easily done by the intra-fighting in between the various leaders. Observers feel that Raman Singh is fighting a very strong anti- incumbency wave and he also will have to pay a hard price for the corruption charge that has been levelled time and time against his party members.

A union cabinet expansion is on the cards, and it will be interesting to see that whether someone from Chhattisgarh makes into the Manmohan Singh ministry or not. Ajit Jogi has been a long standing candidate for a ministerial birth and he would have already been there but for Moti Lal Vohra.

It seems that the future political scenario in both these states would not be decided by the rivals outside but by rivals within.



Monday, October 01, 2007

In the name of God

In a recent Andhra Pradesh high court decision Justice V Easwaraiah of the Hyderabad High Court granted an interim stay and directed a company not to take up any construction activity on the 1,600 acres at Manikonda village which were alienated to them by the State Government.

This decision came in petition filed by a Telangana Rashtra Samithi Member of the Legislative Council H A Rehman in which he complained that the said lands are Wakf properties belonging to Dargah Hazrat Shah Hussain Wali and located in the Hazrat Shah Hussain Wali village.

The petitioner claimed that the erstwhile Telugu Desam government submitted a report to the court stating that the lands were Wakf properties and allotting them to various multinational companies like Microsoft and Wipro was illegal. The Congress, which returned to power in 2004, allotted them without considering the report, he said.

While passing the orders, the Judge said that prima facie it was not open to the State Government to dispute the said properties do not belong to the dargah. ''I am of the opinion that the lands belong to 'Allah" the Almighty. God is the owner of the lands and therefore no construction should be made on them,'' he said.

Conversely in another recent case of Siddivinayaka Temple peripheral wall issue, the Mumbai HC questioned the State Government rational behind constructing a wall around the famous temple so as to prevent possible suicide bomb attacks. The local residents of the area had protested this and moved to the court asking the court to remove the wall as it was obstructing the flow of traffic on one of Mumbai's major arterial roads and had asked the court to order the government to relocate the temple out of the residential area . In its judgement the court said "God is supposed to protect us and not we protect the GOD hence re-locate the temple".

Secularism is all about equality; equality of religion. But does that mean that since India has more of Hindus hence Hinduism comes on the lower pedestal? Does that imply that the faith of Hinduism is open to questioning whereas other religions with relatively less followers are untouchable? why this discriminataon? India adopted secularism in its constitution so as to see to it that every religion develops equally, no one weak no one strong.

One has to see the present issue in the context of a broader picture. A renowned artist paints Hindu gods and godess nude, and somewhere in Gujarat an arts student does the same . Some months back a Danish cartoon of prophet Mohammad created furore worldwide. Why this blasphemy? Its one thing not to believe god, its totally different to mock them.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution doesn't mean the liberty to mis-use it.

I again reiterate the same point. All religion is equal, and it's a matter of faith. Faith is about one's belief. It's simple; either you believe or you don't .

Who is Karunanidhi to question Ram and that too with so much of disdain? Hindus believe that the Ram-Setu was used by Ram and his army to cross over to Lanka. A child may not have read or heard about Panchatantra, Jataka or for that matter SRK but once in his life he is sure to have heard about Ramayan and Mahabharat.

Isn't it pertinent to ask that can we prove existence of god? Can anyone prove Ram? Has anyone been able to prove that Muhammad walked on this earth or for that matter was Mary the mother of Jesus, and if yes was there any Jesus? Gita, Kuran and the Bible are one and the same, if you question anyone of them you are questioning all of them.

These kinds of unanswerable questions are, should and can never be answered. Who are we the question faith? The believers don't need it and the non believers won't believe it.

Foolishly raising such issues give an opportunity the zealots to rear their dangerous contagious head. Every religion has a fair share of them and once you give them the chance to become active then it's the common mass that suffers not the gods.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

India wins, so does Rahul

India won the inaugural 20-20 world cup, thereby giving me and many others like me the opportunity to witness things that we have never witnessed before.

Though i pride myself of having a strong heart yet when Joginder was hit for 6 of the second ball, i switched off the TV and went to the balcony of my 7th floor flat . Two minutes later i knew India had won. The sound of crackers, the ''heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy'sssssss' and the voice of Ravi Shastri which was coming from every corner was more than enough to awake even a deaf man lying in his grave.

It was Diwali that day; both literally and figuratively. Soon there were the group of lads and ladies who were taking a 'lap' of our society, perhaps trying to emulate their heroes. Outside on the roads the drunkards were doing what they do best; boozing and far away i heard some humming "Peeney walo ko piney ka bahana chahiye" . How true.

I don't want write about what, how and why Dhoni and his man achieved. Already much has been written about that and i am sure more will be written.

For me it was a memorable day. Memorable like my last school day, my school farewell day, my sister's marriage day and so many yet so less different memorable days which we all witness. The ones you remember whenever you go back in memory.

On the same day another of the youth face of young India, Rahul Gandhi also was in news but his political appointment was treated as secondary concern by the news channels. I never expected that someone or something could upstage any news about the Gandhi family, but the Indian cricket team did it. Hats off to Dhoni and company. They will never know what they have achieved along with the cup!

Rahul Gandhi the would be PM of India as called by his collegues ( It seems that these days the Politicians are better future predictor than Bejan Daruwalla) was appointed the General Secretary of Indian National Congress and was also given the helm of NSUI and Youth Congress. Talk about being born with a silver spoon in mouth!

The buzz in the corridors of power as it is often called is that many of the young Congress leaders are not too happy with Rahul being given so much in so less time and without much effort. But i can guarantee you that no one will raise a voice.

Not going into the merits of the appointment it's pertinent to talk about that is Rahul Gandhi more of 'Gandhi' than 'Rahu'l ? Of course! Even a child of 14 years will say that if Rahul was not born into the Gandhi dynasty than he wouldn't be where he is now. This is not a rocket science and everyone knows this including Rahul himself.

When Rajiv Gandhi entered into politics he was also of Rahul's age. He was a great leader, one of the few modern 'visionary' India had, a man who worked to better India's future. Lets just hope that Rahul proves himself like his father. He has an able team to assist him. Sachin Pilot, JyotirAditya Scindia are all young politicians and have a vision for future India.

After playing lots of tricks, "The Kite Runner" finally landed in my hand. A beautiful book, impressive in the beginning but it gradually loses the power to bind readers towards the end. It is about how human relationships go through many a turmoils; some emerge winner and some are not that fortunate.

Chetan's Bhagat 'One night @ the call center' was a damp squib for me, specially considering the way he wrote my one of the all time favorites '5.1 someone'. I guess either my expectations were too high or the success of the previous book got into the head of the author. The only thing which pushed me to complete the book was an expectancy that was based on my reading of 5.1 someone. I turned one page after another hoping for a better something, but the last page arrived and i was happy that it finally ended.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ram Setu , Karuna Nidhi and the CAT ; So much to write

The recent one month has
been kind of 'laid back' period as my activities have been limited to attending the coaching class for MBA preparations and internet-socializing. Orkut lost its monopoly and i got hooked to Facebook and Shelfari.

Even though there have been so many political issues that i have felt the urge to write-on still i have not written anything substantial because whenever i open the news papers or the news-sites i find that my thoughts have already been penned down by someone else. Either i have lost my creativity or its just that everyones else opinion matches mine which in turn is shared by thousand others.

The Ram-setu controversy was one which could have been avoided. First Ambica Soni and then Karunanidhi fed fuel into the fire. If we go by the affidavit filed by the Cultural minister all gods should carry historical proof and evidence of their existence. And those who don't have any alibi to prove their existence then they don't exist in her book.

Karunanidhi went a step further and described Ram as a drunkard. An insane person like Karunanidhi should be given the least of attentions, clinically sick people like him thrive on the attention they get.

Everyone has the right to practise religion-ism or atheism but does it mean that an atheist, a person who is in a responsible position of CM can call a religious figure worshiped as god a drunkard?

Similarly some months back an artist drew pictures of god and goddess which to say the least were obscene.

Now, why would one draw god in obscene positions? Is that the only way left to show creativity? Is this art?

God in which ever form, holds a very sensitive position in our hearts and its existence is beyond any logic. It cannot be comprehended. One cannot insult religious belief under the garb of freedom of expression. And if they do, then they are misusing the freedom.

Coming back to the simple things of life, in all probability i will be going to Bhopal in the last week of October.

It's the season of Durga pujas and i just cannot miss Abhivyakti Dandiya thats organized in Bhopal every year and i feel somewhat proud to say that i have never missed one since its inception 8 years ago.

The Dandiyas, the Gujarati songs that color the atmosphere ( Pankidha 'O' Pankidha), the vibrant display of traditional dress wore by the beautiful pretty girls is just awesome, and one has to be there to believe it.

It has been more than one year since i left Bhopal , and still i become nostalgic at the mere mention of the city's name. I guess some memories become more stronger with the passage of time.

No one knows what future holds, the day i left PTI and enrolled into the MBA coaching i got an offer to work as a Journalist, again! That too in Oman. Now we have a situation! The money is good ( Gulf has only two things that lures a simple man like me and that is money and more money) and experts have opined that i should go and re-taste ( i have already tasted Doha) the feeling of sand and sun san the sea.

Then what about my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur ? ( a saying goes that one who can write the correct spelling of 'entrepreneur' at one go is sure to don the cap of a business honcho one day...and guess what ? i wrote it correctly. It seems we have a CEO in making). Entrepreneurship can wait, Gulf cannot. Now i am in a is sure good when someone else is there to take decisions on your behalf. When i was 12 i craved to be of 21 so i could take my own decisions, and now when i am of 24 i wish i never grew up.

The 'D day' for the CAT exams is 18th November, and i would have given you a 110% assurance that i would crack it, but for QUANT-MATHS. Simply put, me and maths share a Osama-Bush relationship. As a matter of fact we have a "Khandani Ladai' one in which lots of blood has been shed through generations. I see Quant as Mr.Dubya, Feared by the many and yet forced to loved.

There are many other 'D-days', the IRMA,the NMAT and the SNAP. I humbly believe that someday , one of the three will rise and say that they had enough of maths and when that happens that would be the salvation for me and for the thousands of others.

P.S- Just read some where that about 16,000 hyphens (-) from the English vocab have been done away with? If that's true then i must compliment the do-ers. I never liked distances between two letters of a word. It gave the impression that thet were going through a seperation period.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Chhattisgarh: End of democracy?

I wrote this in Feburary 2006, when the CSPS bill was still being 'debated' in the house. I am posting it on the blog in the wake of arrest of PUCL activist Dr.Binayak Sen who was arrested on May 5th 2007 under the CSPS act.

This article was carried by the Times of India and Central Chroncile.

The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security legislation 2005 (CSPS) which has been sent to the president for his approval is being seen as an instrument which will surely strangulate democracy in the state. The legislation which has been formulated to tackle the rising incident of naxalism has virtually given blanket power to the state so as to curb naxalism.

The legislation which contains 18 sections is being seen as the start of the series of laws which will be formulated in the country all in the name of combating terrorism, naxalism and communalism. If not repealed this legislation will be set a very bad precedent for the other states to follow suit.

Section 3 of this legislation authorizes the government to declare any organization as unlawful, and in some cases the government is even exempted from giving the reasons for declaring an assembly unlawful. When will our country realize that this is not an authoritarian or an anarchical state where you just do whatever you wish and go away with it. The more you try to justify your illegal legislation, the more illegal it will become.

Unlawful activity as defined in the legislation includes uttering words, writing or making visual representations that may “create risk or danger” for public order, peace and public tranquillity or create an impediment in the administration of law or institutions.

This definition can only mean one thing, either the government wants the state to be free from naxals or it wants to curb freedom of expression. This is up to the people and of chhattisgarh who reside in the naxal affected area to decide that the government is restraining whom , the naxals or the media..

All these years, the BJP government headed by Raman singh has said that naxal problem is socio-economic in nature, and it should be dealt in that way only. Bringing black cat commandoes and NSG troopers is not a socio-economic answer to a socio-economic problem, not by any farthest stretch of imagination.

The Legislation bans media from carrying reports of any kind of 'unlawful act'. Media is perhaps the most important party to democracy; and one cannot just stop them from doing what they are required to do, that is to report.

Media is the only front which has stopped the ever susceptible government from being draconian, and it’s the media that the politicians fear. By barring media from reporting, the government of Chhattisgarh is giving a message that they themselves are not sure that how would they tackle naxalism. Behind a closed door anything can happen.

Similarly under section 14 of the legislation any order or legislation by the government or the district magistrate or any other officer authorised by the government shall not be challenged in any court and no injunction shall be granted by any court or any other authority. First you gag the media then you cripple the judiciary. By doing this the government has conferred itself with an absolute power, one with no checks and balances. The judiciary through its several decisions has earned the respect of being the sole repository of the constitution and democracy in this country, and it remains to be seen whether the court will apply the same thinking that it had applied in various cases like Keshavnanda Bharti, Maneka Gandhi, V.G Row or N.B.khare?

It needs to be mentioned here that when the bill was being debated, the main opposition party, the congress was boycotting the assembly and was out of the House. Now it’s up to us to decide that whose blame is it, Congress’s or BJP’s?

The purpose of the Bill as mentioned is to safeguard people's lives and property and to maintain public order, peace and tranquillity. This has always been the reason advanced, be it the case of POTA, or MISA, the argument of safeguarding public peace and welfare has always been taken by the state to justify its policies. The state must realize that Constitutional rights and liberties just cannot be bypassed or ignored under the garb of combating militancy and naxalism

Just months ago the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s in his speech at the Conference of Chief Ministers had said that the democratic government should make a distinction between the genuine and legitimate expression of dissent and disaffection and the manifestations of anti-national, anti-social and anti-people threats to our democratic way of life. He pointed out that while citizens are free to choose the particular brand of politics they wish to follow, they have the freedom to take recourse to collective activity to achieve the social, political or economic changes that they desire, but no one is either permitted or expected to resort to violence to achieve these ends. At the same time, the PM also recognised that “Extremism is not merely a Law and Order issue, Development; or rather the lack of it, often has a critical bearing, as do exploitation and iniquitous socio-political circumstances. This speech sums up the situation of chhattisgarh. This is what is happening in chhattisgarh, but is passing such legislation the answer to the problems? Its not.

Right to freedom has been inscribed under article 19-22 of the constitution. Personal liberty is the most important and the backbone of fundamental rights, without personal liberty a human is not a human. Article 19 provides for six freedoms, viz., freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to form associations, freedom to movement, freedom to reside and to settle and freedom of profession and occupation. Freedom dismisses fear and empowers people against oppression of all hues; you take away freedom , and this gives oppression more opportunity to thrive.

In AK gopalan case, J. Patanjali Shastri had rightly said that the guarantee of each of the freedom rights is restricted by the constitution, its not an absolute right and the state can impose reasonable restriction as may be in the larger interest of the society, but one crucial aspect that needs to be understood is that the restrictions must not be arbitrary, and its upon the court and not the legislature to decide what is arbitrary.

In Indian express case the court said that the purpose of the press is to advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinions, without which a democratic society cannot make responsible judgements. Freedom of press is the heart of social and political intercourse.

Freedom of press has always been a cherished right of all the democratic nations, and press has always played a very vital role in shaping the democracy, and this freedom cannot be taken away.

Democracy is all about freedom. Freedom of speech, association, participation, expression, you decapitate these freedom, you have beheaded democracy

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Uma bharti all set to return back to BJP

If the recent cabinet reshuffle in Madhya Pradesh is to go by, Uma Bharti , the firebrand Sadhvi and the former CM of MP is all set to rejoin BJP, her parent party.

Dr Gaurishankar Shejwar, her most trusted lieutenant who returned to the BJP recently, has been re-inducted into the cabinet and rewarded with energy, medical education and bio-diversity and bio-technology.

By inducting the MLA from Vidisha who was earlier suspended from the party for supporting Uma Bharti’s political outfit BJS (Bhartiya Janashakti party), into the cabinet BJP has given clear signs of the things to come. This move is being seen as the first of the many steps being worked upon to placate Bharti and pave a way for her return.

Bharti who formed BJS after her expulsion from BJP for preventing Shivraj Singh Chauhan from becoming CM , has not been able to justify its existence. Though the party is still in its nascent stage, but with Bharti at its helm, it was expected that it would be able to give some fight to BJP, a thing which has not happened.

BJS, fought & lost the by-election for her Madhya Pradesh assembly seat of Bada Malehra, even though Uma Bharati had campaigned extensively for her candidate. BJS has also experienced defeats in the Lok Sabha bypolls for Amethi (UP), Vidisha (MP), Bhagalpur(Bihar).

The BJP General Secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh affairs, Ananth Kumar, refused to give any direct anwers to queries over Uma Bharti’s return. Significantly he also refrained from using aggressive language, which earlier was norm against the Sanyasin.

Observers are of the view that keeping in the mind the state assembly election that are slated to be held next year , Bharti may well be inducted back and given the post of National general Secretary or State BJP president. Though some section of the organization are against her being given the charge of state organization considering her ‘political volatile nature’.

Speculation of her return has been strengthened after she did not field BJS contestants for Lok Sabha by-elections for two seats in Madhya Pradesh, held in March 2007. Also, she agreed to withdraw her candidates to the 2007 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections at the request of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Chief, Ashok Singhal.

It’s not that only Uma bharti will gain upon her return. BJP is expecting an anti-incumbency wave in the state and to counter this they need someone like Uma Bharti who has not lost her charisma to attract crowds. BJP also needs to Consolidate over the infighting that has been plaguing the state Congress with a power struggle brewing between Subhash Yadav, Jamuna Devi, Ajay singh , Digvijay Singh and the young MP from Gwalior Jyotir Aditya Scindia.

Her rivals in BJP, may find it difficult to stop her from joining BJP considering her proximity to the RSS, VHP and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The only thing which can spoil her and BJP’s plans is she herself .

The chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who had succeeded Babulal Gaur, has further cut his predecessor to size by making him commercial taxes minister. Earlier, he was over looking the Bhopal gas tragedy ministry along with Commercial Tax. Gaur is not happy with his downsizing ahd is on path to become a rebel and is alleging Chauhan had become jealous of his (Gaur’s ) popularity.

Chauhan inducted a Sikh from Jabalpur, Harjinder Singh Baboo, as his cabinet colleague. He will be the second Sikh minister in the state after a gap of ten years. Tanwant Singh Keer used to be a minister in Congress led Digvijay Singh government. Baboo, the young legislator from Jabalpur is himself a victim of anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and his inclusion in Chauhan cabinet would definitely help the BJP attract Sikh votes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What if the Left, for a change really decides to pull out ?

Who wins and who doesn't in MP, Bihar and Chattisgarh

If the Lok Sabha elections are held immediately, the BJP may suffer heavily in Bihar and Chhattisgarh. But, with the Congress a strongly divided house in Madhya Pradesh, the same may not hold true for the central state. Though It can be safely said that the Bahujan Samaj Party will gain in MP.
The BSP which had organised a big rally of upper caste-Brahmins and Dalit in Bhopallast week, would do particularly well in Chambal and Vindya belt, comprising Rewa, Satna,Gwaliar and Bhind.
According to the political observers,the BJP may lose some important seats in Chhattisgarh, particularly in the tribal dominated Bastar and Surguja regions,from where it had won all the seats previously .The BJP has nine out of 11 members in the Lok Sabha from the state.

In the 2004 elections, the Congress had won the Mahasamund seat only , but in the by-elections held a few months back, the Congress captured Rajnandgaon seat which was retained by the BJP in 2004 elections.

The observers pointed out that the anti-incumbency factor would work strongly against the BJP, particularly the common -man and the common workers of the BJP are strongly against the chief minister, Raman Singh.The BJP government could not keep its promise of supplying Cows, Charan padukas (Shoes),free salt and subsidized gas cylinders in the rural areas. The party could not also keep control on corruption as there has been several cases of corruption confirmed by the committees of the state assembly, like the infamous Kunkuri rice scandal of Jashpur district.

The BJP may be able to capture only three to four seats, these observers feel and claimed the Congress would emerge stronger because of default.In Bihar, the recent floods and poor relief management may cause set back to the BJP in the elections,if held immediately. There has been several incidents of people being killed in police firings and riots over distribution of relief materials. The BJP would be sufferer as its leaders did not come to the aid of the common-man.

The RSS had the practice of rushing to the aid of the masses in distress, but in the instant case, the RSS cadre remained silent. Maybe because the CM, Nitish Kumar is from JD-U.

The Congress which has three members in the Lok Sabha from Bihar may not be able to improve its tally. This can be attributed to the fact that the Congress leaders, like their distant cousins remained inactive during distress of the people.In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has 25 out of 29 members in the Lok Sabha, the Congress has four, including Jytoridatiya Scindia and Kamal Nath.

The Congress is a deeply divided house in Madhya Pradesh with Digvijay Singh, Subhas Yadav and Jamuna Devi, all having their own different followings and different programmes. Uma Bharti who had helped the BJP to victory in the last elections may definitely cut into the strong BJP vote bank and may help the new combination formed by the Bahujan Samaj Party to get three to four seats in Chambal and Vindhya regions.

Satna, Rewa, Gwalior, Bhind and Morena may go to the BSP with the support of the Brahmins who have a very strong say in these areas.The BSP may also get support of the Gondwana Gantantra Party in the Mahakoshla belt where the regional party has strong following and this may affect the prospects of the BJP and the Congress.

The Congress may not be able to retain even the four seats in the present House from MP. Scindia junior had won the last elections with poor margin and with the BSP becoming more stronger, he may find it difficult to re-enter the Lok Sabha, according to the political observers.

Overall ‘an interesting battle’ ; if it happens that is.


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