Monday, February 18, 2008

More than one reason to show Congress the door

The continued silence on part of the congress leadership including Sonia Gandhi and the Prime minister Manmohan over the violence against the north Indian migrants in Maharasthra speaks volume about the real picture of the UPA in general and Congress in particular.

Maybe the congress will mend its way in the future and assume a more responsible role but right now this decade old party doesn’t deserve to govern this country.

Vote-banks have and will always play a very important role in deciding the actions of a political party but there are some times when national interest has to be brought into the forefront but this has rarely been the case with the Indian political structure.

When Mohammad Haneef was victimized in Australia, Manmohan singh went on the record and said that he had trouble sleeping and he saw faces of Kafeel and his mother in his dreams. It would have been gracious enough of the PM had he shared the same sentiments about those poor migrants who were beaten mercilessly just because they belong to a certain part of India.

There is more than one issue that will play on the minds of the voters when the country goes to poll next year.
The Ram Setu controversy was one which was unwarranted and one that could have been avoided. It is just another example of the political immaturity the present top rung Congress leadership posses. Congress meekly surrendered itself to Karuanidhi in order to save the UPA and gave Karunanidhi the liberty to speak out his insane mind and hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus all over the world.

The nuclear deal and the way it was handled will also be instrumental in deciding Congresses fate. The whole India and the rest of the world saw Congress arguing for operationalizing the nuclear deal, numerous statements were made , many more pro-deal debates were staged in which the congress leaders left no stone unturned to make us believe that the nuclear deal was the best thing that was happening to India in recent times. 

Mrs.Gandhi even termed the leftist as anti-nationals and called them people who were against the development of India. The deadlock lasted for many a months and Manmohan dared the Left to pull its support and stop the deal. Unfortunately for the PM, the left called his bluff and left the PM red-faced and soon the deal was dumped into the back burners.

According to the PM he wanted to save the country from another General election and hence conceded to the Left’s demand. Someone should have told the Respected PM that this ‘novel-noble’ policy of ‘country first’ would invite more cynicism than appreciation from his country men.

Rural Indian population may not be so much affected by the deal and its aftermath but the amount of press this deal got has sure given the urban India enough idea of what this deal was all about and the given a clear picture about the incompetence on the part of Congress.

NREGA, the much hyped program is something which the Congress can cheer about but it is not sufficient to save the congress from a rout. The implementation should have been planned out in a more systematic manner and it would have been more beneficial had the policy of selective implementation of the act would have been practiced.

The rate of un-employement in Bengal and Chhattisgarh is far greater than in Punjab or Karnataka. The living standards of the inhabitants in the so called BIMARU states is dismally low when compared to the other more prosperous states. Even a 10th grader will tell that more impetus on increasing the employment opportunity is needed in the northern-eastern hilly states than in Gujarat.

100 Rs per day won’t be of much value for an unemployed youth in Punjab but the same 100 rs is what a laborer earns in Bihar if he works for two days.

The act should have given priority to those states which are lagging behind in terms of state GDP when compared to the national GDP. Once all the states were on equal playing ground then the benefits of the acts would have given more benefits.

The Forest Rights bill was another political attempt to woo the tribal vote-bank but sadly that vote-bank was in exchange for huge forest land and exotic endangered animals. Though the implementation of the act has been stayed after a mounted offensive from the environmentalist but it remains to be seen how long will the animal continue to breathe without any fear.

The minority appeasement policy that the present government is following has assumed dangerous proportion and this may not augment well for the secular framework of this country.

And make no bones; this “please the minorities” policy is not aimed towards uplifting the conditions of the minorities, albeit it has more to do with increasing the already dwindling vote-bank of congress. Fortunately the minority class is not oblivious to these nefarious designs.

The recent result in the various by-elections that were held in different states is a precursor to what the future hold for Congress.

Sadly the dilemma that plagues us all is that the BJP which is the most probable alternative to Congress also doesn't have a good record to boast of. We Indians always have to decide between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The great Indian north-south divide

The Lt Governor of Delhi,Tejinder Khanna on Thursday while launching the special mobile patrol of Delhi police alleged "it is fashion of the North-west Indians to violate laws. They feel pride in breaking rules, while in South India,people respect laws". Khanna, a few months back had recommended identity cards and special driving licences for North Indians in New Delhi.

The chief minister, Ms Sheela Dixit had earlier regretted North Indians; particularly those coming from Bihar and UP were burden on the state capital. In Maharashtra, Raj Thackarey is speaking against the North Indians and his supporters are attacking the taxi drivers of Bihar-UP origins operating their services in Mumbai, the house of Amitabh bachchan is attacked, the office of Bhojpuri film hero, Manoj Tiwari is ransacked and the hall screening a Bhojpuri film is vandalized.

Not only the political leaders, but those occupying the constitutional posts like Lt Governor and chief minister are speaking against Bihar and UP and their people staying in the national capital and commercial capital of India. Four decades back, there was an agitation against Hindi in South India and against English in North India.

A few months back, labourers from Bihar and Jharkhand were massacred in Assam. Their crime, they came from North Indian states .A decade back, the Pandits from the Valley were ousted from their homeland, Kashmir when militancy gained momentum.

In Gujarat, there was an attempt to divide the society on communal lines after Godhra. In Ahmedabad, Mulsims staying in the main housing colonies like Sarkhej, Pragatinagar,Vijay Nagar, Navrangpura left the cosmopolitan "societies"(as the residential colonies are called there) and migrated in the cluster of colonies developed for the Minorities only on the outskirts.

Is India heading towards Balkanisation, whether the Indian Republic is cracking up like different unions in the United Socialist Soviet Republic? A dangerous trend which can divide the nation. Because, those speaking in terms of South-North divide are not tribals, but elites of the society, civil services and politics.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Maharashtra for Marathi, Bihar for Bihari ; what is left for India?

Another example of spineless governance from the Congress party was seen as a bunch of goons in Mumbai held a city to ransom and assaulted poor migrant laborers in full public view. Their crime- they hailed from the eastern states of India like Bihar, UP and Jharkhand.

It is just impossible to believe that a person like Raj Thackeray with no political standing and following can carry out this ‘regional cleansing’ without any political patronage.

I am no BJP supporter. BJP did the same in Gujarat in the post Godhra period, the state government in Gujarat kept mum as the minority class was butchered. The same thing is true about Congress in the present case. Innocent people who strive hard to earn two pieces of meal are beaten up; their means of employment broken and the state continues to look the other way.

It’s situation like this that feeds the fuel to anarchy ; where the oppressed finding no one to safeguards his rights and legitimate interest takes the ‘law’ ( which in the first place has been torn to pieces by the perpetrator) in his own hand. Clashes start and gradually it spreads into wherever it sees an opportunity to thrive.

And it is situation like these that shows how helpless the common mass still is.

Fortunately there has been no counter reaction from the people of the states from which the victims hail and one can only imagine that what would happen if their belief that goons like Raj Thackeray will be brought to the books is shattered.

Shiv sena was earlier more of a pawn which the congress used to its benefit now the same Shiv sena runs a parallel government in Maharashtra. There is more than enough evidence to book Bal Thackeray for the anti-Muslim riots of 1992 but he is still out because successive state government have said that his arrest may lead to large scale violence.

Sometimes people forget that pawns never remain a pawn, after completing the required steps it becomes a very powerful ‘Wazir’. Same was the case with Bal Thackeray and god forbidding same will be the result in Raj’s case if the state continues to keep its eyes shut.

There are provisions in law which are enough to haul Raj Thackeray into the prisons but as has been the misfortune of this country legal provisions have always been made but never applied; even if they are then its the poor that face them and rarely the powerful.

Raj Thackeray’s ambition for a greater role in Maharashtra has fuelled his narrow mentality and his good organizational skill has helped him gather a sizeable following. Not surprisingly he follows his idol Hitler whom he admires for his organizational skill.[1]

The precedent that is being set by the Congress ruled state is very detrimental for the framework of this country. The north-eastern states of Assam and its sisters have been facing this issue of regionalism for long and no one can forget that anti-Hindi movement that was seen in the southern states of India.

Vote bank politics drives everything in this country and times are rare when political parties rise over it but this is truly a time when they need to look at things apolitically.

Another very important point of focus is the lack of employment in these BIMARU states. The state machinery of these north-eastern states needs to work on improving the existing employment opportunity and take up development work that will increase the employment level. Once this has been achieved the migration will come down.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took lots of pain to integrate the erstwhile 600 princely states into one dominion, India and now we have Thackarey who is hell bent on undoing the efforts of Vallabhbhai.

Going by the recent happenings Maharashtra for Marathi, Punjab for Punjabi and Bihar for Bihari doesn’t look far. And it will soon be a reality if the leaders continue to follow their ‘modest’ political ambitions but who can wake the slumber of those who sleep in Delhi.

Go on MNS; you are on path to make history.


Patna diary

The past one month has been very busy for me (pun intended). To begin with people round the world celebrated my 25th birthday (again the same intention). As I was in Patna I was forced by my dad to pay obeisance at the age old temple of Goddess Kali situated at the historic Darbhanga house.

The Patna University which houses the Darbhanga house is a very serene place near the banks of the ever shrinking river Ganga. One visit is all that is required and if one has the patience to loiter there for around 20 minutes he/she will overhear the veterans of that establishment remembering those good old days when Ganga in full fury at the time of the 'Bihari' monsoon would wash the feet of goddess Kali. During that one month the idol at the temple would be spared the inevitable trouble of the priest waking her up in the wee hours of morning as the raging Ganga would stop anyone from coming near the temple.

Now that same old Ganga has been forced to follow the path of her distant cousin Yamuna who too is fighting for her survival and many don’t give her much chance of making it. Ganga like many other rivers of India has also been given the responsibility of taking the departed souls to the heaven as many of the corpse that can be seen floating in the river suggest.

The age old river though is no match due to the sheer number of corpses that are dumped in the river. Some time back ‘Snapping turtles' that scavenge on corpse were released into the river in thousands so as to provide a solace and support to the river but like Ganga the turtles too conceded defeat in wake of the ever increasing number of the dead and the corpse enjoy a free ride up to the heaven.

One year back while being a part of cremation procession I got the chance to watch the banks of Ganga up-close. The mourners were understandably sad for the demise of their close one but their gloominess increased when they had to walk 6 kms from the main road to reach the bank where the cremation takes place.

Suppressed murmur on the shrinking of Ganga, some accompanied by pity some by anger were heard. The one still that is fresh in my memory goes like this "Kah ho Ganga maiya itna gussa gail..itna mehnat karwaib.. itna chalwaib ' ( Mother Ganga you have become so angry that you have made us walk so much).

A river is dying and shrinking and trying to survive and still people think that she is showing her anger.

The historic Patna University (7th oldest University in India established in 1917) saw a change of VC as the incumbent Mr. Y.C. Simhadri was removed by the Governor and the new VC Mr. Shyam lal took charge.

Mazharul Haque, Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krisna Sinha, Dr. Sachidanand Sinha, Anugral Narain Sinha, Jay Prakash Narayan, B. P. Mandal, Karpoori Thakur, L. N. Mishra, Baliram Bhagat, Ram Dulari Sinha, Sidheshwar Prasad and many others, all alumni of this University.

The Quit India Movement of 1947 saw almost all of the entire PUs students jumping into the agitation. The Total Revolution called by Jai Prakash Narayan in 1974 had its support base in this University. That revolution gave birth to many leaders that are active in the state and national politics like George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. Sadly none of these alumni including the present honorable Railway Minister have been able to emulate their distinguished seniors.

Mr. Lal who is from Rajasthan happens to be a close friend of my dad and when he visited at our home I was taken back by his softness and his simple-ness. He talked about many a things and he also disclosed that he also had his apprehension about coming to Bihar as the other Indians living outside Bihar do. But he was pleasantly surprised when he discovered that what all is said about Bihar and Patna is more of words that lacks any credibility than anything else. Every state and every city has its problems. The situation worsens if those issues are not looked into. Previously in Yadav’s regime there was no government, no administration and to even think about development was a sign of insanity but the present Nitish kumar led government is working and changes are visible

Mr.Lal was so happy with the state of affair and the all-round improvement that the state is witnessing to that he asked his son to take admission in the soon to be started Chandragupta institute of management in Patna which has been established on the lines of IIMs.

Coming back, yesterday I rescued 5 soft-shell-turtles from a fish market in downtown Patna. All of them are weak, and have got injuries of various natures. The whole of yesterday went into preparing a 'desi aquarium' one with more of mud than water.

Today morning I got a feel of how expert diggers the turtles are as one of them managed to 'escape' from the high security enclosure by tunneling a 15 cm tunnel beneath the fencing that I had erected but with my pet German shepherd, Bela taking up the responsibility of bringing the culprit to books I know that I can breath easy.

A couple of days back one of the students of my university committed suicide. She was very junior to me and took admission in NLIU when we had already graduated. Though she was only an acquaintance as I met her only recently in the convocation yet she came out to be as a young, energetic, ambitious girl having high hopes and unfulfilled dreams enjoying the colleges days and it was truly sad to see an ending that was never expected. It’s never a pleasure experience to hear such kind of news about someone you know.

Have busy days ahead, with the GD/Pi calls waiting to be tackled, calls that would decide where I will be one year down the line. Then there is a wedding of a school friend in Bhopal who is a member of the close circles of friend that we boasted of in our school days.

A visit to Bhopal is always welcomed with open arms and the present one, I am sure will be more memorable as we plan to have a ‘get-together' of all of the school mates. There was a time when we use to meet twice in a day and now it has been almost more than 2 years since I met some of them. Such is life.

One of my friend Patel@lalit finally managed to find a company and a job that suits his stature and I can just speculate that how happy all his other friends are over this.

Many states including Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that I follow closely will soon be going to polls and it would be interesting to see the drama unfold, perhaps more interesting than the drama itself.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Madhya Pradesh gears for Polls

Hectic political activity is expected in Madhya Pradesh as all the political parties-, BJP, Congress, Bharatiya Janshkati Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have started making –pre-election preparations.

The Congress is promoting the younger generations of politicians to lead in their respective areas. Jyotirdtya Scindia ,Ajay Singh” Rahul”, sons of Madharao Scindia and Arjun Singh, are already active for over a decade. Arun Yadav, son of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, Subhash Yadav, Nakul Nath, son of the union commerce minister, Kamal Nath are the two political sons to rise in the state.

Arun Yadav was fielded by the Congress in the Khargone by-election and Nakul saw the political fields in Betul, an adjoining constituency to Chhindwara last week.

With the assembly elections round the corner, Shivraj Singh led BJP government has embarked on an “please all’ policy. After successfully evading the bouncer over an alleged corruption charge over ‘Dumper’ and a rebellion inside the party, the incumbent CM has shifted his focus on how to tackle the ‘anti-incumbency’ factor which is expected to play a decisive factor in the coming polls.

The CM had much to cheer after the state was awarded a place in the Guinness Book of World Record for being able to galvanize maximum public participation in social sector for a consecutive second year. But politically, lines on his forehead increased.

After facing Bhartitva (Uma Bharti) which was expected to be reintroduced into the state’s electoral plans, the state unit is now facing dilemma over implementing Moditva. One of the factor that is being attributed to Modi’s win in Gujarat is his denial of ticket to almost one third of the sitting MLAs.

The BJP legislators of Madhya Pradesh are tense as they sense a repeat of the same formula getting implemented in Madhya Pradesh during the ticket distribution for assembly elections scheduled in November this year. The possibility of the same got stronger after in a Chintan Baithak (brain storming meeting) of party leaders at held Sanchi, it was decided that all ‘non-performing’ MLAs could be denied ticket by implementing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s formula. Many state leaders feel that implementing the policy of Gujarat in Madhya Pradesh will be detrimental as Shivraj is no Modi and the large scale rebellion that is sure to arise will cause the party more harm than it may be able to take.

BJP also saw one of its rival growing weak as following differences with Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS) president Uma Bharti, former Union Minister Prahlad Patel was removed from the executive body of the party. Prahlad patel was the staunchest of all the few allies that the sadhvi had and in all probability this would negatively affect more of Bharti’s political journey rather that Patel’s political future as he was regarded as the spine of the still infant BJS. Many see this is as a probable exit of Patel from the party.

The differences between both the leaders were evident at the time of Gujarat assembly elections, when Patel had decided to go against Uma for not withdrawing party candidates from the elections. Uma had publicly announced to withdraw the candidates considering that division of votes would not help Narendra Modi to form government.

Similarly The Congress high command is facing a dilemma over change of guard in Madhya Pradesh after verdict in the recently held by-elections in Khargone and Sanwer. Removal of state Congress chief Subhash Yadav was imminent if Yadav’s son Arun was defeated from Khargone but he got a lifeline as his son romped home against all expectations. Such was the infraction that none of the senior leaders except Scindia campaigned for Arun Yadav. Yadav had been running the defunct Congress in Madhya Pradesh for the past four years and by all political analysis he has been a weak leader. Surprisingly, the party leaders never seemed so anxious to remove Yadav, but after the by-elections, scenario has completely changed. Almost all the party camps are eying Madhya Pradesh.

Subhash Yadav though has been using his office well by packing the state congress with his loyalist as he recently demonstrated by successfully making his supporters presidents to four departments out of eight, and 14 cells out of 16. This has caused much infuriation among the other tall leaders of the state like Kamal Nath, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, Union Ministers Arjun Singh and Suresh Pachori.

Some reports have suggested that Kamal Nath has been trying the Betul seat for his son Nakul who till now has no political experience. If this turns out to be true then sleepless nights for many state leaders including Pachori who was eyeing Betul as his tenure comes to close, are surely expected.


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