In cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows
Someone tweeted Shashi Tharoor:
"Tell us minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?"
And our MoS tweeted back
"Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows."
O boy! That would have rattled the netas of his own party and God bless our dear MoS with lady luck to tackle his party men. If Mr.Tharoor had thought American style witty talks will be taken with a pinch of salt or sugar in India too, he would have learnt a bitter lesson by now. Sense of humor is a complex formula in Indian politics – real humor could be bitter and bitter could be taken as humor.
Austerity is the latest fad in Indian politics. It all began with Pranab mukherjee’s strong “advice” to SM Krishna and Tharoor to vacate their 5 star suites in Delhi. Then came the travel advisory to choose economy class over business class in flights. Our next to God VIP’s definitely would have fumed for having to forego their “elite status” and to be seen among the “common man”. News hungry media was happy to highlight Soniaji’s travel in economy class and Rahul Gandhi’s travel in chair car Shatabdi express.
Some MP’s quipped that they cannot fit into economy class thanks to their huge body frame. Somebody please tell them aam admi’s (“mango people” in love aaj kal lingo) travel in the same economy class without much fuss. They even travel in worst conditions in buses for longer hours so solpa adjust maadi! While another minister protested against economy class saying business class provides comfort, privacy and allows them to clear files even while flying. *sighs* I never knew Indian politicians are so hard working… I wish! Anyways other MP’s and bureaucrats are left with no other option but to follow the new fad displayed by their leaders.
It’s been months the world is reeling in economic depression, it has become almost a routine now that farmers commit suicide and now suddenly our Kings sorry Ministers have a new found love with austerity. Isn’t it the same party that vouches on the principles of Gandhian values? So why was the principles conveniently forgotten all this years? Why not extend the Gandhian principles in all walk of their lives?
How about Maruthi 800 for every ministers and bureaucrats instead of Skoda and Toyotas?
How about flats for all ministers instead of sprawling bungalows?
How about election rallies sans thousands of posters and cut-outs? (Couple of state elections is round the corner, they have a chance to show their austerity drive)
How about cancelling all the lavish perks bestowed to our elected representatives?
These are just samples of a long list of potential austerity steps our netas can follow. The question is will they?
Am I wishing too much? Huh.
Pragmatically thinking, I feel this is just a hint to prepare the common man for what could be in store in the next budget.
“you see, even we have given up the business class , now time for you to share the burden of the fiscal deficits”
BJP – Walking the path of self –destruction
Election 2009 has broken the back of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) , the supposed to be the part of difference and the second largest opposition party of India. Defeats and victories are part of democratic process. Defeats should lead to introspection , analysis to identify the reasons for the defeat and find straregies to recover the lost position. Instead BJP seems to be on auto pilot tailspin to disaster. From a party of difference it is making a perfect recipe of party of dissidence , indifference and chaos away from the ground realities.
The leadership seems happy not to analyze the defeat. They are eager to find issues and scapegoats and save itself from the labour of figuring out the actual reasons for the defeat. Escapism !
The latest step in the walk of self destruction came with the expulsion of veteran leader Jaswant Singh.
Jaswant Singh may not be a popular leader among the masses of India still he is one of a tallest leader BJP has now. He is an Ex-army officer , an academic and a senior most member of BJP , having served the party for 30 years. A party cannot ban a leader for his individual views that he expressed in his book. It just shows the immaturity and irresponsibility of a political party. Jaswant did not make any comment as the party spokesperson , whatever he mentioned in his book “Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence” is his individual expression and people should be tolerant of one’s individual viewpoints . Ofcourse , the party could always disassociate from the viewpoint of Jaswant Singh , present its own thoughts on the discussion and make clear its stance. Instead the leadership chose to yet again deflect the real focus on election defeat and make Jaswant Singh the only issue in its “chintan baithak” meet , where it is supposed to plan its “road ahead”. Going by the happenings “road ahead” seems to be full of thorns and they are in no mood to remove them and walk the talk.
So what are Jaswant Singh’s controversial remarks ?
"I would admire that in any man, self-made man, who resolutely worked towards achieving what he had set out to,"
“Nehru believed in a highly centralized polity. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn’t. Consistently, he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it became a partitioned India.”
“I think we have misunderstood him (Jinnah) because we needed to create a demon… We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country.”
I have no specific opinion about Jinnah. He is a man who took advantage of the turbulent situation that prevailed in the subcontinent during the partition time and carved an independent country. No one could also deny the fact that the policies of congress during that time and primarily of Nehru and Gandhi helped Jinnah in the making of Pakistan. Why do people have to frown upon that fact ? Jinnah singlehandedly could not give wings to the concept of Pakistan. The situation in the Indian Subcontinent and the policies , ego and ambitions of political leaders of that time sure have a reason for the division of subcontinent. So Jaswant Singh has a point when he claims that the policies and image of Jinnah has been demonized in India to hold him solely responsible for the division of the country. I do agree with him in this context. History is many times taught one-sided : where as Jinnah is demonized in India , Gandhi and Nehru are demonized in Pakistan.
There is also a truth in Jaswant Singh’s claim that Nehru believed in centralized polity and Jinnah wanted a federal polity. Certain policies of Nehru post independence would sure add weight to his claim.The egos , personal ambitions and dreams of the political leadership of India since 1930’s have their own share that lead to the painful , bloody partition of India and creating a wound that will take a long , long time to heal.
I may not wholly subscribe to this view point of Jaswant Singh. Since I have not listened to in what context he said this , I would not disagree too. He is partly right on this , according to me.
“Look into the eyes of the Muslims that live in India and if you truly see the pain with which they live, to which land do they belong? We treat them as aliens … without doubt Muslims have paid the price of partition. They could have been significantly stronger in a united India … of course Pakistan and Bangladesh won’t like what I am saying.”
Hindus and Muslims and in general the common man of India still suffers from the partition wound. Though 60 plus years have gone by since the partition of Indian subcontinent and birth of Indian sovereign nation , the wound of partition still remains. We cannot deny the fact that still remains a degree of mistrust between Hindu and Muslim communities , fuelled lately by divisive politics and the emergence of Islamic terrorism. Its a separate topic in itself to be dealt with. Of course from a Muslim point of view as a community yes united Indian Subcontinent would have given a bigger say and a stronger political voice for them.
Anyways , back to the topic , my view point BJP made a blunder in its decision to sack Jaswant Singh.
Post Election , BJP should be doing a soul search to find what went wrong and to make corrections to it course but they simply are refusing to do so. The party is in a chaos , leadership out of sync to the mood of nation , an aging leadership , short sighted strategies and refusal to analyze the outcome of election and bad decisions are sinking the BJP into disarray . Its time the party wakes up to the reality and pulls its socks. India needs a strong opposition and right now still BJP is the only party that could play the role. I hope and wish , BJP rebrands and emerges itself as a strong political party in sync with the younger generation and acts up to its original selling point of “Party with a difference” .
Going by current events , Its a long,long road ahead. My sympathies goes with Jaswant Singh in this turn of events. In his media interview post expulsion , he sounded what would happen if "soch, vichar and chintan" stopped in Indian politics. I wonder too.
Parting shot quote :
“From BJP’s Hanuman, I am now its Ravana”
Some excerpts from Jaswant Singh’s book :
‘The basic and structural fault in Jinnah’s notion remains a rejection of his origins; of being an Indian, having been shaped by the soil of India, tempered in the heat of Indian experience. Muslims in India were no doubt subscribers to a different faith but that is all; they were not any different stock or of alien origin.’
- & -
‘It is in this, a false ‘minority syndrome’ that the dry rot of partition first set in, and then unstoppably it afflicted the entire structure, the magnificent edifice of an united India. The answer (cure?), Jinnah asserted, lay only in parting, and Nehru and Patel and others of the Congress also finally agreed. Thus was born Pakistan’.
- & -
‘His opposition was not against the Hindus or Hinduism, it was the Congress that he considered as the true political rival of the Muslim League, and the League he considered as being just an ‘extension of himself’. He, of course, made much of the Hindu-Muslim riots (1946; Bengal, Bihar, etc.) to ‘prove the incapacity of Congress Governments to protect Muslims; and also expressed fear of ‘Hindu raj’ to frighten Muslims into joining the League, but during innumerable conversations with him I can rarely recall him attacking Hindus or Hinduism as such. His opposition, which later developed into almost hatred, remained focused upon the Congress leadership’ (M.R.A. Baig, Jinnah’s secretary).’
- & -
‘Religion in all this was entirely incidental; Pakistan alone gave him all that his personality and character demanded. If Mr. Jinnah was necessary for achieving Pakistan, Pakistan, too was necessary for the fulfilment of Mr. Jinnah.’
- & -
‘However, it has to be said, and with great sadness, that despite some early indications to the contrary, the leaders of the Indian National Congress, in the period between the outbreak of war in 1939 and the country’s partition in 1947, showed in general, a sad lack of realism, of foresight, of purpose and of will.’
- & -
‘As (Maulana Azad) wrote in his memoirs, he had come to the conclusion that Indian federation should deal with just three subjects: defence, foreign affairs and communications; thus granting the maximum possible autonomy to the provinces. According to the Maulana, Gandhi accepted this suggestion, while Sardar Patel did not.’
- & -
‘For, along with several other there is one central difficult that India, Pakistan, Bangladesh face: our ‘past’ has, in reality never gone into the ‘past’, it continues to reinvent itself, constantly becoming our ‘present’, thus preventing us from escaping the imprisonment of memories. To this we have to find an answer, who else can or will?’
Excerpt source : Key excerpts from Jaswant Singh’s book
DMK – Dynasty of M Karunanidhi
The election results surprised everyone and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , emerged stronger than ever before . With numbers in hand , he seemed to open his second innings as PM with more confidence , less interference from bullying , blackmailing regional small parties .
But life is not that easy after all , right ?
So the spanner was thrown in the otherwise seemingly smooth government formation by Congress’s old , trusted ally “ DMK ( Dravida Munetra Kazhagam ) the strong party of Tamil Nadu. DMK with 18 members wanted to extract its pound of flesh like in 2004 , forgetting the fact that Congress in 2009 is bit different from how it was in the previous 5 year’s governance.
So what we have ? A fight of egos , arrogance , and authority and power.
For DMK and its head M Karunanidhi , DMK now stands for Dynasty of M Karunanidhi. Daughter Kanimozhi , Son M K Azhagiri , Grand nephew , Dayanidhi maran all have won the election and would have to be inducted in the new government. ( not to forget the CM in waiting , younger son M K Stalin , making it a complete dynasty party ) . If all three of them are inducted , there would be noises within party and from opposition for making a family cabinet in the centre at the cost of other candidates. So , he needs to induct other senior leaders like TR Balu and A Raja , who were ministers in the previous government just to make sure it is not just a family cabinet representing DMK. So it needs more cabinet berths , Simple.
For Congress , Post results have surprised itself and they definitely would not want to be bullied by other parties. Last five years was definitely a tough time for them , balancing the egos , ambitions , selfishness of their allies and managing the full term. With new confidence and mandate , they are in no mood to be bullied this time around too . So bowing to DMK , would give out a wrong signal to other allies. So DMK has to be checked , simple. After all , DMK government in TN is supported by Congress’s 35 members . So DMK would not make any extreme step to rock their government in state. Stalemate. That is what we have , with Congress having the upper hand , albeit little discomfiture.
DMK has decided to stay away from the government ( at least as of now when am writing this post ) Am sure , they would be now regretting the over the board tough stance they took and going in public very soon of their intention to stay out of government.DMK would have been taken by surprise congress’s tough stance. After all , the good old wily politician that he is – Karunanidhi , sure knows what it means by being part of Government and staying out of it .
For Karunanidhi , Blood is thicker than party but for once , he failed to gauge the pulse of 2009 .
TGIPB : Part 10 – The Fourth Battle
May 7 , 2009
The Great Indian Political Battle
4th phase of Indian General Election .
7 states and National Capital Territory ( Delhi )
95 million voters
0.13 million polling station
0.6 million polling staffs
All the seats of Delhi , Rajasthan and Haryana and one seat in J & K and part of Punjab , UP , Bihar , and West Bengal goes to poll today.
Key Contestants :
Lalu Prasad Yadav , Mulayam Singh Yadav , Pranab Mukherjee, Rajnath Singh , Farooq Abdullah , Shatrugan sinha , Sachin Pilot .
Interesting battles :
- The fate of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s daughter-in-law , Harsimrat Kaur and son of former CM Amarinder Singh , Raninder Singh will be decided today on a direct fight for family honor in Bhatinda.
- BJP President Rajnath Singh is sweating it out in Ghaziabad , UP . Its important to note that Rajnath Singh has taken a risk by contesting in a constituency not highly favorable to him in caste equation .
TGIPB : Part 9 – The Third Battle
The Great Indian Political Battle
April 30 , 2009
Third Phase of Election.
9 states and 2 Union territories
( Jammu and Kashmir , UP , MP , Maharashtra , Gujarat , Karnataka , Bihar , Sikkim Dadra & Nagar haveli , Daman & Diu )
144 million voters
0.17 million polling stations
Key Contestants : Sonia Gandhi , HD Deve Gowda , Jaswant Singh , LK Advani.
A crucial phase for BJP , would be hoping to get rich dividends from the states of Karnataka , Gujarat , MP , Bihar and Maharashtra .
Activist and dancer Mallika Sarabhai is contesting as Independent in Gandhinagar , pitting herself against heavy weight BJP’s current numero uno LK Advani .In spite of the rubble and noise and bits and bytes , I don’t think she will be able to make a big dent on the record of LK Advani in his constituency .
The result I would be eager to see is in Dakshin Kannada . After the recent untoward incidence caused by Sri Ram sena activists and the subsequent Pink chaddi campaigns and the church attacks , definitely mangalore belt is an area to watch and what direction they will make would be keenly followed by many including yours bloggingly !
On a dismal note , the voters turn out in Mumbai was pathetically low . I would have liked the mumbaikars stepping out in large numbers and vote their rights and make a statement on the terrorism issue. After all , they have seen a lot , felt a lot , been affected a lot by terrorism . Mumbaikars , sorry folks , you lost a golden lesson to teach the politicians.
TGIPB – Part 8 : The Second battle and my vote
The Great Indian Political Battle – The Second phase
April 23 , 2009
195 million eligible voters.
2,22,350 polling stations
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand
Key Contestants : Rahul Gandhi , Sharad Pawar , Sushma Swaraj , HD Kumaraswamy , Captain Gopinath , Ananth Kumar
This second phase of election is memorable for me for the sole reason , I casted my vote for the first time. So was I thrilled ? Yep ! Me and my wife got up around 7 , had garam ginger chai and went to caste our votes. The polling booth is quiet near to our place . There were many booths made , so there was not much crowd and it was a smooth event and I pressed the button and got the ink on my finger as a proof of voting ! Whom did we vote ? I pressed the button for BJP while my wife clicked Congress. so 50 : 50 verdict !
Bangalore votes :
So Bangalore being my adopted city now , I had enrolled in the voters list and casted my vote in Bangalore north constituency. To be frank , I was disappointed with the contestants of Bangalore north. Though my voting affiliation is with BJP , the candidate was a big let down. BJP has fielded Chandre Gowda , who defected from Congress just few weeks back. The 70 plus candidate who quit last minute to grab the BJP ticket got my vote in spite of my disliking for the political opportunism he displayed. Well , its another fact that politics and opportunism goes hand in glove but reality bites. Some of my friends asked my why I root for BJP , allegedly “ communal ” party , Well , would write a post on that some day soon. Congress has fielded yet another good old Jaffer Sharief . After delimitation , I think it would be a tough call to predict the winner in Bangalore north.
Bangalore South has impressive candidates . Ananth Kumar , the three time MP and the number two in the power hierarchy of Karnataka BJP is facing Krishan Byre Gowda , a young seemingly impressive candidate from Congress . To add excitement to the already active young list of candidates is Captain Gopinath , the Deccan aviation chief. Captain may not win the seat but am interested to see how much he would fly the electoral race. I am also eager to see , If the hype that was build around Byre Gowda would match the confident Ananth Kumar. Tough fight in cards !
Bangalore rural sees “farmer “ Deve Gowda’s Son HD Kumaraswamy seeking revenge on “Giant killer ” Tejeswani Gowda , who stunned everyone last time by defeating Gowda Senior. Other day , I followed the Tejeswani on a local channel and was impressed by the lady’s energy and campaign . I would like to see her defeat Gowda Jr but then again it would be a tough battle ..
Assembly Election :
Orissa and AP also have their state assembly election alongside. So its time for voters to review Naveen Patnaik and YSR . Chiranjeevi is contesting from Tirupati and also Chandra babu naidu hoping his grand alliance will push him back to limelight. Lets wait and watch ..
TGIPB – Part 7 : The battle begins
More than 75 million votes cast out of 143.1 million strong electorate.
Over 300,000 EVMs used
The first phase of The Great Indian Election kick started today .
Today’s battle will decide the fate of key contestants : Lalu Prasad Yadav , Murli Manohar Joshi , Yashwant Singh , Renuka Chowdhary , Shashi Tharoor , Praful Patel , K Chandresekar Rao and S Jaipal Reddy.
The first phase included the naxal infected areas and predictably there were naxal attacks on few pockets that sadly took away 17 lives.
According to news agencies Polling was reportedly lower when compared to the previous elections.
Quote of the day :
We are sweeping the polls in Bihar.
- Lalu Prasad Yadav
Man ! We should take a leaf of positive thinking from these politicians !!!
On the day the real battle started and the voters had their ink on their hand as a mark of casting votes , BJP’s latest poster boy Varun Gandhi was released from jail by Supreme court. Mr.Gandhi , Mind your language please !
The result am eager to know : Sashi Tharoor.
Heavy weight battle :
Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD) Vs Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP)
MM Joshi (BJP) Vs Mukthar Ansari (BSP)
My safe bet : Renuka Chowdhary ( Congress )is going to bite dust in the poll.
TGIPB – Part 4 : Cup of woes
As election nears , the cup of woes are overflowing for the two main national parties – BJP and Congress.
- BJP is figuring out means to damage control the Varun Gandhi episode. Meanwhile , the young Gandhi is firm on his stance that the CD containing his alleged hate speech is doctored. The issue would now likely go to courts . I am waiting to see if this entire controversy would hamper his Philibit candidature.
- The Congress party , who banked on a united face of UPA alliance , finds itself now the coalition in shambles pre-election. Lalu Prasad Yadav humiliated the Congress by giving 3 seats in Bihar and rubbing more salt to its wound by saying Congress is no entity in Bihar. Congress snubbed Lalu by hitting back in Jharkhand state by giving RJD only 2 seats . Furious RJD decided to contest in all seats in Jharkhand and Congress in turn decides to field candidates on its own in Bihar.
- The seat negotiation between Congress and SP ( Samajwadi Party ) led by Mulayam Singh Yadav has run into deadlock , with SP contesting on its own in all seats .
- Down South , PMK ( Patali Makal Katchi ) jumped fence to join the ADMK Camp. PMK infamous for changing its colors and crossing over , have proven yet again this time causing heartburn for already beleaguered UPA alliance. It may cost the congress alliance a few seats in Tamil Nadu.
Other than the BJP and Congress , others drinking their cup of woes are :
- Mulayam singh Yadav , who is alleged to have made a derogatory remarks against a District Magistrate. ( Tough time for Election Commission this season ! )
- Chiranjeevi , who is testing the electoral waters for the first time with his newly formed Praja Rajyam in Andhra Pradesh is desperate to see through that his party gets a uniform symbol to contest in all seats. ( I am keenly waiting to see how much his star power would translate into votes ! )
As the Election season heats up , there would definitely be more cups of woes to follow , I will update it as and when it happens …
TGIPB – Part 3 , Secularism – As in Indian Politics.
The meaning of Secularism takes a whole new meaning when it comes to the dictionary of Indian politicians.
BJP ( Bharatiya Janata Party ) is labeled a right wing hindutva communal party by the oppostion parties. They are supposed to have an “agenda” representing only the majority hindu population. They are treated as divisive party because of their saffron affluence. The whole campaign of the so called “secular” parties of India revolves around the notion that BJP is anti – secular because of its Hindutva leanings.
So the parties join together , forge alliances to retain the power all in the name of safeguarding the nation from the anti secular party ( read : BJP) . Good so you think the political parties opposing the BJP are truly secular in nature ?! wait read ahead to couple of interesting facts.
- Congress , self confessed champion of secularism , happily aligns with IUML ( Indian Union Muslim League ) , Kerala Congress ( representing the Christians )
- Communists party ( the other major self styled guardian of secularism in India ) have no qualms aligning with the right wing Islamist organization , NDF.
- BJP is accused of being communal on account of Gujarat riots. Let me make clear am not supporting the Gujarat riot. Gujarat riot is a highly condemnable incident . What baffles me is , BJP is time and again villified for the Gujarat riot by congress and other so called secular partied , In that contexct how does Congress became a “holier and secular ” party when it is solely responsible for unleashing a brutal massacre against Sikhs in Delhi soon after Indira Gandhi’s assasination ? Why does Congress is atoned of its sin conveniently but BJP is villified again and again ?
So it makes me wonder if it only becomes anti-secular in India , if a party has leanings towards Hindu mindset ?! And it becomes a secular force if we align with right wing parties of non-Hindus ?!
Well …… As far as Indian Political dictionary , it seems so.
TGIPB Part 2 – The Saffron Gandhi
The Great Indian Political Battle – Part 2
Post Independence , The erstwhile kings of India were stripped of all their powers . Replacing the kings were the democratically elected ministers , who wield the real powers in a country. Government of a democratic country should be of the people , by the people , for the people. Unfortunately , the politicians of the nation have found a way to manipulate their game on the basis of religion , caste and power equation taking advantage of the weakness , general apathy , indifference and short sightedness of the general public.
So post Independence , though the dynasty of the kings were devoid of their powers and kingdom. India saw a new dynasty that ruled most of the years of the democratic country through democratic route , unchallenged by their party. The dynasty is the Nehru- Gandhi clan. Nehru was followed by Indira Gandhi , who was followed by Rajiv Gandhi and after his death , the clan hold was firmed by Sonia Gandhi and the prince-in- waiting Rahul Gandhi. Typical of the good old dynastic rule , other half of the family was out casted . That brings in the estranged family of Late Sanjiv Gandhi , eldest son of Late Indira Gandhi. His wife , Menaka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi were driven of the family powers and party and had to content just with the surname Gandhi.
Menaka Gandhi found her path in championing the animal rights , environmental issues and also member of parliament from Philibhit constituency of state of Uttar Pradesh , India.
The Son Rise :
Varun Gandhi , son of Menaka Gandhi , in true good old dynasty style , refuses to be estranged and has chartered his own path. He embraced the hindutva ideology and has made a calculated political path that would be anathema to his cousin family on the opposite royal camp. I am not going to support him or loathe him in his recent controversy of his alleged remarks against minorities. Opposition parties cry fowl on his remarks and Varun says the CD is doctored. Let us leave the final decision to the Election commission and courts. The fact is this Gandhi has embraced the saffron color with much enthusiasm and conviction to chart his future. In his own words , “ I am an Indian , a Hindu , a Gandhi ” . A rare words to come from a member of a Gandhi clan. Here is a young poet-politician who was in the wilderness of a famous clan surname but who decided to storm the public sphere albeit a controversial route. When I saw his speeches and talks on TV , he comes out as a young Gandhi , who is very much at ease to be a son of a soil than his young cousin Gandhi , who creates an impression of an NRI kid still discovering the real India !
Hate him or Love him , here is a Saffron Gandhi that you cannot ignore in the coming days of Indian politics !