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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Ready..Steady….Wait

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Congress is all set for a “Game Changer” or is it?

In a post in September last year titled “Indian Politics will not be the same again” this writer has predicted huge change in Indian Politics. 9 months down the line, the scene has become all the more complex and stage is all set for a never before political drama.

The main theme of this play is being scripted and rehearsed at 10 Janpath but almost every political party and player is preparing their own scripts, role plays and characters.

If postponement of Monsoon Session and recent statements by Congress leaders are a clue, then the drama will start from upcoming Cabinet Reshuffle or may be from PM’s interaction with editors  happening now (Yes he is speaking today). Chances are today”s interaction of Manmohan Singh with editors can be a curtain raiser for things to come.

This cabinet reshuffle is going to be a major one for sure and Congress would definitely like to use this opportunity to get back its popular support and to show a new and brave face to the people.

It seems that this reshuffle will not be limited to expected changes like removal of Maran or introducing more faces from UP or a TMC Cabinet Minister for Railway, of course all this should be there but there has to be something more.

Sonia and Manmohan have never been seen spending hours together discussing cabinet reshuffle with no other party leader joining them. Such meetings between the two happened thrice over last fortnight.

Last week we saw Digvijay talking about need for a young PM and this week it was Chidambaram almost repeating Diggy. Has it ever happened before when PC and Diggy have shared common thoughts on any issue,  that too publicly?

Keeping in mind the current political realities of UP, ever rising inflation, civil society uprising against corruption and recently held election results, Congress badly need a “Game Changer” and it has no one else but its very own Gandhi Family to rely upon.

Stage is all set for Rahul to take over as PM, the question is how soon will it happen? Are we going to see that happening this week, this month or later….it seems that its a now or never situation for the Prince of Congress and most Congress leaders are able to read this writing on the wall.

Why its Now or Never for Rahul Gandhi

Rahul is “PM-Congress is waiting for” for last eight years or more, according to wikipedia, some senior Congress leaders think that his time has already come and gone, however majority of Congress cadre is patiently waiting for their Prince Charming to take over.

Rahul Gandhi has taken up the responsibility of Party’s revival in Uttar Pardesh and his actions and statements on Bhatta Parsual shows the desperation. Any neutral analysis of current political reality in Uttar Pradesh will give Congress at best third place if today we have elections  in this politically most important state. The task before Rahul is to take Congress from this third place to First place, come what may. Option of failure is not there because country and most importantly congress workers will judge Rahul Gandhi from the outcome of UP elections.

In spite of  whatever Rahul Gandhi does, Congress can not do it alone in UP with current political scenario at the center. Things need to be changed and need to be changed very fast.

What if Congress continues with current political scenario and loses in UP  next year, that will put a big question mark on Rahul’s leadership and no one would like to take that risk in Congress, not even Rahul himself. He himself has taken this challenge upon himself and is now getting desperate to justify it.

Outside UP also, political situation is demanding a “game changer” from Congress. Civil Society uprising fueled by media is already taking its toll, proceedings in Supreme Court on 2G scam also showing chances of huge further embarrassments for the party in near future.

Immediate Loksabha elections will suit both Mamta Bannerji and Jayalalitha and Jaya has almost declared her intention in her interview to Times Now day before yesterday.

With upcoming elections in UP, Congress can not rely upon Mayawati or Mulayam Singh for continued support as they have nothing to lose now, they anyway have to go for election in UP. And if we look at responses of Parties in PAC meeting headed by BJP leader MM Joshi there is a sudden change from yesterday, it is very clear that Congress can not be sure of  BSP support in Parliament anymore.

Only major party that Congress can be assure of  in case of a vote count in Parliament is DMK, DMK can not afford to go for election now, same is true for Lalu and Paswan but they don’t matter much in terms of numbers in Parliament.  NCP is reliable for now but Sharad Pawar is one of the most unpredictable politician and even with his support Congress is far away from the magic figure of 272 without the big three ( TMC, BSP, SP). Left parties do not want Loksabha elections at this moment but they will not support Congress during a floor test, it is difficult to speculate what would be their strategy in such a scenario.

So is country heading for a loksabha election? Most probably yes by the early next year.

But the real question is can Congress afford an Loksabha Election now? The answer is no, with clear possible losses in Andhra,  Rajasthan and Delhi and no new gains in any other state, Congress may not be able to redo the magic of 2009.

But age old Congressi leaders know how things can be changed in politics and it is all the more easy when you have a “still unused” young leader with a “Gandhi” surname.

What are the options before Congress? Both Congress and Rahul know that they have to go all out to deal with current political crisis, the only dilemma they are facing is about timing of this change. Developments over Last fortnight shows that Top Leadership of Party is now more clear about their plans, the sudden decisiveness (along with rudeness and insensitive attitude)  in dealing with Ramdev and Anna, or fuel price rise clearly shows that they are all ready with some well laid out plans.

What if Congress decide to go all out for Leadership Change in the govt and makes Rahul Gandhi PM, will it change fortunes for this age old party? Well the answer is Yes, at least for the time being.

Rahul as PM will definitely boost its chances in UP where with some symbolic decisions and  gestures, he can bring back the traditional Gandhi family voters.  Rahul as PM will be a challenge to BJP which is busy dealing with its own leadership crisis and infighting.  Some quick decisions on Women Reservation Bill, Food Security, Minority Rights and Lokpal by Rahul Gandhi may change the mood of the nation and Congress may get the confidence needed to face the Loksabha Elections.  Also any party particularly BJP would not like to get the blame for destabilizing the Central Govt headed by Rahul in its first year, it will be hard to justify that to the people.

Today while Manmohan Singh is interacting with editors justifying himself as PM, we may get a clue  about possible direction of change. Monsoon has reached Delhi and next two-three months are not going to be a dull period, there will be clouds, rains, lightening and even thunderstorms. Time will tell whether all this will happen behind the political walls or mud sledging will happen all out in public.

The mood in Party, the political reality and the signals from top leaders are all indicating a change, however declaring Congress as so predictable is like underestimating their political skills and history, they may come out with something entirely different and unexpected.

BJP: Need to Update and restart before it’s too late

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Today UPA government is going through a crisis of credibility and leadership and people of India are looking for a promising alternative which can deliver on issues like corruption, black money, exploitation of natural resources, agriculture crisis etc.

The political reality of today is that people are left with limited options, even if India goes for election today with clear anger and frustration in people’s mind against current regime, there is no chance of a stable and credible alternative coming into the power. The reason is the absence of any such alternative.

BJP which claimed to be a party with difference has lost the plot somewhere midway. Advani is absolutely right when he says that issues of black money and corruption were raised by their leadership in the beginning but another truth is that BJP do not get popular support when BJP talks of these issues, reason is lack of credibility in the eyes of masses.

In current political scenario, where Congress is all ready for a transfer of leadership to its new generation and it’s almost certain that country will very soon see Rahul Gandhi as its new Prime Minister, in absence of a credible political alternative, country may go back to the days of mid-term elections, opportunistic short-term political alliances or worse to the unchallenged era of one party rule where sycophancy and blind loyalty will be the only way of governance.

If we look at present political parties and alliances, this gap can be filled only by BJP but it need to reinvent itself and present itself as a credible political alternative to Congress.  Whether Congress comes back to power or not, but a strong BJP as opposition and alternative to congress is what India needs to check balance the power equation and to ensure that people are not taken for a ride by ruling coalition just because there is no real political opponent, and to be very frank the present BJP is not ready to be the one.

First of all BJP need to answer a very basic question,  Why Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev are capturing the people’s imagination and why similar issues raised by BJP go completely unnoticed?  Why even though people are fed up with constantly rising inflation and are willing to come out and protest on issues of black money and corruption but they do not vote for BJP which promises to provide an alternative? We have seen this in recently held elections, BJP has performed poorly in all states.

Upcoming UP elections are going to be real litmus test and will decide the future of Indian politics, with Congress all set for a leadership change before UP elections ( yes, we may actually see Rahul being PM before UP elections) and chances of Loksabha elections also happening around same time are real, it seems BJP is running out of time.  Whether deciding on leadership or it’s position on core political issues or on strengthening the organizational strength, the strategy of delaying is not going to work in party’s favor.

BJP need to come out with a clear political face and also an alternative agenda that can win over people’s imagination, it is not that BJP do not have faces or intellectual strength but the problem is that it lacks the courage to take decisions.  Yes, courage is all it takes.

Another challenge for BJP is to gain acceptance from sections beyond its traditional support base, party need to come up with an agenda that is non threatening to minorities especially Muslims and Christians and that can win dalits, tribals and other communities which have so far kept themselves away from the party.

Another major problem is that BJP did not so far have thought about raising real issues that Indian rural population is battling with, people do not know what is the stand of party on land acquisition or  corporatization of natural wealth or what they have to offer on agricultural issues or how will they deal with farmers suicides and increasing disparity among rural and urban India. So far BJP has been seen replicating the similar policies that Congress has to offer on these issues. People do not want a copycat policy model, they need an alternative and BJP think tank has to come up with one if they actually wish to pose a real challenge to Congress.

Lets take the example of Gujarat, which BJP is portraying as their role model for governance, Gujarat is only replicating Manmohan’s economic model. If replication of Manmohan’s economics is the only strength that BJP has to offer then why not let it be done by the Manmohan himself at the center?

Yes, BJP has to find and develop and then flaunt its “X” factor to win new constituencies and to widespread it s support base.

So far it seems that BJP leadership is just waiting for people to get fed up with Congress and they believe that people in absence of any other alternate option, will bring back the BJP to power. Obviously things do not happen like that in politics and this wait and watch policy may result in an everlasting waiting game for this party. Advani must understand this.

“Change with changing times and reinvention of self” is the mantra for the success and survival of organizations and time has come for BJP to go for it.

A new, reinvented, open to all BJP is the need of hour, it’s now or never for this party though the sad part is that top leadership of Party do not seem to be ready for it.

how many vidarbhas do we need??

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Nathuram Pal, a 45-year-old farmer of Nibhghana village in Garautha tehsil of Bundelkhand region, committed suicide by hanging himself with a ‘Babool’ tree on the night of 18th June. He was under pressure to pay back the loan of Rs 12,000 taken from the coopertive bank and another Rs 40,000 taken from the local people.

While the mainstream politics and media is busy debating the Lokpal, black money and megascams like CWG, Adarsh, 2G etc., rural India is slowly losing its battle for survival.

More than 500 farmers have committed suicides in Bundelkhand region this year, Allahabad High court has taken suo moto notice of media reports on the subject and has issued notices to the central and state governments, court has also stayed recovery of dues from farmers till July 15.

Politics around these suicides has started and it will only take a bitter shape as UP is going for elections early next year. We can not expect a relief or solution from our political leadership as we have seen in the case of Vidarbha where more than 150000 farmers have committed suicides over last ten years and that too when the region was represented by none other than Union Minister for Agriculture Mr. Sharad Pawar.

Farmers suicides, hunger deaths, unemployment and migration have become characteristics of Bundelkhand as result of gross misuse of public fund, failure of schemes like PDS and NREGS, acute water crisis added with heavy indebtedness.

Clearly Bundelkhand has become worse replica of Vidarbha, but this is not the only region in the country which is like that, today whether it is Andhra, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhatisgarh or Kerala, every state has a Vidarbha or Bundelkhand of its own.

If we look at the policy priorities, it is clear that  Indian policy makers and rulers have decided to transform India  into a primarily urban, industrial society with industry as its main source of income; the government and society have become unconcerned about the condition of the farmers; the farmer are also caught in a Scissors Crisis.

This clear shift in policy priorities and farmers being on the receiving end of the “Growth”- centered economic model is evident by the fact that more than half of public sector banks (15 out of 27-Amount Rs.23,000 crore) and exactly half of the private sector banks (11 out of 22-Amount Rs.13,400 crore) could not meet the agricultural sub-target in the year 2009-10.

This is not a small amount nor this is a small negligence on part of these banks, but this is only s small glimpse of how Indian farmers and agriculture is being treated by key policy makers and institutions.

Indian farmers are paying the price of agriculture model that was imposed upon them in the name of Green Revolution. This involved high input cost and made our farmers majorly dependent on external market forces on one hand and on other it took a heavy toll on resources like water and soil and it resulted in farming being a loss making profession with each passing year. This continuous neglect by governments and exploitation by corporations pushed Indian farmers to a situation where they are left with no other option but to end their lives.

With each passing day, our farmers are losing this one sided battle and with it we are also sealing our fates…

references:-

1. http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-9836.html

2. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_maya-govt-in-dock-over-bundelkhand-farmers-suicides_1555447

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers%27_suicides_in_India

4. http://www.indianfarmers.org/news/Half_the_news.html

Black night of June 4- battle between India v/s corrupt political leadership

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Indians will surely take revenge of attack on their dignity and self respect

Congress Govt has suspended all constitutional rights on the night on June 4, when Delhi Police attacked around 100000 sleeping men, women and children who under the leadership of Ramdev were protesting peacefully against corruption.

Whatever happened on that night is a blot on the history of democracy and it forces us to rethink on the colonial rules and powers that has been given to politicians and police. Even though Supreme Court has asked the Government to come clean on the attack but we all know that our laws have enough loop holes for culprits of June 4 to come out safely.

Political and media debate after the incident has made one thing very clear, 2011 is not 1975. On 25th June 1975 when Govt imposed emergency in India, we had a strong opposition and a brave section of  media which opposed and fought for justice. But today a weak opposition and strong vested interest in media have ensured that thousands of Indian citizens who were attacked, beaten and insulted by their own government will never get the justice.

On one hand level of political debate has gone very low thanks to Rahul gandhi’s guru digvijay singh and at the same time media has shown clear lack of brave journalists and independent media houses.

Both corrupt Congress and BJP, defeated left, opportunistic regional parties on one hand and media ruled by vested interests on the other, there seems little hope for improvement. The attack by Government on its own people was very cruel, at the same time the reaction of opposition including BJP has been only symbolic and they registered only a token protest.  It shows their unwillingness to take up these issues however they definitely want to get benefited by people’s anger against the same.

India is clearly facing a crisis of credible leadership and the empty space is increasingly being filled by non political players who has moral high ground and mass followings. whether its Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev or youngest among them all Arvind kejriwal, they are fast becoming source of hope for common Indians.

Though our political leadership and national media is believing that this is a temporary phase and they still have the control on their hands but one thing they all are failing to recognize that they have lost faith of common Indians and what they say or what they show is losing relevance for most of us.

Black money and lack of accountability in governance are real issues and developing a deep sense of frustration among people who are finding it very difficult to make their both ends meet with ever increasing inflation and their complete exclusion in policy making processes.

Whether its tribals who are forcibly being removed from their lands or farmers who are being beaten up by police when they protest against land grabbing by government and forced to commit suicides, whether its urban poor who are being denied access to basic minimum amenities of life or unemployed youth who are being insulted and abused by creating barriers of language and culture, everyone is feeling hurt and is angry with this system of loot and exploitation.

People are fast losing hope from elected representatives and our political leaders are not seen with respect anywhere. This sense of distrust and disrespect need to be addressed now. Time has come for Central government and other political leaders to understand that they can no more make fool of people. They need to immediately address issue of black money by accepting what Baba Ramdev is demanding, they need to  bring a strong Lokpal in upcoming session and get it passed, they need to introduce electoral reforms and they need to ensure public participation in law making processes.

People of India are not going to forget it and nobody should have any doubt that people will not take this attack lightly, time will show how Indians takes the revenge for this attack on their dignity and self respect. If our politicians continue to loot this country, exploiting common resources and excluding common man, then soon we will see our very own Tahrir square and it will be unmanageable both in terms of scale and expectations.

Recent developments have one very clear message to our political leadership- correct yourself now or face the anger of people and remember people may not wait for five years to throw you out.