Sunday, 23 April 2017

Peculiar Ways Of The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India is the highest court in the country. It is a constitutional court with widest of powers. It has played a quintessential role in shaping the nation. It was a huge task for the Indian Supreme Court to interpret the newly framed Constitution. India had just attained freedom and the country was marred by the foreign invaders. Poverty, education and social evils were also to play their role in forbidding the judiciary from functioning properly. But this task was accomplished phenomenally by the then Judges of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has delivered judgments which changed the horizons of the nation. Be it the interpretation of Article 21 of the Constitution or laying down the doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution or devising the public interest litigation, so on and so forth. Those decisions have shaped India into the nation it is today.

However, a different trend is observed today. With profound respect for the Supreme Court as an institution and the Hon’ble Judges, I find a not-so known approach being adopted by the Supreme Court, albeit with an intent to do justice. There are instances where the Supreme Court takes years to decide genuine disputes between the parties and also where the Supreme Court gives days of audience to the lawyers appearing in an academic matter. These instances can, however, be ignored as being subjective. But, there are certain horrific trends being set by the Supreme Court.

One of the most horrendous instances is that of the Cauvery river dispute. Two Indian States are claiming their rights over the waters of Cauvery. The Appeals are pending before the Supreme Court against Award of the Tribunal. Certain Interim Orders were passed in the last year whereby State of Karnataka was directed to release 7000 cusecs of water per day to State of Tamil Nadu, which was later increased to 12000 cusecs and thereafter to 15000 cusecs. However, the interim orders do not spell out a single reason / justification for arriving at a particular amount of water to be released. What calculations were made by the Supreme Court to arrive at a particular figure is unknown to all. Otherwise, reasoned Orders are required to be passed by the Courts. But the Apex Court passes Orders affecting the whole of two States of the nation, without a single reason. Resultantly, there were protests across Karnataka almost leading to a law and order situation. The Supreme Court, however, paid no heed to the requests made by the State of Karnataka to modify the Order and therefore, the Karnataka State Assembly openly resolved to defy the Supreme Court order and keeping it in abeyance till the special session of the State Legislative Assembly was convened. Even for a moment, I do not support the stand of the State Assembly, which is ex-facie contemptuous. However, the situation could have possibly been salvaged, had the Supreme Court dealt with the matter with more sensitivity.

Another such instance is that of the BCCI case. What is going on in the Supreme Court in this matter is absolutely alien to the powers conferred on it under the Constitution. Due to the match-fixing incidents in the IPL that surfaced in the year 2013, the Supreme Court appointed a Committee to be headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal to investigate the scandal. The Supreme Court appointed another panel to be headed by Justice R.M. Lodha to determine punishment for those guilty of betting and match-fixing and also to recommend reforms for better functioning of BCCI. Justice Lodha panel suspended the two teams and banned its owners for life. I fail to understand as to how the panel was empowered to suspend teams and impose punishment on the team bosses. The panel also recommended certain changes in the functioning of BCCI. Thereafter, the BCCI as well as the State Cricket Associations have been restrained from using funds without sanction of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the Supreme Court, on request of the panel, has removed the President and Secretary of BCCI for not implementing the reforms and has appointed former Comptroller and Auditor General, Vinod Rai to head BCCI. Various orders being passed without considering totality of facts and circumstances, a panel being authorized to take action against a registered Society, removal and appointment of office bearers etc. are various issues which raised brows. Although, I believe the intent is good, the manner in which things were done, is certainly unheard of. We are fortunate that today, Judges with impeccable integrity as Justice Mudgal and Justice Lodha have been appointed to head panels and to perform various tasks. If this were to be treated as a precedent in the times to come, with not so clean people, could have serious ramifications.

What is happening in the contempt proceedings against Justice Karnan is also peculiar. The events of this matter are an embarrassment to the fraternity. Undoubtedly, prima facie the words spoken and written by Justice Karnan do amount to contempt of the Court. (Contempt of Supreme Court committed by a High Court Judge, who was appointed under the Collegium system, which, although does not find a mention in the Constitution or the principles of basic structure of the Constitution, is held to be impeccable by the Supreme Court itself.) However, the interim order withdrawing judicial and administrative work from Justice Karnan does not appear to be legally firm. How does the Supreme Court get such powers under contempt proceedings? It can only punish for its contempt and no further. This case could also be horrific to be cited in future insofar as it widens the horizons of the powers of Court in contempt matters.

Similar are the cases of dahi-handi, SEBI-Sahara, NJAC and a few others, where the Supreme Court has bent its ways to arrive at a particular point. The Supreme Court is not fundamentally wrong in what it has done in the said cases. However, the manner in which things have happened, is curiously peculiar. The Supreme Court is certainly the highest court in the nation having the widest of powers. But the manner and the procedure adopted have raised various questions over the verdicts. The justice done, is although, not manifestly seen to be done.

The Supreme Court comprises of the finest of legal minds working relentlessly to ensure justice to all. It is the most important element of the Indian democracy and the last hope of any citizen in this country. May it function free from all irrelevant considerations and ensure justice to all.

Jai Hind

Friday, 7 October 2016

Politics Over Indian Surgical Strike

Indian Army valiantly conducted a surgical strike on terror launch pads in PoK killing many terrorists on the night of 28th September in retaliation to the Uri attack. I was in a Courtroom when I read this on twitter, and it gave me goose bumps. I have never heard of any incident in the past decade or so where the Indian Army crossed the LoC and killed the Pakistani terrorists in PoK before they could commit the dastard act. In past that we know, the terrorists have been killed on our soil and that too after a few of our soldiers have already martyred, where killing them becomes completely necessary. The Director General of Military Operations called the media and announced the strike the next morning. This was a completely reverse situation and a sense of pride and vindication was obvious in all Indians. The same was visible when crowds gathered in various Indian cities to celebrate the strike.

The Pakistani reaction was epic. It was so badly hit and in a spot where it could not take any sympathy, that it denied the strike. Had one civilian been killed in the strike, Pakistan would have come out weeping and blaming India. Since all the pigs were bloody terrorists, they had no option but to deny the strike. It is also obvious for Pakistan to deny the same as admission of a strike of this magnitude would shake the beliefs of uneducated Pakistani voters, who are fooled by political parties promising taking over of Kashmir from India.

There was no immediate reaction from the opposition parties, albeit official statement being issued by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi congratulating Indian Army. Kiddo Rahul also joined his mommy dearest in congratulating the Indian Army and going further in saying it was the first time that he was proud of PM Modi’s action. It was acknowledgement of the fact that PM Modi had delivered what was promised. It was also acknowledgement of the unprecedented decisiveness and boldness of Modi Government. And that’s why this statement made by Rahul caused turbulences across the opposition parties including Congress. It must have been a moment of introspection for the UPA Government which did NOTHING even after the 26/11 attack perpetrated in the heart of the nation or after numerous such attacks by coward Pakistani terrorists on our nation.

Someone had to take the lead in taking away the credit from Modi Government for its stern action on terrorists with the backdrop of upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in UP and Punjab. Who else but the self styled Aam Aadmi, Arvind Kejriwal can perform an uphill task as this one with such precision. He is a man who has never been clear and therefore, after praising PM Modi and the Indian Army for its brave act, he discussed ‘Pakistani false propaganda’ of denying surgical strike and he urged PM Modi in unmasking such propaganda. For any normal person, there would be no purpose of discussing what an enemy nation is saying, but here we are faced with someone, whose national allegiance can be seriously doubted after hearing him. This was a well written script by AAP and Congress as various Congress leaders immediately started singing the Kejru / Pakistani tone and asked PM Modi to release the video recording of surgical strike to prove that it has happened. Sanjay Nirupam, a Congress leader and an anti-nationalist went on to say that there was no surgical strike by Indian Army and that he would believe that the strike happened only if the video is released. A school going kid would know that a video such as this one cannot be released and therefore we cannot assume that national leaders, who eye PM’s post, would be such morons to ask for it. Therefore, the reason for raising an issue has to be a well thought one. It took 2 days for these creeps to spill out that they didn’t want BJP to take political mileage because of a strike of this kind. So this strike didn’t give these political opponents that moment of joy which pervaded across other Indians. Just like the bollywood celebrities were only concerned about their next movie releases featuring Pakistani artists, the political opponents were only concerned about the upcoming elections.

They object to BJP making this an issue in upcoming elections although they made an issue out of killing of Akhlaq in Dadri, UP as the biggest national issue just before Bihar elections. Why shouldn’t the BJP be proud of this action? Undoubtedly, it was the Army’s bravery and valor that made the strike successful, but ultimately the decision was by the Modi Government, which fact also can not be countered. The Modi Government certainly deserves total credit for taking this decision and giving the Army free hands to undertake this brave task. Is the objection being raised because the party which has ruled the nation for about 5 decades has never given the Army free hands to conduct such strikes? The Indian Army was capable of conducting a strike of this enormity after the numerous attacks during Congress rule but that didn’t happen because the Central Government just lacked the political will. In fact, the BJP should raise this issue during the coming elections to show the difference between the incumbent government and the previous ones. The voters should know that voting for Congress and AAP would mean electing people like Sanjay Nirupam to power. The voters would then decide if they would like to see Sanjay Nirupam who called the strike, fake, to be a Cabinet Minister. In the past as well, the BJP has been setting up the right agendas for elections. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections also, it was the BJP that set the development agenda. Even with a view to compete, the opponents would have to rise to the level of BJP in having a spine to take such bold decisions.

I take immense pride in the fact that I voted for this Government. Such unprecedented approach of PM Modi in handling diplomacy and military at the same time would certainly find a permanent solution to export of terrorism by Pakistan.

Jay Hind.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Rising Hoax Of Intolerance In India

Over 40 writers have returned their awards to the National Sahitya Akademi over the ‘rising intolerance in India’. Returning an award appears to be a grave act and implies crisis although it is a symbolic gesture. According to these writers, the intolerance is such that their freedom of speech and expression is under threat.  We need to understand what is being seen as ‘intolerant’ today.  

Mr. M M Kalburgi, a Kannada Poet was allegedly murdered by two men in his house in Dharwad, Karnataka which gave rise to the discussions on ‘rising intolerance in India’. Was this the first murder in independent India? Was Kalburgi the first artist to have been murdered in India? If the response to these questions is in negative, where does the question of intolerance arise? It could be a ‘normal’ murder case, where the reasons are much more personal than those having a national impact. Would it not be wise for the award returnees to stay silent till the investigation and the subsequent court proceedings are over?

Next incident which is seen as rise of intolerance is the ‘lynching’ of a man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh by a mob of Hindus since he was suspected to be eating beef. Whether the man was eating beef or not, murder in broad daylight by a mob is unacceptable and the murderers should be punished by Courts. India cannot accept the mob-culture and it must be turned down appropriately. But can this murder of a man in Uttar Pradesh be seen as a pan-India problem? The unfortunate incident took place in Uttar Pradesh, where Akhilesh Yadav led SP Government is in power. Why then, are no fingers being pointed at him for the lapse of his Government in maintaining law and order? Nobody, in senses and sane mind has justified Dadri killing. In the Dadri case as well, the probe is going on. Would making a murder case into regular news item not amount to interference with the judicial process?

The third incident which is seen as a direct attack on the freedom of speech and expression is the incident of black-painting the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sena activists in Mumbai before the book launch of Khurshi Mahmud Kasuri, Former Pakistan Foreign Minister. Painting one’s face black, just because he does something contrary to one’s wishes is unacceptable. But what was Kulkarni doing in the first place? Book launch of a former Pakistan Foreign Minister in Mumbai. Is the Shiv Sena not correct when it says that book launches can happen, firstly let Pakistan probe into the 26/11 attacks and punish the guilty? What has Pakistan done since 2008? Figures unambiguously show that the ceasefire violations by Pakistan have not come down. As a matter of fact, an Indian film ‘Phantom’ was banned by a Pakistan Court on a Petition filed by Hafiz Saeed, one of the key conspirators behind the Mumbai Attack. I don’t remember anyone standing up for Kabir Khan, director of the movie. Was it not a case of violation of fundamental right of speech and expression? It is understood that the ban was in Pakistan, but a statement could have come in support of Kabir Khan, if the writers are solely concerned about the infringement of freedoms.

I do not intend to divulge into the details of the politics behind awarding these people in the first place and to decipher their political affiliation and to understand whether the act of returning awards is due to their political loyalty. Following link would suffice that purpose:

These incidents cannot be enlarged and seen as a mood of the nation. Most certainly, it cannot be linked to the party in power. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi met the President over ‘rising intolerance in India’. Were Sonia, Rahul and all the writers returning awards deaf and dumb when the UPA Government was at its tyrannical peek in the recent past by jailing every other person for facebook posts disliked by them under the guise of Section 66A of the IT Act? Was this not intolerance exemplified? The Government was directly involved. There was absolute intolerance even to a facebook post. Why was no protest staged then? Aseem Trivedi, a cartoonist was also arrested under the same provision and he protested then. I don’t remember any of the award returnees raising their voice then, in support of Trivedi.   

The basic confusion that is being sought to be created is between the ‘rising violence’ and ‘intolerance’. There is a very fine line of distinction between the two and they cannot be equated. Intolerance is a state where even a slight rift would convert people into rebels. What is on the rise is violence and not intolerance. This occurrence of rising violence is global and not restricted to India. Not that it doesn’t require attention, but labeling violence as intolerance amounts to disrespecting all the peaceful citizens. Has France been termed as an intolerant nation by their own media and artists after the Charlie Hebdo shooting? No. The reason is that the killing was singular and individualistic in nature, which cannot be generalized to be read as intolerance in the nation. Is it not the same case with our Country? Murders have happened, investigation is going on, criminal jurisprudence is still relevant and Courts still exist to punish the guilty. What is the difference this time around?

There is no intolerance, either religious or otherwise in India. A country with a population of over 1.25 Billion is tolerant and sane. A couple of incidents do not determine the mood of the nation. Those interested so desperately into tasting the intolerance may visit a few of the neighboring countries on the west and determine for themselves, if India is tolerant or not. (They are not being asked to move to those countries. India would tolerate their return as well.) Those journalists (read the one caught assaulting a mob in New York and the one involved in Nira Radia tapes controversy) merrily manufacturing the hoax of intolerance in India are not being harmed, which itself shows that the nation is tolerant enough. The best the BJP can do is to ensure that no stupid and insensible statements are made by their party members. Even 1 such statement is portrayed as the stand taken by the whole of the nation. Distancing and condemning such statements would not do much good. This nation has endured numerous internal as well as external attacks, and will stand this one too.

Jay Hind

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Is This The Gujarat Model?

After robust and heartfelt celebration of independence on 15 August, 2015, hardly within a split of 10 days, Gujarat turned into a violent and an ugly State. Traditionally Gujarat is known for peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for trade and business barring notoriety for communal clashes at times. However, there was absolute peace in Gujarat since about 13 years. All that Gujarat had witnessed was a vibrant business friendly atmosphere.

But what happened on 25th & 26th August in various cities, towns and villages of Gujarat was sensational and stupid. A mere 22 year old college pass out Hardik Patel calls for a rally demanding OBC status for Patels, a caste traditionally powerful in economic and social contexts. Rally gets tremendous support from the community and lakhs of patels gather in the economic capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad. On the evening of 25th August, after the arrest of Hardik Patel, Police and the protesters got into scuffle and then the whole of the State paid the price for it. Agitated people burnt numerous buses and public places including bus stands and police stations. The violence saw deaths of at least 8 including police personnel. 

Interestingly, Hardik Patel and team has not even referred to an Application being made to the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) for inclusion of Patels in the OBC category. Was an application ever made to the NCBC? Has the NCBC conducted survey and submitted its report to the Union Government? Has any decision been taken by the Union Government regarding OBC status of Patels considering the report of NCBC, if any? Why is the State Government being targeted, though it has no role to play in the conferment or non-conferment of OBC status on Patels? There is also no clarity as to whether the agitation is for inclusion of Patels or exclusion of others from the OBC category? None of these pertinent issues have been addressed by Hardik and Co.

I don't intend to enter into the debate of whether Patels should be given reservation benefits by including them in OBC category or whether the current reservation system has outlived its time and it needs a paradigm shift from socially backward to economically backward considerations. Patels getting or not getting reservation benefits may be a non-issue in some time. Hardik Patel's name may also be forgotten. Much more important, relevant and grave is my concern about Gujarat and India.

Those images of buses, cars, jeeps, police stations and other public places being burnt to ashes cannot be washed off the memory lanes so easily. At the same time, the scenes of police beating up civilians and breaking their cars can also not be forgotten.

When a man from Gujarat is telling the whole world in the most emphatic terms to trust India as a safe haven for investments and is inviting them all to invest in India, we have just about tarnished the image of our nation. We have yet again shown that India hasn't risen above the internal conflicts. When Gujarat itself is witnessing such horrific incidents, why should anyone believe Modi. There was a forced shutdown on 26th August in Gujarat. Is this the Gujarat model our PM is so proudly flaunting?

Modi was elected as PM only after the nation was convinced that Modi's Gujarat is peaceful, business friendly, ever developing and does not indulge in non-sense. That said everything about Modi's governance. During his Chief Ministership, Gujarat developed like never before. Modi undoubtably played an efficient and admirable administrator, but it also implied the support of the 5 crore gujaratis, as he would fondly say.

The events that happened in Gujarat on 25th and 26th August are disgraceful and foul. Whether a certain community deserves to be granted reservation is certainly worth discussing, but the liberty cannot extend to giving a few people free reigns to destroy, demolish and burn public properties and offices under the garb of agitation. They have no right to do so. Those acts are dastard and condemnable. Even more condemnable is the fact that the leader of the agitation, Hardik Patel took pride in what Gujarat was turned into by his supporters. He went on to say that he would take control of the situation only if the demands were accepted which unambiguously indicated that he had held the State for ransom. Such a leader should have been thrown away that very moment.

These events are deplorable and deprecable. They show Gujarat and most importantly India in bad light. Admitting mistakes committed by all during these 2 days will help little, but it might help us exercise self restraint next time a like issue crops up. No caste, no community can progress alone. Divide is to everyone's detriment. 

Jay Hind.

PS: I have nothing against Patels or their reservation demands. I am not included in the reserved categories, nor do I ever intend to be included. Have at least as much faith in my capabilities that I surely don't need reservation.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh : The Unknown Facts And Widespread Myths

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also known as the Rashtriya Seva Sangh was founded in the year 1925 by a physician Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar during the British Rule. RSS is an NGO which has been in the midst of various controversies, most of them where it is dragged to the centre of the communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims. RSS has become a soft target for all the ‘secular’ political parties in India. Is it not worth to know a few facts and then form our opinion on what RSS is, what does it stand for and whether the attacks on it are just or otherwise?

The core ideology of the RSS is based on Hindutva, a kind of Hindu Nationalism and supports the philosophy ‘Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which would mean ‘Truth is one, sages call it by many names. The whole universe is one family’.

The RSS actively took part in every national movement called upon by the Indian National Congress at the time of freedom struggle. The RSS also played a crucial role at the time of partition by providing its support in many relief activities and helping Hindus in migrating. In October 1947, soon after Indian independence, Pakistani troops had reached the borders of Kashmir. All the efforts of political leaders had failed to stop them. Sardar Patel sent a message to the then chief of the RSS MS Golwalker, also fondly popular as ‘Guruji’, requesting him to convince the Maharaja of Kashmir to accede to India. Guruji rushed to Srinagar from Nagpur to resolve the delicate matter. A meeting between Guruji and Maharaja Hari Singh was arranged. This historic meeting on the issue of national honour ended successfully, after which the Maharaja sent the accession proposal to Delhi, and Guruji asked the RSS workers in Jammu and Kashmir to shed their blood to the last drop for the integrity of the nation. Thanks to the important contribution of these unsung heroes, along with that of our army, we were able to save Kashmir from the clutches of Pakistan and protect our national honour. Had it not been for them, Kashmir would not have been a part of India. Also, not many people know that the RSS also actively participated in the liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese occupation. These facts sketch the character of the RSS. It becomes amply clear that the RSS has been of a great assistance in building the nation.

It also needs to be seen that during partition, when Nehru was finding it extremely difficult to stop the bloodshed, it was the RSS that helped organise over 3,000 relief camps for the refugees from Pakistan. The contribution of RSS during the war times has been immense. In the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the RSS swayamsevaks from across the nation assembled in the North East of India to help the army as well as the locals during those trying times. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, PM Shastri requested RSS to help control traffic in Delhi so that the policemen could be freed for defence duties. When Pakistanis were trying to take over Jammu and Kashmir, it was the dedicated swayamsevaks who cleared the snow from the airstrips and repaired airfields so that the Indian air force could land their aircrafts. It is a widely acknowledged fact that the RSS was instrumental in helping Sikhs in large numbers when murderers went on rampage to kill them in Delhi in the gruesome 1984 anti-Sikh riots, where even government machinery failed. The important role played by the RSS on every occasion of war, shows beyond all doubts, the nationalist character of the organization.

Apart from the role of a paramilitary force, the RSS has also been instrumental in the development of the nation. It runs around 27,000 Schools in remote tribal areas of the country where more than 8 lakh socially deprived tribal students are being educated. It is the first one to lend its hand in majority of natural disasters in the country including the  2001 Gujarat Earthquake, 2004 TN Tsunami, 2009 Karnataka – Andhra Pradesh massive floods, 2013 Uttarakhand floods, or any man-made disaster such as the Bhopal gas leak tragedy. Seva Bharati, an RSS-affiliated NGO has, till date, adopted thousands of children from militancy affected areas who are then provided education. It runs over 1,70,000 projects across India via organizations like Seva Bharati, catering to every language, state, religion, caste, colour and creed.

Despite their selfless service to the nation and immense contribution to nation-building, the RSS is among the most infamous outfits in the country today. It is panned as an intolerant, extremist group that is, sadly, even compared to militant organisations at times. Bashing the RSS has become fashion. A reality check is required. Maligning an organization of this stature is in no manner going to assist the country. The organization that has produced great leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Narendra Modi and many others. Naturally, the organization would support the national causes and would raise grievances against the anti-national activities. That is in absolute domain of the organization and that there should be no assumption of any communal colour to such activities. Facts about the organization would, on the contrary, show that the allegations on RSS are baseless and are made by those camouflaging themselves as ‘secular-liberals’. The RSS has been banned thrice till date. It was first banned in the year 1948 by the Nehru Government, secondly during the 1975 Emergency by the Indira Gandhi Government, and thirdly in the year 1992 by the Narsimha Rao Government. The ban was lifted on all the three occasions as no evidence against them was found to prove their involvement in any of the anti-national activities for which the organization was banned. In fact, it is believed that Nehru was against the RSS purely for political reasons. The RSS was banned for the first time on Nehru’s orders, it is believed, as he suspected that Sardar Patel might form a political alliance with them and challenge the Congress. The only reason for such myths being widespread in the country is that they are a creation of ‘The Political Party’ which has ruled the country for about 50 years. The party has been ruling by creating, elevating and coddling such myths to protect their vote bank. Conspicuously, the RSS was banned by the same party on each of the three occasions. The facts are clear, unambiguous and right in front of us. Let us get them clear and then form our valued opinions without being swayed by the widespread myths.

Jai Hind ! 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

An Open Letter to Indians

Dear Indians,

I wish you all hearty congratulation for phenomenal voting in the 2014 General Elections. An election conducted in 9 phases and in 29 states and 7 union territories, with more than 80 crore eligible voters.

I also wish to congratulate you for voting for BJP in such huge numbers, giving the party a full majority and free reigns to the next Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to work freely and be decisive, which is his most lauded quality.

The 2014 elections and the results thereof are significant in various aspects. Firstly, the number of eligible voters was humongous. Next was the fact that the voter class comprised mainly of youth. And lastly, the voter turnout at the polling booths in scorching heat of April and May.

Most significant and pertinent has been the result of the election. It is always a combination of reasons for the incline and decline of any political party or its leader and a historical backdrop is pertinent at this stage. BJP remained in power for 1 term under the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1998 to 2004. For the 2004 elections, BJP again nominated Shri Vajpayee as the Prime Ministerial candidate. However, the party lost to UPA. Sonia Gandhi was all set to be the next Prime Minister to add a link to the already prolonged chain of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. There were protests on her nomination as PM being an Italian citizen. Sonia succumbed to the pressure escalated by the opposition and stepped down meticulously to nominate an unknown face, Shri Manmohan Singh as PM. Shri Singh being a calm, composed and a condensed man, governed the country smoothly. And the whole term seemed to be smooth as the hot waters running beneath were still not felt.

The 2009 elections showed a 39 year old Rahul Gandhi, the last Nehru descendant in Congress as its face, without naming him as the Prime Ministerial candidate against an 82 year old L K Advani of BJP. There was no anti-incumbency wave against congress and BJP could not solidly attack the incumbent Government with major national issues. Also that the projection of L K Advani brought no enthusiasm in the BJP wing itself. As a result thereof, BJP lost the 2009 elections and brought UPA-II in power. The Congress dedicated all the credit for victory to the Nehru descendant and it appeared to be the rising of another Prime Minister from the country’s first family. Somehow, Rahul was still not elevated for the big job and Manmohan Singh continued as the PM under UPA-II.

I don’t believe there would be any hyperbole by terming the UPA-II regime as the most shameless government with unfettered powers and zero accountability. The high-handed approach of the UPA-II became evident in 2010 itself. The commonwealth games scam was a shame for the country in the presence of international guests. The scam was a brazen abuse of the public money. Very shortly thereafter, the 2G spectrum scam came into public light. The list of accused was shocking and exposed the UPA. The Supreme Court lashed heavily on the UPA in the 2G spectrum judgment. However, the scams and scandals continued to erupt and Congress shamelessly embraced the same with ‘open pockets’. The coal allocation scam, infamously known as the coalgate was another scam with alleged siphoning off of astronomical amounts. The most shocking in this regard were two statements by Congressmen. First statement was made by the then Union Minister for Coal, Sriprakash Jaiswal on 17.08.2013 stating that, “It’s true that some files (pertaining to the allocation of coal mines) from 1993 to 2004 are missing. We are trying to get the copies of those files ready”. Second statement was by the PM himself saying that “I am not the custodian of files” in response to questions by media on the missing files. More than the fact that the files of an important matter went missing, what was more perturbing, was the audacity of the Congress members to make such atrocious statements.

Rampant corruption, perennially increasing inflation, soft on terror, indecisive PM, incapable Rahul were the major target issues against the UPA-II by the opposition for the 2014 elections. These issues were all against the Congress and it knew the road ahead wasn’t easy and smooth. With this backdrop, the BJP further weakened the knees of the Congress by naming Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. BJP knew the pros and cons of naming Modi, but the decision was a conscious one and it was ready to untie knots with self-proclaimed seculars like Nitish Kumar. Narendra Modi accepted the challenge and how. He left no stone unturned to fetch votes for his party. Travelled all over the country, made speeches, held rallies and the result of it was a huge ‘Modi wave’. The existence of such a wave was denied by Congress, AAP and all other parties to demean Modi.

But, on 16th May, 2014, it was not going to be the say of the political parties. It was the voter that was to be heard. The voters spoke, cheered and screamed in one voice, the name of Modi. The voter was heard, loud and clear. BJP getting a clear majority by itself (282 seats) and NDA (pre-poll alliance) crossing 320 seat mark was phenomenal. Congress sulked in at 44. Modi fetched votes from everywhere. All parts of the country voted for Modi and his development politics. He was able to penetrate into the vote banks of other parties fetching 7 out of 14 seats from Aasam, 73 out of 80 from UP, 17 in Karnataka, 26 of 26 in Gujarat, 25 of 25 in Rajasthan, 7 out of 7 in Delhi, 43 of 48 in Maharashtra. This shows the reach of the man.

The 2014 results have brought many positives with it. The election was mainly fought on the issue of development and not on minority appeasement. Mulayam and Nitish got a lifetime lesson from Muslim voters, by voters voting wisely for Modi and rejecting the divisive politics. Mayawati, who considered ‘Dalits’ as her assured vote bank also got a shock by not winning a single seat in UP. Congress lost on all counts. Muslims voted consciously and tore apart the Congress’ smooth sailing dream. So was the case with other minorities, religious or otherwise. The sky-high aspirations of the AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal were also grounded by the voters.

We have given ourselves a decisive Prime Minister having a tremendous track record of development in Gujarat for over a decade and we must congratulate ourselves for the same. Modi has clear majority in the Lok Sabha which shall allow him to work free from all the coalition pressures. We have reposed our faith in one man and we sincerely hope he lives up to the expectations of the nation. May the country blossom in all spheres and fields. May this nation achieve new heights under the new government.

Jai Hind. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Isliye Modi !

Have we ever experienced such excitement for a General Election in our country? Have we ever waited so desperately for the D-day? The answer is a clear no. The election campaigns by all parties have been huge. For the first time its a three sided National contest between the old and experienced INC and BJP, and the newly formed AAP. A three sided contest seems even more interesting than a triangular ODI series these days. The news channels and print media have all been concentrating solely on the chief election news.

To decipher the mood of the people is a little too difficult a task, considering the demographic dynamics of India. A country of more than 120 Crore people where approximately 80 crore are eligible to vote. How do you understand what each one of them is going to do and who is voting for whom. The question is very serious considering the economic problems the country is facing. The Indian Currency has been constantly weakening. The Country has threats from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

The question that stands still is whom to vote for?

The contest is essentially between three candidates, namely, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. All three have vast differences in the ideologies they support and the way they canvass themselves and their ideologies. Who and why deserves to win is the question which is to be responded on various touchstones.

The first touchstone is that of connection of the leader with the public at large. A political leader essentially needs to connect with the public at large. Unless the leader is a populist one, it becomes rather more difficult to pull crowds and win the battle of ballots. Narendra Modi has done hundreds of sabhas all over the country in past few months. Three sabhas a day and all of them in different states says a lot about the character of a person aged 63. Narendra Modi would not go to the homes of Dalits in a simple kurta-payjama and have lunch there sitting on the floor. Narendra Modi doesn’t drive a simple Maruti car. He would arrive at a rally in a chopper, dressed up in extravagant outfits that even a youngster would be tempted to wear. Who would want their PM to be behaving like a poor man himself. What hope does he have and what hope does he give to the people if he himself weeps on issues of poverty? 

Although being termed as a Hindutva propagator, and filing his nomination from Varanasi, Modi did not go for a holy bath in the Ganges in front of the whole media fraternity. He doesn’t need to look ‘Aam’ to connect to the public. His chai pe charcha would be held at a posh A/c hall. He doesn’t need to look and behave as an ‘Aam Aadmi’ to connect with numerous others. The only requirement to connect with the public is the content of what you speak. Narendra Modi has been through everything in his life and that makes him comfortable wherever he goes. He can connect to the student crowd at a Delhi college convocation and to a farmer crowd at a rally in Haryana. He can connect with the poor crowd in Orissa and equally so with a crowd of businessmen at Vibrant Gujarat summits. He stays himself wherever he is, but ensures that he connects to the audience and makes sense to them. Probably, the vast experience of dealing with humans has only made him so versatile to be able to understand the worries of a Dalit locality and also that of a posh one.

Everyone should ask his / her ownself a simple question, whom do they want to lead them. Would you want a man sitting on a Dharna while being a State’s Chief Minister to be your leader? Would you want a man whose party was literally forced to pass Lokpal Bill, taking credit of the same lead you? Or you would want a dynamic leader who can speak his heart out on issues that most politicians avoid, to lead you. A man who has the audacity to question China on the issue of invasion into India, Pakistan on terrorism and Bangladesh on infiltration.The Prime Minister represents the country at an International platform. Would you want your PM to be an intense pessimist who is only good in criticising others and having no achievement of his ownself whatsoever? Would you want your PM to be a man who is dumbstruck by a few straight questions from a news reporter in an interview? Or you would want your PM to be a man who has tremendous success as a Chief Minister of Gujarat for over a decade under his belt?

Rahul Gandhi takes credit for passing RTI and Lokpal bills. Has political rivalry stooped down to a level where a Government seeks to take credit for passing legislations? Is it not the job of the Government to legislate?

The other touchstone for deciding a leader should be the personal achievements of the leader himself. The biggest achievement Rahul has, is his last name; Gandhi. Its legacy. Legacy of tyranny and abuse of power. What has he done by himself? An average person starts planning his retirement after entering into 40’s. This man still seems to be pursuing his internship as a politician. His attendance in the Lok Sabha is very low. He doesn’t participate in debates on major legislations. What is he doing? Its been a decade now. The same decade that Modi has utilized from being just a Chief Minister of a State to the Prime Ministerial candidate for BJP. What has Kejriwal done thus far? He left his government job to work against the Government and for corruption free India. Joined India Against Corruption in furtherance thereof. Left India Against Corruption to form a political party. Came into power, became the Chief Minister of Delhi and left that job also in less than 50 days just because other parties did not support him in passing a legislation. Can the responsibility of running the country be put on such an amateur? Who knows what he might do on being the Prime Minister (Assuming that he becomes). Modi has a record of winning Gujarat elections successfully for three consecutive terms. Has efficiently administered the State for over 10 years. Imagine the pressure that man must have had on facing two setbacks in the first two years of Chief Ministership, first being the destructive earthquake in 2001 and second being the Godhrakand in 2002. Still, Modi has administered and nurtured the State very efficiently. He has brought abundant foreign investments into the State.  

The next issue that needs to be considered while deciding a leader is the future that the leaders show you. The future that Rahul Gandhi can, at best, show, is to widen the communal divide and to grant Scheduled Caste status to a few other castes just a few months before the next election. What plans does he have for the nation? Is the empowerment of people enough? Do people just want to file RTI Applications and be happy? Do people just want reservations for their castes? Do they just want apathy of the leaders? No. The people of this country want to do so well that they don’t need anybody’s apathy, and the Government which provides ample basic, educational and employment opportunities is the best suited and sought for. 

Finally, a leader should be judged on the manner in which he deals with criticism. Rahul Gandhi has always avoided media interactions. Arvind Kejriwal seemed to have been liking the media attention he got only until he was praised by the media. The day his failures as Delhi Chief Minister were brought forward, he started abusing the media. The man who has been most maligned by the media for the 2002 riots does not abuse media on every occasion and declare the whole fraternity to be a paid one. Narendra Modi didn't go haywire and played the 'victim of media card' before the Gujarat 2012 elections. He waited and he criticized the media on the 20th December, 2012. The day on which, he had won Gujarat elections for the third consecutive term.

Go out and vote for change.

Jai Hind.