Mar 072012
 

The Amul Advertisement 

The question is, are they ? worthy that is… not in my opinion. they represent the worst of all other Parties in India, the corrupt brazenness of the Congress, the willingness to take to the streets and disrupt like the BJP, the parochialism of the regional parties, the unwillingness to look at an open market like the left front parties. But, above all, the aspect that gives them their own unique flavour is the nexus between the criminals and the Party. While others may take covert support, there is nothing subtle about the presence of criminals in the SP. It is upfront and present.

But I guess people deserve the Governments that they elect  and UP has elected this lot. The rest of India, as always, will pay a price for the largest, most populous state – remaining backward.

It is strange and surprising that the Congress and the BJP targeted Mayawati and her administration to such a level, without having their own organisational mechanics in place. While Mayawati may have been imperious, and mercurial and turning a blind eye to corruption, – those were not the reasons to target her. It is, as a Dalit Activist friend pointed out, the feeling that “how dare she ? How dare a Dalit Woman not know her place”… that was behind a lot of the attacks on Mayawati.  When you read the English language press on her, you realise how deep rooted caste is in the psyche ..’how dare she wear diamonds’ ‘how dare she carry a bag’ …There are others as corrupt, if not more – remember the scenes of Jayalalitha’s adopted son’s wedding ? – but Jaya speaks English, is convent educated, is one ‘of us’.. Maya, unfortunately, is not.

Yesterday a commentator on DD made a very interesting point – he said that the campaign attacks by Rahul Gandhi, the BJP were so virulent that they served the purpose of shifting the vote to the SP rather than the Congress or BJP.

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The Punjab, the Uttarakhand and the Manipur elections were neither here nor there. Yes, they took place. yes, someone won. Should the winners have won — if there was any sense of right and wrong in the world, no … the Congress should not have won Manipur. the SAD/BJP should not have won Punjab. Khanduri should never have lost…yet these were the results :( .

The only election result that gives me some hope is Goa. The people of the State came out in large numbers – cutting across caste, community and religious lines – to vote out a Government & a criminal cartel that has pillaged their state, and voting in an Honest, effective man. Manohar Parrikar gives me hope to the same extent that the Samajwadi party drains that hope from me.

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And finally, If the Congress wants to win, it needs to decentralize power & let others come to the fore. This is not a family business, and over reliance on one family is suicidal.  The reason for this rout is neither corruption nor any other issues. It is Organisational Paralysis brought about by all decision making – party and Government – being concentrated in the hands of two or three people. If the BJP wants to win, it needs to consolidate power in fewer hands. Too many chiefs and too few followers. Where leadership was clear, they won. Where there was too much they lost.

And why do i care ? because I don’t want a third front government. Rather one or the other – the Congress or the BJP ….but, for that they need to get their act in place.

 

Dec 102010
 

Yesterday, Parliament didn’t work for the 20th day in a row. It was disrupted from doing any business. I almost expect the headlines, in the next few days to say — “today MP’s did work” ….

What does that mean – that means, that the Government that the people of India have elected to power to deliver a certain set of goals – could not deliver what it is meant to do, because the Opposition – or the bunch of people, that the Indian voter did not think fit to exercise power – decided that this is the way to bring about their agenda.

What are the issues:

The Opposition Stand
The opposition parties - the BJP and the Communists – want a Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) – to look into the allocation of 2G licenses. They believe that there were massive kickbacks involved in the process. They claim that the loss to the exchequer in forgoing the auction process (which was followed in the 3G allocation) cost the country some lakhs of crores. They claim it is the single largest loss to the exchequer in history. The CPM is slightly flexible  on the JPC. the BJP is not.

Do I agree with the Opposition’s stand - yes & no. there needs to be investigation. However, where I disagree with them on disrupting Parliament.

There, in my view, is this petulant childlike  obstinacy on the JPC, only the JPC and nothing but the JPC – and where their behavior scares me is that if we don’t get our way, we won’t let you – the State – discharge its duties. And, we shall hold our breath, throw a tantrum and generally be disruptive till you do exactly what we want. Furthermore, the three JPC”s held to date have really not done too much except muddy the issue more – the first, for example, was on Bofors, the second on insider trading and the third on pesticides in Colas and ground water pollution…

My major objection with the opposition stand – The Opposition in India is behaving like the opposition in the Weimar republic - in discrediting the system – not the Government -and paving the way for a more unilateral system…..

The Government Stand

The Government – the Congress and its Allies – say yes there were irregularities. But they say that the loss was presumptive. What does this mean – it means that had it been auctioned x would have been  earned, but since the UPA didn’t follow auctioning and went in for revenue sharing – this is not the loss, for there is money going to be earned in perpetuity. But, the UPA admits that there were irregularities, says that it will be investigated bur refuses the JPC. It has set up a one man committee to investigate the issue

note: Presumptive loss – the best analogy i can give is on gender. Lets’ say you – dear reader – are a woman. As a woman you are a presumptive male – for, If your father had contributed the other chromosome ( Y) you would have been a man:)
In economics, this is also the opportunity cost of making a decision – in life this is the road  not taken

Do I agree with the Government’s stand – Yes and No. Yes – it is a presumptive loss. No – that they behaved like ostriches on corruption and flouting of the system. and i am also bugged with the fact that they tried to brazen this out till the heat got too much.

I personally want to see the loss recovered, the matter investigated, the accused investigated and the guilty punished. It matters not whether it is a PAC, a JPC or a XYZ.  What I would be unhappy with is a coverup. I am unhappy that the Government has taken so long to figure out that something was drastically wrong in the process, even more unhappy that it has taken so long to get out of collective hibernation to take action.

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The Congress needs to understand that it is in Government. And this is for a 5 year period and not perpetuity. You cannot hide behind ‘coalition dharma’ – if the coalition partners are that dirty, dump them and call for elections. You have not been elected to power -you have been elected to Govern – it is time that began happening….

The BJP needs to understand that the people of India didn’t want to elect it to power or to govern  twice in succession. They need to ask why. Is part of it their own petulant behavior? Their desire to flout the system and take to the streets and disrupt everything if they don’t get their way. Maybe the BJP needs to dump its leadership and find people who are rational and in step with the mainstream electorate – not fossils who are as compromised as anyone in the UPA….

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Finally, if I – the voter – want a change from the UPA at the centre what is my choice ….. a political party that behaves like a 3 year old spoilt child in a mall ???

Oct 042009
 

… because  they evoke violence in non violent people.

I am mostly non violent.

But, there are times when i watch or hear TV – not often, because I have severely curtailed news viewing since 26/11 – that I have this desire to reach through the screen and ‘bajaofy some poeple, kaan ke neeche “. I can’t help it. It is instinctive. It has nothing to do with their politics or the parties that they represent. It has more to do with who they are and the ‘snake oil salesmanship’ that oozes out of their entire being.

I am sure that I am not alone in finding the bulk of the political class unbearable. But, these especially get me thinking of violence against my poor TV set. So in no particular order of their ability to irritate are my top nominees

Ravi Shankar Prasad – ‘let me tell you my good friend ” he starts, and then the whole conversation derails. He is patronizing, dogmatic and just the kind of person you don’t want to listen to. the kind of older uncle you have, who says ‘what do you know – when i was your age….”

Rajiv  Pratap  Rudy – if I was casting, he would be the used car salesman. His handling of Tharoor and Parrikar have been seriously bad – reeking of envy rather than opinion & have ended up making his party seem even more inept.

Manish Tiwari – I am quite sure that every time this man turns up in public and opens his mouth – he loses his party supporters. He is seriously irritating, ill informed and blunders where idiots fear to tread.  The first search result when you search for him is this, and what it says is apt for him :

Content will come here.Content will come here.Content will come here.Content will come here.Content will come here.

Abhishek Singhvi : the kid in class who wants to get the eye of the teacher, the one who will bring her a flower or an apple. Smart, the way a school debater is, and just as blinkered. Life is not about scoring points, nor about defending the indefensible – it is about the courage of conviction.

Brinda Karat : EVerytime I hear her, i have the urge to throw something heavy at the TV screen.  The kind of person who, along with her husband, has destroyed the ideological ingrity of the Communists.  When I hear her on China, I want to ask her “where do your loyalties lie ”

Ram Vilas Paswan - His desire for power has been so great, that he can fight on any side of the issue; maybe even simultaneously . He epitomizes the line ” how do you tell a politician is lying; his lips are moving” – more than anyone else i can recall in polity

Which of them get your goat ?

May 172009
 

So, it is over. And, the Congress is the single largest party and how :) I can’t stop smiling.

What is incredible, is the maturity of the Indian voter. They saw saw through all the crap, the political cynicism, the power grabbing dash of the third and fourth front, the negativity of the BJP – and they voted. They voted out those who were harping on irrelevant issues, those who ran negative campaigns and those who cynically exploited their sentiments. So BJP is down, AIDMK is out, the Left is out, Laloo and Paswan are out – and development is in.

The man who has never run for Parliament – Dr.Manmohan Singh – has had a bulk of the country voting for him. It’s good to know that my vote counts :) . I am not sure that the Congress would have done so well if they did not project him as the next Prime Minister.

But, the Congress victory cannot be discussed without discussing the BJP campaign. This is the second election that they have lost on their campaign.

Didn’t they learn from last time? India is not the USA. negative campaigns don’t work here. Calling MMS names possibly put off BJP voters, and propelled Congress supporters to brave the heat and vote. Just as last time around personal attacks on Sonia Gandhi worked in her favour, this time around personal attacks on the PM worked in the PM’s favour – especially when he retaliated.

Funnily enough, at the end of this Campaign I still don’t know what the BJP was promising. I don’t have the time to trudge through miles of policy documents – most of the electorate doesn’t. I knew what the Congress was promising. I didn’t read their policy documents either – but their advertising was fairly precise. I knew that the BJP was promising us Advani as PM -at least the campaign that stalked me on the web did. They were promising that they weren’t the Congress – but what did they stand for ? The only thing I heard was Ram Mandir, and Varun Gandhi – the first reminded me of why I have always found the BJP dangerous – their leadership cannot control their own mobs. If anything the latter put me off the BJP more than ever before. And, towards the end when they started saying Modi next PM – I began wondering if the BJP was sabotaging its own campaign.

Why did they use Modi so much – he may gather crowds, he may even entertain crowds – but it will be interesting to see if those are converted to votes, or are people turning up to get entertained ! Rahul Gandhi obviously converted shows to votes, did Modi ?

Why didn’t the BJP harp on Development more? Especially, the development in the states of HP, MP and Gujarat – and the fact that these are honest administrations. Why did they run such a negative campaign on rising prices. Why didn’t they tell us how they would have cut prices or simple things, for example, like LPG under Rs.50 or Rice at Rs.20 – and communiatec this effectively.

Finally, the BJP needs to understand that India is changing. Caste, religion may be important, but in the personal space. I am not sure that people want it in the public space. I don’t want a Party that targets my fellow citizens on their beliefs. I don’t want to see mosques being destroyed and churches being burnt. I don’t want to see fellow citizens being murdered because they pray differently. I don’t want to see women getting beaten up because they live their life as they see fit. I don’t want imposed morality ! and, that is what I perceive the BJP to stand for. Against personal choice and freedom. To be electable they need to move back to the inclusive middle ground that Vajpayee had created

Ultimately the election comes down to this – who are we, and what do we – as the people – stand for. and, we voted for the Party that stood for us.

I am so proud of the Indian voter ! and I think that we will have a Good Government :)

Apr 252009
 

Manmohan Singh
Because of only one man, and that man is Dr.Manmohan Singh

Elections 2009 is not about televised debates, it is not about grandstanding, it is not about security, and it is not about black money. It is a level playing field for all parties on these issues, as far as i am concerned. If the UPA faced 26/11, the NDA had the Parliament attacks; if the Congress has the Sikh riots, the BJP has Gujarat, if the Congerss is accused of black money, the BJP has the Pramod Mahajan issue.

So what does it boil down to? why does Manmohan Singh get my vote, even if he is not contesting :

because it is the economy stupid ! and there is no other person I trust more to navigate us out of the financial whirlpool created by Wall Street greed and White House stupidity.

The trioka of Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie – the best BJP brains in economics – don’t really inspire confidence. They didn’t when they handled the finance/disinvestment portfolios in the last Government, and they didn’t when they were in opposition. Their flip flop policies are not what the country needs at this time. The only BJP person who comes across as a competent manager of the economy – tho’ not at Dr.Singh’s level – is Mr. Narendra Modi, but his politics scare me. I am terrified of fascists – and he is one.

I would not vote for the communists if you held a gun to my head – seriously. It is better to die instantly than to have West Bengal happen to you.

That leaves Mayawati. I don’t think that she knows what her economic policies are.

Samajwadi Party does not exist for me. It stands for crooks, terrorists and murderers.

So that leaves me with a Party that i am deeply disappointed with, but not enough to punish myself by voting for the rest. I am hoping that the next 5 years give me alternatives that are worth voting for.

( I haven’t mentioned Mr.Advani – that’s because i think that he is uniquely inept. Nero level inept. And, i seriously don’t know how someone who is so not there has ended up leading a major political party. And it is tragic for the BJP that the only person who inspires confidence is also a person who makes people like me very, very nervous – Modi!)