Sunday, December 29, 2013

Man of the Year - Arvind Kejriwal

By far, Arvind Kejriwal easily qualifies as the Man of the Year in India.

His achievement - Arvind Kejriwal has single-handed changed the way Indians think about politics and politicians.

The man has been crusading for more than a decade against corruption in government offices. I am sure many must not have taken him seriously when he formed his Aam Admi Party (AAP), but he has proved his mantle.

It is alleged that AAP is the only party that did not use any unfair means to contest the poll.

AAP has exceeded all expectations. The nascent party has bagged 28 seats in Delhi in the state elections that were held in December his year. Even though the party failed to get majority scenario evolved such that it has formed the government in the state.

On 28th December 2013, he has been sworn-in as Delhi's Chief Minister.

His achievement - Kejriwal has become the symbol of clean and good representation in Indian politics.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finally - Indian Parliament passes Lokpal Bill

Finally! Yes finally - almost four decades - Indian Parliament finally clears the Lokpal Bill.

The demand for an ombudsman to investigate and punish errant public servants was first raised by Jaiprakash Narayan in the seventies. Jayprakash Narayan popularly referred to as JP had launched a movement to fight against corruption and misrule is 1974.

The demand for Lokpal once again picked up steam in 2010 when Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and others came together under the stewardship of Kisan Baburao (Anna) Hazare of Nanded.

Anna has overall sat on hunger strike 18 times out of which the last four fasts have been for getting the Jan Lokpal Bill passed by parliament.

Anna's Fasts for Lokpal

April 2011 -Anna fasted for 5 day at New Delhi.

August 2011 - Anna fasted for 13 days again at New Delhi. This proved to be a turning point in Indian politics. People came to the streets in all parts of the country in support of Anna Hazare and Lokpal. Prime Minister and the whole parliament came together and promised Anna that the Lokpal would be passed at the earliest.

December 2011 - At Mumbai - Anna fasted for 2 days.

December 2013 - Probably the last fast by Anna for Lokpal Bill. This was Anna's 18th fast in all and lasted for 9 days. This time the government bowed and the Lokpal Bill as passed by both houses of parliament.

But by this time, Arvind Kejriwal who had been a key person in Anna's Lokpal campaign had left his side. Kejriwal had formed his own political party. His party had contested in the Delhi State Polls - an election in which the Congress Party was miserably trounced.

The Bill

Although the Bill passed by parliament is not exactly what Anna Hazare had set out for, yet Anna has accepted the Bill in its current form with the confidence that coming parliamentarians will introduce modifications based the experiences gathered.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Will India finally get its Lokpal?

It seems that the Lokpal Bill will finally go through.

So much time has passed since the fast of Anna Hazare and since the Prime Minister had sent a letter of promise assuring that Parliament would pass the Lokpal Bill at the earliest. In fact, so much time has passed that many of us had started feeling the government had fooled Anna. I am sure, Anna too must have felt the same way otherwise would he have to go on fast again.

After the severe bashing received in the recently concluded state elections, I think the Congress party must have realized that it cannot ignore Anna Hazare and his fasting anymore. Whatever be the reason, the fact remains that the Bill is out of the refrigerator and has been taken up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha. Surprisingly, Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi has displayed a positive stance on the Lokpal Bill.

The party's young leader Rahul Gandhi has spoken in its favor and requested the other parties to ensure that the Bill is passed. The latest development is that even Anna Hazare has said that he accepts the provisions of amended Lokpal that has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha for discussion.

In the current scenario, even BJP cannot afford to ignore the Bill anymore.

So, it seems that the Lokpal Bill will finally go through.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Delhi is headed for repolls - No party appears to be ready to form government

Delhi is headed for repolls.

No party has received a clear mandate in the recently concluded state elections in Delhi. BJP bagged 32 seats while the new party on the block the Aam Admi Party, AAP won 28 seats. BJP has already turned down the Lt. Governor's invitation to form a government. The second biggest party AAP has already made it clear that it will not form a government without a clear majority.It is also expected to submit its refusal to the Lt. Governor by Saturday.

If the new government is not formed by 18 Dec 2013, Delhi state may under the President's rule, thereafter, the state will have to go to polls within 6 months.

In the recent state elections of 2013, BJP has won in 3 states Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, while Congress has retained Mizoram.

Delhi is the only state that faces fresh polls.

Meanwhile, the new party on the block has really shaken the national political scene.

Encouraged by the results in Delhi - AAP has already started planning its venture into the next General Elections and also the State Elections of Haryana and Maharashtra. One spirited faction of the party has even expressed its desire to face Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Amethi in the forth coming General Elections.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Anna Hazare starts indefinite fast for Jan Lokpal Bill

Amidst all the political activity of the recent days, Anna Hazare has started his indefinite hunger strike demanding the government to fulfill its promise to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

This time Anna Hazare has chosen his home town, Ralegan Siddhi, as the venue for his fast.

More than a year has passed since the Prime Minister had personally written to the veteran social activist last year requesting him to end his fast after the parliament had passed a resolution to the effect.

Some political observers are advising the Congress-led UPA government at Delhi to take cognizance of the huge defeat the Congress party has faced in the recently concluded elections and that it had better pay heed to the long pending demand of the people for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill, or be ready for an even worse fate in the forth-coming general elections.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

State Election Results 2013 - the run up to Lok Sabha Elections in 2014

08-Dec-2013 - A big day in the history of Indian politics.

5 states had gone to polls during November 2013 and first week of December 2013 in the country and today, results were announced for 4 of these state elections - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. The counting and results for Mizoram the 5th state is expected tomorrow.

The take aways from these are...
  • BJP has emerged as the clear winner of the polls - It is going ahead to form government in 3 of these states. 
  • In Delhi, BJP is the largest party in the assembly but lacks the clear majority.
  • Congress has become the biggest loser. 
  • It has been reduced to a very small party in states where it was in power i.e. in Delhi and in Rajasthan.
  • Congress has won only 8 seats in the 70 seater Delhi Assembly.
  • Congress has won only 21 seats in the 200 seater Rajasthan Assembly.
  • In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, things were not that bad for the Congress. May be the incumbency factor helped the party a little in these two states. 
  • In fact, there were occasions during the day as the results were being announced, that the Congress Party might actually form the government in Chhattisgarh. 
The day's biggest surprise was the performance of the Aam Admi Party (AAP). I am sure not many had anticipated the kind of success AAP has managed to achieve.

After today, AAP has been established as a formidable which no one will take lightly anymore.

Congress is the oldest political party of the country and it really needs to get its act together, the national elections are round the corner.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Rahul Gandhi speaks against the Government's ordiance on convicted lawmakers

Things are really not right for the Congress led UPA Government at Delhi.

For long, the decisions taken by the Indian Government have been disapproved. Allies, Opposition, common public and sometimes even party colleagues. In fact, the government had gained reputation as the roll-back government that has had to go back on many of its decisions in the recent past.

Taking this reputation one notch up, the Congress led ruling coalition has approved an ordinance that even the Congress party's most powerful leader Rahul Gandhi has criticized.

The government has approved and forwarded, to the President of India, an ordinance on convicted politicians. This ordinance received widespread criticism both from within the and outside the Congress. Even a minister in the government - Milind Deora - has publicly spoken against it.

The latest addition to this brigade was Rahul Gandhi, when he spoke in the media about his opinion which was totally against the ordinance.

It seems that the Congress party has mastered the art of acting against public sentiment and attracting receiving criticism at almost every step.

Supreme Court's Landmark Decision - voters get the RIGHT TO REJECT

Yes finally it is here... - The Right to Reject

Even as the Union Cabinet has prepared an ordinance against Supreme Court's decision to immediately disqualify convicted politician.

The bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi has delivered what can be easily classified as the most revolutionary, path-breaking decision.

The honourable justices have directed the election commission to implement a NOTA (none-of-the-above) button in all EVMs and Ballot Papers in a phased manner and directed the center to provide support.

I personally welcome the decision and agree that this will force the political parties to nominate popular candidates.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

General Elections 2014: BJP has started drawing its guns, Congress needs to wake up

General Election 2014 is less than one year away.

Today, BJP President Rajnath Singh has formally launched BJP's election preparations by announcing Narendra Modi's name as the Chairman of the party's Election Campaign. This decision was taken at the BJP conclave at Goa, where most senior BJP leaders where present, except BJP veteran L. K. Advani.

The way things are evolving It is being (safely) assumed that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is also being popularly assumed that his Congress rival in the race to PM house will be Rahul Gandhi.

One thing is obvious that the amount of media time and attention Narendra Modi is getting is much much more than what Rahul Gandhi is getting.  Let us see how the media and voters perceive these two.

Media Presentation of Narendra Modi

Most of the time when the media talks of Narendra Modi, he generally gets a positive reference as next Prime Minister of India -
  • whether the NDA alliance partners will accept him as the NDA candidate for Prime Minister,
  • whether he will be a good prime minister,
  • what his agenda will be as a prime minister,
I am implying that the voters hear about Narendra Modi as if he is winning or he has won.

Media Presentation of Rahul Gandhi

On the other hand, most media reporting about Rahul Gandhi is not so positive. Most of the discussion about Congress is about whether the Congress will be able to complete its current tenure. Sometimes these media discussions are to the tune of how badly Rahul Gandhi will lose.

Media coverage being received by the Congress party is not going in favor of Rahul Gandhi, especially looking at the way things have developed around the Congress led UPA government at the helm of India, the scams, denial to enact strict anti-corruption laws, policy and decision paralysis, et al

The way some senior Congress leaders react in front of the camera makes me feel that the party has accepted that it will not be returning to power in the 2014.

The Candidates and The Media

Besides this, Narendra Modi has himself ensured that he gets regular media coverage - be it his speech in front of student in some college, be it his video address to American student, be his visits to Delhi, Bihar, the coverage of the BJP conclave at Goa, etc.

Whereas Rahul Gandhi, I feel, has made a conscious effort to keep himself away from the media and limelight. Rahul Gandhi is seldom seen in the media, and further he seldom addresses the people (via the media cameras and pens).

In short, I think that BJP is way ahead in the preparedness for General Election 2014. The Congress party has tighten its belt and change the negative perception that is filtering through to the voters.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Corruption, corruption and more corruption - even Cricket is not untouched

Now-a-days, the news channels and news papers are busy exposing some corruption, scam, scandal or the other. Most of the time, the ruling UPA Government at New Delhi has been at the target of these agencies, but this time the focus has shifted.

After being in the negative-light for Lokpal, Black Money, 2G, CWG, Coalgate scandals, it must be taking a breath of relief that this it is Cricket that has hit the media.

This time the focus has shifted to Cricket and the scandal of spot fixing in the IPL matches. The media reporters are busy working overtime trying to keep up pace with the revelations that are coming out from the various investigating agencies and the subsequent reactions and developments after each exposure.

There is so much money around the Indian Premier League from its very inception, in fact I was surprised to know that people were willing to pay so much money for owning teams and then again were still ready to shell out more for "buying" players for their teams.

I think it was only a matter of time before some controversy, the underworld and the betting industry stepped in.

And not surprisingly, in the second year itself it was forced to shift the tournament to South Africa due to some controversy. Then next season (in 2010) the first IPL commissioner and the "father" of IPL Lalit Modi was removed from his chair following allegations of corruption and irregularities amidst other charges.

The matches of IPL 2012 were also stained with reports of spot fixing, but this year (2013) the spot fixing scandal is promising to be the murkiest of it all. This time celebrities - cricket players, a film star and allegedly a team owner - are involved. The cops have already taken some of these celebrities into custody alongwith several bookies from different cities.

So much so, the controversy still appears to only be bloating and expanding. Time alone will tell whether the it will burst or fizzle out.

All things said - one thing is certain - the Congress led UPA government must be considering it a relief that this time it is not at the receiving end of the bad news and publicity - for a change.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BJP voted out of power in Karnataka Polls

I have strongly believed that performance of political parties matters.

This has been proven once again in the Karnataka Polls. BJP had demonstrated a lot of in-fighting and misrule in the State. Corruption, Illegal Mining, Peer Fighting - the party was highlighted in the media for all the wrong reasons.

So, it is quite natural that the people demonstrate their anger where they can and the results have spoken today.

Another election where this performance theory was proven right is the Gujarat Polls. The voters voted Narendra Modi back to power in response to all the positive environment that was created in response to his development based administration.

Once again a demonstration that performance matters.

Next - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are in queue. These states are supposed to go to polls before 2013 ends.

Here is how I perceive the political scenario.

Delhi Polls

I believe that in Delhi, the Congress government has been in the news more for the wrong reasons than the right.

Sheila Dixit must combat the gloomy corruption-ridden perception of the Congress-led UPA government in the Center and the insensitive image of the government in the state.

The biggest factor being the way issue of security of women has been handled. To top it, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been constantly nagging it for its insensitive price rise of electricity and water.

Sheila Dixit will be leading the Congress government to polls for the 4th time. It remains to be seen whether she stills retains public trust.

Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Shivraj Singh Chauhan has not been much in the news for the wrong reasons.

I feel that even he will be leading his party to polls on a development-based campaign. If selected by his party, he will be leading his party in the state elections for the 2nd time.


Dr. Raman Singh to has managed to keep his team of politicians away from the negative media. He has a development model to display.
  • The creation of new districts. 
  • Naya Raipur.
  • Free Pilgrimage.
  • Many-fold increase in the use of Information Technology.
would be his main strengths and achievements. Besides, this most of his development work can be seen only in Raipur the state capital.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Coalgate Independent Investigation - the Role of CBI and of the Government

The recent fiasco of the UPA regime came to the fore when reports of Government interference in the preparation of the Status Report by CBI on Coal Mine scam were published in the media.

The anti-corruption movement by Anna Hazare was started on the very premise that there should be an independent investigation agency devoid of any government interference. An investigating agency that would be free to investigate and prosecute anyone irrespective of position and status.

The recent developments,
  • starting with the revelation of the fact that the Coalgate investigation report was shared with the law minister, 
  • the accusing letter from Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval addressed to Attorney General GE Vahanvati 
  • followed by Supreme Court's observations that the CBI need not take instructions from political masters, 
once again highlight the need for an independent investigating agency.

The Government of India had already given clear indications that it was not going to do anything to take action against the corrupt. The way action was taken against campaigners like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdeo are glaring examples.

In fact, it has done all in its power to protect the high-profile accused. It is very disappointing.

We can only hope things improve.