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.