Strange Political Bedfellows!

We need strong Bharat and not political dramas!

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My resolve of not writing about political things is broken again. The happenings in Bangalore are such that many thoughts come to mind and I see that the same things get repeated again and again and again! This is irrespective of parties involved. Why people take decisions like the one taken by BJP is simply beyond my understanding. It is said that you see strange bed fellows in politics and it gets proven again.  

Years back, Quattrocchi an Italian Businessman was being haunted by Indian officials for his misdeeds in India. They went to Malaysia to arrest him. The then Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda’s government had vigorously taken action against this Italian national. The Prime Minister had formed the government in Delhi, with support of Indian Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi! She was against this action but government rightly pursued the case (How can you arrest an Italian Friend?). Quattrocchi simply told our officials that there is no extradition treaty between India and Malaysia; our officials came back empty handed. Within a few days Sonia Gandhi, the then Goddess, “punished” Deve Gowda by withdrawing support for his government and Deve Gowda had no option but to resign. After so many years, Deve Gowda and his son are sleeping with congress again. That is politics! Everything is forgotten if there is benefit.  

Besides the political aspects of the matter, I want to take a look at human aspect too. I hardly know much about Yeddyurappa, the deposed Chief Minister. We forget that all the persons involved in the drama are human beings. What must be his condition now? He simply was a pawn in the power game that is known as politics. I would not like to be in his place. He appears like a sacrificial lamb on the altar of political games. How much time he will take to come out of this? It is very difficult to judge. The stress that he must be personally going through, various things people talk about him, various analysis that people will make, he will be declared as a dark demon. People forget that he is one of many dark demons.  

I remember an incident from my college days. I was selected for a lecturer’s post, while completing my Masters in Engineering. There was another candidate who came last in interviews. He was from reservations class. Somehow, he could never fit anywhere in the process of selection. I took the post and later left the college to join the industry, after completing my education. But the atmosphere created in the selection process, left such a bad test in my mind that it took a few years for this bitter test to go away. In spite of my selection being rightful in all respects, a bit of turmoil happened. Even while writing about this event, which happened 50 years back, I am very uncomfortable. 

Well, we say that all politicians have thick skins so they can absorb any shocks, any events good, bad or ugly. I don’t think so. A human being is a human being and any so called thick skinned person can take up only so much of muck, so much of ugly pressures, and after effects of events beyond control. I hope that, Yeddy will manage to over ride this menacing wave of events, on which he never had any control! 

Now to the event. I have seen and heard many a times that law is blind or law is an Ass. I am not an expert in law so my comments will be like a common man, you and me. Why was BJP allowed to attempt to form a government? During the day, today, we will get more clarity of the position of law in this matter. Why did BJP create the absolutely un called for event? Had they not done so, Deve Gowda and Congress could have formed a government. Obviously, the first six month to one year would have been honeymoon period for their government. Then the political subterfuge would have started. Amit Shah and company are experts in that. They could have managed the numbers to change their skin colour to saffron as per political mathematics. How the heavens would have fallen if this was done later, post honeymoon period of Deve Gowda government, I do not know.

Maybe it boils down to 2019 elections. BJP wanted to complete their boast of Congress Mukt Bharat! It is a brilliant political slogan created by someone. But it seems that BJP has become obsessed with the slogan. They want to make sure that this happens by hook or by crook. Looks like a bit arrogance has crept in somewhere. It appears that BJP has started thinking that they are the destiny, they are the Gods. To remain at top of the game, anywhere, needs a very mature and stable state of mind. It looks like people are generally accepting the measures taken by BJP, for improvement of India as a nation. But BJP should not forget that the same people who put you on pedestal one day, will simply drop you. This may not happen by way of BJP losing the elections that take place from today to the big day in 2019! But they will simply keep on giving fractured mandate. This will ensure that nobody has real the Trump card in hand, pun intended!  

About Congress less said the better. It appears that they are going from bad to worse. They simply don’t want to understand that days of dynastic politics are over. Mr. Gandhi is no Indira Gandhi! He does not have charisma and the backing she had. She rose from the ashes of Emergency like a Phoenix and ruled India till she was assassinated. Rahul’s father and Indira’s son Rajeev, was a good person but was a misfit in the cauldron that is politics. Rahul appears to be a similar person and does not have towering personality like his grand-mother. BJP should allow him to taper off on his own. Karnataka episode has given Rahul’s career a bit of an oxygen!  

Is this going to continue in future? Yes, it will. Daru, Women and Power are the elixirs of the game called politics, and life in general. Modi’s and Shah’s of this world are street smart guys who know how to handle such situations. There are local variants in Bengal, UP. There are satraps like Mayawati, though currently not in power, who can control the mandate in the large state of UP. This can have effect on government formation in Delhi. What India needs on long term basis, is a stable government in Delhi, strong leader like Modi. Currently none of this appears to be seen on the horizon of any political party, other than BJP.  

But hopefully, the BJP think tank will wake up after Karnataka drubbing and take politics in the right direction! I am bothered only about my country, India; I want this to progress and governed strongly but not brutally. The world never respects weaklings. So, I hope that the better sense will prevail and such episodes will not be repeated! I also sincerely hope that system does not forget that it is formed by parts which are called humans like you and me! Please be a little soft on them!  

   

 

Viva Democracy!

Extortion, Threats using democracy!

Democracy is supposed to be the better among the many forms of governments that we have world over. It gives freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of thought process. In democracy, sometimes both sides are right! We tend to forget this point. We sometimes think that when I am right other side is wrong and that needs to be corrected. This thinking needs to be reformed as sometimes these things lead to bitter disputes, agitations, and many avoidable confrontations.

This struck me, when I read about controversy during ceremony to give national awards for film personalities, at the hand of the President of India, Mr. Kovind. It appears that he remains present for such occasions for not more than one hour. His office had already communicated this to the concerned ministry. When the stipulated one hour got over, he excused himself and left the function. There was a big uproar after he left and many of the artists who were yet to receive the awards, made big noise. The awards then were presented by the minister concerned. Many of the artists who were in the queue for the awards, decided to boycott the ceremony. They said that they will receive the awards at the hands of the President and no one else. Finally, many of them left the ceremony, without awards. My question is why the big uproar? I have seen many such functions where the chief guests, give say about 10 % of the awards, all others are given by someone else. I have seen this when degrees are conferred at the convocations too! I am sure it would have been a good feeling to get the award at the hands of President of India. But five years down the line, it is important that you have the award and not WHO gave you the award. But this event has created unnecessary scenes and bitterness involving highest office in our country, though it had nothing to do with the President.

This year India did quite well in the Common Wealth Games in Australia. Athletes from Haryana did very well in various categories. Government of Haryana declared a prize of Rs.15 million each, i e Rs 1.5/ crore, for gold medalist and so on. A substantial sum by any standards. They put one rider. Many athletes had already taken jobs in railways and such national organizations. They were getting a lot of support for training and otherwise from their respective organizations. These government organizations had declared their own prizes, for gold medalist Rs.50/ lacs or five million and so on. Government of Haryana felt that all the winners should get the equal amount as gift hence they declared that if athletes are already getting cash gift from their employers, then that amount will be deducted from the from prize declared by Haryana government. The athletes felt that government was cheating them; they wanted additional money. Government in all fairness thought that all should get the same amount as gift! Athletes decided to boycott the ceremony. Government said thank you, closed the subject. Again it shows the greedy character of our people. It was a gift being offered, it was not your right to get the money! Substantial amounts were offered by government as prize but athletes were not satisfied. It shows the character of our general populace.

Pune University is an old institution with a new name. Recently there was an issue going on. Students from post graduate course in English were on strike. Their demand was to postpone the exams, have a replacement teacher and change the Head Of Department! But what was the story? This was basically rural/city divide. The students from city background had none of these issues. They appeared for the exam on specified date. The problem of rural students was that teacher did not explain them in vernacular language, Marathi! Really? For post graduate students who have basic degree B A in English, wanted subject to be explained in Marathi! When you select a subject at post graduate level, that too English,  you should not expect teaching medium to be Marathi or special explanation in Marathi. The real problem I hear is that these students from rural background take admissions to post graduate courses, one after another, as they are studying to appear for government competitive exams. Admissions to these courses gives them staying place in hostels, in Pune, at a very low cost. In the democracy, placing various demands is the right of the students. But University authorities have acceded to their demands to remove the teacher, though there was nothing criminal against the teacher, students simply wanted him removed! Can you believe that? Or is this dictatorship by students? This sort of soft giving up, will lead to many such acts in future!

A farmer in Maharashtra committed suicide as he could not repay his loans. He owned nine acres of land. There has been big drive from government to give subsidies to poor farmers by way of loan waivers. I am not sure about details of this case, but to me this individual did not fall under any subsidy scheme as he owned 9 acres of land. When this unfortunate event occurred, his family concocted a suicide note purportedly written by the farmer, blaming the government for his suicide. When Police asked them why they brought the note so late, they had no answer. It was obviously a fraud. Then the family declared that they will not receive the dead body unless two conditions were met. First was Mr. Modi should visit the family and second was Maharashtra government should pay the family Rs. One crores! Ten million! This is plain extortion. Obviously, there was some backing from political people, but government handled this very deftly and ignored their demands. If a farmer does not make income with nine acres of land then who can help him.

Disparity in incomes is leading to a big divide in the society. Aspirations of people are going up. Better solutions for such issues is hard work and some support from governments. Poor and backward people need support. But is this correct to go on hunger strikes, or try some methods of extortion, at the drop of a hat? People try and convert each and every event into a circus. Is it the right way? Is this what democracy is for? Friends, share your thoughts with me!

A little deviation!

My little probe on current politics!

I generally avoid writing about things that are in public domain and especially related to politics. But some recent events have forced me to temporarily tweak my rule, maybe just this one time! So, pardon me. Many actions in public domain are supposedly taken with elections in view, or some such ulterior motives. As usual ruling party and oppositions parties do not see eye to eye on most things. Only time both sides seemed to have come together, are during national emergencies. But there have been no such emergencies. I am not talking of this government or that party. 

Today I read about a small plane carrying Rahul Gandhi and his close aides, flying from Delhi to Hubli. It appears that as the flight was approaching Hubli, the airplane suddenly lost height, became unstable, and pilots lost control. This was during day time and weather was clear with no obvious winds. Pilots took charge of the plane by shifting from Auto Pilot to manual mode and landed safely. On landing, the entourage approached the police and lodged an FIR, claiming sabotage. The FIR is lodged against the pilots! Do pilots not know if the plane crashed, they will also die? I do not know why FIR was lodged. All, including crew were petrified. If someone wanted to kill the leader why will they put the lives of unknown persons also, in jeopardy? The plane could fall and kill a few on ground too! Are we such a vicious country that we will try to kill some senior leader because of elections? Are we a set of “Stupids” to react this way? Are we so malicious, that we want to charge our opponents of murder? After getting down, the complaint could have been made to authorities. These authorities could have been requested to stop flying the plane for thorough inspection. (apparently this is now done) Who advised this group of people to complain about saboteur? What is this, stupidity or viciousness, naivety?  

On the other side, due to the rise in Oil prices in international markets, petrol and diesel prices at home are also sky rocketing. With elections around in some states and national elections next year, this is supposedly a disaster for the current government. But they are sticking to basic finance rules and not taking any action to reduce these rates by way of subsidies. Sometime back, Indian petroleum sector was linked to international oil prices. A couple of years back, we got the benefits of very low petrol/diesel prices. Popular measures may be good politics but it is not good for the nation. This is an extraordinary courage being shown by the government.  

Supreme Court Chief Justice issue is one more such saga. I do not understand much about law of the land. But it was apparent from the beginning that this action was going to boomerang on the people who started the action. First and foremost was that the opposition parties could not form a coalition, based on similar thinking. The numbers were not there, and according experts, logic behind the action was not tenable. With this background there was no point in moving ahead. But why they moved forward is a mystery! Do they have no other agenda? Do they have nothing viable to pressurize the government?  

AFSPA is Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms “disturbed areas”. Tripura government has withdrawn this act after 18 years. This was promulgated when situation there was bad and there was no option left. But somebody has reviewed this and taken a decision to withdraw these. This is creditable because generally nobody wants to bell the cat. Decisions in the government, are generally left to bureaucracy and their motto is status quo! Generally, there will be no review, things keep on lingering. One arm does not know what the other arm is doing! That reminds me of a small anecdote from Solapur district. In the district collector’s office, there was a file called “Report for the Queen”! Nobody knew what it was. But every month a group of officers was creating a mundane report, to be sent to the queen (of England), naturally! This procedure was started more than 100 years back during British Raj and continued till the year 2000! Review? What is that! 

Last but not the least is current China visit by our PM. Both our countries are large and with big population. Somehow China has been coming in the way of many things that India wanted to do on the world stage. May it be Pakistan, Sri Lanka or United nations China has always tripped India; on top of that there has been continuous probing on border posts in Himalayas. These type of skirmishes, are always stressful and can prove to be very expensive, even money wise, with no tangible results. Our PM has realized this and has taken first step to cool down tensions with China. There will be give and take, but we need to be pragmatic and keep our egos aside! That is the real diplomacy. I always felt that India was always lagging in finesse in diplomatic relations, though there has been improvement in last ten years or so. There were no declarations, no noise, just tête-à-tête between top bosses; it appears that meetings will be regular in future! I felt that this is a feather in the cap of our Government!  

Are we showing maturity in our governance? Are we not afraid to take steps which may be termed bold? But one thing is sure, we continue to be idiots, stupids and smart at the same time. Mainly the political arena has to change! Can we be a little smarter in our internal political moves also and try to be less confrontational? Hope we mature in this area too!  

Jaihind!