Showing posts with label Congress Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Congress Party. Show all posts

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Speaking My Mind

That every other day the Congress Party has to declare that it "disassociates" itself from what its official party spokesman said during an official briefing and interaction with media explains that the party has fallen short of talent for the purpose. Sometimes it has to declare that it was not the party position but the "individual or personal views" of the official spokesperson of the Party.
The latest was the gaffe the party spokespersons very eruditely said about the cost at which one can have a hearty fulsome nutritious meal. One said it could have had at `5 in Delhi, the other said it could be had at `12 in Mumbai. The Union Minister Farooq Abdullah who had chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir for pretty long went much further. He said one could fill one's stomach with just `1. All these statements and claims were not just ridiculous but these also went to ridicule the poverty and poor people of the country whom Congress claims to be the nearest to its heart. The redeeming feature was that all of them withdrew their words.


It is also a great ploy too. By saying one thing our politicians please one section of society and by later withdrawing or explaining the same, they try to soothe the tempers that may have been ruffled with such words. It acts as a double-edged weapon.

I am reminded of an incident narrated to me by a friend from Punjab. Decades back there was a political tussle between the then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon and his home Minister (who later became a chief minister himself) Darbara Singh. A signature campaign was launched by the two groups against each other. One MLA Chaudhary Sunder Singh was very close to Darbara Singh but the latter came to know that the former had signed a petition against him. After a day or two when Chaudhary Sunder Singh came to Darbara Singh's room instantly Darbara Singh burst out at him for having signed a petition against him. Very calmly Sunder Singh said: Why are you shouting at me like that? Calm down. I have signed in your favour too.
That exactly is the same the Congress Party seems to be doing. First it allows its spokespersons to say something and later disassociates from it to soothen the frayed tempers of others.


Since Congress-led UPA came to power in the country, there has never been one voice on what constitutes the population that lives below the poverty line. It has failed, so far, to come out with a specific income or expenditure criteria that divides the below and above poverty line, even in the Supreme Court of India. One government committee reports that more than 65 percent of India's population does not spend more than ` 25 per person per day. Only on July 23, 2013 the Planning Commission disclosed that Poverty in India declined to a record 22% in 2011-12

"Over the last decade, poverty has witnessed a consistent decline with the levels dropping from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 29.8% in 2009-10. The number of poor is now estimated at 269.3 million, of which 216.5 million reside in rural India" stated the Commission.

It is worth noting that Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is the Chairman and his close confidant Montek Singh Ahluwalia the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission. Yet, Manmohan Singh's own Law & Communitions and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has challenged the method used by the Planning Commission to calculate poverty. "If the Planning Commission said those who live above ` 5,000 a month are not at poverty line, obviously there is something wrong with the definition of poverty in this country. How can anybody live at `5,000?" Sibal asked.
On the Congress Party side too, there are diverse voices. The Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, otherwise considered close both to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandh, tweeted on July 27, "I have always failed to understand the Planning Commission's criteria for fixing the poverty line. It is too abstract. It can't be same for all areas". (

It is time the UPA government and the Congress put their house in order, have an open discussion between themselves and come to a uniform and one voice on the issue. Otherwise, it will end up being a laughing stock of the nation and hurting the sentiments of the poor.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Special Perks to Ex-governors

Daily Naya India (Hindi) has come out with a report (March 09, 2013) that the present UPA government has been too pleased to shower many favours and perks on the ex-governors at public cost.
UPA has decided to provide a secretary and to dole out `20,000 per month to enable ex-governors to maintain their office for life. Further a special identity card is being designed so that they get special attention at railway stations and airports while travelling. A protocol is also being devised for them.
To justify the step, the government explains that the ex-governors have complained that after they demit office, they are made to lead a life of no identity. All this is being done to maintain their dignity in retired life, the government explained.
It needs to be kept in mind that more than 95 percent of the ex-governors still alive belong to the ruling Congress Party or those who served it well. The appointment of governors is solely a discretionary favour on the persons. There are no rules governing their appointment and selection. Today the Raj Bhawans in Congress-ruled States have been turned into Congress Bhawans where governors keep a friendly eye on the activities of the Congress governments to promote and protect the ruling party interests. In non-Congress ruled States, the Raj Bhawans are known to have been converted into Opposition Bhawans. The governors play the role of the opposition more than that is performed by the elected leaders of opposition in the assembly. They keep the State governments on their toes by everyday pinpricking. Such instances are seen today in the States of Gujarat, Karnataka etc.
It is needless to recall how the office of the governor has been misused by the ruling party in destabilizing elected governments through underhand means by back room maneuvers. The cases of Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, and so on are the recent instances. In Bihar the role of the then Governor Buta Singh was severely censured by the Supreme Court and he had ultimately to vacate the Raj Bhawan.
It is not difficult to perceive that effort has always been made to put diehard Congress leaders in the Raj Bhawan with a specific mandate in opposition ruled States. Instances are not few and far between to find when governors have called on the national party chiefs, obviously to seek their 'inspiration' and aashirwaad.
For all intents and purposes, a governor is a public servant. But he is a glamourised and privileged variety. If a public servant is found derelict in the performance of his duties as per the law and the rules, he is made answerable. At times he even loses his job and pension. But it is not so in the case of governors. Governors like Bhandari and Buta Singh had to quit following a censure of their conduct by the courts, yet they continue to draw all the benefits due to a retired governor.
In these circumstances, the UPA government move is bound to entail a heavy burden on the hard earned money of the aam aadmi only to prize the individuals who were only the blue-eyed persons of the ruling bosses to promote and protect their sectarian political and electoral interests at the cost of public interest.