Showing posts with label Rajiv Gandhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rajiv Gandhi. Show all posts

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Comment Today
Priyanka should Pose this Question to the right Person

Amba Charan Vashishth

A number of newspapers, including the MAIL TODAY, have today (May 28) published a story that Rahul Gandhi's sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has asked Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani to explain to the people why Amethi has no IIIT. It lookss Priyanka has posed this question to a wrong person, It is true that Smriti Irani did contest the election to Amethi parliamentary constituency against Rahul Gandhi last year, but she lost. Priyanka cannot be ignorant of the fact that Amethi has been the family fiefdom which was represented by her father Rajiv Gandh (he remained prime minister too for five years), her mother and her brother Rahul consecutively. Rahul is representing this constituency for the third term during which we had a Manmohan government for a decade. It remains a mystery why does Priyanka not direct this question to her brother, mother Sonia Gandhi and the Congress which ruled the country for so long.

On the contrary, both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka should present to the electorate a balance-sheet of what they promised during all these years and what they fulfilled. Priyanka had been a star campaigner for her brother in the elections.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Launching Food Security programme amounts to an affront to Parliament & Constitution

Launching Food Security programme amounts to an affront to Parliament & Constitution

On August 7, UPA government withdrew in Parliament the Food Security Ordinance promulgated on July 5 and introduced the Food Security Bill to replace the same.

Till August 26 the two Houses of Parliament had not been able to find time to give a consideration to the Bill and finally put their seal of approval. As things stand, nobody is sure whether the Bill, in its present form, will formally get Parliament's approval.

Certain political parties and groups have vented out their intention to introduce certain amendments to the Congress-led UPA's Bill. As the UPA does not enjoy a clear-cut majority to get the Bill through in its present form, it has to adopt a policy of give-and-take. In all probability, after the Parliament's approval the Bill may not exactly be the same as introduced on August 7. The Bill will become a law only the moment it gets the accent of the President of India after the same has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament.

In other words, neither the Food Security Ordinance promulgated on July 5 already withdrawn in Parliament nor the Food Security Bill introduced in Parliament on August 7 have the stamp of approval of Parliament and, therefore, are not laws which can be legally enforced by any government.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the Food Security Bill has electoral and political overtones and designs. Proposed to be got through at the fag end of the present tenure of Parliament and Congress-led UPA government, Congress had thought that the Bill will overcome all its hurdles to become a law and could easily be launched on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's birthday to draw electoral mileage. For one reason or the other, this plan could not fructify as anticipated. Yet, the Congress did go ahead with launching its food security programme in terms of the provisions in the Bill on August 20 in the five Congress-ruled States of Delhi, Himachal and Haryana in the north and Kerala and Karnataka in the south. It has given ample indication of its intentions to draw electoral mileage in the coming State assembly and Parliament elections in 2014.

As per provisions of the Constitution, no government can utilize public funds without the approval of Parliament. That is why when elections are announced and a regular budget cannot be presented, the Parliament approves a vote on account authorizing the government to meet the day-to-day financial requirements in terms of pay of the establishment and routine expenditure on the ongoing services for a period of two or four months. The Food Security Bill proposes an annual subsidy of `1,24,724 crore for the year 2013-2014. Parliament has not sanctioned this amount so far.

Further, as a part of its media blitzkrieg Congress has also started claiming that "HUNGER WILL BE HISTORY".

Whatever may be the Congress party's electoral compulsions, the fact remains that by hurriedly implementing food security programme in terms of the Food Security Bill tabled by the Government on August 7 in Parliament it has only taken Parliament for granted which amounts to be an affront to the word and spirit of the Constitution.                                                                                           ***

Saturday, August 3, 2013

FOOD SECURITY A Congress programme at public cost?

 A Congress programme at public cost?

In India the "government of the people, by the people and for the people" is run by a political party or an alliance which commands majority in the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The council of ministers headed by the prime minister, under the Constitution, is collectively responsible to the House. Same is the story in States. Although the destiny of the Government of India is steered by a political party or an alliance of parties commanding majority, yet the government is for all – as much for the ruling party as much for the opposition; as much for those who voted for it as much for those who didn't. The government in power cannot discriminate between its supporters and its opponents and, above all, on grounds of religion, caste, sex and region.
Although the Food Security Bill may have been conceived by the National Advisory Council or the Congress and adopted by the Government of India, yet the fact remains that once it has been promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation it becomes a public property; it is for all without discrimination as per its provisions.
According to government version the food security guaranteed under the Bill will cost the public exchequer `1.25 lakh crores per year.
Though the Bill has not as yet been passed by Parliament, yet the Government has announced that initially it will be launched on August 20 this year – the birth anniversary of former Congress leader who was also a prime minister for five years– in five Congress ruled States all of which are going to the polls shortly. 
All this gives electoral overtones to the whole exercise. It appears as if it is not a programme of the Government of India which will bear the cost of its implementation from public exchequer but a Congress Party programme run on party funds. Why are non-Congress ruled States being, initially, excluded from extending the benefit of the Bill remains unexplained. That turns it not a national programme but a Congress Party programme to further its electoral fortunes at public cost.

Should the President of India who is the guardian of the word and spirit of the Constitution not take note of this flagrant violation for narrow political and electoral cause?

Saturday, April 27, 2013



The JD(U) has recognized the right of BJP as the largest constituent of the NDA  to have its prime ministerial candidate stressing that it would support him/her only if he possessed “secular credentials”.
But neither JD(U) nor any other political organization has so far ever been able to define what constitutes “secular credentials”. So how to determine who has these and who doesn’t?
By all counts, India is – and has been -- a secular country all through.  India’s Constitution too has been secular in word and spirit. Yet, for reasons unexplained – and perhaps to appeal to the constituency of minority votes – the late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, through a Constitutional amendment in 1976 got the words “secular” and “socialist” added to the Preamble to the Constitution.
That Mrs. Gandhi did not, deliberately, venture to define the word “secular” is a clear indication to the functioning of her mind at that time. She wanted to keep it vague to use it as a tool against her opponents.
In fact, secularism in India has less to do with society and more with politics. It is a tool to strike at one’s opponents. Here every political and organisation claims to be ‘secular’ and lashes ouy at its opponent as ‘communal’. An individual and political party remains ‘communal’ as long as they remain antagonistic to the other. The moment they change their stand and support the other, overnight they become secular. In 1996 the United Front of H. D. Deve Gowda tried its best to rope in Akali Dal into its fold. When it failed, like grapes are sour, Akali Dal too became ‘communal’.
Except perhaps for Congress (though some Congress leaders did join BJP), at one time or the other since 1967 when Congress was enemy No. 1 of communist and socialist parties, the latter entered into a marriage of convenience to share the bed of power with Jana Sangh and later avtar Bharatiya Jana Sangh. They had no qualms of conscience when in 1977 they invited the ‘communal’ Jana Sangh with declared RSS links to merge with their parties to form a new political outfit called Janata Party which dethroned the mighty Congress from power at the Centre and many States. Everything worked smoothly till Janata Party remained in power. It was only after losing power that the thorn of Jana Sangh ‘communalism’ started pricking them. The great ‘secularist’ late V. P. Singh had no hesitation to welcome Jana Sangh’s new avtar BJP’s outside support to get PM’s throne. The conscience of communist parties did not prick when they shared common blocks of UF supporters in Parliament. The Muslim outfits like the Indian Union Muslim League, the successors to Jinnah’s Muslim League,  whose membership is restricted to Muslims only, are ‘secularists’ and Akali Dal and BJP who have every caste and religion in their fold are branded ‘communal’ when they do not see eye to eye with some self-proclaimed ‘secularists’.
‘Secularism’ is an alien concept which emerged in the West broadly meaning that the Church will have nothing to do with administration. Still it has no standard or legal definition.  This puts a great flexibility in the hands of our politicians.  A great hoax and hypocrisy, in instance, is the support and opposition to the Babri masjid and Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. For all intents and purposes, both are religious issues, though the Mandir has nationalist connotation too. Yet, those who support Masjid are ‘seculars’ and those who champion the cause of the Mandir ‘communalists’. Nobody can explain the logic and ‘secularists’ remain self-righteous.
At times, secularism comes in conflict with the spirit of nationalism and ‘secularists’ are too willing to sacrifice their nationalism at the altar of ‘secularism’. That explains the fact that when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi defined secularism as “India first”, it raised  our ‘secular-liberal’ intelligentsia’s eyebrows. “India first” means that country comes first; we are Indians first and our religion, caste, region and language come afterwards. But that does not humour the ‘secularists’.
Various scholars have tried to define ‘secular’ in their own way. The most appropriate working definition which could suit the Indian conditions seems to be that of Donald E. Smith, Professor of Political Science in Pennsylvania University who said a secular state is the one “which guarantees individual and corporate freedom of religion, deals with the individual as a citizen irrespective of his religion, is not constitutionally connected to a particular religion, nor does it seek to promote or interfere with religion". 
Going by these definitions or by its own concept JD(U) needs to enumerate what it calls “secular credentials” and how does a person, like  Mr. Narendra Modi, does not possess it.   
If the 2002 riots stands in the way of “secular credentials” of a person like Mr. Modi, how could, in these circumstances,  how does the blot of’84 riots does not in the way of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and his Congress who continue to be the epitome of ‘secularism’? In that case, Nitish’s new found infatuation for Congress motivated by whatever reasons may put his own “secular credentials” in question.
There is something more than meets the eye in the design of JD(U)’s latest hostility towards Mr. Modi. Even for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls BJP had declared its prime ministerial candidate only in December 2008. But   JD(U) has been raising the pitch for the last more than six months back for BJP coming out with its hopeful, about more than 18 months earlier. And mark the stark contrast. Nobody in the UPA is raising heckles for naming its prime ministerial candidate here and now. The common refrain with politicians when asked by media on such matters is that “they will cross the bridge when it comes”. But JD)U), for unexplained reasons, seems to be wanting to strategise how to cross the bridge that is, as yet, miles and miles away.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The 'TAINT' and 'CORRUPTION' - The 'TAINT' and 'CORRUPTION' Hypocrisy of Politicians & Media


Hypocrisy of Politicians & Media

That Bharatiya Janata Party National President Nitin Gadkari had to quit on grounds of 'taint' and charges of 'corruption' against him. It is an internal matter of the Party. The common man is not concerned with it. The rightness or otherwise of the decision will be determined in the days and months to come when the Party faces the electorate in the important State assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka and the like later this year.

But what does the 'taint' and 'corruption' stand for? It cannot be the exclusive monopoly of the media and the politicians to brand anybody they oppose as 'tainted' or 'corrupt'. It is the same situation as is with 'secularism' and 'communalism'.  Every politician and political party claims itself to be 'secular' and, at will, dubs opponent as 'communal'. To a great extent the same is true with 'tainted' and 'corrupt'.

Our media and politicians have adopted different norms and standards to brand people and organizations as 'communal' and 'corrupt'. There is no denying the fact that the late Rajiv Gandhi was, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, involved in the Bofors scam. Successive police investigations failed to nail his involvement yet the fact remains that the `64-crore Bofors corruption case was a reality although everybody involved got scot free.

Similarly, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were communal in all its hue and for all intents and purposes. Sikhs are a minority community. Everybody recognizes this fact. In the aftermath of the unfortunate assassination of late prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, more than 5,000 Sikhs – and Sikhs alone – were killed (more than 3,000 in Delhi alone) only in Congress-ruled States all over the country. In States with non-Congress regimes the Sikhs remained safe and protected. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi himself justified the pogrom saying "when a big tree falls the earth shakes".  Yet, he remains the icon of 'secularism'.


There are numerous leaders who are facing criminal charges in various courts – like fodder scam, murder, rape, extortion, assets beyond known sources of income and corruption. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav is facing criminal charges for his alleged involvement in fodder scam. BSP supremo Ms Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are facing criminal cases for allegedly having accumulated assets beyond known sources of income. Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal had leveled charges not only against Mr. Nitin Gadkari but also against present Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh, 15 Union ministers including Prime Minister. The latter is involved in Coal scam too. Mr. Kejriwal has also levelled charges, more serious in nature than against Mr.  Gadkari also against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra. Yet, the media and politicians have reserved the epithet 'tainted' and 'corrupt' only for Gadkari and not against all those similarly placed and involved. Why? Can they explain it? 

The media is no exception. It too is not free from similar allegations. The Election Commission of India has expressed concern over allegations of paid news against certain newspapers and news channels. It has characterized this new phenomenon as a crime and threat to the spirit of  freedom of press. There is a case involving alleged extortion against a news channel. But, surprisingly, nobody uses the words 'tainted' and 'corrupt' against these members of the Fourth Estate. 

When certain Union ministers in Manmohan government were facing serious charges involving heinous crimes, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress took the stand that nobody can be held guilty unless he has been declared so by any court of law. But, in the case of leaders in the opposition the Congress stand is quite the opposite. 

Do double standards enhance the credibility of  our politicians and the media and promote country's good?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Unsavoury tales of present ELECTION OF PRESIDENT

Unsavoury tales of present Election of President

Politics and morality are perhaps, at least in India, the two banks of a river which can never meet. The way the Congress did stitch support for its nominee for the post of President of India from a fragmented polity of UPA-II allies and those supporting it from outside lends credence to this feeling.
The only difference and saving grace this time has been that while Congress could road-roll its will in nominating the present incumbent in the Rashtrapati Bhawan (RB) ignoring merit and moral considerations, this time in the process of political maneuverability to stage political upmanship it could not afford to sidetrack merit.
Credit for this goes neither to the Congress nor to its supremo Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. This has rightly been claimed by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who has stated that his joining hands with Trinamul Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Ms Mamta Bannerjee and announcing a panel of 3 names – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee — hastened the process to make Congress announce the name of Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
Not first choice
Mr. Mukherjee was not Mrs. Gandhi's first choice. His name may have been propped up by some within the party, yet she never jumped at the idea. Important party functionaries, including spokesperson Mrs. Renuka Chaudhary, while accepting him to be the best candidate, had proferred the excuse that the party could not afford to 'spare' the UPA and party's 'troubleshooter' and 'firefighter'. Though he could not open up his heart, Mr. Mukherjee seemed reconciled to catching hold of his lifetime's second best ambition to move to  RB, his first choice being the post of PM having gone beyond his reach under the present circumstances.
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi toyed with the idea of having a pliant occupant of the RB who could read her mind and act accordingly. Having failed to move to 7, Race Course Road herself, her last wish remained to see her heir apparent to occupy the nation's top job of prime minister. She is quite near realizing her dream but she knows, there are many a slip between the cup and the lip.  She is alive to the reality that but for the then President Zail Singh deeply committed to her mother-in-law, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, her husband could never have been the prime minister. It was President Zail Singh who broke the fine precedent of swearing-in the No. 2 in the cabinet following the death in office of a prime minister. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was in Kolkata when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Giani Zail Singh withheld the news of Mrs. Gandhi's death till Mr. Rajiv Gandhi landed in Delhi. He immediately sworn in Mr. Rajiv. Both Mr. Rajiv and Mr. Mukherjee had travelled together in plane from Kolkata and during the journey the latter had expressed the hope that as per the tradition and precedent he would be sworn in as the acting PM.
Later, the relations between Mr. Rajiv and President Zail Singh soured to such an extent that the former started having nightmares of his dismissal and did not prorogue the Parliament after the budget session of Parliament till a new incumbent had taken over in place of Mr. Zail Singh.  

As a report in the Times of India has indicated, the promise of support by each other's internecine foes – Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ms Mayawati – to a common candidate has raised eyebrows. It is a gin animated by striking  a backroom deal. The report indicates that both had to fall in line because of the sword of Damocle of criminal cases of assets beyond known sources of income hanging over the heads of both. A promise of a go-slow or weakening of cases clinched the deal of support.  Otherwise, why is it that the dragon of these cases remains buried in silence under the debris of political maneuvers to be unearthed only in times of need and emergency?  RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is similarly placed. During UP state assembly elections held just three months back the Congress and its heir apparent had been vigorously campaigning, though with little success, to end the ‘corrupt’ regime of Mayawati and a vow not to let the SP ‘goondaraj’ to usher in again. But in politics eating one’s own words is the staple food of our politicians. For them it is a matter of pride.


Fissures in NDA/UPA


Like last time, NDA ally Shiv Sena has taken a stand different from the alliance. At that time it supported incumbent President Smt. Pratibha Patil as she hailed from Maharashtra, this time too it chose to support UPA's candidate for election to the office of President.
JD(U) for consideration extraneous to the election of President took a stand different from the BJP-led NDA and decided to support Mr. Mukherjee although the NDA convener and JD(U) President Shri Sharad Yadav has stressed that the support is for Mr. Mukherjee and not for Congress and but for this, the alliance continues to be as strong as ever.
There is also media speculation that this casual friendship could be attempted to be cemented with the grant of a special economic package for Bihar. Shri Nitish Kumar had been agitating for it for the last over five years. His new found fondness for Mr. Mukherjee may ultimately, some media reports speculate, blossom into Congress bartering Shri Nitish Kumar's support with ultimate parting of ways with NDA to cozy up with the Congress-led UPA. For Congress it would be a coup de tat; it will bounce back to power with just four MLAs in a house of 243.
The candidature of Mr. Mukherjee has sowed seeds of discord not only in NDA; the UPA too does not remain unscathed. West Bengal Chief Minister, Sushri Mamta Banerjee, remains as defiant as ever and despite best efforts by Congress leadership and the presidential candidate who called her his "younger sister" has not so far been able to bring her round. But Congress has not lost hope. It is continuing with its efforts. As a last resort Congress could hold out a promise of a special economic package for West Bengal — a bait she may be unable not to swallow.
Me 'secular', you 'communal'
In politics everybody claims himself to be 'secular' and brands his opponent as 'communal'. The moment a 'communal' shifts sides, he becomes a 'secular' and vice versa. Mr. P. A. Sangma has been taken to be a 'secular' leader. But now that he has quit NCP and is contesting the election as an independent candidate supported by NDA allies BJP and Akali Dal have extended their support to him, no wonder if his opponents may now dub him as 'communal'.
Fingers have been raised about the involvement of Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, in Scorpene and other deals. Mr. Mukherjee's office rejected Team Anna's allegations as "unfair" and "self-seeking", reflecting lack of responsibility while claiming to represent high standards of ethical behaviour. 

Reiterating the need for an independent investigation into the allegations against him as a person aspiring to be the President "should be above board" the Team Anna retorted:  "A person aspiring to be the President of India should be above board. You would agree that a person facing so many serious charges would bring disrepute to the position of president if he were not absolved of all these charges before being appointed on that post. Therefore, we demand independent investigations into all these charges before you are considered for this position."
It is true that a complainant cannot assume to be the judge himself. But equally true is the fact that the accused too has no right to hand out a verdict of "not guilty" for himself. It is only through an impartial and independent inquiry that truth can come out and prevail. Suspicions will linger on till that is done. And once a person gets elected to the highest office, he earns immunity and however solid or flimsy the allegations may be, these get pushed below the carpet of this immunity.
In all fairness, a person should not enjoy immunity from prosecution for an offence which he/she committed not as a President or governor but in the performance of his duties earlier while holding some other public office. We have instances of diehard criminals getting elected as MLAs or MPs but still rubbing their heels in jails. An election should not bestow an immunity from prosecution of any individual, high or low.
The way allegations of bartering of support with favours in criminal cases pending against the likes of Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sushri Mayawati, Lalu Prasad Yadav and the like, or with the special economic packages at public expense are a blot on the name of our democracy. This derails the EC effort to make every candidate contest from from an equal pedestal.
Unfortunately, it is also for the first time that the present incumbent and the present contestant for the office of President are faced with such allegations.
In comparison, Mr. Sangma may not have enjoyed that long an inning in politics as does Mr. Mukherjee, yet whichever public office Mr. Sangma held, including that of Speaker of Lok Sabha for a year and a half, he did leave an indelible imprint. On the contrary, Mr. Mukherjee's performance during UPA-II has not been that spectacular either as External Affairs Minister or later as Finance Minister. The country's economy and rupee witnessed a historic downslide. The prices and inflation were skyrocketing. The aam aadmi suffered the most. His election as President will, in a way, amount to putting premium on non-performance and inefficiency.