Nitin Gadkari talks to All India Panchayat Parishad of village heads!
Sonia Gandhi led a 14-Opposition parties delegation to Rashtrapathi Bhavan!

Nitin_GadkariModi government is really in a bind.It is faced with the prospect of a deadlock over the much controversial Land Acquisition Act that was passed in the Lok Sabha but stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP doesn’t enjoy a majority.   Ironically, it is parties like Trinamool and the ADMK, not to speak of other parties that enjoy respectable numbers in the upper houses. Of course, the Congress is in a good number.

Now, what is unusual is the fact that suddenly on a Wednesday afternoon the fourteen Opposition parties got together and they march from Parliament House to Raisina Hills.

The TV shots showed it was a very pleasant and enjoyable walk to the disparate number of Opposition parties and their leaders. The TV shots didn’t show much of Sonia Gandhi in the first few minutes and even afterwards she was seen only in a group, too many security personnel covered her and she was no leader of any mass appeal. She in fact walked the distance with some reluctance and she never for once cared to look at the cameras and in fact she seemed to have ignored the pleas of the anchors for a bite.

No, she is no leader at all. To compound her plight she had an accompanying shadow, guess who he was. Yes, you are right. It was none other than her real shadow, Dr.Manmohan Singh! Demure, lost in the rush of the crowd, he gave the distinct impression of utterly in some unease.

He must have been ruminating within himself: oh, was this all about the Premiership of which so many Congressmen and women envied me!

Anyway, here he was and the rest of the crowd seemed to have enjoyed the short pleasant walk on a day that won’t come so often and so spontaneously.

Now, for the real issue here is that the Land Acquisition Act, it had seen so many twists and turns, first an ordinance and now an act that has to go through an establishment procedure.

The Opposition clearly enjoyed its runout. There was this unusual display of unity and camaraderie. The Communists were real beneficiaries; here was their moment of glory. The Communists can speak while the Congressmen while they can really speak much and yet they are under the constraint of two non-speaking leaders.
May be, it is time that both Sonia and Singh give way to others who can take the party forward.

Now, what of the Land Acquisition Act itself?

One thing must be certain for everybody. There can’t be development, new highways, railways or ports or airports and big industrial complexes without adequate land to construct the new age industries and the new age services, be it airports or railways.

Only those who have had the example of China and we are sure most of our parliamentarians must have  visited China and they would all realise that  unless we are honest to ourselves, we can bring in  development on the scale and speed as China has done and is doing, Indian development would be thwarted.
Now, what the BJP wants? What the Opposition parties object to?

It is about the compensation and the rehabilitation of those farmers displaced.
Yes, they are not simple questions.

But one thing must be clear. There is no point is politicising the issues. Certainly, what Mamata Banerji did in West Bengal, in Singur and Nandigram is no lesson.
She just ruined Bengal’s chances for industrialising the Bengal countryside which today looks like a medieval age still subsisting with us.

Also, Mr.Modi’s bulldozing of the farmers is also not appreciated. Now, luckily Union Minister Mr.Nitin Gadkari has met with the UP, Haryana farmer leaders and explained the need for an act. Otherwise, he explained even the giant Bhara-Nangal dam, the lifeline of Punjab and Haryana agriculture prosperity might not have come.

Now, it is for the Congress to respond to the timely need for a consensus on the tricky act, Right to fair compensation and transparency 2013, and ultimately the  democratically elected  government’s responsibility to promote development that only  ultimately  benefit the country is respected.

So, at the all India level, with a Central act like this crucial one we need enormous caution, tact and much diplomacy and much sharing of one’s innermost thoughts with the Opposition party leaders.

The Congress had seen a chance for itself to assert its authority, as a big brother. But then even here, Sonia and her advisers need to trade very cautiously.
It looks Sonia in her new found relevance(in the absence of her dear-most heir hiding somewhere inaccessible to her)has started using such expression like the Modi NDA, the Modi government etc.

This is not wise in our opinion.  She has to show much humility and some finesse.
Let us hope the government with its majority in the Lok Sabha is allowed to take the peoples’ will to its desired ends in a democratic polity.

Can he really sustain his newly-won credibility?
Subsidised power and free water!
Can this one more version of freebies last for sometime at least?

kejriwal_rally_240314Yes, this is not the time to ask such questions. No one would care for the same!
Such is the flavour of the season politics. Even the great Modi, the otherwise new hero of Indian politics is somewhat dimmed in his appeal, thanks to the Delhi rout and also for one or two other reasons.

Even now, Modi is faced with the emerging contradictions, as in J&K government formation. How can the BJP give up on its basic beliefs? But then see there is no other way in J&K. The PDP is a principled party and it didn’t give up its principles for the sake of power. That is one reason why the BJP with all its dogmatic hold couldn’t win over Mufti Sayeed, the new PDM Chief Minister. The Article 370 surrender is very clear message. The BJP, rather, is the party that might go for the sake of power for its own sake. See how it drafted Kiren Bedi and then forgot about it as if it was just a bad dream.

Now, our new hero on the horizon, Mr.Arvind Kejriwal seems to be the man for all seasons. He is here, there and everywhere. He sat on the dais with Anna Hazare and said something. Did he really say anything that was meaningful? Or, was it just for the sake of publicity? Also, he sat with Vaiko, the Dravidian hero who too had lost his steam and now seen with anybody and for any cause.

This sort of politics had been played out for quite some time. Now, it is time to call some bluffs for what they are. See the Kejriwal’s promise of power at half the price and water free.

Can he sustain this heavy subsidy bill?

That is on everyone’s mind and yet no one likes to forgo their reputation by asking any hard questions. Of course, it is old wine and nothing new about it.

But let us realise that power bought by the Delhi government at the outsider costs Rs.5.50 per unit from PSU power producers. From private producers it costs on average Rs. 3.70.Now if you, as a government start supplying power at half the rates, how much it would cost in a year?

Delhi government budget is Rs. 40,000 crore. Okey. What about the other demands on this budget. It is as high as you can imagine. There are so many unauthorised colonies and can you get their all regularised without running into further many commitments.

Is there any calculation, a blueprint or an honest introspection or transparency?
One doubts. Mr.Kejriwal with all his charm and endearment and the new glow on his face after humbling the might Modi, is all confidence and enthusiasm.

All we like to remind the readers here is that we read now a book on the Dictators during the interwar period, from 1919 to 1945.Author: Elizabeth Wiseman. Fontana Press, 1966.When she comes to Hitler, she says that Hitler promised the moon to the demoralised German people. Hitler is the first author of populist politics! That too in a democracy. Don’t we know that Hitler won an infamous election in 1934 with decisive majority? Posing himself as a prophet!
He is, it seems the first leader to promise so many faslehoods. The people rallied round him as never before other peoples!

Any politician or politicians who speaks extremes, extreme language is an enemy of the poor and the weaker sections. The extreme language of race, language or region can always stir the poor, the primitive emotions of the poor and the unemployed.

Right in India, in TN, the two Dravidian parties did the same and they swept to power alternatively. The great Kamaraj was forgotten. Both Haryana and Punjab near to Delhi promised free power for agriculture.

Now, the free power or free colour TV sets or mixies or grinders, the latest fad in TN is free saris and dhotis!

Please give all things free. But then you would really come to regret one day.
Let our friends in AAP go slow and pause before further subsidies.

Give good governance. LokPal and RTI. Dont forget your priorities!

If he is to win credibility for his slogan-type ideas!
Why are the intellectuals, liberal elite, silent?
Where are we with Modi slogans?

Narendra-Modi-Quotes-PicturesDevelopment, governance, make in India, clean India etc
Fine, why are the Westernised elite within the BJP itself are intriguingly silent?

It is now more than six months with Modi in position as the Prime Minister. What is the news that hit headlines?

Yes, Mr.Modi is very active and goes about winning elections one after another. The latest wins in Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir produced very good results but not as Modi imagined. Not as good as in Maharashtra and Haryana.

In Jharkhand it is more out of the folly of the Opposition parties, including the Congress and also from the Janata Parivar the BJP did well. The folly of the Congress continues.

In J&K the BJP was halted in a significant sense.

The Modi wave abated. In fact, it lost deposits in all but one seat in Kashmir Valley. In Jammu it polarised on communal lines.
In Leh the Congress won.

But it is poor consolation for the opposition parties that are still under the battering of the self-confident BJP.
But where are we in India?

Are we in a modern India or are we marching in a medieval India?
The newspaper headlines tell us a different story. Mr.Mohan Bhagwat and Mr.Amit Sha  are on  the front pages and they talk of conversions and reconversions.

The three headlines on a single day(in The venerable Hindu)run like this:
Would you back ban on forced conversions : Amith Sha.
RSS chief endorsees reconversions.
Christian  forum opposes ban.
Are we really living in the modern world or are we from some other planet?

Where are the Westernised elite class, we mean the educated middle classes, the government servants, the teachers, the various small and the not so small independent professionals and the entrepreneurs.

The merchant class, the baniyas and vysyas and others are supposed to be supporters of the BJP.

We ask all of them: is this the priority  for such a massive win for a party that was in the dog house for long.

Where are intellectuals like Swapan Dasgupta, Arun Sourie, M.J.Akbar and of course the most vocal of them all, the redoubtable Dr.Sudbramanyanswamy?
Why we call them the Westernised elite class?

They must be only too acutely sensitive to what the Sangh Parivar, the RSS and the other outfits that are doing things other than development, other than good governance and also other than really rooting for manufacturing, make in India a possibility.

Sweeping the streets once a while is not cleaning India.
It is sanitation, healthcare and much more.

The latest World  Bank report has come out with some in-depth about how to bring about sanitation to a vast mass of people is much more than just building toilets, it is behavioural change and it takes multiple efforts.

As slogans Modi’s slogans are fine, they are harmless, they are a wakeup call.

A leader, any leader has to give such slogans and also with much persuasion he has to educate, prod and must get his team along.
This was what Gandhi, Nehru and other leader also did.
But what we today, right now, within the few months of Mr.Modi taking over the country.

We see the most despicable talks and actions. On the  very same page we read about Prof.Romila Thapar’s speech in Chennai at the same time gave us a new insight into how to get a grip over India’s culture of diversity, history of changes, changing culture forms and of course our own changing history.

Said Prof.Thapar; Elite culture have always dominated our discourses on history or any other dominant social issues”.
How true and how relevant?

Ironically, on the same day and on the very same page was published a photo of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha chief along with the bust of Nathuram Godse at their central office in Delhi. The chief wants to install the bust of Godse in all parts of India!

It is here we have to raise some questions about the Prime Minister’s outward assertions in development and good governance and also his own supporters from his own pariwar, both from the RSS to the Westernised fringe.

India is a very modern country, its modernisation is owing to its domination by the British rule. Let us admit and recognise it. We can’t go back and disown our past, can we?

The 1,000 odd years of the  Muslim and Moghul rule is a given fact. This you can’t just put aside. So too the 400 and odd years of the British rule in India.

Today’s world is changed. Britain is down. India is on the upsurge. So too what we had inherited from other cultures.
India is a mosaic of multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society.

There is any number of this variety. Our tribal population alone comes to 8 per cent. There are 700 variety of tribal population. They are mostly poor and largely illiterate.

We have an inherited problem of castes, casteism is a burden and so too the religious and ethnic strife.

See what is happening in Assam, for instance.

So, what we can least expect from Mr.Modi is certain humility, certain moderation and of course much restraint. He ant ignores the liberal progressive public opinion.

Only when he brings round the liberal and enlightened public opinion  to endorse  his slogans, his sloganslalas, would remain slogans and emtopy slogans at that!

Economic development and sanitation
Both are of course very critical
Bureaucracy in India is a peculiar animal!

modi_long_shot_madison_nyt_650Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi has highlighted the twin goals of his government. One, faster economic development. The other is sanitation, a clean India. He has also mentioned other goals like make in India.

But then there are other issues also that draw out attention. People read the newspapers and also view the TV channels only when there is news.

The news that make headlines these days are not development or the sanitation. But the more sensational news of conversions, not celebrating the Christmas day and also learning Sanskrit rather than German language.

Besides, the Opposition voices are also heard over other issues like what the other outfits like the RSS, VHP leading lights are saying and doing.

Also are the issues like some of the leading lights of these outfits, like Sathvi Jyoti M.P. and also the Yogi Adityananda, another MP who is leading the conversion shows in UP.

Are this news newsworthy? They are. In fact, they make for much readers and viewers attention than what the PM is saying and doing.

Of course, there are many good things; good changes are also taking place.

There had been elections to the Assemblies in Maharashtra and also in Haryana. In Maharashtra also there are other moves like inducting the ShivSena into the Cabinet and also with deft moves Mr.Sharad Pawar’s NCP managed to move into the Opposition party slot.

In the currently concluded Assembly elections in Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir  there are indications that the BJP would definitely make a dent in the existing cosy existence of the two or three other parties.

It is pointed out by observers that in Jharkhand a certain cosy get-together by the ruling Jharkhand party and the Congress had kept the state, created in 2000, carved out of South Bihar, had kept the mineral rich state, some 40 per cent of the iron ore of India is in Jharkhand and even then the state had stagnated owing to non-initiative, a certain blind narrow vision had kept the state from really taking on the development path.

A certain British economist had pointed out how the mineral rich states everywhere often remain poor and backward.

May be Jharkhand and Odisha qualify for this distinction too!

It is pointed out by the economist that the iron ore mining when the ruling elite (or the clique?)sees to it that the iron ore mining remains in the hands of some closely held few then the proceeds of the “crime” as one describes and we can easily see the counterparts in the mineral mining states and also the way the other natural resources rich industries like coal mining proceeded and now ended in Coalgate scandals, the natural resources exploitation doesn’t lead to investing the proceeds from the revenue, of course legally and legitimately earned ways, in socially and economically beneficial way.

So, Jharkhand had remained poor and backward as ever.
Who are to be blamed/everyone engaged in the game!

Sita Saran, a close family belonging to the Soren clan said the other day that the political parties to develop vested interests. The Congress party, for instance, said Sita Soren “had become too big to its boots and demanded a large number of seats this time too.

She had pointed out that how in the previous elections to the Congress demanded 56 seats in an Assembly of just less than 100 seats. Sita Soren pointed out how the Congress even after getting such number didn’t care for campaigning.

While Mr.Chirag Paswan, the young Paswan clan campaigned though was allotted just one seat!

So, there is always a vested interest for a political party in a backward and poor state like Jharkhand.

May be the same sort of political parties pulling in opposite directions in other states too.

Yes, the point here is that many states even though so-called as developed remain very backward when it comes to really developing the states in a genuine way.

See the track records of states where there had been infant deaths of unacceptable numbers. In West Bengal, in Chhattisgarh, in Telengana and also in AP, no less even in such a developed state like TN where in one district, namely, Dharmapuri, there are many infant mortality reports.

The point here is that even the democratically elected governments might not have the real interest of the public interest in mind.

Often, it is the selfish interests and selfish goals of the parties in power that twist and turn the public opinion so that genuine development doesn’t take place and thereby people become more wake and aware!

All these observations are to bring home to the Prime Minister that development is not just investments, FDI and giving land at cheap rates and also environmental clearances and other bureaucratic permissions.

Bureaucracy in India is a very peculiar animal!
It might not be easy for Mr.Modi to drive the bureaucracy to his desired extent.

As one observer had noted that Indian bureaucrats, in their many avatars, either as ex-ministers, or ex-ambassadors or in any other manner, they, the bureaucrats, continue to cling on in Delhi and they manage to occupy the little real estate in Lutyen’s Delhi and continue to benefit from all the governments. Party affiliation is the weakest link in this vested interest and so they are there in any government, either as ambassador or as a junior minister and also as spokespersons or call then by whatever name you know! They are there! They also, please note, as representatives of the corporate high-ups.

So, Modi had a real challenge. How to accelerate the economic development. Somewhat Modi is also immune to the experts. Where are the much-talked about economic experts for this government?
Where are the heavyweights? From Harvard or Chicago or London School of Economics?

Or, where are the home-based economic experts. Media lights and other otherwise noisy media commentators?

They are waiting in the wings!
Economic development or for that matter, social development doesn’t come about easily. They are a complex process.

We hope the Prime Minister and his present team give thought to what are said here. We have no other interest, except the largest public interest only.

Janata Parivar takes on the Modi government!

The six-party front could become the new catalyst!

India needs two broad fronts, one Centre-Right and Centre-Left!
That will strengthen the democratic system and also help to clean up the current distortions!

THIRD FRONT MEETINGAlso, the new Supreme Court judgement to undo the caste-based census would ensure the modern, secular Indian social forces.
The new front must come out with an in-depth analysis and shape of the new ideology which must reflect the realities of Indian state. There must be more Muslim representation in the legislatures, Parliament and the Cabinet at the Centre.

Times change and so too politics. Time and tide don’t wait for anybody! Also, the Congress party too much move forward and join the new front.

That would only enable the currently confused Congress leaders and workers and followers to think and make up their minds for the coming struggles to safeguard the unity and integrity of India.

Make an aggressive pitch!
Spell out the vision, a strategy!
The parties aim even for a merger!
That would be a bold move.

Call for a new vision document.

A more transparent democratic polity!

With all the accumulated baggage thrown out!
Fighting corruption must top the agenda.
So too distorting democratic rights of the common man.
No religion-invoked communal agenda!

A vision document

Welcome to the Mulayam Singh initiative
Indian political leaders belonging to the what we can call the anti-Congress, anti-BJP politics have met at a luncheon meeting at the UP strongman and leader of the Socialist party Mr.Mulayam Singh and also his old-time colleagues in what is called the Janata parivar, who came to power as the Janata Party in 1977 on the anti-Indira Gandhi platform have now come together to forge a new unity among themselves under a new alternative political platform.

These parties now have only 15 MPs in the Lok Sabha. But they have 25 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. So, they have an advantage. Use it when it is still powerful.

Drop all the old hang-ups. Come out with open minds. This is the right time. Indian democracy cries for an effective Opposition.

This, these democratic parties only can provide. For the time being, please leave out the Communists. They could spoil the open minds.Lok Ayukta, Lokpal, black money, Caste politics, gender equality, Child labour, education, child mortality is all sensitive issues.

Judicial independence, press and media freedom are out priorities. Judicial independence is now threatened. The 5-judge Constitution Bench observed how the PM under the Constitution remains critical.

This should be the new coalition/party’s top Constitutional reform agenda.

It is a standard Indian reaction to any such new initiatives. Their initial explanation is to make for a joint floor management in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament where there is no recognised Opposition party. The Congress is the largest Opposition party with just 44 MPs. That makes the party not a recognised Opposition party.

It is a good sign that Mr.Narendra Modi, the new Prime Minister too seems to be not very cautious in his moves. The PM had already shown enough hints he is not a nice democrat. If any, he is a very assertive and even aggressive get-goer. He is also in a hurry to antagonise the Opposition parties. See what he has done in Maharashtra. He had humiliated the only regional party which didn’t yield space to the blandishments of the BJP and its equally determined chief Mr.Amit Shah. Shah and Modi had given the Opposition parties some rough treatment already. The duo seems to have a strategy. They want to subdue and even destroy the very many regional parties in various states.

Germany, like India!

India, as in the Western nations, especially in Germany (which incidentally is going to celebrate the 25th year of the fall of West Berlin) has also numerous smaller parties. Just now we read that the Left party in former East Germany is the left-over Communist party which is set to take charge of one of the reunified Germany’s 16 states for the first time. As the Communists in India the Communists in Germany too talk in extreme terms, all impractical issues like demanding scrapping of NATO etc.

Yet, there are smaller parties in Germany, one of the big and multi-party and multi-ethnic countries. So, we read there are coalitions called “red-red” with Social Democratic party (SDP) as against the current dominant party, Christian Democratic party-led coalition led by the redoubtable Angela Merkel.

The point is that any large country like India will have many local, state and federal issues and there will be equally any number of political parties with many demands. In the South, especially in Tamil Nadu we have so many new and numerous smaller parties, plain caste-based parties, as in UP and elsewhere.

It looks that Mr.Modi doesn’t have much patience and he is in a hurry and hence there is pressure everywhere and also confusion as to the future of the Indian political route.

This is an opportune time, we think.The Indian democratic scenario is also ripe for some broad alignments.India now seems a mature polity with the BJP winning an absolute majority in Parliament. This had never happened in the Indian political history.

We welcome this dramatic development.

New political alignment

It is our view that the BJP won more because of the misdeeds of the hopeless Manmohan Singh-led UPAII.

It became a byword for scandals and corruptions at high places.
The very many cases like 2-G, Coalgate and also the corruption case like that of the former TN Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha have almost completely transformed the Indian politics into a laboratory test case.

How the Indian political alignments would shape?

There has to be only two broad political coalitions of interests or coalition of rational politics.
One, Centre-Left and another Centre-Right.

However one interprets these two broad alignments, from a Marxist or non-Marxist, Socialist or democratic Socialist or bourgeois points of view that India, as a big nation with multiple ethnicities and religions and languages and castes and social and economic hierarchies we have to take our political stands only from these two standpoints.

Thus, we can see that the current moves by some of the old guard, the leaders are battle-worn veterans and they are also battle-ready new warriors of nationalists and patriots.
So we salute Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar, K.C.Thyagi and Deve Gowda from the South.

They have contributed to the growth of political maturity and also have established their credentials beyond any doubts.
Sharad Yadav, the president of the JD(U) is a true worthy heir to a great political tradition. The Jayaprakash Narayan movement in fact brought out the three leaders, namely, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. We wish them well in their endeavours.

The purpose here is to indicate, briefly, certain norms for some fundamental ideological clarity.

The three broad principles in our view that would bind any such democratic, secular and non-exploitative capitalist economic growth path have to be further defined in much more micro terms.
Our democracy now is a bit weakened  by various  developments. There are some visible corrupt practices we overlook like distribution and buying of votes by political parties.

No crony capitalism, please!

So, there is unaccounted money, on  a vast scale that is injected into the political process.The so-called black money stashed abroad is now a mirage, as we have already found.

There are some 80 tax havens abroad and also the money is untraceable, we have found already! There are other  deficiencies pointed out by various NGOs and such bodies like Association for Democratic Reforms, E National Election Watch etc.

As for secularism, we have to fight the BJP in the coming days when issues flare up. It is in economic sphere we have to define our position much more carefully and in basic terms. It is my view all these issues can be thrashed out once we constitute think-tanks or brain-trusts with eminent persons.

Let us ask for a vision statement.It is this vision statement that must draw people towards the new political front.
One more point.

What is the future of the Congress?
Dynastic obsessions have no place anymore!

It can’t grow any further with its dynastic obsessions. We can welcome the Congress as a valuable partner.The Sonia Gandhi-Rahul Gandhi syndrome had tied the party to a stand-still.

Only a broad new groupings of broadly democratic and  secular parties come together we can see some developments in the Congress party too. Already, the NCP, Trinamool Congress and now G.K.Vasan Congress, why even from Haryana and other states we can expect coming together of like-minded parties.

There are any number of  new comers into the new coalition and once the parties move towards a merget, the better for the nation.We don’t want to name names or mention individuals.
There are really  good number of new parties and faces waiting in the wings.

As a long-time Congressman and a former MLC and a Socialist of the Fabian vintage I have my own assessment of the future of the Indian National Congress.

We have to see the issues in historic terms and also in long-term historic perspectives.India is now maturing as a democracy, as an economy and as a society too.

Religions have a place. But religion-based politics has no place in a modern democracy like India.This, we can debate endlessly.
Now the issues of ideology, polciies and also strategies have to be thought about and worked about.

There are other parties and leaders, like Trinamool, and Naveen Patnaik’s BJD. Let us create a new and more powerful India.All economic predictions point to India becoming almost a close rival to the Chinese economy by 2016.

Let us make this as our broader goal, as far as making India an economic power-house! A more just society.