Lessons learnt and unlearnt!
A new political horizon seems opening in India at the moment.
It is the outcome of the election verdict and the immediate developments.!
The Karnataka Assembly election results surprised everyone  concerned.

collage 2_6There are many stake-holders, so to say. Of course it is another matter that stake -holders also had their own separate agendas! Who won and who lost, the strategies and their own faces? There will be long drawn out debates in the days and months, why even to the last minutes of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections! That is the importance and the impact of this one assembly elections!

The  hung Assembly led to some irrational political action. The Governor called the single largest party, while the combined Congress and JD(S) parties commanded a majority. The Governor followed precedents but there were many contradictions. What  the Centre did in states like Goa, Manipur this time didn’t do in Karnataka.

So there was a hue and cry and this led to the Congress approaching the Supreme Court and through an all-night hearing, this in itself was somewhat unusual and the apex  court gave a verdict that stunned the ruling combine at the Centre.

The Governor’s  generous  time of 15 long days was cut short by the apex court and  reduced to just 24 hours! Thus the Supreme Court had set a new precedent, one hope that would now become a standard in the much abused horse trading that have unfortunately come a standard practice till now. So, in a way this verdict has more than one implication.

First, the Governors’ rather arbitrary exercise in the name of so many arguments would now become a thing of the past and might set a new restraint in the exercise of Constitutional powers by high Constitutional authorities.

Why, the coming into existence of the Congress-JD(S) government, whatever be the nature and duration of the government has now led to ask some  serious questions for the coming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and his party president  are now open to criticism for the many other unsavoury speeches and comments and controversies during the one most keenly contested state elections. The Karnataka election was perhaps the last one before the next general election in 2019 and the one that had upset the calculations of the BJP regime in Delhi.

Also the way the  Governor’s planned or natural selection of a Chief Minister went the way it did the Opposition parties for the first time, it seems, have got a rare opportunity to come together in their ambitious  attempt to form a federal front to take on the much-stronger and also in a way much-feared strength of the BJP party.

How would the Opposition parties and their leaders  conduct themselves from now onwards is the one subject on which the political debate might turn on. How, also, the critical question, whether Rahul Gandhi, as the formal president of the Congress party could lead the debate or some other regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, K.Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), Mayawati and Akilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar and  some dark horse even!

Politics is both a power struggle  as well as a principle-based belief system. In India politics still now and more so right now is seen as a power-grab and any means is justified.

The time has come, the Karnataka verdict gives us a warning that politics has to be pursued with some restraint, and Constitution has to be scrupulously followed.

Right now, how far we are  from the observation of Constitutionals propriety? This has to be  examined by the incumbent government? There are very clear indications for anxiety.

Already some uncomfortable words and observations had been made both by the ruling party and also the Opposition. The very words and observations and also the way the government has conducted in the Karnataka affairs give room for much anxiety. The famous political philosopher, Thomas  Hobbes(1588-1679) had called political power and man’s instinct is that political power struggle is “solitary, poor, nasty and shorter”.

Politicians, please read these words carefully. Don’t rush and turn the established principles, know the Greek and Roman traditions, the rule of law etc.

You can’t violate  the time-honoured traditions and history. Julius Caesar violated  the code of Command and crossed the Rubican and the rest is history.

Now, coming to the current realities on the ground,  the whole exercise in government formation to selecting the ministers and their portfolios are all small matters as far as the impact on the whole country is concerned.

As one expert, Sanjay Kumar, director of Centre for  the study of developing societies (CSDS)  the next big  thing is all about how this state election  would upon the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and also the role of the Congress party.

Another impact, though the expert didn’t talk much about it is the likely shape of the federal front. This is the most challenging task of all two have the genius for leadership and a sort of vision and even a coherent ideology that would bind  the Opposition parties.

In India, unfortunately, according to my thinking and study of issues there is no thought whatever at the top leadership levels across all the major parties as to the role of Opposition in a democracy like ours. We are not China or Russia, we are a sort of Western democracies for all of which the role of Opposition is well defined and well-understood.

Here individual ambitions and egos seem to be  the  only driven forces. Parliamentary democracy is not well-understood here. After Pandit Nehru no big leader seems to have spoken about it. Here, some points only.

Who would be the next Prime Minister if the Opposition wins?
Rahul Gandhi said he would be if his party wins. There are not takers for this claim right now. Given the new dimensions of the new political landscape it could be many others too with much more talents and superior wisdom of experience and acceptance.
Any other leader, be it Sharad Pawar or Chandra Babe Naidu, why, even Mamata Banerjee or K.Chandrashekar Rao, Mayawati are acceptable if the current scenario is taken into account.
So, individual ambitions and egos have to be given a goby and every player has to restrain his or her ambitions and see first that a federal front really emerges as a coherent goal.

Also, an ideology and vision document is also crucial.

You can’t have your pet projects, separate state or regional autonomy etc. in such a new challenging situation. Of course, the front has to be anti-Hindutva, religious polarisation has to be ruled out, or new caste equations strengthened. To put it short, we have to subscribe to a liberal democracy, secularism and a sort of autonomy for regional parties and at the same time a wholesome Indian unity based on tolerance, social harmony and an equal and egalitarian society and polity.

Now, it is time for the aspirants to come out with their own positive contributions.

As for the Congress party which I know somewhat well from the Delhi angle, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have to change their ways. They must be accessible and also more modesty, how to handle the new set of players on the national front would their biggest challenge.

Public perceptions and the public opinion!

The Prime Minister completes four years in office. The Prime Minister’s office (the PMO) is perhaps

narendra-modithe most powerful political office under our Constitution. Our laws are also very different from those of the US government and the US Constitutional practices. See there the role of the law officers. Can we have such powerful law officers? We can’t. Also, only now we have a very different sort of political change. After almost 70 long years we have elected an Opposition party into a ruling party. So, too the very ideology of the BJP party if very radical in the sense it has no history before some thirty or forty years ago.

Our very ideological thinking for long was derived from the British Constitutional history and the two party system of Britain. Also, we have the judicial system. Also, the very Constitutional principles and practices.

It is unfortunate that in the last twenty or more days of our last Parliament session  we have completely lost our Constitutional balance or went off track and we find, to the surprise and shock of the enlightened sections of public opinion  that our elected representatives failed the people. This is for the first time, it seems. We don’t know for sure what the future holds for us.

The public perception is that our MLAS and MPs, our elected representatives in general seem to become a section of selfish men and women, much like perhaps the rest of the society, one that is cringing for more salaries and no intent to work dedicated manner  to make people realise they are  for the  service of the people. None of the Parliamentary questions were answered, the House was disrupted continuously, and we all know who the disruptors are and who are the triggers of such disruptions to hold the House to ransom.

Of course, there are many more serious issues, many issues can’t be discussed freely for the simple reason the atmosphere in country is no conducive for freer debate.

The media is fearful of the authority. The judiciary is in some distress as people see from a distance.

Is this a very positive situation? We don’t know for sure.
What the future holds for the country, for our democracy and for much of the high institutions that are all seem to be in some confusion.

Of course, the ruling party has much role to play in the days to come.

So too the top leaders of the ruling party. No less is the responsibility of the Opposition party and parties.
The most seniors among the Opposition parties have a special role.

The state level leaders also have much responsibility.
The country looks to such veterans like Chandrababu Naidu, Deve Gowda and others to play some pro-active and pro-democracy role.
Democracy can easily derail and we might be caught in some unpredictable course.

There are many warnings from the past.
There are some distressing histories.

A.J.P.Taylor, the famous Oxford historian, an authority on the two world wars had shown how even such extremes like Hitler’s rise and also Lenin’s capture of power took place under extremely well-established democratic governments! This is not the place for further elaboration on the historic situations.

Surely, our current leaders, on both sides of the political spectrum, we say with a heavy heart and a heavy sense of personal responsibility, are playing with fire and with, if we can say so, a sense of not fully understanding the grave issues.

In politics, more so than in any other sphere, it is very risky to predict the future. So, we would urge all concerned to realise what is at stake now.

There is a sense of widespread disappointment and pessimism of sorts.

We urge everyone to show restrain in speech and acts.

The finance ministry’s response is lethargic, to say the least!
We, citizens, know this is how the RBI is managed!

arun-jaitleyMr.Urjit Patel, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India has revealed, for the first time, we believe that the big bank scams and frauds can’t be   controlled! He cites the reasons. One crucial reason is the RBI doesn’t have any powers to control or correct the Public Sector Banks!

Of course it is another matter that ever since the big scandal of the one PSB, namely, the PNB (the Punjab National Bank, the second largest banks after the SBI) had been cheated by two big diamond merchants to the tune of Rs.13,000 crores!

It seems likely that this time in 2019’general elections’, the BJP has to face the onslaught of the Opposition parties over the Finance Minister’s series of a chain of scandals on unrecovered loans and newer finance frauds.

Also, the FM might have to explain to the voters why the Budget under him was passed without debates?

Also, how the Finance Bill, as pointed out by one brilliant MP, this time the honour goes to N.K.Premchandra M.P.  from the Revolutionary Socialist Party the Finance Bill “hid” amendments to 25 other laws.

These are serious lapses for a ‘legal eagle reputation FM’ for more than few months the Central government hasn’t acted in any really serious manner. The people were let down. The directors of the banks haven’t resigned/are sitting in their cool comforts and carrying on their jobs!

Is this an example of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims of efficient governance? Things done seem to move fast.
How many days have gone after the major fraud in the PNB was detected. Let some heads roll and let the people feel that the government is acting in right earnest?

No, nothing of the sort we are able to detect from the way the administration is moving. Please move fast and show the people some visible action.

Can any private sector bank or an industry or any small person, be it a businessman or a farmer can feel these comforts?
How to understand the working of the government?.

Now, it is so sad to read also the finance ministry that is the controller and supervisor of the banking system is reeling out in its own pace some lame excuses.

The most outrageous statement is to tell us that the RBI has ‘enough powers to act tough prevent fraud’.

What to take from this statement of the finance ministry?
Also, relevant to see that the finance ministry is perhaps the most powerful and also the most glamorous of the ministries in Delhi.

But unfortunately, as we write the finance ministry is too much in the public eye today for the previous one case of money laundering is catching the eyes and attentions of the public to see what truth is and what is hype or even revenge. So many powerful actors are playing in this game of plain treachery to seek revenge by all those who have some scores to be settled.

You see the current scenario, the political and other areas of public life, be it media or judiciary or even such fearsome agencies like the CBVI or ED, everyone seems to be playing free.
Even the media is not a free agency as we, citizens, imagine.
The Chief Justice of India has warned of the media, specially the electronic media where the CJI has called the media as if it is playing like the Pope!

So, you can’t protest much given the state of the role of media, private and public, in today’s India.

Who doesn’t know that the media, again, specially the electronic media is heavily controlled by the big corporate houses? So, even the media, specially that is big and power run like other industries  have to control their freedoms ,if not for anything else, it is for sheer survival in the debt-ridden industry atmosphere.

So, it is no great sense of elation when we say that the media might look like all-powerful, it is not.

The media freedom, the so-called freedom of the press is not all freedoms, it is all serfdoms.

So, what we really feel possible today is to create as much of public awareness and public perceptions over the way our rulers are managing the affairs.

Every area seems to be dominated and directed by vested interests, a very tired old cliche, no doubt.

Or, if you choose something fresh call these vested interests as the new oligarchy! It is a rule of the few, in fact, very few of the very mass of people.

Also, who doesn’t know it are the wrong-doers who also seek publicity whenever they need, as we see lately in some of the new political initiatives after the rejection of the leaders and parties in some of the latest by-elections.

So, the electronic media is also sought after and you want news of yourself and want also the news to project you as innocent and all white and truthful.

But as vested interests you are there and you are also waiting to strike at us whenever we go out of the way to reach out the people in whose name we are all doing these activities.

Now, we have passed the Finance bill without any debate, why even the political funding route was also cleared and no one knows which party received how much and from whom?

Where we will lead the country with this sort of mutual anarchy rule?

Only those who some history, some long term outlook can fear for some outbreak of political instability and the resultant consequences.

We are proud of democracy? One can’t be sure seeing how the Parliaments are functioning. It is the supreme duty of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the ruling party to ensure some order and sense in the way we treat the truth and safeguard our own honour and the honour of the country and the people.

The media can’t let thing lying as they are. In the index of democracy and press freedom, India ranks not very high but rather lower than even the flawed democracies.

So, public perceptions and shaping public opinion the media has lots of burden in discharging its duty.

It is for the people, the youth, and the educated class that all these sad and disturbing developments to analyse and agitate.

Protests might be more if things are allowed to deteriorate further.

This is the perhaps the minimum possible protest that any sober media can make. Otherwise, it is the CJI’s warning and that might even go out of control.

For the electronic media has the potential to derail the current political order.

Some decisive action or some drastic action in the government and the governance pattern is urgently called for.

That shows in the physical changes and the mental outlook of the Andhra people!

CBNAndhra Pradesh, with all our admiration for the veteran leader Mr.Chandrababu Naidu and his new team of ministers, is still the most backward state among the Southern Indian states. That shows when you drive through the state. Specially, Chittoor district is still so much a haunted geography as we find it often when we pass through that territory. Oh, what a state of poverty on the face of everyone, men and no less the children all look helpless in the face of so much adversity and helplessness. Why not any leader, from near and far who travels through these geographies talk about such neglect for so long, we often wonder.

And Chittoor, for anyone interested in the past history must know, it was here in the very spot of Chandragiri, where the last Rayar royalty signed the small document leasing out the small sea front in Fort St.George in Chennai and that by a twist of history went on to turn the very royalty to become a tenant! That tenancy document we once saw in the museum inside fortress-turned museum. In later visits the document is seen missing, perhaps they removed it to some safer place. When we read the original document our blood boiled for no other reason how land ownership and tenancy rights can be turned into you death knell!

Yes, even today, AP seems to be steeped in feudal oppression and suppression, the rural poverty seems to have got a grip over the land in spite of Mr.Chandrababu Naidu’s foresighted progressive policies.

Right now, under Naidu, AP is blazing a trail of faster development and we see the changes coming faster under the dynamic CM.’

New National Highways from Chittoor to Bangalore is underway. The roads are widened and the land acquisition is faster and villages on the middle of the roads are razed down and one hopes this is done with Naidu’s own unique leadership and a sort of come-on let us solve the problems approach! So, we see everywhere a new optimism in AP towns and rural areas. New five star hotels as in Tirupathi and we are s told ten flights a day to the temple town means  there is a rush to start new projects and also new industries.

The industries list for AP seems to be lengthening.

Naidu is a strong believer in industrialisation and that too for an agricultural state like AP new industries is the lifeline.
In AP, it seems every day is a happening day. How many high-tech conferences and AP AgTech Summits, the visit of Bill gates, an old friend of the CM (how many CMs today can claim such pedigree?) and many unheard of industry captains from South Korea, the Korea’s Kia Motors is setting up a brand new 2 billion dollar car plant, scheduled starting time is 2019. The state already has an Isuzu plant in the Sri City, near Chitoor and Nellore districts and a Hero Motorcorp plant. Naidu is a doer, let us keep in mind. He can beat any rival from other states to be beaten by his charm offensive.

AP has rich agricultural land but that contributed only 10 per cent of the State’s GDP. Naidu wants that people who now depends on agriculture, at 55 per cent of the workforce to be brought down to 40 per cent in the next 12 years. Is it a tall order? It is! But you need leaders, not film heroes or others from the saffron brigade who can easily polarise the political system, those who are really qualified not to neglect the job of administration but to concentrate on the actual job, like Naidu, in the states.

Even Leftists now have no job in actual politics.
So, we have many lessons from what Mr.Naidu is doing.
By observing what Naidu has done in his first stint in politics (when we had actual met him and had long chat) but also now by observing Naidus, selfless dedication to turn AP into a new renaissance state, as he is building a modern city in Amravati, we have to call him for his true contributions and innovations in a long list of areas.

WE have no hesitation to call Chandrababu Naidu the very new renaissance political leader of modern India!

Our media is handicapped by several limitations. So our media is not ready to distinguish between the true leaders and the fake ones. See what has happened to the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Truly Dark Age had set in the state. So much high corruption, court indictments and yet we see the film industry, as concentrated in AP as in TN. Yet, people in AP voted for true leaders.
This is political renaissance!

Let the citizens of the country across the states realise what is happening in AP under Naidu.

Right now 187 large and mega industries have gone into production, investing Rs.35,256 crores and creating employment  for nearly one lakh people, this in the last three years!

In mobile phones production, one million-phones-a year is done in Tirupati’s Sri Venkateswara Mobile and Electronics hub. Foxcon, the Taiwanese giant, already makes over 2 million phones a year! Foxconn alones employees 15,000 women at its plants.

Naidu is also aiming into the next generation techs like AI. Thomson Reuters teams up with the local universities.

These are the big days for the Andhra people. They can look for a new era of development and prosperity.

A Great Shame!
And see who are all claiming victory?
The most revered former Prime Minister!
All the loud-mouthed Congress spokesmen!
And lo! All the publically perceived corrupt faces!
Yes, this is India where the judicial system looks a laughing stock!

2gWe don’t know how to make sense of the 2-G verdict. Fortunately, this is also said by senior CBI officials and other high-ranking bureaucrats. Why, even some ex-judges of the apex court are also embarrassed to say the same.

What has happened to our judicial system, the administration of law and justice?

From now onwards, the public, the citizens are likely to become more sceptical about our politicians and those who have turned politics into a big business opportunity. Or, turn to politics to practice their black magic, be it religion or some other route to grab power for whatever purposes.

It is a sad day indeed for all those who had learnt to take politics seriously. At least the most some of our senior politicians can do is to volunteer to stay away from continuing to practice politics with all its sins and further to muddy the waters!

In an unprecedented way the Special Court  that sat patiently, as presiding judge himself wrote in his 1,000 page judgement that he sat religiously all these 8 and odd years, from 10 AMN to 6 PM and listened to what the government agencies and their low-level official  said and did and what he saw so painfully and yet he had to sit helplessly that none of the officials, the CBI and ED men and the prosecution officials was  to sign papers with no interest and  “how  the UPA’s chaotic functioning, lack of clarity on policy issues and bureaucrat is running riot, contributing to the public perception of wilful  subversion of procedure and monumental scam “as the Times of India editorial puts it.

In fact the TOI is much more scathing and says many things.
One thing the public refuses to believe in the many claims made by the chief actors.

Manmohan Singh should not have rushed to claim any immunity from the judgement. At least he should spare the country any more such claims; he should retire from public life more gracefully.
Also, there are many other issues. Sonia Gandhi can’t remain silent and she should equally blame herself for her choice of the PM candidate.

The two secretaries of the PM also equally share blame for misleading him. But then why you are there to be so misled?
And of course the charges of crony capitalism?

This is a reflection of the way our judicial system functions and everyone responsible for such a state of affairs have to share the blame. The BJP government too can’t run away. You have been there for the past three and half years in power?

Didn’t you know you have a role in this decline of the system?
What about the Supreme Court’s cancellation of the 122 licences?
We Indians must feel ashamed of ourselves.

We go all the way to London to prosecute a lonely wrong-doer, supposed to be, namely Mr.Vijay Mallaya but here you have whole lot of offenders, in the public eye, justice seems to have derailed. How can you wash off your hands, the Law Minister, why even the PMO level to the blames rests firmly, both on moral and administrative grounds?

After Bofors, another scandal of monumental dimensions? Yes, it looks so unfortunately. It will be another phase of agony, we are yet to witness in the coming years.

So, there is no respite for the common man and the poor and the weaker sections to seek justice or the confidence from onwards the system will deliver timely justice without any regard for status or rights.

Who can restore confidence in our judicial system?

This is a question that would agitate the minds of every citizen for long, very long indeed!