India Forum Archives
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
  Lok Sabha Polls 2004
Posted by: Mudy Dec 24 2003, 05:56 AM,0008.htm Shekhar Iyer New Delhi, December 23 Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee gave strong indications to BJP parliamentarians on Tuesday that the government was keeping its options open on advancing the Lok Sabha polls due next year. The timing of the polls would “be decided by Deputy PM L.K. Advani and BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu", he told them. "The mindset of the people has undergone a change and we should take advantage of it. It is time for the MPs to go to their constituencies and work among the people," Vajpayee was quoted as saying, referring to the feel-good factor generated by the BJP's victory in three states. In the context of speculation about whether the government would present a full-fledged budget or a vote-on-account, the Prime Minister said BJP MPs should not be seized by uncertainty, since "the party was bound to win the elections whenever they were held". Up until now, Vajpayee had maintained that elections would be held when they were due — that is September-October. Vajpayee wanted leaders and workers to ignore petty issues and work towards the goal of winning the elections. Sharing Vajpayee's perceptions, Advani said the BJP should take advantage of the "feel-good factor" towards the government and the party. Venkaiah said there was little time left for preparations: "Even if the polls are held in September, we have only 250 days left with us to work towards our goal of winning 300 seats on own." Officially, the BJP tried to play down Vajpayee’s remarks, saying they did not imply early elections. It said the PM did not want MPs to worry about the timing of elections "which would be held as scheduled".
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 24 2003, 11:57 PM,000900010004.htm
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 25 2003, 12:22 AM
Posted by: muddur Dec 25 2003, 03:20 AM
'Vajpayee is the best PM after Nehru'
Posted by: Muppalla Dec 25 2003, 06:00 AM
Due to the current feel good factors and considering the dissaray in Congress party, BJP has a realistic chance to get absolute majority in the forth coming LS elections.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 25 2003, 07:03 AM
I dont see BJP getting an absolute majority on its own in the next elections, its got 182 seats in the current lok sabha and It should stay the around the same if elections were held now.It did pretty well in states in the last elections where it has a presence except for Uttar Pradesh where their position has only gotten worse.But I think NDA as a whole should be able to curise through in the next parliamentary election.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Dec 25 2003, 11:15 AM
BJP is in deep trouble in Bihar and UP ------------ In WB, the CPM does scientific rigging and the NDA cant get anymore than the present 11 Trinamul is in disarray, NDA may lose 8 seats In Bihar. the NDA will lose about 21 seats In Jharkand the NDA will lose about 6 seats In UP, the NDA will lose about 20 seats This works out to a loss of 65 seats The NDA can gain 8 seats in Punjab In Maharashtra, +5 In Karnataka +7 So a net loss of 45 seats for the NDA We need to do a state by state analysis For example even if BJP wins Gujurat by super-majorities, it wont help it in UP
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Dec 25 2003, 11:24 AM
Why the muslim vote bank does not matter ---------------- Muslims either live as small minorities of 5%, in which case their vote is too small to make a difference or they live in super majorities like Mallapuram where they are 70% , but the excess votes over 40% are wasted and cant be transferred to another constituency But only about 15 seats have muslims over 40% Or they live in clusters of 25% In these areas, thanks to their riotous behavior, no hindu caste will align with them and there is a BJP vote bank of 75%
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 25 2003, 06:20 PM
BJP is in trouble in UP but it still has a large presence there what they need is a good leadership and the equations can change drastically if they can get a leader with mass appeal.Kalyan Vajpayee meeting can be a step in that direction.Also the way things are going now between SP and BJP dont be too surprised seeing Mulayam as defence minister in the next NDA govt. As far as NDA being in a disarray in Bihar is concerned I would disagree with that.Bihar elections are solely based on caste and since the players remains the same there polarization of votes remains the same ,so expect to see the same results there.Congress and RJD may fight elections together this time. It won't effect the results in Bihar much but may turn the tables in Jharkhand. G.Subramaniam: Would you be interested in compiling a state wise estimates for the next elections?
Posted by: muddur Dec 26 2003, 01:09 AM
Vajpayee hints at early polls Thursday, December 25, 2003 (New Delhi): In a familiar ritual that seems to getting bigger by the year, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee celebrated his 79th birthday today in the company of senior BJP leaders and admirers. While the occasion was used by the BJP to build a larger than life image for Vajpayee, it was also used to send out clear signals on the real possibility of early general elections. "We should be prepared for the general elections. After the assembly elections, there is a sense of urgency. When I went to Lahore, Kargil happened and I thought that the people would hold us responsible, but they didn't, they instead understood the situation," said Vajpayee. Showcasing Vajpayee Hoardings of Vajpayee came up all across the country with the party deciding to use the occasion to showcase their leader as the most acceptable leader. "He is the leader of the party and will be the country's next Prime Minister so we are starting this campaign on his birthday," said party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Early polls? The BJP has begun plotting its election strategy and plans a series of public meetings in the next fortnight. While Vajpayee remains the BJP's mascot, this time the party has also decided to showcase its seven chief ministers specially the three new Chief Ministers – Uma Bharati, Vasundhra Raje and Raman Singh. These leaders will be part of the BJP's latest strategy where a 17-day public campaign has been designed to play up the Centre's achievements. The Prime Minister's agenda begins with the SAARC summit in Islamabad from January 4-6. The meet comes as another opportunity for Vajpayee to play the role of a statesman and could just be the spring the BJP needs to create the environment for a Vajpayee-driven election campaign.
Posted by: muddur Dec 26 2003, 01:14 AM
PEOPLE: who made a difference in 2003 Advani: Man behind the BJP machine The party’s sweep in the Assembly polls shored up his position
Posted by: Mudy Dec 26 2003, 03:05 AM,0008.htm In a strident attack on politicians, chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh has termed them a "cancer" for which there was "no cure at the moment". He also said that he could not think of any politician who was committed to democracy. In an interview to Karan Thapar on the HardTalk India programme for BBC World, Lyngdoh said if the people were "exposed" to too much of politicians, they might get "cancer". In fact, the politicians themselves were the cancer, he said. Lyngdoh said there was no politician in the country committed to democracy and the welfare of the people. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif When told it was a stinging indictment of Indian democracy, the CEC said it was because democracy meant a whole lot of other things. "It's not merely going through the motions of an election. Democracy means basically individual freedom and that you respect individual freedom... I can't think of anybody who is that involved in individual freedom," he said. Asked why he did not rate politicians highly, Lyngdoh said, "There are very few of them who even know how to talk politely… Either they have their noses stuck in the air or they're prostrate at somebody's feet.” When told that as the CEC he should not be so cynical towards politicians, Lyngdoh said, "It's my duty to do that because nobody else is going to do it… everybody is flattering them all the time, and they only get worse that way… somebody has to tell them that they are not as lovely as they think." To a question on the 'pernicious influence' of politicians, Lyngdoh compared them to zamindars. A five-year term by many governments of the day was looked upon as a five-year lease of the zamindari and, therefore, they could do whatever they wanted during that period. The CEC also sought to correct the impression that India was a "marvellous democracy", saying it was "self-flattery, self-blandishment". Asked about the way he shot down Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani's suggestion for simultaneous parliamentary and assembly elections, Lyngdoh said there were just not enough forces. Lyngdoh, who is to demit office in early February, said his parting message was to build pressure to incorporate free and fair elections as part of the fundamental rights of the Constitution. He also said he would not accept any job from the government after his retirement. "I'm not looking for any crumbs or anything from anybody."
Posted by: Mudy Dec 26 2003, 03:07 AM,000900040001.htm The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday indicated that it was willing to set aside the contentious issue of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin for proposed pre-poll alliance with Congress in Maharashtra. "The NCP can set aside contentious issues to forge a front of secular parties to take on the communal forces for the forthcoming assembly and Lok Sabha polls", NCP president Sharad Pawar said at a news conference at the end of the two-day brain storming session of his party in Mumbai. "The NCP leadership had held preliminary talks with Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, in this regard and it is a positive step", Pawar said. Pawar, however, did not announce the name of the successor of former Deputy CM, Chhagan Bhujbal. "We have elected the legislature party leader and his name will be communicated to the Chief Minister and it is the latter's prerogative to announce the name," Pawar said.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 26 2003, 05:57 PM,000900010004.htm
Senior BJP leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, party president Venkaiah Naidu and general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, discussed moves to bring former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh back into the party fold. The meeting, held at Naidu's residence, also discussed organisational matters with the leaders not favouring a change in leadership in Uttar Pradesh as of now, party sources said. The meeting was also attended by party Uttar Pradesh unit chief Vinay Katiyar and Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley. Senior RSS functionary Madan Dass Devi, who had played a role in talking to Kalyan Singh, joined the meeting later, giving added significance to the moves. Party sources said Devi, who acts as a coordinator between RSS and BJP, had been trying to bring Singh back to his parent party. The moves had begun last year when Balbir Punj and Dinanath Mishra, both journalists and the former now a Rajya Sabha member, held meetings with Singh, they said.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 27 2003, 02:21 AM
BJP not averse to aligning with AIADMK: Naidu Press Trust of India New Delhi, December 26,0008.htm BJP president M Venkiah Naidu on Friday indicated that his party was not averse to aligning with AIADMK in Tamil Nadu following the exit of DMK from the NDA Government. It was unfortunate that DMK chose to pull out of NDA Government but has said it would continue to give outside support to it, Naidu said in an interview to All India Radio. He said he could say something on the issue more in detail after some clarity emerges in the situation. But it was clear that "if one party goes out, another party comes in". On who would be the new ally of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Naidu said it would be decided at the time of elections. But whoever went out of the coalition, it was at their own cost while any newcomer would be considered on merit, he added.
Posted by: Mudy Dec 28 2003, 12:59 PM CEC has violated unsaid code This is the season of vigilantism. The custodians of the rule of law have ordered that our already-burdened schoolchildren must be made to study a new, compulsory subject called environment. A group of NGO self-publicists, miffed by the growing feel-good mood in the country, have decided by puncture the Shining India campaign with a public interest litigation demanding Government action to protect the people from the cold. The infamous Amnesty International has seen its heart bleed for the violated human rights of murderers and extortionists of the ULFA who were turfed out of Bhutan earlier this month. Most devastating of all, Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh, the man entrusted with the job of sanctifying Indian democracy, has equated all politicians with a cancer that is killing the country. Lyngdoh's utterances, in an interview to Karan Thapar on BBC World, has excited the media and agitated the political class. As a person occupying a constitutional post, he is not expected to kowtow to either the Government or any politician. And, to be fair, the CEC has been wildly independent. He did what he thought was right in Gujarat and delayed the elections till the State was back to normal. He was quite unsparing in curbing the partisan excesses of the bureaucracy in Chhattisgarh and he was equally decisive in censuring Congress stalwarts for misusing State Government aircraft for electioneering. Most important, he has done his primary job of ensuring free and fair elections. The issue, however, is not one of Lyngdoh's record as CEC or even his exemplary level of personal integrity. At the heart of the misgivings over his public missives is the question of judgment and, more important, the underlying philosophy of politician baiting. If a good man is wrong, it is necessary to know why. Lyngdoh himself will not contest the assertion that it does not behove a person holding a responsible constitutional position to speak his mind on all subjects. As CEC, he is entitled to give his considered opinions on all election-related subjects, including his more controversial orders. However, to extend this logic to a general assessment of the state of politics and the character of politicians is unwarranted. Lyngdoh has a right to give public discourses on the moral decrepitude of politicians. They are bound to be delightfully instructive. But, ideally, he should do so after he has discharged his responsibility as CEC. As long as he occupies his present post, he is obliged to act within the framework of institutional discipline. There is an unwritten code of conduct that is applicable to non-elected officials holding constitutional posts. By speaking his mind, Lyngdoh has violated that code. Yet, Lyngdoh's indiscretions were not unintended. They stem from a growing trend among appointed officials that they are beyond accountability. To some extent, this arrogance is born out of the conviction that elected representatives of the people are incapable of wholesome conduct and that the ills of India can be located in their shortcomings. Stemming from this conviction is the corresponding belief that it is thus necessary to appropriate the mantle of executive decision-making from the politicians and hand it over to those who claim to know what is in the public good. This is at the root of, among other things, judicial over-intrusiveness and NGO activism. The presumption is that a small body of enlightened souls know what is good for the people much more than what the people know. Ironically, every dictator and every terrorist in the world swears by this belief. This vigilantism is not only dangerous but strikes at the very roots of one of the pillars of democracy-the separation of powers. Politicians may well be loathsome and despicable. Yet, at the end of every five years they are accountable to the electorate. Their mandate can be renewed or they can be unceremoniously dumped. But what can we do about our vigilantes who have nothing but contempt for the messy process of democracy? It is time we start thinking about this growing menace.
Posted by: Mudy Dec 28 2003, 11:37 PM,0008.htm Senior Congress leader CK Jaffer Sharief on Sunday questioned the insistence of Congress party on projecting party president Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate on which other parties have reservations and urged for a change in the strategy in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. ...
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Dec 29 2003, 06:19 AM
It is not going to be all that easy for the BJP—unless a wave builds up in its favour—for the simple reason that the parties and its allies had peaked in all the states in 1999 barring UP, Assam and Punjab. Just go down the list and you see the BJP and allies having notched up 36 out of 42 in Andhra Pradesh; 40 out of 54 in Bihar and Jharkhand; 7 out of 7 in Delhi; 20 out of 26 in Gujarat; 10 out of 10 in Haryana; 2 out of 2 in Goa; 4 out of 4 in Himachal Pradesh; 29 out of 40 in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (which adds upto three-fourth of the seats); 28 out of 48 in Maharashtra; 19 out of 21 in Orissa; 16 out of 25 in Rajasthan (two-thirds the total figure); 26 out of 39 (again, two-thirds) in Tamil Nadu. In all likelihood it will lose seats in these states. The Shiv Sena and the TDP want early polls, but their tallies are hardly likely to improve.
Posted by: Sudhir Dec 30 2003, 09:43 PM
Over 84% of the 24,000+ who voted think Vajpayee is the best PM India ever had.
Posted by: muddur Dec 31 2003, 04:26 AM
Who will be prime minister, Sonia? The New Year is a time for making resolutions in the Western tradition. Sonia Gandhi seems to have taken this dictum to heart; her resolve for 2004 seems to be to take lessons in humility. She has certainly begun on the right note by announcing, at a press conference in Mumbai, that it is the right of the people of India to say who shall be prime minister. The sheer banality of this statement is breathtaking! India has successfully conducted 13 general elections. (Even if the current guardian of the electoral process, our beloved Chief Election Commissioner seems to believe we have been running a sham democracy for over fifty years!) Has it really taken the prospect of the 14th such looming up for the boss of the Congress (I) to realise that this is the fundamental right of the electorate in any democracy worth the name? However, let us give Sonia Gandhi the benefit of the doubt and accept that she may just have a point. There has been a shadow over the Congress procedure of anointing a prime minister ever since Jawaharlal Nehru's day. Let me take you back to the year 1946. Everyone knew that Independence was around the corner (though the precise date remained undecided). The choice of Congress president became crucial since it was certain that the Viceroy would invite him or her to head the interim government. Twelve of the 15 Pradesh Congress Committees proposed the name of Sardar Patel; not one of them sent up the name of Jawaharlal Nehru -- not even his native United Provinces (as Uttar Pradesh was then titled). It was at this point that Mahatma Gandhi made his last decisive intervention in the affairs of the nation. He asked Acharya Kripalani -- who, if I remember correctly was the choice of the United Provinces Pradesh Congress Committee -- to circulate a note to the Congress Working Committee asking that body to nominate Nehru. From this distance in time, the Mahatma¹s reasons seem less than convincing. 'He, a Harrow boy, a Cambridge graduated.gif and a barrister, is wanted to carry on the negotiations with Englishmen.' Again, the Mahatma believed that Nehru could 'make India play a role in international affairs.' More realistically, 'Jawahar will not take second place.' Whatever the rationale -- and the last suggests that our much-worshipped first prime minister was a spoiled brat in the Mahatma's estimation -- the fact remains that Bapu¹s suggestion carried the day, and Sardar Patel, the choice of the people, failed to become prime minister through a palace coup. Jawaharlal Nehru's legion of sympathisers will argue that his accession was legitimised in subsequent elections. But the point is that a precedent had been set; future Congress prime ministers would face the people only after they were firmly in the chair. That was true of Indira Gandhi in 1967 (prime minister as of 1966), of Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, and of Narasimha Rao in 1991. The exception to that rule was Indira Gandhi in 1980. (In any case, by the winter of 1951-1952, when the first general election was held, there was no other real challenge to Nehru. Netaji¹s voice had not been heard since 1945, the Sardar had died in 1950, and Rajaji -- 11 years older than Nehru and far more scrupulous -- was too tired. But to read the dying Sardar¹s warning about Chinese intentions or Rajaji¹s fulmination against the 'license-permit-quota Raj' makes me wonder what might have been had one of these giants become prime minister.) The Congress continued to defy the popular will long after Independence. It set up Charan Singh in 1979 and Chandra Shekhar in 1990 though both men lacked legitimacy. And please don¹t tell me that either H D Deve Gowda or I K Gujral was the Indian people¹s choice as prime minister when the Congress (I) propped them up! There have been few exceptions to the long list. Other than Indira Gandhi in 1980, the only names that come to mind as men who won a mandate before assuming the prime minister¹s chair are V P Singh in 1989 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998. (And the former lacked a majority in the Lok Sabha!) It is also hypocritical to pretend that people don¹t vote for a prime minister in the parliamentary system. Didn¹t Britain know that Tony Blair would become prime minister when it voted out John Major in 1997? Or were the Germans ignorant when they preferred Gerhard Schroeder to Helmut Kohl? I am happy Sonia Gandhi has finally admitted the truth -- that the Congress has a poor tradition when it comes to choosing leaders. But I suspect she is simply trying to fool us; can the 'secular' alliance proposed by her go to the people under the leadership of a single leader? If not, her talk of leaving the choice to the people is just another stone in the grand edifice of untruth erected by the Congress. >>>> She knows that her party has not chosen a good leader ! smile.gif
Posted by: muddur Dec 31 2003, 04:29 AM
Advani sounds early poll call
Posted by: muddur Dec 31 2003, 04:30 AM
India In 2004 'We will move towards 'end of ideology' scenario' By Chandan Mitra A focus on B-S-P (bijli-sadak-pani) with a 'Feel Good Factor' in the background, India's airship of state is destined to soar to new heights in 2004. The Pioneer's editor-in-chief analyses the likely trends and their pitfalls that could emerge in 2004 in politics, national economy and popular culture in a three-part series beginning today.
Posted by: muddur Jan 2 2004, 01:21 AM
If the elections are coming in May 2004, I expect the following ... India has something to gain out of the coming SAARC meeting and the NDA wants to cash out on it. What is in store for the country in coming year? BY SURENDRA MOHAN The next parliamentary general election will, most probably, take place in the first week of May or thereabout. The BJP is readying itself for it. Other parties will follow suit, sooner than later. Some of the allies of the BJP such as the Telugu Desam Party, TDP, and the Samata Party Janata Dal (United) combination which is to be known by the name of the latter, have already anticipated the event and made their moves. The former has firmed up its ties with the BJP, under the impact of the growing popularity of the Telengana separatist party, the TRS, and overwhelmed by the return of the BJP to power in the three northern States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Yet another ally of the BJP, the Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam, has, on the other hand, snapped its ties with the former and withdrawn its two ministers from the NDA's Union Government.
Posted by: muddur Jan 2 2004, 01:22 AM
Vajpayee confident of another term
Posted by: muddur Jan 2 2004, 03:31 AM It's final now. The Government has decided to hold the Lok Sabha elections in April-May. The top BJP leadership has taken this decision, which will soon be formalised at the Union Cabinet meeting, a top party leader on Thursday told The Pioneer. The timing of the crucial Cabinet meeting, to be held to recommend the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, is being worked out.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Jan 2 2004, 07:11 PM
Posted by: muddur Jan 3 2004, 01:27 AM Mulayam says fronts only benefit BJP Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, on Friday, reiterated his well-known stand against joining any front ahead of the next General Elections, saying that such fronts only end up benefiting the BJP. While reiterating his stand against joining any front, Mr Yadav also stressed that his party had no differences with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. "Past experiences have proved that such fronts have only helped the BJP" he said, while elaborating that "there were differences on the issue of seat sharing among morcha partners which helped the BJP. That is why now I have decided to contest on issues and give and take support based on issues". Mr Yadav reiterated his stand before reporters after a visit to the Nirvachan Sadan to apprise the Election Commission of existing discrepancies in voter lists in a number of constituencies in his state and to seek corrective measures before Lok Sabha elections. Emerging from an hour-long meeting with Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh, Mr Yadav also ended the suspense over his election as a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly to continue as the State Chief Minister and announced that he would be filing his nomination paper on January 5 for Gannaur Assembly constituency for January 24 by-election. Asked about Congress President Sonia Gandhi's efforts to contact him, the SP supremo said he would be meeting her "whenever necessary". "I will meet Soniaji whenever necessary. I will continue to meet her. I came to know that she rang me up a few days back to talk to me but I was away. My office wanted to connect me to her, but was told that Ms Gandhi herself would ring up again. If I had her permission, I myself would have gone to meet her," Mr Yadav said. He also thanked the Congress President for extending support to his government and said there were no differences between the two parties in Uttar Pradesh. Asked to comment on Ms Gandhi's telephonic conversation with BSP chief Mayawati to rope her in the secular front, Mr Yadav said he was aware of it and dubbed BSP a "corrupt and communal" party, which came to power thrice in the State with the support of communal forces in spite of the fact that it promised no truck with them before the polls. To a pointed question whether his meeting with NDA convener and Defence Minister George Fernandes was aimed at uniting all the Socialists, the SP chief said the Defence Minister was a part of NDA alliance and he never talked about uniting all the Socialists. Mr Yadav, however, said if all the Socialists were united then there would be around 100 such Members of Parliament even today and there would be no need for any third front. The Chief Minister said Mr Fernandes, an old Socialist, would be welcomed in the new front if he left the NDA.The SP chief said he would be meeting Railway Minister Nitish Kumar to thank him for sanctioning the Etawah-Mainpuri railway line. The state government has already agreed to provide land for the proposed project, he said. Briefing reporters about his meeting with the Election Commission, Mr Yadav said he came to the Commission to apprise it of existing discrepancies in voter lists in a number of constituencies and seek corrective measures. Emerging from the hour-long meeting with the Election Commission, Mr Yadav said he would be filing his nomination paper on January 5 for Gannaur Assembly constituency for January 24 by-election. The commission, Mr Yadav said, has assured him that it would look into the charge of "irregularities" in the electoral rolls. The Chief Minister alleged that previous BSP-BJP coalition government had deleted the names of his partymen in several constituencies, particularly in Lucknow, Kanpur, Lakhimpurkhiri and many other places. He said he has received complaints from many voters that they have not yet received their Photo Identity Cards.
Posted by: Karkala Joishy Jan 3 2004, 02:18 AM
For most of my life, I have been a Congress I supporter, especially during Rajiv Gandhi's time. However, I now think that we need the BJP in power. If I voted, my vote would go to the BJP and I would like LK Advani for PM. Our Poet PM is too benign and too much of a nice guy.
Posted by: muddur Jan 6 2004, 02:34 AM Lessons from Islamabad
Posted by: Mudy Jan 8 2004, 09:35 AM,0008.htm Saroj Nagi New Delhi, January 7 The Congress started putting its campaign for the coming general elections together on Wednesday, with the Congress Working Committee clearing a 10-point action plan. Building alliances and reaching electoral adjustments to defeat the BJP were the focus of the blueprint. Barely four days after CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet met DMK chief K. Karunanidhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi deputed senior leader Manmohan Singh to hold consultations with the Tamil Nadu leader to convince him about the necessity of allying to defeat the BJP. Manmohan Singh will leave for Chennai on Thursday to follow up on Sonia Gandhi's recent telephone conversation with Karunanidhi. The Congress president is slated to speak to NCP chief Sharad Pawar soon. Though senior leader Pranab Mukherjee and party spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy told correspondents that specifics were not discussed by the CWC, they said Sonia Gandhi was heading a high-powered committee to talk to various leaders. Mukherjee refused to speculate on the number of seats the Congress would contest to retain its primacy. The partywas, however, keeping its options open on alliances with the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and even Kalyan Singh's Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP). The Congress had kept out of the UP government because the RKP was in the coalition, citing Kalyan Singh's role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. But on Monday, AICC secretary S.K. Sahay and UPCC chief Jagdambika Pal had greeted Kalyan Singh on his birthday on Sonia Gandhi's behalf, signalling the Congress's willingness to initiate a "substantive dialogue'' with him or any party which had no links with the BJP. To do this the party was willing to bury the past. Apart from putting in place the strategy for alliance-building, which would be guided by the party president, the CWC action plan spelled out the nitty-gritty of building an election management team. Mukherjee said Sonia Gandhi would head it and the party would go down to the grassroots, activating panchayat members to take on the Sangh Parivar. There was, however, no word on three issues the BJP was focussing on — the Sonia-Vajpayee face-off; the BJP's five years versus the Congress's 50; and the stable NDA versus the Congress’s record of pulling down governments. "The BJP is bothered about slogans, not policies," Reddy said. But sources said the party would take up these issues, stressing Sonia Gandhi's age, dynamism and her Gandhi-Nehru background. biggrin.gif This matter came up indirectly at the CWC when party general secretary R.K. Dhawan reportedly talked about focussing on the party and issues. General secretary Vayalar Ravi responded by saying that the leader should also be the focus. Dhawan clarified that all he meant was that the BJP should not be allowed to hide its failures with slogans. Kamal Nath, another general secretary, said that after losing three Lok Sabha elections, the Congress needed to refurbish its image by presenting a youth agenda to reach out to people between 18 and 35 years. To a question on inducting Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra into active politics as recommended by the Pranab Mukherjee panel argue.gif (constituted to report on the recent election debacle), Sonia Gandhi said the matter was not discussed.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 8 2004, 09:49 AM
Mudy, congress is in self-destructive mode. More power to them, I say. Let them Project Sonia, Priyanka, and Rahul. The sooner they get destroyed, the better for Bharat Ma!
Posted by: k.ram Jan 9 2004, 10:24 PM
An early election, please! January 09, 2004 Speculation about early elections began slightly over a month ago, when the results of the assembly polls began coming in on the fourth of December. While I enjoy the cut and thrust of a general election as much as the next person, I hope and pray that the polls will indeed be early rather than late early. We always knew that a general election was due in 2004, certainly not later than September-October. But the rumour mills in Delhi are now busy spinning talk of a general election in late April or early May. With all due respect to all concerned, I think that if it does come to an early election it should not be later than March-April. In other words, my plea is for the earliest possible date, up to a month ahead of what people are talking about. Why? Because there are excellent economic reasons. And if they don¹t suffice, I would put forward the claim that there are also good, if secondary, administrative and political reasons. Let me begin with the economic reasons. India is on a roll just now. The agricultural sector -- still the mainstay of the vast majority of this country -- is booming, which is a blessing after three successive years of poor monsoons. Foreign exchange reserves have crossed $100 billion. (Does everyone remember the horrifying days of 1990-1991 when the Indian treasury was so stretched that it had to pawn its gold?) The BSE and NIFTY indices are rising to record levels. (I think they reached a bit higher during the last scam, but that doesn¹t really count.) Finally, GDP growth is expected to rise at over 7.5%. But is this good enough? I contend that the process of liberalisation is far from finished. India needs more reforms, and that means more legislative and executive decisions are required. And what is all this talk of early elections doing except to divert attention from reforms? The later the date of the elections, the more reluctance there shall be to take hard decisions. True, a Budget may be presented on schedule, but what kind of a road map can it present when the men who draw it up have their minds on something else? So I would earnestly plead that a Vote on Account be presented and the Budget be delayed until the 14th Lok Sabha can be convened. Hold the general election in March-April rather than run the risk of halting economic progress through delay and distraction. How about the administrative reasons I mentioned? Calendars these days are so attuned to Western models that almost all of them forget to mention dates important to India. As it happens there are two major religious events in the early part of 2004. The first is the Mahamakom which will be held in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu in February-March. The second will be the Kumbha Mela that will be held in Ujjain in April-May. Both of these, especially the Kumbha Mela, shall attract millions of devotees. Holding the general election during the Kumbha Mela will effectively disenfranchise those lakhs of Indians who shall be making the pilgrimage of a lifetime. That is not all. Remember that the Election Commission has repeatedly testified that the dates of elections must be staggered because there simply aren¹t enough policemen and administrators to go around. Now, imagine the result of several of them being absent on Kumbha Mela duty... Finally, from the point of the National Democratic Alliance anyway, it makes far more sense to hold elections as soon as possible. Most people accept that there is a 'Feel Good Factor' in the air right now, but this is an ephemeral thing which can dissipate very soon. Most such emotional issues act that way; look at Chandrababu Naidu -- he expected to take advantage of the sympathy wave following the botched assassination attempt on him in Tirupati, but the delay has upset all his calculations. On that count alone it makes sense for the government of the day to seize what little advantage there is in the 'Feel Good Factor.' I am sure that some partners in the National Democratic Alliance shall argue that delaying polls will give them more time to prepare. Well, by the same token it also gives more opportunity for the Congress (I) to patch up an alliance of its own to match the National Democratic Alliance. At this point, it seems that a September-October election is out of the window. If the choice is then one of early dates, I hope the prime minister opts for the earliest possible option. thumbup.gif guitar.gif
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Jan 10 2004, 07:45 AM Naidu will win State poll: Survey 50%: Naidu for CM, 45%: TD will win Hyderabad, Jan. 9: Caretaker Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is on a roll. He’s a juggernaut really, as an opinion survey conducted by the Deccan Chronicle-Corporate Marketing Services shows. The Telugu Desam is seen to win 183 of the 294 Assembly seats on its own. With the BJP, the count goes up to 196. The TD is seen as a winning party by almost 45 per cent of the people. Naidu is seen as the next Chief Minister by half the people: His popularity outstrips that of the Telugu Desam. Nothing marks a winner better than this. Now, Naidu’s 1-crore gifts have begun reaching the people. The BJP is gathering steam. The Centre is announcing sops that touch practically every segment of society. The TD-BJP alliance is now up and running. The survey was conducted in the second week of December, before the feel-good economic and peace-initiative euphoria. In all, 147 constituencies in the State were polled, with 100 voters from each constituency. The survey was not done in the constituencies of Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Yakutpura and Karwan, which were affected by communal riots. If the Congress fights alone, it will win 80 seats. A Congress-Telangana Rashtra Samiti alliance will get 125 seats. A Congress-Left alliance will score 97. An alliance of Congress, the Left and the TRS will get 135 seats, with 49 per cent of the vote. The all-Opposition alliance could be the only speed bump to Naidu’s plans. The survey defangs another threat. By itself, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti can win only 15 seats. Over 51 per cent of voters in Telangana prefer a separate Telangana State. However that did not translate into support for KCR. YSR fails to capitalise What came through was that though the Naidu government had lost the sympathy of several key sectors like farmers, employees and unemployed youth, the people in general had a clear and firm opinion on Naidu himself. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, the State Congress’ most prominent leader, remained a non-starter. If you were to take away his promise of free power — which finds a backing among 36 per cent of the respondents — his ratings dip to an all-time low. As many as 62 per cent don’t want YSR as Chief Minister. Over half the people said internal disputes and poor leadership were the main drawbacks with the Congress. Another important finding was that the TD was gaining because the Congress was in complete disarray. If YSR is a non-starter, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is an albatross. Despite the support of the SC, ST vote banks, the groups that were against the Telugu Desam right from the beginning, the Congress has failed to rise to the expectations of the people. The main Opposition party seems to have no USP against Naidu. It has even been unable to project itself as a viable alternative to the Congress. The Congress failed to work on the Indiramma brandname, as the party that works for the poor. The survey shows that the Congress could not position itself as a party that could provide jobs to the people, protect them from the the aftershock of drought or provide them with basic amenities. The Congress has even failed to build around its strongest attraction: The promise of free power. Region-wise, the Congress had gained in coastal Andhra, where the party will go up from 28 to 39 seats. It will lose three seats in Rayalaseema to come down to 18. In Telangana, the Congress is shown to lose seven seats. The TRS on its own will pick up 15 seats. Progress is among the several important factors that could influence the voter, the survey shows. Though the Naidu government has achieved some progress, several voters feel that the government had failed to look into their basic needs. The magic of Janmabhoomi and Dwcra, however, seems to offset it.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 11 2004, 08:17 AM
Good strategy to fool voters that they are not considerning Sonia as PM but after election in case they come to power make her PM. 50 years they have fooled Indian, they still want to continue with same strategy,0008.htm Reacting sharply to CPI(M) leader Somnath Chatterjee's remark that senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh was expected to be a good Prime Minister, Congress on Saturday said other parties had no business to decide on its prime ministerial candidate. Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer said that irrespective of the fact whether a particular party shared the secular ideals of Congress or not, it had no business to decide on the matter and added the party would not change its leader at the behest of those parties. Congress general secretary Ambika Soni said it was for the people to decide the Prime Minister and it would become evident from the number of votes a party polled in elections. Reacting to Chatterjee's remark, RJD vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said such issues should be decided through consensus and not by propping some name suddenly. RJD shares power with Congress in Bihar. NCP leader Tariq Anwar said if being a good administrator was the criterion, then his party leader Sharad Pawar could become an able prime minister. Chatterjee had said on Friday that Manmohan Singh was known to be a good administrator. He has held many important positions including the governorship of Reserve Bank of India and has been found to be a man of great circumspection.
Posted by: muddur Jan 11 2004, 02:23 PM
As soon as ABV starts talking to their masters, TOI starts praising him ! A taller and fitter Vajpayee towers over BJP
Posted by: Mudy Jan 14 2004, 02:58 AM
Sangma to part ways with NCP Navin Upadhyay/ New Delhi Senior Nationalist Congress leader Purno Sangma is all set to part ways with the party he formed along with Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar in 1999. A colourful personality and a prominent voice in North Eastern politics, Mr Sangma is expected to join hands with the NDA to contest the forthcoming General Elections. Mr Sangma will convene a meeting of his North-East Peoples Forum next week to take a formal decision on aligning with the NDA, sources said. Sources said that at a meeting of senior NCP leaders at the residence of Mr Pawar on Monday, Mr Sangma made it clear that he could not remain with the NCP if it decided to tie up with the Congress Party. Mr Sangma is reported to have pointed out that for the last several years he had been in the forefront of bringing together North Eastern parties on an anti-Congress platform, and now it was not possible for him to take a complete U-turn. Talking to a TV channel on Tuesday, Mr Sangma said, "I cannot be a part of any tie-up with the Congress under Sonia Gandhi. It goes against my self-respect and the very principles on which the NCP was formed." . thumbup.gif Maintaining that he was not averse to joining NDA, Mr Sangma said, "the final decision will be taken by my people, but yes, at the moment I would prefer to join the NDA". The NCP leader said he could reconsider his decision if the Congress announced the name of a leader other than Ms Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. "Let them even now say that Narasimha Rao, my preferred choice, or Narayan Dutt Tewari or a Manmohan Singh will be the leader of the secular front, and I am willing to go along with it," he said. After Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackery dashed Mr Pawar's chances of joining the Sena-BJP front in Maharashtra, the NCP was left with no option but to go with the Congress. Sources said that the party's working committee on Wednesday will authorise Mr Pawar to take a final decision on the alliance. Thereafter, Mr Pawar is expected to hold talks with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. "The Wednesday meeting is a mere formality. The decision to go with the Congress has already been arrived at," a senior NCP leader told The Pioneer. Senior Chhattisgarh NCP leader V C Shukla, who was reportedly toying with the idea of floating a regional party, was also present in the meeting. Mr Pawar is believed to have dissuaded him from taking such step in view of the coming polls. Mr Pawar is also likely to hold another round of talks with RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav. The NCP is hoping that RJD would ally with it and spare two seats for its senior leaders Tariq Anwar and Dr Jagannath Mishra from Bihar.
Posted by: muddur Jan 14 2004, 06:21 AM
But Pranab saab is the longevity all that matters ? If you think that Nehru stayed in POWER for 17 years, then IMO it is against the democratic values. One should give opportunities for others as well. Look at GWashington and Nelson Mandela. Even they would have chosen to die as Presidents. But they didn't. That is greatness, not the 17 years of rule. graduated.gif Comparing Vajpayee, Nehru ridiculous, says Congress New Delhi, Jan. 12 (PTI): The Congress today pooh-poohed the BJP comparing Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with late Jawahar Lal Nehru, saying the former Premier won three general elections consecutively in post-independence era and ruled India for 17 years unlike Vajpayee who never completed a full term in office. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif "The comparision (by BJP spokesman) is ridiculous. Everybody knows Nehru won three general elections in 1952, 1957 and 1962 with massive mandates both in terms of seats and percentage of votes. What is the track record of the BJP? In 1996 they won 160 seats, 180 in 1998 and 181 in 1999. Cobbling a coalition of 27-28 parties, the NDA could manage to have around 300 seats out of 543", senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee, told reporters. Observing that Nehru ruled India for 17 years uninterruptedly in the post-independent era, he said Vajpayee, though he became Prime Minister thrice, his first tenure in 1998 was just for 13 days, the second lasted for only 13 months and he was yet to complete five years in the current third term, in the wake of likely advancement of the Lok Sabha polls, he said.
Posted by: muddur Jan 14 2004, 06:34 AM
What a typo error to commit !!! tv_feliz.gif Today the educational qualification is a typo tomorrow her being the PM candidate a mistaken identity ? thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif Something seriously wrong with the Congress party ???? Congress blames Sonia's diploma gaffe on 'typo' Wednesday January 14 2004 00:00 IST IANS NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday admitted that the educational qualification of party president Sonia Gandhi in her bio-data given to parliament was wrong but blamed it on a "typographical mistake". There was a typographical mistake in the bio-data given to the Lok Sabha with regard to the Italy-born Gandhi's educational qualifications, party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in response to questions by reporters. "When they came to know about it they immediately rectified it," he said and added Gandhi's aide Pulok Chatterjee had written to the Lok Sabha secretariat clarifying the matter. However, the parliament website continues to show Gandhi's educational background as "Diploma in English Language Educated at Cambridge (UK)". thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif Defence Minister George Fernandes, who is also the convenor of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had Monday called Sonia a "liar", saying Cambridge University did not have a diploma course in English. thumbup.gif Singhvi accused Fernandes of using "cheap language" and charged that even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was resorting to such language for electoral gains. He also "strongly condemned" the government's reported move to bring in retired cabinet secretary T.R. Prasad, now a member of the Finance Commission, as the chief election commissioner and said it was improper to bring in an outsider for the post. The present incumbent J.M. Lyngdoh retires from service in February. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 14 2004, 06:50 AM
muddur : Sonia may have done a Diploma in English from an “English Language” Teaching School situated in Cambridge. Cheers
Posted by: Nalwa Jan 14 2004, 07:42 AM
Peregrine, the Congress are already sliming out of the so called "typograhical" error. She was a frickin AuPair( in simple english a MAID) when she pataoed the naive Rajiv. No diploma's, no education.
Posted by: acharya Jan 14 2004, 07:42 AM
Article appearing in People's Democracy of January 11, 2004 Paramount Task Today Is To Defeat BJP Harkishan Singh Surjeet TODAY, the atmosphere in the country has got surcharged with the speculations that Lok Sabha may be prematurely dissolved, maybe in this very month. Talk is on that the Vajpayee cabinet may not go in for a regular budget this time but seek a vote on account, and convene a special session of parliament for the purpose, possibly after January 20. Consequently, attempts are now afoot to forge alignments and realignments. There is no doubt that the BJP has got elated following the recent assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. There were certain factors, outlined in these pages earlier, that contributed to the BJP victory in the first three of these states, much to its own surprise. The victory has now fuelled the BJP's hopes that it may repeat the feat at the all-India level; it is talking of garnering no less than 300 seats alone. One may recall that the BJP contested around 300 seats but could win only 181 in 1999. Now if its leaders are talking of contesting around 340 seats this time and hoping to win 300; there must be something magical on their minds, which they themselves know better. The situation is expected to be clearer after the BJP national executive meets at Hyderabad on January 11-12. One thing is certain: If the BJP's dream really materialises, if at all, it may easily dispense with the so-called National Democratic Alliance, as the more hawkish outfits of the Sangh Parivar have been demanding. EUPHORIC PROPAGANDA THERE are certain things that have added to these speculations. While the Election Commission restrained the union government from running its "Shining India" propaganda blitz during the run-up to the assembly polls, the regime is now going about it in full steam. Newspapers are full of full-page euphoric advertisements about it, and these expenses will be apart from what the BJP would incur for the coming elections. One may note that the party spent billions on propaganda during the 1998 and 1999 Lok Sabha polls. Today, there are certain things the BJP's media managers are trying to focus. One is that the country has a big foreign exchange reserve, upward of 100 billion dollars, little realising that this in itself cannot be a solace to the suffering millions. Nay, these reserves have left many economists wondering as to what the government is planning to do with them; till now, the rulers seem to have no coherent idea about it. Moreover, the government is hiding from the people the fact that a large chunk of this reserve consists of monies pumped in by foreign institutional investors and non-resident Indians, who brought this money here because of very low interest rates in the US and Europe. As much of this reserve is hot money, it may quit the country in a moment, once it finds a greener pasture elsewhere. Also, the Institute of Economic Growth has forecast that the rate of accrual to the forex reserves may soon come down. The recent GDP growth figure has given the government yet another chance to brag. The CSO's recent estimate was that our economy developed at 8.4 per cent during the second quarter of the current fiscal (July-September 2003), and this was enough to make our rulers and their hangers-on dizzy. But this too involves a deception game, with the regime posing as if this rate pertains to the whole year. The fact is that if the combined growth rate for the six month period, April to September, is calculated, it comes down to around 7 per cent. Moreover, if one assumes that this rate would hold for the whole fiscal, it would still be less than the tenth plan target of 8 per cent per annum. AND UGLY REALITIES WHILE gloating over the recent GDP figure, the regime is also not prepared to accept that its performance overall has been dismal. In the last five years of Vajpayee regime, the average growth rate was only 5.8 per cent per annum while the preceding five years had seen an average rate of over 6.5 per cent. Export growth has always been a mantra for globalisers, but the regime has failed on this front too, with our export growth rate coming down to about 5 per cent compared to the targeted 12 per cent. Investment in agriculture has substantially declined, and so has been the plight of the rural population. As for job growth, the regime seeks to hide the ugly reality that, contrary to the poll promise of creating one crore jobs every year and its reiteration in the tenth plan document, the last five years saw a decline in job availability. As The Statesman (January 2) pointed out, "employment in the organised sector declined by a shocking 1.5 per cent last year. It has, indeed, been on decline ever since the NDA came to power in 1998, reversing a trend of job growth seen under Congress and United Front governments since 1991." As for Vajpayee's claim of creating 86 million jobs in unorganised sector, the fact is that the jobs lost in organised sector are far from compensated in unorganised sector. There are two reasons for it. First, in the last five years, there has been a steady trend of closure and sickness of industrial units. More than two million small and medium size units have downed their shutters in this period, while these very units are regarded as labour intensive and main job providers in the unorganised sector. Secondly, many units are killing jobs in the name of reducing costs and increasing competitiveness. In sum, "In the midst of hundred billion dollars, the country has 29 crore people living below the poverty line, who earn less than Rs 300 a month" (The Pioneer, January 6). It is therefore no wonder that these five years saw an unprecedented number of suicides by farmers in various parts of the country, apart from starvation deaths in Orissa and some other states, and that too when FCI godowns were overflowing with grains. A PERIOD OF SCAMS THE last five years also saw unprecedented scams. Apart from the suspected give and take in the telecom license deal, the period saw the UTI scam that devoured the savings of no less than two crore people. Then came the Tehelka scam in which a former BJP president was seen accepting money from decoy arms dealers. The defence minister's name was also involved in it and is yet to be cleared; the fellow is still boycotted by opposition parties in parliament. He is also said to be involved in what was called the coffin scam. The period also saw the Bhansali scam and then the ruinous Ketan Parekh scam in stock market that sent the bourses tumbling down. The government also opened the infamous "Mauritius route" for huge tax evasions by corporates. As for the recent episode involving a union minister, Dilip Singh Judeo, the Forensic Science Laboratory of Hyderabad has certified that the video tape showing him accepting money was authentic. One may recall that Vajpayee, known for his glib talk, had sought to defend this very Hindutva zealot by saying that while Ajit Jogi's case was clear, Judeo's case was hazy. While admitting that he had received money, the same Judeo had claimed that he had done so for his re-conversion drive, as if bribe-taking for communal purposes were justifiable! The government has also doled out huge concessions to corporate sector while imposing one burden upon another on the common people. Interest rates in banks, saving schemes and provident funds were slashed down across the board, making the life of even middle class people difficult. The unprecedented reduction in subsidies has reduced the people's real incomes and purchasing power, severely affecting their life standards. FOREIGN POLICY AS for foreign policy, the period saw a tilt towards the US that compromised our time-tested policy of non-alignment that had earned for India a place of honour in the world. The regime has consistently ignored the appeals for rejuvenating the NAM. Riding roughshod over the people's opposition, the regime went on courting the Zionists who are killing the Palestinians every day and making their life miserable in numerous ways. Vajpayee was the first Indian prime minister to invite an Israeli prime minister to India. The NDA government refused to condemn the US attack on Iraq; it agreed to "deplore" it only after the pressure of public opinion. But for this pressure, it could have even sent our troops for policing job in the occupied country, so that the US occupiers could take their own soldiers out of the firing line. It is true that in recent months the government took certain steps to improve relations with Pakistan; the welcome developments at SAARC summit are being commented upon separately in this issue. (See Editorial.) But the fact is that such steps should, and could, have been initiated much earlier. Instead of building upon the steps the United Front government had taken towards normalisation of Indo-Pak relations, the Vajpayee regime chose to indulge in nuclear jingoism; our home minister even went to the extent of threatening Pakistan on Kashmir issue. Also, after the heinous attack on parliament building in New Delhi, the regime embarked on a jingoistic Operation Parakram that could have been avoided. In fact, the mobilisation of our troops for this operation and their subsequent demobilisation cost us no less than Rs 8,000 crore. In this context, there are reasons to suspect that the recent moves to improve relations have been at the bidding of US imperialists who cannot give up Pakistan but do not want to alienate India either. They want both India and Pakistan tied to their apron strings so that South Asia could be secure for their hegemonistic plans. As reported by media, Brajesh Mishra, Vajpayee's Man Friday, has been in touch with Ms Condolezza Rice, national security advisor to Bush, throughout the SAARC summit and earlier. THREATS TO NATIONAL UNITY THE regime has been notorious for its overt and covert support to communal forces who are out to divide the people on religious lines. The period began with an orgy of anti-Christian violence in Gujarat and other states, leading to the burning of a missionary and his minor sons alive. Yet, instead of condemning this inhuman crime, our "moderate" prime minister pontificated on the need of a national debate on conversion! Various towns in UP, Rajasthan and some other states witnessed renewed communal violence in this period. These acts of violence were complemented with sustained efforts to pack the educational and other institutions with RSS men. A drive to saffronise the whole set-up is on, and this includes the curricula and textbooks in a bid to produce a generation of bigots. The most catastrophic was the violence in Gujarat after the heinous torching of a train bogey at Godhra. Using this event as an excuse, communal forces unleashed a massacre of Muslims all over Gujarat, which continued for months together. There are reasons to believe that communal forces were preparing for some such act for months, and the BJP state government backed them in perpetrating this massacre. Moreover, as many reports highlight, low key violence against Muslims still continues in Gujarat. CENTRAL QUESTION THIS brings us to the central question of today --- of defeating the BJP and its allies in the polls. As the CPI(M)'s 16th congress (Kolkata, October 1998) had concluded, the BJP is not like any other bourgeois landlord party; behind it stands the fascistic RSS that aims to create a theocratic state in the country. That was why the party congress said defeating the BJP was the paramount task. That analysis still holds. This is no easy task, however. The fact is the BJP has been banking upon a whole gamut of self-seekers who know no principles except filthy lucre. If Judeo of the BJP said money is no God but, by God, it is no less than the God, the same holds true for those who have provided clutches to the BJP. This is the real nature of the motley combine called NDA. This is not to say that the BJP and allies cannot be defeated; in fact, they had lost 22 out of the 28 assembly polls held prior to December 1, 2003. The situation is not dismal for the secular forces, as many would like us to believe. If the National Conference, Paswan and Ajit Singh quit the NDA earlier, the DMK and MDMK joined the list recently. The BJP is also at loggerheads with Chautala in Haryana and BJD in Orissa. In Goa, the BJP engineered splits in two of its smaller allies. Many parties have suffered erosion in their mass bases since they allied with the BJP, and it is possible that some more parties quit the NDA in the coming days. However, defeating the BJP would not be an automatic process. Here the role of the Congress, biggest opposition party in the country, cannot be doubted. Of late, the Congress has given up its "go alone" stance and is now open to forge ties with anti-BJP parties. This may help crystallise the situation. As for the role of Left parties, we have basic differences with the Congress on economic policies, in the main. One will recall that it was a Congress government that initiated the LPG policies in 1991, which the BJP led government is pursuing with a vengeance. Such differences between the Congress and Left parties cannot be wished away. Also, in the states where the Left is strong, its main contest is with the Congress party. However, while the Left cannot afford to give up its demarcation from the Congress or any other bourgeois landlord party, and while policy differences between the two formations would remain, they can certainly cooperate on the specific issue of defeating the BJP. In states where the Left is not a force, it may extend support to the Congress or another such party that is in a position to defeat the BJP. This is the only viable course open for anti-BJP parties in today's situation. As for the parties that are called centrist, individuals like Fernandes are hyperactive to rope them in a separate motley combination. Known as the BJP's troubleshooter, even today this man is playing the game on BJP's behalf. The idea is to prevent these parties from joining hands with the Congress or the Left, so that the anti-BJP votes are split, to the BJP's advantage. Data show that such splits in anti-BJP votes went to help the BJP in Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and some other states. All the parties that swear by secularism have to beware of this game. For, the fight today is to protect our national unity, our pluralistic ethos and our existence as a civilised nation --- nothing less. end "Do not judge me by my actions; Do not judge me from man's point of view" "Judge me from God's - by the hidden purpose behind my actions. Regi George wishing you Good Luck. Thanks
Posted by: acharya Jan 14 2004, 07:49 AM
Deccan Herald January 03, 2004 Communalism and nationalism Congressisation of BJP By BALRAJ PURI The BJP not only accommodates more diversities than the Congress, it has stolen the latter's nationalist robes The election results in four states in the vital Hindi belt of the country have defied pollsters, baffled the losing party and exceeded the expectations of the winning party. Does it mean that the people of the country have become more communal than they used to be in Gandhi-Nehru era? Is the battle of secularism lost? In many respects the communalism-secularism agenda of political discourse in India would lose much of its relevance, unless the terms are redefined more sharply. The dilemma of present day secularists - who were a part of the nationalist movement - started when they began equating and decrying every sub-national identity along with communalism. Thus the Congress party's main target in the last UP election was Mulayam Singh and not the BJP as its leaders held that casteism was worse than communalism. The ground reality is that the only alternative to the BJP in UP today is the Samajwadi Party whereas the Congress hardly matters there. On the other hand even the RSS, which seems to have grown wiser, seized the opportunity, to woo Mulayam Singh. Its Kshetra Sanghchalak (regional head Ishwar Chand Gupta said (on December 22) that "he was getting closer to the Hindutva and we are hopeful that he would not only extend increased support to the Sangh's nationalist agenda but would even join us on issues of national importance." It is the same person whom the Sangh Parivar used to call Maulana Mulayam Singh. The real question in India today is uniformity versus diversity. The BJP and its predecessor Jan Sangh started as parties of uniformity with a slogan of Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan and as a champion of a strong, centralised unitary form of constitution. Today it accommodates far more diversity than its main rival. It leads a government which includes hardened RSS workers, socialists and regional outfits. All opponents of unitary constitution and votaries of maximum autonomy for states like Dravidian parties, the Akali Dal and till recently the National Conference have been its allies. In fact all Dravidian parties - ruling and in opposition - who once threatened secession from India are vying with one another to collaborate with the BJP. Militant collusions How far the BJP can go to accommodate secessionist groups is ironically highlighted by the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya. Its issue of 7 December focuses on North-East and gives details of the BJP's collusion with 'militant', secessionist and 'pro-conversion' elements in these states for 'political gains.' Panchajanya reports that the BJP is a member of the ruling National Democratic Alliance and five of its seven legislators are ministers in Naglanad. Its adds that the Alliance came to power with "the help of the militant organisation NSCN-IM" and that its government is known for funding church activities for the last many years. Similarly in Mizoram, the BJP supported the MNF in the recent election to keep the Congress out. The BJP accommodates not only regional sentiments, however chauvinistic, but also makes all possible compromises with caste groups. Thus it took all the risk involved in supporting unpredictable Mayawati as the chief minister to neutralise the scheduled castes and invited her to campaign for it in the Gujarat elections. It is oversimplification to interpret Modi's victory as that of the Hindutva, though the communal massacre did polarise the voters. But the fact that he went out of his way to woo scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and that he himself belonged to an OBC, too, were contributory factors. The ideological and ethnic sweep of the BJP is too wide - from Christian militants to Hindu militants - to easily comprehend and counter by a party like the Congress which has become too purist and uniformist to fit into Indian reality. As a party of the freedom movement it does try to revive nostalgic memories of its role of a party of Indian nationalism. But it has not noticed how its rival the BJP is gradually co-opting all icons of the freedom movement and has started claiming that it is the real inheritor of the freedom movement. Long ago Gandhi was acclaimed as one of its heroes by the RSS, which was once accused of his murder. The parivar had all along owned Sardar Patel as iron man of India and uncompromising nationalist. Vivekananda and Tilak have been its revered figures. The BJP has started celebrating birth anniversaries of Subash Chander Bose and Bhagat Singh. Dividing line So far the dividing line between the BJP and the secularists used to be Nehru. But recently Party President Venkaiah Naidu claimed that his party was doing precisely what the Congress used to do under the leadership of Gandhi and Nehru. The ease with which stolen robes could fit the new wearers is also due to the changed definition of nationalism. In Gandhi-Nehru era, it was defined in terms of hostility to British imperialism which has disappeared and replaced by Pakistan as main threat to Indian nationalism. In its anti-Pakistan role, the BJP scores better than other parties. Its hostility to Indian Muslims is mainly an extension of its anti Pakistanism. As it is the space for the Congress as the main alternative to the BJP has shrunk. It has no more monopoly of Indian nationalism or inheritance of the freedom movement. It has neither accommodated within its fold ideological and ethnic diversities nor has so far been unwilling to forge alliances with other parties. In that respect it has almost replaced the BJP as a party of uniformity which further tend to circumscribe its role. Thus we are witnessing a process of what may be called Congressisation of the BJP or the BJPisation of the Congress. However this process could be reversed if the Congress and the "secular" parties go beyond "exposing duplicity, hypocrisy and opportunism" of the Sangh parivar. Their efforts will be far more credible if they show a better understanding of the Indian realities, update and refine their ideology, redefine certain terms like secularism and nationalism and improve their tactics and strategy.
Posted by: acharya Jan 14 2004, 08:02 AM
Of Hindutva and governance By Pratap Bhanu Mehta Signs of Hindutva were unmistakable in the elections... [But] we are so used to equating it with belligerence that we do not notice it when it takes subtler forms. THE CONDUCT of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the recent Assembly elections has led many observers to argue that it has undergone a far-reaching transformation. From the party of Hindutva, it has become the party of governance, from an organisation beholden to the Sangh Parivar, it now is acting as a responsible ruling party, instead of playing on an apocalyptic politics of Hindu self- esteem, it is now occupying the space of sensible policy. In many ways this assessment is picking out a discernible trend: the BJP has for some time looked more the natural governing party than the Congress. It outclasses the Congress in sheer political talent across the board. It has the ability to set an agenda on more fronts than one could list, from infrastructure, foreign affairs, Kashmir to economic reform. It is a party that, for better or for worse, now defines the policy space on almost every front, while other parties are reduced to being mere respondents or naysayers. It would be churlish to deny the fact that the BJP is in many respects capable of governing at least as well as any of its rivals. Any opposition that does not acknowledge this reality is premised on a pipe dream. It is not surprising that the BJP should capitalise on its governance capacities. Only its opponents have made the mistake of supposing that the BJP can expand its base on Hindutva alone; the BJP itself has never been under this illusion. The contrast between governance- based elections and identity politics-based elections is in any case overstated. Even Narendra Modi ran on both issues of Gujarati pride and claimed to have brought water to Gujarat. But equally it would be a mistake to suppose that the BJP has given up on Hindutva or that Hindutva does not represent, in the long run, a profound and insidious danger to the fundamental premises of a liberal constitutional democracy. Far from this election being a sidelining of Hindutva, the results represent its increasing triumph. Hindutva works as an explicit plank of mobilisation when the following conditions obtain. First, there has to be a framing context or a specific event that generates anxiety that the politics of Hindutva can tap. Such an anxiety can be generated by terrorism, a narrative that stitches together events such as Godhra and Akshardham, or during the 1980s the fallout from the Shah Bano case. The BJP then taps into this anxiety. During the present elections, there was no such framing context, no immediate event to fuel a politics of anxiety and resentment. It was thus intrinsically difficult to unleash the energies of Hindutva. This lack of a framing narrative also freed the media to cover a wide variety of issues rather than focus insistently on the secularism issue alone. Secondly, what would be an issue around which Hindutva politics would mobilise? In some ways it has already become the dominant sentiment: on all the issues, be it cow slaughter, conversion, cultural transformation, expansion of its base amongst tribals, the acceptance of religion in politics, changes in the self-perception of Indians, marginalisation of minorities, Hindutva is already mainstream. It has already redefined the public sphere in ways that cries of "Hinduism in danger" no longer have quite the same appeal. This is not because Hindutva does not have wide support; it is because it has to a great degree been successful. The one major issue on which Hindutva politics could mobilise would be Ayodhya. But this is a tricky one to use. For one thing, any mobilisation on this issue runs the risk of inviting the question: what has the BJP been up to on this issue for five years? It can now mobilise on this issue only when one of two conditions obtain. Either it is utterly desperate, or there is a reasonable chance that this mobilisation will result in the construction of the temple. Given the current institutional and legal constraints, the BJP cannot launch another movement, because a movement without an end result will simply yield diminishing returns. It will take this issue up only when it is now in a position to deliver on it. It is easier to organise movements for the sake of it when you are in Opposition, they are harder to justify when a party holds the reins of power. And the temple issue also gets sustenance from a larger framing context that was unavailable this time. Therefore it should not be surprising that Hindutva was not, directly, a main plank. But signs of it were unmistakable: Mr. Modi was not an insignificant presence; in its own quiet way, the Congress Government's banning of `trishuls' in Rajasthan had an influence. We are so used to equating Hindutva with belligerence that we do not notice it when it takes subtler forms. The BJP was not belligerent not because it has given up on its core ideology, but because it feels that the tides of history are with it. The courts, based on the Archaeological Survey of India report might rule in its favour; most parties are behaving as if it is only a matter of time when the temple in Ayodhya will be built. The governance agenda has come to the fore on the backs of Hindutva, but it will not entirely supplant it. If the BJP Governments begin to run into serious electoral trouble again, or if some unfortunate events hand it a framing context on a platter, the belligerent BJP will make a very swift appearance again. Its cadres will not simply melt away. Any nation that is built on a politics of resentment and the marginalisation of the minorities, as Hindutva inevitably is, cannot long endure and prosper. Hindutva has the potential of creating a volatile politics that can still plunge this country into chaos, and jeopardise the project of creating a free society where no individual is stigmatised for who they are. The violence in Hyderabad, and the liturgy surrounding Uma Bharti's swearing in, were brief reminder of all that can still happen in this country. The real lesson of these elections however is that opponents of Hindutva cannot win simply by opposing it and calling it names. They have to do what the BJP has done, link an ideology to an energetic and robust organisation with some political imagination. The Congress party, under Sonia Gandhi, is incapable of doing that. It does not have leadership that can translate public sentiment into a concrete political programme or play craft politics. It does not have a clear ideology or organisational acumen. Most political parties that were in the political wilderness like the Democrats in the U.S. or Labour in Britain, made strenuous efforts to reinvent themselves and defined themselves by the adjective "new." Where is the "new" Congress? If the Congress fights on its record of the last two decades, it does not have a leg to stand on; and Sonia Gandhi is a reminder of its grim past rather than a harbinger of the future. The BJP attracts more young political talent than almost any other party. Underlying that move is an attraction of the politics of the "new," a politics that gets us over our own recent past. Hindutva is a social movement that has produced an enormous amount of social churning that a lot of people feel empowered by. It has lodged itself in the interstices of our psyche, while the Congress looks positively conservative and closed by comparison. The forces of Hindutva are now confident enough to set their sights on longer-term goals, of which governance is inevitably a part. But governance is easier to promise than deliver, and the BJP like any political party will remain vulnerable on these issues. Under those circumstances and in the right context, belligerent Hindutva will be once again on the agenda. But the current calm should not lull anyone into the illusion that governance will do away with Hindutva; if anything good governance will only enhance the long-term appeal of Hindutva. These elections should not be taken complacently as a sign that the Indian electoral system can inevitably tame all fanaticism; they rather point to the fact that opponents of fanaticism have their work cut out for them.
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 14 2004, 03:03 PM
QUOTE (Nalwa @ Jan 14 2004, 07:42 AM)
Peregrine, the Congress are already sliming out of the so called "typograhical" error. She was a frickin AuPair( in simple english a MAID) when she pataoed the naive Rajiv. No diploma's, no education.
Sonia – the daughter of a man working in the building trade in Italy – was an Au Pair and nearly all Au Pairs go to the local English Language School to pick up some Basic English. I agree that she has no Cambridge University Diploma of any kind, subject or level. However, according to the KAANGRESS only Sonia can be the Prime Minister. Unfortunately we may see her, no matter how much I personally dislike even the thought about it, taking over as there are too many outside forces influencing the DDM, Liberals, Leftists in an effort to get rid of the BJP. Now we have to wait for April/May 2004. Cheers
Posted by: Mudy Jan 14 2004, 11:21 PM
Peregrine, Shubh, Shubh bolo. One Au Pairs became princess Wales and let Italian Au Pairs remain where she is at the most.
Posted by: muddur Jan 15 2004, 04:51 PM
Indian party with 100 + years of history party looking for a leader who can speak HINDI ! What more pathetic things can be ! sad.gif,curpg-1.cms,curpg-2.cms Congress tongue-tied over Hindi
Posted by: muddur Jan 15 2004, 04:55 PM
Sonia Gandhi can never rule India, stars say so
Posted by: Mudy Jan 16 2004, 12:03 AM
Scrambling as it to trash the BJP and its "feel good" factor far and wide, a compulsory crash course in Hindi speaking at 24 Akbar Road (the party headquarters) could be the other quick-fix alternative argue.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 16 2004, 12:33 AM
A very saffron ego massage [ TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2004 05:08:44 PM ] NEW DELHI : In an election atmosphere, roll out the saffron. And the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas provided a great platform for that. The event was largely of the BJP, for the BJP. By FICCI. Adding able back up to merry jingoism, was the business chamber as organiser. It turned the event into some kind of family affair. There were hierarchies, restricted areas – like the apology of a Bollywood nite. A senior FICCI official explained to astounded journalists kept out of the event: "Even my wife and daughter are not going. How can you argue about not getting to attend?" Then, celebrity delegates who did not turn up were listed anyway, press briefings were cancelled 20 minutes after they were scheduled to begin. And if there was information that you were seeking, you did well not to bother asking. Facts and figures rolled out slow, but there were any number of people offering sanctimonious advice instead on how to do your job. Sample: To an innocuous query on why V S Naipaul, listed as a confirmed delegate, didn't turn up, a shocked official said: "This is about other pravasis . Why should it matter if a few VIPs don't turn up?" Sound logic to that actually, save one couldn't understand the pique. Jamboree? If the first event was a big carnival if nothing else, this one was a pale copy. Of course it was a great venue to get photographed with BJP ministers, if you collect that kind of memorabilia. There were very few of any other kind to be sighted. Ministers that is. With the exception of minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh, every important government representative seemed to be a BJP man. Actually, that should set the NDA allies thinking on what they have in store – they do hold very few important portfolios. It was a saffron affair. Beginning with the chairman of the organising committee L M Singhvi turning his welcome address into an embarrassing eulogy. To Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "You are the source of our inspiration", he said, and "you represent the fragrance of the lotus heart of India ." Also "you are the karta , the vishwakarma of this concept," and "you wrote a new flame song of India on the forehead of time."
Posted by: muddur Jan 16 2004, 02:47 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Jan 16 2004, 12:03 AM)
Scrambling as it to trash the BJP and its "feel good" factor far and wide, a compulsory crash course in Hindi speaking at 24 Akbar Road (the party headquarters) could be the other quick-fix alternative argue.gif
Problem with Sonia is she can't even speak ONE Indian language fluently. Forget Hindi. She should be thrown out of the party, but then she holds the key to all the party funds ... thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 16 2004, 11:40 PM
Sonia lashes out at NDA Govt's non-performance Reeta Sharma/ Bhatinda Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday targeted the BJP-led NDA government with non performance and failure to deliver during its term, when prices soared, unemployment increased and the youth remained directionless. The present public realtions blitzkerg launched by the NDA on its achievements was nothing but an election-eve gimmick, which people must be aware of and remain vigilant. "You should not vote for a conglomeration of parties with communal overtones, like the Shiromani Akali Dal," she said while addressing a huge public rally of over 40,000 people comprising of mostly elected sarpanches, panches and members of the panchayat samitis and zila parishads, close to the National fertilizer factory. Ms Gandhi virtually launched the party's Lok Sabha election campaign and slammed the divisive forces in the country. She was here to flag off the endowment of the panchayati raj institutions with functions, functionaries and funds to take on the responsibilities in respect of six of the 29 identified departments that are to be decentralized and entrusted to the panchayati raj institutions, as per the 73rd Constitutional amendment. She launched the first phase of the programme and released a booklet outlining the powers of the panchayats in respect of the six departments. " Today, we have fulfilled a dream project of Rajiv Gandhi, who wanted to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots and had brought about 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments. The latter pertains to similar empowerment of urban local bodies. I wish the panchayats all success", she added. Ms Gandhi, accompanied from Delhi by Dr Manmohan Singh, Ms Moshina Kidwai and Ms Amibka Soni, read from a prepared text and spoke for about 15 minutes. After a mention of the scheme she had launched, she reverted to NDA-bashing." If the BJP-led government had achieved anything in itsfive-year term of governance, it was because of the foundation laid by the Congress that governed the country for 50 years. The country owns much to visionaries like Jawaharlal Nehru", she boomed, ridiculing the BJP for comparing Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Nehru. " The NDA", she went on, "was afraid to face the Parliament and was thus shying away from presenting a formal, normal Budget and was now talking of a vote-on-account". fuck.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 18 2004, 12:56 AM,001300740000.htm cool.gif
Posted by: Mudy Jan 18 2004, 01:52 AM New Delhi, Jan. 16: The Congress and the BJP are now involved in an intricate cat-and-mouse game as one goes out into the market seeking new alliances for a secular front and the other makes it its business to prevent this from happening. The result is that regional parties, like the Lok Janshakti, Rashtriya Lok Dal, BSP and Rashtriya Kranti Party, find themselves the centre of attention as leaders from all sides arrive at their doorstep promising them all they can ask for, and more. The DMK, MDMK, PMK and the Nationalist Congress Party, who were being assailed by both the Congress and the BJP till just a few days ago, have stepped out of centre-stage by announcing their decision to go with the Secular Front. Others find a line of top leaders at their houses with bouquets or offers of a cup of tea to entice them into their respective folds. Ram Vilas Paswan, who had convinced his Lok Janshakti Party to support the Secular Front, including arch rival Laloo Prasad Yadav in Bihar, is now in two minds following the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s reluctance to turn to the serious business of seat adjustments. Playing upon his apprehensions are the NDA’s George Fernandes, Yerrannaidu, Nitish Kumar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who have urged him to return to their alliance with the Bihar chief minister’s post in his pocket. Paswan told this correspondent that his heart was with the Secular Front, but that he was in no mood to tolerate any games from the RJD chieftain. Convincing him not to listen, and assuring him that it will all work out, are Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Left leaders Harkishen Singh Surjeet and A B Bardhan, and, more recently, Laloo Prasad Yadav himself. Kalyan Singh is also in great demand. Sonia Gandhi has announced her decision to meet him. This meeting will be followed by visits from senior Congress leaders with Manmohan Singh being particularly active on this front. The BJP is also wooing the RKP leader with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee inviting him to his birthday bash in Lucknow. Kalyan Singh has still to make his mind known, but currently appears to be leaning more towards the Secular Front than the BJP. But then, those who know him well are quick to point out that this can change at any point of time. The list would not be complete without the Ajit Singh, who is usually at the centre of any political bargaining that might be going on. He met Sonia Gandhi, but then later declared that he would remain for the time being in alliance with the Samajwadi Party and that would join the Secular Front if his “friend” Mulayam Singh Yadav decided to do so. But he is meeting leaders from both sides and working out alliances that would prove beneficial to his interests. He is in touch with Surjeet and made it clear that his options are open on all fronts, but again, said he would not like to ally with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls. The BSP, after being wooed openly by Gandhi as well as BJP leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who called upon her with flowers, has kept the final decision about joining the Secular Front to herself. She will not join the NDA, but the intention of the BJP, for the present, is to prevent her from allying with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and contesting the polls on her own. This will keep the chances of post-poll alliances in UP open and will prevent the Secular Front from gaining ground in the crucial state. Surjeet has also spoken to Mayawati, and in the coming days, until she takes a final decision, will be definitely one of the most sought after leaders. The DMK, PMK, MDMK, NCP and RJD, along with the Congress and the Left parties, are with the Secular Front. The SP Trinamul Congress and the TD, along with the BJP, are in the NDA. Word is awaited from the AIADMK, which has still not responded to BJP overtures, while the Janata Dal (Secular) will join the Secular Front in a post-poll alliance. The final picture will be clear only towards the end of this month, when the rest of the leaders start citing their preferences. The front is keen that they join before the polls, the BJP is keen that they stay out of an alliance if for some reason they are reluctant to join the NDA. Both are carefully watching each other as the wheels of democratic India churn to throw up alternatives for the electorate.
Posted by: muddur Jan 18 2004, 02:26 AM
" If the BJP-led government had achieved anything in itsfive-year term of governance, it was because of the foundation laid by the Congress that governed the country for 50 years. The country owns much to visionaries like Jawaharlal Nehru", she boomed, ridiculing the BJP for comparing Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Nehru. " The NDA", she went on, "was afraid to face the Parliament and was thus shying away from presenting a formal, normal Budget and was now talking of a vote-on-account". What foundation did they lay ???? NDA had to reverse a lots of policies that Nehru implemented to achieve success., like the foreign policies, economic policies. To build the world class roads even the 50 years rule by the cogress party was not enough. What foundations did they lay down ? They had no clear vissions, but to accept their committment to islamization of India. Now it is Chritinization of India to some extent as well. The party run by a family can have only family agenda's to fulfil, not the nations agenda's.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 18 2004, 08:46 AM
This is from HT editorial, don't want to give hits to his column, so posting his article in full New strategy of media to start saying same old poem In these elections, India will lose COUNTERPOINT | Vir Sanghvi January 18 So, which side are you on at the General Election? Who will you be voting for? Which party will you support? I’ll tell you my own view: the general election will only be a success — no matter which party forms the next government — if the election is actually fought on ideas and issues, if a single party gets an overall majority and if the government that emerges is stable and performance-focused. My views are not new. I’ve held them for nearly 20 years now. In 1985, when Rajiv Gandhi won his historic mandate, an intellectual journal asked me to write an assessment of the victory. I was then a Bombay journalist in my 20s, so I was somewhat startled to be taken so seriously by so high-brow a publication. But I knew what I wanted to say. Throughout the 1980s, I had been perturbed by what I saw as the development of a parallel politics (just as we had a parallel economy). We had a functioning democracy, an impressive parliament and a full-fledged party system but increasingly, or so it seemed to me, a new kind of politics was taking place outside the formal structure. In Bombay alone you had the example of Dr Datta Samant, a trade union leader who had taken lakhs of workers away from the traditional party-affiliated unions. You had Bal Thackeray whose Shiv Sena (which was then still considered beyond the pale; nobody thought that it could ever form a government in Maharashtra) could shut Bombay down. Elsewhere in Maharashtra there was Sharad Joshi whose Shetkari Sanghatna had appealed to farmers over the heads of political parties. In other parts of India, there was a tendency toward violent agitation. Punjab was in flames. The political system had failed completely to address the demands of the Sikhs. In Assam, students were agitating against foreigners. Few of these movements, I believed, had the stamina to last very long so they were not, in themselves, necessarily significant. But they were symptoms of a deeper malaise. My view was that more and more Indians believed that the political system, embodied by men like Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s, had failed to deliver. Oh yes, we had all the formal trappings of democracy but the system was simply not responding to the needs of people. Cynicism about politicians and their integrity was at an all-time high (or so I thought: it is actually much higher today). Because politicians were perceived as shysters, elections had actually become exercises in throwing out governments to punish them for their broken promises. (Later, this came to be called the anti-incumbency factor). In the first half of the 1980s, this dissatisfaction with the system had manifested itself as a parallel politics. But such was the nature of India that, in the long run, parallel politics could only go so far. Bal Thackeray could organise as many bandhs as he liked but whoever ruled Maharashtra would always have the upper hand. The Indian state would not allow any violent agitation to succeed so a combination of military might and political blandishments would eventually end the Punjab/Assam-type agitations. So parallel politics would either enter the mainstream (as the AASU agitators and Bal Thackeray did) or it would die out. But even if the parallel politics failed — and this, I said, would happen in the 1990s — the basic dissatisfaction with the system would remain. History has demonstrated that when political systems based on ideas fail, then people go back to the loyalties that preceded the emergence of those systems. In the Indian context this meant that if ideology was seen as having failed then people would return to religion, caste, and ethnicity. To some extent, Punjab and Assam represented the beginning of that trend. But if it continued, I said, then we were in deep trouble. One of the fundamental achievements of our democracy was that India was moving towards a society where caste mattered less and less and where Hindus and Muslims could work together. If people returned to religious and caste loyalties then this trend would mimic the 1980s parallel politics. First there would be extra-parliamentary movements based on religion and caste and then, these movements would move towards the political mainstream and hijack the parliamentary system. Ideology would count for less and less; caste and religion would count for more and more. The significance of the 1985 election was that the victory was founded on hope. This had not happened since 1971. In 1977, people had voted against the Emergency not for anything in particular. In 1980, the electorate had brought Mrs Gandhi back out of frustration. She represented the only alternative to the squabbling old men of Janata. But in 1985, involvement with the political process was total. People actually dared to hope that electoral politics, based on ideology, could make a difference. There was an air of optimism, a willingness to suspend cynicism. It was, I suggested, the last chance for the party political system envisioned by our founding fathers. Therefore, I wrote, it was in everybody’s interests to hope that the Rajiv Gandhi government succeeded. It did not matter which side you were on. What mattered was that the system, as a whole, survived. If the Rajiv experiment failed, I said, it would be the end of electoral politics as we knew it. No party would get an overall majority for years to come — public disillusionment would be so high. And as the government’s failures became evident, people would return to religion and caste loyalties. As a thesis it was — I can see in retrospect — against the intellectual orthodoxy of the time. Delhi’s intellectual class does not like to be reminded of this now, but in the late 1970s and the 1980s, so visceral was its hatred of Indira Gandhi that it was unable to see any good in the Congress at all. Instead it patronised the Janata-wallahs, a motley collection of caste leaders, Kulaks and wooly-minded socialists who had come together once to form the disastrous Janata party and still hoped to recapture power in Delhi. (In 1985, the BJP was not a major player). Given all this, I should not have been too surprised when my piece was rejected. Of course, it was all very civilised. One of the editors wrote me a slightly patronising note to say that it had reached them too late (which it hadn’t) but could not resist adding, “In any case, whatever your views on the Congress, we know that there can never be any social justice in India till the men responsible for the Delhi riots are arrested...” Of course, I was as agitated about the Delhi riots as anybody else (just as I was later to be agitated about the massacre of kar sevaks in Godhra and the riots that followed) but it seemed to me that Delhi’s intellectual class had missed the point. Sure enough, throughout the Rajiv-era, the steady clatter of sneering abuse continued. Rajiv’s men were ‘baba-log’, they were idiots who thought that computers were the answer, they were too pro-American, they didn’t realise that the real India lives in the villages and has no interest in the free-market etc etc. And, what do you suppose happened? Pretty much what I had feared. Rajiv’s government failed for a variety of reasons (inexperience, sabotage from within, ineptitude etc) and caste-based, religion-based movements mushroomed. The most notable was, of course, Ayodhya. In 1985, only a handful of Hindus had even heard of the Babri Masjid. By 1989, it had become ‘the most important spot in Hinduism’. But DS4 — a forerunner of the BSP — also emerged during this period. The Muslims began defecting to the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The intellectuals, of course, saw none of this. They cheered VP Singh on. Many accepted posts in his Planning Commission and few protested when Singh moved caste to the mainstream by implementing Mandal. The BJP responded with a rath yatra over Ayodhya. And Indian politics was never the same again. Since then, no party has won a majority at a General Election. Politics is now all about religion and caste; unprincipled alliances are a pre-requisite to electoral success; and ideology has vanished from Indian politics. This reality is slightly obscured by the nature of leadership. Because Sonia Gandhi leads the Congress we still perceive a historical link to the Congress of yore. But try and think of the anti-BJP forces without the cover of Sonia’s Congress. Basically, you have the forces of ethnicity and caste fighting the forces of religion. [ he thinks Sonia is good for country, problem is side parties as they are small parties, but no harm foreginer run this country] Similarly, Vajpayee’s stature blinds us to the reality of the BJP. Take him out of the equation and what do you have: a party composed of people who condone mass murder, rewrite history books, seek political advice from sadhus and leave electoral strategy to tent-wallahs and fixers.[This is worst description i have ever heard, Cong-I is full of rapist, mass murder, infact their state minister were front runner. Natwar Singh managed to get away with his daughter-in-law muder and it is called as sucide, Ambika Soni criminal records are known to everyone, Sonia lied about her creditials.....] Which is why I don’t think it is important to back any one side in this election. What India needs is a party system that goes beyond caste and religion, that focuses on performance, on ideas and on stability. Whoever forms the government, I don’t think we’ll get that at this election. Regardless of who wins, India will lose
Posted by: Mudy Jan 19 2004, 06:40 AM,001300740000.htm Shekhar Iyer New Delhi, January 19 A number of the BJP's second-rung leaders will probably be involved in campaigning instead of contesting the Lok Sabha polls. These leaders, who are credited with the party's victories in the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, will now be involved in planning and executing the BJP's strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, the BJP feels that they should not be bogged down with their own election. These second-rung leaders are likely to address over 100 rallies as part of the party's election campaign as BJP insiders feel that their services are better utilised all over the country. Interestingly, most of these second-rung leaders, like those of the Congress, are members of the Rajya Sabha. Among them, there are ministers who do not need to worry about a parliamentary seat to retain their status if the BJP returns to power. They include Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Jaswant Singh, Rajnath Singh, Arun Shourie, and Shatrughan Sinha. Many party functionaries including BJP president Venkaiah Naidu and general secretary Pramod Mahajan, who is in charge of elections, are also Rajya Sabha members. Venkaiah, in fact, was the first leader to declare that he would not contest the elections. He said he would devote all his time to the party. However, BJP insiders do not rule out the possibility of two or three second-rung leaders entering the fray. Many of them probably see the Lok Sabha polls as an opportunity to prove to other leaders that they can also win in a parliamentary election. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly trying to persuade Arun Jaitley to try his luck from the state while Uma Bharti wants Jaitley to contest from MP. Although Pramod Mahajan has said he will not enter the fray, he may like to contest from Maharashtra since his Rajya Sabha tenure will end in a few months. Mahajan might like to win a parliamentary election, particularly as the situation in Maharashtra is conducive for a Sena-BJP alliance. He won in 1996 but lost in the 1998 Lok Sabha polls. Similarly, BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who lost Rampur to the Congress in 1999 is keen to enter the fray. Naqvi, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, is keen to show that a minority leader belonging to the BJP can win a parliamentary election from UP. Poll churning: Of alliances, preparations and numbers Some stats|An analysis of poll results since 1991: ** 74 Constituencies have not elected a sitting member for the Lok Sabha for the second term ** 40 MPs have won last five consecutive Lok Sabha polls ** Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker PM Sayeed holds the record of getting elected 10 times; the runner up is the CPM’s Somnath Chatterjee who has won nine elections Decision on dates Election Commissioner Krishnamurthy on Sunday said the dates for Lok Sabha polls would be decided only after a proper review of the preparation of rolls and photo I-cards BJP’s no to SP, BSP While party president Venkaiah Naidu ruled out the possibility of any pact with either Mayawati or Mulayam, he hinted that the party was open to an alliance with Jayalalitha Quote Vajpayee is the great grand-father of all world politicians — be it Bush, Putin or anybody who is in their 60s — Pramod Mahajan
Posted by: k.ram Jan 19 2004, 06:47 AM
laugh.gif Sonia in the line of fire Bangalore (P T Bopanna) The Bharatiya Janata Party has got back at Congress President Sonia Gandhi for her recent remark - why the BJP is afraid of a woman - by saying: "We are not, but the country is." Ms Gandhi, kicking off her party's 'mass contact' programme recently, had said: "I fail to understand why the BJP is afraid of a woman." This, however, is not the first time Ms Gandhi has made this remark. She said this in October 2003 as well, during a heightened battle of words between the BJP and the Congress leaderships. BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu, in his address to the state council meeting of the BJP here on Sunday, had a firm message for Ms Gandhi. Said he: "The BJP is not afraid of you, but the country is. We have made two women chief ministers. And you lack the experience, unlike Mr Vajpayee." Most part of Mr Naidu's speech was spent on criticising the Congress leadership. Hitting out at the Congress for its "47 years of misrule", he said wrong policies had resulted in the backwardness of the country, whereas small countries like Korea and Singapore had marched ahead. Mr Naidu reiterated that the coming General Elections will be contested from the plank of development and dealt at length on the "feel-good" factor. Said he: "There is a feel-good factor everywhere. We have to convert this into a feel-great factor." The BJP president said his party wanted to turn the coming elections into a "peoples' campaign". In this connection, Mr Naidu appealed to Muslims to join the BJP instead of getting caught up in "vote bank politics". He also urged party workers to reach out to the minorities, especially the Muslims. "I appeal to the Muslim brethren to come out of vote bank politics and join the BJP," he said. To improve BJP's prospects at the state level, Mr Naidu also appealed to the followers of the late Janata parivar leader Ramakrishna Hegde to join the party. His appeal did not go off the mark as, in a major boost to the BJP, Ramesh Jigajinagi, a firm supporter of Mr Hegde and a JD (U) MP from Chikkodi in the Belgaum district, joined the BJP in the presence of Mr Naidu. At the meeting, Ananth Kumar formally took over as the state BJP president.
Posted by: acharya Jan 20 2004, 01:58 AM
Hindutva or Development BJP victory in assembly elections Ram Puniyani The recent victory of BJP in MP, Chattisgarh and Rajasthna (Dec. 2003) is being attributed to development issues taken up by BJP in these states. Many a commentators have opined that now BJP is coming out of the grip of Hindutva and is focusing on the much-needed development issues. These comments are coming even at a time when the scars of Gujarat carnage, the Modi's victory on the Hindutva plank are fresh in our minds. Is there a change in the track of BJP and is it that it is now going to give up Hindutva as the goal and program of its politics? THe first point, which is striking in the current scene, is that in the states where BJP has raised the BSP (Bijali, Sadak, Pani) issues are the one's where Congress Governments have been ruling. The social development is a multifactor issue and the ruling Governments' especially in Rajasthan and MP were focusing on `soft development' like education and health. One can concede that the `hard' development, like roads and electricity, were not as much on the priority of those Governments. Did the electorate not register these facts of social policy of the ruling Governments? Did the voters feel that it is BJP, which can solve their problems? One has witnessed enough of BJP rule to say that BJP Government's. have hardly concentrated on the developments in a serious way. Despite the projection of `Resurgent Gujarat' by its shrewd Chief minister, one knows that Gujarat is definitely slipping down in the social development indices. BJP is not a party for which the issue of development matters in a serious way. Even in these states overt and covert attempt to project Hidnutva were present all through. Uma Bharati tried to raise the issue of Bhojshala, Togadia of trishul diksha etc. It is another matter that both these were nipped in the bud. The whole paraphernalia of Sangh Parivar did campaign on the supposedly Hindutva issues. The door-to-door campaigns gave that message and the leaflets accompanying the voter's cards were accompanied by the messages from the Hindu Jagran manch and from the horde of brother organisations of BJP. This party has a distinct advantage that being the political child of RSS, other progeny of RSS is eveready and in full preparation to supplement the BJP's actions, especially those that should be inviting the censure of election commission, those related to its use of naked communal issues in the election campaigns. Since these organizations do not talk the direct language of electoral politics, they escape the wrath of auditor of the electoral process, the election commission. One major factor contributing to BJP victory has been the social engineering and co-opting sections of Adiviasis to Sangh Parivar (SP) fold. Amongst Adivasis, Vanvasis Kalyan Ashrams have been engaged in Hinduisning and Hindutvaising them. It is likely that a combination of various factors is resulting in Adivasis succumbing to the designs of RSS. Many an Adiviasi do ape the upper castes and tend to give in to SP designs. This Sankritisation process, which is based on identity politics, is the major weapon of SP which has been pressed in to operation from last many years. In addition the fragmentation of Dalit movement is the other major factor due to which many a dalits also succumb to the guiles of Hindutva politics. Hindutva, anti-minoritism is the basic signature of this politics, accompanies BJP like the network of cell phone companies, trying to reach the customer destinations as far as possible. The issue of BSP is mere incidental as for as BJP electoral propaganda and plank is concerned. In a clever manner it is capable of utilizing even the development issue into its pantheon without meaning it. Where it was in power, Gujarat, it used Hindutva, i.e. threat of minorities, thats what is the obvious face of this politics. In these states since the anti incumbency was present, it decided to use this also as the launching pad for victory. The strategy was to combine overt development issues with covert Hindutva message, and that being supplemented by clever social engineering, cooption of Adivasis. BJP, which was formed on the plank of Gandhian socialism, did adopt this slogan at a time when both these words had prestige and social acceptability. In due course BJP found that these pretensions are not leading it far. And in the post Shah Bano period it latched on to the aggressive Hidnutva to ride the chariot of electoral power. The dumping of Gandhian Socialism, was so clever that it could not even be noticed by the society. It could whip up the sentiments of sections of Hindus. It went hammer and tongs on the path of Hindu fundamentalism and raised practically every non-essential issue. The Mandal commission implementation gave it an opportunity to further consolidate sections of upper caste and affluent upper classes around its agenda and politics. The issues it selected to project depended on the context and every time a subtle message was inherent in those for appeal to the sections, which are its major support base. The opposition to Mandal did not come in the direct form but in the parallel projection of Ram Temple. It was said that as `they brought forward Mandal so we have brought Kamandal' (The issue of caste being opposed by subtle religiosity). Occasionally it was asserted that Muslims are our flesh and blood, at the same time the issues, which can torment the Muslim minorities, were propped up. Aggressive Nationalism is the other major plank, which always accompanies the BJP propaganda. It is essentially a political wing of RSS, which is wedded to the concept of Hindu Rashtra, a concept totally opposed to the secular democratic India as envisioned in our constitution. It is worth recalling here that the greatest Hindu of 20th Century Mahatma Gandhi neither supported the idea of Hindutva nor the goal of Hindu Rashtra. Hindu rashtra is the one, which exists here from last 5-8000 years in this land according to this assertion. The social hierarchical values of caste and gender are the core of Hindu Rashtra. India as a Nation in the making is the totally opposite concept in which the transformation of caste and gender hierarchy accompanies the social development. Accordingly SP aims at status quo to begin with and to reverse the social transformation achieved during last decades if possible. This requires coming to electoral power. The methods adopted for this have been emotional appeal of Ram Temple, supplenmted by anti minority rhetoric. Depending on circumstances, the other issues are roped in for purely tactical reasons and this will be needed only till BJP is brought in to majority on its own, after which the development issue will no more be necessary as it is counterproductive to the process of status quo. And it is an incidental matter as for this political outfit is concerned. Time and over again the top leaders of BJP do take care to ensure that their message of Hidnutva is not lost, their primary loyalty to RSS and its agenda is reiterated. It is in this context that some of them will assert that primarily they are swayamsewaks (RSS volunteers) or that Ram temple will be built. The division of labor in the Sangh Parivar further ensures the needed `balance' is always kept. If Vajpayee can not talk about Hindutva, Togadia will precede or follow him, if Advani cannot talk the language of Hate Muslims directly, Ashok Singhal will do the job, if Murali Manohar Joshi cannot spew the poison against Christian missionaries, Dilip Sigh Judeo will supplement that. The coming times are going to be more crucial as far as electoral battles are concerned. The BJP led NDA coalition is going to suffer from the incumbency factor, the people's frustration with decling jobs, economic travails and all that. A right mix of Hindutrva and development will be devised for that occasion and efforts will be made to have good of both the worlds, sacred and profane, to ride back to power. It depends on secular, plural forces to see if they can pull up their socks to put all their might together to ensure that the subtle agenda of retrograde politics called Hinduta is halted in its tracks in the right time. It is high time, that by sinking all the differences and egos, all those committed to upholding the values of pluralism come together. It is imperative that we chart a course which ensures that all types of communalism is pushed back and the central issues of bread, butter and shelter are taken in the right earnest, not just for electoral victories but to ensure their real implementation.
Posted by: Kaushal Jan 20 2004, 06:01 AM
Ram Puniyani writes drivel that has no relation to reality. Some of these Hindu haters are so far gone, that they cannot see anything good in Indian history, culture, or traditions. Basically anything that smacks of being hindu is inherently evil. See the discussion between Rajiv malhottra and Vijay Prashad in yahoogroups
Posted by: Mudy Jan 21 2004, 05:08 AM
Here comes RIP Cong-I trump card, Rae Bareli for Priyanka and Miano will have Amethi. Just before election these people visit some least literate area to grab seat and back door entry to rule India.What a Shame?,000900010004.htm Umesh Raghuvanshi Amethi, January 20 Amid speculation that she might contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from Rae Bareli, Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday toured the constituency with brother Rahul. She was greeted warmly by the people there. Though she had initially planned to reach Amethi directly from Lucknow on a three-day visit to her mother's constituency, there was a change of plan midway, and she headed for Rae Bareli instead. Priyanka said she changed the route because she wanted direct interaction with villagers, which was not possible under tight security and media glare. She widely toured the constituency, once represented by grandmother Indira Gandhi, before reaching the Munshiganj guest house in the evening. Parrying questions on the possibility of her contesting the ensuing election, Priyanka asked inquisitive newspersons: "You tell me, should I contest?" Priyanka and Rahul said: "they had discussed and thought over joining electoral politics but have not yet decided". Rahul said: "I am not joining politics but that does not mean I am averse to it." About helping their mother become Prime Minister, Rahul said, "Maa apni madad khud karlegi (mother will help herself)." He said there was no pressure on him to join politics at this juncture. About the BJP's "feel-good factor", Rahul said: "You will find in two months whether it is feel good or no good." Echoing her brother, Priyanka said, "I don't think there is any feel good factor." Both said they had come to see the development work in Amethi. Priyanka, however, said lack of adequate resources had slowed down the work. Denying she had brought Rahul to "teach him" politics, Priyanka said: "I cannot teach him politics. He knows everything." She said a lot of development had taken place in the area and now efforts would be made to sustain it. The duo has a busy schedule in Amethi. Rahul is visiting the constituency after a long gap. He said no political significance should be attached to the visit as he had grown up visiting the region. Congress workers and leaders have been demanding that both Priyanka and Rahul be formally drafted into the party and given tickets to contest elections. They hope that their joining politics would boost the prospects of a wilting Congress, which received its worst drubbing in last year's Assembly elections. The Congress lost Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to the BJP, where the saffron party won landslide victories.
Posted by: manju Jan 21 2004, 12:33 PM
QUOTE (Kaushal @ Jan 20 2004, 06:01 AM)
Ram Puniyani writes drivel that has no relation to reality. Some of these Hindu haters are so far gone, that they cannot see anything good in Indian history, culture, or traditions. Basically anything that smacks of being hindu is inherently evil. See the discussion between Rajiv malhottra and Vijay Prashad in yahoogroups
Kaushal This dialgoue is awesome. Rajiv comes up with some superb ideas and questions that shake the very foundations of prevaling premises of public dialogue dominated by secular (what ever that means) thought in India. Off course, I am left clueless after reading Vijay Prashads babble. I end up as confused as used to be after reading Frontline (for those not aware this is commie magazine) magazine in my school and college days. I think these leftist have on great tool. When somebody has a question and u dont have clue, they never say maalum nahi, they will confuse you with crap. God save these people from being strangeled in the web of lives they ceaselessly weave. Guys, this discussion is something like the epic battle at Kurukshetra. Satyameva Jyathei
Posted by: Viren Jan 21 2004, 08:40 PM
QUOTE (Kaushal @ Jan 19 2004, 08:31 PM)
See the discussion between Rajiv malhottra and Vijay Prashad in yahoogroups
Non-members can't even read the posts in this forum. Will someone with access to start a thread on this here at IF so that we can see as to what all this is about? Hey, maybe we can contribute our $0.02 here.
Posted by: acharya Jan 22 2004, 07:04 AM
Can somebody go for this- Peregrine Conference title: Coalition Politics in India and Hindu Nationalism. Dates: February 21-22, 2004. Venue: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. The purpose of this international conference is to evaluate the impact and analyze the significance of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance during its first full term of office. Schedule of events Saturday, February 21, 2004 10.15 Introduction. Katharine Adeney (University of Oxford) and Lawrence Sáez (London School of Economics) 10.45 The Shape of Hindu Nationalism. Speaker: John Zavos (University of Manchester) Discussant: Apratim Barua (School of Oriental and Asian Studies) 11.45 Break 12.00 The BJP Coalition: Partisanship and Power-Sharing. Speaker: Alistair McMillan (University of Oxford) Discussant: Vicky Randall (University of Essex) 1.00 Lunch 2.00 The Limitations of the BJPâ*™s Organization. Speaker: James Manor (Institute of Development Studies, Sussex) Discussant: James Chiriyankandath (London Metropolitan University) 3.00 Social Justice and Empowerment of the Weaker Sections and Gender Rights. Speaker: Nitya Rao (University of East Anglia) Discussant: Barbara Harriss-White (Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford) 4.00 Break 4.30 Managing the Anti-Corruption Rhetoric: the NDA, Transparency and Corruption. Speaker: Gurharpal Singh (University of Birmingham) Discussant: Rob Jenkins (Birkbeck College, University of London) Sunday, February 22, 2004 10.00 Centre-State Relations in an Era of Regional Coalition Politics. Speaker: Katharine Adeney (Balliol College, University of Oxford) Discussant: Therese Oâ*™Toole (University of Birmingham) 11.00 Break 11.30 The NDA and National Security. Speaker: Apurba Kundu (European Institute of Asian Studies and University of Bradford) Discussant: Rahul Roy-Chaudhury (Institute of International and Strategic Studies, London) 12.30 Lunch. 1.30 The NDA and Indian Foreign Policy. Speaker: James Chiriyankandath (London Metropolitan University) and Andrew Wyatt (University of Bristol) Discussant: Rajat Ganguly (University of East Anglia) 2.30 The Politics of Second-Generation Reform Under the NDA Government. Speaker: Rob Jenkins (Birkbeck College, University of London) Discussant: Kunal Sen (University of East Anglia) 3.30 Break 3.50 The NDA and India's Minorities - An End of the Term Evaluation. Speaker: Subrata Mitra (University of Heidelberg) Discussant: Gurharpal Singh (University of Birmingham) 4.50 Concluding Afterword: Where is the NDA Heading? Speaker: Meghnad Desai (House of Lords) Attendance by registration only. Limited space available. Cost for attending the conference: £30. For details on conference registration and payment procedures, please contact the conference organizers, Katharine Adeney Katharine.adeney@b... or Lawrence Sáez L.saez@l...
Posted by: acharya Jan 22 2004, 07:05 AM
QUOTE (manju @ Jan 20 2004, 07:03 PM)
QUOTE (Kaushal @ Jan 20 2004, 06:01 AM)
Ram Puniyani writes drivel that has no relation to reality. Some of these Hindu haters are so far gone, that they cannot see anything good in Indian history, culture, or traditions. Basically anything that smacks of being hindu is inherently evil. See the discussion between Rajiv malhottra and Vijay Prashad in yahoogroups
Kaushal This dialgoue is awesome. Rajiv comes up with some superb ideas and questions that shake the very foundations of prevaling premises of public dialogue dominated by secular (what ever that means) thought in India. Off course, I am left clueless after reading Vijay Prashads babble. I end up as confused as used to be after reading Frontline (for those not aware this is commie magazine) magazine in my school and college days. I think these leftist have on great tool. When somebody has a question and u dont have clue, they never say maalum nahi, they will confuse you with crap. God save these people from being strangeled in the web of lives they ceaselessly weave. Guys, this discussion is something like the epic battle at Kurukshetra. Satyameva Jyathei
Can you give your email. I want to send a document
Posted by: acharya Jan 23 2004, 06:08 AM
Is ‘feel good factor’ good enough for NDA? Pankaj Vohra,00300007.htm The rapid pace at which political developments have started unfolding since the last fortnight clearly indicate that the big fight tentatively slated for end March would be a fiercely contested affair. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started with an advantage over the Congress initially, its inability to forge a concrete alliance in the southern states would not only become a cause of great worry for the party but could also tilt the balance in favour of its opponents. In its over enthusiasm to project the self proclaimed "feel good" factor in favour of the BJP, its strategy think tank seems to have ignored the importance of a proper and workable alliance in the southern states. Even though the BJP and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have an understanding in Andhra Pradesh, a section of the party led by Janga Reddy continues to be of the opinion that any truck with Chandrababu Naidu will be a recipe for disaster in the state. Instead the section led by Janga Reddy who incidentally was the first MLA of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in the State as also the first Lok Sabha MP, feels that a tie-up with Telengana Raksha Samiti would have proved more productive. Since the party has officially decided to align with the TDP, the prospects of the BJP candidates especially in the Telengana region might adversely affect three ministers of the Vajpayee government. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK does not appear to be in any mood to give any seats to the BJP whose presence in the state is negligible. In Karnataka, barring a few areas where Ananth Kumar has helped the party to consolidate its position, the BJP will find it extremely difficult to make any inroads. In Kerala, the party has marginal presence and is not expected to win any seat. The worrying factor for the BJP and the rest of the NDA would be that the entire south India barring a few pockets may not fit the scheme of things and therefore calculations of renewing the mandate could go topsy turvy unless the overall image of Vajpayee helps both the BJP and the TDP to retain AP. In sharp contrast, the quickness with which Congress President Sonia Gandhi has initiated dialogue with secular parties shows that the party was in fact preparing to create an upset on the national scene. Having sewn up alliances with the DMK and its allies in Tamil Nadu as also NCP, Mrs Gandhi is hoping to have a tie-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party. And if that happens, the "feel good" factor which has prompted the NDA to go in for early polls could very well become a "feel regret" factor. The Congress president has already stated that "feel good was no good" and this could be the catch line of the Congress slogan to counter the BJP's propaganda. One wonders whether cleverly coined slogans can make things good, great or best. The hype is because of new marketing techniques being deployed by political parties to influence the popular sentiments. In order to evaluate things with an open objective mind, one need not be swayed one way or the other by the hype. Instead if one sticks to "the feel normal" factor, the assessment would be more realistic. During the meeting of its national executive in Hyderabad last week, the BJP leaders continued to take pot shots at their opponents for not being able to declare anybody as a common candidate of the anti-NDA front to be pitted against Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The underlining point was that the Lok Sabha polls would be Vajpayee versus ? It made one to wonder whether there was an element of shadow boxing involved since the BJP did not see any opponent or an alternative to Vajpayee outside the ambit of NDA. There is no doubt that Vajpayee has been the leader of the BJP in the past and will continue to be its leader for the future as well. Despite his advancing age he does not have an alternative even within his own party. But there have been elections contested in the past where alliances did not project anyone for the prime ministerial position but emerged victorious defeating the ruling party. For instance, when the Janata Party came to power in 1977 contesting on the Lok Dal symbol, neither Morarji Desai nor Babu Jagjiwan Ram nor Chaudhary Charan Singh was projected as prime ministerial candidate against Indira Gandhi. Each had a claim but Desai was finally elected as the Prime Minister and both Vajpayee and Advani alongwith their Jana Sangh colleagues were party to the decision. Similarly, in 1989, when the Jan Morcha had an understanding with several political outfits including the CPM and the BJP, no one was projected as the prime ministerial candidate though everyone knew that VP Singh was the major factor in the fight against Rajiv Gandhi. And it was V P Singh indeed who finally became the Prime Minister while Chandra Shekhar and Devi Lal played secondary roles. Both Advani and Jyoti Basu kept the government going with outside support for nearly eleven months. In 1991, it was only the Congress which projected Rajiv Gandhi as their prime ministerial candidate but following his tragic assassination, P V Narasimha Rao headed the minority government at the Centre for a full five year term. After 1996 elections, Deve Gowda and I K Gujral became Prime Ministers for short tenures even though none of them was ever projected for the post. Therefore, the BJP propaganda of Vajpayee Versus "who" does not hold any ground. Politics is a game of possibilities and it is not at all essential that the leadership question of the anti-NDA Front should be addressed immediately. The Congress being the main opposition party as also the largest political party in the country has taken the lead in cobbling an alliance. Its president Sonia Gandhi without abdicating her claim has herself indicated that the alliance partners will choose their leader after the polls. The top priority for the new alliance is to first defeat the NDA and then choose its leader. A common minimum programme would be worked out in consultation with all the allies. And those who have been making much of the Congress compulsion of getting into an alliance with other secular parties forget that in the past too, the party has practised coalition politics At present, it has coalition governments in Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra and Kerala to cite an example. It has contested elections alongwith both AIADMK and DMK in the past. It is a part of the Rabri Devi government in Bihar and also supports Mulayam Singh's government in UP although the support could be withdrawn if an understanding is reached with Mayawati. While the NDA and the BJP seem to be convinced that they would get a renewed mandate, one cannot make precise predictions in respect of the outcome of the polls. In 1977, Indira Gandhi announced parliamentary elections in the third week of January with the firm belief that she would sweep the polls. However, opposition leaders on being released displayed political maturity and forged an alliance to accept the challenge. What happened thereafter was historic. Indira Gandhi herself was defeated. Therefore, it is to be seen whether the "feel good" factor being talked about will be good enough to get Vajpayee and his team a renewed mandate. Between us.,00300007.htm
Posted by: k.ram Jan 23 2004, 10:27 PM
Sangliana joins BJP The former super cop is the new catch of the BJP. He may contest to the Lok Sabha from Bangalore North which has sizeable Christian votes. NEW DELHI, DHNS: Former Bangalore Police Commissioner H T Sangliana sprang a surprise on Thursday by joining the BJP. He is likely to be fielded from Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency, a bastion of sitting Congress MP C K Jaffer Sharief. Mr Sangliana, who was popular as an officer, formally joined the party in the presence of BJP national President Venkaiah Naidu and Karnataka unit chief Ananth Kumar and declared that the BJP was most positive in terms of policies and programmes. The retired officer, who was instrumental in the arrest of stamp paper racket kingpin Karim Lala Telgi, but failed to nab bandit Veerappan as Special Task Force chief, declined to comment when asked whether he would contest elections. “I will serve the people of Karnataka. I am ready to do anything. Karnataka has been my home ever since I joined the force in 1968”, he remarked. He said he has proved his integrity in public life during his 36 years of service. Now, he would serve the people with the same integrity in politics. “You can make a difference to the lot of the people by entering politics. There are many good people in politics unlike the popular notion.” Asked about the criticism of the BJP as a communal party, Mr Sangliana said he too had heard comments that BJP was anti-minority. However, he said he realised it was not so after going through party programmes and meeting the party leaders. “Many parties sent feelers to me to join them. But I finally decided on the BJP. My decision was strengthened after I met Ananth Kumar for the first time on Wednesday,” he added. He asserted that the prospects of the BJP were good in Karnataka in the coming polls.
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 23 2004, 10:55 PM
From : The Economist – A Subscription Site : India’s Politics Can Sonia Gandhi lead Congress to victory? It is all a question of branding. Is Sonia Gandhi, Italian-born president of Congress, India’s main opposition party, marketable as the heiress of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, or will her foreign origins turn off India’s 650m voters? India’s forthcoming general election, now expected in April, will see Mrs Gandhi, an inexperienced politician, competing against Atal Behari Vajpayee, the politically savvy prime minister. His Bhartiya Janata Party certainly intends to make Mrs Gandhi’s origin an issue in the election. Mrs Gandhi is a reluctant recruit to politics, as was her husband Rajiv, assassinated in 1991. But Rajiv Gandhi was the grandson of Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, and son of Indira Gandhi, the prime minister murdered in 1984. He had no difficulty leading Congress to victory after his mother’s death. Whether his widow can turn the thousands who come to see her into votes is still uncertain. Since she became politically active as Congress president in 1998, Sonia Gandhi has failed to emerge as an effective leader. She has been shielded from public exposure by a coterie of advisers and sycophantic hangers-on. Believing that she might not survive politically in the public glare, party officials hoped that Congress would inherit power by default when Mr Vajpayee’s coalition collapsed. But the coalition has not collapsed, and Congress fared poorly in recent local elections. There has been “ineffectual communication of what she stands for , so she has been robbed of any equity brand or identity” says Suhel Seth of Eqqus, a Delhi-based branding company, who advises politicians. More simply, “She is seen as an Italian pretending to be an Indian politician.” It is not clear whether she expects to become prime minister. Her official line is that this will be decided after the polls. The party’s politicians, however, insist that they expect her to have the job if Congress wins over 180 seats in Parliament – it took 112 out of 545 in the last election, in 1999 – and secures enough coalition allies. Politicians close to Mrs Gandhi say she has little-known vitues. Kapil Sibal, a Congress spokesman, says she would be “a more honest, secular and forthright prime minister than Vajpayee.” Ashwini Kumar, a lawyer who runs a party think-tank, says family members “are relevant because they are the symbol of sacrifice and continuity in the history of Congress and modern India”. But his argument is unlikely to mean much to |India’s emerging young middle class. The line does not end with Mrs Gandhi. Her son and daughter, Rahul and Priyanka, so far not active in politics, have just visited two family-linked constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka Gandhi is expected to become a parliamentary candidate there, and her brother may also stand, perhaps in Tamil Nadu in the South. The party believes this would help, especially if Mrs Gandhi becomes more approachable. She has embarked on a rural tour and broken with tradition by visiting potential allies to ask them to join a coalition, instead of waiting for supplicants. But time is short for image-transformation, especially when the marketability of the basic brand is in doubt. Cheers
Posted by: Reggie Jan 23 2004, 11:10 PM
Dying gasps of western media to prop up Sonia Miano!
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 23 2004, 11:27 PM
QUOTE (Reggie @ Jan 23 2004, 11:10 PM)
Dying gasps of western media to prop up Sonia Miano!
Reggie : Sonia could put the Pope, Blair and Bush in here Campaign Team to improve her chances. P.S. I think the writer is “subtly” voicing the “futility” of the exercise. Cheers
Posted by: muddur Jan 24 2004, 03:20 AM
QUOTE (Peregrine @ Jan 23 2004, 11:27 PM)
QUOTE (Reggie @ Jan 23 2004, 11:10 PM)
Dying gasps of western media to prop up Sonia Miano!
Reggie : Sonia could put the Pope, Blair and Bush in here Campaign Team to improve her chances. P.S. I think the writer is “subtly” voicing the “futility” of the exercise. Cheers
Yeah .... Even the Colombian drug lord's daughter (Rahul's fiancee), can also be an attraction to the people ! What a pity ... A party with 100 + years of history can not have a working agenda for the India ! All they do is to boast of their past and the current dynasty who doesn't have a clue what India is ! sad.gif
Posted by: muddur Jan 24 2004, 03:24 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Jan 23 2004, 10:27 PM)
Sangliana joins BJP The former super cop is the new catch of the BJP. He may contest to the Lok Sabha from Bangalore North which has sizeable Christian votes.
This is good news for BJP in Karnataka and all over Sangliana is a very popular figure in Karnataka, with 2 films made on the living legend, the super Cop. ..... Incumbency plus ABV can just get rid of SMK ...
Posted by: Mudy Jan 24 2004, 05:32 AM,0008.htm HT Correspondents New Delhi/Lucknow, January 23 Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh and ex-Union minister Maneka Gandhi are expected to join the BJP in the next few days. Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee discussed the matter with a core BJP team at his residence on Friday. He is understood to have given his consent for the two leaders' entry. BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan said: "There was no opposition in the party on the move to bring Kalyan back." Similarly, in the case of Maneka Gandhi, BJP insiders said discussion had been completed with her. She would join very soon and be made BJP's candidate for Pilibhit. She had served as a minister in the NDA government for some time. Her entry into the BJP would serve as a shot in the arm for the nda. Meanwhile, Kalyan in Lucknow spoke like a BJP leader with the same old zeal. He justified the slogan 'Sab Pe Bhari Atal Bihari' and endorsed BJP's 'feel-good' factor, saying the party would reap a rich 'harvest of votes' in the coming elections. Reacting sharply to a statement of chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav that the BJP would not win more than nine seats, Kalyan said yes, one of the parties would win nine or less seats but it would not be BJP. "Mulayam Singh is a learned cm and he knows better what he says," he added. Varun Gandhi is also joining BJP, well it will be a good fight between Gandhi's
Posted by: acharya Jan 24 2004, 05:43 AM
QUOTE (muddur @ Jan 23 2004, 09:54 AM)
QUOTE (k.ram @ Jan 23 2004, 10:27 PM)
Sangliana joins BJP The former super cop is the new catch of the BJP. He may contest to the Lok Sabha from Bangalore North which has sizeable Christian votes.
This is good news for BJP in Karnataka and all over Sangliana is a very popular figure in Karnataka, with 2 films made on the living legend, the super Cop. ..... Incumbency plus ABV can just get rid of SMK ...
Important point is that he says BJP has a good chance in Karnataka. The people are really looking for s first true non-congerss govt which is neithe janata dal or lok shakti
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 24 2004, 06:27 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Jan 24 2004, 05:32 AM),0008.htm HT Correspondents New Delhi/Lucknow, January 23 Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh and ex-Union minister Maneka Gandhi are expected to join the BJP in the next few days. Varun Gandhi is also joining BJP, well it will be a good fight between Gandhi's
Mudy : Ma'am if the Trio join BJP then there will be a large group of their personal followers - especially down at the grassroots level - who will also join the BJP. This should help BJP's chances for re-election which may not be in the interests of the You Knighted States. Cheers
Posted by: k.ram Jan 25 2004, 10:16 PM
Posted by: k.ram Jan 25 2004, 10:23 PM
India whining: Sonia Rajesh Kumar/ New Delhi The relocation of under-privileged people to places with no civic amenities cannot be an example of India Shining," Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Saturday. "The BJP-led Union Government's claim that it is removing poverty is hollow. The fact is that it is removing the poor," she said. She also criticised the "arbitrary" relocation plans of slum-dwellers living on the banks of Yamuna. Dissatisfied with the basic amenities provided to the people, Ms Gandhi lambasted the Government: "Kya aap logon ko lagata hain ki Bharat is shining. In logon ko jaan boojh kar hataya ja raha hai. Garibo ko is tarah hatana 'India shining' kaise ho sakta hai," she said. Ms Gandhi criticised the NDA Government for subjecting slum-dwellers to "inhuman" conditions at Holambi Kalan in North West Delhi. Accompanied by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Cabinet, along with Delhi Congress president Choudhury Prem Singh, Ms Gandhi met people and enquired about the facilities provided to them. Ms Gandhi's visit was initially planned for Friday night. She had insisted to visit at least 40 families, but she could manage only few due to the security compulsions. She assured the residents that she would take up their problems with the Central Government. Ms Gandhi said she had directed the Chief Minister and her Cabinet to provide all possible infrastructure to them. "I met slum-dwellers and they told me there is no infrastructure. There is no drainage system, no water supply, no transport facility and other basic amenities. They have been shifted without being provided any infrastructure". "People have told me there are also no religious places and graveyard. They have been forced to live in inhuman conditions. They are traditional Congress voters and the Centre is playing politics by relocating them. Elections are round the corner and this is not the right time to relocate them," said Ms Gandhi. Meanwhile, Ms Dikshit declared that the Delhi Government will provide basic facilities, such as transport, water and power to more than 110 families shifted to Holambi Kalan in the past two days. More than 5,000 slum-dwellers have been relocated to Holambi Kalan in the last two-and-a-half years. She alleged that the relocation plan is a political move as the Centre appears to be in haste in shifting slums to affect the poll arithmetic
Posted by: Sriman Jan 26 2004, 02:10 AM
Hi, This is my first post here, though Kaushal had invited me a while ago. (Sorry K., will explain later why it took me so long). I had long ago (around the time POTA became law) predicted that Ms. JJ would send signals to show her positive feelings to the NDA. She was prodded by some well-respected people. However, I hope such people also make sure she is not becoming head strong again! If she comes through, then the only change I see in the South is that the NDA has swapped DMK et al for AIADMK (though I would have preferred the PMK to remain with NDA). How strong was the JanShakti / JD in Karnataka anyway? In 1998, the BJP alliance gained thanks to aligning with Hegde's new party. But what is the situation there now? (It is also interesting to see the votes obtained in Karnataka by the BJP when it fought alone in 1996).
Posted by: nachiketa Jan 26 2004, 03:04 AM
The new Karnataka party Kannada Nadu, might upset some calculations, especially in North Karnataka. It is interesting because Vijay Sankeshwar, who launched it was the BJP MP from Dharwad north. Apparently things did not go well with Ananth Kumar, the BJP boss from B'lore. I hope this party is a success, Karnataka needs its own regional party like the TDP and DMK/AIADMK.. and hope it supports the BJP at the center in a coalition.
Posted by: nachiketa Jan 26 2004, 03:17 AM
The JD in Karnataka is a mess. I think now Mallya has stepped in and created his own faction (same as Hegde's faction??). The other faction is Deve Gowda and his sons. BJP had a pretty bad outing in the previous parliamentary elections. They are better in North Karnataka. Maybe Muddur can shed more light on this.
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 26 2004, 05:02 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Jan 25 2004, 10:23 PM)
India whining: Sonia Rajesh Kumar/ New Delhi
k.ram : Re : Sonia's Whining : Here are links to two Articles from the Observer/Guardian :,12559,1130458,00.html,12559,821007,00.html Cheers
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 26 2004, 05:07 AM,,175-975077,00.html Congress Party may be about to unleash its secret weapon: Indira Gandhi’s granddaughter Priyanka. She formally joined the main opposition party on Thursday, a move that was seen as an indication that she would contest the seat that her grandmother held, Rae Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, in this year’s general election. Ms Gandhi, 33, who is married to Robert Vadra, a businessman, has long been seen as the party’s best hope of recapturing the pre-eminence it enjoyed for four decades after independence, and party activists have courted her with increasing desperation. Recently some sought divine aid to draw her into the fray. Many believe she is the only hope of injecting some of the old Gandhi glamour into a party that no longer seems to know how to win elections under the leadership of Ms Gandhi’s mother, Sonia, widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the assassinated Prime Minister. Yet some party grandees say that Ms Gandhi is not ready to lead the party into battle and fear that pitching her in so soon could be counterproductive. Others fear that she could continue Congress’s dependence on the Gandhi name, when it needs new policies, not the perpetuation of a seemingly feudal dynasty. However, the mere possibility of Ms Gandhi taking a big role in the election, expected to be held by May, has bolstered Congress morale and promised to invigorate what had threatened to be a dull campaign between Mrs Gandhi and the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Although his BJP is confident of victory, with India’s economy doing well, few commentators have written off the Congress Party. This week Ms Gandhi toured her mother’s constituency, Amethi, with her brother Rahul. He has also joined the party but does not inspire the fervent expectations among the Congress faithful evoked by Ms Gandhi. She has taken on an almost mystical role reminiscent of the awesome power that Indira Gandhi could wield was over the country’s masses. Her youth, too, is an asset to a party dominated by old men. Ms Gandhi played down the significance of her visit this week to her family’s bastion in Uttar Pradesh, insisting it was just routine. “There are no political motives,” she told reporters. But she pointedly declined to rule out an active role in the campaign. Her brother also hinted at more involvement, saying: “I am not averse to politics.” Congress activists were ecstatic. Many hope that Priyanka will one day take over the leadership from her mother, who has been derided by Hindu nationalists because she is from Italy and speaks poor Hindi. Party officials privately admit that Sonia’s lack of charisma is a problem. Mrs Gandhi stepped into the vacuum left at the top of Congress by the murder of her husband by a Tamil suicide bomber in 1991, never previously having shown much interest in politics. Although she has held the party together, under her leadership it has never looked like returning to the status it once held as the natural party of government. Cheers
Posted by: Sriman Jan 26 2004, 05:55 AM
If my memory is right, Vijay Sankeshwar started a paper called Vijay Times, and have it as the counter to the anti-Hindu bias exhibited by almost all of the English language newspapers (e.g., Hindu, ToI, HT, etc). He wanted to slowly expand in the metros, after starting in Karnataka. I remember a prominent pro-Hindutva journalist asking how come there was not much more enthusiastic support and financial backing for such a venture. So it came as a surprise when he quit from the BJP and as an MP. I did not know the reason, so your story about not getting along with Ananth Kumar makes sense. I am frustrated by the number of times the "good guys" split due to personal reasons, and hence end up losing? Why are the Hindus cursed with not learning from history? I thought the BJP was above all that -- but I guess when you expand, you do so at the cost of your purity and you get the same problems that you derided the congress for. Quality versus quantity -- tradeoff, I guess.
Posted by: nachiketa Jan 26 2004, 07:04 AM
Sriman, you are right. When Vijay Times was launched by Sankeshwar 1 year (??) ago, it gave ToI a run for its money. In B'lore it was priced Rs 1.50 to counter ToI's Rs 2.00 Before that he launched Vijaya Karnataka, which is now the #1 Kannada daily in Karnataka. I am not too sure about how devoid it is of anti-Hindu bias.. I read it a couple of times when I was in Blore last summer. IMHO, the main idea behind Kannada Nadu is to form a regional party devoid of puppeteer influence from Dilli. My gut feeling says Kannada Nadu will be devoid of the anti-Hindu/secular bias, but at the same time remain outside the influence of mainstream national parties like TDP and AIADMK.
Posted by: nachiketa Jan 26 2004, 07:08 AM
Sriman, I am not sure if its just a personal feud with Ananth Kumar. Following from the Hindu. Kannada Nadu to contest all seats in polls
Bangalore Nov. 30. Vijay Sankeshwar, who quit the BJP to launch Kannada Nadu, has said that if the State BJP President, H.N. Ananth Kumar, contests from Dharwad North in the parliamentary elections, he will stand against him. Participating in a meet-the-press programme at the Bangalore Press Club here on Saturday, Mr. Sankeshwar said if Mr. Ananth Kumar chose to contest the elections to the Legislative Assembly from the Hubli Rural segment, then he would challenge him there too. Mr. Sankeshwar, who runs a transport business and also owns a Kannada and English newspapers, reiterated that the few outfit was formed to fulfil the aspirations of the people, especially those in North Karnataka. Mr. Sankeshwar, whose resignation from the Lok Sabha is yet to be accepted by the Speaker, lashed at the BJP and alleged that its leaders were corrupt. He claimed that this was the main reason for his rebellion against the BJP leaders. Mr. Sankeshwar said Kannada Nadu would contest all the 224 seats in the Legislative Assembly, and claimed that the party would bag 170 seats and form the government. The well-known film actor, Dwarakish, who is the vice-president of the party, endorsed the claims of Mr. Sankeshwar and said that he was all along waiting to join a "good" political party which he had found in Kannada Nadu. The meet was organised by the Bangalore Press Club. The club president, A. Jayaram, welcomed the gathering, and its general secretary, Ponnappa, proposed a vote of thanks.
Posted by: nachiketa Jan 26 2004, 07:13 AM
More from the Hindu about the launch.. Sankeshwar launches 'Kannada Nadu'
HUBLI June 19. Vijay Sankeshwar, who recently resigned from the BJP and his Dharwad North Lok Sabha seat, today launched his regional party, "Kannada Nadu". Mr. Sankeshwar announced here today the first list of office-bearers of the party with Ratnapal Shetty as the president, Mallesh Budihal, and K.S. Umesh from Bangalore as vice-president and secretary, respectively and Bharat Khimji of Hubli as treasurer. For technical reasons, Mr. Sankeshwar is not part of the new party. Ratnapal Shetty, his friend, will be the president till Mr. Sankeshwar takes over. Mr. Sankeshwar, whose resignation from the party and his Lok Sabha seat is yet to be accepted, is not among 125 persons who have signed an application seeking the recognition of the party from the Election Commission, as per the rules. A declaration is essential before the Election Commission that the applicant is not attached to any political party and Mr. Sankeshwar says he is not technically unattached since his resignation has not been accepted as such. Mr. Sankeshwar told presspersons that the Lok Sabha Secretariat had contacted him on his resignation letter and was waiting for the Speaker to act on it. He cited the constitution of the BJP to say that the acceptance of resignation by the Speaker was as good as resigning from the party. Asked why he announced the name of the party without waiting for his name to be technically cleared, Mr. Sankeshwar said he did it to clear the confusion. He alleged that the BJP was deliberately delaying accepting his resignation from the party. Mr. Sankeshwar described the Union Urban Development Minister, Ananth Kumar, as a "private limited company" to which the BJP affairs in the State had been mortgaged by the national leadership. The presidents of the party units in Karnataka were only "caretakers". Mr. Sankeshwar said that B.S. Yediyurappa, former president of the BJP State unit, had dinner with him during the latter's visit to Hubli but it was only a courtesy call. Mr. Sankeshwar said he was floating the party not to spite anybody or decimate any party as had been unsuccessfully attempted by S. Bangarappa, late Devaraj Urs, and the late K.H. Patil, but to safeguard the interest of Karnataka. It was the Congress, which got jittery over the new party being formed since it had everything to lose. Mr. Sankeshwar said that simmering discontent among the people about the "misrule" of the Congress was the capital, which his party would bank upon and through its efficiency it would like to consolidate its position. Mr. Sankeshwar said the Minister for Urban Development, D.K. Shivakumar, had been trying to contact him and had expressed desire that Mr. Sankeshwar and the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, should have a one-to-one meeting. But he had declined. About the impact of his new venture on his business activities (he runs a premier road transport organisation, tour operating outfit, and a daily each in Kannada and English), Mr. Sankeshwar said he was confident of devoting equal attention to both. "They are my two eyes. I cannot afford to ignore any one of them," he said.
Posted by: rhytha Jan 26 2004, 12:58 PM
QUOTE (Sriman @ Jan 26 2004, 02:10 AM)
Hi, This is my first post here, though Kaushal had invited me a while ago. (Sorry K., will explain later why it took me so long). I had long ago (around the time POTA became law) predicted that Ms. JJ would send signals to show her positive feelings to the NDA. She was prodded by some well-respected people. However, I hope such people also make sure she is not becoming head strong again! If she comes through, then the only change I see in the South is that the NDA has swapped DMK et al for AIADMK (though I would have preferred the PMK to remain with NDA).
Welcome to the forum Shri.Sriman graduated.gif AIADMK joining hands with BJP does'nt smell right, JJ is a pain in the neck for everybody, incliding AIADMK. She has virtually has no second or third rung leaders after her, there is hardly any mention of her ministers or anything, she is running it like her personal fifedom Apart from the putting down stirkes by gov and other assorted departments with a stern and strong hand, I frankly can't seem to think of any other major stuff she did to the state. She is very good on the security aspect like terrorist and law and order, but regaring state economy and new investments there seems to be nothing. huh.gif Karunanidhi seems to be an able administrator(opinon of my uncle who is gov. servent), but he seems to be soft on the terrorism and easily sawyed caste politics and pressure tactics. ohmy.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 26 2004, 10:27 PM I have no problem with NDA govt’s policies: Sangma by Gaurav Choudhury Former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma PURNO Agitok Sangma, the affable former Lok Sabha Speaker is a busy man these days. Having maintained a consistent stand on the foreign origin issue of Sonia Gandhi, Mr Sangma has now put together a potent political configuration under the North East People’s Forum (NEPF). He says given a choice between the NDA and the Congress, he would go for the former. Hailing from far flung Tura in Meghalaya, Mr Sangma dismisses the argument that the BJP is communal and believes that such a line of thinking has lost its political relevance. At the same time, he categorically denies in an exclusive interview to The Tribune that he could eventually join the BJP. Excerpts: Q: How is the NDA, which you are in the process of joining, different from the BJP? A: In the National Democratic Alliance, there are many “so-called” secular parties. Critics say that the BJP is communal. But the people of India have not accepted it. For the BJP is the single largest party in the Lok Sabha with 182 seats. We have either failed to convince the people that the BJP is communal or the people themselves have become communal. Moreover, the argument that a party is communal is no more a political argument. My conviction, however, is different from this analysis. I am only analysing this as a student of political science. The world has changed and the dynamics of politics are fast changing. I have no problems with the policies of the NDA government — be it their economic policy, North-east, insurgency or the influx of illegal migrants. Q: Is supporting the NDA a halfway mark towards joining the BJP? Under what party affiliation would you contest the Lok Sabha elections? A: I won’t join the BJP. Not in this lifetime. As for the banner under which I would contest, it is too early to say. Q: You have decided to part ways with the NCP and go along with the NDA. Is the decision reflective of a personality clash? A: Had we stuck to our original stand of maintaining equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP, I would have endorsed it. If the party has now decided otherwise, then the Congress was never a choice for me. I have no quarrel with any personality. But there are three different entities involved here — ‘Desh ki Bahu’, ‘Congress President’ and ‘Prime Minister of the nation’. There is a very wide difference between being a Bahu, being a president of a political party and being the Prime Minister of the nation. I am simply making this distinction. Though we have adopted parliamentary democracy, from the beginning the dynamics of electoral politics have always been presidential in nature. People choose their Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. First it was Jawaharlal Nehru, then it was Indira Gandhi and later Rajiv Gandhi. Even in the recent Assembly elections, the fight was between the prospective Chief Ministers. Madanlal Khurana versus Shiela Dikshit in Delhi is a classic example. So if you are trying to say that the Prime Minister of country will be chosen by the people after the elections, then it is not really acceptable. In the present case the elections will turn out to be Mr Vajpayee versus Mr X. People would like to know who Mr X is. Q: In the emerging political scenario, do you think a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative can still be a reality? A: I would have liked it (a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative). But at the same time, one should not ignore history. It has been tried several times. There were four such governments before in the recent past under V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral. But it did not work. It is a historical fact and we have to accept it. Q: Your views on Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin is well known. You have maintained that people of foreign origin should be debarred from holding high offices. Isn’t such a position legally untenable? A: When we are talking about national pride, national identity, national self-respect and the independence of the nation, the question is not of law, it is a question of blood. I think this is the right definition of nationalism. Do you expect P.A. Sangma to be the Chief Minister of Kerala or Punjab or Tamil Nadu? The question is much beyond law and legalities. Not for once am I questioning Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s commitment to the nation. But we have to remember that the future of India is above politics and as I said it is a question of blood. Q: Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi have now hit the campaign trail and much hype surrounds this initiative. What are your comments? A: You are now compelling me to make some personal remarks. I would only say that if the Congress President was capable of taking the party to victory with her so-called charisma, what is the reason behind her daughter and son coming in? Q: As a party, the BJP has strong views on cultural nationalism and minorities. Do you agree? A: I do not subscribe to the idea of cultural nationalism. India is a multi-cultural society and should remain so. My views on the issue of beef eating and cow slaughter remains the same. It is a State subject and should remain so. On the issue of minorities I would only say that the 112 crore people of India are legitimate citizens of the country. The sooner we stop using the word minority, the better it is for the country. We have made a mess by making a distinction between minorities and majority. The word minority should be scrapped from the political dictionary. Q: There is also the question of individuals such as Praveen Togadia with whom the BJP has somewhat identified with. How do you view politics of such rabid religiosity? A: I do not approve of this. If India has to be saved today, we should not talk about religion of individuals. Instead we should talk more about spiritualism of individuals. The emphasis should be on spiritualism and it is necessary to stop the moral degradation in the country. I think the BJP realises this. In the last four elections, the BJP has demonstrated that elections can be won on the basis of development and economic agendas. The transformation is taking place. Q: What about politics of regionalism and its role in the overall scenario? A: I am doing national politics and I do not do regional or state politics. However, I do acknowledge regional sentiments and aspirations. Fortunately, today regional parties are having a national outlook. This is a very positive development.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 26 2004, 11:11 PM
frusty.gif Rahul under pressure to contest from Bellary, Priyanka from Rae Bareily Tuesday January 27 2004 00:00 IST NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra will not only campaign for the Congress but are also likely to contest in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. According to highly placed sources, while Priyanka Gandhi is likely to contest from Rae Bareily, Rahul Gandhi is being pressurised to contest from Bellary in Karnataka, the seat from where Sonia Gandhi had contested last time and won. However, since Sonia Gandhi had also contested from Amethi, she had quit her Bellary seat. Last time, the contest was between Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj. Sources stated that the Congress leadership is keen that both the children of Sonia Gandhi should contest, one from the South and the other from the North. This would energise the party workers and strengthen the party in the entire South and North. Knowing that the two children are not averse to politics and have already taken the primary membership of the party, the Congress leaders are now keen that they should take the plunge into active politics. Talking to this website's newspaper on phone from Mangalore, KPCC Chief Janardhan Poojary refused to comment on the possibility of Rahul Gandhi contesting from Bellary. However, he was all for the two children to come into active politics. "The two can choose any of the seats in Karnataka. They will win hands down," remarked Poojary. Poojary said,"When Indira Gandhi came to power, Sanjay Gandhi came to help her. After the death of Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi stepped into his shoes. The two children should similarly come forward to assist Sonia Gandhi. They will be a big asset for the party." The Frontal Organisations of the Congress, the Youth Congress and Mahila Congress have already expressed their desire that the two should enter politics. While Mahila Congress President Rita Bahuguna has stated that she is ready to leave her seat for Priyanka, UP Youth Congress has passed a resolution to this effect that both the children should join politics. Taking the cue, the Southern leaders have also stepped-up the campaign, expressing their desire that the two children should contest. Andhra Pradesh CLP Leader Y S Rajshekhar Reddy had expressed the desire yesterday that both Priyanka and Rahul should contest any seat from Andhra Pradesh. The Congress High-Command has so far identified two seats for the Sonia siblings. For Priyanka, the Rae Barely seat fought by her grand mother, Indira Gandhi and for Rahul Gandhi, the Bellary seat contested by his mother, Sonia Gandhi, last time. The recent tour to Amethi by the two children was an exercise to test the waters. Seeing the massive coverage of the two, the Congress leaders are now more than sure that the two children can steer the party to victory. By bringing both, Priyanka and Rahul, to active politics, the Congress is aiming to target youngsters, especially the voters below 35 years of age. The percentage of the young voters is estimated at 67 per cent. The Congress leadership is confident that the two children would not only draw huge crowds but would rejuvenate the party, which is demoralised after the debacle in the three out of the four states where Assembly elections were held recently.
Posted by: Sriman Jan 27 2004, 04:44 AM
rhytha, Suffice to say that some respected and influential personalities were involved in JJ's rapproachment. Do not forget that she was the only non-BJP CM to support the kar-sevaks' actions in 1992. Also, Karunanidhi was supposedly a good administrator -- but only in his third term! His first term (1969-77) was quite dismal, and he was responsible for the rapid deterioration in the quality of admin in TN. Even his third term, seems OK only because of the rapacious rule by proxy of JJ's "girl friend" Sasikala. My hope is JJ has learned her lesson, and will be better this time.
Posted by: rhytha Jan 27 2004, 10:52 AM
QUOTE (Sriman @ Jan 27 2004, 04:44 AM)
rhytha, Do not forget that she was the only non-BJP CM to support the kar-sevaks' actions in 1992.
Yes she supported BJP then, but few years down the lane, she was the main archetect for down fall of ABV gov. JJ will support all issues which keeps her in power, and will easily switch sides if the other side is more benefecial and not because she favors BJP idealogy. Her support for political parties or issues should not be confused with her personal faith.
Also, Karunanidhi was supposedly a good administrator -- but only in his third term! His first term (1969-77) was quite dismal, and he was responsible for the rapid deterioration in the quality of admin in TN. Even his third term, seems OK only because of the rapacious rule by proxy of JJ's "girl friend" Sasikala. My hope is JJ has learned her lesson, and will be better this time.
I don't know about kk's first, but his last term was good, he built flyovers all over chennai, bought in ford and hyundai, IT firms were setting up shops in chennai, moved the congested koyembedu and built the koyembedu bus stand(a must see for all visitors) etc, also there was no big scandals that JJ could unearth once she was in power. smile.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 27 2004, 09:43 PM
Usual english media dorky slaves of Bharat ...... Is BJP afraid of Gandhi siblings? POLITICAL DIARY/NILANJANA BHADURI JHA [ TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2004 01:55:38 PM ] Rahul and Priyanka in Amethi. (Reuters photo) If it had to create a personal monster, the BJP could have done better than "Soniaji's children" – imagine being called that in your 30s. In a year that the party is calling elections early, so confident it is of coming back to power, it is most incongruous to see it get into a lather over a couple of political debutants. The precision machine that the BJP electioneers had come to resemble in recent times, sputtered alarmingly a couple of times over the extended weekend. Feel-good looked a little wan when Rajnath Singh and Pramod Mahajan gave opposing views on the Rahul-Priyanka syndrome on the same day. The party could do some internal sorting out on what the official line is, only there is no official line . The hugely-hyped Amethi trip of the Gandhi siblings that rattled the BJP so, clearly took it by surprise. There has been the Priyanka-to-enter-politics bogie for years now, but the joint appearance and the flirting with the cameras was least expected. For many Congressmen too, who now spend their days dreamily wagering on who from the Gandhi family will contest from which seat and when. Rahul or/and Priyanka making a royal entry in politics is inevitable. Only many politicos felt Sonia would rather introduce the kids after she had taken one legitimate shot at prime ministership. That may now change with the Congress in a shambles and in urgent need of resuscitation. History will have us know that in a "private political company" - as described by an ex-Congressman - of the sort that the Gandhis run, it is only family that can provide that succour.
Posted by: muddur Jan 28 2004, 05:43 AM
Childish response from Ambia Soni... BJP scared of Priyanka, Rahul: Cong
Posted by: Hyagriva Jan 28 2004, 07:45 AM
I guess everybody's SCARED of the kids... We got reasons to be scared of them getting to power and rule India!! This is no joke, its a Nation at stake. Who would not be scared to hand over all their life, their nation and everything beloved to the whimses of these 'nobody's'?? The kids are egoistic, brought up with a silver spoon up their backends, have not proved themselves in any field, academic or political. I am damn scared for one! huh.gif
Posted by: Hyagriva Jan 28 2004, 07:57 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Jan 27 2004, 09:43 PM)
If it had to create a personal monster, the BJP could have done better than "Soniaji's children" ? imagine being called that in your 30s.
So the ToI DDM is trying to say that to call somebody who is in their 30s, 'Children' is monstrous.. Right? Well, what other qualification do the Sonia's kids have other than that birth to Rajiv and the Italian Gori? If this is the only thing that makes them 'natural rulers' of India, whats wrong in mentioning it straight? Sonia's Children. Rajiv's Widow. Nehru's great grandchildren. Indira's Bahu. Aren't these the only qualifications the family has to rule India and lead Congress(I)?
Posted by: rhytha Jan 29 2004, 12:13 AM
Lok Sabha to be dissolved on February 6 PTI[ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2004 02:15:46 AM ] NEW DELHI : Paving the way for general elections, the Union Cabinet on Friday recommended to the President to dissolve the 13th Lok Sabha on February 6, more than nine months ahead of its term, a day after the brief Parliament session convened to pass the Vote-on-Account (General and Railway) Budgets concludes. "The Cabinet decided to advise the President to dissolve the 13th Lok Sabha on Feb six," a one-line resolution adopted at its "shortest-ever meeting" chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said. Armed with the "Cabinet authorisation" and accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Vajpayee drove to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and conveyed the decision to President APJ Abdul Kalam. A Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman said Vajpayee conveyed to Kalam that Lok Sabha be dissolved on February 6 after it completes its Constitutional requirements of passing the Vote-on-Account (General and Railway), Finance Bill and other exigencies of the government business by February 5. Addressing a press conference after the meeting with the President, Swaraj said the government decided to seek a Vote-on-Account on Railway and General Budgets since the election process could not be completed before March 31 beyond which the government does not have Parliament's authorisation to spend money. The President gave us his good wishes," she said. She dismissed Opposition criticism that the government had committed a Constitutional impropriety by not proroguing Parliament after the Winter Session and convening a new session in which President's address should have been included. Swaraj said both the Houses were not prorogued because early elections were part of the "scheme of things" and that was why the brief five-day session from January 29 has been convened as a continuation of the Winter Session. The Interim Railway Budget and the Vote-on-Account will be presented on January 30 and the Interim General Budget and the Vote-on-Account is scheduled for presentation on February 3. Recalling the sequence of events after the Assembly election results in November, the Minister said the NDA had authorised the Prime Minister early this month to decide on early polls and subsequently the BJP national executive made a similar recommendation to him. At the BJP national executive in Hyderabad on January 12, the Prime Minister had expressed the hope that the new government would be in place by April-end.,curpg-2.cms
Posted by: Sriman Jan 29 2004, 12:24 AM
So there it is finally. Rediff reports that BJP and AIADMK will be jointly contesting the polls in TN. Venkaiah Naidu visited JJ accompanied by Sukumaran Nambiar -- son of Tamil film actor of the past, Nambiar (who used to be the villain character in the films). There is symbolism here, since JJ was upset with Naidu for his perceived pro-DMK stance. But this was always forthcoming, and I knew this since late 2001 -- all you had to do was listen to what JJ was saying. This time, she will ask and hopefully get a bigger role for her party -- which may very well end up as the second or third biggest party in the NDA (or whatever it is going to be called now).
Posted by: Sriman Jan 29 2004, 12:30 AM
Plus, the SP is contest alone in UP (again, from rediff). In essence this splits the anti-BJP vote -- and the BJP needs all the help it can get in UP. Then again, this is no surprise -- was anticipated from the moment BJP let Mulayam become the CM of UP and gave him many days to prove his majority (so he could split the BSP and thus end the stalemate).
Posted by: rhytha Jan 29 2004, 12:37 AM
QUOTE (Sriman @ Jan 29 2004, 12:24 AM)
So there it is finally. Rediff reports that BJP and AIADMK will be jointly contesting the polls in TN. Venkaiah Naidu visited JJ accompanied by Sukumaran Nambiar -- son of Tamil film actor of the past, Nambiar (who used to be the villain character in the films). There is symbolism here, since JJ was upset with Naidu for his perceived pro-DMK stance. But this was always forthcoming, and I knew this since late 2001 -- all you had to do was listen to what JJ was saying. This time, she will ask and hopefully get a bigger role for her party -- which may very well end up as the second or third biggest party in the NDA (or whatever it is going to be called now).
Shri.Sriman, how do u think JJ will act this time with coalition, the same old "egoistic" acts or a more softer and flexiable JJ. unsure.gif
Posted by: muddur Jan 29 2004, 12:57 AM
Lok Sabha to be dissolved on Feb 6 The Union Cabinet on Tuesday night recommended to the president to dissolve the Lok Sabha on February 6 after passage of the vote-on-account, thereby setting the stage for the general election. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee met President A P J Abdul Kalam and communicated his government’s decision immediately thereafter. “The Cabinet decided to advise the Honourable President to dissolve the 13th Lok Sabha on Sixth of February, 2004,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. Mr Vajpayee, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, NDA convenor George Fernandes and Ms Swaraj, went to Rashtrapati Bhawan after the meeting and presented Mr Kalam the recommendatory letter. “The president received the letter and wished us well,” Ms Swaraj said. The prime minister went to the president with an authorisation letter from the Cabinet to convey the decision to Mr Kalam. The 13th Lok Sabha would be dissolved after it passes the vote-on-account, a one-line resolution adopted at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Mr Vajpayee said. The House will be dissolved after the short session of Parliament commencing on Thursday. The Opposition has accused the government of violating Article 87 of Constitution by not proroguing the Winter Session and calling a fresh session in the new year. The prime minister told the president that the dissolution of the House will be done after passage of the vote-on-account for both the railways and the finance ministries, the Finance Bill and other important government business by February 5, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman said. The Cabinet meeting came against the backdrop of the January first week NDA meeting, where all alliance members had authorised the prime minister to decide on the poll dates, and the BJP national executive in Hyderabad which asked him to hold early polls. “Considering all this, the prime minister decided that elections will be held early, but the since the process cannot be completed before March 31, and since after April 1 no money can be drawn from the treasury if the vote-on-account is not passed, he asked the finance and railway ministers to prepare the vote-on-account and told me to convene the sitting of Parliament,” Ms Swaraj said. Since the Winter Session of Parliament has not been prorogued, the sittings will be considered as the second part of the 14th session of the 13th Lok Sabha and the second part of the 200th Session of the Rajya Sabha, she said. “After both the Houses conclude their business by February 5, the next day the Lok Sabha will be dissolved,” she said. We’re ready: Krishna Reacting to the Union Cabinet’s decision, Chief Minister S M Krishna said the Congress was ready to face parliamentary elections. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president B Janardhana Poojary said: “What I had predicted has come true. Karnataka Assembly polls will be scheduled along with LS polls too.” Meanwhile, sources said that the State Cabinet will take a decision on dissolving the Assembly, on January 30. Most of the senior ministers are on tour of their constituencies to elicit the views of their supporters and party workers on holding simultaneous elections. They will place their views at the Cabinet meeting.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 29 2004, 01:00 AM,001300740000.htm Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram, January 28 Congress in Kerala on Wednesday split with senior leader K Karunakaran announcing his decision to float a new party "Indira National Congress", next month. The octogenarian leader is breaking away from the Congress for the first time in his seven decades of association with the party which he joined as a freedom fighter. Claiming a high moral ground, Karunakaran said he was parting ways as he had no other option to save the people of Kerala and real congressmen. Making the announcement at a group convention here, Karunakaran said the new party would have the picture of Indira Gandhi as its symbol.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 29 2004, 01:02 AM,0008.htm HTC Chennai, January 29 The BJP on Wednesday formalised its tie-up with the AIADMK after a 45-minute meeting between M. Venkaiah Naidu and J. Jayalalitha at the latter’s residence in Chennai. This is the second time the two parties are entering the poll fray together after 1998. "We've decided to work together. Details about the number of seats will be worked out by the committees of the two parties,” Aiadmk chief Jayalalitha said after the meeting. Asked if she would accept Vajpayee as the Prime Minister, she said he would be the next Prime Minister. She also said that there was no proposal to include any other party in the front.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 30 2004, 01:12 AM
I am surprised with India Today( ORG-MARG) prediction, they always come up with anti BJP results. Well it seems, now they have finally realised their credibility is in stake. January 29, 2004 23:16 IST A 'Mood of the Nation' poll conducted for India Today by ORG-MARG predicts a sweep for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the coming Lok Sabha election, giving the ruling coalition 330 to 340 seats in the 545-member House. The poll, conducted in January before the BJP tied up with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, forecasts a slide for the Congress, which is expected to get 105 to 115 seats, around 30 less than its tally in the last election. 'Others', including the Left Front, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, have been projected to get between 95 and 105 seats. The NDA secured 304 seats in the 1999 election. The poll covered 17,649 voters in 98 parliamentary constituencies. In each constituency the poll sampled three assembly segments based on random sampling. The sample was representative of urban and rural areas, men and women and all age groups. The sampling was done between January 9 and 17. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's high popularity rating is the NDA's biggest advantage. Congress president Sonia Gandhi's biggest handicaps in becoming PM, according to the poll, include her foreign origin, political inexperience and lack of support from within her party.
Posted by: Viren Jan 30 2004, 01:25 AM
Do all these Indian political parties have offical websites with their manifesto online?
Posted by: Spinster Jan 30 2004, 02:54 AM
I am a great fan of Jaya Lalitha from the days of slenderness ratio of 2.5 to current 1 ( ie L/d ratio). smile.gif Seriously she has (the balls) which even our PM may not have. It is not easy to take on stalwarts like Blues Brothers of ( Karuna, Stalin and co). She came back, She has charisma ( dont you dare laugh at Amma II) and can steam roll anybody on her turf. If one can forgive Bogus stamp scam, what is Amma's corruption next to nothing. I only hope George kaka and Amma can go hand in hand ( you know what I mean) Jaya Ho jaya Jaya ho Jaya Hind
Posted by: Peregrine Jan 30 2004, 06:24 AM Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi Senior Congress leaders on Thursday indicated that the efforts to have an alliance with the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has failed. This will be a major setback to the Congress which hoped to put the TDP under pressure in Andhra Pradesh's Telengana region with the help of the TRS. But in Orissa, the Congress received a shot in the arm when Biju Janata Dal (BJD) rebels called on party president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday. Led by Dilip Ray, the BJD rebels are working on two options: Either merge with the Congress or strike an electoral understanding with the party in Orissa. On the coalition front, the Congress is moving cautiously in Tamil Nadu, too. A Congress team, led by AICC general secretary Kamal Nath, called on DMK chief M Karunanidhi in Chennai to discuss the specifics of seat-sharing. By Friday, a final decision would be taken on who will get what. Mr Nath has made it clear that the Congress will not create problems by being adamant vis-a-vis the number of seats it will contest. "The main aim of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance in the state is to defeat the BJP-ADMK combine," he told reporters in Chennai. To a question on the Pondicherry seat, now allotted to the PMK, but being demanded by the Pondicherry unit of the Congress, he said: "It will be resolved amicably through talks." But what has caused worries in the party camp is the TRS obstinacy on certain issues in Andhra Pradesh. A senior leader told The Pioneer that the TRS leadership was making excessive demands, both on the number of seats and the question of commitment to a separate state. He said the Congress was keen to accommodate the TRS but its demands were unreasonable. Moreover, three Andhra Pradesh senior Congress leaders - M V Mysoora Reddy, D L Ravindra Reddy and Sivaramakrishna Rao - who were planning to quit the party, have been invited to hold talks with former Chief Minister and MP N Janardhan Reddy at the instance of the party high command. The sulking leaders were reportedly cut up with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, also hailing from Cuddapah district, and were understood to have placed certain demands pertaining to the allotment of the party tickets. The Congress understands an alliance with the TRS will spell the TDP's doom. At the same time, the party is not ready to go beyond a point to appease the local outfit. While the Congress is unwilling to make a categorical commitment to a separate Telangana, on the question of seat-sharing, it considers the TRS demand for 40 of the 107 seats in the region. The Congress was ready to offer 30 seats to the TRS. For the parliamentary election, too, the TRS was claiming eight of the 16 seats but the Congress was willing to spare three. The Congress leaders feel the TRS, too, had created a problem for itself by raising candidates in almost every constituency, and now it was getting difficult its leadership to spare seats for the Congress. Cheers
Posted by: Sriman Jan 30 2004, 06:45 AM
Mudy. Are you sure that the ORG- India Today folks have been anti-BJP? I thought they were the "fair" types, and were unbiased. Can you provide a link to their former election forecasts (for 1996, 1998 and 1999), so we can compare the actuals versus predictions? Note that the AIADMK share of the "others" must be at least 20, and that the SP can also get around 20+ -- and Mulayam was the one who was instrumental in making sure Sonia did not become PM in 1999, after the ABV govt fell short by one vote. So while Maulana Mulayam may be a villain for shooting and killing hundreds of kar sevaks in 1990, there will always be a soft corner for his role in stopping Sonia in May 1999!
Posted by: Mudy Jan 30 2004, 07:51 AM
ORG- India Today - Wrong/bogus prediction - Gujarat, last state election and last Lok Sabha election.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 30 2004, 08:54 PM
Tell us what kind of deal you struck with Saddam: BJP to Cong Agencies New Delhi, January 30: The BJP on Friday has demanded a probe by the Government on the alleged payment of bribes by former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the Congress saying that it was a serious matter and the party owed an explanation to the nation on this matter. “The current Government in Iraq is probing oil bribes paid by the Saddam regime and the Congress party is also a beneficiary of it. We demand a probe by the Government into this matter,” party spokesman V.K. Malhotra told reporters in Delhi. The Congress had on Thursday rejected allegations that it had received foreign funding for its election purposes, saying the charge was baseless and below the dignity of the party to react on it. He condemned the walkout by the Opposition protesting speaker Manohar Joshi’s failure to mention mahatma Gandhi's name while paying homage to freedom fighters on the Martyrs’ Day.
Posted by: rajesh_g Jan 31 2004, 07:06 AM From Sulekha Newshopper.. Manmohanomics vs feel-good Udayan Namboodiri Manmohan Singh is in the news these days. His name is touted as a probable prime minister in the event of the secular alliance collecting enough numbers in the forthcoming elections. The former Finance Minister, who is regarded as some kind of an economic wizard for turning the country's economy round a difficult corner during this term, is now perceived as an acceptable compromise by the Congress's new friends who would not accept Ms Sonia Gandhi as the country's premier. As a political move, this is astute enough. The man is acceptable to opinion makers. He is weak and the motley crowd backing him may someday find him immensely pliable for achieving their respective (and often conflicting) objectives. Many of those who seem to have discovered the virtues of "Manmohanomics" now, had blasted its author in his hey day for fathering policies which reduced India to a supplicant of the Bretton Woods organisations and multi-national corporations. Going through old issues of People's Democracy, a journal which still has more or less the same old lot on its editorial board, one wonders if this new found love for Manmohan isn't a tactic employed to get as physically close to him as would be necessary for the purpose of turning a knife into. Turning away from that acclaimed genius for a while, let us consider Manmohan's opposite number in the BJP, Jaswant Singh. To even begin making a comparison between the two attracts charges of blasphemy from the Congress-bhadraloke mutual admiration society which survives even a decade after Manmohanomics' inglorious fall. Manmohan is a demi-God, done in by dirty politics while Jaswant is an upstart, former Army major with more luck than genius. At any rate, they are not prepared to discuss the nation's economy with you unless you show them your degree from either Harvard or MIT. One has to remember that this is Delhi, where despite the Congress's decade-old exile, the character of the intellectual establishment here is quite unchanged. To this self-assured lot, facts are immaterial. They forget that whereas the BJP is willing to face the people in 2004 fully confident of Jaswant Singh's management of the economy, Manmohan's leaders, even in his hey day, offered less than weak defence in the 1996 campaign. The BJP has even coined a cute little slogan around Jaswant's achievements - "feel good". In contrast, Narasimha Rao, was forced to hide "Manmohanomics" in a bushel because it was a liability. The "reforms" and "liberalisation" authored by Manmohan Singh had, by 1995, been thoroughly discredited for their upper class orientation and propensity to engender scams of the most daredevil variety. Jaswant and Manmohan , to begin with, have some apparent similarities. Both are reserved, old-school gentlemen who are allergic to the byte brigade. Neither are men of the masses in the true sense of the term. True, Jaswant was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice in a row. But so stung was he by a reverse in 1998 that he stayed away from the hustings thereafter. With time, he cultivated a vaguely imperious demeanor, which set him apart in the hurly burly of politics. Manmohan also stands out, albeit for a different reason. His academic accomplishments ( which are formidable - Jaswant, by the way, is only a graduated.gif ) lends his image a certain veneer which helps offset the fact that he has never won a direct election in his life. His circuitous route to the Rajya Sabha (via Assam) made him an object of ridicule for the Left for a long time. But now that the strangers have bedded for political expediency, it's time to move on. Now that Manmohan is suddenly "prime minister material", the grandees have more reason to restrict the discourse. In the process, Jaswant is denied his due credit. The Vajpayee-Advani "rivalry" obscured the silent rise of this man through his many achievements. Before him, no minister in any government since 1952 has ever been Minister for External Affairs, Defence and Finance in the same term. He defended India's right to be a nuclear power in the face of fierce international pressure and his negotiation skill not only kept New Delhi out of the CTBT but also won for it strategic partnerships with the United States and China. Nehruvian right wingers, who calmly allowed India to miss the bus to a position of international influence by practicing, through four decades a foreign policy based on self-righteous isolation and subordination to Moscow, may have frowned. But Jaswant's foreign policy mission was not to change the world. Rather, as he told his old school mates from Mayo College in late 2001, it was directed at channeling global developments for India's gain. This paid tangible countless dividends, not the least being India's ability to rally world opinion against Pakistan, a country he often contemptuously referred to as "a western neighbour". Though he held the Defence portfolio only as a stand-in for George Fernandes, the experience helped him craft a composite regional security outlook for the country. When he assumed office as Finance Minister, he coined a slogan which instantly connected the lay man with the policies flowing out of North Block : garib ke pet mein dana, grihini ke tukia mein anna. He regarded the economy as a living thing, where ordinary people matter. He proved that "populism", that enemy of ivory-tower denizens, is not such a bad thing really. A democratically elected government has every right to put smiles on the faces of people. The top-down crowd, which pine for a return of Congress patricianism, would like to keep politics "out" of the Finance Ministry. This, to the common man means burdensome taxation and too many sacrifices. As if we are a nation of accountants, our prime-ordained destiny lies in balancing the budgetary deficit (too often the result of the state's unaccountability on fund management ) by paying through our noses. If Manmohan's biggest defence is that he inherited a crippled economy which he needed to save, it is time somebody stood up to ask : " Excuse me, was it not the same Manmohan Singh who created that situation in the first place ?" Imagine the irony ! This man held every important economic office in the land since 1971 , yet had the nerve to act as if he was not responsible for the national financial mess he claims to have "inherited". A Delhi-based professor with the right political contacts, Manmohan entered government first as the Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Trade, enjoyed stints as Governor of the Reserve Bank and Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry. While Rajiv Gandhi was indulging in runaway financial indiscipline through the second half of the 1980s, Manmohan sat mum as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. On the eve of the disaster of 1991, he even sat out a brief term as the Chandra Shekhar Government's chief guru on economic matters. Throughout his term he was the IMF-World Bank's poster boy, which explains his admiration for structural reforms and the resultant unpopular policies which cost the Congress its power. Jaswant's brief term changed forever people's expectations from a finance minister. And mind you, the man is not much of a political diminutive to Manmohan either. Ever noticed how he is slowly inching up the BJP hierarchy as evident in order of seats at recent meetings of the party's national executive. Jaswant now has a place reserved for him next to Vajpayee and LK Advani. His leaders are proud of his record and quite willing to swear by them. Can Manmohan Singh ever dream of such support from his bosses ? Hardly. In 1996, the Congress could have rightfully claimed many successes for Manmohanomics. Mind you, the foreign exchange situation was quite good then and the job scene was in fact better than now. Yet, the Congress steered clear of tom-tomming these achievements and went around begging for votes from the "stability" plank. Given this background, has Manmohan finally found his true friends?
Posted by: Rudra Singha Jan 31 2004, 10:09 PM
the Age of Vajpayee has dawned....the time of the Elves is past.... (India Today) The Right Turn Call this the Age of Vajpayee. India's most popular politician has come to exploit the country's new conservative spirit. He has also given the BJP an unprecedented level of electoral acceptability. By Prabhu Chawla Whoever said there is no second chance in life just forgot to tell that to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. If the astonishing statistical signals from the India Today-ORG-MARG Mood of the Nation poll turn out to be a reality, Vajpayee will prove conventional political pundits wrong. Not only will he return to power with a massive mandate but he will also break global records of winning elections thrice in a row at that age. Both Vajpayee, 79, and his deputy Lal Krishna Advani, 77, will create electoral history by defeating their younger rivals at the hustings where over 60 per cent of the voters will be half their age. Normally politicians suffer from the law of diminishing returns. But in the case of Vajpayee, the BJP has discovered an asset that yields higher returns now. CRITICAL MASS: The New Indian flaunts his religion and nationalism While the BJP is yet to recover its lost base in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, despite party President M. Venkaiah Naidu's grassroots mobilisation, the prime minister has acquired a pan-Indian image and brand value. After Indira Gandhi, no other politician has achieved such a national aura in such a short time, and that too without the benefit of a dynasty. If the sociological analysis of the poll figures is any indication, it proves Vajpayee has demolished yet another robust principle of economics. According to Gresham's Law, bad money drives the good one out of circulation but with the ruling BJP, it has a slight twist: the old is driving the young to the political periphery. If Vajpayee returns to power, he will be the first non-Congress leader in general and the first prime minister in recent times to marginalise the regional parties with veto power. Since 1996, individual-led regional parties dictated terms to national parties. Now Vajpayee holds the veto. There is no alternative to him. Against him, there are no parties, only leaders with big egos and small followings. Today's India is in no mood to suffer another bout of political experimentation. With a solid 28 per cent vote, the Congress could have been a credible alternative. But an India changed by the BJP looks incomprehensible to Sonia Gandhi's Congress. The alternative to Vajpayee is a vast unknown. By not projecting its leader as a clear answer to Vajpayee, the Congress has in a way declared its no confidence in its leader-that too despite Sonia being the second most popular politician in the country. Vajpayee, the smart idea thief, has taken the best of Congress culture and marketed it well. The Congress has to reinvent itself. Despite Sonia being the second most popular leader, her party has, in a way, declared no confidence in her leadership. Or is it that Vajpayee is the natural choice of an India that is fast turning conservative? A new Indian has emerged out of the wreckage of Nehru's New Man. The old and the new merge in him in perfect harmony. For him, tradition is an adjective to his sense of modernity. The nation is no longer a dirty word for him; rather it has become an idea to be celebrated. As a political slogan, secularism, the most sacred tenet of the Nehruvian age, has already evolved into a new intolerance. In its most militant expression, it has become the total negation of religion. Like any other ism imposed from above, it too was mocked by history. As a party that flourished after the funeral of the Congress century, the BJP spinmeisters gave a new confidence to the Indian who has refused to be ashamed of the nation or the religion. In the hands of a lesser, nationally mischievous leader, such concepts could have turned out to be divisive rhetoric. It didn't happen. That is why Vajpayee has become indispensable to the party as well as the country. The BJP, the much-stereotyped Hindu nationalist party of the foreign media, has not grown into a culturally exclusivist, religiously unipolar party, despite the marginal madmen in the saffron parivar and certain Hindu-First votaries in the organisation itself. Rather, its winning edge in the acceptability test is a political record. And the most acceptable face of the BJP-or Indian politics, for that matter-is Vajpayee. In his reassuring shadow, the BJP leadership claims the party looks more humane, more inclusive, more tolerant and quite normal-not a party of cardboard mythology but of right intentions. Give the credit to India's most ingenious political alchemist. Remember, in this country, there is a drawing room consensus on the ideals of Congressism of the Nehruvian vintage. As India's Grand Old Party reached the peak of its own irrelevance, the good old Congress values-the virtues of an encompassing society-lay orphaned on the political stage. Vajpayee, who has been projected as the human face of the Indian right, carries within him the best of the Nehruvian era: the grand unifier. The Nehruvian New Man was a false project in socialist engineering. Vajpayee has reinvented himself as the Nehruvian Old Man. He speaks the Congress language and represents traditional Congress culture much more than the party's own leader. Unfortunately, the Congress has failed to retain its old identity or acquire a distinct new one. At first, the BJP in power did not realise the historical importance of the mandate-that was the first official right turn in Indian politics. It was a gradual progression for the party as well as its leader, and in the process, the leader would become larger than the party which, in turn, would reflect his mind. Today, what is at play is the mind of the leader, who has come to define a brand new Indian freedom, in the marketplace and beyond. Call these times the Vajpayee Age. It marks the most decisive cultural shift in post-Congress India. Is India essentially a conservative society, revealing itself for the first time? For so long, the idyll of enforced secularism kept the conservative soul of India politically invisible. It was similar to how the nationalist and religious identities remained hidden, but alive, under the jackboots of communism in the pre-1989 Eastern Europe. In retrospect, the BJP's biggest challenge was not in winning the mandate but in managing the mandate. The image of a Hindu Rashtra would have satisfied the perennial BJP-bashers on the left. Vajpayee has defied the stereotype, for his Government didn't turn out to be the patron saint of crazed Hindus. He has exploited not just the conservative spirit of India. He has redeemed the party from the stereotype and, in sharp contrast to 1999, transformed it into one that is the least unacceptable.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 31 2004, 10:50 PM
BJP is spreading mayajaal: Sonia PTI[ SATURDAY, JANUARY 31, 2004 09:43:45 PM ] DIGRAS: Virtually sounding the party's election bugle in Maharashtra , Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for its "failure on all fronts" and accused it of spreading "mayajaal" to woo voters by offering poll eve sops. The government, which had not done anything worthwhile during its four-and-a-half-year rule, was going on an announcement spree to offer sops to people, Gandhi told a rally of Banjaras here. The BJP was merely interested in seeking votes by spreading "mayajaal", she said, adding the party was ignoring women and backward classes. Addressing another rally in tribal-dominated Nandurbar, she charged the BJP-led government with failure on all fronts from providing security on borders to public welfare and said corruption had reached its peak under its rule. Accusing the Vajpayee government of misleading people through its 'Shining India' campaign, Gandhi said: "It is the shine of BJP and its allies and not of the common people." "Since Lok Sabha elections are near, the NDA government is spending crores of money for the Shining India campaign, while the truth is something else," she said. The life of the common man had moved into darkness rather than shining under the NDA rule, Gandhi said after inaugurating the first sugarcane crushing at the Adivasi Cooperative Mill. Appealing to people to vote the Congress to power in the coming general elections, Gandhi said "given an opportunity, my party will bring back the country on the path to progress as it had come to a halt during the NDA rule." "It is the Congress that had made the country self-reliant through its public-oriented policies," she said. She added "the common man's life has been in trouble due to increasing unemployment and rise in prices during the NDA rule", adding the Vajpayee government was privatising PSUs leading to unemployment. "The Congress has never changed its policy of providing justice to each and everyone, including women," Gandhi said, adding "in the absence of welfare of women, no country can progress". Stating that former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had always taken special care of tribals, she lauded Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for following the same traditions. PTI
Posted by: k.ram Jan 31 2004, 10:55 PM
Dalit organisations to support AIADMK January 31, 2004 14:15 IST A confederation of pro-All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam dalit organisations on Saturday decided to continue its support to the Jalalalithaa-led party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The confederation met in Chennai and decided to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and seek allotment of a seat for the confederation in the polls. The confederation's members said the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had acted against dalit interests. The confederation had supported AIADMK in the last three general elections. Those who attended the meeting included A Packiaraj, founder, Makkal Desam Katchi; Nungai V Babu, president, Ambedkar Peoples' Front; S Anbinpoiyahmozhi, convenor, SC/ST Students Confederation; and Salem P Shenguttuvan, president, Tamil Nadu Arundathiyars Forum.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 1 2004, 12:17 AM
QUOTE (Rudra Singha @ Jan 31 2004, 10:09 PM)
the Age of Vajpayee has dawned....the time of the Elves is past.... (India Today) The Right Turn
Rudra, Do they have a satewise breakup of the results of opinion poll, if yes can you please post it here. Also the top 10 please. smile.gif
Posted by: muddur Feb 1 2004, 05:42 AM Cong puts it in black & white: we lack idea, identity guitar.gif clap.gif
Posted by: muddur Feb 2 2004, 02:14 AM RANCHI: Taking a swipe at Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her accusation that his government was spreading mayajaal (illusion), Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Sunday countered it saying the NDA coalition was instead spreading a "web of prosperity". "Maya is with Sonia Gandhi but we are spreading the jaal (web) of prosperity," he said addressing a Virat Vanvasi Sammelan here. "What the Congress could not do in 50 years, we have achieved in five years. We promise more progress in the next five years (if voted back to power)," Vajpayee said. Focusing on development as coalition's theme, Vajpayee said his government would execute projects linking the country end-to-end with better roads and take up interlinking of rivers. He, however, said there would be no reduction of employment opportunities. "We want to increase employment. Let me assure you all that we are doing for modernisation and quickening connectivity in the country is not aimed at reducing jobs but at increasing them," he said. Vajpayee referred to a discussion in Parliament where Sonia Gandhi had questioned his statement on creation of more jobs and likened it to day-dreaming. "In Parliament, Soniaji questioned our pledge to create over 80 lakh jobs and said we are day-dreaming. But I had laid out a chart of 82 lakh jobs before her," he said. When the government promised to increase jobs, it was referring to creation of more opportunities through projects it was executing, he said and asked youngsters not to seek only government jobs. Earlier, Vajpayee inaugurated a road constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana at Bodaia and laid the foundation stone of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, near here.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 2 2004, 09:30 AM
India Today. Junk the assumptions. Put convention aside. The BJP seems to be the right choice for the youth, women and backward castes, while the Congress, with its shrinking base, needs to do a rethink. By Ajit Kumar Jha A septuagenarian leadership. A second rung of Generation Nexters in their 50s. By no stretch of the imagination could the BJP be considered a patron of the youth. Contrast it with the Congress, a party that gave the nation its youngest prime minister in Rajiv Gandhi and that famous facsimile of Martin Luther King's speech: "I am young and I too have a dream." When and where did the roles switch? How did Sonia Gandhi, who by our elasticised definitions could be considered young at 58, become the custodian of an ageing party? ON A HIGH: The BJP has caught the imagination of the youth For, the news is bad. In the 18-24 age group surveyed by India Today-ORG-MARG, the BJP leads the Congress by 11 per cent. In a country where 30 per cent of the population is between 18 and 35 years, it means trouble, especially with the BJP reporting a 3 per cent edge over the Congress in the 25-44 age group. The fact that in the 45-plus category the Congress, a much older party, attracts 1 per cent more votes than the BJP is not a winnable formula. It is, instead, a reminder that the Congress is a declining party of the past, the BJP a growing party of the future. There are other contours of a new social order in the BJP and the Congress that tradition would frown upon. Under Indira Gandhi, the Congress had penetrated the rural vote banks in 1971. Today, the party is rapidly losing its hold in the villages. Ditto with women voters. Clearly, something has happened. Political parties are essentially social alliances built on the leader's appeal and the party's agenda. Under a weak leadership and without a popular agenda, parties witness an erosion of social support base. Under Sonia's leadership, the Congress base is shrinking rapidly. Though the poll was carried out before the Congress began reinducting Sonia's children, Rahul and Priyanka, actively into the campaign, the siblings alone are unlikely to fill the massive generation gap. The party needs a slogan and an agenda that appeals to the young in order to reinvent itself. Unemployment is not enough of an issue. The party needs to do more to capture the imagination of the young. It could begin by restructuring its largely moribund frontal organisations led by students and the youth. Ironically, under Sonia, the Congress has begun losing its women voters. Conventionally, for the Indian voters, the BJP has symbolised Mars and the Congress Venus. If past trends are anything to go by, more men supported the BJP, more women rooted for the Congress. The poll predicts equal support among women for both the parties at 30 per cent each, but 7 per cent more men prefer the BJP to the Congress. This phenomenon is a direct consequence of the Congress' December debacle in the three states of the Hindi heartland. The assembly elections witnessed the emergence of the gender gap, where women voters voted for women candidates and women chief ministers in a big way. Among housewives, 23 per cent preferred Uma Bharati to Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh, while 14 per cent women chose Vasundhara Raje over Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, according to the results of the India Today-Aaj Tak-ORG-MARG poll in November 2003. With changing political culture in the patriarchal north, the advantage of women voters rooting for women candidates goes to the BJP more than the Congress. But worryingly for the Congress, the BJP's appeal has risen formidably in rural areas. For a party that was written off as merely an urban phenomenon, its rural penetration is five percentage points above the Congress. In cities, its popularity is higher among educated sections, while that of the Congress is higher among the poorer, illiterate sections. A caste-wise sociological analysis also shows that while the party remains popular among its traditional upper caste voters (Brahmins, Vaishyas, Kayasthas, even Jats and Thakurs) it is also becoming increasingly so among the OBCs such as the Yadavs and the most backward castes (MBCs). The poll predicts 38 per cent of Yadav voters supporting the BJP as opposed to only 23 per cent for the Congress, an advantage of 15 per cent. Three per cent more MBCs prefer the BJP to the Congress. This is surely a post-Mandal resurgence of the BJP. The only advantages for the Congress remain in the SC/STs and minorities category. Congress poll managers, take note. Brahmin Kshatriya Kayastha Jat Vaishya Yadav MBCs SCs STs Muslims BJP 58 43 37 49 39 38 21 24 33 14 Cong 21 28 18 29 27 23 18 31 36 42 Others 18 27 44 20 30 35 57 43 27 40 Don't Know 3 2 1 2 4 4 4 2 4 4 The BJP draws more support from upper castes, OBCs and MBCs, the Congress from SCs, STs and minorities.
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 3 2004, 04:44 AM
Did James Lyngdoh actually say this on BBC ??? The Importance of being J M Lyngdoh February 02, 2004 I am a Westerner and born a Christian. I should be happy that someone like Chief Election Commissioner James Lyngdoh, a Christian, attracts so much attention from the Western press and gets so many accolades from foreign governments. When he recently won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, he did his country proud. After all, had he not defied government pressure for an early election in riot-torn Gujarat and overseen fair polls in Kashmir? When again, he is trying all he can, before he retires in early February, to delay the advancement of elections by the BJP, he may be performing his duties as best as he conceives it. Yet, it makes me slightly uneasy. Why? Two reasons. First he constantly belittles his country, nay, he vomits India. When Mr Lyngodh appears on the BBC to say that not a single Indian politician is uncorrupt, not only does he say an untruth, but he does a lot of harm to India's image abroad, and reinforces colonial prejudices and biases against a wonderful tolerant country and a talented people. It is true there is a lot of corruption here and that politicians are sometimes dishonest. But if you take this present government, for instance, whatever its faults, you find a lot of its members do not take a single paisa for themselves, be it Vajpayee, Advani, Joshi or Fernandes (please go to his house in Krishna Menon Marg and see for yourself his lifestyle). It is very wrong to propagate the notion that Indians by nature are more corrupt than say Westerners, because it is absolutely false. It is the system that breeds corruption here, the Nehruvian system to be precise, which may have stemmed from good intentions, but which in the end produced statism, bureaucracy and corruption. This system was meant for the poor, but now you need one crore rupees to be elected an MP, whereas officially, you are only allowed Rs 2 lakhs. And where will the politician, however good, willing and sincere s/he is, find one crore rupees, except in the pockets of industrialists who will later demand favors? The system has to be reformed. The people are basically as good and prone to honesty or dishonesty as other people in the world, whatever the color of their skin and religious beliefs. Secondly, I know the likes of James Lyngdoh appeal, unconsciously, of course, to a certain Western sentiment of superiority and reinforce Westerners in their belief of the superiority of Christian monotheism versus Hindu polytheism. Christians still believe that Christ is the only true son of God and that all other beliefs -- particularly those of the Hindus, who adore a multitude of 'heathen' Gods, are false. This is why Christian missionaries are even now at it in India, converting thousands of innocent tribals and Harijans, with the millions of dollars that gullible Westerners donate, so as to 'alleviate poverty in the Third World.' This unconscious sentiment of superiority of Christian culture over Indian culture also explains why the West likes to decorate Indians, who however brilliant and intrinsically good they are, propagate this image of a poor, corrupt, immature India, whether it is Amartya Sen, Mother Teresa, Arundhati Roy, or James Lyngdoh, three of them being Christians and the third one a Marxist who has adopted the Western way of thinking and life. Basically, they all have the same message: 'Oh, look at this poor, corrupt, pagan India, who is not capable of looking after herself and is too immature to have nuclear weapons.' This is why Western correspondents give so much coverage to Mr Lyngdoh and so little to more humble Indians who go quietly about their work, without trying to hog publicity for themselves. But ultimately, Indians are to blame themselves. The Indian intelligentsia, particularly, which is very brilliant, but also highly Westernized, because the best education in India is Christian and imprints itself in many subtle and not so subtle ways on its students. If Indian newspapers and television channels would -- while not being blind to India's faults -- be a little more positive and a little less cynical and negative about their country, people like Mr Lyngdoh or Mrs Roy would find it very difficult to function. Indeed, if Indian journalists, instead of propping up Mr Lyngdoh as a paradigm of virtue, would instead point out that it is wrong and unforgivable to use his high office for propagating his biased views, things would start improving quickly in this great, generous and diverse country that is India.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 3 2004, 04:53 AM
QUOTE (siddhartha_shukla @ Feb 1 2004, 12:17 AM)
QUOTE (Rudra Singha @ Jan 31 2004, 10:09 PM)
the Age of Vajpayee has dawned....the time of the Elves is past.... (India Today) The Right Turn
Rudra, Do they have a satewise breakup of the results of opinion poll, if yes can you please post it here. Also the top 10 please. smile.gif
K Ram can you please. smile.gif
Posted by: Mudy Feb 3 2004, 06:44 AM
Did James Lyngdoh actually say this on BBC ???
Yes, he did. cool.gif
Posted by: Mudy Feb 3 2004, 07:08 AM By S. Vijay Kumar KANYAKUMARI, FEB. 2 . The five years of "stability" and "good governance" provided by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have paved the way for India to emerge as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said today. "The country is stronger than ever on the security and development fronts. We launched many ambitious programmes in the last five years and the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) is one among them," he said after performing the "bhoomi poojan" for four-laning the 30.6-km Kanyakumari-Panagudi stretch on the National Highway 7 here. Mr. Vajpayee said the north-south and east-west corridors would revolutionise the road and transport infrastructure by connecting Srinagar with Kanyakumari and Silchar in the east with Porbandar (Gujarat), birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, in the west. The 5,846-km Golden Quadrilateral project to link the four metros was nearing completion. "This will cover the entire nation, particularly State capitals and trading centres, in a comprehensive way with four-lane highways," he said. Mr. Vajpayee lauded the National Highways Authority of India for launching the "Pradhan Mantri Bharat Jodo Pariyojana" to convert 10,000 km of high-density roads into four-lane routes. "Roads are the lines of India's destiny. We are waiting for the day to travel on this world class highways across the length and breadth of the country," he said adding that initiating the north-south corridor from Kanyakumari was a special occasion since the town was a symbol of India's unity and strength. Amid applause from All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres, Mr. Vajpayee showered encomiums on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, for her "dynamic leadership" and "hard work." `Speed up Sethusamudram project' Presiding over the function, Ms. Jayalalithaa appealed to Mr. Vajpayee to expedite the Sethusamudram project, which, she said, would boost the economy. The Centre should favourably consider the Tamil Nadu proposal for declaring eight high-density roads as national highways. The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, B.C. Khanduri, said the NHDP was a dream project of Mr. Vajpayee. "This project is the first of its kind in the world. About 24,000 kms of roads were being converted to four-lane or six-lane ones at an estimated cost of Rs. 98,000 crores. National highways also bring about social equality and national integration," he said. The Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Pon. Radhakrishnan, and the Union Minister of State for Defence and Parliamentary Affairs, O. Rajagopal, participated in the function.
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 4 2004, 05:42 AM
Doston, How significant is this ? Is he important ? Can he make a difference ? Is he trustworthy ?
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 4 2004, 06:52 AM
BANGALORE: The party, which swears by Mahatma Gandhi's name, Congress, seems to be taking the (words of Winston Churchill) ``half-naked fakir'' image a step further by organising what could be called a cabaret. And that too days after the anniversary of the Martyrdom.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 4 2004, 07:32 AM
QUOTE (rajesh_g @ Feb 4 2004, 05:42 AM)
Doston, How significant is this ? Is he important ? Can he make a difference ? Is he trustworthy ?
Coming from the same state I think this will have a major effect on BJP's prospects.It now has a more than a fighting chance in the three way fight and it shouldn't do worse than last election where it got 29 out of 81 seats.Though its not a great achievment by any means but its much better than a single digit figure.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 4 2004, 07:34 AM
Posting my request again.Can anyone post the opinion poll figures from the latest edition of India Today.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 4 2004, 08:07 AM
S_S, hee is link id - 2345
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 4 2004, 10:02 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Feb 4 2004, 08:07 AM)
S_S, hee is link id - 2345
Mudy, The ID doesnt work for me.I tried all the editions.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 4 2004, 10:10 AM
try 23456 - India edition It works. In case somene else is using use number around this number.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Feb 4 2004, 06:17 PM
Yep it did the trick.Thanks a heap.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 4 2004, 09:35 PM
QUOTE (siddhartha_shukla @ Feb 4 2004, 10:02 AM)
QUOTE (Mudy @ Feb 4 2004, 08:07 AM)
S_S, hee is link id - 2345
Mudy, The ID doesnt work for me.I tried all the editions.
I apologize SS, was kinda busy and could not get around to read all the messages. However I see Mudy helped you out (and me too wink.gif )> Thanks Mudy
Posted by: Mudy Feb 5 2004, 03:26 AM
Posted by: k.ram Feb 5 2004, 08:46 PM
BSP, SP, RJD, NCP at Sonia lunch February 05, 2004 14:43 IST Last Updated: February 05, 2004 16:37 IST Leaders of almost all major opposition parties on Wednesday attended a lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, signaling their coming together for the coming general elections. The occasion was the concluding day of the 13th Lok Sabha. "I had called them basically to thank them because we have been working together in the last five years. This is something which we will continue [to do] during the conduct of the next elections," Gandhi said after the hour-long get-together. Former prime ministers Chandra Shekhar and H D Deve Gowda, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Somnath Chatterjee, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Rashid Alvi were among those present at the luncheon meeting. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the new Congress ally, was represented by T R Baalu. "We leaders of all secular parties ate our lunch sitting around one table. Our sitting around one table is an ample proof of our unity and we will defeat the BJP-led NDA," RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav said. Somnath Chatterjee said the "good atmosphere at the sumptuous lunch" indicated that the "results will be spicy." SP's Amar Singh thanked Gandhi for the "spirit, atmosphere and the food." BSP's Rashid Alvi, however, refused to comment. Congress chief spokesman S Jaipal Reddy said there was real bonhomie at the meeting and the get-together showed "definitive glimpse of the alternative secular forces." It was a demonstration of unity of secular forces, he said but sidestepped questions whether SP-BSP and Congress can work together in the coming elections. "I cannot make comment on that. This [get-together] was not intended to discuss specific details", he said.
Posted by: acharya Feb 5 2004, 09:01 PM
If you notice all these parties on the lunch table represent the hindi belt. Right from UP, Bihar, WB to inland maharastra are not in topuch with the political realities. This is a motley combination which were fighting each other in the last election. They still bicker with each other.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 5 2004, 11:02 PM
All colorful opposition parties will show their real color during seat allotment. They will be back to square. I don't have any hope. India need 10% growth rate not 2% at this moment.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 6 2004, 09:56 AM
Rahul, Priyanka? For Congress, pedigree helps Thursday February 5 2004 00:00 IST IANS NEW DELHI: The anticipated debut of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's children Rahul and Priyanka has rattled rivals, but they are only a tip of the iceberg in a country where pedigree helps. A growing club of sons and daughters are making a mark in their parents' chosen field of politics and power in a syndrome reminiscent of royal dynasties. Prominent among them are "purebloods" Rahul and Priyanka, who are evidently succumbing to relentless badgering by millions of Congress activists looking for some hope of the party's comeback to New Delhi. "They are the apple of (slain former prime minister) Rajiv and Sonia's eyes, and the crutch of the people of the country," scream Congress posters put up in New Delhi. The list of other young "crutches" in Congress is long. Whether all of them are chips off the old block can be said only when they pass the biggest test of democracy -- elections. Late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot and MP Rama Pilot's son Sachin is tipped to contest the upcoming parliamentary election from his father's Dausa constituency in Rajasthan. Sachin, a promising business graduated.gif who married into another political family (National Conference leader Omar Abdullah' sister), does not see anything wrong in inducting children who are able. "The Congress might be 118-year-old, but its sons are young enough to give direction to the society and politics," says young Pilot. Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia came into politics after the sudden death of his father Madhavrao Scindia, one of the most dynamic Congress leaders in his time. Jatin Prasada, son of the late Jitendra Prasada - the Congress leader who challenged Sonia Gandhi in party polls - is also rumoured to be contesting the parliamentary election from his father's constituency. Prasada has already grabbed a toehold as the general secretary of the youth Congress. Scindia, Pilot and Prasada were not around to see their sons rise but former minister of state for external affairs K. Natwar Singh has personally seen to the career of his son Jagat Singh, who won the December assembly poll from Rajasthan. Other prominent scions are Rohit Tilak, the grandson of freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Amit Deshmukh, the son of former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Milind Deora, the son of Congress leader Murli Deora, and Rajiv Gowda, the son of Karnataka Speaker V. Gowda. C.R. Kesavan, the great grandson of independent India's first governor general C. Rajagopalachari, is tipped to contest the polls. So are Randeep Surjewalla, the son of Haryana leader S.S. Surjewalla, and G.K. Wasan, the high-profile son of the late G.K. Moopanar, one of the brightest Congress leaders that Tamil Nadu produced. Priyanka Gandhi also has another politician-daughter for company - Avantika Maken, cousin of Delhi Speaker Ajay Maken and daughter of Lalit Maken, a Congress leader who was shot dead by Sikh separatists in 1985. Congress leader Salman Khurshid said: "The power of the younger political generation should not be underestimated. They have a political upbringing, and therefore have a lot to contribute and know exactly what it takes."
Posted by: Mudy Feb 7 2004, 03:31 AM
Clearing the decks for early general elections, President A P J Abdul Kalam on Friday dissolved the 13th Lok Sabha, nine months ahead of its tenure.
Posted by: Muppalla Feb 9 2004, 05:27 AM AGARTALA, DHNS: The realignment path taken by the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), the lone tribal force in the state has alarmed both the Congress and the CPI (M). Six INPT legislators led by veteran leader Nagendra Jamatia left for Delhi on Saturday evening to give shape to the pre-poll alliance with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The BJP launched the initiative last week through breakaway Nationalist Congress Party leader and Northeast Peoples' Forum chief P A Sangma. Mr Sangma has been working towards bringing all the regional parties of the northeast under the NPF umbrella since the last one year. The NDA took advantage of this, though the BJP made its presence felt in successive elections in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. INPT General Secretary Rabindra Debbarma said that the move for forging an alliance with the NDA was their party resolution. He, however, expressed annoyance over the role of the Congress in the State Assembly election held last year. “The CPM lost influence in the tribal areas, but the Congress failed politically,” Mr Debbarma commented. The INPT is the only tribal party in the state, which has an extensive organisation and influence in hilly interiors. But they have an alleged nexus with the outlawed NLFT militant outfit which had worked for them in past elections. Both the Congress and the Left Front are seriously contemplating on the INPT’s dalliance with the NDA.
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Feb 9 2004, 07:53 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Feb 5 2004, 11:26 PM)
A growing club of sons and daughters are making a mark in their parents' chosen field of politics and power in a syndrome reminiscent of royal dynasties.
Nepotism wins. Well so much for all the talk of equal opportunity for all blah blah blah. In humans as in some other primates your ancestory has a certain role in deciding social rank. So here you see the formation of what in the past was legitimized as the kshatriya varNa.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 10 2004, 02:27 AM,001300740000.htm Shekhar Iyer New Delhi, February 9 Former Union minister Maneka Gandhi is having second thoughts about joining the BJP. But she may ask her son Varun Gandhi to join the party to counter Sonia Gandhi's children, Priyanka and Rahul, who are likely to hit the campaign trail in UP. A BJP leader said Maneka had almost decided against joining the BJP because a sizeable section of Pilibhit voters were Muslims. She did not want to risk losing Muslim votes by joining the party. At the same time she wanted to show her solidarity with the BJP by asking her son to join it. Maneka had formed her own party, Shakti Dal, a month before the UP assembly elections two years ago. But she found the going tough after her seat adjustment with the BJP hit the rocks. In 2002, Varun Gandhi drew large crowds in UP's Terai belt wherever he went. He evoked interest because he resembled his father Sanjay Gandhi.
Posted by: acharya Feb 10 2004, 04:37 AM
Article Appearing in People's Democracy, February 08, 2004 Why It Is Imperative To Defeat BJP Harkishan Singh Surjeet MEETING at Hyderabad on January 29-31, the Central Committee of our party was of the opinion that "Defeating the BJP and its allies is the main task of the CPI(M) and the Left and democratic forces in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections which will be held in some of the states. Corresponding to this, the basic aim of the CPI(M) will be to see that a secular government is formed after the 14th Lok Sabha elections." This is in keeping with the analysis made by the 16th CPI(M) congress in October 1998 that the BJP is not just another bourgeois landlord party; behind it stands the fascistic RSS that wants to build a theocratic state in the country. The type of regime the Sangh Parivar has in mind is clear from the eulogy VHP leader Ashok Singhal recently heaped on the King of Nepal, dubbing him as the protector of Hindu Dharma. The Parivar has no love lost for the life and death struggle the people of Nepal are today waging for a republican government. The Parivar is all concerned about a monarch who is widely believed to be behind the murder of his brother and other family members. Here one cannot help recall how in 1947-48 the Praja Parishad, an RSS outfit, helped the Maharaja of Kashmir when he was resisting accession to India. In fact, the Parishad was busy killing those who wanted the princely state's merger with India. This was not surprising, as the RSS was never a part of our freedom struggle. But these episodes also show that it is a tyrannical form of government the RSS wants to push through in this country. INDICATIONS OF TOMORROW HEREIN lies the serious danger facing our whole collective life today. One cannot afford to forget that India is a multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country inhabited by people of various religions and ethnic groups. If all these people are distinct from one another at one level, they are one and united at another level, and this fact gets reflected in their mutual interactions. For us, unity in diversity is no empty slogan but a living reality characteristic of India. Over centuries, streams of people kept coming from various parts of the globe, settled here, made India their home, and contributed to what we call Indian culture. This pluralistic culture is the product of not any one group but of all who inhabit this vast country. The framers of our constitution were aware of his reality and that was why they unambiguously decided that secularism and federalism are essential to maintain India's unity. In fact, even before 1947, our innumerable freedom fighters were clear that independent India could not but be a secular state. By nakedly showing what havoc communalism could play with our people's life, the horrors that accompanied the country's imperialist engineered partition also strengthened our people's choice for a secular polity. These horrors went to such an extent that lakhs were displaced from their hearth and home, lakhs were killed or maimed in fratricidal wars, innumerable women were dishonoured and children orphaned. And not only that. The demon of communalism even took the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the supreme leader of our struggle for freedom. Forces of the same kind are now active again to throw our great civilisation into an era of darkness. And with the crucial difference that, with the help of a bunch of self-seekers, they now control the state power. To what extent these forces can go is very clear today to all thinking people of this country. The BJP rule at the centre started with a spate of attacks on minuscule Christians who are peacefully living here for two millennia. And this culminated in the most heinous event at Manoharpur village in Orissa on January 22-23, 1999 night when a Bajrang Dal mob burnt alive a missionary and his minor sons. That these attacks on Christians were launched in several states in a series was a clear evidence that they were being masterminded from above. And then came the most gruesome massacre of Muslims in Gujarat with the active connivance of the BJP regime in the state. There is ample evidence to conclude that the massacre was being planned for months. While it was unleashed on the pretext of a heinous crime at Godhra, the fact is that it would have been unleashed on some other pretext even if Godhra had not been there. As we know, this massacre of Muslims, the biggest case of genocide in independent India, continued for months together. Though the Best Bakery case and the like are gradually bringing out the horrors of this genocide, what has come to light so far is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. It is not that the saffron brigade perpetrated this kind of massacre only after coming to power. Not to talk of the pre-1947 period, the RSS' outfits have engineered gruesome riots at various places at one time or another --- in Bhiwandi, Jalgaon, Tellicherry, Aligarh, Moradabad, Meerut and Bhagalpur, to name only a few among many. If the Gujarat genocide was much more gruesome than the examples quoted, it was because it was perpetrated, and continues in a low key even today, with the full backing of state power. This underlines the gravity of the threat India is facing today --- the biggest threat so far in the history of independent India. Such events are an unmistakable indication of what India would be like tomorrow if the saffron brigade is allowed to return to power. SAGA OF DECEIT BUT naked cruelty is not the only hallmark of RSS controlled outfits. Just like any fascistic organisation, another and equally distinguishing hallmark of theirs is the deceit they practise for the sake of capturing power. As we know, the RSS has created thousands of outfits all over India --- from national to local level. Many of them speak in different voices, the VHP for example keeps railing against the BJP, and on any single issue one can hear two leaders of the BJP saying mutually contradictory things. But all this has just one aim --- to dupe the masses and corner their votes. A commission of inquiry into the Bhiwandi riots of 1969 has already dealt with the way the RSS and its outfits function. Many of them do not keep a register of members or a record of proceedings, just to be able to claim they are not involved in a riot after they engineer it. This deceit was also evident from the way the BJP fought the Lok Sabha polls in 1999. Unlike the 1998 polls, this time it refrained from issuing an election manifesto of its own and preferred to issue a joint manifesto in the name of the National Democratic Alliance over which it presides. As we have already pointed out in these pages, this manifesto was drafted by BJP leaders and that others may have just put their thumbs to it. But a far more important thing is that, in 1999 polls, the BJP promised to keep the contentious issues on the backburner --- the issues of temple, article 370 and common civil code. But the fact is that this was just a ploy to rope in other NDA parties. The last five years are a testimony to the fact that the BJP never cared for the sentiments of its allies, and went on doing what it wanted to do. Top BJP leaders are on record that they have not given up these issues, that they have only "postponed" them till they get a majority of their own. As for other NDA parties, they did not want to have any burden on their conscience, and it seems their conscience got clear when the said issues were kept out of the NDA manifesto! Now, they could afford to be aloof when Christians were subjected to attacks or Muslims were massacred in Gujarat. But this is what made the NDA manifesto just a trash. If the manifesto talked of "genuine secularism" and of "reaching out to the minorities" and protecting the rights the constitution has granted them, the last five years give enough testimony of how these words were put into practice. These five years of NDA rule, which was a de facto BJP rule, have indeed been a saga of deceit par excellence . TIME FOR THEM TO GO HAS COME AND the same deceit is being practised today in other forms. Here we will not go into the story of what the BJP led regime has done in these five years. The unprecedented burdens they heaped on the masses, the way they sacrificed our people's interests at various junctures, their surrender of our economic sovereignty inch by inch, the way they enacted POTA and other draconian legislations to rule by brute force, the way they tried to saffronise the whole set-up including the educational curricula and textbooks in order to produce a generation of fanatic storm-troopers and cannon fodders, their corruption scams one after another, and their willing capitulation to US imperialists on crucial issues --- all these are well known to our people and have been dealt with in these columns from time to time. Suffice it to say that independent India has never before witnessed a regime that has so unabashedly betrayed our national interests at the behest of its masters abroad. In fact, it is the shameful record of five years that forced the BJP to resort to a series of gimmicks, as it is doing today. While unfounded claims are being made about growth, development, job creation and road construction in the last five years, the plight of the mass of people has gone from bad to worse at the same time. People starved to death while the godowns were overflowing with grains. Per capita availability of grains has declined from 177 grams in 1993-94 to 153 grams a day, while grains are being exported at damn cheap prices to serve as chicken feed in the US and other western countries. Truly, the life of these chickens is more valuable than that of hapless Indians! Even today, an estimated 300 million Indians go without two square meals a day and some 5,000 of our children are dying of malnutrition related diseases everyday. Who would believe that India is today shining as never before! Do the BJP leaders believe it? Most probably not, otherwise they won't have felt the necessity of doling out sops to various segments of population. These gimmicks are perfectly in line with the deceit, the brigade's stock in trade. As an example of this deceit, one can well recall here how the Vajpayee regime hiked the petrol and diesel prices immediately after the last phase of polling in October 1999 was over, without waiting even for the poll results. But the political history of India, at least from 1977 onward, unmistakably testifies to the political maturity of our people who have overthrown one regime after another, caring a damn for the propaganda barrages let loose from time to time. Time for the BJP and its hankers-on to go has come. ROLE FOR SECULAR PARTIES THE BJP and NDA are putting up a brave face today, as every potential loser does. Sometimes they claim the NDA will corner no less than 340 Lok Sabha seats, and sometimes the claim is that the BJP alone will garner 300. The fact is that compared to 1998, the BJP did not get a single more seat in 1999, and it was only the TDP's outside support that enabled it to ride roughshod over the nation's destiny. But the BJP's allies simply remained mute spectators to the Gujarat massacre and attacks on Christians, to the saffronisation drive and to the sale of our national interests to foreign powers even when, by their sheer number, they could well have put a check on all these things. Today, if the BJP cares a hoot for its allies' sentiments when it is dependent on them, one may well surmise that it won't take a moment to show them the door if by chance it ever gets a majority on its own. Yet, the NDA parties too will have to answer to the masses for all the government's acts of omission and commission. Many of them have suffered erosions in their mass bases and six of them have already quit the motley combine called the NDA. As for non-NDA secular forces, the imperative is clear. They do realise that the coming election is not an ordinary election; rather the fate of the nation is itself in balance. True, there are serious differences between them on several issues. But one thing is clear as daylight: that the first and foremost necessity today is to save the nation and its secular character, its pluralistic ethos and syncretic culture --- things that are our basic identity. Policy differences have any meaning only if the nation remains. If the nation is lost, everything is lost. This is the understanding with which the non-NDA secular parties will join the coming electoral battle. As for the CPI(M), we are aware of the gravity of the situation, including the divisions in opposition ranks, and we well do whatever we can to see that the BJP and its allies are defeated. It is true that we have basic policy differences with the Congress, the main opposition party, and hence we cannot have a front with it. We are also of the opinion that if the Congress follows the same policies it had followed while in power, it can only go in favour of the saffron brigade, and hence we do ask the Congress to demarcate itself from the BJP on policy issues. But short of a front with the Congress, we are committed to prevent a division of anti-BJP votes. This is the most viable course today to defeat the BJP, which is, as our Central Committee said, "essential for the defence of secularism and federalism, for ensuring that India progresses on the basis of democracy, economic sovereignty and social justice." end
Posted by: Rudra Singha Feb 12 2004, 09:55 AM
Acharya, HK Surjeet is a rascal of the Nth order, I thought you knew that and posted it only as a expose into his filthy thought process.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Feb 12 2004, 10:13 AM
Varsha Bhosle wrote an article in rediff saying that when Jinnah demanded Pakistan in 1940, HK.Surjeet demanded Khalistan He is the first sikh to raise khalistan demand
Posted by: Viren Feb 13 2004, 03:29 AM,001300740000.htm tongue.gif
Posted by: acharya Feb 13 2004, 04:59 AM
QUOTE (Rudra Singha @ Feb 11 2004, 04:25 PM)
Acharya, HK Surjeet is a rascal of the Nth order, I thought you knew that and posted it only as a expose into his filthy thought process.
Yes, He is a rascal in cohorts with US scholars doing social experiments on Indian soceity. All the communists are like that. I posted it so that their venom comes out.
Posted by: Sriman Feb 13 2004, 06:45 PM
I find it ironic that HKS writes as if the RSS was opposed to J&K joining India. At the same time that the communists were supporting the Nizam, it was the RSS that actively defended many towns in the Jammu area and helped the Indian Army -- check out Madhok's book on Kashmir. (The history of communists in India is littered with support to foreigners -- beginning with the support of Soviets in WW-2 to China in the 1962 war. How do they get away with twisting history?)
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 14 2004, 03:14 AM
This is going to be interesting.. No matter what these dorks say - nobody can touch modi right now in guj. Unless... modi is headed towards Dilli.. wink.gif Will Vaghela go the Kalyan way? By Ashish Mehta, Indo-Asian News Service Ahmedabad, Feb 13 (IANS) Is just-ousted Gujarat Congress president Shankarsinh Vaghela all set to do a Kalyan Singh? Ever since Bharatiya Janata Party president M. Venkaiah Naidu declared that his party's doors were open for Vaghela, tongues have not stopped wagging in Gujarat. While both BJP and Congress sources are tight-lipped, they indicate that Vaghela seems to be exploring the possibilities of returning to the BJP, a party he first helped build up and then quit. Naidu reportedly declared in Mumbai Thursday that the doors were open if Vaghela chose to come back to the BJP fold. "Vaghela is marginalised in the Congress. Our doors are open if he chooses to come back," Naidu said. Comparisons are already being made with former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, who rejoined the BJP last week and is all set to lead the party in the most populous state in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Vaghela, originally an activist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP's political mentor, quit the BJP to launch his own group before joining the Congress. His effort to unseat the BJP in the December 2002 elections, however, backfired, and since then he has been at loggerheads with the traditional Congress veterans in the state. On Jan 31, he was forced to resign from the post of Congress state president following charges of factionalism in the wake of his controversial decision to form a volunteer corps called "Shakti Dal". What has given credibility to the mounting rumours of Vaghela's possible homecoming is his interaction with veteran BJP leader and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. Sources close to Vaghela confirmed the two leaders have had a few meetings. Political observers see an alliance between the two as an attempt to open a front against their common rival -- Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Notwithstanding Naidu's statement, observers say that Vaghela's re-entry would not be easy since Modi is sure to veto it. Most Congress leaders would, however, like to see the back of Vaghela - and soon. Former chief minister and opposition leader in the assembly, Amarsinh Chaudhari, has criticised Vaghela for allegedly being soft on Hindu nationalism and for promoting factionalism in the party. What tipped the scales against Vaghela was the rout suffered by the Congress in December 2002 when it won only 52 of the state's 182 seats. Congress stalwarts in Gujarat had been unhappy ever since Vaghela was made the state unit chief ahead of that election. Vaghela quit the BJP in 1996 when he was denied the chief minister's job. He first formed the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) and became the chief minister with Congress support in 1997. The RJP fared poorly in the 1998 assembly elections and Vaghela merged his party with the Congress.
Posted by: muddur Feb 15 2004, 02:31 AM
Lets see how the Congress party campaign goes and asks the people of India to vote back that party to power. Sonia is a widow of rajiv Gandhi. Sonia is DiL of Indira. Priyanka looks just like Indiramma. Rahul has the looks of Rajiv. Bofors scandal killed Rajiv. Indira did this Nehru did that ... ..... The saga continues ... I have never heard what the current leadership wants to achieve or do ..? It's a big question mark ... They neither talk any sense or growth ... People who aspire more and wants to achieve more, begin from the begining. They don't aim to rule the nation just based on their looks and family background alone .... Now see this guy Varun ... Varun was told rather than build a base under his mother Maneka’s shadow, it made “more sense” to come to the BJP. After Varun, Arif in queue,~Arif~in~queue~+]~-->
Posted by: Mudy Feb 15 2004, 03:47 AM
He is perhaps one of the most intelligent and political representatives of his generation and if he is groomed by us for five years, he will emerge as a promising third generation leader,” said a BJP office-bearer
This make sense.
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 15 2004, 03:57 AM
For, as far as I know, after the good Jawaharlal, the only Nehru dynasty scion to have received a degree, any degree in any subject from any college anywhere, is Feroze Varun Gandhi, some fifty or sixty years later. Doesn't this speak volumes about the dynasty's intellectual capabilities and diligence?
Posted by: acharya Feb 15 2004, 04:02 AM
Different, for now The BJP has remained relatively immune to the "dynasty disease". However, it has not hesitated to give the ticket to a party leader's relative if it thought he or she could win. Neena Vyas reports. IN 1996, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee first took the oath of office as Prime Minister, he appointed Ranjan Bhattacharya, husband of his foster daughter, as an Officer on Special Duty in the PMO. It immediately became a talking point in the Bharatiya Janata Party, but nothing much happened as the Government lasted just 13 days. Even at that time, some senior party leaders pointed out that what Mr. Vajpayee had done was "not done in the BJP." And sure enough, when he took oath as Prime Minister for the second time in 1998, no official appointment was given to Mr. Bhattacharya. The party "tradition," which strongly disfavoured any attempt to anoint relatives as political heirs, had won. Six years later, there is no doubt the BJP is one of the few parties in the country that remains comparatively unaffected by the "dynasty" virus, although there are many instances of wives or sons and daughters of its leaders being given the party ticket. The Jana Sangh, the previous avatar of the BJP, was born in the early 1950s as the political arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with a handpicked cadre. Till 1977 when it merged with the Janata Party, the Jana Sangh was completely controlled by the RSS. Many of the top leaders were RSS pracharaks — by definition bachelors and there was little scope for families getting involved. It was in 1980 that the BJP was born and since then, it has grown to become the largest party in the Lok Sabha. The malaise of "dynasty" has been creeping in — Vijayraje Scindia was all along a senior leader of the party and her daughter, Vasundhara Raje, is today the Chief Minister of Rajasthan; Finance Minister Jaswant Singh's son, Manvendra Singh, is now very much in politics. He contested the Barmer Lok Sabha seat and lost in 1999 and is hopeful of getting the party ticket again; the Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Vijay Goel, is the son of Chartilal Goel, who was a prominent name in the party's Delhi politics; the Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's son-in-law, Narpat Singh, is an MLA and a Minister in Rajasthan; and the party may try to cash in on the Kumaramangalam name in Tamil Nadu — after the death of P.R. Kumaramangalam, his sister was inducted into the BJP and could be given the party ticket depending on what constituencies are allotted to the BJP in the seat-sharing with the AIADMK. There are many more instances of people with political pedigree being accommodated. Cabinet Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is the son of Thakur Prasad who was at one time the BJP chief in Bihar; Anoop Mishra, nephew of Mr. Vajpayee, is a Minister in Madhya Pradesh and the Prime Minister's niece, Karuna Shukla, is BJP national secretary. And the party's prodigal son, Kalyan Singh, has already inducted his son, Rajvir Singh, into politics. This is by no means a complete list. One reason why the BJP has remained relatively immune from the "dynasty" disease is that till the resurgence of Mr. Vajpayee on the national scene, the party did not have a leader with a name it could exploit. The truth is that whenever the party has felt that a relative of a party leader could win a constituency, it has not hesitated to allot the party ticket. Like any other party, the BJP is in the power game. Finally, in a parliamentary democracy, a son or a daughter or any other relative may initially have an advantage. But they will have to prove their mettle by helping get the votes into the ballot boxes.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 15 2004, 11:49 PM
Communist party at work,~else...:~politician~threatens~reporter Monday February 16 2004 00:00 IST N Madhavan Kutty THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was around 3 on Saturday afternoon that I received on my mobile a call from Cantonment House, the official residence of Opposition Leader and CPM politburo member V S Achuthanandan. ``VS wants to talk to you,'' said someone and immediately connected him to me. The calling number was 0471-2318330. Our conversation went as follows: ``This is V S Achuthanandan,'' the voice was unmistakable. I was already surprised. First, we had not really talked to each other for quite a while. Second, a very important sitting of the CPM State Committee was still going on at the AKG Centre and it was an unearthly hour to get a call from a party politburo member involved in the thick of things at the closed-door session. ``Hello, comrade. Is there anything that I can do for you?'' I queried. He had no time for courtesies. ``I am calling you only because you are an old acquaintance. For sometime now, your newspaper has been running reports against me and my office. I have been ignoring it. But it has to stop. Otherwise, I have other remedies,'' he said. ``Comrade, I am sure you are talking about reports relating to the ongoing inner-party problems in your party. I did not find anything specially against you in them. As for your office, yes, I recollect a mention in a report about somebody from your office calling up some newspaper offices to provide a version of the discussions in the party committee on inner-party problems.'' `` All that is wrong. You should have verified the report before publishing it,'' he interrupted me. `` You have every right to think the report was wrong but where is the question of verification when well identified persons close to you are talking to journalists...'' Again he did not allow me to complete. `` I know you have some friends in our party. They are using you but it is you who is going to suffer by this,'' he said. I tried to explain to him about my friends and his party but he cut me short.`` I am giving you a warning,'' he said and hung up. Since V S Achuthanandan was clearly not interested in my response and the tele-conversation was not between personal friends or foes nor on any private matter, I am putting down in print what he did not want to hear in response to his threat. ``Sorry comrade, if you think you are going to deter me and the Express from doing our duty to the reading public, you are sadly mistaken. At the same time, be rest assured that your conduct is also not going to make us biased against you while discharging our journalistic duty. I only wish that it was not the Leader of the Opposition of my State at the other end of the line.'' I waited for the CPM State committee meeting to be over so that the publication of this report would not be used for internal party manoeuvres. It is published now because the matter concerns the basic tenets of democracy itself.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 16 2004, 10:08 PM Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 16, 2004 17:20 IST Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi -- the widow and son of Sanjay Gandhi, who was the virtual leader of the Congress party in the late 1970s -- joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday. The two were admitted into the party by BJP president Venkaiah Naidu at the party headquarters on Ashoka Road. The two had met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani before they were formally inducted into the party fold. "I have been part of the National Democratic Alliance and I contested as an independent for eight years," Maneka Gandhi after joining the party, "I won my seat four times and twice with a record margin. My party symbol remained the same and I believe in hard work coupled with honesty and dedication. These are my basic values." Speaking to the media after joining the BJP, Varun Gandhi, grandson of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and great-grandson of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, said, "Historically, my family has been part of the Congress and has led it through its most glorious era. I do believe, however, that what my family was true to was not a party but a value system, a tradition of self-sacrifice, national pride and independence of spirit. I consider joining and strengthening the BJP to be in the nation's best interest and, therefore, decided to do so." Asked if the person of foreign origin [becoming a prime minister, a reference to his aunt Sonia Gandhi] still remained the issue, Varun said it remained an issue but he would like to concentrate on other campaign issues. "The foreign origin is an issue but there are many other issues besides it that could be taken up during the poll campaign," he said. Asked if he would campaign against his first cousins, Rahul and Priyanka, if they contested the Lok Sabha elections, he replied, "I would try not to campaign against the family. I do not believe in attacking someone. I would only discuss the poll issues that include good governance and the leadership of Prime Minister Vajpayee. I will follow the principles of BJP." He brushed aside charges that he was joining a communal party. "If the BJP were a communal party then I would not join it. I have met Prime Minister Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Advani; they are liberal in their attitude, progressive, and forward looking persons," he insisted. Maneka Gandhi appealed to the media not to refer to Sonia Gandhi and her as bahus (daughters-in-law; referring to the time when both were daughters-in-law of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) any longer. "I have been in politics for a long time. I think we are far too old to be bahus. The time of remaining independent has long past and hence I thought of joining the BJP party which provides to us with an opportunity to work," she said. She refused to comment on the Ram temple dispute by saying that the media knows her views on the matter. Venkaiah Naidu denied that the BJP had split the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty with a view to gain political mileage and use Maneka Gandhi and her son against Sonia Gandhi and her two children to counter the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family. "We do not believe in splitting any dynasty," said Naidu, "They expressed their willingness to join BJP and we have accepted them within our party fold. We would utilize their services during the poll campaign. Varun in particular has appeal for the youth. I would appeal to the youth of India to join BJP in large numbers to ensure the victory of BJP and its alliance partners."
Posted by: Mudy Feb 16 2004, 10:41 PM,~Jeetendra~to~join~BJP By E Jayakrishnan in New Delhi The BJP is on a high-profile signing spree. After the much-publicised entry of Varun Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi into the BJP today, it is now the turn of cricketers and cine stars. Top BJP sources said Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Test cricketer-turned-commentator who's known for his obtuse one-liners or ‘Sidhuisms’, would be joining the BJP on Tuesday, afternoon. Also in the pipeline is the imminent entry of cinestars Suresh Oberoi and Jeetendra. While Oberoi’s formal induction is scheduled "in the next two days", `jumping Jack` Jeetendra’s entry is slated in the coming days. Former Union Minister Arif Mohammed Khan is also slated to join the BJP in the next two weeks. Khan was in the Congress but resigned over the Shah Bano issue and was a minister in the short-lived V P Singh government. Later he joined the BSP and was an MP from Bahraich in UP, but lost the 1999 Lok Sabha polls to the BJP candidate. As the BJP has a sitting candidate in Bahraich, a decision on his contesting the Lok Sabha polls as a BJP candidate has still not been clinched.
Posted by: muddur Feb 16 2004, 11:34 PM
Aunt Sonia not acceptable as PM: Varun New Delhi: Varun Gandhi on Monday said his aunt and Congress president Sonia Gandhi would not be acceptable to the country as the Prime Minister. However, the son of former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said he would not campaign against her or his cousins, Rahul and Priyanaka, in the Lok Sabha polls. Varun and his mother met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to tell him their decision to join the BJP. "I respect my aunt and my cousins and there is no question of criticising them. I will not speak against them," he said. "The foreign origin of my aunt is an issue but not the main issue. There are other issues also. The main issue would be the competence of the Prime Minister. We have to turn a developing country into a developed one." Varun, son of late Sanjay Gandhi, told Aaj Tak, he agreed that Sonia Gandhi would not be acceptable as the Prime Minister. In an interaction with mediapersons, Varun said: "Historically, my family has been part of the Congress and has led the party through the most glorious era. I do believe, however, that what my family was true to was not a party but a value system, a tradition of self-sacrifice, national pride and independent spirit. "Today, the nation is delicately poised. We can either continue on a path of social reform or we can return to populist policies and quick-fix solutions. specool.gif I do believe that this is the time for every right-thinking Indian to strengthen the party that has proven its ability to lead the country. I consider joining and strengthening the BJP to be in the nation's best interest and, therefore, my decision to do so," he said. Asked as to how he felt about his family members taking different directions in the polls, Varun said: "The situation was quite different 20 years ago...political thinking may differ... They are fine in the Congress and we will be in BJP." To a question as to what prompted him to decide to join BJP, he said the country needed experienced leaders, like Atal Behari Vajpayee and L K Advani.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 19 2004, 04:34 AM,001300740000.htm ROTFL.gif Press Trust of India February 18 Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi have some "serious" competition and BJP for its "feel good" slogan! Satirist Jaspal Bhatti on Wednesday literally stole NDA election mantra and launched his "Feel Good" party saying all he wants was to grab the power at the Centre at any cost "like the BJP and the Congress" by winning the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Confessing his love for power and Prime Ministership before the media, Bhatti said, "If the feel good factor is so popular as claimed by the NDA Government, then, we the Feel Good party hope to ride on its back and somehow come to power at the Centre." He also said in his party, the Prime Minister's post was reserved for the Bhatti family. It would go to him, and if he was not well, it would go to his son or grandchildren, but not to cousins or nephews, he said. ROTFL.gif Inspired by the "prevailing feel good factor," the noted comedian, however, proudly claimed that his party does not have any ideology and was open to stitching an alliance with the BJP and the Congress at the same time as "the goal to grab power is common between us." "Anyone who is feeling good with or without any reason can join our party. Even foreign origin is no issue. However, foreign currency is always welcome," he quipped and introduced Punjabi popstar Jassi to the reporters saying the singer had joined hands with him
Posted by: Mudy Feb 20 2004, 12:36 AM
Indira killer’s son bags ‘sacrifice’ prize OUR CORRESPONDENT Beant Singh Chandigarh, Feb. 18: Sarbjit Singh Khalsa, son of Indira Gandhi’s assassin Beant Singh, will contest the Lok Sabha polls on a Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) ticket from the Bhatinda (reserve) constituency. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) is headed by Simranjit Singh Mann, who had won the Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur in 1999. The creation of Khalistan is a major demand of the party. “We have decided to field Khalsa keeping in mind the sacrifices his family has made for a Sikh nation,” party general secretary Charan Singh confirmed over phone from Ludhiana. Khalsa’s father was one of the two assassins of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The party has decided to contest all 13 seats in Punjab. “We will have no alliance with any party as we believe that we have a good chance of winning some seats this time and putting pressure on the other parties, especially the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Parkash Singh Badal,” Singh added. Mann’s decision to field Khalsa stems from what the former IPS officer considers “overwhelming support” for the assassins of Indira Gandhi in Punjab. Khalsa is drawing crowds, especially in rural areas, where the Akalis are strong. In 1999, Bhatinda was won by the CPI which had contested the polls together with the Congress. Khalsa will be taken on a state tour to whip up anti-Congress feelings among Sikhs, especially in the rural areas. Mann, incidentally, had been getting feelers from Badal for an alliance to ensure that the Akali votebank did not split. The talks, however, failed. “How can there be any alliance without some seats being shared by two parties? Moreover, Badal has already announced the name of Union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from Sangrur, where Mann is the sitting candidate and has done a lot of work,” the party general secretary explained. Singh said the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)’s prospects were bright. “Badal is joining hands with everyone as he knows it will not be a cakewalk for him this time. He even readmitted Jagdev Singh Talwandi after throwing him out of the party a couple of years ago. Badal’s politics is harming the state and the Sikhs. Both he and chief minister Amarinder Singh have their own personal agendas. The state can go to ruins,” he said. Akali leaders of the Badal faction, however, said it was too early to jump to any conclusion over Mann’s refusal to join hands with them. “These are arm-twisting activities. Mann cannot join hands with the Congress as that would end his political career. Amarinder is feeling the heat as the Congress is not expected to win more than three seats and wants some Akali faction to join hands with him. With Mann announcing Khalsa’s name as the Bhatinda candidate, it has removed even the remote possibility of an alliance with the Shiromnani Akali Dal (Amritsar),” a Badal loyalist said. With the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bahujan Samaj Morcha merging, the Congress is seeking the BSP’s support in the polls. The BSP, however, has stated it would adhere to any alliance arrived at by the party at the national level. “It will be difficult in Punjab for the BSP to ally with the Congress mainly due to the treatment meted out to Mayavati by the Amarinder government when she wanted to visit Talhan during the riots last year,” a BSP leader said. Boost for Badal The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today said former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar and Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala will campaign for the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
Posted by: acharya Feb 20 2004, 07:30 AM
A manufactured image-----Praful Bidwai {Pak newspaper--THE NEWS- 19 Feb 04 The writer is one of India’s most widely published columnists. Formerly a Senior Fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, he is a winner of the Sean MacBride Prize for 2000 of the International Peace Bureau prafulbidwai1@y... On a visit to Pakistan last month, I was struck by the remarkably positive opinion that many otherwise critically minded liberals hold of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. He is routinely described as a "man of peace—-which, in a sense, he has been since the "hand-of-friendship" speech last April, although that couldn’t have been said during May 1998 or the January-to-October 2000 "Operation Parakram". He is even called a "statesman" and "visionary". This is at odds with secular and liberal perceptions of Vajpayee in India, where the Bharatiya Janata Party is building a massive personality cult around the man who might help it return to power. Vajpayee is the star feature of the Rs. 450-crore media blitz launched by the government to publicise its "achievements" through thousands of full-page advertisements and television slots. To hold a national election! The official advertisements are no more than the ruling alliance’s partisan campaign brochures. No other government has spent public money to this end so brazenly and so ostentatiously. It is impossible to open an Indian newspaper or switch on a TV channel without being forced to see Vajpayee’s face. Here, he is playing with children. There, he is with Adivasis (tribals) donning traditional colourful headgear. There are constantly replayed pictures of Vajpayee handling a computer mouse to inaugurate a new project. (It’s another matter that he’s computer-illiterate.) In the advertisements, Vajpayee always stands taller than ordinary mortals. He is invariably shown to be leading the nation by theatrically raising his right hand high and exhorting the people to rise and shine. Vajpayee is the inspiration not just behind the Golden Quadrilateral highway project, but behind such wondrous things as cellular telephones, helicopters, pensioners’ contentment, tractors, textbooks, call centres, tanks, missiles, women’s cricket, small-scale industries, petroleum exploration, new railway lines India’s school classrooms may or may not have a blackboard, sometimes not even a ceiling, but they must display a full-colour poster publicising the "Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan" (education-for-all project) with larger-than-life pictures of Education Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and (guess who?) Vajpayee. The message is clear: It’s to Vajpayee that India’s children owe their education-never mind that the SSA is desperately short of funds and primary education still eludes a third of all Indian children. India has an unfortunate recent history of hero-worship. For instance, Indira Gandhi after the Bangladesh War painted herself in a larger-than-life image. Her acolytes like the infamous D.K. Barooah sycophantically declared, "Indira is India." Vajpayee did one better by comparing her with goddess Durga, no less. But Vajpayee’s own deification today surpasses what happened during Congress rule. In the 1970s, public bombardment of Indira Gandhi’s image was largely confined to posters and the "Indian News Reel" mandatorily shown with every feature film. Now, Vajpayee is everywhere—-glorified as a superman, a kindly demigod, a miracle-maker—-not just someone who heads a 19-party (or has it dwindled to 17 now?) coalition. This spectacle of sycophancy is only slightly less crude than the personality cults around Adolph Hitler—-who too gave Germany the autobahn—-or Stalin and Mao Dzedong. Short of showing Vajpayee swimming across the Yamuna, his publicists in the Directorate of Audio-Visual Publicity have done everything! Their material has same admiring, adoring, adoring quality as Nazi sympathiser Leni Riefenstahl’s spectacular propaganda films on Hitler. The reality behind the magnified, glorified image is prosaic. Vajpayee is a mediocre leader without a coherent, leave alone grand, vision. His political career is chequered. Unlike, say, Nehru, or even Rajiv Gandhi and V.P. Singh, he has lost elections. His record as a young man is shabby. He played no role in the greatest social-political movement of his time, the Freedom Struggle. Indeed, during the "Quit India" agitation, when tens of thousands went to jail, he sought amnesty for himself by swearing to the colonial authorities: "I have done no damage" (to the state). Vajpayee was a loyal swayamsevak, who served as a secretary to another mediocre Hindutva leader, Deendayal Upadhyay. The Jana Sangh was a minor party until 1977, with 30 to 50 Lok Sabha seats (total strength 545). It got a break thanks to the Emergency, during which many Sangh leaders were arrested—although they were not active in the protests against the suspension of civil and political rights. The Jana Sangh was allowed to merge with the Janata Party, which rode an anti-Congress wave and romped to victory. A lucky Vajpayee became Foreign Minister. His tenure was undistinguished, its only notable features being the secret visit to India by Israel’s Moshe Dayan and the rebuff delivered by China to India during Vajpayee’s 1979 visit there—by launching an armed attack on Vietnam. The Janata regime collapsed on the "dual membership" issue: the former Jana Sanghis were not prepared to swear exclusive loyalty to the Janata. Vajpayee, their leader, refused to cut the umbilical cord with the RSS. This was hardly "visionary". When he became Prime Minister in 1998, Vajpayee pursued a highly personalised style, creating the Prime Minister’s Office as a parallel power-centre. His first important decision, to conduct the nuclear tests, was taken outside the Cabinet, in dark secrecy and at the RSS ’s behest. The Defence Minister got to know about them on May 11, 1998. The PMO has since become an unaccountable source of enormous power, which interferes in appointments, postings and contracts, especially in the economic ministries. It has increasingly acted under the not-so-benign influence of Vajpayee’s adopted son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharjee, and certain well-known Big Business houses. Vajpayee pursues double standards. He has failed to rise above narrow, partisan Hindutva. During the 1998 election campaign, he declared he wouldn’ t contest an election after five years. He is doing just that. He said the BJP would never split other parties. It did just that with the Janata Dal, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Lok Dal. The BJP promised probity and principled conduct. But under Vajpayee, it entered into thoroughly unprincipled alliances with parties with which it shares nothing. The BJP is more deeply mired in corruption than any other party. Vajpayee has never disowned Hindu-communal issues like the Ayodhya temple, Article 370 (pertaining to Kashmir’s status) or a uniform personal law. He has declared that the thoroughly sectarian Ayodhya temple agitation was a "national movement". His September 2000 "always-a-swayamsevak" speech in New York was of a piece with this. Vajpayee seemingly distances himself from Hindutva hardliners only under pressure.Vajpayee recently faced two tests: over the "Tehelka" expose of corruption in defence deals, and the Gujarat pogrom. He failed both. He reinducted George Fernandes into the Cabinet when he was not cleared by an inquiry. And he refused to bring Narendra Modi to heel. He first made disapproving noises about the Gujarat killings. Within days, he was back at Muslim-bashing. Modi became a BJP hero. Vajpayee behaved disgracefully over Gujarat. He has since failed to redeem himself in any way. A man who refuses to take a stand against the state-sponsored butchery of his fellow-citizens cannot be a "statesman" or a "secular liberal". Vajpayee’s image is a grotesque distortion of reality.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 20 2004, 09:45 AM
Nalwa, Acharya is posting messages, so that other can understand what Islamist and anti Hindus are thinking. "Before challenging your enemy understand your enemy". Victory will be yours. -Mudy
Posted by: Kaushal Feb 20 2004, 09:46 AM
Nalwa, there is no place for personal attacks in this forum. Pl. refrain from such accusations and delete the message.
Posted by: Nikhil Feb 20 2004, 11:09 AM
Oye "Acharya" Be honest
And i think that Acharya is very pro hindu, probably somehow related to RSS or influenced by them, or atleast agree with them mostly! LOL
Posted by: acharya Feb 20 2004, 11:16 AM
QUOTE (Nalwa @ Feb 19 2004, 03:43 PM)
Oye "Acharya"
Take it easy Nalwa, I am not from the secular camp. The reason is to bring out those important article from the psec crowd which are trying to create news out of it and understand their slander. -- We are monitoring the number of articles from the psec crowd everywhere. After the last assembly elections lot of websites of the psec crowd has stopped/closed and the number of articles are less. THey are strategizing and they are coming up with something BIG. This is what I am trying to find out. HOW BIG AS BIG AS TO BRING CONTROVERSY ON BJP OR HIGH LEVEL LEADERS SO THAT BJP chance in the election is reduced. THey are waiting for something and I dont know what it is.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 20 2004, 11:25 AM,00050001.htm Repetiton of same old ritual. This panel want to visit during Gujarat election also. Now again before Lok Sabha election. At this moment, US religious group along with FOIL and Archbishop Dayal are cooking something.
Posted by: Nikhil Feb 20 2004, 11:35 AM
And wut we r doing? waiting helpless for their offense?? Why we are so defensive in nature when it comes to create mass propanganda like FOIL etc do. Any link minded here thinking of something which is possible and could be organized and executed!!!
Posted by: muddur Feb 20 2004, 02:26 PM
QUOTE (Nalwa @ Feb 20 2004, 09:13 AM)
Oye "Acharya" furious.gif You always post anti BJP, anti Hindu type messages. I also noticed your last 2 posts on the Boundaries of Islamism thread on BRF were very pro islamist. Are you a Paki pretending to be a Hindu or just a pseudo-secular Kaangress (islami) , Hindu hating, muslim loving @#**& Be honest
I don't know how people try to come to certain conclusions with out understanding the matter clearly ! thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: fanne Feb 20 2004, 09:11 PM
Ok ji can the irrelevant data be deleted.
Posted by: acharya Feb 20 2004, 10:18 PM
Please remove the curses from this thread.
Posted by: muddur Feb 21 2004, 03:41 AM
KS not happy with Varun G. Mad about Sanjay, mad at his son Khushwant Singh aghast that Varun Gandhi went to BJP
Posted by: Mudy Feb 21 2004, 10:14 AM February 19, 2004 How does the Congress (I) counter the Bharatiya Janata Party strategy of making 'Sonia Gandhi versus Atal Bihari Vajpayee' the theme of the coming general election? If my sources are correct, the party is planning to play the 'Renunciation Card.' In other words, at a suitably timed point during the campaign, Sonia Gandhi shall announce that she is removing herself as a candidate for the prime ministership of India! Why should she do so? The answer is that she might not have any other choice. The Congress (I) president¹s coterie dreams of coming back to power in Delhi on the strength of an absolute majority (something which last happened in 1984). Second on the list is the hope of forming a government headed by Sonia Gandhi. A distant third is the creation of a non-BJP ministry with just about anybody as prime minister. Quite frankly, the third one is the most realistic of the lot. Or, more accurately, it is the least unrealistic! The first choice is utterly impossible. Let us go back to the general election of 1998, the one precipitated when the Congress (I), for the second time in less than two years, withdrew support from a United Front government. That was the first occasion when Sonia Gandhi came out to campaign for her party. She evidently believed that Sitaram Kesri, then president of the party, lacked any ability to draw votes. The result was that the party got a little over 140 seats in the Lok Sabha (just about what Narasimha Rao achieved in 1996). Nevertheless, this proved enough for the Congress (I) to throw the aged Kesri into the dustbin. Sonia Gandhi became the president in name as well as in fact. The result, in the 1999 general election, astounded everyone as the Congress (I) went on to register its worst performance ever, losing almost 30 seats. The Indian electorate, one might conclude, was simply not prepared to entrust power to someone of foreign origin. (I am not debating the merits of the case, merely pointing out that the sentiment exists.) The second desire -- a coalition led by Sonia Gandhi -- is looking increasingly remote; who is prepared to back Sonia Gandhi even in the unlikely event that some kind of an anti-BJP majority can be cobbled together in the next Lok Sabha? The Left Front -- which has to play a major part in the proposed coalition -- is utterly unenthusiastic; Somnath Chatterjee, leader of the CPI-M in the Lok Sabha, has proposed Dr Manmohan Singh instead. I never thought I would see the day when a Marxist proposed that name as the ideal prime minister, but that is what Sonia Gandhi has achieved! There could be another reason why Sonia Gandhi will attempt a bid for the spotlight by announcing her decision to take sanyasa -- Bofors. I know the Delhi high court has announced that Rajiv Gandhi was innocent of wrongdoing, but will that truly be the last word on the subject? In Sweden, where the news of the scandal first burst, a man named Sten Lindstrom is preparing to break his silence. For the benefit of those who don¹t remember the fine details of the Bofors case, Lindstrom was the chief investigator at the Swedish end. Rumour has it that he is insisting that the investigation should now focus on just one aspect -- the friendship between the First Family of the Congress (I) and Ottavio Quattrocchi. If this true, Sonia Gandhi certainly needs something to counter the effect of this explosion. And what could be better than a fine piece of theatre in the form of a 'renunciation'? Congress strategists hope there will be another fallout from the announcement. Antagonism to the 'foreign born' Sonia Gandhi has brought several allies such as Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalithaa into the BJP camp. If she removes herself from the scene, would this not unleash hitherto concealed ambitions in the hearts of powerful regional chieftains? "It shall," one Congress insider predicts, "be a Deve Gowda-type situation in the 14th Lok Sabha!" Well, we all recall how the Deve Gowda and I K Gujral regimes came to an end, don¹t we? And somehow I think the Indian voter is a bit too crafty to fall for the same trap again. Especially so when he suspects that there will be some fine print at the bottom of the 'renunciation' statement; something on the lines of Sonia Gandhi being willing to sacrifice her own feelings '³if the people so want'! It is a truly crazy situation. The campaign has not yet been launched as I write, but the biggest weapon in the Congress (I) armoury is the threat to withdraw its leader!
Posted by: muddur Feb 21 2004, 11:46 PM
Let us build India through Indians: Varun Mumbai, Feb. 21 (PTI): Days after saying that the foreign origin of his aunt and Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, was not the main issue before the country, newly-inducted BJP member Varun Gandhi, in a veiled attack today asked the people to "establish an India which is of Indian, for Indian and through Indian". Taking part in his first public function after joining the party on Monday last, to felicitate BJP State President Gopinath Munde, on completing 25 years in politics and his contribution to the party, Varun said under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's leadership India has achieved tremendous progress which is being appreciated worldwide. He said Vajpayee had assured that he would provide us a stable Government during the last elections and now he has proved it. The country was going through several problems before Vajpayee took over as Prime Minister and he has been able to manage most problems as there is development in every field. He asked those banking on minority votes, what they had given to the minorities apart from hunger, unemployment and other problems. He appealed to the minority community to join the BJP as the party and its leaders have the biggest of hearts, he said. There had been less communal riots during Vajpayee's rule as compared to other Governments.
Posted by: muddur Feb 21 2004, 11:54 PM
If you cannot beat them, JOIN them ! Saturday, February 21, 2004 (Bhopal): Laxman Singh, brother of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh today openly came out against the Congress leadership. He claimed that Congress President Sonia Gandhi could never become the Prime Minister because of her foreign origins. He also indicated that he would be joining the BJP in a few days. The move is likely to even further embarrass the Congress in the state as Laxman has won three Lok Sabha elections on the Congress ticket from Rajgarh in MP. "The Congress will have to understand the reality. I have spoken to senior BJP leaders and all of them have been very nice to me," said Laxman, Congress MP. Digvijay embarrassed Owing to Laxman's decision, one of Madhya Pradesh's foremost political families is set to part ways. While Digivjay is handling the Congress campaign in several states, Laxman has decided to join the BJP. For Digivjay, who is still recovering from the party's debacle in Madhya Pradesh in the assembly elections, Laxman's rebellion is a major embarassment. "It is regrettable. If he joins the BJP it will be sad. How else do you explain the move of a person who till the other day was campaigning against the Sangh parivar?" said Digvijay. In the last one month, people from all fraternities have joined the BJP and Laxman Singh will now be joining the same league.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 21 2004, 11:56 PM Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 21, 2004 16:04 IST Last Updated: February 21, 2004 17:00 IST What does it indicate when a senior Congress politician invites a group of journalists to her house and spends all the time praising Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and mouthing lines that are music to the Bharatiya Janata Party's ears? Well, with the general election just over a month away, it can only indicate one thing. This politician is all set to join the BJP. That's exactly what the rumour mills in the capital are saying. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah may soon join the party she has spent a lifetime fighting. Heptullah invited a group of Urdu journalists to her house on Wednesday to brief them about her recent trip to Pakistan to attend a summit of 'first ladies' of the Regional Steering Committee, Asia-Pacific Region. The prime minister nominated Heptullah to attend the summit because both he and President A P J Abdul Kalam are bachelors. The Urdu press has been full of reports recently indicating that Heptullah has made up her mind to join the BJP. The fact that she was made India's 'first lady', even if for a few days, only strengthened these reports. All through her interaction with the journalists, Heptullah hardly said a word about the Congress or its leader, Sonia Gandhi. On the contrary, she was full of praise for Vajpayee and his 'statesmanship'. The only time she mentioned the Congress was when she recalled a cricket match between members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. "I bowled [former prime minister P V] Narasimha Rao with the first ball. His bat was somewhere and his dhoti somewhere," she said with a wicked smile. The real shock came when she began talking about the Ayodhya controversy. "Urdu journalists will have to play a crucial role in changing the mindset of the Muslim community," she said amid protests from the reporters. "[A] mandir already exists in Ayodhya." thumbup.gif According to close aides of Heptullah, it is just a matter of time before the Congress loses another senior leader to the BJP.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 21 2004, 11:59 PM
In Sweden, where the news of the scandal first burst, a man named Sten Lindstrom is preparing to break his silence. For the benefit of those who don¹t remember the fine details of the Bofors case, Lindstrom was the chief investigator at the Swedish end. Rumour has it that he is insisting that the investigation should now focus on just one aspect -- the friendship between the First Family of the Congress (I) and Ottavio Quattrocchi
Reason behind this ?,001300740000.htm Press Trust of India Allahabad, February 21 Setting at rest speculation, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday ruled out her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra entering electoral politics. "There is nothing like that," she told reporters here when asked about the possibility of her children contesting the coming Lok Sabha polls. Gandhi refused to take further questions on the issue. Good riddance
Posted by: muddur Feb 22 2004, 12:00 AM
MP BJP leaders to oppose Laxman Singh's entry Press Trust of India Rajgarh, February 21 Amid reports that former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's younger brother Laxman Singh is all set to join BJP, the saffron party leaders in Rajgarh on Saturday said they would oppose any such move tooth and nail. Protesting possible entry into BJP of Laxman Singh, who represented Rajgarh in the dissolved Lok Sabha, district BJP president RM Nagar and several of his supporters set out to Bhopal to meet the state party leadership there. Protesting possible entry into BJP of Laxman Singh, who represented Rajgarh in the dissolved Lok Sabha, district BJP president RM Nagar and several of his supporters set out to Bhopal to meet the state party leadership there. Describing as 'improper and inappropriate' any move to admit Laxman Singh into the party, Nagar said, "we will register our opposition to his (Laxman Singh's) joining BJP with the state party leadership in Bhopal." He claimed that BJP leaders and workers in the entire Rajgarh parliamentary constituency are opposed to Singh's likely entry into the party. Nagar said he along with other BJP leaders from the area would also meet Chief Minister Uma Bharti, besides state party president Kailash Joshi, organising secretary Kaptan Singh Solanki and others to convey 'our sentiments' to them. To a query, he said if necessary they would also resign from the party en mass.
Posted by: muddur Feb 22 2004, 12:04 AM
WHO CAN LAUNCH A NEGETIVE CAMPAIGNING AGAINST INDIA ? Indian cannot but an Italian can ..... thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif Cong. launches 'India cheated' campaign
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 22 2004, 12:44 AM
oh dear... ROTFL.gif Is the 'first lady' joining the BJP? Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 21, 2004 16:04 IST Last Updated: February 21, 2004 17:00 IST What does it indicate when a senior Congress politician invites a group of journalists to her house and spends all the time praising Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and mouthing lines that are music to the Bharatiya Janata Party's ears? Well, with the general election just over a month away, it can only indicate one thing. This politician is all set to join the BJP. That's exactly what the rumour mills in the capital are saying. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptullah may soon join the party she has spent a lifetime fighting. Heptullah invited a group of Urdu journalists to her house on Wednesday to brief them about her recent trip to Pakistan to attend a summit of 'first ladies' of the Regional Steering Committee, Asia-Pacific Region. The prime minister nominated Heptullah to attend the summit because both he and President A P J Abdul Kalam are bachelors. The Urdu press has been full of reports recently indicating that Heptullah has made up her mind to join the BJP. The fact that she was made India's 'first lady', even if for a few days, only strengthened these reports. All through her interaction with the journalists, Heptullah hardly said a word about the Congress or its leader, Sonia Gandhi. On the contrary, she was full of praise for Vajpayee and his 'statesmanship'. The only time she mentioned the Congress was when she recalled a cricket match between members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. "I bowled [former prime minister P V] Narasimha Rao with the first ball. His bat was somewhere and his dhoti somewhere," she said with a wicked smile. The real shock came when she began talking about the Ayodhya controversy. "Urdu journalists will have to play a crucial role in changing the mindset of the Muslim community," she said amid protests from the reporters. "[A] mandir already exists in Ayodhya." According to close aides of Heptullah, it is just a matter of time before the Congress loses another senior leader to the BJP.
Posted by: muddur Feb 22 2004, 05:01 AM
Kuldip Nayar: Communist speed bump on Vajpayee road to voters
Posted by: acharya Feb 22 2004, 01:42 PM
Paswan to ally with RJD, Congress By Our Staff Correspondent PATNA, FEB. 21. The Lok Janshakti Party president, Ramvilas Paswan, today announced his decision to ally with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar and Jharkhand to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Addressing the national congress, where he was re-elected the party president, Mr. Paswan strengthened his party through a merger and an induction and staked claim to fight five of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar. It was for the first time that Mr. Paswan aligned himself with the RJD and named the five constituencies that his party intended to contest. He underlined the need to take all together to save the country from the poisonous fangs of the BJP. He would be joining hands with the RJD supremo, Laloo Prasad Yadav, after a gap of over seven years. The Independent MP in the dissolved Lok Sabha, Rajesh Ranjan, alias, Pappu Yadav, merged his party formally and the Independent MLA, Suraj Bhan Singh, named in several murder cases, too joined the LJP. While Mr. Paswan and his brother, Ram Chandra Paswan, would be contesting once again from Hajipur (SC) and Rosera (SC) constituencies respectively, Mr. Pappu Yadav was likely to shift from Purnia to Madhepura and take on the Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Sharad Yadav. Mr. Paswan made it clear that Mr. Pappu Yadav would fight from Madhepura only if the RJD chief, Laloo Prasad Yadav, did not contest the seat. The LJP staked claim on the Balia seat for Suraj Bhan Singh and the Munger seat for its state unit chief, Narendra Singh. If the grapevine is to be believed the LJP may find favour with the RJD chief on most of these five seats. Political sources maintained that the RJD chief had already sounded Pappu Yadav regarding the Madhepura seat. The highlight of his speech was that he defended the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, while running down the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Mr. Paswan said that it was ridiculous to raise the foreign origin issue emphasising the fact that she had not hankered for power which could have easily been grabbed after the assassination of her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991 riding on the sympathy wave, unlike Mr. Vajpayee. Mr. Paswan regarded the BJP's claim of winning 300-plus seats as building castles in the air. While eight parties had quit the NDA, some of its other allies were fighting with their backs to the wall. He claimed that it would be impossible for the BJP and its allies to retain 33 seats in Bihar and 12 in Jharkhand. They would not cross the double-digit figure in the two States put together. The LJP leader also pulled up the BJP for relying on English slogans. "It is India which is shining and not Bharat," he said, stressing that only two percent of the English speaking population were making hay at the cost of the 98 per cent of the toiling masses in the country. AGP not to join Sangma-backed NEPF By Sushanta Talukdar GUWAHATI, FEB. 21. The Opposition Asom Gana Parishad in Assam today turned down a proposal by the P.A. Sangma-backed North-East People's Forum (NEPF) to join it but stressed the need for having a permanent platform of regional parties in the North-East. The NEPF proposal was made by its convenor and Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, during a meeting with the AGP president, Brindaban Goswami, here this morning. Mr. Goswami, who hosted the breakfast meeting, later said the AGP had reservations about joining the NEPF because of the Forum's association with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Goswami also turned down another proposal by Mr. Rio to use the NEPF as the "launch pad" for a permanent platform of the parties in the region. "The NEPF was formed hurriedly to achieve electoral gains rather than building it up as a common platform of regional parties to fight for common issues. Moreover, the BJP, which is an ally of the NEPF, has already announced that it does not want any electoral alliance with us. So how can we agree to join the NEPF?" Mr. Goswami asked. He, however, said his party had expressed its willingness to have a permanent platform after identifying all the common political and socio-economic problems of the region and formulating a proper agenda instead of merely confining to electoral alliances. Mr. Rio, who left for New Delhi later in the day, is expected to discuss with the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, sharing of seats between the BJP and the NEPF for the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the eight north-eastern States, including Sikkim. The NEPF convener, however, described the "discussion with the AGP president as fruitful." During the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the AGP drew a blank while the BJP won two seats against 10 seats won by the Congress. Two seats were won by independents. Printer friendly page
Posted by: acharya Feb 23 2004, 04:12 AM
This is the first attack on ABV now/ Keep a watch ABV: ANYONE BUT VAJPAYEE I.K.Shukla --------------------------------------------- Electioneering has begun with raucous howls. Slogans coined now will be as ingenious and numerous as sops showered by the ruling cabal. Venkaiah Naidu has shown a certain kind of fertility in the matter, even outdoing the professional hacks on occasions. And, Vajpayee, inured to fiscal irresponsibility, partisan demagoguery, and invidious deception, quite in the nick of time before the LS polls, just announced the merger of 50% of the D.A. with the basic salary of central government employees. The million-strong minions and muckamucks of babudom can now be relied upon, with this bonanza in their kitty, to perform and deliver for the BJP with extra zeal. That is how incumbency is rightfully affirmed to be coeval with 50% victory for those in the electoral arena. BJP and its piratical partners in the ignoble NDA (No Democracy Again) must be thrown out by the electorate nationwide if the nation is to be saved both from ignominy as a political entity and from total destruction as a society. BJP has really been unique, “a party with a difference”. And it requires quite a heavy dossier fully to recount its record of pyramids of crimes and corruptions, of its staggering swamp of swindles, scandals, and savageries, of its dens and dungeons of violence and villainy. And, this task need not be left just to the political parties opposing BJP. It is incumbent on scholars and honest journalists to bear witness to an extremely inglorious and inordinately brutal period of modern Indian history. This evil must not go unrecorded, this history must not be left to be garbled and varnished by the saffron hucksters. From domestic to foreign policies the roster of BJP misdeeds has repeatedly asserted NDA: No Democracy Again, No Democracy At All. This, calculated only to repudiate thoroughly and annihilate totally the Gandhi-Nehru legacy in the formation and founding of post-Independence India. “RSS is my soul” Vajpayee is in the front rank of this anti-national, anti-people, anti-minorities enterprise. He, with his cohort, is the magnet for all the reactionary, rightist, and repressive forces and impulses both at home and abroad. He is perfectly insidious, bovinely insouciant. In egregious defiance of the Constitution’s principles and in utter contempt of its postulates, Vajpayee has played a leading role overtly and covertly in making religion (as a terrorist cult) the directive dogma of the state. He has done his very best as an RSS volunteer in khaki shorts to promote and entrench the ideology of exclusivist hatred and indiscriminate violence against Muslims and Christians, against Dalits and Adivasis. And, with generous support from the commercial media, he has got away with it all by boldly pretending otherwise, by brazenly posturing as “liberal” (whatever it may mean in the media lingo). The Vajpayee who, as a reaction to communal holocaust in Gujarat, could think not of redressing the iniquity and savagery perpetrated on Muslims, but of a “national debate on conversion” is not the Prime Minister India needs. Let him be the permanent PM of RSS. To entrust the nation to such a morally obtuse man would be no less than obscene treason, declaring open season for several more in the endless series of ethnic genocides. . It is the amoral and mercantile media that invested Vajpayee with a mask and plastered it with several layers of teflon. It could not be otherwise, because it is the tycoons and business barons, so-called business houses, that own the media, who have to appear malleable both ideologically and expediently. The benefits spread both ways. Big Money has always been hands in glove with fascists of all stripes and hues. Can Congress be credited with having woken up to the reality even so late as now? I have serious doubts despite its belated and tawdry concession on the questions of leadership and alliances. But why did it take it so long to see the blazing light of day? And, has it tried to shape itself around an issue-oriented ideology different from that of the saffron hatchet-wielders, nation’s auctioneers, and subhuman theo-terrorists? The answer would seem to be a very emphatic, though highly disappointing, NO. The ploy of Sonia and her children making the round of temples is not very reassuring as far as the minorities are concerned. If it is meant to appeal to the majoritarian (Hindu) vote bank, they could not be more wrong. They are thus reinforcing and legitimating the induction of religion as the guiding light of the state. They are unwittingly agreeing to be guided by the (A)dharm Sansad of the VHP, the unelected council of the pseudo-religious, which is supporting the vigilante violence against and severe marginalization of the minorities. It is like succumbing to the Guardians’ Council in Iran, an unelected body, superseding and overriding the legislature and executive which has brought it to a crucial impasse threatening the nation with disorder and division. As to foreign policy. The abandonment of Non-Aligned Movement and its principles in toto (India having been among its founding fathers) by the payees and panders of Hindutva has brought India worldwide infamy and irreversible insignificance in no small measure. New Delhi is today seen to be the vassal outpost and servitor surrogate of imperial interests in South Asia, threatening the sovereignty and security of adjacent regions– Central Asia, and West Asia, besides South Asia. India has thus alienated several countries and become suspect as a strategic station or a materiel warehouse of foreign, imperial warlords. Congress has by and large acquiesced in this sell out, as it did in the matter of BJP’s theo-terrorism. By not countering it vigorously and visibly the Congress emboldened this bloody enterprise geared to garnering votes and intimidating dissenters. It never declared itself against intrusion of religion in the affairs of state. It never announced strongly and unambiguously that it would not countenance construction of a temple in Ayodhya which could ignite communal flares all over the country as it would amount to adding communal insult to the collective injury of demolition of the mosque in 1992. Nor did it distance itself from the cow, the liberalization (cause of suicides of several hundreds), the privatization (loot of national resources by foreign and domestic “liberals”). Its own Manmohan Singh and Jairam Ramesh were the first buglers and choral singers of this colonial conquest. Has it any different economic blueprint for India other than that dictated and designed by the corporate robbers huddled in the secretive boardrooms of IMF, WB, WTO in the barricaded hideouts of inaccessible islands and outlandish resorts? No, none at all. There too it follows the BJP dispensation of national surrender and submergence in the swamp of neocolonialism called globalism in a weird travesty of word and meaning. Congress keeps mouthing inanities, repeating the chants made statutorily sacrosanct and schismaticaly stentorian by the Hindutva peonage. Has Congress come up with any progressive plan, radically restructuring the status quo in terms of distributive justice for the millions? No. It too believes that the Adivasi Assertion, Dalit Dissent, and landless labourers’ lament for a place in the sun - all of it can and should be crushed militarily by the forces of “law and order” to maintain the age-old injustices and perpetuate the anciently paralyzing inequalities. This devotion to (A)dharma seems infectious. And yet, I plead for BJP’s, and its NDA partners’ total overthrow and electoral eclipse. The reason is not very abstruse: India is far larger and more valuable than Congress or BJP. It is to save India and spare it the humiliation of degradation and infamy of disintegration that the patriotic and democratic forces of the land should band together to purge it of the scourge that BJP embodies, the scum that the saffros represent. It has countless names, all its synonyms: RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh etc. etc., something like Sahasra Nam (one thousand names, of some deities). This malevolent octopus is both terribly venomous and of very wide outreach. Can we expect the so-called “civil society” and the NGOs to join us massively in mounting a mega challenge to the forces of death, darkness, destruction, and despoliation represented by the saffros? Realistically speaking, NO. The civil society, conceptually, is deemed several notches above the rabble, the common multitude, that serves and sustains the nation by producing its wealth. In a spurt of generosity, once in a while, it can offer sympathy, with or without tea, to the rabble. Since it is civil, it has to be above and apart. Remember the Civil Lines in our cities when the Britons ruled us? As to NGOs, many (if not all) having their major funds from abroad, can dance only to the tune ordained by the piper. For them to do something so radical as to demand equity and equality for the downtrodden millions, deprived over aeons, would be unimaginable, their goodwill notwithstanding. They are not being funded to advocate radical ruptures. True to their assigned role, they contain mass discontent and forestall revolt, by appearing to meliorate its misery. That is why they so stridently espouse the identitarian politics which inhibits massive mobilization, larger unity, and splits people into various identity islands, insulated, incommunicado. In summation I pick up just a few out of hundreds of instances of the fascistic effrontery that BJP and its kin have conspicuously unconscionably inflicted on the nation. This, just to illustrate the ramifications of right wing criminality, or as Aijaz Ahmad calls it, “the Cultures of Cruelty” (On Communalism and Globalization: Offensives of the Far Right, Three Essays, New Delhi, 2002, p 65-94). The hounding by the dogs of Hindutva of Mallika Sarabhai, the eminent danseuse and cultural activist based in Ahmedabad. Modi and his government of gangsters have been harassing her, not for defalcation of any funds as put forth by the goons and their cretins in the media, but for having filed the first PIL against Gujarat government on the atrocities it committed on Muslims. In tandem, recall the documentary of Rakesh Sharma The Final Solution, or an earlier one by another documentary maker, Aakrosh. The Bombay-based Censor Board did its damnedest to bar Aakrosh from public screening in India or abroad. The Final Solution just won two very prestigious awards in Germany for its content exposing the tragedy of the pogrom in Gujarat. But the state (Lab of Hindu Rashtra) and central governments (Akhand Bharatis) did their meanest most to keep it canned. And they nearly succeeded. The last example of their meanness and barbarity is especially poignant since it relates to a well known scholar-activist, Baren Ray, who died in Delhi on 25 Jan. 04. Ray had spent years on an invaluable research project that took him to London: Quarterly Survey 1937-47. The matter was so sensitive that the Brits ordered all copies in India destroyed at the time. Only when British govt. declassified the material in 1977, it could be possible for Ray to see it and prepare printouts from the microfilm. He readied the manuscript for publication and submitted it to the Ministry of Home Affairs. But his repeated pleas to the Ministry to release it or publish it failed.(Mainstream, New Delhi, Feb.7, 2004). Thus a publicly funded research on a critical period of our history was consigned to oblivion by the intellectual vermin. It would require no special genius to ask and answer why: it would have stripped bare and uncovered the unsavory conduct of treason and turpitude that the Sanghis were guilty of at a time when the nation was struggling for its freedom. If it is not afraid or ashamed of its role, whether then or in Gujarat 2002, why is BJP suppressing this invaluable research or the film documentaries? If, as it says, it is proud of its glorious (read, dark and diabolic) deeds, let this glory be widely diffused. It is such crimes, daily piling in a horrendous heap, that have to be stopped for they thwart freedom at every level. For this reason, for this choking of creativity and imagination, for this national betrayal, for this regression to a barbaric regimen of ignorance and lack of civic culture, BJP and its NDA partners stand accused and condemned. Such ones are the remorseless and ruthless enemies of reason, humanity, and the nation. Let us get rid of them wholesale and for ever. We may never get another chance. The future of India rides on this Lok Sabha election. We ill afford taking it lightly. 20Feb.04
Posted by: Mudy Feb 23 2004, 07:21 AM
Typical Commie article, everything wrong is happening in India. 8.9 growth rate, literacy level, 1984 riots, unemployment level, standard of living. According to commies it can be changed if Hindus stop practising Hinduism, activate NAM-defunct, let Hindus get killed my muslims in trains, 2% growth rate, increase in poverty, increase in illiteracy and failed public sector.
Posted by: muddur Feb 23 2004, 07:00 PM Sonia fails to dissuade Khan from joining BJP New Delhi, Feb. 23 (PTI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi's efforts to dissuade Arif Mohammad Khan from joining the BJP failed today with the former Union Minister saying that he has already made up his mind to campaign for the saffron party in the coming elections. He held the Congress "responsible" for "communalising" politics. smile.gif "Gandhi is the President of a national party and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. She had invited me for a cup of tea and I accepted it as I do not want to mix personal relations with politics," Khan told reporters after meeting Gandhi at her residence. The Congress President is understood to have told Khan, a Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi Government, to reconsider his decision to join the BJP, stressing the need for unity of secular forces to take on divisive forces in the coming polls. Khan is said to have expressed his views on the issue saying he had waited for 16 years since he had left the Congress following the controversy over the Shah Bano case judgment but the party had not learnt from the mistakes. Asked as to what exactly they discussed, "Khan said it would not be proper for me to disclose what transpired. But let me thank her for the gesture. She was extremely courteous and graceful".
Posted by: Viren Feb 23 2004, 08:10 PM
Please chime in biggrin.gif (i) Yes, We can`t have a `foreigner` as PM = 60.4% (ii) No, she`s the perfect Indian bahu = 26.8% (iii) Wouldn`t vote for the Congress, anyway = 11.2% (iv) Undecided = 1.6%
Posted by: Kaushal Feb 24 2004, 07:25 AM
Najma Heptullah (Azad's granddaughter ?) is an independent thinker. Kope she joins the BJP. That will be a major blow to the congress's~arrogance Najma lashes out at Madam's arrogance Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi In yet another setback to the Congress, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson and Congress MP Dr Najma Heptullah has come out openly against the Congress leadership and hinted at joining the BJP. In an interview to NDTV, Dr Heptullah said, "The problem is not with the party, but with the party leadership.The present Congress leadership has moved away from the ideology of Nehru, Azad, Patel and Gandhi. This is not a leadership I can accept." Dr Heptullah went a step further accusing Congress president Sonia Gandhi of humiliating her. "I am really sorry to say that it seems there is no respect left for senior leaders and for party workers in the Congress. When I was elected chairperson of the International Parliamentary Union, Ms Gandhi didn't even bother to call me. I have been subjected to all kinds of humiliation over the last few years." Asked whether she was preparing the ground to join BJP, Dr Heptullah claimed that she had not taken any such decision, nor had she been approached by the BJP. "I am happy with what I have for now. I am not hankering after anything. This is not about any position or Rajya Sabha seat, it's about my dignity and self-respect." But Dr Heptullah hinted at the things to come when she said, "Mr Vajpayee is a good man, someone who only thinks about the nation. He is a leader you can respect and trust. The Congress leadership has lost that respect." Dr Heptullah admitted that the violence in Gujarat had left her ashamed but that incident did not mean that the BJP was anti-minority. "I think Mr Vajpayee is a leader the minorities also have faith in. I think minorities should also look to the future, and not be trapped in the past."
Posted by: Mudy Feb 24 2004, 11:06 AM
She is a grand-niece of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Amir Khan's Aunt.
Posted by: Viren Feb 24 2004, 09:20 PM
“I guess I will make a speech instead of reading it,’’ the BJP’s Gandhi said, alluding to Sonia’s habit of reading from prepared texts. “Otherwise the public would have said I am a reader and not a leader,’’ ROTFL.gif Varun said, as party workers broke into laughter. He went to say that India is for Indians and should be ruled only by them. Sensing the mood at the gathering, Varun overcame his initial reservations about attacking his aunt — he had recently said Sonia’s foreign origin was not an issue for him. Today, the BJP’s Gandhi said voters should usher in a government “which is of Indians, for Indians and (run) through Indians’’ .... As Varun’s convoy criss-crossed Mumbai’s busy streets a happy party worker showed just how much the Gandhis have a hold over the public when he said: “Ab toh bahut mazaa ayega"
Posted by: acharya Feb 25 2004, 02:29 AM
'Two-Faced Liars Masquerading As Champions Of Secularism' 'Please spare me the Congress-style secularism,' says the fiesty dissenting leader all set to join the BJP. POORNIMA JOSHI Arif Mohammed Khan left the Congress protesting the concessions given to the Muslim clergy during the Shah Bano case. Now he is cosying up to the BJP. Have you joined the BJP formally? Yes, I have met L.K. Advani and Pramod Mahajan and it is clear that I will be campaigning for them. In my meeting with Advani, I told him it was up to him to decide whether I will be more effective if I actually joined the party. So, you will be contesting on a BJP ticket? I am not contesting elections. You made noises about the atrocities in Gujarat. How would you feel campaigning alongside Narendra Modi? You accuse the BJP of being communal. What about the Congress? If they had not succumbed to the Muslim clergy and had not opened the gates of Babri Masjid, believe me this country would not have been communalised to this extent. As for Gujarat, the Congress refused to even publicly condole the murder of its former MP, Ehsaan Jafri. So the people who killed Jafri are better than those who did not condole his death? Things are not as simplistic as you make them out to be. More than the violence in Gujarat, the thing that scares me the most is that there is no remorse. I will be more effective by supporting the BJP rather than these two-faced liars masquerading as champions of secularism. You think the BJP will save secularism in this country? Please spare me the Congress-style secularism.
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 25 2004, 12:28 PM
Who is this "Sir" dude ? 'Shining India' campaign may burn BJP Election slogans can have unfortunate consequences. In 1971 Indira Gandhi promised to eradicate poverty but soon after her victory the opposition mocked her saying poverty was on the increase. The Janata Dal won an election in 1989 with the slogan "Rajiv Gandhi is a thief", but its credibility was undermined when it failed to prove the former prime minister had taken money in the Bofors arms deal. This time round the slogan, "Shining India", could blow up in the face of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its coalition partners before the election. The "feel good factor" they have detected may prove an illusion. Circumstances have come together to create a new image of India abroad. It is now not just the information technology industry which is a runaway success. India is poised to become a world leader in biotechnology too. 21st century player Several older industries, including automobiles and pharmaceuticals are now competitors in the global market. The challenge from Indian back office processing and call centres is ringing alarm bells in America and Britain. The stock market, once slow to settle deals and slack in regulating them, is bulging with foreign funds. International bankers are talking of India as one of the potential big players in the 21st century. Much will be made by the BJP of India's rising prosperity Many international economists also see a shining India. They point to the healthy balance of payments and the rapid growth rate which they claim is at last reducing poverty. There are clouds on the horizon, particularly the budget deficit which, if the debts of the central and the stare governments are aggregated, adds up to 10% of GDP. But then there are some economists who maintain that borrowing money - provided it is well spent - is no bad thing. But economists, investors, industrialists, foreign or indeed Indian, do not win elections, so what about the voters, will they feel good, is their India shining? The answer, as so often in India, must be the curate's egg. It is good in parts. The news is good for those members of the middle class who are finding jobs in IT, call centres, and back office processing. But few economists believe the official claim that eight million jobs are being created each year. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry does not believe that prospects for job creation are healthy. Monsoon memories Pampered government employees feel positive because their pensions have just been increased. Last year's good monsoon and the fast rate of growth mean there is more money around which is good for India's army of small shopkeepers. The plentiful monsoon should also mean that the countryside, where the majority of the voters live, feels good, but Indian farmers have long memories. Pampered government employees feel positive because their pensions have just been increased They recall that 10 times in the last 50 years good monsoons have produced short-lived economic booms, and none has brought lasting benefits to them. They acknowledge that over the years their production has increased but they still do not get remunerative prices - in two of India's most progressive states, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, a number of farmers have committed suicide over the last five years because they have not been able to repay their debts. Among what the cynical Indian press calls the government's "election sops", farmers have now been promised an income insurance scheme but they will believe that when it happens, having seen earlier election commitments melt away when the going gets hot. They may also wonder where the prime minister is going to find the millions of rupees he has promised to spend on his Second Green Revolution. There is little or nothing in these promises for the landless labourers. So while the cities may feel India is shining, those in the countryside might well ask the BJP campaigners, "what is there to feel good about?" Even in the cities, the millions who have migrated to slums because there was no work for them in the countryside will need a lot of persuading if they are to believe things will be better by the next election. The leader of the main opposition Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, has already launched an attack on the government's claims. During her recent "meet the people" campaign in rural Uttar Pradesh - the state which returns the largest number of MPs - large numbers of voters turned out to hear her claim the government had done nothing for women, youths and farmers. If she can arouse her sleepy Congress party she might make a mockery of the feel good campaign and take the shine off the BJP's India.
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 25 2004, 12:50 PM
Have to say he is frank and true.. May his tribe increase.. Seasoned politician Arif Mohammad Khan can quote from the Koran, the Mahabharata or Marx with equal felicity. Khan first sprang into the limelight when he resigned from Rajiv Gandhi's government in 1986 in protest against the decision to bow to Muslim conservatives and overturn by legislation the Supreme Court's ruling in the historic Shah Bano maintenance case. An articulate politician from Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh, Khan was seen as a promising young leader who always took a progressive stand, especially on issues like the uniform civil code. A former president of the Aligarh Muslim University Students Union, Khan became a Member of Parliament, first representing the Congress and then the Bahujan Samaj Party. He quit the BSP when that party entered into an electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat in 2002. Khan thereafter had a brief dalliance with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party when the latter quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance last year. Thus it came as a bolt from the blue that the jovial and witty Arifbhai, as he is known, has now decided to join the BJP itself and may even contest the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate. Sources say that if the BJP returns to power, Khan is certain to be rewarded with an important ministerial berth. In his personal library stocked with a brilliant collection of books on subjects ranging from politics and sociology to history and theology, and with the telephone ringing constantly to congratulate him on joining the BJP, Khan spoke to Ehtasham Khan in an exclusive interview. Excerpts: All elections are crucial, but the upcoming Lok Sabha poll appears to be one of the most crucial in India's history. Do you agree? Well, when you say crucial, yes... because India is in a crucial phase of development. Now we are at a stage where everybody is recognising India's potential. In this century, India is going to emerge as one of the developed and advanced nations. New policies have started yielding results. Some observers say that if the BJP returns to power, it would mean the people of India have accepted the party's alleged anti-minority policies, or what happened in Gujarat. What is your opinion? For Gujarat, even the BJP leadership has used very strong words to express their pain and anguish. Not just the prime minister who said, 'I don't know what face I will show to the world.' Even the deputy prime minister said that 'for the last five years we had the cleanest government. But the Gujarat incident has cast a shadow on our work.' And then the recent statement in which the prime minister said that 'in India it is not just the government which is almighty. We have other institutions also. I am glad to say other institutions are working very fast and I am sure that the victims will get justice.' This is a very, very significant statement. If these statements are there, it means that kind of thing [Gujarat-like incidents] is not in their agenda. They also feel there should be no repetition of Gujarat. Are you sure there will be no repetition of Gujarat? I don't know. If you talk of the BJP, what is the track record of other parties? Bhagalpur happened not during the BJP's time. Instead, I would like to discuss Gujarat from a different angle. Please go ahead. I spent 89 days in Gujarat [during the riots]. And when the [assembly] elections came, I opposed the BJP. I supported the Congress. But with my support what did they deliver? Why didn't they deliver? Because they do not have credibility in the masses. They are seen as a party which has all along flirted with minority communalism. They are seen as a party that showed no compunction in playing the Muslim card in the Shah Bano case. Or playing the Hindu card when they tried to offset the reaction which came as a reaction to the Shah Bano case. And the locks of Ayodhya were opened. They can play the Hindu card or Muslim card or Christian card. So their credibility to fight and contain communalism has been eroded. Politicians and political parties merely reflect and articulate the trends which are prevailing in society. You can blame any individual, you can blame the BJP for whatever happened in Gujarat, but what will you say about the secular Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi when she goes to Gujarat and then under the advice of her colleagues refuses to visit the house of Ehsan Jafri [the former Congress MP who was killed by rioters] to offer condolences to the victim's family? I am not making the charge that the Congress president became communal. But she certainly succumbed to societal pressure. So which is the lesser evil for the minorities, the BJP or the Congress? It is not a question of lesser evil, [of] what Congress did in 1986 and the communalism that came as its reaction. What we are discussing are merely symptoms. The disease is the communalism that has taken deep roots in the minds of the people. And the Congress has simply become impotent. By compromising on secularism it has lost its potency to fight communalism. Now for them [the Congress], it is a question of gaining political power. For me, it is not a question of giving political support. I am seeing the oppressive situation of my people. They are living under oppression. I am not just talking of governmental oppression. I am talking about the oppressive environment when two neighbours are not on talking terms. When there is total communication gap between the two communities. A Hindu is suspecting his Muslim neighbour, that he is a terrorist, and a Muslim is afraid. I am not coming to the BJP with a political agenda. I have come to the conclusion like Sir Syed [Ahmed Khan, the Muslim reformer and educationist who founded the Aligarh Muslim University] had come to the conclusion in 1857 that it is not possible for you to fight the British because they are much superior to you in all aspects. Therefore he [Sir Sayed] said instead of fighting, befriend them, learn, overcome your drawbacks, and then see if you can create goodwill. Likewise, today I feel the same thing after having spent so much time in Gujarat. Therefore, by creating an association with the Sangh Parivar, who in my opinion have the capability today, I want to normalise the situation. The Sangh Parivar has the capability to do what? Capability [a long pause] to bridge the divide which is currently existing in society. You mean the Sangh Parivar wants to bridge the gap and you want to help them? Arif Mohammad Khan wants to persuade them. I don't want to tell you all those things that they have told me because then people would think I am speaking on their behalf at election time. I am convinced that there is some willingness on their part. I am convinced that if I create goodwill with them, then their offices can be used to bridge this gap. You will be contesting this election? I have no political intention. I have told them [the BJP] I don't want to [contest]. In fact I have told them that it would be much more effective campaigning if I am sent to Gujarat [to campaign]. I am interested in working for the Sangh Parivar. What will you do if the BJP gives you a ticket? I will accept their wishes, but they will also have to consider what I want. Why only the BJP? I have supported the Congress and they failed. I have no option. I want to tell the parties that have created a stereotype of Muslims and used them as block votes. I want to tell them we are like any other human beings. Please try to normalise the situation because we have been used by these parties as block votes for a long time. Secondly, I ask you, people don't have freedom to choose in a democracy? Of course, you have the freedom to join any party. No... the kind of atmosphere that has been created [by my decision to join the BJP]. The Congress knows that this group of people cannot go to the other party. Whatever treatment the Congress gave me, I had no option. Should we not try to create a situation where two-three options are available? You were president of the AMU Students Union... [Interrupts] So what? I too was a student there and I understand that people had a lot of expectations from you as a young, dynamic, forward-looking Muslim leader. You have always taken a progressive stand. Now you have joined a party that has been held responsible for the Gujarat riots, for saffronisation of education, and other allegedly anti-minority policies. In such circumstances, you have changed sides. Don't you think your community would feel cheated? You are talking of the AMU, then it was founded by Sir Syed who was described for more than 30 years as kafir, mulhit, zindique [Arabic expressions for a non-believer in Allah and Islam]. There were 18 fatwas [Islamic edicts] against Sir Syed. Should I live by the example of Sir Syed or should I live by the example of those who have imaginary ideas? But ordinary Muslims... [Interrupts again] What ordinary Muslims? Did he [Sir Syed] care about ordinary Muslims? Should he be my source of inspiration or ordinary people? Tell me! There were people who went to Mecca and Medina to bring a fatwa against Sir Syed. For 30 years, he was described as an apostate, as a non-Muslim, as an enemy of Islam. And after 30 years, he became Rahmatullah Alaih [blessed by Allah]. That's okay but... What okay? Criticising or opposing the Congress is one thing, but joining and working for the BJP is different. Today I have no political agenda. I am convinced the Congress does not have the capability to fight those whom it describes as communal forces. I have come to a conclusion after looking at Gujarat. I want to do something. Today the only option available to me is that if I can create some goodwill with them [the BJP and the Sangh Parivar], if I can win their confidence, if I can convince them not to treat me and people of different religions differently. That is the only thing. What attracted you to the BJP and not to any other party? You have not visited Gujarat. You are doing an academic discussion and indulging in journalistic quibbling. You want to see things in black and white. If you visit Gujarat, you will understand the pain, the situation. Then you will realise. In Islamic terminology, there is a term, istarari halaat. It means a situation when you are faced with death or great crisis and you have no way out. In such a situation, you are allowed to do things that are forbidden. If you are suffering from a disease and you have to take a medicine having alcohol, you can do it. If secular parties can adopt a soft Hindutva line, why can I not make friends with Hindutva? Even if the Ram temple is on their agenda, even if they are going ahead with the saffronisation of education... I am saying it is all there. The Congress is adopting a soft Hindutva line and you are supporting the Congress. I am not supporting or opposing anybody here. By you I mean Muslims. So the Congress can adopt a soft Hindutva line, but I can't persuade them [the BJP] to look at things from my perspective. The Ram temple is on their [BJP's] agenda. Shall I tell you what [the late] Ali Mian Nadvi [former president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and renowned Islamic scholar] had said? Shall I tell you what Rajiv Gandhi had said? This was a package deal during the Shah Bano case. You will get a court order changed under public pressure. Fawayl-ul-il mutaf-fa-feen. In the Koranic verses, those who adopt double standards have been condemned. You are talking of saffronisation of education. You know how many allegations have been made during 50 years of Congress rule for saffronisation of education? The entire Muslim leadership was accusing the Congress of saffronisation of education. Our perspectives change with time. Give me the name of one individual who claims to be the leader of Muslims who visited Gujarat during the riots. Give me one name. Politicians who claim to champion Muslim interest. Zubandarazi ne sab satyanas kiya hai. Zubandarazi ke peeche kuch bhi nahi hai [Hollow discussions have destroyed everything. There is nothing behind these discussions.] You give me one name. Syed Shahabuddin [former diplomat, MP and member of the AIMPLB] went there. Did any Muslim Congress leader go there? I went to Gujarat when not just the smoke but the fire was alive. I cannot take an academic stand. I cannot keep analysing and diagnosing. I have to describe some remedy. I have supported the Congress. This remedy failed. Shall I try an alternative remedy or shall I just sit with folded hands? Your stand in support of the uniform civil code has been praised... But that is why I have been described as a kafir. That was a small section... That was not a small section. The Muslim Personal Law Board is not a small section. The Congress party has made them the representative of Muslims. Young Muslims who are getting educated and entering the mainstream see you as a progressive leader. So what will be your stand on the uniform civil code now? Will you go with the Sangh Parivar version? The BJP has repeatedly said, repeatedly, that the uniform civil code is not on their agenda. Recently I read a report in which a senior BJP leader said that even if tomorrow there is a broad consensus this can't be an imposition. This can only be something as a code which drives the best of all codes. I can comment on it only when a draft is there. Imaginary fears will not help anyone. There is an impression that the BJP is trying to open its gates for the minorities. What do you think? My action [of joining the BJP] is a reply to your question. I can't speak on behalf of the BJP. Do you think there is a change in their hearts and minds? I don't want to say what they have told me because then you will say I am doing propaganda on their behalf. But I will tell you that there is some willingness on their part and they have assured me. And you trust their assurances? One should trust Allah. And one should trust himself. The situation in which we are placed, you will have to trust people. You immediately jump to a conclusion because you are a journalist and in journalism there is no gray area. You will either paint somebody in black or in white. Because unless there is some sensation, it does not make news. I am not a journalist. By giving unconditional support, I want to surrender myself to the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. I will describe it as surrender. Because I don't see the capability to fight them. The Congress is totally devoid of capabilities. I want to win the confidence of the party that today enjoys the confidence of the majority. Please try to understand my pain and my feelings. I have lived the tragedy of Gujarat. Maybe I will fail. But should I not try? They have assured me. When they are in government, they know that this divide between communities can never be a blessing for any nation. I want to bridge the gap. Do you think politics has the capability to bridge the gap between communities in a society? I do not know. But if something is not existing in society, should we not try to do it? How do you see yourself politically after the Lok Sabha election? In Parliament, in the Cabinet... I don't know. I am an ordinary worker. You see the potential in me.
Posted by: Rudra Singha Feb 26 2004, 02:35 AM
REDIFF/ NDA will win 275-300 seats: IB Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | February 25, 2004 15:04 IST Last Updated: February 25, 2004 20:31 IST The India Shining campaign is poised to contribute substantially to the Bharatiya Janata Party's tally in the coming general election, according to the Intelligence Bureau. A top IB official told that the findings were the result of fieldwork by IB agents throughout the country during the last four weeks. It submitted its report to the central government on Monday. The reports indicates that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coalition could win 275 to 300 Lok Sabha seats. The Congress may have to be satisfied with 115 seats. The report, details of which were made available to this correspondent, says the Opposition has so far failed to cause any dent in the 'Indian Shining' campaign and counter the 'feel good factor' that the BJP had highlighted. The Opposition parties have given the NDA a distinct electoral advantage by failing to put up a common front. What the reports says about some major states: Uttar Pradesh: The mass contact programmes by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the subtle campaigning by her children, Priyanka Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, are unlikely to improve the party's prospects. It will trail the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. The BJP is expected to win 50 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP. BSP leader Mayawati is hesitant to enter into an electoral alliance with the Congress. Chiefly, she is convinced that while the Congress votes are transferable to the BSP, the latter's votes are not transferred to the Congress. Secondly, she does not want her Dalit votes to go to the Congress fearing it may set a precedent. Thirdly, she fears the BJP would retaliate by resurrecting the corruption cases against her, in connection with the Taj Corridor scam. Significantly, during her recent luncheon with mediapersons, Sonia Gandhi hinted that the BSP is under pressure from the BJP not to ally with the Congress. In case the BSP and Congress enter into an alliance, the IB report says Mayawati would concede not more that 20 seats to the Congress. Bihar: Laloo Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal is unwilling to concede more than five parliamentary seats to the Congress, its ally in the state. Laloo has been exhorting his Yadav community to vote for the RJD in large numbers and put him in a position to become the prime minister. Andhra Pradesh: The Congress has an uphill task at hand as the Telugu Desam Party, an NDA ally, has improved its image and is on a strong wicket. Madhya Pradesh: The Congress will be routed as the BJP has further consolidated its presence after its triumph in the assembly election last December. Chhattisgarh: The BJP will repeat its assembly election triumph. Rajasthan: The Congress may win half-a-dozen seats. Gujarat: Chief Minister Narendra Modi will lead the BJP to another victory, assisted by the factionalism in the state Congress party. While the BJP is experiencing a resurgence, the Congress is demoralized by the infighting between its top leaders, Madhavsinh Solanki and Shankarsinh Vaghela. But the Congress party is clearly unimpressed by the IB assessment. "There are three stories quoting IB sources in circulation. This is an old game of quoting the IB as source and it has now become redundant. This is yet another attempt to spread the message of 'feel good' factor being unleashed on this country," All India Congress Committee media secretary Tom Vadakkan told
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 26 2004, 06:22 AM It's Jingles All The Way Money flows in as the BJP, all buoyant, cranks up a mean poll machine Updates SABA NAQVI BHAUMIK 'India is shining, the Congress is whining.' —A joke in BJP circles An election is always a gamble and the BJP knows that political uncertainties always loom on the horizon. Yet, if hard work, political strategy, organisational might and long-term planning are the ingredients of electoral success, then the BJP is certainly concocting a potent brew. With the 'India Shining' blitzkrieg having jump-started the party's campaign, it's now entering the second phase of the battle. To keep the sheen and the gloss, hard cash is needed. And things couldn't be better for the BJP. Its coffers are full, the battle plans drawn up, and its formidable organisational machinery cranked up. It is rich and ready to charge into Election 2004. While the Congress claims to be strapped for cash, there are no shortages in the BJP. The big corporate donations are pouring in. Every business house now wants a piece of the party. For, most business houses expect the NDA to remain in office for another five years. Says a BJP general secretary: "It's quite simple really. If a corporate house is giving Rs 10 crore to us, it will also throw Rs 2 crore at the Congress. That's how it is done." Add the big bucks to the traditional trader/shopkeeper backing of the RSS/BJP that has always provided the party with a sound financial base and it becomes clear that there's plenty to go around. The BJP-led state governments are also expected to contribute to campaigns in nearby areas. Says Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in charge of a committee that will oversee election programmes and tours: "Seven of our state governments such as those in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will also facilitate the campaign in their states and neighbouring areas." Pramod Mahajan, in charge of the main campaign committee, believes the Congress' problem is not lack of funds but lack of organisation and commitment. He points out the Congress is in power in some of the most cash-rich states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. "Yet, they are crying they are broke," he says, adding: "I don't know how that party works but I can't understand how someone with a government in Maharashtra can be broke. Perhaps their problem is that the states don't really want to raise funds for the central leadership." As for the BJP, there is a clear method in the financial management for the polls. Sitting MPs for instance won't be given cash; they are expected to raise their own resources. Candidates will also be given coupons worth Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 that they can "sell" to raise funds from local loyalists and financiers. "These coupons will be like an iou that the donor can hope to later encash in kind," says an MP. Candidates will, however, be given materials such as posters and banners. An average requirement in each constituency will be around two lakh flags or banners and 2,000 big hoardings. Constituencies, too, have been divided into three categories—safe seats, close-contest seats and difficult seats. The maximum resources will be utilised in seats where the contest is close. This categorisation will come in only by the end of February, after the BJP receives the findings of the detailed market survey it has commissioned in such vital states as UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra, Orissa and Assam. The party is not doing intensive surveys in states where assembly polls were held recently as it already has the minutest data on MP, Delhi, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The sample size is impressive: 1,800 to 2,500 respondents in each Lok Sabha constituency in the first round of market surveys. In fact, the recent assembly polls was the first time the BJP used surveys to identify probable candidates. Earlier, it was the recommendations of the state unit that really mattered.Now, the central leadership will also have independent data of its own while distributing tickets. While Mahajan has commissioned the market survey that will provide the low-down on castes and candidates in each constituency, Arun Jaitley has already received the findings of an opinion poll that gives the broad trends in the upcoming elections. The polling agencies being used by Mahajan are Resource Data Inc (RDI) and ORG-Marg while Jaitley is using the services of pollster G.V. Narasimha Rao. By the time polling day arrives, both the BJP's tacticians should have the findings of another round of market surveys and opinion polls. Mahajan's surveys are designed to assist his micro-management at the constituency-level while those commissioned by Jaitley will determine the political spin on various issues. Meanwhile, the contours of the BJP's advertisement campaign are taking shape. Broadly speaking, it will synchronise the 'India Shining' campaign with the "Irada naye Bharat ka (intent for a new India)" pitch that is already huge in the Hindi and regional TV channels and newspapers. Released by different government departments, this campaign details various government schemes. But unlike the 'India Shining ' pitch, a picture of the PM along with a poem written by him is used. While recording for the campaign, the PM had stressed that it must have a more rural flavour than 'India Shining'. Interestingly, while the 'India Shining' campaign was conceptualised by the ad agency Gray, all the input for the 'Irada naye Bharat ka' spin is coming out of the campaign war-room set up at Mahajan's residence. Overseeing the nuts and bolts of the publicity blitz are IIT graduated.gif Ajay Singh and OSD in the PMO Sudheendra Kulkarni. Ajay Singh says the PM himself gave crucial inputs to the campaign: "Atalji was clear that he did not want us to talk of the stockmarket or technology. He wanted the focus on rural roads, poverty and agrarian schemes. He changed several lines that he had recorded on the need to overcome poverty." Outlook has also learnt that it is this 'Irada naye Bharat ka' team that will in all probability oversee the BJP's advertisement campaign. Till now, no ad agency has been asked to make a presentation or pitch. Says a senior BJP leader: "The decision will be made by month-end. But at this point it does not seem that one agency will be given the party account. In all likelihood, we will oversee the campaign and hire professionals to execute our ideas." The campaign will broadly focus on Atal, Achievements and the Incoherence of the Opposition. In 1998, the BJP had presented Vajpayee as "the Man India Awaits". In 1999, the focus was on a "tried, tested, trusted Vajpayee". In 2004, the party will present him as the man India adores and the world admires. Mahajan says the party's own campaign will not be on the scale of 'India Shining'. But in any case, the BJP is on top in the publicity game, what with the bill for both the 'Indian Shining' and now the 'Irada...' campaigns going to the exchequer. Since both these remain closely associated with the BJP, it's now small change for the party to finance a mega campaign asking the electorate to vote "kamal".
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 26 2004, 06:29 AM ‘Feel good’ reaches Muslims, Joshi hands out sops Wednesday February 25 2004 00:00 IST NEW DELHI: Clearly with an eye on the elections, the BJP-led NDA Government is now reaching out to the Muslim community with its ``feel good'' factor. The Government has brought out a booklet that focuses on the money spent on modernisation of madarsas, promotion of Urdu language and even recruitment of Urdu language typists and stenographers. And if that's not enough, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has handed out a string of promises _ 20 new centres for the Quami Urdu Council, translation of all NCERT books in Urdu, introducing computer education, science and technology in madarsas, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. For good measure, Joshi says in the booklet, ``For the first time in the history of Independent India, a step has been taken to modernism madarsa education.'' ``The `feel good' factor has not escaped the Muslim community. Proving wrong the apprehensions of the community, the (BJP) Government has streamlined and modernised minority education,'' said Hamidullah Bhatt, Director, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, a wing of the HRD Ministry. Bhatt heads the NCPUL, which prepared the publicity material targeting the Muslim voter that includes the booklet and a report on the progress of minority education in Vajpayee's regime. The report is to be presented to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on February 26 by well-known Islamic scholar Rafiq Zakaria, chairman of the Committee to Assess the Progress of Minority Education, and its members Moosa Raza (former chief secretary, J-K), Shahid Mehdi (V-C, Jamia Milia Islamia University) and several other Muslim intellectuals. Zakaria, whose connections with the Congress is not unknown, said, ``The move is aimed at brining Hindu-Muslim unity and is meant to bring minority education system closer to the mainstream.'' The booklet is meant to be the BJP's trump card to counter the ``so-called secular parties (the Congress and the Samajwadi Party) and their vote-bank politics,'' sources in the Government said. The HRD Ministry has been under much pressure from the PMO and the Prime Minister himself to counter the ``misinformation campaign'' against the ministry, which has been under attack for alleged anti-minority policies. A Joshi aide said, ``This booklet shows what he (Joshi) has quietly done for the Muslim community in five years and what the Congress did not do for 50 years. And no other Ministry has undertaken such a programme for the Muslim community.'' Joshi's aides are quite certain that even if ``this does not translate into tangible votes, it would help the BJP win the goodwill of the community.'' And that forms very much a part of the Prime Minister's agenda
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 26 2004, 06:38 AM Former Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan joined the BJP on Tuesday What made you join the BJP? A process of change within the BJP started during the last Gujarat elections. The Congress party during the same period conducted themselves badly. Their sole criteria for fielding candidates was 'winnability'. They distributed tickets to 14 alleged murderers and rapists. That really upset me. Were you approached by senior BJP leaders? I had praised the BJP in one of my articles some seven months back. Some of my friends were upset and some happy about that. I, however, refused to meet any BJP leader then as people could have thought that I had praised the BJP on their saying so. I met them only after joining the party. Aya Ram, Gaya Ram Do you think a Muslim stands a better chance of getting important portfolios while in the BJP? I have said outright that I am not interested in fighting elections. So ministries and portfolios do not matter to me. What purpose then of joining the BJP? Sangh parivar members have expressed the desire to remove the divide between Hindus and Muslims. I want to help in that endeavour. How does one remove the divide? It can be done by restoring communication and by emphasising that there is no difference between the two communities. There is nothing that is harmful or beneficial for one community and not the other. What do you think of the India Shining advertisement? The advertisement has for the first time made development a major election issue. Caste and creed are no longer issues.
Posted by: Rudra Singha Feb 26 2004, 07:49 AM
take no prisoners - crush 'em with technology, mass and speed. I'd like to see those permanent eyesores Cong(I) and Commies so badly stomped into the ground they have to dig their own entrails out and limp back into ther holes. Every effort must be made to break up the nuisance Cong(i) into many parts by encouraging their state level units to break up -- where they are still functioning like karnataka and join the Nda under a new banner. alone and irrelevant, Soniaji can retire to the higher himalayas for meditation.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Feb 26 2004, 08:43 AM
Bookies put money on feel-good By ANAND SOONDAS ADVERTISEMENT Mumbai, Feb. 22: Try betting on politicians for a change. It may be safer than an unpredictable India-Pakistan cricket contest. The bookies of the shadowy satta bazaar are rooting for Atal Bihari Vajpayee as they feel good about his party's poll prospects. "Feel-good to hai BJP ke liye,'' a satta source confirms. The Prime Minister's rival, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, will have to buck up because the bookies are not sure if her party is cut out for the big run. They will tell you they are usually bang on target, unlike the highly-paid and often off-key band of opinion pollsters, because "there is no agenda pushing our results or surveys. We put our mouth where our money is". The bookies in Mumbai, Indore, Jaipur, Chennai and a dozen other cities have been busy since the Election Commission promised poll dates soon. Stakes worth Rs 3,000 crore have already been registered. The verdict from those who "work on pure mathematics'' is out: 200-plus seats for the BJP and 300-plus for the NDA. The Congress will be panting to get to 100, satta sources say. The bottom line is the Congress that won 114 seats the last time may lose over 14 and the BJP that had 182 seats could gain 18 by riding on a resurgent economy and the party's non-stop hyperbolic campaign. So what is it like for the two parties in the satta bazar? The going rate for the Congress is 10 paise for 80 seats, 25 paise for 90 seats, Rs 2.50 for 125 seats and Rs 10 for 150 seats. The higher rates for the bigger seat-share don't mean the old horse is still a favourite. The rates in this sport are inversely proportional to electoral success. The greater the chances of a sure win, the lower the rates. So, for the BJP, the going rate is 21 paise for 175 seats and a measly 6 paise for 150 seats. This means you get only 6 paise on every Re 1 you bet if you think the BJP will bag 150 seats, because the satta bazar is "125 per cent sure" that the young stud will get 125 seats and more. For the NDA, it is 10 paise for 300-plus seats and Rs 2.20 for 350 seats. Here is why Vajpayee should smile all the more. The bookies will give you only 10 paise per rupee on a second term for the Prime Minister and 6 paise per rupee for another win from Lucknow. The bookies — who go by the moniker Mukesh Delhi, Rakesh Jaipur, Uttam Madras, Subhash Indore or Laxmichand Thane in honour of their place of operation — are not so optimistic about Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav or his Bahujan Samaj Party counterpart Mayavati or even Congress' Sunil Dutt. "The predictions for behenji (Mayavati) are quite bleak," a bookie says. Her party could end up with 10 seats or less, four down from the 14 last time. Actor-turned-politician Dutt is running for higher stakes this time at 30 paise, compared with the 6 paise he was placed at in 1998 from Mumbai Northwest. Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party, too, has an uphill task — at Rs 2 — to bag more than 10 seats. It had six seats the last time. Former opener and, since retirement, masterbluster Navjot Singh Sidhu doesn't inspire the bookies either. The new entrant to the BJP will get you Rs 1.25. Whatever the chances, the volume of betting could touch Rs 5,000 crore in the coming week, says a bookie. "We are very sure what we want to offer because our men and women tend to read the pulse of the people with credible accuracy," he adds. So take your pick.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 26 2004, 09:29 PM Church body writes to Sonia on candidates By Our Special Correspondent KOCHI, FEB. 25. These are election times, when all is fair. In keeping with the spirit of the times, a number of names are being tossed around as likely candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. The All Kerala Catholic Congress Socio-Political Samity, said to be a wing of the Syro Malabar Sabha, has written a letter to the Congress president suggesting names for consideration for the constituencies of Thrissur, Mukundapuram and Ernakulam. The copies of the letter have been sent to the KPCC acting president, the Chief Minister, the UDF convener and also the senior leader, K. Karunakaran. The proposed candidates for Mukundapuram are the former ambassador to Italy, K. P. Fabian, and party worker of Thrissur, Vincent Kattookaran. For Ernakulam, the names suggested are those of former Pro-Vice Chancellor, M. V. Pylee, and retired officer, Antony Cherian Nalpathaamkalam, who is also a former president of the All Kerala Catholic Congress. For Thrissur seat, the sitting MP's name has been proposed. The chairman of the samity, Davis Thomas Ambatt pointed out that the suggestions have the blessings of the Syro Malabar Church and all the laity organisations. The letter to the Congress president pointed out that the Ernakulam, Mukundapuram and Thrissur parliamentary constituencies have a sizable strength and potentiality of `our people' who have voted for the Congress party for the last 50 years. A curious aspect is that this perhaps may be the first time that an open letter has been written by a church organisation to the head of a political party. This is a sign of changing times and what was in the past done in secret has become an open affair now.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 27 2004, 12:54 AM Agencies/ Patna Former Bihar chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party general secretary Jagannath Mishra Thursday resigned from the party amid reports that he might join the JD(U) to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Jhanjharpur. In a letter faxed to NCP president Sharad Pawar, a copy of which was released to the press here, Mishra said, "with a heavy heart I am leaving the party...I have been compelled to leave the party by the circumstances prevailing in Bihar." Mishra said the NCP and the Congress had agreed to work in tandem but unfortunately the RJD was "dictating terms" to the NCP-Congress alliance in the state. Moreover, NCP workers were totally against any understanding with the RJD. Stating that he had merged his Bhartiya Jan Congress with the NCP on January 23, 2001 in order to build a broad-based alternative to the Congress, Mishra, thrice chief minister of Bihar, added he still held NCP president Sharad Pawar in high esteem. Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly Sushil Kumar Modi has voiced strong protest against possibility of Mishra joining the NDA, saying that his entry would "jeopardise" the alliance's poll prospect in the state as he was chargesheeted in six cases of the fodder scam. However, state BJP president Gopal Narayan Singh has no objection to Mishra joining the NDA if the JD(U) fielded him form Jhanjharpur. "I have already informed the central leadership in New Delhi that I have no objection to Mishra joining the NDA," he said.
Posted by: muddur Feb 27 2004, 01:30 AM,~Naipaul~speechless India shining, Naipaul speechless
Posted by: Kaushal Feb 27 2004, 06:29 AM
Bravo, Najmaji, well said Sonia can't tell who is fake or who isn't: Najma Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi "I don't want to learn who is a real Congress member from someone who does not even know that the National Anthem has more than one verse," was how Dr Najma Heptullah reacted to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's remarks about her at Hissar. "I expect the Congress members to know the simple fact," she said, without naming Ms Gandhi. But the implication became clear when she added: "For someone who became a citizen of India only after her marriage, it is not surprising that she cannot make a distinction between genuine and fake Congress members." Amid growing indication that her days in the party she joined five decades ago were numbered, Dr Heptullah recollected that on Independence Day in Bhopal in 1948, she had sung both verses of the National Anthem. "I was just an eight-year-old tiny tot then," she said. "I expect the Congressmen to know that the National Anthem has two verses," she added. Taking a dig at the Congress president, Ms Heptuallh said she did not blame Ms Gandhi for not knowing the history of the Congress party as she became its members only recently. "Whereas I became an active member way back in 1952 when I was just 12," she said. On remarks from the Congress spokesman that she was behaving like a migratory bird, Ms Heptuallh shot back: "The question is to identify the real migratory bird and find out from which country it has come from."
Posted by: Mudy Feb 27 2004, 08:44 AM
"The question is to identify the real migratory bird and find out from which country it has come from."
Posted by: Mudy Feb 27 2004, 09:04 AM - two faces of a community and changing face of a party TAPAS CHAKRABORTY Two people listen to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a BJP rally in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP) Lucknow, Feb. 26: More than 300 Muslim villagers from Bijnore formally joined the BJP today after a night of song and dance outside the party’s Uttar Pradesh headquarters here. It was a long way from Bijnore’s Amaroha block to Lucknow for the 343 villagers, but everything had been meticulously planned. The BJP’s central leaders had been in touch with the villagers for some time. The Amaroha residents had been demanding roads and drinking water for long, but repeated attempts to contact the state government did not fetch results, even after Mulayam Singh Yadav, perceived to be pro-Muslim, came to power in August last year. The BJP’s well-oiled local network got in touch with the villagers and local party leaders got a Rajya Sabha MP to construct a road in the area. “We were touched by the sincerity of the leaders,” Afsara Begum, 42, said. The Muslim villagers there remembered that Atal Bihari Vajpayee had assured them protection and help back in 1999. During a rally in September that year, the Prime Minister met a section of local leaders. Seeking to make the Muslims’ support a campaign weapon, state BJP leaders ensured the villagers were inducted just a day after Vajpayee asked the community to vote for the party during a rally in Delhi. “It just so happened. This is the largest of the Muslim groups to join the BJP,” state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar said. “They have joined the BJP in such a huge number since they have realised that only Vajpayee can provide them security and economic uplift,” said senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, who is in charge of Uttar Pradesh affairs. Muslim voters have shown signs of change in their attitude to the BJP and Vajpayee, with the wounds inflicted by the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid healing gradually. With the Congress still organisationally weak and Mulayam Singh thought to have a tacit understanding with the BJP, the unhappiness of the community is evident. “We have suffered a disorientation in our mood for a long time. Despite Mulayam Singh Yadav’s sops, he is in league with the BJP. Instead of riding on a medium, it is always better to have a straight talk with the BJP,” Shamim Ahmed, a teacher in Bijnore, said. “We have thought a lot before taking this decision. We are convinced by Vajpayee’s call for social integrity,” 70-year-old Hafiz Nawbi, a veteran Bijnore leader, said. Muslim veterans say community members in wester Uttar Pradesh have an open mind. During the last election, they voted in large numbers for the Congress in Baghpat, Moradabad and Bulandshar. Former Congress minister Arif Mohammad Khan’s recent decision to join the BJP has also helped change the Muslim mindset. The BJP clearly wants to make a dent in the 33 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in which Mulsims account for more than 15 per cent of the voting population. The first hint that the community is having a rethink about the BJP was evident in 1998 when Muslims voted for the Prime Minister in his Lucknow constituency. Independent poll researchers confirm that Vajpayee would not have polled 57 per cent of the votes if he had not received a share of minority votes. The party hopes to win more Muslim votes across the state this time as a result of its massive propaganda campaign that has been in operation for some time now
Posted by: Mudy Feb 27 2004, 09:54 AM Saeed Naqvi Should Muslims vote for the BJP? The question is comprehensively incomplete. How should they vote in, say, Tamil Nadu? Neither the BJP nor the Congress is much of a force in the state. Likewise in West Bengal. In Kerala the Congress is present but not the BJP — and so on. The question acquires great relevance in the Hindi heartland, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. The Hindi, repeat Hindi, heartland also happens to be the Hindu, repeat Hindu, heartland. After all, Kashi, Mathura, Ayodhya, Triveni, Hardwar, Rishikesh, Ganga, Jamuna, all define the civilisational heartland of Hindustan. It is for this obvious reason that 40 per cent of the country’s Brahmins reside in UP. This was part of the logic why Pandit Govind Ballbh Pant was the first chief minister of UP. After him, there were no significant breaks in a sequence of chief ministers who were Brahmins. Under a Brahmin leadership, Muslims, Harijans and a sprinkling of other castes ensured a stable Congress rule. The Muslim thus far was participating in the electoral process, almost mechanically supporting the Congress. The Hindu caste pyramid and Congress were coterminus. There was no contradiction between the Muslim vote and stability of the Hindu caste pyramid. In Bihar, a different social structure threw up political competition between Sri Krishna Sinha, a Bhumihar, and Anugrah Narain Singh, a Rajput. In political terms there was no caste pyramid with the Brahmin at the top. For the Muslim, there was no occasion to tinker with the caste pyramid as such. The fractured upper caste was overwhelmed by a Mandalised lower rung of the social ladder and the Muslim joined the winners. In UP, the Muslim got sucked into a fierce caste tussle. The caste situation in the state was politically ablaze after the Mandal commission report was invoked to give reservation to OBCs in government jobs. This caste factor compounded an incendiary situation created by Rajiv Gandhi when, to please the Muslims, he upturned the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case. Then, to manage the Hindu backlash, he opened the locks of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. On December 6, 1992 the Babri Masjid was pulled down. P.V. Narasimha Rao was prime minister. The Muslim had been only opposed to the BJP. After the fall of the Babri Masjid he defected en masse from the Congress as well. In the Hindu heartland the Muslim was now opposed to a Hindu Party and a party led by the non saffron upper caste. What were the political avenues open to him? To escape communalism, plunge headlong into caste politics? Here, the Muslim made a grave error of judgment, indicating a preference for casteism. For the first time since Independence, the Muslim took sides in a Mahabharat internal to Hindu society. The caste pyramid was wobbly. Those at the bottom of the pyramid co-opted the Muslim to topple the structure; those at the top targeted the Muslim as the ‘‘other’’ to keep the structure intact. Those at the bottom had not suddenly fallen in love with the Muslim, those at the top had not developed an instant hatred for him. The Muslim was being used as a tool, a foil to consolidate Hindu society on the one hand and to enlarge the size of the vote on the other to capture power. The Muslim was being used both as the ‘‘other’’ and as an ally. And now as he looks around the political battlefield he is without even his political compasses. He does not know which political party to support. P.V. Narasimha Rao completed his five years with the Muslim sulking away from him. Vajpayee has completed his term with the Muslim regarding him from a distance. Until 1964, the undisputed leader of Indian Muslims was Jawaharlal Nehru — Panditji to everybody in the country. Once ethnic, regional, linguistic, caste realities began to assert themselves, the Muslim too began to participate in the diffuse political processes in the rest of India. The problem remains in the Hindi heartland where social upheaval and political churning is proceeding apace. There is a certain navigational difficulty for the Muslim. It is also possible that the Muslim has reached a dead end in pursuit of ‘‘old’’ politics. One of the most self defeating pursuits of the past has been a search for a liberal Muslim leader. A liberal Muslim leader is a contradiction in terms, just as liberal Hindu leader or liberal Jat leader is. Muslims must stand behind enlightened leaders who promote the general purpose which will automatically encompass minority interests. An overwhelming majority of these enlightened leaders will be Hindus. There will be Muslim, Christian, Sikh leaders as well to whom Hindu voters will turn to protect their interests. Enlightened leadership must replace communal and caste leaders. As part of the ‘‘new’’ politics, Muslims will have to abandon an impression they communicate, particularly during elections — an impression of ganging up against this or that formation. In polarised politics this stance generates a backlash. Muslims must have the flexibility to unite with all parties for their proper policies.
Posted by: Mudy Feb 27 2004, 10:01 PM,001300740000.htm,001300740000.htm
Asked whether he had been invited by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to have tea with her, Hazarika said, "No, I have never met her in my life." But he later admitted, "I was invited to have tea (with Sonia) but I came here (BJP) to have rice." BJP leader Arun Jaitley talking informally to reporters had a dig at the Congress chief's expense. "Whenever she (Sonia) calls potential recruits for tea, they all cross over to the BJP," he laughed.
Posted by: Viren Feb 27 2004, 10:41 PM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Feb 27 2004, 12:31 PM)
"Whenever she (Sonia) calls potential recruits for tea, they all cross over to the BJP," he laughed.
Holy cow! When will the Congress realize that she just dosen't cut it. Imagine her dealing with the other world leaders on India's behalf. furious.gif Hope she stays on till end of elections wink.gif after which it'll be interesting to watch if she dumps Congress or Congress dumps her.
Posted by: muddur Feb 28 2004, 12:15 AM
Hope she stays on till end of elections I hope she stays on till the end of congress itself !
Posted by: Rudra Singha Feb 28 2004, 12:27 AM
punish them! maul them! take no prisoners! Business Standard cant take it anymore and whines ---- I like it, like the old Magadha army gathering its resources for a crushing win. india.gif
Posted by: acharya Feb 28 2004, 12:37 AM
ADVERTISEMENT JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031 UK Indian body deplores Muslim leaders joining BJP Press Trust of India London, February 27,00050003.htm Without naming anyone but with an obvious reference to the recent decision of Arif Mohammed Khan and Arif Baig to join BJP, the Council of Indian Muslims - UK has deplored the decision of "some of Indian Muslims to join the BJP". "We are deeply worried at this dangerous trend and short- sightedness, to say the least of some Muslim politicians who have already joined the BJP or have been giving indications to do," CIM's chairman Munaf Zeena said in a statement on Thursday night. Zeena attacked the politicians who, he said, had "a long record of using Muslims for their political gains". Citing examples of their "opportunism", Zeena said, "In the past they used issues like the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) or their lineage with personalities like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. When it suited them they used AMU as a launching pad to succeed in politics and when it proved more profitable to wear the cap of liberalism they became the champions of the rights of Muslim women and did not hesitate in attacking Muslim personal law. "When opposing the BJP could help them to occupying high position in the Rajya Sabha they called it anti-Muslim. But now when supporting it can bring them more gains they express confidence in Atal Bihari Vajpayee." Stating that the BJP was the political wing of RSS, Zeena said "One wonders, after the demolition of Babri Mosque by BJP led government in UP in 1992, genocide and the ongoing harassment of Muslims in Gujarat, imposition of Hindu worship upon non-Hindu children in state schools, contradictory statements of Prime Minister Vajpayee on Babri Mosque, what proof does one need to be convinced about the real motives of the Sangh Parivar?"
Posted by: rhytha Feb 28 2004, 12:47 AM
Cn anybody tell me where i can get info on demographics and patterns in TN, muslim majority areas, christian areas stuff like that? On a diffrenet note, i saw JJ's intreview on her birthday, looked to me like she is a unbalanced person. She repeatdly said she was a victim of consipiracy all her life etc etc, playing the victim all the time, they did this to me and did that to me. BJP allying with her is not that good i guess, there is already resentment among plp from all walks of life gov servants, farmers, etc (including me argue.gif, regarding water scarcity) Karunanidhi is not this bad apart from his appeasment of minorities.
Posted by: thalapathi Feb 28 2004, 02:19 AM
QUOTE (rhytha @ Feb 28 2004, 12:47 AM)
Cn anybody tell me where i can get info on demographics and patterns in TN, muslim majority areas, christian areas stuff like that? On a diffrenet note, i saw JJ's intreview on her birthday, looked to me like she is a unbalanced person. She repeatdly said she was a victim of consipiracy all her life etc etc, playing the victim all the time, they did this to me and did that to me. BJP allying with her is not that good i guess, there is already resentment among plp from all walks of life gov servants, farmers, etc (including me argue.gif, regarding water scarcity) Karunanidhi is not this bad apart from his appeasment of minorities.
Rhytha, The book is published by "Center for Policy Studies" and from the copy I saw it was somewhere in Chennai . Do ask around in Chennai and i am sure you will find it. The book is not just for TamilNadu but all over India. As for JJ vs MK please do not be misled what JJ says in public. If you have interacted with some of her advisors(minus her sister) they are all brilliant and what she has done for TamilNadu very silently is amazing. Some of what she has done can be understood by reading Dinamalar,Dinamani and Maalai Sudar. MK is much more cunning than what he appears. From what I heard from people who work in the ground in TamilNadu, there is so much fighting in TNCC and even and the DPA that it is a great plus for BJP+ADMK. A great strategy to make PT,DPI etc to form a third front and it might be a big factor that affects the results.
Posted by: acharya Feb 28 2004, 03:59 AM
Elections 2004- Secular Campaign- Bulletin-I Dear Friends, The forthcoming elections are extremely crucial for the Indian democracy. More than ever before the threat of stiffling of democracy and liberal space is there for real. BJP the political wing of RSS is putting up a very liberal mask and projecting Shining India and Feel Good mainly to lure the sections of non Hindutva supporting people to come to power. many an intiatives are going on in different cities. In order that we can learn from and supplemnent each others efforts we need to know this. In this direction we will be putting together the election related campaigns and putting out this bulletin as and when needed. Do dissiminte this further and also please send such material to so that they can be put together and circulated to concerned friends. In solidarity Ram Puniyani (EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity, Mumbai) --- 1. A meeting of members of various social movements, political parties, NGOs, voluntary organizations, academics, artists and activists was held on 19 Jan, 2004 at the WSF, Mumbai, to discuss the common strategies to be adopted during the coming Lok Sabha elections. After long deliberations during which many suggestions were made, the following points emerged in the nature of a broad consensus among our participants: The BJP led NDA government would manipulate all available agencies and institutions that it can influence and control to come back to power. A second term for BJP led government would spell the doom of democratic institutions of India, especially its law and order machinery, education institutions and media, and would cause considerable damage to its secular polity which would be difficult to repair. There is, therefore an urgent need for all the academics, NGOs activists not directly involved in the electoral politics to rise to the occasion and make effective intervention at all levels to prevent the BJP led alliances from coming back to power. To achieve this it was decided: To form a national electoral committee for Democratic India comprising eminent scholars, writers, academics, activists etc. To form a Secretariat for three months, which would coordinate at the national level the interventions on behalf of the committee. To identify organizations interested in employing their resources to the above mentioned at state levels and ready to play the role of nodal centers for next three months. To hold weekly press briefings to be addressed by persons belonging to different sectors highlighting secular issues. To prepare communication materials, collect input from all sectors and circulate it at various levels. To undertake a national elections campaign for VOTE AGAINST THE POLITICS OF HATE & VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY. Meetings to be organized in different villages, towns & cities to be addressed by activists, social scientists etc. To lobby effectively with the media and influence them to carry stories highlighting the issues of increasing inequality and rising unemployment. It was decided that the National Election Campaign Committee for Democratic India would be launched in Delhi on 30 January, 2004. 2. Meeting for tackling communal politics in the upcoming elections (2004) Date: 10 February 2004 Time: 1830- 2020 Venue: Sramik, Lal Nishan, Dadar Initial agenda A meeting was convened where a number of concerned citizens representing different organisations assembled to discuss the steps to be taken to ensure: i) that the upcoming elections remain free from the exercising of the communal card ii) to work for defeat of communal forces It was then necessary to first debate the current political situation in India and Maharashtra, the nature of BJP, Shiv Sena and NDA politics and considerations of the Congress and the third front: i)First Godhra was seen as a watershed and a cut off point from which the BJP has been emerging victorious given the recent elections in different states in India. ii) Whether there would be third front or collaboration between the Congress(I), the left and other parties iii)It was also raised that there is a need to examine clearly the BJP and its allies function, covering different aspects such as the nature of the present cabinet, the manner in which the BJP manages its allies. iv)In relation to the previous point, it was felt that the effective role of the RSS and allied organisations needs to be regarded with some seriousness to acquire a fuller picture of right wing mobilisation It was then raised that any effort in challenging the emerging political status quo needs to think short term and as well as long term. It was suggested that the Secular forces may have some thing to ironically learn from the BJP especially given the successful record of BJPs mobilisation amongst adivasis etc. The main points as part of the agenda which emerged from here are: i) The BJP is dominating the political scenario .And crucially ii) How can non-political groups and agents contribute and leave an impact in tackling the political status quo? Planning Action 1. The first point, which emerged is that the media plays a critical role and must be regarded as a critical component and consideration for all actions to be planned henceforth. The project that will be planned must influence the media and make use of the different forms of media and technologies. It was also suggested that allies of the BJP such as the TDP and the Shiv Sena etc. themselves can be targeted as well. The issue of the need for information was brought up, where often the lack of information and hence awareness hinders progressive efforts in exposing right wing groups and introducing political alternatives. Furthermore in light of the BJP-NDAs India Shining Campaign, information countering such propaganda was deemed critical. It was also felt that blanket statements such as those condemning Hindutva would be confusing if taken to the public as it may be perceived that an attack on Hindutva ideology could be construed as an condemnation on Hinduism. To avoid such confusions which may hinder efforts, it was suggested such direct statements be avoided. But then in response to this put forth to those present as to what the stand taken would be then and how would this position find effective expression. It was also stated that the relation between capitalism and communalism in general and not targeting just the BJP should also find expression. Hence it was felt that a broad strategy should be adopted that would be inclusive of all affected communities and citizens. Eg. The issue of POTA could be raised in the public debate with regards to its misuse over Muslims, as well as upon adivasi and non-muslim communities in Jharkhand and in Tamil Nadu (the Vaiko case). Ultimately all efforts must highlight how the present political equation and players in power affect all Indian citizens and not just one or two communities. The need for information was an issue that returned to the table. In the subsequent deliberations it was made clear that what was needed was good quality information and content if it is to be taken seriously by the media. This information/ content must support a detailed sophisticated argument. This content must be prepared in a manner which enables the message to reach different groups. In other words, the project must be able to speak in different languages and be able to address specific and general concerns and themes of each and every group. It was then announced that a meeting to this effect would be held by INSANIYAT at the Bombay Union of Journalists on 13 february at 1730 hrs. Mobilisation efforts discussed also included reaching out to NGOs who, despite the problems they normally face such those of funding and funding agencies, could function as pressure groups and as critics of government policies. However it was also mentioned that such mobilisation endeavours require the creation and sustaining of networks which span rural and urban areas. Other organisational specific issues put to the floor included an identifying of the strengths and weaknesses of the different agents who will conduct the campaign to facilitate effective strategising. It was also mentioned that the main objective and plan of action would need to be clarified. One of the possible components of the plan of action to be constructed was involving secular mainstream political parties, especially the Congress. It was understood that due to the splits between secular parties, the secular vote itself breaks thereby facilitating the dominance of the BJP-NDA to some extent. It was felt that a United front of parties rather than a 3rd front separate from the Congress (I), to ensure against the splitting of the secular vote. Therefore, it was decided that the campaign would also involve preparing and sending delegations to different political parties. Final points and tasks emerging 1) Organising a team and effort for Mobilising elections. This would involve monitoring the electoral process through media accounts and messages in the news and those exclusively by political parties. Different media forms such as newspaper and visual media should also be monitored in detail. Known personalities from different fields could be asked to participate in monitoring so that such efforts acquire some credibility. Election monitoring cell will be formed. This will seek the cooperation from renowned personalities and with the help of students will monitor the election speeches by video or tape recording them. (Action Suma Josson) 2) Preparing the content and information on the issues in concern to rectify the paucity of reliable information and also facilitate intervention through the media. Reference was made to the meeting to be conducted by Insaniyat for 3 feb, at 1730 hrs. (Action Jairus, Sukla, Athar) 3) Coordinating with NGOs- Action- Virochan, Rohini 4) Media cell will try to coordiante the intervention through media. This cell will also take the support of renowned journalists. (Action-Suma) 5) Delegations of prominent citizens will be taken to various political parties to prevail upon them not to split the votes. AN appeal will be drafted and delgations put together for this purpose. Action-(Bharati, Jairus) (Minutes by Ankur Datta) ---- 3.Citizens for Defending Constitutional Democracy and Secularism An Appeal to the Secular parties to have a pre-poll alliance to ensure the victory of Secular democracy Dear Friends, The forthcoming elections are going to be a big challenge to Indian people. The big question is whether the NDA coalition led by BJP, will come back to power or whether secular parties can defeat this coalition which has led the country on the path of disaster as for as the plight of weaker sections of society is concerned. During last 5 years, like never before, the condition of average people of the country is deteriorating. The factories have been closing down ruthlessly resulting in massive job losses. The farmers have been committing suicides in hundreds. The poor are being deprived of the social welfare measures in health and education in particular. Millions of jobless youth are seeing no hope or prospect for them in the future with the current policies of the central government, which are aimed to please only a small section of masses. To cover up this debacle at the social and economic front the Government has started massive advertisement blitz at the expense of tax payers' money. These advertisements, in Gobelsian style are manufacturing the falsehood and repeating them over and over again to create a Feel Good impression amongst the suffering millions to vote for BJP. Also the image of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is being projected as the statesman and a leader who is second only to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the builder of Modern India, the First Prime Minister of India. This comparison is ridiculous. While Pandit Nehru was a man of integrity and vision, Mr. Vajpayee is the person, who has been the mask of sangh parivar. And now the mask has become the face itself. His double speak defies the very norms of holding a high office. In Gujarat in the face of worst carnage and violation of the rights of minorities in various ways he advises the Chief Minister to follow his Rajdharma; a bit later in Goa he praises the same man and accuses the minorities themselves for their own plight. In London he will feel ashamed for the Gujarat violence while back home he will praise the Chief Minister under whose nose the whole tragedy took place. In New Delhi he will say that Temple is not the issue, in Ayodhya he will ask for votes so that he can build the temple. The BJP governments rule has also done serious damge to our history books by communalizing them. This will have serious repercussions on the integrity of the nation. At the same time the introduction of blind faith by introduction of Paurohitya, Karmakand and astrology in our education has extreme retrograde impact on the rational thought in the country. The foreign policy has been marked by a blind subservience to the US imperialism. Our country which was leader of the non aligned movement has been reduced to a second fiddle to the United States' imperialist ambitions. During last five years due to BJP leading the coalition RSS has increased its hold through state patronage. Also the attempt was made to tamper with our constitution. It is just fortunate that the vigilant Indian people opposed it tooth and nail and the committee appointed to do so could not tamper with this major achievement of our freedom struggle, the Indian Constitution. BJP has used this five year regime to gradually push the country towards RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra. One more term for this may lead us in the direction which may not be retrievable, a condition where the Indian Constitutional values may be done away with and the stifling of democratic norms will be the order of the day. Secularism and democracy are inseparable. Killing one will finish the other off, that's what the deeper goal of RSS is and BJP is the political vehicle for the same. It is most unfortunate that in previous general election the total votes polled by BJP were much less than the secular parties. As there was no pre poll alliance, BJP could grab the power. The times are critical for Indian democracy. It is now or never type of situation for the values ingrained in our condition, the values of social, economic and gender justice, the values of affirmative action for weaker section of society, the values of protection of Human rights of minorities and other disadvantaged sections of our society. Friends, a slight accommodation on our side will overall benefit the cause for which we are striving. We stand for value based politics. Our very political principles will be under threat as the associates of BJP, like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal etc. will become emboldened due to BJP returning to power. We should remember that BJP is part of the Sangh Parivar. And BJP's coming to power will empower these oppressive elements of society, who have been wrecking havoc on the liberal and progressive ethos of our society. It is time we come together with some give and take. It is time we do the historical duty which we owe to the Indian Nation and Indian society. It is not just a question of coming to power; it is a question of protecting our democracy. It is not just a question of defeating the BJP in politics but also defeating RSS's long term agenda of Hindu Rashtra. We urge upon you to take this appeal seriously and form a pre-poll alliance with all secular and democratic political parties. We will be grateful to you for the same. The Nation will thank you for saving it the torture of going through the rule which has the potentials to abolish the democracy and secularism. Check this out - demonizing to any extent. (to be shortly issued by the prominent citizens of Mumbai)
Posted by: Mudy Feb 28 2004, 08:29 AM
Sudden announcement of Lok Sabha election is causing panic attacks in so called p-sec camps. Some had acute amnesia and others diarrehea. biggrin.gif Including SD of US.
Posted by: muddur Feb 28 2004, 08:34 AM Has V S Naipaul joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?
Posted by: prem Feb 28 2004, 12:10 PM
Sudden announcement of Lok Sabha election is causing panic attacks in so called p-sec camps. Some had acute amnesia and others diarrehea. Including SD of US. --------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- lol, Psuedos etc are most probably looking at the hole they have been digging for the last couple of years and are afraid that they will be buried deep in the very hole as their credibilty has been called to test with the election and now are panic stricken as lies of theirs will be exposed. Another 5years of NDA govt will eliminate them forever. For start,Hope congress gets finished for good in current election.
Posted by: rhytha Feb 28 2004, 04:33 PM
QUOTE (thalapathi @ Feb 28 2004, 02:19 AM)
As for JJ vs MK please do not be misled what JJ says in public. If you have interacted with some of her advisors(minus her sister) they are all brilliant and what she has done for TamilNadu very silently is amazing. Some of what she has done can be understood by reading Dinamalar,Dinamani and Maalai Sudar. MK is much more cunning than what he appears. From what I heard from people who work in the ground in TamilNadu, there is so much fighting in TNCC and even and the DPA that it is a great plus for BJP+ADMK. A great strategy to make PT,DPI etc to form a third front and it might be a big factor that affects the results.
i was talking about her character, unsure.gif , TN has a efficient bureaucracy, the state will run on its potential even if there a so-so CM cool.gif , but to take the state forward there has to be a forward looking CM(like naidu), and in my opinion JJ has no such charatertistics, but so does MK, but MK atleast was better with the state economy(maybe that due to maran guidence, but anyway), than JJ. All we hear from JJ is, she will make TN 1st in INdia blah blah, but nothing concrete done. Karnataka and AP have been steadily eating into the TN pie on IT projects and other major sectors, JJ only seems to be running around revenging MK and solving cases filed against her. mad.gif Also the water situation is very bad in the city, all houses have a hand pump or a metro water pipe, but the most don't get any water, we have to keep running behind water tankers at odd hours for drinking water. She has done nothing in this regard. Veeranam project is a project for contracters, only money will flow into the contracters bannk account, not water to our houses. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: jrjrao Feb 28 2004, 05:39 PM
(Dunno if this has been posted before. ) This familiar crank offers this familiar test that must be passed before the BJP can be awarded the "secular" certificate:
So the Muslim community should not take the BJP’s love-calls at face value. But it should put a few simple demands to the BJP to prove its love for Muslims and commitment to secularism: • Will the BJP severe its links with the RSS and disown the ideological heritage of Savarkar and Golwalkar? Will it allow the RSS chief to act as an extra-constitutional authority? Will it stop making special dispensations in favour of RSS-linked organisations, institutions, individuals? • Will it stop performance of Hindu rituals at State functions? • Will it let the law take its course on the Ayodhya question, commit itself to the execution of the final judicial verdict and the implementation of the October, 1994 roadmap of the Supreme Court? Will the BJP commit itself not to repeal the Religious Places (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 and protect all places of worship as they were on 15 August, 1947? • Will it promise the enactment of a comprehensive law on social violence, in all its forms and manifestations, providing for investigation by a federal agency, prosecution by Special Courts and payment of uniform compensation for loss of life, honour and property and imposition of collective fine? Will it apply the law retrospectively to all anti-Muslim and anti-Dalit cases since 1999? • Will it establish primary and secondary schools in adequate numbers in all areas of deprivation, village by village, ward by ward, in accordance with the national norm, with the mother tongue as the medium of primary instruction and the teaching of the mother tongue as compulsory first language and of the principal language of the State as compulsory second language to all students belonging to linguistic minorities and introduce secular textbooks and non-denominational school culture? • Will the BJP introduce reservation for Muslims in Legislatures (under joint electorate), in public employment including security forces, higher education, welfare and development benefits and flow of bank credit, proportion to their population at the operational levels? • Will BJP ensure against State intervention in matters of religion including religion-based family laws and against any tilt in inter-religious conflicts? • Will it guarantee full and unrestricted exercise of freedom of religion under Article 25? • Will the BJP nullify the Trifurcation of Punjab Wakf Board, restore Wakf properties in the hands of the State and include public Wakfs in the list of public premises? • Will it give its tickets to at least 50 Muslims for the Lok Sabha, even to its faithful acolytes, old and new, and get them elected from safe seats? • Will it commit itself to include at least 10% Muslims in the Council of Ministers? • Will the BJP commit to include one Muslim among 10 government nominees in all statutory and non-statutory bodies? • Will the BJP stop the vilification of Islam and demonization of Muslims, as Babar-ki-aulad, as historic adversaries?
How many Muslims has the Vajpayee govt?
Posted by: Mudy Feb 28 2004, 09:53 PM
How many Muslims has the Vajpayee govt?
No need to look for these votes if they want to divide India on above religious agenda. If they want, they can use Samjutta express for easy travel to their designated land. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: Mudy Feb 28 2004, 11:35 PM
AIPJD to go with NDA Agencies/ Bangalore In an abrupt political development, the truncated All India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) shattered already by en masse exodus of its leaders to other parties, Saturday decided to forge an alliance with NDA. AIPJD president S R Bommai in the company of NDA convernor and defence minister George Fernandes announced at a press conference here that his party would join hands with NDA and seat-sharing arrangement would be discussed later. Bommai ruled out AIPJD merging with Janata Party, declaring that the party's identity would be maintained. He said it has become inevitable for AIPJD to go with NDA, but rejected a suggestion that it was opportunistic politics. [temp link]
Posted by: acharya Feb 29 2004, 07:56 AM
Karnataka BJP in a dilemma over Bangarappa's talks with NDA By Our Special Correspondent BANGALORE, FEB. 28. Reports about the former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, S. Bangarappa's move to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has come as a surprise to the State leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP is in a "Catch 22" situation. While it is euphoric on the "fissure" in the Congress camp, it is guarded on his confabulations with the NDA. Sources said that while Mr. Bangarappa was still a force to reckon with in certain pockets of the State, it was not acceptable to the BJP that he is reported to be asking fro 30 Assembly seats and five Lok Sabha seats, particularly in areas where the BJP is gaining in strength. "It can be negotiated, but certainly we are not interested in this kind of alliance." The BJP was aware that Mr. Bangarappa did not wield the same influence on the masses that he did a decade ago, sources said. At a press conference here today, the BJP spokesman, S. Suresh Kumar, said the party was contemplating taking legal action against the Congress leaders who had charged that the NDA Government was tapping the mobile phones of Congress leaders in the State. The State BJP was discussing the issue with Central leaders before initiating any action. He wondered how tapping was possible when mobile phone operators were private companies, which did not belong to any political group. On the charge made by the Congress spokesman, Kapil Sibal, that the former Union Minister and State BJP President, H.N. Ananth Kumar, was involved in the sale of Hotel Ashok, Mr. Suresh Kumar said that Mr. Sibal had got both his "facts and figures" wrong. He said the financial bids for the first lot of hotel properties of ITDC put up for disinvestment, including Hotel Ashok, were called between October 29 and November 8, 2001. During that period, Mr. Ananth Kumar was not the Minister for Tourism as he had given up charge of the Ministry of Tourism. The hotel had been given on a 30-year lease for Rs. 4.11 crore a year to the bidder. As for the remarks of Mr. Sibal that the country needed a young leader, Mr. Suresh Kumar said the country needed a "role model" and not a "model" and Mr. Vajpayee was the choice of the youth as shown by India Today-ORG Marg survey.
Posted by: muddur Mar 1 2004, 03:37 AM Former CM Bangarappa quits Cong Sunday, February 29, 2004 (Davangere): Dealing a stunning blow to the ruling Congress ahead of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, former Karnataka Chief Minister S Bangarappa today announced his decision to quit the party. "It is certain that I have decided to leave the Congress," he said. A backward class leader with his own pockets of influence, Bangarappa had been sulking in recent days over being "sidelined" and had maintained a low-profile. Bangarappa had, however, expressed his desire to contest the Assembly polls, saying he was willing to play second innings as chief minister. This is the third time Bangarappa is leaving the Congress after 1983, when he had floated Karnataka Kranti Ranga and 1994 when he formed Karnataka Congress Party. (PTI)
Posted by: rajesh_g Mar 1 2004, 04:44 AM 4-phase LS polls to begin on April 20 Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 29, 2004 13:13 IST Last Updated: February 29, 2004 15:10 IST Elections to the new Lok Sabha would be held in four phases between April 20 and May 10. On April 20 (Tuesday), the polls would involved 16 states/Union Territories and 141 constituencies. On April 26 (Monday), 11 states/UT and 137 constituencies. May 5 (Wednesday), 7 states/UT, 83 constituencies. May 10 (Monday), 16 states/UT, 182 constituencies. Counting of votes would be held on May 13 except in the case of Andhra Pradesh where it would be taken up a day earlier. Simultaneously, assembly elections would be held in four states - Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Sikkim. About 67.5crore voters would be involved in the Lok Sabha polls and approximately 14crore in the assembly polls. Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy announced the poll schedule, after a full meeting of the commission on Sunday morning, at a press conference in the presence of the other commissioners B B Tandon and N Gopalaswamy. "Notification for the polling would be made March 24 for the first phase of polling, March 31 for the second phase, April 8 for the third and April 16 for the fourth and final phase. Last date of filing of nominations for the four phases would be March 31, April 7, April 15 and April 23, respectively. "Scrutiny would be on April 1, April 8, April 16 and April 24. Last date of withdrawal of nominations phases have been fixed as April 3, April 10, April 19 and April 26," he said. In the first phase, polling would be held in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In the second phase: parts of Assam, Manipur, Jharkhand, UP, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. In the third phase: Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, MP, UP, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan. Rest would be covered in the fourth and final phase. Murthy did not reveal the total number of security forces to be deployed for smooth conduct of the elections.
Posted by: rajesh_g Mar 1 2004, 05:05 AM
ooodee babaaaa... BJP, Vajpayee not communal, says Najma Sunday, 29 February , 2004, 12:41 New Delhi: Refusing to term the BJP as a communal party and showering praise on development agenda taken up by the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptulla candidly admitted that the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi was an issue in Congress. "The foreign origin of the Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) is an issue. Sharad Pawar and Mr PA Sangma were expelled on this issue only," Heptulla told Doordarshan in an interview. Accusing the Congress leader of having deviated from the Party's ideology and thrusting upon it her personal likes and dislikes, she regretted that after having served the Congress party as an active member since 1952, her ideological links with the party were being questioned. "I have been in party since 1952 and now the 15 years old are teaching me the ideology of the party," she said, in an indirect reference to Gandhi. The Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson, in reply to a question regarding the so-called anti-minority character of BJP, said the development works being started by the Prime Minister would benefit all irrespective of their religion. "How can I term Mr Vajpayee communal. The only agenda he has taken UP is development," she said. Seemingly in no mood to spare the Congress, she extended the argument, and said "Alas, could we (Congress) have taken up agenda of the development." Heptulla has been in the Rajya Sabha for 24 years on Congress ticket. Heptulla, who had recently from a tour of Pakistan was all praise for the peace initiate of the Prime Minister Vajpayee. "The common man in Pakistan is excited over the prospects of good relations between the two countries," she said. "Is this communal?. This, in fact, is in the interest of minorities here and in Pakistan. He (Vajpayee) is doing well," she asserted. Heptulla listed the Highway Projects the Prime Minister's Road Scheme and other developmental schemes of the Government as steps which would go long way to ensure prosperity of the country. "Kya sadkon par sirf ek hi dharm ke log chalenge, Us par Muslaman, Christians nahi chalenge( Will the roads be used by persons from one religion. Will Muslims and Christians not walk on them)," she asked. To a query on the statement of Congress spokesperson in which she was dubbed as 'Siberian Migrant bird," the RS Deputy Chairperson said "I do not know whom he referred as migrant as I belong to this country and never migrated from any party." Since migratory cranes come from other countries, it is clear that the pointer was not at me but at someone else," she said in an indirect reference to the foreign origin of Gandhi. In reply to another question, she commended the functioning of NDA which she thought was proving good for the progress of the country. "The NDA is running well along with 24 parties on the basis of Common Minimum Programme but the Congress leader (Sonia Gandhi) has not been able to cruise along with her own party men," she remarked. When asked how she saw future of the Congress, Heptulla said she had no idea what would happen to it simply because she had no faith in the present leadership of the Party. Asserting there was nothing personal between her and Gandhi, Heptulla said she was worried about Congress party and it saddened her to see its decline. She also brushed aside the allegation that she had spoken against the Congress party at the time of election and at the time when her term in the Rajya Sabha was coming to an end. "I have raised the issues many a times but nobody is so courageous, it may be due to elections this time, that it has made an impact,"she said. Heptulla also dismissed the reports that her outburst had emanated from the fact she was not getting the fifth term in the upper house from Congress. "My fourth term in Rajya Sabha is on till July. I do not know what people think in this regard," she said. The RS Deputy Chairperson acknowledged that the Congress had given her four terms in the Rajya Sabha but maintained that at present the Congress lacked astute leadership.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 1 2004, 11:54 AM
Laloo favours Paswan as PM frusty.gif Pioneer News Service/ Patna In a move that is likely to annoy the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav on Sunday tossed up the name of Lok Jan Shakti leader and one-time bitter critic Ram Vilas Paswan for the Prime Minister's post. Mr Paswan is part of the anti-NDA front floated in Bihar with the coming together of the Congress, the RJD, the LJP, the Left and the NCP. "In our political alliance we've got many leaders for the Prime Minister's post like Sonia Gandhi, Ram Vilas Paswan and others," declared Mr Yadav when asked who would be their prime ministerial candidate after the election.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 2 2004, 01:20 AM,001300740000.htm HT Correspondent New Delhi, March 1 The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Election Commission (EC) to publish in at least two local dailies outstanding telephone, electricity, water, accommodation and travel dues of politicians. Justices B.C. Patel and B.D. Ahmed observed: “For a healthy democracy, a voter must be well informed and must know the antecedents of the candidates.” The court also asked MTNL and NDMC to take all measures including disconnection of phones and electricity to recover their dues. While 656 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members — both sitting and former — owe MTNL Rs 11 crore, 669 owe NDMC Rs 6.32 crore for water and electricity. The court also issued notices to the secretaries general of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, asking why the arrears of sitting and former MPs were not deducted from their salary, allowances and pension. When the EC counsel said the exercise would cost a lot of money, the court asked, “When so much can be spent on feel-good, why can't it be spent on informing the voters?” The court also directed the EC to take affidavits from politicians in this regard. The order came during a hearing on a petition seeking directions to MTNL, NDMC and ITDC to recover their dues from politicians and political parties.
Posted by: Kaushal Mar 2 2004, 05:06 AM
This is hardly surprising news. In India it is not uncommon for families to split political parties, the idea being that at least one member of the family will be successful. A similar strategy was adopted by Indian Muslims during partition, when one branch left for Pakistan and one stayed back. There used to be a famous picture in the 60's of 2 cousins signing for their respective countries as foreign secretaries. By Our BUREAU March 1: Veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh's son Ajay today called on L.K. Advani and BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu separately, fuelling speculation on what could be the biggest blow yet to Sonia Gandhi's party. That is not all. The Congress "parivar", the BJP's prime target in the run-up to the elections, might lose four veterans soon. They are Nawal Kishore Sharma, Balram Jakhar and Girija Vyas from Rajasthan and C.K. Jaffer Sharief, once P.V. Narasimha Rao's aide and one of the party's best known Muslim faces. For the record, Sharief maintained he would "rather die" than go to the BJP. Ajay, one of the few in the Congress to have scraped through in the last Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, denied he was planning to join the BJP. But party sources claimed the "deal" will be sealed once an appropriate Lok Sabha seat is found for him. The news that Ajay — also known as Rahul — met the BJP leaders upset Arjun Singh. "The very question is an insult to me," the Congress' most vocal secular voice rasped when reporters sought his comment. "He is not a slave of anybody, least of all mine," Arjun told PTI, asked if Ajay might join the BJP. "I just cannot believe it." In Madhya Pradesh Congress circles, Ajay has an image of an "obedient son" who seldom acts on his own. Both he and his father are said to be influenced by Arjun's wife Saroj, popularly called Rani Sahiba. Although she has no direct role in politics, Congress workers are unanimous that she influences the decisions of both father and son. If Ajay does join the BJP, it would be the second political family in Madhya Pradesh to be split by the party. The first was when Digvijay Singh's younger brother Laxman was inducted last week. Even if the uproar in the Congress eventually deters Ajay, the meeting in Delhi has compounded the confusion in the party ranks, leaving many to wonder who will be the next to switch sides. Politics continued to mirror the never-ending saga of splits in television soaps as another family witnessed a dramatic twist. Ranjit Singh, the son of Devi Lal and younger brother of Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala switched over to the BJP from the Congress. Ranjit and Chautala have had a long-standing feud but NDA sources expressed dismay at the BJP's "shoddy" attitude towards its allies. For the record, the INLD is still a constituent of the NDA although its alliance with the BJP will not hold for the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP snapped ties with the INLD after the state leaders impressed on the Delhi bosses that there was a "huge" anti-incumbency wave against the Chautala government which could hit the BJP as hard, if not more than its ally. Ranjit came with his Jat supporters and addressed them in the presence of Naidu and cabinet minister Arun Jaitley. It is not clear if and where Ranjit will be put up because of the Haryana unit's "opposition" to rewarding new entrants promptly with tickets. In Karnataka, another family is on the verge of a split. Former chief minister S. Bangarappa seems set to join the BJP, though his son Kumar is a minister in the outgoing S.M. Krishna government. Kumar, a film star, has so far opted to continue in the Congress. BJP sources claimed that the Congress would be wiped out in Karnataka if Bangarappa left. "There is no information, no confirmation. Why should I rule it out? Why should I welcome it?" Naidu said, asked if Bangarappa would join the BJP. The two sons-in-law of the late Ramakrishna Hegde also met Advani. But BJP general secretary Pramod Majahan said Advani's meeting with Gopal and Manu Nichani, who came with Ajay, was not connected with politics. (See Page 8)
Posted by: acharya Mar 2 2004, 06:17 AM
Muslims from Suratkal join BJP By Our Staff Correspondent MANGALORE, MARCH 1. Several Muslim from Mukka, Kana, Idya, and Katipalla areas in the Suratkal Assembly constituency joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of the leaders of the district unit of the party, here today. The Baikampady Jumma Masjid president, Abubakkar, and Abdul Razak, a BJP Muslim leader, led the Muslims who joined the BJP in the presence of the president of the district unit of the party, Pratap Simha Nayak, N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, Rukmayya Poojary and Kumble Sundara Rao, former MLAs, the Leader of the Opposition in the Mangalore City Corporation, Mariyamma Thomas, and Krishna Palemar, member of the State BJP Executive. Members of the Sunni Students' Foundation were among those who joined the party. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Abubakkar and Mr. Razak said they had joined the BJP as they were impressed by the rule of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. Mr. Nayak, who spoke on behalf of the party, said many Muslims were joining the party across the country following a call given by the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, to members of the minority community to support the BJP. He claimed that a few people in the Bantwal Assembly segment had joined the party recently. Members of the minority communities in Belthangady and Puttur had also changed their attitude towards the party. He alleged that the Congress had created an impression among the minorities that the BJP was a communal party. It had also created a fear psychosis among them. Mr. Nayak said the party had organised a women workers' meet at Sullia and Puttur recently.
Posted by: acharya Mar 2 2004, 11:24 PM
Coalition politics has become inevitable' By Marcus Dam Participants at a national seminar on "Politics of Coalition" held in Kolkata on Monday. From left are: the Congress MP, Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister for Health and Parliamentary Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the veteran CPI(M) leader, Jyoti Basu, the RJD chief, Laloo Prasad Yadav, and the Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , N. Ram. — Photo: Sushanta Patronobish KOLKATA, MARCH 1. Coalition politics is here to stay, they agreed. But there were sharp differences on whether it was an outcome of political expediency, simply a question of political accommodation or one that should only be determined by a common minimum programme. Were there any ideological and moral considerations that needed addressing? Could there be equality in such an arrangement? For the panelists at a national seminar on the ``Politics of Coalition'' in the context of the Lok Sabha elections 2004 that was organised by Ganashakti here today, it boiled down to agreeing to disagree. Moderating the discussions, the Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , N. Ram, asked the panelists to address the issue whether coalition governments were preferable to a single-party rule or whether it was just a matter of expediency with there being really anything to choose from on the question of pre and post-election alliances. Political federalism had come to stay but did that entail a necessary accommodation of regional parties in a coalition arrangement? Moreover, did such arrangements involve power sharing by the regional parties and could there be any equality in a coalition? What are the rules of the game in the ``coalition dharma'' if indeed there were any? To Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister of Health and Parliamentary Affairs, coalition politics ``has ceased to be a question of preferences. It has become inevitable'' even though its detractors may be describing the NDA Government as a coalition with a vengeance. The Congress spokesperson, Kapil Sibal, felt that the type of coalition politics that the NDA Government had chosen to become a part of ``will ruin the federalist structure of India and was the outcome of the politics of expediency, based on lust for power and nothing else.'' He warned of conflicts between ``political coalitions and constitutional coalition'' but added that , ``I don't think any political party has a way out so we have no choice but coalitions''. Concurring that coalition politics had emerged as a viable option, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said the problem with the NDA Government was that ``it had inherent contradictions... . its basic agenda reflecting that of the RSS and the BJP — namely Hindutva.'' The Left Front Government's experience in West Bengal had showed that coalitions could be forged without stooping to ``political opportunism''. ``Without ideological coalition no coalition can survive,'' he added, underscoring the necessity of political morality.'' ``No party can come to power on its own,'' the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, Laloo Prasad Yadav, said. The coalition he was looking at had a ``common minimum programme — that of ousting the BJP and its frontal organisations ... and save the country from disaster. This is the issue that lies before the nation if it has to survive.'' Inaugurating the seminar, the former West Bengal Chief Minister and veteran CPI(M) leader, Jyoti Basu, said the relevance of coalitions could not be over-stated in the present political panorama ``but a grave political situation will arise if one maintains a policy of equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP.'' ``It will be a serious blunder and the Congress has to be self-critical and adopt a common minimum programme based on protecting the interests of the people.'' The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, through an audio-visual presentation, observed that the evolution of coalition politics emerged from an evolving national consensus and changes in the reaction and responses to the ground realities.
Posted by: Viren Mar 3 2004, 12:04 AM'goonda'~to~save~Amitji:~Amar~Singh And I trust this Amar Singh fellow will be one of our MPs huh? mad.gif
Posted by: acharya Mar 3 2004, 08:14 AM
The Failure of Secularism -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rajdeep Sardesai Monday, March 1, 2004 Arif Mohammed Khan was once the poster-boy of Indian secularism. His act of leaving the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 over the reversal of the Shahbano case was seen then as an act of political courage and integrity. After all, how many politicians would leave a ministership, and a government with a 400 MP majority in parliament? The Muslim clergy may have attacked Khan, but for those who were looking for a Muslim leader who could see beyond the narrow concerns of community politics, Khan was the perfect symbol of a “modern” politician, ready to stand up to the fundamentalists. Eighteen years later, the wheel has turned a full circle. The same Arif Mohammed Khan, who once came to represent the “modernist” outlook within the Muslim political leadership has joined the BJP. In a sense, the transition should not come as a surprise. After all, deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani has on more than one occasion suggested that the Shahbano case was a turning point in the BJP’s rise to political eminence. It was the case which gave the ultimate grist to the party’s denunciation of the Congress’s pseudo-secularism, and laid the foundation for Hindutva politics to become politically acceptable. Within a few weeks of the judgement, the Rajiv Gandhi government, in an attempt to balance “Hindu” concerns, decided to open the locks of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The rest, as they say, is history. Arif Mohammed Khan then could well be seen as the “ideal” Muslim leader for the BJP to do business with, someone whom they could hold up as a symbol of their vision of secular politics. Sure, the party has a Mukthar Abbass Naqvi and a Shahnawaz Hussain, but neither really has the political pedigree of Arif. While Naqvi is a politician who usually opens his mouth only to exchange feet, Shahnawaz appears happier wearing designer kurtas and attending fashion shows as the textiles minister than really standing up for secular politics. Khan, for his part, says that he has chosen the BJP because the party has extended a hand of friendship and wants a genuine dialogue between communities. The prime minister has also held a minorities morcha rally and asked Muslims to end their fear psychosis of the BJP and give the party a chance. So far, so good. After all, who doesn’t want an inter-faith dialogue as the way forward? Unfortunately, politics, especially electoral politics, is rarely that simple. Khan has chosen to join the BJP barely weeks before the general elections, a period in which political “migratory birds” move in different directions. This is the period in which film stars and cricketers discover their “political roots”. This is the time when Dr Najma Heptullah decides to tell the nation that Sonia Gandhi has humiliated her. And when DP Yadav too loses the tag of “mafia don”. So why blame Khan if he chooses to discover election season as the time to push for a genuine dialogue between communities? Far from being seen as a move designed to promote secularism, it will be seen as political opportunism. But then having made the journey from the Congress to VP Singh’s Jan Morcha, then to Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj party and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti, Khan is perhaps entitled to travel the entire political spectrum. After all, changing parties is now almost acceptable political behaviour. But this exercise in political acrobatics is not so much about Arif Khan’s politics, but about the BJP’s ideological positioning. For the last five years, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has consciously tried to shift the BJP’s image from being the party of Hindutva to becoming the party of governance. This may have been largely due to the compulsions of coalition politics, but it also stems from Vajpayee’s own discomfort with the nature of militant Hindutva. Which is why Vajpayee has had a troubled relationship with the Sangh Parivar, and the VHP in particular, during his tenure. Which is also why the VHP’s Ashok Singhal can even now openly target the Prime Minister’s “feel good factor”. Vajpayee has not delivered on the Ram Mandir, and the VHP feels cheated. Unfortunately, the same firmness that Vajpayee has shown in dealing with the VHP, has not been reflected in his equation with Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat violence. The Prime Minister's supporters will tell you about how Gujarat had left the leader feeling “ashamed”, and how he wanted Modi to be removed. However, the fact is that when push came to shove, Vajpayee virtually surrendered to Modi’s brand of politics, and even made an infamous speech in Goa, linking the Gujarat violence to a “jehadi mentality” among Muslims. For Vajpayee then, Gujarat remains a blot: a failure of leadership, and a moment in which he chose political expediency over morality. Now, in a sense, by attempting to refocus the agenda on development and inter- community dialogue, Vajpayee appears keen to look beyond Gujarat and the politics of hate. The wooing of minorities is part of that process, as indeed is the Prime Minister’s latest Indo-Pak initiative. Somehow, at election time, the Prime Minister has always tried to project himself as larger than the party he leads. The big question then is, can the Muslims, only around 6 per cent of whom voted for the BJP last time, repose their trust in Vajpayee and forget the faces that lurk around him? Should Narendra Modi be seen as an aberration, Bal Thackeray as a noisy interlude, and Praveen Togadia as little more than nuisance value? In effect, is the shift from Hindutva to governance only a tactical retreat, or does it mark a permanent shift in position? After all, didn’t Uma Bharti speak of bijli, sadak, pani during the Madhya Pradesh election campaign, and once elected, return to her saffron robes? What is the guarantee that if Vajpayee returns to power with a comfortable majority, the development agenda will not be once again undermined by those within his own parivar who see 'Hinduness' as their ultimate calling card? Unfortunately, electoral politics has meant that secularism is not an article of faith for our politicians, but only a weapon for garnering votes. When the Congress was put to the test in Gujarat, its leadership relied on an ex-RSS man to challenge Modi. The party was worried that a more 'secular' challenge to Modi’s politics would only antagonize the 'Hindu majority'. When Vajpayee was put to the test in Gujarat, he too opted for the safer route of not confronting the Gandhinagar government beyond a gentle reminder of its 'Rajdharma'. Even Vajpayee had realized that the posters of the burning of the Sabarmati express coach was a more effective way of winning votes than any commitment to secular values. In a sense then the journey of Arif Mohammed Khan mirrors not just the politics of opportunism, but the tragic failure of Indian secularism.
Posted by: Muppalla Mar 3 2004, 08:52 AM Gearing up for battle royale The BJP-NDA has the decisive edge in the north. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi show the BJP-NDA is marching ahead, while in Haryana, things are uncertain as the BJP-INLD alliance has broken up. A four-way fight looks certain if a BJP-Haryana Vikas Party combine does not work out in the State. The figures in UP may vary with a Congress-BSP alliance having been taken into account, and if this fails, then the Congress is in serious trouble - it could land up with just two or three seats. The situation is fluid but a resurgent BJP with Mr Kalyan Singh making deep inroads. Four-way contests will help the BJP and the Bahujan Samaj Party. The Congress will be squeezed out and the Samajwadi Party will come under pressure. Ms Maneka Gandhi and her son, Varun Feroze Gandhi, have joined the BJP and there will be a great deal of media speculation on family wars during the elections. Rahul and Priyanka are not children but young adults and both have a future and will be judged by their efforts in the field. The same applies on Varun. Winning and losing are a part of everyday life-talent and leadership surfaces only under severe pressure. Sanjay Gandhi fought back to victory in 1980 after the 1977 defeat and showed great courage and dignity when he was blamed for almost everything that went wrong. The truth, however, was different. Meanwhile, much has changed, and success and failure of the Gandhi siblings will be determined by their political merit. All the three will get more than their share of media coverage and they will have many opportunities to show their political acumen and skills. In the south, the Congress has an edge in Karnataka both in the parliamentary and Assembly elections. Like Ms Sheila Dikshit, the image of the Chief Minister, Mr SM Krishna, is largely responsible for this situation. Despite the Vajpayee factor, the BJP under Mr Ananth Kumar has been unable to make effective gains to dislodge the Congress from power. Mr HD Deve Gowda seems to be losing out in the power game, and there could well be a Congress-BJP fight if the Vajpayee factor continues to grow in Karnataka. The BJP seems to be gaining in northern Karnataka and the districts bordering Andhra Pradesh. Andhra will see a contest after the Congress-Telangana Rashtriya Samithi agreement but one can still see Mr Chandrababu Naidu prevailing in both the elections but with a reduced margin. The Telugu Desam Party's area of strength in Central and coastal Andhra looks intact but there are dents in parts of Rayalseema and Telengana and Tamil Nadu. A sweeping victory for Ms Jayalalithaa and the AIDMK looks likely. The Congress-DMK-MDMK-PMK alliance is no match for the AIDMK supremo, whilst in Kerala the Congress, in a bid at damage control, yielded to the veteran K Karunakaran. The Congress, if it puts its house in order, may well hold out against the Left Front which is plagued with intra-party bickering. The BJP vote share may once again show a dramatic increase. Fireworks are expected once the stage is set for seat sharing and selection of candidate, as alliance partners jostle for suitable seats. Then comes the difficult task of selecting the winning candidates. I have done the selections many times in the past and since every candidate is a winner in his own estimation, one can expect a great deal of heartburn. Sympathy will lie with the handful of leaders who have to take difficult decisions.
Posted by: acharya Mar 4 2004, 01:41 AM
Defeat Communal BJP/RSS by Making a paradigm shift from “communalism vs. secularism” confrontation to “social justice vs. anti-social-justice” face-off and by Envisioning a modern India in the image of Switzerland Author: Dr. Satinath Choudhary President, Better Democracy Forum Contents: Abstract Kamandal was launched in response to Mandal Main game plan of politics in India is about votes of the lower castes:Response of the secular forces so far, to the on going Kamandal stir: A simile about what’s going on: Constitutional amendment to remove illegitimate 50% bar on reservations: Problems encountered by the pro-social-justice forces: Limit all groups from accumulating disproportionate power: In her heart, Sonia Gandhi is for full Social-Justice: Consociational Democracy of Switzerland Swiss model for political integration and democratic pluralism of a multi-cultural society: Power-sharing as a way of life for the Swiss: Swiss use of Proportional Representation (PR) system for their elections: Flat top consociational executive body of Switzerland: Power sharing in Swiss bureaucratic structure: Consensual and inclusive majority, rather than coercive and exclusive majority, is the way to go: 2nd March, 2004 Abstract Vajpayee had said, “Because they started Mandal, we started Kamandal.” We all know that the Sangh Parivar intensified their communal campaign in response to social justice proliferation due to Mandal. Due to their steadfast opposition to reservation, they have captured heart and mind of the upper caste Hindus (15%). Due to there communal hate mongering BJP is going to hardly get any of the religious minority votes (15%). BJP hopes to gain support of a big chunk of the remaining 70%, SC/ST/OBC by its communal, jingoistic and religious trickeries. It has been argued in this paper that if the debate is confined to communal vs. secular, it will be hard to beat BJP. On the other hand if a gauntlet is thrown by the secularists in the “social-justice vs. anti-social-justice”, landslide victory of social-justice over the anti-social-justice BJP is assured. Switzerland has achieved amity, integration, unity and enormous progress and prosperity for its multi-cultural society via power sharing in all walks of life. The Congress party needs to promote consociational democracy (governance by power sharing) of Switzerland for a modern India, towards defeating the propagators of communal hatred. Kamandal was launched in response to Mandal Main game plan of politics in India is about votes of the lower castes: After V.P. Singh government’s implementation of the Mandal Commission Report and Advani’s Rath Yaatraa, Vajpayee is said to have stated, “Because they started Mandal, we started Kamandal.” This statement leads us to the following conclusions: Main struggle in India is between the lower caste (SC, ST, and BC) communities and the Upper Caste Hindus (UCH) that surround and support Upper Caste oligarchy. The lower castes would like to see more reservation, and it extension to the areas that previously did not have reservations, e.g., the private sector, higher judiciary, academia, army, etc. On the other hand UCH communities would like to see reservations rolled back as much as politically possible, as soon as possible. So the main conflict in the society was, and continues to be, in the area of “social-justice vs. anti-social-justice”. BJP has become the standard bearer of the UCH interests. However, BJP does not want to come out openly as totally committed to roll back of reservation policies, because that would alienate the lower castes (that constitute more than 70% of the population) from voting for BJP. Yet it (BJP) somehow wants to delude the lower castes into voting for BJP. BJP/RSS feel, the only way they can do it is by creating Hindu vs. non-Hindu conflict and tension – by promoting communalism, in short. Being progenitors of the conflict, they would naturally be leaders of Hindus (80-85%) in the conflicts against non-Hindus. That leadership would continue even in the electoral field. This is their strategy and hope. If we play their game, in their communal field, per their agenda, their victory is assured. They are not fools to have chosen a wrong field and a wrong game. Current situation is such that most of the UCH (about 15% of the total population) have tightly embraced BJP/RSS on account of its overt and covert opposition to reservation policies. Most of the religious minorities (about 15%) would never vote for BJP on account of its communal policies. It is the SC/ST/BC population (about 70%) that BJP would like to dupe by its fake slogans like “shining India”, “feel good”, “unity in diversity”, etc., and its most potent weapons of religious and nationalistic jingoism, fanaticism, and hatred and riots against religious minorities. Response of the secular forces so far, to the on going Kamandal stir: So far, the secular forces have been reactive, not proactive. They have been reacting to communal hate mongering and staying in the “communal vs. secular” arena. They have been singing songs of secularism, mostly to the religious minorities and a few liberal intellectuals, which is like singing to the choir. They have practically abdicated the field of social justice. There is no one there. As long as the secular forces keep on justifying secularism, complaining about communalism, but say nothing about social injustices, the conflict will continue to be projected as that between pro-Hindus and anti-Hindus, between nationalists and anti-nationalists, between Hindu-Rashtra proponents and Hindu-Rashtra opponents. Under the above mentioned discourse, had it not been for some caste consciousness and awareness about exploitation of the lower castes by the upper castes, brought about by lower-caste-based parties like BSP, RJD, SP, etc., the upper-caste-based party, BJP, would have won the game a while ago. They would have found it relatively easy to collect, if not 85% Hindu votes, at least a comfortable majority, by virtue of causing and leading the conflict against non-Hindu 15%. If BJP is falling short of absolute majority support, it is more due to consciousness among the lower castes with regard to upper caste domination, than due to secular enlightenment provided by the secular forces. Secularism has moral and humanistic force. It has no tactical value, nor does it address how the religious minorities and/or the lower castes are going to be empowered more than they currently are – no change in the status quo is envisioned and promised. If the lower castes and the religious minorities continue to be unequal, underclass, under-privileged, under-represented in positions of power, they will continue to be dominated, exploited, brutalized, and bludgeoned. If the secularists do not wish to change the status quo, all their tears for the oppressed religious minorities are nothing but crocodile tears. They have stopped shedding any tears for the lower castes already since unleashing of the communal stir. Their songs of secularism serve no purpose other than a distraction from the reality that BJP is not only opposed to any increase in the scope of reservations, it would love to roll back even the existing reservations. The secularists that do not care or seek to change the status quo, that do not want to go extra distance towards equi-empowerment of the oppressed, towards a full-fledged social justice (rather than tokenism of the past), have to be regarded as cousins, if not twin-brothers of communal BJP. Secularists appear to want simply the killing and mayhem of the religious minorities to stop, without doing anything that is likely to empower them via reservations. In an atmosphere of heightened communal tension, the religious minorities are going to be discriminated more and more, and would need reservation benefits if they are to be prevented from slipping behind farther and farther and victimized more and more. But the sham secularists do not care about such contingencies. They seem to be as much opposed to reservation to Muslims and Christians, as they are to any increase in the scope of reservations for the lower castes. Such secularists, some of them inadvertently, others purposely, are playing a very unfortunate role in the insidious game being played out by BJP/RSS. Main purpose of BJP/RSS behind pushing accelerated communal and jingoistic religious and nationalistic agendas was diversion from social justice. The anti-social-justice secularists who simply want peace without social justice are doing nothing but helping BJP/RSS in their main objective (of diversion from call for social justice). It would be better to call such secularists as so-called secularists, or sham secularists. Without social justice they (the secularists who do not care about social justice) would never be able to achieve peace. How can one expect the subjugators to continue their subjugation and oppression without violence? In fact oppression and injustice are themselves violence – somewhat low-key violence! A quest for communal peace without social justice is nothing but sham! Having achieved electoral success with the help of communal violence, they are likely to continue to resort to communal violence any time they see power slipping from their hands. The only way to stop them in their communal track is by making obvious their anti-social-justice stance to the lower castes; and that can be done only by intensifying the battle cry for a full-fledged social justice to all oppressed, including the religious minorities, including in areas previously not under the purview of social justice. When there are no oppressed and no oppressors, then only we can have real peace and amity. To perpetuate inequalities in the society, the oppressors are going to continue to take recourse to violence and foment hatred. Even a small amount of pondering will suggest that it’s very difficult to defeat the communalists in the arena of “communalism vs. secularism”. Common man (& woman) doesn’t even know the meaning of words like secularism, Dharmanirapekshataa, Saampradaayikataa-wirodh, etc. It is very easy for the Sanghis to cast communalism vs. secularism tussle as a battle between Hindus and non-Hindus, between Hinduism and anti-Hinduism, between Hindutwa and anti-Hindutwa, a contest between Mandir and Masjid, a clash between nationalists and anti-nationalists, and so on. On the basis of this kind of portrayal of the tussle between Sanghis and secular front, it is very easy for the Sanghis to fool common public, as most of them happen to be Hindus, favor Mandir over Masjid, and see hardly anything wrong with “nationalism” and the concept of Hindu-Raashtra and so on. How can we expect to get the common man/woman motivated enough to come out in opposition to BJP and vote it out of power with the concepts of secularism that don’t touch his/her heart and mind?The response of secularists who do not care at all about social justice, or do not wish it to be any more than tokenism, bring the following simile to mind: A simile about what’s going on: A bunch of thugs have ganged up on a few innocent Muslims and Christians. Any kind of beating, burning and raping has to attract attention of people. The lower caste communities also come running from their fields to the scene of carnage. The goons perpetrating the carnage, tell them that the victims’ forefathers had assaulted the forefathers of Hindus, destroyed their temples, and a lot of other familiar poppycock. In come some sham secularists. They are singing odes of peace, non-violence and brotherhood, and try to contradict all stories that the goons have been telling. However, they (the sham secularists) assiduously avoid telling the lower caste individuals that their (lower castes’) crops are being stolen by the goons engaged in the beatings. As a matter fact the sham secularists have every intention of allowing continued plundering of the lower castes’ crops, as evident from, if not active opposition to full-fledged social justice, their grudging silence about it. What kind of reaction do we expect out of the bystanders (including the lower castes) whose attention has been drawn to the hullabaloo? The first thing that comes to one’s mind, any time, any where there is a scuffle, “What is the reason behind the scuffle?” Conviction of a party for a violent crime is hard, if not impossible, without attribution of a good reason behind the crime. The police, judiciary, as well as the public, everybody wants to know the true reason behind a murder, assault or mayhem. There is always a reason behind all beatings, but the secularists don’t want to talk anything about the true reason behind beatings. All that the secularists want to do is contradict the stories being told by the perpetrators of the crime. They diligently avoid telling the true story behind beatings – that of crops stealing of the lower castes as well as that of the religious minorities. In the absence of any plausible reason coming from anyone, one has nothing to go by but simply examine the story supplied by the perpetrators of the crime, and its contradictions by the secularists. Hearing the two sides of the story, at best we would expect a split verdict from the public, with some believing the assailants of Muslims and Christians, while others may believe the secularist version. In elections, many of the political leaders, including those of SC/ST/OBC, as well as Muslims and Christians sell their services to the ones with power and money. Many of the gullible support-base of these leaders also tend to go the way their leaders go. Besides, in the scuffle between Muslims/Christians and far stronger upper caste Hindus, there is nothing for the poor lower castes to get seriously involved against the powerful and risk of their own lives and well being. Other than just some moral obligation, that too somewhat ambiguous one in the absence of a clear-cut idea of the true reason behind the beatings being given to Muslims and Christians, there is hardly any benefit for the lower castes in crossing swords against the thugs. In view of these, with nothing but secularism at stake, it does not seem very likely that a majority of the lower castes would feel very motivated to get strongly involved against BJP/RSS. As a matter of fact if the lower castes know that the many of secularists are themselves interested in stealing their crops, credibility of the secularists hits zero level in the mind of the lower caste individuals. They figure, communalists, secularists, all are nothing but a bunch of crooks. On the other hand, let us try to envision what would have happened if true secularists, (those who want fairness not only with regards to all religions, but justice and evenhandedness with regard to all castes as well,) had not only contradicted sham stories of the thugs, but gone on to reveal the true motivation of the rogues behind the thrashing being handed to the (religious) minorities. The revelation by the secular front about easily verifiable true motivation of the thugs regarding crops stealing, even if the crops did not belong to the bystanders, would lend itself to increase the credibility of the secularists considerably, while diminishing the credibility of the thugs. The fact that the stolen crops happen to belong the lower castes themselves, would have prompted them to not only believe the Secular Front, they would have been outraged against the thugs and would be actively trying to uproot the thugs. They would even join hands of religious minorities in defending them and defeating the thugs. On the top of it all, if the lower castes hear promises that, if victorious, the Secular Front would pass laws to insure full protection of their crops, the enthusiasm of the lower castes towards defeating the rogues would be not only doubled, it would be quadrupled. Even some of the lower caste leaders who happen to be unscrupulous, greedy and unprincipled, and are willing to sell their services to the thugs for money or party ticket (nomination), will find their support base slipping out from under their feet. They would have to either shape up of pack up. Some may surmise that many leaders have been shouting slogans of social justice and have tried point out towards crops stealing by the thugs, but they have not been able to thrash the thugs. The truth is that many of these leaders tried to focus most of their attention on just their own castes’ crops. Not only that, they even tried to augment their own castes’ hording at the expense of the other lower castes’ crops, thus losing their credibility. On the top of all of that, the thugs have successfully used divide and conquer technique, pitting many of the lower castes against each other, helped by greed and unfairness among the lower castes themselves. It seems hard to imagine one lower caste leader capture trust and support of all other lower caste populations. If they could evolve a collective leadership, the collection may find it easier to garner support all oppressed public. As we will later, Switzerland is ruled by a collection of seven “equal” persons sitting on their Federal Executive Council. We too, in India, can envision a collection of leaders from various segments of the society to share power on equal basis. Thus it should be evident that the key to defeating the communal thugs lies in speaking out the truth and evolving a collective leadership. The assertion of truth, that all of the communal, jingoistic, fanatic nationalistic and religious clatter has been created by the communal goons for no reason other than stealing the crops of the lower castes, has to be loud and clear. Besides, there has to be promise of stopping future crops theft as well. Such pronouncements, together with the message of peace and amity, would cause the truth to spread like a wildfire, mouth to mouth, among most of the lower castes, in spite of the loud communal din and bustle being blasted day and night by the thugs. From the above half allegorical story, what the secular front needs to do should be clear. Total resignation in the “communal vs. secular” debate is not being suggested. Secular messages certainly do have educational value, and we need to educate the public about the values of secularism, tolerance and brotherhood. We also need to counter various false propagandas issued by the communalists. However, we must realize tactical limitations of purely secular messages. Annihilation of whatever social-justice measures we already have, not to talk of any new measures like reservation in the private sector, higher judiciary, academia, media, etc., is the true intent behind communal campaigns of the goons. This has to be spelled out clearly, and full social justice measures, not just tokenism of the past, have to be promised, if we want to prevent the lower castes from falling into the well financed, media savvy, well-oiled, communal traps, and would like the lower castes to get energized and join the effort to derail communalism wholeheartedly. We know for fact, what the real intention of the thugs is. No less a person than Vajpayee has revealed it. There is nothing secret about it. Why not speak the truth, and tell the lower castes about the intentions (of stealing) of BJP with regard to their crops? If some of the secularists are hesitant to talk about the truth, it is simply because they too are busy stealing the lower castes’ crops, and intend to continue the same. It is just that they feel queasy about killings and mayhem at the hands of the goons. They care nothing about the theft of not only the lower castes’ crops, the crops and properties of the religious minorities as well. With this kind of half-truth and hidden agenda of letting the loot of 85% of Indians continue, I don’t believe the feeble voices of peace and amity are going to have much of impact in opposition to the communal messages being blasted in all possible manner, overtly, covertly, and subliminally. If the lower castes suspect that the sham secularists will continue to steal their crops, it is hard to imagine much excitement among them towards beating the communalist rogues. In the absence of public awareness about connection between communalism and anti-social-justice motivation of BJP, not to talk of any promise of greater social justice measures other than the tokenism that they currently have, it will be hard to wean out support of the public from the unscrupulous politicians from selling their services for money or positions of power. Secular message is simply a message of peace and brotherhood. It does not incorporate means of empowerment of the targets of communalism (the religious minorities), nor does it have anything to do with the empowerment the lower caste communities. On the other hand, the message of social justice incorporates the means of empowerment (not of armed empowerment, but all important representational empowerment in various walks of life), of not only the lower castes, but that of the religious minorities as well. Unless discriminated segments of the society is provided the benefit of appropriate reservation, they are bound to continue to fall. It does not matter whether communalism is being thrust upon us or not, true salvation of the whole society lies in full-fledged social justice, not tokenism of the past. How can any society leave 85% of the population behind in the name of merit, and expect to prosper? Leaving 85% of the society behind would be nothing short of shear colonialism, nternal colonialism, neo-feudalism and fascism. t is the confrontation in the social justice field that Sanghis are afraid of. They cleverly ran away from there and intensified the conflict on communal turf to divert people’s attention. We need the acumen of the Sanghis and drag the battle back to the social justice amphitheater, where victory of pro-social-justice is assured because it holds the promise of benefiting 85% of the population, and enjoys their support. The 85% non-UCH segments of the society not only understand words like Saamaajik Nyaay (social justice), Aarakshan (reservation), Hissaa (quota), baraabari (equality), barabari kee bhaagidaari (equal power-sharing), they long for them! These concepts have positive impact on their lives. They touch their heart and mind. To that end we have to: 1. Re-christen Secular Front as Social-Justice Front (SJF), or Consociational Democracy Front (CDF), or Power Sharing Front (PSF). 2. Seek constitutional amendment to remove illegitimate maximum limit of 50% on the extent of reservations. 3. Promote Power Sharing at all levels in all positions of power. 4. Show the way to power sharing, starting with equitable distribution of nominations to all segments of the society. 5. Promote diversity in the private sector with tax incentives for social justice. Remove of illegitimate 50% bar on reservations and justifications: In Switzerland they have adopted, or evolved, power sharing as a way of life without legal force. In a society so much used to domination and exploitation by a small segment it may be hard to expect adoption of power sharing concept on a voluntary basis. Perhaps in India it has to be enforced via the force of laws. The limit of 50% on reservations was introduced by the UCH upper caste judges desperate to continue hegemony of the upper caste. The constitution itself never intended to have such a bar. It was, and continues to be, a figment of creative imagination of the courts via fallacious interpretation of the constitution. In any case, the bar has been removed and more than 70% reservation granted for Tamil Nadu and Karnatak by constitutional amendments. In both instances the constitutional amendments were passed, I believe, unanimously, in a hush-hush fashion, because the upper caste legislators did not want the issue to become a rallying cry for the lower castes. The 50% bar has to be removed for all states. 100% reservation is needed in all institutions in India. Simply going back to the full-fledged Mandal is not going to be enough. In the vitiated atmosphere of today Muslims also need reservation rights as much as any other segments, if not more. One just needs to take a look at what is happening in Gujarat. That would leave just the upper caste share of 15% as the so-called general share. We might as well call it 100% reservation. As a matter of fact any time we leave a certain percentage of seats open for all segments to grab, we leave room for, and invite, favoritism for one’s own caste. It is not only to recover due share of power from the UCH community, but to promote peace and amity within each of the castes-groups and between various caste-groups. We can’t leave any thing like so called “general seats” where each of the groups would be trying to fight it out, with the conflicts spilling over to social and political arena. All quotas need to be fixed upper as well as lower limits, without having anything under the so-called “general” category. Any time a segment gets more than its due share of representation, it happens at the expense of some others. Competition and rivalry among groups entails favoritism in favor of one’s own group and pulling each other’s legs, rather than inducement towards achieving personal best. There is plenty of inducement in intra-group competition towards achieving personal best. In fact intra-group competitions are fairer, more equitable and meaningful. 100% reservation would not mean that the element of competition for excellence would vanish. How can a competition between a bicycle rider and a motorcycle rider be fair? After all, they all have to drive a tractor or a crane or a plane eventually, in which both the bicycle- as well motorcycle- rider are capable of excelling. So let a fair and equitable number of bicycle- & motorcycle- rider be given the training and jobs to drive the tractor, crane, or a plane. The motorcycle-rider may find his/her ability to shift gears somewhat advantageous in learning to drive the tractor, crane, or a plane. But that advantage is going to become immaterial after a while. In any case, it would be far more damaging to the morale of the community if the motorcycle rider happens to be declared and treated as the ruling-class, with the rest, the bicycle-rider as well as those walking on foot, declared as the ruled class. Remember, “Not only individuals but groups have rights”. That entails treating groups fairly and equitably. When caste groups are large, the creamy layer castes run away with most of the allocations for the group, leaving the rest within the group with nothing but crumbs. This creates the same kind of exacerbation between upper and lower castes within various caste groups, as is evident between the UCH and Dalits (SC/ST), or between UCH and OBC, or between OBC and Dalits. In the interest of eliminating such caste conflicts, the segmentation needs to be as fine as possible. “As far as practicable,” each segment of the society, based on caste, caste-group, religion, region, gender, etc., no matter what the segmentation criteria may be, should have positions of power in proportion to its population. Any time a segment is allowed to have a greater share of power, it obviously has to happen at the cost of other segments. So what we really need is 100% reservation for all segments of the society in all positions of power, at all levels of power, with the segmentations as fine as possible – to each segment in proportion to its share of population. However, the above argument is going to bring out bogus cry for reservation based on economic condition of individuals rather than on their grouping based on caste, religion, region, gender, etc. If one wants to subdivide groups based on caste, religion, etc., further into economic groups, that may be fine, as long as it is applied separately to each caste, religion, region, gender, etc., without reducing the net share going to any of the castes or caste-groups based on the latter criteria. It may be decided that out of the quota of seats allocated to a particular caste or caste-group, half would go to individuals from a family whose income happens to be above the median income for that particular caste or caste-group, with the other half of the said quota going to the those below median income. Thus each of the castes, caste-group, religion based group, or regional group, would be further divided into two economic groups – higher and lower income groups. This kind of use of economic considerations “along with” caste-, religion-, region-, gender-, language-group consideration may be fine, but not “in place of” the latter group considerations. As mentioned earlier, “not only individuals but groups have rights” too. Some may surmise that we have too many castes, and that it is impractical to take care of all of them. That is why I have mentioned the words “As far as practicable” above. Small-sized castes will need to be grouped together with other caste(s) at similar economic and educational level. Size of the caste-groups will have to vary depending upon the number of vacancies. For example, all castes may be serialized in accordance with their educational status, creating a spectrum of castes at various levels of education. If there are ten jobs at a level, the caste spectrum may be divided into ten parts with equal number of people and a job may be allocated to each. The best candidate from each group would get the job, and so forth. It is high time we tightly embrace power sharing or social justice for all, rather than castigating it as just a temporary measure for the sake of helping out impoverished Dalits. All countries, rich or poor, small or large, multi-cultural or mono-cultural, need peace, social justice, equality and fraternity. There can be no peace & fraternity without justice! Still other opponents of social justice argue that such a reservation system will perpetuate caste system. For these people let it be pointed out that in the West many people have last names like Smith, Blacksmith, Shoemaker, Fisher, all indicative of what their forefathers did. But today all these last names have lost their original significance. They are all statistically equal. That is the kind of statistical equality that we need. Nobody needs to be ashamed of what his/her forefathers did, and try to change his/her last names. No job is menial, with the exception of night-soil removing. All jobs have dignity of labor. Of course, no job should be, nor they are now, hereditary. It is statistical economic and educational parity of castes that will cause true withering away of castes, not forced erasure of caste names and/or last names. Intent of social justice has to be elimination of disparity associated with various castes. Perpetuation of an identifiable group as ruling class (caste), and the rest as ruled class (caste), is antithetical to democracy and equality. In the USA they promote affirmative action (a loose application of reservation concepts) in the private sector, with varying degrees of strictness, depending upon which party is in power. We need reservation in the private sector in India as well. Perhaps the best way to promote reservation in the private sector would be via tax-incentives. Something like diversity index can be easily defined and computed for each company, and increasing tax rebates may be given to them with increasing degrees of diversity. Problems encountered by the pro-social-justice forces: There is one big problem in the implementation of social justice. Whoever happens to become a leader, no matter what caste-group (SC, ST, OBC or UCH) they belong to, they try to strengthen their own caste and caste-group at the expense of others. In a way, they are all Brahminical. As mentioned earlier, if one (or more) castes get(s) over-represented, it has to happen at the expense of other castes, including many within the same caste-group. This, obviously, is unjust, in contravention of social-justice principle, and a cause of dissension, injustice and disunity. The main obstacle in the unity of the deprived segments of the society is the “possibility for any caste in power to increase its power disproportionately”. It is this “possibility” that allows the upper of the caste-groups like BC, SC and ST to accumulate more power compared to others that causes dissension among them, and must be removed. Limit all groups from accumulating disproportionate power: Key to success of the SJF forces lies in avoiding dissension within the ranks of the lower castes. Avoidance of discord within SJF can only be accomplished by being truthful to the tenets of social justice and fairness applied between various caste groups as well as within all caste groups. The concept of 100% reservation among finely segmented groups, to be promoted by SJF, would be helpful in reducing conflict and bickering within the SC, ST, and BC groups, and between them. Even before the concept of 100% reservation becomes law, all constituents of SJF should be expected to practice what they preach. As such, they must give solid commitment not to allow over-representation of their own caste and caste-group at any position of power, starting with the nomination process in the next election itself. The percentage of tickets given to the caste or caste-group of various leaders will be open for the public to see and determine their commitment to the concept of full social justice – 100% reservation. If leaders of SJF can’t cause over-representation of their own caste at any level of power, they would make sure that no other caste gets over-represented, as the leaders are not likely to deliberately help other castes get over-represented (get more tickets than is due to any of them,) and become a dominant caste. This would automatically cause representation of all castes and religions equitably (more or less in proportion to their population, as far as possible,) starting with the nomination process itself. The public should be able to see that SJF leaders mean what they say. Simply replacing over-representation of Brahmins by that of Yadavas or Chamaars is not social justice. Replacing over-representation of any and all castes by an equitable representation of all castes and religions is true social justice. In the nomination process, if justice is done to all castes, religions and gender, a very strong and favorable wind will start blowing in favor of SJF, so much so that the communal, unprincipled, uncivilized, unethical, corrupt, unscrupulous, deceitful, dishonorable, juggernaut devils will be blown into the wilderness. Thus to defeat BJP/RSS juggernauts, the Secular Front (or more appropriately, Social Justice Front,) has to counter BJP’s phony slogan of “shining India” with a “vision for a truly democratic India at peace with itself and justice for all.” This vision has to include elements Social Justice as well as show the way for consensual governance via power sharing. The process can, and should, start with the nomination process itself. Leaders of various parties in the Social Justice Front may sit down together and nominate candidates from their supporter bases in consonance with the precepts of social justice, i.e., without causing over-representation of any caste, religion, or any other group. This could be a precursor of a cabinet, again, in consonance with the tenets of social justice for all, working in consonance with consensual majorities rather than coercive majorities on various matters that come to their table. In her heart, Sonia Gandhi is for full Social-Justice: I believe, in her heart, the leading figure in the secular front, Sonia Gandhi, is more Social-Justice minded than any of her predecessors. She has a good track record on Social-Justice. She has appointed several Chief Ministers from the SC/ST and EBC (Extremely Backward Caste) communities, which no party other than BSP has ever done. All she needs to do, is to capitalize on her good track record in social justice field, and make her intentions even more clear by seeing to it that SJF as a whole gives nominations (tickets) strictly in consonance with the precepts of social justice for all. I.e., no caste or caste-group would get higher proportion of tickets than its share in the general population. Neither Yadavas, nor Kurmis, nor Chamaars, nor Paswaans, nor Kammas, nor Reddies, nor Mahaars, nor Brahmins, nor Baniyas, nor Kshatriyas, should get a percentage of tickets that is higher than their respective percentage in the population. She can win a landslide victory by making it a battle between Social-Justice vs. anti-Social-Justice sides. Social justice talked about above is not only needed for defeating BJP, if we want to rapidly modernize India, we need full social justice. A brief look at the governance of Switzerland would convince us of the same. Consociational Democracy of Switzerland Swiss model for political integration and democratic pluralism of a multi-cultural society: Switzerland is a multi-cultural country with a number of languages, religions and regional interests. Today about 75 percent of Swiss citizen speak of German, 20 percent French, 4 percent Italian, and 1 percent Romansch, a minor language largely descended from and spoken in a few Alpine regions. Switzerland happens to be multi-religious as well. Its religious composition is, roughly speaking, Roman Catholic 46%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, none 9% (1990). Compared to Switzerland, India, with all its multitude of castes, creeds, ethnicity, languages, and diverse regions, has to be regarded as multi-multi-ad infinitum-cultural, many times more multi than Switzerland. The tools that have helped Switzerland in achieving the political and cultural integration, unification, solidarity, peace and progress, are far more necessary, nay, essential, for a country like India. Those tools are not only necessary, they are urgently needed before our country is torn apart by selfish hegemonic chauvinistic forces that promote and emphasize hegemony of one-culture, one-religion, one-language nation-state in the name of nationalism, Hindutwa, mainstreaming of minorities, all for the sake of maintaining hegemony of a tiny segment of the society. Author Wolf Linder[1] says, “… multicultural coexistence, integration and peace are crucial, and often unresolved in many parts of the world. Conflicts between different ethnic, language, religious and cultural groups are a main reason behind the failure of social modernization of the Third World, of war in the Middle Est and Balkans as well as in many other nations where different ethnic groups coexist. The oppression of cultural minorities throughout its main decades of existence played a major role in the internal collapse of the Soviet Union, and in producing the outbreak of a new nationalism in the now independent republics. But how will this new nationalism – focusing as it does on cultural or ethnic identity – deal with the problem of other minorities who remain inside the boundaries of newly created states in Eastern Europe?” Linder goes on to say, “Problems of cultural minorities also constitute persistent and serious political problems in developed industrial societies, as we see with blacks in the USA, Catholics in Northern Ireland and French-speakers in Belgium and Canada. Industrialization and market-oriented economies have led to a worldwide exchange of goods, services and capital. But this situation has led to confrontation between different cultures and produced millions of refugees, especially among and from the Third World. In the new order of worldwide liberalization and open markets, if the money does not go to the poor, the poor go where the money is. A large majority of the 170 nations considered as sovereign states nowadays constitute multicultural societies. However it seems that the real problems of integrating different ethnic minorities within the boundaries of existing nations have remained politically unresolved, despite promises of self-determination and democracy.” [2] “Switzerland has been fortunate in finding political ways of achieving multicultural understanding over the past 150 years. The solution was based on two concepts. First, Switzerland renounced – or was forced to renounce – the idea of creating a one-culture, one-language nation-state. Instead, from the very beginning of its modern existence it has been an ‘artificial’ multicultural nation, depending only on the constraints of history and on the political will of inhabitants with different cultures. This was, and still is, fundamentally different from other ideas of nationalism in the middle of the nineteenth century as well as those at the end of the twentieth century. Second, the Swiss were able to develop a type of democracy that favors – and enforces – political power-sharing between Protestants and Catholics, between the German-speaking majority and French-, Italian and Romansch-speaking minorities, and between organized employers and trade unions. This has led to social integration, peaceful conflict-resolution by negotiation, and national consensus amongst a once fragmented and homogeneous population.”[3] “If Switzerland is considered to be a ‘paradigmatic case of political integration’, this has been helped by historical circumstances. … The creation of a multicultural state, and the political integration of different religions and languages without destroying particular cultural identities, is probably the most precious legacy of Switzerland’s democracy, and it may be the most precious message it can leave for others.” [4] Linder goes on to say, “Switzerland provides a model example (for a multi-cultural society) because of its enduring will to constitute an independent political nation based on the mutual respect of its minorities. It provides a model for finding political institutions and patterns of behavior that enable peaceful conflict-resolution in a multi-cultural society. While the model cannot be copied in its entirety, some of its basic elements can be noted, adopted and used by others. Renouncing a ‘nation-state’ of one culture, one religion and one language was essential for the success of the Swiss model.”[5] It is worth interjecting here that while the Swiss renounced the idea of creating one-culture, one-religion, one-language, nation-state long ago, here in India, we have a bunch of rugues that want to force us more than 150 and odd years behind where the Swiss are today, all for the sake of grabbing power and hold on to it perpetually! Linder goes on to add, “The option of political integration and democratic pluralism could be an alternative for today’s new nationalism. Elements of political power-sharing – such as federalism, proportional participation of minorities, law making by negotiations – can be helpful in any country that is faced with problems of multi-cultural conflict.”[5] Power-sharing as a way of life for the Swiss: Power-sharing (social justice in Indian parlance), sometimes called, “consociational democracy”, via proportional representation of different segments of the society, not only in the government, but also in various economic, social and cultural organizations of the Swiss society appears to have become Swiss way of life. Wolf Linder says, “There is some flexibility in the system, however, in that over- or under-representation is allowed but is compensated for over time.” Actually, Linder's assertion about 'flexibility' is indicative of how seriously the Swiss take the business of maintaining proportionality in all spheres of life. If and when they are forced to deviate from proportional representation, they compensate for the same over a period of time, when suitable candidates are available. Linder goes on to add, “Finally, proportional rule does not apply only to politics and positions in government. It is practiced in the organization of the economy, in social life and even in sports. This is true at least for linguistic proportional rule. As Jurg Steiner (1990) writes: ‘It is unimaginable that the executive committee of the Swiss Soccer Association would consist of German-speakers only’.”[5] Consociational democracy, or power-sharing, which in India has come to be known as social justice, has to become Indian way of life, if we want to grow into a civilized, peace loving, fraternal and amicable society. National parliament, national Executive body as well as bureaucracy of Switzerland, use unwritten law, or convention, of proportional representation of its linguistic groups. Let us examine these bodies a bit more closely. In positions filled by a selection process proportionality with respect to various characteristics like language, religion, ethnicity can be observed with the help of written or unwritten (conventional) quota system. However, for achieving proportionality in electoral bodies we need to use one of the Proportional Representation system of election, as discussed below. Swiss use of Proportional Representation (PR) system for their elections: In the electoral bodies where the seats of power are filled by election, various segments of the society cannot be given a fair representation using the system of election that we have inherited from the British. What we have inherited is known as first-past-the-post (FPTP), or plurality system. Under FPTP, one has single-seat constituencies, i.e., each constituency elects a single member for a legislature. It can be easily argued that the current system of reservation in electoral bodies gives a fake representation to the deprived segments (SC/ST) of the society. However, since this paper is not intended to be a discourse on electoral methods, details of how our current system does not allow a genuine representation of the interests of SC/ST communities will not be discussed here. Likewise, there is no reasonable way, with or without reserved constituencies, of allowing for a genuine representation of Muslim communities. The method of “Separate Electorate” was suggested long time ago, in which different segments of the society would have voted separately. But such a system would not do for a society divided along so many lines: religion, caste, language, gender, and so forth. A proper system should leave it up to the public to divide itself in accord with their existing circumstances and pressing needs. Besides, smaller groups should not get discriminated against. The only way, to obtain results of election that are genuinely in consonance with consociational democracy, or power-sharing, is by using one of the Proportional Representation (PR) systems of election. They come in many flavors. Most of Europe, and more than half of the democratic countries around the world, use one or the other form of PR system of election, rather than FPTP. Under PR, one has multi-seat constituencies. Seats are apportioned to various parties in proportion to the votes that they get. Under PR, parties with considerably small support bases can win appropriate number of seats, in proportion to population of their respective support bases. This allows for genuine representation of small and weaker segments of population. As such, PR electoral system may also be taken to be a power-sharing, or social justice measure – empowering weaker segments of the society. Even though, sooner or later, we must switch over to a suitable form of PR system, if we are to prosper as a civilized nation at peace with itself, a change of election is not being suggested at the present time. There is little time for changing electoral system for the forthcoming general election. It has been mentioned here only to point out that most of Europe is prospering on the basis social justice measures like PR, power sharing and consensual majorities. Even though we cannot change our election system for the upcoming general election, in the interest of fairness to various segments of the society, we can try to produce results that a PR election would have yielded, as discussed later. For those totally unfamiliar with the PR election system allow me to further explain its working in just a few lines so that it does not remain a mystery for anyone. As already mentioned, PR system has multi-seat electoral constituencies, as opposed to single-seat constituencies under FPTP. For example, a whole state could be a single constituency. PR comes in many flavors. The one that that seems to be the best is open-list-PR system used in Finland. Under this system a voter would vote for an individual candidate of his or her choice. Votes obtained by individual candidates get added to party-vote of the party of affiliation of the candidate receiving the vote. Each party would be allocated a percentage (party-quota) of seats in the parliament equal to the percentage of total votes that it gets. Party-lists of candidates are formed in descending order of votes obtained by the candidates who ran under respective party affiliation. Parties fill their respective party-quotas of seats from the top of their respective party-lists. There are other refinements and finer details that are not going to described here because this article is not meant to be a discourse on electoral systems. and the election system can’t be changed for the upcoming election. There will be other occasions to delve deeper into PR system of election. Many people feel jittery and very uncomfortable at the possibility that small and weak castes may gain representation in the electoral bodies by organizing caste-based parties. However, caste-based parties and caste-based politics are going to continue to exist in India as long as caste-based disparities exist. The only way caste-based politics and discrimination are going to vanish is via eradication of the “caste disparity”. It is the caste disparity that is our true enemy, not caste-based politics. Caste-based politics of “continuing the disparity” is the real enemy, but they are given different names depending upon the garb that they wear. It is only when the lower castes organize on the basis of caste, they are pooh-poohed as caste-ist parties. Brahmin or upper caste controlled BJP is said to be “communal”, not an UCH party, nor an UCH-communal party. If UCH secularists manage to keep secular front devoid of any social justice agenda, it will be called a “secular front”, not an “UCH-secular front” front. It is only when a Yadava leads a party, it is called a Yadva-party, or an OBC party, or when a Dalit leads a party, it is called a Dalit party. The truth is that politics is, and is going to continue to remain, caste-based as long as caste disparity is going to continue to vitiate social and political atmosphere in India. As can be seen from the example of Belgian politics (described below), it is only after fair representation to various castes is more or less guaranteed, as far as practicable, that truly ideological politics may develop. Like Switzerland, Belgium is also multi-lingual: Dutch speaking (about 55%), and French speaking (about 40%), with a small minority of German speaking (5%) people. Belgium uses list-PR close to what is described above, allowing for fair (proportional) representation of various segments of the society. Their voting along linguistic lines (by choice, not by any kind of statute) guarantees appropriate representation for each of the linguistic segments. But they don’t have monolithic linguistic parties. With linguistic share guaranteed, they can pay attention to ideological differences within the linguistic groups. As such, each of the linguistic groups further split up into left, right and centrist ideological sub-groups. With fairness along linguistic line guaranteed, and achieved, after elections, ideologically affinity across linguistic lines appears to be stronger than affinity along linguistic lines. Left of each linguistic segment join hands, likewise right as well as centrists form coalitions. Finally, the centrists have some times been forming government either with the help of the right or with the left. In any case, all linguistic groups are equitably represented on the treasury bench as well as in the opposition. When there is no room for unfairness along linguistic lines, politics moves to higher planes – ideological plane. Had fairness along linguistic lines not been guaranteed, tension along linguistic boundaries would have dominated politics, as was the case before the Belgians adopted list-PR for themselves in 1900. Likewise if and when we remove unfairness along caste and religious lines, politics in India will graduated.gif to ideological plane. As long as unfair caste representation is possible, and caste disparity continues, caste consideration is going to be the prime consideration in all elections. If fair caste representation becomes possible, in spite of caste disparity, politics can move up to the ideological level, and contribute towards reducing caste disparities. Flat top consociational executive body of Switzerland: In Switzerland, at the top of their government they have their Federal Executive Council consisting of seven individuals. Members of the Executive Council take turn, every year, at filling the seat of Presidency of the Confederation. The President functions, more or less, as Chair of the Executive Council, and does not have any more power than the others in the Council. Each of the seven persons in the Swiss Federal Council heads a department of his/her own. But all of the important decisions are hashed out by all of them together and the final decision is supposed to be a joint decision of the whole Council, not that of a Council member who is heading the relevant department. Swiss have many parties but four account for more than two-third members of their national parliament. All four of these major parties are roughly proportionately represented in the Executive Council, with 2-2-2-1 distribution. Aside from proportionality based on party strengths in their national Parliament, they also follow unwritten convention of sharing power equitably among their linguistic groups of German-, French- and Italian-speaking people. They make sure the Council always has two French- and one Italian-speaking member, even though such a formula gives a higher than proportional representation to French and Italian speaking segments. The concept of sharing has become part of Swiss way of life. “How inefficient of the Swiss!”, protagonists of the strict merit system might proclaim. But to the Swiss “fair share” is more important than strict merit system, even though they don’t have any written law for enforcing the same. It has become a part of their culture and convention. I am not aware of a comparison between sharp-tipped pyramidal structures of power with single individual sitting at the top, and flat-topped and flat-terraced structures, with groups of equi-powered people sitting at various levels. However, I feel that the flat-topped structure would be somewhat less likely to be corruption and nepotism. My logic runs as follows. If there are several people of equal status at a certain level of power, working as a group, even if one of them happens to be relatively honest, s/he is likely to improve relative honesty of the whole group. Also, on different issues, different people may be relatively honest. On the other hand if the same group was hierarchically arranged like a pyramid, dishonesty of the top is not going to be challenged by the lower ones. However, it will become license for the lower ones to become dishonest and even a small dishonesty at the top is likely to cascade and multiply at the lower end. As a matter of fact an honest subordinate will be looked upon by others as nothing but a fool. Not many at lower levels can be whistle blowers against corruption at the top. If they try to enforce honesty at the top, the top may easily transfer the subordinate or frame him or her up. Honesty at the top is likely to tricle down at lower levels, but perhaps slower than dishonesty. If the top tries too hard to enforce honesty at the lower level, the lower levels may sabotage the top. It inly at one and the same level among equals that honesty appears to be infectious. Functioning of a group of individuals with equal power is not a very novel idea. Justices sitting as juries function as equals. Election Commissioners function as equals. Board members of many boards, function as equals. Likewise, the position of a Prime Minister could be replaced by a Prime Ministerial Council (PMC). And each of the cabinet ministers, with their own subordinate state-ministers and deputy-ministers, could be replaced by ministerial councils composed of equals. PMC would have supremacy over other ministerial councils. Proportionality to various segments of the society would be kept in mind, as far as possible, in the formation of the ministries. To impart stability to the government, as well as to cause a separation of the executive body from legislative body, one could fix the duration of PMC for the fixed interval between two elections. There may not be any provision for vote of no confidence. Other ministerial councils could be left to serve at the pleasure of the national Parliament, or perhaps at the pleasure of the PMC. Leaders of smaller parties are likely to love the opportunity of becoming full ministers, and even an equal partner in Prime Ministerial Council. This kind of possibility may cause many of the smaller parties that are hoping to win seats on the coattails of BJP to reconsider their alliance with BJP. They may consider joining SJF instead. As far as integrity and standing up for the common man is concerned, bigger parties serve those purposes no better than the smaller ones. I think flat-topped coalitions should be the way for the future, rather than pyramidal autocratic structures. This would be a vision envisioning sharing of power and fruits of our independence in a consensual fashion, towards a better India, instead of ruling India with a ruling class (caste) and ruled classes. Power sharing in Swiss bureaucratic structure: “We (Swiss) have a strongly enforced proportional rule that leads to political quotas. An unwritten rule says that two of the members of the Federal Council should be of French- and one of Italian-speaking origin, and over time, this has been observed. In federal commissions of experts, or in parliamentary committees, linguistic proportions are observed more than any other proportional rule. The consequences of this proportional or quota rule can thus have astonishing results for the fair representation of different cultural minorities.”[6] The table shown below is suggestive of quite a strict quota system used in Switzerland. Proportional Representation of linguistic groups (percentages) in certain federal jobs in Switzerland[7]: Representation German French Italian Population (Swiss citizen only) 74.5 20.1 4.0 Federal Administration: All personnel 76.5 15.4 5.2 Senior staff 73.6 20.9 3.5 Top Management 78.8 19.0 2.2 Expert Committees 76.9 20.0 3.1 Presidents of committees of the National Council 76.0 20.0 3.1 In the above table, the sums of various rows do not seem to add to 100, as they should. This discrepancy may be possibly be on account of some positions going to the Romansch speaking individuals – I do not know. I have simply copied the table from book by Wolf Linder. The above table should contribute towards debunking the myth that quota system leads to inefficiencies. With their highest standard of living, today nobody is “shining more”, and “feeling better”, than the Swiss. Nothing reduces efficiency more than various connivances that the “haves” perpetrate in order to continue their hegemony and to keep the “do not haves” from breaking their shackles of misery and despair. If the law is changed to disallow over-representation of any and all groups at all levels of power, the “haves” will have no room for conniving – their game of treachery and deceits will be over! In fact, then, we won’t have any “haves” and “do not haves”. For all positions of power we need, equi-distribution among various groups first, relatively better competency within each of the groups next. Still another author, Jurg Steiner[8] says: “According to Swiss political thinking, not only individuals but groups have rights. French-speakers, for example, should have the right to be represented among the top army officers. When a French-speaking three-star general retires, the search for his replacement is practically limited to French-speakers. But what about a German-speaker who may be more qualified than the top French-speaking candidate? The former is indeed discriminated against on the basis of his language affiliation. This is the price that the Swiss are willing to pay for their system of power-sharing. This price, however, should not be exaggerated. In the foregoing example, the highly qualified German-speaker simply has to wait until a three-star general of his own language retires. Sometimes, of course, bad luck may strike; no opening may occur when someone is the “ideal” for a particular position.” Consensual and inclusive majority, rather than coercive and exclusive majority, is the way to go: Allow me to quote from another author who strongly prescribes power sharing, particularly for multi-cultural societies. Another author, Arend Lijphart[9] says: “In plural societies – societies that are sharply divided along religious, ideological, linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or racial lines into virtually separate sub-societies with their own political parties, interest groups, and media of communication – the flexibility necessary for majoritarian democracy is absent. Under these conditions, majority rule is not only undemocratic but also dangerous, because minorities that are continually denied access to power will feel excluded and discriminated against and will lose their allegiance to the regime. For instance, in the plural society of Northern Ireland, divided into a Protestant majority and a Catholic minority, majority rule meant that the Unionist party representing the Protestant majority won all the elections and formed all of the governments between 1921 and 1972. M
Posted by: Mudy Mar 4 2004, 02:15 AM
Flush.gif Dr. Satinath Choudhary is like a broken record. He is calling for 100% reservation everywhere. According to him all evil ie. caste etc. started just 4.6 years ago. Congress-I under Sonia Mano will be excellent choice according to her track record of last 47 years of her or her party rule for betterment of lower caste, xitian and muslim and social justice to them and only them, they belongs to excutive club. RSS which was banned for 47 years was instrument in caste abuse. devilsmiley.gif For higher caste- they should demand for Brahminstaan, Khatri/kshastriyastaan and Baniastaan.
Posted by: Prof. Godbole Mar 4 2004, 06:34 AM
For higher caste- they should demand for Brahminstaan, Khatri/kshastriyastaan and Baniastaan. That should be well covered in the demand for "Hindu Rashtra"?! tongue.gif
Posted by: acharya Mar 4 2004, 06:58 AM
HUM HINDUSTANI: BJP’s minority card —J Sri Raman Khan has been somewhat apologetic about his u-turn. He has invoked some Quranic sanction for such an action ‘in an emergency’ likening himself to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who also, according to Khan, opted out of what appeared to be a hopeless struggle The schedule for the general election to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of India’s parliament has been announced. It leaves a month and a half for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), heading the outgoing government of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), to campaign for an even bigger mandate by claiming a magical metamorphosis. A party, which in the past appeared proud of its identity as an anti-minority party, now claims to have transformed itself into a truly secular force. It is now a refreshingly different force, which is said to be drawing the minorities, especially Muslims, like a magnet. Behind the claim is an unchanged reality of religious-communal majoritarianism, reiterated in a recent statement of the man who epitomises the party’s new ethos — Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Topping the list of the BJP’s pre-election prize catches are two well-known Muslim politicians. As it is, a number of stars from cinema and cricket who have joined the BJP are paraded before the media and the country, supposedly representing an ‘India Shining’. This is the term used by the party to catalogue its achievements in press advertisement and television commercials. However, the party’s display of Arif Mohammed Khan and Najma Heptullah in a new political role, however, gives a different message. It is also a significantly different from the message sent out by the roles assigned to second-rung Muslim leaders in the party and the NDA. The most notable examples of this are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a general secretary of the BJP and Textile Minister Shahnawaz Hussain. Neither of them is embarrassed by the party’s past political record of anti-communalism. Of course we should also not forget Omar Abdullah, a member of the NDA. A grandson of Sheikh Abdullah, he heads the National Conference. Even the NC’s policies of political opportunism did not allow him to continue as a member of the NDA government for long beyond the massacre in Gujarat two years ago. The BJP even has a minority cell, which protested the move by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to advance the State elections in order to take advantage of the communal polarisation caused by the carnage. The cell was snubbed, the protest went unheeded, and Modi went ahead to win the elections thanks to his extremely communal campaign. Both Khan and Najma, on the contrary, hail from political backgrounds that are anti-communal. Khan, considered a progressive Muslim ever since he left the Congress decades ago following well-advertised differences with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi over the famous Shah Bano case (which involved the issue of women’s rights under the Muslim personal law. Rajiv Gandhi supported the regressive Muslim voice in the dispute) has till lately been with the Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati that has never stopped railing against Mayvadis or followers of Manu (the ancient Hindu law-giver). Najma was a bigger catch, perhaps the biggest catch so far, though she has not formally joined the BJP yet. She is a grandniece of the eminent leader of the anti-colonial struggle, Mulana Abdul Kalam Azad and has been the deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of India’s parliament) for several terms. She has recently bagged the prestigious and coveted post of the chairperson of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Reports suggest that her unhappiness with the Congress leadership dates back to the time the party declined to back her bid for the post of India’s vice-president. There are hints that she is not joining the BJP now only because she hopes the party will put her up as an independent candidate for the president’s post. Khan has been somewhat apologetic about his u-turn. He has invoked some Quranic sanction for such an action ‘in an emergency’ likening himself to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University who also, according to Khan, opted out of what appeared to be a hopeless struggle against British colonialism. Najma, on the other hand, is unapologetic. She told a TV interviewer that the BJP was ‘not communal at all’. Asked if she thought so despite Gujarat, she retorted that there had been thousands of ‘communal riots’ in independent India. She, obviously, views the Gujarat pogrom as similar to other riots. She does not see it as a state-aided pogrom that was vastly different, signalling a very dangerous political development. Both Khan and Najma, however, had one common defence. They were doing nothing wrong, they seemed to say, in lauding and strengthening the leadership of Vajpayee. Khan continues to talk of India going places under the prime minister’s leadership. Najma, who has paid her ultimate tribute to Vajpayee by comparing him with her granduncle, has declared that ‘the Muslims must trust the prime minister absolutely’. Does he deserve such trust? Muslims and others, perhaps, may judge him by his widely reported speech at a ‘Minorities’ Development Rally’ in New Delhi on February 25. Talking about the coming general election, he said: “Think carefully before you take a decision” (Soch samajhke faisala kijiye). He used the adjective ‘minor’ (chutputi) when he referred to communal disturbances, presumably including the Gujarat pogrom. And, above all, he as well as BJP president Venkaiah Naidu dwelt at length on the so-called improvement in Indo-Pak relations, equating it with improved Hindu-Muslim relations within India. Hence, they reiterated the communal bias that the country’s largest minority had an extra-territorial loyalty and identity. The BJP, as its leaders never tire of repeating, does not appease the minority. The party prefers to play its minority card by threatening the minority. The writer is a journalist and peace activist based in Chennai, India
Posted by: thalapathi Mar 5 2004, 11:08 AM
Aladi Aruna suspended from DMK CHENNAI, MARCH 4. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam today suspended former Minister Aladi Aruna for bringing "disrepute" to the party and "violating" its discipline. Earlier in the day, Mr. Aruna said he would campaign for the BJP in the Lok Sabha poll. In a two-line press release, the DMK general secretary, K. Anbazhagan, said Mr.Aruna was relieved of all responsibilities in the party. Not to join any party Our New Delhi Special Correspondent reports: In New Delhi, Mr. Aruna said he had taken a decision ``to campaign for National Democratic Alliance candidates, particularly Bharatiya Janata Party candidates.'' He made it clear that he was not seeking to contest from North Chennai on BJP ticket and added: ``I will not join any political party.'' Arriving at the residence of the BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Mr. Aruna made a carefully- worded, two-page statement before reporters. The thrust of his argument was that it would be a "shame for our nation'' and "insult to our patriotism'' if a "lady from Italy'' were to lead the country. Mr. Aruna recalled that the Congress indicted the DMK for creating a situation in Tamil Nadu which led to the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. His decision to campaign for the BJP and the NDA was "consistent'' with the "policy the DMK adopted and followed for four-and-a-half years" although now it changed its stance, severed its links with the NDA and the BJP, and joined the alliance led by the Congress. "My submission is that no patriot, no self-respecting citizen, no right thinking people will accept to assign the office of Prime Minister to a foreign-born citizen... the NDA is magnanimous in honouring the rights of the minorities and sharing the high office with the minorities. Hence it paved the way for the election of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as President of India... . Shall we surrender the office of Prime Minister to a foreign-born citizen'', Mr. Aruna said.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 6 2004, 02:44 AM,001300740000.htm Reuters New Delhi, March 5 The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is expected to win easily in elections starting next month, riding on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's personal popularity, an opinion poll said on Friday. Vajpayee has called elections in April and May, nearly six months early, in a bid to capitalise on an economic boom, strong gains in state elections last December and a revival of peace process with Pakistan. Weekly magazine Outlook, which published the survey, said 62 per cent of the more than 12,000 people polled last month felt Vajpayee's coalition should be given another chance in power. The opinion poll forecast that Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition of nearly 20 parties would win 280-290 seats of the 543 in the Lok Sabha. The coalition holds 303 seats now. While the BJP itself should increase its tally of seats marginally to 195, its allies are likely to lose ground, it said. "The poll findings indicate that Brand Vajpayee is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition)," of the ruling coalition, Outlook said in a press release. It said 58 per cent of those polled wanted the 79-year-old veteran to remain Prime Minister. "But there is no good news for the Congress," Outlook said, referring to the main opposition party which has ruled India for 45 years since Independence. The poll predicted Congress would win just 103 seats, an all-time low, although a stronger showing by its allies would lift the opposition coalition to 159-169 seats from 140 now. The BJP is campaigning on a platform of development and good governance, and is expected to continue a gradual liberalisation of India's economy, Asia's third largest, if it wins another five-year term. The Outlook survey is the second to predict a victory for the BJP-led coalition. India Today, another weekly magazine, last month forecast the coalition would win 330-340 seats. The Congress and its allies got 105-115 seats in that opinion poll. Outlook said 26 per cent of the people surveyed wanted Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born president of Congress, as the next Prime Minister.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 6 2004, 02:58 AM,00130074.htm?headline=Samajwadi~to~contest~250~Lok~Sabha~seats~» End of COngress or he is betting on third front, financied by Arab world
Posted by: acharya Mar 6 2004, 01:36 PM
Bangarappa predicts exodus from Congress By Our Special Correspondent BANGALORE, MARCH 5. S. Bangarappa, former Chief Minister, said today that there would be an exodus of leaders from the Congress as several of them were feeling "suffocated" like he did. Without giving names, he said it would happen soon and the "tremors" could be felt already. Having joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with his son, Kumar Bangarappa, who resigned from the Council of Ministers, Mr. Bangarappa on his second day in the BJP, said: "I am already feeling at home." He was addressing a press conference along with the BJP State unit President, H.N. Ananth Kumar. Mr. Bangarappa attributed his exit from the Congress to the party leadership. "The way things are moving in the Congress, it goes against national interests." While stating that he had the highest regard for the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, and the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, he said there had been a failure of trust. "They did not even have the decency to accept my resignation; instead they expelled me." There were many leaders in the Congress who wanted to move out and they would do so soon. "I am not in the habit of splitting any party. We are not pressuring anyone and it is not our intention to destroy one party and build another," he said. He said his personal agenda was not primary, but that of nation building for which the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, needed support. On the BJP's stand on the Ramjanmabhoomi issue, Mr. Bangarappa said the BJP had changed considerably and it was hoping to resolve the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi issue through negotiations. "The matter has taken a U-turn and this message has gone across to the people and the minorities are now feeling at home." When reminded that he was sharing the dais with a person (B.S. Yediyurappa) who had called him highly corrupt, Mr. Bangarappa said he had been acquitted in the Classik Computer case. Mr. Yediyurappa nodded in approval. Asked which of them (Mr. Bangarappa, Mr. Yediyurappa or D.H. Shankaramurthy, all from Shimoga district) would spearhead the BJP campaign there, Mr. Bangarappa said: "We will work as a team."
Posted by: Mudy Mar 7 2004, 11:20 PM
Pramod, Jaitley get key States Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi The BJP on Saturday entrusted general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitely - the two men credited with shaping the party's spectacular victories in the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls - with the task of handling the Lok Sabha poll preparedness in the crucial States of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh will supervise the party's poll management in Bihar, where the stakes are equally high, The decision to place UP under high-flying general secretary Pramod Mahajan, was taken in the backdrop of party's internal assessment showing marginal increase of six to nine seats in the crucial state with 80 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP had won 26 seats in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls and is banking on Opposition disunity and the return of Kalyan Singh to make substantial gains. According to the survey, the Samajwadi party is tipped to notch up between 26 to 32 seats, the BSP between 8 and 11 and the Congress six to eight, sources said. For the second day in a row, the Prime Minister's residence was the focus of hectic activity with top BJP leaders holding two-hour long confabulations to fine-tune poll strategy and review the internal assessment, which, according to sources, has projected around 200 seats for the BJP on its own. In addition to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, finance minister Jaswant Singh, Arun Jaitley, BJP president Venkaiah Naidu and general secretary Pramod Mahajan. Mr Mahajan and Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley were also given the responsibility of being special emissaries to sort out problems, if any, with the BJP's allies and partners in the States, Mr Naidu said. The BJP chief said while the special task of handling the strategy in UP was given to Mr Mahajan, senior leader and Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh would be the co-ordinator for Bihar while Mr Jaitley would look after Karnataka. Moreover, party vice president Pyarelal Khandelwal would perform the function of co-ordinator for Orissa and general secretary Sanjay Joshi would manage organisational issues at the headquarters and would assist Mr Naidu during the elections. Describing reports of a purported internal survey that had predicted a tough fight in UP for the party as "wrong," Mr Naidu said the assessment was that the party would "improve substantially" in UP, Karnataka and Assam. Karnataka, where simultaneous Assembly polls are being held, was likely to see the first BJP government in the southern states, he said. The BJP chief said the party would gain marginally in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and improve its tally in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. However, sources said, the party had identified coastal Orissa and Tamil Nadu as the area of concern. Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to keep under wraps the contents of the proposed Vision document, with Mr Jaitely refusing to confirm reports that under pressure from the Sangh parivar the party had agreed to accommodate controversial issues like the Ram temple, Article 370 and common civil code. "So far, no decision has been taken on including these issues in the vision document. The process of consultation with various wings of the party and the parivar is on," Mr Jaitley said. Reacting to J&K legislation denying women the right to inherit property in the State if they marry an outsider, Arun Jaitley says: "It is very interesting that a Kashmiri woman married outside the State will lose all right to inherit property but a foreign woman married to an Indian can inherit a century-old political legacy. This is being supported by a party headed by a woman,"
Posted by: muddur Mar 8 2004, 11:00 AM,001300740000.htm?headline=Sharad~Pawar~associate~Jachak~joins~BJP~» Sharad Pawar associate Jachak joins BJP Press Trust of India Mumbai, March 6 Giving a jolt to the NCP, a close associate of party chief Sharad Pawar and a sugar baron from western Maharashtra, Prithviraj Jachak, on Saturday joined the BJP. Welcoming Jachak in the party, BJP Maharashtra chief Gopinath Munde said his party would pose a strong challenge to NCP chief in Baramati constituency as the person who played a major role in establishing the co-operative network for Pawar has joined them. "Jachak has joined BJP after being betrayed by the NCP despite being committed to the party," Munde told reporters in Mumbai. "I was fed up with the dynastic policy and betrayal by the NCP chief," Jachak, who is the director of National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories and former chairman of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Ltd, said after joining the BJP. He further accused Pawar of changing stance as per his convenience and making his supporters suffer every time he made any political move. Munde said his party would organise a rally at Baramati for giving a formal entry to Jachak along with his supporters. A large number of NCP workers from the party stronghold Sangli and Dhule would join the BJP on March 8, Munde added.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 8 2004, 11:24 PM
Manoj Kumar, son join BJP [no surprise here]Indo-Asian News Service New Delhi, March 8 Manoj Kumar, who portrayed the patriotic Indian in Hindi films of the 1970s, on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his son Kunal Goswami. Soon after the duo was presented to the media at the party headquarters, Manoj Kumar launched an indirect attack on Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and her foreign origin. "If you think I have joined the BJP just because of the elections, it's not true. I have come here for another cause - the mirror does not lie. It does not know politics. Let the foreigner lady see her face, keep a mirror at every turn," he said. ROTFL.gif Said son Kunal: "Daddy has been associated with the BJP and the RSS for many years. He was not an activist earlier. Now he has formally joined.",001300740000.htm
Posted by: acharya Mar 10 2004, 04:08 AM
Hindu agenda and a dazzling India From: Vishwa Hindu Parishad March 1, 2004. There is a shining India and the people of this country are feeling good about themselves. This is a fact. The people have been waiting for a long time and have made many sacrifices in the past, and the economic and social prosperity is something that they have earned for themselves. What we have to understand what has caused this big change from a few years ago so that we can sustain the achievements made so far. It is not only the economic progress that people are feeling good about. The fact that we are a nuclear power is something that makes the common man feel proud. The manner in which the country has repulsed the attack by Pakistan in Kargil makes us hold our head high. Despite the bomb attacks by Islamic terrorists in various parts of the country, Hindus have not gone into a shell. The NDA government has taken some steps which has lightened the burden of government on the people, particularly in the economic field. But should we call all these steps as reforms? Correcting the silly policies in the telecom sector cannot be really called reforms. There are many areas where real reforms have not taken place - as in the case of the inspector and licence raj relating to trade and industry. The taxation policy - both direct and indirect - not only places a burden on the society, but there is still a lot of harassment. The manner in which the Value Added Tax (VAT) for sales tax was being planned would have increased the level of nuisance from the authorities. The large road building programme, a long overdue investment, is still in the implementation stage, and the benefits in terms of improving the transport system will be seen only in the future. It is to the credit of the Hindus of this country that they have taken advantage of whatever little has been done, and have shown that they are more than capable of performing. So one can imagine what would be the state of affairs if there are complete reforms, and there is true justice and peace. While the role of the NDA government for whatever little has been done so far is recognised, we hope that when they come back to power they will do much more, and take India from shinning to dazzling, and convert the feel good factor to feel great factor. This can be done only when it is clearly understood the background in which the BJP has achieved the present status in politics. The transformation from a party at the fringe to taking the centre stage has taken place when it adopted the slogan "Jo Hindu hith ki baat karega, wohi desh par raj karega". For the first time, the people of India felt that there is a genuine alternative to the Congress party at the central level. There have been many parties which have been ideologically opposed to the Congress right from their formation. The BJP is the first such party which has scored over the Congress not only in many states, but more importantly at the centre. And Shri Atalji is the first prime minister of our country who has never been in the Congress. It is because of this massive change in the political scenario, which has not received its due attention, that we today see policies put in place which are radically different from the ones that the Congress had attempted in the first forty years of our independence. The BJP has been able to come to this stage because the people strongly believed that it would do something for the Hindus, not in a communal sense but in a civilisation sense. After all, more than 95% of the Muslims and Christians have had Hindu ancestors. We do not think that it would be unfair to the BJP to say that they have not been able to truly fulfil the vision that they offered to the Hindus when they took up the slogan. We also do not think that it would be completely unfair to blame the compulsion of coalition for this state of affairs. We do understand that for coalitions to work there has to be certain amount of give and take. We do not know whether the demerits, from the national point of view, have been fully explained by the non-BJP members of the coalition with respect to the primary issues that the BJP had taken up. And we are unaware of the issues that the other coalition members have set aside as part of their share of the compromise. Slogans are necessary to explain to the people in a simple language. While slogans, like Ram Rajya, are instinctively understood, many others are not so clear. Thus, the party taking up the slogans has to spell out the content so that the implementation becomes easy. It is in this context that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has come out with the Hindu agenda, the contents of which are as follows: 1.. Return of the most important of the vandalised holy sites to the Hindus. 2.. Remove the interference on Hindu mandirs. 3.. Ban cow slaughter. 4.. Clean the Ganga and other rivers. 5.. Protect historical and civilisation monuments. 6.. Support Sanskrit language. 7.. Eliminate jihadi terrorism. 8.. Ban religious conversions. 9.. Stop infiltration. 10.. Abolish Article 370. 11.. Implement a uniform civil code. 12.. Revamp the education system. 13.. Protect the Hindus abroad. Before taking up the first issue, let us discuss the other twelve. Remove the interference on Hindu mandirs. If India is a secular state, the state has no business to run Hindu mandirs. Of course, improper running of mandirs would go against the interests of the Hindus. But this thing can be said for other public institutes - both secular and religious. There are sufficient laws available to prevent such misuse in these cases, and the same can be applied in case of the mandirs - as is the case in those mandirs which are out of the government control. If this is done, then a non-essential activity is taken out of the government purview and it will have more time to involve in truly development issues. Ban cow slaughter. The cow is a holy animal for the Hindus, and that is why they desist from eating its flesh. Recently the Deoband Islamic seminary issued a fatwa against cow slaughter, on the very grounds that the Hindus have a special attachment to the cow. With the work done by Hindu organisations, it has been clearly established that the cow can have good economic value - as providing fertiliser, medicines, etc. Moreover, one of the directive principles in the constitution states that cow slaughter be banned. So undertaking this programme only means that the constitution is implemented in its true spirit. Clean the Ganga and other rivers. Just as cow is worshipped by the Hindus, so also many of the rivers. Important pilgrimage sites are located on the banks of these rivers. Cleaning them is truly a civilisation dharma of the government. Doing so will also mean undertaking development in terms of improved economic activity on account of increase in yatras. This has been adequately demonstrated by the large increase in pilgrims to Vaishno Devi mandir after the Jammu & Kashmir government removed the encroachments in the approach to the site, and spent the mandir funds to improve the facilities. This will also improve the spiritual well- being of the Hindus. Protect historical and civilisation monuments. Hinduism is the oldest surviving civilisation. Its greatness in all aspects of life has been well accepted. It is a shame that very little sincere efforts are being made to preserve the monuments that reflect our glorious history. Like the previous point, this has also an economic dimension, in terms of increased tourist activity. Support Sanskrit language. It is a reflection of practice of a perverted secularism that one of the previous governments took a stand in the Supreme Court that support for Sanskrit would go against the principles of secularism. The preservation and propagation of Sanskrit is needed for economic well-being, since much of the ancient science is preserved in the documents written in that language. Translations that have been done are often with an intent to denigrate the past. A concreted effort to ensure that this knowledge is utilised for the benefit of the whole mankind is necessary. For example, it is now accepted that the ayurveda leads to better medical remedy than the allopathic treatment. Eliminate jihadi terrorism. Our country has been suffering the ill-effects of Islamic terrorism for a long time. The objective of this programme is to destroy our great civilisation. In other places, such programmes have been successful in the past. But the Hindus have resisted the terrorism, and so have preserved their culture and ensured that our history is part of a living consciousness. Despite the proven resilience, the efforts to destroy have not reduced. In the recent past they have been actively supported by the fundamentalist elements in Pakistan. Eliminating the terrorism will lead to increased security of the people and reduced tensions between communities, which will further lead to increase in economic well-being. Ban religious conversions. All communities have actively detested religious conversions. The aggressive proselytisers - namely the Christian churches and the Islamists - themselves are against the members of their religion join other religions, even when this happens without force or inducement. Banning religious conversions will reduce social tensions, and the energy of the society can be better utilised for development in all spheres. In true Hindu tradition, we are asking for such a ban only in case when the conversion is done due to fraud or inducements. Stop infiltration. It is conservatively estimated that there are more than two crore infiltrators in our country, particularly from Bangladesh. This programme was started by many so-called secular politicians with an object of creating a vote bank for themselves. As in case of such monsters, it has acquired a life of its own. Many of the borderdistricts in West Bengal and Assam are today populated by people who are not citizens of this country. It is said that the people from Bangladesh are 'migrating' for economic reasons. Even if this is true, surely it is not the responsibility of the Hindus to take care of those who voluntarily parted company, and did so with a lot of violence against the Hindus. Stopping infiltration will improve the security climate in our country. Besides, the infiltrators taking the jobs of the genuine citizens of this nation. The infiltrators are utilised in anti-social activities, even to the extent of indulging in terrorism. So, stopping infiltration will lead to a better social and secure climate, which is important for economic development. Abolish Article 370. One of the primary programmes of the Jana Sangh, and later the BJP, has been the abolishing of Article 370. As a member of Lok Sabha, in the early 1960s, Shri Atalji wanted to move a bill asking for doing away with this pernicious part of the constitution. The harmful effects were recognised by those who framed the constitution, and they added the word 'temporary' to the heading of the article. It was on this ground that the then Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, dissuaded Shri Atalji from moving the resolution and had said at the time that many of the original provisions of the article have been done away with, and that it is being slowly eroded. In his various writing, Shri Jagmohanji has documented how this article has been used by the terrorists in the state of Jammu & Kashmir to create a feeling of separateness amongst the Muslims. Moreover, the article goes against the true spirit of federalism enshrined in the constitution. Abolishing the article will not only uphold the original intention of the constitution but also reduce a major irritant amongst the Hindus in the way they look towards the Muslims of this country. This will give a big blow to terrorism in the state and in the rest of the country, and will lead to improved economic activity, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir. Implement a uniform civil code. Due to a lack of a uniform civil code, adoption is permitted only amongst the Hindus. This goes against natural justice. Enacting such a code will greatly benefit the non-Hindu children and the adults who have treated such children as their own. Similarly, making it illegal to have more than one wife will greatly reduce the suffering of many women and their children. We would like to ask who will oppose a uniform civil code - the non-Hindu women, brothers and father of such women, the children of the women? We think only the religious leaders of the community will be adversely affected since it will remove their power over the community - a power that can be utilised only when the community is in a state of discontentment. Revamp the education system. As colonialists, the British tried to implement a system of education which attempted to alienate the people from the civilisation glory. So deep rooted was the impact that those who considered themselves as educated continued with the policy in an independent India. It was not just a question of negating historical facts, but also pervert the meaning of whatever facts were correctly mentioned. If such a policy is continued, the people of this land will cut off the link between themselves and their ancestors. And in the process disintegrating tendencies will set in. This environment is not conducive to have sustained long term social and economic growth. Protect the Hindus abroad. Hindus have legally migrated to different parts of the world for various reasons. It is a character of the Hindus never to give any trouble to the host community. Even as they kept their own civilisation identity alive, they have whole-heartedly assimilated with the culture of their place of abode and have made significant contribution to their new country in all walks of life. Often this has not prevented them from being persecuted in their new lands - sometimes overtly, often covertly. It is necessary for our country to stand up to their rights wherever the Hindus have been persecuted - a persecution which is not imaginary but real. Return of the most important of the vandalised holy sites to the Hindus. So, let us now come to the first point - namely the return of the holy Hindu sites. This return is being asked on the basis of justice and not as a favour. Vandalising the indigenous holy sites has been a feature of Islamic and Christian invaders all over the world. The objective of such an act was to eradicate the past so that a new paradigm would be easy to implement. And wherever a new structure was constructed in its place, the objective was to provide an ocular reminder to the indigenous people that they are now slaves of the foreign masters. Where the civilisations were completely destroyed, there has been none who could come forward to reclaim the holy sites. However, where the civilisations were not destroyed, the monuments of slavery has caused increased bitterness amongst the people in whom the memory of their ancestors is still alive. The historical facts surrounding the vandalism has been provided by the Hindus. It is only those who want to play a game of vote-bank politics indulge in negating the facts. Also, in true Hindu tradition, sincere efforts have been made in the past to find a negotiated solution. These negotiations were not allowed to reach their logical conclusion by those whose interest is to remain in power by appeasing the Muslims. Justice demands that the sites be returned to the Hindus - not as a favour to them but to accept their rights. And the magnanimity of the Hindus is obvious when they have said that they are asking not for the thousands of vandalised sites, but three of the most holy ones - namely the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi, Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Kashi Vishwanath. Recently we see political parties joining together to fight the elections. In many cases, just prior to the coming together, these parties had stated that they are politically at different poles. Often these parties had parted companies a short time before. We also see people joining parties, people who have accused the party of having all sorts of negative characteristics. Often these people had left the party on one ground or the other. It would seem to us that the objective is to merely win elections, and not development. We think that even if the elections are won, such alliances and newcomers will retard development plans. Without having an agenda in which issues which benefit to the people are clearly stated, there will not be a road map for the party to follow. The VHP is of the firm belief that this agenda should be followed not only by the NDA but by all political parties. All the elements of the agenda will lead to justice, reduced tensions, and increased security. And it is only on this basis that India will move from shining to dazzling and the people will start to feel great.
Posted by: muddur Mar 10 2004, 03:30 PM The whole nation loved Congress TARUN VIJAY It's pathetic to see the dwindling fortunes of the Congress. I have reasons to sympathise with this organisation and wish it well because it once stood for the essence of Indian nationalism. A nation is bigger than the victories of political parties and their leaders. People loved the Congress because it symbolised an ethos for Bharat, Hindu values, a sense of pride in our ancient past. Above all, it provided a flexible platform for differing views and shades. As Vedic seers have said, all paths lead to one God, so is it in politics with different views leading to a consensual approach for the nation’s good. A galaxy of leaders, intellectuals and social reformers have formed the mainstream of the Congress. Among them, Jawaharlal Nehru reigned supreme. He appreciated India through his westernised perceptions and reluctantly allowed freedom for differing viewpoints. Fortunately, the nation had a luminous series of leaders in the Opposition. Jyoti Basu, Syama Prasad Mookerji, Piloo Mody, Ram Manohar Lohia and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In this vibrant political atmosphere, the Congress stood firm as a mantra for national integration and reconstruction. It shone under the legacy of stalwarts like M.K. Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose Sadar Patel, Purushottam Das Tandon, Dr Sampurnanand, Mahavir Tyagi, K. Kamaraj. Even a saint like Vinoba Bhave was considered close to the Congress because it stood for Bharat that is India and not vice versa. The Gita, Ramayana and the Vedas were not considered “communal Hindu books” and Bhave excelled in his commentaries on the Ramayana and Adi Sankara’s Vedanta. Other Congressmen, too, believed that Bharat’s prana lies in the Hindu dharma and it meant taking all the other religionists, too, into the national mainstream. There was a respect for all faiths and the guarantee that Bharat will not become a theocratic state. A secular Nehru became an icon for the futuristic vision and the institutions he and successive Congress governments created gave us an immense sense of confidence. Institutions like the IITs, IIMs, BHEL and SAIL. National awards and honours like Bharat Ratna and the Padma awards were not politicised. Nehru had opposed Somnath in a sense; yet, the heartwarming inauguration of its reconstruction will not have been possible without total Congress support — from President Rajendra Prasad to the ground level workers at Prabhash Patan and Jamnagar, who dared to differ yet survived. True, we lost initially to China and Pakistan because of an overwhelming Hindu sense of friendship and blind trust, but once bitten the Congress became firm and decisive. If you have the courage and sagacity to forget the Nagarwalla case, the Emergency, and the banning of the RSS, Indira Gandhi emerges as a leader of substance and vision with her true Hindu traits. The fall in the Congress ethos and its ideological plank has been much more pronounced under the Sonia ‘raj’. Undoubtedly, the Nehru-Gandhis had a streak of autocracy in its aristocracy. However, the public space they needed and gained was through a show of respect for Hindu icons and symbols that stood for India. Nehru’s last will and his highly respected work, The Discovery of India, as indeed Indira’s deep faith in religious symbols were essentially manifestations of the Hindu Congress. To some extent Rajiv Gandhi tried to repeat this in a naive fashion, like beginning an election campaign from Ayodhya. Nevertheless, he also showed the dexterity to take the bright leaders of the party with him, show them respect in public and give due weight to their opinion. Sonia Gandhi has not only made Congress bereft of its Hindu and nationalist heritage, but has calculatedly sidelined the emerging heroes of the party. Sadly, one misses the premature end of potential leaders like Rajesh Pilot and Madavrao Scindia from the scene. Even after them, the inherent strength of the Congress threw up relatively young and gentlemanly politicians like Digvijay Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Tarun Gogoi, S.K. Shinde and A.K. Antony. But Sonia chose Ajit Jogi and saw that Digvijay Singh was sent to oblivion in a planned manner. She sees no role for a balanced and impressive Ashok Gehlot and ignored insultingly the petitions of a highly respected octogenarian like K. Karunakaran. At every crucial step, she has shown a totally un-Indian rudeness towards party leaders like Sitaram Kesari and Jitendra Prasad. During Nehru’s and even Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the Congress claimed leaders like Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri and displayed their portraits at its conferences. Now, ironically, great Congress leaders like them and others are more respected in BJP conventions. With all his mistakes, P.V. Narasimha Rao still remains the extraordinary ‘reformist’ prime minister the Congress can boast of, yet he has been made an untouchable within his own party so that Sonia Gandhi alone remains the first and last choice. Even a cultured Muslim leader like Najma Heptullah is more comfortable with the saffron colours than with the party she owes allegiance to in the Upper House. Sonia Gandhi has shrunk the party to a Christmas eve family dinner, leaving Congress men sitting in the mofussil towns wondering what they are expected to do! Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangma and their colleagues could have helped. No more now. Jyotiraditya Scindia gives hope but it is a bit too early and 10, Janpath fears he may come into collision course with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. No doubt, he will outshine them in every respect. It is this attitude that is poisoning the party slowly — and just for the sake of one person, who cannot speak a single Indian language correctly. Listen to her to know she has no sense of any belonging to this land, leave aside understanding its spirit. This has to change if the party does not want to die an unnatural death. The weakening of the Congress and its ethos would be a severe blow to India’s democratic and pluralistic polity, its integrating features and its pan-India outlook in the political realm. Sonia should give way to the Congress party and allow it to grow and survive. This is the least she can do to show her love for the party and the great country she has adopted, although belatedly.
Posted by: Viren Mar 10 2004, 11:33 PM while Jaya Prada defects from TDP to Samajwadi Party; Om Puri joins Cong
Posted by: acharya Mar 11 2004, 12:09 AM
At every crucial step, she has shown a totally un-Indian rudeness towards party leaders like Sitaram Kesari and Jitendra Prasad. During Nehru’s and even Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the Congress claimed leaders like Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri and displayed their portraits at its conferences. Now, ironically, great Congress leaders like them and others are more respected in BJP conventions. With all his mistakes, P.V. Narasimha Rao still remains the extraordinary ‘reformist’ prime minister the Congress can boast of, yet he has been made an untouchable within his own party so that Sonia Gandhi alone remains the first and last choice. It is this attitude that is poisoning the party slowly — and just for the sake of one person, who cannot speak a single Indian language correctly. Listen to her to know she has no sense of any belonging to this land, leave aside understanding its spirit. This has to change if the party does not want to die an unnatural death. The weakening of the Congress and its ethos would be a severe blow to India’s democratic and pluralistic polity, its integrating features and its pan-India outlook in the political realm. ------------- Is it me or everybody that CONGRESS seems to trying hard to kill itself. Is it a conspiracy that it wants no memory of its pre-independence or wants to eliminate the oldest party so that Indians will never be able to create another one in future and finally India will be left with only regional parties. ---------- Leftist commentory implicates that regional parties are good for eventual balkanization. Lot of countries want to make sure that India will naver have a national party so that there is no national govt or a weak one.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 11 2004, 12:27 AM
QUOTE (acharya @ Mar 11 2004, 12:09 AM)
Is it me or everybody that CONGRESS seems to trying hard to kill itself. .
I hope Sonia stays there, cos she is bringing down the congress party. More power to her and her stupid slaves...
Posted by: Sriman Mar 11 2004, 08:03 AM
About Srikkanth campaigning for the BJP -- Venkaiah Naidu is telling the truth when he is reported to have said (see the related news item in The Hindu) that Srikkanth was a long-time BJP sympathiser. I know that is true. His father (Late Mr. Krishnamachari) was a VHP supporter, too. They go back a long way -- Srikkanth's pro-BJP leanings were certainly not hurt by his experiences as captain of the Indian team in Pakistan in 1989. He was introduced to LKA by a friend of mine, and he had LKA and Mrs. Advani in howls of laughter with his comments. Unfortunately, the BJP has not been allotted South Madras but only North Madras.
Posted by: muddur Mar 12 2004, 01:24 PM Who will be India's next prime minister? By Siddharth Srivastava DELHI - While it appears it is going to be John Kerry versus incumbent President George W Bush in the upcoming United States presidential election, here in India the questions surrounding who will be the next prime minister are still swirling. While the specter of current Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee looms large, in the end, anybody from the vast pantheon of political leaders could make a lunge to head the government. India goes to the polls beginning this April. Pitted against one another are the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with its "feel good factor" slogan and the Congress with its newly coined "failed good factor" - a slight against the government. With either party unlikely to form a majority on their own, there are a host of regional satraps and others with followings among various castes and communities, who fancy their chance as well.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 12 2004, 09:53 PM,000900010004.htm?headline=Congress~hints~at~withdrawal~of~support~to~Mulayam~Govt~» Press Trust of India Lucknow, March 12 Congress on Friday hinted that it might review support to Mulayam Singh Yadav Government in Uttar Pradesh before Lok Sabha elections. Senior Congress leader Arjun Singh told reporters that "contradictions between the party supporting Mulayam Singh Yadav Government on one hand and facing Samajwadi Party candidates in the Lok Sabha elections on the other cannot continue for long." "Contradictions in Uttar Pradesh will be taken care of before the Lok Sabha elections," Singh, a member of Congress Working Committee, said when asked if Congress could withdraw support to the state government before the elections. Singh was replying to questions on the Congress strategy in Uttar Pradesh where it would face candidates SP whose Government it supports from outside. He said the picture with regard to the formation of a secular front would also be clear before commencement of the elections
Posted by: Mudy Mar 13 2004, 03:53 AM There was a time when talking about the BJP's prospects in the South was akin to speculating about Bangla-desh's chances of winning the cricket World Cup. Yes, the BJP had a core committed following, but electorally it was a zero, south of the Vindhyas. Things have changed appreciably since the days of unending lost deposits. Today, the BJP is a claimant for the top slot in Karnataka, has a meaningful presence in Andhra and Tamil Nadu and is bubbling with energy in Kerala. The journey of the Bharat Uday Yatra through Kerala exceeded the wildest expectations of the organisers. The size of those who turned up to hear L K Advani wasn't staggering. When it comes to numbers, there is nothing to match the mass of people who greeted the Ram Rath in 1990. But they were sufficiently impressive for the BJP to believe that perhaps they could notch up their first win in Kerala. Certainly, in terms of sheer exuberance, the meetings at Thirussur and Palakkad were high-voltage. Will this enthusiasm translate into seats? In normal circumstance, scepticism is warranted, but, after the meeting in Muvattapuzha, I would suggest that there is a good possibility of the NDA opening its account in God's own country. There is a perception among the editorial classes that Advani's presence is enough to drive every minority voter into the waiting embrace of Sonia Gandhi. If that was so, why did someone like P C Thomas make it a point to ensure that Advani's yatra touched his constituency? After all, Thomas has a sizable Christian following in Muvattapuzha. The reality is that some of these perceptions are unreal. The Muslims may be sceptical but the NDA has struck a chord among Christians. I think it may be prudent to map the electoral fortunes of Thomas. It could well be a turning point in Kerala.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 13 2004, 03:56 AM
BJP plans new campaign strategy NDTV Correspondent Friday, March 12, 2004 (New Delhi): With the EC banning political advertising on television, the BJP is now looking for alternatives. The party's brand new strategy includes showing ad films in movie halls across the country. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's greeting will be played out in English and six regional languages, Tamil, Kannada, Malyalam, Oriya, Bengali and Punjabi to reach out to a wider audience. Interactive campaign The BJP's media managers have also decided to make the campaign more interactive. For instance a new call centre is being opened where the party will be inviting feedback on the 300 odd constituencies that the BJP is planning to contest. The party's vision document, which is in the making can also be accessed at the call center. The BJP's message is clear. While traditional modes of campaign will continue, the party is trying to find more innovative ways of reaching out to the younger generation and to beat the EC directive.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 14 2004, 03:20 AM
Title: Are BJP chances bright as against Congress Author: M. V. Kamath Publication: Free Press Journal Date: March 11, 2004 No url please Ins the fight between the BJP and the Congress over even before the country has gone to the polls? That seems to be the case if one accepts the prediction made by Arun Nehru. A month ago (Asian Age, 25 January) Nehru predicted that were elections to beheld then Congress will win 100 seats to BJP’s 178. A month later (29 February) the prediction is that Congress will get only 83 seats to BJP’s 201. For the Congress it is a steep fall. What has happened in the last one month for the BJP to look an easy winner? It is possible that the vast sums spent on advertising the ‘Feel Good’ factor have paid, that indeed, the people have come to believe that great progress has been made in the country during the NDA regime, no matter what the opposition parties may say. At the same time, the BJP has been attracting support from well-known film stars and leaders in other fields and that is no mean gain. On the part of the BJP it has been getting support from various segments of society, not the least the minorities. The picture of Venkaiah Naidu and Atal Behari Vajpayee wearing green turbans and addressing a large audience of Muslims in a conciliatory gesture tells its own story. The BJP is no longer seen as a communal party. Wisely it has put Ayodhya on the back burner. It is no more an election issue. To conservative Hindus, the promise is made that the Ram Temple will be built, but that it is not any longer a matter of urgency. The wooing of the Muslims vote has begun. And in the next few weeks considering that the poling will only start in mid-April that no doubt gain momentum. Secularism as a vote catching slogan is being driven to the wall. With the phase of striking alliance almost over, the BJP will have the backing of the AIADMK, TOP, JD(U), Samata, Shiv Sena, BJP, Akali and three other groups and Nehru reckons that between them they will win 322 seats. In contrast, the Congress with the help of its anemic allies is expected to get just about 107 seats. What that would do the Sonia Gandhi’s leadership is anybody’s guess. The last time, it was Sitaram Kesari’s turn to be overthrown, Is Sonia Gandhi’ leadership due for that same treatment come May and the end of election? O can take over the leadership of Congress in such a situation? In no state is Congress expected to do sensationally well even though Nehru concedes that in Haryana, Orissa and Karnataka the party will hold on to its own. That is poor comfort considering that any gains that the Congress could make would be insignificant in the larger context. For a time, it was hoped in Congress circles that the party would be bailed out by Rahul and Priyanka, an admission of grave weakness. That a great party, a party of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had to depend on two youngsters for winning elections was an indication of the depths to which it had fallen in public estimation. Priyanka seems to have given up even if temporarily any pretensions to leadership. And the Congress does not know which way to go. The other daughter-in-law of the Gandhi family, Maneka was even earlier in the BJP camp. Now her son Varun has joined the BJP and that, Nehru believes “will make a positive impact”. The question may well be asked how come the Cogress is slipping by the day? In the first place it is clear that the Congress political stable has no steeds worthy of the race. It is no leaders who can attract public attention. Electioneering in the circumstances has been left entirely to one person, Sonia Gandhi. The Congress has no real “national” leaders and it has already begun to take a defeatist stance and that bodes ill for its future. It was foolish to adopt a negative approach towards the “India Shining” image projected by the NDA. As Nehru put it: “The “agony aunt” approach is very negative and harsh words and abusive language only make the situation worse.” The great public wants to think that India’s image is shining a fact that has been very poorly understood by Congress policy planners. But why was India feeling good? The answer was recently given by India Today which said: (a) Because tax cuts have raised incomes and lowered prices (cool.gif Because falling interest rates have made hire-purchase easy © Because good monsoons have led to a rural resurgence (d) Because housing, highways, retail and IT are generating large-scale jobs (e) Because Indian industry is competitive and going global and (f) Because India is in the centre of a global economic debate. A wise Congress would have accepted these facts in good faith and promised to do even better. Instead the party has chosen to run down the NDA and is paying for it. Another factor that is going against the Congress is Sonia Gandhi’s apparent insistence on holding on to the top leadership and keeping everybody else out. A Narasimha Rao would have been a valuable support. He should have been encouraged to get into electioneering in a big ay but it is obvious that Sonia Gandhi wants to marginalize him. That heat was obviously felt by Ms Heptullah who has gone on record as saying the she has been insulted by Sonia Gandhi. That is guaranteed to chip off a substantial Muslim support from the Congress. Sonia Gandhi’s reaction to Heptullah’s charge surely would have alienated still more voters,. The Congress supreme obviously does not know what errors she is committing. Nor does the congress have anyone of the youth caliber of an Arun Jaitley or a Pramod Mahajan to plead its cause and considering that 70 per cent of the voters today are below the age of 40 that is a serious lacunae in the party. The BJP can additionally depend upon a Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan where, according to Nehru, the party can easily win 22 seats, a gain of six over the results of the last elections. The Congress stands to lose the same number. According to Nehru’s calculations Congress will do even worse this time in Uttar Pradesh that it did in 1999. Last time it had won eight seats. This time, it would be lucky if it wins three. It is a sad, sad story. Two non-BJP Chief Ministers stand out in this long tale of Congress woe: One is Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh: the other is S. M. Krishna will do a ‘Delhi’ on the BJP but not really. Krishna will beat the incumbency factor, but the BJP is still expected to do better. The Feel Good factor is being left in Karnataka as well, even if Krishna may try to cash in on it to win. In the northeast P.A. Sangma can be trusted to give Congress quite a few uncomfortable moments, even if he insists that he is not joining the BJP. He does not have to do that. He has only to take votes from the Congress and that should teach Sonia Gandhi a lesson. What is evident in all these prognostications is that the country as a whole, is going through vast changes that have yet to be evaluated and understood in their context. Why is Atal Behari Vajpayee so popular: Because he is or has turned out to be a pragmatist? Because he has marginalized in his own way the extremists in his own party and put them out of his way? Because he does not speak o Hindutva in an aggressive manner? Let us face it: he does not have the charisma of a Jawaharlal Nehru; nor the feminine appeal of an Indira Gandhi nor the youth of her son Rajiv. He may be a good orator, but he speaks slowly, almost counting his words, chasing them as it were in his mind. Whatever else he may not do, he is the most unlikely candidate to set the Ganga on fire. What then, is his special appeal? In the first place, he is not a confrontationist. He gives the appearance of a man willing to argue and be convinced of his opponents’ point of view. He is mind, non-confrontationist and one suspects for that reason acceptable to many. He has apparently won Musharraf’s heart if not his mind and there are reports which say that he is likely candidate for a Nobel Prize and that was for the record, never said even of Jawaharlal Nehru. The Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani has found it necessary ton warn that the BJP is not a one-leader party and that has been a timely statement. It would harm the BJP and the country if public support has to come from the reigning party on the strength of one man’s appeal. Vajpayee speaks not just for himself but for the party, as a whole. There in one suspects lies his strength. The BJP has come a long way from the Ayodhya rath yatra. In word and in deed it has given back to the Hindu majority its sense of power and relevance which the so-called secular parties had deprived it of. No one lease of all the Communists and the Leftists talks of the Hindu rate of growth any longer contemptuously. Today, the Hindu rate of growth is 8 per cent and promises to rise even higher. The NDA government by its actions has shown that a party reportedly reflecting strictly Hindu sentiments can rise above communalism as if to the manner born. It has shown that under a BJP-led government the minorities are safe and indeed well-looked after. Importantly, nobody need feel ashamed of being called or to be known as a Hindu; ‘garva se kaho hum Hindu hai’ has become much more than a slogan. The BJP has taken the mud off the face of communalism. The BJP cannot possibly take credit for S. Chandrashekar winning a Nobel Prize in Physics and an Amartya Sen winning another Nobel in Economics, or for Kalpana Chawla flying into the skies with a US crew, a Sabeer Bhatia selling Hotmail to BILL Gates or Gurinder Chadha’s Bend. It like Beckham becoming a hit in the UK. But the times are such that India is gaining respect everywhere. It is no more begging for food: on the other hand it is exporting grains. It is not borrowing money from the World Bank. On the contrary it is repaying old loans well in advance with interest. It makes no pretence at being non-aligned, but it is being treated as a world power in its own right, while Pakistan is going down, down, down. Why then, shouldn’t anybody vote for BJP? The Congress is a dying party, let it die. That is what Mahatma a Gandhi wanted it to once Independence was won. On its way to self-destruction, it is listening to the voice of Gandhi under another, and very unlike Gandhi. History has its own way o self-fulfillment. Praise be.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 14 2004, 12:33 PM,001300740000.htm Maneka Gandhi's son Varun Gandhi, the latest entrant to the BJP fold, has decided not to visit Pakistan to witness any of the cricket matches but to campaign for the party to vote it back to power. Gandhi, who arrived in Vadodara from Delhi on Saturday morning, said that he has been asked by the party high command to kick off the campaign for the party in central Gujarat and he is going to visit Bordelly, Savli, Dakor and Vadodara. Gandhi said he will address rallies in Vadodara and Bordeli also he will go to famous Dakor temple town for darshan of lord Ranchodji which was visited by his grandmother Indira Gandhi in 1975. Asked about issues, he will highlight in this campaign he replied ability of Prime Minister Vajpayee to lead the nation, good governance and problems of youth and development. To a question whether he has any political ambition he replied definitely and he would contest for the parliamentary poll in future. "I have decided to kickoff party campaign from Central Gujarat today because it is my 25th birthday," Varun added. He also visited SSG hospital and distributed fruits to patients, he was accompanied by Gujarat Revanue Minister Kaushick Patel close associates of Maneka Gandhi, Yoges Patel and other party functionary.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Mar 14 2004, 05:44 PM
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, who recently returned to the BJP after nearly five years in exile, will contest the forthcoming general election from the Bulandshahr Lok Sabha constituency in the state. Kalyan Singh is on the BJP's first list of Lok Sabha candidates released today. It includes names of the party's candidates from 53 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The two-day meeting of the BJP Central Election Committee which began here today, also decided to field all senior Ministers. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will contest from Lucknow. Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani will fight from Gandhinagar. Campaign managers However, the meeting after hectic parleys decided not to field Law and Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley, party general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Two senior BJP leaders from UP, Kalraj Mishra and Rajnath Singh, will also not contest the election. But they will assist in the party's election campaign in the state. The BJP has decided to field Vinay Katiyar, the party chief in UP, from a new constituency. Instead of Faizabad, Katiyar will now contest from Lakhimpur Kheri. Satyadev Singh will contest from Shahabad and Veena Pandey from Sultanpur in UP. Though the party is not giving a Lok Sabha ticket to Dilip Singh Judeo, he will campaign for the BJP. Judeo, a BJP leader from Chhattisgarh, was allegedly caught on tape taking a bribe last year.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Mar 15 2004, 06:52 AM
A more detailed report here. VC, Kalyan in, Judeo out Pioneer News Service/ New Delhi Two surprise moves, the omission of the scam-tainted Dilip Singh Judeo and a few obvious names were what that came out of the BJP stable as the party on Sunday released its first list of 136 Lok Sabha candidates for 14 states and three Union Territories. Occupying the prime slot is Uttar Pradesh where the list for 56 seats of a total 80 has just a couple of surprises. The list was released after a four-hour-long deliberation of the party's central election committee at the Prime Minister's residence. It was quite obvious that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be chosen for Lucknow, his deputy L K Advani for Gandhinagar, and Union Ministers Murli Manohar Joshi for Allahabad and Ram Naik for North Mumbai. What is new is the Lok Sabha candidature of former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh. He has been fielded from Bulandshahr, in place of sitting MP and Minister of State, Chhattrapal Singh. In another surprise move, the BJP shifted its UP chief Vinay Katiyar from Faizabad to the 'safe' Lakhimpur Kheri. He is likely to be replaced by sitting Ayodhya MLA Laloo Singh Chauhan. Also, the party has reposed faith in former international cricketer and former MP Chetan Chauhan for the Amroha seat. External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha will contest again from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. New convert V C Shukla is the party nominee from Mahasamund in Chhattisgarh and Balram Singh Yadav from Mainpuri in UP. The break-up of the list of 136 candidates shows that over half-a-dozen sitting MPS have been dropped and 83 of their ilk renominated. The renominated MPs include 12 women, 19 from the Schedule Caste category, four Muslims and 13 from the Schedule Tribes category. The first list is dominated by easy choices of ministers and sitting MPs. Maharashtra: To pose a stiff challenge to the NCP-Congress combine in Maharashtra, the party has announced the names of 21 candidates. The BJP is contesting 26 of the 48 seats in the state. Minister of State Dilip Gandhi from Ahmednagar has been dropped while Prithiraj Jachak has been handpicked to take on NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Baramati. Gujarat: Five ministers have been renominated in the 26 -seat state. They include Mr Advani himself, Kanshi Ram Rana, V B Katheria, Harin Pathak and Bhavnaben Chikhalia. Bihar: Four ministers - C P Thakur, Shah-nawaz Hussain, Rajiv Pratap Rudi and Hukumdev Narain Yadav - have been chosen again but the seat-sharing with JD (U) in the state is hanging fire. Jharkhand: Three out of 14 seats have been finalised in Jharkhand where Nagmani will contest from Chhatra and Karia Munda from Khunti. Madhya Pradesh: A list of three ministers - Sumitra Mahajan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Satya Narain Jatiya - was announced in Madhya Pradesh that has 29 seats. Uttaranchal: Two ministers, B C Khanduri from Garhwal and B S Rawat from Almora, have been renominated in the five-seat Uttaranchal. Orissa: The party announced candidates for all nine constituencies it is contesting in alliance with the Biju Janata Dal. Goa: Both the sitting MPs have been renominated. Himachal Pradesh: Three out of four have been renominated with Shanta Kumar contesting from Kangra. J&K: The BJP has also decided to contest all the six seats in the Valley. Of the six candidates, three are Muslims. Punjab: Vinod Khanna has been renominated from Gurdaspur in the state where the BJP is contesting three of the 13 seats with its ally, the Akali Dal, contesting the remaining. Tamil Nadu: The names of six candidates including three sitting MPs have been announced for the southern state where the party is going in for the polls hand-in-hand with the ADMK. Chhattisgarh: The names of the candidates for nine of the 11 seats are out. A notable omission is former Minister of State Dilip Singh Judeo, who was dropped from the ministry for his alleged involvement in the cash-on-camera scam. Head of campaign committee and party general-secretary Pramod Majahan reasoned that the controversial MP had "decided against contesting" the polls but sources said he was not given the seat of his choice, that is Mahasamund, and so he is not in the fray. Nand Kumar Sai, state party chief, will try his luck from Sarguja. No candidate yet for Chandni Chowk Staff Reporter/ New Delhi: The BJP has been unable to find a suitable candidate for the Chandni Chowk seat, vacated by Union Minister of State Vijay Goel. The party on Sunday renominated all its sitting MPs, including Mr Goel, who was allowed to return to his home constituency of Sadar. The other nominees are Jagmohan from New Delhi, Sahib Singh Verma from Outer Delhi, Vijay Kumar Malhotra from South Delhi, Anita Arya from Karol Bagh and Lal Bihari Tiwari from East Delhi. The party has nominated Subhash Sachdeva to contest the Moti Nagar Assembly seat in the forthcoming by-elections.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Mar 15 2004, 06:56 AM
Rhytha or somebody else!!!Can you please shed some more light on this bloke Thirunavukkarasar?
Thirunavukkarasar is the man to watch Till the yatra bus was modified overnight by a super efficient Swaraj Mazda dealer in Coimbatore, it was possible for state leaders to engage in banter and gossip inside the bus. That was because Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani spent most of his travelling hours sitting next to the driver so that he could at least be seen by those who turned up to cheer the yatra. The most entertaining leg of the journey so far was through Tamil Nadu. I attribute this to two factors. First, the state leadership of the party is modern, energetic and with no hang-ups. State party president C P Radhakrishnan, also the MP for Coimbatore, always wears a smile and has a very practical approach to politics. By contrast, H Raja, an MLA from the Sivaganga region, who played translator for Mr Advani, is the archetypal Tam-Brahm strategist. And there is L Ganeshan who has become the BJP patriarch for Tamil Nadu and Kerala. But there is one person whose presence made all the difference. I had never met Thirunavukkarasar earlier. I only knew him as the person with a complicated name whose presence in the BJP so riled Jayalalithaa that she ensured his seat wouldn't be conceded to the BJP. Consequently, Thirunavukkarasar, who is at present a Union Minister, will not be a member of the 14th Lok Sabha. Not that this has left him dejected and deflated. He has taken it philosophically and with a smile. Thirunavukkarasar may have his grouses against Amma but this didn't prevent him from ensuring that the various ADMK candidates, whose seats fell on the yatra route, were given due importance. "You are the man who created Jayalalithaa," a functionary told him. "Ah, but that is history," he replied. Like the bright green belt he wears over his dhoti, Thirunavukkarasar is colourfully witty. I have a distinct feeling that in the coming years, we will hear more about him.
Posted by: Sriman Mar 15 2004, 09:30 PM
I had once interviewed this guy, Thirunavukkarasu (the "u" being replaced by "ar" happens when one gets respect due to age, I guess) for a Tamil magazine in the early 1980s when he was a minister in MGR's cabinet. (Unfortunately I have even forgotten the name of the magazine -- one of those weekly magazines; I seem to recall that it had a pro-AIADMK tilt at that time). What a difference then -- I just went on my bicycle, and went in -- there was probably a guard or two outside, that is it. By the way, where was that article from Siddharth? As a general rule, it will help if folks post if not the url at least the source of the article.
Posted by: Sudhir Mar 15 2004, 09:37 PM
QUOTE (Sriman @ Mar 15 2004, 09:30 PM)
By the way, where was that article from Siddharth? As a general rule, it will help if folks post if not the url at least the source of the article.
Must be from Sify link:
Posted by: k.ram Mar 15 2004, 11:45 PM
Title : A clueless Congress Author : Editorial Publication : Free Press Journal Date : March 15, 2004 The Congress Party's search for a saleable issue in the current campaign for the parliamentary poll continues unabated. Hamstrung by the vast gap in the popularity ratings of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the leader of the opposition, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party seems to be lurching from one issue to another, one platform to another without settling on one convincing plank. Since increasingly the elections are about one slogan, a single over-powering message, the Congress Party is at a great disadvantage. If you look at the recent history of parliamentary polls, it would appear that each election was won or lost on a single over-riding theme. The 1971 general election was snatched by Indira Gandhi on the clever, `Garibi Hatao' slogan. The post-emergency 1977 election was lost by her to the Janata Party hotch-potch on the issue of democracy versus dictatorship. In 1980, she staged a grand comeback on the evocative slogan of `vote for a government that works'! The 1984 election, held in the backdrop of her assassination, her son, Rajiv, walked away with it very convincingly by painting the ugly imagery of terrorism and implying by innuendo that the opposition was on the side of terrorists. Then came the Bofors election which saw the rise of that charlatan, V. P. Singh. Singh's deserved fall from grace led to the return of the Congress Party on the popular belief that it alone could provide a stable government. The short point is that in each election voters were swayed by a predominant message, a major concern to the exclusion of almost every other issue. Of course, the pull of caste and creed remained in place but it was not strong enough to obliterate altogether the influence of `the' major issue. Now cut to the current campaign. The Congress Party is at a loss to dent the lily white image of Vajpayee, even though there was much that was undesirable and unwholesome about his government. The party's confusion was clear when it first sought to debunk the `Shining India' campaign. When it realised that `Whining India' wasn't going down well with the voters, it sought to co-opt itself on the `Shining India' bandwagon by claiming that some of the good things the Vajpayee Government was taking credit for were actually done by it. However, the Congress Party managers again were found wanting when instead of sticking to the pro-liberalisation, pro-reforms agenda, they reverted back to the old shibboleths of the `Garibi Hatao' days. Seeking to recycle the pro-poor slogans in the hope of netting their votes, the party then came out with its ad campaign woven around the theme of `aam aadmi' (read poor people). But this was clearly not enough. The party was now threatening to come up with its manifesto which would aim at paying obeisance at the altar of economic liberalisation while sympathising with the `aam aadmi'. Undoubtedly, economic reforms and the welfare of the poor were not contrary objectives but the Congress Party having given the reforms a bad name would now find it hard to convince the people of its sincerity in implementing the same to achieve the desired goal of poverty alleviation. So while the party managers slog over the manifesto, incorporating in dribs and drabs the contrary policy preferences of various leaders, last week it came out with its detailed `charge-sheet' against the Vajpayee Government. Though it had taken care to release it simultaneously in four metropolitan centres, the document titled, `A saga of sins, scams and shame, attracted little notice for two very obvious reasons. One, the country was caught in the cricket fever and, two, there was nothing new in the so-called charge-sheet. The party made it bold to attack the Prime Minister's foster son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya, relying on tapes of dubious merit, but failed to unearth any new evidence to pin him down. Nor did it have any new input into any of the scams of the Vajpayee Government. The document claimed that the scams of the Vajpayee era had led to a loss of `Rs 49,057 crores to the exchequer.' Such a staggering charge would have shaken the very foundations of the NDA Government Rajiv Gandhi had found himself disgraced out of office by the relatively niggling sum of Rs 60 crores in bribes given by the Bofors gun-makers, but there was not even a murmur of protest from any quarter. Vajpayee is the new Mr Teflon of Indian politics and unless the Congress Party digs deeper to ferret out the dark secrets of his regime it has no chance of making any headway in its campaign to dislodge him from his pre-eminent position as the number one vote-getter for the NDA. The Congress Party managers need to get a handle on their election strategy and then stay with it till the polling day instead of changing tack every other day.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Mar 16 2004, 04:39 AM
QUOTE (Sudhir @ Mar 15 2004, 09:37 PM)
QUOTE (Sriman @ Mar 15 2004, 09:30 PM)
By the way, where was that article from Siddharth? As a general rule, it will help if folks post if not the url at least the source of the article.
Must be from Sify link:
Thanks Sudhir and Sriman.The article was from by Swapan Das Gupta who is covering Advani's Rath yatra.The URL has been recycled so the article is not there anymore. So Sriman why do you think Thirunavukkarasar is mentioned as a man to watch in that article?
Posted by: Mudy Mar 16 2004, 12:47 PM by R. Upadhyay The grammar of vote bank politics in India is a political reality ever since Independence. With the spread of regionalism, proliferation of political parties and unprincipled alliance, elections in India are hardly contested on the basis of political ideology. Almost all the political parties distorted this vote bank politics according to their political convenience. Although, its character varies from state to state on the basis of caste, ethnicity, language and regional factors, the Muslims as a consolidated religious group with 12% of country's population remained a most sought after group at all India level in election time ....
Posted by: acharya Mar 16 2004, 01:22 PM
Congress facing defection threat in Hassan By K.P. Muralidhar Khazane HASSAN, MARCH 15. The Congress, which has been hit by dissidence in Hassan district in the last one year, is now facing a threat of defection, according to senior party leaders who have been opposing admission of BJP members to the party. The party, which was confident of winning the maximum number of Assembly seats before the announcement of calendar of events by the Election Commission, is now going through anxious moments with the passing of each day. The party, which won in Shravanabelagola, Holenarsipur, Gandsi and Arsikere constituencies in the previous elections, is now facing dissidence in six constituencies apparently for having admitted members expelled from the BJP, including B.B. Shivappa of Sakleshpur, A. Manju of Arkalgud, K.H. Hanume Gowda of Hassan and H.S. Puttaranganath of Belur. Only in Gandsi and Arsikere Assembly constituencies, which were represented by B. Shivaram (three terms) and G.V. Siddappa, respectively, the party seems to be in a comfortable position. The party appears to be in a fix on selecting candidates for the four Assembly constituencies as the former BJP members, who have become "associate members'' of the party, and those who lost in the previous elections, are vying with each other for nomination. Sources in the District Congress Committee disclosed that as the party leaders were in favour of nominating the former MLAs (BJP members), the frustrated party loyalists are trying to cross over to other political parties eager to nominate them. The district in-charge and Revenue Minister, H.C. Srikantaiah, and the former MP, G. Puttaswamy Gowda, who have taken the lead against the Janata Dal (S) in the district, were instrumental in getting the former BJP MLAs admitted to the party. The new members have been reportedly promised nomination. Now they are staking claim to contest from the constituencies they previously represented. But B.R. Gurudev in Sakleshpur, D. Mallesh in Belur, A.T. Ramaswamy in Arkalgud and K.M. Raje Gowda in Hassan, who were defeated by the former BJP MLAs, are preparing to revolt against the party leadership who are inclined to "keep their promise'' to the new members. Sources in the district unit of the BJP said that the state BJP leaders are in touch with Mr. Gurudev and Mr. Ramaswamy in an effort to get them to join the party. However, the two leaders have reportedly sought time. This sudden development has put the Congress leaders in a dilemma as far as nomination is concerned. The Congress is also facing problems in Holenarsipur and Shravanabelagola constituencies. Both Mr. Puttaswamy Gowda and the former MLA, A. Dodde Gowda, are seeking nomination from the Holenarsipur constituency. Mr. Dodde Gowda held a convention of his supporters in Peddanahalli near Holenarsipur recently where the party leaders were urged to nominate Mr. Dodde Gowda from the constituency. At another meeting attended by the party observer, Rame Gowda, followers of Mr. Puttaswamy Gowda urged the party High Command to nominate him from the constituency. Sources close to Mr. Dodde Gowda have said that he may cross over to the BJP if the party leaders refuse to nominate him. The situation is no different in Shravanabelagola constituency. As Mr. Srikantaiah is not interested in contesting in the elections this time, he has favoured his son and a zilla panchayat member, H.S. Vijaya Kumar. However, there is opposition to this move. Some workers have accused the Minister and his son of destabilising the party in Channarayapatna taluk. Though both Mr. Puttaswamy Gowda and Mr. Srikantaiah succeeded in wooing the two-time MLA and former MLC, B.V. Kari Gowda, to the Congress, they failed in retaining him in the party. Mr. Kari Gowda, who associated himself with Mr. Puttaswamy Gowda and Mr. Srikantaiah in the initial stages, has decided to join the BJP on learning that his chances to get nominated for Hassan seat were bleak. With the admission of Mr. Kari Gowda, the BJP has gained a potential candidate either for the Hassan Assembly constituency or for the Hassan Lok Sabha seat.
Posted by: Viren Mar 16 2004, 08:17 PM by Rajeev Srinivasan
Posted by: acharya Mar 17 2004, 01:09 AM
Is Vajpayee another Nehru? They cannot be compared. They are, in fact, a study in contrast MANI SHANKAR AIYAR More bogus even than the pretensions of the ‘India Shining’ campaign is the attempt by the BJP and a section of the media to project Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a second Nehru. First, why the BJP should want to compare Vajpayee to the Nehru they excoriated through life and have systematically denigrated after death is difficult to understand. Second, there is no comparison. Only contrast. Jawaharlal Nehru rose from inherited riches to self-imposed deprivation. Vajpayee has descended from humble origins to high living. Nehru spent the better part of his adulthood in incarceration fighting imperial rule. Vajpayee’s sole contribution to the freedom movement was carefully keeping out of jail through his notorious September 1, 1942 confession to a colonial court, at the height of the Quit India movement, “Maine tho kuch nuksan nahi kiya”. Nehru was the chosen moral and ideological heir of the greatest Indian ever, Mahatma Gandhi. Vajpayee traces his descent (the pun is intended) from communal-racists like Golwalkar and Savarkar. He entered politics under the patronage of the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, a man who had not hesitated, after the resignation in 1939 of the Congress provincial ministries when India was dragged by the Brits into war without consulting the Indians, to form a cross-communal alliance in Bengal with A.K.M. Fazlul Haq, the mover of the 1940 Pakistan resolution at Lahore. It is the political opportunism he learned at the feet of Mookherjee that has brought Vajpayee to power and kept him there six long years. Never before has a prime minister deliberately kept aside his own agenda merely to come to power. After all, power must have a purpose. Vajpayee’s claim to notoriety is that he has none; power is his purpose. What would one make of a Sonia Gandhi who set aside the Congress agenda in order to forge an alliance with the BJP to implement not her programme but the BJP’s? Is this not what the BJP have done? Do we not admire Vajpayee only because he has persuaded his lot to eschew their goals merely for him and his ministers to taste the fruits of office? And do we admire Nehru because he stood for nothing? When riots broke out in Delhi during the trauma of Partition, did Nehru sit back or go right there into the crowd hitting out at those who would hit the cowering Muslim? What did Vajpayee do when a similar situation arose in a state ruled by his own party colleagues? Did he even visit Gujarat, let alone sail into the mob flailing his fists as Nehru had done? And when a measure of order had been restored, contrast the consistency with which Nehru espoused the secular cause with the inconsistencies, double-standards and doublespeak that marked Vajpayee’s words and action on Gujarat. Yes, Gujarat was on the edge of a state election that the BJP desperately needed to win. But Nehru, too, was in 1951 on the edge of a general election the Congress needed desperately to win. It was the first election ever with full adult franchise in a nation divided by religious hate where 85 per cent of the electorate belonged to the majority religion and every adult voter had a searing personal memory of the terrible tribulations of Partition. Had Nehru been Vajpayee he would have surrendered to the temptation of sacrificing a minority to appease a majority. He chose not to. With but a few months to go to the polls, Nehru in May 1951 refused permission to the president of India to visit Somnath for the inauguration of the restored temple. It was in keeping with his refusal a year earlier to extract a tooth for a tooth by expelling Indian Muslims to avenge the expulsion of Pakistani Hindus. Instead, in April 1950, he entered into the Nehru-Liaquat pact which pledged the two countries bilaterally to protect their respective minorities unilaterally. So unpopular was the pact with his own Congress legislators that after his post-pact meeting with the Congress Parliamentary Party, Nehru submitted his resignation. It was then that Sardar Patel rose to his Olympian heights. The genuine Lauh Purush took it upon himself to bring the seething Congress dissidents back into the fold. Together, the duumvirate restored India to the secular path. Contrast Vajpayee and Advani in Gujarat. While Advani actively encouraged his acolyte, Narendra Modi, in the outrages perpetrated there, Vajpayee fiddled. Instead of firmly stepping in to stop the worst state-sponsored pogrom in the history of independent India (for the exposure of which this journal has deservedly won an award for best journalism), Vajpayee first fumbled, then indulged in a generalised sermon on ‘dharma raj’ at the Shah Alam camp, only to go back on his word within hours in an interview given in Singapore, then proclaimed in Goa to a party conclave that Muslims make bad neighbours, then denied he had said so, then admitted he had when confronted with the taped evidence of his voice. And this Master Deceiver of himself, let alone his people, is being projected as a second Nehru? God forbid! Nehru embraced socialism during his 1927 visit to Europe, especially after his encounter in Brussels with the League against Imperialism. His espousal of state-sponsored economic development was vindicated by the spectacular Soviet miracle of the thirties that within a decade transformed the Soviet Union from a serf-ridden backwater into an economic and military superpower which withstood Hitler where all of west Europe had succumbed. But Nehru’s admiration for the Soviet economic model was tempered by repugnance at the immense human suffering it entailed. He, therefore, rejected the Stalinist model and opted for the democratic alternative of an indigenous mixed economy in which priority lay with the poor. That was the socialism he espoused through the freedom movement and into the 17 years of his premiership. The contrast with flibberty-gibbet Vajpayee could not be starker. When Vajpayee founded the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980, he proclaimed its economic plank to be ‘Gandhian socialism’. He then went on to oppose the liberalisation of the economy under Rao-Manmohan Singh. Then he embraced the ‘swadeshi’ creed of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. And finally as prime minister, he became the vanguard of a lunatic right-wing Shourieism. In foreign policy, Nehru went down the “road less travelled”. Nonalignment was the policy of just one country, ours, from 1945 (when Nehru became member for external relations in the interim cabinet) to the Brioni conference in 1956. By the time the Nonaligned Summit was held in Delhi in 1983, two-thirds of the international community had embraced Nehru’s foreign policy. That is the measure of a pioneer. Vajpayee has made India a foot-soldier of the Bush camp. Is his subsidiary alliance with the US an achievement? When Nehru died, the Economist had a photograph of him at the UN on its cover, the page suffused in darkness, only his hauntingly sensitive face subtly lit up. The legend read, ‘World without Nehru’. Will that be Vajpayee’s place in the hearts of the human family when the Reaper finally arrives as he must with his inescapable sickle?
Posted by: thalapathi Mar 17 2004, 09:20 AM
Jaya attacks Sonia for alliance with DMK Salem, March 16: AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa last night came down heavily on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying she had forged an 'opportunistic' alliance with the DMK, despite the Jain Commission's report, indicting that party in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Addressing a huge public meeting here on the seventh day of her campaigning, she said Sonia Gandhi was a foreigner and did not know anything about the public. She contrasted this with the administration of the 'experienced' and able Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. A vote for the AIADMK-BJP alliance would serve the interests of Tamil Nadu, she said. She also found fault with Sonia Gandhi on the Cauvery issue and said the Congress leader was not interested in the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu. She could have instructed Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna to release water to Tamil Nadu. The DMK also had not done anything over the years to solve the problem, she alleged. The Chief Minister also criticised the Congress for forging an alliance with the 'pro-LTTE' MDMK and the PMK. Jayalalithaa claimed that she achieved much more in three years than had been possible by other parties in power in the last 30 years. During this period, she had criss-crossed the state and taken steps for the welfare of women, she said. The Chief Minister also said she was responsible for improving the financial position of the state, which was 'in doldrums' when she assumed office. Before arriving in Salem, Jayalalithaa addressed roadside meetings at Jodipuli, Theevathipatti, Omalur and Karupur. (Agencies)
Posted by: thalapathi Mar 17 2004, 09:22 AM
People's Front releases first list Chennai, March 15: The People's Front, floated by Puthiya Tamizhagam (PT), Dalit Panthers of India (DPI), both Dalit parties, Makkal Tamizh Desam (MTD) party, Indian National League (INL) and Janata Dal (United), today announced the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. PT leader Dr K Krishnasamy would contest from the Tenkasi seat, while DPI leader Thol Thirumavalavan would seek his fortunes from Chidambaram. Makkal Tamizh Desam chief S Kannappan would contest from the Ramanathapuram seat. The PT would be contesting from Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Sivakasi, Periyakulam and Pollachi, while the DPI would contest from Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai, Perambalur, Dharmapuri, Pondicherry, Sriperumbudur and Rasipuram. Makkal Tamizh Desam would be fielding candidates in Ramanathapuram, Vandavasi, Arakkonam, Sivaganga and Tindivanam and the INL in Cuddalore, Tirupattur and Pudukottai. Nagapattinam seat has been given away to S G Murugaiyan Revolutionary Forum, a breakaway group of the CPI, where M Ramesh, son former CPI MP the late S G Murugaiyan would be seeking election. The JD-U would contest Tiruchirapalli, Dindigul and Palani seats. Speaking to newspersons, JD-U state president K Rajasekaran charged the BJP in the state with "opportunism" for aligning with the AIADMK and said the saffron party had entered into a tie-up with the Dravidian party because of its "power hungry". He said the BJP had violated the coalition dharma. JD-U leaders George Fernandes, Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar would be campaigning for the front's candidates in the state next month, he added. (Our Correspondent)
Posted by: acharya Mar 18 2004, 06:32 AM
How Advani antagonised Coimbatore March 15, 2004 It was late in the evening on March 11, 2004 when Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was scheduled to arrive in Coimbatore in his special bus from Palakkad, Kerala. Security was not just tight; it was stifling. From the point where he entered the city to the VOC Stadium where he addressed a public meeting, policemen stopped all traffic and closed all shops on either side of the road. One could walk on that road but none could stand or wait anywhere. One can't help wondering if this will endear Advani and his BJP to the residents of Coimbatore or anyone who was using the road, which happened to be a National Highway no less. March 12, 2004 was a busy day, like any other. There are a lot of schools, colleges, and industries along the stretch of road leading from the city to the airport. It is a National Highway heading for nearby Tirupur. Just after the turning to the airport is the Ramalakshmi marriage hall. On Friday morning, it was the venue for Advani's press conference. Policemen had besieged the area by the time the BJP leader, who had been put up in the Circuit House, was ready to meet mediapersons. As he made his way to the venue, other people using the road were overtaken by a jeep and two vans, all full of policemen, and told to move their vehicles to one side. Buses came to a reluctant halt. Some policemen forced them to take the turns off the road to decongest it. In no time, the highway was blocked and the daily lives of several people disrupted. One man pulled out his ID, which showed he was a purser with Jet Airways. He was getting delayed for work. An air-hostess was certain she would miss her flight, which would reflect poorly on her. She was almost in tears. Another man was pleading that if he was not in office on time, he could even lose his job. He too showed an ID card. But the policemen were unmoved. College going girls started fidgeting but chose not to vent their feelings. But one girl was crying because she was on her way to give her Std XII final exams. If she was late and failed to give her exam, she could even lose a year. When the pleading did not work, they openly abused the BJP. The man who feared losing his job said, "I will never vote for the BJP. Why should I vote for a party that needs so much security? Doesn't the man realise that the HSC exams are on? Couldn't he go earlier or come later? Is he a moron?" The others agreed that they would not vote for the BJP. In that one intersection alone, Advani succeeded in instigating at least 50 people to vote for the opposition. Imagine the total number of people he is likely to alienate on his nearly 8,000km long yatra. There were people who pointed out that Advani is traversing the country as a BJP leader, not as the deputy prime minister of India. Spending public money on his tour is like funding the BJP's election campaign. The BJP should arrange its own security or pay the cops for their work. After meeting mediapersons, Advani headed for Bangalore. This resulted in the closure of the Coimbatore-Salem road, a distance of 150km for two hours. I rest my case. All in all, Advani's yatra will definitely make the states he will traverse through poorer. Worse, he may even end up antagonising voters.
Posted by: acharya Mar 19 2004, 04:11 AM
Elections 2004 U.P. may witness tactical voting yet again The main priority for Musilms in U.P. is to see that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not trimph in the elections. Javed M. Ansari reports on the prevailing mood. From the crowded by-lanes of Rampur in western Uttar Pradesh, to the Municipal Board office in Amroha, from the tree-lined campus of Aligarh Muslim University, to the brassware factories in Moradabad, the topic is the same: the options before the State's Muslims in the coming elections. From speeches at meetings and in mosques, and from private conversations, it is clear that the community's main priority is to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP's attempt to project a more minority-friendly image seems to be cutting little ice. "They [BJP] are a downright communal party and the Muslims can never hope to get any justice under them," says Afshan Idris, a brassware exporter from Moradabad. Her sentiments are echoed at public gatherings and in private homes across the State. The Ayodhya imbroglio has receded from public consciousnesses but Gujarat still hurts, and it appears to have brought the issue of personal security up-front. Despite the BJP leadership's protestations of innocence, its failure to act against the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, and the Centre's "reluctance" to rein in the Sangh Parivar activists responsible for the 2002 riots in the State appear to have reinforced the Muslims' worst fears. "It is all very well to express regrets for what happened, but by not removing Narendra Modi, this Government has shown that it is unwilling to act against the guilty," says the former Moradabad Mayor, Humayun Kadeer. Every move of the BJP, which has never really enjoyed the confidence of the country's largest minority, is being scrutinised minutely. The Union Human Resource Development Ministry's move to have a common entrance exam for admission to Aligarh Muslim University and the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti's "benign attitude" towards those responsible for the arson against Muslims in Indore are cited as manifestations of the party's real face. "The top leadership is trying to woo us by talking sweetly, but why can't it get the likes of Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti to behave as administrators first and pracharaks later," asks Mateur Rehman, a political activist from Rampur. While there is near-unanimity as far as the BJP is concerned, and the community is still deliberating on the party it should opt for, ideally, Muslims would like the secular parties to unite so that their vote is not divided. Most Muslims prefer a tie-up between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, failing which a Bahujan Samaj Party-Congress alliance, which now looks unlikely, will suffice. The failure of these parties to come to an understanding appears to have dampened their enthusiasm and this could be reflected in the Muslim voter turnout in the coming elections. "If there is no tie-up, one thing is certain there will be no en bloc voting and fewer people will turn up to vote," says Mohammed Yameen, a municipal councillor from Amroha. The SP, the Congress, and even the BJP appear to be going the whole hog to win over Muslims. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, has declared Friday a half-day and has promised to set up a Persian University in Rampur, while the BSP has talked of giving nearly 40 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats in the State to Muslims. The Congress is wooing smaller parties such as the Muslim Majlis and the Parcham party, and the BJP too does not seem to be too far behind. The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, have expressed regrets for Gujarat; and high-profile leaders such as Arif Mohammed Khan have been inducted into the party. As the elections draw near, Muslims are closely watching the unfolding political scenario. While the SP-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance may have the upper hand in areas with a large percentage of Jat votes, the Muslims will be more than willing to vote for any candidate who is in a position to defeat the BJP. It appears that no single party has a stranglehold over the Muslim voters anymore and there maybe a three-way split between the SP, the BSP and the Congress in the rest of the State. That, however, might have changed had the Congress and the BSP cobbled up an alliance. The Dalits and Muslims have traditionally voted together and together they have a bigger geographical spread compared to the SP-RLD combine. "The Dalit-Muslim combine stands the best chance to defeat the BJP and if that happens the scenario could change dramatically," says Naved Anjum, a lawyer from Sambhal.
Posted by: Viren Mar 19 2004, 04:31 AM
acharya: Who's the author of that "How Advani antagonised Coimbatore" article.
The BJP should arrange its own security or pay the cops for their work.
ohmy.gif BTW, who's paying for security of the dynasty kids travelling to terroristan? frusty.gif
Posted by: acharya Mar 19 2004, 05:13 AM
This is a duplicate Congress: Venkaiah By Our Special Correspondent CUDDALORE, MARCH 18. The Bharatiya Janata Party president, Venkaiah Naidu, on Wednesday claimed there was a change in the mood of the people in the country, as they realised that the original Congress was gone and what existed now was a "duplicate Congress," which had drifted away from Mahatma Gandhi and his ideals. Addressing a public meeting organised at Chidambaram to introduce the party candidate, D. Periasamy, Mr. Naidu said the Congress was known with a suffix "I" and it `meant' that all these years it was `taking care of its own interests', and not that of the people. Had it been so, it would have been "Congress (We)," he said. The BJP leader said that during its 50-year rule, the Congress had `ruined the country'. He said that one had lost count of the times the Congress had split, and would not even touch double figures in the coming polls. Mr. Naidu said the BJP had no dearth of leadership, and it had a leader (for Prime Ministership), whereas the Congress alliance had very few options. He said the BJP was neither a one-man party nor a one-woman party. ``It was not a family concern nor did it believe in dynastic rule''. He said that whenever a candidate was being fielded in a seat other than his native place, he was being branded as an outsider, and if that be so what would one say when a person from Italy was projected as Prime Minister? The BJP president termed this "a pity and a shame." The Congress `misrule' had given birth to the regional parties as it had `failed' to take care of the aspirations of the people. The party had hindered the proceedings of Parliament and pulled down the Gujral Government over the Jain Commission report. The Congress that had accused the DMK and the PMK of hobnobbing with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had now struck an alliance with those parties. Therefore, Mr. Naidu termed it as "the most opportunistic alliance, which the Tamil Nadu people must throw out lock, stock and barrel." He observed that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader, M. Karunanidhi, had stated that after the elections his party would not join the Government, and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam leader, Vaiko, too endorsed the view. Mr. Naidu asked: "Where would be the government for them to join?" He said the BJP that was once a small party had grown big now, and had entered new areas, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was attracting people from all walks of life, because they believed that their best bet lay with the BJP. He told the electorate that if it wanted the country "to move forward, go along with Mr. Vajpayee, and if you want to move backwards opt for the Opposition." Congress has deviated from its basics: PM By Sarabjit Pandher PATIALA, MARCH 18. The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today appealed to the people to evaluate the performance of the National Democratic Alliance Government over the past five years before casting their vote. He claimed that his Government had succeeded in making a noticeable all-round improvement Mr. Vajpayee was here to launch the election campaign of the Akali-BJP alliance in the State. Addressing a public rally here this afternoon, the Prime Minister told the people that they would never regret if they gave the NDA a mandate for another term. He sought to underline the performance of his Government, in which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was a constituent. The country had enhanced its international prestige and overall economy during the last five years, he said, urging the people to compare the performance of the NDA Government with the 50 years under the Congress. Granting that the Congress had contributed to the freedom struggle as well as the initial years of development, the Prime Minister said that party had `deviated' from its basics. He alleged that Congressmen found it hard to stay away from power and were desperate to grab the "kursi" at the earliest and at whatever price. The Prime Minister foresaw a major water crisis at the global level, for which he sought special attention. Mr. Vajpayee had a dig at the Punjab Government, especially the Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, whom he accused of promoting the party agenda at the cost of the State's interests. He said the Chief Minister had led a delegation to Delhi, not to hold any talks but to get some publicity by sitting on a dharna. He charged that the work for the Petroleum Refinery near Bathinda had come to a standstill as the State Government had not furnished the "deed of assurance."
Posted by: acharya Mar 19 2004, 05:14 AM
QUOTE (Viren @ Mar 18 2004, 11:01 AM)
acharya: Who's the author of that "How Advani antagonised Coimbatore" article.
The BJP should arrange its own security or pay the cops for their work.
ohmy.gif BTW, who's paying for security of the dynasty kids travelling to terroristan? frusty.gif
Check the rediff article on Advani yatra. The reporters are anti advani and anti BJP
Posted by: rhytha Mar 20 2004, 12:20 AM
Nadar vote bank remains divided Sanchita Das in Chennai The Nadar community of Tamil Nadu has been in the spotlight for some months now. When Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani presided over the share transfer of the Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) from C Sivasankaran to the members of the Nadar community on 16 February, he was told that the move would be politically beneficial for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Similarly, after the controversial “encounter” death of a Nadar —Pannyar— the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief, M Karunanidhi, gave a party ticket to his widow.
Posted by: acharya Mar 20 2004, 06:32 AM
Check this snake --- AN OPEN LETTER TO UP I.K.Shukla ----------------------------------- This election season the fate of Indian democracy hinges very substantially on the 85 Lok Sabha seats of UP. Other variables, in terms of the vote tally, may not mean significantly much. Since Praful Bidwai’s article of March 15: “Vajpayee for Façade, Advani for PM: BJP’s Con-trick” lays it all out, apportioning both seats and their beneficiaries in various states, comparing these to the previous record, this is no place for a repetition of the same. But what is terribly disturbing as an ill omen, as far as democratic assertion is concerned, is the wobbly and dangerous tilt that UP may ruinously perpetrate. Hence this appeal to all conscientious parties and formations, swearing by freedom and democracy, egalitarian pluralism, and composite nationalism. This may be the last ditch stand for them to make in the cause of Indian sovereignty, Indian security, Indian ethos, and an Indian future. Let not their ego or personal aggrandizement stand in the way of a proper response to the threat posed by the BJP-NDA to our cherished values as a nation. Lest they should forget, it would be apposite to remind them that it is not just UP of their small and scattered fiefs of casteist and tribal stripes that they have to cater for and be entrenched in, it is India, a much larger entity, that they are enjoined to be answerable for. Any lapse on their part can unsettle India, irreversibly, and unforgivably. They have to recall the historic UP: Awadh that valiantly staked its all in 1857 against the British invaders and stood as the indivisible, indomitable bulwark of freedom at a horribly heavy price in blood and fire, imperial repression and colonial rampage; UP of revolutionary resistance to the foreign interlopers in Merath and Kakori; UP of 1942 Ballia which became an independent enclave in the wake of Quit India movement; UP of historic resonances like Kanpur, Bithur, Lucknow, and Banaras; UP as the paradigm of Indo-Persian culture fashioning and assimilating it as its own over centuries; UP of Lucknow and Banaras, two cities singled out for soulful celebration by Ghalib; UP which gave us the national song Jhanda Uncha Rahe Hamara (by Shyamlal Gupta “Parshad”, Kanpur, 1925) and the revolutionist song of defiance Sar faroshi ki Tamanna ab Hamare Dil men Hai reverberating all over and giving the Brits creeps (by Ram Prasd “Bismil”), etc., etc. It is this fiercely independent-spirited UP, zealously proud of its historical inheritance, that is both threatened with subjugation and extinction by the diabolical forces of death and darkness, and which, in turn, is on the brink of threatening and tearing apart the spirit and substance of India. UP, unwittingly and involuntarily, seems poised at the centre of a national tragedy or historic triumph. It would be up to the citizens of UP to face this historic and crucial challenge as manfully and masterfully as they can. No sloth, no superciliousness, no shallowness, no sloppiness on their part would be too small to be forgotten or forgiven if they help win by their inaction and default the communal predators and known enemies of the nation. If the Congress cannot see reason for the demand of Telengana and Vidarbha, it can at least start giving this burning question of separate states serious thinking. These are not new demands by a few hair-brained politicos. Nor have they been articulated on election eve. There was much less justification for Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal which came into being without its blessings, for the benefit of a political party that is cynically pledged to aggression and anomic attrition. Telengana has had a raw deal, and severely suffered from long bloodletting and neglect as a matter of policy. This cannot go on for ever, this must not require a low-intensity warfare by Hyderabad on a permanent basis. Alienating the populace of Telengana is to abandon them to the mercies of their traditionally privileged enemies. The same goes for Vidarbha. Realpolitk and its exigencies, the interests of a few, cannot be allowed to hold a people to ransom in perpetuity. Congress has to do hard thinking, not just in the case of UP. Is it an exaggeration to say that BJP and its various synonyms never reconciled to a free India, that they were since inception, and have been ever since, opposed to a sovereign India, nobody’s surrogate or satellite? Their historical record itself is tell- tale. That they overturned India’s non-aligned policy, aligned wholly with a foreign imperialist power to serve its interests in South Asia through enslavement and impoverishment of other nations, is not just a straw in the wind. Domestically too they entered a compact of comprador peonage with Washington, sacrificing national interests and despoiling its future, all for kickbacks that would boost the Party’s power at the risk of the nation’s interests. The secret sale of ONGC shares, without reference to the parliament, without any debate, is just one of the umpteen cases of massive malfeasance Hindutva has blackened itself with. Joint military exercises with imperialist alien warlords, now globally on the rampage, agreed to by India, do not promote our interests, nor add to our prestige or security. They do exactly the opposite: arousing suspicion and fear, sowing hatred and isolation in the neighborhood and beyond. Violation of electoral ethics by the BJP has been poignantly pointed out by Sukla Sen in his letter to the EC a few days ago. Grossly blatant misuse of government machinery and administrative assets for the political fortunes of a party is against the basic norms of justice in a functioning democracy. That the caretaker government has the gall to indulge this open flouting of rules bespeaks its beastly character of irresponsible, secretive, and illicit behavior. If BJP is returned to power such crimes and such corruptions would never cease, they would be the norm. Advani has helped clear the air: the Mandir issue is part of the BJP agenda. Even if cleverly worded, it cannot conceal the intent of the putative Loh Purush [Iron (in the soul) Man]. NDA is already stamped as of no consequence, since it would agree to be ruled. And over ruled. His arithmetic is clear and straight: it was 1990 holocaust in the wake of his Somnath-Ayodhya Triumphal that soaked India in blood for months on end, and brought dividends to BJP in the Lok Sabha seat strength. Why should the enterprise not be repeated now, since EC too has sort of sanctioned it? Harsh Mander’s piece on the continuing tragedy and trauma of Jhabua in MP, with Christians as victims, Uma Bharati presiding on the death and devastation there, in The Hindustan Times, 23 Feb.04, “Dark Clouds Without Silver Linings”, must be read not as an “isolated” incident. It is a marker, well timed. Tribals cannot be permitted to choose their religion. They have to remain the slaves of the ruling minority of the elite. Any aspiration or assertion to the contrary will be crushed brutally, swiftly. That Judeo is a hero among these primitive hegemons is as it should be. Every cowardly, criminal, and corrupt cretin has always been a hero in the fascist annals. It is a matter of “principle”. Lest this appeal end on a despondent note, here is piece of news item to cheer us all. Whether it can be strengthened and may achieve its goal is moot at the moment. Ayodhya Ki Awaz, an institutional framework inspired by Prof. Sandeep Pandey, recently held a Sadbhawana Sammelan (Goodwill Conclave) in Ayodhya for three days. Those participating in it are eminent persons in their respective fields. They are appalled at the economic plight of the majority community in Ayodhya following the depredations of the saffron brigade. They want Ayodhya people to decide for Ayodhya, outsiders excluded.They plan a Youth Yatra for disseminating their message of amity and fraternity, with several important sants and savants in the lead. But for it to be a success the citizenry of UP will have to come out in the streets. Whether it will be allowed remains an open question. To be optimistic may not be very realistic. And, for that, people will have to be ready for a face off. Snip clip: Gopinath Munde seeks a ban on Discovery of India. It is nothing luny. BJP has subverted and sabotaged the Constitution (Review Commission), disgraced the Parliament (Savarkar’s portrait), and divested the nation of its sovereignty and resources. It is freedom of the people that scares them. It is democracy that threatens them. They would destroy both. Before they do, let UP play a decent hand, redeeming itself. Long ago should have fascistic formations like BJP (Hindu Mahasabha, Jan Sangh, Vishwa H Parishad, Bajrang Dal, etc.) been banned. This one laxity cost the nation dear. Do we afford another? Wake up, UP. 19March04.
Posted by: muddur Mar 20 2004, 12:13 PM
Some one asked WHY did CP meet Sonia ... well here is why ??? India News > Opposition queries Pakistan's non-NATO ally status (update) New Delhi, Mar 19 (IANS) : India's opposition parties Friday reacted sharply to Pakistan being made a non-NATO ally of the US and sought an explanation from the government on its implications for India. The main opposition Congress wanted to know whether Washington had informed the Indian government about its decision on Pakistan. "We would like to know whether the decision was conveyed to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when US Secretary of State Colin Powell called on him Tuesday," Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) charged the government with reducing India's foreign policy "to that of a US supplicant". "This is a reflection of its ongoing and deep strategic and military relationship with Pakistan. The Vajpayee government should explain what it proposes to do with its much vaunted strategic relationship with the US. Does it intend to continue with its unidimensional policy and hope to acquire a similar status as Pakistan?", it asked in a statement. Powell announced Thursday in Islamabad that the US would "designate Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally for purposes of our future military relations". The Congress spokesman said if Powell did not convey the matter to Vajpayee, then it is "of serious concern, since the decision was in the pipeline for a long time". Sharma, however, clarified that the issue of establishing strategic partnership with Pakistan did not figure in the meeting between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Powell. "As a friendly nation, the US is expected to take into account India's interests and sensitivity," he said. Sharma sought Vajpayee's response, saying: "the tall claims of the government that the US and India were natural allies had been repudiated". The CPI-M statement added India would require "acceding further to demands such as joining the Proliferation Security Initiative of the US or enmeshing India in the National Missile Defence System" to obtain similar status. "The Vajpayee government has reduced India's foreign policy to that of a supplicant of the US which is detrimental to India's national interest," it added.
Posted by: acharya Mar 20 2004, 09:46 PM
Sharma sought Vajpayee's response, saying: "the tall claims of the government that the US and India were natural allies had been repudiated". The CPI-M statement added India would require "acceding further to demands such as joining the Proliferation Security Initiative of the US or enmeshing India in the National Missile Defence System" to obtain similar status. "The Vajpayee government has reduced India's foreign policy to that of a supplicant of the US which is detrimental to India's national interest," it added. ------ Because of the last 50 years of screwed up foriegn policy of congress the people of India are struggling to get a leverage in the world. For several generations the people haev to struggle to get things straight.
Posted by: acharya Mar 21 2004, 01:14 AM
India Election 2004 by bhattathiri Posted on February 11, 2004 22:15 PM EST Accessed 3393 Times Hot List Score: 1414 Election 2004 will be turning point in India's hisory. India is marching towards progress and india will be a developed nation within 5 years if this tempo continues. India's image among world is in the high esteem. Media plays an important part in this.The present election has become a contest between Atal Behari Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi. But the differences between the two are striking. Vajpayee has been in public life for 55 years. Sonia hasn't completed even 6 years. Vajpayee had participated in the freedom struggle and he was jailed during the Emergency. Sonia was born an Italian and her only claim to politics is her marriage into the Nehru-Gandhi family. Vajpayee is available for scrutiny by the media. Sonia is not. Even in private, she speaks only to people who are her favourites. Vajpayee is bound by party discipline; Sonia has her own agenda. The BJP is projecting Vajpayee as its prime ministerial candidate, but no Congress leader can say with authenticity what Sonia's role would be after the election. Vajpayee, moreover, has never been accused of corruption in his long political career, whereas Sonia is very much in the thick of the Bofors controversy. It is believed that her friend, Ottavio Quatrocchi, is one of the recipients of the pay-offs in the Bofors deal. It is unfortunate, therefore, that a man of Vajpayee's stature is being compared with a woman whose only qualification is that she married into the family that once ruled the country. Even their campaigning styles are poles apart. A seasoned orator, Vajpayee speaks from the heart. Crowds come to his public meetings to hear his views, not those of a ghost writer, which is the case with Sonia, who reads from a prepared text written in Roman script. So, people come merely to see her - after all, she has substantial novelty value. Vajpayee has emerged as the natural leader of his party. There's no dispute in the BJP about projecting him as the party's face. Sonia's spokesmen, on the other hand, claim she has actually obliged the party by agreeing to campaign for it to reverse its steady decline. Vajpayee has never cultivated his own faction within the party, unlike Sonia, who's continuing the Nehru-Gandhi tradition of playing favourites. Going by media reports, Sonia was responsible for Arun Nehru being thrown out of Rajiv Gandhi's inner circle. More recently, there were stories about how Arjun Singh and Narain Dutt Tiwari's revolt had Sonia's blessings. Sonia, unlike Vajpayee, controls the party through the backdoor. She managed to keep Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar out of the race, while intervening in favour of Shiela Dixit. So, although Sonia has never worked for the Congress, she has snore powers than the legitimately elected party president, whom everyone seems to have forgotten. Vajpayee has a large member of admirers outside his party as web. Writers, thinkers and leaders of other political parties hold him in high esteem. And he's available to both friends and foes. Sonia, on the other hand, has been an absolutely private person. She has her own set of friends and she hardly has admirers, except perhaps desperate partymen for whom she's the last hope. She doesn't allow critics come anywhere near her and there are few leaders within her own party who get a chance to talk to her. And those who do, return remarking that it's like talking to a wan. She never says a word. . We all know why Vajpayee is in politics. Politics, although not his first love, has become a passion with him. But we don't know what prompted Sonia to join the circus. Her claim that she has come to save the party has a hollow ring to it. The party, after all, has been in a bad way for quite some time. Anyway, at the moment Sonia is only a campaigner asking for votes. Her advisers, however, don't miss any opportunity to tell you that the Congress won't be able to form a government on its own. Even as she ridicules the state of affairs in the Congress, Sonia seems 'to forget that it is the party's organisational machinery that is her biggest strength. 'Re Congress is a party with deep roots and a large network of dedicated workers. That is why Sonia is attracting large crowds in the areas where the party has been traditionally strong, In Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where the party machinery has broken down, Sonia's personal charisma did not work. . In a democracy, a leader has to be accountable to the people. Sonia must not forget that even when an established leader like Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency and closed all channels of public scrutiny, she was decimated by the people.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 21 2004, 09:27 PM
Posted by: Mudy Mar 21 2004, 10:17 PM
If Rahul Gandhi get elected, India will be in drain soon. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: muddur Mar 21 2004, 11:15 PM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Mar 21 2004, 10:17 PM)
If Rahul Gandhi get elected, India will be in drain soon. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
If they get elected, then that's what Indians deserve. huh.gif BTW, WHY did Rahul Gandhi go to Pakistan before he announces his nomination ? WHAT did he get from the Pakistan India has given birth to several traitors. May be sign of another treachery ?
Posted by: muddur Mar 21 2004, 11:19 PM
I also expect Priyanka to contest from Bellary, then.
Posted by: Hyagriva Mar 21 2004, 11:26 PM
This Congress is such a Joke! Congress says: Sonia is to be voted for since she is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi Now, Priyanka, while introducing Rahul, exclaims that he looks just like his Father, Rajiv Gandhi.. So we should vote for Rahul for the ONLY reason that he looks similar to Rajiv! While BJP has put India at the center of its campaign with 'India Shining' as its message, The Congress has but one message: 'Remember the Ghost of Rajiv Gandhi, Vote for his Widow and for his lookalike son Rahul' Today, the Congress said that they have only ONE goal- to remove NDA from Power. I thought coming to power in election was about working for the Nation, but it seems for Congress, elections means only getting to Power!
Posted by: Mudy Mar 21 2004, 11:41 PM
Rahul Gandhi is schizophrenic. Complete disaster for anyone. He was not able to do anything in London, failed professionally. Tried to start IT company in Delhi. I think it is no where now. This unemployed want Indians to earn for him. SOB
Posted by: muddur Mar 21 2004, 11:53 PM
This may sound harsh.... but ... BJP and the NDA have committed a mistake of letting Pakistan recover and trying to appease the minorities. These were the 2 main things that brought BJP to the power with the majority Hindu's voting for them. I am sure NDA will strugglke to get even the simple majority, this time around, because of the 2 above mistakes. Their actions have created doubts among the Hindu's about their committment while the major minority people will never trust them regardless of what these people do. Instead of strenghening their strong voting bastion of Hindus the BJP is committing the mistakes of the congress party by letting loose the Pakistan and the minority appeasement. They will learn thheir lessons after this elections. Lets hope I am wrong.
Posted by: rhytha Mar 22 2004, 12:08 AM
Mudy.. New Thread

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