A Strong Bhartiya Janta Party is required for Healthy Democracy!

THE OPPOSITION, Bhartiya Janata Party is making news for a week now. The “Chintan Baithak” held in Shimla last week gave no solutions to the ailments of the party. Instead it was overshadowed by the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh and the leakage of the election analysis report.
 
The expulsion of Jaswant Singh over a book is overzealous. And the manner in which he was expelled made matters even worse. There can be no justification to ban his book in Gujarat. What Jaswant Singh has expressed is only his personal view and not of the party’s. The party could always disassociate from his viewpoint, present its own thoughts on the discussion and make its stance clear. If the BJP was so miffed then they should have answered Jaswant’s book by another book on their viewpoint.
 
The day you start banning a book for political scores, democracy is in danger. A close aide of Atal-Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni has also resigned from the party. He has resigned citing the “ideological differences” with the party. Arun Shourie has also lambasted the party and its top leadership. The way BJP is tackling the issues, he might be the next to be expelled from the party.
 
One thing clearly visible is that BJP has lost its vision and is in a leadership crisis. Rajnath Singh must be held responsible for this. A leader is the one who owes responsibility and introspects the causes of failure. But the current leadership is just not doing it. They don’t want to hear some very valid points being raised within the party.
 
So, the party is ignoring the lack of accountability and factionalism. They are just looking for scape goats. Instead of rebuilding the party, leaders are busy with the media commitments and speaking nonsense on TV channels. If it continues to function this way then these are not a good signals for the party and country as well. It is imperative for the RSS to ensure smooth transition of generation in the party. There is so much infighting among the next generation leaders that it is denting the image of party with each passing day. The party appears to be in complete disarray and disjointed.

BJP is needed for the smooth functioning of our democracy. As Tarun Vijay said, “Suppose if there was no Jan Sangh or the BJP, there would have been no Kashmir movement, no demands to scrap two flags and two constitutional provisions for an Indian state and abolishing two Constitutional heads system for it. Who would have taken up the cause of an invincible Indian security and carried out the Pokaran II nuclear tests while preparing for Pokaran III?”
 
In a nation where most of the political parties are known by the names of their dynasties turning the political process into a kind of family fiefdom, the existence of a party that still runs on democratic norms and represents a completely different ethos, must be valued. That is the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is useless to indulge in the contemporary dichotomies and scuffles that mar its current framework.
 
It is important that the party conveys its ideology and packages itself in a way that can impress 21st century India. The party needs to take some tough decisions and devote time in getting a makeover. There is no shame if it represents itself as the party catering to Hindu interests as long as it does not becomes communal.
 
BJP needs to remember the words and vision of its founder, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. At the first all India session of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, its founder president Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had said, “We must be able to carry all sections of the people with us by creating in their minds a healthy and progressive attitude of co-operation based on true equality of opportunity and mutual tolerance and understanding. Our party’s door remains open to all who believe in our programme and ideology irrespective of considerations of caste and religion. ”
 
Without mincing any words he declared, “Our party though, ever prepared to extend its hand of equality to all citizens, does not feel ashamed to urge for the consolidation of Hindu society. We are not so mean as to forget that in this gigantic process our country came into contact and conflict with many foreign races and ideologies and our great ancestors had the courage to fashion and refashion the country’s structure in accordance with new ideas and with the changed conditions of our society. If India’s freedom is to be purposeful, a correct appreciation of the fundamental features of Indian culture – the discovery of that unity in diversity, which is the keynote of her civilization — is highly essential.”

BJP is party of nationalists and it needs to remain one. However, it has to rebrand itself and become the saviour of the middle class which it once represented. It is equally important to refrain from any sort of communalism. It is a national alternative to the Congress, more so after this election which has pushed regional parties and their identity politics to the margins. There are, after all, no full stops in politics.

12 unsolicited revival tips for an ailing BJP

For last 3-4 days, I have been reasearching a lot on How BJP can revive itself? I have almost finished searching and made few notes on how it can be done. But then I came across this article in Times of India dated 21stMay, 2009 and which was send to me by one of my medico friend. This article contains 85-90% of the content on which I was writing but they eleaborated in far better way. So I just thought that instead of publishing my article let the people read more on the TOI’s article. I have saved mine for some other day. :)
I was writing this article because A strong BJP is very important for the healthy functioning of our democracy.

BJP will warm the opposition benches again, in all probability for another five years. Unless, of course, their official party astrologer is privy to some once-in-a-few-million-years celestial formation that will help them ascend the throne in a few months from now. Opportunity lost, did someone say?

It is true that a in a country with a billion people, there are a zillion factors on which elections are fought and that it is unfair to blame BJP’s defeat entirely on its own failings. But, the underlying pattern in BJP’s defeats and its response to these defeats suggests that something is intrinsically wrong and systemically too.

The party, hailed as the only viable national alternative since its ascent in the nineties, has just not learnt lessons from its past mistakes, but also made newer ones. Notwithstanding whether Congress obliges it or not over the next five years,

Here are a few lessons that the BJP can take home from these elections:

Fight to win, not win to fight
To be Prime Minister , you have to win elections – It isn’t difficult to understand this as a concept. In fact, it’s quite obvious. The fundamental truth is that to be Prime Minister of India, your party has to first get enough seats in the Parliament. If a party doesn’t score enough runs err seats, it sits on the Opposition benches and plans walk-outs. But, it seems even this simple logic has been very hard to understand for BJP’s top leaders despite the party’s trouncing the last time around.

They internally squabble over who is best suited to be the party’s candidate for the top post, and what is worse, even externalize it. When they don’t reach a conclusion, they undercut each other. Some start sulking publically and yet others stop attending crucial party meets. So, with all this, they have a hope in hell to get the required number of seats. How about squabbling after winning enough seats? It will certainly be a happier situation for all those fighting as they will have something to fight for!

Action Point: Hold a US style Presidential Primary. The winner in this primary, becomes the BJP candidate for the PM’s post. Once this is done, the others need to gracefully step back; the way Hillary Clinton did once Obama surged ahead. At the same time, get a fix on some mechanism to also groom potential ministers, particularly the key ministries and also have stated key policies you would pursue. Get your A team in place and do it NOW. Since BJP calls itself a democratic party (as against the ‘non-democratic ‘ones), it should walk its talk.

The Perfect Delivery
Deliver in every State you have a government in. If there is one thing that is getting loudly clear is that people are now sick of wallowing in India’s Third World status. They want a better life. And, their finger presses the button which promises them just that. So, while the Congress can feel smug about its victory, it too needs to deliver if it wants to come back again. Ditto for BJP. It has in its portfolio some major States.

Delivering a good performance there will not only help in that State, but also have a rub-off on other States. So, if the BJP doesn’t want to go back to its ‘two seats’ status that LK Advani is so fond of boringly recounting time and again, it better whip its chief ministers into delivering concrete results. If Narendra Modi has indeed turned Gujarat into a model State, why should it not have some impact on other states? And why should Modi be left alone to thump his chest about these achievements, and not the rest of the leadership? MP and Chattisgarh too should have made public their score card.

Action Point: Fix specific delivery targets for each State’s leadership, ones that are going to be visible and helpful in garnering the maximum votes the next time round. Pursue these targets relentlessly. Highlight achievements to the local people. And do that in a united manner, and unequivocally. Also, take it further down to your workers. Make the cadre accountable and responsible for elect ion results.

Be a growing boy, Boost your reach
Strength comes from within – The last time, the BJP came to power on the back of a coalition. Now, it is smug in the belief that it will get enough friends each time to occupy the 7, Race Course Road. Of course, this theory assumes that they will get the most winnable ally each time and that each time; their long-standing ally will deliver. The fundamental truth is that these allies gravitated towards the BJP because they saw the BJP growing in size and clout. A diminished BJP doesn’t get them closer to power.

Action Point: The moral of the story: BJP needs to grow on its own in size, reach, geographies and do this even in areas where their allies are strong. How dependance on allies can cripple them is evident in Orissa. What will be the BJP’s condition in Bihar if the JD (U) too dumps them is not difficult to visualize. Its next leadership needs to work assiduously towards building the party at the grassroots level. Allies should be a bonus. Plus, if you become big and have a good shot at getting and retaining power, they will come to you wagging their tails.

So, build, build and build. Identify 350-400 constituencies around the country where you stand a chance, and work hard on them right away. Spread yourself to other states. If BJP wants a chance in the next election, it ought to stop worrying and start acting right away, preferably right after its ‘Chintan Baithak’!

Who am I? Why am I here?
Think about what you believe in…. Are you are ‘Right wing’, `Hindu nationalist’ or are you not? This is not about secularism or pseudo-secularism, or the rights and wrongs, or even the desirability or otherwise of whatever ideology you follow. The idea is not to preach the virtues of being ‘inclusive’ or ‘accommodating’. This is about thinking through what you believe in, if there is such a thing left. Who are you and how are you different from the Congress-not only in terms of Hindutva ideology, but also in terms of your approach to economy, foreign policy etc. What fresh ideas do you have?

Action Point: First sit down and define what you are and what you stand for. Get your mission and vision statements clear. Your workers have to know what you stand for. And, after that, let no party member go out and contradict party position because he has a right to express his private opinion in public.

Fevicol your beliefs
Once you have decided what you stand for, you should also consider sticking to it. Once you stick to your beliefs and promises, it will build more faith in you. Right now, voters have rejected you because they could not take you seriously anymore. For them, here is a party that promises one thing and compromises it for the sake of power.

Action Point: Stick to stated party positions and do not keep changing/vacillating as per the need and situation. This doesn’t mean that you do not re-look some of the party positions in the recent past and see if you want to stick to them. Be flexible, but, at the same time, core positions are not meant to be shifted election to election

Cure yourself of Congressitis
This disease is called so because it first affected the Congress party as per your leaders. It is characterized by shameless pursuit of power and willingness to destroy institutions, principles to get to the throne by hook or crook. You have caught the disease too. At one time, it was your perceived image of being relatively selfless that helped you; people took Atal Behari Vajpayee at face value. BJP wasn’t seen to be a party that will remove Governors, State governments, negotiate the right pound of flesh for support, encourage party switchers, field dubious candidates etc. But, today it is difficult to distinguish between Congress and BJP.

Action Point: Now that you have tasted the fruits of power, it is difficult for you to go back to your old self of coming across as selfless. But, do try to at least ‘look’ less desperate. This also includes saying ‘Buzz off’ to criminals and history sheeters. Why should you be seen as the party fielding the maximum number of candidates with a criminal background? Is there is a dearth of eligible, young people in this country who can contest?

While you are laid-off
Staging walk-outs is a valid form of protest the Constitution permits. But, this doesn’t mean that this is all you do when you are in Opposition.

This is the time to rebuild and reconnect. L K Advani should have spent a lot more time since May 2004 to May 2009 touring at least 50 of 80 odd UP constituencies and getting a hang of what people there wanted.

Similarly, other key constituencies could have been identified and worked on. You had a full five years to get yourself noticed as worthy and credible politicians. But, you didn’t do it. So, now hear the thumps from Sonia Gandhi’s hand on the treasury benches.

Action Point: We know you have the succession issue to battle out and that it will pre-occupy you because your `larger than life’ leaders never cared to develop and identify the second rung of leadership. But, coming back to point number one (which said that to become Prime Minister you have to win elections), it should be clear that you have to sort this out really fast.

Connect on the ground, not on Facebook
Connect with the people, not with TV studios. TV studios are important, you can reach out your message to millions in one go.

But, what if that is not the message people want to hear. Plus, there is no way people can come back to you in a TV studio. And Internet does not still reach Kalawati, despite what your media managers would tell you. So, we know all of you look very handsome and pretty on TV, but, it is time for some sunburn, dehydration and diarrhea.

Action Point: Get your chappals out and start walking and connecting. Pack in your sun screen and water and get going to the muddy waters of roadless villages. Go taste the real India.

(No more) Pursuit of Pettyness
We all know the depths to which politics can tumble to in India. But, do you necessarily have to meet such perfection. You ended up opposing (and looking foolish) all the things you proposed and started when in power. You were in favour of VAT when in power and you opposed it later. You would have signed a nuclear deal yourself, but, you opposed it just because the Congress was doing it.

You could just have stood up and said that you started the negotiations and the Congress must bring these to fruition. You know what, had you supported the Congress in these key legislations, the Left would have scooted earlier than it did. Plus, the Left would have accused the Congress of being hand in glove with you. Wouldn’t that have been a happy situation for you?

Action Point: Don’t be petty. The ultimate objective of occupying the seat of power is to improve the lives of all Indians. Don’t oppose anything that will achieve just that. It makes you look petty and short-sighted.

Need to develop a ZooZoo strategy
It is time BJP learns from Vodafone’s ZooZoo ad campaign and how it has scored over almost all other campaigns that tend to depend on the superstar power. The cost-effective and hugely successful ZooZoo campaign for Vodafone has taken the country by storm. Not because it has a Khan or a Sachin endorsing, but a simple script that has an emotive connect with people in light-hearted fashion.

Action Point: How about BJP formulating a series of inexpensive ad and marketing campaigns from time to time (and not just during elections) that connect with the people while delivering the intent and the message with honesty? Are the “War Room” controllers listening?

Be inclusive, love thy neighbour
At the same time, BJP needs to formulate an action plan that lets minorities know that their interests and development too will be ensured.
Instead of rhetoric, BJP needs to work sincerely towards taking them along; address their genuine concerns, have an action plan for their security and development while according them full freedom and rights, and yet not lose out on majority support. It may be tougher than said, but not impossible.

Stop counting the stars
We won’t quibble about, or debate your belief in astrology. Millions of Indians believe in it and we don’t know enough to either dismiss it as mumbo-jumbo or accept it as perfect science. All we know is that the stars may be in a favourable position, but the actions have to be performed by you.

The logic is like this – if at a favourable time, you do the right thing, the stars will help you get the desired result. Clear? It doesn’t work the other way – just because the stars are in the right place, you will do the right thing and hop into the PM’s BMW caravan. Plus, depending too much on superstars is like expecting Tendulkar to come out and hit six sixes in the last over.

Action Point: Say no to astrologers and Bollywood stars, be the star.

My Personal Views: 
BJP has an image of Party with the Difference but it has lost that identity for many reasons. 
These are definitely the desperate times for the party and the desperate time asks for desperate measure.
It will be in the interest of the party that it regroups itself and work on reaching to the masses through ground work.
BJP must do undergo a make over and should take attempts to enhance the minority voters in its base. 
In short BJP needs an overhaul and I feel that they have got good 5 years for the same. 
It all depends on the leadership as how they can pull this off.

BJP should be a Strong Opposition in 15th Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha Elections have thrown some unexpected results. The results are unexpected for almost every political party. You can take example of Congress, BJP, Left, BSP, TC, etc. It is very clear that UPA under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh is going to form the government again. With Left out of the government, it is being hoped that India will push for economic reforms and policies. The stable government is advantage in this time of economic depression.

Bhartiya Janta Party has lost the elections and the results are very surprising for them. They hoped to encash the incumbency, economic crisis and internal security but failed in doing so. The party needs to do some serious introspection. If not then their might be some existential dilemma for the BJP. But for smooth functioning of the democracy, it is of great importance that BJP does some rethinking and revives itself. The strong government must have strong opposition and this is the essence of the democracy. The one step towards the revival of BJP will be the role it plays as the opposition in the next 5 years. The government will pass some bills/amendments/laws and it is the roles of opposition to scrutinize assess, seek for clarification and have a healthy debate on the same. If BJP can play the role of constructive opposition then it will be good for the country’s health. With every single party pledging the support to UPA, BJP’s role assumes further importance.

Somewhere I feel that BJP didn’t play the good role of opposition and went on to oppose and criticize each and every move of the government. The good opposition should oppose genuinely and support the government in the hour of crisis. The blame game should be limited. LK Advani once said that Congress and BJP should be political adversary and not enemies. This can be replicated for the government and opposition as well. It will be interesting to see if the BJP passes the post of leader of opposition to some younger member. Though LK Advani has agreed to be leader of opposition but mostly he will leave the post within a year time. A young leader of opposition chosen with consensus within the party is also essential for BJP to do well in future.

Bottomline:
We have got a stable government and now we should get the stable, strong and constructive opposition. The responsibility of this lies with BJP and hope they will meet up the expectation of voters who have given them mandate to sit in opposition and play an important role there.

Why Bhartiya Janta Party Lost the 2009 General Elections!

THE ELECTION results are the swansong for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s iron man LK Advani. His dream to become India’s Prime Minister remains a dream and I don’t think he will get the next chance. But the verdict has taken the country by surprise.

Everyone predicted a close contest between the BJP and the Congress but the difference of more than 80 seats is astonishing. I, as a young voter, feel that the BJP lost because of the following reasons:

1.   The BJP failed in its role as a constructive opposition. It opposed each and every policy of the government. It opposed just for the sake of opposition. Take, for instance, the stance taken by the party during the nuke deal. It leaders vehemently opposed it. Rahul Gandhi went on stretch to explain the benefits of the deal to the common people but the BJP failed to listen. And just few days before polling, Advani said that his government won’t scrap the deal! This shows that the BJP was not sure of its stance.

After the Parliament attack in 2001, the Congress lent the full support to the NDA government to fight terrorism. On the other hand, after Mumbai attacks, the BJP kept on criticizing the UPA for its failure to stop the attacks. Criticism was required but not the type which the BJP displayed. It showed its sheer opportunism and not the real will to focus on the solution of the problem.

2.   The website of the BJP has details of the party manifesto. While reading that I was impressed by few of the real good points. The party’s IT vision was also very well received by the Indian IT companies. But somewhere I felt that the BJP failed to make the people aware of their vision and manifesto while addressing the citizens. They were not able to make people aware of the same.

3.   The BJP failed to capitalize on the weak points of the UPA government which mainly included agriculture and internal security. Its leaders were themselves found napping when the Kandhar issue was raised. They failed to come up positively on these two issues.

4.   Frankly speaking, Advani was not perceived the “Majboot Neta”. He might be the Iron Man for the BJP but not for the country. His past track record proves that (comments on Jinnah, Kandhar, etc). He was unable to match the intellectual level of Dr Manmohan Singh. Instead of debating how the BJP would change the face of India most of the time he attacked the UPA and its leaders. He attacked Dr Singh throughout instead of his policies which did not augur well among the voters who hold great respect for Dr Singh.

Moreover, there have been so many splits within the party which made voters confused about the party.

The BJP also had no charismatic youth leader within its ranks. It had no one to engage Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and so forth? That too, when more than half the electorate was young.

The Congress mainly won on the ability of Dr Singh and youthfulness of Rahul Gandhi. The BJP lacked both. They have same old faces which have been around for decades. It will not be wrong to say that LK Advani lacked the magnetism and statesmanship of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

5.   There has been a saying that the way to Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh. Sadly, the BJP has ignored the state for the long time and failed to have any clear-cut strategy for the state this time as well. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi devised the new strategy and took decision to go all alone in UP. The move which has paid off heavily for the Congress while the BJP continued to lose its base in the state. The party won more than 50 seats in the 1999 elections but has failed miserably after that.

The BJP needs to do some serious introspection before seeking power in the year 2014.

Where the CPM scores over the BJP and Congress…

If you thought only the Congress and BJP were singing their way to the 15th Lok Sabha election, then visit the CPI (M)’s official campaign website! One of the links in the website reads ‘songs’ and once you click on it, you are led to four CPM campaign songs – Mehengi Roti Sasti Jaan (Unaffordable food, cheap lives), Haalat Desh Ke Maange Badlao (The situation in the country calls for change), Vikalp Naya Lao Is Baar (Vote for a new alternative this time) and 100 Mein 33 Lekar Rahenge (Will get 33 in 100, in the context of the 33% Women’s Reservation Bill). (http://www.vote.cpim.org/node/1352)

Party politburo member Brinda Karat had, earlier this month, released a compact disc containing these four audio songs though I chanced upon them only today.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised after listening to the songs which are based on themes ranging from price rise and hunger to women’s reservation. These are the broad themes being used by the party in its campaign. The songs are melodious and original (unlike Congress’s Jai Ho and BJP’s Bhai Ho!) and the lyrics are relevant, stimulating and intelligent.

While the first and the third songs have amazingly peppy and catchy tunes and you take to them immediately, the second song is slow yet powerful. Though most of the songs have an anti-Congress tenor (presumably because it was at power at the center), they are not negative or degrading to the party but rather, they concentrate on the problems of the country (whether or not we agree with the CPM’s assessment of our situation is a different issue.) Unlike the BJP’s ‘Bhai Ho’, which is a direct and juvenile counter to the Congress version of the song, the CPM campaign songs are more dignified and do not seem like a childish response to somebody else’s creative (or lack of it!) attempt.

Or for that matter, these songs are not narcissistic and self-indulging like Congress’ ‘Jai Ho’, which concentrates more on praising the party than making the voter aware of its future agenda.

The fact that the CPM does not have resources to match up to the Congress or the BJP is well known, which perhaps explains why these songs are not being splashed across our TV screens or FM stations.

Which party gets my vote behind the Electronic Voting Machine remains a secret, but the CPM definitely gets my vote in the ‘Best campaign song’ category.

Jai Hind’s comments:

No doubt CPM has been innovative in creating their political campaigning material. I would call it ‘Good Marketing’ but unfortunately low on budget.
But that doesn’t ensure they would act for good without vested benefits after they are elected.
And moreover, I am totally against gender-based reservations. Rather you should ensure that everyone(irrespective of gender) gets proper and equal education, opportunities and recognition.
You should go through Sakshi‘s post

Originally published on livemint (via @livemint)

Communalism, Pseudo-Secularism and our Media

Varun Gandhi’s so called “hate speech” has become a prime time news for our media. Out of no where, Varun Gandhi has become a household name and has been certainly crowned as the poster boy. Since the day Varun Gandhi’s speech was telecasted in the media, this news has gained more and more weightage. The role of media has been such that they almost delivered their verdict before the EC in this case.

As I am developing some sense of Indian politics, what I have started to feel is that the term “secular” and “communal” should be debated in the perspective of Indian Politics. The “secular” political parties don’t have guts to stand for Hindus of this nation. And if anyone issues a “pro-Hindu” statement, he will be tagged communal. The precise reason what i feel is that in India, Hindus don’t vote as a “group”, their votes are divided. While Muslims have most of the time voted as groups. Thus, each and every political party tries to capture this group or as we more popularly call them, votebanks.

The paradox of the Indian political system is that it is fashionable and allowed to utter “anti-Hindu” or “pro-Muslim” remarks. Moreover, they are the only ways, one can prove his secularism. Mr Gandhi in his speech is believed to have said that,

“Agar kisi galat tatv ke aadmi ne kisi Hindu pe haath uthaaya ya Hinduon ke upar yeh samajh key ki yeh kamzor hain, unke peechey koi nahi hai… Hindu’on ke upar haath uthaaya, main Gita ki kasam khaake kehta hoon ki main us haath ko kaat daaloonga.”
(If some wrong elements lift a hand against Hindus, or think Hindus are weak and there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the Bhagavad Gita that I will cut off that hand).

He ended his speeches with “Jai Sri Ram”. He was basically referring to the few incidents of molestation and rapes of women in Pilibhit and no action having been taken by the administration against the culprits. As Kanchan Gupta of The Pioneer puts down in his column,

The ‘secular’ media hasn’t heard of Sonu Kashyap who was murdered on October 21 last year. “Five unidentified Muslims” were accused of murdering him. The administration did nothing. On October 23, anger turned into street protests, led by a former BJP legislator and Minister, Mr Ram Saran Verma. He was promptly arrested and since then has been detained under the National Security Act. Beesalpur police station in-charge Pervez Miyan brazenly defends the continued detention of Mr Verma.

Was Gandhi indeed wrong or has he just spoken the truth? He hasnt used words as harsh as minority. He has simply said “galat tatv ke aadmi”. If “secular” media and parties feel that he referred to the Bhagavad Gita and ended the speech with “Jai Sri Ram” was communal then i don’t have any arguments for that.

If BJP is blamed for igniting the fire of “communalism” in our country then the so-called “secular” parties are equally responsible for adding fuel to that fire. They have never left any opportunity to neglect the comments made against Hindus and have taken proactive steps if something was pro-Hindu. Our “secular” media also behaves like the “secular” parties.

Have you ever heard of an event organized in a bid to woo the Muslim community ahead of the Lok Sabha elections?
Congress had organised a rally in Jama Masjid Sector 20 of Chandigarh, highlighting its secular credentials. Nearly 23 Muslim organisations from the city have also extended their support to the party. Imraan Kidwai, chairman of the All India Congress Community, Minority Cell, said that if he had the power, he would issue a fatwa asking Muslims to abstain from joining the BJP. He said the Congress had never tried to change the Muslim personnel law. Is this not something against which EC should have taken action as well?

Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP has referred to Varun’s speech as provocative. But, the same party leader Mehbooba Mufti led the violent protest against temporary allotment of land for setting up shelters for Hindu pilgrims to rest for a while on their way to the Amarnath shrine. The same party has demanded the change of South Kashmir’s Islamabad district from the official name of Anantnag to the popular name of Islamabad. When BJP raised objections to it, they are being tagged as being called “communal”. Did any other party utter a single word? Why?

If a leader tries to identify with the Hindu gathering, he is considered communal but if the politicians addressing election rallies in Muslim areas wear skull caps and does everything possible to ‘identify’ themselves with the audience. That’s permissible. Why?

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s comments that “The Indian Muslim has first legitimate right on Indian resources” is not communal. Why?

No doubt that hate-speeches and derogatory remarks/speeches are a part of Indian politics, which needs to be curbed at any cost. But then, their should also be a debate on pseudo-secularism. In order to preserve their vote banks, it can be seen that our political parties can go to any extent. But is this really good for our nation? The media is solely responsible for transforming the “speech” of Varun Gandhi to a “hate-speech”. The yardstick is different for a Hindu fanatic and a Muslim fanatic; though both are an equal threat to this country. It is high time to understand that communalism and pseudo-secularism are feeding each other and our media should also be more responsible. They must ensure that they are here to give opinions and not to pass their judgments.

The Irony called Indian Elections…

India is a Democracy.

This is a fact that is known to all.

Another fact that is known to all is: India goes to elections every five years. And the five years of the current government are over. With the elections less than a month away, new and old alliances are being forged.

But does that really matter?

I do not think, that it does. In a country that boasts itself of having THE largest democracy in the world, elections are nothing but a mere formality. The voter, even if encouraged to go and vote, comes out of the voting booth dismayed and wonders: “How right or wrong was my choice?”

Unfortunately its not about choices. Its about, having the strongest wrist of Iron. There are goons, there are criminals, illitrate and absolute morons who nominate themselves for elections. These are the people who represent the ‘aam aadmi’ of India, in the Parliament and then in the world.

Ask the aam aadmi, and he will say that, he had no choice, it was either bad or worse. And between the two, there is no one who would even make these politicians the chowkidaar of their house… let alone they becoming the watchdogs of the country and the constitution.

Every five years, there is the Drama… of who is Better… the government that was.. or the government that should have been there… but then, politics long ago stopped being about running the country or developing the country for the benefit of the majority. It has become a job. And a dirty little pig sty where, even if you intend to do good, you end up being muddied.

2009, is being hailed as a big year for Indian Politics. It is the year of the biggest general elections… ever. The BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate is Shri L.K. Advani- A hindu Fanatic… who has never really done any good. Even when AB Vajpayee was PM, he has mostly opposed developmental issues. Oldie, who has a lot of faith in Jinnah.

Congress is, I think, betting on PM Manmohan Singh to stay on. I personally felt that he has been a spineless receiver of First Lady a.k.a. Sonia Gandhi’s orders. The best part about him, is that he an educated man, and someone who is not agitated easily by stupid remarks. And, I have always loved his Budgets. I also feel that economy plays a very important role in the running of a country and the PM being a knowledgeable person is a great thing. The BIG NUKE deal, came through thanks to his understanding. Downside- OLD OLD and OLD.

Then there is our very own Obama, Ms Mayawati. Just a thought with regards to that here: Goonda Raj is gonna officially become LAW, if at all that is gonna happen. Just imagine, someone like her at the highest seat of authority… as if our current President is not enough emabarrasment… (Remember how she claimed that GOD had come in her dreams telling her that she is gonna be the President…!!!)

Who should the people be voting for??

With the recent campaigns by Election Commission and other media, Youth is being motivated to go and vote. But, who should the youth vote for… there is no politician who shares the dreams and aspirations of a vote-giving youth. They are not allowed to wear the clothes they want to… or do as they like… normal working girls are not safe anywhere.

Its the great irony of Indian elections, that every five years we are told to excercise our fundamental rights to go and vote, only to find that its again the bad and the worse fighting for their survival instead of the good and the best working towards running the country.

Who would you vote for??

Hindu Fanatics, who say that women are to be treated like animals and women liberation is shit. Or give another chance to the learned oldie Manmohan so that if nothing else, we may be able to find a way out of recession… or have the greatest embarrassment and elect Maya aunty…

It has to be between the bad, the worse and the worst…!!! God Bless India.

Bush signs Nuclear deal

“It is a Big Deal”. When the whole of India slept on Thursday morning, George Bush signed the legislation to implement the Indo-US Nuclear deal in the White House.  The legislation marks a historic deal that took more then three years in the making.
George Bush was all smiles as he signed the legislation confirming that there will be no change in fuel supply. The Vice President of America Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and the Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen were present as the American president signed the historic deal.
Bush went on to say, that it was a “Big Day” for strengthening the relationship between the two nations. He also acknowledged the hard work put in the by the entire team on both the sides as the nuclear deal went through a lot of ups and downs in the past three years. He further added that India is a natural partner of the united States of America as the two countries had similar interests and values.
The deal also means that India will now be able to get nuclear energy from the Nuclear Suppliers group which will end India’s Nuclear isolation for the past thirty years. India will now have a reliable fuel supply and thus will be able to meet the energy needs of a billion plus population and also will no longer have to be dependent on fossil fuels.
Contrary to reports doing the rounds in the media, the legislation has not modified the 123 agreement submitted to the congress. Thus Bush clarified the doubts that people would have had over fuel supply issues. Indian Foreign affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit Washington in the next two days to sign the 123 agreement.
Bush was also positive about the strong relationship between the two countries and was sure that the relationship between the two countries would only grow further in the upcoming years. “Even though the United States and India are separated by half the globe, we are natural partners as we head into the 21st century,” Bush said.
Bush also wished people in India and around the world celebrating the festival of Delhi which is due this month. Incidentally it was George bush who had started Diwali celebrations in the White House a couple of years back, a gesture that was highly appreciated by the Indian community staying in the US.
The Indo US Nuclear deal had created a furor in India with the Left parties withdrawing support over the implementation of the deal. Several old political ties were severed and new alliances came forth with the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh offering support to the Manmohan Singh government when they were falling short of a majority in Parliament. Meanwhile the Left parties and the BJP had criticized the Indo US nuclear deal severely by saying that it was a deal between two people and not between two countries. But the congress government was able maintain a majority in the house of parliament and the Indo US nuclear deal went as forward. Despite some doubts being raised by the Atomic Energy association, the Indo US Nuclear deal was giving a thumbs up and a deal which took more than three years in the making finally attained fruition.

Has the Indian Youth forgotten our first war of independence?

A survey carried out in various cities of India has revealed that today’s youths have forgotten its history and have no idea about what happened in the year 1857. For some, it signifies a car’s number plate. While for others, it’s a year when riots took place. There are those for whom dates don’t matter at all, only personalities like Mahatma Gandhi do. Then comes the ones who, in their wide embrace of history, attribute the events of 1857 to Bhagat Singh and Shivaji.Many historians called this First War of Independence as a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ of 1857. For them, it was just a bunch of Indian sepoys (soldiers) who had mutinied. They largely failed to recognise the involvement of a vast section of Indian society that took part in this struggle. Peasants and nobles all were involved.

The Revolt of 1857It may be the First War of Independence, but it is a mutiny the nation seems to be in a hurry to forget. Several political parties and the government talked a lot about the year-long celebrations planned (starting May 10, last year) to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1857 revolt, but in the time of Indian Premiere League (IPL) and other more mundane things, the ‘1857 struggle’ appears to have failed to stir the imagination of the country. The struggle, which is an example of the unity, in which people from various sections of the society participated unitedly.

But our political parties are just not interested in the ‘unity’ aspect of the struggle and all of them individually carried out few events and processions suiting their ideology. The government flagged off Azadi Express, a train showcasing the events of the struggle, ‘freedom movement chair’, event in Meerut last year and some processions in New Delhi. But our political parties used this occasion to direct their guns at the rivals. Sitaram Yechury took his usual dig at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for having stayed away from the freedom struggle, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), obviously, cannot be part of any observations and celebrations of that glorious history of Indian people’s struggle. If that is the case then let me tell you that neither did communist took part in the freedom struggle, nor did the Congress in the current shape.(Congress has been divided so many times that the Congress, which was there during the freedom struggle is not the one that we have today). Neither you nor me participated in the movement, but then can’t we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the struggle?

I strongly feel that we should keep politics aside in the matter of national interest. Why blame only Communist Part of India (Marxists) (CPM), even BJP and Congress are also no saint in this. Uttar Pradesh holds a key place in the First War of Independence, but the chief minister seems to have forgotten the occasion. On May 13, the Mayawati government celebrates the completion of its one year in office. But while the state gears up for a round of pomp and pageantry to celebrate the achievement of the state’s first woman chief minister, Uttar Pradesh has forgotten another woman’s sacrifice – Rani Laxmi Bai. In the entire anniversary year, the state government organised only one rally in Lucknow in May 2007. People in cities like Meerut, Lucknow, Kanpur and Jhansi, which were focal points of the revolt , does not even know about the significance of May 10. A senior culture department official told a leading newspaper in an interview that out of the rupees three crore sanctioned for the 1857 anniversary programmes in 2007-08, only Rs50 lakh had been utilised. There is no prize for guessing where the rest of amount must have been utilised.
India’s First War of Independence carried on as late as 1859, while in some instances before it was finally over. A number of heroes and heroines of the India’s First War of Independence have been immortalised for their fight against the British rule.

But we have forgotten them. There is a common saying, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”

“Shaheedon ki chitaaon par lagenge har baras mele. Watan pe mitne waalon ka yahi baaki nishaan hoga.” Isn’t it true?

If you are interested in reading more about the First War of Independence, refer-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Mutiny
http://1857mutiny.com/