Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-26th.Sept.2011-"MODI IS A SMART MAN"


The country today needs an administrator who can deliver what he promised & a system that is not corrupt

Anna Hazare’s anshan has caught the imagination of political parties who are competing with each other to score brownie points. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been smart. When he was being targeted for the post Godhra riots, he was busy wooing his votebank and concentrating on developmental works in his State. He ruled with an iron hand quietly and steadily. He gave the public what they wanted — development in every sector.

The BJP supported Modi in his sadbhavana mission. The NDA leaders were all praise for him. Some are even ready to accept him as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Election. The riots, it appears, are a thing of the past as far as they are concerned. Modi is happy to forget as well. His logic is that if the public has forgotten, even if not forgiven, the 1984 Sikh riots, and he counted three such tragedies, may be the public will forget the Godhra attacks and look at the work he has done in the State.

The country today needs a good administrator who will deliver what he promises. If the Congress can’t project a leader who can ensure that the system works, then the people will vote for Modi. It is said that in the last few years, Modi has established a good relationship with many NDA leaders. He has the support of Arun Jaitley. Jayalalithaa supports him completely. He has lured all the top industrialists into investing in his State.

The sadbhavana mission, many say, was a three-day detox fast. We all know that such fasts are good for health. Whatever may have been the reason, the fact remains that the common man viewed the mission as his olive branch to them. When the public votes out of desperation and frustration, they are voting against the establishment, against non-performance, against inflation and against non-deliverance. So, for the moment, Modi appears to be the new face of a prime ministerial candidate.

But the Congress still has an upper hand and whatever the failures the party may have, the Gandhi name has a magical pull. And one can’t refute the fact that it has many supporters. The party is known to get a shot in the arm as soon as the elections are announced. Its leaders can’t be written-off. The General Elections are two years away. One never knows what the situation will be like in the NDA in 2014 and what stand its leaders will take then.

For the Congress, the road is clear, it will be Rahul Gandhi. And for the party that is half the battle won for the UPA.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-18th.Sept.2011-"GOVT.APATHY HAS NO END"


The blast at Delhi High Court has left all angry. It is time that strong steps are taken to prevent a repeat

The bomb blast at Delhi High Court shocked everyone. I was sitting at home when I got a call. When I switched on the TV to see the news, the sight of people crying, some running to help the injured and some lying unattended were being shown. I was saddened by these images. Of course, the police were doing everything in its power to bring some semblance but chaos reigned.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine lost her cousin, in this tragedy. He had gone there to drop a friend at High Court. We consoled ourselves — that it was God’s will. But how does one explain that to a three-month-old daughter that she will never know her father? How will the 26-year-old widow make ends meet and survive? How does one tell the infant that her father had done nothing wrong to deserve such a horrific death?

I am not qualified enough to understand or go into the psyche of the people who are behind these terrorist attacks. But one thing is clear — people are angry and this time they are not willing to let the matter go on the ground that they have been misguided into killing innocent people. The Home Ministry is not doing enough to protect the lives of the citizens of this country. Although, it is not an easy task given the huge population of our country.

But that doesn’t mean that the Government will not do everything in its power to stop such occurrence. In fact, it is their duty. They are not doing a favour. We, as citizens, also have a duty. We must be vigilant and inform the police in case of any suspicious activity. Over the years we have become insensitivity and the tolerance levels have gone up, especially for the middle-class which is not concerned with doing its duty towards the State. The politicians are also not doing their work. Shouting and screaming at each other will not help fight terrorism. Nor will visits to the hospital help.

The public has no patience for such antics today. This was apparent when Rahul Gandhi went to visit the injured at the hospital after the blast. He was booed by angry relatives of the victims, as he made his way into the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and within minutes he had to leave. If politicians really want to help, they need to provide free medical aid without riders. There have been cases where the relatives of the dead were not given the body unless dues were paid first. One widow had to run from pillar to post to finish all the formalities so that she could her husband’s body.

It is strange this apathy is seen after every tragedy. Why can’t there be an order issued from the Prime Minister’s Office that whenever such terror attacks happen unconditional help will be extended to the victims and their families. There should be a 24x7 helpline. Acts of terrorism and natural calamities can’t be stopped but the least our Government can do is to be there for the victims and help them in whatever way possible.

The Tribune-Chatterati-19th.Sept.2011

"Sonia salve for Congress sores"

With the UPA president back, the Congress party is feeling better. The Congressmen are a bit upset that they are not allowed to meet her and inquire about her health. It is a sad situation to see that the Congress felt crippled without the UPA chief's guidance. Not even Rahul Gandhi could step into her shoes.

After many wrong decisions by many senior Congress ministers, the Congress High Command is in a hurry to undo the blunders. The Prime Minister is feeling more relaxed and the Union ministers and general secretaries of the Congress have heaved a sigh of relief. Sonia attended the CEC meeting on UP, ending all the speculations of her being weak. The state elections are approaching and all the UP leaders are silently trying to get their own candidates. Many Congresswalas are planning to do special pujas during the Navratris for Sonia's health and prosperity of all Congresswalas. Never have the party members felt so orphaned than now when Sonia was away. Must say even the opposition was missing her presence. Sonia's health is being monitored here by the doctor who also flew with her for surgery abroad. The Congresswalas are a bit more charged now than in the last month which was clearly a month of disasters for them. Some even claim how the health of the Congress party is linked to Mrs Gandhi's health!
"A VIP show!"

After the bomb blast at the High Court, the VIPs as usual visited the government hospitals to see the injured. The insensitive VIPs who made a show of their visit were booed and sent back home.

The mature politician P. Chidambaram went to the site of the blast and made sure there was no security with him. There were MPs like Varun Gandhi who came, donated blood quietly and went back home. No fanfare or media attention. Delhites are feeling insecure and worried. What has saddened them is how in hospitals after every tragedy, they have to run from pillar to post for the treatment of their injured loved ones. Bodies are also difficult to get after postmortem unless they make a hue and cry.

But the Aam Admi rushed to donate blood to hospitals which was an amazing response. It was heartening to see that there is sensitivity and care left, especially the youngsters of India make no show of it.

"Aiyar’s cheeky remarks"

Mani Shankar Aiyar is a sharp-witted member of Parliament. He is someone you would like to be always on the right side. You never know when he may say what. Aiyar and Natwar Singh are both from St. Stephens. On an annual day, Natwar Singh wrote in the College Alumni Book that "Whatever I am today is thanks to this college."

Aiyar, who had to sign right after Natwar, wrote, "Why blame the college." Aiyar's sense of humour can lighten up any evening. His sharp tongue has made him many enemies over the years and his friends have learnt to live with it. His latest response to Lalit Maken about Hans Raj College has not won Aiyar many friends Stephanians, according to the other college boys of north campus, are a bit arrogant. Some Stephanians are Kapil Sibal, Virbhadra Singh and Sandeep Dikshit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-12th.Sept.2011

"WikiLeaks story gets Maya’s goat"

Delhiites are obsessed with WikiLeaks. In the cables leaked, governments globally are embarrassed at the information pouring out. Mayawati must be the only leader globally who decided to hit back at the owner of the site. Mayawati is well known for her love of designer bags and why not? The WikiLeaks story which got her angry was about her government plane being misused to fetch a pair of shoes worth Rs 1,000 from Mumbai. They said she has an army of cooks at her service and also food tasters. The UP Chief Minister offered mental help to the owner of WikiLeaks after calling him a lunatic.
Another cable of WikiLeaks has commented on the Baba Brigade of Rahul Gandhi as they have been described as lightweights and mere scions of the powerful political families. Also that our former respected President Kalam's checking at America security was at the instruction of Hillary Clinton. Shame! Wonder, why the Indian government does not do the same to the US visiting dignitaries.Also there is a cable which has shown that the Karnataka Chief Minister widower Yedyurappa has a woman minister Shobha Karandlaje as his girlfriend. The outrage over the leaking of cables has put numerous sources and lives to risk and also many scandals have come out. As in the secret files of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah who was claimed to be 82, but actually is 92 according to his medical reports. And the husband of four wives, the King regularly received hormone injections. But our own Behenji wants to know if Assange was a cleaning boy in her kitchen as he knew so many of her eating habits.
"Prize acquisition"

Wur members of Parliament are thrilled with their new toys. They have all been given Rs 50,000 to buy themselves a computer or an iPad. So, nowadays we can see a lot of iPads proudly tucked under their arms. The savvy ones like Kamal Nath and Chidambaram use it regularly for information, speeches and creating their own files. There are some who are still learning in the classes given in the Parliament annexe. It is a good start as old hands like Pranab Mukherjee and Janardan Dwivedi use it regularly. Some have Skype so that they can talk to their children studying abroad, some of them got their children to teach them while some are still wondering which one to buy. With the social media so powerful, now they have realized how important it is to be glued to the Internet etc.
"A sober affair"

The Lyngdoh Committee recommendations in 2006 on spending only Rs 5,000 for posters made the Delhi University elections much sober.

Girls dressed in salwaar kameezes and boys left their T-shirts and funky jeans for white shirts and sober jeans. Hopping to one college to another with chamchas, loud slogans and standing on tables in canteens to announce the nominations was a familiar scene. But the most hectic were the social network sites.

Pioneer-DilliBilli-11th.Sept.2011-"MONETARY GAIN LURES POLITICOS"

Many people want to join politics because it means making money with little investment

The declaration of assets by the Union Cabinet is now a hot topic of discussion in the Capital. Recently a group of youngsters who were discussing a list on a website were angry, amazed and embarrassed to read that the politicians whom they thought owned huge landholdings were actually the poorest!

Believe it or not, Sharad Pawar has declared that he has only Rs12 crore and owes no land. One wonders how many others there are like him who have declared their assets and claim to be poorer than the average man in the country. One just needs to look at their lifestyle to know the true picture of whether what they have declared is correct or not.

Almost all the children of these politicians study abroad and lead a luxurious lifestyle. But what the common man does not realise is that everything for these politicians is paid for by the Government. However, the picture put in front of the public is just the opposite — that the facilities given to them by the Government is paid by the politicians.

If you are a Union Minister or a Minister for State — housing, electricity, water, petrol and phone is all free. The bills are settled by the tax-payer’s money. All travelling expenses (including travelling expense of a companion, if needed, is also free), salaries of the staff and medical insurance is paid for by the Government. Even the politicians’ family’s health is covered under the Government expense. There was a time when the public servants used to get pension (the rules have changed and now public servants need to contribute towards their pension). And then there are those who have worked with the Indian Railways who get free tickets for First Class for the rest of their lives.

So is it any wonder that more and more people what to get into politics. After all it is good business — it gives good returns with very little investment. And it is not just one person who reaps the benefits. His entire family — friends and relatives also benefit. If it is not becoming a politician, then definitely a Government job.

And the reason why politicians go out of their way to help others? They believe that these very people will come to their rescue if and when the time arises. What they forget is that politics is all about kissa kursi ka. When out of power, the politician is automatically out from the other person’s phone list.

Therefore, in the end, it really doesn’t matter whether the Ministers declare their wealth and assets for the common man.

But it’s a good start and hopefully it will ensure that the politicians would think twice before amassing huge wealth that happens to be tax-payers money. This, of course, in no way means that politicians can’t have a lavish lifestyle.

What the public wants are politicians who are honest and corruption that has crept in be rooted out.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-5th.Sept.2011

"A mecca for show of secular credentials"

The number of Iftars and festivities around Id has grown bigger in recent years. Delhi has always been a happy hunting-ground for those seeking display of symbolism. And these opportunities are being treated as occasions to display either secular credentials or powerful network. The noticeable increase in the intensity of Iftars sadly does not seem to denote anything more than just a convenient platform for the display of pulling power.

While the Prime Minister's Iftar is an extension of the government's sequential mishaps on Anna Hazare, feeding politicos and journalists at the time of agitation was a subject of discussion. The President's Iftar, on the other hand, was more of a formality. But must say never have the Congressmen missed Sonia Gandhi's presence more at these Iftar parties.

Shahnawaz Hussain and his wife played perfect hosts for a mixed bag of their political friends in one such party on their spacious home lawns. Of course, the BJP ensured that its leadership from Advani to Joshi and others from Lalu to Meira Kumar were all trotted out. But as always it was Bollywood in the form of Shatrughan Sinha and cricketer in the form of Azharuddin who got the hoi polloi excited.

The Chief Election Commissioner S.Y.Qureshi's home usually focuses its social gatherings around the music that is the man's private passion. But Id is the one occasion when music is replaced with meat.

Deliciously cooked authentic Id fare was the focus of his evening and bureaucrats rubbed shoulders with media professionals and just friends! As always in such events, there were those who stayed to enjoy the moment and those who had to scurry through to meet and greet others elsewhere. Symbolic or otherwise, the rise of cross-cultural celebrations across religions is a sign of a growing social integration.
"Cong cronyism"

With the UP elections approaching, the first list of Congress candidates is out. It holds no surprises as the first round goes to mostly all the relatives of the leaders of the Congress party. It has the names of the wives of Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Sanjay Singh.

A fair representation has been given to the sons and nephews of Congress leaders who will obviously become the young Gandhi's brigade. Owing to the mishandling of Anna Hazare's issue by some of the senior leaders in the Congress, the Rahul Baba brigade has got a new lease of life.

The Young Turks have been assigned to deal with the anti-party propaganda. It is learnt that Sachin Pilot, Scindia and Jitin Prasada have temporarily been given the role to look into the handling of the Press. Subsequently, the Young Turks may be shifted to UP and the other states which will be going for elections soon.

With Anna back in his village, Maharashtra's heavyweight politician Vilasrao Deshmukh's image has gone up. He played a decisive role in getting the Anna team and the UPA closer. So his supporters feel he should get a heavyweight portfolio. But it was Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan who made sure that Anna should not be sent to Maharashtra from Tihar.

At the right time, he saved the UPA government from committing another blunder. But Delhiites were amused by the fact that some cabinet members were missing during the Janmashtami celebrations in their constituencies lest they should face the angry public for mishandling the Anna Hazare agitation.

Pioneer-DilliBilli-4th.Sept.2011-"EMPOWERED YOUTH RISES"

"Empowered Youth Rises"

The youth today, is not swayed by empty promises made by politicians, nor will they tolerate a corrupt Govt

Even as Anna Hazare checked into Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana his supporters could not contain their excitement and partied through the night. Of course, the celebrations were in tune with what Hazare had said — celebrate in a civilized manner. And it was a celebration that one would remember. The National Flag was seen flying everywhere and slogans like Bharat mahan reverberated the air. It was after all history in the making.

The aam admi feels that the Congress has lost it’s focus. The only work the party is busy with, is making money. The common man is frustrated that to even get a small work done, a bribe has to be paid. Even the NREGA beneficiaries have to give a part of their benefits to the middlemen. The Anna Hazare movement has not only won the trust and respect of the people in the country but also those who are living abroad. It was truly amazing to see the Indian public to come out in thousands and support a cause and that too peacefully.

The only group of people who were not happy about what had transpired between August 15 till August 28 were the politicians. While the UPA did everything in its power to discredit the movement by calling it an RSS dominated strategy, the public does not believe a word of it. The billion-plus population of the country had only one thing to say — kudos for those who were behind this movement.

And even if the movement had the backing of the RSS, as the Government claims, they have done a great service to the people of this country and the coming generations. Silent marches, candlelight walks and the patience that Anna supporters showed was a miracle.

The only losers in this entire episode has been the Government. The leaders must realise is that the aam admi is not concerned about the working of the Parliament. After all it was created more than six decades ago and nobody expected that the people who are a part of it will become corrupt. Today, the Government needs to understand that the people’s voice has to be heard and what they want needs to be taken care of. It has to realise that arrogance will not work and that it will only lead the Government on a path of doom.

The fact that the senior politicians in the Congress were at sea with UPA chairperson away was evident. This was not the time of smooth talkers but the time of political maneuvering. The youth is not ready to listen to empty promises. They are ready to fight those who are corrupt. The UPA’s credibility is zero today. It is their arrogance that is not letting them see the true picture of how much ground they have lost. The fact that there is no opposition and the NDA is divided gives the UPA false sense of hope. They do not realise that public votes to ouster the corrupt, not to see who will replace them. It’s about vote against the establishment. Corruption, non delivery, inflation and arrogance with a brash behaviour will be the down fall of the UPA.