Posts Tagged ‘ Important News ’

NaMo’s Lok Pal

Finally the Indian Parliament has passed the Lok Pal Bill and we saw a lot of grand standing and credit posturing by all the political leaders of the Congress and the BJP.

Something surreal and sublime was happening in the country. For we Indians, used to seeing all political parties dispatching newly elected MLAs and MPs to some impregnable forts, blatant horse trading to cobble together majority, and parliament/ state assemblies being stalled for the silliest of reasons, this was a welcome change. The only time we saw our parliamentarians display unity was when it comes to their pay cheque.

Suddenly our leaders became goody two shoes. Post the Delhi elections we saw the victor and the vanquished, begging, prodding, and cajoling their biggest opponent Aam Aadmi Party to form the government. Parliament was ‘debating’, yes you read it right, debating on the need for an ombudsman organization, state funding of elections, electoral reforms, food security, price rise etc. Leaders were making ‘astounding discoveries regarding engaging people’. Basic principles of participative democracy is presented as ‘a bold new idea’. Our political class was displaying a new sense of exalted virtue and political morality. And India sure looked close to becoming a ‘paradise’.

Suddenly the leaders from Congress and BJP were graciously congratulating Anna Hazare for his contribution to ‘enact the Lok Pal Bill’. This was the same leaders who shooed away Anna and his India Against Corruption Movement, the last time around, ie., 2011, saying they were duty bound ‘to protect against outsiders trespassing into the law-making prerogatives of an elected Parliament’.

This time around, Anna, on his part, graciously accepted the ‘compromise Lok Pal’ offered by the government and called off his fast at Ralegan Siddhi. But, the most curious part was that all the leaders who spoke, conveniently forgot the contribution made by Arvind Kejriwal. But lost in the din was yet another important news – ‘Gujarat got its Lokayuktha’. And that brings me to the reason for writing this article.

ModiBut before we start I would like to take the legal meaning of ‘Ombudsman’ from which the concept of Lok Pal was born. In Government/Politics and Diplomacy, ‘ombudsman’ is a commissioner who acts as independent referee between individual citizens and their government or its administration.

Gujarat passed Gujarat Lokayukta Act in 1986, but almost from the time Mr. Narendra Damodardas Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the Gujarat Lokayukta, has not been functional.

In 2001, when Modi came to power in Gujarat, Justice RM Soni’s was the Lokayukta. Justice Soni was appointed during Keshubhai Patel’s rule in 1998 and his term expired in December 2003 and the post has been lying vacant since then. From then on Modi scuttled every move to appoint a Lokayukta and make the Gujarat Lokayukta, functional.

Finally on 25 August 2011, the Gujarat Governor, Dr. Kamla Beniwal, appointed Justice R. A. Mehta to the post of Lokayukta of Gujarat. Justice Mehta was recommended for the post by the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court S.J. Mukhopadhaya in June 2011.  A miffed Modi accused the Governor of running a parallel government in the state supported by the Congress and demanded that she be recalled.

The Gujarat government then challenged the appointment in the Gujarat High Court, arguing that the Governor could not make the appointment without the State government’s advice. On 10 October 2011, the two-member High Court bench gave a split verdict and in January 2012, a third member upheld Beniwal’s decision. This was a major blow to Modi.

The Gujarat government then approached the Supreme Court, however lost the case. The SC upheld the Gujarat High Court’s verdict that though the decision on Lokayukta appointment was made without consultation with or approval from Modi, it was as per the letter and spirit of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986.

The Gujarat government appealed against the SC verdict twice, but lost. Even after the SC upheld his appointment, Justice Mehta however desisted from charge of the office, citing 23 reasons. The controversy over his appointment, he said, had ‘denigrated the office of the Lokayukta and it had lost all the grace and dignity.’ (Read full text of his resignation letter here)

This was Modi’s chance. As is the norm in Gujarat, Modi wanted to appoint his man-friday for the role of Lokayukta, but he knew that this would not stand the scrutiny of law. So he now framed a new bill – Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2013.

The new Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill, was passed by the state assembly in April, 2013, but, unfortunately, on 2 September 2013, the bill was returned by Gujarat Governor. On 1 October 2013, the state assembly passed the bill for the second time. But this time Governor Dr. Beniwal was constitutionally bound to accept the bill. Thus finally Modi had his way and succeeded in subverting the Supreme Court decision on the appointment of Lokayukta.

Unlike the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986 the new bill provided primacy to the Chief Minister, over the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice, in appointing the ‘ombudsman’. The new Gujarat Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2013 empowers a selection committee chaired by the Chief Minister appoints the Lokayukta. The panel comprises the Speaker of the Assembly, a Minister, the Leader of Opposition, the State Vigilance Commissioner and a High Court Judge, ‘to be nominated by the Chief Justice of the HC in consultation with the collegium of five senior judges’.

The new Bill also proposes a special provision which gives pivotal power to the state government in excluding any ‘public functionaries’ from the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.

Then we saw Jayaram Ramesh capturing headlines saying ‘Modi talking on lokayukta is like Asaram talking on rape’. Jayaram was spot on, but then you know that these politicians only put on a public show to deride each other in varying degrees restraining themselves only to varying degrees of their innate civility or belligerence as is their habit. But they go ahead and do what they want anyway – even change a law or bring in a new one to suit their whim and fancy.

Lokayukta is an ombudsman body which is supposed to look into irregularities brought to its notice against the decisions taken by the state cabinet and the administration. Then how can the Chief Minister who is the head of the state cabinet have supremacy in deciding who should be the ombudsman?

This not only belies fundamental logic and intelligence. To me, it is a travesty of the institution of the ombudsman, but also provides an indication of authoritarian incoherence and double speaks by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Damodardas Modi.

Heads up – the politicians win. Tails up – the people lose !!!

Cartoon : Courtesy Satish Acharya

Criminality in Indian Political System

For the first time, I had seen a ray of hope when in July 10, 2013 the Supreme Court of India upheld the 2004 Patna High Court ruling, which held that when a person in custody was disqualified to vote, he was also disqualified from contesting the elections.

This ticked the political parties in Parliament and they joined hands to amend the Representation of the People Act 1951 to negate the impact of the apex court verdict directing immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs on being sentenced for more than two years in a criminal case.

Learned lawyers in Parliament like Kapil Sibal and Arun Jaitley introduced a provision to Section 62(5) which says “by reasons of the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector.” In effect treating a person in lawful custody in a criminal case as a voter and hence qualified to contest elections.

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The political parties of all hues backed the UPA Government on the move to amend the Act. To understand why this unity you need to understand the criminal antecedents of our elected representatives. According to an analysis done by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), the Lok Sabha has 30% ie., 162 members have criminal cases against them. 14% have serious criminal cases. Our State Assemblies put together has 31% ie. 1258 members have criminal cases against them. 18% have serious criminal cases. In a break-up of political parties, 75% of Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs since 2004 have declared criminal cases against them, followed by Rashtriya Janata Dal with 46% such candidates and Janata Dal (United) with 44%. The BJP and Congress were at 31% and 22%, respectively.

Now you should understand the urgency. The apex court passed the judgement on July 10, 2013 and the amendments to RPA was rushed through in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on August 27, 2013 and September 7, 2013 respectively.  The amendments to the bill were passed within about 15 minutes in both houses, after a brief discussion. Some members of course wanted an elaborate debate on the amendments but the overwhelming majority of the House, including Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal, Leader of Opposition in LS and RS – Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, pushed for its passage even without discussion.

Now the final nail on the coffin of this attempt to cleanse our Parliament of dirty politicians have been done by Justices A.K. Patnaik and S.J. Mukhopadhaya.  Through their judgement they have effectively killed the collective hope of the people of India. It must be recalled here that in 2002 and 2003, two vital orders from the same Supreme Court had made it compulsory to candidates to file information regarding any or all criminal cases pending against them, their educational qualification as well as details of the combined wealth of the candidate and their spouses.

But I still have indomitable faith. My faith is in Aam Aadmi Party, for I find them as a few good men and women, who have taken a stand to clean the dirt in politics and I am willing to give them a chance.

My request to all my friends in Delhi is to go out and cast your vote for the Aam Aadmi Party and then we can build the movement to a credible alternative to these Criminal Politicians, across the country.

God Bless India.

PS : I am not a member of Aam Aadmi Party but just a Indian citizen tired of seeing the desperation of both Congress and the BJP. Both wants to make it a Presidential election showing a Pappu and a Feku. We know them, we have seen them in action. They have brought down the standard of debates in Parliament and election rallies to pits. We have also seen them both in action together in Parliament to scuttle the best opportunity to decriminalize the Indian political system.

Cartoon : Courtesy The Hindu & Copy Right Keshav

Mango People in a Banana Republic

When Robert Vadra Gandhi (should I use Gandhi… I wouldn’t be surprised if Robert Vadra takes the Surname of his wife’s family (Feroz Khan family) adopted), put up his status message in Facebook saying “Mango People in a Banana Republic” he was completely right.

“Mango People” as we are “Aam Admi” (in Hindi) and I am not disputing this, because I believe of the estimated population of 1.22 billion, 800 Members of Parliament (approximately 550 in Lok Sabha and 250 in Rajya Sabha) and their kin, the Congress Party President and her stooges put together could add up to 2000-3000 people who can be called ‘privileged’ and can be bracketed as “Non-Mango People”.

Once that is clarified the Aam Admi is indignant and fuming about the “Banana Republic” part of the comment. Arvind Kejriwal, the new messiah of Aam Admi, is adding fuel to the fire. But in my opinion Robert Vadra is correct in his observation.

“Banana Republic” is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by the collusion between state and favoured monopolies. Whereby, the profits derived from private exploitation of public lands as private property, and the debts incurred are public responsibility. An imbalanced economy reduces the national currency to devalued paper-money, hence, the country is ineligible for international development-credit, and remains limited by the uneven economic development of the country.

We Indians live in this big myth that the learned Dr. Manmohan Singh rules the country. The BJP would have us believe that Sonia Gandhi rules the country in proxy. But fact is that this country is a money making enterprise of Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian Businessman of Bofors fame. And this country is being operated as a commercial enterprise for the private profit of Ottavio Quattrocchi. Dr. Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram (who is the kajanji of the Feroz Khan Gandhi family) are indeed working really hard to bring the country to that status “Banana Republic”.

Kudos Mr. Robert Vadra Gandhi for the most insightful observation.  Thank You.

Picture Courtesy : hindustantimes.com

Friggatriskaidekaphobia

Do you know what does the term friggatriskaidekaphobia means?

If you are tech savvy, your first reaction would certainly to google it.  Spend no energy, it is the title of my article and I owe you an explanation. It stands for “the fear of Friday the 13th”.

The year 2012 is one of the rare occurrences, where the date 13 coincides with Friday, thrice in the year.  This year we had a triple-treat of Friday the 13th: January 13, April 13 and July 13. And yesterday was the third and final Friday the 13th for the year.

Friday the 13th is dreaded by people across the world and so the reason psychologists coined a tongue twister of a name for the phobia of Friday the 13th – Friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse Goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).

Interestingly if these psychologists are to be believed there are over 60 million people across the globe who suffers from this phobia. Symptoms usually range from retreating into their shell and avoiding human contact on this day. These are the people who do more research and say that the freaky thing about 2012 triple treat, is that the dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart. And that hasn’t happened since 1984.

In many cultures Friday is an inauspicious day and 13 an inauspicious number. This makes Friday the 13th a double whammy combination for the doomsayers. So superstition rules the roost when Friday the 13th, comes calling.

There were times when computer systems across the globe were on high alert from virus attack and hackers. Virus attacks and malwares were unleashed by hackers on the Friday the 13th.  These fears are still alive with System Administrators across the globe. Even countries in Europe see reduced vehicular traffic on this day as most people take the day off from work and stay indoors paralised by the fear of doom. Browses world over including Wall Street has brisk business with stock brokers and investors shying away from doing business on this day.

Even as some chose to believe in the legend others laugh it off. And while I fancy the word “friggatriskaidekaphobia”, for me strangely, the day Friday the 13th is like any other day. Maybe a very lucky day 😉

Photo Courtesy: GoogleImages

The Wall

For nearly 16 years, starting from the time when his exploits across the 22 yard pitch as a teenager announced to the world that he was a cricket exponent of remarkable ability Rahul Sharad Dravid has repeatedly proved his worth.

Whenever the Indian Cricket Team found itself on a sticky wicket, he put his hand up. Whether it was opening the innings in the twilight of his career in England last year or slipping on the wicketkeeper’s gloves so that one more batsman could be accommodated for the 2003 World Cup, Dravid was “The Wall of Indian Cricket”.  

He truly was the Wall of all seasons.  He was a player who showed nerves in the decisive games for India and a player who always put the team first.  Dravid holds multiple cricketing records and the numbers reveal the magnificence of his innings.

  • Rahul Dravid is only the second player, after Sachin Tendulkar, to reach 13,000 runs in Test cricket, with 36 hundreds and an average of 52.31.
  • On 14 February 2007, he became the sixth player overall and the third Indian (after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly), to score 10,000 runs in ODI cricket in cricketing history.
  • He is the first and only batsman to score a century in all ten Test Cricket playing nations.
  • Dravid currently holds the world record for the most number of catches in Test cricket with more than 200 catches.
  • Dravid has also been involved in more than 80 century partnerships with 18 different partners and has been involved in 19 century partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar – a world record.

But it has been one of the oddities that Dravid’s finest hours were persistently overshadowed by another event.

Rahul made his debut in 1996 in the Second Test against England at the Lord’s along with Sourav Ganguly, when Sanjay Manjrekar got injured after the first Test match. Dravid made a luminous 96 but was upstaged by Sourav’s century (Sourav’s 131 still remains the highest by any batsman on his debut at the Lord’s). And in 2001 during that staggering fight back against the Australians at Eden Gardens, his majestic 180 always stood in comparison with the epic 281 scored by VVS Laxman.

As cricket crazy India celebrated our cricketing maestros, it looked like the quiet man of Indian cricket Rahul Dravid always got less than his due. But a careful analysis of the Lords innings and the Eden Garden innings will reveal why Rahul Dravid is called ‘the Wall’ by his team mates. In both these Test matches Rahul provided the momentum for both Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman to capitalize on enroute to their epic milestone.  And the master of the measured aesthetic, never complained and keeping the interest of team in mind, silently scripted many a sporting victories for Team India.

On 14 December 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to address at the Bradman Memorial lecture in Canberra.  It was here he revealed his genius through a precious well thought out blueprint: drawn from a beautiful mind in a beautiful game.

His farewell to cricket was also a stroke in his own terms. On 9 March 2012, announced his retirement from international and first class cricket. Dravid made the announcement with the BCCI president, N Srinivasan and former captain and friend Anil Kumble at a press conference in Bangalore. And it was much like the man himself, unassuming and yet taking full cognisance of the big cricket picture. In his own words, “I felt it was the right time for me to move on, for a next generation of cricketers to play and make a new history.” No soaring metaphor, no grand flourish.

Although Dravid’s retirement has been on the cards, it had been expected that he would be given a farewell match as was done in the cases of fellow greats Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly. But with no Test match scheduled until September, it must go down as yet another instance of the quiet man of Indian cricket getting less than his due.

But many regard Rahul Dravid as one of the greatest Test batsmen in the history of the game. And for cricket enthusiasts he will remain “THE WALL”

Photo Courtesy: santabanta.com

WHY THIS KOLAVERI DIdi

We Indian are known for our sense of humour and are comfortable to tickle our funny bone at another’s expense, but some folks, especially the political class, seem to be fairly thin-skinned when the joke’s on them.

When Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor in the chemistry department of the Jadavpur University, forwarded what he may have regarded as a harmless cartoon to his neighbour Subrata Sengupta, the West Bengal authorities, didn’t dissolve into a fit of giggles.

The cartoon (above), shows the Chief Minister and the Union Railway Minister exchanging dialogues from a popular Bengali film by Satyajit Ray which alluded to the replacement of Dinesh Trivedi by Mukul Roy as Railway Minister.

The militant Trinammol Congress workers, who at one time used to lecture the Marxists about the space for dissent in a democratic set up, visited the the offending emailer and conveyed their vigorous opinion about his humour. Then, the state’s machinary chose to visit again with full might and arrested both the professor and his neighbour.

According to the TC workers who attacked the professor it’s all part of a Maoist-Marxist conspiracy to besmirch the reputation of the new revolutionary CM Ms Mamata Banerjee. Watching all these drama unfold I have only one thing to say “Apni Boro Roshik Lok Toh” (Akka Bengali for “Have Some Sense Of Humour”)

And in order not to offend anybody’s sentiment giving the English translation of the Title “Why This Kolaveri Di(di)” – Why This Murderous Rage, Sister 😉

Is there such a thing…

What powerful word can it truly be
Is there such a thing
Is there such a place
Within our hearts
Within our souls
Within our spirits
Unconditional
 
Love without limits
Can one really give that way
Can one relinquish that much emotion
Presenting our heart upon a platter
Open and exposed
Vulnerable to the core
Unconditional
 
To trust another human being so completely
To know you will be safe and emotionally protected
To give without a thought
To only know and feel such a love
To surrender all control
To love without restriction
Unconditional
 
Abandon all worries and concerns
To never question, only do
To feel the endless source of giving
To never feel the hesitation
To never hold a doubt
No more pangs of jealousy
Unconditional
 
Is there such a thing as unconditional
To trust someone with your soul
Let my life be an example
For unconditional… Boundless Unconditional Love