CM Arvind Kejriwal transfers 9 senior bureaucrats on Day 1

Within hours of taking oath as the chief minister of Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal transferred nine senior administrative officers, including Delhi Jal Board CEO Debashree Mukherjee to Delhi Transport Corporation. Eight other officers were also transferred on the very first day when the new chief minister worked for six hours.
Earlier, Kejriwal met Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi after taking the oath. The two spoke on ways of improving the law and order situation in the state, especially women’s security. Delhi is known for its poor record of women’s safety. 
Last year, the entire nation was taken by a storm after a medical student was brutally gangraped in a moving bus on December 16. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29. Kejriwal and six of his party MLAs took oath as ministers at Ramlila Ground on Saturday noon. The new chief minister and his team had arrived to the venue in metro rail.

Four Faces of Arvind Kejriwal #AAP

AAP has publicly accepted Congress’s offer of marriage.

Delhi  citizens and indeed Indians all over the world following the going-ons  in India have mixed feelings. Most do not know what to make of it, what  would have been the right approach, both AAP supporters and BJP  supporters are groping in the darkness of political morality and  strategy. So let’s try to make head and tail of this marriage from  various perspectives.

A. Hazrat Kejriwal faithfools 

According to this group Arvind Kejriwal cannot do any wrong, either  ethically nor strategically. If he has entered into an alliance with  Congress, it still hasn’t changed his convictions. He is out to change  the face of Indian politics and root out all corruption. This is the  Jholawala, the city Marxist, the NGO activist view. Then there is the  idealist first time student activist who finds the energy of student  activism addictive, allows him to expand his social network even as it  makes him feel as making a contribution to the betterment of India and  society, especially as the student activist movement is led by a  coalition of yuppies and jholawallahs, willing to inject the spice of  cool modern (read West-inspired) cultural ambiance. Most importantly  this view is shared by the “Aam Aadmi” (read middle-class) who has grown  up in Delhi on a cultural diet of secularism and an ubiquitous and  perennially dysfunctional and corrupt system, who has been taken in by  the images broadcast by the mainstream media, and is thus more than  willing to project all his hopes onto this simple looking former IT  inspector.

They are willing to believe that Kejriwal did not long  for power but was forced to accept CMship due to the pressure from  others and their supporters who wanted to see him in power and fighting  corruption.

This coalition is taking Kejriwal at his word that  despite this alliance with the corruption devil, he would continue to  expose corruption in high places even if it is of the devil.

B. Cautious AAP Supporters

Many Delhi citizens supported Aam Aadmi Party believing that it was the  political heir to the Indians Against Corruption Movement led by Anna  Hazare.

They too share the concerns of the most of the  faithfools, but their support is not to the individual Arvind Kejriwal  but more to the movement in general.

This group is shocked to see  Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party agreeing to forming a government in  Delhi together. If not shocked, at least this group is quite worried  whether he may have made a mistake in trusting the party and its  leadership. The support this group provided was qualified support and  the question is whether the group was betrayed.

C. AAP is Congress’s B Team

Most of the BJP leadership as well as the BJP voters feel this way.  They can see how the Indian mainstream media doted on Arvind Kejriwal.  For them Arvind Kejriwal is a crook not to be trusted. He is part of  Congress’s strategy to wean away urban youth away from Modi’s magnetism,  and thus to stop Modi’s march to power.

According to this view,  Congress and its support system in the media helped to project Arvind  Kejriwal as the anti-corruption messiah. Arvind Kejriwal and indeed Aam  Aadmi Party was built up to cut into BJP votes, and to channelize all  the anti-corruption and thus anti-Congress votes to AAP, rather than  allow these to fall into BJP’s basket.

During the elections, BJP  was focused on taking down Congress, and almost completely ignored Aam  Aadmi Party not expecting them to put up such an impressive showing.

This  marriage of AAP and Congress only confirms their strong suspicions that  AAP is Congress’s B Team, and helped Congress to steal an election  which should have brought BJP to power. According to this view, Kejriwal  fooled the people and basically did a Chiranjeevi on Delhi citizens.

Many  were however expecting that Kejriwal would not take the bait and refuse  to join Congress, as that would destroy his credibility, especially as  he wishes to fight Lok Sabha elections too, and may have dreamed of  winning the re-election, especially in the aftermath of such a very good  electoral performance. In the re-election more of Congress vote-banks  may have gone over to AAP thus enabling AAP to get a majority. BJP  supporters were feeling that Arvind Kejriwal may feel over-confident,  also thinking on similar lines and opt for new elections.

However  now that the marriage has been solemnized, BJP supporters feel that  Kejriwal has bowed to the wishes of his MLAs to taste power. BJP feels  that he has taken the bait and gone into the trap set by them. Now it  makes Kejriwal vulnerable to the charge of duplicity.

BJP had  opted to not stake their claim on government formation and acted  honorably. BJP feels that they are on a strong wicket and sooner than  later either Arvind Kejriwal would make a fool of himself in power or  the Congress would withdraw support to AAP sooner or later, especially  if Arvind Kejriwal tries to live up to his stated agenda of  anti-corruption. If he doesn’t follow up on his promises, then Kejriwal  becomes a dead duck, and stops being a serious ideological challenger to  BJP.

The interests of Congress seem apparent to these BJP  supporters. Congress wants to avoid a re-election right away, as well as  stop BJP from coming to power and thus is willing to extend support to  AAP.

To some extent the fact that AAP received more votes and  seats than Congress, and in fact AAP hurt Congress more than they hurt  BJP, does cause some cognitive dissonance as to why would Congress allow  itself to be decimated by AAP. It weakens the theory that AAP is  Congress’s B Team. This weakness makes it difficult for those holding  this view to convince others of AAP’s duplicity. With this marriage BJP  feels that it would be easier to make this case.

I believe this view is restricted and does not think everything through.

D. Kejriwal can have his cake and eat it too

This is the view I hold.

The  main danger to the Dynasty comes from Narendra Modi. Stopping Narendra  Modi is all his detractors think of. Kejriwal and his image as a  corruption fighter is in fact the only ace the dynasty has up its sleeve  to stop Modi. Mainstream media does not tire from projecting Arvind  Kejriwal as if he was himself a PM candidate running against Narendra  Modi.

If Arvind Kejriwal can entice the urban youth away from  Modi, there is a chance that Modi would then not get a good majority and  thus would have to either have to make way for a more amenable BJP  leader or accept the poisoned chalice of support of “secular party”  agents thus hindering him in translating his agenda.

So Arvind Kejriwal has to be bolstered at all costs.

So  the question was how best to bolster Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi  Party? The Congress could have chosen to not extend outside support to  AAP.

  1. This would have  kept Arvind Kejriwal squeaky clean, but it would also shown to the voter  that a vote for AAP is a wasted vote, as the citizens do not get a  government in the end. So all those looking for stability would have  chosen to vote BJP next time.

  2. In fact people would  have cast aspersions on Arvind Kejriwal that he is afraid of embracing  responsibility and AAP is nothing more than a protest party unsuited for  doing the hard work of governing.

  3. Thirdly if Arvind  Kejriwal had opted not to form a government, his own MLAs would have  left him and joined up with BJP. This would have given a jolt to the  idealist charm of AAP.

  4. If Arvind Kejriwal has to stand up to Narendra Modi someday, he has to be able to show some executive experience.

  5. The most important consideration was however that a hung assembly would  have led to President’s rule and re-elections which would probably have  coincided with the general elections. That would have put Congress and  AAP at a serious disadvantage. For one thing AAP would have been chained  to Delhi elections, as they would have had to pledge all their meager  resources to Delhi, and Kejriwal would have been thus unavailable for  campaigning across the country in Lok Sabha elections supporting AAP  candidates. Also with assembly elections coinciding with Lok Sabha  elections, Modimania would have been at its highest and BJP would have  swept away both AAP and Congress from the field, even in Delhi.

So  due to all these considerations it was felt by both Congress and AAP  that Arvind Kejriwal’s loss of political virginity and idealistic appeal  to Congress can be otherwise offset and in fact be bolstered even more.

Most  detractors of Arvind Kejriwal, especially those in BJP, take it for  granted that Arvind Kejriwal would not go after Congress corruption once  in office, as otherwise Congress would withdraw support. Actually they  revel in this certainty.

There is no such certainty. By taking over power in Delhi, Kejriwal has eaten his cake, his reputation.

But  the understanding with Congress is that he is still going to have his  reputation in the end, in fact it would be multiplied even more.

What  we assume is that Sonia’s and Congress’s interests are identical. They  are not. In order to let Arvind Kejriwal win, Sonia started shifting her  vote-banks through the local Congress controllers towards AAP, even as  it decimated Congress MLA candidates. Sonia Gandhi got the mainstream  media to do carpet bombing of Delhi citizens with news and interviews of  Arvind Kejriwal and his movement and tried to project the animosity  between AAP and Congress as real.

So the AAP-Congress plan is to  have Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal discover some big corruption scandal  against some prominent Congress leader, possibly against Sheila Dixit  herself. Even a scam pointing culpability directly at the dynasty itself  is not unthinkable. Such a scam and the following attack by CM Arvind  Kejriwal would give him even more credibility. The thing is all these  scams are going to be discovered anyway if Modi comes to power, so  better let one’s own man uncover one or two of them and use these to  bolster his image.

So to keep the pretense of genuine opposition  by Arvind Kejriwal to Congress corruption, most probably Congress would  pull the rug sometime in March or early April, a few weeks before the  Lok Sabha elections. This would allow Arvind Kejriwal to hog the  limelight with his attack on Congress corruption or even Dynasty-based  corruption. Impressed by his selfless pursuit of anti-corruption  struggle where Arvind Kejriwal even endangers his CMship, many voters in  cities around the country would vote for AAP candidates. Instead of  NaMo being at the spearhead of anti-corruption drive against Congress  and Dynasty, Arvind Kejriwal would be able to don this mantle, or at  least the mainstream media would try their level best to put it on his  head. Arvind Kejriwal would be projected as somewhat who sacrificed his  position as CM for his principles.

This approach would then  confirm the faith of the faithfools of Hazrat Kejriwal. It would also  allay the fears of those who thought Arvind Kejriwal was compromised by  Congress. And in fact this theater may even attract more votes who did  not believe in Arvind Kejriwal or AAP earlier, as they would see  themselves proven wrong about him. In this case it would be difficult to  not see the rakshasa as a devta.

So what happens then? Does  Arvind Kejriwal have to pay anything? Of course not! Congress would  withdraw support and Lt. Governor of Delhi would declare President’s  Rule in Delhi. The fun part of it would be that if done in March, it  would be too late to hold elections for Delhi assembly together with Lok  Sabha elections. So Kejriwal would be free, even from CMship, to  campaign across the country on his “anti-corruption” agenda. Also there  would be no danger of AAP MLAs rebelling against Kejriwal as he would  again be upheld as a new prophet of anti-corruption, unlike now where  Kejriwal is being seen with suspicion holding hands with Congress.

Once  the Lok Sabha elections are over, and before the Lt. Governor is  changed by the next government at the Center, the Congress legislators  would again pledge their support to AAP. If that looks too suspicious,  in the aftermath of the Congress rout in 2014, the Delhi Congress could  simply rename itself and superficially cut its ties to parent Congress,  and thus give Arvind Kejriwal their support, under a new name!

So  before the new government takes over at the Center, Delhi would again  have a stable Arvind Kejriwal led government, perhaps this time  including the “erstwhile” Delhi Congress MLAs formally into the  government.

So Kejriwal gets to stay as Delhi CM for a full 5  year term, i.e. unless he is made PM by some third front, AND at the  same time Kejriwal receives both a boost from exposing some scam just  before elections and can keep his image as anti-corruption crusader  intact.

Arvind Kejriwal can have his cake and eat it too!

BJP’s  only chance is to break away MLAs of Congress or of AAP right now. Make  them resign on principle and force a reelection. Congress MLAs can  resign by exposing Sonia’s hand in the defeat of many Congress MLAs  through her support to AAP. AAP MLAs can resign citing Arvind Kejriwal’s  duplicitous move to form a government with the support of Congress.

If  the Delhi BJP does not do this now, then there is a real possibility of  them sitting in opposition benches for at least the next 5 years even  though they came so close to power. Much worse would be that Arvind  Kejriwal would be ballooned by Sonia Gandhi to a size of NaMo just  before elections through the media and thus stop the Modi juggernaut  just enough to deny him a free hand at Center even if he does become the  PM.

Use Less Power If You Can’t Afford Hiked Rates: Dikshit

People should cut use of power if they cannot afford high electricity tariff, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said today, a prescription that evoked criticism.


Under attack for the hike in power tariff, Dikshit also sought to justify it, saying the increase in cost of power production has led to the rise in electricity rates.

Stating that the consumers will have to pay if they want round-the-clock electricity supply, Dikshit went on to say that if people are finding it difficult to pay the billed amount they they should cut down consumption on various electrical appliances.

“We have been supplying power round-the-clock. We are not supplying power periodically. When 24 hours supply is ensured then the Opposition says bill is too high. If you consume electricity for 24 hours, then you do not pay for five hours’ consumption.

“If you cannot afford the electricity bill then cut down your consumption of electricity. Future generations will never realise there used to be seven to eight hours power cut in Delhi,” Dikshit said addressing a meeting at Chhatarpur area in South Delhi.

“If somebody is finding it difficult to pay the bill then he can use a fan instead of a cooler. One can always cut down consumption of power to limit the bill,” she added.

Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel accused the Chief Minister of “favouring” discoms and ignoring the alleged corruption in these power distribution companies.

“She (Dikshit) is favouring discoms. There is mass corruption in electricity by the discoms but Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, instead of checking it, is giving statement about electricity being used by poor people,” Goel said.

The BJP has been targeting the city government on the issue of hike in power tariff and accused it of siding with the private power discoms.

“This is very unfortunate statement from the Chief Minister of Delhi. In Delhi, the electricity prices are not increasing because of increased production cost,” Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal said.

“How can you expect the people to stop using TV, refrigerator, washing machines which have become essential today. The electricity prices are increasing only because of the corruption of the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in collusion with electricity companies….”

The power tariff in the city was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 and again it was increased by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July last year. It was again hiked by up to three per cent from February one.


Gujarat govt refutes Arvind Kejriwal’s charges

The Gujarat government today refuted Aam Admi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal‘s charge that it favoured certain industrial groups in the state.

“The charges levelled by Kejriwal are baseless and aimed at maligning the reputation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,” government spokesperson and Minister of State for Energy, Saurabh Patel said.

“The charge that the state government favoured Adani group while purchasing power is not true. Power was purchased from the Adani Group after inviting bids and Adani was the lowest bidder,” Patel said.

Regarding the land given to the Adanis, Patel said, “the government has not given any farm land to Adanis. The land which was given in Kutch was wasteland. The charge that the land was given at Re 1 is false as it was given on a lease for 30 years on BOT basis and every year the state government gets rent on it”.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had alleged in New Delhi that Modi favoured Gujarat-based business house Adani Group on power purchase and land allotment besides giving gas fields worth Rs 20,000 crore to private companies for “free”.

On the gas deal with a foreign firm GeoGlobal Resourcing, Patel said, “GSPC (Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation) had informed the Director General, Hydrocarbons in 2010 that the deal with GeoGlobal was cancelled and they did not have 10 per cent participating interest anymore in the oil exploration of the Krishna Godavari Basin Deendayal Block.”

“As there was no commercial production so far from KG-OSN-2001/3 gas block, there was no question of giving any benefits to that company,” Patel said.

About allotment of plots to MPs and MLAs in Gandhinagar, Patel said, “the policy of allotment of plots to MPs and MLAs was initiated by the earlier Congress governments and it was discontinued by the Modi government five years back.”

Kejriwal takes on Modi, says Gujarat gas deal bigger than 2G scam

Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday came out with another expose, targeting Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi over irregularities in the Gujarat gas deal.

According to Tehelka reports it is alleged that a stake worth Rs 20,000 crore was given away to GeoGlobal Resources at negligible rates in Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation‘s gas exploration project in the KG Basin.

“There was no bidding. What was the selection process for these two companies?” Kejriwal asked.

He stressed on the fact that this scam is even bigger than the colossal 2G scam.

“We demand an investigation… This scam is bigger than the 2G scam,” he said.

He alleged that this scam was engineered by BJP- Congress nexus 10% stake of such a major project was given away in gratis.

Kejriwal’s attack on Modi gains relevance as it may show us a flip side to the credible model of development that Modi is associated with and it may also affect his chances as a prospective PM candidate.

Arvind Kejriwal, supporters detained near PM residence

India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal, who was to lead a group of 300-odd physically challenged people to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s residence, was detained by the police near the 7, Racecourse Road, in the capital on Friday.

Apparently, the police rounded up Kejriwal and his supporters after warning them to clear the road.

While Kejriwal had said he wanted to submit a letter to the prime minister that contained the details of his allegations against union law minister Salman Khurshid, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to meet him, saying he had prior appointments.

However, reacting to their being stalled by the security, Kejriwal said, “It is utter shame that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should seek a security cover comprising thousands of securitymen to keep a bunch of physically challenged people at bay. This is not democracy.”

Kejriwal, who has demanded the resignation of Union law minister Salman Khurshid over the siphoning of funds of a charitable NGO that his wife Louise runs, is now staging a sit-in at the spot where he was stopped by the securitymen. “Earlier, we were seeking the PM for a time when he could meet us, but now we will wait till the time the PM speaks to the people of this country.”

Refusing to budge, Kejriwal said, “This is not democracy. The government is supposed to serve us and not lord over us.”

Demanding that a police complaint be filed immediately against Salman Khurshid and his wife, Kejriwal said, “Salman Khurshid should be removed from the cabinet till proven innocent. Both of them are influential people, they can tamper with evidence and pressure witnesses. They should be arrested immediately.”

“Let’s make this place another Tahrir Square (the focus of anti-regime protests in Egypt last year). People should take leave (from work) and join the protest. Now it’s a fight to the finish. The prime minister will have to meet us and accept our demands. Khurshid has to resign. He should be arrested,” he said.

Khurshid is planning to sue social activist-turned-politician Kejriwal for his allegations.

The 14 Ministers You Need To Know Should Be Jailed

Hardening its stand again after the Assembly elections, Team Anna moved from setting deadlines for the Lokpal Bill to naming Union ministers with a tainted reputation. They warned of a nationwide ‘jail bharo’ agitation in August if criminal cases were not filed against 14 Union Ministers on charges of corruption and criminal intimidation. The team said that the dates would be announced later.

Team Anna addressed crowds at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the venue of a fast to demand protection for whistleblowers campaigning against corruption. Team Anna also demanded investigation of allegations against 1,300 elected representatives (MPs as well as MLAs) across the country against whom criminal charges have been leveled.

Arvind Kejriwal, the core member of Team Anna, named the 14 Union Ministers who, he alleged, were “corrupt.” He himself had no direct evidence of wrongdoing on their party, but there have been allegations in newspapers and on television, and they needed to be investigated.

Indian Express listed out the 14 Union Ministers whom Kejriwal named corrupt and the specific charges against them. (SiliconIndia takes no stand on these allegations, but just lists out the names as given by Kejriwal. As it is in the public domain, it can evoke a public discourse and/or litigation.

1. P Chidambaram:

Chidambaram was one of the 14 ministers on the list, for his alleged controversial role in the 2G scam, and the charge that his wife (a lawyer) defended a Kolkata businessman named Kashinath Tapuria in an income tax claim of 580 crore.

Last year in September, referring to Chidambaram’s involvement in the scam, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said “Had there been a Jan Lokpal now, Chidambaram would have been in jail.” Referring to the same, Kejriwal named him on the list.

2. Kapil Sibal:

Kapil was on the list of the corrupt ministers for allegedly lowering Rs 650 crore fine on Reliance Communication to Rs 5 crore. He was accused of favoring Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infocomm.

Anna Hazare had then appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take action against Union Telecom minister Kapil Sibal, and expressed grief that frivolous litigations were being filed to settle personal scores. He also said that he himself would enquire into the matter and bring out details about the HRD Minister.

3. Praful Patel:

Praful Patel was also on the list for his alleged role in running Air India to the ground when he was civil aviation minister.

4. Sharad Pawar:

Sharad Pawar was named as well for his alleged “links” with Abdul Karim Telgi in the Maharashtra stamp duty scam.

He was named by Abdul Karim Telgi, during a narcoanalysis test, stating that it was Pawar’s idea to print fake stamp papers across the country and mint money. Pawar was also accused in a multi-crore scam concerning wheat imports and institutions headed by him and his close associates were served notices by the Bombay High Court for showing favoritism to his family.

5. SM Krishna:

SM Krishna made it on the list of 14 ministers too for his alleged involvement in the Karnataka mining scam. An FIR was filed against him by Karnataka Lokayukta for allegedly de-reserving large forest areas for mining in Bellary as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1999-2004.

6. Kamal Nath:

Kamal Nath, the Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development, made it on the hit list too over allegations relating to the rice export. The alleged 2, 500-crore rice export scam of 2008-09 took place in his watch.

7. Farooq Abdullah:

Farooq Abdullah is on the list for alleged financial irregularities in the J&K Cricket Association.

The JKCA headed by union minister of new and renewable energy Dr Farooq Abdullah, is facing charges of grave financial irregularities and mismanagement. 50 crore is said to have been diverted to different accounts opened in the name of the JKCA by its officials to mint money, which comes as subsidies to promote sports and particularly cricket.

8. Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh :

Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, both are on the Kejriwal list of corrupt ministers for their role in the Adarsh housing scam and a land allotment allegation against Deshmukh.

Adarsh Housing Society, a cooperative society in the city of Mumbai, was supposed to be reserved for the war widows and veterans of the Kargil War. However, it came to light that houses in the society were not given to the presumed beneficiaries, but taken over by politicians, bureaucrats and top ranking military personnel. There are allegations that former chief ministers of Maharashtra, Sushilkumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh were also involved in the scam.

10. Ajit Singh:

Ajit Singh makes it on the hit list too for charges that in 2008, when UPA 1 government was tottering after Left parties withdrew support over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal; he supported the government for a monetary consideration.

The Wikileaks claim that during the nuclear deal trust vote, he had charged Rs 10 crore per MP to vote for the UPA government.

11. GK Vasan:

GK Vasan is a prominent Congress leader from Tamil Nadu and is on the corrupt minister list for allegedly giving away 16,000 acres near Kandla Port of Gujarat at a loss of Rs 2 lakh crore to the exchequer.

Vasan instead called these allegations “baseless” and pointed out that he was not in charge of the ministry when the alleged irregularities surfaced in 2008. He was quoted saying to the Hindustan Times “Allegation regarding irregularities in Kandla Port Trust Lease of Land case are totally baseless and there is no truth in it. When the report by CVO of the Port Trust was originally given in 2008, I was not the Minister of Shipping.”

12. Sriprakash Jaiswal:

Sriprakash makes it on the list for alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks. This allotment of coal blocks gave ‘undue benefits’ to scores of companies causing an enormous loss of Rs 10.67 lakh crore to the nation’s exchequer.

The Coal Minister in his defence said “We gave advertisements for allocation of coal blocks and invited applications…after the applications were received by us (Coal Ministry), the state governments were consulted and thereafter the coal blocks were allocated,” as reported Business Today.

13. MK Azhagiri:

MK Azhagiri makes it on the hit list for alleged attacks on political rivals.  He was also accused of conspiring in the murder of the former DMK Minister, T. Kiruttinan.

14. Virbhadra Singh:

Virbhadra Singh is the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He is one among the fourteen ministers named by Kejriwal, for assorted allegations of bribery.

Is This Really a Proper Way to Spend Public Money?

A recent news states that Team Anna had collected donations of Rs 2.94 crore in the past six months out of which

 1.14 crore came during Anna Hazare‘s 12-day hunger strike in Ramlila Maidan. They have already spent a huge chunk of it and have provided the expenses in approximate figures. The fact is that a lot of people have donated money and it has been heart warming to note that 23,138 contributions were of 1,000 or less. It has really been humbling and moving to note that people with very limited resources contributed with sums like Rs 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5 of their hard earned money, hoping that it is spent for a good cause and will help in developing a new India. But the expenses mentioned, are no match to it and seems just like a waste of resources.”

According to Team Anna, a total of 27,505 people, including 25,023 during Ramlila agitation, contributed financially to the anti-corruption movement with Rs 25 lakh being the highest donation and over 400 donating more than Rs 10,000. Out of the Rs 2.94 crore it collected during the six months, they have decided to return Rs 42.55 lakh to donors who “did not provide their complete details and their sources of funding”(Which indeed is a good thought), leaving Rs 2.51 crore with them.

The Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), the Secretariat for the movement, made public its audit report for six months starting April one following allegations of financial misconduct by activist Arvind Kejriwal

by Arvind SawantA former Team Anna member Swami Agnivesh was sidelined by the Team when he questioned the depositing of donations in PCRF, saying none of the prominent Team members like Justice Santosh Hegde were trustees of PCRF run and controlled only by Arvind Kejriwal.

Of the Rs 2.51 crore, Team Anna has spent Rs 1.5 crore in the past six months with Rs 52.27 lakh being spent for public meeting expenses, mainly for Ramlila Maidan agitation which is quite acceptable. But the real doubts creating expenses follows.

Team Anna spent Rs 9.83 lakh on travel (Who’s travel? Only Team Anna or all the people at Ramlila Maidan? Did Team Anna go on a world tour? Or did they hire a Helicopter?) while another Rs 2.68 lakh was spent on communication expenses (Really shocking, what type of communication was that, which costs RS. 2.68 Lakhs in six months). Under public awareness expenses, the Team spent Rs 45.50 lakh (What kind of awareness? Did they advertise somewhere? or did they pay the media for their news to be shown???) Their printing charges are shown to be Rs 26.55 lakh.(No Comments!)

It also spent Rs 9,711 under the head RTI and also paid Rs 9.29 lakh as salary and stipend to the staff of PCRF besides a lowly Rs 36 as interest on government dues.

All this while, the people who donated their hard earned money would have expected their donations to the Public Cause Research Foundation be used for real Public Cause. They would have lived in a state of satisfaction that they helped in a good and noble cause. But seeing the expenses which almost seems to be worthless would really dishearten the donators..

by Arvind Sawant – SI

Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?

Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?It’s still not clear why Team Anna cannot wait for the Winter Session of Parliament. PTI

So Jan Lokpal Bill it is. ‘The’ Jan Lokpal Bill it has to be. Team Anna would settle for nothing less.

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal, key member of the team yesterday. The message: Parliament can go to hell. So can reasoned dabate. We won’t accept if it comes up with a Lokpal Bill that is not the Jan Lokpal Bill.

It’s still not clear why Team Anna cannot wait for the Winter Session of Parliament or allow the Standing Committee to study other suggestions on the Lokpal Bill and arrive at the best possible solution. It’s more confounding why it should take a controversial, and rather unnecessary, political position at this stage.

The lack of respect among the members of Team Anna for the august House was evident in the developments during second phase of Anna’s fast which began on 16 August, Kejriwal has made it an unequivocal stand. So long as the government and the political parties were the enemy number one for Team Anna, it did not matter. But the issue moves to a different plane after this.

What if Parliament votes in favour of a bill which is not acceptable to Anna’s associates? Does Anna announce “I am Parliament. My diktat is what the law of the land is”. After that? By all indications, Team Anna won’t find it repulsive. But political parties, who have taken opportunistic positions so far by trying to pander to the whims of Anna’s associates, cannot kowtow for too long. A confrontation of a different kind is on the cards. This is likely to get interesting with Team Anna taking a partisan political position.

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

In the last few days the political leanings of Team Anna has got clearer. Though the team has been vehement in its denial of suggestions of political affiliation, by design or default it has positioned itself against the Congress and for the BJP. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has already spoken of the Sangh Parivar’s support to the anto-corruption movement of Anna Hazare. In Hisar, the team is actively asking the electorate not to vote for the Congress. In Uttar Pradesh, which is headed for assembly polls early next year, it is likely to campaign against Mayawati and the Congress, thus serving as the non-political arm of the BJP.

Nothing exactly is wrong if Team Anna backs any political party — it’s even better if it contests polls — but by positioning the popular movement cleverly to suit the interest of a few political players, it is committing a fraud on the supporters of the movement. If it backs the Congress and opposes the BJP in some other state in a balancing act, it won’t mean much. The movement was supposed to stay focused on corruption only and not get distracted by delving into political mind games.

Again, it is curious that Team Anna would issue certificates of good conduct to political parties on the basis of their support to the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is clear that none of the parties agree completely on all the provisions of the bill and they have reservations on several important clauses. That they have issued letters of support to the bill is crass political opportunism. It does not amount to much at this point since they will come open with their objections and suggestions in Parliament when the government’s bill is up for discussion. So what it is support of Team Anna to parties is all about?

Moreover, its support is not for clean candidates. The assumption is whoever backs the Jan Lokpal Bill is honest. That’s is too unusual a position. The team is inadvertently treating the corrupt on different parameters: those who support us are clean and those who don’t are not.

Should the anti-corruption movement get into all this?

Anna’s Next Obsession: Electoral Reform

Hailing Parliament’s nod on key elements of Jan Lokpal Bill as “people’s victory”, Anna Hazare on Sunday broke his 12-day-old fast declaring that electoral reforms will be on top of his agenda next so that corruption can come down.

The 74-year-old Gandhian accepted a glass of tender coconut water mixed with honey from a Dalit and a Muslim girl, Simran and Ikrah at 10:20 am on the dais at the Ramlila Grounds ending over 288 hours of fast that began on August 16.

After a brief address, Hazare was driven straight to Medanta Medicity in neighbouring Gurgaon run by eminent cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan who was attending to him along with his team during his entire period of fast.

He was admitted to the hospital and is under strict observation of a team of doctors who have begun administering liquid diet to him. Hazare will be there for a couple of days.

“I have only deferred my fast, not given it up. Only when these reforms are complete will I really end my fast. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved,” he said to a thunderous applause from thousands of his supporters waving tricolour and shouting slogans like ‘Anna Hazare Zindabad’.

Dismissing the charge that his campaign was against Parliament and Constitution, he said the change has to be through constitutional means.

Flanked by his team members, including Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia, Hazare said what has been achieved in Parliament on Saturday is a victory of the people of India, democracy and those assembled in Ramlila Ground.

Team Anna hoped that the Government will convene a special session of Parliament to pass the Lokpal Bill in a month’s time.

Minutes after Hazare ended his fast, Bhushan said, “We hope that the government convenes a special session of Parliament within a month’s time to pass Lokpal Bill.” Hazare said his fight would now be for Right to Recall and Right to Reject as part of electoral reforms so that corruption can be reduced.

“While Right to Recall would be for those elected, the Right to Reject will be a column in the ballot paper which would ensure the voter has a right to say that he does not like the listed candidates.

“We have to reform electoral system. (we need) Right to Reject. You should be able to reject your candidate in the ballot paper. We have to do that.”

“If the majority in a constituency says that they reject a candidate, even then the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute? Once the candidate spends Rs 10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them,” he said.

Maintaining that people’s parliament is bigger than “Parliament in Delhi”, Hazare said that is why Parliament had to listen to people’s parliament.

“This movement has created a faith that the country can be rid of corruption and we can go ahead with implementing laws and the Constitution made by Dr BR Ambedkar,” he said.

Referring to Parliament’s decision to refer three of his demands, citizen’s charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas through Lokpal bill for Standing Committee’s consideration, he said, the country can be proud of this moment. Thirteen days of agitation has yielded fruits.

Source – PTI

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