India’s Top 10 Politicos Who Hogged Major Limelight in 2013


When it comes to politics, politicians are always equipped with some major unexpected twist and turns. They are often the source of inspiration who can lift the economic condition of a country, or can be the source of chaos. Here are the names of such 10 politicians who hogged major limelight in 2013 as listed by India TV

Narendra Modi

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After emerging as NDA’s prime ministerial nominee, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi—fondly called NaMo, embarked on a spirited campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections creating political enthusiasm in business-oriented state. On September this year, the BJP’s parliamentary board declared Modi as a prime ministerial candidate of NDA. Modi’s elevation has aroused much enthusiasm about politics among the business-oriented Gujarati communities. He is among Time magazine’s shortlisted candidates for its ‘Person of the Year’ title and has emerged as an early favorite among the readers in an online poll; however, Modi is the only Indian shortlisted in the list.

Arvind Kejriwal

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Arvind Kejriwal, a well known social activist, now emerged as an active politician who formally launched Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi on 26 November. He has contested elections for the first time in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and are all set to form a government. Kejriwal defeated Sheila Dikshit, a three-time Chief Minister of Delhi, with a huge margin of 25, 864 votes.  He is now one among the five most mentioned Indian politicians on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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Shivraj Singh Chouhan was recently sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister for third consecutive term after he led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a spectacular hat-trick in assembly elections. 54-year-old Chouhan was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Madhya Pradesh governor Ram Naresh Yadav at a ceremony held at Jamboree ground in Bhopal. Known for maintaining a low-profile, Chouhan led the BJP to win an impressive 165 seats in 230-member legislative assembly reducing Congress tally to just 58 from 71 in 2008.Presently, he represents Budhni constituency, a tehsil place in Sehore district, in the Madhya Pradesh assembly.

Raman Singh

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Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister, Raman Singh has joined the influential club of BJP chief ministers who have scored hat-tricks in their respective states, leading his party to a historic victory. This has been done despite several challenges like criticism from Opposition Congress after the killing of its senior leaders and anti-incumbency factor. But the Chhattisgarh Food Security Act, which he is credited of bringing in much before the National Food Security Act, is being dubbed as a game changer for 61-year-old Singh. Distribution of rice at subsidized price to poor families seems to have done the trick for the ‘Chaur wale baba’ (rice man) who proved wrong all political analysis and opinion polls to emerge victorious.

Vasundhara Raje Scindia

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Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, who failed five years ago on account of infighting in BJP, reinvented herself and galvanized the cadre to spearhead her party’s spectacular comeback to power in Rajasthan. 60-year-old Raje, who belongs to the royal Scindia family of Gwalior and married in Rajasthan, managed to get the BJP high command fully behind her in her bid to oust the Congress government headed by Ashok Gehlot. It was the full-throated backing from Narendra Modi who extensively toured Rajasthan during the election campaign that led to her victory. Vasundhara’s rise from a National Executive member of BJP to one of its most powerful leaders in Rajasthan can be attributed to her charismatic personality and strong will, which have helped her tide over political crises from within and outside in her 30-year-long political career.

Pu Lalthanhawla

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Pu Lalthanhawla who recently sworn in as the Mizoram Chief Minister in Aizawl was the icing on the Congress’s failure on other states in the recent polls. Lalthanhawla has become Chief Minister for a consecutive term for the second time and a record fifth term in his political career. He led the Congress party to a landslide victory with the ruling party winning 34 seats in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, two seats more than the 2008 Assembly polls.

K Siddaramaiah

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K Siddaramaiah, the 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka rose to great heights within a short span of his political career. The congress in Karnataka had successfully defeated the BJP government under his leadership. He had contested from Varuna Constituency and won 2013 election from same constituency on 8 May 2013. He was elected as the leader of the Congress legislative party in the Karnataka assembly on 10 May 2013. He had previously announced that 2013 assembly election would be his last election.

Nitish Kumar

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Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar since 2005 is one of the most sincere and competent leader.  He has been hinted as a best Prime Ministerial candidate.  Most recently, Nitish Kumar is the talk of the social media platforms after breaking 17 years long ties with BJP with the elevation of Narendra Modi as the Chairman of the BJP Campaign Committee for the upcoming 2014 General Election. Nitish gained positive discussions for Development and Economy.

Manmohan Singh

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Manmohan Singh is in his second term as India’s Prime Minister and the stability of the UPA government has been questioned frequently, whether it will make it till the next general elections. He was tagged as an ‘Underachiever’ last year by TIME magazine; however, his leadership has fetched the Indian economy the $1 Trillion milestone. On the other hand, he is frequently in the news by for spending a whopping amount of 642 crore in the previous nine years while going for a foreign trip.

Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi is one of the politicians in the country from whom a lot is expected. After being appointed as the Vice President of the Indian National Congress, he is second in position in the party, following his mother Sonia Gandhi, the party President. The moving speech at the Chintan Shivir has rested many speculations about Rahul’s seriousness as a leader and has made ‘Rahul vs Modi’ in the 2014 general election official sight to watch.

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.

Restaurants to Serve Dishes Named After UPA Scams


The drama hasn’t ended yet for the UPA government; after Hotel Aditi that had criticized the UPA government in its bills, now restaurants in Gujarat may serve dishes named after UPA scams.

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From “2G ka samosa” to a toasted “Coalgate sandwich”, restaurants in Gujarat may soon add some flavor of politics, reported Tushar Tere for TNN.

Further, members of the Gujarat Rajya Hotel Federation (GRHF) have decided to stand up for Mumbai eatery Aditi Restaurant that was asked to shut down by Congress workers for criticizing the UPA government in its bills. The GRHF has more than 6,000 members across the state.

Hotelier and GRHF member Ashwin Gandhi discussed the proposal with other federation members and said “Naming food and drinks after scams is an apt reply,” as reported by TOI. He added that “Every citizen has the right to express his views.”

The controversy sparked after Mumbai based Aditi Restaurant started issuing bills that had a message at the bottom of the printed receipt saying, “As per UPA govt eating money (2G, coal, CWG scam) is a necessity and eating food in AC restaurants is a luxury.”

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The GRHF was tense over the new service tax on restaurants that was imposed by the Centre a few months ago.

Sanat Relia, Southern Gujarat Hotel Association vice-president said “Bofors, 2G and other scams would appear on our menu once the proposal is approved.” He said that “We made several efforts to convince the Centre to remove the new service tax, but to no avail. Such a protest may help,” as reported by TOI.

However, the Vadodara city Congress has issued open threat to the restaurateurs in connection with the proposal. Vadodara Congress president Narendra Rawat said “This is not the correct way to protest. If any restaurant mentions about scams on their menu cards, we will protest in their premises. If the workers lose their temper and the restaurant is ransacked, we are not responsible for it.”

Rawat added that “Such hotel owners seem to be hand in gloves with BJP and they are making it a political issue. They should be ready to face ire of Congress workers.”

UPA’s Monkey Business


‘Imagining the silence? Really?’ Pawan Khera’s (Indian Express, July 19, 2013) rejoinder to Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s exquisitely crafted article ‘While we were silent’ (Indian Express, July 11 2013), displays exactly how political sycophancy can distort perception enough to see a glass half full when it is actually empty. It is unremarkable that Congress Party members fall over each other to show loyalty. This is the Indira Gandhi Blueprint in practice here. When so much of each apparatchik’s future depends on how he is perceived by the Power, why should uncomfortable facts get in the way of making a pitch of personal devotion of servitude? Indubitably, these articles are not written to convince the reader, because even those of the lowest intellect must know today’s Indian is not buying their act. They are written to ensure their status in the Party.

Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Note to UPA-bashers’ (Indian Express, July 24, 2013) is even worse. Chanting reams of statistics that show utter obliviousness to the reality on the ground of the hazards of implementation, Congress vassals see every article that exposes the real problems real people are struggling with, as a personal attack on the Congress. Neither Mehta, nor Shekhar Gupta in ‘National Interest: The deformists’ (Indian Express, July 20, 2013) hold any loyalty to the opposition or any political party – and both were refuted by Tharoor. Their articles have clearly been written in pain at the direction the country has slipped. Spokespersons for the Congress Party spout statistics from their documents showing successful schools, medical centres, electrification and clean water programmes, which they so gullibly believe exist because they ordered them. This, of course, belies all reports that have shown most of what they claim has not been implemented.

A verisimilitude of ratiocination cannot convince people who are trying to survive in a quicksand economy and struggling through daily life. Tharoor claims, “They (Mehta and Gupta) have apparently failed to notice that today’s India boasts a thriving, entrepreneurial and globalised economy, with a dynamic and creative business culture”. Oh! So India is Shining yet again? It might be time for the Congress Party to listen to farmers, weavers, unemployed youth, miserable businessmen, who incidentally are too afraid to be outspoken. Sadly, around the world, it is repeated that the India Story is over. It has not been “one bad year” as the Prime Minister said in his speech at ASSOCHAM (July 19, 2013). It was not a lightning bolt. It has been a slow, painstaking, careful destruction of a progressive India.

Tharoor adds, “To this over-the-top indictment, (Shekhar) Gupta adds his own: the UPA’s ‘welfarism’ has betrayed the promise of reform and created a doctrine of ‘povertarianism’, which condemns Indians to perpetual poverty”. Over the top? Mr Tharoor, there are enough economists including your Prime Minister, who believe handouts without the dignity of work destroy individuals and society. Tharoor adds: “When the UPA promotes food security, it is emboldened by its own efforts to strengthen agriculture, which have led to record production of food grain”. Good logic. If you feed someone for not working, the grain grows by itself, stupid.

Let’s look at some real statistics. “Suicide rates among Indian farmers were a chilling 47 per cent higher than they were for the rest of the population in 2011. In some of the States worst hit by the agrarian crisis, they were well over 100 per cent higher. The new Census 2011 data reveal a shrinking farmer population. At least 270,940 Indian farmers have taken their lives since 1995, NCRB records show. This occurred at an annual average of 14,462 in six years, from 1995 to 2000. And at a yearly average of 16,743 in 11 years between 2001 and 2011. That is around 46 farmer suicides each day, on average. Or nearly one every half-hour since 2001.” (P Sainath, The Hindu, May 18, 2013) What has the Congress party done to arrest this desperate trend? There have been enough stories of food grain rotting while people starved and the Congress Party did nothing.

In a brilliant sleight of hand in the craft of writing, Mehta takes us through every area of incompetence, miscalculation, bad economic decisions, insensitive responses, bull-headed stupidity, self-serving vote seeking policies, romancing the poor to their disgust, exposing how the UPA has destroyed 15 crucial vertebrae of the spine of India. They have broken, cracked and crushed it. What Mehta did not include, was the last final one: they are succeeding in crushing the spirit of India and Indians. Young people are facing unemployment for the first time in a decade. More and more leaders of business and industry are moving their capital abroad and shoring up their NRI status. Every day there are newsbreaks of companies firing hundreds of their employees and shutting down factories. Even a company like Mahindra laid off 400 employees last week and has suspended production for eight days during this month to cut down inventory pile up.  Maruti asked about 400 workers to go on leave, is producing about 40 per cent less than its maximum capacity of 4,400 units a day. Tata Motors is to also cut production of the Nano at the Sanand plant by over 80 per cent this year and for other vehicles at the Pune plant by 30 to 40 per cent.  (moneycontrol.com) Motorcycles have piled up at factories because retail sales are barely there. Media companies are not only firing employees but also cutting programming because the advertisements are just not coming in, even at the lowest rates. NDTV has fired hordes and CNBC is reportedly in the process of doing so.

According to a Reuters report: “India’s economic gloom deepened on Friday with a surprise drop in industrial output, a fall in exports and higher retail inflation, adding to the Reserve Bank of India’s challenge of reviving the economy and supporting the rupee. A global sell-off has made the rupee the worst-performing emerging Asian currency so far this year. It hit an all-time low of Rs 61.21 per dollar this week and is down more than 8 per cent against the dollar so far this year.”

Mr Khera and Mr Tharoor, are you aware of all this?

The writing is on the wall of every business, every farmer, every builder, every graduate, every recently unemployed person. Yet the writing on Pawan Khera and Shashi Tharoor’s wall is different. Khera calls Mehta’s article “hypnotic pamphleteering”! Some of Khera’s gems: “There are more to roads than highways.” “There’s more to the aviation sector than just Air India.” “Coupled with the midday meal, RTE will prove to be a game changer.” “MGNREGA has revolutionised the rural landscape and changed the destinies of 48 million households.”  The romanticising of the Food Security Bill for which there was no allocation in the Budget: “No one with any experience of seeing a poor man eat will oppose this scheme”.

A simple question: who will pay for it and how? It is indeed ironical that when the Supreme Court (Sept 9, 2010) ordered the government to distribute grains (that were rotting in FCI and government godowns) for free to families living below the poverty line, PM Manmohan Singh rebuked the SC saying it should not interfere in policy issues. The PM argued that he was against the idea of giving away food for free, saying it would kill farmers’ incentive to produce.

And the pièce de résistance is this: “Never before has any government faced the kind of assertion that the UPA did. When was the last time anyone saw protesters laying siege to Rashtrapati Bhawan? Swati, the girl who entered Rashtrapati Bhawan, is not behind bars for entering a high security area, because the government understood the anger of the people”. No, you did not understand the anger of the people. You were too afraid to touch Swati because you knew the anger would spiral into violent fury. Never before have people laid siege to Rashtrapati Bhavan because never before have people been so frustrated and furious by the government’s inaction, ineptitude and corruption. The Congress Party has so easily dismissed the urban and the middle class whilst plying their carrots to the rural poor. The Congress Party may even return to power in the next election with a jigsaw puzzle coalition with any available partners, but will it be because they deserve it for governance or because of arithmetic?

Mr Khera wrote, “Never before has any government faced the kind of assertion that the UPA did”. What is obvious to most, this was not mere “assertion” but the desperate outrage of a deeply wounded, despairing public. Khera wrote, the government acknowledged the right of the people to be angry. Did even one politician of the ruling party ever come to meet or address the people on the streets of protest? All the government did was wring their hands in panic and blame the media. It is sheer arrogance to assert that it was the government who gave the people a voice that could be heard without waiting for elections. This exposes twisted and self-serving logic. It is like saying: “When I beat my wife, she screamed at me to stop. See, she is free and has a voice. She can tell me to stop. She has freedom”. But you will go on beating her.

Khera’s rather petty remarks about “Neemrana intellectuals” do him no favour. In all the 15 points made by Mehta, in each one of them there is a segment of India that you have destroyed and we bristle against you for doing it. Yet Khera pats the ruling Party on the back with: “The last four years of India’s democracy have been promising — an exciting chapter where citizens and the state have been locked in a loud and healthy debate”. Debate? Water cannons and lathi charge constitute a debate? Where Was Mr Khera? In Neemrana?

It is clear that the Congress party has taken Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys proverb literally, yet partially. They have shut their eyes. They have shut their ears. Now, if only they would shut their mouths.

This is the complete version of Madhu Trehan’s article, “A people in despair, a government in wonderland” which appeared in The Indian Express on July 27, 2013

Modi attacks Cong from Kalmadi’s turf


Modi chose to launch an attack on the Congress over the scam-hit CWG games from the home turf of its disgraced Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi

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Under fire from , Gujarat Chief Minister today mounted a counter offensive, targeting it over corruption and the ordinance on food security, saying the scam-tainted CWG games “destroyed national honour in the eyes of the world”.

“Two countries hosted two games…South Korea hosted Olympics and India the . While Korea brought honour to itself through the Olympics, our nation of 120 crore people lost its honour in the eyes of the world,” Modi said addressing students and faculty at the Fergusson College here.

“One country uses sport to bring laurel to itself among the global community and another brings itself dishonour,” he said.

Significantly, Modi chose to launch an attack on the over the scam-hit CWG games from the home turf of its disgraced Organising Committee Chairman .

He also took a barb at the over the food security ordinance, being touted as a “game changer” in the run up to the next Lok Sabha elections.

The Food Security Bill is the largest initiative of its kind in the world and brainchild of party president Sonia Gandhi.

“They have brought before the nation a food security bill and are claiming as if a meal has already come on the plates,” he said.

Referring to growing cyber crimes, Modi said his government has set up world’s first Forensic Science University in Gujarat.

“Now will say what is new. Mind you, I am not talking about courses in forensic science being taught in colleges and universities. I am talking about a Forensic Science University, which is the first of its kind in the world,” he said.

Modi, who had earlier in his speech said he would not talk about politics, chose not to speak about his “Puppy” and “Hindu Nationalist” remarks made during an interview to a news agency recently, which has brought him in the line of fire.

Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, Modi referred to the late Prime Minister’s remarks about ushering in a new India in the 21st century, saying, “Our ears have got tired of hearing about the 21st century. Did anybody have the vision about how to take India into the 21st century.

“If anybody had a vision about how to take India into a new millennium, we would not be standing where we stand now,” he said.

Modi lamented the “atmosphere of despondency” in the country but said “I have not lost hope.”

The Gujarat Chief Minister, who was recently elevated as BJP’s election campaign committee chief to lead the party’s challenge in the next year’s Lok Sabha poll, also targeted Indian diplomacy under -led UPA government.

“I am amazed that we have no friends left in the neighbourhood,” he said.

Amid talks of raising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the defence sector, Modi said, “the country spends more on importing defence equipment and arms than we do on petroleum products. Do we not have engineers who could manufacture weapons for us, or do we not have the steel to produce such equipment. I tell you, our engineering colleges don’t have defence engineering as a subject.”

Ishrat Jahan case: Modi will soon be exposed, says Congress


With CBI holding as “fake” the 2004 encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat, Congress on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi saying “truth speaks for itself from the rooftop” and claimed that the chief minister’s role in such encounters will also be exposed.

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“He (Modi) will also be exposed some time. Truth comes out at one point or the other. Truth speaks for itself from the rooftop. Someday, you will come to know of the real face of the Gujarat Chief Minister,” AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistri told reporters.

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He was reacting to the CBI charge sheet in an Ahmedabad court that the 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan was killed in a “fake” encounter. The agency named seven police officers in its charge sheet in the case, saying it was a joint operation by Gujarat police and the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau.

Mistri said all “the people from Gujarat know that this encounter was fake. During a period of three months, when there was talks about removing Modi as Chief Ministers, such encounters took place with frequent intervals propping up a theory that there was an attempt to murder Modi”.

The AICC general secretary, who hails from Gujarat, also said sarcastically that “no one comes to kill Modi since some of the police officers went to jail”.

Rejecting BJP’s charge that it was doing vote-bank politics in encounter cases, Congress questioned the intent of BJP in defending IB officer Rajinder Kumar over his role in Ishrat case.

“CBI is a central agency. So is IB. Why they (BJP) are defending the IB officer? What interest they have in protecting the IB officer? Why they are doing it? What is their intent,” Mistri asked, adding that the CBI inquiry in this case is not taking place at the behest of Congress but as per orders of the Supreme Court and high court.

Party spokesperson Meem Afzal speaking separately steered clear of questions over the political fall out but maintained that the party wanted law to take its own course and “culprits to be brought to book”. “The blood of innocent speaks loudly and reveals the identity of the killer,” he said.

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Rajiv Gandhi, ‘Middleman’ For Swedish Jet Deal: WikiLeaks


Leaked diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy on the WikiLeaks website have reportedly named the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a middleman during the 1970s when he was an Indian Airlines pilot. The Hindu has published findings of the ‘Kissinger cables’, which claim that Rajiv Gandhi may have been middleman for Swedish Company Saab-Scania when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.

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The October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. embassy says “Swedish emboff has informed us that main Indian negotiator with Swedes on Viggen at New Delhi end has been Mrs. Gandhi’s older (sic) son, Rajiv Gandhi. Latter’s only association with aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as pilot for Indian Airlines and this is first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur.”

It also states that the U.S. officials have “no additional information to either refute or confirm the above information.”

Later, Saab-Scania lost out on the deal and was forced to withdraw from the “fighter sweepstakes” by the U.S. as the deal was ultimately secured the British SEPECAT Jaguar.

Gandhi later became embroiled in scandal relating to another Swedish arms manufacturer in the Bofors howtizer gun deal.

While, as of now the BJP has said that the Congress should “come clean” on the “WikiLeaks revelations” that the late Rajiv Gandhi had been a middleman for a Swedish company looking to sell fighter jets to India in the 1970s.

“The WikiLeaks revelations are serious. This is absolutely shocking revelation, let us not forget that the revelations are making two specific charges, about two of their late prime ministers Indiraji and Rajivji,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

“They are connected to the first family of Congress. All defence deals have some relation with the Congress’ first family. They should come clean on this, all the documents should be made public. We want the government, Congress and the family to come clean on it,” Javadekar told a news channel.

Congress has always misused CBI: Hazare


Social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday said it was wrong to presume that the CBI acts of its own volition and alleged that Congress had always “misused” the central investigating agency.

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Asked about the CBI raid on DMK leader M K Stalin’s residence immediately after the party withdrew its support to the UPA government,
Mr Hazare told reporters, “Everybody knows that the CBI is under government’s control. If it is brought under the Lokpal’s control, it would help in curbing corruption.”

Mr. Hazare alleged that Congress had always “misused” the agency, even though it has some good officers in its fold.

“It is not that all people with the CBI are bad. But they are subjected to pressure as they have their jobs to protect.

Congress has always misused it,” he alleged.

When asked to comment on the UPA allies leaving Congress, Mr. Hazare said the party was losing the sympathy of the people because of the corruption associated with it.

“Congress is taking wrong steps. People have lost their sympathy for the party as responsible ministers in the government too are involved in scams,” he added.

Referring to the support of Samajwadi Party (SP) to the Congress-led government, Mr. Hazare said, “Regional parties pose a threat to the country as they bring pressure (on the government).”

He said although he had parted ways with his erstwhile colleague Arvind Kejarwal, there was no conflict between them and he wished him well for their cause through political means.

Mr. Hazare said he had not instituted any core committee of his own after breaking away from IAC. “It is difficult to get selfless workers for a cause. I am at present associated with ’Janatantra Morcha’ along with former Army Chief V K Singh, which is a non-political organisation,” he added.

Later, addressing a gathering, the activist said he was confident that the Lokpal would be a reality. “We have seen part one of the Lokpal bill,” he added.

He also noted with satisfaction that the provision of a fine for civil servants, who delayed their work beyond the stipulated period under Citizens’ Charter.

“When the elections are declared, I would be once again be at the Ramlila maidan to press for the demand for Right to Reject as part of electoral reforms to keep anti-social elements out of Parliament and the state legislatures,” Mr. Hazare asserted.

Big Blow to BJP in Karnataka Local Polls


The Congress dealt a massive blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka urban local body elections by winning four major city corporations. The Congress not only made huge gains by winning the highest number of wards across the state, but the party also routed BS Yeddyurappa‘s Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) and ended the rule of Reddy brothers in Bellary by decimating their BSR Congress across central Karnataka.

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Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s KJP failed to make a big splash while the ruling BJP could only secure third place by winning just 876 wards while the Congress was way ahead with 1881 seats. The Janata Dal Secular (JDS) managed to hold on to its strength in the Old Mysore region and managed to win 890 wards to take the second place in the state.

The Karnataka local polls, which have been billed as semi-finals before the state elects a new Assembly in a couple of months, show that the BJP is finding the going tough and has not been fully able to counter the Yeddyurappa effect.

There are a total number of 4976 seats for which counting took place. The Congress won Bellary, Mangalore and Davanagere city corporations. The party is leading in four out of seven city corporations and is also doing very well in Dakshin Kannada.

The BJP is ahead in Hubli-Dharwad while there is close fight between Congress and JDS in Mysore. Yeddyurappa’s party has put up a dismal performance in Shimoga while the BJP has suffered a huge defeat in its stronghold of coastal Karnataka where the Independents have come third. The trends and results show that urban voters have rejected BJP and its offshoots KJP and BSR Congress.

The Bellary brothers, who had launched the BSR Congress, have been routed in their stronghold. The Congress is also leading in areas dominated by the JDS.

The results are crucial since they could be an indicator of what will happen in the state elections coming up in two months. Over 200 municipalities including seven city corporations went to the polls on March 7.

In the last urban local bodies polls in 2007, of the total 5007 wards, the Congress had come first winning 1606, followed by JDS 1502 and BJP 1180.

I’m not interested in becoming PM: Rahul Gandhi


Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he was not interested in becoming the prime minister and wants to focus on his party instead.

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“The party is my priority. I believe in long-term politics,” Gandhi was quoted by TV channels as saying in Delhi.

“I am not interested in becoming the prime minister,” he was quoted as saying.

Gandhi, who is the second-in-command in the Congress, told reporters there was a need to end the “high command culture” in the party.

The Congress party has not announced a prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but Gandhi is a clear favourite.

Gandhi has been working on improving the party’s grasroots and has convened a meeting of all general secretaries and central leaders in charge of states on March 6.