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VOL 2<ISSUE 09<NOVEMBER, 2012

SHREE MAA PRAKASHAN PVT. LTD.

INSIDE

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi Campus Editor Adithi Sonali Cine Editor Meera Singh Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi Regional Editor M.P. Aaditya Tewari Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait Senior Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha Illustrator Vinay Vasu Regional Office Incharge Tamanna Faridi U.P.: B-121,122, 1st Floor, Prince Complex, Hazratganj, Lucknow-226001 Ph.: 0522-4003911 E-mail: lokayatlucknow@gmail.com M.P. : Paraspar Colony, Chunabhatti, Kolar Road, Bhopal-462003 Ph.: 0755-4030162 E-mail : lokayat01@gmail.com

20 Rebels May Upset BJP's Mission Repeat

C.G. : Thawait Bhawan, Kankali Talab, Main Road, Raipur Ph.: 0771-4221188 E-mail: lokayat_rpr@yahoo.com

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Gujarat : Will Gadkari Spoil Modi's game?

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World : Debate Quintessential of US Elections

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Rajasthan : Towrads a Stronger Political Aadhar

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Delhi : Politics of Power: Sweat & Swear

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Uttar Pradesh : Akhilesh: Face Hometruths

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Uttarakhand : Bahuguna's Problem to Multiply

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Haryana : Social Reality Behind Rapes

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MP : Fresh Rumblings Negate Congress Games

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Bihar : BJP's Tit-for-Tat

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J&K : Panchayat Raj Under Threat

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Kerala : Drink or Not To Drink--That is the Question

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Nagaland : Naga Insurgency--Solution in Sight

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Science : India's Elusive Cryogenic Engine

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LETTERS

LINKING RIVERS: WHY TAMPER WITH NATURE?

PRO-ESTABLISHMENT SLANT Lokayat issue for October, 2012 has more of proUPA slant. This is evident particularly from the cover story which is nothing short of image build-up for prime minister, Manmohan Singh. While there is all round clamour against skyrocketing price rise, scams, corruption, crime, attacks from across our borders, the story brings out, one by one, just promises made by the PM. These are hollow. If Manmohan Singh could not contain the rot in ten long years, how can the people expect 'magic' from him and UPA Government in another 18 months or so? Then there are stories highlighting victory of Congressbacked NSUI in DUSU elections concluding 'Sheila Dikshit may again romp home as the chief minister for the fourth time', hit on Narendra Modi captioned ' Woo Gods and Muslims to retain power', story captioned ' Congress never gave patronage to corrupt people: Digvijay Singh' and so on. In all fairness, readers expect a fair analysis of people and events without an iota of slant this way or that way. Overall, the issue is readable and interesting, besides covering vast areas. Prof. C.K. Sardana, Bhopal (MP)

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I read with interest the article on Interlinking of Rivers by Saroj Nagi in your September issue. At a time when two or more states are fighting with one another and going to courts on sharing of river water, how does the government intend to resolve the disputes over water-sharing? Nobody can dispute the fact that by directing the government to look at linking rivers, the Supreme Court has entered the domain of the executive. With water coming under the State government's control and inter-State river water disputes taking on ugly political overtones, the concept is difficult to implement. Similarly, when we are facing erratic weather patterns, possibly because of man's activities, do we know what could happen if we diverted rivers? Why tamper with nature? Why can't governments ensure effective rain harvesting methods? Why is no priority given to harnessing flood waters? Why is not the building of deeper and larger reservoirs given priority? It is a fact, as the writer has correctly pointed out, that the central and state governments have never shown enough initiatives to address these apprehensions. Under the present political scenario, I am not sure such interlinking of rivers would be possible or advisable. V M Yamini, Ramagundam (AP)

SHAME TO THESE POLITICIANS OF MP! This is shocking a story in Lokayat of October, 2012 issue headlined ‘Politicians of all hues grab property!’ So these are our leaders who do not leave any opportunity to reap advantage and misuse the power which ‘aam voter’ has bestowed on them. By the way what the Lokayat is doing there? Rajneesh Dube, New Delhi

WAH BHATEEJA JI, TUMNE KIYA KAMAAL! This is a good report on Akhilesh Yadav. This has very accurately exposed our great Bhateeja Ji. Thanks Mr Ratan Mani Lal—please keep on informing about such great and greater personalities in future also. I pray God give some more energy and intelligence to your pen. God bless you! Good journalism I believe can make changes in our rotten UP. I know Akhilesh is a boy of good potential, but he has to learn many things through media. He is badly surrounded by party chamchaas. Bach ke raho chamchon se! Rooplal Saxena, Aligarh (UP)

INDIA’S LAST TEA SHOP The travel-experience of the writer, whose name I could not find anywhere in the magazine, is interesting. After reading the piece, I think I should also visit this place at least once to get refreshed in my body and soul as the writer has claimed the place does. In fact there must be hundreds of such places in the country but state governments do not care to develop them as tourist spots. To my mind the credit goes to the enterprising spirit of the couple who run this last tea shop of the country. I salute their spirit and courtesy. I can imagine the sweetness of their courteous invitation to have a cup of tea. True Indian culture is like this only, which unfortunately is missing in our big cities, where people are rude in their behavior. My one request to the editor-such travel-writings should appear more often as too much political coverage is over-bearing. Jaishree Upadhyay, Bhopal (MP)

tters at E-mail your le ail.com, lokayat01@gm ail.com tm ho y@ vinodvarshne


WITH CANDOUR

DUPLICITOUS TALK IS NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS! n ambitious and selfish person normally cannot figure out which way he has to go standing at the crossroad of public life. This looks true of Arvind Kejriwal. No matter what he claims, he has no magic wand with his NGO that would carry 120 crore people of this country on the path of Satyug! People in Satyug had the inner inspiration to be honest. When Tretayug came, it gave rise to corruption to the extent of one fourth, followed by Dwaparyug when enmity, hate, deceit and plunder became the norm. And now is Kalyug— characterised by violence, corruption, wickedness, immorality and all kinds of sin; where rules of competition are transformed into a wild dogfight; deceptive self-adoration to fulfill one’s ambition has become nothing but a legitimate ploy. Leg-pulling of deserving remains no offence. Habit of introspection has vanished into the thin air. Contempt, treachery, scorn and slander have got entrenched in the value system. See the case of that ex-soldier of Ralegaon Sidhi who stirred with national interest at his heart, holding idealism, non-violence and virtue as his bywords—but he too was pushed into the whirlwind of deception. He was used to the hilt by the India Against Corruption; and finally thrown aside. Because of this wrong company Anna’s views also got brutalised. By supporting Anna some people rose in the pedigree of politics. But Kejriwal is more impatient to become a hero like Anna. In his show at Jantar Mantar, hardly a few hundred people had gathered yet he dreams of changing the grammar and definition of politics. Arvind Kejriwal has befuddled himself in his figurative phraseology. His style is--launch a fusillade of allegations against established leaders and cause turbulence in the corridors of power. Levelling charges of corruption against top leaders of national parties is his strategy and easiest solution to reach the seat of power. He cleverly left company of Anna Hazare before he started implementing this strategy and levelled charges of impropriety related to real estate deals of the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, hurled baseless accusations against BJP’s national president Nitin Gadkari and tried to defame Salman Khursheed. The cut-throat competition among electronic media is also causing havoc. In the race to stay ahead of others even imaginary happenings are given the shape of news. If the stringer is seasoned then things may go well, but if he indulges in over-cooking with spicy developments then it only denigrates the status of media. In case of Salman Khursheed, one wonders if the reporter tried to go deep into the reality or just became victim of some hireling who wanted to besmirch the reputation of a decent leader. One slaps a case of defamation to the tune of Rs 100 crore only when he or she really feels aggrieved of false allegations. Digvijaya Singh has rightly sought answers from Arvind Kejriwal to his 27 questions. Why did he not oblige? Had he answered these questions, he would have earned some right to call himself a revolutionary. But he seems only to be consumed with a deep desire to contest an election. But then who stops him; why he is encouraging violence and illegal activities. It looks members of India Against Corruption have gone astray. The destiny of Arvind, Sisodia, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi would be tested when appropriate time comes. Only time will tell if the new party formed by them will grow or suffer a miscarriage. Duplicitous words alone cannot ensure success of a party in Indian democracy.<

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PUB-TALK

Get salvation in toilets! efecation in the open is foul, but to many it is not as foul as utterances of Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh. He seems to think it is fashionable to speak audaciously rather than concentrate silently on sincere public service. Just as some scatophagous filmmakers like to focus on slums and poverty to win Oscars, a few of our neonate politicians do utter irrational humbuggery for cheap headlines to get noticed by powers that be as rare intellectual super brats. In his angst in finding far less toilets for people than temples, he forgot to count how many of those unfortunate souls had a roof over their heads. Last time he felt the urge to dwell on his pet subject, he devastated Indian Railways by saying that it was the world's biggest open (or moving?) toilet! Surprisingly it did

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not get as big a headline as he thought it deserved. His talent for opening his big mouth is now recognised by all and sundry and, one suspects, he is in competition with the venerable record

holder Digvijay Singh. Ramesh’s yeoman service for the cause of toilets should make us forget his peccadilloes over the creation of ‘go and no-go’ zones in Pune. CAG had perhaps bigger fish to focus on; so nobody has any idea of the damage caused to the GDP by his precocious mind. The PM showed his disapproval of his capricious actions last time by removing him from the environment ministry; in the next round probably the high command of the party is wondering what to give for his toilettemple comment. Ramesh is unfazed by the hullabaloo all around; he kept on justifying his stand saying ‘No matter how many temples we visit, we will not get salvation.’ The short route, according to Jairam, is through toilets. That is to say, meditate longer in toilets!.<

Mystery of the missing Kapil Sibal t is a big political mystery: where has the feisty defender of politicians in distress disappeared at a time when there is a dire need for his services! He defended Lalu Yadav in alleged fodder scam. He used his powerful verbal shield against opposition snipes in the 2G and Coalgate scams. His legally sharp and quick arguments which floored Jan Lokpal advocates still ring in public ears. His disarming and cryptic smile at Baba Ramdev’s hilarious comedy on black money recovery could excel Mono Lisa’s. But why he did not rush to defend Robert Vadra when so many of his illustrious cabinet colleagues were taking turns at side? Did he feel it infra-dig to take up Vadra’s brief? Or perhaps the scam was of small dimension-- just Rs 500

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crores-- not worth his while? What is this tiny amount compared to 1.56 lakh crores of 2G Gate and 1.76 lakh crore of Coalgate! He cannot stoop to appear in small-cause courts to defend petty villains after having been the senior-most advocategeneral of the huge Congress parivar. Or did he truly draw a line between mischief by a cabinet minister and a small-time private juggler, even if that juggler happens to be the son-inlaw of the presumptive queen? Many feel his decision of not jumping into the fray has been wise—he can be judicious sometimes—as there is no point in taking up a brief where victory is not sure.<


PUB-TALK

Mujhe Meri Biwi se Bachao ndian politicians are known for their foot-in-the-mouth comments. Think before you speak is not an edict for them. So, you keep on hearing interesting things from them, especially when they try to become creative and lyrical. For instance, when our coal minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal who is embroiled in Coalgate became poetic at a Kavi Sammelan in Kanpur, he forgot that while regaling the audience he was placing a whole lot of wives on the line. How could he forget that there is an imperial body in the country called National Commission for Women? He thought he was innocently poetic when he said ‘old victory, like old wives give no

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cause for celebration. They lose charm over time.’ He only wanted to check the wild jubilation of students

celebrating with fireworks India’s victory over Pakistan at T-20 World Cup. His comments rightly raised the

hackles of women activists, both married and single, who demanded that the minister be thrown out of the cabinet instantly. The Opposition parties also supported this minimum punishment. The minister’s comment, however, generated some income for makers of effigies some which were set on fire in front of his residence. Rag pickers also could earn good money by selling old shoes used as garlands on the effigies. And TV channels had ample opportunity to better their TRP by showing all this ad nauseam. The minister’s comment kept wags wondering whether he spoke out of his personal experience!<

Stunning ‘Corruption-Wurruption’ any of our unwritten political traditions are like very flimsy china. So when suddenly people saw an energetic bull in the form of Arvind Kejriwal charging into our political china shop, they rightly expected a hair-raising scene of unending demolitions and destruction. They have not been disappointed. Before his wild card entry into politics he had been amusing people by his sober games of wearing different (Gandhi) caps. His earlier cap said ‘I am Anna’. The new one says ‘I am Aam Admi’. Thank God he did not wear the label ‘I am Arvind Kejriwal’. However, Robert Vadra, a rags to riches ‘businessman’ (from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 500 crore in three years, yes just three years!) gave him (Kejriwal) a good sobriquet ‘mango man’.

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Better than nothing! Anyway, some who were amused at his capers initially have now started worried and frightened. Earlier he was only copying Anna Hazare and sitting on a fast… Now he is playing Shiv Tandav. One thing is clear: the man who gives

him the idea must have a super political brain as he made Kejriwal emerge successful as an alternative to BJP, just as the MNS was created to kill Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. His blitzkrieg approach has truly brought him in a few months what many stalwarts could not achieve in 60 years! So forget why he suddenly junked Jan Lokpal on the wayside to make a simian climb on electricity poles in Delhi’s slums to restore electricity to the poor. It was a smart idea brilliantly executed! Next he exhumed skeletons of corruption to produce his box-office hit ‘Corruption-Wurruption’ by introducing new comicvillains like Vadra, Khursheed and Gadkari. This has proved a better family entertainer than ‘English-Winglish’.<

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COVER STORY

The next Lok Sabha elections whenever they are held might see Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal as the principal movers and shakers of our immediate destiny.

MOVERS & SHAKERS

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COVER STORY

By Anjalika Rajlakshmi

uch before the next Lok Sabha elections, the political environment is becoming disgusting each passing day with allegations and counter-allegations flying thick and fast, many of them politically motivated. Though prime minister Manmohan Singh has said emphatically that elections for the Lok Sabha would be held in due time, many political observers and some political parties do not believe him. Several parties have told their workers that they should be ready for elections as they are likely to be advanced. However, much of this prognosis would depend on how the winter session of Parliament is handled by the opposition. Even if there are no Lok Sabha elections any time soon, the poll process in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh is on and in another ten states this has to be started within a year. So, the political environment is sizzling in which the most convenient tool to run down rivals is to trade charges of corruption. The exercise of raising even minor instances of impropriety as corruption may work as smokescreen to hide the mega corruption cases. The UPA government and Congress leaders have come increasingly under pressure from civil society and opposition parties. How

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the UPA government is going to tackle this adverse environment which became even more devastating due to poor economic growth, high inflation and the record high fiscal deficit. The return of P Chidambaram to the finance ministry is showing signs of economic-revival and reduction in fiscal deficit. The prime minister by his recent major over-hauling of his cabinet has displayed his intention that he is keen to deliver before the next elections. The cabinet changes effected by the PM in consultation with party chief Sonia Gandhi display due care of the hostile political situation, especially in Andhra Pradesh, which is so important for the Congress as it was that state which enabled it in 2009 to come back to power for the second consecutive term. From all available indications, it also appears that the Congress intends to fight the adverse political environment by propping up Rahul Gandhi, who may bear the brunt of leading the poll campaign across the country in 2014. They tried to persuade him to join the cabinet, but he declined reportedly stating that this would impact the party work which he intends to do. He, however, saw to it that young ministers of calibre were given promotion and a few new faces inducted.

Will it be Rahul versus Modi? The main challenge to the Congress in the next parliamentary elections will

come from the BJP with Narendra Modi being implicitly projected as its prime ministerial candidate provided he shows good results in the Gujarat Assembly polls in December. However this may create a rift in the National Democratic Alliance, the challenge coming from Bihar strongman Nitish Kumar. Another challenge on the horizon is from Arvind Kejriwal who is in the process of forming a political party, which may accelerate formation of some kind of a third front by the time Lok Sabha elections are held. His party on its own may not pose a big threat, but by joining hands with some willing partners, his anticorruption platform may be able to influence the electoral outcome. However, independent observers feel his rise beyond a level may spell gloom and doom for the BJP. By hijacking the issue of corruption from the BJP and putting the party itself in the dock, he has sought to shrink the support base of the BJP to a large extent. Realising this, many in the BJP call him a Congress agent. After completing the purposeful cabinet revamp satisfactorily, the Congress party is now busy reorganising itself to face the challenges ahead and give Rahul Gandhi a bigger role-may be as the partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s working president. Until now he has been treated as the de facto number two in the party, but he kept his activities confined to the youth wings in the party.<

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Frustration of political parties in not being able to remove the Congress from the seat of power had been the main reason for targetting it by false and malicious charges in the past. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi had all been targeted in the past. And when political circles started feeling that Rahul might become prime minister someday, a deep-rooted conspiracy was hatched well in advance of the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009 to tarnish him as a characterless person. Even the judicial process was misused to this end. However, the Supreme Court last month strongly disapproved such malicious efforts and fined heavily those elements who were engaged in them.

GUTTER POLITICS By Aaditya Tewari

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Rajiv Gandhi learnt basics of politics from his mother, and Sonia herself picked up some political lessons when Rajiv was in power. She put that knowledge to good use in managing the party when it was badly needed. She resuscitated the Congress and brought it back to power. But Rahul has not been so fortunate as to learn politics that way. He is, instead, learning political nitty-gritty the hard way.

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olitics in India is going to the gutter level: launching a smear campaign by levelling highly damaging charges is becoming â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;normalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; political activity. The irony here is it is being done in the name of cleansing the system. For some leaders throwing mud has become an easy way to

acquire more political space. But experience shows such gimmicks lose their efficacy sooner than later. Character assassination by unsubstantiated and malicious charges has been tried against Congress leaders for long with the intention of pulling them down from power. But achieving this goal through conspiracies lowers both the standard of politics as well as the image of politicians. Sometime ago a conspiracy was hatched against Rahul Gandhi to ruin his public image by concocting gang rape charges. This happened when it was in the realm of speculation that Rahul Gandhi might be the next prime minister. Maturity of UP voters can be credited for seeing through this game as they responded to Rahulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaigning well resulting in doubling the Congress LS seats in UP from 9 to 18 in 2009. There is a long history of targeting Gandhi family with such tricks. Indira Gandhi had been a victim of a number of baseless allegations, many of them motivated by a desire to depose her from the prime ministership. She resented the way she was being maligned; some


COVER STORY

OF DEFAMATION political observers believed this warped her mind so much that it ultimately led to the imposition of emergency. No doubt emergency was misused at several levels but the charge of excesses against her had only shortterm impact as within less than three years she was re-elected with overwhelming majority. Rajiv Gandhi was also a victim of tendentious allegations. Congressmen allege that Bofors scam was nothing but a deep-rooted conspiracy. In spite of many yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; investigations nothing came out to prove that Rajiv was a recipient of any kick-backs. The Bofors scandal helped only to badly impact the defence preparedness of the country. Sonia Gandhi too faced innumerable baseless charges for several years, and it goes to her credit that she overcame them with fortitude. Over the years she learnt to face them and give befitting replies to her adversaries. Today she is able to silence her detractors within and outside the party.

The political experience Sonia Gandhi gained when Rajiv was the prime minister, helped her later to face the onslaught of opponents and bring the party back to power. Braving criticism of being a person of foreign origin, she soon turned the table on her formidable opponents. Then Rahul was targetted when he started shaping up his political personality by going among the people and trying to understand the Indian society and their problems. He was called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Yuvrajâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a disparaging sobriquet in political terminology. But the way he is trying to infuse new spirit among the youth of the party, he should emerge as a powerful and effective leader in days to come.

Conspiracy to tarnish Rahul as characterless Many opposition politicians and some even in the Congress fear

Sonia Gandhi too faced several baseless charges and personal attacks for many years. It goes to her credit that she took them in her stride with fortitude. Over the years she learnt to give befitting replies to her adversaries. Today we find she can stand on her own against all detractors within and outside the party.

that if Rahul becomes prime minister one day, their political future would be routed forever. So the gangrape charge against him was concocted --that on 3rd December 2006 Rahul

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Rahul Threatens Legal Action Against Swamy ontinuing his penchant of making allegations, this time Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy has alleged that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi ‘fraudulently’ acquired ‘Associated Journals Ltd’ which used to publish ‘National Herald’ and ‘Quami Awaz’ newspapers. Reacting sharply to the allegations Rahul Gandhi dubbed his charges as ‘utterly false, entirely baseless and defamatory’ and sent a notice to him within hours of Swami’s press conference saying he would take all legal actions against him to ensure that an individual like him does not abuse the freedom to speak and write in utter violation of the equally important need in a civilised society to maintain the dignity of individuals and organizations. It seems he may file a defamatory suit against him. Swamy said he would take the matter to its logical conclusion. He also alleged that Congress had given a commercial loan of Rs 90 crore to the company, which a political party is not allowed to do. Congress responded by saying that it was a political activity to save the ailing company and revive newspapers founded by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937.<

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Gandhi and six of his friends including two Britons and two Italians, had confined a girl in Amethi and gangraped her. Everything was wellplanned: a set was designed and shooting was done using cinematographic tricks. The video was posted on a website controlled from abroad at the behest of some leaders here. Beside a habeas corpus petition was also filed at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court based on false allegations. Indian and foreign media colluded to give it wide publicity continuously for several years. The issue was kept alive like that of Bofors to scotch his political life at the very start. Rahul finally got his dignity and prestige restored when the allegations of kidnap and gang-rape were trashed first by the Allahabad High Court and later (last month) by the Supreme Court. The High Court had even slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh for the frivolous petition aimed at reaping political advantage. The Supreme Court found that the verdict of the High

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Court was justified as the petitioners could not produce even an iota of evidence to support the charges. However the Supreme Court, finding the punishment of Rs 50 lakh too harsh for misusing the judicial process, reduced it to Rs 5 lakh each on the two different petitioners. Rahul Gandhi will be paid Rs 5 lakh out of that as compensation for the damage to his reputation and Rs 5 lakh would be paid to the victim girl’s family. The high court had not only slapped an exemplary fine of Rs 50 lakh but had also directed a CBI probe against the former Samajwadi Party MLA Kishore Samrite and others that might be found involved in the conspiracy. The apex court dismissed with cost another petition of Gajender Pal Singh, who had approached the Allahabad High Court for the dubious gesture of saving the reputation of Gandhi and the family of the girl. The important thing to note here is that Samrite had named UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and other

senior leaders of the Samajwadi Party for instigating him to file the petition against Rahul Gandhi. Interestingly in the petition he had mentioned that he acted as a public figure with good conscience but made a somersault later claiming, he acted on the directives of politicians. AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi termed the Supreme Court judgment historic as it might go a long way to stop cheap and baseless allegations traded in current politics. No doubt the trend if allowed to continue can be dangerous.<


COVER STORY himself politically non-aligned and also to perhaps drive a wedge in the rank and file of the BJP. They found that just raising the issue of Jan Lokpal Bill was wastage of energy. Sources say that Kejriwal & Company may work on a strategy to field a few of their trusted candidates in the electoral battlefield, but may support a few other candidates contesting elections on other parties’ tickets. There is some speculation that they may associate with the proposed

NEW TYPE OF POLITICS BASED ON ALLEGATIONS By Aditi Mahalaxmi

rvind Kejriwal doubtlessly wants to play a role in the next Lok Sabha elections scheduled to take place in 2014, which may be advanced also. Being impatient with the ways and means of Anna Hazare, he left not only his camp but his Gandhian ways also. Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Mayank and Anjali Damania seem to have developed their own thesis according to which they can be heard more and come nearer to the seat of power faster if they continue to hurl allegations on political parties, especially the Congress and that too on Gandhi family. BJP insiders feel that Kejriwal did target BJP president Nitin Gadkari also aiming to project

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third front if that agrees to some points of their agenda. But electoral success depends not just on slogans and by making big accusations. A survey done in urban and rural areas say that their self-assumed popularity may not fetch for them votes. Even those who go to learn Yoga at Baba Ramdev’s camps say that they weren’t going to vote at the behest of the Yoga Guru. Even though his Bharat Swabhiman Trust has large number of primary members in Hindi speaking states, the silence of these members as to whom they would vote is a fair indication that hardly 20 percent of them can go with him. The primary members of the Trust are in negligible number in rural areas where most of the voters exist. People close to Baba Ramdev say that his party would not go against the BJP. He may not even

Two ‘Sarkari Damaads’: Robert Vadra and Ranjan Bhattacharya obert Vadra’s family had an export business of brass and wood handicrafts. He multiplied the business over the years several times. His family is known to be once close to the RSS. Sensing the political fallout of his association with the Gandhi family, Robert distanced himself from his own father, brother and sister. He even went to the extent of publishing an advertisement disowning his relationship with them. In between, his father and brother died in mysterious circumstances. But his mother Maureen Vadra remained always with him. Robert Vadra said that he was under great pressure to contest elections from Sultanpur in 2009. But he chose to devote time only in his business. He is either director, managing director or additional director of a dozen odd companies. Artex, one of his companies, deals in export of decorative goods and artificial jewelry. Blue Breeze, another company gives chartered planes on rent. He is also a partner in Hilton Hotel in Delhi, which also has been questioned by Kejriwal. Majority of the papers related to his companies bear either his or his mother’s name as owner. Robert Vadra is among a few VIPs who have been given special security concession at domestic airports. Another sarkari damad is Ranjan Bhattacharya, the son-in-law of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who came in the firing line of supporters of Robert Vadra. Ranjan had started his career with Oberoi Hotel as a manager at an early age of 25. He married Namita, adopted daughter of Atal Bihar Vajpayee. This allegedly helped him to succeed in business. In 1987, he opened a hotel at Manali, which he later sold. He is the managing director of Country Development and Management Services, started by him in 1998. This is a joint venture of Karlson Hotel, USA and Chanakya Hotel, India, which he himself handles. He has some stake in this venture. His company reportedly operates 18 hotels in the name and style of Country Inn and Suites by Karlson, Radisson and Park Plaza. Eight hotels are under construction.<

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COVER STORY

Kejriwal’s Internal Lokpal rvind Kejriwal formed a committee of retired judges to inquire into the corruption cases raised against his associates Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania and Prashant Bhushan. The committee will act like an independent Lokpal. Once, a close associate of Gandhian Anna Hazare, Kejriwal now has worn the tag of Aam Admi (Mango Man according to Robert Vadra) leaving behind the Gandhian methods. The moot question is whether he will succeed by changing his stance. Kejriwal couldn’t answer even one of the 27 questions posed by Digvijay Singh. Annie Kohli publicly lambasted Kejriwal and threw 9 questions to him, which the former IRS officer did not choose to answer.<

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Kejriwal & Company has unleashed several members of the India Against Corruption against Nitin Gadkari in an attempt to create a shy away from divide in the inner circle of the BJP. This shaking hands has to be seen how the party leaders with the conduct themselves in this situattion. This Samajwadi Party as a well thought also has to be seen what comes out of out strategy. the probe demanded by Nitin Both Ramdev and Gadkari against himself. Kejriwal don’t see eye to eye with each other. Their thinking approach and goals differ significantly. While Ramdev wants to become a saffronoriented leader, Arvind Kejriwal wants to earn a name as a revolutionary politician, and he thinks one can appear revolutionary if one targets the types of senior cabinet ministers like Salman Khurshid and VIPs like Robert Vadra, son in law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Kejriwal has undoubtedly been successful in creating some ripples in the Indian political fields. When he levelled allegations against Salman Khurshid and Robert Vadra, Indian National Lok Dal chief and former chief minister of Haryana immediately took cue and repeated them. While BJP’s mouth piece ‘Kamal Sandesh’ wrote against him bitterly and national general secretary of Congress former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh asked 27 questions which he refused to answer. Annie

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| LOKAYAT NOVEMBER, 2012

Kohli also raised certain questions against him. Whatever is happening that has left Anna Hazare in distress. Targeting Sonia Gandhi’s high profile son in law is clearly intended to seek big publicity in media. The Congress and others now has raised the issue why nobody questioned Ranjan Bhattacharya, son in law of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who allegedly got immense benefits by remaining closely linked with NDA’s late communication minister Pramod Mahajan. If charges of misuse of office and corruption are made with political motives, they lose much of their sanctity. The issue of Robert Vadra’s

real estate deals looks shocking at the first sight but many Congressmen argue that there are millions of people in the country who have made quick money by their property businesses. Whenever general elections are round the corner, number of such charges and counter-charges multiply. However the issue of DLF giving Robert Vadra Rs 65 crore as loan was a regular business practice or a quid pro quo, will be decided by the Allahabad High Court as the matter has reached there.<


COVER STORY

EMBATTLED UPA GOVT BRINGS IN A TOUCH OF YOUTH Focus on younger leaders as PM gives cabinet an overdue facelift, keeping in mind the 2014 general elections By Govind Tiwari

he reshuffle, which has been on the cards for six months, may be Dr. Man Mohan Singh's last chance to significantly change the direction of his government and convince voters that the ruling Congress party deserves a third consecutive term in 2014. It is also a means to show an image makeover to the government battling a series of alleged scams, a slowing economy, rising public agitation and pending anti-corruption legislation. The reshuffle follows a slew of economic reforms that improved investor sentiments about the country’s economy and restored some credibility to Dr Singh's flagging leadership. The latest cabinet reshuffle, which witnessed the induction of 22 ministers, including 17 new faces, saw elevation of younger leaders in a bid to appeal to one of the world's younger electorates and to give the cabinet an overdue facelift. The Man Mohan Singh cabinet had been seen as increasingly out of touch with the country's youthful electorate. Outgoing foreign minister, S.M. Krishna, 80, had stepped down ahead of the rejig, saying he was "making way for youngsters." The reshuffle is being seen as having the stamp of Rahul Gandhi all over it. The reshuffle, surprisingly, affected a number of important portfolios, including, oil, foreign policy, railways, and justice. The biggest surprise came in the form of Salman Khurshid’s shift to the foreign ministry in the backdrop

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Salman Khurshid promoted as External Affairs Minister

Kapil Sibal divested of HRD ministry

of charges of financial irregularities in his NGO for differently-able people.

PM sends clear message to civil society activists by giving important ministries to ‘tainted’ and ‘targeted’ leaders

Khurshid ‘promoted’, Jaipal Reddy ‘demoted’ By giving Khurshid the prestigious Foreign Affairs portfolio, the PM has sent out a loud message to the civil society activists who have been targeting his ministers and leaders over scams. Samajwadi Party, an ally lending outside support to the UPA, slammed the government for elevating the ‘corrupt’ in the cabinet rejig and objected particularly to Salman Khurshid's promotion as the External Affairs Minister. The other key portfolio change is that M Veerappa Moily has been moved from corporate affairs ministry to petroleum ministry to replace S Jaipal Reddy in the midst of an ongoing conflict between India’s largest private sector company Reliance and the petroleum ministry over revising the gas price that the corporate giant is

Jaipal Reddy knocked out of The Petroleum & Naturel gas ministry

extracting from the Krishna Godavari basin. This change has drawn severe flak from Arvind Kejriwal and several opposition parties including the CPI and CPM. Reddy has been shunted to relatively less important ministry of science and technology and earth sciences. Ministry of Human Resource Development being taken away from

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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COVER STORY

Cabinet becomes younger by more than 3 years arring a few leaders, most of the inductees are in the age group of 47 and 60 and the average age of the 76-member council of ministers has come down from 62 years to 58.6. The youngest ministers in the current team are Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora, both 35 years, while at 80, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remains the senior-most of the lot. The government's confidence in its young Turks can be understood from the fact that all key economic and energy portfolios have been awarded to leaders under the age of 45. While Jyotiraditya Scindia (41) has been promoted as minister of state (MoS) (independent charge) for power, Sachin Pilot has been appointed MoS (independent) corporate affairs. Other leaders from Rahul's camp are Adhir Chowdhury (56) MoS railways and Deepa Dasmunshi (52) MoS urban development, Jitendra Singh (41) MoS (independent charge) youth affairs and sports, Manish Tewari (46) MoS (independent) information and broadcasting ministry. Delhi MP Ajay Maken (48), who was holding the independent charge of sports, has been elevated to Cabinet rank and made the new housing and urban poverty alleviation minister.<

Kapil Sibal has shocked the senior Congress leader. Now, Sibal has to only look after the Telecom ministry.

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Poll-bound states benefit Sachin Pilot MoS of Corporate Affairs (Independent Charge)

Jitin Prasad MoS for HRD

Jyotiraditya Scindia MoS for Power (Independent Charge)

jitendra singh MoS of Youth Affairs & Sports

Ajay Maken Cabinet Minister

| LOKAYAT NOVEMBER, 2012

Regional and state politics was also kept in mind while the latest reshuffle was done. With a couple of states â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Himachal and Gujarat â&#x20AC;&#x201C; going to polls in the next one month and more states getting ready for elections next year, it was no wonder that these states got maximum representations. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, however, expressed his disappointment that Madhya Pradesh did not get the expected representations. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi has been rewarded with the Tourism Ministry for merging his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress. Uttarakhand veteran Harish Rawat has been inducted into the government---his compensation for not being made chief minister when Congress won the state earlier this year. Chandresh Kumari Katoch, a MP from Jodhpur, who has been a minister in Himachal Pradesh, has been inducted as a cabinet minister and given portfolio of culture. Dinsha J. Patel, a Congress MP from Kheda in poll-bound Gujarat, has also been elevated as cabinet minister for mines. Bharatsinh Solanki, party MP from Anand who was minister of state for railways, has been elevated as Minister of state (independent charge) drinking water and sanitation. K. Rahman Khan, a Congress MP from Karnataka,

has been made a cabinet minister and given portfolio of minority affairs. Similarly, K.H. Muniyappa, Congress MP from Kolar in Karnataka, who was minister of state for railways, has been elevated as minister of state (independent charge) of micro, small and medium enterprises. Ajay Maken, MP from Delhi, which will also face polls next year, has been elevated to cabinet rank and given charge of housing and urban poverty alleviation. As Rajasthan goes to polls next year, Lalchand Kataria, a Congress MP from Jaipur Rural, has been inducted as Minister of State for Defence. Two other young leaders from the state have been promoted. Jitendra Singh, MP from Alwar who was minister of state for home, has been promoted as minister of state (independent charge) for youth affairs and sports. Sachin Pilot, minister of state for communications and information technology and Congress MP from Ajmer, has been elevated as minister of state (independent charge) for corporate affairs. Similarly, leaders from Madhya Pradesh, which will also go to the polls next year, have figured in the cabinet reshuffle. Jyotiraditya Scindia, party MP from Guna and minister of state for commerce and industry, has been promoted to minister of state (independent charge) for power. Party leader Kamal Nath, MP from Chhindwara, has also been given parliamentary affairs in addition to his charge of urban development.<


GUJARAT

WILL GADKARI ‘SCAM’ SPOIL MODI’S GAME?

Indomitable chief minister Narendra Modi

they are being used as ammunition by rival parties for the forthcoming elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The media cacophony about corruption charges and counter-charges is adding to the confusion of the common man as to who could be the culprit. Elections in Gujarat this time are going to be the game-changer for the main national parties, the Congress and the BJP. They would not

BJP National President, Nitin Gadkari, is under attack for alleged improprieties in his Purti Group of companies and dubious investments in the shell companies that had his personal staff—his driver, even an astrologer—as directors. The charges are yet to be investigated by any agency; but they promise to provide the Congress with highly effective ammunition during the electoral battle. This might influence Narendra Modi’s prospects of yet another spectacular victory in Gujarat. And, a poor performance could knock his ambition of being named party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014. BJP insiders, however, believe Modi won’t miss the target by a large gap.

By Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna

hrough the fast changing political scenario in the country allegations are flying thick and fast all around. And, expectedly,

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just decide the fate of a state but could launch Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The prospect is bound to create uneasiness in many quarters, including the BJP itself. On the eve of elections, while Narendra Modi looks confident(rather over-confident) of holding fast to Gujarat throne for a third consecutive term --- possibly with an improved tally--- many independent political observers believe that the charges of

impropriety in the self-proclaimed social enterprises of BJP’s national president Nitin Gadkari could spoil Modi’s party. With newer facts about these charges hitting media headlines, BJP’s corruption plank is quite wobbly. Presently the party has chosen to defend Gadkari after he offered to face a probe into the charges. But if proofs of impropriety and corruption tumble out, not only his second term as party president would be in jeopardy, but the BJP’s electoral prospects may get impacted. The first test lies ahead in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. BJP leaders were sanguine about their victory in these two states as the image of Congress was badly tarnished in alleged corruption in 2G-spectrum allocation, coal mine licensing and CWG hosting. Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations against Robert Vadra and the former law minister Salman Khurshid only added to the heap. But with Gadkari embroiled in an embarrassing scam, the Congress hopes to turn the tide. For each of the 182 seats in the assembly there are 20 BJP aspirants on an average. That’s a measure of the party’s popularity. But, this could make it difficult for the BJP to sustain the team spirit till the voting day, as those denied tickets would sulk or lose enthusiasm. Some could even resort to undercutting the official candidates. Responding to a query during a magazine’s recent survey on who was the biggest enemy of the BJP, nearly 18 percent Gujaratis said it was the BJP itself. This number was 4 percentage points higher than those who felt it was the JD-U. Of course 60 percent said it was the Congress. Dissidence has been the bane of

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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GUJARAT Congress in most states. In Gujarat, however, that is not the case this time. The party leadership took another positive decision of not raking up the decade-old Godhra riots but confronting the ruling party over the issue of development instead. That makes the

challenge stiffer. Gujarat, under Modi, is economically among the fastest growing states in the country. Its per capita income is twice the national average. Gujarat also happens to be one of the few states with surplus electricity. It has been able to attract foreign investors in large numbers. All these factors go in favour of Narendra Modi. Yet cautious and determined Modi started his campaign long ago, BJP’s first by setting out on Sadbhavana Mission and popularity in Gujarat is then on Vivekananda evident from the fact that for Yatra. Similarly each seat in the assembly there Congress leaders have taken out four are 20 aspirants. Conversely, this different Yatras. could also make it difficult for BJP to Sonia Gandhi too keep up the team spirit till the polling. reached Gujarat on October 3 (quite Nearly 18 percent Gujaratis believe the early) to pep up her biggest enemy of the BJP was the party members. BJP itself. The Congress, on the The Congress has been out of power since other hand, presents a united 1995 when Chhabildas look unlike in the past. Mehta was the chief minister. However, the party’s campaign committee chief, Shankersinh Vaghela, is confident that the 12-point development vision would win over the electorate. State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia says the party activists have successfully fanned out to the capillary level after a long time. ‘We have reached out right up to the booths. Last time we lost 32 seats by low margins and have focussed on them this time. Moreover, delimitation has lent balance to fights in many constituencies.’ To attract voters Congress has promised low-cost housing for the poor and working women, including free land, and free laptops to all students entering college. The party officials claim to have already ensured large number of votes, pointing to the 2.5 million forms for its housing project that have been already distributed. Senior Congress Leader Shanker Singh Vaghela

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Results of 2007 Assembly Elections (Total Seats 182) Party

Seats won

Vote percent

BJP Congress NCP JD-U BSP Independents

117 59 3 0 0 2

49.12 38.00 1.05 1.06 2.62 6.61

Results of 2002 Assembly Elections (Total Seats 182) Party

Seats won

Vote percent

BJP Congress NCP BSP JD-U Independents

127 51 0 0 2 2

49.85 39.28 1.71 0.32 0.86 5.72

Shankersinh Vaghela, Modhwadia and the Congress legislature party chief Shaktisinh Gohil are trying to convince the people that Modi’s policies have been ‘anti-people, anti-farmers and devoid of any development’. Vaghela is undoubtedly the most popular leader of Congress. Though many Congressmen do not accept his leadership owing to his RSS background, they acknowledge him to be the most charismatic face of the party. The interesting feature this time is Modi’s conciliatory gestures towards Muslims to thwart the Congress and civil society’s sustained attack on his alleged involvement in the Godhra riots. The magazine’s survey also reveals that though majority of Muslims do not intend to vote for him many of


GUJARAT

Janta Dal (U) rules out seat-sharing with BJP anata Dal (United) has again declared quite early that, as in 2007, it will contest Gujarat assembly elections on its own. It contested 35 seats then and won one securing 0.66 percent of total votes. Sharad Yadav, the NDA Convener, has criticised Modi government for giving too many tax incentives to industrialists and even allowing them to set up units on forest land. Modi government had launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna for tribal welfare, but JD-U leader asserts that it did no good to them. He cited how in spite of several dams built by the government the tribal population did not get water for drinking and irrigation. ‘So this time we will contest the election on the issue of tribal development’, said Yadav. The JDU intends to contest 35 to 40 seats. Nitish Kumar may not campaign for party candidates.<

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Congress leader Shakti Singh Gohil

BJP national president Nitin Gadkari

them do not consider him first time this year, Gujarat saw posters to be unfair to them of Modi wishing people going for anymore. Haj. ‘Eid Mubarak’ The If the BJP banners with a fields a few beaming Modi interesting feature this Muslim greeted people time is Modi’s placatory candidates in Muslim gestures towards Muslims. For the (as is areas. He strongly had fielded first time this year, Gujarat saw posters expected); nearly half of Modi wishing people going for Haj. it can a dozen After delimitation Muslim votes would be counter Muslim the decisive on 28 assembly seats. The BJP candidates Congress in could, therefore, field some Muslim and Junagarh candidates this time. In 2002 and showcase civic some elections. 2007 the BJP did not field a Muslims Delimitation single Muslim candidate. winning on the has ensured that party tickets. For the Muslim votes would

be decisive on 28 assembly seats. The BJP could, therefore, field some Muslim candidates this time to deal with the new situation. In 2002 and 2007 the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate. Surprisingly, the BJP has also embraced a few Muslim faces from the Congress. In another interesting development, former vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, once shunned by hardliners for praising Modi, has come out openly in favour of Congress. He called Modi

Former BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel

a ‘zalim’, praising whom would be crime. He claimed he never praised him as alleged by the community. Wary of possible non-cooperation by a section of RSS workers, particularly the supporters of Keshubhai Patel and Sanjay Joshi in the state elections, Modi air-dashed to Nagpur during Dussehra reportedly to seek help from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. The battle in Gujarat will be complicated because it isn’t just between Congress and the BJP, but there is an old stalwart Keshubhai Patel, the former chief minister, now a rebel, in belligerent mood all out to send across the message that under Modi the BJP has become a ‘one man party’ and has strayed from its principles.<

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HIMACHAL PRADESH

REBELS MAY UPSET BJP’S By Lokayat Correspondent

imachal Pradesh is a tiny state, ordinarily not of much consequence to the national politics, as it sends just four Lok Sabha members in a house of 543. Yet the state assembly poll here on November 4 assumes crucial importance as the main national parties, the BJP and the Congress, look towards it as a dry run to the next national battle which may be advanced. From the point of view of the state politics also there is much at stake for both the ruling BJP and the opposition

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success of its ‘mission repeat’. The Congress lost initial days as it took longer to decide on tickets, but the party president Sonia Gandhi landed here to give a boost to its campaign and tell the public in her characteristic style that the BJP only makes promises, it does not deliver. Rahul Gandhi also went there to galvanize the youth and talked lustily about various programmes initiated by the Centre. Joining the campaign prime minister Manmohan Singh refuted the BJP’s charge of discrimination against Himachal and said the Congress-led UPA have given full financial support to the state by its plan size by 30 percent and increasing the economic package from

The 78-year-old Vir Bhadra Singh has announced the November 4 assembly elections as his ‘last political battle’; he wants people to give him one more (6th) term as chief minister before he will call it a day from politics.

Third front also this time To make it difficult for both the BJP and the Congress, there is a ‘third front’ to contend with. Formed a few months ago by the CPM and Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), a group of former BJP leaders, most of them close to the former chief minister and Rajya Sabha MP Shanta Kumar, it has changed the equation in several constituencies. Others like the

Himachal Pradesh assembly poll is a test bed of popularity of the two main national parties in the hill state. If the BJP loses here as in Uttarakhand, its hope to occupy the high seat in Delhi again may get badly hurt. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal addresses a rally

Congress. The electoral battle in Himachal Pradesh has become fiercer after the charges of improper business deals against the BJP president Nitin Gadkari and new corruption charges against the five-time chief minister of H.P., Congress veteran Vir Bhadra Singh. Obviously the Congress would love to do a repeat of Uttarakhand here and hence is working hard on its ‘mission delete’ whereas the BJP would want the

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| LOKAYAT NOVEMBER, 2012

Rs 200 crore to Rs 900 crore. Of the 45.65 lakh registered voters in the state, nearly half are below the age of 40 and will influence the outcome. The BJP has done much to its credit during the last five years, but it is diffident about the future on account of its rebels. Its leaders therefore think that corruption cases of Vir Bhadra Singh and mega scams at the Centre are the right issues to harp on.

Trinamool Congress and the Lok Janshakti Party have fielded rebel candidates on their symbol. The rebels and HLP candidates are expected to play ‘spoil-sport’ for the BJP and the Congress and can even influence the formation of the government in case of a hung assembly. Both, the faction-ridden ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had a tough time distributing tickets on account of


HIMACHAL PRADESH

‘MISSION REPEAT’ APPLECART rebels groups. The exercise took several rounds of meetings before both the parties could declare their candidates for all the 68 constituencies. The election outcome would be influenced by the delimitation also which has altered the demography of many constituencies and also changed reserved category status of some of them. Even Prem Kumar Dhumal and Vir Bhadra Singh have lost their traditional constituencies and had to select new ones, displacing the old, well-set candidates there.

BJP makes fancy promises Dhumal acted smart and announced

PHOTO:PTI

several election sops in time to beat the anti-incumbency factor. BJP’s promise to give electric heaters in the wake of increase in the price of gas cylinders immediately attracted public attention. Incidentally Himachal has surplus power. BJP manifesto has promised jobs to all registered in the employment exchange till 2008. It also promises a medical college in Mandi and an engineering college in Shimla. On the

governance front it promises to ensure solution to any public complaint within 45 days of receiving it and posting a woman police officer at every district headquarters. It also promises free pilgrimage to old people. It has made the alleged ‘discrimination against the state as its main ‘poll mantra’. The Congress, on the other hand, has cornered the BJP government over the alleged sale of land and other interests to ‘outsiders’ on a large scale. It promises to re-examine all such transactions if voted to power. Vir Bhadra Singh never minced words in lambasting BJP leaders and ‘their wrongdoings’. But, latest charges of

government’s failure to utilise the central funds as evidenced by the fact that close to Rs 10,000 crore lapsed in the last financial year was also mentioned. Prof Dhumal responded by saying that his government had not only spent 102 percent of the Rs 11,400 crore Five-Year-Plan outlay, but put a better show in the Centre-sponsored schemes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee schemes. Vir Bhadra Singh is believed to have dominated the selection of candidates and ensured allotment of tickets to all his loyalists in nearly 50 seats. His supporters claim that the Congress will

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Virbhadra Singh during an election rally, in Mandi, Himachal Pardesh

corruption against him and his breathing fire against media had taken wind out of his sails, but luckily for Congress came more sensational money-laundering charges against BJP’s national chief Nitin Gadkari to smother BJP’s attack on the issue of corruption. Singh highlighted bad condition of roads, lack of doctors in hospitals and teachers in schools to puncture the BJP’s claims of development. The state

gain from the largely fair selection of party candidates as compared to the BJP which is believed to have compromised much due to the pressure tactic of Shanta Kumar to deny tickets to some Dhumal loyalists even as their chances of winning the concerned constituencies were high. But the situation in Congress thanks to rebels remained worrisome even after some 31 leaders were expelled from the party.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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WORLD

PUBLIC DEBATE IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL By Prof MR Dua

y the time Lokayat readers get to read this article, they would have known whom the American people have elected to occupy the historic White House to govern the United States for the next four years. Observing from close quarters for the first time the election scene in the United States during the last 20 weeks has been a profound learning experience for me. One interesting thing that struck me most is the transparent fund-raising mechanism to run the costly electioneering. Some $ 6 billion has been spent on electioneering by the two major

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nationally fixed for election (in the current instance, November 6). In fact, President Obama voted in his home state, on October 25, much before the appointed date, thus he became the first- ever president to do so. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, voted even earlier, a week before that. To help voters directly judge and compare capabilities and opinions of their future leader and where they stand on various issues of their concern, minimum three presidential debates and one vice-presidential encounter are arranged, which are telecast live on all popular television channels at prime time for nation-wide viewing. These channels put out the result of the debate the very next morning. On the basis of

The two rivals before the start of debate

parties. Though adequate funds are made available to the parties by the government, most candidates prefer to collect donations openly on their own. However, these funds which are spent under highly vigilant supervision of the government’s election panel are properly audited and even kept open to inspection by the people. Another significant feature is the registration of new voters which, unlike in India, is permitted even upto 15 days before the polling date. And casting of votes—that goes on from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week, starting three to four weeks before the date President Barraek Obama

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debates, it has been guesstimated that the incumbent Democratic Party candidates, Obama-Biden team, command a slim lead of nearly 2 percentage points over the Republican Party duo, Romney-Ryan. Before the debates concluded late in October, 15 days before the polling date, the Democrats had a safe and resounding majority of some 11 percentage points. This means the debates did influence some voters to change their perception. Both the leaders asserted during the debate that their first task would be to lift the drooping image of America internationally. The Obama administration’s four-year performance came in for strident criticism on


WORLD

OF US ELECTIONS this issue. Romney took Obama to task also for swelling the national deficit to $16 trillion—a record in American history! This amount is almost 100 percent of their GDP!

Obama would bring back jobs from China Obama put up a valiant defence and asserted how he had assured the national defence and security after Osama bin Laden’s decimation, reduced risks of attacks from al-Qaeda, wound up war in Iraq, winding up current involvement in Afghanistan by December 2014, diminished chances of violence in the Middle East and successfully protected the nation from one of the worst economic recession in the world’s history.

The First lady Michelle Obama

On the issue of national budget deficit, he turned the tables on Romney by pointing out that he had indeed inherited much of the national budget deficit from the previous government of the Republicans. Of course, it has further increased due to one of the worst recessions the world has seen, he argued. What brought brownie points to Mitt Romney was his forceful attack on the miserable state of the 23 million jobless Americans and 47 million being on food stamps and more jobs shifting overseas, thus unemployment rising to 7.8 percent, highest in many decades. Obama put the blame for this also on the economic meltdown that had

actually set in 2008 when Republican president George W. Bush was occupying the White House. Its impact intensified when he (Obama) took over in 2009 because of Eurozone’s debt crisis. During the debates, the presidential hopefuls not only criticised their rivals but put their plans on the table as to how they would change the sagging fortunes of America for all to see. Listening to their plans, it appeared no matter who won, the next President would have to reinvigorate industries to create more employment opportunities in America. Obama aggressively mentioned that he would bring back jobs to the country which Romney’s party had shipped to China.

Ann seeks chances to become the First Lady

He assured affordable healthcare to more Americans, especially senior citizens and war veterans. He promised to save the middle class from increased taxes and to bring a little more equity by raising tax rates on millionaires and billionaires. He also announced his plan for a complete education reform, key to the American dream of remaining the economic leader of the world. During the long campaign period US citizens are pounded by a confounding cacophony of opinion polls. It becomes quite befuddling to see some 40 national pollsters daily predicting results on an hourly basis!<

Republican candidate Mitt Romney

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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WORLD

WOMEN SPEAKERS ASK FOR GENDER-SENSITIVE PARLIAMENTS

A few of the 13 women speakers who attended the Delhi meet.

By Santosh Mehta

he 2012 is a milestone year as one in every five MPs of the world is now a woman. Sixteen percent of all ministers and 14 percent of all speakers of parliaments are women. But this is much short of fifty percent of women in the population. How to increase their political participation--by special measures like reservation or by creating circumstances when women too get sufficient time to devote to politics rather than just remain tied up to family responsibilities, invited a lively debate in the recently held women speakers meet in New Delhi. There are 190 parliaments in the world, 77 of which are bicameral. Thus there are 267 presiding posts in parliaments, out of which 37 are adorned by women. India has in Meira

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Kumar an illustrious woman as the speaker of Lok Sabha. At her initiative the seventh meeting of women speakers of parliaments was organised in Delhi on the issue of gender sensitive parliaments in association with the International Organisation of Parliaments (IPU), which has 162 members. India became its member in 1948 and ever since is participating in its activities with due interest and gusto. After assuming the office of the speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar has given further impetus to India's engagements with the IPU. It was her effort that Gender Sensitive Parliament became a focal area of activities of the IPU. The first Meeting of Women speakers of Parliament was held in 2005 with an aim to create a platform where the women Speakers could share their views and build consensus on

bringing gender-equality issues in the parliamentary agenda of their respective Parliaments. The annual meeting of women speakers of parliaments is organised to provide to women speakers a forum to exchange ideas and experiences. The president Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament. The President opined that a gender sensitive Parliament can address, more insightfully, the social problems that women face such as violence against women, female foeticide, trafficking of women and minor girls, their abuse and exploitation and the lack of medical and nutritional care of rural women. Similarly, it can safeguard more effectively women's rights to land, leadership, opportunities and choices. The conference was attended by 13 of the 37 women speakers from across the world.<


RAJASTHAN

TOWARDS A STRONGER POLITICAL AADHAAR By Lokayat Correspondent

it by a series of scams and constantly under scanner following repeated salvos from social activists, the UPA is pinning hopes on Aadhaar to win back people’s confidence. That’s what it tried to convey on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Aadhaar project implemented by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Prime minister Man Mohan Singh presented the 21st crore Aadhaar card to a Rajasthan resident at a function recently held in Dudu, nearly 40 kilometres from Jaipur. He asserted that the Aadhaar card, i.e. the unique identification number, was the foolproof method of bringing transparency and accountability in govt functioning. The UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too chanted the Aadhaar mantra. She said the state governments have been told to link their social schemes to the bio-metric Aadhaar card to ensure that the benefits reached directly to the masses. Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot was quick in announcing that several public welfare schemes in the state will soon be linked to the Aadhaar card. Even the six lakh state employees too will get their monthly salaries

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Congress Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi presents the 210 millionth biometric card to Vali (L), a villager residing in Rajasthan, during the national launch of a scheme to make direct cash transfers to the poor, at Dudu town.

What has been constantly hitting the headlines in India? Well, no guess required. It is corruption, corruption and more corruption…! And Sonia Gandhi is asking people in public meetings—who did maximum to reign in corruption by introducing new mechanisms. She tells—it is the UPA government which first brought Right to Information Act to enable expose of wrong-doings and now we are introducing Aadhaar.

through Aadhaar from February next year, Gehlot announced. With an eye on assembly polls due next year, it served more than one purpose for Gehlot. What after all is the purpose of holding rallies, meetings and launch programmes? To show one’s strength, test popularity and have a feel of the general atmosphere brewing up on key issues! Recalling late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s statement that of the one rupee sent from the centre only 15 paise reach the public, Gehlot felt confident that Aadhaar will eliminate the role of middlemen. By holding the Aadhaar anniversary in Rajasthan and ensuring Sonia Gandhi’s second visit in two months’ time, he reasserted his proximity with 10, Janpath. Sonia had earlier visited Barmer district in August end. To add more weight to his clout, he had the prime minister Man Mohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram as well. There were of course, the union ministers hailing from Rajasthan--C.P. Joshi, Namo Narain Meena and Sachin Pilot. Since it was a government function, the PCC chief Chandrabhan was, however, conveniently kept at a bay. An astute politician that he is, Rajasthan CM best used the occasion to strengthen his own political aadhaar.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

25


DELHI

POLITICS OF POWER MAKES

By Lokayat Correspondent

lectricity tariff hike in Delhi has become a millstone in chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s neck. It is strange that bigger issues did not raise people’s ire as much as this matter. Sheila easily survived the CWG scam involving thousands of crores, but on the issue of electricity tariff she is facing black flags and rotten eggs at her meetings. Arvind Kejriwal now hardly talks of Jan Lokpal; in a change of game he is calling on people to burn electricity bills and refuse to pay the dues if they considered them inflated. The bill amounts, no doubt, have gone up significantly disturbing the budgets of middle class families. But it is also true that distribution companies are unable

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to buy electricity for supply as they had high accumulated under-recoveries apart from the fact that their purchase price had almost doubled. The rise in tariff had never been commensurate with it. The fact is that the populist measures pursued by political parties including the Congress in doling out highly subsidised electricity, in some states even free, to certain sections of society like farmers, is to blame for all the disaffection now aam admi has on this issue. Here is a truism as the prime minister said last month that money does not grow on trees. It can also be said in the same vein that it takes money to generate, transmit and distribute electricity. So consumers need to pay. Earlier power used to be distributed by Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking, a public sector enterprise. The system failed and the theft level of electricity went up to around 50 percent, and its availability reduced and became erratic during summer months. Now there is a significant improvement on both counts. The theft has come down to less than 25 percent and availability has increased significantly inspite of highly increased demand. Truly, the populist politics has ruined the power sector and the current situation is so grave that power cuts for as many as 14 hours a day is routine in several states. The installed capacity might remain idle if money is not paid to generating companies for the electricity supplied. In this context Kejriwal’s call not to pay electricity bills will degenerate India into a banana republic before long. Even the BJP is following a political expediency policy by hiding facts related to tariff determination in Delhi. There is a fair and sound system in Delhi—the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission-- which is legally authorised to decide tariff after listening to all stake holders. If it makes an error

New Delhi: IAC activists at a protest at

of judgment there is an Appellate Tribunal of Electricity to hear the complaint. It is irresponsible for political parties to politicise the orders and judgments of the Commission and Tribunal. After the Jan Sunvayee the DERC finally rationalised the tariff and reintroduced the earlier slab system which would benefit consumers who consume only upto 200 units; but increased the rates for those who would consume more than 201 and 400 units. This cross-subsidy is a welcome move, but BJP says there should be no slab system, every consumer should be charged with the same rate. One can leave aside Arvind Kejriwal who, in a hurry to establish his political credentials, resorts to anarchist approach, but serious political parties like the BJP cannot afford to support subversion of the regulatory mechanism


DELHI

PEOPLE SWEAT AND SWEAR

Karkardooma BSES office in East Delhi.

developed after much debate over the last two decades. Of course no political party can resist the lure of votes! But when Kejriwal went to restore a couple of illegal electricity connections which had been cut by the distribution companies for non-payment of bills, it was the law-abiding consumers who suffered. To find solutions to the many problems troubling the electricity sector, the prime minister had appointed a committee headed by VK Shunglu, former chairman of the CAG. In its draft report it has recommended wideranging reforms to strengthen the regulatory bodies, including financial autonomy. But in Delhi, the regulatory body (DERC) chairman was shown black flags during a Jan Sunvayee (Public hearing). The Shunglu committee has

PHOTO:PTI

suggested measures like imposition of penalties on consumers in high-theft areas, prepaid meters for non-paying customers and billing agricultural users. The recommendation will surely improve the health of our ailing power sector but Sheila Dikshit becomes unpopular for implementing some of these things. Delhiites conditioned to consume electricity for decades at cheaper rates than most states in India, react violently whenever tariffs are increased. The rise in July this year announced by DERC was the steepest, obliging consumers to shell out 26 percent more. But they do not know that the power purchase price for the distributors has gone up much higher. The argument given in favour of the tariff hike was that the increase was meant to meet the increased power

purchase cost and the surcharge to meet the accumulated deficit affecting even the debt-raising capacity of the distribution companies. The damage by the tariff-rise for the consumer was deeper because the DERC also changed the slab system which, while giving some relief of gradual increase in rates commensurate with higher consumption, took all the benefits back once the consumer crossed the first level slab. He will lose not only the entire benefit of the slab system: he will pay for the entire consumption at a much higher rate. No wonder, Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aam admi thinks that the bills are inexcusably inflated. This assumption is being exploited by Arvind Kejriwal and the BJP to take on Sheila Dikshit, the three-time chief minister of Delhi and aspiring for the fourth honours.<

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27


UTTAR PRADESH

TIME FOR AKHILESH TO FACE Even as the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is exhorting workers to make preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections assuming they may be advanced, there is immense pressure on the youngest chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to hone the administration of his government. He is moving in this direction sending out stern signals to errant party men, officials and ministers.

that he is a politician in his own right. In a dramatic action, on October 23 he sacked the vice-chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Gram Udyog Board Natwar Goel, an SP leader, after he was detained by the police for allegedly assaulting a photo journalist in the By Ratan Mani Lal

even months is a long time for public memory to start fading. It was in March last that people of the state gave overwhelming support to the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the Assembly elections and installed the young and energetic Akhilesh Yadav on the high chair. True, he started with some unnecessarily heavy baggage bequeathed to him by his father, but he had to come on his own one day as far as decisions and views were concerned. With a series of thoughtful steps, Akhilesh has started moving away from the shadow of his father to show

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Akhilesh is unhappy that even after half the financial year is over, release of funds for various development activities by close to two dozen departments is very poor.

Kaisarbagh area of Lucknow. Goel, who enjoyed the status of a minister of state, was detained after an FIR lodged by the journalist accusing him and his supporters of manhandling him. He was involved in the construc-

tion of a building where once a school had stood, and the alleged irregularities were being highlighted by local newspapers. Enraged at the photographer’s attempt to take pictures of the illegal activity, Goel and his supporters allegedly thrashed the photographer severely. While the BJP and the Congress were quick in condemning the incident, the chief minister was quicker to react even though he was out of station on that day. Goel was not only sacked from his post but also expelled from the party on charges of indiscipline. On October 12, Akhilesh had accepted the resignation of the minister of state for revenue Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh, who was allegedly involved in the abduction of the chief medical officer of Gonda, SP Singh. The minister and his goons had allegedly abducted the CMO after he refused to include the name of the minister’s supporters in the selection list of contractual doctors. A few days earlier, an IAS officer was charged with allegedly molesting a woman co-passenger on a train from New Delhi. At Lucknow station, a report was filed against him and he was arrested the same day.

Akhilesh admits corruption is rampant In the recent past, Akhilesh has been candid in admitting that all is not well with the state’s administration. At the Annual Police Memorial Parade, he regretted the increase in the number of public complaints of harassment at police stations, and warned the officers of stern action if such things continued. He admitted that corruption was rampant among state government employees. Expressing his unhappiness with the tardy pace of various projects across the state, he directed that development work in all districts should be


UTTAR PRADESH

HOME TRUTHS expedited. There have been numerous complaints about delays. At a high-level meeting attended by top officials, Akhilesh said he would take direct feedback about development activities from district magistrates on random basis beginning next month. The CM was par-

Sohawal and Harringtonganj. In Faizabad town itself more than ten shops were burnt by rampaging mobs. In the last seven months eight riots – including communal clashes – have taken place in many districts including Bareilly, Mathura, Pratapgarh and Faizabad. With the Kumbh Mela scheduled to start in about three months’ time, the government machinery has been told to be alert in all districts, especially in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Attempts to invite investment may go haywire As the Chief Minister is wooing industrialists from India and abroad for investments, deterioration in Again communal tenthe law and sion in UP, this time in Faizabad where vehi- order

ticularly unhappy that even after half the financial year was over release of funds for various development activities by nearly two dozen departments had been very poor. He has taken firm and quick action against erring officers—like suspension of engineers in the electricity department, public works department, health department and so on. Meanwhile, the sudden eruption of violence on the day of immersion of idols after Durga Puja in Faizabad district kept the home department and the police on their toes. Curfew was imposed in Faizabad city after violence broke out there as also in five towns of the district on October 24 evening when the procession for immersion of Durga idols in river Saryu was being taken out. The affected towns were Rudauli, Bhadrasa,

cles and shops were burnt and police had hard time to control the violence. One person died in violent incidents.

situation can jeopardise his efforts. ‘The chief minister is now very clear about what he has to do in order to keep the socio-political environment in the state conducive for investment and

development. He would not hesitate to take decisive action against those found hurting the image of the ruling party and the government,’ said an SP spokesman. The ongoing probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust controlled by union law minister Salman Khurshid assumes significance in this context. According to SP sources, action against some more tainted party functionaries may be taken in the coming weeks, since SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav has given a free hand to Akhilesh in these matters in order to give the impression of a leader who means business. While people would welcome any measure that curbs blatant show of power and arrogance by ruling party functionaries with a strict hand, party sympathisers at the basic level would be difficult to control, said another party leader. Many such supporters were not members actually but took

The sudden eruption of violence on the day of immersion of idols after Durga Puja in Faizabad district and burning of ten shops by rampaging crowd is again a reminder that the UP government has to do a lot more on the law and order front. It is a shame that the state has seen eight riots in seven months. advantage of their proximity to party leaders and created nuisance. The recent incidents in many cities involving ruffians were examples of this malaise, he added.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

29


UTTARAKHAND

BAHUGUNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S PROBLEMS SET TO

BJPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mala Raj Laxmi Shah celebrates with her daughter and supporters after winning the Tehri bypoll.

By Lokayat Correspondent

With the ignonimous defeat of his son in Tehri Lok Sabha bypoll, chief minister Vijay Bahuguna's problems, already beleaguered by factionalism, is bound to increase

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lot was at stake for Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who had fielded his son Saket on a Congress ticket for the Lok Sabha seat from Tehri constituency, much against opposition from his own partymen. His own image as chief minister and that of the Congress party in the state was at stake. He made all efforts, including inviting Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to canvass for

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PHOTO:PTI

his son but BJP candidate Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, a royal family member, won with a comfortable margin of 22, 694 votes. Saket did get good votes, 245,835 only 17,248 less than his father got three years ago when he had defeated BJP candidate Jaspal Rana by more than 53,000 votes. How come then that even after getting more votes than what Jaspal Rana had secured last time, Saket lost. It was much owing to the fact that Munna Singh Chauhan of the BSP who had secured 74,345 votes in 2009, had switched over


UTTARAKHAND

O MULTIPLY Only 3 Woman MPs so far from Uttarakhand he separate hill state of Uttarakhand was created on November 9, 2000. Since then, Uttarakhand has witnessed two general elections in 12 years and Mala Raj Lakshmi is the first woman who has entered the Parliament's Lower House from Uttarakhand. Surprisingly, women voters account for a substantial percentage in this state and compared to other states possess more political awareness yet when it comes to ticket allocation, be it national parties or regional parties, fairer sex are denied political opportunity. Since independence only three women politicians have made it to the Lok Sabha in 15 parliamentary elections from the Uttarakhand region. The first one to make it to the House was Maharani Kamlendu Mati Shah in first Lok Sabha election of 1951 by winning from the Tehri Garhwal constituency. Then it was Ila Pant, wife of Krishan Chandra Pant who was a four-time Lok Sabha member from Almora and New Delhi. Ila Pant defeated union minister and former Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari in a high voltage contest in 1998<.

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back to BJP. This helped BJP immensely. The campaigning for the bypoll saw Congress seeking votes in the name of development and BJP flagging the issues of corruption and price rise. Though both Shah and Saket were first timers in the electoral fray, the Tehri royal family member is not new to politics, having looked after the poll campaigns of her father-in-law for years and enjoying a direct contact with the people of her constituency. Saket, on the

The bypoll result could be a pointer towards what lies ahead for the ruling party in the coming assembly elections in Himachal and Gujarat

he became chief minister. After the drubbing in the byelection to Tehri Lok Sabha Constituency, the problems of Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, already beleaguered by party factionalism, are bound to multiply. Many state Congress leaders have come out in open and alleged that more than BJP's plank of 'corruption and inflation', it was the 'non-governance, high handedness and over-confidence' of the chief minister that led to the party's defeat in the polls. In a bid to shield his father from the blame in the aftermath of the massive defeat, Saket tried to take the entire blame on his young shoulders and described the result as 'his personal defeat', stressing that the people had rejected him but he would continue to work for them and regain their trust. However, since Chief Minister had

Shah Family Dominates ith the results of the Tehri Garhwal Lok Sabha bypoll, it is the Shah family that has again dominated the political scene in the state. Since the first parliamentary elections in 1951 to 2009 and now the 2012 bypoll, the royal family of the Kanak Pal dynasty has won the Tehri Garhwal Lok Sabha seat for the 10th time, with late Maharaja Manabendra Singh winning it record eight times. It was only in 1971 when Manabendra Shah, after leaving the Congress, lost to social activist Paripoornanand Panyuli by 48,325 votes. Only chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and former petroleum union minister Braham Dutt could break their domination in the 2007 and 2009 elections.<

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other hand, is a relative greenhorn who quit a job with a multi-national company to contest the bypoll. The poll victory has come as a comfort for BJP after its defeat at the hands of Congress in Sitarganj assembly where it had to field a second nominee after its first choice withdrew in favour of Vijay Bahuguna. The BJP has thus snatched the seat from the Congress which fell vacant after Vijay Bahuguna resigned from it following his win from Sitarganj Assembly constituency after

lobbied hard with the Central leadership for his son despite loud protests from senior state Congress leaders, he is bound now not only to face his own party stalwarts apart from the jubilant BJP. The coming months, when electorates of two states (Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat) elect their representatives, will show whether the Tehri result was just a one-off or a true pointer to what is in store for the oldest political party in the country.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

31


HARYANA

There is heavy interference of khap panchayats in rape cases. They work for settling the issue and often buy victimsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; silence with a small compensation or promise of security for their family.

There remains a vicious conspiracy of inaction in rape cases in Haryana. After the visit of Sonia Gandhi when media flashed a large number of rapes, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda declared a woman DSP would be appointed in all district police headquarters of the state and fast track courts would be set up to punish the guilty. 32

| LOKAYAT NOVEMBER, 2012

and order situation. In a memorandum to Haryana pposition parties in governor Jagannath Pahadia over Haryana have finally cases of rapes in the state, INLD found a genuine issue leader and former chief minister Om to blacken the face Prakash Chautala demanded of the Hooda dismissal of the Hooda government. government, showing the Haryana has always CM as Ravana during recorded very high In Ramlila days, when at number of rape cases, a state where least 19 incidents of but the shame this dalits victims of rape rape in a month-time rattled the involving teenage people of Haryana were killed for raising girls and women their heads against upper because the father belonging to the of a gang-rape castes, these families dalit community in victim at Hisar most cases -- are committed suicide often chose safety reported. The failure of after he reportedly saw over justice. the state police to curb the MMS clip of the such incidents shocked the incident circulated by the people. The visit of Congress rapists. A student of Class XII, the girl president Sonia Gandhi to the state was allegedly raped by a dozen was seen only as a damage control youths. exercise, since no plan of any concrete Fresh incidents of rape kept action emerged, neither did it effect surfacing on a daily basis after this, any improvement in the overall law and the police did not show any By Jyoti Thakur

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HARYANA urgency to nab culprits in most fallout of increase in number of fields, only men do. But women cases as though they are youngsters who do not have belonging to dalit community have no routine affairs in the to look for any option but to work in the field for Jat society. But continuous employment. ‘You wages. So they become soft target for community women media coverage forced can find such men. the state police to get idle crowds of The skewed sex ratio is certainly do not work in the fields, its act together and youth in every one of the reasons for the increasing only men do. But often launch a state-wide village and incidents of rape. As per Census 2011, women belonging to dalit drive to nab the town. Haryana has the lowest sex ratio of elements 830-1,000 in the age group of 0-6 community do work for wage in Haryana has responsible for such also seen a years and 877-1,000 in general. others’ fields. It is they who incidents. realty boom The two districts in India where become soft target for As many as 455 and people, the lowest sex ratio was recorded are cases of rape were specially Jats, in Haryana. Jhajjar and Mahendergarh lecherous men. reported in the state during have recorded the ratio of 774-1,000 the first eight months of 2012. and 778-1,000 respectively. The number was 733 in 2011 (an Bollywood actor, Aamir Khan had average of 60 per month as per touched upon this issue during the first National Crime Records Bureau). episode of his popular TV programme Hundreds of cases are believed ''Satyamev Jayate''. Aamir had brought to go unreported. into focus the dangers of female Social activists attribute foeticide by showing a village in several factors to the spurt in Kurukshetra in Haryana where rape cases, and one of marriageable men have not been them is inaction or lack able to find brides as there were of prompt action on the no women in that age bracket. part of the police. Coming under intense Another reason is pressure, chief minister Bhupinder heavy interference Singh Hooda has announced that of khap panchayats. fast-track courts will be set up Poverty, lax laws, and special prosecutors will be reluctance of police appointed to deal with crimes in filing complaints against women. Besides a and inaction of women’s cell headed by a higher authorities in DGP level officer and a imparting justice to the woman deputy SP will victims are other be appointed in all contributing factors. have sold land district police The A dalit rights activist Phul Singh worth crores in various headquarters to Gautam said the ruling party remained parts of the state to deal with skewed sex ratio is silent on such issues as they feared builders. The cash-rich crime against certainly one of the losing their vote bank. ‘They in fact, youths drink and women. reasons for the increasing try to suppress such incidents by luring indulge in such The poor dalits with small amount of activities as rape visit of incidents of rape. As per money to keep their mouth shut,’ he without any fear of the Census 2011, Haryana has the Sonia said. No wonder, in a state where dalits law, said a Gandhi has lowest sex ratio of 830-1,000 in sent clear are killed for raising their head against Yamunanagar-based upper castes, the victim families often activist. the age group between 0-6 signals to choose promise of future safety over He said women the Haryana years and 877-1,000 justice. belonging to dalits or government that in general. As Haryana is one of the economically weaker sections its failure to curb wealthiest states in the country with get targeted as they have to step out atrocities against women the third highest per capita income, of their house to earn a living. ‘Jat will not be tolerated. Mr Hooda has his some see the rising incidents of rape as community women do not work in the job cut out on this front.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

33


PUNJAB

WHY NOT ‘PEACE MEMORIAL’

Capt Amarinder Singh accuses that the Badal government was inflaming passions and not allowing ‘old wounds to heal’ through its actions like construction of the Operation Bluestar Memorial.

Lokayat Correspondent

he attack on Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar (retired) took place in London, but the incident sent Punjab politics on the boil again over the construction of controversial Operation Bluestar memorial. The hullabaloo over it being a threat to peace in the border state got louder and the Congress demand for review of the decision has found many supporters. As Lt Gen Brar, who narrowly escaped the assassination attempt, blamed the pro-Khalistani activists and accused the policies of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-led government in Punjab of backing the militants, his statement came as big embarrassment to the Prakash Singh Badal-led government. Taking a dig at the Akalis, Lt Gen Brar accused SAD of mixing up religion with politics as the monument that is being built in memory of Operation Bluestar in Amritsar would only revive bitter memories and it would turn out into a rallying point for future terrorists. He also criticised the Centre for not taking stern action when

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it comes to dealing with the antinational elements. As the above statement backed the stand taken by the Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh, the former chief minister, he reiterated his demand for review of the Operation Bluestar memorial and accused the Badal government of poisoning young minds. Backing the former lieutenant general, Capt Singh said those who

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal claims his party does not support Sikh radicals

attacked the former were young people and they were not there when Operation Bluestar took place. It can only be the result of the inflaming passions and not allowing ‘old wounds to heal’ through

its actions like construction of the Operation Bluestar memorial. Shocked by Lt Gen’s allegation, the Punjab government averted immediate reaction even as the Opposition Congress slammed the Badal government and the SAD’s alliance partner BJP for allowing the memorial being raised in the Golden Temple complex in the memory of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his associate terrorists. ‘A peace memorial should have been built to perpetuate the memory of about 40,000 innocent people who lost their lives during terrorism rather than Operation Bluestar memorial’ a joint statement issued by Congress MLAs Lal Singh, Brahm Mohindra, Parminder Singh and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, and MP Mr Ravneet Singh Bittu said. ‘The memorial being built in the Golden Temple complex would be a source of inspiration to such elements who were once again conspiring to shatter peace in this strategic border state,’ they said. The Congress leaders alleged that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had resolved to raise such a memorial in the holiest of holy shrines in 1984 and the same is now being carried out by the


PUNJAB

IN PUNJAB, ASKS CONGRESS ground realities of the state. ‘If any terrorist act has occurred outside the country, how can it be related to the return of terrorism in Punjab?’ he wondered. Badal quoted the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting in August. ‘Since that attack happened in the US, does it mean that terrorist activities have been revived in that country,’ he asked. ‘Brar has not visited Punjab in past several years. He lives in a fortress in Mumbai. Brar is unaware of the ground realities in Punjab. He should first visit the state before making comments," Badal said, breaking his silence over the controversy. SGPC which is controlled by the He said such statements could SAD. create a sense Expressing concern over of insecurity funding for such activities from and panic Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar, 78, abroad, they alleged the Badal amongst the was attacked in London by government was indirectly peace-loving four bearded men to avenge providing legitimacy to these people of his commanding Operation activities as was evident when Punjab. ‘You Blue Star as an Indian Army the Punjab chief minister tell me whether Officer to flush out propleaded for clemency to we are appeasing Khalistan Sikh militants from Balwant Singh Rajoana who the Sikh radicals the Golden Temple complex. has been sentenced to death for political gains. The operation took lives of some 500 civilians also. in the case relating to the Shiromani Akali There have been repeated attempts on his life since assassination of then chief Dal sacrificed then, the latest in London on 30 September 2012, minister Beant Singh. The several of its while he was walking on Oxford Street with his wife. SAD, however, denies leaders and workers After the attack which he survived with minor injuries, revival of militancy in during terrorism. he accused Shri Akali Dal of mixing up religion by the state and has not Why we will support allowing building of a memorial in memory of found anything wrong the radicals?’ he Operation Bluestar in Amritsar. This would only revive in the SGPC decision to asserted. bitter memories and would turn out into a rallying build the memorial. To a pointed point for future terrorists, he said in a statement. The Punjab deputy question whether he chief minister and condemned the London SAD president, Mr Sukhbir Singh attack, Mr Badal evaded Badal, accused Congress of alleged. a direct response. ‘Jo vi intentionally raising the ‘bogey of Denying allegations of koi galat kam karda hai, militancy’ ahead of Gujarat and appeasing Sikh radicals for political main ohde naal nahin. (I Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls. gains, Punjab chief minister Badal also am against all who do wrong)’ he said. ‘Raising the issue of militancy broke his much-criticised silence and As the war of words continues to this especially before any elections is the accused Lt Gen Brar of ‘commenting’ contentious issue of Operation Bluestar old experiment in the political on Blue Star Memorial issue without memorial, the controversy is not likely laboratory of Congress party,’ he having adequate knowledge about the to end soon.<

The SAD does not find anything wrong in the SGPC decision to build the memorial. The Punjab deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has on the contrary accused Congress of intentionally raising the ‘bogey of militancy’ ahead of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls.

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

35


ODISHA

CONGRESS UNABLE TO ENCASH ANTI-INCUMBENCY FACTOR Chief minister Naveen Patnaik

By Ashok B Sharma

n the hope of regaining its lost ground the Congress has become aggressive but lacks a charismatic leader to match up with Naveen Patnaik who still thrives on the image of his father, the legendary leader Biju Patnaik. Naveen by default has left enough space for the Congress to work and grow, but the efforts of the state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik and the visits of the Union Minister Shrikant Jena were not more than some spade works in the process. Among majority of the educated youth Naveen still holds his charisma, which is evident from the fact that 85 percent BJD candidates emerged victorious in the students union elections held on 19th October. The BJD not only proved that Congress is still a marginal force but also shattered

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Strangely, the Congress is moving at a snail pace and is unable to encash upon the anti-incumbency factor of the ruling BJD, even though the smaller parties have made an humble attempt by coming together to form a sort of Third Front minus BJP, BJD and the Congress.

the hopes of the dissident leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra’s Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) which miserably failed to open its account. The OJM had put up its candidate in every college in the State. The much-publicised September 6 demonstration by the Congress before the Odisha Assembly, led by the AICCin-charge Jagdish Tytler did not leave behind much impact on the people. While the party made a good beginning to regain its lost ground, but once the Odisha State Commission for Women held Tytler responsible for whipping up mob frenzy in which more than 260 people, including 63 policemen were beaten up and a women cop brutally assaulted, the Congress lost sympathy of common people. However, the result of a Lokpal probe into the incident ordered by the governor MC Bhandare is awaited. The Governor had ordered the inquiry without consulting the chief minister who said ‘people know who are responsible for the incident.’ Following that violent incident, both the rival parties launched grassroots campaign through ‘Padyatras’ from Gandhi Jayanti Day, October 2. The Congress Padyatra

concluded on the birth anniversary of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das on October 9, while the BJD Padyatra stretched a little longer covering Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan’s birth anniversary on October 11. Compared to the aggressive postures of the Congress, the ruling BJD, faced by charges of scams and scandals, has adopted a cautious approach. The MB Shah Commission is inquiring into the irregularities in 192 iron and manganese mining projects in the State. Most the cases relate to violation of environment norms. Justice AS Naidu Commission is probing into the February 2012 Cuttack-Khurda districts liquor tragedy that claimed 40 lives. Justice Naidu has also taken over the Commission to probe into the killing of the VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the communal riots that rocked Kandhamal district and elsewhere in 2008. Apart from these Naveen also faces the wrath of tribals whose land has been usurped by mining mafia. The Chief minister has, however, announced that he would provide land to all landless tribals by 2016-17, but even this carrot has failed to pacify them.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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MADHYA PRADESH

FRESH RUMBLINGS NEGATE Dissidence is mounting in Madhya Pradesh Congress. There is a demand, not heeded so far, that a young and popular face (read Scindia) be made the party president and current incumbent Kanti Lal Bhuria re-inducted into the union cabinet. The charge is that Congress lost all by-elections during his tenure. To make up for the tribal representation, Bisahulal Singh is suggested to be made the leader of legislature party, in place of Ajay Singh. The dissidents wanted incumbent deputy speaker Harbans Singh to head the campaign committee for the upcoming elections. Ajay Singh has demanded action against the MLAs campaigning against Bhuria. His supporters feel the formula would reduce his say in selection of candidates for the forthcoming elections. Former chief minister Digvijaya Singh’s followers see the whole exercise as an attempt to scuttle his chances of returning to lead the party in the state. Since his nomination Bhuria has struggled to gather momentum. It took him six months to form the state executive committee. Some district executive committees, including Bhopal, are still in the process of being finalised. While Bhuria failed to stamp his authority on the party the central leadership also hasn’t effectively discouraged dissidence.

MP Congress president Kanti Lal Bhuria

By Chandrakant Naidu

ongressmen in Madhya Pradesh are busy trying to occupy vantage spots in the organisation to maximise their clout for the upcoming elections. Now the buzz is over the demand for replacement of state party president Kantilal Bhuria. Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s supporters are now gunning for Bhuria, whose tribal credentials were touted for the job just

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18 months ago. Interestingly, Scindia had unequivocally supported Bhuria in July. ‘I am happy with the leadership of Bhuria and I see that the Party would do well under his leadership,’ he had said. Some supporters of union urban development minister Kamal Nath also joined the chorus. The dissidents are reported to have held back a plan they had formulated to present before the central leadership. Under the plan Scindia’s name was to be proposed for party leadership while reinducting Bhuria into the union ministry. To make up for Tribal representation the group suggested Bisahulal Singh’s name to lead the legislature party. Current CLP leader Ajay Singh was proposed for deputy speakership.

MADHYA adhya Pradesh has grossly underutilised funds meant for mid-day meals in schools, according to a review report for 2010-11 by union human resources ministry’s monitoring committee. A large share of funds meant for food-grain and cooking costs and honorarium to cooks-cumhelpers remained unspent. The report suspected pilferage in lifting of food-grains up to three months in advance and storing in the houses of members of self help groups. The

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MADHYA PRADESH

CONGRESS GAINS IN MP Spat with bureaucrats PCC president Kantilal Bhuria blames the ruling BJP of conspiring with the bureaucracy to harm the Congress. This allegation came after Bhuria’s recent spat with the district collector of Ratlam R C Dubey during an official meeting. Dubey incurred ire of Bhuria, and his Lok Sabha colleagues, Meenakshi Natarajan and Premchand Guddu after keeping them waiting for a meeting. The collector apparently enjoys the ruling party’s backing and managed to drum up support from fellow bureaucrats. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who promised to get the matter investigated by a senior bureaucrat, backtracked after union ministers V Narayan Sami and Jairam Ramesh questioned the propriety of a bureaucrat conducting an enquiry into matters involving members of parliament.<

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AICC general secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh B K Hariprasad refused to oblige the dissidents but that didn’t stop them from making more trips to Delhi to lobby for change.

Tribal leadership has been upstaged time and again The central leadership has kept on hold a decision on the demand. But, these developments have negated the gains from the party’s concerted rallies held against the government on August 20 and October 4. Scheduled Tribe leaders in the state often complain of being upstaged by others. Shivbhanu Singh Solanki who led the PCC during the Janata Party rule from 1977 to 1980 was a candidate for chief-minister’s post when the Congress returned to power in 1980. He had to content with deputy chief minister’s post in spite of a majority support in the legislature party. Another veteran leader Arvind Netam also laments being denied the post despite having been an acting president in 1990. Yet another tribal leader Urmila Singh, who headed the party unit for two years in late

MP Congress legislature party leader Ajay Singh

nineties, was forced to play a second fiddle to the ministerial wing. Now, another tribal leader is targeted after less than 20 months at the helm. Bhuria, who hasn’t lost an election during past 32 years, retorts angrily to queries on the campaign against him. ‘I don’t need anybody’s certificates about my style of functioning,’ he once told newsmen. His detractors, on the other hand, say the Congress lost all by-elections during his tenure. They say the party needs a younger and popular face. The dissidents’ claim of support from Rahul Gandhi’s protégé Meenakshi Natarajan; and senior party member Satyavrat Chaturvedi has added to the mutual distrust among various factions.<

PRADESH BUNGLES ON MID-DAY MEALS

MP Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

roster for community was maintained only in 45 percent of the schools. It was also found that grains meant for mid-day meals were infested by worms and pests. Another damning charge was levelled against the state by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reports. It has reported caste-based discrimination in implementation of the Mid-Day-Meal scheme in Maregaon village of Gadarwara in Narshingpur district. The Ahirwar community leaders claimed that their children who suffer most due to malnutrition are discriminated against as untouchables. They were served only leftovers, if

there were any, and the food thrown at them from a distance. They were also forced to bring their own plates while students from other castes were served from plates provided by the school. The monitoring agency for HRD ministry also found that in 17.5 percent of the schools in Narsinghpur district, upper caste children did not eat mid-day meal at all as cooks were of lower castes. Widespread caste discrimination was also reported in cooking, serving or eating meals in Hoshangabad, Shivpuri, Burhanpur, Betul, Chhindwada, Sidhi, Panna, Satna and Chhatarpur districts.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

39


BIHAR

BJP’S TIT-FOR-TAT

The BJP’s state unit chief C P Thakur has declared that the party is preparing to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, should the alliance with the JD-U fail at some stage. Swords are already out on both sides. JD-U Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that it will not take him even a minute to break ties with the BJP if it makes Narendra Modi the prime ministerial candidate. What does this all mean?

By Umanath

ary of being dumped by Nitish Kumar in case his bête-noire Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is projected as the prime ministerial candidate by it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is rearing to give clear hints to the proud Chief Minister of Bihar that it is ready for any eventuality, thereby aggravating the distrust between the two parties. It is not for nothing that the BJP’s state unit chief C P Thakur has

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People in thousands attending Nitish Kumar’s rally

The BJP has decided not to remain weak and meek any more in the wake of offending comments from Nitish Kumar. It has started organising panchayat level meetings of party workers and sympathisers. Even Narendra Modi has been invited by the state unit to address ‘Hunkar rally’ in Bihar, slated to take place in March next year.

gone on record declaring that the party is preparing to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats, should the alliance fail at some stage. A confident state unit, fearing a ‘talak’ from Nitish anytime, thinks that the time has come to hit back rather than remain meek and play second fiddle. Otherwise it might be late to keep its rank and file primed. Party leaders are annoyed at the big- brother attitude of the JD-U and frequent taunts by its leaders, notably Nitish. They now want to regain their self-respect and identity as the main national opposition party.

Preliminary preparations like holding of workers’ camps at panchayat level have started in right earnest. The way leaders of both the parties are issuing statements defying coalition dharma, gives enough indication that it might not be long before these allies say good bye to each other. The proposed ‘Hunkar rally’ of the BJP in March next year to which Narendra Modi has also been invited, is nothing but a well thought out move to stir up grassroots workers and show to Nitish that the party would not allow him to dictate terms in any matter. The rally is also considered as an answer


BIHAR

Caste Barracks still exist in the 21st century Bihar f Bihar is known for its lawlessness and huge crime curve, it is not for want of political determination. One reason is the widespread caste and communal divide which manifests in its police barracks. Caste barracks for police are a unique feature of the state, in existence for decades, dividing policemen along caste and communal lines. It is said that when constables in Bihar are on duty, they may appear a unified force, but once they return to their barracks, they are Bhumihars, Brahmins, Yadavs, Paswans, Rajputs, Muslims, SCs and STs. They not only live in their well segregated barracks, their kitchens are also divided on caste lines. What cannot be divided are the tube-wells and toilets, as their number is limited. About 30,000 constables and head constables of the total force of 70,000 live in barracks across 40 police districts in the state. Nowhere is the caste divide as stark as it is at the Patna Police Lines.<

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to the much publicised ‘Adhikar rally’ of Nitish Kumar, proposed to be held on November 4 to pressure the Centre to grant special category status to Bihar. Several BJP leaders now say, on condition of anonymity, that the way Nitish treated the BJP through his seven and half years’ rule of the state, has disillusioned its leaders and youth alike. Recently, Uday Singh, a second time BJP MP from Purnia, lambasted both the JD-U and the BJP, charging them with ignoring the ominous undercurrents in the state. The feisty MP even organised a vedna (anguish) rally attended by more than one lakh people which angered even the BJP leadership, with C P Thakur saying that Uday embarrassed the party. BJP leaders and cadres are increasingly convinced that Narendra Modi would be projected as the prime ministerial candidate, once he romps home in the December elections in Gujarat. It

would also cause break up of ties with the JD-U. An astute strategist, Nitish is doing everything in his power to secure his political constituency by granting freebies and concessions to Muslims. He himself may have opted out of the race for the PM’s post, but one senior JD-U leader confided to some media men that Nitish had seen himself as a consensus candidate for the top job in Delhi in the event of neither the NDA nor the UPA securing the number in 2014 (or earlier). Nitish’s calculus is that the BJP might emerge as the largest single party in the coming Lok Sabha, but it would not get enough seats to form a government on its own. Several leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik would hesitate to go with the BJP owing to political compulsions. In such a situation, he could emerge as a consensus candidate for the top job, while the BJP could seek a quid pro quo in the form of Bihar CM’s post.<

Nitish’s popularity on the wane ailed for turning around the moribund economy of Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s magic is now rapidly fading, as is evident from the series of attacks on him during his ‘Adhikar Yatra’. When he was first attacked at a public meeting in Khagaria, a district dominated by Yadavs, it was dubbed as a conspiracy by Lalu Prasad Yadav, who had ruled the state for 15 years. But the attacks continued even in Nawada district, known to be a bastion of Nitish. Chairs, stones, eggs and slippers were thrown at his cavalcade. In Madhubani, (Mithila region), explosions forced an otherwise unflinching Nitish to suspend his rallies in Buxar and Bhojpur districts. The administration had to clamp down curfew in Madhubani following deaths of three youths in police firing earlier. The attacks and poor turnout in his Adhikar Yatra are sure signs of erosion of Nitish’s popularity and charisma. Thousands of contractual teachers had waved black flags and thrown eggs and slippers at the public meetings addressed by him during the Yatra.<

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NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

41


WEST BENGAL

EKLA CHALO AT Mamata's decision to sever ties with the UPA may have taken the wind out of the sails of the Communists, but in the final analysis the state's development plans are likely to suffer By Lokayat Correspondent

oth the Trinamool Congress and the Congress have decided to take different routes, both at the Centre and in West Bengal. The two parties had been unhappy over each other for almost a year now, ever since Mamata Banerjee resumed her duties as chief minister of the state. A day after six Trinamool Congress ministers resigned from the UPA government at the Centre, an equal number of Congress ministers resigned from the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal. The decision to sever ties with the UPA might have helped Mamata Banerjee to take the wind out of the sails of her arch-rivals Communists, who had been repeatedly labelling her as party to decisions of the UPA of which her Trinamool party was the second-largest constituent. It also provided her the much-needed opportunity to distance her party from the scam-plagued Congress.

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Populist slogans and consistent fighting with the Centre will not bring in changes which the TMC leader had promised when she took over in 2011.

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Soon after the results of Bengal civic polls were declared in June, in a clear message to ally Congress, the Trinamool Congress said the civic poll results had demonstrated that the party had enough strength to rule West Bengal alone. While severing ties with the UPA may translate into political gains for Mamata, it hardly augurs well for the economic fortunes of the state. West Bengal can very well bid adieu to the bailout package from the Centre, which was to help it tide over the debt burden left behind by the previous Left regime. The DEMU coach manufacturing factory in Haldia, the 1,420 MW power plant with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) at Adra, the diesel locomotive factory at Dankuni and the railway wagon and components factory with the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Burn Standard Company Ltd (BSCL) at Jellingham, near Nandigram, are among those that are shrouded in improbability. In all her public rallies, Mamata had emphatically declared that the state was to get 16 railway factories. Needless to say, their future now remains uncertain. If the Congress calls Mamata's bluff and survives without its support, then the railway projects that Trinamool had announced for Bengal during her tenure at Rail Bhawan will die a natural death.

Political rhetoric alone cannot bring Paribarton There was clearly no strategy or planned approach, either political or economic. As an administrator, her electorate expects her to commit herself for the betterment of the state but there


WEST BENGAL

WHAT COST?

TMC leaders after their walk-out from the Union Cabinet

is hardly any economic strength for the state government to ensure comprehensive growth. Her 'new nationalism' might sound good as political rhetoric, but in effect, it will only add to the crisis in Bengal's economy. Mamata has no understanding of the fact that the rules of economics cannot be controlled whimsically. Didi's supporters argue that this political divorce (quitting UPA) was an important move ahead of the Panchayat polls in West Bengal. In such a crucial juncture, she could not risk to appear â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;anti-peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. With the Bengal Congress always up in arms against the state government, the break-up would help Trinamool stretch its wings even in the Congress bastions, which they have been eyeing, to emerge as the only formidable force against the Left. Mamata Banerjee never really succeeded in ensuring any worthwhile governance during her first 16-17 months as the CM, apart from catching news headlines mostly for wrong reasons. She spent these months

Having snapped ties with the Congress just before the Panchayat polls may be cited as an astute strategy by Trinamool supporters, but they need to be reminded that Trinamool may not find the going smooth considering the Left's vote share in the 2011 assembly poll was above 41 per cent. A rift in the TMCCongress alliance means that this vote share has better chance to increaseâ&#x20AC;Ś.

shouting hollow slogans without any work on ground and carried on fighting with the central government on every other issue. Mamata wants that both the Bengal panchayat polls and the general elections are brought ahead so that she succeeds in nullifying the antiincumbency factor and ensure that she gets a fresh and strong mandate. But after parting ways with the Congress, the Trinamool will not find the going smooth. The Left's vote share in the 2011 assembly poll was above 41 per cent despite the humiliating loss and a rift in the TMC-Congress alliance will mean that the anti-Left vote share will not be an assuring one. The Congress in Bengal is anyhow an underperformer but the reduced vote share may not facilitate Mamata's future political plans. The paribarton or change, the people of West Bengal were waiting for, is becoming more and more elusive. Banking on populist stance and ignoring realistic governance will prove costly for Bengal's most admired mass leader one day.< NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

43


KARNATAKA

CAUVERY WATER SETS STATES A determined Central Government with the will to solve the Cauvery water dispute is the need of the hour as state governments flex their muscles for their share of water

The bone of contention auvery is a sacred river of southern India, rising on Brahmagiri Hill in the Western Ghats in Coorg district of Karnataka, flowing in a south-easterly direction for 765 km through Karnataka and Tamilnadu across the Deccan Plateau, and descending the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls. Known as "Daksina Ganga" (Ganges of the South), it is celebrated for its scenery and sanctity, and its entire course is considered holy ground. The sharing of waters of the river Cauvery has been the source of a serious conflict between the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. The genesis of this conflict rests in two controversial agreementsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one signed in 1892 and another in 1924â&#x20AC;&#x201D; between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore. The state of Karnataka contends that it does not receive its due share of water from the river as Tamilnadu, which on the other hand, pleads that it has already developed almost 3,000,000 acres of land and as a result has come to depend very heavily on the existing pattern of usage. Any change in this pattern, it says, will adversely affect the livelihood of millions of farmers in the state.<

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By S Santhanam

he decadeslong Cauvery water problem exemplifies the topsy-turvy nature of Indian governance. It illustrates how and why a strong central government is needed so that such disputes are never referred to a tribunal. Indeed, that is the best-case scenario that the states involved in this problem should aim at as protracted litigation would only hurt all their interests. However, to ensure that such negotiations go on and the states concerned come to

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a compromise solution, a determined central government with the will to solve such disputes is needed. For decades on end, neighbouring states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka have fought over water sharing -- with the Centre struggling to play King Solomon. Fasts, bandhs, litigation, statements, all party meetings, assembly resolutions --state governments have flexed their muscles. Linguistic groups have hopped on to the bandwagon for their share of publicity. Sadly, however, the successive central governments at the helm have proved to be quite ineffective when dealing with such cases. In the late 80s and early 90s when the Cauvery dispute reached boiling point, the government at the centre

was ruled by weak coalitions, who could illafford to displease coalition partners and party members who had high stakes in the dispute. The situation currently is building up tension again, owing to deficient monsoon this year. It is not just these two states; even Kerala is now involved in the controversy, given its share of Cauvery waters (with the tributary Kabini originating in Kerala). In essence, the issue has been 'created' for political gains, although it can be used as a measure to 'win the favour' of farmers in the respective states. In the case of this issue, typically each of the states act as one united entity to try and ease the situation for farmers in their own respective states.


KARNATAKA

ON FIRE Latest developments  On September 19 this year,

prime minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the chairman of Cauvery River Authority (CRA), directed

The issue has been created and sustained over decades by political parties for their self interests

Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamilnadu at Biligundlu (the border) daily from September 21 till October 15.  On Sep 21, Karnataka filed

a petition before the Cauvery River Authority Over the past couple of decades, the Supreme Court and the Cauvery River Authority (a highly powerful body that was established to reach consensus on this matter) have intervened on several occasions to have the states agree on sharing of water. Highly dramatic situations have occurred at times, with suicides and ministers walking out of important meetings without helping reach resolution easily. There was a time when Karnataka gave in to the protests of its farmers and stopped the release of water as agreed. Tamilnadu saw protests at Neyveli seeking for cuts of power supply to Karnataka. Tamilnadu vehicles were prevented entry into Karnataka. The situation looked out of hand.

As both Tamilnadu and Karnataka governments fight over the water, the question is what effect it is having on farmers: whether there is hope for a permanent solution. Desperate to

water to Tamilnadu. Unlike the glacier-fed rivers of the north, this is a rain-fed river that depends on the vagaries of the monsoon and while it quenches the thirst of many farmers across

seeking review of its September 19 ruling.  On Sep 24 , Tamilnadu

filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release Tamilnadu its due share of water.  On Oct 4, Karnataka

government filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on its September 28 order directing it to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water every day to Tamilnadu, until October Karnataka farmers agitating against release of Kaveri water to Tamilnadu

15.  On Oct 6, Several

Kannada organisations protect their water reserves for the long season ahead, farmers have been engaged in a fierce agitation against releasing

hundreds of miles in the good monsoon years, it seems to quench the thirst of politicians more in the distress years.<

called a Karnataka bandh in protest against the Cauvery water release.

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

45


JAMMU & KASHMIR

Corporates create hopes for students in J&K ahul Gandhi, keen to revive Congress strength in the state, is working on a strategy to consolidate support among students and youth. Recently when he put up a great show of bringing corporate honchos like Ratan Tata, Deepak Parekh, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Rajeev Bajaj, Ashok Reddy and others to Kashmir University, his political intent was more than obvious. The corporate leaders were invited in an effort to facilitate investment, create conducive environment for business operations and generate job opportunities for thousands of students of the valley who are a frustrated lot today. Many of them take up arms or migrate. The exercise to meet the business tycoons attracted over 2,000 students who got an opportunity to interact with them. It was part of a national mission launched by the central government to do something concrete for the people of Kashmir in general and students and youths in particular. In view of the Omar government becoming unpopular especially among the youth, Rahul’s attempt is to turn them into Congress vote base. He also intends to reignite the spark in the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the Congress Party in the campus of Kashmir University. Like in various other universities of the country political activities and union elections in Kashmir University are banned, but it is expected that Rahul’s efforts may succeed in restoring them in the university. The NSUI then can hope to develop a stronger base which would obviously stimulate political environment in favour of the Congress.<

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PANCHAYATI RAJ UNDER THREAT IN J&K Omar Abdullah government succeeded in getting panchayat elections successfully conducted last year, but elections to the 2nd and 3rd tier of the panchayati raj system have been held back. There are demands that 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments be brought into the state’s Panchayati Raj Act, but this demand has also been dismissed by the chief minister. Bigger impediment to the panchayati raj system is threats from militants who have killed 9 sarpanchs so far…

By Kusum Varshney

emocratic urges are getting stronger each passing year in J&K, where strong demands are being made by various political parties to introduce the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments in the Panchayati Raj Act of the state. This demand has been dismissed by chief minister Omar Abdullah saying it impinges upon the special status of J&K. But many state parties are not convinced by this logic and describe it as Omar’s unwillingness to introduce the panchayati raj system in its true spirit. The bigger threat to panchayati raj system is from militants, who have killed in recent months 9 sarpanches. They have threatened to kill more if they do not resign. Responding to threats, some 400 sarpanches have already resigned. It is appalling that people who got elected by more than 80

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Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi

percent votes are getting killed! The government has expressed its helplessness to provide security to each and every elected panchayat representative as their number is around 43,000. A few elected representatives have demanded licensed arms for selfprotection, but this option is also fraught with problems. The good sign is that the panchayati raj system has attracted intense involvement of all active parties in J&K. For example, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party’s leader Mehbooba Mufti has declared that her party would bring a bill to amend the existing Panchayati Raj Act.


JAMMU & KASHMIR

and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at a public rally.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi directed his youth brigade to wage a war against the Kashmir administration for not protecting the elected representatives. Omar took umbrage to such utterances of Rahul Gandhi and termed them against the special status of the state. Political observers are amused at the development as Rahul is known as the strongest backer in Delhi of the Omar Abdullah government. But a source revealed that his public utterances were meant to arrest the decline of support among people for the Congress, which is being eroded by the ruling National Conference.

It may be noted that elected panchayat representatives will play a significant role in the next assembly or parliamentary elections. Omar is given credit for the successful panchayat elections in 2011 held after more than three decades. Though panchayat elections were also held in 2001 they were partial as in many places they just couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take place owing to threats from terrorist groups. But now Omar government is being targetted as bloc development councils and urban local bodiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; elections which were expected to be held in December this year have again been deferred. Opposition parties accuse that the

PHOTO:PTI

government does not want a truly threetier panchayati raj system. Elections to block development councils and urban bodies will lead to formation of the second and third tiers of the three-tier panchayati raj system in the state. Independent political analysts say that without providing constitutional status to the panchayati raj institutions at the halqa, block and district levels their regular elections after every five years cannot be guaranteed. They suggest that the right course is to amend the state Constitution on the lines of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India and provide for two new chapters for the purpose.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

47


KERALA

TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK,

The Kerala High Court will soon decide if toddy sale should be banned in Kerala. Meanwhile it has divided political parties including the ruling coalition. One section says it would render thousands jobless and open flood gates for the spurious liquor in the state; others say a huge majority of able-bodied workmen spend the better part of the day in the invigorating environment of toddy shops thus thousands of man-hours of work are lost to the country everyday!

By VSP Kurup

eralites – a large majority of them--have to drink, and drink to the brim. Without it the sun will not rise any high. And the sun will not also go down to sleep without a nightcap. Perhaps, the total quantity of drinks downed in Kerala in a year is a record for any state in India. Punjab may contest the claim. But then there is a difference. Punjabis put in a hard day’s labour before sitting down to imbibe the restorative. Malayalis just follow the 24x7 schedule without being distracted by any painful thought about work. Fortunately for

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them, the Government of India’s MNREGA programme has been very helpful in keeping up their routine—it pays for doing practically no work! The wage is enough to buy the bottle that cheers. By the way, MNREGA record in Kerala is a big scandal. It is a total waste of public money. The much touted programme has made the lazy people here lazier. Worse, it has deflected local workers away from farms -- hitting farming and

construction work and necessitating import of people from Tamilnadu, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar to meet the acute shortage of hands. If there is any unemployment in the state where is the question of employing hordes of outsiders? Coming back to the heady topic— some dreamy ideologues approached the Kerala High Court a few days ago with the complaint that a huge majority of able-bodied workmen spend the better part of the day in the invigorating


KERALA

THAT IS THE QUESTION environment of toddy shops. (Toddy is a form of liquor made from palm tree extracts.) The well-meaning complainants are not worried so much about these people having a nice time: they are concerned that thousands of man-hours of work are lost to the country everyday! What is more, innumerable families are ruined by recurring domestic quarrels and loss of income. It is a continuous saga of family tragedy played every day.

‘customers’ and trade unionists. Their main argument was loss of jobs of thousands of people engaged in the toddy industry. The court understood the problem; discounted it as not insurmountable. But the Excise Minister K. Babu’s unthinking comment drew the court’s instant retort. The minister took the high ground and

to educate and enlighten the public, and guide and restrict them, where necessary, it said. The prohibition lobby, Gandhian relics and church groups welcomed the court’s observation. The Muslim League too supported the idea of prohibition, but with a rider. It wanted the toddy shops to be closed, but wineshops (read foreign liquor) might be exempted. This raised the hackles of Vellappally Natesan, the toddy-king of Kerala, who said the Muslim Court seeks League was out to destroy the government indigenous industry and along with it his community, whose opinion Vellappally Natesan, the toddy-king members were the traditional of Kerala, has accused the Muslim So they prayed to toddy-tappers. The irrepressible League of trying to destroy the the court to order CPI Secretary Pannian change in the Ravindran declared that his indigenous industry and along with it working hours of the party and toddy industry his community, whose members toddy (and other liquor) had an ‘emotional were the traditional toddy-tappers. shops—to make them relationship’ (!) and open for business only he was ready to CPI Secretary Pannian Ravindran has after 5 pm. If these protect it with his extended support to him with his life. shops remain closed life!! during the normal Congressmen working hours, the do drink, some of them otherwise sober workers immoderately, but officially their could concentrate on their party is sworn to support jobs without distraction of prohibition. Be that as it may, they thoughts. The learned court found cannot forget the party’s vote banks substance in the argument, but who will not forgive any restrictions, before issuing any orders wanted to let alone a ban on toddy. So KPCC know the opinion of the state pontifically president Ramesh Chennithala just government. stated that it restated the party position on the issue In fact, in its over-enthusiasm with was people’s right and left it there. However, its allies in the reformist idea the court went a step to decide what to eat or the UDF have no time for such ahead and thought loudly why at all drink and the court ‘sanctimonious humbug’. there was any need to drink liquor, should not get into Now where does the which was a terrible health risk , apart matters of individual’s ‘spirit’ed debate leave us? from cause of so many sociological choice. The court simply Nobody is in doubt. The problems. Why could not people drink said if that was the court gave the state tender coconut water or cow’s milk government’s view, people government three which were highly nourishing apart should be allowed to use weeks to come back from contributing to our economic drugs freely, smoke without with its considered growth? the usual warning and go about opinion. So the The court’s observation opened a on two-wheelers without Government will floodgate of protests from toddy helmets! On the other hand, it be forced to do a tappers, toddy-shopkeepers, the huge was part of the government’s duty fine balancing act.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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KERALA

IT IS AUTUMN FOR CPI (M) IN KERALA The present sorry state of affairs of CPI (M) is due to its inherent inflexibility to change and grow. Any organism which stops growing will die. By Lokayat Correspondent

he Communist Party of India (Marxist) faces the prospect of a long and severe winter. The autumn fall started a few months ago with the murder of T.P. Chandrasekhar, a CPI (M) stalwart who left and formed a rival organization. The event brought to focus the party’s intolerance of dissent and efforts to muzzle it at all costs. Initially some cadres left the party in ones and twos and it looked like that it would take exodus proportion before long. The reasons cited for the unusual trend among communists were as diverse as the problems in party units. Some alleged lack of inner party democracy; a few disagreed with the party’s politics of murder. And many disapproved certain leaders’ lavish lifestyle and arrogant functioning, repugnant to the party ideology. There have been a few instances of wholesale walk-outs by party local units to the gain of the CPI. But it is not as if all had left voluntarily. Several

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senior party members were suspended or expelled for factionalism, anti-party activities, funds embezzlement and sexual escapades. Whatever the stated reasons, the CPI (M) had not faced such a winter of discontent before. It is generally recognized that the party’s present sorry state of affairs is due to its inherent inflexibility to change and grow. Any organism which stops growing will die. The Communist Party’s fate in Russia and China was sealed when it resisted change and growth along with developments in the world outside. The world has changed dramatically from the days when monolithic social structures like political parties, which required strong discipline and cohesion to survive, were feasible. Now people give high value to their personal space- for speech and action. They resist any form of constraint on them. This craze for personal freedom is manifest in the working of all parties-- there is visible loosening of grip on their members with inevitable indiscipline to boot. The abominable drama staged at

the CPI (M) Central Committee meeting the other day to force a reluctant VS Achuthanandan to recant some of his recent utterances and actions that went against the party line and his virtual retraction soon after the public confession is symptomatic of the times. It is futile anymore for a party to try and keep members inside its rigid disciplinary cage. The day is not far off when even whips will be ineffective and cross-voting will become normal. In a sense Achuthanandan is the harbinger of the new age. Probably he is much ahead of his time. He has been a dissident and a free thinker, even while being a mass leader, chief minister and leader of the opposition. And it is a wonder how he could wear two different hats and yet survive for so long in a party that puts party above persons in all situations. Party watchers cite several reasons. That Achuthanandan’s charisma and seniority in the party is unassailable has been proved before. And he is not alone in the ‘rebellion’ against the present leadership.<


NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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NAGALAND

THE NAGA INSURGENCY: The Naga peace process dragging on for the last 15 years seems to have found light at the end of the tunnel at last. There is a breakthrough in the sense the most vocal group which was not willing to accept anything less than Greater Nagaland comprising several contiguous districts of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh merged into Nagaland, has agreed to drop this impractical demand. It seems most Naga groups are ready to return to peaceful life under the Constitution of India. The opportunity provided by the new environment should be seized by the Union Government to work out the final solution, quick and fast….

ELECTED ow was the breakthrough achieved?

H

It is not a sudden development; peace talks had been going on for at least 15 years. Since assembly elections are due in FebruaryMarch next year, hectic attempts have been made to arrive at a solution before that so that those Naga groups which had been boycotting elections in the past could also participate in them and join the political mainstream. If the Government of India is serious about a final solution, it should get going before assembly elections. ho took the initiative in working out a solution?

W Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde

By Lokayat Correspondent

he oldest insurgency in the country run by Nagas rebels, which has taken some 25,000 lives so far since 1947, now appears to be nearing an end. Both the Centre and the Naga militant outfit, NSCN (IM) of Isak-Muivah, are ready to seal a deal, which may put an end to the sixdecade-old bloodbath in the Nagadominated areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This is the first

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time that both sides have shown maturity and recognised the impracticality of the demand. Until now, the powerful Naga group NSCNIM had been insisting on ‘Nagalim’, Greater Nagaland, carved out of these three states. In lieu of this demand, the Centre has, according to sources, agreed to ensure Naga people certain special rights in all states wherever they are, especially in these three states. If things move on expected lines, an agreement can be sealed before state assembly elections in Nagaland in

This is the work of the elected political leaders. All the 60 MLAs and both the Members of Parliament from Nagaland under the leadership of the Assembly Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie took the initiative. This group came to Delhi and met the prime minister, home minister, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, JD-U president Sharad Yadav and senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani. We sought support from all the national political parties. hich political party was more supportive to the cause?

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NAGALAND

SOLUTION IN SIGHT February-March, 2013, thus enabling the prominent separatist group of Nagas to join the normal democratic political process, which they had boycotted hitherto. These separatists who had been unwilling to accept the Constitution of India were insisting on a sovereign

nation of their own. The memorandum of understanding worked out between the two sides includes a proposal to convert Nagaland legislature into a bicameral assembly like in six other states, creation of autonomous development councils,

separate flag for the state, more autonomy, special status, formal recognition of the unique history of the Nagas and a number of development projects, among others. The Centre recognises the fact that a bicameral legislature would take care of

LEADERSHIP TOOK THE INITIATIVE: CM CHANG The elected political leadership took the decisive initiative to hammer out a permanent solution to the Naga insurgency problem. The Lok Sabha member from Nagaland C.M. Chang told in an interview how people started and arrived at the consensus. Excerpts:

The attitude of all the parties was very positive… they welcomed our initiative. All the parties wanted the problem to be solved as soon as possible. We wanted the support of all political parties as the proposed agreement would have to be approved by both the Houses of Parliament. hat political forum was used to arrive at the consensus among Nagas?

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One can say that the Joint Legislature Forum of elected members took the initiative. It would not have succeeded if it had come from the chief minister as he belonged to a party—Naga People’s Front --, so it was appropriate that the speaker who was a neutral person was urged to take the lead, and he was made the chairman of the JLF. This forum discussed thoroughly all the issues with all the political parties and Naga groups.

inally what solution do Nagas want? There were groups which did not want anything less than a sovereign Naga nation. If this, the Nagalim (the greater Nagaland) did not materialize, then?

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That phase is gone. That is a thing of the past. We have to look forward and accept the reality. We now want only one thing – a solution acceptable to Naga masses. So far as the integration of other districts from the three states into main Nagaland is concerned, the Centre says it is practically not possible. OK. Then at least the Nagas should be recognised and respected in these three states; they should be given due status there. The Government of India should evolve an understanding with these states. There should be no harassment of Nagas; they should be allowed to lead a peaceful life. My personal view is

Assam, Manipur and Arunachal are very good neighbours of Nagaland and they would agree to the demands of Nagas. hat progress has Nagaland made since it has been a separate state? Has it faced any developmentrelated difficulties?

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One major achievement of Nagaland is in the field of literacy which is 80.11 percent. But it is a hilly state: road communication is not good and there are no industries. It is becoming difficult to provide jobs to educated Nagas…the Nagaland government has made plans with Indian companies to train Naga youths and if found appropriate to give them jobs. The scheme is proving a success… after training a few have become air hostesses, some got jobs in hotels as receptionists etc. in India and abroad.<

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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NAGALAND any demand to accommodate marginal tribal groups and sub-groups. It is not clear how the Centre will resolve the demand for increasing the size of the 60-member assembly by 20 seats. It is, however, opposed to the demand for calling the legislature as parliament. The Government of India has offered to

foreign lands between Indian intelligence agencies and top leaders of the extremist group. Before the pact, there were also meetings between Naga insurgent leaders and prime ministers including PV Narasimha Rao, HD Deve Gowda, and AB Vajpayee. Now, under instructions from

Nabam Tuki to work out the nuts and bolts of the historic agreement. Interlocutors led by the retired IAS officer RS Pandey are helping the home minister in trying to broad-base the understanding. Amidst these developments the local Congress leaders are said to be

Manipur CM Ibobi Singh

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio

Dissident leader Nabam Tuki

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

absorb all the NSCN-IM cadres in Central para-military forces and even in the army. Previously they had demanded a separate Naga armed force comprising the cadres. The two sides had concluded a ceasefire pact in 1997, following several rounds of secret negotiations in

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| LOKAYAT NOVEMBER, 2012

prime minister Manmohan Singh, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde held an important meeting with the Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh and Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Shinde is expected to meet soon Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and Arunachal Pradesh chief minister

wary of the political fallouts if major concessions are given to the Nagas. The problem is, there are two more Naga insurgent groupsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the rival Khaplang faction of the NSCN and Naga National Council-- which are opposed to the settlement being worked out with the Muivah group.<


CAMPUS

BANASTHALI VIDYAPITH MANAGEMENT UNDER FIRE

Vice chancellor Aditya Shastri allegedly tried to suppress the molestation case of a B Tech student

By Abha Sharma

ntil recently, getting admission in Banasthali Vidyapith, in Tonk district of Rajasthan was considered a matter of pride. One felt lucky to get into the prestigious institute, perhaps the only fully residential women’s university in the country that offers an integrated system of education from nursery to post-graduate. Unfortunately, not anymore! The state women’s commission in its recent report has indicted the management of Banasthali Vidyapith (A-

U

Charges of molestation of a girl have tarnished the reputation of this all women university built assiduously over several decades. The alleged attempt to suppress the crime in fact led to the university to this unfortunate soup.

grade deemed university) for suppressing facts about reported molestation of an 11th class girl and a B.Tech student on varsity campus in September and not taking appropriate action. The report also highlighted the fact that 237 (213 school and 24 college) students left the Vidyapith in the middle of the session during the educational year 2012-13. The panel that visited Banasthali headed by its chairperson Lad Kumari Jain mentioned that the management tampered with evidence and misrepresented facts regarding the girls’ complaints. Girls were reportedly locked up in connivance with authorities and the police also tried to hush-up the matter by invoking weak penal sections. The police arrested the hostel warden on charges of locking up the victims and an ambulance driver guilty of molestation only after the enraged girls demonstrated on the campus on October 4. The women’s commission was concerned over the reported apathy on the part of university management in handling the matter with due sensitivity. The vice chancellor Aditya Shastri also reportedly tried to cover up the issue by telling the local media that

he was on leave from September 15 to October 4. The panel, however, found during inspection of office records that he had come to office from September 20 to September 27. The panel chief expressed surprise over the fact that all key administrative positions right from director, chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, registrar to most of the governing council members were from a single family. The Vidyapith that was named as Banasthali (land of forests) in 1943 has been following the “Panchmukhi” (five fold) education concept— physical, practical, aesthetic, moral and intellectual—over the years. Sadly, the recent unfortunate incidents have marred its reputation beyond easy repair. It was founded by great social worker late Pundit Hira Lal Shastri, the first chief minister of Rajasthan and his wife Ratan Shastri in fond memory of their promising daughter Shanta who died young. In those days, when women’s education was just a dream in the feudalistic society of Rajasthan, Shastri had introduced courses like horse riding and flying to inculcate self-confidence among girls.<

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CAMPUS

PRAYAS A BIG HIT WITH By Lokayat Correspondent

n the year 2010, Chhattisgarh launched â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Prayasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to provide education to students from the Naxal-affected districts of the state and other tribal and backward areas. About 300 such students were provided accommodation in tribal hostels, especially constructed for the purpose, in the state capital Raipur and given coaching for regular courses and competitive examinations. Setting up 'Prayas' was part of the Chhattisgarh Government's 'Mukhya Mantri Bal Bhavishya Suraksha Yojana'. As part of the project, selected children from these areas are given education from Class I to XII at a residential school in Dantewada, Bastar district. The main objective of the programme was to encourage the potential of tribal students and connect them to the mainstream. The programme was initiated following a visit of state's then chief secretary P Joy Ommen, along with tribal department officials, Bijapur district, considered as a Maoist hotbed in the tribal Bastar region. Then, 266 meritorious tribal students were identified and picked up from the Left Wing Extremism affected districts of Bijapur, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker, Sarguja and from naxalite affected areas of Rajnandgaon. They were kept at a tribal hostel in the state capital and given special coaching. While 222 students opted for engineering, others appeared for medical and other courses. Besides providing free education, the department also funded their food, uniforms and other needs. The main purpose behind the

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Prayas (effort) is needed and the result is for all to see. The government initiative by the name of Prayas bore fruits in June this year, when as many as 149 students from Naxalhit areas of Chhattisgarh cleared the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), while two others cleared the IIT entrance exam. Most of them were from tribal below poverty line families. government's project was to keep the youth away from Maoist activities. It is a fact that Maoists had tried to lure young students in the vulnerable age group of 17-18 years back to their villages on several occasions. The boys used to get calls from the Naxalites and their sympathisers on their mobile phones, asking them to come back to the villages. The rebels used to tell the boys that they had chosen a wrong path and should get associated with them for the cause of their tribal brethren.

The government initiative bore fruits in June this year, when as many as 149 students from Naxal-hit areas of Chhattisgarh cleared the AIEEE while two others cleared the IIT entrance exam. Most of them were from tribal BPL families. Of the selected students, 31 were from Bastar district, 38 from Rajnandgaon, five from Bijapur, 14 from Dantewada, 22 from Kanker, seven from Narainpur, 31 from Surguja, two from Jaspur, and one from Koriya. Under the next phase, students from seven Naxal-hit districts who had cleared Class X were given admission in Class XI at 'Prayas', where they underwent special coaching for securing entrance in medical and engineering colleges.


CAMPUS

TRIBAL STUDENTS And now in last September as many as 138 students from left-wing extremism affected areas of Chhattisgarh secured admissions in different engineering colleges in the state and other parts of the country. Buoyed with the success of the programme, the state government has decided to set up a similar hostel with a capacity to accommodate 300 students in the state capital. The project's aim is to impart such facilities every year to 300 boys and 300 girls hailing from the Naxaliteaffected districts of the state. Overwhelmed by the success of Prayas, the state government plans to launch a similar scheme for girls. Not just that, the Chhattisgarh government in July this year inaugurated a state-of-the-art residential complex, constructed in about 2,000 sq meter in Dwarka locality in Delhi, with a capacity of accommodating at least 100 students. Students are expected to be provided better coaching classes and accommodation free of cost. The aim is to ensure better education and skill development of these children so that they can bring positive changes and development back in the state.â&#x20AC;˘<

Threats were extended to tribal students but they knew what modern education could bring to them and their society. They did not buy the Maoist logic of violence and senseless destruction.

Maharashtra follows suit Buoyed by the success of the Prayas scheme in Chhattisgarh, the Maharashtra government launched its own university in the Naxalaffected Gadchiroli district of the state with the inauguration of the institution in Gadchiroli, in October last year. The university includes 178 colleges in Gadchiroli and Chandrapur district. The Maharashtra government has planned three new medical colleges to cater to the ever-increasing demand of students wanting to enter the medical profession. Two of these colleges will be set up in the Naxal-affected districts of Gadchiroli and Gondia.

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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CAMPUS

NOT EVEN ONE IN TOP- 200 The prestigious QS World University Rankings have revealed once again how indifferent we are as a nation to problems and prospects of higher education. Is it not depressing to know that not even one institution in India figures among the top 200 universities of the world? Students, academicians and intellectuals are naturally aghast at the continuing sorry state of affairs. Our situation becomes more untenable when we see tiny (in size and population) Asian countries like Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong fare far better in the business of knowledge development. Why do we remain a laggard?

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By Bodhi Sri

ndian leaders tire not talking about making India a global knowledge power. But when we find that even one Indian university does not figure among the top 200 of the world, we need to reflect upon the abysmal state of education here even after 65 years of independence. Today world’s top educational institutions’ focus on research and innovations is so broad and intense that at the present rate of investment in science and technology, India cannot hope to get in the premier league in the near future. If the USA, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and a few other developed countries are in the economic push forward (discounting the present temporary regression), the credit goes to their excellent educational and scientific records. There are 130 US and several dozen British institutes among the top 700 institutes of the world. In spite of the prestige and glamour we associate with our IITs and IIMs, none of them makes it to the top 200. It is a pity that IITs’ over-all ranking has come down over the years. New institutes in Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and other developing countries have overtaken us and found respectable places in the top league. The latest QS ranking puts IIT-Delhi at the 212th place and IIT-Kanpur at the 278th. IIT Bombay did remain in the list for a few years, but now it has disappeared from there. This engineering institute ranked 186th globally in 2010 and an

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CAMPUS

uacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranks comparative merits of world’s top 700 universities by using parameters like faculty-student ratio, published research work, international faculty and international student ratio. The rankings are published annually since 2004. This year Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the first time has grabbed the top slot from Britain’s Cambridge University. The reputed Harvard University occupies the third slot.

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Without research you stand no where!

Indian university figured in the top 200 in 2011. But none this year!

Don’t aspire without making adequate investment Examining the reasons behind our inability to make the global grade, we find that Indian institutes are acutely starved of funds, forcing them to focus less and less on research and innovation. The fund shortage limits the exposure of students to newer technologies and equipments. The prestige of an institute rests not just upon pedagogy but on the quality of research the professors do along with students. The problem with Indian institutes is that they cannot raise funds for research. Much younger institutes abroad like the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), South Korea’s Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) and Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) raise millions of dollars

Top Ten of the World 01 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) 02 University of Cambridge (UK) 03 Harvard University (USA) 04 University College London (UK) 05 University of Oxford (UK) 06 Imperial College of London (UK) 07 Yale University (USA) 08 University of Chicago (USA) 09 Princeton University (USA) 10 California Institute of Technology (USA)

to fuel growth and sustain their world class research. HKUST’s budget for research in 2009-2010 was HK$426 million whereas KAIST has set a goal of one trillion won by 2013

for various academic programmes. Do we hear any such thing in Indian institutes?

Shortage of quality faculty Almost all IITs, IIMs and other

NOVEMBER, 2012 LOKAYAT |

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CAMPUS premium institutions in our country are living with inadequate faculty strength. The working conditions as well as emoluments are so low that they fail to attract quality faculty. In fact they find it difficult to retain even the existing faculty-- often the teachers get so disillusioned by dirty internal politics that they leave for greener pastures at the earliest opportunity. These apart, IITs are not allowed to hire foreign nationals as permanent or full-time faculty. So much so, there is at present in all a shortage of around 2500 teachers! It is no secret that students passing out of IITs and IIMs in India prefer jobs in industry rather than seek a career in science and technology academies just because of the huge difference in the size of pay packets. A scrutiny of the QS global ranking reveals that their emphasis is on multidisciplinary approach. Since our IITs do not have multi-disciplinary research facilities they lose in the global reckoning. Top ranking universities like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and so on are all in the multi-disciplinary format. They may be known more for a particular discipline, but they cater to several disciplines. Specialist institutes naturally are at a disadvantage in this ranking system.

Absence of international flavour Industry experts in India are of the opinion that absence of international exposure of our institutes in terms of students and faculty is a big minus point. Indian institutes do not attract many international students for many obvious reasons. There is also much

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Top Ten of Asia 01 The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (Hong Kong) 02 National University of Singapore (Singapore) 03 University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) 04 Seoul National University (South Korea) 05 The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) 06 Peking University (China) 07 Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (South Korea) 08 The University of Tokyo (Japan) 09 Pohang University of Science & Technology (South Korea) 10 Kyoto University (Japan)

America and Europe dominate the list he US dominates the list with a formidable 130 of the 700 top universities-- six of the top ten. Neighbouring Canada has two universities in the top 20. Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s institutes enjoy four of the top ten places. Swiss, French and German universities also score well. In Asia, China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea have emerged as newer destinations of quality higher education. University of Hong Kong figures at 23rd rank and National University of Singapore at 25th. Singapore and Hong Kong both have two each in the list of top 100 universities. South Korea, a country of less than 5 crore population, has 3 institutes among the top 100.<

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indifference, even lack of awareness, among Indian institutes about the importance and advantages of this ranking system. The result is many of

our universities do not participate in the ranking process and do not provide requisite information when asked for.<


COOKERY

By Dolon Roy

estivities are round the corner and in India festivals and food go hand in hand, particularly the sweet meats. I think most will agree that we can enjoy festivals the most when there are variety of goodies to choose from. Many fear sweets for weight gain and other health issues. Here is a recipe which will do justice to the festive mood as well as address the fear of calorie conscious people. Low calorie sweets are the best solution for those who are torn between limiting calorie and fat intake and temptation to enjoy authentic Indian sweets particularly during the festivals. So what one has to do— judiciously replace calorie and fat laden sweets with low calorie alternatives and satisfy your sweet tooth without any guilt. Since Bengal is known as the "mishti" capital of India, I thought of going this time to West Bengal on a culinary trip and the mishti which struck me as the one most loved by Bengalis is SANDESH. Being a milk based sandesh is tasty as well as rich in protein and calcium so necessary for good health. No oil is used as there is no need to fry. And sugar used in sandesh is comparatively less. So with no oil and less sugar you find, this mishti is not only tasty but also nourishing.<

FROM MISHTI CAPITAL OF INDIA

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MINUTES PREP TIME : 10

COOKING TIME : 5 MINUTES TOTAL TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARA TION:

INGREDIE

NTS:

 400 gms fresh paneer

 Soak almond and pistachio slivers and

(hang to drain whey

saffron in warm milk. Keep aside to use as

completely)

topping. If the nuts do not soak up all the

 10-12 almonds cut into

slivers  8-10 of pistachios cut into

slivers  A few saffron strands  1 tbsp warm milk (to soak

saffron)  2 tsps milk powder  1/2 cup finely powdered

sugar  1/2 tsp pistachio essence  1/2 tsp cardamom powder  Ghee to lightly grease

moulds  Moulds of any shape you

like

milk by the time you are ready to use them, drain it away before you use the nuts as topping.  Mix paneer and milk powder in a pan and

cook the mixture in milk on a medium flame stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes.  Allow the mixture to cool.  Add sugar, essence and cardamom powder

and mix until smooth dough is formed.  Lightly grease the moulds with ghee.  Put a little topping mixture (soaked almonds,

pistachios and saffron strands) in each mould.  Press some of the prepared paneer mixture on

top of the topping in each mould and shape.  Chill for a few hours, unmould carefully and

serve.

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CHHATTISGARH INVITES MEGA

By Lokayat Correspondent

Chhattisgarh has shown double digit growth rate for last several years, marking it a remarkable state in the country at a time when nationally the growth-rate is declining. Investment is flagging in the country as a whole. Dr Raman Singh is trying hard to invite new investments in the state and for this he is show-casing Chhattisgarh as a right destination for new opportunities.

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hhattisgarh, a land of opportunities, as termed by several top corporate honchos, hosted a two day glittering Global Investors Meet in New Raipur, the new capital of the mineral-rich state. The summit proved to be a landmark event for the state, as it according to sources attracted an investment of around one lakh crore and attended by top guns of the corporate world and some 18 ambassadors of various countries. The significance of the summit can be gauged from the fact that MoUs worth over Rs 35,000 crore were signed on the very first day of the meet. Held on 2-3 November, 2012, the summit was attended by Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Resources, Naveen Jindal of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd,

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Prashant Ruia of the Essar Group, G.M. Rao of infrastructure major GMR, C.S. Verma of SAIL, R.S. Goenka of Emami Group, Rajesh Adani of Adani Group, Arup Roy Choudhary of NTPC, Ramesh Agrawal of Dainik Bhaskar Group and Sandeep Jajodia of Monnet Group among others. Naveen Jindal, a Congress MP termed the meet an incredible event for creditable state. It is to be noted that Jindal has already invested Rs 25,000

crore in the state and is planning to bring in another 50,000 crore. Raman Singh, who has been the chief minister since 2003, in his address, laid more emphasis on investment in sectors like information technology, urban infrastructure, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, engineering and auto, renewable energy, tourism and healthcare, agro and food processing and minor forest produces. He pointed out that the state has been registering double-digit growth rate for several years and has ample electricity to provide Chhattisgarh power to industries for now does not want to coming 30 years. seek investment in the core Presently, the state sector like steel, electricity and is generating cement. It wants investment in 15,000 megawatts financial services, health care delivery, of power and it is information technology, bioexpected that by technology, higher education and tourism. This will generate the end of the 12th thousands of new job plan in 2017, it will opportunities for the have total generating educated youth of the capacity of 30,000 state. mw.


INVESTMENT NEW RAIPUR A NEW AGE CAPITAL New Raipur will be a clean and green city, modelled on the pattern of Putrajaya, the new capital city of Malaysia. According to Dr Raman Singh this will be the flag-bearer of the resurgent Chhattisgarh.

The state is going to have its first Railway Corridor on the publicprivate partnership basis at the investment of Rs 4,500 crore. Exhorting investors the chief minister said that not only the Invest Promotion Board has been instituted which would work in a transparent manner and would resolve problems of investors speedily. The state government has decided to shift focus for the new investment from the core sectors like power, steel and cement to downstream sectors like IT and related areas, biotech, banking, food processing, herbal products and automobile engineering, health care delivery services and tourism etc. According to Dr Raman Singh Chhattisgarh will be one of the three most developed sate in the country. The state is going to have its first Railway Corridor on the publicprivate partnership basis at the investment of Rs 4,500 crore. <

his year on November 1, New Raipur became the fourth planned capital city in the country after Chandigarh, Gandhinagar and Bhubaneshwar. On this day Chhattisgarh completed the 12th year of its existence as a new state carved out from the Madhya Pradesh and the state has officially moved its capital to this new ultra-modern town which is being developed on the pattern of the new capital of Malaysia—Putrajaya. Cheerful at the achievement chief minister Dr Raman Singh said, ‘New Raipur is the flag bearer of the resurgent Chhattisgarh.’ At the occasion of the 12th foundation day of the state, celebrated as ‘Rajyotsav: 2012’ for seven days, the government organised the Global Investors Meet as part of celebrations. Rajyotsav started with the BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda as chief guests. Gadkari, in his address expressed the hope that New Raipur will be one of the best state capitals. Truly, New Raipur takes one into a totally new world, which is full of natural beauty, modern buildings, malls, five star hotels, top grade multi-speciality hospitals and educational institutes, a museum, art galleries, entertainment parks, a botanical garden, a cultural centre and a sports complex. All these planned things being constructed at a rapid pace. Many of the enumerated facilities have already come up. The youngest state capital in the country is also a green city, boasting of being the first city planned as green city in the 21st century. Asia's biggest man-made jungle safari would also be ready soon with an expenditure of Rs 250 crore. About half of the total acquired land in the state is to be used for afforestation, roads, parks, public conveniences, water facilities and canals, green belts etc. Twenty three percent of the land would be reserved for educational institutions, government offices and public auditoria etc. Thirty percent of the land will be used for residential and economical purposes. From internet facility provided through optical fibre to WiMAX and six-lane roads to 60,000-capacity cricket stadium, the new capital when fully developed will match the best in the world. Contrary to old Raipur where over 125 polluting small steel units have made life a hell, New Raipur offers a clean and green atmosphere. It covers an area of 80.13 sq km and will house 560,000 inhabitants by 2031. New Raipur promises to be the new IT hub of the country. Raman Singh, the chief minister of the state is making all out efforts to turn the city into a big centre of this sunrise industry. With Bangalore, Pune and other cities getting saturated in this sector, the new capital offers numerous opportunities for the companies and entrepreneurs alike.<

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SCIENCE

We bought seven cryogenic engines from Russia of which six have been used. Only one is left now. This means we cannot launch heavier satellites after the last one has also been consumed. We have been trying hard to develop our own cryogenic engine, but despite 12 years’ efforts we have not been able to develop a reliable one, which is imperative for the proposed manned moon mission in 2016. We prematurely claimed the development of a cryogenic engine in 2010, but it failed even to ignite at the critical moment and the prestigious rocket called GSLV plunged into the Bay of Bengal causing huge embarrassment to ISRO scientists. The next date for its use has been repeatedly deferred giving an indication that snags in cryogenic engine development have not been sorted out yet. By Dr PK Mukherjee

t was indeed a proud moment for India when ISRO completed its 100th mission on 9th September 2012 with the launch of French satellite Spot-6 (712 kg) and Japanese satellite Proiteres (15 kg). The launch of these satellites was possible, thanks to the Polar Satellite

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INDIA’S ELUSIVE

Launch Vehicle (PSLV) considered to be the best workhorse developed by ISRO so far. Indeed, ISRO can take pride in PSLV as it has time and again proved its technological reliability by launching a host of Indian as well as foreign satellites. But development of a carrier called Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for launching

heavier payloads exceeding 2000 kg has eluded success. The main reason is our failure to develop a cryogenic engine, which has to power the third stage of the launch vehicle to propel the massive payload into the challenging geosynchronous orbit— 35,786 kilometres above the earth. Until now we depended on imported cryogenic engines from


SCIENCE

CRYOGENIC ENGINE Russia which is based on banned technology as it has dual use -- it can be used in missile (defence) programmes. The US denied point blank this technology to India. Russia (erstwhile Soviet Union) agreed to give it but later on backed out due to American pressure. Nevertheless, Russia agreed to sell cryogenic engines to India. The first cryogenic engine was received in 1998; later six more were delivered. Of the six, two failed and one met with partial success. That is, only three Russian engines performed satisfactorily.

heavy satellites to the geosynchronous transfer orbit. While Mark II has the capability of launching a 2,500-kg payload, Mark III can carry up to 5,000 kg. In contrast, the Russian Mark I engines we bought had the capability of lifting satellites weighing 1,9002,200 kg only. One Mark II engine was used by ISRO in 2010 in the sixth flight of GSLV for launching the geosynchronous satellite GSAT-4. However, a snag developed in the engine -- it failed to ignite-- and the

wants to send Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013. The launch of Chandrayan-2 would need the vehicle GSLV- Mark II. But until our own cryogenic engine is ready we have to depend on foreign rockets which are quite costly. The recent launch of GSAT-10 from French Guyana cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 750 crore. Once we succeed in developing our own cryogenic engine we would be able to exploit the global satellite launch market which is highly profitable. By launching more than two

rocket fell along with the payload into the Bay of Bengal. ISRO wants to simultaneously develop Mark II and Mark III engines for its ambitious future flights which may hopefully be a lunar manned mission after the Chandrayan-2 mission. A successful ground test of Mark III was announced recently. The launch of Chandrayan-2 which was earlier scheduled for 2013 has now been postponed to 2016 as India

dozen foreign satellites, India has already entered the multi-billion dollar commercial satellite launch business. India is already a world leader in the remote-sensing data market. The Antrix Corporation sells the data acquired through our remote sensing satellites --there is huge demand for them in foreign countries. But India cannot claim selfsufficiency in space operations without its own cryogenic engine.<

For heavy satellites For INSAT and GSAT category satellites, which run our huge telecommunications network, ISRO needs the GSLV workhorse with cryogenic engine for its third stage. Transponders are sent as payload with these rockets. ISRO has so far 168 transponders in its INSAT/GSAT system. The geosynchronous satellite GSAT-10, the heaviest so far, weighing 3,400 kg launched by ISRO on 29th September 2012 carried 30 transponders in one go. But we could not launch the GSAT-10 with indigenous capabilities. It had to be done from French Guyana using Araine-5 rocket of the European Space Agency (ESA). This is because we did not have our own powerful cryogenic engine for the third stage of the GSLV. Although many announcements about development and testing of a cryogenic engine using liquid hydrogen (cryo= cold) are made, success has eluded so far. At present indigenous cryogenic engines Mark II and Mark III are undergoing several levels of tests. When ready, both are powerful engines capable of carrying

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HEALTH IS WEALTH

SAVE YOUR EYES FROM SILENT Glaucoma is a silent destroyer of sight, it does not cause pain and people do not come to know that they are living with this enemy of your vision till eye-sight starts dropping suddenly. There are specially designed drops which can protect your sight, but people need to know first if they are really at risk. The only way to know this is to get eyes tested annually for intra-ocular pressure from a qualified ophthalmologist… One in eight persons in India are at risk of suffering from it.

By Neeta Jain

lobally, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness (behind cataracts), according to the World Health Organization. In India, it is estimated that glaucoma affects 12 million people and by 2020, the number may go up to 16 million. Statistics say one in eight persons above the age of 40 years in India is either suffering from glaucoma or is at risk of suffering from it. Glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that usually have few or no initial symptoms but eventually causes harm to the optic nerve that carries information from eye to brain. In most cases, glaucoma is associated with higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye (ocular hypertension). If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma first causes

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peripheral vision loss and eventually can lead to blindness. Glaucoma is rightly called a ‘silent destroyer of sight’, because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs. It often progresses undetected until the optic nerve is already irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss. The most common type of glaucoma is called ‘primary open angle glaucoma’ that affects about 70 million people worldwide, of whom about 10 per cent are believed to be blind. In another type, ‘acute angle-closure glaucoma’, symptoms occur suddenly, which can include blurred vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting. An emergency visit to an ophthalmologist can save loss of vision. The eye pressure (intraocular pressure) is measured with a tonometer. An abnormally high IOP reading indicates problem with the amount of fluid in the eye. Either the eye is producing too much fluid, or it's not draining properly. To keep the pressure low (below 21mmHg is ideal), eye drops are prescribed by doctors. If your IOP is higher than 30 mmHg, your risk of


HEALTH IS WEALTH

DESTROYER OF SIGHT Reducing eye pressure is the initial treatment

Exercise can prevent it

nitially the treatment involves reducing the eye pressure by specially designed eye drops and medication. Because glaucoma often is painless, people may become careless about strict use of eye drops that can control eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage. In fact, non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major reason for blindness caused by glaucoma. Gonioscopy also may be performed to make sure the aqueous humor can drain freely from the eye. In more severe cases surgery is the only option. A lot of research is going on to find ways and means to reduce eye pressure. Recently a stent system has been developed to treat mild or moderate open-angle glaucoma in people who are already using medication to reduce high eye pressure. A new device is being developed which will be a personal tonometer, which glaucoma patients will be able to use at home. Since people who are at risk for glaucoma tend to have eye pressure that fluctuates throughout the day, it's difficult to get a good overall picture of their eye pressure situation with just one periodic reading at the eye doctor's office<

ccording to a recent European study, exercise might do the trick for some people. Researchers in the U.K. found that people who engaged in moderate physical exercise approximately 15 years prior to the study had a 25 percent reduced risk of low ocular pressure that could lead to glaucoma, maybe due to cardiovascular fitness. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of glaucoma. A new report documents how the eye's natural lens, retina and other eye tissues absorb antioxidants called catechins, which are found in green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants that can penetrate eye tissues, possibly protecting against glaucoma.<

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vision loss from glaucoma is 40 times greater than someone with intraocular pressure of 15 mmHg or lower. Other methods of monitoring glaucoma involve the use of sophisticated imaging technology to create baseline images and measurements of the eye's optic nerve and internal structures. Then Visual field testing is a way to determine if you are experiencing vision loss from glaucoma. The visual field test may be repeated at regular

A

intervals to make sure you are not developing blind spots from damage to the optic nerve or to determine the

Too much iron and calcium supplementation increases risk ron and calcium supplementation above a certain level may increase your risk of developing glaucoma, says recent research. Those who took at least 800 mg per day of supplementary calcium or at least 18 mg per day of supplementary iron (both are oxidants) had a greater chance of Glaucoma than those not taking these supplements. In fact, taking both iron and calcium above these levels increased the odds of developing glaucoma even more. People with diabetes and/or hypertension are more likely to develop open angle glaucoma as well. The diabetics in the group had a 35 percent increased risk for it while those with hypertension alone had a 17 percent increased risk. The increased risk was 48 percent for people with both diabetes and hypertension.<

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extent or progression of vision loss from glaucoma. Other types of glaucoma are pigmentary glaucoma, secondary glaucoma following an eye injury or eye infection and some are congenital. Glaucoma's exact cause is still unknown, but some scientists think it results from abnormalities in the blood vessels and circulation that nourish not only the rest of the body, but also the optic nerve, eyes and brain.<

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REGIONAL FILMS

TO PLAY IN JAYAPRADHA FILM By Our Film Critic

ansika Motwani has signed on the Tamil remake of Tollywood hit ‘Ishq’ being produced by actresspolitician Jayapradha. While the veteran will launch nephew Siddhartha in the lead, Hansika will be seen as a bubbly and vivacious girl in Nithya Menon’s role from the original. The film will be directed by Rajashekar. “I watched the original version to get an idea about the script. I found my role very interesting and since it was a proven hit, I didn’t have any qualms in signing the film. Jayapradha ma’am has planned to produce the movie on a grand scale,” Hansika revealed.<

H

E

MUKUL D

OACH

RA C G N A H B V AS

ctor Mukul Dev is presently busy shooting for a Punjabi film. Titled ‘Burraah’, it has him in the role of a sardar. The film is directed by Sagar Sharma for producer Nidhi Chikara and Speed Records. Based on the lines of Chak De India, it has Mukul Dev as a Bhangra coach who reforms a bunch of students and leads them to victory. The actor has completed the dubbing for the film which is to release soon.<

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REGIONAL FILMS

iddhartha, who played an important role in the popular Hindi film ‘Rangde Basanti’, is all set to act and produce a new bilingual film under his home production Etaki Entertainments. Buzz is that the untitled film is a love story and Ram Subramaniam is going to direct it. The film is likely to go on floors in November. Currently, the team is still in the process of finalising the female lead and other cast & crew members. An official announcement is expected shortly. Earlier this year, Siddharth’s first production venture titled ‘Love Failure’ garnered good critical acclaim and the film, made on a budget of around Rs 5 crores, turned out to be quite a profitable venture for Siddhartha and other co-producers. He’s currently shooting in Hyderabad for Nandini Reddy’s upcoming romantic film. Samantha is playing the lead role in the film and Nithya Menon is playing an important role.<

S

TO PRODUCE NEW

A VISUAL

TREAT

am Charan’s upcoming film ‘Nayak’ is going to be a visual treat for both fans and others who love watching breathtaking locales in foreign countries. Recently, the remix of Subhalekha Rasukunna was shot on Ram Charan and Amala Paul in Iceland and for the first time ever, a Telugu film was shot in Slovenia. In fact, ‘Nayak’ is the first Indian film to be shot in Slovenia, which boasts of picture perfect locations. All these years, Switzerland was the favourite destination for Telugu filmmakers. Of late, some filmmakers have begun slowly exploring other countries like France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany.<

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INTERVIEW

‘As an actress, RANI MUKHERJEE tells Jyothi Venkatesh It was a unique experience for me to do the film since I had never acted in a romantic film in which the protagonist is attracted by a man’s smell and falls in love with him. I fall in love with a Tamil boy, played by Prithviraj after I get attracted by his smell, Rani confesses. ani Mukherjee was zapped when Anurag Kashyap told her on the last day of the shooting of NO ONE KILLED JESSICA that he had a kamal ka subject called AIYYAA. However, since he has written edgy thrillers like TALASH, Rani told him that she would like to do a film written by him only if it had a light subject, because she was up to her ears after having played intense roles in every film of hers. The one line that Anurag narrated to her of AIYYAA was interesting and quirky, since it was about a girl who gets attracted to a boy because of his smell. Rani agreed to be part of the film at once, because she was intrigued by the subject. ‘It was a unique experience for me to do the film since I had never acted in a romantic film in which the protagonist is attracted by a man’s smell and falls in love with him. I fall in love with a Tamil boy, played by Prithviraj

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after I get attracted by his smell,’ Rani confesses. ‘As an artiste, I have always wanted some kind of newness in my character. Sachin Kundalkar is making his bow as a director in Hindi films with AIYYAA. I play the role of Meenakshi Deshpande, a Pune-based middle class Maharashtrian girl in AIYYAA. It was something new to me since in all the films in which I had acted till date, I have never played a Maharashtrian character. Rani says she made it a point to speak Marathi with a twang after adapting it from the way Sachin Kundalkar speaks Marathi. ‘I observed Sachin and the only difference is that Sachin is a man whereas I am a woman. As an actress, I adopt a body language in every film of mine. I have set out to present Meenakshi in AIYYAA in a different way. Sachin has taken the basic essence from his Marathi film GANDH and given it a new dimension in AIYYAA, which is a true


INTERVIEW

I am learning even now’ Hindustani film in the real sense since none of the actors is from the North except her. All through her career, Rani says that she has worked either with experienced and well established filmmakers or new comers. “Karan Johar, Kunal Kohli, Shaad etc all made their bow as directors when I did their first films. It has always been a big advantage for me because while the experience of the established filmmakers will make me a better actor, when I work with new directors, they

come to me with an image of mine and want to present me with an entirely different image and I benefit.’ Rani says she is not staging her comeback with AIYYAA because NO ONE KILLED JESSSICA was her last release two years ago. ‘I am very happy that Sridevi has staged her comeback with ENGLISH WINGLISH after

almost 15 years since her last film JUDAAI was released, it is indeed amazing that no one has been able to replace her since the time Sri was working in films with Madhuri Dixit.’ Talking about her growth as an actress from RAJA KI AYEGI

people for the first five years and learnt. In fact, I am learning even now.’ Talking about marriage, Rani says that it is only now that she feels that she should get married and settle down in life. ‘Marriage is a very personal choice of every individual. I believe in

Out of the 50 films, in which she has worked till date, she feels that BLACK, YUVA, BUNTY AUR BABLY, SAATHIYA, HUM TUM and now AIYYAA are the best. After AIYYAA, her next release will be TALAASH in which she has been teamed opposite Aamir Khan.

BARAAT to AIYYAA, Rani says that at 17, when she had made her debut with a Bengali film, it was more about earning the daily bread for the family, but then came a time when she was acting to hone her craft. ‘I learnt a lot when I was new, because I did not have any experience whatsoever at all. I observed

marrying once and living forever with the person whom you marry but that does not mean that I will advocate that every woman should love with the man she marries even if she is tortured. The day I choose to get married, I will, but what will always remain is my love for films.’<

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SPORT

SPORT NEEDS A India expects medals in Olympics and other international events without having a sports culture in the country. We need to refurbish our mind-set. In developed countries sports is an integral part of the education system. Playgrounds and other facilities are as necessary and important in a school as book curriculum. In India, because of acute shortage of funds, these take a backseat. Without changing all this we cannot become a sports power.

By Ramu Sharma

he Battle of Waterloo was won on the sports fields of Eton and Harrow is an oft repeated adage if one accepts it in its real sense. But it is very much a truism. Efficiency in sports is closely related to physical prowess in its entire fulfillment. This was certainly true when fighting was a hand-to-hand contest and physical strength was necessary adornment. And though times have changed the sentiment is very much alive even if the context varies. For as long as one can remember, particularly so after the Independence the average Indian,

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like his counterparts in other countries, has craved for honours on the sports field. There is nothing strange about his desires except for the fact that Indian sports person, way behind the rest of the world, rarely crosses the achievement level. The excuses for nonperformance in an international sports gathering is on an all-toofamiliar lines. Lack of finances, infrastructure and proper coaching are some of the reasons trotted out regularly. The remedial measures taken soon after an Olympic Games or Asian Games are over, are the same. Committees are formed, failures debated, excuses and answers pronounced and finally a report released giving specific cures added with high moral sentiments. Needless to say, no further action is taken till the next international event, another round of non-performances and yet another gathering of high profile


SPORT

NEW MINDSET personalities concluding in more irrelevant paper work. It is a regular routine of non-exercise. Lest it gives the impression of laxity and irreverence on the part of the government, it must be said that these remedial moves do not lack sincerity. In India the intentions are always good but the country lacks the experience in addition to a total absence of a sports culture. Sports has never been a priority concern. In developed countries sports is an integral part of the education system. Playgrounds and other facilities are as necessary and important in a school as book curriculum. In India, because of acute shortage of funds, these take a background. It is enough that students are able to imbibe the ABC of alphabets. Sports is not important enough. But that does not mean Indians do not want medals in Olympics. The desire overrides everything else. And to that extent the government involves itself quite deeply. There is the Sports Authority of India, replacing the National Institute of Sports and other allied units. The All India Council of Sports, now a defunct organisation with prominent personalities from all fields, did a fine job but being an advisory body could not be very effective. The various sports councils at the State level too tend to get weighed down

in technicalities with the result that there is no central body at any stage to take control and monitor the progress. Incentives in terms of national honours, cash and kind are one way of providing the necessary push. But much more is required. What is important is the need to refurbish the mindset. The sports federations and the Indian Olympic Association must change their outlook, become a little more daring in their goals. The present outlook of preparing sportspersons for the Olympics and other international meets with participation as the main goal must be changed. The aspiring athletes should be given a much tougher deadline, not just the qualifying mark. They should be told to train for medals. The approach has to be more dynamic. It will certainly make for a new incentive. It is easier said than done but there is no harm in being more positive. It is not going to be easy in a country where priorities are still food for the hungry and jobs for the unemployed. But times are changing and certainly there is an increasing awareness of the importance of doing well in international sports competition. Call it patriotism but still it is a major driving force. It requires hard work. Are the Indian sportspersons upto it?<

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

WILL PC MAGIC WORK THIS TIME ?

Finance minister PC Chidambaram

By Koomitara

entral government’s debt has increased to Rs 39 lakh crore which is more than twice its annual budget. The growth rate has come down to 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this fiscal year even while claims were being made to grow at 8 percent. The fiscal deficit is threatening to cross 5.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) against the projected 5.1 percent in the budget. Last year also, former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had projected it to be 4.6 percent but it turned out 5.8 percent at the year-end, denting his personal reputation as well of the UPA government. After PC Chidambaram was given charge of finance ministry things have moved fast to correct the situation. Various moves are afoot which can bring down the fiscal deficit to the level of 5.3 percent of the GDP, only marginally ahead of the projected 5.1

C

PC Chidambaram is known to be a growth-oriented finance minister who has shown his magic several times in the past. He is again put on the job when the country faces the risk of downgrading to the junk status by international rating agencies. He, as well as his ministry team, is working overtime to work-out pragmatic solutions to the beleaguered Indian economy.

in the budget of 2012-13. PC has been made the finance minister again when international rating agencies threatened to downgrade India’s sovereign rating to junk category which could be disastrous for the country’s economy. A serious question begs answer as to what led to such a precarious situation and why the government woke up so late. People remember that India had registered average annual growth of 9 per cent during 2003-08 and started talking of graduating into an era when India too would be able to show double digit growth like China which astounded the world by its miracle of ten percent average growth rate consistently for three decades. How come the Indian growth story shrivelled too soon? What has led to this decline? The latest world economic outlook of the IMF has while lowered the Indian growth forecast of 5.6 by whopping one percent down since the last estimate made six months ago. It has also reduced the growth of China also but it is still at 7 percent.

Though government’s spin doctors claim that India’s growth story went off the track like many other nations in the world because of the global financial crisis, yet many political-economists feel that much of the economic trouble seems to be of our own making. We can recall how the RBI increased bank interest rates by 13 consecutive times in the name of checking the price rise, yet the price rise has continued to remain out of control, especially due to poor supply side management. And we splurge money on subsidy and schemes borrowing heavily as government’s own revenue did not allow all this. Now reforms measures have been announced that has focussed so much on FDI in retail but the Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz had said India did not need FDI in retail to spur its growth. He was candid in his interview to an Indian newspaper that the move may benefit China as the global supermarket chains believe in sourcing cheap goods from wherever it is available.<

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BOOK

THE EARLY HEROES OF

The Bombay edition of the Times of India gave a screaming advertisement on July 7, 1896—‘The marvel of the century, the wonder of the world’ at Watson’s Hotel. What was this marvel? Screening of four short films (at that time they were called cinematograph) by Lumiere Brothers! That was when cinema made its debut in India. HS Bhatavadaker was the first Indian to shoot a short film in 1901, a one-reeler. It may be called the first documentary. It took a decade to reach the feature film level. Dada Saheb Phalke made the first feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913. After the success of Phalke’s ‘Lanka Dahan’, a Parsi businessman Jamshedji Madan started making films in Calcutta at a bigger lavel. Talkie came in 1931 when Ardeshir Irani made ‘Alam Ara’. ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ by Sohraab Modi in 1953 was the first technicolour Indian film. Today the Indian film industry is the world’s largest…but there are as yet few books to tell the whole incredible history of Indian cinema.

By Suresh Uniyal

ne can count on the fingers of a hand all the books written on the history of Indian cinema -- who blazed its trail and who were the early heroes and heroines. Dada Saheb Phalke, HS Bhatavadaker, Bhalji Phendharker, Baburao Painter, Ardeshir Irani and

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Dhiren Ganguli were the pioneers, but for many people today they remain just names to be ticked in reality shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, etc. to graduate to the next round. There is a desideratum for comprehensive books depicting in detail the times and challenges of the early phase of the Indian cinema. One book I can recall in this regard is ‘Hindi Cinema ka Itihaas’ by Manmohan Chadha published in the 80’s. After that I have now come across Shriram Tamrakar’s ‘Beete Kal Ke Sitare’, which is not a history in the usual genre, but it presents important personalities of Indian cinema in

alphabetic order as in a ready reckoner and gives a fair amount of interesting details not only of their work but also of the times. Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavadaker, popularly known as Savedada was the first Indian newsreel maker. How did he start? In 1902 when RP Paranjape, a super brat of mathematics, having topped Cambridge University exam, returned to a huge welcome at Bombay port, Savedada shot the event. Before that Savedada had made only a few one-reelers. His first work was filming a wrestling bout in the Hanging Garden. Another was on monkeys’ training in a circus. That was


BOOK

BOLLYWOOD

in 1899. Savedada then filmed the monumental Dilly Darbar of Lord Curzon, which was a dazzling display of imperial power. It received good publicity and drew big crowds. The young generation perhaps may not be aware, who was the first member of the first family of Indian cinema. He was Prithviraj Kapoor, the great grandfather of Karishma, Kareena and Ranbir Kapoor of ‘Burfy’ fame. Prithviraj, popularly called Papaji and truly the Bhishma Pitamah of Indian Cinema, had started as an extra in films. He got the first lead role in Cinema Girl in 1930 and that too by coincidence. The lead actor for the film did not turn up for the shooting. Desperate director Mishraji only could request the Israeli heroine Ermalyn to select a good looking fellow from the extras. Her eyes fell on Prithviraj who looked like Adonis, the handsome Greek God. He was paid a ‘princely’ wage of Rs 75 for playing the role. It was a silent film. The first Hindi talkie, Ardeshir Irani’s ‘Alam Ara’ came the following year. Prithviraj played an important role

achieved remarkable success and popularity after him. Members of the third generation of the Kapoors, like Randhir (his wife Babita), Rajeev, Karan, Kunal, and Sanjana too have made their mark in Bollywood. Karishma and Kareena, of the fourth generation Kapoors too have tasted raving success at the box office. Tamrakar’s book covers Title : Beete Kal Ke Sitare most of the main players of Author : Shriram Tamrakar Hindi cinema, but some Publisher : Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar names are conspicuous by Gramophone Record Museum, their absence, like Jamshedji Indore (Madhya Pradesh) Madan, who laid the Price : Rs 500 foundation of commercial Hindi cinema. His first film in it besides Master Bitthal, Zubeda and ‘Bilva Mangal’ (1919) was a roaring Jillo. The same year he also played the success. And then the Super Trio of the lead role of Arjun in ‘Draupadi’. Much 50’s—Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and later he played the legendary roles of Dev Anand --also do not find a place in Alexander the Great in ‘Sikandar’ the book, although their contemporary (1941) and Akbar the Great in MughalMadhubala is there. And, it is e-Azam (1960). His sons Ranbeerraj scandalous to find Meena Kumari, the (Raj Kapoor), Shamsherraj (Shammi tragedy queen of Hindi cinema, missing Kapoor) and Shashi Kapoor too from the book.<

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EARTHY DREAMS

Lessons from 1962 humiliation hile the nation has, for the first time, honoured its heroes who sacrificed their lives for their motherland in the war with China 50 years ago, the Government of India is still fighting shy of publishing the Brooks-Bhagat report on the humiliating defeat. The countrymen have a right to know what exactly went wrong, who should be held accountable for the shame and what lessons, if any, the government, the defence brass and strategic experts have learnt. It was certainly a stab in the back by China. Blinded by idealistic myopia, then prime minister Nehru never suspected that the ‘friendly’ China would have expansionist designs and unleash a full-scale war on India. So, while we ignored the warning reports Beijing was finetuning its strategic agenda. It found the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the Soviet and US nuclear armadas were facing eyeball to eyeball in the Caribbean, an opportune moment to assault an unprepared and unprotected India. China calculated that the US would not care to rush help to India while itself was in a critical face off with the Soviet Union. China was absolutely right. When an emotionally shaken Nehru pleaded with President John F Kennedy for urgent dispatch of bombers and other urgent military stores, he tactfully dragged his feet. Thus the second lesson we learnt was, we should not put all our eggs in one basket. This bitter truth made Indira Gandhi to conclude a defence pact with the USSR which came handy subsequently during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. China and the USA did issue dire warnings to India--nothing more. The Himalayan debacle also taught India that irrespective of one’s desire for good neighbourly relations, as India and China had maintained for thousands of years, one cannot take anybody for granted forever. One has to continuously re-assess the political designs and philosophy of one’s neighbours correctly. And one should exercise vigil and match military preparedness to the changing threat perception. This axiom deserves reiteration today as the gap between military might of China and India since 1962 has widened. Our poor economic growth due to various political and systemic constraints could be blamed for this sorry state. However, while we struggle to go beyond a measly 6 percent growth rate China consistently maintains a rate of 10 percent -- for the last three decades! Today its economy is three times bigger!! Naturally this fabulous economic strength is reflected on its superior military might. For instance, China has put up an invincible array of offensive installations on the entire 4056- km Line of Actual Control-- five air bases, long-haul rail networks, 58,000 km of road-networks, ballistic missile and advanced fighter bases. Recently it did a high-end air and ground exercise on the border. Can India ignore all this despite its desire for peaceful co-existence with China, especially after its occupation of Aksai Chin and aggressive claims on Arunachal Pradesh? One thing is sure: a future war would not be the ‘primitive’ type we witnessed in 1962; it would see deployment of nuclear arms and missiles and be immensely destructive. It would not be limited to land, air and sea either, but would extend to space and even cyber space! What will be the denouement of such a war? There will not be a single victor, but too many losers. So…… China’s current leadership, the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao duo, understands the scenario: it wants no war. Let us hope its emerging leadership too will not be adventurist. All the same we cannot afford to be complacent or be caught off guard once again.<

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E-Magazine November 2012 Lokayat  

English political Magazine, Hindi political Magazine

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