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VOL 3 < ISSUE 7 < SEPTEMBER, 2013

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What The 'King Maker' Thinks About Them?

Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi Campus Editor Adithi Sonali

To End Hunger

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Congress fiddles with dual leadership

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LETTERS

MODI IS NOT A CHIMERA

YES IT WAS RIFT, NOT GIFT The story on Telangana issue was a good analysis of the folly the ruling party has made. It was nicely titled as Independence Day Rift or Rift on the occasion of Independence Day. However, the dream of staying united as Telugus is now beyond realisation, with so much damage to the cause already done. It was a Rift, not a Gift. After dilly-dallying for so many years, the UPA now appears determined to grant the people of Telangana a new state, but that would be at the cost of other regions of the Andhra Pradesh. The tussle continues, as MPs and MLAs from other regions are resigning and threatening the stability of the government headed by Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is also facing the wrath of the people. In recent years Hyderabad became the heart and soul of the state, as it provides largest amount of revenue to the state exchequer, besides giving millions of employment opportunities to the aspiring youth. The people of the rest of Andhra Pradesh cannot swallow this injustice. Rajnarayan Reddy, Hyderabad

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The article ‘Modi A Challenge or A Chimera’ is superbly written. Though, any story on Modi, who has captured the imagination of the youth across the country, is well received, your story gives special perspectives about how he succeeded in acquiring the cult status, overpowering all kinds of odds and obstacles. Gujarat chief minister has proved himself as the trump card of the BJP, as no one in the party matches him in charisma and character. Numerous failures of the UPA-2 have given much needed impetus to his well choreographed campaign. Though, top leaders in the Saffron party are still divided on the issue, Modi is well on the way to be declared as the prime ministerial candidate. So, I must say he is not a chimera, he is truly a challenge for the UPA. Raghavendra Manoram, Delhi

MAHANTJI, NOT SO EASY FOR YOU! The story on Chhattisgarh is very disturbing for a person like me who hails from the state. There is no denying that the present chief minister Raman Singh has done some remarkable job, however several sectors are still neglected and need immediate attention. The dissension and division in the Congress gives Singh a free hand to rule the state. In such a scenario, change in the government is the need of the hour. But Congress is

badly fragmented, thanks to the whimsical approach of the former CM Ajit Jogi. Last time too, Jogi manipulated his party to bite the dust, and scene is no different this time too. Central minister Charan Das Mahant, in recent years, has established himself as a competent leader of the party, but it is unlikely he will be able to sail through the current troubled phase of the party. Rajnarayan Sahu, Raipur, Chhattisgarh

WHY ONLY IN RAIBAREILLY, AMETHI OR DELHI? I felt sad to read the story that Rae Bareilly, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s constituency has got two new universities, when Rae Bareilly and Amethi have a slew of high profile premier educational institutions and several regions and constituencies of the country have no university. Clearly, the move is meant to boost Sonia Gandhi’s chances in the next parliamentary election due in early next year. Yes I agree with the writer that the county needs such universities which cater to the needs of the growing and hugely prospective sectors like civil aviation, but they should be opened in other states and regions also, why only in Rae Bareilly, Amethi or Delhi. Manav Sharma, Patna

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


WITH CANDOUR

THE BIGGEST SELFISHNESS! ulture of any nation can remain strong only on the foundation of mutual love, respect and good faith, but this has been subverted by excessive greed for power and pelf in our country. And the economic freedom, in fact, has created a class of suckers rather than bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Secularism has also been undermined as we have political parties that made castes more relevant. People sometimes ask what the biggest selfishness is. To my mind, not keeping in our memory the pangs of independence is the biggest selfishness. When will our leaders pay attention to the ongoing debasement, degeneration and vulgarization of cultural tradition and refined way of living? Both the Congress and the opposition need to pay attention to this. Had they worked together to fill the map of India with sparkling colours of achievements and accomplishment, the image of the country would have been different, but it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen. The fundamental argument for the need of independence was to get rid of the suckers (the Britishers) and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. But it was conveniently forgotten after India got freedom in 1947. The pace of development also remained placid. The country failed to find its trajectory of fast development whenever coordination between the ruling party and the opposition got disrupted. Nehru did creatively try to do something, but his period and efforts remained largely eclipsed by war and civil disturbances. After him Lal Bahadur Shastri tried to redeem the country from the deep economic crisis. His slogan of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan rendered a new sense of unity in the country. He gave an example by giving up one meal in a week to get rid of the acute food crisis in the country. Indira Gandhi was the first PM, who by corollary to her campaign of Garibi Hatao in fact initiated the process of population control, finding it one of the biggest reasons behind poverty. But her Garibi Hatao mission started 41 years ago was unfortunately ridiculed as a bogus slogan by opposition parties. And population control measures did not impress the people. They did not adopt them. India did not, however, choose to be authoritarian like China to impose rule of one child per couple. Had people thought of the future of the country, they would have given due importance to the problem of burgeoning population. The population kept on increasing, so much so, it got inflated more than three times since independence, and proportionately the poverty has also multiplied. Now on the eve of 67th year of independence, cheap food grain by the food security bill is being arranged for the 67 percent population of the country, but at the cost of decelerating economic development. The UPA government has arranged for the cheap food grains, but pays no attention towards the basic issue of increasing population which is the basic problem. Freedom and population-control could have been complementary to each other, but it did not happen. The Centre, in fact, needs to make strong constitutional provisions to run family welfare programmes effectively. If growing population is not contained, things are sure to worsen. Cheep food cannot be an alternative to poverty elimination. Economists indulge into eristic debates on economic issues based on their bookish knowledge but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to pay heed to the real problem behind massive poverty in the country. In the last six decades, 90 crore new people have come to share resources, which have not increased proportionately. And a few things cannot increase at allâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the air, land and water.<

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COVER STORY

TO END HUNGER! The worsening economy in the country, with growth-rate slipping to 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the current financial year has raised the spectre of increased poverty and unemployment in the country. Topping it all is the burden of the spiralling prices of food articles, which, even the RBI feels, would not come down anytime soon, given the weakening value of the rupee. This warrants harsh monetary measures. To shift focus from the grim situation, the UPA government has successfully seen to the passage of Food Security Bill, which ensures provision of 166 gm of food grains per person per day to the 67 percent population of the country. This has increased the food subsidy burden from the existing Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 130,000 crore. The Congress had promised to guarantee meals to everyone in the country through its election manifesto in 2009. But unfortunately those who can afford better food have been included in the Bill and the really poor, destitute, homeless, victims of natural calamities have been excluded. And, with no mechanism to identify the really poor, the money would keep slipping into the hands of the middlemen while bypassing the needy. The union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Prof KV Thomas, agrees that the Bill in its current format is full of inadequacies, but this is the first such Bill, and amendments can be made in future based on experiences during its implementation.

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COVER STORY

By Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna

olitics over poverty and hunger alleviation is not new to India, the nation with the world’s largest number of the poor. Indira Gandhi’s politics of Garibi Hatao was monumental and had yielded seismic electoral outcome with the entire opposition biting the dust. All parties vary of this guard against being seen on the wrong side of the rhetoric. However, in the competitive electoral environment, political parties recklessly indulge in one-upmanship to project themselves as the greatest champions of the poor. The spectacle was witnessed last month in full measure over the issue of the Food Security Bill that was touted as a game-changer by the Congress

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spin doctors and maligned as the Vote Security Bill by the Opposition. Amusingly, despite reservations expressed by all opposition parties, hardly one or two spoke against it and none showed intent to block it. The UPA nevertheless sought to pocket the credit by bringing an ordinance to implement it as though there was a grave emergency to deal with. The popular perception is that this was done at the behest of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. It is no secret there are many in the Congress who believe the measure defies logic in the prevailing precarious economic situation, but they also know it promises to fetch plentiful votes. No matter whatever has been claimed in the Bill, it is full of inadequacies and is unlikely to serve the purpose

for which it has been brought at a wrong time. It would, on the contrary, aggravate the fiscal deficit caused by the government’s huge borrowings to run its populist shows and very high current account deficit, due to buying more from abroad than selling back there. The six-hour debate in the Lok Sabha over the Bill was marked by rhetoric gushing from leaders of various parties as though people were dying of hunger like they used to during famines several decades ago. The truth is, the real poor and destitute have been left out of the Bill’s ambit. Given the massive pilferage in the Public Distribution System (PDS), there is no chance of improvement in the Hunger Index of India. Yes, it is all fine for the sake of propaganda.

The Red tinge The Food Security Bill is reminiscent of

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COVER STORY

Partners in pilferage he government procures 34 percent and 40 percent respectively of all the rice and wheat produced in India. This will increase in order to fulfill the obligations of the food security provisions. So one can expect the government to buy and sell nearly half of the food grains produced in the country–at lower-than-the market price–which will mean that the rest will have to be sold at higher prices. These higher prices will have to be paid by most people of the country, including those who would be left out due to not having ration cards. The state governments would have to be very cautious as many unscrupulous people from the middle economic class forge their papers and declare themselves living below poverty line to qualify for subsidy. In the process many fake names and addresses crop up to draw cheap food and sell it in the open market elsewhere. This has been a regular practice resulting into some 45 percent of the food grains released by the government never reaching the targeted beneficiaries. Essentially people remain hungry due to this leakage, which needs to be plugged. But with political elements hands in glove, this has turned into well-oiled machinery in most of the states.<

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the Soviet style entitlement that hardly helped that country and its people. The country finally crumbled into pieces for not following the economic logic in its statecraft. The Bill appeared like a billboard disputing government’s claims about reduction of poverty in the country. It assumed that poverty is so much in the country that 67 percent people of the country do not even get two square meals and sleep in hunger. So they should be given a help of Rs 3.25 per day. The real issue is the vote. Many state governments, especially run by opposition parties, like BJP, CPI-M led left front, AIDMK etc, have used the trick to lure voters by such schemes. Most economists believe the poor cannot benefit until they are identified, no matter how much subsidy is poured into running such food security schemes. But, neither the political parties nor governments are much interested in that crucial part of welfare. The current Bill means buying wheat at Rs 13/kg from the farmers, spending another Rs 10 on storage, wastage and transportation and selling it at Rs 2.00/kg to 67 per cent people. The food security can be better assured by increasing income of people, by generating more employment, by ensuring better growth rate and allowing it to percolate deep down, at which the government has failed. The BJP opposed the Bill on two counts; one the centre has not consulted the states by inviting chief ministers despite the fact that the scheme would impose a lot of burden on the states, two the BJP insisted that the Bill should have included the provisions of similar scheme being run in Chhattisgarh, a BJP-ruled state, where not only in place of 5 kg food grain per person, 7 kg is given but 2 kg iodised salt is also given for free to check malnutrition. There is a provision to give 2 kg pulses also at subsidised rate to alleviate protein deficiency among targeted people. BJP leaders pointed out that if the

Chhattisgarh model were to be adopted every card holder would have got 10 kg food grains more.

Skewed Logic The proponents of the Bill harped on the data of the World Hunger Index

For all the tall claims the Bill is full of inadequacies and is unlikely to serve the purpose for which it has been brought. It would aggravate the fiscal deficit caused by government’s huge borrowings to run its populist shows.

that ranks India pretty low. But, renowned economists have questioned the data. They argue that, due to genetic reasons, the food requirement of Indians is quite different from the Africans and Europeans and the


COVER STORY comparison cannot be made with same yardstick. The Leftistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; argument sounds even more illogical. They say that so much tax subsidy is given to corporates, but the miniscule relief in food subsidy is being objected to. The populist

governments. And, if it is not provided that industry cannot hope to survive. This would lead to loss of production as well as employment. We in India forget that other countries dole out high subsidies to prop up their industries and agriculture

argument leads to misleading conclusion. Any such subsidy is given to the industry to fight out the adverse global conditions owing to higher productivity, better technology and subsidy from their respective

to compete globally and there is no alternative to measures like subsidy on case to case basis. For example if tax subsidy was given to IT sector in India, the Indian middle class as well as the country benefitted stupendously. In

How to finance the food Act he finance minister has promised that he would not allow the fiscal deficit to go beyond the promised limit of 4.8 percent of the GDP. But then the question looms as to where to raise the resources from. The government tested the waters by leaking a proposal to increase taxes on those who earn more than Rs 1 crore a year. There are just 50,000 such individuals in the country, but they pay a substantial amount of tax. On seeing the adverse reaction from the people and the bureaucracy, the PM brushed the proposal aside since it would have deepened the impression that the reforms were being backtracked -- as was the buzz after some restrictions were imposed on sending out dollars out of the country. Another suggestion floating around is that the increased burden of subsidy can be taken care of very easily if the black money stashed abroad is brought back. But this proposal is also not finding favour with the government as it would create a negative image of the government that finally was rewarding the tax evaders. Chidambaram had tried this measure out long ago, and had invited a lot of flak. Another way to generate resources is to cut other subsidies. The government is doing so by increasing petrol and diesel prices, but that is not even sufficient to take care of the increased oil subsidy burden due to weak rupee and global increase of crude prices in the wake of fear of military action against Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people. The last alternative before the government is to cut plan expenditure. But this will endanger the future growth of the country. But who cares for long term interests? <

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COVER STORY industries where we did not subsidise we have been beaten by China, the country most responsible for our current account deficit. The need in the current Indian scenario is to offer nutrition subsidy to the really poor, not fritter it away on those who do not need it. But the overall debate on the issue has been symptomatic of the hunger for power rather than the sense of welfare for the poor and needy. Otherwise greater attention would have

been paid on checking the siphoning of the 40 percent of rice and wheat earmarked for the poor. It was shocking to see that certain provisions in the Bill had been removed from the text of the Bill passed, meant to take care of the hunger needs of really

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TO DEPEND ON MULTINATIONALS DURING CROP FAILURES Prasant Kumar Majumdar (Lok Sabha member of the RSP)

Expressing fears that the food security bill may harm farmers, he argued that if they do not profit, the farm production will decline. Resultantly, we shall have to depend mostly on the multinational companies for food supply. It has not been mentioned that in what manner food grains will be procured (in times of crises like crop failures during droughts). He also raised the issue of not taking the challenges of food security vis­ à­vis rising unemployment and declining wages.<

IT DOES NOT GIVE NUTRITIONAL SECURITY Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Lok Sabha member of the SAD):

I do not understand how a Bill, that provides no proteins, no vitamins, no pulses, no dairy products and none of the essential nutrients that are required, can claim to provide nutritional security to this nation, asked Harsimrat Kaur Badal of Shiromani Akali Dal. She also raised the issue of farmers saying ‘in our country small and marginal farmers produce 52 percent of the total wheat and rice of the country. If this Government is going to sell their food grains at Rs 2 and Rs 3 then why should the farmers bother growing their own crop? The food production will plunge but the food requirement will increase and inflation will shoot through the ceiling. This is the reality that this government needs to think about. If there is one bad year where there is a flood or drought and food production drops, the government will be forced to import food from the world. There will be a global food crisis. She also said that Rs 130,000 crore food security burden was not only going to increase the fiscal deficit, but it was also going to put pressure on the government on not to increase the minimum support price.<

HOW GOVERNMENT IDENTIFIES THE POOR CAN BE SEEN IN DHARAVI! Dr Murli Manohar Joshi (Lok Sabha member of the BJP)

This Bill provides for giving hot cooked meal to the poor but there is no mention as to how this meal would be delivered from door to door. This government has not yet even ascertained the correct number of BPL families in the country. Dharavi in Mumbai is the biggest slum of the world, where one million people are residing but there are only 141 BPL card holders. This is how the government counts the BPL families. In the World Hunger Index, the number of persons suffering from starvation in the country is reported to be 20 crore. Provision of 166 gram food­ grains per person per day cannot satiate the hunger of any person in this country.<


COVER STORY

WHERE IS THE STORAGE CAPACITY?

THIS IS HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY!

FARMERS’ INTERESTS WOULD BE PROTECTED

Sharad Yadav (Lok Sabha member of the JD-U)

Prof KV Thomas, union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution

Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the UPA

For the successful implementation of the Bill, there is a need for 650 million tonnes food grain storage. But, all the godowns of the country have the total storage capacity of 400 million tonnes. It means we do not have storage capacity for 250 million tonnes foodgrains.<

In the new Bill we are covering 67 per cent of the country’s population, that is, 82 crore people. Our burden has gone to about Rs 130,000 crore as well as we need 62 million tonnes of food grains. Unfortunately PDS in the country is weak. I admit that. But in the last four years, we have made strenuous efforts with the state governments. From 22 crore ration cards in the country at that time, now it has come to 16 crores (as bogus ration cards have been cancelled). It is a commendable achievement; I congratulate the states. Some members suggested whether we have enough storage capacity. Five years back, our storage capacity was to the tune of 55 million tonnes which at present has grown to 75 million tonnes. By 2014­15, we will have 85 million tonnes of storage capacity. Now, another suggestion, just made, is that 18 states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, will not get what they are getting under the TPDS system. Whatever is the off take of the last three years of all the states will be completely protected. Another apprehension we had was whether the minimum support price to farmers will be protected and whether we will protect the farmers. I had answered in Lok Sabha sometimes back that whatever food grains that come to the mandis will be taken over by FCI. Similarly, we are not going to freeze the MSP. Now, another doubt that has been raised is about cash transfer. We are interested only in procuring food grains and distributing them; nothing about cash transfer. When we go ahead with the implementation of the scheme, there can be lacunae; there can be blocks and we will find out solutions. The success of this Food Security Bill, as I said at the beginning, depends on how the central government and the state governments go hand in hand.<

When the Bill was taken up in the Lok Sabha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said it was a ‘historic opportunity’ to rise above political differences and help wipe out hunger and malnutrition from the country. But even before that she unveiled the food security programme in Delhi coinciding with the Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary. She termed the legal right to food security as ‘unparalleled’ in the world which would ensure that no poor in India remained hungry. Delhi emerged as the first state in the country to start programme according to the Act. She handed over food security ration cards to beneficiaries along with a 5 kg rice packet each.<

SHAME! WE NEED DOLE AFTER 66 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE!! Dr Tarun Mandal (An Independent member of Lok Sabha)

Dr Tarun Kumar Mandal, an independent member of the Lok Sabha from the SC constituency Jaynagar in West Bengal was highly critical of the government for not being able to create conditions when people ccould earn even their meals even after 66 years of Independence. He said it was a shame for the country that we had to formulate such a Bill to give our people a square meal with dole or charity.<

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COVER STORY vulnerable people, existing on the brink of starvation, the people who are destitute and homeless. Destitute are those men, women and children who have no means and have to resort to begging for survival. Such people migrate from rural areas to cities and can be seen on pavements, roadsides and such other open places or shelters for the homeless. These provisions did exist in the Bill presented in 2011. These people were to be given cooked food and for that a provision of community kitchen existed in the Bill of 2011. In that Bill they were to be given at least one free meal a day as a matter of right and state governments were supposed to identify them and offer two free meals a day for six months. All these provisions were given in a separate chapter â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;For the people in starvationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Similarly, a very large number of people in areas that faced natural disasters such as the flash floods of Uttarakhand recently and Tsunami in

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some coastal parts a few years ago, drop suddenly to the level of starvation and have to start migrating to cities, have also been neglected.

The need in the current scenario is to offer nutrition subsidy to the really poor, not fritter it away on those not needing it. But, the overall debate signifies the hunger for power rather than the sense of welfare.

Fears persist Prior to the discussion on the Bill in the Lok Sabha, there was ample discussion in the media and a fear was expressed that it was not the right time to increase the subsidy burden on the government as there were already challenges related to the alarming fiscal deficit. The union minister for civil supplies, Prof KV Thomas, who piloted the Bill, said the total estimated subsidy for the implementation of the Bill will be Rs 124, 827 crore as total food grain requirement would be 62 million tonnes while currently only 50.47 million tonnes are allocated. Surprisingly 18 states already offer more than what the Bill proposes to give, indicating that they already were doing much more than the current Bill


COVER STORY

A short history of the Bill he Congress had, in its election manifesto of 2009, promised guarantee of meals to all people in the country. The first Food Security Bill was sought to be brought in parliament in 2009 itself but, it got delayed and could be presented in the parliament only on 22 December, 2011. This was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on 5th January, 2012. Thereafter it was sent to states by the

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claims to do. According to the estimate of the government the Food Security Act cost will be around 1 percent of the GDP. But discussing this in the context of GDP creates a wrong notion about its enormity. This needs to be seen in the context of government’s total revenue receipts, which are expected for the 2013-14 at Rs 1,056,331 crore and the overall food subsidy would be 11.82 percent of this receipt. The expenditure of the government has been budgeted at Rs 542,499 crore more than the receipts. In this scenario for any increase in the subsidy, the government would have to borrow even more from the market. Already the borrowing this financial year is budgeted at 54 percent of the total revenue receipts. If due to slow down the revenue receipts remain less than expected, the situation would be even more precarious as the government would have to either borrow more or cut down on plan expenditure which could ruin chances of future growth. The corporate honcho, Ratan Tata, expressed dismay at the political

attitude of ignoring the grave economic condition and commented that no one, including the opposition, was thinking of nation’s interest. The story of government borrowing is depressing. It borrows approximately Rs 50 from the every Rs 100 newly-created, leaving just 50 for the corporates, businessmen and individuals for their use. But with the extra money that will be required to be borrowed for the implementation of food security bill provisions, this amount would come down to Rs 45. This lack of money would ultimately make the loan even costlier for everybody, from common man to corporates. That is the reason many people say the intention behind the food bill is good, but its timing is not appropriate. But the decision could not have been shelved as the elections for the Lok Sabha and even before that, very crucial elections in 4 of the 5 state assemblies—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh—are shrouding their common sense and nationalism.<

standing committee. It was again brought in the House on 17th January 2013 and was presented in the House on 22 March, 2013. The Government had to put pressure on political parties reluctant to support it and to lay singular claim on it, issued an ordinance on 5th July, 2013. The Lok Sabha passed it on 26th August, 2013 and the Rajya Sabha on 2nd September, 2013. <

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SPECIAL

WHAT THE ‘KING MAKER’ THINKS ABOUT THEM? Assembly elections are round the corner in four states of the Hindi belt—Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. They are going to be a litmus test to reveal which of the two national parties—the BJP or the Congress—may score better in the general elections for the Lok Sabha early next year. Desirous of forming government at the Centre in 2014, both these parties are leaving no stone unturned to galvanise party and lure voters. The atmosphere is highly competitive. Unfortunately there are instances of hitting below the belt to score brownie points and impress the voters who are rather confused at the barbs, innuendoes, vitriolic attacks, charges and counter charges, claims and disclaims flying thick and fast in the atmosphere. But who knows what churning is taking place in the mind of voters. Nobody knows who they want to teach a lesson to and who they want to reward. Political parties and their leaders look for a peep into the voters’ mind. Surveys have become a common tool to figure out what is there in their mind. But statistical exercises often lead to erroneous conclusions even as the public mood is in a state of flux. A mood-survey by those who understand the people, their language, political idiom and aspirations can be a better guide. A team of Lokayat, capable of examining the changing colour of politics of various states, humbly took upon itself to fathom the mood of the people. This exercise gave out a different outcome from those already telecast with immense fanfare and hype. The team have used the method of talking to people in their own language in various micro regions, selecting them from various socio-economic-educational strata and tried

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SPECIAL

to elicit meaning out of various numerical figures available to them. Lokayat teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broad conclusion is that none of the claimant parties are on as firm a wicket as they assume; and to realise their goals they will have to follow the poetic dictumâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;miles to go before I sleep. Ruling parties cannot rest assured on the laurels of their touted performance, but need to reach out to the masses with their programmes and policies, while the opposition has to convince the masses about their own reliability in terms of their rival programmes and politics. Truly a tall order! They also need to gear up their booth management machinery. Still, there are definite clues available from the analysis of the present trends which Lokayat team has tried to examine and tell which party is going to win in these states if elections are held today. The propaganda of parties is getting shriller day-by-day to obfuscate votersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; understanding and some new developments may overturn the present scenario by the time elections are held. Ultimately the voter is the King maker. We are only trying to tell what the king maker is thinking at this juncture:

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SPECIAL

SHEILA, CLAIMANT TO THE FOURTH Always smiling charismatic Sheila Sheila Dikshit, the three consecutive time chief minister of Delhi, is credited with turning Delhi into a world class city. The Congress counts on her popularity for the 4th win in a row in Delhi. Born in Kapurthala in Punjab, she married to Vinod Dikshit, an IAS officer and son of home minister in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was also very close to Jawaharlal Nehru and belonged to Unnao in UP. Sheila represented Kannauj parliamentary constituency between 1984 and 1989 and also served as a union minister during 1986–1989, first as the minister of state for parliamentary affairs and later as a minister of state in the PMO. Graduated with a MA degree in history from the prestigious Miranda House at Delhi University, she has two children. Her son Sandeep Dikshit is a 2-time MP from East Delhi and an apolitical daughter Latika Syed married to a Muslim.

By Lokayat Team

he forthcoming assembly elections in Delhi have assumed special significance as Sheila Dikshit is batting for a rare feat, the consecutive fourth term as the CM. She is dexterous in weaving a dream for Delhiites like making the capital city as beautiful as Singapore or Paris and also practices with panache the traditional politics of getting

T

16

| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013

unauthorised colonies regularised where most of the migrants from various states live. Thanks to Aam Aadmi Party the tariff of electricity, corruption and insecurity for women on streets of Delhi have become new issues in Delhi. If we look at the electoral data of all the three municipal elections held last year, when the BJP trounced the Congress convincingly, gaping chinks and fissures appear in the vote base of the Congress. The by-elections to two wards later also went in favour of the BJP, while only

one to the Congress. Indulging in factionalism has become the second habit of Congressmen, despite various attempts by the party high command to stem it; however, chief minister Sheila Dikshit has succeeded in reducing it to a great extent in recent months. In Delhi, curiously municipal corporation and assembly elections threw opposite results last time. So the win of the BJP in municipal elections last year cannot be taken as an indication of what may happen in the November elections for the assembly. Vijay Goel, state unit chief of the BJP, is cursed into facing even more bitter factionalism in his party, as hosts of claimants flex their muscles in the party for the chief ministership. Vijay Goel has been insulated from the fierce direct factional attacks thanks to the presence of Nitin Gadkari as party incharge of Delhi. His status as the former national president could successfully cold shower many restive aspirants of the party in Delhi BJP. It is felt that he has not been able to enthuse cadre to the extent it is desirable to score a victory for the party after a gap of 15 years. A few ‘frustrated’ party functionaries look resolute to mar party’s prospects if Goel remains the leader. Seeing all this, Gadkari has resorted to collective leadership in Delhi to douse the anger of some old stalwarts. Even Sheila’s adversaries concede that during her three terms she has changed the face of the city state, giving it an unmatched splendor and glitz in the country even if it is not like Singapore or Paris; yet, this time round, she will have to toil a lot to achieve victory. With the announcement of direct cash transfer of various entitlements to the poor and aid to build houses for the poor, Dikshit may still surprise all doomsayers.


SPECIAL

SUCCESSIVE INNINGS The election results of 2008 were indeed gratifying to the Congress as it won 43 seats out of total 70 by clocking 40.31 percent of the total votes polled and the BJP could win only 23 seats trailing with 36.34 percent votes. This happened despite the presence of the BSP, which won only two seats but secured 14.05 percent votes, much of which normally go to the Congress. This was quite surprising as only a year ago the BJP had trounced the Congress in the MCD elections getting 164 seats out of 272, leaving only 67 for the congress. The Lokayat’s survey has brought to the fore some startling facts. Electronic media’s surveys have given 5-8 seats to the AAP of Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi assembly elections. But this seems a tall order for the new party. Kejriwal is yet to carve a niche for himself among the poor, who decide the electoral fate of the parties in Delhi. Similarly, the assumption that Baba Ramdev may swing votes in favour of the BJP does not appear valid on the ground. Lokayat survey suggests that Kejriwal’s party can at best win 1 or 2 seats at this juncture. However, a lot may happen in the next two months due to his innovative and door-to-door campaign. So-called Narendra Modi gimmicks have yet to play their impact here, which many political observers assume may bring drastic change at the ground level.

The situation in various districts is as following :  In 2008 in Central Delhi, out of 7 seats, the Congress had won 3, the BJP 2 and the LJP one. Lokayat team’s survey till August 25, suggests that the Congress has improved its position at

least at one more seat of Motia Mahal, where Shoaib Iqbal of Lok Janshakti party had won last time.  In East Delhi, out of 7 seats, the Congress had won 5 and the BJP 2 in 2008. But this time round, the sentiments in Patparganj, Shahdara and Laxminagar appear to be against the Congress though Trilokpuri may this time go in favour of the Congress. Congress looks stronger only in 3 seats and the BJP in 4.  In New Delhi, the Congress had

won 6 out of 7 seats last time and one had gone to the BJP. There is a wave of change in Kasturba Nagar, Malviya Nagar and Okhla in favour of the BJP. Despite this the Congress appears to be in fine fettle at least at 5 seats and the BJP yet on two only.  Out of the 8 seats in North Delhi, the Congress currently holds 5 seats and the BJP 3. Here the wave appears to be in favour of the BJP. In the current

circumstances both parties seem to be heading to claim four each.  In North-East Delhi, last time the Congress had won 4, the BJP 3 and the BSP one. The situation has changed much after the corporation elections. Survey suggests that the Congress may lose one seat here and the BJP may stick to its old tally of 3. There is some challenge for the BSP, but it is going to get 2 seats this time.  On North-West Delhi’s 8 seats, the BJP and the Congress holds 4 seats each. The BSP has made fresh inroads in Narela, currently held by Jaswant Singh of the Congress. There appears no chance of any electoral avalanche in this district too. Congress may come to its old tally of 4 seats, by snatching one from the BJP. The BSP may register its presence by winning one seat.  South Delhi has 8 seats. Presently 5 MLAs are from the Congress, 2 from the BJP and one from the BSP. The Congress MLA has weakened his position in Chhattarpur. The BJP is not in a good shape at Sangma Vihar assembly seat. In present circumstances, the Congress and the BJP may win 3 seats each and the BSP can claim one.  Out of the 7 seats in South-West Delhi, the BJP and the Congress hold 3 seats each and one is held by an independent. There is intense competition between the Congress and the BJP here. The Congress may lose one seat in this district.  West Delhi has 8 assembly seats. The Congress had won 5 of them last time and the BJP 3. The Lokayat team observed that the situation is tilting here in favour of the BJP. However, both the parties appear to be strong in 4 seats each.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

17


SPECIAL

SHIVRAJ CALMLY FACING NEW HEADWINDS Humble yet shrewd, Shivraj Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the suave face of the saffron party, earlier known for working at grass root level with missionary zeal, has brought several landmark changes including high GDP growth rate in a state previously regarded as a sick one. He is pitted against Narendra Modi, the controversial chief minister of Gujarat when governance is compared in various states. Earlier, he served as party’s national general secretary and president of its Madhya Pradesh unit. Joining the RSS in 1972, he has also been a fivetime Lok Sabha MP, representing Vidisha since 1991. Presently an MLA from Budhni constituency in Sehore district, which he first represented long back in 1990, he, was born in 1959 in Sehore in a farming family. He is a gold medalist in MA (Philosophy) from the Barkatullah University, Bhopal.

Parties BJP Congress BSP SP IND & Others Total

18

2003 173 38 02 07 10 230

| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013

Vote Share 42.50 31.61 07.26 03.71 14.92 100.00

By Lokayat Team

ssembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are expected to offer unexpected results refuting tall claims of the BJP leaders. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lucid style; his speech carries superlative claims of developments, but in essence they are hollow according to many to whom Lokayat survey team met during their visit to various constituencies. State BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar was described as a person with dubious distinction of unwaveringly indulging in character assasination of opposition leaders. The team found many of the BJP ministers weak in their constituencies. At least there are 45 legislators who are highly unpopular. The BSP is increasing its base. The situation looks quite different from the general media perception as there seems only 55 constituencies where the BJP candidates are sure to win. The situation for the Congress too is not good either as team’s data show that the Congress is seen winning indisputably on only 40 out of the total 230 constituencies in the state assembly. The announcements of rural development programme by Shivraj Singh Chouhan are impressive, however their implementation is tardy. If the less is spoken about the condition of roads including the highways across the state, the better it is. There is not significant improvement in electricity supply as well. An announcement was made about electricity to be given to the farmers at a flat rate of Rs 1200 per year, but no steps seem to have been taken to implement it. Same is the fate of 24x7 power supply under Atal Jyoti programme. Benefits of the development have not reached to the people living in remote and rural areas. All this would have its bearing on the poll outcome of 2013. Previous data may throw some light on the BJP’s waning popularity. In 2003, the difference in vote share between BJP and Congress was 10.82 percent, which was reduced to 5.25 percent in 2008. The difference in

A

 Sources say a clique in the BJP close to Narendra Modi, doesn’t want chief minister Shivraj Singh to eye Delhi.  The BJP may lose some seats in Bundelkhand and Madhyabharat.  BSP and SP have increased their vote percentage in Bundelkhand.

2008 143 71 07 01 08 230

Vote Share 37.64 32.39 08.97 01.99 19.01 100.00

2013 Survey 112 101 07 05 05 230

Vote Share 38.50 36.80 10.50 05.00 09.20 100.00


SPECIAL seats won by the two national parties also came down from 135 to just 72 during the past two elections. The Lokayat survey reveals tough time ahead for the BJP as the difference of vote share is expected to come down to just 2-2.5 percent in the next elections. The Congress is riven by factionalism and discontent, and common voters too say if general secretary of the party Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamalnath tack together, the Congress can come back to power. Similarly, if Shriniwas Tiwari, Suresh Pachouri and state chief Kantilal Bhuria can bring their acts together then the organisation would be better functioning. Ajay Singh, the leader of the opposition, has also increased his influence in several seats of the Vindhya region. Desertion of Rakesh Choudhary from the party did make sensational media headlines but at the ground level it has not created ripples. The sex scandal of Raghavji, rising differences among ministers, recovery of black money during last five years from officers, revealing the dubious character of bureaucracy under the rule of Shivraj Singh Chouhan—are the negatives for the ruling BJP. And all these have become electoral issues. There is also lack of coordination between the party organisation and the government.<

RAMAN SINGH MAY BE REWARDED AGAIN By Lokayat Team

Raman, the doctor of politics

An Ayurvedic doctor by education, he has ournalists accompanying the Lokayat survey team, found after a tour of all 90 performed better as the doctor of seats of the state no clear indication as to politics, with several firsts to his credit which party may get majority. Vikas Yatra so far as devising new policies and of the BJP is leaving its positive mark on programmes in Chhattisgarh are the people. Chief minister Dr Raman Singh’s concerned. Born on October 15, 1952, style of functioning is also appreciated by he comes from a Rajput family. He is the common voters. But tussle between Jogi and Mahant is one thing that can ensure BJP’s third chief minister of Chhattisgarh since consecutive victory. Jogi’s supporters canregister December 7, 2003 and looks for at least strong show in 5 tribal seats in South Bastar. But one more well-deserving term. Singh the way Jogi continues with his rebellious joined the Bharatiya Jan Sangh as its postures, people in general are talking of his youth member and was first elected to possible expulsion from the party. The Lokayat Madhya Pradesh assembly in 1990. In survey carried out till August 25, suggests that there are irreversible changes in voters’ 1999 he was elected to the Lok Sabha perception in North Surguja and South Bastar from Rajnandgaon. In the Atal Bihari regions. The BJP doesn’t remain here the first Vajpayee government, he was the union choice of the people as a result of a couple of minister of state for commerce and events that took place after disbanding the Salwa industry, later named as president of the Judum. This time, out of 12 seats in this region, Bharatiya Janata Party in the new state the BJP and the Congress may win 4 each and one seat may go in favour of the Communist of Chhattisgarh, and led the party to Party of India. There is fierce tussle between the victory in the 2003 state Assembly Congress and the BJP on the remaining three elections. He is praised across the seats. Political situation has drastically country for successful PDS in his state. changed here. Jogi has marshalled his band of supporters 8 seats of South Bastar. The environment in Naxal dominated areas has BJP, there is emergence of become inconducive to the Congress. The BJP is Samajwadi Party and expected to change candidates on a few seats in Chhattisgarh Swabhiman this region towards defeat. Congress is going to Manch also. They have forged release its first list of candidates soon; the new caste equations in the area. rest will be announced later. The Congress BSP candidates may pose can gain only when proper balance is creditable challenge in Pamgarh, struck among various groups and Sarangarh, Kurud, Rajim, Beltara factionalism is contained. The Lokayat and Masturi constituencies. team’s observation is, that there may be About 14 seats in Bastar and increase in number of rebel candidates this Bilaspur divisions are embroiled in time. Presently, the BJP holds 8 seats and the factional politics. If the Congress Congress 6 in North Sarguja; the figures high command takes any disciplinary may remain unchanged this time also. action against Ajit Jogi, his supporters Perceptible changes are there in Baikunthpur and may make efforts to contest independently Manendragarh constituencies. The BSP has 15 seats. This can spoil Congress chances. Jogi already announced its candidates. Amidst has pretty good personal influence on 6 seats in corroding vote-banks of the Congress and the Bastar region. In such a situation, it will be

J

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

19


SPECIAL difficult for the Congress to form government in the state without the support of independents. One thing is sure that Jogi’s group would leave no stone unturned to ruin chances of Mahant group candidates. There is direct clash of interest in at least 22 constituencies. According to the Lokayat survey, the Congress may win 38 seats, the BJP 31 and the BSP 2. There is stiff direct contest between the Congress and the BJP in 15 constituencies and they are equally poised to win. Similar is the situation between the BSP and the Congress on 4 seats. The assessment of relative strengths of parties in percentage terms on all 90 assembly constituencies of Chhattisgarh is given in the table<

Chhattisgarh Second phase of the survey done till August 25, 2013 There is stiff contest on almost all 90 seats of the Chhattisgarh assembly. The Congress stands to lose heavily due to Ajit Jogi factor. According to the survey conducted by the Lokayat team, the BJP is in leading position on 32 and the Congress on 38 seats. There are 19 seats where the balance may tilt on either side as both the national parties are equally poised here. The BSP may emerge victorious on 2 seats. Sc Constituency

Leading

1 Bharatpur Sonhat (ST) BJP

Vote

Trailing

Vote

75 pc

Congress

20 pc

Others’ Vote

2 Manendragarh

Congress

50 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 10 pc

3 Baikunthpur

BJP

50 pc

Congress

40 pc

Others 20 pc

4 Premnagar

BJP

50 pc

Congress

30 pc

Others 20 pc

5 Bhatgaon

BJP

60 pc

Congress

30 pc

Others 05 pc

6 Pratappur (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

7 Ramanujganj (ST)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

8 Samri (ST)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

40 pc

Others 05 pc

9 Lundra (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

Emerging Smaller Parties

10 Ambikapur

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

SP, left front, Gondwana Gantantra Party, National Peoples Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party and Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch have also girded up their loins this time to play a role in the coming assembly elections. There are several other smaller and newly formed political parties in the field. Chhattisgarh Samajwadi Party formed by Rifat Ullah Khan is working hard to give a good fight on all the 90 assembly seats. Rajnandgaon district is Khan’s bastion, where this new party began a Satyagrah Jan Yatra under the leadership of Ravi Manav, the co-coordinator of the Yatra. It is said this Satyagrah will continue till the elections. Badlo Unchaaha, Chun Lo Manchaaha (Change the representative, you don’t like; elect the one you like) is the slogan of the party. The leader of this party thinks that people are disillusioned with mainstream parties, and this new party has smelt chances for itself. The indifference and ineptitude of Bhola Ram Sahu, the MLA from Khujji is especially targetted. Besides, people who are disillusioned at being discriminated by party workers of mainstream parties may be attracted towards this new party. Ravi Manav, the general secretary of the party, promises that the party would focus at the grass root level. Its other slogan is: paani denge kisan ko, denge kaam jawan ko (water to farmers and job to youths).<

11 Sitapur (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

12 Jashpur (ST)

BJP

50 pc

Congress

45 pc

Others 05 pc

13 Kunkuri (ST)

BJP

50 pc

Congress

40 pc

Others 05 pc

14 Pathalgaon (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

15 Lailunga (ST)

Congress

60 pc

BJP

40 pc

16 Raigarh

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

17 Sarangarh (ST)

BSP

40 pc

Congress

40 pc

BJP

18 Kharsia

Congress

60 pc

BJP

40 pc

B

20

| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013

20 pc

19 Dharamjaigarh (ST)

BJP

50 pc

Congress

45 pc

Others 05 pc

20 Rampur (ST)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

40 pc

Others 05 pc

21 Korba

BJP

52 pc

Congress

48 pc

22 Katghora

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

23 Pali Tanakhar (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 05 pc

24 Marwahi (ST)

Congress

60 pc

BJP

30 pc

Others 10 pc

25 Kota

Congress

52 pc

BJP

48 pc

26 Lormi

Congress

52 pc

BJP

48 pc

27 Mungeli (SC)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

28 Takhatpur

BJP

45 pc

Congress

40 pc

29 Bilha

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

30 Bilaspur

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

31 Beltara

Congress

50 pc

BJP

35 pc

32 Masturi (ST)

Congress

52 pc

BJP

48 pc

33 Akltara

BJP

35 pc

Congress

35 pc

34 Janjgir-Champa

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

35 Sakti

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

36 Chandrapur

BJP

52 pc

Congress

48 pc

37 Jaijapur

Congress

57 pc

BJP

43 pc

38 Pamgarh (SC)

BSP

52 pc

Congress

48 pc

39 Saraipali (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

40 Basna

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

41 Khallari

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

42 Mahasamunda

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

Others

15 pc

Others

15 pc

BSP

30 pc


SPECIAL Jogi factor in Chhattisgarh

Sc Constituency

Leading

Vote

Trailing

Vote

43 Bilaigarh (SC)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

44 Kasdol

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

45 Balaudabazar

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

46 Bhatapara

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

47 Dharsinwa

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

48 Raipur rural

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

49 Raipur city west

BJP

60 pc

Congress

40 pc

50 Raipur city North

Congress

53 pc

BJP

47 pc

51 Raipur city South

BJP

60 pc

Congress

40 pc

52 Arang (SC)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

53 Abhanpur

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

54 Rajim

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

55 Bindranawagarh (ST) BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

56 Sihawa (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

57 Kurud

Congress

52 pc

BJP

48 pc

58 Dhamtari

Congress

53 pc

BJP

47 pc

59 Sanjari Balod

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

60 Dondi Lohara (ST)

BJP

40 pc

Congress

30 pc

61 Gunderdehi

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

62 Patan

BJP

53 pc

Congress

47 pc

63 Durg rural

Congress

51 pc

Congress

49 pc

64 Durg city

BJP

51 pc

Congress

49 pc

65 Bhilai city

Congress

51 pc

BJP

49 pc

66 Vaishali city

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

67 Ahiwara (SC)

BJP

51 pc

Congress

49 pc

68 Saja

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

69 Bemetara

Congress

51 pc

BJP

49 pc

70 Nawagarh (SC)

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

71 Pandaria

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

72 Kawardha

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

73 Khairagarh

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

74 Dongargarh (SC)

BJP

51 pc

Congress

49 pc

Others’ Vote

Others 30 pc

75 Rajnandgaon

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

76 Dongargaon

BJP

50 pc

Congress

50 pc

77 Khujji

Congress

40 pc

BJP

30 pc

78 Mohlamanpur (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 10 pc

79 Antagarh (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 10 pc Others 10 pc

Others 30 pc

80 Bhanupratappur

Congress

50 pc

BJP

40 pc

81 Kanker (ST)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

82 Keshkal (ST)

Congress

52 pc

BJP

48 pc

83 Kondagaon (ST)

Congress

51 pc

BJP

49 pc

84 Narayanpur (ST)

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

85 Bastar (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

50 pc

86 Jagdalpur

BJP

55 pc

Congress

45 pc

87 Chitrakot (ST)

BJP

45 pc

Congress

40 pc

Others 15 pc

88 Dantewada (ST)

Congress

50 pc

BJP

40 pc

Others 10 pc

89 Bijapur (ST)

BJP

52 pc

Congress

30 pc

Others 18 pc

90 Konta (ST)

Congress

55 pc

BJP

45 pc

he prospects of the Congress in Chhattisgarh state are uncertain. In the disguise of the death anniversary of Minimata, former chief minister Ajit Jogi virtually raised his banner of revolt against the party. He announced names of several candidates who would be his nominee in the coming electoral fray in the meeting itself, held between August 12 and 18, while prominent leaders of the Congress were conspicuous by their absence in the posters and banners erected announcing meetings. Despite bad weather, people numbering approximately 5 to 10 thousand attended each of these rallies. If sources are to be believed, Amit Jogi, the son of senior Jogi, is actualising shrewd political strategies of his father who has been exerting his political sinews in full measure to boost his son’s stature in the state politics. Senior Jogi, the former chief minister and also a former IAS officer, has challenged the party by demonstrating his strength with the presence of 18 MLAs in his meetings. National treasurer Motilal Vora is said to be internally with Jogi. The possibility of a cold war between state unit chief Dr Charandas Mahant and Ajit Jogi may intensify further in coming days. Reports about prospective aspiring candidates at block and district levels have already been dispatched to the state committee. According to sources privy to inside developments, some names could still be added to the list ignoring the recommendations of the district committees. Amit Jogi’s name figures in the list from Beltara legislative seat. However, people from 55 villages coming under Beltara, have shown their lukewarm response to his proposed candidature. From Beltara, the BJP’s Badrinath Deewan has been winning since 1998. According to sources, the BJP may field Karuna Shukla from this seat. But if Congress gives ticket to a Brahmin candidate, the contest may become interesting. Former MLA Arun Tiwari may also get good response from voters at around 120 voting centres. State health minister Amar Agrawal is contesting from Bilaspur constituency. A Brahmin candidate can be fielded from this seat. There are in the Congress who have good reputation among the masses. <

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SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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SPECIAL

Rajasthan Congress in a winning position on following seats 1 Suratgarh 2 Sangaria 3 Pilibanga 4 Lunkaransar 5 Dungargarh 6 Churu 7 Sujangarh 8 Surajgarh 9 Jhunjhunu 10 Khetri 11 Fatehpur 12 Sikar 13 Neem Ka Thana 14 Srimadhopur 15 Alak (rural) 16 Kaman 17 Sikar 18 Bamanwash 19 Kandhar 20 Tonk 21 Kishangarh 22 Kekri 23 Didwana 24 Jawal 25 Makrana 26 Chaksu 27 Nawan 28 Sumerpur 29 Sardarpura 30 Luni 31 Bilara 32 Ramo 33 Vetu 34 Pachpadra 35 Guda Malani 36 Chohtan 37 Ahore 38 Jalore 39 Raniwash 40 Gogunda 41 Khekhara 42 Salunbar 43 Dharwad 44 Dungarpur 45 Aspur 46 Sagwara 47 Garhi

22

| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013

48Banswada 49 Bagidora 50 Chittorgarh 51 Nimbahera 52 Barisadari 53 Sahara 54 Peepalda 55 Sangod 56 Kota North 57 Anta 58 Kishanganj 59 Baran Aataru 60 Manohar Thana

BJP in a winning position on following seats 1 Ganganagar 2 Nohar 3 Bikaner West 4 Bikaner East 5 Kolayat 6 Taranagar 7 Sardar Sahar 8 Ratangarh 9 Khandela 10 Shahpura 11 Bidhyadharnagar 12 Malviyanagar 13 Sangner 14 Behror 15 Bansur 16 Alwar Urban 17 Ramgarh 18 Bharatpur 19 Bayana 20 Baseri 21 Ajmer South 22 Beawar 23 Khinwsar 24 Merta 25 Pali 26 Bali 27 Lohawat 28 Jodhpur 29 Bilara 30 Bhinmal 31 Sirohi 32 Jhadol 33 Udaipur 34 Pratapgarh 35 Bhilwada 36 Bundi 37 Kota South

ASHOK By Lokayat Team

hief minister Ashok Gehlot too is hopeful of forming government again. He is playing his cards astutely to emerge victorious. Not only numerous schemes have been implemented successfully directly benefitting millions of Rajasthanis, but he has also taken special care to maintain a good rapport with party workers, who seem quite motivated to thwart the surge of BJPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s charismatic leader Vasundhara Raje, who is trying to re-establish her lost connect with the aam aadmi. Lokayat team found interesting difference in the outcome of the two widely reported yatras in mediaSandesh Yatra of the Congress and Swaraj Sankalp Yatra of Raje. The problem of the BJP is that the distrust and rivalry between the local leaders of the party has not been wished away thus all efforts to refurbish the party are going waste. This has scaled the balance in favour of the Congress despite allegations of corruption against chief ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son Vaibhav and daughter Sonia. What especially go in favour of Gehlot are his numerous schemes and programmes of rural development. He claims he has spent over Rs 30,000 crore on various welfare schemes in last four and a half years. Such schemes like providing wheat at Re 1 per kg to the people living below poverty line, free medicines and free diagnostic tests have left their mark. His Mukhyamantri Jeevan Raksha Kosh takes care of the entire medical expenses of 38 million BPL

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SPECIAL

GEHLOT IN HIGH GEAR (below poverty line) people. Though he has not got the kind of publicity Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narendra Modi, the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have got for inviting investments in the state, but slowly and steadily Gehlot has also been able to arrange some Rs 52,000 crore as proposed investment in the state, which would generate employment opportunities to lakhs of people. This apart the Refinery at Barmer is being established at an investment of Rs 37,500 crore. This alone will create more than 3 lakh jobs in Rajasthan. The electricity situation is not so good, but Lokayat team found that people knew about the new plans of the government to start several power projects which can make the state electricity–surplus. It was also observed that Naxals are trying to spread their tentacles in several districts like Udaipur, Banswara, Dungerpur and Pratapgarh. These districts along with some areas of Chittorgarh are tribal-dominated. These are no guarantee that the pro-people schemes and developmental plans would be able to win their heart as the Naxals are trying to create an extremely negative image of the government. The BJP is wary of challenges. Luckily, the tension prevailing between the RSS and Vasundhara Raje for some years has now softened. Some political groups asking for reservation on caste lines have tried to make it an emotive issue for some communities, but the Lokayat team found that the caste issues were not going to harm much the electoral prospects of the

Congress. The BJP is trying to encash the anger and disenchantment of the middle class on the issue of price rise and corruption. At this juncture the Congress appears losing around one percent of the vote share, it had secured the last assembly elections. The Congress had secured 36.82 percent votes in the assembly elections of 2008 and had won 96 seats. Despite losing some votes, the Congress looks to retain its firm position in at least 90 seats. The BJP had secured only 2.55 percent less votes than the Congress, but could get only 78 candidates elected. This time round the BJP is not showing a great promise of increasing its vote share and seems strong only in 85 constituencies. If this remains the situation then it is far short of the mark of simple majority which is 101 in the house of 200. The party would have to be careful in selection of candidates and for that it may resort to not re-nominating certain legislators. Only 59 MLAs seem to be on sound footing and can ensure victory again. The BSP has also improved its position in the state. In the last elections it had secured 7.6 percent votes and won 6 seats. This time round it is strong on at least 10 seats. The party’s tactic of giving tickets to representatives of all castes will be implemented, assures party leaders. Overall a few months before the elections it looks the youth is showing keen interest in politics and due to this factor the vote percentage may go higher this time. Last time also it was fairly good at 66.25 percent. There is direct contest between

Gehlot, known for turning the tide Ashok Gehlot, the current chief minister of Rajasthan, is widely known for turning the tide for the party with his remarkable political acumen and that too at the eleventh hour. He has wide and varied administrative experience first as the union minister and then as the CM of a state as challenging and complex as Rajasthan. He served in the cabinet of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao in continuity. Born in 1951, Gehlot is a science and law graduate and also has an MA degree in economics. The 2-time CM was active in student politics also, which paved his way to parliament. With the blessing of Sanjay Gandhi, he was elected for the 7th Lok Sabha long back in 1980 from Jodhpur and went on representing the constituency in the 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th Lok Sabha (1998–1999).

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SPECIAL

Rajasthan Stiff contest on following seats 1 Sadulshahar 2 Karanpur 3 Raisingnagar 4 Hanumangarh 5 Pili Banga 6 Khajuwala 7 Nokha 8 Sadulpur 9 Pilani 10 Mandwana 11 Laxmangarh 12 Dhod 13 Dantaramgarh 14 Kotputali 15 Viratnagar 16 Chomu 17 Phulera 18 Dudu 19 Amber 20 Jamwa Ramgarh 21 Hawa Mahal 22 Civil Lines 23 Kishanpole 24 Adarshnagar 25 Bagru 26 Chaksu 27 Kishangar-bas 28 Mandawar 29 Thanagazi 30 Rajgarh-Laxmangarh 31 Kathumar 32 Nagar 33 Deegkumher 34 Nadbai 35 Vir 36 Bari 37 Dholpur 38 Rajakhera 39 Hindaun 40 Karauli Party Congress BJP BSP Independent JD-U INLDCPM Others Total

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BJP BJP Congress BJP Congress BJP Congress BSP Congress BJP BJP Congress CPM Congress Congress BJP Congress BJP BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress BJP Congress Congress Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP BSP Congress Congress BJP BSP 2003 56 120 02 13 02 04 01 02 200

| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013

Congress Congress BJP Congress BJP Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress CPM Congress BJP BJP Congress BJP Congress Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP Congress Congress Congress BJP Congress BJP BJP BJP BJP BJP BSP BSP Congress BJP BJP Congress BJP 2008 96 78 06 14 01 00 03 02 200

41 Dausa 42 Sawai Madhopura 43 Malpura 44 Niwai 45 Pushkar 46 Ajmer (North) 47 Nasirabad 48 Degana 49 Parbatsar 50 Jamnas 51 Sojat 52 Marwar Junction 53 Shergarh 54 Osian 55 Bhopalgarh 56 Sursagar 57 Jaisalmer 58 Pokharan 59 Siwana 60 Sanchore 61 Pindwara Abu 62 Reodar 63 Mavli 64 Vallabhnagar 65 Chorasi 66 Kushalgarh 67 Kapasan 68 Begun 69 Kumbhalgarh 70 Rajsamand 71 Nathdwara 72 Asind 73 Mandal 74 Shahpura 75 Jahazpur 76 Mandalgarh 77 Hindoli 78 Keshoripatan 79 Ladpura 80 Ramganj Mandi 81 Chhabra 82 Dag 83 Khanpur 2013 (Survey) 92 84 10 11 01 00 02 00 200

Congress BJP Congress BJP BJP Congress BJP Congress BJP BJP Congress Congress Congress Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP BSP BJP BJP Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress Congress BJP Congress Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP

BJP Congress BJP Congress Congress BJP Congress BJP Congress Congress BJP BJP BJP BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress BJP Congress Congress BJP Congress Congress Congress JD-U Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress BJP BJP Congress Congress Congress BJP BJP BJP Congress Congress

the BJP and the Congress only on 22 urban and 65 rural constituencies. This means in more than half of the constituencies the contest would be multi-pronged and the Congress assumes it will benefit from this.<


MADHYA PRADESH

BJP HAS SHIVRAJ— AND LITTLE ELSE— TO SHOW The BJP government is bombarding Madhya Pradesh with pre-election sops. The government has stepped on the gas to cover a large ground before the election code comes into force. But people are asking what happened to the promises made earlier…. A reality check into the promises made in the past reveals a different image of the MP government.

By Chandrakant Naidu from Bhopal

here is unabashed electioneering going into government-sponsored programmes. Even as chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was announcing freebies for the youth at a function the Industries minister, Kailash Vijayvargiya tried to

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extract a promise from them to not only vote for BJP but also campaign for it. Some claims sounded quite tall even as they emerged from the fudged figures of the government statisticians. Chouhan said that there were only 400 students securing over 85 per cent marks before the BJP came to power. Now the figure has gone up to 2,400. Yawning students were given a dose of

ASARAM Politics, crime and spirituality, so inextricably intertwined in Madhya Pradesh, leave the common man confused over the state of affairs. The most recent case is of Asaram Bapu... olitics, crime and spirituality, so inextricably intertwined in Madhya Pradesh, leave the common man confused over the state of affairs. In less than a fortnight the BJP’s major asset seems to have turned into a liability. Asaram Bapu’s theatrical discourses have worked for the ruling party so far as he subtly stoked communal passions. Now he is cooling his heels in jail with the taint of sexual assault on minor and has turned into an embarrassment. His arrest after 11 days of hide and seek with Rajasthan police might still give the BJP relief as an absconding Asaram would have been a bigger shame.

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a long chart of statistics about the state’s growth. According to Chouhan the state has raised its growth rate from 4 to 18.33 percent.


MADHYA PRADESH

EPISODE COULD CHANGE THE GAME While the BJP leaders have been on diverse pages over the action against Asaram, political wisdom seems to have now dawned on all of them to let the law take its course. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s alacrity in gauging the potential of Asaram episode to reach out to the moderate rational electorate has changed the party’s script. Myopic characters like Uma Bharati, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Prabhat Jha who tried to defend Asaram with anti-Congress rhetoric have fallen in line. With the passage of time the returns from the Asaram card may start diminishing for both his supporters and adversaries. But a conviction through fasttrack court may reignite the issue just around the time for assembly elections in some key heartland states. Madhya Pradesh which has been the theatre of quite some action in the Asaram circus also faces elections in November. Asaram spent much of time in Bhopal and Indore trying to evade arrest. Jodhpur police had already hinted at the possibility of Asaram fleeing Bhopal. The Madhya Pradesh police, apparently acting at the behest of state Industries Minister Kailash Vijayavargiya, shielded him and almost defeated the purpose behind Modi’s neutral line on Asaram. Indore’s ties with Asaram go beyond spirituality. It is also a business relationship as a large volume of his land and finance deals is handled with the advice from Indore businessmen and politicians. The BJP is yet to erase the stigma of having to sack Raghavji, an 80-year-old finance minister who presented ten consecutive state budgets, after he was caught on tape sodomising his aide. Asaram Bapu

The agricultural growth rate has soared to 13.33 while the nation’s is meagre 3 percent. As against 14,000 kms of roads constructed in the entire history of the state, the Shivraj

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MADHYA PRADESH Government has constructed 95,000 still retain power though with kms in just nine years. And power considerably reduced majority. The generation has jumped to 10,600 mw survey shows, the BJP’s seats will from 2,900 mw. range between 117- 127, Congress 87The meritorious youth have been 97, BSP 4 - 6 and others 8 - 10 seats in promised Rs 25,000 each to buy a lapa house of 230. The Congress can cheer top and unemployed youth would be itself over the fact that despite its given a loan of Rs 25 lakh to set up an inability to resolve the leadership issue industry of his or her own. The the surveys project a four per cent government has also promised to pay swing in its favour while the BJP’s gain the fee for scheduled caste and could be just one per cent over its past scheduled tribe students pursuing higher performance. Man-to-man the BJP is education in private colleges. However, riding high on Chouhan’s acceptability. questions have been raised over the His popularity rating is 57 per cent. fulfillment of promises made earlier. Now, there lies the problem. Such wide In January the gap between the chief minister had star campaigner If L K Advani had frowned and the rest promised to start skill development training over the conditions last would mean the schemes for 15 lakh others can’t pull year, there are many youth and to start a their weight and other party leaders vocational university. the party is Neither has taken off echoing the sentiment as leaning too so far. A reality check heavily on its the unusually high rainfall mascot. about the roads also gets a negative score The party’s has exposed the quality for the government internal surveys of road construction this also suggest a that had hugely year. Majority of the benefited from the fairly large poor road conditions in roads would need topping number of 2003 to ride to power. MLAs being If L K Advani had up through the next quite unpopular frowned over the couple of months before in their conditions last year, constituencies. elections. there are many other Party workers party leaders echoing are also coming the sentiment as the unusually high up with complaints against incumbent rainfall has exposed the quality of road legislators. Chouhan is turning into the construction this year. Majority of the party’s single window for answers to all roads would need topping up through problems. If the Congress engages him the next couple of months before with a strong candidate he would have elections. The party also claims his Jan no time to campaign for others. There is Ashirvad Yatra has received a massive a looming doubt whether the crowds he response. Former state BJP president is drawing during the yatra, could be Prabhat Jha went as far as suggesting converted into votes when it comes to a that response was better than even party crunch. While Shivraj exudes patriarch L K Advani’s yatra. He could confidence the others are being have been sarcastic. cautiously optimistic about the party’s prospects. Former chief minister Uma Surveys suggest the BJP is Bharti, now a national vice-president, losing many seats refuses to be drawn into the discussion Independent pre-election surveys on the party’s prospects. She says she suggest that the BJP is losing 21 odd would campaign for the party as seats to the Congress however it may a worker.<

Raghavji was, however, accorded a warm welcome in his constituency, Vidisha where he alleged that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan got him framed to get the Vidisha seat secured for his close confidant. Chouhan who represented Vidisha in the Lok Sabha for five terms has fallen out with Raghavji who wants his daughter to contest from his seat. Another instance of political power clouding a crime came to light in the failure of the police to act against Girija Shankar, a BJP legislator who has been named with six others for fraud case since 11 years. Naubat Singh, an official in the Registrar of Companies office in Gwalior had lodged a complaint with the Bhopal police in 2003 saying a company floated by the MLA and his accomplices collected Rs 1.80 crore from the public. The firm founded in 1991 has not filed any audit reports or returns with the Registrar. Worse still, the MLA had hid this information in the affidavit filed before the Election Commission. While the MLA claims the defaulter company has settled all dues the Registrar office doesn’t acknowledge that. Curiously, 30 personnel of the Registrar’s office and the police department involved in the investigation in the matter have been transferred in the past 11 years. Such cases of politicians evading law for long years are not new to the state. During the Congress regime in the eighties Rasool Ahmed Siddiqui rose from the block Congress secretary level to the ministry in 14 years while he was evading arrest warrants in a case under food adulteration act. He became a minister after the court declared him an absconder.<

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UTTAR PRADESH

POLICE AFTER AZAD HIND

Azad Hind Fauj captain Abbas Ali

By Naveen

s though the sole living legend and brave warrior of Azad Hind Fauj captain Abbas Ali, 94, has survived to see this ironic situation in his life, to read a gruesome chapter of his fate after 66 years of attainment of freedom. There were times when British rulers would shiver at the mention of his name. During his heydays, British intelligence establishment was active to nab him. The order was to execute him whenever caught. He had survived all this, as finally the dawn of independence broke into. But, today when our own countrymen having breathed 67 years of independence, the police of free India are behind him, armed with an arrest warrant issued by an Aligarh court against him in a 13 year old case. The police virtually descended at his

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It could not, even in his dreariest dreams, have occurred to Captain Abbas Ali, the lone survivor of Azad Hind Fauz that one day he would be served an arrest warrant at the age of 94 in free India for whose freedom he had pledged his life like thousands of other youths motivated by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose when India was under the abject yoke of the British rule. The naked reality stares at the face of free India even as the Uttar Pradesh police are after him to arrest, which the British police had failed to do. daughter Tara Parveenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residence in Aligarh to collar him. Captain was obviously hurt when he learnt of the arrest warrant. The old freedom fighter of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is now running from pillar to post travelling between Aligarh and Lucknow to convince the UP government how he was duped by wrongly informing that the case against him was withdrawn.

What the issue is? His case relates to a political activity of the year 2,000 when a large sit-in and demonstration was staged against Jamia Urdu, Aligarh by Janata Dal legislator Abdul Khaliq, which resulted into a clash between the demonstrators and the police. Jamia Urdu got a case registered against six persons including late Khaliq, Taimur and Captain Abbas Ali with the Civil Lines police station. Serious charges under

sections 147, 148, 149, 427, 504, 395, 307, 254 and 506 were slapped against them which implied rioting, threatening life, dacoity, firing and attempt to murder. Initially, people did not know who this captain was. The police were in a fix. When the issue came to light, the government ordered an enquiry into this to be


UTTAR PRADESH

FAUJ WARRIOR conducted by the CBCID, Agra. CBCID in its investigation, found that the charge of dacoity (395) was totally false, however, the vindictive police filed a chargesheet against all the six accused under all other sections. When the Samajwadi Party government came into power in Uttar Pradesh, the efforts were initiated to withdraw the case being politically motivated one. SP leaders had then expressed surprise how a person like Captain Abbas Ali could be implicated in such type of a case. On February 2004, Ramji Lal Suman, then national general secretary of the party and MP from Firozabad wrote a letter (noRLS/VIP/05/80) to the then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, demanding immediate withdrawal of the case against Abbas Ali. He brought to his notice that not only the party MLA Abdul Khaliq, but the old freedom fighter captain Abbas Ali who was the president of the Uttar Pradesh Janata Party in 1977 and former MLC had also been named in this case. He stressed that it was a cooked up case made out of political malice. The effort resulted into some action and the state government ordered the then DM of Aligarh to send a report regarding scope of withdrawal of the case. The DM sent a report forthwith to the government and SP leaders assured the captain that the case had been withdrawn. The captain believed them not suspecting even for a minute that it was not the truth and the case stood as it was in the court. Captain Abbas Ali lives most of the time with his son Qurban Ali, a senior journalist in Delhi. He came to

know of his arrest warrant when the police reached at his daughter’s residence in Aligarh. He was advised to go to Lucknow and meet Mulayam Singh Yadav, but somehow could not meet him. However, Ali got to know the real status of the case from the CM’s office. The situation is bizarre as all other accused have been acquitted in the absence of evidence, but since he remained in the impression that the case had been withdrawn, he did not keep track of the assumed winding up of the case in the court. However, other accused kept on appearing before the court and finally got acquitted in the absence of evidence. However, captain Ali remained an accused in the eyes of the court, which issued an arrest warrant after his absence on the dates of hearing.<

All from ruling to opposition are aghast at the development ll leaders from the opposition to ruling party were astonished at the arrest warrant of the captain. The three MLAs from Aligarh have even vowed to wage a battle to seek justice to the captain. Meanwhile, T Venkatesh, the commissioner of Aligarh Mandal, has sought a detailed report of the case from the DIG. The commissioner has also assured Ali of all possible assistance in the case. Thakur Dalvir Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal said the sacrifice of the Azad Hind Fauz volunteers for the nation beggars description. The government has virtually played a very cruel joke on the sole living member of the Fauz. It’s disgusting. Vivek Bansal, the MLC (Congress) said all this was deeply disturbing. I appeal to the chief minister to withdraw the case against him. Zafar Alam, MLA (SP) termed the warrant painful and assured that he would meet the chief minister to ensure justice for him.<

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Dream of independence roiled azed captain Abbas Ali says, ‘our dreams of independence are unfulfilled even after 66 years of freedom. Our basic dream was that no one would sleep hungry in the country and face injustice. On the contrary, we have widened the gap between the poor and the rich. Intermediaries are reaping the benefits of the crops grown by farmers. We have godowns full of wheat, but people are dying of hunger. Many a time it appears, there is no government in the country. The country has become weak. China has been threatening and Pakistan is killing our soldiers at the LoC, but we are not able to give a befitting reply. Corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and media have formed a sort of caucus to rule the country.’<

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UTTAR PRADESH

CONGRESS FIDDLES WITH DUAL LEADERSHIP IN UP UP sends the largest number of law-makers in the Lok Sabha, 80 out of 543. But the Congress does not hope to get more than 12 seats this time around compared to 21 it got in 2009. Whatever steps the high command has taken so far to improve partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s functioning have only misfired...The Mistry magic, it seems, will take some time to show itself.

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UTTAR PRADESH

Congress Performance

By Ratan Mani Lal

or more than a decade, the electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh has been confined to a slugfest between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. The two national parties—Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party—were reduced to being mere bystanders as a battle of caste, community and narrow interests played on election after election. But are these two big parties, owing their once-enviable electoral performances in Uttar Pradesh, really worried about improving their show? If the current scenario is any indication, they are banking more on an emotional connect with the people rather than homework, strategy and execution. The drift in the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) at least indicates this. ‘There is a president who has been out of the nitty-gritty of politics in the state for decades and now there is an incharge who has never worked in this state, leave alone being familiar with the political terrain. What can we expect’, rues a senior Congress leader and a former minister. This veteran leader still shows signs of his old fiery self in private conversations, but does not seem interested in spending time at the sprawling UPCC office in Mall Avenue, an upscale locality in Lucknow. In fact the atmosphere in the UPCC office is one of complacence and inertia. The chambers of many senior leaders remain unoccupied day after day, with the worthies attending office only when a senior leader from Delhi comes calling. The arrival and pep-talk by Madhusudan Mistry, the social worker and strategist from Gujarat, seems to have had little impact on the languid environment. Mistry, hailing from Gujarat, is considered a personal pick of Congress vice president Rahul

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LS-2004

LS-2009

VS-2012

Seats won (Out of total) : 09 (80) Share in total votes polled : 12.4 pc

: 21 (80) : 18.25 pc

: 28 (403) : 11.65 pc

Gandhi and also supposed to know how Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s mind and core team work. At all his meetings with state leaders and workers, he never fails to mention this. Workers say that he spends more time in putting down Modi than explaining what he wants to get done. One of the major decisions by the UPCC postMistry was to appoint a working president along with the president of

Dual leadership pattern in UP Congress has created strange confusion among the rank and file. The workers and local leaders do complain, but their voice gets lost in transit....The result is party is not able to resurrect its confidence after the humiliating defeat in 2012 assembly elections when the party got just 11.65 percent of the total votes polled. the district and city unit of the party. But this seems to have only increased the problem for the party, as party workers do not know who the actual boss is. Some workers and leaders also feel this system may deepen the rift among party leaders, diminishing further chances of electoral returns. Instances and rumours of party workers threatening to quit in protest have been myriads in the aftermath of this experiment. A recent incident was the

appointment of Vijay Bahadur as the president of the Lucknow district unit, at which some workers owing allegiance to the former president Siraj Wali Khan resigned from all the posts. The party responded by appointing Siraj’s son Miraj Wali Khan as the working president of the Lucknow district unit. The move created great confusion among the party workers. Similarly, the party first announced Neeraj Bora, a former Congress candidate from Lucknow North assembly constituency, to be the president of the Lucknow city unit, and then appointed Amit Tyagi as the working president. There are 75 district units and 39 city units of the party in the state. It is learnt that there are 114 presidents of the district and city units, 25 acting presidents of the district and city units. Reports of resentment at the new arrangement have come from Kanpur, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Pratapgarh, Barabanki, Sant Kabir Nagar and Varanasi. The UPCC spokespersons are at pains to explain that the dual leadership comes complete with a clear demarcation of powers, but for the workers, it only means no one takes ownership for any action or inaction. A few weeks ago, it was reported that an internal report by Madhusudan Mistry on Congress chances in Uttar Pradesh suggested that the party may not get more than 12 seats in the next Lok Sabha election. Soon afterwards, the union ministers who are from Lucknow were told to spend a certain number of days in their constituencies. However, the ministers, that include Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, RPN Singh and Jitin Prasad, have so far failed to create any excitement among the people.<

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HIMACHAL

VIRBHADRA TURNS HEAT BJP’s promising leader Anurag Thakur is being targetted by the Virbhadra Singh government for numerous alleged irregularities and frauds related to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. He calls the government action as vendetta, but for sure, the Congress chief minister is only paying back the saffron party in the same coin. During the last two tenures of the BJP, Virbhadra Singh had been slapped with several cases of alleged corruption.

By Lokayat Correspondent

uring the previous two tenures of the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh under Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Virbhadra Singh was at the receiving end of the alleged corruption cases in which he was later acquitted. Back in power, it's now the Congress government under Virbhadra to turn the heat up on the BJP and the chief minister appears to have enough ammunition to pay the saffron party back in the same coin. In less than eight months in power, the Congress government has already

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BJP leader Anurag Thakur facing enquiries for building a five star hotel ‘The Pavillion’ in violation of rules and regulations of the state government

booked two ministers, Rajeev Bindal and Kishan Kapoor, in the previous BJP government for various alleged ‘irregularities’. A challan has been filed in the court of a special judge against the former health minister Bindal for ‘committing irregularities’ in recruitment of drivers, meter-readers etc in the local municipal council of Solan when he was its president in late 90’s. Bindal and 25 other accused face charges of forgery and tampering with documents to favour their near and dear ones, ignoring the merit of other candidates in the written test and interview. The former minister of housing, Kapoor, faces the charge of allotting a

plot of land to his wife in violation of rules under his own discretionary quota. He is also accused of violating local laws in the construction of his hotel in Dharamshala while holding the portfolio of town and country planning. Responding to a petition obviously inspired by the Congress, the High Court has directed the government to conduct a high-level investigation into the matter. But the limelight is on the case against the former chief minister Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur who is also an MP and head of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA). The cricket body has been under attack from the Congress over construction of


HIMACHAL

UP ON THE BJP

The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium which brought Dharamsala at the world cricket map has now become controversial allegedly owing to the current politics of vendetta

‘The Pavillion’ (a five-star hotel some three km away from the stadium) in violation of rules for land use. An FIR has already been lodged in this regard and two IAS officers have been chargesheeted earlier for allowing it. Virbhadra is at his aggressive best when it comes to the case against HPCA which is being headed by Anurag for over a decade now. The chief minister has already made his intentions clear by threatening to seize HPCA properties over various irregularities including life membership to non-Himachalis and getting shamlat (common) land allotted for creating a facility for lodging the players but built a commercial five-star hotel on it.

In what may spell trouble for Anurag, the state vigilance and anticorruption bureau claims to have found HPCA's initially registered address in Kanpur as ‘bogus’. The HPCA, which is located in Dharamsala, was initially registered with the registrars of companies, in Kanpur in July 14, 2005. It was later shifted to a Chandigarh address in 2011. ‘The HPCA has committed a fraud on the government. It registered as a society in HP and then as a company in Kanpur. It appears that a group of sharp operators gathered to swindle the state in the name of cricket’, Virbhadra alleged.

‘Enquiries are political vendetta’ He said many irregularities were coming to the fore in the cricket body’s functioning. ‘The HPCA has allowed the players from Punjab to represent the state in Ranji trophy with fake Himachal domicile certificates’, Singh said adding that ‘stunning facts’ (about the working of the HPCA) will come to the fore very soon. Clearly upset, two-time MP from Hamirpur Anurag sees the case against the HPCA as an attempt to sully his image. He says, the case is politically motivated and has no substance. The HPCA brought Dharamshala on the world map by hosting international cricket matches. But nobody has given us any credit for that in home state. We are being made to face inquiries as a part of political vendetta. Former chief minister and leader of opposition, Dhumal is also going all out to defend his son Anurag and termed the cases against BJP leaders as ‘political vendetta’ by the ‘frustrated Congress government which is unable to perform to the peoples’ expectations’. He sees the cases against the HPCA as an attempt to take over the sports body. The BJP hit the road over the issue by launching a week-long agitation throughout the state against the Congress government’s ‘politics of badla (revenge) and badlee (transfers)’. A combative Dhumal has given call for the BJP to fight the state government’s vindictiveness out. But Virbhadra seems in no mood to ease the pressure on the BJP. ‘The government (BJP) had framed me in the Sagar Katha case (during Dhumal’s first tenure as chief minister). I faced a trial in the court. Similarly, during his (Dhumal’s) previous tenure, I was implicated in the CD case. To vindicate my honour, I resigned from the union cabinet and faced trial in a sessions court and later came out clean’, he said. Denying if he is paying Dhumal back in the same coin, Virbhadra maintains that all the inquiries ordered by the government are as per directions of the court.<

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PUNJAB

By Jyoti Thakur

ife was perfect for Daljit, 25, till a few years back when he and his late brother Manjit Singh used to till 25 acres of land on a contract, had 12 buffaloes and a big house in Mansa district of Punjab. Family's bad days started after the elder brother Manjit took to drugs and gradually sold every asset of the family to buy the same. He ultimately hanged himself to death after running out of money to buy drugs, leaving behind wife and three children. The family’s only bread winner, Daljit is now married to his brother’s widow and works as a daily wager. Daljit’s family is not the only one suffering from the consequences of menace of drugs, stories of several families in the village is not any different from this. And believe, this is not the story of one village, similar stories are common in many parts of Punjab which after bearing the brunt of terrorism for over a decade, is now battling a more dangerous enemy— drug addiction. Being a border state, smuggling of drugs from Pakistan is easy in Punjab. Despite large scale seizures and efforts of security agencies to check the menace of drug abuse, a big chunk of these drugs remain easily available in the state. The problem of drugs abuse is believed to have reached epidemic proportions in Punjab with some studies claiming the percentage of youth addicts ranges between 60 to 70 percent. About 70 percent of these drug users are believed to be hooked to opium and similar other substances. Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi kicked a controversy last year by saying that nearly seven out of 10 youth in Punjab suffered from the problem of drug-addiction. He faced criticism from the ruling SAD-BJP for his comment with SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh

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PUNJAB’S NEW BATTLE: DRUGS Punjab is in the grip of drug addiction, which is proving more dangerous than even the terrorism, which had kept Punjab devastated for many years. Rahul Gandhi last year raised this social issue during his visit to the border state, but was bombarded with criticism by the Akali Dal leadership accusing him of trying to defame their state. But people are really worried as families after families are getting ruined by the menace in at least 67 percent of the rural Punjab. Badal accusing the Congress leader of being out of touch. But increasingly the SAD-BJP government is finding it difficult to counter such claims as the problem is believed to have reached epidemic proportions in the state with 60 percent of all illicit drugs confiscated in India being seized in Punjab.

A recent report released by the union home ministry puts heroin seizures in the state in the three years to end-March 2013 at 813.57 kg, which may be worth Rs 40,000 crore. ‘Seizure of heroin in Punjab was around 813 kg while in Delhi around 180 kg. Most of the seizure made in Punjab was of south west Asian origin


PUNJAB

that enters into India through Pakistan,’ the report, based on inputs from the Narcotics Control Bureau, said. On an average, 14 cases are registered every day and 16 people are booked under the NDPS Act in the state. A government survey late last year suggested that as many as 67 percent of rural households in Punjab had at least one drug addict in the family. Even worse, there is at least one death due to drug overdose each week. It also revealed that most drug addicts, in the border districts, belong to the age group between 16 and 35, which indicated the high vulnerability of young people. According to former director general of police (prisons) Shashi Kant, postterrorism, politicians and security forces officials have encouraged drug smuggling in Punjab, given the huge financial gains from the illegal trade and reigns of the business were in the hands of a few leaders. ‘The cross-border drug trade began during militancy in Punjab in 1980s. Terrorists used to buy weapons from drug money due to which, this trade came to be known as 'narco terrorism.' Post-terrorism, politicians joined the trade and now I call the trade 'narco politics'," he says. The police officer, who retired in June 2012, alleges prisons in Punjab are breeding ground for rampant drug addiction as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Without admitting the extent of drug menace in the state, the Badal government blames ‘central’ paremilitary forces manning the international border for smuggling of drugs into the state.

The problem is believed to have reached epidemic proportions in the state with 60 percent of all illicit drugs confiscated in India being seized in Punjab. But the state government has chosen to put the blame on the central forces which are not able to check smuggling of drugs from Pakistan…. ‘Massive recoveries of drugs and arms and successful busting of terror modules by the Punjab police clearly shows that more needs to be done by the central forces for ensuring that our borders are impregnable and not porous’, the deputy chief minister Sukhbir said recently while asking the centre to stop passing the buck for its failure to seal the border against drugs and arms dealers.

But at the same time, a worried Punjab government has been taking steps to curb the menace by cutting the supply lines and setting up de-addiction centers throughout the state. A 'comprehensive' plan has been made to reach out to addicts in each and every village. It will aim to treat and rehabilitate drug addicts in all the 13,200 Punjab villages in a phased manner from 2015-16 to 2019-20.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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HARYANA

CONGRESS VS CONGRESS The opposition parties in Haryana are too weak to take on the Congress. But who needs a strong opposition party to decimate the Congress so long as there are rival factions within the party itself. Till now, the infighting between rivals had been limited to issuing acerbic barbs and organising parallel rallies, but slowly it is getting transformed into an all out war. The high command is concerned.

Aspiring to become chief minister of Haryana counting on the regional disparity under the present state governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dispensation

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By Lokayat Correspondent

ith just over a year left for Haryana assembly elections, opposition parties are supposed to be making all the bluster to castigate the nine-year-old Congress rule in the state under chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. But with top leaders of the Indian National Lok Dal including party chief Om Parkash Chautala behind the bars over the JBT scam and the BJPHJC combine yet struggling to take off, the opposition block has hardly been able to register a challenge to Hooda or the Congress. Nobody is, however, missing the adversial dissonance in the state as Congress leaders have assumed the role of opposition. It was quite natural also, given the growing infighting within the ruling party, much owing to the chief ministerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own attitude. Public outcry by anti-Hooda faction highlighting the injustices, in terms of development, thanks to the stepmotherly attitude of the chief minister to many parts of the state can be excused on the high ground of democratic dissent, but what can be made out of the situation when Congress workers come to even blows as they did in at least two recent public meetings held by state Congress chief Phool Chand Mullana, a confidant of Hooda who has been officiating as ad hoc president for last three years. Chief minister Hooda is increasingly coming under fire from a couple of top leaders, particularly union minister Selja, Rajya Sabha MP Birender Singh and Gurgaon MP and former union minister Rao Inderjit Singh, who allege that Hooda government was discriminating against certain areas of Haryana in terms of development and allocating funds while

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HARYANA his own home district of Rohtak and other areas of his favourites were being pampered. Till now, the infighting was limited to acerbic barbs and organising protest rallies, but now it appears to have converted into an all-out war between the pro and anti Hooda factions as was indicated by two parallel Congress rallies organised at Panipat and Jind to observe the 69th birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. While the Panipat rally was organised by the chief minister to launch the food security scheme of the UPA, the one at Jind was arranged by Hooda’s detractor Birender Singh. Providing a platform for anti-Hooda faction, the latter rally was attended by Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda thinking hard to work out new strategies to protect his political turf from the onslaught of dissidents within the party

Selja, Ishwar Singh, member Rajya Sabha and Shruti Chaudhry, MP. Two MLAs, Rajpal Bhukhri and Naresh Sailwal, were also present. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was supposed to address the Jind rally but she did not come. Two senior general secretaries of All India Congress Committee Digvijay Singh and Shakeel Ahmed who is also incharge of Haryana state affairs participated in the Jind Rally where aggrieved leaders openly questioned the chief minister’s style of functioning, his arrogance and the stark regional bias in the matter of development of the state of

Two parallel Congress rallies were organised at Panipat and Jind to observe the 69th birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Haryana. The speakers were candid in voicing the sentiments that the party should not be allowed to become a pocket borough of an individual. In their address, both Digvijay Singh and Ahmed had to assure that they would convey their sentiments and the mood at the rally to the party high command. Another chief ministerial candidate in Haryana, extremely unhappy at the discrimination meted out to her constituency by the Hooda government

In the light of the situation the chief minister will have to reinvent his political strategies in view of the Lok Sabha elections. Birender Singh who aspires to be the chief minister of Haryana gave a clear hint at the rally that he would soon come back to the centre stage of the

state politics. Days before the two rallies, when Panipat (city) MLA, Balbir Pal Shah resigned in protest against the state leadership’s ‘apathetic attitude’ towards his constituency, two first-time MLAs Rajpal Bhukhri and Naresh Selwal, known loyalists of union minister Miss Selja, also threatened to follow suit voicing similar charges of ignoring their areas. Shah eventually withdrew his resignation but such developments are a cause of concern for the Congress and Hooda as the wedge between the party and the government has further widened. All efforts to reach a rapprochement between warring factions have failed so far. Several Hooda supporters, including ministers and legislators, in order to rescue the chief minister have jumped into the fray to counter allegations of discrimination by reeling out ‘facts’ about development works sanctioned and funds released for each district in the state. But the frayed tempers haven’t calmed down. In the light of the situation the chief minister will have to re-invent his political strategies in view of the Lok Sabha elections due next May and assembly polls to follow in October as he cannot afford to annoy too many people at the same time. The Congress seems electorally well-placed in the state due to lame opposition. Congress had won all ten Lok Sabha seats in 2009 but Hooda cannot take for granted the repeat performance as the internal situation in the party has changed. To match his earlier performance in the Lok Sabha he has been advised to carry every leader along. The Congress high command is obviously concerned over the ongoing drift in the party. It has also to settle the long-pending issue of the party’s state leadership. But according to knowledgeable sources the growing dissonance among senior leaders has made it tough for the high command to find a replacement for the current party chief.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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KERALA

LDF PUTS UP ANOTHER FLOP SHOW

Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy coming out of home ministry

By VSP Kurup

et another major effort by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to destabilise the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government flopped on account of poor planning and inability to anticipate the rival strategy. It put up an ‘indefinite siege’ to the state secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram to throttle the government until ‘chief minister Oommen Chandy resigned and ordered an inquiry’ into the Rs 7.5crore solar scam in which the CM’s office was allegedly involved. But within 36 hours of commencing the agitation it was ‘withdrawn’ without achieving the objectives. As one wag put it, the nearly one-lakh strong LDF volunteers who were ‘ready to face bullets’ to get their demands accepted meekly surrendered just after a night of mosquito bites! It is the fifth setback in

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Citizens of Thiruvananthapuram took a sigh of relief when the LDF-sponsored secretariat blockade was withdrawn and the one-lakh strong crowd left the city. The indefinite agitation had started with a bang and ended without a whimper, and suddenly. The question remains: what was the gravamen of the costly exercise?

a row that the LDF suffered in its bid to wrest power from the UDF in the last two years. It had not reconciled to the loss of the last assembly elections to the UDF by a thin margin; since then it was making strong bid, legal and illegal, to drive the government out. Thus it waged Kudumbasree agitation, land (for the landless) campaign, the stir against contributory pension scheme and the night and day crusade to achieve its objective, but in the absence of people’s support they all proved to be unmitigated fiascos. Although the present one looked better organised and all the five LDF constituents ‘showed’ rare unity— national leaders like Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Deve Gowda (JD-S), TJ Chandrachoodan (RSP) etc led it from the front—the cause on which it was based and the timing were wrong. The relatively small solar scam (in which three unscrupulous people, one man and two women, with the connivance of the

CM’s personal staff duped some people into investing crores in non-existent solar and wind energy projects) was too weak an issue for an agitation of this scale; more so when a large section of people was reeling under devastating floods and landslips. Instead of organising urgent relief work, the LDF showed poor sensitivity in pursuing a dubious political agenda. Now that the plot failed, the LDF is desperate because in a few months it has to face general elections with an abysmally barren record of struggles.

Built-in faults The plan for ‘indefinite gherao’ of the state secretariat had many built—in components warranting failure. Although the LDF had made boarding arrangements for a week for a lakh of ‘paid volunteers’—it gave Rs 1,500 cash extra pocket money to each–including women brought from all over the state in 18 mass kitchens, they had not thought of the peeing and


KERALA

UN honours Chandy, but how! defecating need of this multitude. In a city which had not a single public toilet, the discomfiture of the visiting crowd could be imagined. Secondly, it had not taken into account the weather factor: in the particularly heavy rains this year, the agitators were left on the road day and night. Thirdly, the LDF organisers discounted the strong counter-measures announced by the government, apart from other soft options available to it, to meet the opposition challenge. Lastly, the LDF top brass did not have a B-plan in case the government jumped a surprise on it as it actually did. On the other hand, the UDF government played its cards very shrewdly. First, it barred trucks and other vehicles not licensed to carry people from transporting agitators to the state capital. Secondly, advisories were sent to all hotels, paying guest houses, wedding halls etc not to entertain strangers during the week. Thirdly, the government mobilised nearly 7,000 central and state policemen including some armed units and kept them ready. It announced that the central police—CRPF, ITBP & CISF—would not be deployed, unless the situation deteriorated. This show of determination dampened the LDF hot-heads’ predisposition for violence. The LDF had earlier announced that all four gates of the secretariat would be blockaded, but when the police took up position at the main gate and said it would ensure free movement of ministers, officers and staff, the agitators wisely decided not to

Although the LDF had made boarding arrangements for a week for a lakh of ‘paid volunteers’—it gave Rs 1,500 cash extra pocket money to each—including women brought from all over the state in 18 mass kitchens, they had not thought of the peeing and defecating need of this multitude. oppose. The government also cleverly put the onus of sorting out any tension or dispute created by the red volunteers on LDF leaders; only if it got out of hand would the police intervene.

Master-stroke Fourth, though the government had the option to declare Section 144 and remove the agitators from the area, it did not do so to obviate arrests and possible violence. Instead, towards the evening of Day One of the blockade, the next two days were declared as holidays just for the secretariat staff and the third day was the Independence Day. It was a master-stroke by the government which threw the LDF into a tizzy. The stir

n the overcast political sky of Kerala today there is nevertheless a silver lining to celebrate: the chief minister was given the 2013 UN Award for public service— a rare honour. It was awarded at a glittering international function held in Bahrain. The Award comes in recognition of the ‘mass contact programme’ Chandy undertook a year ago during which he travelled the length and breadth of the state and received 5.5 lakh grievances from people directly. Three lakh were resolved on the spot and action taken on the rest shortly after. The Award was instituted in 2003 following the UN resolution to observe June 23 every year as Public Service Day. For the purpose of the Award member-countries were divided into five regions. India comes in the Asia-Pacific region which has 55 countries. Chandy bested 49 others to secure the first place. The winner is chosen after a rigorous three-level evaluation. However, there has been some justifiable carping about the way Chandy cornered the award. It is said that Chandy was nominated for the Award by his own government, whereas the rules clearly prohibited self-nomination! How this glaring anomaly escaped the judges’ notice is a mystery. <

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KERALA leaders did not know what to do with the huge crowd of people during the three days because there would be nobody to ‘gherao.’ Lastly, while putting the LDF suddenly in a spot, the government also engaged it through back channels and offered a way out. If the LDF was prepared to lift the blockade, the government would concede its demand for a judicial probe, but the CM’s resignation was nonnegotiable. Actually the government had been rattled by the opposition’s sabre-rattling on the eve of the elections, and wanted a quick end to the impasse without bloodshed. The LDF also wanted a conclusion to the charade if it could be arranged without loss of face. The UDF’s offer came handy and it called off the agitation forthwith. At the winding up function the LDF leaders claimed that the agitation was a big success even if it were a partial one and that efforts to get the CM vacate his office would continue. Even before the heat and dust from the blockade subsided, the LDF has raised the banner for the next agitation on the issue of ‘terms of reference’ of the promised judicial inquiry. It seems to think that by including the role of the chief minister’s office in the solar scam within the purview of the probe, Chandy could be pressured to stand down till the process was over. But from the initial reaction of the government this move may not be acceptable to it. That means the stalemate will continue in all likelihood and become a hot election issue. Tail piece: A raging controversy is on among the LDF constituents and even within the CPI (M) as to who agreed to the sudden withdrawal of the blockade, and why. Will anybody stand up and answer?<

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POLITICAL PARTIES SET DOUBLE STANDARDS Political parties in India are setting new standards. Unfortunately they are double standards. In their brazenly shameless behaviour they have shown a surprising unanimity, never seen even while dealing with grave issues of national security. While the parties never tire of shouting from house-tops that they are the guardians of public interest and morality, in three areas where public welfare demands absolute transparency, they have no qualms in going against people’s concerns.

By Lokayat Correspondent

he touchy topics which have stirred up the parties are, the Right to Information Act which seeks to bring political parties under its purview, the Supreme Court ruling that disqualifies people against whom criminal cases are pending in courts from contesting elections and the apex court direction to the Central Election Commission to rein in political parties from offering a plethora of freebies in their election manifestoes. While the parties are preparing to jointly move the SC seeking exemption from the first two, they are also proposing to approach the CEC saying

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that the apex court direction on freebies would violate the People Representation Act. It is to be seen how the SC will deal with the first two issues, while the EC has called a meeting of all parties to bring about some order in the election arena where everything—even the moon—is on offer to the electorate to net their votes. During the last assembly election campaign in Tamilnadu, the ALL-India Anna DMK (AIADMK) chief J Jayalalithaa promised costly freebies to various sections of people— laptops, books and uniforms to students, mixer-grinders to women, fans and colour TVs to poor households, cheap loans, free water and electricity to farmers and so on—and actually fulfilled those promises, on being elected. She


TAMILNADU used public money for this mindless profligacy. When the treasury became empty she borrowed heavily. However, to be fair it should be mentioned that several other political parties also used this unhealthy route to power.

Cleaning effort would be undone by the UPA he UPA government has finally decided to undo the process of cleansing the political system by bringing an amendment to the Representation of the Peoples Act. All major political parties have given their nod to this in a meeting called by the law minister Kapil Sibal. The Supreme Court in its landmark judgement on July 10 had struck a provision in the Representation of the Peoples Act, the net effect of which was an MP or MLA would lose his or her membership instantly if a court convicted him or her with a punishment of minimum 2 years’ jail. This created an unprecedented disquiet in all major political parties. They raised demands to amend the constitution in order to keep the parliament supreme. They said it was the right of the parliament to disqualify a member and a court could not take away this right. They also fear that there are so many cases against elected representatives and if any lower court convicts only a few of them, then the stability of the government would be impacted badly as these days many governments survive on a razor thin majority. The argument of the learned judges on the contrary was quite convincing that a common citizen if convicted was not allowed to contest any election then how can an elected person remain as elected representative once he was convicted. The vary UPA government, however, a few months before the general elections could not muster up the courage to bang oppose the cleaning move of the SC. After getting nod in the all party meeting, the cabinet finally approved a proposal of amending the Representation of the People’s Act, which would protect the membership of convicted MPs and MLAs provided they have appealed in the higher court, but they would be debarred from taking part in the voting and drawing their salaries. There is a provision in the RPA which gives a three months’ window period to make an appeal in the higher court, which had ruled out any chance of instant disqualification. But this provision was struck by the SC in its historic judgement of July 10. Activists who want to clean the political system, say this amendment is unacceptable as this would mean that the convicted legislator would continue to retain the membership and there would be no by-election to represent the sentiments of the constituency. They maintain that the entire political system has become suspect due to the presence of criminals in the parliament and the assemblies. A report says that out of 543 Lok Sabha members, there are 162 who are facing criminal cases including rape, murders, incitement of communal violence, corruption, illegal use of drugs etc in various courts. Out of 1433 elected MPs and MLAs of the Congress there are 305 members against whom criminal cases are pending in courts. The BJP’s record is equally dismal as out of 1077 elected representatives, 313 are facing criminal cases. The worst record is of Jharkhand where 55 MLAs out of total 81 are facing court cases. Thus law breakers remain anointed as law makers.<

T Kapil Sibal

Voter Bait Fearing that they would invent several costlier ways of baiting the voters next time, a Tamilnadu advocate S Subramaniam Balaji approached the Supreme Court for a direction banning the malpractice of announcing and distributing freebies. He argued that it corrupted the voter and undermined free and fair elections. The apex court agreed with the litigant that the practice unfairly influenced the voter. Some control was necessary to provide a level-playing field to all parties contesting elections and forestall tax-payers’ money from being squandered. All the same, the court could not ban the practice as it would not stand judicial scrutiny. The court observed that election manifestoes were accepted instruments in the Representation of the People Act: they were meant to convey the policies and programmes of political parties. Promising economic development, good drinking water, better healthcare, etc. could not be construed as corrupt practices. All the same, there was a need to prevent misuse of Section 123 of the RP Act which shook the very root of free and fair elections. The CEC was the proper agency to take action. Dismissing Balaji’s plea, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi who heard the case observed that the best remedy would be to put corrective provisions in the Model Code of Conduct for Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates. It directed the CEC to do the needful before the parties published their election manifestoes.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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BIHAR

BIHAR LOOKS FOR POLITICAL REALIGNMENT Realignment of political forces in Bihar is on the cards. No wonder the Congress junks its traditional allies Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan leaving them high and dry once Nitish Kumar decides to ally with the Congress.... Nitish Kumar

By Umanath

ihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s ceaseless efforts to force the centre to grant the state—a special category status, finally appears to be coming to fruition with the centre under its ‘allies outreach programme’, appointing a six-member committee under former chief economic advisor and present RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to create a ‘composite development index’. This initiative may well benefit a few other states also, however, political and economic analysts are now united in saying that Nitish is well on the way to

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Bihar leaders Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan


BIHAR getting what he longed and waged a war for, thereby setting the stage for realignment of political forces in Bihar before 2004 elections. If so happens, besides much needed economic incentives, Nitish, a shrewd politician would also receive an enduring tool to consolidate his electoral base on this ‘sub-nationalistic issue’ at least for a couple of years, leaving other political entities at bay. The pitch for the status is also acting as a political tool to create pressure on a weak UPA and mobilise other backward states under one banner to suit Nitish’s agenda. However, this well calculated move of the Congress comes at a time when it utterly needs allies like Nitish Kumar and Mamta Banerjee who could fetch sizeable number of seats from their respective states in the ensuing parliamentary elections. The Congress is virtually sitting high and dry in the state with just two parliamentary and 4 assembly seats, with no prospects of getting a boost unless it has a solid ally on its side. Different pre-poll surveys are already predicting doom for the grand old party in Bihar and nationally. Earlier, the growing proximity between Congress and JD-U had become abundantly clear when Nitish during his grand rally in Delhi on May 17 this

What Bihar would get he special category status would help the state get more funds from the centre, besides some tax incentives particularly on investment. The Raghuram committee is said to have identified 10 parameters to develop the ‘Composite Backward Index’, a move that will boost the chances of Bihar getting special status based on criteria like poverty rate, education, health, percentage of SC/ST population and monthly consumption spending, among others. Presently, this status is given on the basis of geographical yardsticks. The committee is likely to submit its report to the centre soon. However, the fact remains that the status has to be cleared by the National Development Council and given the present political situation, that appears a little uncertain.<

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year, had lambasted the BJP and uttered little against the Congress except criticising for not conceding the special category status to Bihar. Later, when he severed his ties with the BJP, the Congress extended its unconditional support to the JD-U government during the confidence vote in the assembly, making it clear that the grand old party had closed its doors on the traditional allies—Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ramvilas Paswan, who keep on publicly declare ad nauseam their allegiance to Sonia Gandhi. In the meantime, sensing the weakening position of the Congress, Nitish, a very calculative strategist, has repeatedly made it clear that his party’s support to any government at the centre would depend upon his state getting special category status. Armed with 20 Lok Sabha MPs out of the 40 from Bihar, the chief minister now exudes even more confidence in his assertions. And this has scared the traditional allies of the Congress, Lalu Yadav and Paswan both so much so they have sought clarification from the Congress if it was going to break alliance with them. Their worry is genuine, as they do not see eye to eye with the JDU in the state.<

Why Sadhu Yadav Praised Modi?

Lalu Yadav’s estranged brother-inlaw Sadhu Yadav

he maverick Sadhu Yadav, the estranged brother-in-law of former union rail minister and chief minister Lalu Yadav created a sensation by his dramatic comment that Narendra Modi was a strong leader, much better than Rahul Gandhi. This he said after discussing political issues with Narendra Modi over a cup of tea. The boisterous comment by a leader who had fought the last Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket from Paschim Champaran not only resulted into his quick expulsion from the party, but it also did not endear him to the state BJP leaders, who promptly made it clear that he would not be welcome in the party. However, the BJP, desperate to increase its support base after the break-up of ties with the JD-U may develop some kind of working arrangement with him for the sake of Yadav and Muslim votes. Interestingly even after the rebuff from the local BJP leaders, Sadhu Yadav declared his intention of campaigning for Modi as he also belonged to a backward caste. He expressed the hope that Muslims of Bihar would also vote for him just as they did in Gujarat. It is understood he wants a BJP ticket for the next elections, but has been reminded about his poor image. Sadhu Yadav, whose real name is Anirudh Prasad, had contested from Paschim Champaran on a Congress ticket in 2009 but lost to the BJP’s Dr Sanjay Jaiswal by a huge margin of more than 1,28,000 votes. He could secure only 13.58 percent votes and came at the third place after Lok Janshakti Party’s candidate Prakash Jha. Meanwhile, a couple of sulking JD-U leaders are also trying to explore possibility of getting BJP tickets. <

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SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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KARNATAKA

CONG HUMBLES OPPOSITION IN By Uma Sharma from Bangalore

othing, it appears, can go wrong for chief minister, Siddaramiah these days. Since becoming chief minister in May this year, he has not really looked back in terms of any upsets; even completing 100 days in office without any controversy surrounding his government. Coupled with this are the wins, he secured for the party in the just concluded bypolls to the Lok Sabha constituencies of Mandya and Bangalore Rural. If anything, the party should actually flood him with kudos as he has achieved the impossible. Wresting the two seats from the JD-S by humbling it in its own strongholds, is no mean achievement. What's more, the Congress candidates, both rookies, even if reluctant, were up against the might of the former prime minister, Deve Gowda and his son and former chief minister, H D Kumaraswamy. They left nothing to chance to see that their candidates Puttaraju in Mandya and Kumaraswamy's wife, Anita, in Bangalore Rural, won their seats. Making the challenge stiffer for the Congress was the alliance that the BJP and the KJP under former chief minister, B S Yeddyurappa, had forged with the JD-S, with the avowed objective of defeating the ruling party. These two opposition parties decided against fielding any candidate for the bye-elections largely because they knew they had virtually no chance of even making a dent. In both the constituencies, they just did not have any influence, especially as Mandya and Bangalore Rural were known bastions of the JD-S. Accordingly, they decided to leave the field in favour of the JD-S though not without seeking the latter's support for the elections to the three legislative council seats in the state in return. For the JD-S, this was an opportunity which had to be exploited as along with the huge influence the Gowdas enjoyed in the constituencies, they had ensured that the contests remained limited between the JD-S and the Congress. That helped prevent splitting of votes. In short, this was a fight the Congress had no chance of winning. Further, the Mandya and Bangalore Rural seats were vacated by Cheluvarayaswamy and Kumaraswamy, respectively, of the JD-S after they had won from their constituencies in the May assembly elections. To that extent, the combined opposition was indeed a formidable one for the Congress. That its candidates, film actress Ramya from Mandya and D K Suresh Kumar from Bangalore Rural, won with an ease that even surprised the Congress party, is a tribute to the manner in which Siddaramiah used his influence in the

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Divya (Ramya) is the first film actress from Karnataka to enter the Lok Sabha

Film actress Ramya and D K Suresh Kumar won with an ease that even surprised the Congress party, is a tribute to the manner in which Siddaramiah used his influence in the region. Quietly, assiduously, he managed to get the entire party to back its candidates, in the process forcing arch rivals SM Krishna and actor minister Ambareesh to bury the hatchet if only to canvass for the Congress. 48

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KARNATAKA

BYPOLLS region. Quietly, assiduously, he managed to get the entire party to back its candidates, in the process forcing arch rivals SM Krishna and actor minister Ambareesh to bury the hatchet if only to canvass for the Congress. Above all, he ensured that the party's honeymoon with the people remained intact. This was also evidenced from the fact that the Congress party had earlier won the Periyapatna elections immediately after the May bypolls with equal ease. The assembly election was postponed in the first place after a candidate who had filed his nomination expired while the campaigning had just started. Alongside, it must be remembered that despite all the noise and hype surrounding the LS bypolls, none of the candidates from the Congress and the JD-S were keen to contest the elections. This was because they knew they would get only six odd months before the general elections were announced. To that extent while a win obviously added huge importance and value to the Congress, a loss would not have really made any difference to Siddaramaiahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation or image. The elections proved a huge plus for the Congress and Siddaramiah in

Anita Kumaraswamy wife of former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy lost Bangalore rural Lok Sabha seat by a huge margin.

Siddaramiah who will now become stronger and more assertive. This was also evident from the confidence with which he claimed credit for the partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wins in the bypolls while detailing the completion of 100 days in office as the ruling party leader. He was particularly happy to announce that the Anna Bhagya or the Re 1 per kg rice scheme for below

If the election results of the two Lok Sabha bypolls are replicated in the general elections, the Congress may easily win 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka. particular. More so as Ramya won with a margin of 70,000 while D K Suresh pipped his rival to the post by a staggering 1.3 lakh votes. The net result: H D Kumaraswamy immediately offered to resign as the state chief of the JD-S. All this makes the pitch clear for

poverty line families, in particular, as also the nutritious milk for children, besides the zero or low interest loans to farmers, had restored the faith of the voter in the Congress. This, he said confidently, would be replicated in the general elections with the assurance that the Congress would

win 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka. The biggest gain for Siddaramiah from the two wins and the controversy free completion of 100 days in office is that the state unit chief of the party, Mr Parameshwar, would be forced to keep himself under restrain for a while. He has been wearing his ambition on his sleeves as far as the demand for appointing him as deputy chief minister goes. Siddaramiah does not want another authority in the cabinet to undermine his own. To that extent he would be happier to run the show himself, something he can do so now with added confidence, post bypolls. Further, the central leadership of the party may also have to think anew on the formation of a coordinating committee to oversee the functioning of Siddaramaiahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s government. Earlier, the chief minister could not do anything. Now, he would do everything to have his way, proving the adage that nothing succeeds like success.<

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ODISHA

TELANGANA CASTS ITS SHADOW The resurgence of over 50-year old demand of western Odisha as a separate Kosal state has flummoxed chief minister Naveen Patnaik who thought he was carrying the people of the state with him by raising demand of Special category status for the state by citing poor development and backwardness, but this argument of under-development has been harder sold by the proponents of Kosal state. Announcement of Telangana has stoked a new fire to the simmering demand.

By Ashok B Sharma

political move of Naveen Patnaik to protect his eroding grass root support by way of seeking Special category status for Odisha state has misfired. It has been rejected pointblank on existing parameters as was announced by Rajiv Shukla, the union minister for planning in the parliament. This met with an unprecedented move by the BJD legislators forcing the state assembly for adjournment. Later Naveen wrote a forceful letter to the PM reminding him how half of his

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state was hilly and full of difficult terrain and how six Special category states have much lower ST and SC population than Odisha and nine of them have much lower poverty levels. While eight such states have much higher per capita income than Odisha, equal number of states has higher literacy rates than Odisha. May be Raghuram Rajan panel turn out more sympathetic to his claims. But Rajiv Shukla has shelved the claims of Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha for Special category and kept the demand for Bihar alive obviously for political reasons. He said that Biharâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s case can be considered on the basis of an inter-ministerial group set up in September 2011. For the time being the issue has lost some appeal. On the contrary the bigger political issue to his dismay has become the demand of Kosal as a separate state. He is now faced with an unenviable problem of keeping the state united as demand for Kosal consisting of mining rich districts in western part of Odisha has caught the common manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imagination which was witnessed during the extremely successful bandh in these

districts to press their demand of statehood. His initial failure to resolve the issue began with mishandling the demand for a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in Sambalpur in Odisha. Low level of development in western Odisha has fueled the demand for bifurcation. Besides prevailing poverty, incidences of rape, woman trafficking and child sale, high level of pollution owing to unscientific, and in many cases illegal mining and Maoist extremism, several scams and scandals across the state have brought disrepute to his governance. At least 42 organisations from 10 districts of the western region and Athmallik sub-division of Angul district have raised their pitch for the separate statehood. Announcement of Telangana as a separate state has cast its shadow over Odisha too. They say that the entire wealth of Odisha is being used to developed the coastal reason. Over 50-year old demand for a separate Kosalanchal virtually got resurrected after the Telangana issue opened the Pandoraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Box of demand for separate states in different parts of the country like Vidarbha separating from Maharashtra, Kamptapur slicing off from West Bengal and Assam, Gorkhaland cutting off from West Bengal, Bodoland, Karbi Anglong and Dima Raji separating from Assam and the proposal for splitting Uttar Pradesh into four smaller states. Even as the


ODISHA

OVER ODISHA demand of setting up the second states reorganisation commission has been deferred by the centre to be taken up by the next government, there is general perception in western Odisha that Kosal would surely be included in the proposed 11 new states. The current movement for a separate Kosal began gaining momentum with the demand by the All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) for setting up of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in Sambalpur.

The chief minister Naveen Patnaik mishandled the situation and tried to defer the issue in the name of seeking the opinion of Justice CR Pal Commission of Inquiry. Even he took the pretext of violation of code of conduct as SEC had announced polls to urban local bodies while postponing talks with AWOBA. However, AWOBA said they intimated to CM for talks much earlier. When the talks between the 23-member Central Action Committee of AWOBA and the chief minister Naveen Patnaik failed to reach a consensus, the proponents of separate state got right ammunition from this dillydallying.<

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RAJASTHAN

ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS ARE A DIFFERENT BALL GAME: GEHLOT

Students of Rajasthan University

Results of students union elections across Rajasthan has enthused the BJP, assuming this is a trailer of the final film to be shot in November assembly polls. However the chief minister Ashok Gehlot has rubbished their glee saying the assembly elections are a different ball game altogether… By Abha Sharma

allies, posters, hordes of vehicles, violent clashes, langars, code of conduct committees, police battalions and what not. The just concluded Rajasthan University Students’ election almost looked like political elections. As traffic jams, seizure of vehicles and littered roads marked the varsity polls at the state capital, large scale violence marred the student union polls across the state. Dausa town witnessed most unruly scenes as Gurjar-Meena student groups caused havoc in the town. Many vehicles, including buses and trains were vandalised, shops and houses were set ablaze and 12 persons were injured in stone pelting. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) swept the RUSU

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elections for the third consecutive term by capturing 3 out of 4 top RUSU posts. The BJP sees it as semi finals to the assembly polls because the ABVP has pocketed the key posts in most of the colleges across Rajasthan. The results were discouraging for National Students Union of India (NSUI) even in the hometown of chief minister Ashok Gehlot where the Students Federation of India captured all the four top posts. NSUI did win in three universities of the state but the victory didn’t sound great when compared with ABVP’s success in most of the colleges in the state. This being the election year in Rajasthan, students’ union results are an obvious jolt to the ruling Congress party. With NSUI continuing its dismal performance, the ABVP has reason to believe it as a proof of youth support for the party. The BJP is also jubilant with the view that students’ elections

are an indication of positive response in the forthcoming assembly polls. The party hopes that the youth will repeat its preference for BJP in the coming assembly polls. Surprisingly, even in Ajmer represented by union minister and youth icon Sachin Pilot, the NUSI could not perform well. Though the Ajmer results were not that encouraging even for ABVP and it had to remain contented with only the vice president’s post, the NSUI miserably failed on all the posts and couldn’t even open its account. Both the Congress and BJP are interpreting the university election results to suit their way. The BJP feels the ABVP success paints a truly gloomy picture for the ruling Congress while the Congress feels the student union results don’t reflect the general sentiments of young voters. Assembly polls are a different thing. A look at the past reveals that in 2003 elections,


RAJASTHAN

Hooliganism the worst ever! ot only the Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg outside Rajasthan University was littered with pamphlets and posters, much to the delight of rag pickers, pelting of stones, smashing of car windows and other unruly scenes at the state capital and elsewhere once again raise the question over the worth of student union polls. There have been incidents of hooliganisms in the past but this year, it crossed all boundaries. While students indulged in unruly behaviour on the roads of the state capital, the university administration was content with the reported ‘peaceful’ atmosphere inside the campus and ‘successful’ conduct of election. Liberal spending on posters and pamphlets, vehicles and langars to feed hundreds of students perhaps went unnoticed by the university administration. No stringent actions were taken while lot of lip service and paper work was done in the name of introducing code of conduct.<

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Nightmare for citizens! he university students and administration both have perhaps forgotten the fact that due to hooliganism, the Rajasthan High Court had banned student elections in 2004-2005. The ban was lifted only in 2009 when the state government agreed to accept the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee for direct election system. But it seems neither the students, nor the university administration, nor the political parties that support rookies, have tried to make a change. In littering the roads, defacing walls, indulging in violence students have left ugly marks of their behaviour on public psyche. If rioting and hooliganism continues to rule the roost, how can we hope to get responsible and sensitive youth leaders?<

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when the ABVP captured the RUSU election, the BJP returned to power in Rajasthan. Way back in 1993 also the BJP has come to power when RUSU polls got ABVP president. The BJP may be enthused with the election results but the low voter turnout in Rajasthan University and its constituent colleges should be a cause of concern. Since the elections were held on Saturday, many students preferred to spend the weekend by staying indoors and only 41 per cent voter turnout was recorded.<

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CAMPUS

B N Mandal University

Bihar University

Jai Prakash University

Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University

Magadh University

MMHArabic-andPersian-University

Patna University

Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur Univ...

Veer kunwar Singh University

Universities

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9 VICE CHANCELLORS FALL LIKE 9 PINS! Bihar has a small constellation of just 18 universities (15 state universities, 2 deemed universities and one central university). Unluckily their functioning had remained tainted by political interference. It was a grand scandal of sort when the Bihar governor appointed nine vice-chancellors without even making a casual consultation with the state government. The Supreme Court has quashed these appointments. he Nitish Kumar government has received a shot in the arm with the Supreme Court quashing the appointments of nine ViceChancellors and two pro-Vice Chancellors made by former Governor Devanand Konwar in various universities of Bihar. The apex court also faulted the governor for filling the top educational posts without proper consultations with the state government and fixed a three-month deadline for fresh appointments on the recommendations of a new search committee to be constituted as per the UGC guidelines. The Court in its decisions said that as per the University Grant Commission Rule, the Governor is bound to act in proper consultation with the state government, which in its petition had accused the governor of neither discussing the appointments with the chief minister, nor revealing the proposed names to the government. Besides, the state government also challenged the decision on the eligibility ground like academic qualifications prescribed for the posts. It is worth mentioning that the Bihar Universities Act, 1976 and the Patna University Act, 1976 make it mandatory for the governor to make appointments only after taking the government into confidence. All appointments were made under notifications issued first on August 1, 2011 and then August 3, 2011 by Konwar, currently the governor of Tripura. Shambhu Nath Singh, Arun Kumar, Md Samsuzoha, Ram Vinod Sinha, Vimal Kumar, Kumaresh Prasad Singh, Arvind Pandey, Shiv Shankar Singh and Anjani Kumar Sinha were appointed as the vice-chancellors of Patna University (Patna), Magadh University (Bodhgaya), Mazhrul Haque Arabic and Persian University (Patna), B N Mandal University (Madhepura), Jai Prakash University (Chapra), BR Ambedkar University (Muzaffarpur), Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University (Darbhanga), Veer Kunwar Singh University (Ara) and Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University. Raja Ram and Padmasha Jha were appointed as pro-VCs of Patna University (Patna) and Bihar University (Muzaffarpur) respectively on March 14 this year when it

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was announced that he was being replaced as Bihar Governor. Earlier, the Patna High Court had on December 7, 2012 quashed the appointment of six of the eight VCs appointed by the Governor on the ground that the state government was not consulted. The HC had also directed the Chancellor to make a fresh list of candidates for appointment of the VCs and ProVCs. However, the same persons were later re-appointed. Now when all appointments have been quashed, the senior most Dean of each university will perform the function of VCs. The entire issue amply reveals the reasons behind the awful state of higher education in the state. There must be a proper co-ordination between state government and chancellor for the smooth and efficient functioning of university system, especially at a time when it is utterly needed to keep pace with the fast changing world of knowledge. It is why majority of the colleges in Bihar are yet to receive the NAAC grading which is now a must to have UGC fund.<


CAMPUS

GURU GHASIDAS VISHWAVIDYALAYA BRACES FOR ELITE NUCLEAR RESEARCH

Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya will mark a special niche in the higher education space of India with the start of its unique Particle Accelerator Facility. Currently it is abuzz with activities to finalise its research programmes and training teachers as well as researchers for them through workshops. By Aaditya Tiwari

uru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya will soon be a hub of particle research in Chhattisgarh under its flagship research programme drawing researchers from many universities and institutions. Setting up an advanced particle accelerator is now in final stages. This would promote research in nuclear physics, materials science, radiation biology, radiation physics and

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accelerator mass spectrometry. Department of Atomic Energy and Inter-university Accelerator Centre are lending a helping hand in this project. Inter-University Accelerator Centre was the first such facility started in university system in 1990 to be used jointly by desirous universities. The Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya would be having the first such facility exclusively in any Indian universities. The facility is expected to be functional by January next year. Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s department of pure

and applied physics is abuzz with activities related to preparation of research themes and priming the researchers. Three workshops have been organised so far in this connection. The latest workshop was organised on 19-20 August on ion beam induced material modifications & neutron generation using 3 MV Particle Accelerator. It was aimed at discussing the research plans using low energy high current pelletron accelerator. This was like two previous ones intended to acquaint researchers on low energy


CAMPUS particle accelerator facilities including negative and positive ion beam implanter, ion beam analysis techniques including Rutherford back scattering measurements, photon induced x-ray emission, nuclear reaction analysis, elastic recoil analysis and ion beam irradiation for material modifications. The workshop was inaugurated by ebullient GGV vice chancellor Dr Lakshman Chaturvedi. Dr RK Bhandari, Raja Ramanna Fellow, was the chief guest. Dr Chaturvedi told that the facility would go a long way to enhance the quality of research and teaching in this cutting edge area. He presented the objectives and mission of the upcoming National Centre for Accelerator based Research in the university. The facility has been supported by Department of Atomic Energy, UGC and IUAC. It goes to the credit of Dr Lakshman Chaturvedi that the facility is being installed in record time. Dr Dinkar Kanjilal, director, IUAC, Dr Kamal Singh former vice chancellor, Amravati Vishwavidyalaya, Dr GD Sharma, vice chancellor, Bilaspur University and Dr S Dutta, member secretary, DAE-BRNS, also addressed the participants in the workshop. Dr Kanjilal committed the unhindered technical support from IUAC for commissioning of the facility. He also told that there would be synergy between the research programme of the IUAC and the facility coming up at the GGV. Prof PK Bajpai, accelerator centre in-charge & head, department of pure & applied physics, presented the status report of the facility and theme of the workshop. Discussing the research plans using 3 MV particle accelerators, Dr Bajpai presented the canvas of researches that are planned once the facility gets commissioned and informed that first beam is expected to be available by January 2014. The high beam currents available at ~ 100ÎźA will, in fact be the highest in any accelerator of this class in the country shall open up many new

avenues for research. The participants discussed the potential applications including deep ion implantation and neutron generation. They are veritably cutting edge area of research. Dr A K Sinha, Director, UGCDAE-CSR, Kolkata, described the

A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams. These beams of high-energy particles are useful for both fundamental and applied research, and also in many technical and industrial fields. It has been estimated that there are approximately 26,000 accelerators worldwide. A few universities abroad also have them for training students and researchers in high profile nuclear, material and medical research. Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya is the first university in India to have this rare honour.

potential applications of accelerators in the biological sciences. Prof AP Pathak, University of Hyderabad, Prof Ravi Kumar, NIT, Hamirpur and Dr S Bandhopadhyaya from VECC, Kolkata, presented many interesting applications of energetic ion beams for the synthesis

and modifications of semiconductor, magnetic and other advanced materials for different technological applications. Prof AC Pandey, vice-chancellor, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, highlighted the electronic sputtering of materials with ion irradiation and demonstrated the ion beam characterisation techniques. Prof IM Govil described the Particle Induced Xray Emission (PIXE) as a very useful technique for archeological, biological, materials science, biotechnological applications. Dr Alok Saxena, head, NDPCI, BARC, Mumbai, Dr Asimanand Goswami, SINP, Kolkata and Dr S Bhattacharya, head Physics Group, VECC, Kolkata and Dr Ajay Tyagi BHU, Varanasi, deliberated upon various nuclear physics based application using GGV accelerator. Such was the vast scope of its possible uses in research. The focus of the panel discussion involving such well-known experts in their respective fields was the possibility of extending this facility for the generation of neutrons, which we normally receive from the cosmos. Especially, the high current proton beam available is recommended as the most suitable for this purpose. Experts were of the opinion that the generated neutron flux should be ideal for neutron activation work and the related nuclear reaction cross section measurementsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a priority area for the development of future nuclear reactors in the country. The workshop was attended by 115 participants and 21 research proposals were discussed for the use of accelerator in different areas of science.In the meeting future extension of research facility was also discussed and it was decided that the zero degree beam line must be extended for a review of precise measurement of various neutron induced reaction crosssections. This would help in the design and development of new generation of reactors, like accelerator driven subcritical systems, nuclear incinerators, etc.<

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CAMPUS

CONSPIRACY AGAINST ‘MR GREEN By Lokayat Correspondent

bicycle rider was hit by a car in Aligarh on August 13. The incident was simple but the rider was not. He was the influential and powerful vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University- Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah. He received severe injuries in what is being seen or claimed as a deliberate act, fracturing two of his ribs. His leg was also badly bruised in the accident. Shah, brother of veteran film actor Naseeruddin Shah, had recently returned from the USA with a dream to make the university campus ‘Green & Clean’. The dream inspired him to ride a bicycle so that others could also get motivated to leave aside polluting vehicles like car or mobike in the campus. On that fateful Tuesday too, he left VC Lodge (his residence) in the university campus for his office in the administrative block, hardly three hundred metres away. The VC has sensed a conspiracy in the entire episode, saying he had been deliberately hit. The police also took no time in sending the Bulandshahr resident to the jail and slapping 307 (attempt to murder) upon him. Initially, DIG (Police), Aligarh Range, Prakash D too, termed it a deliberate act, but later when T Venkatesh, commissioner of Aligarh range, sought a detailed report of the accident, he came out with a modified report, terming it an accident and found no conspiracy angle. Now what is doing the round in the campus is—why the VC levelled a serious charge in haste and what may have been the reason behind his slapdash statement. Let us go into the background of this bicycle campaign. The VC had spent his summer vacation this year in the USA. His motives behind this tour to the USA were several. Besides, meeting the talented AMU students working as top officials in multinational companies and calling for donation for their alma-mater, he was also well intended to see first-hand the courses of various studies of different famous universities in the USA and then implement certain specific things back home. The VC profusely appreciated the USA for two things after he came back.

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Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah arrives on a cycle at the univercity

This was a rare gesture of the vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah when he chose to use a bicycle to go to his office to inspire all and sundry to make the university campus green and clean. But he was hit by a car, seen as a deliberate act, while riding a bicycle which resulted into breaking his two ribs. Students, opposed to the ban of motor cycles in the campus, are now mocking his decision rather than showing sympathy....Such are the times in the AMU! 58

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CAMPUS

& CLEAN’! ‘There is no criminal case against Sonu till date. No one in his village had food the day when a heinous case of attempt to murder was slapped against him. We pray to the almighty for the VC’s speedy recovery, so that our son could also be acquitted.’ -Nafisa Begum, mother of Sonu First, its spectacular courses of studies for higher education, which are entirely job and industry-oriented. In his words, the courses directly benefit the country and the people, as they generate employment and entrepreneurship. Second, the campus ambience is exemplary with ample greenery. All- students, teachers or senior people use bicycle to come to the university, which ably helps in keeping the campus environment clean, green and pollution free. It also helps in maintaining good health. Learning this bicycle lesson, the VC started coming to the campus by a bicycle from August one when the university re-opened after vacation. The VC himself riding bicycle was also intended to neutralise any opposition to the ban imposed on motor cycles in the campus. Shah advised students and teachers alike to move around either on foot or use bicycle in the campus, reminding the times of seventies and eighties when majority of teachers and students used to do so. The students peeved at his order related to the ban on using motor cycles, have now a great time ridiculing

him when he met with an accident. The red Alto car hit the VC at around 10.25 AM when he reached guest house no-2. The security personnel moving with him noted down the number of the car which fled away from the scene. When

‘After proper investigation, it has been established that it was not a deliberate act, but an accident.’ -T Venkatesh, Commissioner, Aligarh Range the VC complained of pain in his ribs, he was rushed to the JN Medical College. The x-ray revealed fractures in the fourth and fifth ribs on the left side. Students are raising a question, as to when the VC is not safe riding a bicycle what will happen to common students. However, the VC has not budged an inch from his conviction. He rather sees a conspiracy in the entire episode, saying the elements involved in creating nuisance in the campus, are behind this accident. He also says, ‘I am not at all deterred by the development. I will continue going to the office by my bicycle.’ The conspiracy statement of the VC created flutter in the police and administrative circles. Just after the

accident, car driver Sonu alias Islam, a resident of Mubarakpur, under Ahmednagar police station in Bulandshahr district, was arrested. The police turned the case into a fatal one under 279, 337 and 338 sections of the IPC. Sonu was immediately sent to jail, however, he termed himself innocent, saying he had gone to see his sister admitted at a nursing home in Jamalpur. Then, he left to take his friend’s sister to women’s college. On the way, one speeding biker overtook his car and while saving the biker his car hit VC Saheb. Sonu’s father Iqbal, mother Nafisa Begum, sister Rani,

‘Whether the VC goes to his office on foot or by bicycle, it’s his choice. The decision can’t be imposed on anyone else.’ -Professor, Irfan Habib, famous historian (who throughout his life rode a bicycle)

uncle Husnain with several villagers reached the VC’s office and apologised for the wrong, saying Sonu has done all this by sheer negligence. He doesn’t have any enmity against him. However, they couldn’t meet with the VC.<

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HEALTH IS WEALTH

DO YOU KNOW YOUR FRIENDLY Treat fruits and vegetables as your good friendsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; they help you remain healthy and free from ailments. But all of them may not be as friendly as you may expect them to be. Some of them may ditch you. So, choose your fruits and vegetables like you choose your friend carefully. How to choose your fruits and vegetables? Some clues are given here...

By Dr PK Mukherjee

owadays more and more people are getting afflicted with a host of chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, renal failure, depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart ailments, and many others. These are attributed mainly to our sedentary lifestyle and dietary habits. These diseases are, therefore, also referred to as lifestyle diseases. Changing our lifestyle and dietary habits can go a long way in the cure, control and management of these diseases. Vegetables and fruits are very important to ensure good health. Although all of us consume them mechanically, hardly ever thinking of their relative health benefits. Vegetables and fruits (both fresh and

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Common potato has not been well-understood. It is rather shunned by dieters and weightwatchers. Alas! They do not know what they miss by ruling out potatoes from their diet. But you need to know that potato is great only when eaten with its skin...

frozen) are replete with vitamins, minerals, fibres and antioxidants etc. which have been shown to protect us against various chronic and lifestyle diseases. They are also low in calories making them a good check for your waistline.

Role of potassium Vitamins and energy apart, fruits and vegetables are rich source of minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium etc. Although each mineral has its specific function in maintaining the overall health of the body, nutrition scientists have of late specifically focussed their attention on the role of potassium in the body. It not only helps to balance the fluids and minerals in the body but also helps body muscles to contract and the nerves to function normally. Potassium has also the potential of reversing the effect of


HEALTH IS WEALTH

FRUITS ? sodium, helping the body maintain a normal blood pressure. Also, it reduces the cholesterol levels in the blood by preventing it from thickening. On the whole, potassium has heartprotective effects. It may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and may promote bone health too. Vegetables and other plant products which are rich in potassium include white beans, soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, tomato products (paste, sauce, juice) spinach, mushrooms, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. White beans contain 561 mg of potassium per 100 gm of beans. Spinach has 558 mg of potassium per 100 gm. White mushrooms contain 396 mg of potassium per 100 gm. Common potato, also called white potato, is good storehouse of potassium. Each moderate sized potato is packed with 1,050 mg of potassium. To tame the blood pressure surge, one may eat daily a potato (with the skin on) after baking or roasting it. Alternatively, the potato may be

sautĂŠed in a little sesame oil without removing its skin. One may just sprinkle a little salt and add coriander on it for taste. According to a British research team, this filling treat could

Guava, papaya and banana are considered Dalits among fruits. What elitism in selection of fruits! Know for sure, they are better than many socalled elite fruits like pomegranate, cherry, peach and apricot.

cut your blood pressure down by at least 32 points. This happens due to the potassium present in potatoes. The sesame (til) oil is rich in sesamin, a rare plant compound that prevents blood pressure spikes. Coriander (more so its seeds) has also the beneficial property of lowering the blood pressure. Sweet potatoes also have a lot of potassium and are, therefore, good for regulating the blood pressure. The sweet potato (with the skin on) may also be sautĂŠed in oil and then eaten. Alternatively, it may be baked or roasted without removing its skin. Boiled sweet potatoes are generally not recommended, especially for diabetics, as they can cause blood sugar levels to increase. Among the fruits, bananas are particularly rich in potassium (358 mg per 100 gm). Mangoes, guavas, peaches, apricots, cantaloupes (kharbuja) etc also have good amount of potassium in them. Guavas are easily available and are relatively less expensive. So, everyone can afford them. It is said that one moderate-sized guava contains almost a similar amount of potassium that is present in one banana. Guavas also reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood by preventing it from thickening. Guavas have numerous other health benefits too. In fact, this

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HEALTH IS WEALTH inexpensive and humble non-elite fruit is regarded as one of the superfoods that the Nature has blessed us with.

Role of fibres Vegetables and fruits are also needed for their fibres. Dietary fibre is useful in many ways than one however it is especially useful to keep the digestive system healthy. It is important for proper bowel function and thus helps reduce constipation. It also contributes to other processes such as stabilising glucose and cholesterol levels and thus lowers the risk of heart diseases. Fibre has also been shown to benefit diabetics and those looking for weight control. Actually, fibres are of two types viz. soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibres include pectins, gums etc. which are found mainly in the plant cells. One of the major roles of soluble fibre is to lower the LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibres include cellulose, lignin etc. that make up the structural parts of the plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fibres is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as piles. The skins of fruits and vegetables constitute a good source of insoluble fibre.

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The top five fruits with maximum dietary fibre content are apples, pears, bananas, blackberry and figs. Other fruits with

Fibres in food are most desirable to keep bowel movement fit and regular, and also to keep the blood sugar and blood pressure normal. But who cares about them in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fast food culture....!

high fibre content include apricot, blueberry, grape, guava, orange, raisin and raspberry. Some of the top high fibre content vegetables include spinach, peas, beans, cabbage, carrot, broccoli, sweet corn and baked potatoes.

Fruits with varying GI However, some fruits have high glycemic index (GI) that can increase the blood sugar levels. Glycemic index is a rating

system that rates the after-meal effect a particular food will have on the blood sugar level i.e. level of glucose in the body. A low GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily thus preferable. Plain glucose has a glycemic index of 100. Foods ranked 70 and above are considered high GI foods as they have the effect of raising the blood sugar rapidly and significantly. Low GI foods rank 55 and below; they do not have that significant impact on the blood sugar levels. Foods that rank between 58 and 69 have a moderate effect on blood sugar. The GI of cherry, grape, orange, peach, plum, apple, pear etc is ranked low. While cherry has a GI of 20, peach has GI of 30.The GI of apple, pear and plum is 40 while that of grape and orange is 45. Banana, apricot, papaya and mango are just on the threshold of low GI fruits while GI of guava, muskmelon, pineapple, raisin and watermelon is on the high side. The GI of guava is 78, that of pineapple, raisin and cantaloupe is 65 while that of watermelon is 75. The GI of date is 100. In fact, the elevated blood sugar levels tend to trigger insulin release which in turn promotes fat storage. Hence, diabetics, weight watchers and dieters who are trying to lose weight must select such fruits that do not have the effect of raising blood sugar levels significantly.<


HEALTH IS WEALTH

HOW TO EAT FOOD? By H C Gupta

irogi kaaya (disease free body) has been given pride of place among seven popular conditions of bliss--‘Pahala sukh nirogi kaaya’. But the 21st century has become notorious for increased suicides, heart-attacks, diabetes, blood pressure and above all depression despite immense advancement in medicine. No one can enjoy his wealth and luxuries if he or she is afflicted with even one disease. An easy way of healthful and blissful life is to ‘Return to Nature’. We should be our natural self in our foods and drinks. We should listen to ‘what our belly says. We should listen to its call, obey it and be ever happy and healthy. We all eat, but do not know what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. A person on his last legs told me how he had heard almost every day in his life that we should eat water and drink food. No doctor today would explain how to eat liquids and drink solids; they think their job is only to prescribe tablets, capsules and syrups. The formula is simple-while taking liquids, one should sip them, never gulp down the whole glassful at one stretch. Another adage: we should eat to live. whereas in this age of hurry, worry and curry, all unhealthy persons live to eat. There is an interesting legend: when Dhanvantri, the physician of gods left his abode, looking for a place where he should start his practice, he decided upon a village, and was surprised to hear the villagers discussing ‘hitbhukh’, ‘mitbhukh’ and ‘ritbhukh’. These three conditions of satisfying the appetite are: One, we should eat what suits to our health (Hitbhukh)—mind it, to our health, not to our taste. Second, we should eat within limits (Mitbhukh). The simple and easy way to know one’s limit is to stop eating while there is still room in the stomach for some more food. That is, if we would eat four chapattis, we should eat only three. Overeating is the major cause of so many ailments. The third, we should eat maximum of what is seasonal (Ritbhukh)— vegetables, fruits and foodgrains of the season. Another important precept is, we should eat our food in the sweat of our brow. This means we should eat what we have earned with our own labour. A Hindi idiom puts it best ‘Beeson nakhoono ki kamayee’, will always promote our health.<

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BOLLYWOOD

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BOLLYWOOD

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By Our Film Critic

hennai Express of Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone really ran very fast, not only in India but also abroad, the US, UK, Pakistan, Middle East, Australia among many other countries where Indians in large numbers live, to enter the Rs 100 Crore Club in just a few days. It has been dubbed in ten languages-English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish and Malay and has made a new record by collecting over 270 cr worldwide. Produced by Gauri Khan and directed by Rohit Shetty, this romantic action comedy has its own share of controversies. A few film makers have criticised it for making fun of Tamil culture and language. This has been vehemently denied by the lead role player Deepika Padukone who said how can she do it, she herself being a South Indian. The film has received mixed response from reviewers. In India it has been given the rating of 1-4 out of 5. The comments of the New York Times are interesting: it feels like a sumptuous meal with carefully chosen wine and tasty appetizers but a botched main course. Emirates 24/7, a popular website in the Middle East has berated it for the Shetty style romance full of buffoonery which may be relished only by SRK loyalists. Some other critics have declared SRK as overage for the romantic role, and beaten by Deepika Padukoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s superb performance. The story is over plotted. A 40-year old bachelor Rohit was told by his grandmother to go to Rameshwaram to immerse ashes of his grandfather, though he wanted to go to Goa along with his friends. However, in a strange Shetty style plot he helps desperately running Meenamma to board the train. The young beauty is shown running away from an arranged marriage. Finally both start liking each other. A mix of masala, humour, entertainment, action and romance has made it, however, a good entertainment. They tried to elope several times, every time falling into some funny deeper trouble. SRK with so many of silly gags and car-smashing stunts retains his reputation as an action avatar. Deepika with her flattering charm and confidence shows that she has moved much beyond Om Shanti Om.<

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HOLLYWOOD

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The Butler is truly a great political film, a serious one, yet commercially successful, depicting the massive historical struggle of Blacks in America, in a very captivating manner, through the life of a butler who worked in the White House through the period of seven presidents of America.

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THE US POLITICS THROUGH

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By Our Film Critic

edia buzz is, the film is sure to be nominated for the Oscar. It has emerged as a cultural signpost in a country which elected 6 years ago first ever an African-American its president. Several media reviews say that it may not be a masterpiece, but definitely a masterly work of art. Nobody had speculated that this political film would rake in moolah also, but surprisingly it has been a hit at the box office, illustrating serious films can also be successful commercially if it captured the spirit faithfully. The film is directed by a Black and starred by Blacks without any prominent actor from the

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Dwight D Eisenhower

John F Kennedy

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white. Acting of female lead Oprah Winfrey in the role of Gloria, the wife of Cecil Gaines (played by Forest Whitaker), the butler, has especially been captivating. The story is melodramatic but gives faithfully a historical sense of the attitude of American society and politics towards Blacks during various phases. The lead character is Cecil, shown initially as a young boy of slave parents who worked on a cotton plantation in 1920. The owner of the plantation tried to rape Cecil’s mother, which his father retaliated and was shot dead. Cecil then had to work as a servant away from the widow, changing places of work till he was recommended to work in the White House during president Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration. Once in good job, he marries Gloria, who gave him two sons, one became a Black activist after he was beaten up along with his friends by the Ku Klux Klan while travelling in a bus, which ensured his repeated arrests for political protests; the other son followed ethics of his parents who accepted their lowly status as normal for Blacks. Knowing that the then president Richard Nixon was hell bent to crush his son’s organisation, he told his son and his girl friend to leave his house. Cecil later realised the heroic actions of his son and left the job in the White House to join the political activities of his son’s organisation. The film goes up to the time when Barrack Obama campaigns as a presidential candidate, which was an awesome event for the son and father. The film has been directed by Lee Daniels, who has well presented the politics through the seven presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan, making it the greatest strength of the film.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

67


REGIONAL

MADHUR BHANDARKAR WANTS TO MAKE FILMS BASED ON BENGALI LITERATURE any successful films have been made on Bengali literature and they have brought national and international laurels. Now Madhur Bhandarkar also want to try this out. He recently revealed that he was studying Bengali literature for getting proper ideas for his upcoming films. He also told that films made on the works of Bengali litterateurs have influenced him much. He made special mention of Ritwik Ghatak. But any film based on Bengali literature would come not so soon, as he has already announced two films leaving no room for that. He is practical and says that he should not hurry up on this no

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matter how much inspired he is by films made with Bengali sensibilities as depicted in literature. He argued that he at this moment cannot move away from the kind of cinema he is more familiar with. It may be noted that he made very successful films like Page 3, Traffic Signal and Fashion. His speciality is to present behind the scene reality which makes his films hardhitting. His film Chandni Bar is another example of his forte. He revealed to journalists that he had visited over 60 bars to delve deep into what happens in this business. He had presented gruesome realities in Page 3 also.<

SREESANTH TO ACT IN MALAYALAM FILMS

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< isgrace is no bar in entering the film world. Disgraced cricketer S Sreesanth may have been denied the glory of playing glamorous cricket any more, but he has sought to still maintain a glamorous life by entering into the film world. He has announced that he would be acting in a Malayalam film, the shooting of which would begin soon. Sreesanth, was arrested by Delhi police on allegations of spot fixing, and when he came out on bail, he revealed that he always wanted to act in a film and was ‘excited’ at the prospects now. But is acting as easy for him as cricket? He was frank to admit, ‘no, it may not be that easy for me, but I would definitely enjoy doing that’. Many do not know that he had done a guest role in Kaithaparam Damodaran Namboodiri's film Mazhavillinattam vare (Till the edge of rainbow). But the film-maker removed him from the film after the infamous spot fixing expose. Now the film, tentatively titled Big Picture , which he has agreed to work in will be directed by Balachandra Kumar.<

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SPORT

CAPITALISATION OF SPORT Money and big money has transformed sport all over the world. In today’s world no small country can afford to host an Olympic Games or an International unless it has financial resources.

Womens singles World Championship bronze medalist P V Sindhu holds her medal during a media conference

By Ramu Sharma

port has generally been identified with fun and recreation as different from vocation and hard work, both a necessity to ensure a healthy daily routine. For years altogether sporting activity was meant to be treated as a break from the daily

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The success of the Indian Premier League in cricket has twisted it mental faculties. Despite controversies, it has become an example for others sports like hockey, football and badminton…

toil by the common man. This was a practice the world over and India, no different from any other country, followed suit. That is till money took over sport and replaced recreation and pleasure with a professional zeal bordering on greed. Thus week-end ‘village cricket’ for instance became a money spinner in huge stadiums and football, that popular game that youngster enjoy in the small spaces between houses, converted to a million dollar industry. Track and field, beginning as ordinary but competitive foot-racing in the early stages of the New World turned into


SPORT prize winning ventures. Other sports followed suit and soon what was once an afternoon of fun, frolic and friendly competition was swallowed by pounds, dollars and rupees all over the world. From purely the Indian point of view the transformation has been of mixed blessing. While the money poured into sport has hit the common spectator who used to enjoy spending Rs five or thereabouts and watch a good club football match say at the Corporation Stadium in Delhi or the Cooperage in Mumbai or the many club fields in Kolkata, members of the rich and famous who would normally be ignorant about the game, leave alone spending time at the stadiums, now have something more to talk about in their exclusive gatherings— Pele, Messi or Ronaldo and their likes. Cricket and cricketers is of course a universal catchword and everybody, whether he is involved or not, directly or indirectly, has to know something about it. The game and its perpetrators are part of general knowledge, something on the lines of Bollywood stars. In fact in today’s world there are very few sports writers. The only tribe existing and flourishing is the cricket writer and he is always an expert, something akin to the personalities dominating the commentary box during Test matches and international fixtures. Money and big money at that has transformed sport all over the world. In today’s world no small country can afford to host an Olympic Games or an International unless it has financial resources. As has been documented the Asian Games has been successfully bid by China, South Korea and Qatar in recent times. Luckily for India it lost its bid to Qatar for, otherwise, the country would have been embroiled in another controversy on the lines of what happened during the Commonwealth

Luckily for India it lost its Asian Games bid to Qatar for, otherwise, the country would have been embroiled in another controversy on the lines of what happened during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Games in Delhi. But India has not learnt its lessons. The success of the Indian Premier League in cricket has twisted its mental faculties. Unconcerned about the controversy surrounding the latest offering, the IPL of course has gathered in strength and has become an example to some other sports.

Hockey India copied the IPL example and had a league of its own and though not an outstanding success like cricket, it had nevertheless a big following and what is more a lot of players earned huge sums of money, something unheard of in hockey. And then there is the Badminton Federation promising money to top players for playing in the Indian Badminton League. Agreed, not everything has gone smoothly for some of the stars but the performance of PV Sindhu who reached the semifinals of the World Championship in China recently has fired the imagination of a lot of young Indians who are now keen to take to the game in all seriousness. And not to be left behind is the football authorities. One must admire this particular federation. For years now the controllers of this game, whoever was at the helm, has been talking about not only Indian participation in the World Cup

but also of hosting the Championships. Considering the standard of the game in the country the very suggestion or ambition you could call it, is a joke. Yet the Federation has striven hard to maintain some semblance of order. For some years now it has been running its league in various forms and now has plans to start something on the lines of the IPL. It is an ambitious proposal but not all the players and clubs appear to be agreeable to the experiment. And there will always be a question about the foreign players playing in the IPL. Of what standard will they be? The fear is that most of the foreign elements would be rejects from their club or national teams. If that is going to be the case the whole purpose of the experiment will be lost<.

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SCIENCE

Even as India plans to send its Orbiter around the red planet Mars either in October or November this year, there are 20,747 Indians who have shown interest to leave earth to stay at Mars courtesy a project of ‘Mars One’ which is going to set-up a colony there. The seven-month long great journey would start September, 2022. Why is there so much interest in Mars? By Lokayat Correspondent

eople have been intensely curious to know about the mystery of the red planet Mars from the time immemorial. But who could

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have believed even a few decades ago that the time is so near to actually go there and stay. An organisation ‘Mars One’ has announced its plan to start its colony there and the seven month long journey to the red destination would start on September, 2022.

Announcement of one way trip to Mars has been respondent by tens of thousands people who are willing to leave their family and job to have a stay at the planet of wrath. The plan is that four astronauts, two men and two women, would leave for Mars to reach


SCIENCE and China 13,176. Applications from as many as 140 countries have been received. Anybody above 18 years of age was entitled to apply.

Why go to Mars?

there in April 2023. Other teams would continue to join them every two years. Thus, by 2033 there would be over 20 people living and working on Mars. Mars One is the company which has initiated this novel venture. It had announced that who-so-ever wants to go to the planet can get them registered by August 31, 2013. There were 20,747 applications from Indians too, thus putting India at the Second rank among all the countries of the world. Topping the list was the US with 47,654 applications, followed by India

Through robotic missions, we have gathered a wealth of information about Mars. We have come to know that although Mars is cold, dry and nearly airless, it was once warmer and wetter; and it had, in the past, water flowing through its surface, and also oxygen, in its atmosphere. By exploring Mars through manned mission, we would like to find out what happened to it to see if the same thing, by any chance, could happen to our Earth also. When the solar system was formed some 4.5 billion years ago, Earth, Venus and Mars were all probably much the same. They were all small, rocky planets. But Venus got too hot and Mars got too cold. But, the conditions on Earth remained just the right. However, the basic questions that leap to the mind are: Why did Earth stay warm enough so that the liquid water could exist and not freeze or boil away? There are many more related questions like whether life on Earth originated due to Mars. Whether there is a probability of any form of life on Mars? Can the study of Mars shed light on the formation of the solar system and our place in the universe? Besides realisation of an amazing dream, it will be a challenging mission too. Moreover, this mission will jumpstart developments in all kinds of areas, a few examples being in recycling, solar energy, food production and the advancement of medical technology. But, why should one prefer Mars over Moon for human settlement? There are some strong reasons in favour of Mars. The first is the gravity. While the gravity of Mars is one third of the Earth, that of Moon is only one sixth. Mars has water in relative abundance compared to the Moon. Mars has a roughly 24 hours day-night cycle which is crucial for plant development.

The mission to Mars is fraught with many dangers. The Mars-bound adventurers will have to bear the dangerous radiation in the form of galactic cosmic rays and solar energy particles. Also, the Mars adventurer will have to stay in a very spacecrunched place with three other human beings. Moreover, the Mars adventurers will most likely have to drink their recycled urine. In addition, they will have to address both routine and serious medical issues such as dental upkeep, muscle tears and bone fractures without any external aid. They will also have to learn to repair habitat structures and grow vegetables in confined space. Of course, to enable them to carry out all these chores will have to undergo rigorous eight-year training. As Stephen Hawking has pointed out, in the event of a planetary disaster or catastrophe one should have an alternative abode to shift to. And Mars may come to our rescue if such an eventuality ever happens. There is a silver lining as well. Through terraforming, the environment of Mars could be transformed to one that is suitable for human life. First time, in 1965 a little spacecraft called Mariner 4 had flown by Mars and took a few pictures of its northern hemisphere. Everyone was disappointed to find out that there were no people there. Then the first Mars orbiter named Mariner 9 reached the Red Planet in 1971 and took pictures that showed volcanoes and giant valleys in the northern side of the planet. One volcano, Mont Olympus, is three times as high as Mount Everest, the biggest mountain on Earth. The Viking spacecraft that landed on Mars in 1976 failed to find any signs of life in the top portion of the Martian soil. Many more spacecrafts were sent to Mars after that. India is also planning to send an orbiting spacecraft to Mars either in October or November this year itself with five scientific instruments on it.<

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COOKERY

Ingredients:

For the Tempering:

For the Garnish:

1 bowl grated bottle gourd (lauki) ½ bowl grated beetroot (chukandar) ¼ bowl grated carrot ¾ cup bengal-gram flour (besan) ½ cup wheat flour ½ cup semolina (suji) 2 tsp finely chopped green chillies 1 tsp grated ginger ½ tsp turmeric powder ½ tsp fennel seeds (saunf) ¼ tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp oil ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing) 2 pinches of soda bi-carb (khane ka soda) Salt to taste

2 tsp oil 1 tsp mustard seeds (rayee) ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera) 10-15 curry leaves (karri patta) 1 tsp sesame seeds (til) ¼ tsp asafoetida

3 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves (dhania) 1 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)

By Shelja Gupta

angbirangi Muthia is a little variation of traditional Gujarati recipe – lauki ki muthia. It is shaped into cylindrical rolls using the fist and hence the name muthia. Rangbirangi muthia is packed with goodness of bottlegourd, beetroot and carrot and is also more colourful and delicious. Bottlegourd is digestive & cooling, beetroot is rich in folic acid, anti-oxidants & fibre, and carrot is rich in Vitamin A. This dish is a perfect snack that will be relished by all. Even young ones and teenagers who run away from the sight of bottlegourd and beetroot will definitely like this dish. No restrictions for calorie conscious people as the muthias are steam cooked. <

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Method:

Tip:

Squeeze out excess water from grated bottlegourd, beetroot and carrot and keep it aside to knead the dough if required. Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl, mix well and knead into soft and smooth dough adding water if required (use the squeezed out water). Cover the dough and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Apply little oil on your hands and take a small portion of the dough. Make a long cylindrical roll. Prepare all the rolls and arrange them on a greased sieve and steam in a steamer for 2025 minutes (you can also use idli stand or any deep vessel with lid). Let the muthias cool down and then cut them into ½-1 inch pieces. For the tempering, heat the oil in a non-stick pan or kadahi and add mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add curry leaves, sesame seeds and asafoetida. Saute for few seconds and then add the muthia pieces. Saute for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame. Garnish with coriander and coconut. Serve hot with green chutney.

You can use little yogurt instead of squeezed out water to make soft dough. Cabbage, methi or spinach muthias can also be prepared in the same way for variation. You can grate vegetables in night and keep them refrigerated in airtight containers. So when you are in jiffy in the morning, the dish can be prepared in less time. You can use a fork or knife to check whether muthias are well steamed/cooked. If it comes out clean, muthias are properly cooked. <

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY By Bodhi Sri

hat was feared, but disputed, did actually happen. The growth rate came down to 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the new financial year, reminding pre-reforms days. This happened under the leadership of those who had basked in the glory of bringing high growth rate of more than 9 percent to the country. The worst part of the current decline is that the growth may further slip in the second quarter as even the finance ministry has indicated that the growth may start picking up only in the 3rd quarter. It was denied vehemently but the indication of spluttering growth had started pouring in soon after the presentation of the union budget in February, however the finance minister and prime minister both continued to assert that grow would be around 5.5 percent in the new financial year. Such assertions are now legitimately being ridiculed and charges have been leveled that the statement of the government leaders cannot be relied upon. This in fact is the crisis of trust in the current UPA leadership. The question is asked why the growth declined so much. The ruling leaders have repeatedly tried to explain that it was owing to the external factors. However, the former governor D Subbarao scathingly refuted this claim a few days before his term was over in a lecture and asserted that the problem was due to government’s own decisions. This is what the opposition leaders, especially former finance minister of the BJP Yashwant Sinha has all along been saying, though with acerbic tone. Subbarao squarely blamed the government for failing to reduce the current account deficit, the difference between the value of goods and services, which the country imports and exports. According to him this had

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GROWTH DECLINES TO 4.4 PERCENT; MAY GO DOWN FURTHER The current economic crisis is indeed grave, but not as acute yet as of 1991. But this is no solace; the things may continue to worsen as the government does not show the courage of admitting its follies in an election year… caused the currency to spiral and left the country vulnerable to an economic crisis. He warned that we might go astray ‘both in the diagnosis and remedy’ if we had not the courage to acknowledge that the root causes of the problem are our domestic structural

factors. He said the country continued with the unsustainable current account deficit for three years and still continuing in the fourth year. We could insulate ourselves from the harm so far because of the easy availability of money which the central banks of

various countries were releasing to take care of their own growth problems. But now when the US wants to end this release of easy money, the India is going to face problem. Economists say that even the growth of 4.4 percent is artificial as it is dependent more on the hefty government expenditure. In order to see the growth does not sink the government has been borrowing heavily from the market to spend on public and social services which are also considered vote catching expenditure also. The harmful effect of this policy is that it has raised the centre’s fiscal deficit to over 10 per cent of GDP in the first quarter of 201314 despite the budget target was to rein in at 4.8 per cent of GDP for 2013-14. It was expected that the agriculture growth, at least, will be good but it grew just 2.7 per cent. Villain of the low growth is the manufacturing which fell 1.2 per cent rather than growing. It had shown a growth of 2.6 per cent in the last quarter of the last fiscal year, raising some hopes for the economy to pick up. The crisis is indeed grave but not as acute as of 1991 when prime minister PV Narasimha Rao had instructed his finance minister Manmohan Singh to carry out certain reforms to turn the tide and thus earned the sobriquet of Deng Xiao Ping of India..<

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BOOK

NO OTHER GADGET HAS SO IRONED OUT INEQUALITIES By MR Dua

mong several bestowments of science on the common people in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the tiny, matchbox sized mobile telephone stands out as the most prominent one. This is particularly true of India where telephone a few decades ago was the privilege of the high and mighty. Thanks to innovators’ perspicacious exploitation of science and electronic experts’ foresight in employing radio frequency, the cell phone has truly become an unalienable friend, companion and help of the poor and the meek, giving them power and satisfaction both. This little gadget has helped dramatically transforming their economic, social and cultural life in a manner social scientists could never have visualised a few years ago. The mobile phone has proved a life style changing gadget to one and all in so many ways. The authors of the book, Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey, academics from Australia and Singapore, respectively, have presented a detailed panorama of purposes for which the cell phone is yoked. Both the authors have delved deep, researching diverse uses that we in India have put the cell phone to—from Kerala to river Ganga to New Delhi and beyond. This has been illustrated also by about three dozen (B&W) pictures that the book carries. For example, you will see the picture of a cycle rickshaw puller receiving a call on his cell; a politician on bicycle (Akhilesh Yadav) attending a call during his election campaign; a boatman dialing on cell while sailing his passengers up the river Ganga; a Kerala fisherman; two tribal women sending text messages; people buying vegetables on cell; maid servant with a mobile

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phone listening Bhojpuri song by Manoj Tewari and Trishna; and so on. When mobile phone first came in Indian market as an exotic gadget, many of them never imagined that it would ever be within their capacity to have one and use it so much and for so many purposes.

Title

: THE GREAT INDIAN PHONE BOOK How the cheap cell phone changes business, politics and daily life Author: : Assa Doron Robin Jeffrey Page : 293 Price : $25.51; 2013 Publisher: Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, USA

Not only that: the authors have dug into a new vista where cell phone has created news businesses and jobs for those with scanty means and scarce finances—a source of their bread and

butter. This too has been illustrated by pictures—a roadside fixer of defective cells; mobile gear seller—batteries, chargers, and cell cases; cell phone towers (over 400,000) dotting the countryside provide jobs to technicians and guards maintaining them; cheap calls making the long-distance cooing possible; mobile phone repair institute; phone booths at railways stations, bus terminals, big markets and malls. Most of the poor women workers who own cells, say the authors, are those who ‘work outside their homes as domestic workers, school peons or sellers of goods at family-owned stalls.’ Cell phones have also been used by boy/girl friends for eloping and getting married defying wishes of the elders, sometimes leading to ‘honour-killings.’ Cell phone is also branded as agent of ‘distrust’ between newly married husband and wife—‘a danger by enabling the outside world to penetrate the ‘inside’ one. In addition, politicians SMSing poll messages to their voters on their cell; party leaders coining and conveying new poll slogans many times daily to cadres and voters on cells, day and night; cell phone has also been shown as the newest medium of instant advertising. The authors also found that the cell phones have come handy to terrorists and criminals—newspapers carry horrifying details how robbers and rapists had used cell phones to pursue their nefarious activities. The authors have come to the conclusion that no other gadget has overturned power structures or ironed out inequalities, even as… it did make conditions faster, more efficient and—a matter of hope and promise—more democratic.’ The book is a genuine, exquisite and an authentic piece of social communication research.<

SEPTEMBER, 2013 LOKAYAT |

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FUNNY TIMES

Break this nexus he arrest of Asaram Bapu must have opened the eyes of millions. They must have been shocked to know how in garb of supernatural healing powers carnal crimes can take place. The law is taking its own course in this case; but a larger question will remain who to blame for the widespread blind faith in the so-called supernatural powers of self-styled, self-proclaimed gurus and godmen in our society. The blame squarely falls first on widespread ignorance. But then why the ignorance could not be stamped out of the Indian society? Unfortunately not only the political class for the sake of votes pays obeisance to such gurus and godmen, but a section of media also, whose job is to spread the light of knowledge, rationality and correct information, is found glamourising them. In fact there remains tremendous pressure on them in the name of ancient culture to protect many false and unscientific notions. The murder of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune is an example of how people who had been sincerely doing the job of fighting out the murky influence of the blind faith on the society run the risk for their life. It is all the more shameful in a country where our first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru as an avowed rationalist wanted to see Indian society grow on the bedrock of scientific temper, his party the Congress has leaders like Vilas Rao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan and others along with the BJP and Shiv Sena leaders who did not allow anti-blind faith and anti-black magic bill to pass for 18 years. Only after the murder of Dabholkar, an ordinance, that too much diluted, has been cleared by the Maharashtra government. It is a sad commentary on the political health of the country that several right wing organisations openly issue threats to people who believe in the scientific reason, methods and rationality. This needs to be reminded that if India remained behind in science and technology for centuries, much of the blame goes to the prevalence of anti-science attitude of its social, religious and cultural leaders. It is a myth that the proponents of rationality are anti-religion and decry the religious faith based on scriptures and traditional culture, but they, for sure, are against the blind faith and its misuse to exploit ignorant and gullible masses. The alleged exploitation of the sixteen year old school girl by Asaram Bapu is a case in point. Not just the sexual abuse, many rituals lead to even deaths, physical and psychological trauma. Many of the so-called supernatural cures are based on physical beating of the patient. The relevant question is who opposes social reforms. Why political leaders for the sake of votes become agents of godmen and godwomen touted with possessing magical supernatural powers? Indian society should remember that India too in the past had strong base of science and many scientists like Aryabhat, Varahmihir, Brahmgupa, Bhaskaracharya, Vagbhat, Nagarjuna and Sushrut etc built a strong base of rationality. Unfortunately, the current globalised form of capitalism has given a glamorous image to the centres of blind faith, godmen and godwomenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;visiting them described as pilgrimage. A significant part of tourism industry relies on this. There exists a sinister nexus of black money, politics and the centres of blind faith. The healthy politics should aim to break this nexus.<

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| LOKAYAT SEPTEMBER, 2013


Lokayat e magazine sep2013  

Lokayat English Political Magazine, Lokayat Hindi Political Magazine

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