VOL 3 < ISSUE 6 < AUGUST, 2013
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Group Editor M.K. Tiwari Editor Vinod Varshney Executive Editor Dr. Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna
Assistant Editor Anjalika Rajlakshmi
Gift or Rift
Campus Editor Adithi Sonali
BJP: Tamasha chaloo aahe!
Uttar Pradesh: Maar... Durga...Maar...!!
Cine Editor Meera Singh
Egypt: Mil itary captures power
Special Correspondent A.K. Chaturvedi
Regional Editor M.P.
Regional Editor C.G. Gopal Thawait Senior Graphic Designer Ashi Sinha
Madhya Pradesh: BJP Brazens out serious charges
Pol itics over tragedy!
Himachal too disaster prone
Fate of Molki brides
Fret & fury on Barmer refinery
Jammu & Kashmir: On the boil again
Scope for back足seat driving
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Jogi ruins Congress chances
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US: Snooping on publ ic
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Uttarakhand: A brush with catastrophe
Sidda treads carefully
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LETTERS people will not allow Uttarakhand to develop into a modern state. Pratiman Singh Negi, Kotdwar (Uttarakhand)
THE SECRET LOVE LIVES... If you ask me the most interesting write-up in your magazine is â€”The secret love lives of American Muslim Women. Please publish something every month about love. Too much politics has spoiled your magazine, dear editor. Praveen Joshi, New Delhi
NATURE DOESNâ€™T FORGIVE This article on flash floods of Uttarakhand in July, 2013 issue is really an eye-opener. I fully agree with Dr Bhagya Rajeshwari Ratna, who has given a comprehensive analysis of what went wrong in Uttarakhand in the name of development. But, let me be frank, she has not pointed out the political parties and their leaders who are the real culprits. And the current chief minister Vijaya Bahuguna Saheb is also of that category of leaders who do not believe in scientific development. Until such leaders are not exposed, there cannot be any remedial change in the over-all system. I have one more complaint that the magazine is not available at any of the news stand in Dehradun. I bought a copy at the station, and told my friends about the excellent article, and my friends wanted to get a copy of Lokayat. But nowhere was it available. When such stories are published about Uttarakhand, why extra copies are not sent for sale? Rukmini Dobhal, Dehradun (Uttarakhand)
RUMOURS GALORE There rumours galore during the period of tragedy. This is despicable. The thekedars of religion were trying to feed public with all kinds of bull-shit stories based on blind faith. Looks like these
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
RESEARCH IN PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES The article by Bodhi Shri on the issue of research in universities has put things in right perspective. He has revealed the reality lurking behind the advertisement campaigns that universities run in newspapers. This was quite gratifying to read that the Delhi University is at the top in matters of research output. This should have been highlighted. But the writer failed to do that. Overall it is very well researched article. Dr Shyam Nandan Upadhyay, Delhi
CONGRESS STRATEGIES FOR 2014! The article wrongly raises the hopes that the UPA is coming back to power for the third time. Be sure it is not going to happen. But they have got the right to try. Try, try and try hard, no harm in this. But ultimately people will tell by their votes what pain they have in their hearts. What they have suffered during this second regime of the UPA. Shakuntala Gupta, Gwalior (MP)
OM NAMO SHIVAYE... These Om Namo Shivaye wallahs would ruin the BJP chances. After all Indian voters are not
fools! But the circus of various kinds should continue. They entertain. My several friends say they make him sad. Why be sad? Enjoy this circus. And the BJP wants to bring Modi in UP, Ha...Ha...Ha....according to the Lokayat. This will be very entertaining if it so happens. Bring him soon, bhaiyya. Let us have some more drama in UP. Ha...Ha...Ha...! Prahlad Yadav, Lucknow (UP)
DIDI HAS PROVED RIGHT They all ganged up against Didi. All kinds of antipropaganda was unleashed. But what happened? See, the Panchayat results. It has shown propaganda alone cannot work. It cannot bring victory. You need to be credible. But do the left front leaders have any credibility anymore? They accuse TMC of goondaism. But what were they doing when in power? Hope everybody learns from the election results. If you would run antipropaganda, people would be ruffled against them only. Dipankar Sanyal, Kolkata (West Bengal)
PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN BIHAR Not a bad idea if Bihar allows private universities. But they should be backed up by real intentions of good educationists and not just remain a money making business. Hope Bihar would be able to create more employable manpower in future with private varsities. If Maharashtra and Karnataka could do it, why Bihar cannot? Gyanendra Narain Sinha, Patna (Bihar)
tters at E-mail your le ail.com, lokayat01@gm ail.com ho y@ tm vinodvarshne
BJPâ€™S ROLLER COASTER RIDE OF FORTUNES! he general elections of 2014 may turn out to be historic. The fight will be intense with high voltage expletives, undignified language and hitting below the belt. The bouts of allegations and counter allegations have already started. All this shrill cacophony is being orchestrated with a deep moral sense: everybody feels committed to bring about changes in the country according to their own perceptions. But the best change seems to be coming from courts, one of which came down heavily on politicians with criminal records. And one high court banned caste-oriented rallies. But the parties who face existential crisis without pursuing casteism are busy exploring some new loophole. After the court verdict the Samajwadi Party dissolved all its caste cells. But the Bahujan Samaj Party chose to use a different name to camouflage her caste rallies. It is a matter of shame that in a democratic country castes are used so unabashedly to enter the parliament. Some organisations talking of the Hindu Rashtra based on Hindu Sanskriti, as well as some non-Hindu organisations keep on only working hard to save their identity. And the crowd of leaders and political outfits proclaiming to be democratic and secular is inflating unstoppably. Then there is plethora of political entities of smaller denominations which create peculiar obstacles in the progress of the country, but the government can not be formed unfortunately without their support. Coming back to the distinguishing feature of this election, I find the gruffy and surly political debate at the top. Who can stop it! The sole purpose is to deprecate the rivals. The language of chief minister Modi is an example, but this will ultimately harm him only. The leader who espouses modern technical educational in institutes is not able to realise that he instead of making the BJP more popular is working to reduce its votes. He has shown his politics is not based on ground realities. But he, of course, has electrified the electoral atmosphere. He has planned 100 rallies and public meetings to mobilise 80 percent of the voters across India to fulfil the dream of bringing clear majority to the BJP. Modi also plans to use the young generation to leverage his party in the North and West India. He looks feverishly restive to take the BJP to the seat of power, but some masks of his organisation may frighten away the voters. RSS chief Dr Mohan Bhagwat thinks Modi is the most suitable agent to brush up the dust-laden theme of Hindu Rashtra. There is one more chimera. To notch his place in the political pedigree, this pseudo yoga shikshak Ramdev claims--he would improve the BJP tally. And see the behaviour of the third front: it is like a child scampering helter-skelter to pluck fruits dangling far above his reach. The way the NDA constituents are bargaining is funny, but the reality is none of them is worth their salt except Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. There is perceptible change in the style of functioning of national BJP president Rajnath Singh, but the outcome of this will be known only after election results. The 2009 elections were also fought in his presidentship. Another striking feature is surveys galore in electronic media; most of them look like an attempt to crack some mathematical puzzle by using a calculator. Why it should not be so--the regional graph of the BJP has to be shown improving! The loss after divorce with the JD-U has also to be compensated!! But in Bihar there is internal dissension because of Sushil Modi, which is ruining the health of state BJP. Jharkhand has already caved in. Telangana advantage has slipped away. And with no chance of improving relations with the BJD, there is no alternative but to plough a lonely furrow in Odisha. South is desecrated and the north-east has unfavourable climate already. So the only hope lies in the North as nothing can be sure of the West. In compared to this roller coaster ride of the BJP fortunes, UPAâ€™s fate looks stable. <
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Telangans rejoice at conquering their own state, Hurt, anger and despair is on the other side. How to seek reunion of hearts again— Is the challenge for Telugus of both sides….
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
COVER STORY By Bodhi Shri
he dream of staying united as Telugus is shattered while the other dream to have â€˜ourâ€™ own state, nestling in the hearts of millions for more than 57 years is fulfilled. What a divide, Telugus have landed intoâ€”one lot buried in anger, hurt and despair; the other effusing, dancing and singing. All is the outcome of selfish politics that continued to deprive a large number of people of opportunities. False promises made to them were even more hurtful. Now is needed the politics of balm, creating new hopes and weaving new dreams for those who are in the state of shock and utter frustration. This has not been the forte of Indian politics, especially when the time is to score over the rivals in the intense competition for power. After dilly-dallying for last five years, the UPA government, finally, decided to grant the people of Telangana region a state of their own, the 29th of India. But from the very next day of the announcement, the protests against bifurcation erupted in Rayalseema and Costal Andhra regions, pressing for the united state. There was a total shutdown in the Andhra-Rayalaseema region. Protesters even vandalised statues of Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi in Anantapur, Kurnool and Nellore and effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi were burnt. Congress chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy was reported to be thinking of resigning being sore at not heeding his advice, who had assured that a recent survey had indicated that the Congress would not be a loser in the 2014 polls even if Telangana was not formed. He was persuaded not to resign. However within ten days his patience ran out or he realised his political base was eroding fast and he became vocal and indicated that he might not allow the resolution for Telangana passed in the Andhra assembly whenever it was sent by the centre.
His grouse is that the decision was taken without ensuring how the water, power, government employees would be shared between the two states, what would be the status of people born in Telangana and fate of massive investments made by people from all over Andhra Pradesh and how the capital city Hyderabad would be administered. Kiran charged that the decision had been taken without making sufficient consultation with leaders of various regions. In fact the announcement has badly divided the Congress party in the state. The Congress leaders belonging to coastal Andhra and Rayalseema are worried about their future in the next elections. The situation became more alarming for them when Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSR Congress resigned from his Lok Sabha and his mother YS Vijayamma from assembly and sat on an indefinite fast opposing the Telangana move of the Congress. Jagan maintains that the state should have remained united as even the people of Telangana would face a lot of problems within their new state. Though the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh was taken by the Congress
Working Committee on July 30, but sources claim that the party high command had decided much earlier. But independent political observers feel if the state was to be divided; it could have been done in 2009 itself when the home minister P Chidambaram had announced that action would be initiated to create Telangana when TRS chief KC Rao had sat on an indefinite hunger strike. Fierce counter protests in the other two regions of the state forced the UPA
government to withdraw the announcement within a few days. Had the government been firm then, the volatile situation and high tempers would have cooled down by now. Six anti-Telangana MPs,
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Single-minded fight of KC Rao ll credit goes to K Chandrashekhar Rao, who virtually forced the UPA government to announce the formation of the Telangana state. Known for his fighting instinct and commitment to the cause, Rao started his fight for a separate state right from his early days in politics. Grieved at the utter neglect of the mineral rich Telangana region by the top Congress leaders of the state who always espoused the interests of the relatively more developed coastal areas, he joined the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in early 80s, then led by legendary thespian NTR, father-inlaw of present TDP chief and former CM Chandrababu Naidu. However, he soon developed a disenchantment with the TDP as it appeared averse to a separate state, forcing him to float his own partyâ€” Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2001. Though, there were other leaders also fighting for the cause of Telangana, Rao after 2004 emerged as the face of the Telangana movement with his newly formed party winning 26 state assembly seats and 5 Lok Sabha seats by forming an alliance with the Congress. He even joined the union cabinet as minister for labour and employment. But then again seeing the dilly-dallying of the Congress, he resigned from the Lok Sabha in 2006 and re-elected in the same year in the by-polls. He again resigned from Lok Sabha seat in 2008 and re-elected on 1 June 2008. Frustrated by the repeated unfulfilled assurances by the Congress, in 2009, he fought parliamentary election from Mahboobnagar constituency, allying with the BJP. Altogether the Telangana movement, the history of which can be traced to 1956, has taken the lives of around 1,000 people. But the decisive moment came in 2009 when Rao sat on an indefinite fast, which evoked a groundswell of support for the cause, and this shook the central as well as the state government. After 11 days of his fast, the centre, for the first time, announced that the process of formation of the state of Telangana would be initiated, but the powerful leaders from coastal regions, possessing greater economic and political muscle in the state forced the centre by their counteragitation to withdraw the announcement. Since then he has continuously been calling for strikes, bandhs and dharnas.<
Will there be division in TRS C Rao had announced that he would merge his party in the Congress if it acceded to its demand of Telangana as a separate state. If this happens the Congress can expect a clean sweep on all the 17 LS seats in Telangana, but Rao is not in a hurry for the merger. He has put fresh conditions, especially related to Hyderabad, which has been announced to be the capital of both Telangana and Andhra for ten years till the rump state has developed its own capital. But how Hyderabad would be governed till then, is the real troubling question. The centre wants to keep it as union territory so that there is no law and order problem. But KC Rao is strongly opposed to the move. He wants Hyderabad exclusively for Telangana as without it the new state would not be viable economically. Since the Congress leaders at the centre are impatient for TRS merger, which seems not happening, the party is working on a second plan of breaking up the TRS which has 17 MLAs. According to the reliable sources, negotiations in this regard have reached an advanced stage. The attempt is at least nine MLAs should crossover so that the provisions of anti-defection law do not come into operation. Sources say Congress has held out the carrot of chief ministership to the leader of the break-away group.<
including union ministers MM Pallam Raju, KS Rao, K Chiranjeevi and D Purandeswari (all from Coastal Andhra) and K Bapiraju and Anantarami Reddy had warned of repercussions not only for the state but also for the entire country if Andhra was divided. They also warned that any decision to split the state would create problems. But the surge by antiTelangana proponents with a plea to keep Andhra united is now too late. The attitude of the Bharatiya Janata Party in this matter had been strange. The BJP had favoured the formation of a separate Telangana though it was not formed with the formation of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in 2000. Since the TDP was an ally of NDA then. This party has changed the tack later and supported Telangana. The Samajwadi Party national president Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, said his party was opposed to the carving out of a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh, stating such division of states would weaken the very fabric of the nation. He said his party would not support the constitutional amendment bill required for providing statutory status to Telangana when it was brought before the Parliament.
Who sowed the seed of division? Though the demand for Telangana is 57 year old, but it acquired new intensity when the BJP government in the centre carved out three new states dividing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The politically modified testile seeds of division were sown by late YSR Reddy the next year when at his behest 41 Telangana MLAs gave in writing to the Sonia Gandhi asking for a division of the state. His move was essentially intended to weaken the Telugu Desam Party which had been dillydallying on the demand. He thus got votes in YS Vijayamma
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
Hyderabad is the bone of contention
Telangana and formed his government, but once in power he dropped the idea of separate Telangana under the pressure of powerful lobbies of Seemandhra. When the agitation by TRS became popular, widespread and violent, not only the Congress but Telugu Desam Party also changed its tack. The TDP even gave in writing its option last year in favour of a separate state. But now the way counter agitation is building up in Seemandhra, the same TDP has written to the PM to save people’s interests of Seemandhra. However, the high command feels the backlash would subside soon.
Hyderabad emerged as the bone of contention when it was announced that it would serve as the twin capital of both Andhra and Telangana for a period of ten years until The former develops a new capital of its own. Hyderabad has its own distinctive features—the district’s GDP works out to 18 percent of the proposed Telangana. It is main revenue driver in the otherwise poor Telangana region. The capital city is home to some 1,300 IT and ITe S companies that have created
But there are still different voices. Leaders of Rayalseema want the state divided into three states. The Congress strategists had initially considered also creation of Rayala-Telangana, to be formed by carving two districts from Rayalaseema and merging them with Telangana. The Congress party has formed a committee headed by defence minister AK Antony to look into all festering issues to accommodate all conflicting interests before the UPA government begins the legislative formalities. The Bill is intended to be presented in the winter session of parliament.
five lakh jobs and export services worth Rs 36,000 crore. Who is who of global IT sphere like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, Infosys, Yahoo, Wipro, you name, and find it is there. If Telangana is going to lose the advantage of huge gas reserves in Godavari basin, it does not want to lose Hyderabad. KC Rao has made it very clear that the capital should remain under the control of Telangana. However, seeing the red flag from the other regions, the centre has proposed to make it as union territory like Delhi, where the law and order would be taken care of by the centre.<
Demand for new states flares up he announcement on Telangana has flared up demands for new states, creating new tensions. Demands of Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Bodoland and Karbi Anglong in Assam, four new states in namely Bundelkhand, Paschimanchal, Poorvanchal and Awadh Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Mithilanchal in Bihar, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Saurashtra in Gujarat and Jammu and Ladakh in J&K are a few of them. Vidarbha issue may turn out contentious. The BJP has extended support to the formation of Vidarbha state in line with its policy of having smaller states for better governance. This demand is also 35 years old and the assembly has passed resolutions demanding it 2-3 times. However, Shiv Sena is against its formation, brewing tensions with the BJP. No sooner did Telangana state was announced, its ripples were felt in West Bengal. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) which has been spearheading the movement for a separate Gorkhaland scaled up its demand and called for an indefinite bandh. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that his party had already written to the prime minister and the home minister as well as the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, urging them to dissolve the Gorkha Territorial Administration. There is a demand from many quarters for a second States Reorganisation Commission, but the UPA government has declined it saying the new government after 2014 elections should take a call on this.<
How Andhra was created ? P was born in 1953 as the first state in India on the basis of language. It was created after Potti Sriramulu’s death on the 56th day of his fast. Telangana region of Hyderabad state was included in 1956. The creation of AP opened the floodgates for many new states. Bowing to pressure, Nehru in 1953 formed the States Reorganisation Commission. In September 1955, it recommended—there should be 16 states and 3 UTs. It recommended formation of Hyderabad state also. Most of its recommendations were accepted and 14 states and five UTs were created. Since then many new states have been added and Telangana would be the 29th.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Modi, always a controversial figure—more so after the 2002 Gujarat riots in the wake of burning of Kar Sevaks in Sabarmati Express—the former chaiwallah-turned RSS pracharak is unapologetic about his controversies; instead he wears them almost like a badge of honour. Suddenly within six months he has become a reference point for the 2014 election debate. Many believe he is a paper tiger, whose roar is amplified by BJP workers, and curiously much more by those who oppose, criticise and hate him.
A CHALLENGE OR
Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and BJP President Rajnath Singh wave during party’s Sthapana Diwas celebration
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
By Saroj Nagi
he 2014 Lok Sabha election is turning out to be a Modi vs the rest battle. Increasingly, the contest seems not so much between the Congress and the Bhartiya Janata Party but between Modi and others, mainly Rahul Gandhi, chief ministers and regional icons aspiring to be the prime minister. In a marked departure from the way it has functioned in the past, the BJP has allowed itself to be subsumed under the Modi persona much like it happens in a presidential form of government. The focus is not on the party or the organisation but on Modi, with even his rivals talking about him and the kind of politics he will bring to his party and the country. Indeed, it is not the BJP but Modi that has become the reference point for the 2014 elections. In this battle for the ballot, Narendra Modi has cast himself as a brand—with the Hindutva chant of NaMo---as he looks for his very own distinct India story. His inclusion in the party’s parliamentary board, his elevation as the campaign committee chief in June 2013 and his likely projection as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for 2014 has already changed the dynamics within his own party and altered the intra and inter party discourse. The 63-year old leader who strengthened his claim for his nomination as a PM candidate with this third consecutive victory in Gujarat in 2012 has used the time since his anointment as campaign committee chief to hoist himself into a position where he has begun to dwarf other BJP leaders, ranging from party patriarch LK Advani, leaders of opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, party
president Rajnath Singh. Always a controversial figure--more so after the 2002 Gujarat riots followed by burning of Kar Sevaks in Sabarmati Express---the former chaiwallah-turned RSS pracharak is unapologetic about his controversies; instead he wears them almost like a badge of honour. But the big question is whether Modi is a potential prime minister candidate or a paper tiger whose roar is being amplified by BJP workers, his supporters, middle class, social media and leaders across the political spectrum who hope to gain from a polarised atmosphere.
Is Modi the BJP’s trump card? Modi’s elevation may have made the party’s senior leaders uneasy but it has energised the ordinary BJP worker who has to shepherd voters to the polling booths on polling day. Before they forced Modi’s elevation, the workers were despondent about the BJP’s prospects in 2014 as they felt the party lacked a strong leader and had not fully capitalised on the
UPA-II’s failures ranging from price rise to corruption and slipping economic growth. Instead of emerging as a natural alternative to the Congress, the BJP was seen fighting its own demons, with its leadership divided on giving primacy to Modi or giving Nitin Gadkari a second term as party chief. Party patriarch L K Advani even boycotted the June national executive where Modi was to be elevated, resigned from key party posts and questioned the RSS’s interference in the BJP’s day-to-day affairs. He later fell in line and recently even predicted that the BJP will give ‘record breaking results’ in 2014---fuelling speculation that he wants to keep his chances alive of
Lal Krishna Advani
Despite numerous failures of the UPA-II government, the BJP is not emerging as a natural alternative to the Congress, rather it is seen by the people as a party fighting its own demons, with its leadership divided on giving primacy to Modi, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj or LK Advani. It has also earned a tainted image due to its own share of corruption in BJP ruled states. AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
SPECIAL STORY becoming a consensus candidate for the PM’s post if potential allies reject Modi’s name. The dust has yet to settle on the matter as can be seen with BJP’s star campaigner Shatrughan Sinha provoking his bosses by hailing Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar as PM material despite the party’s campaign against the JD-U leader for quitting the NDA. Notwithstanding all this, many believe that it is only under Modi that the BJP stands any chance in 2014. This is because of four interlinked factors: One, Modi’s arrival has energised
All talk of Modi emerging as a prime ministerial candidate after the LS elections may come to naught as he carries several millstones around his neck. There is also the issue of his authoritarian style of functioning that does not gel with coalition politics that involves give-and-take. However, Modi camp is unfazed. the BJP workers. Two, he is seen to be perhaps the only leader who can raise the party’s 2009 tally of 116 Lok Sabha given the perceived failure of the Congress’s trinity of prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and now vice president Rahul Gandhi to remain icons of the middle class and the youth. Disenchanted with Singh, including his failure to generating jobs or check prices, the middle class has veered towards Modi. Rahul has failed to emerge as a leader of substance who can give his opinion on various economic and policy issues including foreign affairs. Rather he has chosen to
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
focus more on the party than on taking on the responsibilities of governance or leadership of the masses. The poor are still seen to be with Sonia and the Congress’s plank of food security and direct transfer benefit is something that Modi and the BJP will have to contend with. Three, Modi’s rise has revived the secular-communal debate, with the BJP standing at one end of this polarity. But the secular space, particularly the Muslim vote, threatens to stand divided: in UP between the Samajwadi and the Bahujan Samaj Party; in Bihar, between
the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the JD-U; and in West Bengal between the Trinamool and the Left, with the Congress having to fight for its share of it. Without a solid vote bank of its own, it can only hope that people will support it as a national party which has a pan-India appeal and can provide stability. Finally, the 2014 battle would not be as much between parties as personalities. Though parliamentary polls are generally not fought around personalities—a factor that defines elections in a presidential form of government--- 2014 would be a little different as the main claimants for the
PM’s post or the kingmaker’s position also include chief ministers and regional leaders like Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa whose parties are synonymous with their persona.
Modi’s Millstones All talk of the Modi challenge could come to naught given the millstones he carries round his neck. The foremost of these is the stigma of the horrendous 2002 Gujarat riots (erupted after burning of Kar Sevaks in Sabarmati Express), for which he has so far not expressed any regret, and his exclusivist and the divisive politics despite his Sadbhavana rallies in Gujarat in preparation for a national role. His latest statement equating people killed in riots with a driver running over a puppy while the owner is on the backseat has generated a controversy that was further fuelled with his claim of being a ‘Hindu nationalist.’ The court monitored probe into the riots has left an imprint on the Muslim voters, the liberals in the majority community and on the BJP itself. Even today, Modi’s name forces people to take sides as seen in Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s opposition to Modi-asPM. Back in 2002, then prime minister A B Vajpayee had wanted Modi to step down as chief minister only to be overruled by Advani. In an ironic turn of events, in 2013, Advani now holds that Modi’s projection as PM nominee would compromise the BJP’s efforts to build a NDA plus alliance —an argument vindicated with the JD-U leaving the NDA and erstwhile allies like the BJD and the Trinamool ruling out their return to the NDA. But the Modi camp is unfazed; it believes that if the BJP gets 180 to 200 seats, parties opposing it now would readily join it. They also claim that despite the riots Modi’s aura of governance has forced the UK and the European Union to reach out to him. And there is pressure on the US,
SPECIAL STORY including from the BJP, to revoke the ban on giving him a visa. The second big millstone is the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case which involved senior police officials, cast a shadow on the Modi government and led to a faceoff between the CBI and the IB. There is no knowing what turn the case will take and whether it will impact Modi’s campaign but it has generated a debate on the kind of politics that can spawn under Modi. The police allege that Ishrat---who was killed along with four others---was part of a LeT terror module out to assassinate Modi. Her family claims she is innocent. There is also the issue of Modi’s authoritarian style of functioning that does not gel with coalition politics that involves give-and-take. If Modi and BJP are anywhere close to forming a government, the big question would be whether he can win allies, and if he does, carry them along as Vajpayee did. His record so far has not been of a team leader but of dictatorial functioning.
attempt to also play on Modi’s OBC background. But it is with Modi’s development and governance plank that the party hopes to reach out to aspirational India that cuts across states, regions and communities. For this reason, after establishing himself as an icon of Hindutva, Modi cast himself as a ‘development man’ in Gujarat. There are many holes in Modi’s model of development which does not fare well on social and human development indices. But these have been camouflaged by more than 10 percent average growth rate since Modi
The Modi Mantra Demonised elsewhere, Modi has acquired a larger than life image in Gujarat with his Modi masks and kurtas and rallies addressed through hologram projections. In a nutshell, the Modi mantra is based on Hindutva, development, governance and his caste background, each dovetailed to the other to project him as a strong and decisive leader: a vikas purush and a loh purush rolled in one whose call for a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ is meant as much to attack the Congress as to lure anti-Congress forces after the polls. The BJP’s Modi campaign would carry all these messages, with shifting emphasis. For instance, the RSS and the hardliners would highlight Modi’s Hindutva image---synonymous with his persona---in UP where his confidante Amit Shah is handling his campaign and where a polarised atmosphere could increase their seats significantly from the existing 10. Likewise, since the Hindutva factor would not be enough in caste-ridden UP or Bihar, there is an
came to power in 2001 and the backing of the corporate sector. Modi’s quotes like ‘the business of government is not business’ and ‘why India needs less government and more governance’ were exactly the kind of assurances the corporate sector has been looking for. With chief ministers of Bihar and Odisha also claiming to have turned their states around, Modi has competition from them as well as from his colleagues Shivraj Chauhan of MP and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh if they win for the third time later this year. Already rival CMs are battling to project their model of development as the best possible, with each one eyeing the possibility of becoming a consensus PM candidate in 2014.
Will Modi succeed? Will Modi be a chimera or a gamechanger in 2014? This is a multimillion dollar question. Opinion polls showing that the Congress is slipping have boosted BJP’s morale; but it is also worried that it is yet to score decisively high or fully tap UPA-II’s anti-incumbency. The enthusiasm among the ordinary BJP workers over Modi is offset by two factors: one, the uncertainty whether the BJP can get around 180 seats to be in a position to attract potential post-poll supporters; and two, the uncertainty
There are many holes in Modi’s model of development which does not fare well on social and human development indices. But these have been camouflaged by more than 10 percent average growth rate since Modi came to power in 2001 and the backing of the corporate sector. whether allies will actually come to it even if it gets around 180 seats in view of deep negativities associated with Modi. It is a gamble that the BJP has to take as it feels that Modi is perhaps the only BJP leader who can help them electorally; under any other leader, the party may find it difficult to retain even the 116 seats of 2009. And if the numbers dip, a post-poll scenario also stands compromised. BJP leaders believe that the real momentum will come once Modi launches his full- fledged campaign from August-September. That is when it may be possible to assess the impact he makes on voters across different sections in urban and rural India.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
DURGA The suspension of the young, intelligent and dynamic IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal has created a catch-22 situation for the Akhilesh Yadav government, which has revelled in the practice of transferring Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav officers at the drop a hint.
Durga Shakti Nagpal
he youngest chief minister might have never imagined that suspension of Durga would become a national symbol of shameless arrogance of the political class, and would expose him to abject ridicule. It has virtually become a mill around his neck. The obvious embarrassment of the government is reflected in the frantic diatribes spewed by so many SP leaders including the CM himself. The suspension has emerged as a fresh reminder of the systemic malaise that is plaguing the country. Though the officer facing suspension and chargesheet is maintaining studied silence but the people would love to egg
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her—Mar...Durga...Mar...!!. While supporters of the Akhilesh Yadav government would scream the refrain— Bhag...Durga...Bhag!! The whole country is waiting to see what comes out of this high stake drama, in which courts, NGOs, union government, political parties, and media have got involved. The case appears to be a blatant attempt to punish an honest officer who was courageously taking on the sand mafia for last several months. The basis for transfer however became a motivated complaint that she got the wall of a mosque demolished. It basically was not a proper mosque, but only a tarpaulin shed on a plot of land where people had started offering namaz and an enclosing semi-built boundary
wall. Even while getting the wall demolished, she was only following the constitution of India and the directives of the Supreme Court which say that no religious structure should be built without taking due permission from the district administration. Investigations have revealed that the wall was demolished after the report from the Lekhpal. Akhilesh Yadav government is mum on the unlawfulness of the mosque building without permission. However, the SP is busy reaping a political harvest from this issue as was evident from the statement of state’s health minister Ahmad Hasan who told a gathering of Muslim community leaders, politicians and citizens at a roza iftar party at chief minister’s house in Lucknow that
Nagpal’s suspension was an example of how seriously concerned the Samajwadi Party and its government were about protecting the interests of Muslims. Sources well aware of the development say that the SP is worried about Muslims votes after a recent survey gave merely 30 seats to the SP in the event of parliamentary elections, against its expectation of around 45. They say the SP wants to present itself as the sole saviours of Muslims. Interestingly Durga had got a Mandir also demolished. But the secular Samajwadi Party failed to appreciate this fact. Media in fact did a marvellous job in highlighting the ground realities which has made Durga Shakti Nagpal a symbol of courage, honesty and lover of the rule of law. However, Azam Khan derisively commented that media had made her more popular than even Amitabh Bachchan by creating ‘too much hype’ about her.
Spectre of new centre-state tussle The issue of suspension of Durga raised a new centre-state confrontation, when Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the prime minister that due action should be taken to see that the young officer was not unfairly treated. Sonia’s letter had such a devastating impact that Ram Gopal Yadav, the general secretary of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, dared the centre to take back all IAS officers from the state, if it continued to meddle in UP affairs. Other leaders reacted to this letter, by asking why Sonia Gandhi did not send a similar letter when Haryana IAS officer Khemka was transferred after he investigated the alleged land deals in which Robert Vadra was involved. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and netaji Mulayam Singh Yadav have chosen to adopt a harsh stand, declaring the government action in suspending Durga as correct. Most people believe that officer’s actions were pinching the
interests of the party badly. A published report has mentioned that deliberately the licences for sand mining have not been renewed in Uttar Pradesh (Leases have come down from 2,800 to 1,900) leading to whole sale illegal mining which is done under the patronage of political masters. Even the court orders are flouted in this illegal activity. It is well known secret that political chanda Narendra Singh Bhati
It became a new ground for centre-state confrontation, when Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the prime minister that due action should be taken to see that the young officer was not unfairly treated does not come these days as much from corporates as from mafias. So when under her leadership, a joint operation involving the revenue, police and transport departments was launched and villages like Asgarpur, Nangla, Wajidpur, Gulavli, Kambakshpur, Jaganpur etc were monitored, fines levied and trawlers and equipments impounded, it hurt badly the sand mafia patronised by political leaders of the area. Narendra Bhati, an SP leader, had even boasted a day after the suspension that he had got Nagpal suspended within 41 minutes of complaining against her to Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The state government has served a 10-page charge-sheet to Nagpal. It has been prepared by the Divisional Commissioner of Meerut division. According to the charge sheet, her act of demolishing the wall of a mosque in the holy month of Ramzan could have created resentment in the area. It has also been suggested in some quarters that Nagpal may have walked into a trap laid by the mining mafia when she ordered the demolition of a wall at a Kadalpur village mosque. There was no law and order problem when the wall was brought down, and yet, as soon as the wall was demolished, a complaint was made that the action could disturb communal harmony in the area. Narendra Singh Bhati is an oldtimer of western UP and his name evokes fear in the region. The Association for Democratic Reforms’ National Election Watch lists some of the criminal cases that have been filed against Bhati. They include attempt to murder, kidnapping, rioting with deadly weapons, causing hurt to deter public servant and so on. At present he has been nominated the chairman of the State Agro Industrial Corporation and enjoys the rank of a minister of state. He unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) on a Samajwadi Party ticket and is now preparing to contest the next Lok Sabha election from Bulandshahr. Opposition parties have reacted to the incident on predictable lines. The BJP and the BSP severely criticised the government move, which was replied back by saying that during the latter’s rule the IAS officers used to suffer like anything yet they had not the courage to raise any voice of protest. The incident also made the dormant Uttar Pradesh IAS Association wake up. In both Lucknow and New Delhi, IAS officers demanded revocation of Nagpal’s suspension.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
MILITARY BLEEDS EGYPT AGAIN EMERGENCY DECLARED, CURFEW IN MORE THAN HALF OF THE COUNTRY Hopes that democratic elections would transform Egypt into a dreamland have been brutally dashed within 30 months. The first democratic ballot threw up a Muslim organisation as the ruling party led by a die-hard Islamist in a country where people had been used to secular environment for the last 30 years. Now Morsi has been sent behind the bars after the military took over. His ouster saw jubilations as well as riots and clashes across the 17 states.In fact people are sand-witched between the Islamism and military dictatorship. Ousted president Mohamed Morsi
By M R Dua
gypt, one of the most populous of the 22 Arab states (nearly 85 million), endowed with profusely rich heritage, ancient civilisation and culture that acquiesced to more than 30 years of Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship, today finds itself on the gory crossroads after the historic overthrow of its first democratically elected president, Muhammad Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood following 30months’ relentless nationwide turmoil, violence and his instable governance. Mohammad Morsi, was ousted and put behind bars by the nation’s military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a
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sudden coup orchestrated on July 3 last. After removing Morsi, army suspended the constitution vowing to hold democratic election by February next year, and maintain law and order in the country. Sisi reportedly said that the coup was ‘fulfillment of popular will following days of protests.’ He promised in a statement on national television: We will build an Egyptian society that’s strong and stable and that will not exclude anyone of its sons. It may be recalled that when Mohammed Morsi, the US-educated and holding a Ph.D. degree in material science from the University of Southern California, was elected Egypt’s president some 30 month ago, liberal democracies all over the world celebrated the Arab Spring’s yet another victory after Tunisia and Libya. However, Morsi, a diehard Islamist, treated politics as something subsidiary to his religion and ignored the diverse nature of the Egyptian society though he had been voted to power by overwhelming support from people of all religions. He soon lost the ‘grip on his discretion’ and started grabbing as much powers as he could. He even issued orders assuming ‘immunity for his decisions from judicial and legislative challenge,’ meaning thereby
that as an Islamist he had absolute and unlimited legislative and judicial authority. That angered the people of all communities and it was interpreted as Morsi’s arrogance of power and an attempt to make the country a ‘rigid Islamic state no longer open to democratic freedoms.’
Tahrir Square protests were not for this Morsi started appointing Muslim Brotherhood’s own men on key positions of his government, ignoring people’s mandate and secular aspirations. The general masses who had protested and suffered during their prolonged bloody campaigns at the Tahrir Square for ushering in the Arab Spring were totally disappointed and disillusioned by the Morsi government’s
performance which was dominated only by his Muslim Brotherhood’s henchmen. This resulted into widespread violence, mayhem and demonstrations against Morsi. This rather became the order of the day. These protests outpaced even the street sit-ins seen in the final days of Mubarak’s dictatorship in 2011 that overthrew him. The crises went on deepening and escalating law and order problems of unprecedented proportions. Day in and day out people were reportedly killed in the uprising and widespread clashes all over the country demanding his ouster from the office. Then suddenly on June 30, the supreme council of the armed forces served an ultimatum on Morsi to ‘satisfy the public’s demands within two days, or else the generals would impose their own roadmap out of the crisis.’ Muslim Brotherhood denounced the army threat unwilling to give up the power it has waited 80 years to gain. As Morsi defied the military ultimatum to step down, more clashes followed with greater fatalities in street fights among government supporters and the protesters whose ranks had grown. Meanwhile, the ultimate army action followed: Morsi was ousted, kept incommunicado in his house and later taken to an undisclosed location, constitution was suspended, 700 Brotherhood men were taken into custody; 38 of his aides arrested, and an interim national government was installed with former chief justice, Adly Mansour, 67, as its head and Nobel
laureate, Mohamed ElBaradei, 71, and a former chief of the International Atomic Agency, the UN’s watchdog based in Vienna, as the vice-president. The new prime minister Hazem el-Bablawi, a noted economist, who worked for the IMF and under Morsi, made the finance minister. The presidential palace was surrounded by army tanks and troops. Cairo erupted with jubilations and rejoiced with fireworks in Tahrir square.
As the Egypt continues to face stalemate with Morsi’s whereabouts still unknown, both his son Osama Morsi and daughter Shaimma, two of the five Morsi children born in the US, have alleged that the army ‘abducted’ their father, and has held him at an undisclosed location… Morsi men condemned the army takeover. The pro-Morsi clashes and riots increased in the country’s 17 provinces. The sit-ins continued in Cairo despite military’s attempt to dissuade protestors away. The army stormed into at least three sit-in killing around 700 protestors on August 14; however Brotherhood claimed that 2,200 were killed and 10,000 injured. National emergency was declared, and clamped
curfew in Cairo and 13 states out of total 27. Eyewitnesses have reportedly told that protestors also fired in retaliation on the army which aggravated the situation. The vice president ElBaradei resigned on the issue of crackdown on protestors. Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Norway appealed the military regime to exercise restraint and go for negotiations to resolve the crisis. The US government has criticised the imposition of emergency. Mansour has promised to hold elections for the new parliament and new president by February 2014. A 10-member jurists’ high-level panel will soon frame a new constitution that will later be reviewed by 50 representatives including women, from parties, guilds will finalise it. Though rumours are afloat that Muslim Brotherhood might be banned and the assets of Morsi’s colleagues would be confiscated. But many western leaders including US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Markel and British prime minister David Cameron have suggested the new regime not to take any such drastic action, and stick to the poll schedule. Liberal aid amounting to over $12 billion has been promised by Saudi Arabia and UAE. As the Egypt continues to face stalemate with Morsi’s whereabouts still unknown, both his son Osama Morsi and daughter Shaimma, two of the five Morsi children born in the US, have alleged that the army ‘abducted’ their father, and has held him at an undisclosed location. <
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
SNOOPING ON PUBLIC IN THE Call history of every American citizen has been preserved since 2001. It was legally started by the Bush administration after 9/11 terrorist attack, but the unpopular practice continues even now in Obama’s rule. Snowden, a 30-year old computer geek working with the NSA as an expert of breaking into internet and telephone traffic around the world recently shocked Americans by disclosing that the secret snooping programme PRISM of the US government was much wider than known, hogging praise world over from human rights activists. However, the US government has declared him a spy after he claimed that the US snooped over diplomats of several countries including India, and wants him to be arrested and deported back to the US. Snowden, a self-proclaimed Buddhist, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia. Edward Snowden, the new high priest of privacy, taking on the US government
By Lokayat Correspondent
dward Snowden today is the most wanted person by the US police, being considered a potential threat to the US interests. He has in his possession four-laptop full of toplevel official secrets of the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States of America, the revelation of which can put the US government in the most embarrassing situation. That is the reason ever since he made his escape good from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Hong Kong, on May 20 last he dominated prime time news and front-pages of
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newspapers all over the world for weeks together. This thirty year-old school dropout, but an ace computer geek, was a contractual employee of a private company Booz Allen Hamilton that worked for the NSA. He willfully accepted salary cut from $ 200,000 to $ 122,000 while coming to this company as he wanted to discover how the NSA under its numerous programmes was stockpiling highly personalised information about American citizens living inside and outside the US. Also, highly classified information related to America’s allies including India as well as US adversaries. Such espionage on foreign embassies violates the Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations. India surprisingly ranked the fifth top country to be tracked by the US agencies. Therefore, his revelations took the government of India also by surprise. However the foreign secretary John Kerry was able to convince Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi that nothing egregious was done against Indian interests. Edward Snowden has, however, emerged as a high priest of privacy and personal freedom. He asks the world if this spying and intrusion into people’s personal affairs is not outrageous. He urged through a video interview from a Hong Kong hotel on June 6 that ‘public
NAME OF SECURITY How much government should be allowed to snoop over people’s talk, chats and e-mail messages—has become a burning issue after Snowden’s disclosure of the US snooping. The security agencies in every country want unlimited freedom however the people dislike their privacy violated. In India too NIA collects data of telephone calls made. That indeed helped the intelligence agencies to know that terrorists responsible for bomb blasts in Delhi were hiding in Batla House. needs to decide whether these programmes and policies are right or wrong.’ He expressed his feelings: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does this sort of things (spying on its own citizens)…I don’t want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.’ He narrated the details of a massive programme called PRISM, wherein the NSA has accessed allegedly to the records of some major online companies. Citizens’ personal information related to the telephone records, internet chats, photographs, emails, videos, even loose personal talks with friends and relatives were collected, and Snowden was outraged to
find this happening day in day out under PRISM programme. The United States is known to be conducting surveillance on its citizens, VIPs, embassies and foreigner residents in America for long on the ground it helps to boost national security. Snowden only made public the extended scope and use of the information so gathered. Initially, Snowden had given the details of these programmes to two newspapers, The Guardian, and The Washington Post only. When these papers published the shocking details, it was officially stated in Washington that ‘the information collected under these programmes is among the most important and valuable intelligence information, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.’ Even during the debate in the Congress a concern was voiced that any dilution of the surveillance programme might weaken an important tool against terrorism.
From whistleblower to spy When Snowden started leaking America’s highly sensitive diplomatic and political documents about American engagements with European Union, China, Iran, Pakistan, India, Jordan, and some other countries, the US government got worried and declared Snowden a spy and asked Hong Kong authorities to arrest him as he was charged with theft of unauthorised communication of classified intelligence. In the meanwhile, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, who has earned name for publishing secret information given by whistleblowers, arranged Snowden’s visit to Venezuela via Moscow to make sure that Americans don’t get him. But when Snowden, arrived at Moscow airport, the U.S. government revoked his passport creating a veritable stumbling
block in his departure from Moscow. Here, Snowden appealed to 20 countries, including India, for asylum. The US government warned all the Latin American countries and other friendly nations not to give asylum to Snowden. However, only three Latin American countries Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia offered him asylum though his preferred choice was Iceland, which according to him is a country of his values. But the proposal fell in the Parliament of Iceland. Snowden since then is holed up in the Moscow airport and the US government has requested Russia to arrest Snowden and hand him over to the US. It has assured Russian officials that he would not be given death penalty. But, the Russians have expressed inability to do so rather they want to grant him temporary asylum provided Snowden assured he would not indulge in any anti-US activities including leaking sensitive US information. The US government is confronted with an extraordinarily tricky diplomatic-political dilemma. Currently, the US-Russian political-diplomatic ties are not exactly on any noticeable cordial levels due to several human rights issues, and some other political irritants between the two countries. The Snowden issue is fraught with risk of further worsening the relationship with Russia. While the U.S. government is extremely anxious to find a way to catch the fugitive Snowden, President Obama cancel led his visit to Russia for the G20 meet in September as it has granted temporary asylum to snowden. Also, pressure is being exerted by many Republican Party leaders that the United States should not participate in the Winter Olympics wherein American sport persons are bound to win several laurels for the country. <
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
DISTURBED CALCULUS OF CONGRESS The groupism is at its crescendo in the Congress party in Chhattisgarh, which may ruin its chances to regain power in the forthcoming elections. If the high command is not watchful enough to take note of what is happening on the ground and take timely action, then the BJP is sure to win, of course by defaultâ€Ś. By Avik Sarkar
hhattisgarh, thanks to its resourceful politicians, held an exalted place in undivided Madhya Pradesh. The council of ministers too had largest representation from this region. But the political scene changed dramatically after the emergency. Before 1977, the Congress
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There is a strong buzz in the political corridor that Amit Jogi is keen to form a third front forging an alliance with the BSP of Mayawati
used to get 80-85 assembly seats out of 90 in Chhattisgarh region. Political mutation occurred in 80s. Several leaders in the party became active to shake the vice-like grip of Shukla brothers. A wedge between Chhattisgadia and Pardeshia was created. Even when Kunwar Arjun Singh established himself as the most influential leader of Madhya Pradesh, the groupism and leg-pulling remained
VICTORY IN CHHATTISGARH a regular feature, though it was devoid of shallowness, not to say of meanness—no sabotaging, no destructive internecine feud of the kind witnessed in the last decade. That was why even after the defamed emergency the party could win 34 assembly seats in the region. With the creation of Chhattisgarh as a new state in 2000, the Congress’s fortune took a new turn in its history. Most of the MLAs wanted to make VC Shukla the leader of the legislator party, but the high command’s decision was in favour of Jogi. Interestingly a rumour was spread in October, 2000 that the Pope of Rome had conveyed a message that Jogi should be made the CM. Actually he had been close to Sonia Gandhi for over a decade and took advantage of that. Once he became the CM, he started sidelining the senior leaders of the party. Since he suspected problems from the MLAs owing allegiance to the VC Shukla camp, he engineered defection in the BJP and assured a three fourths majority for an untroubled tenure. But at least five MLAs, who joined the Congress, were sore later. According to reliable sources, twothirds of those BJP MLAs whom Jogi had brought into the Congress were disgruntled elements of the BJP; they had no fascination for the Congress. Their induction in the party induced a deleterious process as ignoring and sidelining the committed Congress workers became a routine affair. Cornered VC Shukla finally joined the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar. Apart from engineering defections by using all kinds of dirty tricks from the BJP, NCP treasurer Ramavtar Jaggi’s murder for which the CBI had arrested Amit Jogi, and obtaining fake caste certificate by the chief minister Ajit Jogi himself virtually battered the image of the Congress party. And then
the Congress vote bank shrank when VC Shukla left the party. The election of 2003 was further elucidation of his tactics. Ajit Jogi in order to obviate any challenge from any quarter fielded more than 65 candidates from his coterie in the elections. He especially saw to it that supporters of Moti Lal Vora and Vidya Charan Shukla were defeated. The result was that the BJP won the electoral fray. Only eighteen of the Jogi candidates could win the elections. The party was wiped out in Bastar division. Overall Congress got only 38 seats. On the night of election results Jogi had planned once more to engineer defection, but the BJP was cautious this time. The Congress lost the subsequent election in 2008 also due to the same stubborn attitude of Ajit Jogi and sabotaging the chances of candidates belonging to other groups. This is the reason most of the Congress workers do not trust his leadership anymore. The wheelchair borne Jogi now wants that his descendant should be the next CM if party attains majority in the elections. Sources say he is busy in his pet manoeuvres trying to influence the party high command. He presents Charandas Mahant, Ravindra Choubey and Bhupesh Baghel as weak leaders. It is pertinent to note that Baghel lost elections in Patan constituency only because of sabotage by Jogi. According to sources Amit Jogi and his supporters have been given charge to take care of 8 assembly seats in Korba parliamentary constituency. Secret preparations are going on to ensure defeat of Ravindra Chaubey also. Knowledgeable sources say that the list which state Congress president Dr Charan Das Mahant submitted did not have names of Jogi’s supporters and Jogi made the counter move by appearing before the high command with his posse of supporters, and
handed over his list of deserving candidates for consideration, but it is unlikely that Rahul and Sonia would go by his counsel this time as the high command had its fingers burnt in 2008. But the supporters say that there are chosen 23 seats where if the high command does not oblige Jogi, then he may field rebel candidates as in the past ensuring defeat of official candidates. Assuming he is able to sway the opinion of the high command, several candidates who figure in Mahant’s list have started establishing secret liaison with Jogi. Diehard supporters of Jogi are openly opposing the state party president Charan Das Mahant. With such activities going on, the electionresult in Chhattisgarh can only be similar to Jharkhand. The workers too are not following the advice tendered in the Jaipur Chintan Shivir to remain disciplined, united and bury their differences. Another problem is the large number of applicants on all the ninety seats, which is creating palpable tension among aspirants. The process of eliminating aspirants is getting lengthier. Jogi camp charges that Mahant would ensure maximum tickets to only his camp followers while several of them are weak and are only show pieces. Jogi supporters intend to oppose such candidates at district level when the list reaches there. With this situation prevailing how the desire of vice president Rahul Gandhi to make party strong at block and district level can be fulfilled. The way many office bearers do not turn up in the party meetings called by Dr Mahant, it cannot make the party strong and united. Then the organisation would remain limited to agitations and demonstrations. Incidentally workers are also upset at the system of inviting five names from each block. Overall 35 of the existing 38 Congress legislators may again be tickets. There is doubt on TS Baba (Ambikapur), Jai Singh Agrawal (Korba) and Mohd Akbar (Pandariya)
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Will it be the BJP government again? he BSP, too feeble to mark any spectacular show, may turn out as a spoiler on many seats where the Congress expects to win. It was able to notch 6.11 percent votes in the 2008 assembly elections by contesting all the 90 seats however it won on two only and lost deposits on most others. The BSP this time is told to be seriously focussing on 20 seats. Amit Jogi may extend a helping hand to some of its candidates. The BSP is already engaged in campaigning in these seats and a triangular fight is imminent. What would be the outcome of the triangular contest can be anybody’s guess. There are some 20 seats more where the role of Jogi followers would remain suspect. To predict the result of 2013 elections at this juncture would be premature, but so far as the personal popularity of individual candidates is concerned, the BJP can win easily 20 seats and the Congress 22. If Congress fields strong candidates from Bilaspur, Takhatpur, Masturi and Beltara, it can capture these seats. Brahmins voters are in good number in Bilaspur and Beltara constituencies, and they can turn the tide in favour of the Congress. However BSP votes would be of significance in Beltara. Kurmi voters are also important in Bilha and Takhatpur. If the BJP changes its candidates here, then only it can hope to retain these seats. Masturi seat is under the influence of Jogi. But the BSP has the potential to spoil the chances of BJP and Congress candidates on these seats.<
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The influence of national party treasurer Moti Lal Vora is limited to constituencies of Durg district. And the Congress lacks a tribal leader worth his salt to take care of Bastar region. Former chief minister Ajit Jogi does have sway on three tribal and all scheduled caste seats in Sarguja division. Many ticket-seekers from the camp of Dr Charan Das Mahant, have no influence on voters in their respective constituencies. If Koriya Kumar Ramchandra Singh Dev takes interest in the forthcoming elections, then only the Congress can win back Baikunthpur and Manendragarh seats. Writing on the wall is clear!
who had won with a thin margin of less than 3,000 votes. Despite losing elections twice, the central leaders have not learnt their lessons and Jogi may still be able to influence the decision of high command for which he is trying intensively. His aim is to corner the trio—Ravindra Chaubey, Bhupesh Baghel and Charandas Mahant. This is true, Jogi’s influence has increased in Bastar, Bilaspur and Mahasamund divisions. Almost on all seats of Bilaspur Jogi’s influence is quite visible. In Mahasamund there are at least two seats where Jogi camp has developed a good following. Jogi’s supporters have also reached deep inside the Naxal-controlled villages in Bastar division. Jogi group is strong in Keshkal, Bhanu Pratapur, Antagarh, Kondagaon, Bastar and Konta constituencies. Voters appear to look for change there. Jogi supporters would like to warn if tickets were not given to candidates of Jogi’s choice, then the Congress may lose on these constituencies. There is also a strong buzz in the political corridor that Amit Jogi, son of Ajit Jogi is also trying to form a third front forging an alliance with the BSP of Mayawati. The high command so far has not been able to contain dissension in the party. If this is not controlled, it would be difficult to check the BJP the third time in trot. The Lokayat team had tried to assess mood among voters by visiting chaupals and meeting commu-
Some crucial seats JP’s health minister Amar Agrawal could win the Bilaspur seat on three consecutive times. Sources say if bogus voting in railway colonies are checked, then the Congress can win this time. If the Congress gives ticket to a Brahmin candidate, then also Agrawal can be challenged successfully. Former BDA vice president Vijay Pande has grassroot support in the constituency and may be considered for a ticket. However, there are other influential Brahmin candidates like Shiv Mishra, Rajesh Pandey and Chandra Prakash Bajpayee. Atal Shrivastava is also popular. President of Rural Bilaspur Arun Tewari is openly supporting Ajit Jogi. On Konta Dr Renu Jogi, former chief minister’s wife is the legislator. This has remained a stronghold of Congress. The seat is safe for her this time also. Raju Singh is BJP’s sitting MLA in Takhatpur, but electorally he is not in good stead as the BJP is divided here. The role of Shiva Mali would be important here. After delimitation, the number of Kurmi voters has gone up. Balram Singh of the Congress lost election last time due to this factor. This time Baijnath Chandrakar is emerging as a potential Congress candidate. Mahant supporter Ashish Singh Thakur is the son of former MLA Balram Singh, but he is not popular in the constituency. Beltara seat was won for the BJP by Badridhar Diwan. Here the BSP is expected to give a tough fight. There are several aspirants from the Congress here: Arun Tiwari, Amit Jogi, state Congress vice president Baijnath Chandrakar, Basant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Yadav, Trilok Shrivas. Dharam Lal Kaushik won from Bilha, but this time he is on a weak wicket. The BSP has given ticket to chief of Bodri Nagar Panchayat. Siyaram Kaushik of Jogi camp had been elected once from here. <
Charan Das Mahant
Congress organised Kalash Yatra in Rajnandgaon, the constituency of chief minister Dr Raman Singh, which proved successful but Ajit Jogi did not participate in it and former MP Dev Vrat too did not bother to lend his support to the programme. So this is the level of unity in the party!
nity leaders. According to reliable sources several of Mahant supporters want to claim their tickets on the basis of political background and not on the basis of actual popularity and work in the constituency. Cautious Dr Raman Singh has also sought to gauge the public mood by way of compilation of people’s opinion during his Vikas Yatra, which is told to be favourable. But there are several ministers who are unpopular in their respective constituencies. Chandrashekhar Sahu, Vikram Usendi, Dharam Lal Kaushik, Amar Agrawal, Narayan Chandel and several other prominent leaders’ chances to win are doubtful this time. The BJP, however, is eyeing the increased number of youth voters. One will not be surprised if chief minister Raman Singh announces something unique to lure them.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
DIVIDED CONGRESS MANAGES TO EXPOSE BJP’S DARK UNDERBELLY
BJP TRIES Raghavji was accused of sodomising his aide, the act was apparently consensual as the ‘victim’ Rajkumar Dangi conceded that he got jobs in some local companies after gratifying him. The party promptly expelled Raghavji on being charge-sheeted. Pateria, who had helped in recording the tape, a supporter of former chief minister Uma Bharti was also expelled. By Lokayat Correspondent
he BJP’s decision to brazen out some of the serious charges levelled against its government has evoked a mixed response. While its supporters see ‘boldness’ in the unabashed manipulations, the saner elements within the party are cautioning it against going overboard with such boldness. Income Tax authorities have confirmed the authenticity of documents seized from SR group's Sudhir Sharma and DBL group's Dilip Suryavanshi who had paid the travel bills of the party bigwigs. Income Tax also seized account books of travel agents to verify entries the financiers’ diaries. The Income tax department says, M/s Air Aman Travels submitted
The much-needed unity in the Congress in Madhya Pradesh is proving to be a mirage. The sense of urgency seen in the lead up to the final monsoon session vanished in the face of some dirty tricks of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party.
By Chandrakant Naidu
athetic floor-management and absence of cohesion to counter the BJP’s street fighting instinct derailed Congress’ plans to pin down
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
the ruling party which induced the deputy leader of the CLP, Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi to cross the floor just as the no-confidence motion was being read out. The Congress was riding high after the ruling party was forced to sack the veteran finance minister Raghavji over sexual exploitation of his aide. But, it failed to press home the advantage. Chaturvedi wasn’t wooed by the ruling party overnight. He had created a dubious history last year with another unruly MLA, Kalpana Parulekar to be
expelled from the House. Both the members lost the membership of the House after they misbehaved with the then presiding officer. Later, in a his-
TO BRAZEN OUT SERIOUS CHARGES ledgers of Sudhir Sharma and VNS group. Payments of travel arrangements of Madhya Pradesh minister for Culture Lakshmikant Sharma, Anil Dave, Rajya Sabha MP, Suresh Soni, RSS joint general secretary Prabhat Jha, MP and exstate BJP president and Tapan Bhoumik,
the tapes. Raghavji, who had set a record of sorts by steering the state’s finances for ten successive years, has since been behind the bars. It is first such case in the state’s history. The party promptly expelled Raghavji on being charge-
crisis, there are others scanning the scandal for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s political motives in seizing the opportunity to dump the minister? While Raghavji was accused of sodomising his aide the act was apparently consensual as the ‘victim’
secretary of the MP state BJP, have been made on regular basis. The party refuses to accept the charges. The picture got dirtier when the 80year-old finance minister, Raghavji, was forced out of office after videos showing him allegedly in sexual intimacy with his aide went into circulation. The bigger embarrassment was that a senior BJP member Shiv Shankar Pateria, proudly owned up to have helped in recording
sheeted. Pateria, a supporter of former chief minister Uma Bharti was also expelled. Shockingly the authorities learnt of the tapes only when they were already in circulation. The ruling party realised that while the intelligence machinery could be used to keep a tab on the opposition leaders the enemy within could be noticed only after he stings. While the legal eagles are looking at how Raghavji wriggles out of the
Rajkumar Dangi conceded that he got jobs in some local companies after gratifying him. The relationship was said to be three-year old. In the case of rape the victim can possibly prove exploitation. Dangi’s sexual activity could possibly fall in male prostitution category as he also got financial favours. While the minister can be accused of using his position to extract sexual favours and therefore be removed from office and
toric special session that lasted less than ten minutes, the House restored the membership of the duo. The BJP got off the hook with
ample help from the Speaker, Ishwardas Rohani, who adjourned the House sine die without allowing the no-confidence motion to be tabled. The Governor,
Ramnaresh Yadav’s efforts to get the House reconvened failed as he could not challenge the speaker’s power in House. Yadav, who had not prorogued
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
MADHYA PRADESH the House, wrote to the government to get the unfinished business completed. Predictably, the government refused to oblige. Though the BJP thought it had outmanoeuvred the Congress in the assembly it couldn’t prevent the contents of the no-confidence motion from reaching the public domain. The Congress released the contents in a booklet to the media. Some pointed questions have been asked to corner the family members of chief
and two others bought 18.70 acres of land on 8 June 2011 for Rs 5.67 crores. The market rate of this land then was more than Rs 19 crore. How could they manage to get this discount and what was their source of income in 2003? Narendra Singh Chouhan was made member of Budhni Reva Samaj Samiti in the year 2009-10 and then secretary to CM wrote letter to PS social welfare department to grant the Samiti permission to run old age home. It was given
minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Even if the government refuses to face the opposition’s charges the opposition can go ahead with the campaign. The leader of the opposition Ajay Singh said the following questions have been put to the government regarding Rohit Housing society in Bhopal which involves Chouhan’s family.
benefits from the state government but later through RTI it was revealed that this organisation was not registered. The godown owned by Shivraj Singh’s wife, Sadhna Singh in village Bais in Vidisha falls within 100 metres of Heliodorus pillar a protected monument by ASI-- against norms. Jyoti Singh wife of Sanjay Singh, brother-inlaw of CM bought a bungalow in Amrapali enclave at Chuna Bhatti area of Bhopal for Rs 96 lakhs. She paid about Rs 4 lakhs through cheque and paid Rs 15 lakh in cash. She evaded stamp duty in the transaction. Sanjay Singh used forged documents for his registration as contractor in PWD. Rohit Singh Chouhan, who owns Aditya Construction Company, broke all the rules and forged documents to get registered in PWD as contractor. The Congress hopes to embarrass Chouhan. The BJP is wary of the black sheep within the party who could help the opposition.<
Why was no audit conducted at Rohit Grih Nirman Society after 2005? Under which rules was land allotted to Rohit Singh Chouhan (brother of CM) and his wife Rashmi Chouhan, nephew Pradyumn Singh Chouhan, sister-in-law Anita Chouhan and other relatives Dhirendra Singh Chouhan, Balwant Singh Chouhan, Mamta Chouhan, Seema Chouhan, Brijesh Chouhan, Shashi Singh Chouhan—all close relatives of CM. CM’s brother Narendra Singh Chouhan and his son Pradyumn Singh
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
the party, can he be punished for consensual sex, the lawyers ask. A BJP activist from Raghavji’s constituency Vidisha said the chief minister had a vested interest in Raghavji’s discomfiture. Raghavji and Chouhan have openly sabotaged each other’s political activities. Raghavji’s supporters say Sadhna Singh, Shivraj’s wife, nurtures the ambition to contest assembly elections from Vidisha. If not Sadhna then Mukesh Tandon, CM’s protégé, confidante and financial manager, could be contesting from Vidisha. Raghavji was grooming his own daughter, Jyoti Shah, now chairman Vidisha Municipal Council, to replace him at some stage. Chouhan therefore seized the opportunity to oust him. Some others expect the complainant to withdrawn and witnesses to turn hostile or the two parties might reach a compromise. Even Shiv Kumar Pateria who unabashedly claimed to have helped in producing the video records is now hiding from the media. They expect the former minister to manage both the complainant and the conspirator and get acquitted. Three other ministers of Shivraj cabinet who were forced to leave their offices for offences ranging from corruption to murder conspiracy have returned to the ministry. Narottam Mishra, Anup Mishra, and Ajay Singh Bishnoi, have come back to occupy powerful positions while another minister, Vijay Shah who had offended the chief minister with personal remarks has been cleared by Chouhan himself. The poll time slog can lead to unexpected situations.<
JAMMU & KASHMIR
KASHMIR AGAIN ON THE BOIL KISHTWAR CREATES TREMORS IN THE STATE By Kusum Varshney
illing of five Indian soldiers at the line of control (LoC) in Kashmir valley’s Poonch district, eruption of communal violence at Kishtwar in Jammu region taking three lives and before that firing in Gool by the BSF killing four citizens has flared up emotions not only across the state but in the entire nation. The killings in Poonch have threatened to derail chances of meeting of prime minister Manmohan Singh with Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharief in September at the United Nations. All political parties made loud protests in both the countries. Reportedly a group of around 20 heavily armed Pakistan troops had entered almost 450 metres into the Poonch sector on August 6, and fired indiscriminately on a patrol killing five Indian soldiers. What created shrill controversy in India was the stance of the centre over the attack. First, it termed the attack, a nefarious act by the Pak based terrorist dressed in Pakistan army uniforms and when countered by the opposition especially the BJP, it retracted from the statement, saying the attack was carried out by the Pakistan army itself. So much so that the army in its FIR lodged with the Poonch police station, had held unidentified terrorists responsible for this cross border killing and had no mention of the Pak army. Pakistan took advantage of the Indian government’s faux pas, threatened to curtail its staff in High Commission at Delhi and got passed a resolution against India amidst flared up sentiments in the National
Assembly, which was responded by passing a quick resolution in the Indian parliament. Kishtwar riots remained embarrassing to the Omar Abdullah government as its laxity was exposed. The centre charged that it did not call
the BSF deployed in Gool area of Ramban district to protect the rail line being laid to link the valley to Jammu. J & K minister for state for home, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo, put it in this way--the riots began when BSF personnel walked into a mosque with
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at a public rally after laying the foundation stone
the security forces in time to control the violence. The situation remained tense for many days, curfew imposed in the town could not be lifted on the eighth day as well, when Lokayat went to press. The curfew was imposed when there was large scale violence on August 9, in which three people were killed. The curfew was imposed in seven other districts of Jammu which was lifted on the Independence Day. In Gool, the BSF had to fire when a congregational prayer turned into a violent mob attacking the barrack of
their shoes on, desecrating the sanctity of the place of worship. However, the BSF’s accounts of events are entirely different, saying it wanted to interrogate Mohammed Latif, a local resident aged just 25 years on suspicion of being a terrorist. As soon as Latif came to know the intent of the BSP, he ran into a mosque and made an announcement on loudspeakers claiming that BSF personnel had committed sacrilege, inciting a crowd of around 500 to attack on the camp.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Terrorist Module and Indian Mujahideen he NIA investigation has confirmed that the home grown Indian Mujahideen (IM) was responsible for the Bodh Gaya serial blasts. Security experts say IM has its network well established in Bihar, especially in Madhubani and Darbhanga districts from where these attacks might have been directed. Moreover, the explosives used in such low intensity blasts are normally used by IM. It is being alleged that the attacks were carried out to avenge the killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar however such claims had been resented by several Muslim leaders.<
By Shruti Gupta
t may not have shocked the garrulous members of our political class as they went on with their routine business of spewing charges, more and more vitriolic and scandalous, brewed in political bitterness. Though investigators from NIA, NSG, IB and Bihar Police were yet to find credible leads in multiple blasts at the world famous Mahabodhi temple, they (politicians) were rank sure of who were behind the attacks. To them they were none but the political rivals. Such political environment does only create grounds for abysmal failure of our security apparatus. And it truly was the case as is evident from the fact that the Bihar government had been alerted about possible attacks on this most revered Buddhist shrine of the world, but no tightening of security steps was done. Interestingly, while the Congress, the new bed-fellow of the JD-U in Bihar, was busy deflecting the attack on the Nitish government, the main opposition BJP, till recently a part of the Nitish Kumar government, felt in its bone the need to call for a state wide bandh on the failure of government.
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Young Buddhist monks pray for peace by ringing the spiritual rollers at Tergar monastery
POLITICS OVER TRAGEDIES The Bodhgaya Buddhist temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site faced a terrorist attack for the first time last month. Ten bomb blasts virtually shook the shrine, throwing the Buddhist monks from over 50 countries into fear and dismay, who had never thought of any such thing in their wildest dreamâ€Ś. Lalu Prasad Yadav had also separately called for a similar bandh to buttress its charges about failed Nitish government. The ever loquacious senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh was characteristically as imaginative as ever in hinting the possible involvement of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the blasts. He tweeted if Modiâ€™s teleconference with Bihar BJP cadres had some connection with the serial bomb blasts in the Mahabodhi temple, as NaMo had exhorted party cadres in
Bihar to teach a lesson to Nitish Kumar. As was expected the tweet triggered angry reactions and war of words, with the BJP dubbing the remark nonsensical and bizarre. The enormity of political fallout can be gauged from the fact that hardly any leader of national consequence left visiting the site, be it Sonia Gandhi, his trusted lieutenant and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde or BJP national president Rajnath Singh or Arun Jaitley, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya
BIHAR periphery of the Mahabodhi temple is guarded by the Bihar Police, but the temple premises are left to be guarded by untrained and low paid private security guards. There were just four guards on duty when the blasts occurred. In an effort to save his face, Nitish Kumar however proposed the centre to ensure a CISF security cover to the shrine. This demand has been accepted by the centre. The Buddhist temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site faced a terrorist attack for the first time. Ten bomb blasts of small intensity virtually shook the
Buddhist monk children at a peaceful demonstration at Tergar Monastery against serial blasts in Bodhgay
Sabha. They all eyed to encash the sensitive incident when elections were seen round the corner in several states and parliamentary elections just a few months away. Instead of committing that no such attack would be allowed from now on, the visibly defiant CM publicly admonished the opposition leaders by saying no system can be full proof and such a thing can happen anywhere, escalating the intensity of charges and counter charges. The special cell of the Delhi Police had sent an intelligence input in October 2012 to Bihar government about a possible strike on the temple by the Indian Mujahideen. The outer
shrine, throwing the Buddhist monks from over 50 countries into fear and dismay, who had never thought of such a situation in their wildest dream. Three crude bombs were also found inside the shrine, which were later defused. Luckily there was no casualty. Two monks were injured in the blasts, out of whom, one was from Myanmar. The forensic analysis report says the bombs were very similar to those used in Jaipur, Pune and Ahmedabad blasts. They were triggered by analogue timer clocks which were set for 5.30 am on July 7. It also found out, 150-200 grams of ammonium nitrate was used as explosive material in each bomb.<
Link to the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar he blasts in Bodh Gaya are being linked to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in the neighbouring Myanmar, a Buddhist majority country. Ultra Muslim organisations have been clamouring for action by the Indian government for long. Even Delhi Police had also indicated to the Bihar government about the possible attack over the shrine. The mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Lahore based Jamat Ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed in his recent tweets had also accused the Indian government of conspiring with Burmese government to wipe out Muslims in Myanmar. He had also called upon the Muslim world to defend the rights and honour of Rohingya Muslims, terming it genocide of Muslims. Pakistan based another ultra Muslim organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan on July 26 too suggested Pakistan to cut off its diplomatic relations with Myanmar, saying it would avenge the genocide. It is to be noted that at least 237 people have been killed and about 150,000 displaced in Myanmar in clashes between Buddhists and minority Muslims, who constitute just about 5 percent of the 6 crore population of the country. Most deadly incidents were happened in Rakhine state of the country where about 8 lakh Rohingya Muslims live. Most victims are from the Muslim community. Moreover, intelligence agencies suspect the IM is undergoing an image makeover by taking up international issues and forging links abroad, as it is said to have established links with international radical groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Intelligence sources say that IM's funding is being made from Europe and West Asia where Hizb-utTahrir has a strong presence.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
UTTARAKHAND-LIKE DISASTER IN Himachal Pradesh is today as disaster-prone as Uttarakhand Thakur Singh since all Bharmouri contributing factors like rampant, unplanned construction, mindless allocation of hydel projects, ruthless denudation of forests, quarrying and mining of hills and river beds and even unnecessary road construction do exist here as well….. By Lokayat Correspondent
ost devastating floods in neighboring Uttarakhand, there is nagging realisation in Himachal that the hill state was incredibly lucky this time. After all, what happened in Uttarakhand could have easily happened in Himachal Pradesh. In fact in one tribal district Kinnaur, unprecedented rains (365 mm) followed by snowfall on 15-17 June triggered massive landslides that claimed 25 human lives, thousands of livestock and blocked many roads. Had it rained another 100 mm over Kinnaur, experts believe the devastation would have been as horrific as it was in Uttarakhand where around 5,000 people got killed by devastating flash floods. ‘Rainfall of 365 mm recorded in 48 hours, something which the cold arid desert zone does not experience in a year, is an alarming sign for upper reaches of Satluj valley which comes under highly seismological active zone,’
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
said former IAS officer R S Negi who is also convener of Him Lok Jagriti Manch. Many houses and even villages have become unsafe to live. Unfortunately the plight of more than seventy thousand people living in Kinnaur has not attracted the attention of the national government and media. Negi and many others in the state are terming Kinnaur as man-made disaster and blame the current model of development with unscientific constructions which, they say, are leading to numerous landslides and massive soil erosion in vast areas. The situation has been aggravated due to muck and debris dumped in river bank by hydro projects and roads construction companies. Post Uttarakhand havoc, environmentalists are warning the Himachal government to watch out for similar tragedy in future. They say the hill state has every ingredient of disaster-proneness-- rampant, unplanned constructions; mindless allocation of hydel projects; ruthless denudation of forests; quarrying and mining of hills
and river beds and last but not the least, unnecessary road construction. Green activists want transHimalayas be declared as highly riskprone because of the potential for earthquakes, floods and landslides. They have advised union and state governments to stop construction of dams and hydro projects and demand the entire development programme to be thoroughly reviewed. Hydel projects, in particular, are main target of green activists. There are currently more than 150 big and small hydel projects already operating or under construction in the state, primarily in the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi valleys. Avay Shukla, a retired IAS-turnedenvironment activist, points out that such projects generate high volume of muck and debris by tunneling and road construction. ‘Himachal’s rivers are being literally choked by millions of tonnes of muck that is being dumped into them by these projects. Just to give an idea, the net volume of muck generated by the Kol Dam of NTPC on
THE MAKING IN HIMACHAL
the Sutlej is 2.27 crore cubic metre. If this muck were to be dumped into the Sutlej, it would raise the level of the Sutlej by 2.20 metres along a length of 100 kilometers. ‘Since the eighties, more than 750,000 trees have been felled, most of them for hydel projects and their transmission lines, further loosening the already disturbed soil,’ Shukla says while quoting a 2007 Report on land degradation prepared by the National Remote Sensing Authority, Hyderabad, which stated that Himachal is one of the three states of India that ‘have the highest percentage of soil degradation’.
Fury of flash flood increasing Studies by Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology say that the fury of flash floods over the north-west Himalayan region in the last 20 years has increased. Increased frequency of cloudbursts which cause flash floods has made Himachal prone to severe disaster during monsoon
season as these could lead to breaches in the 249 glacial lakes in the state which will result in gushing of lake waters down the mountain slopes together with debris, boulders and uprooted trees with a great velocity and damage any structure that comes in the way.
Net volume of muck generated by the Kol Dam of NTPC on the Sutlej is 2.27 crore cubic metre. If this muck were to be dumped into the Sutlej, it would raise the level of the Sutlej by 2.20 metres along a length of 100 kilometers. Of the 249 glacial lakes present in the state, 11 have been identified as ones with high potential for breach. In Himachal, Beas basin has 80 glacial
lakes, Chenab basin 16, Ravi 28 and Satluj 98. ‘In the last one decade, frequency of cloudbursts has increased and if it happens in the vicinity of lakes, then the collective volume of water would wipe out the habitation downstream,’ said senior scientist Dr J C Kuniyal at GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development in Kullu. He said studies in the past had shown that cloudbursts did not take place in forested areas, but only in human habitations. Even tourists towns like Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Kullu too are prone to it. ‘After the Uttarakhand disaster, it is advisable for people to reside in the slopes instead of valleys for safety reasons.’ Environmental activists claim Himachal's policy of promoting mega hydropower projects was being implemented without proper appreciation of the cumulative impact of the works on the ecology of the state. They demanded a moratorium on the construction of all new hydropower projects located in the Satluj and Chenab river basins till a study on their cumulative impact on the fragile ecology and livelihoods is not done. However, Virbhadra Singh government is yet to respond to such demands. Following the Uttarakhand tragedy, the government does acknowledge that hydel projects are partly responsible for such occurrences but at the same time it defends them by saying that ‘no one can fight against nature’s fury’. Forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, however, said the government was sensitive to the concerns raised by environmentalists. He assures that soon an authority will be set-up to look into environmental violations by any project and monitor implementation of catchment area treatment, compensatory afforestation and environment management plans.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
MOLKI BRIDES IN HARYANA Haryana, facing acute shortage of girls due to female foeticide, imports brides in a big way from other states. Many of them are arranged at a high price and are called molki—most of them do not get their due rights as a wife and many of them are treated as a common wife by several male members in the family. Some molkis later run away and land into prostitution. Fly-bynight marriage bureaus help in arranging brides from other states…. By Jyoti Thakur
or many marriageable men in Haryana, finding a bride remains a dream. As the state has the worst sex ratio in the country with only 877 females per 1,000 males, it is impossible to find a bride for each man. As a result of drought of brides, men are increasingly forced to seek help of touts in order to ‘arrange’ brides for a price from poverty stricken parts of India. Due to ever growing demand, human-trafficking is a lucrative and expanding trade. In the name of marriage, every year thousands of young women and girls are lured into the idea of a happy married life with a comparatively rich man in the state. Such brides are known as molki (means bought for a price) and paro (means from across the state). Some surveys suggest there are at least a dozen molki (or bought) girls on an average in each village of the state. A 2010 field study on the impact of sex ratio on the pattern of marriages in Haryana by a NGO covering over 10,000 households revealed that over
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
9,000 married women in Haryana were bought from other states. According to a report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Haryana is a destination for the trafficked victims being brought from states like Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. ‘Female foeticide is a major factor resulting in trafficking for forced marriages in the state’, said the assessment report titled ‘Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India on Anti-Human Trafficking-2013’. Jagmati Sangwan, President of All India Democratic Women’s Association said apart from the skewed sex ratio, there are other reasons like unemployment, decreasing size of land holdings due to which many in Haryana don’t want to give their daughters to local boys who are then forced to look out for girls in other states. ‘Haryana has shortage of girls for marriage. It has become even more difficult because local norms prevent inter-caste marriages. Only a half of men in a village get to marry a Haryanvi girl, the rest are forced
people to look for brides in other states. This is the story of every village in the region,’ said a villager, Rajender Singh in Mewat district.
Bought bride is a common practice Haryana people have accepted ‘bought bride’ as a common practice but while a few of such women may be lucky to have found a comfortable life in the state, many of molkis or paros are forced to live in inhospitable conditions – with rampant sexual and mental harassment by the male members of the family. In some of the cases, such ladies are used as a ‘common wife’. ‘These unfortunate living beings are totally unaware of the language, customs and ethos here! And they live a very inhuman life. They are only served as the fodder to satisfy the sexual desire of men,’ writes DR Chowdhary in his controversial book Haryana ki Duvidha. There even are cases when their offspring, who are believed to be the main reason for their being purchased, are denied their rights and proper treatment as heirs of the family.
HARYANA Bought for a price ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 3,00,000 depending on their age and physical appearance, the molkis generally do not get any right in the family, even their names are not included in ration-cards or voter lists. What makes it worse for these women is that they do not understand the language, have no one to approach for help. Moreover, in some cases the molkis are second, third and fourth 'women' and the age of men are almost double of them. The women of the molki owning family generally pass on their burden of the household chores to the latter. Some of these girls are as young as 13. Despite being not satisfied with their status and situation, such women bear all for the sake of their livings and due to lack of any support system. They are well aware that they are being used as a toy on use and throw basis. In some cases, molki women revolt and run away to 'unknown' places. Some of them take to sex trade to escape from their life as molki since they were unable to return back to their parental home, while others became member of cheating gangs, who arranged marriages with these girls who later on fled with groom's belongings. The search for molkis starts at places like Panipat and Sonipat where a huge number of 'placement agencies' were learnt to have been actively working as the trafficking network there. Their main
Demographers believe it will take another 50 years in Haryana for the sex-ratio to come to its natural level. Till then, Haryana will continue to have a shortage of brides.
job is to bring the girls from povertystricken states and supply them to different parts of the state. Their agents are actively vigilant in both the source and destination points. The aged paro or molkis of the region also play an important role of mediators in bringing new girls from their native places for commission. Such marriages happen with the help of known people, such as truck drivers, who often travel to these states and know people and families who are poor and interested in marrying their daughters outside their state. Most of the gangs operating in and around the NCR also focus on Haryana, because of the better prices offered for the girls. And so are the fly-by-night marriage bureaus prospering in the state.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BAJWA FACES COLD WAR
Shakeel Ahmad, the Congress incharge of party affairs in Punjab, is concerned at the self-annihilating factionalism in the state party
By Lokayat Correspondent
ratap Singh Bajwa had to eat humble pie immediately after taking over as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president when his detractors convinced the Congress high command to roll back the first set of appointments he made after assuming office in March. Moreover, the party has appointed four PCC vicepresidents of rival factions entrusting them with the charge of party organisations in three different regions —- two for Malwa and one each for Doaba and Majha. Barely four days after Bajwa formally took charge of the PCC, these two developments were seen as an attempt by the party high command to strike a balance between the warring factions in the Punjab Congress. Four months into the job, the situation appears to be no different for the state Congress chief as his efforts to unite the party against the ruling SADBJP combine are far from successful
There is no dearth of instances of misrule of the SAD-led government in Punjab, but rather than taking on it to seek redressal for the public, the Congress leaders continue to score points against each other. This naturally makes Akali Dal happy even while its leaders itch to inflict another defeat on the factionridden party during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
due to the cold war in the state unit which is blamed for the unexpected loss in 2012 Assembly polls. In fact, with the supporters of factions headed by former state chief Captain Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Jagmeet Singh Brar not cooperating with Bajwa, his job to take on the ruling combine and gear up the party machinery for the Lok Sabha polls has become even more difficult. Even the much awaited reconstitution of the Punjab Congress is also getting delayed due this factionalism. With rival camps busy contradicting and scoring points against each other on various issues concerning the state, the party high command has decided to take its own time before giving nod to the submitted list of members. This cold war is no secret for the party high command. All India Congress Committee general secretary and party incharge for Punjab affairs Shakeel Ahmed, during his first meeting with the state Congress leadership expressed deep concern over the prevailing differences and factionalism in the state
unit. He made it clear that party leaders, including MLAs and MPs, will have to ‘iron out differences and work for a common goal’ of making the party victorious on all 13 parliamentary seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Ahmed’s comment on ‘ironing out differences’ came in the light of reports that former Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder had written a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi, claiming that Bajwa, who eventually succeeded him, had terrorist links. The former chief minister, however, later denied having written such a letter. The infighting in the Congress is much to the delight of ruling combine which is itching to inflict another defeat on the faction-ridden party. But with Congress high command taking it upon itself to set things right in the state unit, demoralised party workers’ hope that it will prove effective in containing the bloated egos of its leaders in time before crucial Lok Sabha elections and uniting to put up a united fight against the alleged excesses of the SAD led state government.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
FRETS, FUMES AND FURY OVER BARMER REFINERY The Barmer refinery was projected by chief minister Ashok Gehlot as his biggest achievement, but within months of this claim it has run into deep controversies. People say he himself is responsible for that. A minister of his cabinet has already resigned and charges and counter-charges have roiled the party atmosphere. By Abha Sharma
he monsoon has been kinder this year in Rajasthan. The rain God in a way did not proffer the main opposition BJP a chance to indulge in its characteristic monsoon politics. For the people, the welcome downpour is always a reason to rejoice, but this time round showering of government bonanzaâ€”cheques for sarees, laptops, cyclesâ€” added lucre to the joy. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot must be happy over the generation of feel good mood all around which has suddenly brought the party in the reckoning again despite huge burden of anti-incumbency and constant
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
RAJASTHAN Brinda Karat of CPM mentioned that there were around 55, big and small, incidents of communal violence in Rajasthan during the Gehlot regime, but the chief minister did not take any effective measure to stop them. Though she blamed the BJP and the RSS for the riots, but asked what the Gehlot government did to contain the communal virus. By Lokayat Correspondent
hile the Congress and the BJP are engaged in bitter rivalry, not losing any opportunity to paint each other black and branding them dangerous to the over-all interests of the common man, thus making the pre-election scene in Rajasthan murky and confusing for the electorate, the left political forces have started to smell opportunity for themselves. With economic scenario worsening each passing week and price rise hurting each and every citizen, they think this is high time for them to talk in terms of policies and present an alternative platform before the electorate.
harping by the BJP of his failures and corruption cases. But then suddenly the controversy over change of venue of the prestigious
LOKTANTRIK MORCHA SMELLS OPPORTUNITY The idea initially started at the centre, but it is finding its echo in states as well. Last month left parties pitched their tent in Rajasthan and announced Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha, in a much orchestrated bid to offer a non-BJP and non-Congress alternative to the people. On July 21 the constituents of this morcha held a convention to arrive at a common policy document. While they tore the reputation of the main opposition leader Vasundhara Raje of the BJP into smithereens for not raising a single issue of public concern during the last four years in the assembly but now shamelessly was taking out a pompous rath yatra for Suraj. The leaders in the convention lambasted the BJP and the Gehlot government both to establish their credentials as a pucca non-BJP and non-Congress Morcha. So, the left leaders raised the issue of communal riots in the state during Gehlot regime vehemently. Brinda Karat of the CPM mentioned that there were around 55, big and small, incidents of communal violence in Rajasthan during the Gehlot regime, but the chief minister did not take any effective measure to stop them. Though she blamed the BJP and the RSS for the riots, but asked what the Gehlot government did to contain the communal virus. The newly formed Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha consists of the CPI (M), CPI, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (Secular) and Janata Dal (United). There is no gainsaying that they are very small electoral players individually, but together they might become a potent voice of propaganda, if not the vote catcher. So far as the votes are concerned, people of
refinery in Barmer district has spoiled everything. The BJP following the opposition dharma is ritually assailing the decision; but the real surprise lies
Rajasthan have repeatedly displayed their liking for a 2-party system. In the 2008 assembly elections the BJP and the Congress had secured 35.60 and 36.92 percent votes respectively. The third political force of some reckoning in the state was the BSP which attracted only 7.60 percent votes of the total votes cast. Since the BSP is not a part of the Rajasthan Loktantrik
the country after humiliating defeats in West Bengal and Kerala. The Morcha is expected to spew its harshest comments against the BJP as it would not like to antagonise the SC voters which had significantly voted to the Congress in 2008. There are 34 SC and 25 ST constituencies in the 200seat assembly. SC/ST population in the state is 29 percent. The Morcha’s
CPM leader Brinda Karat
Morcha, the over-all political strength of this new group is expected to be limited. The biggest force in the Morcha is the CPI (M) which had got 1.62 percent votes last time on the force of contesting 34 assembly seats out of total 200. Together the Morcha’s vote share does not tot up more than 3 percent. But in Rajasthan independents got 14.96 percent votes in the last assembly elections. It is this segment of voters that vote to independents, the Morcha would attempt to focus on. According to political analysts, it is basically CPI (M)’s show, which wants to willy-nilly regain its lost ground in
attitude was visible by the broadsides made by several leaders in the convention twisting the ‘puppy’ remark of Modi to their best effect. To make Morcha’s appeal wider the policy document released after the convention demands special status to Rajasthan just as Bihar and Odisha had done. To attract the middle class it has demanded a stop to constantly increasing privatisation of education and health sectors. Overall the effort is being seen as an extension of the efforts being made by regional and left parties to erect a sort of third front before the next Lok Sabha elections.<
in the criticism that goes on within the Congress. Many insiders in the party say that chief minister himself is fuelling the controversy.
His government was projecting proposed Refinery in the border district of Barmer as his biggest achievement but now it has turned into
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Gurumukh Singh Hora M.L.A. Dhamtari (C.G)
The nation is grateful to our leaders who gave us freedom from the foreign yoke. Dr. Charan Das Mahant Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries.
President, Nagrik Sahkari Kendriya Bank Raipur (C.G)
Gopal Thawait Member of Food Corporation of Chattisgarh & Representative of Parliament Member Dr. Charan Das Mahant
the greatest bone of contention. Its shifting from Leelala to Pachpadra has left senior partymen Colonel Sonaram and cabinet minister Hemaram Choudhury locking horns with each other. The snipes between these two Jat leaders, with the latter resigning over the issue, have raised many eyebrows within the party circles. Col. Sonaram had been brutally frank in the presence of new in-charge of party affairs in Rajasthan Gurudas Kamat when he said point blank that Gehlot had a vested interest in moving the refinery from Leelala to Pachpadra. He is doing so to nestle a new political turf for his son’s maiden entry into assembly politics. The chief minister categorically denied the allegation. Party insiders also feel that revenue minister Hemaram Choudhary’s resignation was at the behest of Gehlot himself. It is indeed being seen as Gehlot’s well-crafted ploy to shift attention of partymen from the issue. Meanwhile, a non-political organisation Jagruk Jantantra Manch (a group of tax, investment and industrial experts) in chief minister’s home turf Jodhpur has sprung up inconvenient questions related to the financial viability of the project. The forum led by Mahendra Singh Jhabak, a chartered accountant, who was fielded by the BJP in the 2003 assembly elections against Ashok Gehlot has alleged that the much publicised milestone of Gehlot government was in fact, a step towards state’s economic devastation. The forum has asked the government to offer satisfactory answer about the cost of the refinery and state funding and very high equity share of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, the major partner in setting up the refinery. Jhabak, who is again hoping to enter the election fray from one of the
political constituencies in Jodhpur is making best of the opportunity to promote his own political career. He trumpets the charge that chief minister was misleading public over the projected cost of the refinery. ‘A similar refinery of 9 mtpa capacity at Bhatinda which got operational in March 2012 cost Rs 18,000 crore, while the Rajasthan refinery cost here is being projected as Rs 37,229 crores. So the cost of Rajasthan refinery is either overinflated or initial huge losses have been accounted for in the project, his forum alleged. ‘I am afraid
this high cost may push the state into a debt trap,’ says Jhabak. Meanwhile, HPCL has justified shifting of the refinery site from Leelala to Pachpadra saying it is technically a superior location since it is government owned flat land with no habitation or forest cover. HPCL claimed this on the basis of recommendations of Engineers India Limited as well as the approval of state
Task Force, which gave nod to shift the refinery to Pachpadra.
The real reason behind the controversy The exorbitant compensation demands at Leelala was the major bone of contention as powerful leaders had bought land from farmers at throw away prices as benami transactions anticipating huge profits once the refinery comes there. But with the shifting of the location, the dream of minting money out of land deals has vanished into thin air. The politics and lure of super profits from land deals might further delay the first dream refinery project in Rajasthan. It is already late by three to four months and if the controversy continues, it may not be completed in scheduled time, enhancing the cost further. Jhabak sees it as an ‘unviable’ project from the day one, pushed up in hurry to promote ‘election agenda’ of the ruling Congress. He feels when the government had land, infrastructure, money and crude oil, then why it obliged the HPCL with a whopping 76 per cent share in the equity. Why didn’t the government go for an open bidding? According to him, the interest of Rajasthan has been overlooked in what he prefers to call a ‘one sided deal’, without any management control of the government. There are other interesting aspects of the controversy. The belated resignation of Hemaram Choudhary allegedly in protest against shifting of the site also raises doubts over the seriousness of his protest. The state Task Force meeting had approved on June 24 to shift the refinery to Pachpadra and minister’s resignation came a month later!<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
It will be recorded as an example of rare political expediency when a political tie-up was knit with highly volatile and unpredictable Soren duos, of dubious credentials, the senior one facing scores of cases in courts, kicking all qualms aside. Party managers argue, it is going to help the Congress in the next LS elections as its footprints get further extended with one more government under its hold after getting the right to rule in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. By Umanath
fter weeks of deliberations between the Congress and the JMM of Shibu Soren, his son Hemant Soren finally took over Jharkhand as its new chief minister before the president rule ended on July 18. This well intended move to keep the BJP at bay is widely being seen as part of the Congress’s strategic preparation for the 2014’s parliamentary elections. The largest political party of the country helped junior Soren, just an inter passed, realise his long cherished dream of
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
Newly sworn-in chief minister Hemant Soren with JMM chief and his father Shibu Soren and mother Rupi Soren after oath at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan
becoming CM of this tribal state, a position which his father couldn’t retain for long despite making ceaseless efforts and becoming CM on three occasions. Even this time round senior Soren was said to be willing to be in the hot seat, however Congress with his ambitious son prevailed upon him to not stake claim for the top job, arguing he was embroiled in several court cases including murder, which might put the nascent government in trouble by giving the opposition an opportunity to pull it down. However, things don’t appear cozy for Hemant too with Congress reportedly imposing giant riders upon
him, which are sure to rattle and unsettle him in the days to come. As per the agreement arrived after a hard bargain between the two parties, Congress has forced Soren duos to concede 10 seats to the Congress for the next Lok Sabha election out of total 14, besides keeping senior Soren away from the top job. This seat sharing agreement clearly shows that the Congress doesn’t care much about what it gets in the state government’s pie rather its eyes are set on the next Lok Sabha elections. The grand old party also couldn’t keep the speaker’s chair with itself as was expected. Another big gain for the Congress is
IN HEMANT’S GOVERNMENT
What happened to the previous governments? hibu Soren brought down the BJP-led government of Arjun Munda in January, 2013 forcing imposition of the president’s rule in the state on January 18. The Munda government had the support of six members of All Jharkhand Students' Union, two of the JD-U, two independents and one nominated member. Earlier, Shibu Soren was sworn in as the CM after 2009 elections threw the fractured mandate with the support of BJP, AJSU and Janata Dal (U). It was for the first time that a government was formed which did not depend on the support of independents. It was expected to be durable, but strangely senior Soren went to Delhi owing to his being a member of Parliament and voted with the UPA, leaving the BJP with no choice, but to withdraw support from the government.<
its electoral agreement with JMM in five states including Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Bihar. According to well placed sources in Jharkhand, the real winner in this entire exercise is the Congress, not Hemant, 37, who somehow wanted to just register his name in the list of CMs. Opposition leaders feel that Hemant will be a dumb doll in the hands of the Congress. They say with the help of the centre and its ‘caged pigeon’ CBI, the Congress will never let the CM budge even an inch without its consent, as cases are still pending against Shibu Soren. A Congress leader from Jharkhand told this correspondent requesting anonymity that the party’s central leadership was initially reluctant to align with the JMM given its tainted and unpredictable image, but then they succumbed to the intense pressure from its state leaders, especially Subodh Kant Sahai who is considered to be close to Sonia Gandhi. State leaders of the Congress reportedly also conveyed to the central leadership that fresh elections would again throw up a fractured result as happened in the last assembly polls in 2009. They also cited the prevailing antiCongress sentiments in the state and elsewhere that may harm the party if elections are held in SeptemberOctober with some other states and the party might not be able to retain even 13 seats that it has now in the 82member House. The JMM and Congress have 18 and 13 MLAs respectively in the assembly. With the support from parties like JD-U of Nitish Kumar and RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav, the government managed to win the floor test. The RJD has five MLAs, while JD-U has two MLAs. A few even smaller political entities and independents also offered support to the government. In the assembly, BJP
The 9th government in 13 years his is the 9th government in a state which came into being only in November, 2000. During this brief period it has also seen two stints of President's rule. The longest serving government in the state lasted just two-and-a-half years and the shortest, a bare 11 days. Hemant’s is the third government in the same house constituted after the fractured mandate in the November-December 2009 Assembly elections. Hemant Soren, who heads the ninth ministry in less than 13 years, became the fifth tribal CM after Babulal Marandi (once), Arjun Munda (thrice), Shibu Soren (thrice) and Madhu Koda (once) since the state was created on November 15, 2000.<
has 18 seats, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) 11, CPI-ML (L), Marxist Coordination Party, Jharkhand Party (Ekka), Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and Jai Bharat Samta Party have one member each. Former central minister Subodh Kant Sahay who had to resign following the coal-gate expose, Jharkhand Congress Legislative Party leader Rajendra Prasad Singh and Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) chief Sukhdeo Bhagat are said to have played a major role in the alliance formation. One curious aspect of the entire arrangement is that Nitish Kumar is supporting the Jharkhand government with his sworn political rival Lalu Prasad Yadav. However, unlike Lalu, JD-U is outside the government. Altogether 43 MLAs are supporting the government.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Despite 2 yearsâ€™ incumbency marked with so many controversies, allegations of her pathological intolerance to criticism, goondaism by her party workers and Saradha Chit Fund Scam, Mamata Bannerjee proved her popularity once again when she trounced convincingly the CPI (M)-led left front and the Congress both in recent Panchayat elections...
MAMTA PROVES At least 24 people got killed in these violent elections for rural bodies and this could be under-estimation. Hundreds of people were injured, vehicles burnt and houses, farms and other properties were damaged.
Villagers wait to cast their votes during re-polling at a booth for Panchayat elections in West Bengal
By S Santhanam
his is an amazing victory again, for the Trinamool Congress led by mercurial Mamata Bannerjee, who had been facing barrage of criticism from intellectuals, media and almost all political parties on various issues of governance, including rule of terror and violence by her party goons. Memory goes to a little over two years ago when she astounded political analysts by defeating the deeply entrenched left front in the general elections with massive margins. She has now shown even better performance by winning 13 of the 17 Zilla Parishads, majority of seats in Panchayat Samitis and most seats in Gram Panchayats. Her popularity among voters was also witnessed with an element of surprise recently in the by-election held for the prestigious Howrah Lok Sabha seat when her party snatched this CPI (M) seat with a good margin. But Panchayat elections remained quite violent as was feared by many. Violence has always been a special feature of West Bengal elections. The
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
difference from the past is that the Trinamool Congress was now running its violent writ across the state, while it was the CPM which had once ruled with coercion and intimidation. The terror of violence has reportedly been much more than ever this time resulting into some 11 percent of the seats going uncontested. This figure is double of what went uncontested in the left front rule in 2008. It is told candidates were threatened to withdraw their nominations. All this is not a healthy sign for a democratic country like India even if the charges are only partially correct. The politics in rural Bengal has been hegemonistic in nature; the only difference is that elements who want to have their sway over villages have changed their loyalty. They hope better protection from the administration if they have good connections with the ruling party. But for political pundits, the million dollar question is why Panchayats which used to be the strong-hold of the CPI (M), remained elusive to leftists now. Why did rural voters not support left
candidates? Is this because during the 32-year rule of the left front, people were suppressed and humiliated by party cadres beyond measure and now they retaliate by voting against them and thus teach them a lesson?
SEC blamed for violence Panchayat elections are generally considered as grassroots exercises where the issues in contention are live and basic. The mix of politics, personality and passion is more combustible at lower levels. The sparks were thrown around by the Trinamool Congress leadership at all levels. At least 24 people got killed in the violent elections and this could be under-estimation. Hundreds of people were injured, vehicles burnt and houses, farms and other properties were damaged. Fearing violence the State Election Commission forced on her government through the intervention of the Supreme Court to hold elections in five phases and under the protection of central para military forcesâ€”an unprecedented thing. Mamata had roared in election meeting to teach these elements a lesson.
HER POPULARITY AGAIN If Mamta wave continues till Lok Sabha elections, her party may win more than two thirds of the 42 seats from this large state and may emerge as a force to reckon with in deciding who forms the government at the centre
Interestingly as the elections concluded, Mamta blamed the State Election Commission for the violence. It may be recalled that the State Election Commission was criticised by Mamata Bannerjee for taking unilateral decisions. The TMC boycotted even one of the multi-party meeting called by it to the shock of everybody. She made this also an election issue. She had charged that there was a conspiracy to get the election cancelled. She even took on the Supreme Court which did force her to agree to elections during the Ramzan. Mamata Banerjee urged the cadres to make sure that the party won by any means. All this will be known in history as Mamtatics. Many candidates were prevented from filing their nominations, and opposition campaigns were disrupted. As many as 6,500 seats went to the Trinamool Congress unopposed proves the point how the election scene was put under pressure from the beginning. The violence and the reign of terror were more pronounced in the CPM and the Congress strongholds.
Hoodlums and ruffians were allegedly sent for intimidation and confrontation in these areas. Political commentators agree that this cannot go on in Lok Sabha elections which will be overseen by the Central Election Commission and held under central security. Yet, for sure, it will be huge challenge for left parties to win back the hearts of voters. The Panchayat election results, however, have shown that Trinamool Congress is not strong in semi-urban areas. But the important political indication is that TMC could penetrate into districts
which are known as Left bastions like Burdwan, Hooghly, Birbhum, Purulia and Bankura. But this is enigmatic as to why TMC did not perform well in Nandigram, which had catapulted her to a successful mass leader two years ago. May be some discontent is there in her party as well, which showed its impact there.The election results of the threetiered elections can be taken as prelude to the Lok Sabha elections to be held in a few months time. If Mamta wave continues till then her party may win two thirds of the 42 seats from this large state and may emerge as a force to reckon with in deciding who forms the government at the centre.< Trinamool Congress supporters take out a victory procession celebrating partyâ€™s victory in panchayat polls
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
SUSPENSE & SEX EXCELLING Political developments in Kerala, never dull, have become enormously exciting in recent weeks. It has all the elements of a Hitchcock thriller with plenty of sex, deceit, drawn swords and corruption with a side-show of communal fireworks. With some of the dramatis personae in jail, or to be in jail soon, there is no knowing what the denouement will be. So the suspense continues……
By VSP Kurup
he ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress is in an existential crisis. Its forest minister Ganesh Kumar belonging to a splinter Congress – Congress (B)-- group who used to
act in films, took his amoral roles a bit too seriously and was disowned by his doctor-wife. She divorced him for being unfaithful and violent. The opposition pounced on the issue of Ganesh Kumar’s marital depravity and forced him out of the cabinet. It also sought his resignation from the Assembly, but the UDF, mindful of its precarious number in the legislature, resisted the move. Before the uproar surrounding the minister’s sexual escapades died down, a scam of true Hitchcock dimensions with sex, deceit, forgery, impersonation,
Explosion in LDF camp too! ven as the CM is under the LDF siege, another development exploded, this time in the LDF camp. A woman of dubious character raised rape charges against a sitting MLA (and former minister) Jose Thettayil as well as his son Adarsh, and released explicit scenes of the affair to the social media. When the police questioned the woman and asked for the webcam and originals of the photos, she said they were with the MLA. The inference is that she blackmailed the father and son for a hefty amount. It is said to be a classic case of feminine revenge: the woman wanted to marry Adarsh, but his father (Jose) opposed it. A court has since ruled that the rape charge would not be sustainable. The father and son are safe for the time being. But one does not know what the woman will do next.
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HITCHCOCK murder and corruption broke out. A resourceful man-woman duo—Biju Radhakrishnan and Sarita Nair—having many aliases tricked several ambitious businessmen into parting with a few crore after promising juicy partnerships in a non-existing firm to develop solar and wind energy systems. The carpetbagger had allegedly murdered his first wife in order to strengthen his ‘partnership’ with Sarita Nair. The alleged manslaughter took place a few years ago during the LDF regime, but for some reason the police did not pursue the matter. It speaks volumes about Radhakrishnan’s ingenuity to evade arrest or, simply, his liaison with the high and mighty.
Many businessmen ensnared In their adroit deception using fictitious identities Team Solar used chief minister Oommen Chandy’s personal staff, his office facilities and his name to sell their nefarious design. In fact Sarita used her feminine wiles to ensnare many ministers and politicians of all hues and several businessmen. Following the ruckus raised by the opposition Radhakrishnan and Sarita were arrested and charged by the police. Besides, three personal staff of the chief minister mixed up in the shady deals were sacked and one was jailed. Over 40 cases have been registered against Radhakrishnan and Sarita so far in different police stations. Finding a golden opportunity to take their daggers out, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the CPI (M) is reaching for Chandy’s jugular. It is imputing his direct complicity in the sordid affair. Whether the CM was actually involved or not, he could not be absolved of responsibility for what happened right under his nose, it said. An extremely violent agitation went on for Chandy’s resignation.
To add to the worsening political storms comes yet another (communal) thunder bolt. It is no secret that the Congress Party in the state, weak and buffeted as it is, is split into A-faction headed by the CM and I-faction led by the KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. The tectonic fault was invisible until the assembly election two years ago but once the results were out and the Congress seemed in a position to cobble together a coalition ministry, each of the two cliques worked overtime to deny the chance to the other. After a lot of unseemly horse-trading Chandy’s A-faction backed by powerful Christian lobby grabbed the throne. Since then Chennithala’s group has been sulking and practicing non-cooperation and passive resistance with obvious consequences for the governance.
Spoke in the works When the high command sent out a circular reminding all state units of the approaching general elections and asking them to close ranks, there was a feeble attempt to do so. In order to mollify the sullen I-group, Chandy offered deputy chief ministership to Chennithala along with any portfolio other than home. Chennithala rejected the conditional offer—he was bent on having home. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) meanwhile put its own spoke in the works: it scotched the idea of the number 2 post going to anybody
but to itself. It asserted that being the second biggest partner in the coalition, it alone deserved it. Chennithala took the whole episode as a personal affront and suspected a Chandy-IUML conspiracy to slight him. The smoldering discontent in the I-camp erupted recently with unexpected repercussions. Speaking at a function in memory of a Congress stalwart (CK Govindan Nair) at Kozhikode, Chennithala reminisced, probably intentionally, that the departed leader had misgivings about allowing too much leeway to the IUML as it would harm the Congress eventually. As soon as he uttered these words IUML leaders lost their cool and said if that was the Congress thinking the League was not keen to continue in the alliance. An explanation by Ramesh diluting the acidity of his observation did not help. There was strident demand in a conclave of top League leaders to leave the ministry forthwith. This prospect set the alarm bells ringing everywhere. If the IUML pulled out, the UDF government would fall. Hectic parleys brought the Congress and the League to a reasonable frame of mind and both sides agreed to a truce. Both had grievances about the other and they decided to leave them to the Congress high command to sort out. So the uneasy truce continues. The existential crisis, however, had a salutary effect: there is a lull in the internecine war within the Congress.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
NAVEEN HEMMED BETWEEN Will Odisha offer some good luck to the BJP and the Congress this time in the wake of numerous controversies and mega mining corruption charges and hosts of instances of malgovernance that roil the image of Naveen Patnaik government? Modi and Rahul both have visited the state to assess ground realities, pep up party functionaries’ morale and chalk out an effective war strategy. In fact Naveen, desperately eager to usher in a federal front, might be happy at the prospects of antiincumbency votes divided equally between these two national parties
By Ashok B Sharma
he Congress, aware of Modi’s antics to create ripples in Odisha, is carefully planning its strategy. Its first move was the appointment of a dalit leader
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi
Jayadeb Jena as the state president of the party followed by replacing Jagdish Tytler by BK Hariprasad as the AICC incharge for the state. The party’s general secretary, Hariprasad is also in charge of the party’s campaign in the neighbouring states, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das and Rajya Sabha member Rama Chandra Khuntia were appointed as AICC secretaries with additional charges. However, Srikant Jena, who continues as minister of state with
independent charge at the centre is still awaiting his elevation. With the changes effected in the leadership, the state Congress party in the state has got a right booster dose from the visit of its national vice president, Rahul Gandhi last week. His public meeting in Bhuvneshwar was reasonably successful. Prior to him, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who is spearheading BJP’s poll campaign in the country, also left his footprints in the state with his darshan of the presiding deity, Lord
MODI AND RAHUL GANDHI
Rahul Gandhi after he was appointed as vice president of the Congress party
Jagannath in Puri and meeting 250-odd local leader on July 16. Modi, however, did not address any public meeting in his one-day trip. However, he tried to leave his imprint on the psyche of common people by speaking in chaste Odia after offering puja at the Gundicha temple where Lord Jagannath rested during the Rath Yatra and his darshan of Sri Mandir, Maa Bimala and Lakshmi Devi. ‘I respect the contribution of the Odia people who shed sweat for development of Gujarat,’ he said. His attempt to speak Odia was to convey to
the people how come chief minister Naveen Patnaik, son of the illustrious leader Biju Pattnaik, has not yet learnt to speak their language. Modi brought into focus the relations between Gujarat and Odisha by saying the textile city, Surat owes its growth to the artisans from Odisha. Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Krishna in Dwarka and as Mahaprabhu Jagannath in Puri. Lord Shankaracharya set up four Dhams, including Dwarka in the west and Puri in the east. The salt satyagraha of Inchudi in Balasore was the next biggest after Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra.
He said that he came from Somnath Dham to seek the blessing of Lord Jagannath. ‘Jai Jagannath’ and ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ rent the air in Puri wherever Modi visited. The BJP workers in the state are upbeat after Modi’s symbolic visit. The party has its base in the western part of the state and Modi has the intention of reviving it. BJP’s base in western Odisha was eroded after the ruling BJD divorced its alliance partner, BJP just before the 2009 polls. The BJD-BJP bonhomie which lasted for 10 years helped the saffron party to create its base in western Odisha. If Modi’s dream of reviving BJP in western Odisha becomes a reality and the Congress makes efforts to concentrate in the populous coastal belt, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD is likely to be hemmed between the two. How long Naveen can encash upon the name of his father! The coastal Odisha has larger share of seats in the state assembly as well as in the Parliament. The Congress can garner substantial seats from this area. The BJP has potential in the western belt. The BJP has rightly chosen Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, who hails from Bolangir district in western Odisha and four-time legislator, as the president of the state unit of the party. Deo hails from the princely lineage of the former chief minister Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo.The misrule of BJD government has given enough scope for the BJP and the Congress both to boost their electoral outcome this time. Scams, scandals, breakdown of law and order, scrapping of large investments are visible landmark failures of Naveen government. Naveen is on the non-BJP and non-Congress sentiments, making it clear that he would not have any truck with either the BJP or the Congress and go alone in the upcoming polls to the state assembly and parliamentary election both.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
SIDDARAMIAH TREADS CAREFULLY IN KARNATAKA
Congress incharge for Karnataka Digvijay Singh with state chief minister Siddaramaiah at a meeting in Bengaluru
The beginning of Siddaramiah as the Congress chief minister has been good, but he would have to tread carefully considering the old guard would make every effort to contain his influence as they treat him as an old JD-S man. To feel more assured, he would have to deliver in the Lok Sabha elections at least 18-20 seats, against six of now, out of 28, to ensure full term for himself. 50
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By Uma Sharma
hen former chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy, JD-S, lavished praise on chief minister Siddaramiah in the assembly this week for having run the state’s finances effectively during his term under him as finance minister, the latter did not know where to look. After all, the compliment had come from the most unexpected quarters. Especially as Siddaramiah had left the JD-S six years ago and was now heading a Congress government, never mind the fact that there was a lot of bitterness between Kumaraswamy and his father former prime minister Deve Gowda, and Siddaramiah. The parting was never pleasant. This did not come as a surprise to those who know Siddaramiah well. Never one to mince words, he has always been known to be practical and a nononsense man at that. This explains his way of working, however rustic. He had realised that in the JD-S, he would never get a chance to lead the state, an honour Deve Gowda reserved for his son, Kumaraswamy. Now virtually in his third month as Karnataka’s chief minister, Siddaramiah has had to tread very carefully, considering the number of detractors that he has within the Congress itself. After all he was always considered an outsider by the party’s old guard which jealously guarded what it believed was its exclusive turf.
Rice at Re 1 per kg for BPL caused heart-burn More so, as the tag of being a onetime JD-S man, never left him. Of course, he did make a few
KARNATAKA mistakes on assuming office as chief minister, like announcing the scheme to provide Rs 1 per kg rice for BPL families. This was done within minutes of being sworn in and that too without the formation of a council of ministers. That announcement clearly led to much heart burning among the partymen who wondered why he was in such a tearing hurry even if the proposal was part of the party’s election manifesto. That apart, the induction of his close associates and former JD and JDS colleagues, including Srinivas Prasad and Mahadevappa, for example, into the cabinet, even giving them senior posts, was not something which was digested by the old guard within the Congress. Besides, he left out senior Congressman, D K Shivkumar, from the cabinet if only to ensure that it retained its clean image, more so as the latter had come under a cloud over supposedly questionable land transactions. This apart, Siddaramiah has had to wage a determined battle to ensure that the party’s central leadership did not submit to demands of having a deputy chief minister in KPCC president, G Parameshwar. The state unit chief of the Congress was unlucky to have lost the elections from Koratagere, his constituency in Tumkur. That shock defeat cost him the post that Siddaramiah is occupying today, something the chief minister is well aware of. Especially, as Parameshwar, like the chief minister, too hails from the backward community though he enjoys a special relationship with the Gandhi family. It is in this background that the chief minister has had to function even though he realises that every effort would be made by the old guard in the party to curb his influence, evidenced by the formation of the co-ordination
committee. This panel, ostensibly, has been formed to ensure smoother administration but fools none. It clearly ensures that the chief minister does not take any independent decision. To that extent he has been reined in. Notwithstanding these irritants, Siddaramiah is slowly but steadily proving his mettle as an administrator. This is evident from the budget that he presented in July which clearly emphasises his inclination towards inclusive growth. Apart from the allocations that he has made for the farm
sector, enough has been earmarked to kickstart, rather revive, infrastructure development in the IT city, the showcase for all governments. That he is not new to budgets is clear from the fact that this was his eighth such presentation though he wore different hats earlier. Yet, his grip over the subject cannot be disputed. Ironically, however, this time he has fallen prey to the same mistakes of his BJP predecessors by seeking to present a budget which hovers at about Rs 1.21 lakh crores.
This apart, he has failed to clear doubts about the sources from where he would raise the much needed resources for the power, farm and related sectors other than saying that the annual plan provides for it. For example, in the next few years, he proposes to spend Rs 50,000 crore on irrigation though where the money will come from is anybody’s guess.
Detractors ready to strike Equally surprising, he has not tapped any of the common sources for raising revenue other than steeply increasing the excise on liquor. That, however, is unlikely to bring him all the moolah the state requires and, therefore, the resource position remains a bit cloudy. Nevertheless, Siddaramiah is a shrewd politician and adept at handling the state’s finances. His calm demeanour is a clear indication that he expects a huge dole from the Congress–led UPA in different forms. This apart, so far, he has managed the state’s affairs reasonably well, making the right noises when it comes to development of industries as well. He appears confident of his actions, more so as he enjoys the backing of the party’s central leadership. At least, till now. If anything, he would only need to guard against complacency. For, in the Congress one can never be certain about one’s longevity in power. To feel more assured, therefore, Siddaramiah would have to deliver in the Lok Sabha elections which are barely a few months away. The Congress would like to get at least 18 to 20 seats, against six now, out of the 28 available from Karnataka. If Siddaramiah can deliver that, he would be assured of a full term. Else, he may have to remain on tenterhooks, with detractors ready to strike.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
A BRUSH WITH CATASTROPHE IN UTTARAKHAND The writer was in Uttarakhand like lakhs of other tourists to stay away from the scorching heat of plains during the unfortunate period when nature suddenly wreaked havoc at Kedarnath valley in June. Incidentally he was in the other part of the state, which did not have to face the furious nature in its most devastating form, but even in that part of Uttarakhand there were ominous writings on the wall, however none, even the local people, had any clue to what was happening in the other part of Uttarakhand and if something unexpected was also there in store for them. Here is an account of his fearsome journey, which revealed to him how constantly increasing tourism has laid the invisible foundation of many future calamities. Government needs to take urgent steps to stop them...
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The river Saryu in spate at Bageshwar
By Ratan Mani Lal
ravelling in the Terai and lesser Himalayan region of Uttarakhand is always a pleasurable exercise. For anyone going to the Uttarakhand hills through the plains of Uttar Pradesh, the transition that unfolds, as soon as one moves beyond Kathgodam for Kumaon or beyond Hardwar for Garhwal, is one of the most pleasing to the eyes. For years, people have been travelling to the Uttarakhand hills mostly to escape the scorching heat of the plains during summer months, or for pilgrimage to the Chardham, which includes iconic Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines located high up in the hills. Never in the history, a trip to Uttarakhand
turned out as tragic as the one undertaken by hundreds of thousands people in June 2013. Up to June 13, the weather in the plains of Uttar Pradesh was hot and humid, with clouds gathering in the distant horizon to occasionally release some pre-monsoon showers. In Uttarakhand, the pre-monsoon rains had been rather heavy, but no public warning had been issued about such heavy rains that could lead to any possible cloudburst or landslide. And thus, the journey of the tourist and the devout continued into the state, mostly through automobiles as the train service ends at Kathgodam and Dehradun in Kumaon and Garhwal, respectively. The rainfall that started on June 14 was like any other pre-monsoon showersâ€”sometimes heavy, sometimes light, but not lasting beyond a few minutes or an hour to the most. The tourists were happy while driving up the winding hills that the weather turned out conducive to their travel spirits, and
All through June 16-18, there was no sign of any movement of relief or rescue teams, roadclearing machinery or emergency teams. Surprisingly, the state government employees were reported to be the first to flee from their places of posting. Most of them moved to safer places down below, and all those who stayed back were of the rank of patwari or lekhpal, and local residents had nowhere to go. Even at Ranikhet or Bageshwar the district officers were nowhere to be contacted and no extra measures had been made at the Bageshwar district hospital.
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Raod and roadside railing damaged by landslide near Kainchi Dham on June 18
expected a pleasant and memorable stay at places of their destination. This writer too was among the thousands who had checked into the Kumaon hills, with Ranikhet as the first halt. This beautiful cantonment town, home of the Kumaon Regiment, is all-season favourite because of its cool climate and beautiful view of the Himalayas. On June 14, a trip to the beautiful resorts of Ramgarh and Mukteshwar amid the continuous rain was quite enjoyable. Unknown to most, the rainfall had become rather fearsome in Garhwal, a couple of hundred kilometres to the northwest. On June 15, it rained all day long in Ranikhet, Almora, Ramgarh and Gopeshwar also but traffic movement was not affected. On the other hand, landslides had started damaging roads and causing havoc in Garhwal, the news of which started trickling in at Ranikhet. It rained heavily all over Kumaon on June 16, giving rise to a lurking fear that all was not well. People at the Kumaon Regimental Centre in Ranikhet said there were reports that something major had happened in Garhwal with landslides and cloudbursts, but still the extent of damage was not known. As the scheduled stay in Ranikhet came to an end on June 17, this writer and his
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With a phenomenal increase in the number of vehicles carrying tourists coming to these places, there has been a huge demand of rooms, guest houses and hotels. The state government, instead of implementing any proper plan to construct roadside facilities, motels or state tourism hotels, has allowed individuals and private builders a free run. As a result, socalled lodges and guest houses running up to three storeys have come up on land measuring as little as 200 sq ft. It appears as if no permit is required at all to construct a building. Buildings come up almost overnight with signboards proclaiming that it is a guest house. group had two choices â€“ either return towards Bhowali on way to Haldwani/Kathgodam and back to Lucknow, or to reach Almora, and then get a reality check if going to other destinations (in Kumaon) was advisable or not. Tourist guides and Kumaon Motor Operatorsâ€™ Union representatives said all was clear and visiting Kausani, Baijnath and Bageshwar was not problematic at all. But just a few kilometres out of Ranikhet, on way to Kosi, there was the first sign of something being wrong, yet
no idea of any historic disaster. Just before Kosi, all traffic came to a halt and one could see a long line of cars, vans, mini trucks and buses on both sides. In the middle of the converging beeline of vehicles was a huge tree, broken and felled across the mountainous road by the impact of two huge boulders that had loosened and come down to rest in the middle of the road. Fortunately it was not raining and men came out of the trucks and vans, looking for ways to remove the boulders and get ahead before things became difficult. About a dozen men struggled for more than an hour to use two strong iron rods and crowbars to break the boulders into smaller pieces and then push it down the slope. Removing the broken tree trunk was not difficult, and the traffic could again move on. Even though minor, the incident was a signal that the journey may not be propitious.
No hint of devastation taking place in Garhwal If that was one sign that the damage had extended beyond Garhwal, the further drive to Kausani, Baijnath and Bageshwar confirmed that the heavy rain had caused major havoc all around. While minor breaches on the roads were common, the sight of the Saryu in spate after its confluence with the Gomti at Bageshwar was blood-curdling. Both rivers are different from the rivers of the same name in the plains of Uttar Pradesh. At Bageshwar, the distress signals had been sounded and people were asked to move up from the river bank. Puran Lal, the priest of the famed Shiv temple at Bageshwar said the signs were ominous and he feared something major had happened in the upper reaches. All through June 16-18, there was no sign of any movement of relief or rescue teams, road-clearing machinery or emergency teams. Surprisingly, the state government employees were reported to be the first to flee from their places of posting. Most of them moved to safer places down below, and all those who stayed
UTTARAKHAND back were of the rank of patwari or lekhpal, and local residents had nowhere to go. Even at Ranikhet or Bageshwar the district officers were nowhere to be contacted and no extra measures had been made at the Bageshwar district hospital. Most of the government employees at the nagar palika office or at the district hospital did not know that a calamity of monumental dimensions had already happened at Kedarnath. The extent of the tragedy was more visible on the journey back on June 19 from Bageshwar to Bhowali via Baijnath, Kausani, and Kosi. Major and minor landslides had damaged the roads at dozens of places, at times stones and debris were trickling down even as traffic moved. The roadside metal railing had broken and fallen hundreds of feet down the roadside gorges at many places. Excavators had been put in place to clear the road as there was a great rush of vehicles coming back. One shudders to remember—on June 15, there was a huge rush at Kainchi Dham, the ashram of Baba Neem Karoli about 10 km from Bhowali on the occasion of the annual festival of the ashram. Lakhs of devotees lined the road on both sides of the ashram, waiting in queue for their turn to enter the ashram even as rain played hide and seek. Hundreds of vehicles had been parked on roadsides and open spaces and hundreds of Uttarakhand police jawans and officers were on duty to maintain order on the hilly road. If the heavy rain and landslides had occurred on June 15, the situation could well have been severely tragic. On June 18, a few houses had collapsed at Ranikhet also, while shocked residents at Kausani, Majkhali and Bhowali could not believe the newspapers with screaming headlines about devastation at Kedarnath. Rain stopped on June 18 and June 19 onwards, it did remain overcast but dry and humid. It was only when returning tourists stopped at Haldwani or Kathgodam, amid the hustle and bustle of the plains that a collective sigh of relief went through them. Most of the
returning travellers could not believe that the other part of Uttarakhand had witnessed a tragedy of unimaginable proportions while they had seen only a fraction of the nature’s fury.
Unplanned growth is to blame Places like Bhowali, Kausani, Baijnath, Bageshwar, Almora and Ranikhet have become popular tourist attractions in recent years. With a phenomenal increase in the number of vehicles carrying tourists coming to
no attempt whatsoever at retaining the native style of building design or architecture. Col (retired) Anil Mehrotra, a regular visitor to the hills, says the landscape appears drastically changed every year. ‘The pace of construction is amazing and equally unplanned. Trees are cut to make way for plain land for construction and the soil becomes loose. After heavy rains, a landslide is inevitable,’ he said. Ratan Singh, a forest department employee at Wajula, near Baijnath, said tree plantation was done regularly but
People removing a boulder on the Ranikhet-Almora road
these places, there has been a huge demand of rooms, guest houses and hotels. The state government, instead of implementing any proper plan to construct roadside facilities, motels or state tourism hotels, has allowed individuals and private builders a free run. As a result, so-called lodges and guest houses running up to three storeys have come up on land measuring as little as 200 sq ft. Tea stalls, eateries, roadside vendors have made movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic very difficult, as every traveller to these places would vouch. ‘It appears as if no permit is required at all to construct a building. Buildings come up almost overnight with signboards proclaiming that it is a guest house,’ said Prem Singh, caretaker of a government guest house at Ranikhet. Most of the new constructions are faceless, not in keeping with the landscape and skyline. There has been
the saplings needed years to develop into trees that would hold the soil. ‘Illegal mining and tree cutting have destroyed the mountains of Uttarakhand,’ he rued. Prof RR Roychowdhury, a retired professor of Life Sciences at Lucknow University, says that the Uttarakhand state government has been oblivious of the dangers of unplanned construction and unchecked tourism. The figures of tourist arrivals appear very attractive, and so is the revenue generated from it. But one huge tragedy like this year has admittedly put the state back by three years. ‘If remedial measures, such as controlling over-kill of tourism, immediate embargo on tree felling and new constructions are not taken urgently, natural calamities worse than what we saw this year cannot be ruled out.’ Ominous words, but corrective measures could stop them from coming true in future.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
AMU CAUGHT BETWEEN TEHJEEB & MODERNITY By Adithi Sonali
he Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a premier central university in the country with numerous laurels to its credit as well as fair share of controversies. It has always cared for Tehjeeb as well as tradition along with imparting modern education. But the times are changing in this university as well in the wake of global wave of west-defined modernity. Vice chancellor Lieutenant-General Zammerud Din Shah is known to keep exhorting students, teachers and others to refrain from any activity which may be seen as trying to dilute the Tehjeeb of the AMU, but when a very sincere and liberal provost Dr Ghazala Parveen tried to ensure this through an order, she had to eat humble pie within 24 hours. She in good faith had issued a notice for girl students living in hostels to wear decent dress which meant traditional salwar kameej and dupatta, and certainly not jeans and tops popular these days, along with some other restrictions like on going out to eat in restaurants etc in the light of general criticism of the girls’ increasing wayward behaviour. Since there has been a worrying incident when a girl was molested in the university campus by two outsiders, attention has gone on the dress which girls wear. After that a ban on
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students to use motor rules the roost when it cycles was also comes to boost the announced. But economy through restrictions, no matter investment, the foreign intended for what, are to Tehjeeb in all matters, be opposed. So that also food, dress, ideas and was opposed. behavior, is now in vogue Under media in most university pressure the ‘dress code’ campuses, the AMU is no Vice chancellor circular was withdrawn exception. However, lieutenant-general by the vice chancellor from all points of view Zammerud Din Shah within no time in a way the AMU is still better so declaring that university far as following Indian was as liberal as any other in the ethos and Tehjeeb are concerned. country. Needless to say foreign Many girls reportedly claimed that influence, brought from visits abroad it was gender bias, as there was no such and more due to the impact of internet, dress code circulated for boys. But this is changing not only the dress patterns is untrue as no lesser god than the vice but thinking and behaviour of girl chancellor himself had suggested students in this university. The circular through a letter in April this year to had even announced a fine of Rs 500 if male students to wear sherwani on girls found flouting the norms stated in Fridays and that all students who wished that. This provision created panic among to meet him in the office should come girls and the circular was seen not as an dressed in a sherwani. ‘advisory’ which the university That advisory also invited fierce spokesperson Rahat Abrar later claimed, criticism from media.< but as an order in the fashion of khap panchayats and Shiv Sena keep on issuing in the country. Dr Parveen claimed that she was a liberal person and her order was meant only to inculcate a sense of discipline among students. But just as FDI
REGISTRAR HARASSED IN SUNDAR LAL SHARMA UNIVERSITY
By Lokayat Correspondent
f you challenge authorities citing rules and regulations, you are, more likely than not, to be punished and harassed. Remedial actions are few, circuitous, time consuming, hassleprone and cumbersome. This is in short the experience of Dr Indu Anant, who has seen five transfers in five years for these reasons. But the latest episode is curiouser, when she was not allowed to rejoin as registrar in the Pt Sundar Lal Sharma Open University by its vice chancellor despite clear orders from the higher education department of the Chhattisgarh government. She was told by vice chancellor Dr Awadh Chandraker that she was not required as the university already had a registrar.
Which registrar is good? here have been allegations of numerous irregularities, mostly related to financial matters, in Pt Sunder Lal Sharma Open University for last three years. If sources are to be believed, the vice chancellor removed registrar Indu Anand last year June and installed his confidante Dr B P Sahu as the new registrar in her place to carry on his alleged financial wrong-doings un-questioned. The new registrar Sahu is of dubious reputation, who had even faced suspension while he was in Ravishankar University as a deputy registrar in the infamous fake degree case in 2007. Dr Chandraker was also in that university during that time as a professor. The dispute between vice-chancellor Dr Awadh Ram Chandrakar and Dr Indu Anand according to sources ensued because of their insistence of their respective rights and limitations under the rules and regulations. It is told that the VC used to issue orders bypassing laid down rules of the institution, which used to be objected by Dr Anant.<
She had initially joined as the registrar in 2010, but after one and a half years when she raised objections to certain bills and financial decisions of the vice chancellor, she was sought to be attached to the Additional Directorâ€™s Office of the higher education department. She was communicated that her attachment was being discontinued on 24th July this year and she should join as registrar again, but it was disallowed by the VC. Sources tell that Chhattisgarh governmentâ€™s higher education department had issued the order at the behest of Shekhar Dutt, the governor of Chhattisgarh. The level of harassment is this that she even has not been given salary for last one year on the ground that her service book was not traceable in the university. The service book, a
university property, remains untraceable despite a report filed with the police. Vice chancellor Avadh Chandraker has been accused by Dr Indu Anant of deliberately keeping her service book in his possession just to block her salary. However, Chandrakar brushes aside such allegations saying it is the registrar of a university who takes care of all service books, and being a registrar herself, she must know about her own service book. This issue has been raised several times in the meetings of the executive council without any suitable resolution so far. People of academic circle call the incident unfortunate. They feel that the issue should be resolved soon and there must be close co-ordination between the vice chancellor and the registrar for the sake of smooth functioning of the university.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
nd a G Indi ra
Sonia Gandhi’s constituency Rae Bareilly which already has a slew of high profile premier institutions in the fast growing fields like petroleum, pharmaceutical, fashion and leather designing, now has got two more new national universities—an all-women Indira Gandhi National University and Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, the first in the country in aviation sector.
RAE BAREILLY GETS TWO NEW UNIVERSITIES
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
ajiv Gandhi had weaved a dream for the youth of the country to make India a modern and high tech country, which required quality higher education. He had a firm belief that the country cannot be made selfreliant and great without quality education at every level. He was also a great votary of scientific research and development and it was during his prime ministership that the union government expenditure for research increased substantially. In order to fulfil his dream Sonia Gandhi had cared to see that good educational institutes come in the country. Recently the UPA government announced two more universities for Rai Bareilly. This is yet another matter that Rae Bareilly being her Lok Sabha constituency, the government received flak from some rival political quarters for concentrating premier institutions in her constituency. Nevertheless Rae Bareilly and UP remains a gainer as it is developing as a hub of higher and exclusive education. Since both the universities named after Gandhi family members against the suggestion made by former cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekhar in October 2010, the move is being seen as intended to reap political mileage and ensure another easy win for Sonia Gandhi. Political ground reality of Rae Bareilly is that inspite of immense personal popularity of Sonia Gandhi in the constituency, it is said to have become risky during last few years. This is evident from the fact that in the last assembly election, the Congress couldn’t win even a single seat coming under Amethi and Rae Bareli parliamentary constituencies. So this is being seen by many as an effort to do something extra for the constituency. This criticism apart, if seen
By Aaditya Tewari
Why all job-oriented premier institutions in Rai Bareilly, is the routine criticism. Many say granting two more universities is UPA government’s effort to boost Sonia Gandhi’s chances in the next elections. Inspite of immense personal popularity of Sonia Gandhi in the constituency, it has become risky during last few years. This is evident from the fact that in the last assembly election, the Congress couldn’t win even a single seat coming under Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency.
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
CAMPUS exclusively from the point of view of education, it would certainly add to the status of Rae Bareilly as a centre of higher education. The establishments of Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University is a much needed institution as the aviation sector is growing fast and the much needed education to provide quality man power is missing in the country. Courses related to cabin crew, inflight services, aviation hospitality, airport management etc are much in demand. Since aviation sector is global in its character, it is assumed that every effort would be made to develop the new university of global standards.
Another feather in the cap of Rae Bareilly would be an all women national university. After announcing an all-women bank this move is aimed to woo women voters. But if seen from academic point of view Indira Gandhi National University is sure to offer new opportunities to women as it also is expected to be high standard in terms of infrastructure as well as
pace for all round development of women and supplement the efforts of the government for women's empowerment, giving them an increased access to employment oriented basic courses and high-end research. The first-ever National Aviation University in the country will be set up on a 26-acre plot of land at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy at Fursatganj. The university will be an autonomous body under the administrative control of the civil aviation ministry and will have an estimated funding of Rs 202 crore during the 12th Plan period, of which Rs 80 crore have already been
Educationalists are unanimous in their opinion that the country needed such a university to train the young people for this ever growing and highly prospective sector. The monopoly of private sector is evident in aviation related education and training with several private institutions cropping up in different parts of the country which hardly ensure quality training and depth of course content. Their infrastructural facilities are also not sufficient to
providing new courses in emerging fields. The idea of these two universities was on the table of the HRD and Civil Aviation ministries for over a year. Now the bills related to these two institutions are slated to be passed in the ongoing monsoon session of parliament. The estimated cost of the allwomen Indira Gandhi National University will be Rs 500 crore during the 12th Plan period. As per the announcement, the move will set the
sanctioned by the centre. With Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology which is already an institute of national importance very much like the IITs and IIMs, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Footwear Design and Development Institute and Feroze Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Rae Bareilly is virtually becoming an important education hub of the country.<
deliver personnel that meet the industry requirements.
All women university to open up new vistas of opportunities for them
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
HEALTH IS WEALTH
GETTING OVER JET LAG A long journey by plane traversing through several time zones plays havoc with your body system and you feel tired, donâ€™t get sleep in the night, suffer from lack of concentration and head-ache. This is owing to jet lag, which is caused by disturbance in the circadian rhythm of the body and also the hormone called melatonin....
By Dr PK Mukherjee
f you are a frequent traveller or have just returned home after a nice stint of holiday abroad then you are most likely to experience fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia and other symptoms. This is owing to a condition, called jet lag or jet lag disorder, which is caused by travelling across different time zones and the inability of the body to immediately adjust to the time in a different zone. It may be very disappointing as it takes away whatever fun you have had in your holiday trip. Medically referred to as desynchronosis, the jet lag is caused
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by the disruption of the internal biological clock that follows a 24-hour cycle, called circadian rhythm. In fact, a tiny part of the brain, called hypothalamus, acts like an alarm clock to activate various body functions such as hunger, thirst and sleep. It also regulates body temperature, blood pressure and the level of hormones and glucose in the bloodstream. To help the body tell the time of the day, fibres in the optic nerve of the eye transmit perception of light and darkness to a timekeeping centre within the hypothalamus. Thus, when the eyes of an air traveller perceive dawn or dusk many hours earlier or later than the usual time, the hypothalamus may trigger activities, the rest of the body is not ready for. Consequently, the jet lag occurs. It is pertinent to mention that besides circadian rhythm, a hormone called melatonin also plays a big role in
body rhythms and jet lag. This is interesting to know how it acts. After the sun sets, the eyes perceive darkness and alert the hypothalamus to begin releasing melatonin, which promotes sleep. Conversely, when the eyes perceive sunlight they tell the hypothalamus to withhold its production. However, once disturbed, the hypothalamus cannot readjust the schedule instantly. It takes several days before the effect of the jet lag dies down.
Symptoms of jet lag Besides fatigue and inability to sleep in the night a jet lag sufferer may experience a host of physical and emotional symptoms including anxiety, nausea, dizziness, digestive upsets, coordination problems, impaired judgement and irritability. In extreme cases, it is also known to cause memory
HEALTH IS WEALTH sufferer to get back to his normal rhythm and energy level? Actually, recovering from jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed while travelling. In general, the body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if a traveller has crossed six time zones, his/her body will typically adjust to this time change in 3 to 5 days. However, according to NASA estimates, for getting back to normal, an air traveller needs one day for every one hour time zone. So, a four hour time difference means that the traveller would take four days to get back to normal.
What is time zone? time zone is a geographical region which has the same time everywhere within it. The world has twenty-four time zones, one for each hour of the day. Each zone runs from the east to the west in strips that are approximately 1,600 km wide. However, the actual width of each zone varies to accommodate the political and geographical boundaries. As the earth rotates, dawn occurs at a set hour in each time zone, then an hour later in the time zone immediately to the west, and so on though the 24hour cycle.
How to get over jet lag?
lapses. Some individuals have reported to experience additional symptoms such as heartbeat irregularities and increased susceptibility to illness. Children can also suffer the same jet lag symptoms as adults. However, compared to younger adults older adults may take more time to recover from jet lag. Pilots, flight attendants, ministers and business travellers are the ones who are likely to experience the magnitude of the symptoms of the jet lag more as compared to other travellers.
Direction of travel The jet lag experienced by an air traveller also depends on the direction of his or her travel. The travellers flying to north or south in the same time zone typically experience the least problem due to jet lag because the time of the day always remains the same as in the place where the flight originated. These
travellers may experience discomfort not due to time differences but due to other factors such as confinement in an airplane for a long time or from differences in climate, culture and diet at the destination location. Travellers flying eastward experience the maximum problem due to jet lag while the westward travellers take comparatively lesser time to get back to normal. It is on account of the fact that eastward travellers ‘lose’ time because their day is shortened and so their body takes more time to adjust, leading to severe jet lag. On the other hand, while travelling westward, the traveller ‘gains’ time and so his or her day gets extended. The traveller, thus, gets the extra time that his/her body naturally wants to get back to normal.
How long does jet lag last? How long does it take for a jet lag
Although it generally takes 3 to 7 days for the body to completely recover from jet lag, there are some simple tips following which one can successfully combat jet lag. At least three days before flying the traveller should start resetting his body clock. He should shift his bedtime by an hour or two according to the direction of his travel destination. As soon as the traveller steps into the airplane cabin, he should reset his watch according to the time zone he is travelling to. Also, he must keep himself hydrated during the entire flight and must strictly avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks. In case a traveller, returning home during the daytime, feels exhaust he can take a nap. But, it should be restricted to 30 minutes or less so that it does not interfere with his night time sleep. However, a better bet for the traveller will be to expose himself to sunlight. It will help his body reset the natural clock faster. In case of severe jet lag, alternative therapies may come to the rescue of the traveller. For instance, he can resort to homeopathic remedies or can opt for acupressure for a quicker cure. Sujok (an acupressure therapy that works through certain points in the hand) and auriculotherapy (that works through acupressure points behind the ear) may be tried to combat jet lag.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
MARATHI FILM ON THE LIFE OF ACTRESS
ollywood is still shocked at the ‘suicide’ of actress Jiah Khan. Sudden end of her life is so poignant and painful that many thought of making a film on her. However the first is a Marathi film ‘Nati’ which is being directed by debutant Yogesh Jaadhav. Her role is being played by Marathi actress Tejaa Deokar, who says the film is going to be most powerful and provocative. Jiah was reported to have left a six page suicide note without naming anyone in which she had reportedly written that she was harassed, tortured and raped. Various types of gossips are still doing rounds about her life and how his boy friend might have abetted her suicide. On the basis of phone call records and circumstantial evidences her boy friend Pancholi was finally arrested. The sudden end of this 25 year old talented America-born British Indian actress, model and a trained opera singer has all the elements in her short life that can make a hit film. Jiah had debuted Ram Gopal Verma’s film Nishabd for which she was nominated for Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. Those who have seen her film Nishabd, Ghajini and Housefull, cannot forget her sex appeal and acting talent. Before her death she had signed three south Indian films. The latest buzz is that a hunt is going on to find a male face which is similar to her boy friend. Nati is expected to hit the screen in October.<
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THE FOURTH SUPER HIT IN By Our Film Critic
onakshi Sinha is riding high on the success of her latest movie ‘Lootera’ branded as yet another of her superhits. This fourth success in succession is remarkable achievement as she took to acting only two years ago and during this short period she has scored ten films. From Dabangg to Dabangg 2, from Rowdy Rathore to Son of Sardaar, and now Lootera—all have done roaring business. After all acting is in her blood, she being the daughter of Shatrughan Sinha. Her Lootera is a different kind of film, intensely romantic, set in fifties. This is all the more unusual creation, as films these days are not made on love stories. The role which she played in this film has also been challenging as she herself being so healthy, enacted sick girl Pakhi suffering from troubling asthma and TB. It goes to her acting talent that she looks a genuine patient. Her friends had initially advised her not to take up this role, but she had the hunch that she would succeed. Her upcoming film ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ is also a romance but set in 80s, a totally different kind, where she loves two heroes, Akshay Kumar and Imran. This is a gangster love triangle. This may turn out a desi masala film without the poetic appeal the Lootera has. The question these days is doing the round how she should be rated. Good thing about her is that the success has not spoiled her so far and she maintains a deep desire to learn more. She once revealed to journalists in a free-wheeling chitchat that every film for her is a learning experience. <
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
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<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< sex tape with Tommy Lee was stolen from their home in 1995. Her one more sex tape made before Tommy Lee, involving her with musician Bret Michaels had already made her a sort of a porn star. It is told a four-minute sex tape, the abridged version of that is still available on the internet. While her TV serials and numerous controversies had continued to keep her in the news, she is also known an ardent activist for animal rights and hundred percent vegetarian. Known for flaunting her body, she declares she is not beautiful, and to be more attractive she got breast implants done on her. It is said she made her career out of being large-breasted. However, there is one more aspect of her beauty that she looks more beautiful without makeup.<
By Our Film Critic
he bombshell blonde, Pamela Anderson who earned kudos for sexy photos in Playboy for so many years, marrying thrice and divorcing each time with some bitterness, is now dating her third former husband Rick Salomon. The 46-year-old star, mother of two, had divorced Rick Salomon after living in marital relations with him for just three months in 2008. But now she finds him more comfortable than they were married. Definitely there was some soul-sharing during their earlier edition of relationship, and that stirs their hearts even today. But they would again marry or just keep on dating窶馬othing is certain. Several media reports indicate that none is in a hurry, both are enjoying the new found relationship, which goes on without pressure of any kind, especially the one that a marriage imposes. A news report said that they recently visited Las Vegas where they had tied their knot for the first time, which indicates that they are trying to revive the lost love through old memories. The lady, known for having relationships with myriads of men, had also hit the headlines when one of her TV advertisement was banned after it was adjudged as demeaning to women, showing them as sex object, to be lusted after by male colleagues. The TV commercial was made by a web hosting firm Dreamscape Networks. In the commercial she was shown chairing a meeting of men and during the meeting one of the man fantasied about the lady with her assistant dancing together in biknis. Not only
during the fantasy sequence the two shapely women were shown as sex objects, but during the meeting also their shirts were shown open with a purpose. Pamela Anderson is known to have lived her bindaas life in different professions. The daughter of a furnace repairer and a waitress, she earned her name as an actress, model, producer, author, activist, and as a showgirl. Her TV series Home Improvement, Baywatch, and VIP were extremely popular. She was also chosen as a Playmate of the Month for Playboy magazine in 1990. After her second marriage with a drummer Tommy Lee, she was known as Pamela Lee. She had two children from him. But her marriage became a great stir on internet when her honeymoon
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A thing more important than running the government is to make the independence and democracy successful, which is about to feel the pain and problems of the people and give them prompt relief. And by visualising the future needs make necessary policies, plans and laws and enforce them. With your support we succeeded on these yardsticks. We created new facilities for public, improved service delivery and showed courage to innovate. We did several things, which are the first in the country, and because of which the state would constantly progress with the participation of all, giving happiness and advancement to every section of the society. Crores of greetings and good wishes to all of you on the 67th Independence Day!
Jai Hind! Jai Chhattisgarh!!
Dr Raman Singh
Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh
COOKERY roken wheat has been part of the Indian diet since long however it has not remained very popular with the present generation. Broken wheat being an excellent source of fibre and also low in fat, its nutritional benefits are incontestable. It needs to bring in vogue again in these times of nutritional deficiency. Children, of course, may not relish the simple liquid dal-dalia made traditionally; and the sweet milk-dalia cannot be served to diabetic people. So what needs to be done? A little innovation and broken wheat upma can be made suitable, acceptable and tasty to one and all in the family. In fact it is simple, delicious and healthy, much suitable in breakfast, and to the great relief to a working woman it doesn’t take much time to cook. This recipe combines the wholesomeness of wheat with nutritional richness of vegetables and nuts – sources of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.<
BROKEN WHEAT UPMA B
By Shelja Gupta
• • • • •
• Clean and roast the broken wheat till light golden brown. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, grated ginger, green chillies and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds. Add chopped vegetables and peas. Mix well and sauté on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the broken wheat and curd. Mix well and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt and water. Mix well and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Keep the burner on low flame and pressure cook for 2-3 minutes. Open the lid after 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle black pepper powder, groundnuts, grated coconut and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with green chutney and fresh curd.
• • • • • •
1 cup broken wheat 2 tsp oil ¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai) 8-10 curry leaves 2 green chillies finely chopped ½ tsp grated ginger 1 tbsp curd ½ cup chopped vegetables (carrot, beans, cauliflower) ¼ cup green peas 2 ¼ cup water salt to taste
For the Garnish: • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves • 2 tbsp roasted and coarsely ground groundnuts • ¼ tsp black pepper powder • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh coconut (if available)
Tips: • Do not forget to add curd while cooking: upma then will not be sticky. While serving you may add finely chopped tomatoes, raisins and roasted cashews as well to make it more nutritious and delicious. Noodle masala powder may be added sometimes while cooking for variation. Children too will love this. You can also add chopped onions while cooking. I do not prefer onion as I always cook upma in pure cow ghee. I just love the aroma and find it healthier as compared to any refined oil.
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
ECONOMIC VIABILITY AND Brazilâ€™s unrest against all sports extravaganzas is ironic for a country where sports are an integral part of their national pride. But given the economic downturn the world is facing, no wonder the public had turned against the very issues which integrate them. Apart from the 2014 World Cup it is also to host the Olympic Games two years hence. And Olympic Games leave their mark on every host country for years to come.
By Ramu Sharma
n the day Brazil won the Confederations Cup in front of a packed 120,000-capacity stadium at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, there was a 100,000strong crowd outside protesting against the extravagant spending on stadiums and games. Brazil is hosting the World Cup football next year and the
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
Olympic Games two years later. The agitations have been going on all over Brazil, one of the BRIC countries that have the fastest growing economies. The street protests have been over growing unemployment, galloping inflation as also rampant corruption. This has a familiar ring because these are also issues that have been agitating the Indian public for the past few years, ever since the Commonwealth Games and the run-up to it. The money spent on the games in New Delhi and the way the whole event was managed had left a bad taste. In the process, the purpose for which the event was hosted itself has been
lost sight of â€“-to build the infrastructure and beautify the capital, to generate more revenue by way of tourist arrivals and encourage sports in the country. None of these was achieved. In contrast, the London Olympics was managed much better though there too was rampant corruption (and according to one source it was 20 times more than the Delhi rip-off). But they held the games more efficiently and in the process gave a facelift to East London. The stadiums that were built in Delhi have never been put to use after the event, the beautification is still half done and the wanton manner in which
SPORTS EXTRAVAGANZA the Yamuna flood plains has been tampered with, is bound to have grim consequences. In fact, till today, two years after the Commonwealth Games, Delhiites are left wondering whether the Games were a boon or a permanent disaster. Most of the beautification work is still to be completed and in some cases those that were finished are in ruins because of lack of maintenance. And Connaught Place or Connaught Circus as one would like to call it, one of the world’s rare type of shopping complex, is in a state of pits and holes with no sign of ever regaining its old healthy and statuesque image. There is no one responsible for the outrage in CP, no one willing to come forward and promise to restore it to its original shape. In fact it is not clear whether the culprit responsible for the state of affairs is the NDMC or the Delhi government under Sheila Dixit. Promises are made off and on but these are only through media and remain on paper. Ever since the Montreal Olympics, after which Canada fell into a debt trap there has been serious concern over the way these sports extravaganzas are held. Are they conducted to promote sports among the youth, (‘play the game in the spirit of the game,’ in Pandit Nehru’s evocative phrase), are they done to improve the infrastructure of the city, or are they just for sheer greed of the numerous sports outfits that run like huge cartels and are able to dictate to governments? Montreal was just the beginning. After the Olympics Greece went into deep debt and has become a drag on Europe. Beijing, after the Olympics didn’t fare any better though they held a Paralympics to put a brave face. The Chinese still look at the empty ‘Nest’ in the centre of the city and heave a deep
sigh. Not given to emotions they stop at that or the Chinese media do not project the angst and chest thumping. One of the charges the Rio protesters are making is that the World Cup would benefit only the International Football federation (FIFA) and that the revenue generated would not be available for the people of the country. The charge is very much in tune with the working of most of the world’s sports administrators. The charge against FIFA appears to have the backing of Romario, former Brazilian footballer and part of the World Cup winning Brazilian squad who is now a Congressman. In a column recently he wrote explaining why he is having second thoughts about supporting Brazil’s bid for the next World Cup. He contrasted the change in the financial situation of his country since the time it secured the right to host the Cup with the unyielding stipulations of the
governing body of international football. But elsewhere, right from Tahir Square in Cairo to Rio, the crowds are shouting almost the same slogans –against corruption, for jobs, for better living standards, and not state-of-theart stadiums. Now with the instant media coverage and virtual projection we are seeing all these as they happen. The communication system has become so advanced that nothing can be covered up. In that sense the vision of HG Wells, of One World, has come true. We are all in this mess together.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
‘Dedicated to the conservation of trees and other natural resources, we make paper from the use of rice stem’
We and our heroic workers made plain papers
The countrymen filled them with words and colours
Madhya Bharat Papers Ltd
Head Office: 113, Park Street, 4th Floor North Block, Kolkata (West Bengal) Regd Office & Mill: Village—Birgahni, Post—Champa, Distt—Janjgir-Champa (Chhattisgarh)
CLOUD BURSTS, WHY? Cloudburst caused havoc in Uttarakhand, killing around 5,000 people. But what is a cloudburst? There are a lot of vague assumptions about it. A scientific explanation is given here... By Lokayat Correspondent
he recent unprecedented devastation witnessed in Uttarakhand, which was dubbed by its chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, as â€˜the Himalayan tsunamiâ€™, was caused by a cloudburst and resultant landslides. But what is a cloudburst? There is a lot of misconception about cloudburst. Some people think that during cloudburst a cloud bursts open like a paper bag. But, in reality, the cloud never bursts open. Actually, cloudburst refers to sudden, highly concentrated rainfall over a small area which may last for a few minutes or hours. This leads to flash floods, which can disrupt all the normal systems of draining out water peacefully. Meteorologists label rainfall over 100 mm per hour as cloudburst. During a
cloudburst, more than 20 mm of rain may fall sometime in just a few minutes which otherwise normally takes many hours. Various researches suggest that cloudbursts are caused by strong convection currents. They act to lift the moisture laden air with sufficient rapidity to form dense clouds which cumulate vertically, sometimes extend up to a height of 15 km. The topological conditions like steep hills favour the formation of these clouds. Rapid precipitation from such clouds occurs when the size of rain droplets grow by coalescing with smaller droplets. Eventually, the droplets become so much bigger in size that the clouds are no longer able to hold them. Clouds shed the excess water load with great strength and ferocity. The situation is akin to a person carrying a heap of grass or bundle of wood on his head who, on getting exhausted, throws
the heavy load on the ground. The events of cloudbursts are more rampant in steep hills and the resulting devastation is also of greater magnitude in such areas. This is because the water flowing down the steep slopes brings debris, boulders and uprooted trees with great force damaging anything that comes in their way. Can cloudburst be predicted? At present there is no satisfactory technique for anticipating the occurrence of cloudbursts. A fine network of radars is required to detect the likelihood of a cloudburst. However, this could prohibitively be expensive. In fact, only the areas likely to receive heavy rainfall can be identified. Nevertheless, much of the damage can be avoided by way of identifying such areas and the meteorological situations that favour the occurrence of cloudbursts.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
GROWTH BELIED,RUPEE WEAKENS Growth revival is eluding, rupee is weakening and current account deficit is reminding days of 1991. Government thinks there is no way out but to ease FDI investment and it hurriedly increased FDI limit in 13 sectors. By Janmesh Jain
he latest economic data are belying the hopes of growth-revival. The finance minister P Chidambaram and the prime minister Manmohan Singh, both have time and again, tried to assure that very soon India would return to the high growth trajectory, but the latest RBI data issued at its policy review meeting on July 30 tell a different story. The central bank is unequivocal in its assertion that the growth may not pick up any time soon. Contrary to the hopes of modest 6 percent growth in 2013-14, the RBI estimates it to be around 5.5 percent. Low growth is not the only worry for the government. The risk of current account deficit continues and the panicky government does not seem to have any clue how to reduce import even as it has already left hopes of increasing exports to take care of the problem. Similarly, the fiscal deficit figures are continuing to be a cause of concern. Though these problems were not enough to depress sentiments, suddenly in July came as bolt from the blue the weakness of rupee. Within
less than two months its value against US dollar got reduced from Rs 54 to Rs 60. Many believe this may go as low as Rs 65. If this happens then the business environment in the country is going to face very tough. Already experts say some fifty percent of the Indian companies would not be able to service their loan this year. Those who borrowed from abroad are now in soup. The remedy that the RBI offered to stop volatility in rupee has proved worse than the disease. Rupee can regain its old value when foreign currency starts coming to India. The foreign exchange reserve is lowest in last several years. Foreign investment in Indian equities and bonds is being withdrawn. So government thinks the only way out is to make foreign direct investment (FDI) more attractive. The BJP and the left parties have criticised the government move. BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said when Indians themselves are not investing here, why foreigners would put their money here. The BJP especially opposed increasing the FDI limit in Telecom and Insurance sectors. But the cabinet has approved the limit in the telecom and courier services to 100 from current 74 percent and in the insurance sector to 49
percent from 26 percent. Left parties are even more stringent in their criticismâ€”they say the UPA government is mortgaging economic interests of the country to foreign capital by increasing the FDI limit. This will only open way for profits going out of the country even more. But the UPA government before the next Lok Sabha elections cannot afford to see the mayhem in the economic sector and increased the FDI limit in 13 sectors. Even in the politically sensitive multi-brand retail sector, several conditions have been eased. Now the condition that foreign super markets can open their outlets only in cities with population of more than 1 million has been withdrawn. Similarly the condition of sourcing 30 percent from small domestic industries has been changed by changing the definition of small industries for this purpose. And the condition that 50 percent of the investment will have to be made in back-end infrastructure has been limited to moderate $ 50 million. <
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
• Fifty percent reservation for women in Panchayats, 56 percent are getting elected • Easy loans to self-help groups, the rate of interest reduced from 6 to 3 percent • Government honorarium doubled for Anganwadi workers & helpers • Assistance under Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana increased to Rs 15,000 from Rs 10,000 • Under Swavlamban Pension Yojana for Mitanins, payment of incentive from Panchayats • Rate in Poorak Poshan Ahar Scheme increased by 50 percent • Free double fortified salt to remove anaemia among pregnant women and lactating mothers • The number of Anganwadi Kendras increased from 21,000 to 31,000 • Women groups involved in running ration shops and mid day meal programmes • Ration card in the name of the eldest woman of the family • Registration in joint names in government housing schemes • Relief of 2 percent in stamp duty on purchasing immovable property in the name of woman • Free sarees to tendu leave collectors • Free bicycles to High School girl students, construction workers and Anganwadi workers • Appointment of 1,000 Mahila Nagar Sainiks to provide security to girls hostels and residential schools (Asharamshalas) • Standard parameters set for residential institutes for girls • Mahila Nigrani Samitiyan for ensuring security to girls’ institutes • Free farming implements kit to landless labour • 285 Fulwari Kendras in thinly populated habitations even if the number of children was only ten
BUMBLING BUSH AND CHECKMATED OSAMA
: Longest War, The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda Author: : Peter L. Bergen Price : Rs 499 Publisher: Simon & Schuster
By Our Literary Critic
any books have been written about the rise and fall of Osama bin Laden, the charismatic leader of Al-Qaeda which he helped grow as a synonym for global terror, but this single volume on the events that harassed and tormented the West, particularly the US, like nothing before could easily be the most comprehensive one on the subject. Peter Bergen, arguably the best qualified to attempt this monumental work had firsthand knowledge of the Hindu Kush region –he had visited it over 14 times for various periods--had access to a mine of
first and second hand material, interviewed most of the top jihadists including bin Laden, and had consulted American military and intelligence officers who were directing field operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for well over ten years. Above all, Bergen had been the CNN’s national security analyst and had authored two other books, one a bestseller, on bin Laden. Bergen brings his knowledge and expertise to take a close and candid look at the events, with the eye of a veteran journalist, from the US strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attack on New York, to the endless and escalating war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the dramatic killing of Osama bin Laden. And in this effort he has unhesitatingly
exposed the foolish judgments and even more laughable pronouncements of president Bush and meek complicity of the British government to US dictates. For instance, it was a huge strategic blunder on the part of Bush to Invade Iraq just because he liked to believe without any shred of evidence that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attack. And to impose his will on allies in this regard and hoodwink the world, he fabricated proof that Saddam had amassed chemical and biological weapons posing a threat to its neighbours! Unwittingly it only gave a new lease of life to the waning jihadist movement and brought shame and defeat to the US in the Afghan operation. The author mocks that while it was virtually losing the war, the Bush thought he had already won it! The coercive interrogation methods used to extract information from captured terrorists made bin Laden more vindictive and turned the Muslim world against America. Al-Qaeda led by bin Laden also erred in many respects. The 9/11 adventure turned out to be the most stupid. It caused the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan which was at its peak power then, and destroyed al-Qaeda’s safe haven there. The ruthless deeds it perpetrated in Iraq destroyed the support it enjoyed there and dented the goodwill of the Muslim world. Despite his appeal among jihadists, bin Laden was also a weak leader: he was not acceptable to a wider constituency. His primary goal was to replace all Middle-East regimes with Taliban-style rule. In this he failed miserably. The book corrects a general impression that the US president, advised by pompous secretaries and assisted by intelligence agencies and research institutions with fat budgets, cannot go wrong, but we find that often he followed his own foolish whims with disastrous results. Similarly, even clever and committed jihadists like Osama bin Laden could be too short-sighted and impractical to miss vivid realities.<
AUGUST, 2013 LOKAYAT |
Why reduce help to really poor! imes are really funny. The Congress’s prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi in his usual panache said: Poverty is a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. All hell broke loose at the statement. Similar thing happened a few days earlier when the planning commission declared that the poverty had come down by 12 percent in just 7 years. The commission used the criterion set by Tendulkar Committee according to which if a family of five was spending Rs 5,000 a month in urban area, it was not poor. Opposition challenged bitterly the claim of reduction in poverty. It was, on the contrary, waiting to hear that thanks to Manmohanics poverty has increased. But what will you say, when none else but the government itself claims, that there is huge increase in poverty, so much so that 67 percent people sleep hungry in the country and they need to be given subsidised grains. Horrendous! This inspite of the Garibi Hatao of Indira Gandhi, then efforts of Rajiv Gandhi, then of Morcha sarkars supported by the left and now the aam aadmi centric UPA government! What a funny joke!! The NSSO when went out to collect data asking people if they got enough to eat throughout the year, there were less than 3 percent people in urban areas and 1 percent in rural areas in 2004-05 who admitted, yes, they did not. These really extremely poor people are located in remote, interior and hilly areas. They certainly need to be helped. Not only they, but many more, may be 20-25-30 percent in the country. But why 67 percent! Why twice the number of below poverty line people! Why their share of subsidy be passed on to those who really are not that poor! The situation becomes funnier when the left parties like CPM say the subsidised food grains should be given to all and sundry, meaning thereby to even millionaires. Such is the quality of political debate and policy making in the country! The argument to support universalisation of food subsidy was that the calorie intake has gone down in India, from 2267 calories in 1972-72 to only 2047 per capita in rural areas in 2004-05. They shut eyes from the fact that calorie intake is not that much required now due to various developments like work requires less energy due to use of technology and better mode of transport. But there are hosts of NGOs who have to line up their pockets by inflating India’s poverty and hunger! And unfortunately the policy making today has been hijacked by them. In fact poor are troubled more by poor hygiene and poor quality of drinking water, not by non-availability of food grains. India’s poor are even more afflicted by corruption, which does not allow the PDS to deliver food grains to the below poverty line people, who are around 270 million in the country, and who really need help. But the focus of the government is shifting from the really poor to a broader spectrum, for the sake of votes. Doling out subsidised food to the non-poor is essentially an anti-poor move, as also anti-growth. It is like wasting scarce resources, which could be used to increase the efficiency of the PDS. Most parties did not oppose the move as it is a matter of 67 percent votes, no matter it would increase the food-subsidy burden to one and a half times, also strain the fiscal deficit and create risk of sovereign downgrade, would distort the market to ruin already suffering farmers.<
| LOKAYAT AUGUST, 2013
Lokayat English Political Magazine