Archive for the ‘Indian Politics’ Category

Old Guard vs Young Brigade: Can Rahul Prevail

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Old Guards Vs The Young Brigade: Can Rahul Prevail?

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

The fight between the old guards and the young brigade of the Congress is finally in the open. Like his father, Rajeev Gandhi (Mr. Clean of yester years), Rahul Gandhi has been keeping his instinctive aversion to the culture of corruption in the Congress in check. This was possibly due to biddings of his mother. It is always difficult for a young man to come out of his mother’s influence. But his patience seems to have burst when the Congress brought in an ordinance to save the membership of the parliament of convicted political leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav. His going public with his views against the Ordinance forced the Congress to withdraw the Ordinance. But he immediately fell silent on other instances where the Congress Old Guard kept stalling attempts to investigate scams by denying the CBI permission to question senior bureaucrats or to prosecute tainted leaders without assigning any reason. He has remained silent over the Maharashtra Governor’s refusal to allow prosecution of ex chief minister Ashok Chavan and the Maharashtra Cabinet’s decision to reject the finding of a judicial commission on the Adarsh Housing Society Scam set up by the same Cabinet without assigning any reason. However, by design or otherwise, another member of the young brigade, central minister and Congressman  Milind Deora has taken up cudgels against corruption and gone public with his demand that the Adarsh Housing Society scam must be effectively investigated and the guilty punished. The other interesting development in the struggle between the Old Guard and the Young Brigade is the attempt by the old guard to reverse the decision of the Congress, possibly taken at the behest of Rahul Gandhi and the Young Brigade, to unconditionally support the AAP in forming a government in Delhi.

It is natural for the Old Guard in political parties, bureaucracy and the police to be alarmed by the anti corruption election plank of the AAP and its adoption by the Young Brigade in the Congress. For decades they have thrived from the Congress Party’s benign tolerance of corruption and amassed hundreds of millions, thousands of acres, tons of gold and lucrative benami properties. They hold esteemed position in society and have started political dynasties which they hope will last forever. They are aghast that their own scions are questioning their wisdom of turning a firm blind eye to corruption.  The fear of being exposed and being held accountable by the long arm of law have unnerved them to rebel against the party policies.

History of Struggle

The history of struggle between the Old Guard and the Young Brigade is nothing new. Indira Gandhi, in her early days as Prime Minister, faced opposition from the “Syndicate” of Old Guards to her policies. She was bold enough to take them on in selection of the presidential candidate, preferring V V Giri to Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, backed by the “Syndicate”. Her candidate won and she packed off the Old Guards and established a new order.

Rajeev Gandhi was confronted by the Old Guards (his mother’s confidants or new order) on his attempts to clean up corruption and to introduce the Muslim Women’s Maintenance Bill in line of the Supreme Court judgement on the “Shah Bano” case. But he lacked the guts and political acumen of his mother. He lamented that only 25 paise of each Rupee earmarked for development reached the poor but did nothing to check the leaks. The Old Guard made merry and ferried their spoils to undisclosed stashes and foreign tax havens. Only a few unfortunate ones like Sukh Ram were caught and convicted.

Conclusion

The battle between the Old Guards and the Young Brigade in the Congress has started again. The Young Brigade has rightly recognized that India and the Indian electorate are changing. One third of the Indian electorate is below 35 and in another five years, almost half of Indian electorate will be under 35, literate and social media savvy. An army of RTI activitists and investigating journalists are constantly unearthing instances of corruption. With media coverage of corruption reaching every corner of the country almost instantly, it is not possible to hide corruption the way it could be in the good old days. The stunning electoral victories of the poor man’s AAP and the Congress’s electoral rout in the Delhi state, Rajasthan and MP elections was proof enough for the sceptics to admit that honest politicians could win elections and that young India was fed up of the two timing dishonest and criminally oriented politicians and ready to throw them out. The Young Brigade therefore wants to opt for probity in public life to survive.

For the Old Guards, the stakes are too high. The Lok Pal Bill (whether adequate or inadequate) has been passed. Rahul Gandhi is pushing for four or five other anti corruption bills to be passed. AAP and BJP are promising to reinvestigate closed cases. The Old Guard will therefore employ every trick in the trade to stall investigations and prevent the Young Brigade of the Party to sideline them and take over the Congress Party.

It will be interesting to see whether Rahul Gandhi has the guts of his grandmother to take on the Old Guard and rid the grand old Congress of its corrupt and criminal elements, bring transparency and probity in functioning of Congress governments and take the wind out of the sails of AAP and BJP and win back the confidence of the electorate before the Lok Sabha elections. A lot will depend on whether he has the support of his mother in his endeavour. If he fails it is curtains for the Congress in the next election.

Should We Forget Nehru

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Should We Forget Nehru

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The BJP Government of Rajasthan has revised its text books to eliminate the mention of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first prime minister of India. Our honourable Prime Minister wants a Congress “Mukt” (free) Bharat (India). It is only natural that his party men will try to erase the memory of great leaders that the Congress Party has produced and hope to improve their standing with him. This pathological hatred of the Congress Party, particularly the Nehru, Gandhi family is unbecoming of a great leader. Respect begets respect. Hatred begets hatred. This action of eliminating the name of Pandit Nehru, like many other controversial dictates of BJP governments like banning possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra (since set aside by the High Court), Gujarat and Haryana, closing dance bars (since set aside by the courts), saying “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, singing “Vande Mataram”, teaching Sanskrit, Indian culture and Manusmriti at engineering colleges is now a matter of debate in the media, coffee shops and teas shops. May I also be allowed to say my bit?

Pandit Nehru’s role in India’s freedom struggle is neither unique nor spectacular. Many well known persons like Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi and many unknown freedom fighters have made greater contributions or sacrifices. I agree that Pandit Nehru need not be remembered as a freedom fighter. I also agree that his becoming prime minister could have been an act of favouritism on the part of Mahatma Gandhi. He is unfairly held responsible by many for Partition and the Kashmir Problem. (It was the “Direct Action” riots started by the Muslim League in 1946 that forced Partition.) I hold him responsible for introducing and tolerating a culture of corruption and nepotism among the political class and government servants which has continued unabated till today. I also blame him for weakening the armed forces and leading the country to a disastrous defeat in the 1962 war with China. Nehru also neglected agriculture which led to our being dependant on US PL480 food aid program. I cannot say how many of these mistakes were committed in good faith and how many were due to lack of administrative experience. Whether he should be forgiven or not is for each one of us to decide ourselves after due diligence and not based on BJP propaganda? (Will Modiji be forgiven for “Demonetisation”? Only time will tell.)

I am a great admirer of Nehru the visionary, a man who dreamt big and set India on the way to be the knowledge, industrial and economic powerhouse that we are today. I want to chronicle his contribution to the modernisation of India for the knowledge of the younger generations who are unaware of his enormous contribution to India’s growth and are encouraged by those who envy his achievements not to give the man his due. Please remember that he was Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964. Let us see what he achieved during these 17 years.

Field of Education

Nehru could visualize the need for professional and technical education to take forward a resurgent India. He founded the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai (1958), Delhi (19610, Kanpur (1959) and Kharagpur (1956). Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act 1956 founded the basis for these institutions. Institute of Technology’s Act 1961 created 16 Engineering colleges all over India. Over 350,000 students strive to join the IITs every year. Do they know who started them?

Nehru established the Atomic Energy complex at Trombay in 1954. This was later renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 1967 and is the bedrock of development of Atomic energy for peaceful and military purposes. He established the Indian National Committee for Space Research 1962 which became ISRO in 1969. India is now the third ranked power in space technology after the US and Russia. He established the Defence Research and Development Organization 1958 so that India’s requirement of Defence equipment could be developed and built in India.

He was responsible for setting up the IIM Kolkata and IIM Ahmadabad in 1961. The inception of almost every institution of higher learning that we have today was due to Nehru’s vision of the educational needs of the people of a vibrant, modern, industrialized and prosperous India.

Field of Industry

Nehru was the originator of “Make in India” concept but not the slogan. Unlike other developing countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria etc, Nehru set India on the path to industrialisation. He set up three public sector steel plants at Bhllai 1955, Durgapur 1960 and Rourkela 1959. Chttaranjan locomotive works established in 1950 has produced 2351 steam locomotives from 1950-72. It now produces electric locomotives. Integral coach factory Chennai set up in 1955 built coaches for Indian railways. Mazgaon dockyard was nationalized in 1960, Garden Reach workshop was established in 1960, Hindustan Shipyard Vizag nationalized in 1961, and Goa Ship Yard set up in1967 to build ships.  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was formed in 1964 as the pioneer of our aeronautical industry. Heavy vehicle factory was set up at Avdi 1965 to build battle tanks. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) set up in 1964 is a world leader in turbine manufacture. Bharat Electronics established in 1954 pioneered manufacture of radio, telephones and radars. Bharat Earthmovers established in 1964 pioneered productions of earth moving equipment in the country. Bharat Petroleum 1952, and Indian Oil Corporation 1964 are the pioneers of crude oil refining and distribution of petroleum products in the country. Heavy Engineering Corporation Ranchi established in 1958 produced heavy machinery for steel and other heavy industries. HMT established in 1953 produced machine tools and watches. ONGC established in 1956 pioneered exploration and production of crude oil in the country. India is perhaps the only developing country where the oil industry is not controlled by foreign companies. Shipping Corporation of India, was established in 1961to meet our shipping needs. Uranium Corporation of India started producing uranium in 1967. Nehru along with the Tatas, Birlas, Munjals, Mahindra was the founding father of industrialized India.

Field of Health Care

Nehru was responsible for the setting up of AIIMS Delhi 1956. Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd was set up in 1954 to meet our immunization needs.

Irrigation and Hydro Power

Nehru understood the importance of harnessing the rivers of India. Damodar Valley Corporation was set up in 1948 on the model of Tennesse Valley Authority. It has four dams producing hydroelectric power Maithon, Panchet, Tilaiya, Konar 1948-1959. He initiated the Bhakra and Beas projects in Punjab. Bhakra Dam was built in 1963. Pong dam on Beas started in 1961 was completed in 1974. Project Hirakud Dam was constructed in 1957, Tungabhadra dam in Karnatak1953 in 1953. 234 dams were built between 1951 and 1961. The Farakka barrage on the Ganges was started in 1961.

Agriculture

Nehru did not do much to encourage farmers. He concentrated on creating infrastructure to support farming. Hindustan Insecticides was established in 1954, Fertilizer Corporation of India in 1961, Food Corporation of India in 1965, National Seed Corporation in 1963. The benefits were to come later.

Conclusion

India is the second most developed developing country not because of the vision of the Sangh which seeks to take us back to medieval India, but because of the vision of Nehru and his actions to introduce professional education and make India self reliant in manufacturing. He did not coin a slogan. He actually set up manufacturing unit. His Public Sector employed more people than required. Under the Modi Government there are over a few million vacancies in every government department from the judiciary, administrative services, school teachers, college professors, nurses, doctors and so one which the government simply refuses to fill to save the wage bill. Engineers and graduates are applying for jobs of security guards and sweepers. Some have taken to snatching chains, stealing motor cycles and taking to other forms of crime.

BJP and Mr. Modi should also realize that the hundreds of thousands of Indian diaspora who organized functions for him all around the world and cheered for him got there and became prosperous because Nehru started IITs and IIMs from which most of them graduated.

You may want to forget Nehru, I never will. I was not taught to be ungrateful by my parents and Gurus.

Women and RSS

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Women Beware; RSS is Taking Over

Hindu wives and daughters beware

RSS, the Hindu Taliban is here

They have no respect for women

They want you each to have four children.

Women are objects in Manuvadi text,

Subservient to men, they have no respect

Father before marriage, later husband

Son of a widow will obedience demand.

Knowledge will make women sinfull

The kitchen is their place rightful

Birth control they do not want

Against Valentine’s Day they will rant.

Falling in love will be an unforgivable sin

Marrying father’s choice will be the in thing;

You will not wear dresses of your choice

Women’s lib will be dead, as will be your voice.

Non veg food you cannot choose

Fun, games and parties will invite abuse;

Go not with your husband to pub or bar,

Watching what you do is the Sangh Parivar.

If you want live in peace without fear,

With body erect and head high, my dear;

In elections do not vote for BJP

Banish RSS and be happy.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Modiji’s War on Corruption

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Modiji has stated that he will not tolerate corruption. “Na Khaunga, na Khane Dunga” (I will not accept bribe nor permit corruption) he has repeatedly roared. He says that he went for demonetizations to stop corruption. He says is promoting cashless economy to stop corruption. But what is happening in the BJP led state of Rajasthan. The BJP government of Rajasthan quietly passed an ordinance on September 7, 2017, making it mandatory for all investigating agencies and courts to obtain the state government’s permission before taking any action against corrupt government officials or politician. The ordinance also provides of a two year jail sentence for any journalist or news media who publishes the name of any politician or official who is accused of corruption before government’s permission is issued. A Bill, named “Gag Order” by the opposition and the media, was introduced in Rajasthan Assembly on 23rd October to convert the ordinance into law. This provoked widespread protests from the opposition, intellectuals and the media. The Bill has strong support from the Central Minister of State for Law and many BJP leaders. Modiji has been silent on the issue. The protests forced the CM to refer the Bill to a select panel for re-examination. But the ordinance remains in place and so does the protection provided to the corrupt. As per RTI answer, the ACB in Rajasthan has received over 15,000 complaints. Prosecution has been allowed for only 51. Sanction is denied or delayed even when an official is caught red handed when taking a bribe.

What is Corruption?

The Little Oxford dictionary defines corruption as dishonest action in return for money or other reward. I would like to define it as “Giving or receiving gratification to ward off danger or threat or to gain something illegally or dishonestly or out of turn.”

Mankind is used to giving and receiving such gratification for millenniums. It started with humans trying to appease Gods to ensure good rains, good fortune, ward off evil, ensure victory in wars and so on. Humans and animals were sacrificed to appease the Gods. Gifts were showered on the gate keepers of the Gods, the priests and the witch doctors. Millenniums have passed. The intervention of Gods are still sought to protect and help us.

We have also added new human gods, the ministers, politicians, police officers, government servants, inspectors, and examiners etc who can delay examination results, trains and flights, slap public and government servants and get them to clean their shoes and make the lives of people hell or heaven. The new gods are more powerful than the real Gods. They also have gate keepers, the personal secretaries, clerks, peons and power brokers who zealously guard the access to the new gods. The new gods and their gate keepers need to be appeased to grant us our wishes and to protect us from evil. The best way to appease them is illegal gratification. This comes naturally to most of us. I wonder why Modiji and some of us make so much fuss about illegal gratification or corruption. Corruption helps us sleep better knowing we can mostly pay and get out of trouble.

Types of Corruption

There are many forms of corruption. Let us examine them one by one.

The first kind is “Speed Money”. We live in the world of shortages where demand for goods and services exceeds availability. There are shortages of jobs, berths on trains, seats in colleges, electric connections, water connections etc and most importantly “time”. So what do we do? We pay speed money to the service provider. Government has been able turn some of speed money into revenue by having “Tathkaal” services for booking berths on trains or getting passports.

The second category is catering to dishonest or illegal demands in return for illegal gratification. We want jobs or seats in colleges for our children though they cannot compete. We resist transfers or postings or want transfers to places and appointments of choice. We want to steal electricity. We want to pay less tax or no taxes. We want to pollute the environment or adulterate food and medicines and make more profits. Our desires are endless. So we are ready to appease the recruiters, college authorities, politicians, brokers and agents who can get us what we want. We are also ready to share the loot with tax inspectors, environmental protection agencies, safety inspectors and police and anyone who can help us to swindle public money, property and resources and avoid or reduce taxes.

The third category is paying for getting offender out of trouble. Sometimes we have accidents or commit crimes or illegal activities like street vending, illegal parking, profiteering, polluting, cheating, raping, molesting, drunk driving, speeding, thrashing Dalits and cow smugglers and even murder. So we are ready to appease the police, the inspectors, and the politicians who may be able to get us out of trouble.

The fourth category is extortion. The police are the masters at this game but some other departments like environment watchdogs and factory inspectors are not far behind. Money is extracted by threatening arrest on false cases and for permitting illegal activities like over loading of trucks, fleecing consumers, vending on trains etc.

Method of Collection

There are different methods of colleting the bribe money. These are discussed below.

The first category is institutionalized collection. Almost all government departments use this to extort money from contractors or suppliers. The contractor or supplier has to pay a fixed percentage to get payments released. The percentage varies from 3 to 10 percent. The money is collected and distributed up and down the chain. The acceptance of one’s share is not considered corruption. Demanding more than the laid down percentage is. The percentage is sometimes declared in pre-bid conferences before tendering and firms are advised to add the cost in working out their bids.

The second category is on the spot collection. Here, negotiations are held directly or through brokers or agents. An advance is paid by the beneficiary and the remainder is paid when the service is provided. This kind of corruption is common for services like granting party ticket to stand for elections, allotting licences, permits, agencies for gas or petroleum products, arranging postings, transfers, promotions, closing vigilance cases, granting contracts and so on.

The third category is payment in kind. This could include sale of properties at concessional rates, grant of citizenship in foreign countries or sexual favours. Some companies employ retired government servants and kin of politicians as employees or consultants. Some companies provide office space, secretarial support and pay credit card dues for retired officials and politicians.

Reducing Corruption

Why does Modiji or anyone else want to reduce or eliminate corruption when it benefits saffron and other politicians and their favoured government servants? It is true that corruption reduces government revenue and quality of construction and services. But that does not make any difference to political parties and politicians. Is it not true that there is a change in the incumbent of all important government posts after each election? Perhaps Modiji wants to protect his image. Let us examine what he has done other than state his anti corruption stance and refer to corruption and scams in the opposition political parties.

He has carried out “Demonetization”. Has it had any effect on corruption? 99 percent of black money has become white. All forms of corruptions are back to normal levels.

The second step he has carried out is “Digitization”. But is cashless payment really cashless? Does one not need to deposit cash in “Payment Wallets” or bank accounts for card based payments?

How does the government track who deposited the cash if the amount is below Rs 50,000?

If Modiji or any other political party is serious about reducing corruption, they have to take some concrete steps. Merely stating intent is not enough.

The first step is doing away with discretionary powers of officials and politicians. They must function as per the rules and regulations. No exceptions should be permitted. Are the political parties ready for such step and for fixed tenures for IAS, IPS and other government servants? Why should government sanction be necessary for corrupt officials caught red handed?

The second step is ensuring transparency in government’s decisions. The Congress is corrupt. But Mrs. Sonia Gandhi brought in the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2005. The amount of discomfort it caused to the corrupt can be gauged by the number of RTI activists who have been murdered. Is BJP trying to dilute the RTI Act by the gag orders?

The third step in reducing corruption is protection of whistle blowers. Whistle blowers, whatever be the motive, have exposed large scale corruption. The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 was also brought by the Congress. But governments refuse to provide them protection and often prosecute them for flimsy or fabricated offences or post them to unimportant departments.

The fourth step is making reporting corruption easy. Digital portals for reporting corruption need to be publicized. Anonymous complaints must be seriously investigated.

The fifth step is strengthening ACB.

The sixth step is encouraging investigative journalism. Free press is the only protection against government excesses and corruption. Journalists play a major role in exposing corruption. The effectiveness of journalists in exposing corruption is borne out by the number of journalists murdered for exposing corruption. Recently, the journalist who exposed the Panama Papers was assassinated.

The seventh step is doing away with need for government sanction for launching prosecution where a government servant is caught red handed by the ACB. This will act as deterant.

The eighth and most important step is to set up “Fast track” courts to try corruption cases. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Fodder scam case has continued for over 25 years. It questions the government’s credibility on its fight against corruption. Fast track courts would be most effective.

Conclusion

“Na khayenge na khane denge” has remained a slogan. The Congress is called the fountain head of corruption and I accept the tag. Being the party in power at the time of independence, it is responsible for all that is good and bad in this country. But it enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, RTI Act of 2005 and the Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2011. What has the Modi Government done? The reality is that gag orders have been enacted by BJP Governments of Maharashtra and Rajasthan and may be enacted soon in other BJP ruled states and the Centre. Selective approach to investigation by investigating agencies and indirect persecution of whistle blowers is the order of the day. Is this the way to check corruption?

Is Modiji really against corruption? Your guess is as good as mine. All I can say is that his actions do not match his words. He, like Mr. Manmohan Singh, seems to have adopted the policy of selective tolerance of corruption. Manomohan Singh had coalition compulsions. Modiji does not.

Questions for the Aam Admi

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Questions for Aam Admi

Dear Patriots and Well Wishers of the Ordinary Indian Citizen,

Ask the public these questions. Ask one another. Ask the questions again and again. Discuss them over cups of tea. Discuss them in the market. Discuss them on trains and buses. Discuss them at home. Ask the questions through news paper advertisements. Ask the questions through posters. Ask the questions through printed hand bills. Ask the questions at election rallies. Your future depends on the answers to these questions.

Modiji said, “I will will bring you good days.”

Have the good days come?

Aren’t the prices of petrol and diesel rising every day?

Are the farmers getting the prices for their produce which they deserve?

Have the prices of essential commodities gone down?

Has the violence of cow vigilantes reduced?

Have the services improved in government hospitals?

Has the standard of education improved in government schools?

Have the vacancies of teachers in government schools been filled?

Are your wives, daughters and kids safe?

Have the number of train accidents gone down?

Have the power cuts been reduced?

Have atrocities on Dalits reduced?

Has the economic condition of Adivasis improved?

Modiji said, “I will bring back all black money stashed abroad and give 15 lakhs to each family?”

Have you received any money?

Every year about Rs. 25,000 crores or $4 billion of wealth flows from India to tax havens around the world. Has Mr. Modi been able to stop it?

Modiji said, “Yoy have suffered due to Demonetization. But this will reduce corruption.”

The poor suffered. They stood for days on queue trying to draw money. Some even died. Did you see any rich person stand in queue to change their money?

Has corruption reduced?

Are the police not collecting “Hafta or weekly extortion” from rikshawalas, vendors and similar people?

Can any poor man register an FIR without paying money?

Has anyone got an electric or water connection without paying a bribe?

Has any Ticket Collector allotted a seat without taking money? Do they give receipt?

Has any contractor got payment for his bill without paying a bribe?

Has your income increased due to Demonetization?

Has any BJP government given ACB the permission to launch prosecution against officers caught red handed by ACB? Has government thought of fast track special courts to try corrupt government servants?

Has BJP appointed the Lok Ayukt as agreed with Anna Hazare?

How many corrupt government servants have been jailed? Suspension is no punishment. It is leave at half pay.

Has the 2000 rupee note made it easier or more difficult to hide black money?

Modiji said, “I will ensure development for all sections of society.”

How many of you have got jobs or income since 2014? How many of you have lost jobs and income?

Have the condition of roads in your town, city or village improved?

Are you getting enough clean, safe drinking water?

Has your city or village become cleaner?

Do you have Rs 12 lakhs to purchase a house built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna? Can you take and repay such a loan?

Have any of you received money from Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna?

Have any of you become richer through Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna?

Has the collection of rain water or mud around your house reduced?

Do you benefit if some trains run at 150 km/hr? Do you have money to buy tickets on such trains?

Does the money spent on four laning highways improve your lives?

Is Modiji PM of Gujarat or of India?

Modiji has taken about Rs 90,000 crores from Japan for the bullet train project from Gujarat to Mumbai. The factories connected to the project will be set up in Gujarat. Jobs will be created in Gujarat. Are you going to benefit from the bullet train?

How many poor people will lose their land? How many poor people will lose their livelihood?

Who will return such a big loan? The entire economy will be ruined in trying to pay back the loan.

The prices of petrol and diesel will go up further. The ordinary citizen will be crushed.

How many of you can pay Rs 3000 as fare to travel on the train?

Who benefit from the bullet train? Only the rich, the businessmen and politicians will benefit? The poor can only see it fly past from a distance and pay for project.

Elections are going to be held in Gujarat. Is this an attempt to win the election?

5 lakh children below five died in India due to lack of adequate medical facilities during 2016. Would the money for bullet train not be better spent in developing better health care all over the country?

Would it not have been better if the money for the bullet train had been used for providing clean and safe drinking water to lakhs of villages which do not have safe drinking water?

Modiji says that the economy of the country will become better due to GST.

How will GST improve the economy of the country?

The rich with help of corrupt income tax officers and CAs have been evading tax and will continue to evade tax.

Business men were evading sales tax in with the help of corrupt inspectors. They will continue to evade GST with the help of corrupt GST inspectors. How many businessmen are issuing GST compliant receipts? How will the nations income increase unless corruption is checked?

How will small businessmen and less educated business men cope with the documentation connected with GST? Will they not have to pay bribes to survive?

BJP stands for the Rich and the Business community? What can an ordinary citizen expect from it?

BJP keeps increasing the price of petroleum products. It is not bothered about the pain suffered by the poor due to price rise. Can they not ban the sale of diesel cars and SUVs? But why should they do it? They want to give benefits of subsidy to the rich. They have to benefit the automobile manufacturers for contribution to party funds. Can they not sell petrol pre-mixed with engine oil for two wheelers at a subsidized rate? Why should they do it? Its aim is to milk the poor to the bone and benefit the rich and businessmen.

The price of the LPG cylinder is also being increased every month. BJP is not bothered about the pain it is causing the poor. Can they not stop issue of subsidized cylinders to those who earn more that Rs 5 lakh per year? Can they not restrict the number of subsidized cylinders to 6 per year? Can they not make the use of domestic cylinder for commercial purposes in hotels or industries a criminal offence wih a Rs 5000 fine for the first offence and one month jail for second offence? But why should they do it? Their mission is to benefit the rich and businessmen.

BJP government is not filling up vacancies in government departments. The railways alone have more that 3.5 lakh vacancies. They want all government work done by contractors. They are even thinking of giving running of government schools and hospital by contractors. The contractors pay the desperate unemployed far less than the government, make them work longer hours and make huge profits. Why does the government not fill up existing vacancies? Why should they? BJP is there to benefit businessmen and to take commission from the contractors.

BJP government is paying builders at the rate of Rs 1600 per sq. ft for making houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna on government land. It is paying thousands of crores in premium to insurance companies for Pradhan Mantri crop insurance scheme. It is paying traders to procure pulses. God knows who else is being paid and for doing what? All these businesses are making huge profits and contributing to BJP funds. What is the farmer or ordinary citizen getting? Nothing.

Modiji is a dream merchant. He sells new dreams where ever he goes.

Are you going to vote based on dreams?

Would you like to give another political party a chance to serve you?

Please remember, as you sow, so shall you reap.

Indian Elections: Verdict 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Indian Elections: Verdict 2014

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com : www.twitter@COLSARKAR

The much hyped Modi wave (or shall we call it a Tsunami?) has proved to be a reality. The Tsunami has swept away a decadent, arrogant, corrupt Congress party. No tears will be shed for arrogant and corrupt leaders like Kapil Sibal, Sivprakash Jaswal, Praveen Bansal, Naveen Jhindal, Beni Prasad Yadav, Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja etc. The Tsunami has cut Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, JD(U) down to size and hopefully liberated Indian politics from caste and religious considerations and vote bank politics. It may have changed the way politics is practiced in our country. It is only fair that we give the devil his due. I congratulate Mr. Modi and his support organizations for their wonderful and unprecedented achievement.

The Congress Party

Contrary to popular belief, I think that except during early period of rule of Indira Gandhi, the Congress Party has been run by power brokers like the “Syndicate” in the name of the Gandhis. Indira Gandhi destroyed the Syndicate but create her own power brokers. Rajeev Gandhi was controlled by his mother’s power brokers who prevented Mr. Clean from tackling corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism which started and flourished under Nehru. Rajeev and Sonia Gandhi, in spite of their Aam Admi orientation (Rajeev started Panchayeti Raj and devolution of power and Sonia brought in MGNREGA, Right to Forest Produce Act, RTI Act) have not been able to reign in corruption. Most of the money meant to alleviate the hardship of the common man was siphoned off by the power brokers and government servants and only 20 to 25 % reached the targeted beneficiaries. Congress has paid the price for their benign tolerance of corruption and has become a joke. They got only 2 out of 80 in UP and MP and failed to open its account in five states. Hopefully Congress Party and its power brokers and wheeler dealers will remain powerless for the next 10 to 15 years.

Regional Parties

The caste and religion oriented parties SP, BSP, RLD and JD(U) have been decimated. DMK, BSP and RLD have not won a single seat and I pray it remains that way for ever. However AIDMK in Tamil Nadu, TMC in Bengal and BJD in Orissa have held the Modi Tsunami at bay. They will remain a power to recon with as long as they have the confidence of their electorate and preserve our federal constitution.

Left Parties

The left parties like the RSS are unwilling to adapt to changing social realities and stick to their out dated ideologies. RSS ideology still has a fair degree of support. The left has almost no support outside Kerala and Tripura. It could win only one seat in West Bengal, a state they misruled for over 35 years.

Aam Admi Party

They are the babes in the game. They have a great ideology and a charismatic leader in Arvind Kejriwal. They promised much after their impressive showing in the Delhi state elections but failed to deliver in the Lok Sabha Elections. However, in Delhi and Punjab, they have emerged as the real opposition to NDA. I hope some of their egoist leaders have been chastened and that they have learned from their mistakes. Their performance has been disappointing for their supporters but BJP started with 2 seats in 1984 and came to power in 1998 (14 years). AAP has started with 4. I expect it to be a force to recon with in 5 years and a contender for power in 10.

Conclusion

India is different from most of the developed and developing nation because our electoral system with many left oriented parties is more democratic than most. In the developed countries like the US the percentage rich and middle class who vote are more than the poor who vote. In India it is the poor and middle class who vote. Our voter turnout cannot be matched by any other country. Hence, in India, the government has to do more for the struggling majority to win elections. Europe and the US and BRICKs countries like Brazil, China, South Africa have long abandoned the poor and youth and forced them to eke out a miserable existence in slums and rural areas. I am glad that our electoral system forces leaders to provide for the struggling majority and our federal structure ensures that no central government can dominate the entire country.

Decisive leadership is necessary in the economic policy field. First of all we need to decide whether we are going to remain a socialist welfare state with a strong public sector to compete with the private and keep our focus on upliftment of the struggling majority or we are going to follow the neo-liberal market oriented policies of the West which empower investors and corporations and weaken governments. Then there is always a middle path which has to be discovered and defined. Decisiveness is necessary to go after tax cheats and black money, against corporate fraud and profiteering.

Decisive leadership is necessary in many spheres other than the economy. Decisiveness is necessary to deal with various kinds of mafia (real estate mafia, illegal mining mafia, petroleum product adulterating mafia, public distribution system controlling mafia and so on). Decisiveness is necessary in dealing with corruption and inefficiencies in government departments, in defense preparedness, foreign policy, setting plan targets and dealing with MNCs. A degree of decentralization to ministries with checks and balances is necessary for speedy development.

I feel that a strong feeling of nationalism is necessary in our leadership to deal with an exploitative world. The US has fined Credit Swiss Bank $2.6 Billion for helping US citizen avoid tax. Will we do the same to foreign banks in India who are doing the same in India in the name of wealth management? We need some one who will. If EU bans our mangoes, why should we not do the same for olive oil and other EU agricultural products? After all horse meat was found in beef products in EU. See how China is trying to cow down Vietnam and Philippines into letting them lord over the South China Sea and Parcel Islands. It could be our turn next

BJP has won a land slide victory. Rajeev Gandhi did the same in 1984 but could do nothing beyond what power brokers allowed him to. Who knows if Modi will be able to follow a development agenda or will be pushed by RSS on a different path? All we can do is to watch what happens in the next 5 years and then decide how we vote.

I end by wishing Mr. Modi and his team the very best and hope that he will take India and its struggling majority to a new era of peace and prosperity.

Should India Give Modi a Chance

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Should India Give Modi a Chance?

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Many of my learned colleagues and friends keep telling me that we should give Modi a chance to be the prime minister and see how he performs. I have some reservations. I believe that Modi has dictatorial tendencies and is a front for the RSS and the Sangh Parivar. I believe that they have a hidden agenda of seizing power democratically and then perpetuating their hold on power by not so democratic means.

However, I may be biased against Modi and the Sangh Parivar. So I will take you through some pages of history and leave you to decide the issue.

Hitler

Hitler had a humble beginning. He worked as a carpenter and painter before joining the German Army as a private during World War I. After the war he joined the German Workers Party. He had remarkable powers of oratory and organization skills and quickly rose to be the leader of the party. He changed the name to Nazi Party (short for National Socialist German Workers Party). In 1920 he formed a cadre called Brown Shirts, a semi military organization to act as protectors in clashes with communists (Similar to the raising of RSS to act as protectors of Hindus). Because of his personal magnetism and political astuteness, he got funds and support from the German Army, industrialists, bankers, government servants and the people (Modi has similar support). He preached violent nationalism and hatred against Jews. In 1923 he attempted to seize power through a coup which failed. Hitler was jailed for five years.

In 1928, the Nazi Party rode on the wave of popular discontent against the ruling party and increased its seats from 12 to 106 in the German Parliament. No party had majority and political instability continued till 1933 when a coalition government was formed with Hitler as chancellor. Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to destroy the German democracy. With the muscle power of two million Brown Shirts, he assumed total control. By 1934, all political parties other than the Nazis were banned. A purge in 1934 by the Brown Shirts eliminated all his political rivals. Rest is well known history. Hitler oversaw the execution of millions of Jews, led Germany into World War II and committed suicide as Germany was defeated and devastated by the war.

(Source: Book of Knowledge, Volume 4, the Waverly Book Company Ltd, London)

Mussolini

Mussolini also had a humble beginning. He was the son of a blacksmith and became a teacher. He had migrated to Switzerland to avoid compulsory military service but was expelled for his extremely violent nationalist and socialist speeches. He fought World War I as a private. He founded his own party Il Popolo d’Italia and his own news paper. After the war he formed a cadre of ex-servicemen called the Fasci. His Facist gangs attacked political opponents and even intimidated the police. In 1921, he was elected to the parliament. After political instability, the government of Italy resigned in 1922. The king of Italy invited Mussolini to form the government. Once in power, he gradually eliminated all political opponents and reduced the King to a figurehead. Mussolini remained the dictator of Italy with the muscle power of his Fascist party from 1922 to 1943 when Italy was defeated during the World War II. He was killed in 1945.

(Source: Book of Knowledge, Volume 5, the Waverly Book Company Ltd, London)

CPI(M)

CPI came to power in West Bengal in 1977 under Jyoti Basu after winning the state elections. It immediately stared building its muscle power by enlarging the strength of its cadre and trade union. It also infiltrated the police and every other government organization. Joyti Basu retired as chief minister in 2000 but the party remained in power till 2011 by intimidating the opposition with the muscle power of its cadre and imaginative ways of poll rigging and booth capturing. The end came due to three reasons. Firstly, the people of Bengal were fed up with the domination of CPI(M) in their lives and the bullying of its cadres. Secondly, the Election Commission came up with the idea of phasing elections and using central para military forces to manage the booths and prevent rigging and booth capturing. Thirdly, Trinumul Congress under Mamta Bannerjee developed a cadre which out muscled the CPI(M) cadres. During their 34 years of dictatorial rule, the CPM exposed the inability of democratic elections to change governments and made a mockery of the Indian Constitution and rule of law. Industrial unrest and political extortion drove away all industries and reduced West Bengal to a backward state.

Modi and the Sangh Parivar

I find great similarity in the background and personality of Modi, Hitler and Mussolini. I also find great similarities between Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Fascists and RSS and other elements of the Sangh Parivar. Modi, like Hitler and Mussolini, has started eliminating political opponents within his party, the BJP. Hundreds of crores are being spent on promoting the Modi Cult. He is determined to be the great Indian dictator.

RSS and the Sangh Parivar are intimidating BJP leaders. Advani was forced against his will to contest from Gandhinagar by RSS. BJP advertisements do not say “Agli bar BJP sarkar!” (Next government will be formed by BJP). They say, “Agli bar Modi sarkar!” (Next government will be led by Modi.) The BJP President, under threat from RSS took only 12 minutes to change his statement from “Agli bar BJP sarkar” to “Agli Bar Modi sarkar.” Hitler wanted to marginalize the Jews. Hitler believed in the superiority of the German race; RSS and the Sangh Parivar believe in the superiority of Hindu culture. RSS and Modi want to marginalize religious minorities.

Conclusion

I value my personal freedoms. I want to live my life in my own way. I do not want any political party or cadre to tell me how to conduct myself. I do not need RSS to protect me from Muslims or the Sangh Parivar to do moral policing. We have security forces and police to maintain law and order. I want real democracy. I want government of the people, by the people and for the people. I want free and fair elections. I am afraid my wishes will not be granted if Modi with RSS backing forms the next government in Delhi.

History has taught me that leaders who sneak into power by democratic means can murder democracy with the help of their supporting cadres. It has happened in Germany and Italy. It has happened in West Bengal and Tripura. I am afraid that it will happen all over India if Modi and RSS come to power.

If you do not agree with me, vote for BJP and bring Modi to power.

If you share my apprehensions about the hidden agenda of Modi and RSS, do everything you can to defeat BJP and Modi. All parties must unite to defeat them so that real democracy may flourish in our country. Defeat them to ensure freedom for yourself, your children and grand children.

Corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism can be controlled if value based politics brought in by Aam Admi Party flourishes. But if democracy is subverted by the party and leader in power, corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism will flourish unchecked. I would rather be a free bird than a parrot in a gilded cage.

Can Kejriwal be PM

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Can Kejriwal be PM

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

A question that has been raised by some elements in the media and the established political parties is, “Does Kejriwal have the experience to be Prime Minister or even a chief minister? To answer the question all one needs to do is to look at history.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

What was the experience of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru when he became Prime Minister on 15 August 1947? A big zero. During periods when he was not in jail, he did lead the Congress Party. But he could have no experience of ruling any part of India because India was then under British rule. He was well educated and had vision of a great India. Except for being a supporter of corruption (e.g. jeep scam of 1947 involving V K Krishna Menon) , nepotism (e.g. making infamous General B M Kaul Corps Commander in 1962 leading to Chinese debacle) and crony capitalism (e.g. Dalmia Case of 1956; Mundra Scam of 1957; Jaynti Dharam Teja Scam of 1962 where Daram Teja’s company with a paid up capital of Rs 200 got a loan of Rs 200 crores on Nehru’s recommendation) and a neglecter of India’s defence preparedness, he did a pretty good job. He laid the foundation of a vibrant, modern, technology savvy and industrialized India. In fact his entire cabinet was without any experience. Yet most of them, except for a few like Mr. Krishna Menon, performed very well. Their assets were intelligence, knowledge, dedication and love for the country. It is because of Nehru that India has IITs, IIMs, AIMS and is a nuclear power and has sent a mission to moon and Mars.

Rajeev Gandhi

What experience did Rajeev Gandhi have when he became PM? He literally parachuted from a Boeing aircraft of Indian Airlines into the prime minister’s chair. Except for his handling of the Anti Sikh riots and the misadventure in Sri Lanka, he did as well as he was permitted by his unscrupulous council of ministers. Mr. Clean was snared into the Bofors and other scandals and the Shahbano Case and lost the election that followed. But he had the vision to introduce “Panchayeti Raj, integrate the villages into the national telephone network and brought in computers and to start information technology. His vision helped India to progress and become the world’s leading IT power.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, the current US President in his second term was a first time senator before becoming the US president in 2009. His executive experience before becoming president is nil. Yet he did well enough to win a second term.

Manmohan Singh

Unlike the most inexperienced national leaders listed above, the most experienced Prime Minister after Indira Gandhi, Mr. Manmohan Singh, has been a total disaster. As a result of his weak character, (the only time he shows resolve is when it comes to hanging on to his chair), poor governance and benign tolerance of all pervasive corruption, he has brought the century old Congress Party close to oblivion. What use is experience when ones vision is restricted to finding corrupt ways to stay in power, when your leader has no pride in his nation and no control over his ministers? Why the Congress party chose him to be Prime Minister and persisted with him remains the most intriguing political mystery of our times.

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi claims that he has experience for running the country. Does he? He has been the Chief Minister of Gujrat for over 10 years. But does that qualify him to be Prime Minister. As a Chief Minister he has the power to sack any of his ministers. He does not have to tolerate dissent. Does the Prime Minister have the power to sack a Chief Minister? A Prime Minister has to live with dissent and have the tact to still implement his agenda. Narendra Modi has dictatorial tendencies. His home minister, Mr. Haren Pandya with whom he had differences was assassinated. He has a convicted criminal in his cabinet and has a benign tolerance to corruption. He is a master at crony capitalism. He is close to the Adani Group and has granted them all kinds of sops. He refuses to make his relations with the Ambanis and his stand on doubling of gas prices clear. Yet, if the opinion polls are to be believed, he is India’s most favoured Prime Ministerial candidate. I am unable to understand whether Narenra Modi has been able to hypnotise the Indian voters with his election campaign and rallies (the source of the funding of these expensive political events is of course a closely guarded sectret) or the modern day youth is as dumb and gullible as their illiterate parents and grandparents.

Rahul Gandhi

Mr. Rahul Gandhi is unofficially declared as the Congress Party’s nominee for the Prime Ministership. His experience in government is zero. He is well educated and appears honest. He does not appear to be power hungry. Is that enough to make him a better Prime Ministerial candidate than Kejriwal? The fact of the case is that no senior leader in the Congress takes him seriously. He is having difficulty in getting anti corruption laws passed. He is unable to have the corrupt punished or even prevent them from getting party tickets for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He is not in a position to explain the source of funds for his rallies or clarify his stand on doubling the gas price at behest of Mukesh Ambani.

Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal, as an ex bureaucrat has some firsthand knowledge of what goes on in the corridors of power. Kejriwal is intelligent (IIT graduate and IRS), honest and down to earth. He is not after money. (As income tax commissioner he could have made tons of it but quit to form an NGO). He is not power hungry. (He would not have resigned as CM of Delhi if he was). He is accepted by his party mates and the people as their leader. He is media savvy. He is fighting against corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism. Is he not likely to be a better PM than Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi?

Conclusion

A successful Prime Minister has to be a leader of men. He must passionately love his country and be ready to make sacrifices for his country. He must have the courage of conviction to stand his ground in national interest against foreign powers and domestic business and religious lobbies. He, like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi, must be loved and respected by the ordinary people of India. He must be a man of vision capable of taking long term decisions which will benefit the country. He must be a man of compassion for the poor and down trodden. He must be the prime minister of all Indians, rich or poor; over privileged or under privileged; regardless of sex, religion, caste, community or political leaning.

We have many to choose from. We have the power hungry Narendra Modi and the petty leaders of regional parties who will fight amongst themselves when the time comes. (Have we forgotten that Chowdhury Charan Singh stabbed Moraji Desai in the back to get the chair in true Indian tradition? Have we forgotten that Chandra Shekhar stabbed VP Singh for the chair? Have we forgotten the miserable short reigns of Deve Gowda and IK Gujral?  We also have Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal.

May we have the wisdom to choose the right person and his party.

Tale of Two Struggles

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Tale of Two Struggles

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

Once upon a time some patriotic Indians took up the struggle to end British Rule in India. Most of young India or about 70 percent of Indians know very little or absolutely nothing about this struggle. To historians, the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was the start of this struggle. The details of this long and difficult struggle cannot be covered in a few pages. Suffice it to say that there were many greater leaders and many visions of what India should become and how the struggle for independence was to be sustained till the goals were reached. In this article I will only touch on a few aspects.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the first leader to demand “Swaraj” or self rule. In 1905 he said that “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”. The British promptly put him in Jail. Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 and started “Satyagragh” or civil disobedience to force the British to grant independence. Initial demands were for dominion status. But in 1928, Congress adopted the demand for “Purna Swaraj” or full independence. The struggle for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Party continued till 1947 when we finally became free from British rule.

Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and the Congress party, and millions of known and unknown freedom fighters gave us independence. Pandit Nehru and the Congress party also introduced corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism which made “swaraj” irrelevant for the common man or the Aam Admi. Nehru’s policies of boosting higher education and industrialization saw a huge growth in the privileged classes. The “license raj” restricted industrialization to a few politically connected business houses, created monopolies and led to exploitation of the poor. Aam Admi had to wait another 17 years before Lal Bahadur Shastri recognized them with his slogan “Jai Jawan; Jai Kissan”. Indira Gandhi kept the focus on the Aam Admi with her slogan “Garibi Hatao”, 20 Point Program for rural development, nationalization of banks and foreign companies who refused to have 50 percent Indian shareholders. After Mrs Gandhi the common people were again pushed to the background and corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism filled the pockets of the political class and government servants (the Khas admi or privileged class) and the business class and the rich (the Amir Admi or the rich). The rule of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged and the rule of the rich, by the rich and for the rich has prevailed ever since and is practiced by all political parties.

Then from nowhere emerged an agitation led by Anna Hazare and the Civil Society called India Against Corruption in 2011. It demanded the passing of the Jan Lok Pal Bill drafted by Anna Hazare’s team by the parliament and launched an agitation in Delhi. The Congress government did its best to break up the movement and failed. They then manoeuvred the simpleton Anna Hazare by promising to pass the bill. But the struggle by the Aam Admi to eliminate corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism was taken up by Anna Hazare’s erstwhile lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal who floated the Aam Admi Party. The party made its first electoral foray in 2013 in the Delhi state elections and surprised all by winning 28 seats. The Aam Admi Party today carries the flag for all Indians who are against corruption.

I would like to share some interesting parallels between India’s struggle to free itself from British rule and the Aam Admi’s struggle to free itself from corruption and rule of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged.

Leadership

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule was led in its final stages by Mahatma Gandhi, a simple man with no political or pecuniary ambitions. India’s struggle against corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism was led by Anna Hazare, a simple man with no political or pecuniary ambitions.

The political struggle for freedom from British Rule was led by Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant Pandit Nehru. The political struggle from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism is led by Hazare’s trusted lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal.

Gandhi advised Nehru to disband the Congress Party after independence. Nehru refused. Hazare advised Kejriwal not to join politics. He refused.

Opposition to the Struggle

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule had to defeat the opposition from the princely states and other privileged classes (the Westernized Oriental Gentlemen) and the British. Aam Admi’s struggle for freedom from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism is opposed by almost all Indian political leaders, government servants, traders, business houses and multinational companies.

Reasons for Success

India’s struggle for freedom from British Rule succeeded partly because of its leaders but mainly because of the millions of known and unknown freedom fighters who smilingly gave their all for the cause. Aam Admi’s struggle for freedom from corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism will succeed if their leaders are determined to selflessly continue the struggle and if the people of India display the same commitment to freedom and are willing to make the same kind of sacrifices which our forefathers made to gain “Swaraj”.

Conclusion

My friends and countrymen! Lend me your ears. You stand at the crossroads of history. What you do will make the difference between a democracy that is of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged or a democracy that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Join the Aam Admi Party. Work for the Aam Admi Party. Contribute whatever money you can to the Aam Admi Party. Vote for the Aam Admi Party. Persuade others to vote for Aam Admi Party.

Aam Admi Party may not win majority in this election. But every seat it wins puts the corrupt and the privileged on the defensive and reduces corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism. Every seat it wins makes it difficult for the privileged to make the Aam Admi their unwilling “Das” (servant) or “Dasi” (maid servant). Have faith. “Hum Honge Kamiyab Eek Din”.

True Colours of BJP Being Revealed: Hope the Electorate is Watching

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

True Colours of BJP Being Revealed: Hope the Electorate is Watching

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

An article “UPS’s Failed Socialist Experiment” by Varun Gandhi, BJP National Secretary and MP ends with “it’s time to give markets a chance”. The article which has been published in Times of India Chennai on February 5, 2014 bears scrutiny. He adds, “Thanks to economic populism and subsidy raj, India is now the sick man of Asia”.  I am a regular listener to foreign news channels like BBC, CNN and Al Zajeera. I have never heard any of their journalists or experts call India, the “sick man of Asia”. I am not claiming for a moment that India has achieved the economic or human development growth that is commensurate with its potential. I would however like to submit that this failure is due to poor governance and not socialism. Let us take the issues raised by Varun Gandhi one by one.

Benefits of Subsidies are Captured by Upper Class and Large Farmers

Mr. Gandhi writes, “In the last decade the central government has spent almost Rs 11 trillion in subsidies – mostly captured by the upper class (fuel subsidies) and large farmers (fertilizers)”. I totally agree with him. But the distortion and leakage has nothing to do with socialism. It simply confirms the truth that Indian democracy as practised by all national and regional parties is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class”. This is where the Aam Admi Party needs to come in.

Fuel subsidies can be easily designed to reach the target segment of the society. Petrol used for two wheelers can be supplied after premixing it with engine oil and thereby making it unusable in cars. Only petrol used in two wheelers should be subsidised and petrol for cars should not be subsidized. To reduce the number of diesel cars and SUVs, the initial road tax should be made equal to the cost of the car. Subsidized LPG cylinders have been capped even if at 12 per year.

A “small farmer’s” card on line of BPL card could be used to ensure fertilizer subsidy reaches only the small farmers (holding up to 5 acres). Direct cash transfer of subsidies would ensure that subsidies reached only those targeted. However, the attempt to do the same by the government is being resisted by vested interest of the upper class through Supreme Court. The constitution should be amended to make the “Aadhar” Card compulsory.

Leakages in the Public Distribution benefit the community of shopkeepers, bakers and hoteliers, most of who are the upper class and supporters of BJP. The leakage can be easily stopped by direct cash transfers. But direct cash transfer of subsidies based on “Aadhar” Cards into bank accounts are being resisted by vested interest. There is a way of overcoming individual reluctance to “Adhar” card based cash transfer. Just pay 20% extra subsidy to Aadhar Card holders for a few months and get them to enroll. Another option is to link direct cash transfers to banks linked through the voter ID card or Aadhar card.

Grain Procured by Government Rots due to Lack of Storage

The rotting of grains procured by the government in its stores or during transit is simply poor governance and has nothing to do socialism. Just because some children die after polio vaccination or on the operation table does not mean polio vaccination or operations are bad. The real problem is lack of accountability in the government machinery. The other problem is that the upper class does not use grains supplied by Public Distribution system but grain from branded sources. So a government “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” has no interest in the matter and just do not care. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party.

Stopping Pilferage of Electricity and Dealing with Non Payment of Bills

Pilferage of electricity is a national practice. Only about 20% India does not. The staff of electricity boards and Discoms provide direct connections to houses, businesses and industries for a bribe. No effort has been made to punish the guilty by making the offence non bailable. The poor cannot afford not to pay their bills. Their connections will be immediately cut. It is the rich and the powerful that do not pay their bills and still remain connected. The list of defaulters if published every month in news papers will be led by politicians, bureaucrats, industries and government departments. Since the government is “of the upper class, by the upper class and for the upper class” everyone is making merry at government expense. This is another reason why we need the Aam Admi Party. I hope Mr. Varun Gandhi cleared his electricity bill before writing the article.

Removing Stigma from Defaulting on Loans

I am not sure which loans Mr. Gandhi has referred to in his article. If it is agricultural loans to small farmers he is talking about, it is understandable. Farmers usually do not vote for BJP. BJPs vote bank consist of traders, businessmen and industrialists. It is surprising that he has mentioned the Rs 6.5 lakh crore sticky loans with Indian banks. It must have been done inadvertently. Almost all the beneficiaries of the sticky loans are member or supporters of BJP and are rooting for Modi as PM.

UPA & Socialism

I am not inclined to agree with Mr. Varun Gandhi’s assertion that UPA practices socialism. UPA is a divided house. The Gandhi family and some of their young followers and most members of the National Advisory council are left oriented and behind MGNAREGA, Food Security Bill, Right to Forest Produce Bill, Right to Education Bill etc. But the government led by Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Monetek Singh Ahluwalia are hard core neo-liberal economists who do their best to serve the interest of foreign countries like China, US, Europe, ASEAN; big business, foreign investors and multinational companies. Liberation of imports, reduction of import duties, relaxing norms for identifying foreign investors to check money laundering, the entry of drug money and terrorist money into our economy, bringing in multi-brand retail without a care of growth of Indian industry and jobs is the work of these neo-liberals. This group has full support of BJP. In fact BJP supports neo-liberal economic model and is 100% pro business. After all, the core supporters of BJP are small and big businesses and traders. More the de-regulation, more the black money generation, less the taxation and tax compliance, the better it is for BJP supporters.

Conclusion

Mr. Varun Gandhi ends his article by appealing, “It is time to give markets a chance”. Markets have been ruling the Western World since the time of Regan and Thatcher in mid seventies. See the result. Inequalities have reached new peaks. Tax havens and the rich are flourishing and never had it better. America and Europe have seen their manufacturing sectors destroyed and unemployment at record levels. Many European countries have 25 to 50% youth employment. Unions have been weakened and become impotent. Slavery has been reintroduced in the form of economic slavery. The message from the market is work long hours for a pittance or stave. Middle class jobs are reducing and being replaced by low paid jobs in retailing and hospitality industries. More and more people in the developed world are going hungry or surviving on community kitchens.