Posts Tagged ‘Rahul Gandhi’

Is There an Alternative to Mr. Modi as PM

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Is There an Alternative to Mr. Modi as Prime Minister?

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940

The bye election losses and the possibility of opposition unity in coming elections have unnerved BJP top brass, BJP supporters and supporting media. Out of 27 by elections held in the last two years, BJP has won only 5. Some of these 5 are in constituencies like Palghar where the opposition failed to unite. Unable to stem the tide, BJP and its supporters are trying to project that there is no alternative to Mr. Modi as PM. They are trying desperately to convince the public that the opposition has no viable leader. They argue that Mr. Rahul Gandhi and the regional Satraps like Mr. Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav, Mrs. Mayawati, Mrs. Mamta Bannerjee, Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu, etc will fall prey to their personal ambitions, fight amongst themselves after victory and like Mr. V P Singh, Mr. Chandra Sekhar, Mr. Raj Narain, Mr. I K Gujral and Mr. Deve Gowda, and will fail to provide a stable and effective government. The people of India should not therefore vote for the opposition coalition and vote BJP and Mr. Modi back to power.

2019 General Elections is about What Kind of India We Want

I want to submit to the wise voters of India that General Elections 2019 are not about who should be PM of India but what kind of India do we want.

Do we want an India where we live and work in harmony without distinguishing between religions, caste or ethnicity as the army does or are we going discriminate and divide people based on religion, caste and ethnicity, exploit minorities and lower castes and destroy India?

Do we want a atmosphere of fear, hate, intolerance and conflict in our universities and society or we want an atmosphere of amity, tolerance, peace and prosperity?

Do we want an India where we are free to eat and drink what we want; to wear dresses as per our choice; to party, cut cakes and celebrate Valentine’s Day or any other occasion as we want or do we want some half baked Hindutya cultural fanatics to lynch us, beat us up and extort money simply for doing what we have done since independence?

There are many such questions.

Has Modi Government Really Performed?

Let us start with Indian Railways.The entire focus of the Modi Government is on economically unviable bullet trains and superfast trains and Railway Minister taking social media calls from passengers and helping them. The reality is that the Railways are badly understaffed and mismanaged. 30% of trains are running late and in Northern Railway, almost 50% trains are running late.  People are so fed up that the passengers of a late train threw stones at a passing Rajdhani train at Gaya station injuring a number of passengers. Under the BJP, the railways have become so inefficient that the Army had to construct foot over bridges at railway stations for them in Mumbai to ensure passenger safety.

In the field of development entire focus of the Modi government is on building highways and expressways. It has no concern for ordinary people living in cities and villages who suffer from acute shortage of drinking water? The allocation for development of catchment areas and water sources is not even one tenth of allocation for roads. Do we want a government that is insensitive to the needs of the Aam Admi?

The fact is that our government is making a fool of us all the time. The Government fixes minimum prices for agricultural products but does not procure and the farmers are driven into bankruptcy. Demonetization further impoverished the poor who depend on cash for earnings. It has finished the resale property market, construction industry, the marble industry and thousands of small businesses leaving millions without work. The government has announced 90,000 vacancies in the railways but I am ready to bet that not one will be appointed during the tenure of the present government.

Implementation of GST is in a mess. Many revenue offices do not have the required hardware, software and trained personnel. One revenue department officer said that the claims for refund are more than the collection. Exporters are crying for refunds. Who knows the truth? The Government ensures that all adverse information is not available to public.

Modiji has been distributing gas cylinders to poor ladies. That is laudable. To do that he has stopped MNREGA and other subsidies. Many amongst the poorest cannot get rations because they do not have money or Aadhar Cards or the card readers in ration shops do not function. What use is cooking gas when you have nothing to cook?

Crores have been spent on building toilets but they cannot be used because there is no water.

The government wants a cashless society and a digital economy where 30% of the population is barely literate, 80% of the people do not know English or how to use a credit card, computer or ATM and most of India’s 600,000 villages do not have banks or ATMs. 30% of visits to ATMs are fruitless as there is no cash. Chairman SBI said that the shortfall is currency in circulation is over 40,000 crores. Only the Aam Admi suffers.

All institutions are in a mess. The Lokayukt has not been appointed in 4 years so that no one can complain. Courts are under staffed by 40 to 50% and vacancies of judges are not being filled up because non saffron judges are unacceptable. Vacancies of teachers are not filled up in government schools. We had an HRD minister who could not place her educational qualifications for public scrutiny. A C grade TV actor whose main qualification is that he acted as Shri Ram in a TV serial headed the Film Institute. The Dy CM of UP says Sita, wife of Shri Ram was a test tube baby. A BJP MLA in UP rapes a woman and has her father beaten to death by the police. It required intervention by the High Court or Supreme Court to get him arrested. None of the cow vigilantes who killed have been put on trial, let alone been convicted. Modiji is silent on the issues.

GDP growth is jobless and manipulated. Surgical strike on Pakistan did not reduce cease fire violations. These are actually on the increase. The hard line in Kashmir has not reduced the level of violence. Killing insurgents never ended insurgencies. When an insurgent dies, another takes his place. Peace comes only when the cause or outside support can be removed.

Modiji has made 81 foreign trips in 4 years. All foreign leaders including American, French and Chinese Presidents are his “hug-able” personal friends. Yet China provides unconditional support to Pakistan, refuses to allow Hafeez Sayeed to be branded an international terrorist and will never allow India into Nuclear Supplies Group or become a member of UN Security council. Border and trade issues remain unresolved, Modiji claims to be a personal friend of Mr. Donald Trump. Yet Trump has imposed duties on Indian steel and aluminium, forced India to reduce import duties on Hurley Davidson motorbikes, cut number of H1B visas and is likely to stop spouses of these visa holders from working in the US. What has India gained in real term from these visits?

Who Benefitted most from BJP Government?

The prime beneficiaries are old and unproductive cows, bulls and bullocks. They are being sheltered in Gaushalas at government cost in BJP ruled states or are roaming the streets, eating garbage and having fun. Two people have been gored to death in Alwar and many injured. Stray dogs are also beneficiaries. They are free to bite and have killed many children. Who cares?

Next to benefit are the “Gaushala owners”, who are mostly from the Hidutya Brigade. They get Rs 70 per day per animal. (Widows get only Rs 25 per day). How much do they spend? Your guess is as good as mine.

Next to benefit are the fringe groups of RSS and VHP who under police and government protection are extorting money and lynching people.

RSS members are also prospering. President, PM, all governors, male chief ministers, ministers and heads of institutions are from RSS or VHP. Being a member of RSS is like being an alumnus of Doon School in British days.

AVBP is also having a great time. With the support of BJP leaders and police, they beat up students of other unions and teachers whenever they feel like.

Last but not the least to benefit is the top 10% of India. The government is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. Petrol prices are denting the budget of the lower middle class. The plight of farmers and tens of millions of educated unemployed are there to see by those who care. But the government certainly does not care.

It is for people to judge whether Modiji is a great PM or a great orator and dream seller. It is for the people to decide whether Modiji or Mr. Mohan Bhagwat decides the policies of the BJP government and who is the real ruler of India. Or have they divided the turf. Finance and foreign affairs seem to be under Modiji and the rest to RSS and the Hindutya Brigade.

Alternatives to Mr. Modi

Now I will suggest two names for PM in place of Mr. Modi. My first choice is Mr. Yashwant Sinha. He is an IAS with 26 years of service, politician and a former Finance Minister (1990–1991) under Mr. Chandra Sekhar and March 1998 – July 2002 under Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Minister of External Affairs (July 2002 – May 2004). He was a senior leader of the BJP before he quit BJP on 21st Apr 2018. He is a vociferous critic of Mr. Modi. A man of impeccable reputation, he is senior enough to command respect of all opposition leaders and unite them. To me he is like Mr. Mohatir Mohammad, former PM of Malaysia, who returned to politics at the ripe old age of 92 to fight his own party and protégée to save his country from ruin.

My second choice is Mr. Kamal Nath of Congress. He is the longest serving member of Indian Parliament. He has been elected 9 times from his constituency. An MP since 1980, he served as Minister for Environment and Forests from 1991 to 95, Minister for Textiles from 1995 to 96, Minister for Commerce and Industry from 2004 to 2009, Minister for Urban development from 2009 to 2011 and Minister for Highways and Road Transport from 2011 to 2014. A man of impeccable reputation, he is most experienced and senior enough to command respect of all opposition leaders and unite them. If Mr. Yashwant Sinha became PM, he would be my choice for Finance Minister.

Conclusion

To conclude I would say that I find it ridiculous for people to say that Modiji is irreplaceable. In a country of 1.25 billion, there are thousands of talented persons who are more educated, more capable, more visionary, more humble, more caring and more patriotic than Modiji. God and the hour will produce the man.

I also have no doubt that BJP will fail to split the opposition by raising silly question about the successor to Mr. Modi and the opposition being able to unite. Mr. Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of opposition parties are not selfish fools. They are not seeking personal power but a Secular, Socialist and Federal India. I have no doubt that they will make all sacrifices necessary to defeat the neo-liberal economists and Hindutya Brigade that seeks destroy the plurality, amity and diversity of India.

You have to decide whether you want a Saffron India with anti Aam Admi neo-liberal economic policies or a secular, socialist and pluralistic India where all are free to do their own thing and vote accordingly. The choice is yours.

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.