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Showing posts from 2014

Syrupy Speech and Cotton Stuffings

BY R.K. MISRA
What you get free invariably costs too much. Cotton farmers, facing ruin  due to plummeting prices, are realizing that  sugar in the speech may be sweet. But the proof of the pudding is in the serving when the critic becomes the cook. Not long ago when ensconced in Gujarat as  chief minister, Narendra Modi riled at the Congress- led UPA government  when the minimum support prices (MSP) for cotton  went down from Rs 1500 to Rs 1200. Now, the chief minister is the Prime Minister and the  support prices are down to Rs 800. “What can we say”, is all that his one-time agriculture minister, Dilip Sanghani asks, adding that a farmer forced to commit suicide is  more like a clarion call for urgent action. The first woman chief minister of Gujarat  manfully struggles,  with the farmers up in arms and both the Congress and her critics within her own party pouring oil on  the troubled waters. It was the   RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS)  which lit the fire early last month.…

Namosis: Modern Talk, Blinkered Walk

BY RK MISRA
Leaders rise by selling hope and fall trading it with despair. In power, each manufacturers its own brand of nemesis. This is as true of Indira Gandhi and son Rajiv as with Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. If the first two fell to multiplying expectations, the last two were done in by  divisions  and subtractions. Divisions in their own ranks and subtractions in popularity caused by the falsity of India shining. The Desai- headed Janata Party government was an amalgamation of diverse opposition groupings including Jan Sangh, which broke away on disintegration to form the BJP thereafter. The Vajpayee government was a BJP led coalition (NDA). Both Desai and Vajpayee governments withered  lotus- like as strident hindutva took precedence over objective governance. Now Narendra Modi’s full- bloom saffron government is  beginning to show  signs of the same contagious distraction within the first six months of its rule. While Modi led BJP came to power as a backlash against c…

Turning Tables on Talkfest

BY RK MISRA
Spoken at will, words return to haunt at leisure. There is a familiar ring around  chief minister Mamata Bannerjee’s blistering attack on the BJP- led NDA government at the Centre on misuse of  CBI against the interests of West Bengal. Also, there is the instance of  finance minister Arun Jaitley slamming the West Bengal government for it’s harsh criticism of  the Centre. Again, of BJP president Amit Shah’s frontal assault, saying Saradha scam money funded Burdwan blasts and that Mamata was  blocking the  NIA probe. Yet again, the BJP, December 7, attacking the lady for keeping away from the CMs’ meet convened by the Prime Minister. And, so it goes on…. Was it not very long ago that the  three honourable worthies-Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah-were mouthing from Gujarat what’s today the  ‘Mamataspeak’, from West Bengal?. For over a decade, then Chief Minister Modi, his Rajya Sabha MP from  the state Jaitley and  minister of state for Home, Shah were blasting Sonia G…

Vote: Broke’s Backwash Toilet or Biggie’s Bullet Train!

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BY RK MISRA

Governments either placate people or subjugate them.The prerogatives of the powerful often override the wishes of the weak.The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws(Amendment) Bill,2009 which makes voting compulsory in elections to local self-government bodies falls in this category.Cleared by Governor O.P.Kohli,it was gazetted by the Gujarat Government on November 5 this year.Thus voting in civic elections is now compulsory in the state by law.But will it be? A process initiated by the then chief minister Narendra Modi  as part of his brand building exercise in 2009,the Bill is now the law and the man who set the ball rolling is now the Prime Minister.However his successor,Anandiben Patel on whom the responsibility of implementing  it  rests is now realizing the enormity of the task at hand. According to highly placed sources,the present Gujarat government has no intention of  opening the can of worms that could add to it’s woes and has decided to put things on hold.”The process of…

Modi Model: Fancy Myths and Hard Facts

BY RK MISRA
Offices of power are often breeding grounds of indestructible myths. And if the flavor of the current Indian season is Gujarat, focus turns to this ‘model’ laboratory where Prime Minister Narendra Modi perfected the alchemy of success. Like the legendary King Midas whose touch turned everything into gold, Modi  possesses the uncanny ability of turning anything he propounds into a national crusade whether it is Sardar Patel’s statue or the nation’s state of  sanitation. With the Gujarat model elevated to the status of  a ‘Bible’ for administrators after BJP came to power in the country, the performance audit carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on implementation of the sanitation campaign in Gujarat during  the period 2008-13 (Modi rule) provides proof of how reality is clouded to forge myths and then build castles on it. The CAG report was tabled during a truncated two day session of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha last week on November 11 this year. Int…

History of Words and the Analysis of Deeds

BY RK MISRA
Pious platitudes and phony posers are pack pacifiers but poor substitute for pure performance. If the proof of the pudding lies in the eating so must deeds justify words. Do they? Not so, if the 13-year-long record of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat and his continuation in the Prime Ministerial incarnation is anything to go by. Last week, he urged the country’s bureaucracy (over 80 secretaries over high tea) to act fearlessly and shift from output to outcome, assuring to protect them. Ask Dr. SK Nanda, the additional chief secretary (Home), an endearing and efficient officer who was seniormost in line to be the Gujarat chief secretary but was superseded last month at the list minute after a phone call from Dehli. He was succeeded by his rank junior DJ Pandian. Happy for the out-of-turn favour, the grateful officer was in Delhi within hours to seek the ‘blessings’ of Prime Minister Modi. Also, ask two senior IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre what it means to them. Ins…

Politics of Pitting Patel to Run Down the Nehrus

BY RK MISRA
A good diplomat is one who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip!. The same thing can be said for a potentate of a  politician like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His high-profile celebration of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister stands  out as a case in point. The Sardar, it is widely felt in Gujarat, did not get his due for the critical role that he played, both in uniting India and running the country after Independence as it’s second most powerful leader. The ostensible aim in restoring his standing is  laudable, but the objective in doing so could be far removed from truth. The quest for ‘appropriation’ of freedom struggle icons apart, the way  Modi went about the plan makes it clear that he was using  the Sardar to efface the  memory of  late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. What came in handy was that  her death anniversary falls on the same day. By doing so, Modi might also be seeki…

Watchout, Modi Eating ‘States’ for Breakfast

BY RK MISRA
Hope is a good breakfast but a bad dinner. And Congress realized this much to it’s chagrin when  an impatient India sent it packing and now waits expectantly while saffron replacement Narendra Modi lays the table afresh. For the moment he seems intent on clearing the gargantuan kitchen. Maharashtra and Haryana have just been swept clean of the Congress and NCP in the State Assembly elections held this month and are set to be replaced with a spanking new saffron set-up headed by Modi’s trusted men. Next year, 2015, is the turn of Bihar to go to the polls followed by Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam in 2016 and Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab in 2017 Congress is now reduced to ruling in only 9 of the 29 states in the country, five of them-Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya-in the north-east, a junior partner in Jharkhand, besides Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala. The Indian political ‘Plate’ has been seeing considerable seismic activity. …

For Modi, appropriation is the name of the game

BY RK MISRA
When you hear hoof beats, think of horses. So, when the results of  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategic gamble in Maharashtra and Haryana  are the stuff of screaming headlines, it is  his  ‘hostile takeover’ and ‘acquisitions’ imagery , played with panache on the Indian political chessboard, that needs dissemination. An artful imagery is at work, and repeatedly so, inviting comparisons with late Prime Minister   Indira Gandhi in conjuring up a cause. Whether it was the abolition of princely privy purse, bank nationalization or the portrayal of her own party veterans of the Sixties-Morarji Desai, Atulya Ghosh and Sanjiva Reddy who formed into the Syndicate in the Congress-as archaic gasbags, she successfully portrayed them as old hats hindering her   progressive policies and ‘Garibi Hatao’ programmes, thus ensuring a mandate for herself for life. In some ways, Modi has done one up on Indira. He has not only carried forward the imagery, but even fleshed out the phenomenon…

Political interference hits milk co-op movement

BY RK MISRA
Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one. It took V.Kurien, the father of the milk revolution, a lifetime to ensure that India becomes the largest milk producer in the world but only a few months  for then chief minister Narendra Modi to inject  the poison of politics into the body mechanism of milk cooperatives in Gujarat. Modi is now the prime minister and this ‘Gujarat’ model is  set to be replicated countrywide to ensure BJP control of milk cooperatives for enhanced  consolidation of political power. It was Modi who conspired to have Kurien ejected  from both the  Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) in 2006.The two never saw eye to eye. Kurien guarded his flock of  milk producers with steely resolve while Modi possessed an insatiable appetite for total control. The milk cooperatives of Gujarat with a captive vote bank of approx ten million  and fat finances was too juicy …