India’s jaundiced secularists
Nobody would have objected to some Muslim organisations protesting in Mumbai for the violence in Assam that has sent lakhs of the people in Kokrajhar and other adjoining districts into government aided relief camps. However, the protests in Mumbai that flared up into an attack on the police, on the media and ransacking of shops nearby had clearly a communal origin.
Assam violence a fallout of vote bank politics
The longer the Congress rules Assam, the greater grows the threat to India’s security and demography. Just take a look at the recent events in Kokrajhar, one of the worst districts affected by the flood of illegals. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blames the Centre for delaying the deployment of the army. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visits the relief camps and says that the “pain and suffering the recent incidents have caused to a large number of people have saddened all of us”. He lets in the word “ethnic conflict” and says it is “unacceptable and must stop”.
The gloves come off to reveal Walmart fist
The Obama lesson to Dr Manmohan Singh in economic policy for India has rattled even the Congress leaders. It specifically mentions, among others, New Delhi’s lack of progress on FDI in retail. That gives out the real purpose of President Obama’s criticism of Indian economic policy.
The US retail giants are over-eager to penetrate India’s growing retail market and capture it before it blooms into a trillion-dollar business for a consumer collective which is 300 million people now and could be at least 500 million in another five or six years.
Manipulations for Presidency
Pranab Mukherjee, till the other day the Union finance minister, may not believe in the bad omen attached to the number 13. He has been occupying house with the number 13. If he wins the battle for the highest constitutional post he would be the 13th President of India. His sangfroid on number 13 may all be justified on the basis that the number has brought him luck rather than misery as it is supposed to do by most people. He may, however, be putting on a brave face.
Should a failed FM be made the President?
Is the Congress pushing Pranab Mukherjee, the UPA II Finance Minister, upstairs into the Rashtrapati Bhavan, because he is the best person, with vast political experience, and therefore best fit for this constitutional job? Or is it being done to get the North Block seat vacated, since he has messed up the economy completely?
Elusive peace with Pakistan
With Pakistan about to set up an interim civilian government in preparation for a new general election, there will certainly be a freeze in any initiative from New Delhi on the western front. In so far as the world is concerned, the issue in Pakistan is not the election itself, but whether the civilian government, always at the edge, will survive and the terror factories operating in the country shut down.
In this context the revelation by a Pakistan army officer that the Kargil War was planned and executed by the Pakistan military under General Pervez Musharraf who then was the army commander, is a timely reminder to both Pakistan and India (and to the world) of the key role that the military plays in the political affairs of our western neighbour.
Is Anything More Corrupt Than A Govt Buying MPs?
During a recent meeting in Ralegan Siddhi, Anna Hazare’s team decided to renew its fight for probity in public life. One could say it is also time to judge the impact of his campaign on the system, asking some relevant questions. Has the first, “successful” phase of the movement really touched the collective conscience of ‘civil society’ and affected the attitude of the ruling establishment towards corruption? Or is its influence superficial?
Stripped of hyperbole, the real achievements of the movement are modest. Nothing has changed for the better on the ground. Our venal rulers continue on their course, smug as ever. Otherwise, the two whistle-blowers, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora, former Lok Sabha MPs (both of the BJP), would not be behind bars for exposing the cash-for-votes scam of July 2008, and their third comrade, Ashok Argal, would not be facing arrest.
One factor pertaining to the recent assembly elections that every analyst has commented upon is the virtual eclipse of the Left, particularly in West Bengal, which a Left coalition ruled for 34 years without a break. As for Tamil Nadu, the focus has been on how the people have cut the DMK and the Karunanidhi family to size. Lost in the hullabaloo over the rout of the DMK and the Left is J. Jayalalitha’s invitation to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to her swearing-in ceremony, a recognition of his growing stature both within the BJP and outside it. Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, it must be remembered, has the Left parties as its allies in the Tamil Nadu assembly, and for the Left, Modi is like a red rag. But she has preferred to ignore this, and invited Modi even though the BJP was not her ally and had in fact fought the Tamil Nadu elections on its own.