Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/24/d284549539/htdocs/nobribe/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 580

Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/24/d284549539/htdocs/nobribe/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 580

Tag Congress

Dump all the Maha Politicians 11


Recently while campaigning for Bihar Elections, Sharad Yadav made a controversial remark about ‘throwing Rahul Gandhi’ into the Ganges. While his remark may simply have been a ruse to draw attention, there does exist a valid case for dumping all the current Maharashtra politicians into the Arabian sea.

Maharashtra Politicians

New Breed of Maharashtra Politicians

Without that, there can be no fresh beginning. Since Ashok Chavan’s offer to resign over the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the guessing game for the next Chief Minister has already begun, similar to the speculation that was rife when Vilasrao Desmuskh was removed after 26/11 Mumbai attack. Given that multiple relatives of Ashok Chavan have been found to have received allotment of the multi-crore flats in the Adarsh Housing Society, which was cleared in the name of Kargill widows and war heros, his continuation as CM, seems highly untenable. The choices though among the present pool of Maharashtra politicians are horrifying. The usual names of Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Nararyan Rane etc. are doing the rounds, but all of them are part of a discredited lot. It is not just the ruling party that faces such a predicament, its alliance partner NCP is no better and neither is the opposition of Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS. It seems as if the entire polity of Maharashtra has been vitiated. Overdose of money, fame and crime reek from every pore of state politicians, resulting in bad governance, mismanagement and Corruption. Wealth accumulation seems to be their only goal. Behind the public facade of political rivalry, the real race is for money. This last decade and a half has seen a curious game of Musical Chairs being played amongst its 5 ex-Chief Ministers , 2 ex-Depty Chief Ministers and the current CM and Dy CM. Roller coaster rides of some of the key players are detailed below:-

Vilasrao Deshmukh(Congress): CM from 1999-2003, was replaced by Sushil Kumar Sihinde in January 2003 –> Again become CM after 2004 elections replacing Shinde –> had to resign after 26/11 attacks in 2008, was replaced by Ashok Chavan –> rehabilitated into Union Cabinet in May 2009 as  Minister for Heavy Industries.

Sushil Kumar Shinde(Congress): CM briefly between January 2003 – November 2004, replacing Vilasrao Deshmukh –> Won the elections but was replaced by Vilasrao Deshmukh again, and was packed up as Governor of Andhra Pradesh –> inducted into Union Cabinet as Minster for Power in 2006.

Narayan Rane(Congress, ex-Shiv Sena): CM for a brief period in between February – October 1999 from Shiv Sena, lost Elections in 1999. Quit Sena and joined Congress in 2005 and became minister in the state cabinet since then

Chagan Bhujbal(NCP,ex-Shiv Sena): Deputy Chief Minister October 1999 – December 2003 –> quit on account of Telgi Scam –> reinducted as Deputy CM in December 2008 replacing R.R. Patil

R R Patil(NCP,ex-Congress): Deputy Chief Minister October 2004 – December 2008 –> had to resign after 26/11 attack –> rehabilitated as State Home Minister in October 2009

Towering above everyone else there is Sharad Pawar, who formed NCP in June 1999 after quitting Congress over Sonia Gandhi’s foreigner status, yet had no qualms aligning with Congress in the state (1999 onwards) and at the centre (2004 onwards) for power sharing. Besides being the overworked Union Minister for Agriculture and PDS, he still finds time to be the czar of the multi-billion Cricket Industry and the NCP President. He has diverse business interests, majority of which are undisclosed. Closely linked to him is Praful Patel, a businessman turned politician who is currently the Minister of state for Civil Aviation in the Union Cabinet. To give him company there is another businessman turned politician of the Congress party, Murli Deora, who is the Union Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural gas since 2006. None of them however can overshadow Suresh Kalmadi who outshone everyone in the just concluded Common Wealth Games.

The opposition ranks are equally discredited and insipid. The principal opposition party, Shiv Sena formed on narrow, regional parochialism and Hindu right wing ideology is on the decline due to an overage patriarch and the third term out of power. Its writ though still runs large among Businessmen and Film fraternity, whom they armtwist with the threat of violence. Matching them step for step and exceeding in venality is its new off shoot MNS. This new breed of politicians is even more brazen and intolerant.  The BJP has long been reduced to being an appendage of the Shiv Sena and is incapable of independent action.

On closer scrutiny three prominent trends in Maharashtra politics stand out:-

1. All major political parties are controlled by ‘remote control’. In case of Congress it is true nationally, yet the vagaries of changes in Maharashtra have surpassed their own standards. For NCP, the keys to power are securely kept with Sharad Pawar and his confidante Praful Patel.They may be Union Ministers but their heart still lies in Maharashtra. Balasaheb Thakrey of Shiv Sena has always prided himself for being  above the fray. In his hey days, he nominated Manohar Joshi to be the Chief Minister only to be replace him with Narayan Rane towards the fag end of his term. BJP’s remote control used to be with Pramod Mahajan till he was alive, after that it has lost relevance. The politics of extra constitutional authority has often brought in power without accountability leading to more rapid degeneration.

2. Another salient characteristic of Maharashtra politicians is their close association with business community. Mumbai being the business capital of India, most politicians have overt business interests in Sugar, Real Estate, Education or Hospitality besides covert involvement in crime syndicates or illicit businesses. This has created strong vested interests and fueled Corruption at all levels.

3.Whenever someone gets discredited in the public eye or is named in a scam, he is shunted out for a brief period of time, only to return back either in the state or the centre, after the public gaze shifts on to some one else.

There is little hope for Maharashtra with the current batch of politicians. @Chetan_Bhagat has a point when he suggests that may be its time for Rahul Gandhi to try his hand at being the interim Maharashtra CM before he ascends the throne at Delhi.

Rethinking BJP 5


Three months back Pritish Nandy wrote a hard hitting article ” The irrelevance of BJP” lamenting on its state of affairs with a view to bring it out of its stupor. On the other hand Rajesh Jain, India’s numero uno digital entrepreneur and also a leading light of the ‘Friends of BJP’ has long maintained that it would be too much for us to expect the rise of another National Party in our lifetime, so we are stuck with the choice between the two mainstream political parties –  Congress and BJP. Both got me thinking on what would it take to revive BJP. BJP after all is not just a Hindu nationalist party of right leaning individuals. Its our only hope for creating a bipolar polity in out country. It is almost 30 years old (if we disregard its previous avatar of ‘Janasangh’), yet it has just managed to cross the Vindhyas to form a government in Karnataka. There are still many regions and states where it does not have a presence and several others where it had a  dominant position earlier, but is now in decline. Hoping another new, emergent party to match the national presence of Congress might be  nothing short of asking for a miracle.

Indian Politics BJP Lotus

That BJP is in shambles, there is no doubt. Loosing two elections in a row seem to have brought it down to its knees and  exposed all the chinks in its armour. From being a party of youthful leaders most of its youthful leaders have shown themselves to be made of clay. They specialise in bringing down each other while giving a walkover to the ruling party. It has miserably failed to be an effective opposition even though they have been handed price rise as an issue on the platter.

Its time, BJP rethinks its vision as a party right of centre that aspires to dominate Indian Politics as one of the two major national parties.  While its roots and ascendancy did lie in being a pro-Hindu, anti-Muslim party, going further it may need to do a rethink.  In a country where a large majority (almost 90%) of politicians are all hindus, being pro-Hindu does not count for much. Whatever boost it got from the Ayodhya issue can hardly ever be replicated again,as people tend to quickly return to their normal state after the aberrations of agitations like L. K. Advani’s Rath  Yatra subside. As for being anti-Muslim, they needs to do a dispassionate analysis of the baggage that it brings and its advantages, if any. It may have helped them consolidate their position in Gujarat to successfully ward off the challenge from Congress in successive elections. But while they won the battle in Gujarat, they lost the war of India. From Trinamool Congress to Biju Janata Dal, they lost critical allies as a result of their stance on Gujarat issue. Even now, this issue remains the sore point with their only remaining major ally, Janata Dal United (JDU) in Bihar. Its longest standing pro-Hindu ally, Shiv Sena on the other hand is turning more and more into a liability rather than an asset. In the process, BJP has failed even to become the epicenter of the non-Congress, non-left opposition. The biggest worry for BJP should be that even in opposition, anti-BJP-ism is a bigger draw than anti-Congress-ism. For those who think that Gujarat can be replicated in India, they need to draw lessons from the Communist plight in West Bengal. Indoctrination such as Gujarat or West Bengal, only has a limited shelf life and can never be replicated nationally. Every party can have a set of moderates and hawks, however its important to reign in the hawks or they will eat up the party itself.

In its desperation to play the Hindu card BJP might have failed to notice another virtue within its fold – its track of ‘Good Governance’ . Most BJP governments have provided clean and efficient governance. Even in states where its government was ousted due to defections such as Goa and Jharkhand, its earlier performance is remembered fondly.  So too in coalition governments, the BJP ministers normally come out in flying colours. It was also the first one to use BSP – Bijlee, Sadak, Panee (Electricity, Road, Water), issues of everyday concern to win elections in M.P.. Its Golden Quadrilateral road project is still acknowledged as one of the most ambitious infrastructure project of modern India. Its decisive nuclear action has had far reaching implications stretching long beyond their reign. It needs to draw upon all these experiences and consolidate them to appeal to an electorate that is tired of mere identity politics and is looking for real solutions to real problems.  While its earlier claim of ‘a party with a difference’ may have withered off, it should now re-brand itself as the party with governance.  The coming elections in Bihar where its ally Nitish Kumar is attempting to put governance as the central issue, may turn out to be a test case for the entire country whether governance can take on the more emotive issues. If he succeeds, he might become a trend setter. Therein might lie a ray of hope for BJP too.