Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax


Modi's victory proves leadership is vital in elections
2014.08.27 18:24:41

The recent statement of the chief of much-maligned Right-wing Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat on the massive win of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the last General Elections was true but only partially so. Bhagwat is reported to have said that the victory at the hustings for the BJP was not because of one man, as claimed by many, but because the people wanted a change. He went on to say that an individual alone could not have ensured the Party’s victory unless people were keen on a change. He went on to ask why is it that the Party was not voted to power when the same individuals and the party existed earlier, too? The Party won because the people desperately wanted a change.

This appears to be the perspective of the chief of the supposedly parent organisation of BJP on the majority obtained by the Party under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The credit given to the voters to bring the BJP in power is unexceptionable. After all, in a democracy there is no other power than “people’s power” which can throw away a dispensation and bring in a new one other. It is the people who decide on the basis of their experiences during the preceding tenure of a dispensation to either retain it or to throw it out. At the last elections, people overwhelmingly decided to terminate the 10-year rule of Manmohan Singh government and to bring in the only other available alternative in its place, and they did so rather enthusiastically – so much so that the BJP recorded a historic win and a simple majority in Parliament. This happened for the first time in 30 years, terminating the era of largely ineffective and corrupt coalition governments consequential on fractured mandates.

Nevertheless, one can go with Bhagwat’s statement but only for a little distance as his utterance seems to be loaded. It somewhat bears out the reports of an ‘internal’ feud between RSS and Modi. And, therefore, the RSS chief seemed to have attempted to run Modi down and whittle down the latter’s achievement of winning for the first time for BJP as many as 282 seats in the Lok Sabha – well above the half-way mark of 272. However, notwithstanding his predilections, Bhagwat overlooked the fact that Modi was into his third term as Gujarat chief minister when he campaigned for the Lok Sabha elections having been anointed as the party’s prime ministerial candidate – an unheard of initiative in a parliamentary democracy – and eventually achieving a convincing win. Other parties and other BJP leaders were in Gujarat too but he ensured successive wins for the BJP since 1995, first as an election strategist and then as chief minister since 2002 . The BJP in the State Assembly chose him for the chief minister’s position not once, not twice but thrice. None, not even Bhagwat, can really detract from his achievements as a strategist for winning elections for his party and then working tirelessly to give Gujarat a new paradigm for development taking it to a new level of growth and expansion as its chief minister.

True, the people wanted change. They were sick of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government –its politicking, its corruption and its policy paralysis. It ran from 2004-2009 largely on the strength of the strong economy handed down to it by the former National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. With a chest full of cash, it got into extravagant mode - sinking massive amounts in unproductive sectors that took it inevitably towards the abyss of slackening growth, high fiscal deficit, mounting inflation, absence of investments, both domestic and foreign and rise in unemployment. On top of all that, regular reports surfaced of loot and plunder of astronomical amounts by its ministers. The Prime Minister may have been honest but he was not effective in ensuring honesty among his ministers and bureaucrats. He acted as a mere figurehead, being led by the nose by the dowager of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to whom he seemed to have been inexplicably beholden. With media clamouring for blood of the corrupt and the venal the government lapsed into a “policy paralysis”, even as people were groaning under never-seen-before price rises of all basic essentials. Nothing was attempted or done to alleviate their sufferings.  The people, therefore, were tired, angry and disgusted with the ineffectual government. No wonder, they wanted to see the back of it, and, that too, quickly.

While people were yearning for a break the BJP leadership helped them by ingenious policy changes to cash in on people’s wrath. In Narendra Modi they found an ideal party-man to lead the electoral campaign. Having won several elections in Gujarat, he had the knowledge and the experience to turn people’s ire and their aspirations to the party’s advantage. His background as the creator of a new Gujarat, which the prestigious “The Economist” called “India’s Guangdong” as far back as in July 2011, helped. Another master stroke of the Party was to declare him as the Party’s prime ministerial candidate. Effecting a break from the past, the Party pushed to the sidelines all the senior stalwarts. It did have to face for a while a few long faces born out of frustrations and disappointments but the RSS proved to be an efficient midwife in enabling acceptance of the drastic makeover of the Party’s leadership profile.

Soon, Modi and other leaders plunged into intensive campaigning. Traversing the length and breadth of the country Modi set a blistering pace of travel and public speaking. Discarding the communal card, he took on the opposition on two basic issues of corruption and development, promising a strong government if given adequate numbers. Regardless of distinctions of caste, creed and religion he sought votes on the slogan of “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (essentially meaning growth for all regardless of caste creed and religion), a concept that stood Modi in good stead in Gujarat and was described as a “great vision” by US secretary of State John Kerry. Two other things helped. A snide remark by Congress leader Mani Shankar Ayer about Modi’s humble origins as a tea seller prompted a hugely successful campaign in tea shops across the country with facilities of tele-conferencing, extending his reach to millions in towns and villages. Then, induction of his trusted lieutenant, Amit Shah, an indefatigable worker, helped in breaking the backs of the ruling parties in Maharshtra, UP and Bihar.

Obviously, the RSS chief, thus, erred in crediting only the people for voting in favour of BJP. People have always played a stellar role in elections. But, how their opinions are swung in favour of a political party depends heavily on its leadership. In the same elections the lack lustre and listless leadership of the more-than-a-century old Congress plunged its seats-share in Parliament to an all-time low of 44, depriving it even of the stature of main Opposition. Quality of leadership in electoral politics, therefore, is of the essence.


Tags: leadership | electoral | politics

Hits: 47 |

Angry Gods of Himalayas
2014.08.03 15:52:16

The pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath as also to what is known as “Chaar Dhaam yatra” in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhad has come to a halt on account of heavy incessant rains, both in the Shivaliks and on the Himalayas. Consequently, there have been floods and landslides; the roads are blocked and the pilgrims in thousands are stranded at various places on the way up to the temples of Badrinath and Kedarnath at the elevations of more than 10000 ft. and more than 11500 ft, respectively.

Tags: Himalayas

Hits: 337 |

Indian Railways need profile-change
2014.07.14 19:08:31

Derailment of the prestigious New Delhi- Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express the other day near Chhapra in Bihar is virtually a wake-up call for the Indian Railways and its newly appointed minister. It is not yet certain what caused the accident that reportedly took four lives. Whether it was sabotage or plain neglect and incompetence on the part of the tracks inspection staff is yet to be ascertained. Inquiries are going to be conducted but a later report said that the Intelligence Bureau had sent an alert about a Maoist threat. The area is Maoists-affected. Nonetheless, it would be premature to arrive at any conclusion.

Tags: india

Hits: 353 |

Neymar's injury: increasing aggression in sports
2014.07.13 15:20:29

The Colombian Zuniga’s downing of football’s superstar Neymar that broke the latter’s vertebra took away bit of sheen from the “Beautiful Game”. The violence of this kind does not quite mix with sports, be it football or sport of any other kind. The Brazil game against Colombia was particularly rough with as many as 54 fouls whistled down and of them 31 were committed by the Brazilians. If this is reckoned as beautiful, one wouldn’t know what beautiful is. Fouls are certainly committed in inadvertence but, as one noticed, players were being pulled away or being deliberately downed to prevent them from carrying on with the game. And this happened not once, or twice; it happened umpteen numbers of times in the games I happened to watch. To me, this does not appear like sport. One plays a game, after all, for pleasure and to extend pleasure to the spectators. It is neither a matter of life and death nor is it a matter of national prestige. Then why go and do something like breaking somebody’s back – literally?

Tags: aggression | sports

Hits: 361 |

Indian Railways need to change its profile
2014.07.13 15:16:37

Derailment of the prestigious New Delhi- Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express the other day near Chhapra in Bihar is virtually a wake-up call for the Indian Railways and its newly appointed minister. It is not yet certain what caused the accident that reportedly took four lives. Whether it was sabotage or plain neglect and incompetence on the part of the tracks inspection staff is yet to be ascertained. Inquiries are going to be conducted but a later report said that the Intelligence Bureau had sent an alert about a Maoist threat. The area is Maoists-affected. Nonetheless, it would be premature to arrive at any conclusion.

Tags: india

Hits: 401 |

Tea in Indian politics
2014.04.09 18:57:01

By being undiplomatic in his language in a talk he delivered at a recent All India Congress Committee session Mani Shankar Ayer, a Cambridge graduate, a former career diplomat and a Tamil Brahmin to boot brought chai (tea) back into politics. Ayer promised to the gathering that the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi would never become prime minister of the country in the 21st Century. And, he went on to add, “But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him."

Tags: india

Hits: 722 |

India falteringly heads towards sustainable transport
2014.03.05 19:49:44

Almost every city in India is being choked today with traffic. There has been an automobile revolution since the economy was opened up and infestation of automobiles in Indian roads has progressively increased to an alarming extent. While before 1991 only a few thousand vehicles used to be manufactured, that number went up to 3.9 million in 2011. Almost all major producers have descended on the country to establish manufacturing facilities. Despite a claimed slow-down in off-take in the succeeding years a few more lakh vehicles must have been added in 2012 and 2013.

Tags: india

Hits: 923 |

India's North-East needs separate time zone
2014.01.30 19:36:09

It is good to hear that the demand for a separate time zone for the North Eastern states of India has been revived. The proposal, it seems, is with the government and is in active consideration.  It had to be so, as no less a person than Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of the state of Assam, the biggest north-eastern state, has taken up the matter. In any case, regardless of what happens to the proposal, the Chief Minister is reportedly set on introducing the “Garden Time” in Assam soon. Introduced by the British tea planters over a century and a half ago for the tea garden workers it would be an hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST).

Tags: north-east | zone | time

Hits: 859 |

India could help save Sumatran tiger
2013.12.21 16:11:16

Looks like our escalating imports of palm oil from Indonesia will see the end of the Sumatran Tiger. While we in India would seem to be lucky in still hosting some tigers, we, however, might well be the reason for extinction of the tigers in Sumatra.


Tags: tiger | sumatran

Hits: 1102 |

Dreams sold by ad world
2013.12.13 18:48:39

The recent elections in Madhya Pradesh set off a veritable ad war. In making extravagant claims of accomplishments of the government during the last five years the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took recourse to exaggerations and bluffs. Photographs of green farms and silky smooth highways were picked up from the internet and passed on as achievements of the government. Keeping a keen eye, the men of the Opposition – the Indian National Congress –pounced at the opportunity screaming that the ads of the saffron brigade were a “collage of lies”. The Congress in the opposition has been quite bitchy even otherwise. This was election time and it lost no time to go all out to embarrass the party in power and unleashed a frontal attack.

Tags: lies | ads

Hits: 1213 |

Indo-Pak peace process -
2013.11.11 19:42:17

Why flog it when it is lifeless

Arun Jaitley, leader of the Opposition in the Upper House of Indian Parliament, very tersely said recently in New York that “terror and dialogue can’t coexist”. This was in the context of the Indian government’s keenness to continue Indo-Pak dialogue. Even as he was speaking infiltration bids continued on the Line of Control (LoC), the border between the two Kashmirs.

Tags: process | peace | pak | indo

Hits: 1483 |

A take on Indian politicians
2013.08.29 19:34:23

“I spoke to Mulayam-ji at 10.30 PM. Then I spoke to CM (chief minister) Akhilesh Yadav. And at 11.11 PM the Collector received the SDM’s suspension order – within 41 minutes the order came. This is the strength of democracy” thundered Narendra Bhati, a Samajwadi Party member, in a rally he organised at Gautam Budh Nagar in NOIDA  in the state of Uttar Pradesh on July 28, 2013.

Tags: politician

Hits: 1491 |

Uttarakhand tragedy - 'development' wreaks havoc
2013.07.20 19:44:29

Any talk of “development” today sounds ominous and one tends to visualize the motives behind it that are sinister. Our political masters (mis) understand by the word development only growth and expansion that is mostly spatial in the context of a city. That there are other meanings also attached to the word, like improvement in quality, refinement or even an attempt to attain fullness, do not seem to occur to them.


Hits: 1703 |

The tiny kingdom of Swaziland
2013.07.03 19:51:38

The Swazi King Mswati III of Swaziland was in the news recently. Polygamous to the core, he wanted a 22 year old girl as his 14th wife. He got smitten by her when she was just 15 and kept making advances. Made of sterner stuff, she had no intentions of joining the millionaire king’s harem of 13 wives (with their individual palaces and luxury cars) several concubines. She, therefore, fled to Britain and currently living in Birmingham has sought asylum in the country. The 45 year old king lost a wife, his sixth, last year who escaped from his harem citing years of emotional and physical abuse.


Hits: 1664 |

Indians' craze for gold hurts their economy
2013.06.27 14:24:29

I found it rather odd that the Indian Finance Minister had to be beseeching people of the country not to buy gold. He has requested everyone not to buy gold for at least one year in view of the mounting current account deficits. Rising demand for the precious metal, he said, is met increasingly by imports which push up the trade deficit, impacting on balance of payments. The consequential mounting current account deficit is causing scarcity of dollars weakening the rupee. Lately the rupee has lost heavily against the dollar and is now pegged around 58 to 59 to a dollar.

Tags: gold

Hits: 2110 |

Fall of the Indian Rupee
2013.06.16 19:11:15

A report appeared recently of a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) study about the share in circulation of various currency denominations in 2010-11. The study effectively reflects how the value of the country’s currency unit, the Rupee, has gradually eroded. The erosion seems to have picked up pace since the economic reforms process began in 1990-91 and was, seemingly, accentuated since 2003-04.

Tags: rupee

Hits: 2275 |

'Amazing Thailand'
2013.06.12 15:02:28

The blurb of Tourism Authority of Thailand sells the country as “Amazing Thailand”. Thailand, indeed, amazes you. Endowed richly by nature and coupled with its cultural heritage the place offers all that makes an attractive destination. It has everything – beach tourism, adventure tourism, nature tourism, temple tourism and what have you. All those have been remarkably exploited to give tourists an unique experience. Welcoming as the Thais are one feels like going there over and over again.

Tags: thailand

Hits: 2667 |

Vote against Sri Lanka - India's muddled diplomacy
2013.04.20 14:40:38

News came in the other day that the already agitating students of Chennai are going to launch protest rallies when the internationally popular Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty-20 cricket matches take place at the city’s hallowed Chepauk ground. They have also decided to pressurise the Hyderabad Sunrisers, a participating IPL team owned by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Dayanidhi Maran who represented Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a Tamil party, in the Union Government, to sack Kumar Sangakkara, a Sri Lankan cricketer.


Hits: 4407 |

A rape that shook India
2013.01.13 19:03:27

It was different; it was a different kind of gang-rape that shook not only the nation but also the Diaspora, besides evoking strong and sensitive reactions from abroad. It even prompted the Secretary General of the United Nations to write to the Indian Prime Minister for ensuring greater security for women. It was a different kind of rape in that it was not like the ones that are reported almost every day in the newspapers. It was different because it was an uncommonly and excessively brutal and beastly assault, which tore up the insides of the 23-year old bright and ambitious paramedic, eventually taking her life despite the best efforts of medicine men in the country’s capital and abroad.


Hits: 4993 |

The end of 'Indian Spring'
2012.11.27 19:27:14

Arvind Kejriwal, of the erstwhile NGO India Against Corruption, has made quite a splash since he went political. Even before he named his outfit as “Aam Aadmi Party” (AAP) he had commenced his campaign against the entrenched political establishment. His exposes, virtually like serial ‘bombs’, have already scorched Robert Vadra, the son in-law of Sonia Gandhi,  Chairperson of the ruling formation United Progressive Alliance, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, the suave but loyal to the point of being a sycophant of Sonia Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari, the reigning president of the principal Opposition,  the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Reliance Chief and the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, and, lately, sugar mill owners of Western Maharashtra, presumably targeting the Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar, currently Agriculture Minister at the Centre. The Ambanis came in for further treatment in Kejriwal’s accusations regarding their alleged unaccounted wealth in foreign banks details of which, though suppressed, were allegedly available with the government.


Hits: 5772 |

  Page 1 of 3
Make a donation to MWC News

Enter Amount:



Login reminder Forgot login?
Register Register


Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page