Kumaraswamy Trapped in His Own Karma

The karma has caught up with Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. The beleagured leader has offered to quit his post after being fed up with the tantrums thrown by coalition partner Congress. It is a no secret that Congress, which has a long history of ditching governments headed by smaller parties, is not happy with his rule.
Speaking to the media persons on the sidelines of a program in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy on Monay said that he did not want to continue and stick to the seat if Congress was unhappy.
He said that along with his Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Parameswar, he was trying his best to offer good governance. He said that the government is spending one lakh crore rupees for Bengaluru and has cleared projects like suburban rail service, outer rink road and alleviated corridor.
However, the Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah is not amused. Siddaramaiah, sees himself as the guardian of secular galaxy and would want to keep all affairs in his own hands. He has said that he would speak to Kumaraswamy and resolve the matter. However, this seems easier said than done as Siddaramaiah is accused of developing cold vibes with Parameswar as well.
The crux of Siddaramaiah’s unhappiness is in his reluctance to accept the reality that he is not at the help any longer. He is constantly trying to meddle into the affairs of the state and leading a backseat driving kind of role.
The frustration of Kumaraswamy seems obvious on this backdrop. Within as early as two months of swearing in as the CM of Karnataka in May 2018, he had expressed unhappiness over trepidation of the coalition Government that he was heading with support from Congress. He has broke down a number of times and this month, his outburst was all visible when he said that he was reduced to being a clerk rather than a CM. He had said on more than one occasion that party workers were happy but he was swallowing pain of the coalition.

Kumaraswamy is heading the Congress-JD(S) coalition government but Congress legislators, especially Siddaramaiah fraction, has refused to give him ample time for smooth functioning of the government. He is facing frequent brickbats from some sections of the coalition partner. The only glue keeping them together is their aversion to BJP.
Last year, he had said oenly, “I am not bothered how long I am here in this post. I believe I am here for five years. God gave me this opportunity, which I have to use for the benefit of people.” Immediately after coming to power, Kumaraswamy had said that no one could touch at least till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are over.
Statements like these only serve to show how certain his insecurity is. It is as if he was bidding time till the Lok Sabha elections in May after which the real fate of his government is determined.
The JD(S) and the Congress had entered into a post-poll alliance but from the onset, this alliance was more a helplessness than natural camaraderie. The assembly polls last May yielded a hung verdict with the BJP emerging as the single largest part. It actually tried to form a government, hoping to buy some legislators with lure of power, but failed to do so. With a prospective third front being proposed at the national level and Congress’s role in it being unsure, the future appears for JD(S) not only bleak but confusing and self-destructive.

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Priyanka Gandhi’s Entry – Formal Acknowledgement of Rahul’s Failure

When Defence Minister of India Nirmala Seetharaman spiritedly defended the government in Lok Sabha last week, Congress president Rahul Gandhi was at the forefront to deride her arguments. Seetharaman came clear with all facts regarding the Rafale deal and exposed all the canards spread by opposition, especially Congress. Rather than counter her arguments with equally forceful facts, the Congress President chose a very misogynist remark while targeting the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. “He is hiding behind a woman,” was the statement he made.
The irony came to haunt Gandhi and the Congress Party as Rahul’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra formally entered politics on Wednesday. Immediately after her entry, Priyanka was appointed general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East. The liberal intelligentsia (!) hailed the move saying that it was the Brahmastra for the Congress Party. They saw in it the party’s intent to go full throttle in the state ahead of the general elections.
Little did they realize that it was a formal acknowledgement of Rahul Gandhi’s failure as a leader. It showed that Congress relied heavily on sympathy and emotional issues rather than hard facts of development. Congress workers do not tire of singing paeans to Priyanka charishma and try to make others feel that she exudes Indira Gandhi’s persona. Clearly, the party wants to project her as a woman leader in a bid to attract voters and want others to see in her what a true-blood Congressman would see. It will surely boost the morale of party workers in the state but to expect any far reaching effect of this move will be an exaggeration.
Rahul Gandhi fastThe question here is – If it takes Priyanka Gandhi to arrive to enthuse Congress workers, what is Rahul Gandhi there for? What is he doing there as party president?
With Priyanka’s entry, years of speculation have come to an end. The euphoria is reminiscent of Sonia Gandhi entering in politics at the fag end of 1997. But it must be noted here that even Sonia Gandhi was not successful in her first attempt. She had to spend seven years in opposition before leading her party to power with the help of a cobbled up alliance.
It was also in line with the tradition of Congress Party that Priyanka was given new assignment in the politically crucial state without doing actual party work on ground, for howsoever little period of time. Her only credential in politics till now was managing the campaign of her brother – more as a family duty rather than commitment towards ideology. Even though Priyanka was earlier actively involved in making key decisiona in the party along with her mother and brother, it was mostly behind-the-curtain affair. Her most recent visible role was in the selection of new chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Even then, she neither faced media nor interacted with party workers. It was just a darbari affair.
Most importantly, Priyanka is ridden with a load in the form of her husband Robert Vadra, who is embroiled in several controversies and scams including land purchase scams in Haryana and Rajasthan and is facing probes by the Enforcement Directorate. To get past those blots will not be as easy as Congressmen wish.
One cannot but laugh head goes to see a masterstroke in this move. The same section was Jubilant in 2009 when Congress managed an appreciable performance in UP election. The Congress had then won 21 seats in the state in the 2009 general election. They attributed this tally to the ‘able leadership’ of Rahul Gandhi and saw in him new savior of party. And now they see next messiah in Priyanka as Rahul could not deliver after many attempts since then.
UP was a Congress bastion till the mid 1980s. Ever since then, it has lost ground in the state to BJP, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. Most of this destruction took place under the nose of Rahul Gandhi but he sailed through thanks to dynastic mindset of Congress. To revive the party from such a sunken state is a herculean task, but never mind, none will held her responsible even if she fails to achieve her goal. After all she has a blessed lineage!

EVM Hacking Drama – A Cheap Gimmick by Congress

The grand old party of India (which incidentally is only 49 years old and not 113-years, as if popularly believed) is kicking and shouting like a spoiled child after being out of power. Its latest salvo in the form of EVM hacking has backfired terribly, upsetting even its staunch supporters in media. More than bringing ridicule to the party through such cheap gimmicks, it has brought disrepute to the democratic institutions in the country.
The Election Commission was justified in asking Delhi Police to lodge FIR against the purported hacker identified as Syed Shuja.
The cyber expert, during an event in London, claimed that he was part of the EVM design team and he can hack the EVMs used in the elections in India. He also made some sensational claims alleging that Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and even Bahujan Samaj Party achieved success in elections through EVM tampering. The so called cyber expert, who had little antecedents to prove his credentials, had claimed that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged. And most explosive claim was that BJP leader and Union Minister Gopinath Munde was “killed” because he was aware of EVM hacking in 2014 general elections.
The self-proclaimed cyber expert’s claims had all the elements of creating a magnificent scandal in the country even as Lok Sabha elections are barely a couple of months away.
Luckily enough, the game was spoiled because of presence of former Union Minister Kapil Sibal. That gave away all clues of this being a Congress-sponsored drama. Sibal is a respected name in legal circles, but he does not enjoy a good reputation in politics. He was the one asking the Supreme Court to postpone hearing of Ram Mandir case till after 2019 polls.
Thus, he is seen as someone who leaves no stone unturned to achieve his goals. Defeating BJP, and especially Narendra Modi, is a dream for Rahul Gandhi-led Congress and Sibal, like every other darbari politics in his party, is hell-bent on realizing this dream. However, his physical presence made the matters extremely difficult for his ilk and his party. Congress was too swift in denouncing him and distanced itself from his involvement in the matter.
What was Sibal doing there and in what capacity was he present – these are the questions that will be asked repeatedly. The secular campers will have a hard time replying to these questions satisfactorily.
This is why he went back foot immediately and explained that he was present in his personal capacity. However, no leader with a stature such as Sibal will dare to attend such a highly repercussive event without the party’s approval. Moreover, the said hacked targeting all parties except Congress was another red flag in believing Sibal’s words.

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As pointed by Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian Journalists’ Association, which organized the conference in London, is headed by Ashis Ray who is a “committed Congressman” and has been singing paeans in support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He is a regular contributor to Congress mouthpiece National Herald, campaigns for the Congress on social media and has often attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not only this, he had also organized Gandhi’s public event in London.
In such a scenario, a well-thought and potential weapon from Congress’s stead has gone in vain. The exercise was reduced to being a circus, a farce and a political stunt. This was supposed to be a press conference, yet Shuja did not offer any proof nor did he faced questions by the media. It was a really bad PR exercise.
It must be noted that EC had organized EVM hacking challenge about two years ago but no party or organization could prove anything. Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party was the only party that had shown interest in taking part in that challenge, but it failed miserably. Aam Admi Party and BSP were the parties at the forefront in levelling allegations of EVM tampering.
Therefore, the EC considers the EVM tampering as a closed chapter and rightly so. Congress has made a laughing stock by putting up theatrics in the name of democracy. It would be worthwhile it they spend their energies in building organization rather in indulging in cheap acts. If they do not stop and listen to conscience, they would probable require such flimsy excuses after defeat in ensuing elections.

Now Running…The Karnataka Potboiler

The recent blockbuster KGF aka Kolar Gold Fields starring Yash had a short-lived glory at all. The movie, first in recent times to appeal to Hindi moviegoers simultaneously with Kannada ones, earned appreciation from all and performed well on the box office. However, its successful run was interrupted by another political thriller from Karnataka though not on reel but in real.

The political situation in Karnataka is still uncertain with both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party flexing their muscles.  As usually happens in such situations, the MLA from both parties have been taken away at safe refuges to save them from the rival onslaught. The political air in Karnataka is full of chaos as of now.

BJP accused Congress of trying to lure their MLAs only to be paid back in the same coin by Congress. The latter convened a meeting of its MLAs on Friday. It was left red-faced when four dissident Congress MLAs  skipped the Congress Legislature Party which was touted as the  show of strength in a counter to an alleged bid by the BJP to topple the coalition government in the state. Now, former CM and CLP leader Siddaramaiah has promised us that the party would issue notices to four MLAs seeking explanation from them for their absence at the meeting.

And amidst all these turmoil, CM Kumaraswamy says his government is not in danger. The guy is not just lucky, he has guts too!

The fate of Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka’s JDS-Congress government is still hanging on a thin wire. The two independent MLAs have openly severed ties with the government while reports confirm that more Congress MLAs have gone incommunicado.

As per the media reports emerging from Bengaluru, around 11 legislators had gone missing and Congress leadership was unable to contact them. It is said that these legislators could resign from Congress and shift loyalties to BJP.

In the meantime, BJP has taken their MLAs in the safe confines of a hotel in Gurugram.

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On Friday, Siddaramaiah briefed the reporters after the CLP meet and said that the issue would be discussed with the party high command and state leaders after receiving the replies from the absentees and then only  decision on next step would be taken. . The absentee MLAs were: Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as minister in the recent cabinet rejig and is said to be extremely unhappy over it, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli. Of these MLAs, Jadhav from Chincholi, who was aspiring to be a minister, has been spotted with BJP leaders in Delhi. These MLAs are said to be disgruntled over not finding place in the coalition government.

Siddaramaiah said Jadhav had written saying he would not be able to attend the meet as he was unwell, while Nagendra had spoken to AICC general secretary K C Venugopal conveying his inability to attend because of a court case. The other two MLAs had not communicated anything, he said.

All in all, the Kumaraswamy government is in peril as it was since the day one. It was established on a shaky ground. The only footing it had was hatred for Narendra Modi. That was a very delicate ground for any government to run smoothly. Whether BJP is running Operation Lotus or not, a Damocles’ sword would always be handed on the head of Congress-JDS combine. How both the parties overcome this anti-climax will be the real spectacle worth watching.

A Mirage Called Grand Alliance

The attempts by some of the opposition parties to cobble up a grand alliance to fight Bharatiya Janata Party are in full swing. This illusionary preposition swings up every five years or so in the name of fighting communalism and fascism. Earlier they levelled the same charge on Congress and fought shoulder to shoulder with BJP, but when the BJP gathered enough mass and marched ahead on its own, they changed the tone.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was right when he said that that the opposition ‘mahagathbandhan’ or grand alliance was a club of ‘nawabs of negativity’ and the only ‘glue’ of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man Narendra Modi. They are so driven by their hate towards Modi that they can set aside all their differences and ideologies to form a hastily sewn alliance.
However, the situation has changed a lot since such Fronts came up on political scene in India about 30 years ago. At that time, the people wanted change at any cost and that meant voting in favor of an melange of a smaller parties without a strong and nationwide leadership.
The people today belong to an aspirational society which is politically conscious. It will never buy into this suicidal alternative. This ragbag may come into existence propelled by the egos of the individual parties (no pun intended) but they cannot take the nation where it rightfully belongs in the 21st century. All the players performing in this political circus carry zero credibility; in many places, they are liability than assets. Look at Telugu Desam Party which was battered in the recently concluded Assembly elections in Telangana in spite of forming a front with Congress and Left.
Just last week, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party entered an alliance for Lok Sabah Poll 2019. They announced that they would fight coming lok Sabha election jointly on seat sharing of 38 each in Uttar Pradesh. And what did they have to say about Congress, which was an ally of SP in UP Assembly election in 2017?
Addressing a joint press conference with Akhilesh Yadav at Lucknow, Mayawati said that Congress is not part of alliance as it is not beneficial in seat winning contrary it creates loss. She said that she is keeping away Lucknow’s Guest House incident away in interest of People and country. She said this alliance will continue for a long in future.
Interestingly, one can use the phrase ‘forging an alliance’ in all sense to describe these parties. This proposed ‘mahagathbandhan’ has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common program. They lack leadership and nor any of them has unblemished record. It does not aim at building the country but focuses on maintaining the imaginary halo of their respective leaders. Those who can’t even see each other are now joining hands out of the fear for their own survival. More than anything else, their ego will eat each other even if they manage to come closer.

Sheila Dikshit’s Selection Shows Lack of Choices

The appointment of Delhi former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as Head of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee comes as a very disappointing decision. It shows that Congress leadership is bereft of choices and has to fall back on old guards. This was evident in choosing choosing Kamal Nath as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Ashok Gehlot as CM of Rajasthan. In an era where young voters are going to determine the future of majority of candidates in the ensuing Loksabha elections, choosing choosing 18 year old Sheila Dikshit will not help attracting the youngsters in any particular manner.

Sheila Dikshit, three times CM of Delhi, was appointed the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president on Thursday. She will replace Ajay Maken who had resigned from the post citing ill-health a few days ago. However in the political circles it is widely speculated that he made way for the new president to facilitate an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party. P. C. Chacko, the in-charge of the party’s Delhi unit, made the announcement. He said that Dikshit would be assisted by three working presidents — Devender Yadav, Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilotia.

In a true Congress fashion, Maken congratulated Dikshit. “Congratulations and well wishes to Sheila Dikshit on being appointed as president of Delhi Congress. I had the opportunity to work and learn under her as a parliamentary secretary and as a cabinet minister. I believe under her leadership we will play the role of a powerful opposition against Modi+Kejriwal governments,” Maken tweeted.

However, Sheila Dikshit will be hard pressed to infuse life in an almost dead party organization still reeling under the shock of defeat in Delhi. She is old and is not supposed to provide dynamic leadership that Congress requires at the moment. The Congress veteran was made the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh elections but it didn’t yield any worthwhile results for the Grand Old Party of India. Granted, Sheila Dikshit is the longest serving Chief Minister of Delhi, serving for a period of 15 years from 1998 to 2013 and she led Congress party to three consecutive electoral victories in Delhi; that is a past now. It is true that leaders seldom retire in Indian politcs, but to expect same performance from the octogenarian politcian will be nothing less than a cruelty.

It was Sheila Dikshit who was the CM of Delhi when infamous Nirbhaya episode happened that damaged Congress’s reputation for a good part. The Congress at the time was always on the backfoot and its leadership was lusterless. A kind of fatigue caughts up with the cadres and Congress gradually lost its footing in the competitive politics between BJP and the AAP.

The need of the hour, for Congress, is a young and suave leader who could talk youths in their own language. Especially, when a large section of media is playing cheer girls for Rahul Gandhi, and a perception is being built that the party is on pheonix-like rise under his leadership, this was the least that he could do. Thus, he could ensure that the party would cover lost ground in the political epicentre of India.

Flogging a Dead ‘Rafale’ Horse: Rahul Gandhi Refuses to Mend Ways

Even after receiving severe admonition from the court, Congress dynast Rahul Gandhi refuses to mend his ways. He continues to flog a dead horse in the form of Rafale deal and hopes to gain windfall by raking up this issue in the run up to the impending Lok Sabha elections.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid Rs 20,000 crore to France’s Dassault Aviation even though it has not delivered a single Rafale jet, but refuses to pay the dues of the Indian aerospace major.

Gandhi scion’s attack two days after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ripped apart arguments in heated debate in the Lok Sabha. The Defence Minister gave a spirited reply and refused all charges leveled by Rahul Gandhi. A day prior to that, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley buttressed the government’s stand that the multi-billion deal with French fighter jet manufacturer was in the nation’s interest.

Yet, Rahul Gandhi, who has professed his readiness to become future prime minister, hangs on the already weak branch in the form of Rafale deal. On Tuesday, he accused the Modi government of weakening public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and destroying India’s strategic capability to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani.

“The PM pays 20,000 Cr. to Dassault before a single RAFALE is delivered but refuses to pay HAL 15,700 Cr. it is owed, forcing it to borrow 1,000 Cr to pay salaries,” Gandhi tweeted. “Meanwhile, the RM (Raksha Mantri) spins lie after lie but cannot answer my questions,” he said according to PTI. 

The Congress and the BJP-led NDA government have been involved in a war of words after a media report claimed that HAL, grappling with low finances, was forced to borrow Rs 1,000 crore to pay salaries to its employees, for the first time in years.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has accused the Congress of not supporting HAL during its rule and asserted that the government is now strengthening the defense public sector undertaking.

Since the court having settled this matter decisively, the Congress scion’s attempt to malign NDA government and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom Rahul have personally targeted on many occasions, seems to be futile.

The Supreme Court on December 13 dismissed all the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision making process” warranting setting aside of the contract. The apex court also rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and the court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA).

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with “three broad areas of concern” raised in the petitions — the decision making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners (IOP) — and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the “sensitive issue” of purchase of 36 jets.

The court’s verdict helped clear the air which was beyond doubt in the first place. All the experts and defence analysts had put their weight in favor of the Modi government. But, Congress and its coterie is not satisfied even after the apex court of the country outspoken in no unclear terms. It seems that the liberal camp is bent on creating confusion in the country to achieve their goals. Thankfully, people are not mislead by search tactics in this age of social media and free information. Therefore, Rahul crusade on Rafale will remain grounded and not take off as the liberal camp envisages.