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.

BJP Modi Rafale

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.

Rahul Bravado Makes Good Show, But No Impact

Congress President Rahul Gandhi is unarguably in his prime as an opposition leader firing one after another salvo on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. he has got a good toy to play with in the form of Rafale deal. He and his coterie understand perfectly well that government cannot disclose all the facts pertaining to this deal due to the issues of national security. This allows him and his party to create confusion among the masses. However, unfortunately for him, people are not ready to buy his bravado as a serious act of a mature politician. With BJP coming with more counter attacks with every passing day, scion of the Gandhi family find himself in a precarious situation where he can neither lead the fight to its logical conclusion no can he leave it halfway.
In such a scenario, Rahul’s theatricks have only contributed to raising the entertainment quotient of the political discourse.

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi continued his tirade on Twitter and addressed Air Force officers, the families of martyred pilots as well as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited workers. He said that he understood the pain of jawans, and would work to bring to justice all those who dishonoured and stole from them.

“To every Air Force officer and Jawan who has served India. To the family of every martyred Indian fighter pilot. To every person who ever worked for HAL. We hear your pain. We understand how you feel. We will bring to justice all those who dishonoured and stole from you,” he said on Twitter.

Unlike his past campaigns, Rahul has shown some consistency in attacking the government on the Rafale deal, it must be acknowledged. However, he has already committed blunder by making his party organ, the recently rejected National Herald, to compare the scandal with the Bofors.

On Monday, he said the country’s “chowkidar” Modi snatched money away from the poor and handed it over to industrialist Anil Ambani. “The chowkidar of the country has taken out Rs 20,000 crore from the pockets of the poor, martyrs and the jawans and put it in the pocket of (Anil) Ambani,” Gandhi said at a meeting in the Jais area of his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi. This was one of the oldest statements made by Rahul ever since the Congress Party was relegated 44 seats in Lok Sabha and was forced to sit in the opposition.

However, the Congress’s past is going to haunt the party and Rahul for many days to come. if anything, Sambit patra’s counter attack proved this one thing.

BJP on Tuesday alleged that Congress was pointing fingers over the current Rafale Aircraft deal as it could not receive the kickbacks during the UPA regime and therefore the deal did not materialise. Briefing reporters in New Delhi today, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra reiterated allegations that there was a close link between UPA chairperson’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari whose company has been red flagged by the NDA government. He claimed that during 2016 raids conducted at Bhandari’s places, several sensitive documents including papers related to Rafale deal were found.

Several TV channels have picked up pieces of this story and exposed supposed link between Rahul, Congress and Sanjay Bhandari. These charges are going to stick with the Congress party that has become synonymous with scams, scandals, inefficiency and nepotism. There is a large number of critics who see Rahul Gandhi as a very reluctant and inefficient leader who is yet to come to terms with his responsibilities. It is only recently that he has shown some seriousness towards his job and detractors have pointed out role of individuals like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Divya Spandana behind his makeover.

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“After Modi government came to power, we started action against Sanjay Bhandari and his company. Starting as Rs 1 lakh worth company, Offset India Solutions slowly turned big with Robert Vadra’s help. There were raids in 18 places across India in 2016 and important papers including on Rafale were recovered,” Patra said.

The documents also included ‘confidential documents of Ministry of Defence’. “The papers also included proposals to buy mid-air refuellers and defence acquisition council papers. There were minutes of deliberations of the Contract Negotiations Committee”.

Moreover, Pakistan has also shown some interest in this episode and has overtly backed Rahul. With Pakistan being a perpetual adversary of India, no right thinking person in the country will like that one of its political leader is like by Pakistan. Thus, ironically, people tend to support PM Modi rather than dislike him the way did it Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi.

Therefore, the fact remains that Rahul’s bravado makes a good show and provides good copy to the paper, good footage to the channel and a lot of kilobytes for the digital media. But on ground, it does not make any impact at all.

यह कैसा है एका, जहां हर कोई अकेला

मुट्ठियां भींचते हुए और भौहें तनते हुए कांग्रेस तथा उसकी मिली जुली पार्टियों ने जिस विरोधी एकता की ललकार की थी, वह एक झटके में तार तार हो गई। और यह सब 3 महीने के भीतर! तथाकथित महागठबंधन का वजूद बनने से पहले ही बिखर गया! राज्यसभा में बहुमत होने के बावजूद विपक्षी दल उप सभापति पद के लिए अपने उम्मीदवार को जीता नहीं सके और वहीं यह भाजपा नीत एनडीए ने अपने झंडे गाड़ दिए। इससे विपक्षी एकता का जो शगूफा कुछ लोगों ने थोड़ा है वह खोखला है, इसका नजारा भी लोगों को हो गया।

इस चुनाव में संयुक्त जनता दल के हरिवंश नारायण सिंह को 125 और बी. के. हरिप्रसाद को 105 मत मिले। लोकसभा चुनाव में एक वर्ष से भी कम समय रहने के चलते यह चुनाव राजग और संप्रग दोनों के लिए बहुत महत्वपूर्ण था।

भाजपा ने राजनीतिक सूझबूझ दिखाते हुए अपने सहयोगी हरिवंश को राज्यसभा उप सभापति पद के लिए मनोनीत किया। उन्होंने अपने प्रतिद्वंद्वी कांग्रेस के हरिप्रसाद को बड़े अंतर से हराया। हरिप्रसाद की राजनीतिक साख का अंदाजा इस बात से किया जा सकता है, कि पिछले 40 वर्षों के अपने राजनीतिक कैरियर में उन्होंने आज तक कोई चुनाव नहीं जीता है। कांग्रेस ने उन्हें अपना उम्मीदवार बनाकर अपनी फजीहत खुद की है। वैसे भी, राहुल गांधी के उदय के बाद पार्टी इसकी आदी हो चुकी है। खैर, अपना स्वतंत्र उम्मीदवार खड़ा करना देश की सबसे पुरानी पार्टी के लिए राजनीतिक चाल के रूप में समर्थनीय माना जा सकता है। लेकिन उस उम्मीदवार के लिए अन्य दलों से समर्थन मांगना किसके शान के खिलाफ था?

इस चुनाव में ऐसा भी मज़ेदार नजारा देखने को मिला कि कांग्रेस को नेस्तनाबूत करते हुए दिल्ली की सत्ता हथियानेवाली आम आदमी पार्टी उसको समर्थन देने के लिए मचल रही थी और कांग्रेस उससे किनारा करने की जद्दोजहद कर रही थी। इसी तरह सरकार का विरोध करनेवाली किसी भी पार्टी से तालमेल बिठाना कांग्रेसियों ने जरूरी नहीं समझा। महबूबा मुफ्ती की पीपल्स डेमोक्रेटिक पार्टी भी भाजपा को परास्त करने के लिए लालायित थी। लेकिन उसका समर्थन पाने के लिए भी कांग्रेस की ओर से कोई कोशिश नहीं की गई।

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भाजपा की रणनीति

इसकी तुलना में, एनडीए नेतृत्व ने लगातार क्षेत्रीय दलों से संपर्क बनाए रखा। बीजू जनता दल जैसे जो क्षेत्रीय दल, जो एनडीए में नहीं है लेकिन जो घोर कांग्रेस विरोधी है, उन्हें पटाने में एनडीए नेताओं ने कोई कसर नहीं छोड़ी। विजयी और पराजित उम्मीदवार के मतों में केवल बीस का अंतर देखते हुए बीजेडी के 9 मत कितने अहम होंगे, इसका अंदाजा किया जा सकता है।

इसका नतीजा जो होनेवाला था वह हुआ। जेडीयू के उम्मीदवार ने भारी विजय प्राप्त की और अब इसके लिए कांग्रेस किसी और को दोष नहीं दे सकती।

भाजपा ने अपना उम्मीदवार खड़ा ना करते हुए एक तीर से दो निशाने लगाए। एक तरफ तो जेडीयू के खफा होने की खबरों को उसने पूर्ण विराम दिया, वहीं गैर भाजपा दलों को सिंह के खाते में वोट डालने के लिए प्रेरित भी किया। अब तेलंगाना राष्ट्र समिति को देखिए। तेलंगाना के इस सत्ताधारी दल ने कुछ ही महीने पहले तीसरे मोर्चे का आगाज किया था। टीआरएस के नेता चंद्रशेखर राव भाजपा विरोधी महागठबंधन की धुरी बनकर उभरे थे। लेकिन उसी टीआरएस ने अपना मत जेडीयू के पाले में डाल दिया। आंध्र प्रदेश के वाईएसआर कांग्रेस ने ना भाजपा को वोट दिया ना कांग्रेस को, बल्कि अनुपस्थित रहकर एनडीए की मदद की। हां, तेलुगू देशम पार्टी ने जरूर कांग्रेस को समर्थन दिया, लेकिन इसका मतलब यह नहीं कि कांग्रेस और टीडीपी में 2019 में गठबंधन होगा। कारण यह, की आंध्र में टीडीपी की मुख्य प्रतिद्वंद्वी कांग्रेस है और आंध्र में कांग्रेस का संघटनात्मक आधार बहुत ही कम है। इसके अलावा आंध्र प्रदेश के अव्यवस्थित विभाजन को लेकर वहां के लोग कांग्रेस और यूपीए से अभी भी नाराज है। इसलिए उसके साथ रहना कोई नहीं चाहेगा। तमिलनाडु की सत्ताधारी अन्नाद्रमुक ने भी सरकार के साथ रहना पसंद किया। तमिलनाडु के वर्तमान नेतृत्वहीन परिदृश्य में वहां की पार्टी मोदी जैसे सशक्त नेता से दूरी कभी नहीं बनाएगी।

अकाली दल और शिवसेना जैसे नाराज चलनेवाले दलों से दिलमिलाई करने के लिए भी भाजपा ने इस मौके का फायदा उठाया। यानि वर्तमान दोस्तों को कायम रखते हुए वह नए दोस्तों की खरीदारी करती रही।

कुल मिलाकर कांग्रेस के पास तृणमूल कांग्रेस, समाजवादी पार्टी, बसपा, डीएमके, पीडीपी और वामपंथियों के वोट रहे। क्या यह सारे दल अगले चुनाव में कांग्रेस के साथ खड़े रहेंगे? क्या राहुल गांधी का नेतृत्व उन्हें रास आएगा? इस चुनाव ने दिखा दिया, कि अधिकांश क्षेत्रीय दल अवसरवादी है और जिस दिल के पास सत्ता स्थापना के अवसर अधिक है उसके साथ जाने में उन्हें कोई दिक्कत नहीं है। जिस तीसरे मोर्चे की डिंगे यह दल हांक रहे थे, और कांग्रेस उनके सुर में सुर मिला रही थी, वह बस दूर की कौड़ी है।

यहां कोई एका नहीं है बल्कि यहां हर कोई अकेला है।

When Political Motives Turn Shameless….

The anxiety and political motives of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are turning into shamelessness with every passing day. Her brazenness has reached such a state that she is openly threatening the government and the nation of a possible civil war. The lady who was once hailed as a fiery leader has metamorphosed into a militant leader.

Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam was done with a “political motive” to divide people and warned that “it would lead to bloodbath and a civil war in the country.”

As has become her habit for quite a time, she attacked the central government and BJP also saying that the saffron party was trying to divide the country and asserted this will not be tolerated.
“The NRC is being done with a political motive. We will not let this happen. They (BJP) are trying to divide the people. The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, blood bath in the country,” Banerjee told a conclave.

SC-Driven Exercise

The massive Supreme Court-monitored exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam excluded over 4 million people from the final draft list. The issue rocked both house of Parliament after which Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the opposition not to politicize the sensitive matter as the list has been published on the directives of the SC and the Centre had “no role” in it.

He asserted that no “coercive” action would be taken against those whose names were excluded from the NRC draft list.

The truth of the matter is that TMC, like Congress and left parties, has nurtured a culture of illegal immigrants and infiltrators. These parties owe their existence and success to this dubious voter base. They can hardly afford to alienate them. That is why Banerjee and her ilk make a hue and cry over the issue. Joining them with chorus is Congress Party. Yes, that same old party which has lately habituated itself to play second fiddle to strong regional forces.

It is a hard-established fact that India is suffering from illegal immigrants for decades. The problem dates as back as Nation’s independence. Even past prime ministers like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have appreciated this fact and vowed to eradicate this menace. Security experts have pointed out a number of times the risks involved in allowing infiltrators a free access to the country. Besides eating up a sizable chunk of resources, these infiltrators have caused huge population explosion. Rather, this inhibited infiltration is said to be one of the main reason of India’s population after 1980s and 90s. This was also the time when the successive central governments were weak and the country witnessed a number of terrorist attacks.

It is true that the first waves of illegal immigrants came to India owing to their poverty in search of livelihood and security, due to extreme poverty and unemployment. . It is also true that the first settlers were, if we may say so, consisted of Muslim as well as Rhodium Libreus. However, once it was seen that India is a very open country that welcomed immigrants from every side, the trickle soon turn into a stream. And soon, the camel enjoyed hospitality of the tent while his owner had to live in the open ground.

With central governments showing little interest to find a solution to the infiltration problem and state governments willing partner in the crime, it ultimately became one of the biggest security concerns for India. Many of the illegal immigrants were found involved in nefarious activities like human trafficking, counterfeit currency and drug trade. Gradually, the professed secular parties turned these groups into captive vote banks. They not only harbored these groups but also actively encouraged them to flourish. It is no secret that these secular parties encouraged illegal migration and encouraged them to get citizenship of India. Many leaders of these parties procured jobs, even government jobs, to them. This was the classic modus operandi in Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal.

Disappearing Vote Banks

It is this vote bank that Mamata Banerjee is seeing being eroded with a single stroke of national register of citizenship (NRC). All the noise that she is making is because of this. Mamata is terrified even with the thought of deporting illegal migrants as they form the core of her ‘constituency’. She became hysterical the moment Assam government announced the NRC list in which 4 million people were identified as aliens. Even assuming that this list will be modified and a half of them are retained, yet Congress, TMC and Left will lose 2 million voters.

This is why they are spewing venom on government accusing the latter of dividing the country. This same gang opposed deporting Rohingya Muslims even after conclusively proving that they had terrorist affiliations.

Notwithstanding these theatrics, the citizens of this country vehemently support the move regardless of the fact that it was carried out on Supreme Court’s order and not by the government itself. This long pending and much needed development will have serious repercussions. Most importantly, it has bared open the groups that think in national interest and those otherwise.

‘एनआरसी’वर तडफड? नव्हे, 2019ची बेगमी!

लोकसभेची निवडणूक जसजशी जवळ येईल, तसतसे ‘लोकशाहीवादी’ पक्षांचे अनेक रंग उडून मूळ स्वरूप उघडे पडत जाणार आहे. प्रत्येक मुद्द्याला राजकीय रंग देऊन स्वतःलाच चिखलात अडकविण्याचे प्रयत्न हे पक्ष करणार आहेत. नॅशनल रजिस्टर ऑफ सिटीझन्सच्या मुद्द्यावर हे पक्ष करत असलेला थयथयाट हा त्या भविष्याची एक चुणूक आहे.

आसामच्या नागरिकांची गणती करण्यासाठी तयार केलेल्या नॅशनल रजिस्टर ऑफ सिटीझन्स (एनआरसी) याच्या मसुद्याचा दुसरा भाग बाहेर पडला आणि लिबरल डोंबाऱ्यांनी आपला जुनाच खेळ सुरू केला. या रजिस्टरमध्ये आसामच्या रहिवाशांची नावे आहेत आणि हे रजिस्टर काही कालावधीनंतर अपडेट करण्यात येते. याचाच अर्थ त्यात सुधारणा करता येऊ शकते.

आताच्या ताज्या रजिस्टरचे काम 2014 मध्ये सुरू झाले आणि ते 2016 पर्यंत सुरू होते. या दरम्यान एकूण 3.29 कोटी लोकांनी नागरिकत्वासाठी अर्ज केला होता. आपण आसामचे रहिवासी आहोत असा त्यांचा दावा होता. या वर्षीच्या जानेवारीत या रजिस्टरचा पहिला मसुदा बाहेर पडला होता. त्यात 1.90 कोटी लोकांना आसामचे रहिवासी म्हणून मान्यता मिळाली होती. त्याही वेळी मोठा गदारोळ उठला होता. मात्र अजून अंतीम यादी बाहेर यायची असून पूर्ण छाननी झाल्यानंतर यादी बाहेर येईल, असे सरकारने तेव्हा सांगितले होते. सोमवारी या रजिस्टरचा दुसरा भाग बाहेर पडला. त्यातील माहितीनुसार 40 लाख लोकांचे नागरिकत्व हरविण्याची शक्यता निर्माण झाली आहे.

अन् याच कारणावरून विरोधी शिबिरांमध्ये खळखळ सुरू झाली आहे. ज्या चाळीस लाख लोकांची नावे या यादीतून गळाली आहेत, त्यांनी यासंदर्भात आवाज काढणे समजू शकता येईल. परंतु चहापेक्षा किटली गरम या म्हणीला अनुसरून या संशयास्पद नागरिकांऐवजी विरोधी पक्षांनाच जास्त कंठ फुटला आहे. नेहमीप्रमाणे या आक्रस्ताळलीलेचे नेतृत्व पश्चिम बंगालचे मुख्यमंत्री ममता बॅनर्जी करत आहेत. त्या तर पहिली यादी बाहेर पडली तेव्हापासून अस्वस्थ आहेत. त्यांच्या पक्षाने या विषयावर लोकसभेत स्थगन प्रस्तावाचीही नोटीसही दिली होती. लोकसभा अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन यांनी ती स्वीकारला नाही हा भाग अलाहिदा. त्या नकारावरील ममतांचा जळफळाट शमत नाही तोच आता हा दुसरा आघात झाला आहे. आपले हक्काचे चाळीस लाख मतदार एका फटक्यात हरविण्याच्या भीतीने त्यांच्या तोंडचे पाणी पळाले आहे. एखाद्या व्यक्तीने निगुतीने आपले डबोले एखाद्या झाडाखाली पुरून ठेवावे आणि महापुरात त्या झाडासकट डबोलेही वाहून जावे, अशी त्यांची गत झाली आहे.

वास्तविक हा प्रश्न आसामचा. आसाम आणि बंगाल हे शेजारी राज्य आहेत. आसाममध्ये मोठ्या संख्येने बंगाली लोक राहतात आणि उलट बंगालमध्ये मोठ्या संख्येने सामील लोक राहतात, ही गोष्ट खरी आहे. पण त्यामुळे आसामच्या विषयांमध्ये नाक खुपसण्याचे ममताना काही कारण नाही. परंतु या विषयावर बंगाली कार्ड खेळण्याची चाल ममतांनी खेळली आहे. एनआरसीच्या विषयात केंद्र सरकारने ममतांना विश्वासात घेतले नाही, असे त्यांच्या पक्षाचे खासदार डेरेक ओब्रायन म्हणाले. आता हा एनआरसीचा विषय सर्वोच्च न्यायालयाच्या आदेशावरून सुरू झालेला, त्याची व्याप्ती आसाममधली आणि त्यासाठीची सर्व रसद केंद्र सरकारने दिलेली. यात ममता बॅनर्जी यांची भूमिका कुठून येते, हे त्यांचे त्यांनाच माहीत.

“भाजप सरकारने ज्या चाळीस लाख रहिवाशांची नावे वगळली आहेत त्यातील बहुतांश बंगाली आणि बिहारी आहेत. त्यामुळे हे नागरिक स्वतःच्याच देशात निराश्रित बनले आहेत,” असा कांगावा ममतांनी केला आहे. तसेच आपली नेहमीची तबकडी वाजवत, हिंदू आणि मुस्लिमांमध्ये भेदभाव होत असल्याचाही राग आळवला आहे. बंगालमध्ये कॉंग्रेस, डावे पक्ष आणि तृणमूल या सर्वांची रोजीरोटी बांगलादेशी घुसखोरांच्या जीवावर चालू आहे. त्यामुळे त्यांनीही ममतांच्या सुरात सूर मिसळला.

अर्थात आता आलेली यादीही शेवटची नाही. अंतिम यादी डिसेंबर महिन्यात येणार आहे. परंतु 2018 च्या क्षितिजावर 2019 च्या निवडणुका दिसत असताना तेवढा धीर धरण्याची बुद्धी विरोधकांना कशी होईल? ‘मुस्लिम विरोधी भाजप’ या ठरलेल्या संकल्पनेनुसार तोंड वाजविण्यासाठी विरोधकांना सुंदर कोलीत मिळाले आहे. या रजिस्टरचे काम सर्वोच्च न्यायालयाच्या आदेशानुसार सुरू झाले, त्यावर देखरेख सर्वोच्च न्यायालयाची होती अशा तपशीलांकडे एकतर सेक्युलर टोळ्यांना लक्ष द्यायचे नाही किंवा दिसले तरी त्यांना ते पाहायचे नाही.

देशात आसाम हे एकमेव असे राज्य आहे जेथे राज्याच्या मूळ रहिवाशांची माहिती एकत्र ठेवण्यासाठी राष्ट्रीय नोंदणी दस्तावेज आहे. याचे कारण म्हणजे इंग्रजांच्या काळापासून आसाममध्ये मोठ्या प्रमाणावर घुसखोरी चालू आहे. आसाममध्ये चहाचे मळे सुरू केले ते इंग्रजांनी. या मळ्यांमध्ये काम करण्यासाठी बाहेरून मोठ्या प्रमाणावर मजूर आणण्यात आले. हे मजूर नंतर आसाममध्ये स्थायिक झाले. त्यामुळे स्थानिक कोण आणि उपरा कोण हे कळणेही अशक्य झाले. त्यानंतर देशाची फाळणी झाल्यानंतर निर्वासितांचे लोंढे आसाममध्ये येऊ लागले. या बाहेरच्या लोकांना स्थानिकांकडून विरोध सुरू झाला. तेव्हा सरकारने आसामचे निवासी निश्चित करण्यासाठी रजिस्टर तयार करण्याचा निर्णय घेतला. अशा प्रकारचे नॅशनल रजिस्टर ऑफ सिटीझन्स 1951 मध्ये तयार करण्यात आले. त्यात आसामच्या प्रत्येक गावातील घर, संपत्ती आणि लोकांचे तपशील होते.

बांगलादेश निर्मिती आंदोलनाच्या काळात असंख्य घुसखोर आसाममध्ये शिरू लागले. त्यांच्या विरोधात 1970 आणि 1980च्या दशकात मोठे आंदोलन उभे राहिले. प्रफुल्लकुमार महंत हे त्या आंदोलनाचे एक प्रमुख नेते. आसाम गण परिषद या पक्षाची स्थापना या आंदोलनातून झाली. राजीव गांधी पंतप्रधान असताना त्यांनी या आंदोलकांशी जो करार केला त्यावेळी या रजिस्टरमध्ये सुधारणा करण्याची मागणीही त्यांनी मंजूर केली होती. त्यानुसार 24 मार्च 1971 च्या मध्यरात्री ज्यांची नावे मतदार यादीत होती त्यांना आसामचे रहिवासी म्हणून मान्यता मिळाली. त्यामुळे या तारखेनंतर आलेले सर्व लोक आपोआप घुसखोर ठरले.

नरेंद्र मोदी यांनी प्रचार काळात बांगलादेशी घुसखोरांचा मुद्दा उचलला असला तरी त्या पूर्वीपासून हा मुद्दा चर्चेत होता. त्यावर खटलेबाजी सुद्धा सुरू होती. सर्वोच्च न्यायालयाने डिसेंबर 2014 मध्ये यासंदर्भात आदेश देऊन 30 जून 2018 पर्यंत हे रजिस्टर अद्ययावत करण्यास सांगितले होते. त्याचीच अंमलबजावणी आता झाली आहे.

आता भलेही चाळीस लाख मतदार पूर्णपणे वगळण्यात येणार नाहीत. डिसेंबरमधील अंतिम यादी येईपर्यंत त्यातील अनेकांची नावे परत येतील. परंतु यातील 50 टक्के नावे गडप झाली तरी सेक्युलरांची वीस लाख मते गेल्यात जमा आहेत. हा त्यांचा जी तडफड चालू आहे त्याचे कारण हे आहे. घुसखोरांच्या मतांवर पोसलेल्या या पक्षाची जणू अस्तित्वासाठी लढाई चालू हे. भाजप या चारचौघांसारख्या सामान्य राजकीय पक्षाला एक हिंदुत्ववादी पक्ष करण्यात सेक्युलर पक्षांच्या अशा अतिरेकी कलकलाटाचा मोठा वाटा आहे. आताही त्या पक्षाच्या 2019 च्या मतांची बेगमीच या नाट्यातून घडणार आहे, आणखी काही नाही.

नैया को डगमगा न देने की चुनौती

अविश्वास प्रस्ताव से पहले विरोधी खेमे में उत्साह की ऐसी बयार थी, कि मानो नरेंद्र मोदी और भाजपा का सफाया बस एक कदम दूरी पर है। सभी विरोधी दलों ने ऐसा माहौल बनाया था, कि सरकार के नाकों चने चबाने का समय आ गया। अपनी एकजुटता का स्वांग बनाने से लेकर बेसिर-पैर के आरोपों की झड़ी लगाने तक हर दल ने एक भीषण संघर्ष के लिए नगाड़े बजाने शुरू किए थे। लेकिन शुक्रवार को लोकसभा में जब अविश्वास प्रस्ताव आया और सभी नेताओं के भाषणों के बाद प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जवाब देने के लिए उठे, तो यह सारा स्वांग फुर्र हो गया।

इस प्रस्ताव का नतीजा क्या होनेवाला है यह तो हर कोई जानता था, लेकिन जिस तरह वह धड़ाम से औंधे मुंह गिरा उसने सरकारी खेमे में नई ऊर्जा भरने का काम किया। छब्बे गए चौबे बनने, दुबे बनके वापस आए की कहावत को चरितार्थ करते हुए विरोधियों ने मोदी में विश्वास की गर्जना की थी और उनमें आत्मविश्वास भरकर लौट गए। जहां एक ओर अविश्वास प्रस्ताव के पक्ष में 126 मत पड़े वही सरकार के पक्ष में 325 मत पड़े, लगातार हुए उपचुनाव में जिस तरह से भाजपा को पराजय का सामना करना पड़ा था, उससे भाजपा के तेवर कुछ नर्म हुए थे। लेकिन बहुमत के इस विशाल अंतर ने उसे कठोर मुद्रा अख्तियार करने का मौका दे दिया। भाजपा नीत रालोआ के पास जितने सदस्य कागज पर है उससे कहीं ज्यादा मत उसे प्राप्त हुए।

भाजपा बुलेट ट्रेन में सवार करते हुए आगे निकल गई जबकि विपक्ष पैसेंजर गाड़ी में सिग्नल की राह देखता रहा। यूं भी कह सकते है कि विपक्षी एकता का बुलबुला बनने से पहले ही फूट गया। सरकार द्वारा विश्वास प्रस्ताव जीतने के बाद शेयर बाजार ने जिस तरह से उछाल ली उसे यही संदेशा लोगों तक गया, कि सरकार अभी भी अपने ट्रैक पर है।

यह बात सच है कि संसद की जिरह और चुनाव का रण इन दोनों में अंतर होता है। लेकिन संसद में सरकार को घेरकर चुनाव में मोदी को मात देने का विपक्ष का सपना आखिर सपना ही रह सकता है। इस दो दिवसीय चर्चा पर एक नजर डालें तो यह बात साफ हो जाती है कि मोदी को धूल चटाने के लिए विपक्ष को एक बड़े चमत्कार की जरूरत है। इसके लिए विपक्ष के पास अभी लगभग एक साल का समय है। मगर सोनिया गांधी से लेकर शरद पवार तक और राहुल गांधी से लेकर चंद्रबाबू नायडू तक यह भूल नहीं सकते, कि जितना समय उनके पास है उतना ही समय नरेंद्र मोदी के भी पास है। अतः जो चमत्कार विपक्ष कराना चाहता है वही या उससे भी बड़ा चमत्कार नरेंद्र मोदी नामक जादूगर करवा सकता है।

लोकसभा में अविश्वास प्रस्ताव पर चर्चा बिल्कुल कोरी रही। विपक्ष की तरफ से गंभीर हमला करने में कोई भी सफल नहीं रहा। राहुल गांधी ने जोरदार कोशिश की, उन्होंने लड़ाई की मुद्रा भी अच्छी तरह अख्तियार की। ऐसा लगने लगा था, कि शायद विपक्षी बेंच पर बिताए हुए चार वर्षों ने उन्हें राजनीति के गुर सीखा दिए है। भाषण के अंत में नरेंद्र मोदी को उनके द्वारा गले लगाना भले ही राजनीतिक पैंतरे के रूप में उल्लेखित हो, लेकिन उसके बाद जिस तरह की आंख मिचोली उन्होंने की और पकड़े गए उससे उनका नौसिखियापन फिर से उजागर हुआ। अपने समर्थकों को निराश करने में राहुल गांधी ने बड़ी ही महारत हासिल की है।

सन 2012 से लेकर भारतीय राजनीति के लगभग सभी प्रमुख खिलाड़ियों ने नरेंद्र मोदी की वाक्पटुता से समझौता कर लिया है। आज की तारीख में अपने राजनीतिक प्रतिद्वंद्वी और जन सामान्य को संबोधित करने में जो विशेषज्ञता मोदी ने हासिल की है उसके आसपास भी कोई फटकता हुआ नहीं दिखता। उनके इसी कौशल का एक और नज़ारा लोकसभा में देखने को मिला।

विश्वास मत प्राप्त करनेवाले सरकार को विजय मिली और इस प्रस्ताव को लानेवालों को अपना कर्तव्य पूरा करने की संतुष्टि मिली। लेकिन सबसे ज्यादा फजीहत शिवसेना की हुई। शिवसेना की भूमिका क्या है यह आखिर तक कोई समझ नहीं पाया। भाजपा को समर्थन देने या उसका विरोध करने को लेकर पार्टी में असमंजस का माहौल रहा। नौबत यहां तक आई, की शिवसेना भाजपा को समर्थन दे रही है, उसका विरोध कर रही है या अनुपस्थित रहकर इज्जत बचा रही है इसकी सुध लेना भी लोगों ने छोड़ दिया। आगामी समय में इसका असर जरूर देखने को मिलने वाला है। बताया जाता है, कि भाजपा अध्यक्ष अमित शाह ने महाराष्ट्र में अकेले के दम पर लड़ने के लिए कार्यकर्ताओं को आदेश दिए हैं। “मजबूर ये हालात इधर भी है उधर भी,” यह पंक्ति अगर किसी पर आज फिट बैठती है तो वह भाजपा और शिवसेना है।

बीजू पटनायक के नेतृत्व वाले बीजू जनता दल (बीजेडी) ने राजनीतिक सूझबूझ दिखाते हुए अविश्वास प्रस्ताव से किनारा कर लिया। कांग्रेस और भाजपा से समान दूरी बनाए रखने वाले बीजेडी ने अब तक खुद को कई तूफानों से अलग रखा है। और इस मैच में, जिसका नतीजा पहले एक्शन से ही तय था, किसी का भी पक्ष लेना पार्टी ने मुनासिब नहीं समझा जो उसकी समझदारी का परिचायक है।

राजनीति में एक और मजबूर पार्टी है तमिलनाडु की सत्ताधारी पार्टी अन्नाद्रमुक। लोकसभा में तीसरे नंबर के सदस्य जिस पार्टी के पास है उसकी भूमिका यूं तो महत्वपूर्ण हो जाती है। लेकिन अन्नाद्रमुक आज नेतृत्व की कसौटी से गुजर रही है। उसका वजूद केंद्र की मोदी सरकार के रहमों करम पर कायम है। इसलिए उसका भाजपा के साथ जाना न किसी को खटक सकता है न आश्चर्यचकित कर सकता है। यह भी सही है, की अन्नाद्रमुक की घोर विरोधी द्रमुक कांग्रेस के साथ गठबंधन बनाए हुए हैं और इसलिए वह उस खेमे में नहीं जा सकती।
कुल मिलाकर भाजपा की नैया अनुकूल हवाओं के सहारे आगे बढ़ रही है। तृणमूल कांग्रेस, धर्मनिरपेक्ष जनता दल (जेडीएस) और तेलंगाना राष्ट्र समिति जैसी चंद प्रादेशिक पार्टियों को छोड़ दे तो उसके सामने कोई बड़ी चुनौती नहीं है। सपा और बसपा अभी अपने अस्तित्व को बचाए रखने के फिराक में है। जिस तेलुगू देशम पार्टी ने यह प्रस्ताव लाया था उसकी और उसके नेता चंद्रबाबू नायडू की विश्वसनीयता हमेशा संदेह के घेरे में रही है। कमोबेश वही हाल महाराष्ट्र में एनसीपी का है।
कांग्रेस पर तंज कसते हुए मोदी ने कहा था
“न मांझी न रहबर
न हक में हवाएं है,
कश्ती भी जर्जर
यह कैसा सफर है।”
मोदी के नेतृत्व में भाजपा की हालत बिल्कुल इसके विपरीत है। उसके सामने चुनौती है तो बस अपनी नैया को डगमगा न देने की।

Kumaraswamy Rekindles Ugly Memories of Coalition Politics

Janata Dal Secular and Congress have managed to Grab the power in Karnataka pushing the Bharatiya Janata Party to the margin. H D Kumarswamy is in the Chief Minister’s chair. However, with the coalition comes the ugly memories of 1990s when themes of the supporting parties ruled the roost while issues of governance where put on back burner.
Karnataka’s new CM H D Kumaraswamy’s remark that he was at the “mercy” of Congress and not the people of state Signify the return of that era. With combined opposition parties coming together for the sake of fighting Narendra Modi and BJP, even as they are yet and decided over who would lead the pack, the chances of this kind of ‘obligatory’ politics become stark.
The Karnataka BJP leaders have flayed CM Kumarswamy saying that he was “deriding his own people” and doubted his credentials to serve them. However, their statement may fall under the ‘sour grape’ category. Surely, the statement of H D Kumaraswamy counts among the most brazen statements. It also signifies as to who would call the shots in this makeshift arranged that promises to last at least until next parliamentary elections.
Kumaraswamy had yesterday stated he was at the ‘mercy’ of the Congress, not the 6.5 crore people of the state. “Mine is not an independent government. I had requested the people to give me a mandate that prevents me from succumbing to any pressure other than you. But today I am at the mercy of the Congress. I am not under the pressure of the 6.5 crore people of the state,” he had said.
The coalition governments have been part of Indian polity since the elections in 1967 when the Congress’s monopoly of power in the states was broken for the first time. It started an era of short-lived governments and politics of defection – both of which were induced by Congress. The opposition parties formed coalition governments that included Swatantra, Jan Sangh, BKD, Socialists and CPI. Though CPM did not join these governments, it actively supported them.
Even Congress also formed coalition governments in some of the states where it had been reduced to a minority. However, none of these governments was stable enough and could not stay in power for long. Interestingly, Congress party has always believed that coalition rule is a prescription for instability and that it alone can provide stable governance. It Actually ran an election campaign on the plank of stability when two successive governments led by VP Singh and Chandrashekhar could not complete their terms. Ironically, the one led by Chandrashekhar came into existence because Congress has had lent support to it and eventually took it back honor flimsy pretext.
It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who for the first time led governments with large coalition of parties. But that was never a smooth ride even for a sagacious leader like Vajpayee.
Even a quick flashback would show the difficult road that the nation has traversed. A debilitating instability had gripped the Nation in the latter half of the 90s. The Congress was voted out of power in May 1996 and BJP, for the first time, emerged largest party in the 11th Lok Sabha. Vajpayee’s first tenure as Prime Minister lasted only 13 days.
After pledging “unconditional” outside support “for full five years”, the Congress party destabilized two United Front governments in less than two years – and that too on patently flimsy excuses. It actually showed the Congress party’s contempt for coalition politics as it thought it could run the country on its own and smaller parties were a hindrance to its agenda.
Congress leaders pulled down the UF governments under the calculation that power would naturally be theirs after the early elections to the 12th Lok Sabha. In reality, the electorate handed a worse defeat to the Congress than in 1996 and gave an unambiguous mandate to Vajpayee. Even this bitter experience did not pursuade the power-hungry Congressmen to play power games and destabilize the government and eventually the nation. on the contrary, in the zeal to put their leader Sonia Gandhi, who had taken the baton just a year ago, they plotted pull down the NDA Government in April 1999. And brought it down with just one vote.
That forced yet another mid-term election on the nation and the outcome again was in favor of BJP. The Congress fared worse than before, the BJP did better than before and Vajpayee began his third term as Prime Minister, with a clearer and stronger mandate than before.
While achieving this, everyone knows what kind of tribulations Vajpayee had to undergo that ultimately impacted his performance as the Prime Minister. Since 2004, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance ruled the country and its 10-year rule is known for loot, plunder and mismanagement.

With Narendra Modi’s victory in 2014, that era of blackmailing in the guise of coalition had come to an end. Under his leadership, BJP formed single handed governments in one after another state. In states like Delhi and Bihar, BJP did not win but the governments where stable. in Bihar, it was this murky state of coalition that forced Nitish Kumar to switch sides and join the NDA.
All those memories returned with swearing in of Kumarswamy when sworn enemies embraced each other to fight the bigger foe. What price they will have to pay in return of guarantee for their survival can be gauged from the statement that Kumar Swami has made. And this is just the beginning. We are still in the trailer but it is enough to give an idea as to what the picture will likely be.