First Year of UPA II and 2 G Spectrum Scam

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In the summer of 2009, Dr Man Mohan Singh was a happy and excited man. His party has increased its tally of seats from 140 in 2004 to 206 in 2009. His alliance was close to halfway mark of 272 in Loksabha with 262 seats. What further sweetened the victory was his nearest rival BJP were down by 20 seats. Left parties that deserted UPAI on ideological ground did not count for much in government formation.  Dr. Singh and his party chief, Ms. Sonia Gandhi were confident of mopping up the necessary numbers. This time, Dr. Singh thought he will be able to pick his cabinet that has vision, a cabinet that has clean image, a cabinet that will take his reform vision forward. However, two other people had different ideas.

M Karunanidhi’s party DMK  had also increased its tally in Tamil Nadu along with that of UPA alliance. In 2009 DMK was the third largest party in UPA alliance. M. Karunanidhi, DMP partriarch, was determined to extract his pound of flesh. DMK supremo was demanding nine ministerial berths for his party, these included one for his daughter – Kanimozhi, one for his son – Azagiri, one for his nephew Dayanidhi Maran, one for his confidant T. R. Baalu, and one for A Raja.

Problem was, Prime Minister Dr. Singh was not inclined to accomodate demand of DMK to have nine ministers. Dr. Singh was also declined to accomodate Mr. Raja and Mr. Baalu. Dr. Singh was interested in Mr. Maran for a cabinet post and willing to accomodate Mr. Azagiri as a state minister. However, in the family hierarchy of DMK, stature of a nephew cannot become bigger than that of the son. So DMK decided not to participate in the swearing in ceremony of UPA II. So the victory was getting sour within a fortnight and creating a major headache for congress. However, congress could have gone ahead to form government by taking support of other parties, but they persisted with DMK. Besides, it was felt that DMK would come back eventually, because DMK government in the state of Tamil Nadu was depending upon support of Congress.

There was one more person keenly interested in cabinet formation and who becomes the telecom minister. This person was Ms. Nira Radia. Radia was interested in getting Mr. A Raja of DMK the  Telecom portfolio. Because, Mr. Raja was favored by her clients Tata group and Reliance group, both giant corporations with interest in Telecom. Ms. Radia was also working to prevent Mr. Maran of DMK getting telecom portfolio. In this regard, transcripts of taped telephone conversation of Ms Radia with influential journalists, polticians from different parties, industrialists and policy makers have emerged (please see below 1 and 2).

Why Ms Radia’s telephone was tapped was a different issue. Needless to say it was done with proper permission, the transcripts have also been submitted to surpreme court of India as part of evidence that Ms Radia was trying to influence cabinet formation to favor business interests of her clients. A transcript of Ms. Radia’s conversation with a prominent journalist of NDTV is given below, indicating her reach and influence. More such conversations can be accessed if one goes to the site of Open Magazine given in reference 2.

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/O2dIs-3IbMo&source=uds

Barkha Dutt – Completely Exposed (http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?268626)

Ms. Radia obviously had build up an equation with Kanimozhi and Raja of DMK. She was acting as a conduit between congress and DMK during cabinet formation impasse. Never mind, she managed to get A Raja the job of telecom minister. DMK did not get 9 ministers, they got 7. Mr. Baalu was not accepted, Ms. Kanimozhi did not take any ministry. DMK got three cabinet ministers in A Raja, D Maran and Azagiri, and 4 state ministers.

Dr. Man Mohan Singh did his first compromise admitting A Raja into telecom ministry, despite his reservations. Dr. Singhs long four years had just started and coalition politics had started taking its toll on his great plan of taking Indian economy forward.

2G Scam – Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s revelations

Almost a year later, painstaking work of J Gopalakrishnan of pioneer will expose that under Mr. Raja everything was not right in the ministry of Telecom. As explained by Dr. Swamy in the video above, Mr. Raja sold or rather gave away spectrum to his friends and favored ones. The price he charged in 2010 was nearly similar to the price in 2001. Mr. Raja was adviced to auction spectrum by prime minister. Mr. Raja followed first cum first served policy. Mr. Raja changed the date of application submission arbitrarily with very short notice, such that only pre-informed clients could submit necessary fees. Several groups that purchased spectrum had no expertise of running telecom industry. So they sold their licence to foreign bidder at three to five time the purchase price. Thus foreign bidders got spectrum at much cheaper rate and phoney operators got windfall gain. Later controller and auditor general came out with a scathing report that in 2G spectrum allocation, loss to public exchequer was close to 176000 crore rupees.

All hell broke loose. Opposition parties demanded resignation of Mr. Raja, formation of JPC to probe the matter. After much dillydallying, when surpreme court intervened and decided to monitor the probe, Mr. Raja was sacked and he went to jail. Joint Parliamentary Probe was initiated, and recently completed. It is another story that Dr. Singh was not interviewed, neither was Mr. Raja.

First year of long four year of Dr. Singh just ended, wiping out Dr. Singh’s smile and speech for remaining three years.

1. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?268618

2. “Some Telephone Conversations: Inside the networks of lobbyists and power brokers that dictate how this country is run.”
http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/some-telephone-conversationshttp:

3. //jgopikrishnan.blogspot.in/2010/05/2g-spectrum-scandal-araja-nira-radia.html

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Four Years of UPAII, A Saga of Corruption and Indecision

Congress led UPA II has recently completed fourth year of the second five year term in office. This government has been plodding along in the last leg of its journey before elections in 2014. Hopefully, voters will pull the plug on this rudderless ship that is sailing through a choppy sea. Scam after scam has hit the government at regular interval. Initially, responsibility was passed to alliance partners and their errant ways. Then it emerged that congress ministers are no saint either. Fist came 2 G spectrum allocation scam, then CWG scam, followed by coal block allocation scam, railway job allocation scam. Impact of scams were compounded by the charge that government was trying to manipulate investigation report on coal block allocation scam with its own interpretation. Family and friends of high and mightly politicians were not far behind. Mr Robert Vadra, son in law of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, congress party supremo, was involved in acquiring land in a congress ruled state in active collusion with ruling party chief minister. Economy is down, parliament do not function, important bills do not get passed, allies desert government, problem at international border. Government appear clueless, leaderless, moving along hoping for a miracle to happen. Since last five years of UPA government, there has not been a dull day.

This was not the scene when Sonia Gandhi proposed the name of Dr Man Mohan Singh as the prime minister. Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, president of India, swore him to the oath of high office. It was hailed as the victory of secular India where a Christian nominates a Sikh to be sworn in by a Muslim. Every thing was honki-dori, economy was growing at 8% there was optimism all around. In the first UPA innings, many hoped that reformist Prime Minister will push accelerator pedal and economy will zoom. Howevr, UPA I which was propped up by outside support of left, was not allowed to veer outside common minimum program that was agreed upon. UPA think tank believed that previous government had lost because growth had not percolated down to poor. So UPA government decided to guarantee minimum 100 days job to one member of household in rural area through MGNREGA scheme. MGNREGA paid a wage of Rs. 100 – 150 per day.

 Such schemes need money. Budgetary allocation for MGNREGA was Rs. 40, 000 crore.  When Economy was doing good no one bothered, despite murmur of corruption and waste. Problem started arising, when prime minister decided to sign civil nuclear agreement with the United States. Acute power shortage had forced the government to consider nuclear power as a source of energy. Emerging business oppurtunity in a growing economy has lured the US to get into this agreement with India. Hope was American companies will also get a share of business.


Visit blogadda.com to discover Indian blogs Left withdrew support from UPA government for ideological reasons. Government  survived by getting outside support, many believed government survived by bribing MPs. That was the only one time public posture of toughness taken by Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, where he staked his position for the deal. Seen in the picture, Dr. Singh waving at supporters after securing parliaments support in the passage of Indo – US civil nuclear deal. 

Congress lead UPA came to power for the second time in 2008. This time power was secured minus left support. Everyone thought, release of its shackles, our economist prime minister will do miracles. It was anticipated that Dr. Singh will bring in more reforms, economy will gallop, India and Indians will prosper.

Alas, it was not to be. Indian economic growth story has come down from mighty 9% to measly 5%. Government earning has reduced, government spending has increased. Government has no clue how to increase revenue. Congress party, with an eye to rural vote bank had forced government to initiate populist programs like rural employment gurantee scheme, costing aroung 40, 000 crore rupees to exchequer. Not content, congress party also pushing for food security bill that is likely to cost around 100,000 crores. All these welfare schemes are good and extremely necessary. To implement these schemes government needs to earn revenue. To add icing on the cake, global economy collapsed. Many felt, India could have done much better if it had right policies and processes in place. If there was a will to act in the face of gloom and doom.

Most important industrial projects were bogged down because environmentalists clearance wece not coming. National Advisory Council (NAC) an unelected advisory body that adviced congress party on strategic matter of national importance was dominated by members with socialist ideology and anti-business agenda. Many of them had deep distrust for big business. It is good to be pro-people, but there needs to be a balance between socialism and development.  Inertia at the policy level was compounded by violent protest of tribals supported by ultra left on ground, and left leaning intellectuals on social media. Government was caught in a bind, on one hand it was not wise to to tamper with ecology and livelihood of poor people, on the other, without investment grand welfare schemes will not take off. Where is the balance? Shown in picture, Posco project bogged down by government terms and public protests. It is difficult to understand, why villagers are not convinced about the possibility of earning more and better living condition, compared to present. Who is advicing them? Is it the revenge of the left? Without money, socialist agenda cannot be implemented. It is also important to note that in a growing economy needs of peopld are taken care of by employment generation. Was anyone listening!

Government, however, had a bigger problem. Cancer of corruption was eating away its vitals. Scam after scam in mega scale hit headlines. Telecom minister gave away scarce spectrum at throw away price to people that would help his and his parties political future. Coal blocks were allocated to cronies with no expertise in coal mining or power generation. Resource allocated for Common Wealth Games was plundered by creating artificial delays, and according to some source to faciliate higher cut to politicians and bureaucrats. I have discussed common wealth games scam in earlier post. In subsequent posts I shall take up 2G spectrum scam and other improprieties.

On one side there was indecision. On the other there was crony capitalism. Industrial houses willing to invest in India, were not able to do so because there was no permission or delayed permission. Foreign investors were not certain if their investment was secured in India. This sentiment was articulated by Deepak Parekh, ex-chairman of HDPF bank in an interview to Shekher Gupta, editor Indian Express.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Deepak+Parikh+in+Walk+the+Talk&oq=de&gs_l=youtube.1.0.35i39j0l6j0i3j0j0i3.6168.6686.0.10759.2.2.0.0.0.0.209.380.0j1j1.2.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.0GxyznTpU7A

What is important to note that there was no will to rectify the course of government. Scams are not unusal where big money is involved. It is imperative for  those in power show energy and enterprise to curb corruption. It appeared there was complete abdication of duty on the part of prime minister. He was in charge of coal ministry when coal blocks were allocated. Apparently there was very little due diligence and very little followup. Was our prime minister disillusioned from the very begining of UPAII? He realised early in UPA II that his hands were tied to the duties of coalition politics and to dictats of party managers, who had eye on electoral gains for next election. As a result prime minister was either not empowered or disinterested to intervene when clearance to industries, clearance to mining etc were held back. However, prime minister did not show much interest to create polcies that could create a balance between protection of environment and creation of business oppurtunity. Was it because he was incapable or he was not interested? Prime minister never got elected by contesting polls. He did not have mass base. Many believed he was not respected by his cabinet colleagues. Many openly defied him and listened to party boss Mrs. Gandhi. Some like Shoma Chaudhury of Tehelka Magazine believe that prime minister Singh was neither effete nor disinterested. He was an astute politician who had learnt the art of survival. 

“Singh’s most severe critics — Supreme Court lawyer and Aam Admi Party leader Prashant Bhushan, for instance — would concede one thing about him: he is not in the clumsy business of greed and kickbacks. His failing is subtler but, in the long run, far more corrosive..” | http://bit.ly/10XTSvX | By Shoma Chaudhury

It is time, I hope Dr. Singh is either replaced by a new leader, who is more interested to do his job, or UPA is replaced by a party that has more national interest at heart.

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We Live in Violent Times

We live in very turbulent and violent times. People thought with end of world war II and with end of cold war between the US and USSR, world will be a haven of peace. However, that has not happened. We have seen violence everywhere and almost on a daily basis. We have seen people with certain ideology and beliefs, try to influence others, try to suppress women. We have seen nations attack another nation in the name of liberty and freedom. People opposing invasion  of foreign troops wage guerrila warfare. Ideological battle is ongoing between ultra left, right and centrist forces in the form of violent armed struggle all over the world..

In last twenty four hours, however, I have seen two television visuals that have disturbed me profoundly. Firstly, I saw a video footage of two men who apparently had killed a British soldier in London. They allegedly rammed him with car, killed him using knife and many claimed beheaded him. These people waged war on England in the name of Allah. The attackers did not run away. They tried to attack security forces, and were shot.

These two people also threatened to wage war against England. According to news sources, these men were from Nigeria. One of the men, one in the picture subscribes to extremist Islam. The men kept on saying that men and women are killed in their land. But, Nigeria has ethnic violence between Christians and Muslim tribals. Nigeria has no foreign occupation! Are these people then refering to invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan? Why black Nigerians are fighting the cause of Afghan and Iraqi’s? Are they trying to spread pan islamic ideology? 
Personally, I think invasion of Afghanistan was necessary. Taliban was running amock in Afghanistan. Taliban wanted to enforce radical sunni version of Islam. One Indian airplane was hijacked and taken to Kandhar. India had too exchange prisoners for the plane and passengers. The prisoners were welcomed by Taliban minister. To me Taliban was a rogue  government. Western troop came as a blessing of god. However, it is unfortunate that Afghanistan is not suitable for regular war. Forces have to fight with hands tied to prevent civilain casualty. It is unfortunate that escalating cost of war and human casualty will lead to withdrawl of Western forces. 
Coming back to Woolwich killing, if Nigerians were fighting the battle of and for Islam, why are they in England? From the accent, it appeared that one of the assailants had spent considerable time in England to acquire the particular style of speech. After staying in England for such long time, enjoying the benefits that are on offer, irrespective of race or religion, why attack British soldier/s? What if this victim was not a soldier but a clerk working the barrack? Would the killers apologise to the family? What good would such an apology be?

 Many Islamic countries, most famously middle Eastern oil rich countries, enforce Islamic law on non muslims. If Islamic law is so acceptable, then people should live in these countries. Why move to a secular democracy like England? people, if so unhappy, must go back to homeland where they can fight for their cause. The attackers of British soldier, did not run away. They were shot trying to attack security force. It is possible that these people wanted to be martyr of Islam. It is becoming a pattern among jihadists to desecretate the body of infidels by beheading. The British soldier in London was beheaded. Two Indian solidiers in Jammu and Kashmir were beheaded. Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter was beheaded. The trend continues.
Instances of extremism and violence is increasing. Recent past witnessed an Algerian immigrant to France, shot and killed many jews. Do these fanatics realise how much danger they are putting common muslims and other immigrants that look like them, in case there is a backlash? Believe me, if such activities continue one day there will be retaliation. 
Second disturbing footage was seen in Lucknow, state capital of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh. It was seen that two police constables, on peripheral security duty to sanitise route of Chief Minister’s motorcade, ended of fighting with each other.

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/Ls6fnZg09rI&source=uds

As is evident from the video footage, these are no junior recruits. Why these two officers started hitting each other in full public view remains a mystery. However, question is if police treats a fellow officer in this manner, what hope a common citizen expect from such force? We here criminal police nexus. We know police men are controlled by politicians. We hear, police men pay bribe to get a constables job. These people beat up common people inside and outside jail at the behest of political masters and at the signal of highest bidder. This is for the first time we are seeing that how cruel, violent and indisciplined police can be in full public view.
Both Woolwich murder and Lucknow violence are disturbing. Because it has repurcussion on the life of common public. It creates a sense of insecuity and terror. May be that was the exact purpose of Woolwich murder. Still common people like us will always think it could have been me. People like us will also think should I go to police with the hope of solving my problem? May be not.

Corrupt Eating Away Taxpayer Money: Common Wealth Games

India has a reputation of being corrupt from the standpoint of doing business. On one side, government ministers and bureaucracy wants to maintian a tight control, as much as possible, on business houses. They exert this control through myriad of inspections to uphold rule of law. However, everyone knows that one can get by, paying appropriate bribe even with murder. Since Indian economoy opened up in early 1990’s, a lot money has flown in into India, compared to socialist era of Indian economy. With more money inflow, with more emerging business oppurtunities, the scope and magnitude of corruption has also gone up. According to transparency international, India ranks number 94 among 176 countries.  Not a feat that one should be proud of.

Most often we blame government and its complex rules and regulations for corruption in India. We blame politicians and bureucrats for exploiting the loop holes in our system. May be to a great extent this is true. However, we forget our politicians and bureaucrats come from our society. If we are corrupt that reflects on the people that we elect and people we choose to become administrators.

Question is as a society why are we so corrupt? Is it because for generations we have not seen money enjoyed good life, that is why we are susceptible to inducement? Is it our insecurity that steady flow of money that we see now, may vanish soon. So why no make hay while sun shines! May be that is why our leaders and administrators deliberately do not fix the rule of the game so that one can do business without having to pay bribe? Finally, may be as a society we are corrupt, and this reflects in our action.

Let us look at Mr. Suresh Kalmadi. What was his incentive to be corrupt? He had everything going for him. Entrusted with overseeing Common Wealth Games (CWG) in Delhi, he had enormous clout and access to corridors of power. It was believed that bringing games to Delhi would boost investment on cities infrasttructure, besides people will have access to watching world class players live. Although, CWG went without any major event, the preparations to CWG was a mess. Firstly, the whole preparation of venues and housing were seriously delayed. Cost of every infrastructure build was inflated close to ten times. Whereas building a brandnew stadium from the scratch costed around 60 – 80 crore, the same for CWG costed around 800 crore. Roads were not ready on time, one foot over bridge collapsed, several countries threatened to pullout of the games, many contingents put up their sports people in private hotels. To top this all there was stench of corruption. There was rumor mill that kept churning out that people were making money and Kalmadi being the final signatory he had to share the blame.

A Ringmaster’s Reckoning | The Caravan – A Journal of Politics and …

It is not known if rumors were true or not, however, in an article written by Anil Verghese for Caravan Magazine, secretary to Mr. Kalmadi, Sri Rajaraman  was quoted as saying,

“— such delays are just part of doing business with the Indian government. “I guess the government had good reason to delay the construction, the release of funds and all that,” he says. “There is no other way to explain this. If we had completed construction by 2006, or, say 2008, 10 percent share the sarkari officers get is say x. Today it is 2 x, maybe. So my 10 percent has grown. So the longer I delay as a babu or a minister, the better it is for me. See the point?”

Then Rajaraman landed the final blow, “Are you telling me that the prime minister is not getting a cut out of all the big deals, or the Congress party? Or when the BJP was in power, it was not taking a cut? It’s become a norm in our country. It’s legal. All contracts are written now with a ten percent agent commission. It’s not illegal anymore…so the longer I delay, the better for me.”

Inspite of lot of mud slinging, nothing really stuck to Kalmadi. Except awarding on contract to a fradulent company in UK. Kalmadi had his signature on the paper. Although he tried to pass the blame on Indian High Commission in UK, he was not successful, CBI raided Kalmadi’s residence. Nothing was recovered. Rumor has it, that Kalmadi had shifted his ill gotten wealth overnight. Kalmadi spent some time in jail. He is continuing as a congress member of parilament. 

Is Kalmadi a victim of the system or a shrewd manipulator of the same? Is it possible if Kalmadi had not managed government officials and politicians, CWG would have been in a bigger mess, because people in power would not release money on time. On Kalmadi, knowing the vulnerability and greed of the people in power, played them well such that  everyone made enough. A sceptic would say only those who did not get a share of the pie are cribbing.

At the end of the day, national glory is for naive common people who still get tear in their eyes at sound of national anthem being played and sight of national flag being hoisted.

Unless with change our system, bring in accountability and audit at every step where public money is being spent, nothing is likely to be changed. For big people it will remain a game of big money and big profit.

Corrupt Practices Eating Away India’s Wealth : Story of Rail Minister

Of late India public discourse in India is heavily preoccupied with issues like corruption. Every sphere of life is affected by the virus. Here politicians sell of government post for money, ministers sell of natural resource which is actually national resource for money, many cases those in positions of power try to help their kith and kin make more money at the expense to taxpayers. Government officials do not work unless requisite bribe is paid, police supposed to protect citizens, either protect corrupt politicians or sell their services to highest bidders mostly criminals. Private sector is not immune either. Businessmen in collution with politicians, police men plunder national resource, evade tax, manufacture and sell faulty goods not fit for human consumption, plunder poor peoples life savings. Now it emerging that private citizens that are earning a lot of money, are still ready to sell their soul for even more.

It is difficult to say why we are experiencing so much corruption. Is it because we are seeing so many oppurtunities to make money that we are losing our power of discrimination? We are a poorly governed state, where ineffective policing, by ill trained police men, who are also highly politicised, makes India a haven for different criminal endevors. Most cases criminals feel confident that they may not be caught. Even if they are caught, they may not go to jail. India as a nation is living in two worlds. On one side we have adopted capitalist system for economy. On the other hand unlike many capitalist systems, we retain very extensive ties with extended families. Everyone wants to enjoy the fruits of capitalism, like making more money, enjoy finer things in life, buy new gadgets, own big properties among others. Like we stoke a fire for it to become a blazing flame, similarly continuous stoking of desire, through adverts etc, leads to raging need. The modern adverstising also gives a subliminal message that particular brand, for example coffee or deodorant or watch, and its association with beautiful women. A thinking person may be able to dissociate subject matter of advert from inducement, but many of us cannot. Our desire to acquire things that we want becomes a thing that we crave. To attain the object of our desire then we resort to all sorts of activity like crime, murder, loot etc. Let us take the example of Mr. Pawan Bansal. Mr. Bansal became minister in 2008. Mr. Minister’s wife had started a pharmceutical company, named Theon Pharma. It is emerging that from the time he became minister till date,  Theo Pharmaceuticals had increased her trunover nearly 10 fold from 15 crores to nearly 150 crore ruppes in five years.




No problem with business savviness of Mrs. Bansal. Except it is coming out that honorable minister had used his clout to give loans to his Pharmaceutical company. This also he achieved by placing his relatives in the position of directors of commerical bank. Later, it also came out that Mr. Bansal was running a scheme to make money by selling senior positions in railway board to highest bidder. Mr. Bansal was running this activity from his office and official bungalow using his nephew as a shield. When the scandal broke, instead of promptly resigning, Mr. Bansal claimed innocence and disowned his nephew.


A person given charge to oversee functioning one of the biggest rail network in the world, sells important position for money! What can we call this, a crisis of morality? Where people want to make money at all cost, without thinking of consequence, without any shame! As Gandhiji said, there is enough on the earth for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed. A manifestation of this phenomenon is what we see around us everyday in the form of scams. It is imperative that as a nation, we must control our want from becoming need, and need from becoming greed. 

Power Drunk Politicians


What is it about Indian politicians, that once they are elected to office, power goes to their head. A politician who asks with folded hands vote, starts to treat common Indians  worse than a vermin. They loot our money, unleash goons on us, criminally intimidate us, all in the belief that law will never catch upto them. There are many such instances, let us start with Mr. Ramcharan Teja.

Recently, it came to light that, Mr. Ramcharan Teja, son of Chiranjeevi, was involved in a street brawl in Hyderabad. All because another car did not give way to Mr. Teja’s vehicle. Teja was going to have lunch with his wife. So he must be in an important business. Enraged Mr. Teja, unleashed his security guards on these people.  


By the way, Mr. Teja is not entitled to have any security at taxpayers expense.  His father does, for perceived threat. So wonderful, politicians use our money to hire goons to beat us! Well done Mr Teja and Mr Chiranjeevi. Now Mr Chiranjeevi wants a say in hiring police personnel and Police commissioner in Hyderabad. 

It is a crime to give protection to politicians who have little threat perception and many of whom are criminals themselves. However, it is ironical that these guys use taxpayers money to maintain a retinue of security officers, and use the same people to beat us the taxpayers. I think we must congratulate Mr Chiranjeevi. He is a fit candidate even for chief ministership of Andhra Pradesh. Like Pawan Bansal, Suresh Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Ajit Pawar, Robert Vadra, he also considers national property to be his family property. We are loyal servants of our political masters. Like every master, politicians are entitled to kick us once in a while.




.Ringmaster’s Reckoning : The Caravan Journal of Politics and Culture


Karnataka Elections : Corruption Killed BJP

Congress party has won Karnataka state assembly polls with clear majority in a fair and square manner.
More than 60% people voted in a peaceful manner.

Good for people from Karnataka. At least they can hope for decisive rule of single party without push and pull of coalition politics as is evident at the centre and also in the state.

After the festivities are over, common people that voted the party to power would hope and expect that Congress party pushes through good governance and gives a clean and corruption free administration. There is a lot that needs to be done from garbage disposal to traffic management, from managing water shortage, deforestation and rising temperature in cities like Banagalore.

More than a decade ago, BJP got a chance to form its first government in the south of Bindhyas. When neither Congress, BJP or Janata Dal Secular (JDS), led by H D Deve Gowda, did not get the numbers, Congress formed government with support from JDS. However, after six months, Mr. H D Kumaraswamy, son of H D Deve Gowda, decided to withdraw support from Congress. A n agreement was arrived at between Mr. Kumaraswamy and BJP. According to which, Mr. Kumaraswamy will become chief minister for 20 months there after he will handover power to BJP. The arrangement shocked the secularists. Because Mr. Deve Gowda is a avowedly against BJP. Cunning and hypocritical as he is, Mr. Deve Gowda disowned is son publicly. However, he was advicing his son’s political chess moves from behind the scenes. Mr. Kumaraswamy became chief minister for the first 2.5 years. However, after his term was over Kumaraswamy refused to give up the post. After Karnataka went into presidents rule, JDS and BJP again joined hands and Mr. B. S. Yeddyurappa became first BJP chief minister of Karnanataka. In 2008, Mr. Yeddyurappa lead BJP to victory on her own in assembly polls.

Within one year stench of corruption started to emerge. Three Reddy brothers from Bellary, who had very humble origin, became multi millionaires by selling iron ore. 
In 2010 Justice Santosh Hegde, lokayukta of Karnataka state, had investigated the scam. It was observed that illegal mining was damaging ecology and environment very badly. Investigating officer of the caswas suspended, at the behest of Reddy brothers who also happened to be minister and member of legislative assembly. Yeddyurappy and BJP could not punish Reddy brothers, so much was their money power, also muscle power and proximity to higher power in Delhi.

Finally, after intervention of supreme court, Reddy brothers were made to resign and case registered against them. As of now one brother is still in jail.

In 2011, taint of scam reached Mr. Yeddyurappa’s door. He was accused of selling public land to his family members, who in turn was selling them after very high profit. From taking office in 2008 to 2010 Mr. Yeddyurappa’s personal asset had increased by 500%.

Mr. Yeddyurappa was also accused of making money by helping illegal mining lobby. Mr. Yeddyurappa spent time in jail, after putting his nominee as chief minister.

Central BJP that was fighting corrupution in Delhi, could not reinstate scam tainted chief minister again. BJP had to take a tough call, because Mr. Yeddyurappa commanded vote of Lingayat community. It is also important because case of Mr. Yeddyurappa helping mining lobby was thrown out in high court.

 Did BJP do the right thing showing a powerful chief minister the door, when case was not proven? I think it is important that political parties should take such courageous decision on the face of increasing corruption by elected representatives. More so, because no one resigns taking responsibility. In the surcharged atmosphere of corruption and scam, BJP have paid the price but they will come back, as there is no full stop in politics. Meanwhile elected leaders of Karnataka have to do a lot for the people that have reposed their faith on them

Big Fat Indian Wedding : Ugly Side

Daulat Beg Oldie, A New Theatre of Chinese Power Play

Daulat Beg Oldi ( DBO), is the north eastern most corner of Ladakh, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India. DBO is a sensitive military post because of this geography. DBO is just  9 km northwest of the Aksai Chin Line of Actual Control (LAC) between China and India. In April 2013, a contingent of the Chinese Army intruded into Ladakh, India and set up camp approximately 18 km. inside of the Indian side of the LAC.


India has fought a war in 1962 and lost territory to China. Akshai Chin area, China has occupied post 1962 war (shown as red shaded area in the map). 


India considered the MacDonald line (shown as dotted line) to be the border between India and China. However, China did not accept that and occupied Akshai Chin. After cease fire in 1962 China proposed both sides move twenty KM away from LAC. However, LAC was kept ambiguous by the Chinese deliberately. India believes green line in the picture to be LAC, while China considers red line to be LAC.  Both parties often intrude into each other’s area but do not stay back. At this time, China has erected tents on Indian side of the red line that India considers her territory. In response, India has also brought in army and camped eye ball to eye ball to Chinese army men in the same area. According to dipolmats, China never showed interest to discuss border issues clearly. This may be a deliberate ploy to keep the issue ambiguous and unsettled. This tactics may be in line with long term strategic Chinese military doctorine. 

According to which, Chinese army will apply pressure by precipitating a limited war like situation and forcing the enemy to discussion table. Such a strategy is discussed in by Narashima Rao (1).
Many people have criticised Indian response to Chinese incursion as passive and weak.  Much smaller countries like Vietnam had fought war with China on territorial issue. Recently, Japan had mobilised fighter planes in response to Chinese aggression on a disputed island on South China Sea. By contrast, our foreign minister  claimed intrusion was a localised issue and will be resolved soon. Our prime minister proclaimed, India has a plan. However, he never elaborated his plan. Meanwhile, three flag meetings between area commanders yielded nothing, because it was in all certainty being controlled from Beijing army head quarter. 
However, in reality Indian options beyond diplomacy are limited. Post 1962, China had developed infrastructure to support their war machine by building motorable roads, railway tracks along border. All these developments would give Chinese advantage of rapid mobilisation and deployment if they so desire. By contrast, India being a passive and defence oriented country, did not build adequate infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control. It is assessed that if India wants to respond to Chinese occupation in DBO sector, it will take India more than 15 days to bring a battalion. Chinese can do the same in 3 days. Of late, India has woken up and started building infrastructure along LAC. Besides, close alliance of India with United States have even irked Chinese. DBO being very close to Karokoram highway, Chinese assess that India can monitor their troop movement in the area. So they wanted to dismantle Indian infrastructure in the area.  It emerged that Chinese are demanding that India destroy military infrastructure India built on her side. Predictably, India has refused the proposition and the impasse continues. 

It is noteworthy that in last 50 years the border between India and China has remained calm. Is it because mutual restraint, goodwill , maturity or imbalance at ground level is difficult to pinpoint. Emergence of India as a major economic player in the world stage, has created oppurtunity for trade between two countries. India is a big market for Chinese manufactured goods. Present president of China is likely to visit India soon, it is his first foreign visit after taking charge. Analysts like Joe Gandelman (2), consider this to be significant because it implies China gives a lot of importance to India. It is also believed that President is engaged in a tussle with army in the political structure of China. While President wants business and good relationship, generals want to fulfill their agenda of bringing India to negotiation table on border dispute like Arunachal or Indian position on Tibet,  by forcing issue at DBO sector. It is also assumed that Chinese want to settle issues before India bolsters her border infrastructure.


Although, India has not many options at this time, it is important that she wakes up and starts to build infrastructure along border. We cannot be treated so ignominously time and again. Yes, we must settle issues by dialog and diplomacy. However, sometimes we need the defend what is ours, by force if the enemy undestands that language. What good is world’s third largest army, world’s fourth largest economy, one billion plus population, if we cannot defend our borders!


As of 5th May, 2013 both Chinese and Indian troops have agreed to move out of eye ball to eye ball faceoff at DBO sector. It is a welcome relief. However, nation must know what India had to sacrifice to persuade Chinese to vacate occupied territory. Rumor has it that India has agreed to dismantle a strategic infrastructure in Chumur sector in Ladakh. This outpost was useful to Indian army to oversee movement of Chinese troops on Karokoram highway.


1. NarasimhaRao10  Ladakh and the War Zone Campaign Doctrine of China 
 http://t.co/MlofC0uJSb


2. JoeGandelman: China-India spat signals Beijing’s tensions with generals | The Moderate Voice http://t.co/QzLik9Dfxl via @po_st


3. “China’s India Land Grab” – examines China’s muscular policy toward its neighbors