Sunday, March 14, 2010

That's all, your honour! : Mar 7 -13

1. Way back in 1996, Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda's government introduced the Women's Reservation Bill (which provides for 33% reservation in LS and state aseemblies for women) in Lok Sabha. All the major political parties, Congress, BJP and the Left support the bill. Regional parties oppose like SP, BSP, RJD oppose it, and oppose it vehemently. It was not passed for want of consensus on the issue. Subsequently the bill was introduced in 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2008 - and each time it met the same fate. Each time, the aggression of those opposing the bill plummeted to new lows. The bill was snatched from the Law Minister's hand twice and torn apart! In 2010, the government decided to introduce the bill in Rajya Sabha. The bill was introduced on Monday, March 8th and was touted as Sonia Gandhi's gift to the nation on International Women's Day. The MP's opposing the bill tried to snatch papers directly from the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The government miserably failed in its floor management strategy. Stung by the all round criticism, Madam Sonia Gandhi was now insistent that the bill has to be passed - happen what may. The government moved for the suspension of those MP's who tried to snatch papers from Chairman. With that, I have no issues at all. Those MP's deserved to be punished. Now, here's where the problem arises. It is mandatory that atleast a 4 hour debate precede any voting on a bill that seeks to amend the constitution. The government, in its now familiar urge to satisfy the whims of Sonia Gandhi put to vote because there was slogan shouting in the house!!!

It took the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha to walk over to the Prime Minister and convince him that this is not the way, a debate has to be held. It was then the government relented, and there was a dissussion. Instead of calling this blatant bluff by Congress to subvert all democratic traditions to cater to the wish of Madam, NDTV went bonkers on the "strength of Sonia". IBN was sensible enough to call this as a very dangerous precedent. The bill was passed by 186 to 1 vote. Here's what the lone civilised dissenter said about the bill .

Now if you think the battle is over, you are mistaken. The bill needs to be passed in Lok Sabha, and because SP, RJD etc have threatned to withdraw support, and Trinamool Congress objecting to it, the "strong" Sonia Gandhi developed cold feet and the bill will not be tabled in the house for now. All those praising Sonia for her "resolve", go take a walk now!

2. Every year, India Today has a conclave. Leaders of industry, politicians and other prominent people are invited to speak. This year one of the speakers was the Home Minister P. Chidambaram. And here, in full public view, he ripped apart the Pakistan High Commissioner! He asked why there has been zero co-operation from Pak? He pointedly asked that a simple demand as voice samples of some 20 suspects was also not being catered to. Obviously the Pak HC had no answers. What was very clear was that PC is highly frustrated with this ridiculous behaviour by the Pakistani government. We have almost zero co-operation from them. And I think PC's problem is further compounded by the fact that his Prime Minister is always eager to just go and talk. Last we heard, India is
ready for another round of talks (yes, you read it right. Pak has done nothing from the last time we spoke, but we will talk to them again).

3. This link
here, gives full details about the riots in Bareilly town in UP. What I wish to point here is another instance of media hypocrisy. For a full 10 days since the riots began and the town was placed under curfew, the national english media did not cover this. Yes, they did NOT cover it. A Maulana was arrested for inciting a mob, and then inexplicably released 2 days later. And then fresh violence broke out when poeple started protesting his release. And this is when the media started covering it. No news so far as to how the riots actually broke. All news is concentrated on the violence after the Maulana is released. Pointed questions to them on twitter as to why this has not been covered met with this answer - "why is there so much hatred on the net" ! Need one say anything more!

4. Two top Naxal leaders were killed in an "encounter" in AP last week. One was S. Apparao who was involved in the planning of many murders. He was instrumental in the planning of the attack on Naidu, the killings of IPS officers K.P.Vyas and Umesh Chan. He was a very key leader amongst the Maoists. The second one was Tech Ramana. He is South India incharge of Technical Operations! Some human rights people called for investigations into the encountebut frankly I don't feel anything for these people. These people are mass murderers, thugs who terrified people and try to bring instability into the system. Murderers such as these deserve no symptahy at all. Period.

5. And finally, here's another example of media's hypocrisy. Vikram Chandra, CEO of NDTV, tweets asking why we don't pay much attention to the visit of Putin's visit to India. I assume by "we" he meant the media. His own website, for a while, had the news as its 15th headline. And later, the news was entirely removed from the website! Why should a CEO choose not to have a news on his website and then ask seemingly innocent questions? And when I pointed to him that NDTV's website is itself not covering the news, he had this to say "I rest my case!". He forgot to say, "That's all, your honour!" :D


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