Monday, August 8, 2011

That's all, Your Honour! : July 31 - Aug.6

1. Phew - finally some closure to the "nataka" in Karnataka (pleas to excuse me folks, for repeating that phrase many times ... just that I like it a lot :D). B.S.Yedyurappa resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. However, a consensus eluded the legislators on who the next leader should be. After 2 days of failed consultation, the top brass of BJP decided to go for a secret ballot. Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh oversaw this secret ballot. 65 MLAs voted in favour of Sadananda Gowda and 51 voted in favour of Jagdish Shettar. This secret ballot is not just significant for the polity in Karnataka alone. This should be a curtain raiser for many such democratic options. Party Presidents can be elected through secret ballots. Legislature party leaders should be elected by secret ballot (instead of the banal "Madam will decide"). It is sincerely hoped that this system of secret ballot envisaged and executed by the BJP doesn't become an exception but becomes a rule. The drawback though is that the internal bickering amongst party MLAs will be bought out in the open, but that should not be a hindrance to usher in such a reform. Coming back to Karnataka, Jagdish Shettar's group is disappointed that they lost and have even boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of Sadanand Gowda. Sadanand Gowda has a herculean task ahead and here's wishing him all the very best :)

2. The Congress party announced this week that Sonia Gandhi has taken ill, and has left to another country for a surgery that is required. She appointed a four-member committee to run the day-to-day party affairs. Rahul Gandhi, A.K.Anthony, Ahmed Patel and Janardhan Dwivedi are the members of this committee. As usual, some english TV media folks started hyping up Rahul Gandhi, saying that now he is "incharge"; CNN-IBN had a slide show to talk about "Rahul's rise in politics" beside the news item of Sonia Gandhi's illness. Anyways, a few hours after the announcement by Congress, Tehelka reported that Sonia Gandhi was admitted in the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer hospital. No confirmations though. Then again there endless speculations going on about the nature of her illness. This brings us to another important point - how can the most powerful person in this country be so secretive about this? We are not asking for hourly updates on her health status, but given her prominence in matters that affect governance, shouldn't the people of this country get to know more? When did she leave? Where is she now? When is she expected to recuperate? Even basic details were missing from initial statements.

3. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India released the report on the CWG scam and severly indicted the Delhi government led by Sheila Dixit, the PMO and the central government. Not surprisingly, the english TV media and the Congress party came to the rescue of Sheila Dixit. Apparently, according to Congress, this is not a case of corruption, only a case of mis-management. NDTV group editor, who wrote an article about why Yedyyurappa should go (and she quoted Gita in that too!) was silent on this. IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai sermons that we should stop pronouncing politicians guilty. Where was this diligence while debating previous scams endlessly? It is common knowledge that Suresh Kalmadi is not the lone culprit. The budget for CWG was increased manifold by the central government - most of the times citing delays in the projects. Nobody wants to discuss why there were delays in the execution of the projects. Nobody wants to discuss why shoddy deals and contracts were signed by the government. All we wanted to see what Suresh Kalmadi in jail, and that's about it!

4. Monsoon session of Parliament began this week. The first two days were drowned in din, and no business was transacted in either the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha. However, once the government relented to discuss price rise under a voting rule, normalcy was restored. Parliament discussed Price Rise (as always this was blamed on global factors), Security scenario and Telangana issues prominently. There were no surprises in the debates - known positions only. Question hour and Zero hour also happened without interruptions (one should have listened to answers by Railway minister to pointed questions -"this is a democracy, things will take time" etc!). It is recommended to the readers that you watch these proceedings if you get a chance :) - and

5. Finally, the news of the week! A thousand tonne ship, M.V.Pavit, drifted in the high seas, and ran aground at Juhu beach in Mumbai. The best part - no one knew about this! This ship was not detected, not seen by any security agency. Only after morning joggers reported, did we come to know. So much for talking about improving coastal security ! That's all, your honour!


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