Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The cases of being "misled/misguided" etc

Case 1: 

Yesterday in Andhra Pradesh, the Principal secretary for Home, Mr. B.P.Acharya was arrested by the CBI for his role in a scam. He was sent to a jail of which he is technically still the incharge (to suspend an officer, he/she has to be under custody for a minimum of 48 hours). Anyways, the irony aside, there are some issues that I wish to discuss here. 

B.P.Acharya has been charged with "criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption". As Managing Director of the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, he has been accused of about 20 offences - primarily saying he has "ditched" APIIC and caused immense loss and more importantly of keeping the APIIC board "in the dark". 

You see, I have a problem with "in the dark" accusation. APIIC is headed by a politician. APIIC is "vested with the objective of providing industrial infrastructure through the development of industrial areas" - which means that APIIC provides land (real estate) for private developers for "industrial development". Essentially, if one is inclined, this is a money making machine - given the large tracts of real estate involved. 

Now let's come to the present case. APIIC entered into an agreement with EMAAR for developing a township, golf course and convention centre. According to the deal, APIIC was to get a 26% share. This was in 2003. After YSR became the CM, one of his trusted lieutanants, Ambati Rambabu was made the chairman. Mr. B.P.Acharya, an IAS officer was made the Managing Director. After these appointments were made, some astute machinations by those in power ensured that that APIIC share dropped to 5-6%! That's right - from 26 to 6%. 

Another accusation is that plots were sold at a much higher value than what was shown on paper. On paper, they were sold for Rs. 5000 per sq.yard. But money was collected to the tune of 50,000 per sq yard. And according to the CBI - " the accused collected a sum of nearly Rs.138 crore by selling the plots at inflated rates to the customers, who include several top politicians, professionals, film actors and industrialists."

Now, let's add up everything. CBI says that an IAS officer pocketed so much money by selling lands at such high rates to "top politicians" etc. In today's world of instant connectivity, are we to freaking believe that the politicians heading APIIC were clueless about this loot? CBI says the board was "kept in dark" about dilution of shares. Are we to freaking believe that in today's world of information overdrive, the board was so incompetent to not know that the shares were being diluted? 

Ambati Rambabu, the chairman of APIIC was merely let off after questioning. Ambati Rambabu is now the voiceferous spokesman of YSR Congress party led by Jagan. YSR's best friend, his soul mate, K.V.P.Ramachandra Rao was merely questioned. Before making any further arguments I would like to present case 2.

Case 2: 

You all must have been bored to death listening to the "illegal mining" of the Reddy brothers in Karnataka. You must have also been bored to death by news channels covering their arrest. Now, while covering their arrest - the news channels missed a minor detail. He was arrested for illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh, not Karnataka! Now, what does that mean? That means, the Andhra Pradesh government gave the Reddy brothers permission for this illegal mining. This illegal permission was given in 2005, which means YSR was the Chief Minister. It is a known thing that the families of YSR and Reddy brothers are very close. Now, which department has to give permission for this mining? Technically the central government has to agree, based on recommendations by the state government. 

Congress party took up this case to serve two purposes - one is that by arresting Reddy brothers, they can cause damage to the BJP in Karanataka, and simultaneously hurt Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. Now, the Reddy brothers are arrested. Next in line should logically be the minister who recommended the grant of the lease, right? 

Here's where CBI stumps you! It arrested the IAS officer incharge then. The IAS officer places the blame on the then minister of Mines, Sabita Indra Reddy (who is now the Home Minister). The IAS officer says she merely worked under the influence of the minister. CBI vehemantly disagrees with this - tells the court that the minister is not at all at fault. It tells the court the minister was "misguided" by the IAS officer. The minister goes on to say that she signed the file to "help the poor" and tells changes were made the original file she signed! 

You see, YSR's close proximity to Reddy brothers had no bearing on the issued G.O. The reason YSR put up a dummy candidate like Sabita was to ensure such files get through - yet that is of no importance to this case. The IAS officer acted only in connivance with the Reddy brothers to grant them the license. And we don't even hear anything about the central government officers in this case! 

So, basically again it is all the officers fault - no congress politician had anything to do with any of these scams. 

Cases 3, 4, etc

The ISRO fiasco is too recent to be recounted. A blog two days back details it here. Suffice it to say that the government again said that the Scientists at the helm "misled" it. Many articles have derided this action and questioned as to how the PMO can remain in the dark. 

We have also heard before that A. Raja misled the PM on 2G scam. Editor of CRI summarised it beautifully - 

"PMO formidable institution with mechanism to be alerted on massive economic crimes How then people suffer lie that MMS didnt know a damn?"

It is nothing but a blatant lie that is being imposed upon us when they say that the "minister did not know", "the CM did not know", "the PM did not know". Our system is so designed that the political authority has all necessary information at their disposal. Unless the political head is extremely dumb, it is impossible not to get a hang of massive scams happening under his/her watch. Officers merely follow orders (in such cases, mostly oral I guess) in coming up with "deals" that will help the political heads. While it can be debated whether officers should blindly follow such orders, it is a travesty of justice and insult to our intelligence when officers and only officers are arrested for such massive loot scams. 

Lastly, fellow tweeter and blogger asked if any English TV media covered the arrest of IAS officers. They did - here's a tweet from Rajdeep Sardesai. 

Bad day for IAS: senior officer arrested in Andhra for corruption; IAS officer's wife arrested for slapping cop in B'lore

Not a word on the actual case. Ofcourse not! 

PS: This blog earlier documented the massive corruption in AP, in three parts (12 and 3) . 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Page 1 vs page 10

I was in two minds since morning, whether to debate this topic on the blog or not. But then what better place than a blog to debate it? :D. So here we go :)

Yesterday, The Hindu had a banner headline story:

I had two issues with the story. One was with the demand to not just ban the film, but the entire event too.

 “The content of the seminar, like the film, is anti-India, and against the Indian Army. We will not stand for anything that divides the country. Symbiosis has agreed to cancel the film screening, and we are giving them three days' time to think about the event, too,”

I find this language very disgusting. There are many modes of protesting and bringing this issue into prominence. Surely "we are giving them three days time to think" doesn't fall into any of that category.

Also, I have been alerted on twitter that this movie was rejected by the Censor board too. If true, how is it legal to screen it anywhere? I asked this question to the Editor of The Hindu too. Waiting for response...

Second was with the headline. "Fatwa" is something that issued by the muslim clergy, not groups like ABVP. It is improper for a newspaper to mix up things like this and impose them onto the reader. I asked the editor about it too, while condemning the demand by ABVP. Diktat would have been a right word to use, in my opinion.

But this was not why I was in two minds. There was another news item in today's paper.

Today, in page 10... please mark it - in page 10 and not on page 1 - The Hindu publishes this report - "Police too didn't want film screened"

The report very clearly mentions that it was not just "right wing" groups but also the police that advised the organisers of the seminar not to screen this movie. The report does not mention if they advised so acting on any complaint filed or not. So it is difficult to conclude from the report, why the police took this step of writing to the university. 

Assuming they acted on a complaint by ABVP, isn't it the police's job to counsel ABVP to protest peacefully but not threaten violence (if they did)? Assuming the police wrote to the university even before ABVP approached either of them - why did they do it?

So here's my question - Why is the ABVP "fatwa" front page news and why is the police "advise" page 10 news? 

Is there an agenda at play here? Or am I missing something? It would be great if anyone of you who think otherwise, can shed some light in the comments section too...

Here's one event that prompted me to write the blog. CNN-IBN's Senior Editor Sagarika Ghose tweets this morning: 

She actually thought that the film name is "Fatwa" !!! And upon correcting her, she goes on to decry the "thought police" action of ABVP. Quite obviously Sagarika Ghose hasn't read the second report, primarily because it is tucked away in the 10th page! There will be many mis-guided people like her - and that's primarily why I begin to suspect an agenda here! 

Update on Jan 2: The Hindu carried a last page report - "On police advise, Rushdie seminar cancelled". Police did not even want them to debate the whole Rushdie affair! And this is last page news! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

That's all, your honour! : Jan 22-28

1. An earlier blog here details the full sequence of the Antrix-Devas deal. Basically, Antrix Corporation (which is the commercial wing of ISRO) entered into a deal with a company called Devas Multimedia (which had many former ISRO scientists as its officers) and sold 70MHz of S-band spectrum at just Rs.1000 crores in 2005. The Hindu broke this story. At that time, the CAG even estimated the worst case loss because of this deal to be ~ Rs. 2 lakh crores too. As always, at that time, the Prime Minister said he did not know details of the deal. It didn't matter that this deal was cleared by the Cabinet and the then minister in PMO, Mr. Prithivraj Chauhan was directly incharge of the Space department. More details in the old blog here

The government declared then that the deal with Devas will be annulled. There was confusion about that too, but that's ok because with the UPA, we are all used to such confusion. And then there was a lull period. Everyone forgot about this deal and the massive loss. Out of the blue, the government announces that the former ISRO chief, Mr. Madhavan Nair and three other top scientists of ISRO are banned from holding any more government positions! Another bizzare addition to the already long list of such decisions by UPA. 

This is not to say that those 4 are absolutely not guitly. The point is we don't even know how this decision was arrived at. Dr. Madhavan Nair even told us that he was not even given a chance to respond to charges against him. This decision was as arbitrary as it can get. This deal was cleared by the Prime Ministers Office too. Were officials and the minister in-charge Prithvi Raj Chauhan sleeping then? This deal was further cleared by the Cabinet too. Was the Prime Minister and the other ministers sleeping? Many former scientists have already pointed out that this unprecendented bizzare action is an insult to the organisation as a whole. Scientists have also pointed out that this is the same Madhavan Nair to whom the government awarded Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. With this unilateral action, the UPA government will again be dragged to the court on matters that could have been handled outside it. 

If the chairman of ISRO is guilty, then why not the minister in PMO? Because the then minister, Prithvi Raj Chauhan is now the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Therefore he has to be kept out of this! If the top 4 scientists are guilty in this scam, then so is the current Chief Minister of Maharashtra. If the top 4 scientists are ineligible for holding any position in the government, then so is the CM of Maharashtra. By this logic, even this Prime Minister is not eligible to hold that post, given that the cabinet cleared the deal that was forwarded by the PMO itself! 

A bigger shame is that Dr. Madhavan Nair had to file an RTI application to get details of the enquiry commission report! (Adding this link on Jan 30 - Dr. Nair says the government knew about the deal at every single step. Another of the PM's lies has been nailed.)

2. Mumbai police announce this week that they cracked the 13/7 case! I am sure most of us would be confused with this date, given the multiple attacks that happened in Mumbai. This case was about the bombings on July 13, 2011 in Mumbai which killed 26 people and injured 130. So Mumbai police come and announce that they cracked this case. Delhi police however are baffled by one of the arrests made in the case. They say that the Mumbai police have arrested one of their informers, who was leading them to a location to nab "some people". This open war between the Delhi Police and the Mumbai ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) is yet another embarassment to the security investigations in the country. This riveting account by Toral Varia in rediff, gives a blow by blow account of how this unwanted rivalry cost us the mastermind of this 13/7 terrorist act. Please read that to understand how we screw up seemingly simple stuff :(. 

3. The previous week, the Congress government in Rajashtan invented a plot to stop Salman Rushdie from coming to the Jaipur Literature fest. And since he was not able to come at all, organisers thought of having a video conference with him. Who would imagine someone would have a problem with that? But Muslim groups did not want any of that too. The Congress government was more than willing to oblige them - so guess what - even his video conference was not allowed!! However, Barkha Dutt of NDTV interviewed him and this interview was aired on NDTV. The same Muslim groups had absolutely no issue with the interview airing! One of the most prominent leaders who was opposed to Mr. Rushdie coming was Owaisi. Mr. Owaisi is a regular in NDTV studios - will he now stop going to that studio? This whole episode smacks so much of hypocrisy by many sections - the "liberals" for not calling the bluff of the Deoband and other Muslim groups; the "national media" for not calling the bluff of Congress party; the "writers" who wax eloquent on the need to fight for freedom of expression; and finally the Congress party itself. 

4. Finally, there is this ad war between The Hindu and Times of India that has captured the attention of netizens and print readers alike. At first, after seeing the ads, many were pretty impressed with The Hindu's ads and were promptly decrying the TOI for its content quality. But then some folks made another interesting argument. This was about the op-ed page of both the newspapers. The Times of India gives space to ALL kinds of views in its op-ed page. The current editor of The Hindu has once worked in the Times too! The Hindu seldom gives space to views that anti-left, pro-right etc. Leave op-ed space for articles, The Hindu does not publish enough letters to the editor that are against its views! So while The Hindu wins on the basis of its overall content, it loses out on space to views. That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! : జనవరి 22-28

"పార్టి ని అమ్ముకున్న వాళ్ళు నాన్న గారి కాలి గోటికి కి కూడా సరి తూగారు  " అని శ్రీమాన్ బాలకృష్ణ గారు చిరంజీవి ని ఉద్దేశించి ఘాటు వ్యాఖ్యలు చేసారు. గత రెండు వారాలు గా వీల ఇద్దరి మధ్య మాటల తూటాలు పేలుతూనే ఉన్నాయి. ఇది చూసే వాళ్ళకి కర్చు లేని వినోదాన్ని అందించింది. బాలకృష్ణ చిన్న పిల్లడు అని చిరంజీవి అనడం, దానికి బాలయ్య "అవును, ఆయన చాలా ఎదిగాడు" అని వ్యంగ్యాస్త్రాలు సంధించడం ప్రేక్షకులకి వినోదాన్ని ఇచ్చాయి. 

ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, బాలకృష్ణ క్రియాశీల రాజకీయాల లోకి పూర్తి గా వచ్చేసారు. 2014 ఎన్నికలల్లో పోటి చేస్తునట్లు ప్రకటించారు. అంతే కాకుండా, కృష్ణ మరియు విశాఖ జిల్లాలలో పర్యటించారు, కార్యకర్తలను ఉత్సాహ పరిచారు కూడా. బాలకృష్ణ రావడం తో కోస్తా, రాయలసీమ లో జగన్ పార్టి కి తెదేపా గట్టి పోటి ఇవ్వడానికి సిద్దం అయ్యింది. కాంగ్రెస్స్ ఎలాగో తన కొంప కొల్లేరు చేసుకుంటుంది - కాబట్టి రాబోయే ఉప ఎన్నికలల్లో పోటి కేవలం జగన్ కి తెదేపా కి ఉంటుంది. 

ఉప ఎన్నికలు అంటే గుర్తు వచ్చింది అండి - మన స్పీకర్ గారు ఇంకా ఆ 17 ఎమఎల్యేలను బర్తరఫ్ చెయ్యలేదు ! ఎంత సాగాతీస్తే అంత మంచిది అని అనుకుంటునారు ఏమో! సాగాతీసేకొడ్డి నష్టపోయేది కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టి ఈ కదా! అదన్నమాట! 

Monday, January 23, 2012


Barkha Dutt is again in the news. This time, threatening fellow tweeter "barbarindian" with legal action. I was reminded of one of her hypocritical actions back when the Radia tapes issue surfaced. Just thought of bringing it to your notice too. 

"I do feel very upset and sorry about the fact that my name was misused/misrepresented by her in conversations with other people"

That was Barkha Dutt, responding to one of the allegations during the famous Radia tape scandal. In a response to The Hindu, she gave the above statement. She is apparently upset that Radia mis-used her name. What prompted this "mis-use"?

The long, full story is here. I will just paste three lines from her conversations with Radia here: 

BARKHA: Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?

BARKHA: Okay. Let me talk to them again.

BARKHA: Theek hai, not a problem. That’s not a problem, I’ll talk to Azad---I’ll talk to Azad right after I get out of RCR

So now you see - Barkha Dutt clearly offers to pass on messages.  Radia asks her to do something, she says she will get it done. Radia then has the impression that whatever she wanted got done, and therefore takes credit for getting Barkha to do it. Sounds logical till this point. And then later has the nerve to actually write saying that she is "upset and sorry" that her name was "misused" ? Again, misused how?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

That's all, Your honour!: Jan.15-21

1. " The problem, sources say, is that the logical order of the UID project has been back to front. " That line pretty much sums up the dire state in which the UID project is in right now. The parliamentary standing committee has recently rejected the UID bill - which effectively means the UID is defunct right now. And now they are fighting over who should be collecting biometric data! It was also strange to note that this extremely sensitive biometric data collection is being done by private agencies! And only now does the government realise the mess it is in. The Home Minister now wants to know who will be collecting this biometric data - and he has taken this matter to the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister, as always will be clueless on this topic. We can be rest assured that the file will either gather dust in PMO or will be sent back with obscure recommendations. The UID project was started with a lot of hype and was also marketted as the solution to many evils in our society! And today, it's fate hangs in balance because of an inept government which was confused on the order of implementation! 

2. And we now discuss yet another monumental goof up by this UPA government. The army chief, General V.K.Singh, has approached the Supreme Court of India, challenging the government's order that his date of birth was in 1950 and not in 1951. Briefly, the controversy is this - "The General, when applying for admission to the NDA, has stated, incorrectly, that his YoB is 1950, when it should be written as 1951. This is a matter of record. 

Now, his matriculation certificate clearly states his YoB as 1951. This should have been taken into record in the Army, after due verification. Perhaps, also with an explanation from the officer. 

What has apparently happened is that in one Branch of the Army, the Military’s Secretary’s (MS) Branch, the YoB is recorded as 1950, in the other, the Adjutant General’s (AG) Branch, it is recorded as 1951. There has no reconciliation between these two Branches. The MS Branch is responsible for processing all matters regarding promotions/postings. The AG’s Branch is responsible for all other matters on Personnel Administration, ie Recruiting, Pay, Pensions, Welfare, etc "

This article on Centre Right India captures all sides of the arguments. The above summary has also been picked up from an excellent comment in the same blog. So essentially, every single document other that UPSC form shows 1951 as the year of birth. As per the article on CRI, the issue again came to the fore in 2006. In 2008, the general (then Lt. General) was asked to accept 1950 as his year of birth and was given 24 hours to comply. The UPA government knew all along that this controversy was brewing. Yet, it choose to do nothing. As with all crises, it chose to wait and watch. And then it continued to watch as this boiled into a bigger controversy. The general has apparently told the government that he is ready to retire in May, but the government has to accept 1951 as his year of birth. As always, the controversy brews. I guess there is no need to tell the kind of impact this whole thing will have on the morale of the Army. Amidst all this, defence minister, A.K.Anthony feels "sorry and sad" it seems! 

3. Campaigning for elections in 5 states has picked up full steam. All parties are busy with candidate selections, campaign planning etc. English media is busy talking about Rahul Gandhi and BJP for most of the time. Very little time is being devoted to SP and BSP in UP. No time is being devoted on these channels for elections in other states. If you watch them, you'd be shocked to know that 4 other states are going to elections along with UP! Accusations of nepotism are flying thick in Punjab. There have been cartoons that say "Congress family wants votes to oust Akali family :D". Manipur seems to be going the congress way, given the disarray in the opposition there. Goa's government seems to be mired in real estate corruption deals, so for now looks like it's going to be ousted. Anyways, for now, let's just wait and watch the campaigning by all parties. If possible, we will discuss more on these elections in another blogpost later. 

4. Jaipur Literary festival. Essentially this "festival" is a conglomeration of various authors from around India and the world. All of them come together and discuss/talk issues. Salman Rushdie was invited to come too. As always, Deoband demanded that he not be allowed. The Congress party, in tune with its muslim appeasement policy, immediately advises Salman rushdie not to come. He doesn't come. Deoband hailed it as a "victory for democracy". And to protest against this whole mindless objection, some authors read from his banned book "The Satanic Verses". Now since the book is banned, it is illegal to have a copy of that book and more so, to read from it in a public forum! So one of the reader, tweets saying "On advice, I have left India". This is the pathetic state in which the government handled this whole issue. 

5. And to end on a fully lighter note. Pakistan finds itself in a crisis again. Nothing new in that. The Army is unhappy with the government. The government is unhappy with the Army. The Supreme Court even summoned the Prime Minister. And the drama continues to play out repeatedly. No reprieve in sight for this self-made crisis! That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! : జనవరి 15-21

ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు డిల్లి వెళ్ళరు అండి. వెళ్ళిన రోజూ దాదాపు రెండు గంటలు ఘులాం నబి ఆజాద్ గారితో చర్చించారు. మరుసటి రోజూ మళ్ళి ఒక గంటనర్ర చర్చించారు. ఆ తరువాత సోనియా గాంధి తో ఇంకో గంట పైగా చర్చించారు. ఇన్ని గంటలు చర్చిస్తే ఏదో అయ్యిపోతుంది అని ఊహించాం. జరిగింది ఏంటి మరి ? - ఒకప్పటి చిరంజీవి పార్టీ కి సంభందించిన ఇద్దర్ని మంత్రివర్గం లోకి తీసుకున్నారు. శంకర్ రావు గారిని తప్పించారు! ఇంతే! 

బొత్స గారు కూడా డిల్లి వెళ్ళరు. ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారి తో కాకుండా, ఆయన వేరు గా మాట్లాడారు ఆజాద్ గారితో. ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు ఏమో మంత్రివర్గ పూర్తి ప్రక్షాళన చేద్దాం అనుకుని వెళ్ళరు. బొత్స గారు దానికి వ్యతిరేకం అంట. అందుకే ఈ సారి బొత్స గారు గెలిచినట్టు వార్తల్లో రాసారు. బొత్స గారు యధాప్రకారం గా ఈ వార్తలని ఖండించారు అనుకోండి. 

అయితే, ఇక్కడ మనం చర్చిన్చోకవాల్సిన విషయం ఇంకోటి ఉంది అండి. చిరంజీవి గారు ఒకప్పుడు నడిపిన పీఆర్పీ కి చెందినా శ్రీ ఘంట శ్రీనివాస్ గారు, శ్రీ సి. రామచంద్రయ్య గారు మంత్రులు గా ప్రమాణ స్వీకారం చేసారు. వీరు ఇద్దరు 2009 వరకు తెలుగు దేశం సభ్యులు, ముఖ్యులు కూడా. వీళ్ళు ఏమి చిరంజీవి వల్ల పైకి వచ్చిన వాళ్ళు కాదు. చిరంజీవి తపపెట్టిన సామజిక న్యాయం వీళ్ళ వల్ల ఏ మాత్రం రాదు. చిరంజీవి కాంగ్రెస్స్ లోకి కలిసాక, ఆ పార్టి కే వోటు వెయ్యాలి అండి - బెదిరించి వేరే పార్టి కి వోటు వేసే అంత సీన్ లేదు ఆయనకి. రెండు మంత్రి పడవలు ఇస్తే తీసుకోవడం తప్పించి పెద్దగా చేసేది ఏమి లేదు. ఈ శాఖలు వద్దు, ఆ శాఖలు కావాలి అని మారాం చెయ్యడం చాల విడ్డురంగా ఉంది. 

ఏదైతే ఎం - చిరంజీవి గారిని నమ్ముకున్న వారికి చెడు అనుభవాలే మిగిలాయి. ఎప్పటి నుంచో ఆరి తేరిన నాయకులు ఇద్దరు మంత్రులు అయ్యారు. అదన్నమాట! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

That's all, Your Honour!: Jan 1-7

1. A lot of political activity has taken place in Andhra Pradesh (yep, AP, not UP :) ) this week. The Chief Minister has become an expert at making tall claims about his programs. Infact, I am pretty sure he spends more money on advertisements than on the actual schemes itself! One of the schemes he tom tomed was "Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu". Leave the opposition parties and the cynics, his own ministers were clueless about this scheme. State Congress chief picked up a fight with the CM too, about this scheme. The CM promised 1 lakh private sector jobs by December. He also said the PM will give out all these letters in December. The PM hasn't come yet, but the CM's office released a statement saying about 1,01,000 jobs have been created! The Hindu carried this report which detailed how even the "youth" are confused what this scheme is about! 

Amidst this confusion, party incharge Ghulam Nabi Azad came to Hyderabad to chair the first meeting of the newly formed "co-ordination committee". Entire regional media was agog with reports on how the CM was cornered by the panel members. The deputy CM is miffed that he is being sidelined and is not being consulted. Same complaint by the PCC chief. Same complaint by many other leaders. If this does not signify dissent, then what does? 

Meanwhile, the plan is to increase current charges and increase the number of power holidays from 5 to 12 days a month for industries. And to add to these woes, two tragedies struck the state. 19 people died after they drank illegal hooch. Just 2 days after this, 24 people were taken ill in another district. These tragedies bought to the fore, the massive liquor "mafia" in the state. This article in The Hindu is a must read, to understand how this syndicate works in the state. 

And the assembly Speaker finally broke his silence. Remember the no-confidence motion in the assembly last month? 16 Congress MLAs voted against the government. As is his trademark, the Speaker tells us he will try to close this case before the budget session! This has been the gameplan of the Congress always - delay every problem to the maximum possible extent! And then rue the indecision. 

Lastly, the Obulapuram Mining case continues to haunt the government. The IAS officer who signed the file has been sent back to jail. As expected, the minister in charge at that time, Sabita Reddy is not even an accused in the case - she is just a witness (and is now the Home Minister of the state)!

2. Meanwhile, the election commission has announced elections for five states, about 10 days back. UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab will go to elections in February. Needless to say, all eyes are on the election in UP. The english media seems to have placed all its bets on Rahul Gandhi. Various surveys are projecting various results too. Mayawati has sacked some ministers from the cabinet. This week's hot political story is that some of these ministers are joining in BJP. Parties and media picked on the BJP for this decision - specifically for inducting Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party. The BJP has specifically attacked Kushwaha when he was the minister. Mindful of the OBC votes he might bring in, the BJP took a u-turn and inducted him into the party. After a minor backlash, the party has announced that he will not be given a ticket. Kushwaha has written to Nitin Gadkari asking him to put his membership on hold till he is absolved of charges. CBI raided the offices of Kushwaha the very next day after he joined BJP. While the CBI continues to dance to the tunes of the Congress party, the next few weeks are going to see some high voltage political action.

3. If you think that BSP, SP, BJP, Congress, RLD are the only parties fighting the elections in UP, you are mistaken. The Election Commission should also be added to the list. The EC has ordered that all statues of Maywati and elephants (BSP symbol) should be covered with cloth. Apparently the statues will influence the voter it seems. This decision is absurd at many levels, but in my view is an insult to the voter. That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట!: జనవరి 1-7

ముందుంది మరింత మంచి కాలం అని మన ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు ఆ మధ్య సెలవు ఇచ్చారు కదండీ. ఈ వారం పరిశ్రమలకు ఒక వారం ప్రకటించింది ప్రబుత్వం. ఇప్పుడు నెలలో 5 రోజులు పరిశ్రమలకు కరంట్ ఇవ్వటం లేదు. ఇక మీదట నెలలో 12 రోజులు ఇవ్వరు అంట! ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, కరంట్ చార్జీలు కూడా పెంచుతున్నారు అంట. 

రాష్ట్రంకి ఘులాం నబి ఆజాద్ గారు వచ్చారు. పార్టి కి ప్రభుత్వానికి సమంవయం పెంచడానికి వచ్చారు అంట. ఇది అదును గా తీసుకుని, రాష్ట్ర కాంగ్రెస్స్ నేతలు అంతా ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారి ఏక పక్ష పని తీరు మీద అసహనం వ్యక్త పరిచారు. ఆజాద్ గారు అన్ని విన్నారు.. వెళ్ళిపోయారు! సాక్షాతూ ఉప-ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు కూడా తన గోడు చెప్పుకునారు అంట. మన సంగతి ఏమో కాని, ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారి "కాలం" మాత్రం అస్సలు బాలేనట్టు గా ఉంది ! 

ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, స్పీకర్ గారు ఏమో ఇంకా 17 ఎమ్యెల్యేలు మీద ఎలాంటి చర్యలు తీసుకోలేదు. త్వరలో తీసుకుంటారు అంట. అదన్నమాట! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lokpal: TV "debate" versus Parliament debate

Take a look at the below snapshot.

That snapshot is of a TV "debate" on CNN-IBN. I am sure other channels would have had such a cluttered format too. So this is not just specific to CNN-IBN. 

8 people. 19 minutes. Each argument overlapping another. In these 8 people, we don't see the anchor. Add him/her and you get 9 people in a "debate" for 19 minutes. On an average, 2.11 minutes per person.

Contrast this to the actual debate in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The above snapshot was before the debate in RS, but even the LS debate would suffice for now. 

The full uncorrected debate text in LS is here.  From pages 7256 to 7474. A total of 218 pages of debate. And the debate was for about 11 hours. Yeah, 11 hours. 

The full uncorrected debate text in RS is here. From pages 10 to 509 (with disruptions). A total of ~500 pages. And more than 12 hours. 

But our TV media wants to "debate" such serious issues in 20 minutes. With 8-10 members. And what's even more saddening is that folks forget the detailed stance of parties in the parliament debates - instead pick up one liners (that are often disrupted too!) as official party lines. What a pity!  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

That's all, your honour: Dec.25-31

1. Did you know that Srinivasa Ramanujan ran away from his house at the age of 18? And more interestingly, his father wrote a letter to The Hindu giving details, so that if anyone finds him, they can report it! This letter was carried out by The Hindu last week and it was a very pleasant surprise. Take a look at the letter here. Also, The Hindu carried out a special supplement on Ramanujan and about the growth of maths in India, career opportunities in India etc. The supplement was very enlightening with even photographs of inscriptions showing old numbers. This year is being celebrated as the National year of Mathematics, commemorating the 125th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan. Hope that more and more students will get interested in mathematics in the coming years :) . The only sore point in the whole celebrations was a speech by Kapil Sibal. Another empty promise by him - exam centric system to go. How? Please don't ask how - Sibal can only talk pompously! 

2. The Lokpal bill continues to dominate the political discussions in the country. I will write in some more detail later about how the ruling party cheated people at every stage of the bill. Last week, the bill was passed in Lok Sabha but the game changing idea of Rahul Gandhi - to give Lokpal a constitutional status was defeated in the Lok Sabha. An earlier blog gives details of that session. Next stop was Rajya Sabha. The bill was tabled only on wednesday evening in the house, and it took up discussion only thursday. Even the ally of the congress, Trinamool Congress was very unhappy about this bill. The opposition too was deeply disappointed with this bill. A total of 187 amendments were moved by TMC and the opposition parties. The government realised late into the night that the session has to end at 12am, and since there was no time, the bill was to be deferred. Opposition parties said they were ready to sit through the night, but the government said they need time to go over the 187 amendments. After a shameful ruckus orchestrated by the ruling party in the presence of the Prime Minister, the house was adjourned sine die. The Lokpal bill debate now moves on to the next session. More drama awaits us in the budget session

3. Meanwhile, the congress government in AP is spending more on ads than on actual schemes in Andhra Pradesh. And after telling us that "a year later, the state is even better", the government is now increasing power tariffs in the state. An expected increase in revenue is about Rs. 5000 crores from this increase. This is just one amongst a big list of burdenous policy of this government! And the year just began - dreaded to think what lies ahead for us! 

అదన్నమాట! : డిసంబర్ 25-31

"ముందుంది మరింత మంచి కాలం" అని మన ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు తెగ చెప్పెసుకున్తునారు అండి. కేవలం 2-12 గంటల కరంట్ కొత్త ఉంది రాష్ట్రం లో.... కాని "ముందుంది మరింత మంచి కాలం" లెండి. ఇప్పుడు ఏమో కరంట్ చార్జీలు పెంచుతారు అంట. కేవలం 5000 కోట్లు వస్తాయి ఈ పెంపు తో. అయిన సరే, "ముందు ఉంది మరింత మంచి కాలం". డిసెంబర్ నెలలో లక్ష ఉద్యోగాలకి ప్రధాన మంత్రి గారు వచ్చి మరీ ఇస్తారు అని చెప్పారు. జనవరి వచ్చింది. ఉద్యోగాలు వచ్చాయో లేదో తెలిదు, ప్రధాన మంత్రి వస్తారో లేదో తెలిదు. అయిన సరే "ముందుంది మరింత మంచి కాలం" ! ఇలా చెప్పుకుంటూ పొతే చాలానే ఉంటాయి లెండి ... ప్రస్తుతానికి ఇక్కడితో ఆపెస్తా. అదన్నమాట!