Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is the TDP Nai"doom"ed?

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) completes 30 years today.

Apart from the victory and losses in the elections, I believe that there are three watershed moments/periods in this 30 year old journey by the TDP. We will first discuss those events and then briefly talk about what the future holds for the TDP now.
                                                                                                                                                            The 1984 Lok Sabha elections (and the 1996 elections)
                                                                                                                                                                   The Congress swept the entire country except Andhra Pradesh. It won a whopping 404 seats out of the 491 it contested! The second largest party was the TDP! TDP swept the AP seats, winning 30 out of the 42 seats by itself. This meant that this is the first time a regional party got to play a major role in the national politics. This strength of the TDP ensured that NTR later went on to become the chairman of the ruling National Front government in 1989. The importance of this victory cannot be underestimated at all. It at once catapulted TDP to national significance. A similar situation arose in 1996 and 1998 when TDP played a pivotal role (this time CBN was incharge) in the formation of three central governments. Till 2004, perhaps no other regional party played such an important role in the national political developments. Post 2004, we see that they are playing a bigger role (most times, a destructive role, but that discussion is for a later point of time!) 
                                                                                                                                                            The 1995 August coup. 
                                                                                                                                                              The next watershed moment in TDP's 30 year old political journey was August, 1995 when a massive internal coup led by CBN and other family members of NTR (includes his sons, son-in-laws) unseated NTR from power. Popular perception now is that CBN "backstabbed" NTR for a personal gain. And the Congress party, whenever questioned about any failure, resorts to CBN's "backstabbing"! Anyways, coming back to the point :)
                                                                                                                                                               Lakshmi Parvati was clearly acting as the de facto Chief Minister, and NTR just refused to budge. Newspapers at that time even published pictures of the her attending government review meetings along with NTR and other ministers. Her involvement was not just an open secret - it was open for all to see! Certainly, it would cause a lot of heartburn amongst elected representatives to take orders from this lady who came into NTR's life just 2 years back.
                                                                                                                                                                    Her actions prompted the unthinkable to happen - a revolt against NTR! Almost the entire family was up in arms. Majority of the legislators were up in arms. Majority of his ardent supporters were up in arms. His support base amongst MLAs was just dwindling by the day. All legislators were put up in Hotel Viceroy (it is Marriott now, but for us it will still remain Viceroy :D), and within a few days, Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as Chief Minister.
                                                                                                                                                         Unfotunately, NTR and CBN did not fight against each other in the electoral arena (NTR passed away in Jan, 1996). Crowd surges in meetings for Lakshmi Parvati made some believe that she will defeat the TDP but people just rejected her. And thereafter, it was CBN all the way with none to challenge him for the top most in the party. And the 1999 victory cemented his place.
                                                                                                                                                              This revolt and subsequent victory at the hustings meant that the TDP moved from a person centric party (it was NTR always) to a party that became performance centric (we will revisit this argument later again in the blogpost). This leadership change meant that young people (CBN was 45 when he took over as CM... majority of cabinet was young too) will bring in a fresh change and perspective. They were succesfull for a large extent before arrogance took over too :).
                                                                                                                                                          2008-2009 Tectonic shift in policy approach
                                                                                                                                                               From “vision to television” was the joke going around about Chandrababu Naidu (CBN) during the general elections in 2009! Well, we have to give it to the person who came up with this slogan, for in 3 words he/she summarized the entire political career of CBN!
                                                                                                                                                                 In these two years, the tectonic shift in their approach to policy making is too stark to be ignored. Till then CBN was perceived as the reformist that the country needed. Infact he was staunchly opposed to free power promised by YSR to the farmers in 2004. In the online world, we hear a lot of noise about the "center right economics" etc blah. Naidu's tenure as CM is a case study for such policies.
                                                                                                                                                          However, in the desperation to regain power and credibility amongst the voters, he made 2008-2009 as the year of unlimited promises that will put any socialist regime to shame! He saw that the free stuff being doled out by YSR was working out well. So much free stuff was promised to almost all sections of the society that you suddenly began to wonder if this was the same CBN who talked about a vision for the state and ushered in some much needed administrative changes. It was almost impossible to believe that this was the same CBN who was pivotal in the ushering of the IT revolution (which has benefited lakhs of people) and was the architect of some very innovative government programs. It was also during this period that the TDP said it was in favour of splitting the state. The reformist oriented TDP died along with these changes. Now, we are witness to purely populism oriented TDP. 
                                                                                                                                                                   TDP in power
                                                                                                                                                               The TDP was in power for 16 years in the last 30 years ( 1983-1989 and 1994-2004). It came across as a whiff of fresh air all the time it won the elections. The blog post will become verrry long if we go into the successes and failures of the TDP when it was in power. An earlier blogpost details CBN's rise and fall in the eye of the electorate. Also, this post by KrishnaArjun in the Centre Right India portal details the evolution of NTR's first stint as the Chief Minister. It is a very good read to understand happenings during those times. Wikipedia link on NTR's tenure is also quite exhaustive.
                                                                                                                                                                 TDP in opposition
                                                                                                                                                          TDP's first stint in opposition was quite uneventful compared to it's 2nd and 3rd. During it's first stint, the congress party was on an auto self destructive mode. All that the TDP had to do was take advantage of this. And with some dramatics thrown in (NTR refused to attend assembly for about 2 years!), they got back into power in 1994. Their 2nd stint was their hardest stint. And it was in this stint that their leader, CBN tried to connect back to the cadre and people. TDP was almost ready to give a tough fight to the Congress and that is when Chiranjeevi entered politics. This altered dynamics significantly. Coupled with some bad alliances, TDP again had to end up as the opposition party in 2009!
                                                                                                                                                                 Is TDP Nai"doom"ed? 
                                                                                                                                                             The current stint as the main opposition party is turning out to be a bigger disaster than the previous one! YSR's death and the Telangana goof up by Sonia Gandhi put TDP in a piquant situation! Jagan is slowly emerging as the alternative force. So now TDP is compelled to share the opposition space with Jagan. Earlier in the 2009 elections, they had to share that space with PRP. The goof up by Sonia on Telangana meant that TDP also lost significant ground in the Telangana region. And therefore the immediate future certainly looks very bleak for the TDP.
                                                                                                                                                             TDP has the dubious distinction of being a cadre based one man party! NTR was president of the party for ~13 years. Naidu has been the president for the last 17 years. In this time, the cadre has stuck to him and helped him to regain some lost ground. However, with a stagnation of ideas and the penetration of other parties into the main opposition space, it does look like 2014 will end up as another disaster for the TDP. In the current political scenario (unless something drastically changes), it looks like TDP is heading to a Nai"doom".
                                                                                                                                                                     I am an ardent supporter of the TDP (except from a deeply regrettable deviation towards PRP and then Lok Satta in 2009). NTR is equivalent to an icon for me, and CBN is someone I very deeply admire and like. It pains me and sometimes angers me too, when folks blurt out random statements like "he did nothing". Without some awesome grey matter, it is impossible to have sustained for so long in this field.  Earlier blogs debate this issue. It is extremely painful to see him going down like this.
                                                                                                                                                                 Would a new leader change the fortune of the party? Maybe. But there is no new leader on the horizon - after Naidu, we don't even know who is second in command. NTR's sons might be enthusiastic, but them leading will spell further doom to the party! Overall, it is sad to see the man and the party that dominated policy and politics of AP for about 2 decades go down like this.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

That's all, Your honour! :March 18-24

1. This week saw some hectic political activity in Andhra Pradesh. Election results for bye-elections to 7 seats in the state were out. 6 of them were in Telangana and one was in Kovur assembly constituency, Nellore district. The Kovur election was keenly watched because the incumbent TDP legislator quit and joined the YSRCP (Jagan's party). As expected, the YSRCP candidate, N Prasanna Kumar Reddy won from Kovur with an impressive margin of ~23,000 votes over the TDP rival. In the 6 telangana seats, 5 were won by TRS (it supported one independent) and one by the BJP. All in all, this has been a disastrous election for the two main parties, Congress and the TDP. And as usual, congress leaders have started their blame games. This infighting is reminiscent of the early 90s in the state. Though there is concern in the TDP over the fallout, they are not showing it out openly. In 2 seats that it held earlier, the TDP even lost it's deposits! BJP contested only the Mahbubnagar seat and scraped through in a four cornered contest. This victory has been a shot in the arm for the BJP, especially winning the seat in KCR's LS constituency. However, it is also important to note that the BJP candidate was rejected a ticket by TRS! 

After this disaster for the two main parties, the next big challenge is the upcoming elections to 18 assembly seats. Those are impending disasters too! 17 of the seats are going to polls because Congress MLAs were disqualified for voting against the government. Chiranjeevi got elected to the Rajya Sabha and hence his MLA seat is vacant now. YSRCP will perform exceedingly well in these elections too - and that's when the actual fun will start! If congress people are so much agitated over the loss in mere 7 seats, imagine the levels of instability that will creep in once they lose all 18! TDP is also surely in no better state. Anyways let's wait for those elections now! 

There were a few bye-elections outside AP too. English TV media was as always concentrated on those, because BJP lost them! One election was for the Lok Sabha constituency that the current Karnataka CM, Sadananda Gowda, represented. BJP lost by ~45,000 votes there and this is clearly a huge loss for the party and reflects the crisis it is in. However, much of the media attention was focussed on an assembly seat in Gujarat. BJP held this seat since 1995 and lost it to the Congress now. And the English TV media festivilised on this result! It was a huge setback for BJP according to them. Strangely no word about the set-back to Congress in AP! Don't believe me? check out the snapshot below :) 

2. The "nataka" in Karnataka just never seems to end. After the High Court quashed the case against him, Yeddyurappa got bold and demanded that the BJP leadership reinstate him as the Chief Minister of the state again! And this time, he took about 58-60 MLAs to a resort and started blackmailing the central leadership! After unrelenting for more than 4 days, he finally agreed to meet the central leadership. And after meeting them, he decided to not claim the CM's chair for now. The primary reason being that all the court cases against him haven't been quashed yet and reinstating him will only add to the instability. For now, there seems to be a halt but with Karnataka, we are never sure! 

3. As expected, Dinesh Trivedi resigned as the Railway Minister. As expected, Mukul Roy was sworn in as the new Railway minister. As expected, he rolled back the fare hike announced by Dinesh Trivedi. Only the fare hike of 1st AC and 2nd AC passengers stays now. Suddenly, even the 3rd AC passengers are also "poor" people now! As expected, the PM praised Dinesh Trivedi for presenting a good budget and apparently he regretted the departure of Mr. Trivedi! What authority can we expect from a Prime Minister who can only whine but can never act? 

4. And finally, another gem from the Prime Minister. While responding to demands from the DMK that India vote against Srilanka in the UNHCR meet, he told the Lok Sabha that he is yet to read the draft but is inclined to vote for the draft that will censure Srilanka! What can we further comment on this attrocious position? He hasn't read but will vote for it (given that his government will face trouble from DMK if he does not do so!). And as expected, he voted against Srilanka at the UNHRC summit. Various opinions have been expressed on this issue and it is not possible to cover all of them here :). Recommended readings here - 123 (PM's reply to Srilankan President), 4

5. And finally your honour, the planning commission is at it again. They have claimed that poverty in India reduced by ~7% since 2004. The definition of poverty is this - if you have a spending capacity of more than Rs. 28.35 in urban and Rs. 22.42 in rural areas, then you are "above poverty line". That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! మార్చి 18-24

అనుకున్నట్టు గానే ఉప ఎన్నికల ఫలితాలు కాంగ్రెస్స్ కి మరియు తెలుగు దేశం కి చెడు అనుభవాలను మిగిల్చాయి. మొత్తం ఏడు స్థానాల లోను ఈ రెండు పార్టీలు ఒక్కటి కూడా గెలవలేదు. నాలుగు స్థానాలు తెరాసా గెలుచుకున్నది. ఒక్క దాంట్లో తెరాసా మద్దతు తో నాగం జనార్ధన రెడ్డి గెలిచారు. ఒక స్థానం లో భారతీయ జనత పార్టి అభ్యర్ది గెలుపొందారు. మహబూబ్ నగర్ స్థానం లో భాజపా గెలిచింది - మిగతా పార్టీల నుంచి గట్టి పోటి వచ్చిన సరే, ఈ స్థానం లో నెగ్గింది. విశేషం ఏమిటి అంటే, ఈ నియోజకవర్గం శ్రీమాన్ కేసీఆర్ గారి లోక్ సభ పరిధి లోనే వస్తుంది ! 

ఇక పొతే, కొవ్వుర్ లో అనుకునట్టు గానే జగన్ పార్టి అభ్యర్ది ప్రసన్న కుమార్ రెడ్డి గారు గెలిచారు. దాదాపు 23,000 వోట్ల తేడా తో గెలిచారు. దీనితో ఇంకా జగన్ పార్టి వాళ్ళు సంబరాలు జరుపుకున్నారు. రాబోయే 18 సీట్ల ఎన్నికలలో కుడా గెలుస్తాము అనే ధీమా ఇప్పుడు వీరిలో ఏర్పడింది. ఇక పొతే - తెలుగు దేశం మరియు కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టీలు ఈ ఫలితాలని తట్టుకోలేక్పోతున్నాయి. గతం లో వారు గెలిచినా రెండు స్థానాలలో తెలుగు దేశం ఈ సారి డిపాసిట్ కూడా కోల్పోయింది ! 

కాంగ్రీ పార్టి లో ఎప్పుడు ఉండే అంతర్గత కుమ్ములాట మళ్ళి తెర పైకి వచ్చింది ! ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారే బాధ్యులు అని ఒక వర్గం దాడి చేస్తే, కాదు ఆయన గొప్ప వారు అని ఇంకో వర్గం ఎదురు దాడి చేస్తుంది! ఇప్పుడు జరిగిన ఏడు స్థానాలకే ఇలా కొట్టుకుంటే, రేపు పొద్దున్న 18 స్థానాలు ఓడిపోయినప్పుడు కాంగ్రెస్స్ పరిస్థితి ఎలా ఉంటాదో మరి! అదన్నమాట! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

That's all, Your honour!: Mar.11-17

1. The Railways minister of India, Mr. Dinesh Trivedi presented his maided railway budget last week. After he presented the budget, he was asked to resign by his party chief!! Such kind of bizarre events can happen only here! So what exactly happened? 

Dinesh Trivedi increased rail fares. It is the first time in the 8 years rule of UPA that the fares have been increased. 2 paise/km increase for lower class. 5 paise/km increase for sleeper class. 10 paise/km increase for 3rd AC. 15 paise/km increase for 2nd AC. 30 paise/km increase for 1st AC. That is what has been proposed in this budget. And Mr. Dinesh Trivedi did not discuss this issue with his party chief - Mamta Banerjee! It apparently came as a rude shock to Mamta who was furious at being bypassed. Hence she shot off a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to replace Trivedi with Mr,. Mukul Roy. 

At his press conference after presenting the budget, Dinesh Trivedi has said more than a couple of times that the Railways is in the ICU. If this increase is not implemented, we can say "tata bye bye" to the railways! The seriousness of this enormous comment cannot be wished away. The new Railway minister of the UPA tells us that the old railway ministers of the same UPA have screwed up the railways so much that the only option left to bring them out of the ICU is this increase. Which begs the question - why was this screwing up allowed? What exactly happened that Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mamta Banerjee have inflicted this pitiable state on the railways? Yashwant Sinha of the BJP asked the right question - The Prime Minister should explain why fares were not increased for the last 8 years! 

But ofcourse, he won't explain that! The next day, opposition parties question the government on the status of the railway budget and the railway minister. As always, Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee stood up - says that neither the PM nor the cabinet has to approve this. Only the finance minister has to approve it and now the budget is the property of the parliament! As always - the Prime Minister has nothing to do with this. The uncertainity still continues. If the Prime Minister accepts the resignation, then this will be yet another low in his already near-full basket of lows! Why should a minister be punished for trying to do his job? After a long time, we have seen a minister talk about cleanliness in the railways. This budget promises bio-toilets, which will replace the existing open discharge toilets. The budget also talks about some "green" initiatives like use of solar power etc. The budget also placed importance on the safety of passengers and announced a slew of measures. 

Now, why wouldn't the traveller be willing to pay a little more, to avail facilities? Why should there be no hike in fares for as long as 8 years? This is exactly what happens when you don't raise fares for 8 years - you have to do it at one go. And the ensuing ruckus will ensure you cannot do it peacefully also! Hail UPA! 

2. 2 days after the Railway Budget was presented, finance minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee presented the General Budget. As always, there was massive hype before the budget. Will this be the reform budget everyone is waiting for...blah blah blah. And quite expectedly, this budget turned out to be a damp squib. No reforms announced - only increase in indirect taxes that will burden the consumer (or the aam aadmi). So now your cars, ACs. fridges, two-wheelers, gold jewellery, flight travel, AC travel in train, eating in hotels, cosmetics etc etc will cost more. Some taxes have been cut - like the ones on imported drugs for treatment of cancer. Overall, this budget was aimed to making more money through indirect taxes - you can't blame the FM for trying so. The reason being - this government is undertaking massive social sector spending for which they need income too. How to get income? The tax-payer is there no! Burden him more, he will  whine for a day and then continue to pay taxes! That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! మార్చి 11-17

రాష్ట్రం లో క్రిందటి వారం లో చెప్పుకోదగ్గ విషయాలు ఏమి జరగలేదు అండి. ఈ వారం మాత్రం చాలా హడావిడి ఉంటుంది. 7 నియోజకవర్గాలలో ఉప ఎన్నికలు జరుగుతున్నాయి ఇవ్వాళ. ఆరు తెలంగాణా లో, ఒకటి నెల్లూర్ లో. నెల్లూర్ లో ఎన్నికల మీదే ఆసక్తి ఎక్కువ గా ఉంది అందరికి. జగన్ పార్టి గెలుస్తుంద? తెలుగు దేశం పార్టీ గెలుస్తుంద? కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టీ గురుంచి ఎలాగో ఎవ్వరు చర్చించుకోవటం లేదు లెండి - వాళ్ళకి ఓటమి ఖాయం! వచ్చే వారం చర్చిద్దాం. అంత వరకు సెలవు మరి! అదన్నమాట!  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The 26 GO's...

Update 1 on May 25, 2012 - One congress minister arrested by the CBI last night. The minister blamed the then Congress chief minister YSR, in his resignation to the current congress chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. The arrests were based on GOs 29, 30, 31, 1110, 1115. 

The Supreme Court of India has issued notices to 6  ministers and 8 IAS officers in Andhra Pradesh, asking them to explain why they should not be interrogated by the CBI in GO's issued by them, that purpotedly favoured Jagan. 

Jagan is the son of YSR. YSR was the Chief Minister when these GO's were issued. Telugu newspaper Eenadu has published details of the 26 GO's and how they benefited Jagan. Earlier blogs on this blog detailed the corruption in AP and also how only the IAS officers are being made scapegoats. Today's GO's vindicate again why the ministers are the main culprits. 

I translated the details in english. Below pictures give you the details. Please spread this post.

The Hindu wrote today that :

"As per the present rules, a proposal for any land allotment would have to be approved by the Cabinet even if it was a small piece."

And therefore we now know that the cabinet has okayed the land deals above. I am just wondering how long the government can brazen it out! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rahul Dravid retires...

Finally, I would like to thank the Indian cricket fan, both here and across the world. The game is lucky to have you, and I have been lucky to play before you

Thus ended Rahul Dravid's retirement announcement. And it was at this moment that it sunk in - that he will not play for India anymore. Many articles have been written, many eulogies have poured in. An earlier speech by him in Australia prompted me to write a blogpost about him in detail. I really have nothing more to add, than to thank Rahul Dravid - as a Indian cricket fan, I have been lucky to see you play (at Hyderabad, vs New Zealand in a test match!). 

The modesty of the man is quite evident in this press conference after the announcement. He says he was nowhere as talented as the youngsters of this generation are!! 

Take a look at this blogpost - this person writes about the importance Rahul played in the records of other batsmen. What did he do? He stay put at the other end. He gave the other batsmen strength. And in the process, he too scored centuries and reached milestones, but they are not talked about for the other batsmen went on to score more than him! That is his biggest contribution - he stay put. 

And ofcourse, who better than his wife to give us insights into his preparation! This article by her is just brilliant. It is a must read for all. 

And finally, the usual suspects will anyway pay glowing tributes. The best tribute came from this article from a fan - fascinating really. Please read that too. 

Ofcourse, the talk of who will replace Rahul Dravid has begun. Only the number 3 position in the batting line-up will be replaced. Not Rahul Dravid. 

Thank you once again Rahul Dravid, for all those memories. We will miss you on field :(. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

That's all, your honour!: March 4-10

1. Before getting into the results of elections held in 5 states held in our country, a quick note about the elections in Russia. Vladimir Putin was elected as President of Russia. He served as President for 8 years earlier. However, since he himself proposed that no one should be President for more than two consecutive terms, he stepped down as President in 2008. After a 4 year stint as Prime Minister, he returns back as President, winning ~62% of the total votes cast. However, the constitution has now been amended to extend a single term from 4 to 6 years. So now Putin is looking to be President for 12 more years. There is also some discontent brewing against him in Russia - people are coming out onto the streets and protesting. His last stint bought Russia again onto the economic forefront, but has increased corruption. That might be his main concentration for this term. 

2. In a dastardly event, a young IPS officer was crushed to death by a tractor when he tried to stop it for inspection of illegal stone being carried. This death again brings into focus the issue of illegal mining in the country. It was really distressing to hear about this murder. The murdered officer's wife is an IAS officer and is also 8 months pregnant :(. 

3. Results of the elections for five states - Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh were announced this week. Below are the seats won, from Election Commission's website. 

The Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP combine in Punjab won an unprecedented consecutive term to rule over Punjab. This is the first time a government has been re-elected in Punjab. And undoubetdly this credit has to go to overall development undertaken by this combine. 

In Goa, the BJP won a majority and won back the state assembly. The main campaign plank was massive mining corruption by the leaders of Congress party there.

Uttarakhand voters threw up a hung assembly. A hung assembly resulted because of some excellent goof-ups by the then BJP President, Mr. Rajnath Singh. He made Maj Gen B.C.Khanduri resign as CM when the LS results didn't go BJP's way in this state. After a spate of corruption charges against the next CM, the BJP belatedly bought back Maj. Gen. Khanduri. He revived the party and achieved an impossible task but unfortunately fell short of a majority. Sadly, even Khanduri had to lose his own election. 

Manipur voted back for Congress. The absence of a united and credible opposition seemed to have worked for Congress very well. No national leader even bothered to campaign there. A joke going around was that Congress won there because Rahul Gandhi didn't campaign there :D 

And finally Uttar Pradesh - the Samajwadi party led by Akhilesh Yadav, s/o Mulayam Singh Yadav, romped home, winning a clear majority in the UP assembly. The over hyped Rahul Gandhi won only 28 seats. Even the BJP failed abysmally by winning only 47 seats (4 less from the last time). This election also has been a slap on the english TV media but ofcourse they will not accept it! That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! మార్చి 4-10

ఈ వారం లికర్ డాన్ బొత్స సత్యనారాయణ గారి బండారాన్ని ఈనాడు బట్ట బయలు చేసింది. విజయనగరం లో ఉన్న 12 మద్యం షాపులు లో 11 బొత్స దగ్గర పనిచేస్తున్న వాళ్ళవే. అందరికి తెల్ల రేషన్ కార్డులు ఉన్నాయి - అంటే పేద వాళ్ళు అన్నమాట! కింద చుడండి. అయితే మన బొత్స గారు ఏమని సెలవు ఇచ్చారో తెలుసా? ఈ కష్టాలు ఆయనికి జూన్ వరకు తప్పవు అంట - అప్పుడు జరిగే కొత్త వేలంపాటు లో అయన సహచారాలు ఎవ్వరు పాత పదారు అంట!! ఇప్పుడు మాత్రం కోట్లు కర్చుపెట్టుకుని, లాబాలు ఆర్జించాడు - దాని గురుంచి మనం ఏమి మాట్లాడకూడదు అంట! అదన్నమాట! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tryst with MSM - Part 20 "Through BJP blinkers"

So I asked Rajdeep Sardesai this morning:

@sardesairajdeep Would like to understand something. If "indictment" of a person is major news, y is the subsequent quashing of case not?

He replied back to me through a Direct Message ( for those who are new to this terminology - I asked him the question on a public timeline. He replied back only to me.)

It was a headline. But remember, it's only one case. don't see every story through Bjp blinkers

So what is it that we are talking about?

This front page report of The Hindu today will give you a good summary.

High Court quashes FIR against Yeddyurappa

The quashing of this FIR is big news, primarily because the filing of this FIR was big news. The filing of this FIR was big news because the report on which this FIR was filed was even  bigger news.

The FIR was filed because the Lokayukta of Karnataka declared that Yeddyurappa was guilty of corruption and recommended criminal proceedings against him. Based on this report, Yeddyurappa resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.

The Karnataka High Court admonished the Lokayukta.  For example:

Further, there is no material produced by the Lokayukta to establish that the petitioner has done any favour to any of the alleged companies during the period 2007 to 2010.

No proof. The Lokayukta report was "leaked". These same TV channels discussed this day in and day out. They ran debates. They even questioned team Anna and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar why they are not campaigning in Karnataka as part of their anti-corruption plank. The entire news for about a day or two centered around this very report. Now the High Court says there is no case at all.

And when asked why the quashing is not as big a news as the indictment is - what do we get?

It was a headline. But remember, it's only one case. don't see every story through Bjp blinkers

For the record - The Hindu front paged this story and also mentioned that there are still other corruption cases pending against Yeddyurappa. Then why is it so difficult for these news channels to do the same? does not even have a news item right now.

PS: Rajdeep Sardesai responded. Friends at NDTV didn't even bother! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Rahul takes on Mayawati"

This blog post is not about Rahul Gandhi. This post is about the media coverage (especially the english language TV media) on Rahul Gandhi, in the run-up to the recent UP elections. And by "run-up" I don't mean the last 2 months. The last one year or so. 

Over time, I just tried to collect news items that essentially said "Rahul takes on Mayawati". or "Rahul tears into Mulayam" or profound journalists who said "Rahul will be seen a martyr in Bhatta-Parsaul" or NDTV which still thinks " Priyanka Gandhi, often described as an electrifying campaigner with a strong people connect, " or articles that said "Rahul Gandhi worked the hardest of all" etc. 

Despite this massive campaign by the English media - Congress won just 28 seats. Despite multiple shows on Priyanka Gandhi and front page pictures of her campaign in family bastions Amethi and Rae Bareilly, Congress lost 8 of the 10 seats in these two places. Congress even lost Bhatta Parsaul. 

SP won 225 seats. The win is majorly credited to Akhilesh Yadav. Only in the last 2-3 months, we have been hearing of him. Before that, it was almost as if he never existed. He started his yatra in Sept. 2011. No live coverage, no front page pictures. And today he emerged the winner. 

Do you see the disconnect of this media with the ground realities then? All along it was potrated as Rahul vs Mayawati. Turns out, it was Akhilesh all the way. Rahul took responsibility for the defeat - will the English TV media take responsibility for their disconnect? 

Below are links I compiled ( not exhaustive, but enough to give you a picture)

April 14, 2010 - Rahul challenges Maywati - 

Dec. 2011
The campaign for UP promises to be a fiery one with the Congress and BSP leaving no stone unturned to woo voters

Jan 04 - 2012
Rahul Gandhi hits campaign mode for UP polls

Jan - Rahul carves out a toehold for youth

Jan 11 - In Azamgarh, Rahul tears into Mulayam

Jan 12

Jan 18 

Feb. 12

Feb .15 - Will Rahul mantra plus Piryanka magic work?

Feb.21 - Rahul worked the hardest

Monday, March 5, 2012

Liquor business of APCC chief...

For those of you outside Andhra Pradesh, you would probably not be knowing about the massive liquor mafia scam that is being unearthed. Recent ACB report to the court mentioned that this scam maybe worth Rs. 15000 crore!

Even if you knew the above point, there is little probability that you will know that the Pradesh congress president is also facing a lot of heat from the opposition. Mr. Botsa Satyanarayana has himself agreed that ~30 of his relatives/acquaintances have liquor shops and it is perfectly legal. Curiously, he also derided the opposition asking them why they are concentrating so much only on liquor scam, and not on other burning issues like weavers and farmers problems. The irony of the ruling party chief himself telling the opposition what to concentrate on aside, that statement showed his uneasiness.

Today, regional newspaper, Eenadu published scathing proof of Mr. Botsa Satyanarayana's (BS) invovlement in this liquor business. Mr. BS hails from the district of Vijayanagaram. The town of Vijayanagaram has 12 liquor outlets. 11 of them belong to people working in Mr. BS's industries/shops.

Some of these 11 "owners" have a white ration card. A white ration card means the government has classified you as "poor". These people have bought these liquor shops by shelling out tens of lakhs of rupees. Details below.

1. The picture below is of the house being constructed by Mr. Chelluri Chittibabu, under the "Indiramma scheme". He holds a white ration card # 0281059A0264. This "poor" man won in through an auction the bid to own "Seven Hills Wine". Since he is a "poor" man, he could buy this shop for just Rs. 99.7 lakhs. (Rupees Ninety Nine lakhs, seventy thousand only). He works in "Satya Stone Crushers" owned by Mr. BS and also looks after electrical problems at home.

2. The picture below is of the house owned by Mr. Kalisetti Lakshman Rao. He has a white ration card# 028105100082. This "poor" man works in "Satya Stone Crushers" owned by Mr. BS. And this "poor" man owns the outlet "Dhanalakshmi wines".

3. The picture below is of Mr. Vyakaranam Apparao. This "poor" man holds a white ration card. He is a worker in the Degree college owned by Mr. BS. This "poor" man won the bid for "Sri Lakshmi wines" for a partly Rs. 1.06 crores (Rupees 1 crore, sixty thousand only).

4. The picture below is of Mr. Lachireddy Achumnaidu's house. This "poor" man holds a white ration card# 022001700174. He maintains accounts of the liquor syndicate in the town. This "poor" man won the bid for "Jayalakshmi wines" for a partly Rs. 79 lakhs only.

5. The picture below is of Mr. Bandaru Swami Naidu's house. This "poor" man holds a white ration card# 0220017A0077. He maintains accounts of the liquor syndicate in the town. This "poor" man won the bid for "Vijayalakshmi wines" for a partly Rs. 89.17 lakhs only.

6. The picture below is of Mr. Majji Srinavasa Rao's house. His wife holds a white ration card#022002900003. He is an employee of "Satya Stone crushers" owned by Mr. BS. He won the bid for "Priya wines" for a partly Rs. 79 lakhs only.

The table below gives the details of the other 5. English table below the telugu one. 

In case you forgot - ACB values the scam at Rs. 15,000 crores. Mr. BS is the APCC president and a minister of the AP Cabinet. If you are also keen to know how the syndicate works, read this. And more importantly, please spread the word. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

That's all, Your Honour! Feb.26 - Mar.3

This has been a very slow and calm week. Maybe this is the calm before the storm :) Results of the 5 states that went into elections this year, will be out on March 6th. And that's when all hell will break lose :) 

Meanwhile, in Andhra Pradesh, the buggle for another bye-election has been sounded. The Speaker of the AP Assembly has finally disqualified 16 MLA's and accepted the resignation of 1 MLA. 16 MLA's were from the congress party. 1 MLA was from the erstwhile Praja Rajyam party (which is officially yet to merge with the congress in the assembly). Election Commission was indicating of completing all elections by the end of May, given that they need to prepare for the Presidential elections in July. It most definitely looks like the congress party will be losing badly in these elections. The interesting thing to observe in this election is - who will come first? TDP or YSRCP? For that, we have to wait two more months! 

Why are we so sure that the congress will lose - sample this news item just last week. In summary, industries don't get power for a whopping 15 days a week! And apart from this, we have 2-12 hour domestic power cuts across the state. What progress is remotely possible with such dismal management? That's all, your honour! 

అదన్నమాట! ఫిబ్రవరి 26-మార్చి 3

హమయ్య! ఎట్టకేలకు స్పీకర్ గారు ఒక నిర్ణయం తీసుకున్నారు అండి! ప్రబుత్వానికి వ్యతిరేకంగా వోట్ వేసిన 16 మంది ఎంఎల్యే లను స్పీకర్ గారు సస్పండ్ చేసారు. మరొక ఎమఎయే , శోభ నాగి రెడ్డి గారి రాజీనామా ని ఆమోదించారు. దీనితో రాష్ట్రం ఉప ఎన్నికల జోరు కి సన్నద్ధం అవుతుంది. ఈ నెల లో ఏడు స్థానాలకి ఉప ఎన్నికలు , మే చివరికి పదిహేడు స్థానాలు. నా అంచనా ప్రకారం కాంగ్రెస్స్ ఓటమి తధ్యం. తెలుగు దేశం, వైఎసార్ కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టీల మధ్య పోటి. ఎవరు ఎన్ని గెలుస్తారు అని మాత్రం ఇప్పుడే చెప్పలేము. దాని కోసం వేచి చూడాల్సిందే! అదన్నమాట!