May 29, 2013

Advani deserves it, maybe for a few months!

Many, not necessarily supporters of Lal Krishna Advani or the BJP, now feel that the octogenarian leader should be made Prime Minister on compassionate grounds, may be for a year or even a few months. That is, of course, if the BJP-led alliance comes to power in the next elections. The RSS worker, who travelled all the way from Sind in Pakistan to Indore in a tender age to grow into a top Jana Sangh/BJP leader, has waited too, pathetically too, long to fulfil this ambition and has tried all possible devices but was always betrayed either by his own party men or the alliance partners and most often by the voters.  

Now as he was seeing his life’s ambition nearing fulfilment, suddenly Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has emerged to spoil his game. In spite of his corporate money-helped control over the media, Modi, though, may not find smooth his acceptance by the party as a whole. He has a formidable challenger in Sushma Swaraj, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.  The Gulfnews had reported some time back that Swaraj “is already being seen within the party as someone who can become Prime Minister”. That was, of course, before Modi’s media blitzkrieg.

During its years in power at the Centre, the BJP, or at least a large section of its leadership, had seen the futility of remaining rigid on certain sensitive issues. Advani, in particular, had realised at a particular stage that he would have to shed his hard Hindutva protagonist image if he wanted to fulfil his long-cherished ambition of becoming Prime Minister of the country. He went to pay his obeisance at the grave of the founder of Pakistan. This was rather a clumsy way of projecting himself as a liberal politician and seemed to have done him more harm, politically, than good. But ambition blinds even a wise man.

The Godhra massacre may continue to haunt Modi as he tries to step out of Gujarat on a wider canvas. In contrast, say some Sushma Swaraj loyalists, the name of Swaraj has never been tainted by fanaticism; though she sometimes loses control on her tongue (that happens when the sugar level goes up in her blood stream as she is an acute diabetic). During the brief period of her chief ministership of Delhi, she had not allowed fanaticism to enter into her, otherwise lack-lustre, working, they claim.

Swaraj scores over Modi in respect of experience also. She started her political career as a Janata Party member of the Haryana Assembly and had become the youngest member of Devi Lal’s cabinet with the portfolio of Labour and Employment. She opted for the BJP when the party was formed in 1980 following the split in the Janata Party. She became in the late eighties the minister of education, food and civil supplies in the Lok Dal-BJP government of Haryana led by Devi Lal.

She had been elected to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and had held portfolios of Information and Broadcasting and Telecommunications in the Vajpayee government at the Centre. Her name was in the reckoning for the post of national president of the BJP when Advani resigned in 2005; ultimately Rajnath Singh was elected.

The Advani group is said to be tacitly supporting Sushma Swaraj as the next Prime Minister in the event of the BJP-led alliance coming to power. Being a woman and a mother, Sushma Swaraj is known for being a kind-hearted woman and will not hesitate to relinquish the chair of Prime Minister for Advani for a few months purely on compassionate grounds and concentrate on her gold and diamond collection. Modi is much too hard-hearted to feel compassion for old age.

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January 24, 2013

Act on Verma committee report speedily

The Justice Verma committee on amendments to criminal law in respect of crimes against women submitted its report to the government in a record time -- that is, within one month. The committee was constituted following the countrywide public outburst, in the wake of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year old medical student in Delhi in the night of December 16, 2012, against the failure of the government to provide a safe and dignified environment for the women in India. The constitution of the committee helped soften the people's anger to some extent.
The committee comprised Justice J S Verma, retired Chief Justice of India (chairman), Justice Leila Seth, retired Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India (members).
The committee has made comprehensive recommendations on amendments to the relevant laws and about making the law enforcement machinery more responsive. The committee was shocked at the clumsy response of the Delhi police to the gang-rape incident and the peaceful public protests that followed it. Justice Verma could not hide his pique at Union Home Secretary R K Singh's word of praise for Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in spite of the mishandling of the whole situation by the police.
The apathy of the administration can be measured by the non response of the ministries and near silence of state police chiefs (DGPs). Many government departments sent in their suggestions just a day before, may be after reading news reports that the committee would be submitting the report on the following day.

It is precisely because of these reasons that one doubts that the government will show the same alacrity in implementing the recommendations of the committee with which it had formed the committee. Those in power --- the politicians and more particularly the IAS and IPS officers --- have a deep-rooted vested interest in perpetuating the status quo. Maybe, the people would have to come onto the streets once again to force the government to implement the committee's recommendations and act on them with speed. However, if the people have once again to take to the streets, no one can say what shape the protests will take.

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December 27, 2012

Subhash Tomar exposed ills of police

After his death the police got a post mortem examination report prepared saying that Tomar had myocardial infarction (cardiac arrest) and its complication that could be precipitated by ante mortem injuries to neck and chest produced by blunt force impact.
He was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where Medical Superintendent S Sidhu said that no major external injury marks were found on the body. He added that Tomar had already suffered a cardiac arrest before he was brought to the hospital. Two eyewitnesses, Yogendra and Paulene, have testified that they had seen Tamar collapse.
“Three to four constables were running after the crowd. Subhash Tomar was one of them. Suddenly he stopped and fell down. We went to pick him up and tried to talk to him but he didn’t answer,” Yogendra said. he is a student of journalism.
Paulene (a Physics (Hons) student at IGNOU) corroborated Yogendra's account. "That policeman had fallen on his own and did not have any altercation with anyone. He was not hit by any stone and was not bleeding," Paulene said. She added, "He was unconscious. I addressed him as 'uncle' and asked what had happened but he did not respond. We did not know what medical help to give him. We took off his jacket and opened his shirt buttons. Yogendra (another student) was with me and two cops had arrived by then. He was later taken to hospital."
It appears that Subhash Tamar did have some heart problem. Why was he then put on duty where such militant protests were being held?
A graduate in arts, Subhash Tamar had joined the police as Constable in 1987. According to the police citation, he was a conscientious policeman and had earned 77 commendations. However, he continued to be a Constable till his death 25 years later, in spite of his honesty and good work. He was not given even a single promotion all these years! Apparently, the Delhi police does not look upon honesty and dedication to work as a virtue.
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