Sunday, February 23, 2014

Congress And BJP Gang Up To Derail Democracy, Shame Parliament

When the last article on this site was titled Murder of Democracy, it was not foreseen that worse was to come yet.

The new state of Telangana (तेलॅनगाणा) is about to be born. Let’s us wish it and all its inhabitants all the best! The division of Andhra Pradesh is now a fait accompli. Therefore, this is not about the split. It is about the manner in which the exercise was conducted. The proceedings of the Lok Sabha were almost a throwback to the days of the infamous emergency. The only difference, perhaps, was that, during the emergency, Indira had sent all her opponents to prison, while her daughter-in-law Sonia had the opponents of the bill ejected from parliament. When the Lok Sabha met last week to pass the ‘Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill’, the Speaker used her powers selectively to suspend the bill’s opponents and barred them from entering the house.

During the emergency, quite a few bills were passed in parliament without following any procedure, discussion or debate. Legislators glorified themselves by their decibel power to say ‘aye’ vying with each other to shout the loudest hoping the Empress would notice! It was in such an atmosphere that even the Constitution was amended to insert two political clichés, ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ in its preamble. The amendment was perhaps a smokescreen to enact the other, notorious amendment (the thirty-ninth Constitutional amendment) that gave retroactive immunity from legal proceedings to Indira herself, which was enacted on August 10, 1975.

This time around, the issue at hand is not about making laws that would place an individual above judicial scrutiny or inserting political clichés in the Constitution. How did the clichéd, ‘world’s largest democracy’ go about legislative business that would have far reaching consequences? The legislation under ‘debate’ would affect a population of 8.5 crore of its citizens or, 7% of India’s population. The point is it was not debated at all!

The Bill No. 8 of 2014 as it was introduced in the Lok Sabha runs to seventy six pages, and has one hundred and nine clauses and thirteen schedules. The government itself has proposed thirty six amendments to the bill. What was the time allotted to discuss such lengthy legislation of a momentous and irreversible nature? It was allotted four hours for discussion in the Lok Sabha and all of two hours in the Rajya Sabha. Just to put things in perspective, reading the seventy six pages at the slow pace required to digest its contents would need at least six hours and twenty minutes.

Legislative business involves a rather lengthy process and it may be several months before a bill becomes an act. A bill is a draft proposal placed before parliament. It has to pass through several stages before it gets the parliament’s stamp of approval to become an act. Whereas a proposed legislation can be introduced in either house of the parliament, a bill that seeks to levy or waive off taxes (known as a ‘Money Bill’) could only be introduced in the Lok Sabha first. A private member (whether he is a member of the ruling party or the opposition) can introduce a bill. A bill so introduced is known as a ‘Private Member’s Bill’.

Here, in brief, are the stages that a bill passes through before becoming an act:

First Reading: Introduction in the parliament. It requires permission of the presiding officer, and the legislature. Ascertaining the will of the members may entail in voting.

Gazette Notification: A bill introduced in parliament is notified in the official gazette.

Reference to a Standing Committee: The presiding officer has the discretion to refer the bill to a Standing Committee either on her own volition or on the demand of a majority of members. Ascertaining the will of the members may entail in voting. The voting may be by ‘voice vote’ but if a member demands a ‘division’ the presiding officer is obliged to conduct a poll.

Second Reading: This implies a general discussion on the bill, but it has two or three sub-stages including reference to a Select Committee / Joint Parliamentary Committee of the two houses of parliament. Ascertaining the will of the members may entail in voting. The voting may be by voice vote, but if a member demands ‘division’ the presiding officer is obliged to conduct a poll.

First Stage: If the bill is not referred to the Select Committee / Joint Parliamentary Committee, it is generally discussed, debated and voted upon if a member seeks ‘division’.

Second Stage: In this stage a clause by clause discussion of the bill takes place. Each clause is discussed and debated upon. Amendments could be moved. Each clause is voted upon before being accepted either through a voice vote or by a ballot if a member demands a ‘division’. Similarly, any amendments moved should be accepted or negated by a voice vote or by a ballot if a member demands a ‘division’

Third Reading: The member who proposed the original bill moves the bill. The house then debates it. The bill requires parliamentary approval, which is sought either through a voice vote or a ballot if a member demands ‘division’.

Reference to the other house: A bill introduced in one house is sent to the other house for consideration and approval. It follows the same procedure there expect the introduction stage or First Reading. If the other house makes any amendments to the bill, which are at variance with the clauses approved in the first house, it will have to be sent to the first house again for re-consideration of the amended clauses and approval.

After a bill passes through the stages detailed above and after it satisfies the conditions set for approval of both the houses, it is referred to the President for approval and later a Gazette Notification is published again, this time notifying that the bill became an act.

How did our parliament go about enacting one of the most important legislations that would have far reaching and irreversible consequences? It gave a go-by to all established rules, norms and procedures and steamrolled its way in both the houses of parliament. And the principal opposition party, the BJP entered into an unholy nexus with the government in its act of daylight murder of democracy!

The ‘monumental’ exercise was finished in just twenty three – yes, twenty three – minutes in the Lok Sabha. The upper house or the house of elders, the Rajya Sabha went beyond the allotted two hours not because of any zealousness or propriety our legislators had for parliamentary etiquette, rules and procedures, but because the government wanted the business to be finished and done with.

By being receptive only to those ‘ayes’ and ‘noes’ which suited the government’s political agenda and screening out the others, the Presiding Officers did not cover themselves with glory.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Murder of Democracy

Legend has it that Bombay was given away as dowry for a Portuguese princess when she married an English prince in 1661. Thus was Bombay or at least a part of the original seven islands that comprised the city was transferred to the English. Those were colonial days during which the Portuguese, the French and the English were vying with each other to establish empires in the East.

But, would a democracy in the first decade of the twenty first century carve out a new state as a birthday gift? It would seem to be so! Haven’t the Indians willy-nilly brought back a type of colonial rule about sixty years after establishing a republic? Isn’t it ironic that they did so, especially because the republic was established after a fight with a colonial power for about sixty years?      

Things have begun to go wrong since P. Chidambaram made the fateful announcement that ‘the process to carve out India’s 29th state would soon begin’ on the chilly midnight of December 9, 2009. The issue had been contentious and saw see-saw battles depending on which politician was out of work, for forty years till it was renewed afresh in 2001. The demand for creating the Telangana state was only partly conceded by the Congress party just before the 2004 election when it agreed to set up a new ‘states reorganization commission’. It was a political ploy to trump the Telugu Desam. The party did nothing to keep its promise of even setting up a new ‘states reorganization commission’ for the next five years.

Chidambaram’s announcement on the chilly December midnight caught everyone by surprise. If it buoyed the spirits of the protagonists of the new state, the events that followed the announcement sent shivers down the spines of its antagonists. They too did not contend with the amount of public anger that surfaced in the thirteen Seema-Andhra districts. Some political analysts saw that there was more than meets the eye in Sonia’s ‘birthday gift’ that Chidambaram meted out. On the face of it, it was to arouse grateful feelings in the minds of the people of the new state for her forever. As a politician from a neighbouring southern state – one which competes with Andhra Pradesh for resources and in development – Chidambaram might have had more in his mind.

As things stand today, Andhra Pradesh shares the fourth spot with Bengal in the number of members it sends to parliament (after Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra) and is ahead of the other three southern states. After the division, Chidambaram’s state, Tamil Nadu, with thirty nine members packs more punch and power in the parliament. As a columnist in The Hindu opined, the group of ministers (GoM) constituted to chart a course for the division might have had the same ulterior motives to ensure it as they are from the southern states and Maharashtra which compete with Andhra Pradesh for resources and in development. They never set foot on the soil of the state nor did they deliberate much. The length of all their meetings could be measured in minutes, not even hours, let alone days! They did their job much as Cyril Radcliffe did some sixty years before, in 1946-47, chopping states to create India and Pakistan, drawing their lines on a map! The GoM did its job with appalling perfunctoriness. The entire sordid drama scripted from above and enacted by the servile GoM appears to have been done with a single objective: contriving electoral arithmetic to somehow bring back the Congress party to power and anoint the party’s Crown Prince as the King Emperor!

The principal opposition party has expressed its willingness to go along in the division of the state. It too might have had its cynical electoral calculations. The moot question is why was the Congress party in such an unseemly hurry to ramrod its way through parliament? Could it not have allayed at least some of the fears that the antagonists of the division harbour in their minds? The British drew lines in the sand (or on maps) to create several states when they abdicated their empire triggering conflicts worldwide, conflicts which are not resolved till today.

The blame for the ugly scenes that the Lok Sabha saw last Wednesday – described by the Speaker as a blot on our democracy - must fully lay with the Congress party. It was quite obvious that it was playing to a script that in the end murdered democracy in the nation’s vaunted legislative body. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath allegedly arranged about a hundred MPs who have nothing to do with Andhra Pradesh to block the protesters. Would any democratically minded government resort to such a nefarious game of fixing parliamentary proceedings? The government could have brought all stakeholders on to a common forum and fecilitated a healthy debate that would have settled the issue. But it didn’t! Instead, it reduced parliamentary proceedings to an ugly charade. 

The presiding officer has an onerous responsibility now to restore at least a part of the dignity that the parliament shed, by instituting an impartial enquiry, to identify the culprits who reduced proceedings of the nation’s highest legislative body to a gangland brawl, and punish them. Speakers (or presiding officers) of legislative bodies in evolved democracies renounce allegiance to the parties to which they belong, on election to the great office. They never take sides. One hopes India as a ‘vibrant democracy’ – as it is often described - will not find itself wanting in such high values. Fortunately the job of the Speaker or any committee she constitutes is made simpler by modern technology. The proceedings of the house are reportedly monitored by twelve movie cameras. All that is needed to be done is to review their footage – impartially ­- and make the report public. That alone is the test of a mature democracy. Will India stand it?   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rahul Gandhi, Arnab Goswami & The Big Grapefruit Interview

About half of the journalists who cover the White House in Washington DC are from the American media. There is a belief that each one of them gets up every morning with the conviction that the government was going to lie to them before sundown. The American media is relatively independent and objective because its members cultivate two important traits: a measure of healthy scepticism and irreverence towards people in authority.

However there is another aspect to American journalism. It is the planted question, and its cousin, the grapefruit. As an aside, a planted question asked in a parliamentary debate in Australia is called a Dorothy Dixer.

In American media parlance, a grapefruit is a seemingly tough question (a journalist asks during the course of an interview) but is in fact a scripted favour to the politician being interviewed. It is like a slow ball bowled in a cricket match which lands near the batsman’s feet. He can simply smash it beyond the ropes.

The planted question, the Dorothy Dixer or the grapefruit serves the same purpose: promoting one’s party’s policies and programmes and criticizing the opposition. Although George Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been known to have used the ‘planted question’ technique in their campaigns, there is a perception in the West that it is more common in India. Bhagyashree Garekar of the Singapore Straits Times told John Dickerson, it was a common practice in India. See the penultimate paragraph of this article: HillaryClinton gets snared by a planted question

But the devices are usually employed as a small component – usually one or two questions in the question and answer session at the end of a speech or in a parliamentary debate or one question in an impromptu interview with a politician. Can you imagine a whole interview being stage-managed; or to put it simply the whole interview being a grapefruit? But that was what exactly Arnab Goswamy’s interview with Rahul Gandhi was! See its full text here: Rahul Gandhi'sfirst interview: Full text

Max Atkinson, a UK based communications expert says that news interviewers are paid to be neutral’. He goes on to say that appearing to take sides can get them into serious trouble’. It sounds surprising, doesn’t it? But Atkinson is talking about the media in Britain, not India. Atkinson suggests that the solution to compel evasive politicians answer difficult questions is to conduct the interview in front of an audience. If only Atkinson knew how the Barkha Dutts, Rajdeep Sardesais and Sagarika Ghoses conduct their interviews in front of studio audiences!

One expected Arnab Goswami who breathes fire, screams and shrieks, on his primetime show to be persistent with his questions, to pin down Rahul to take positions and at least seek to answer some pertinent questions. Instead Arnab served Rahul the biggest grapefruit that one can imagine, by querying about Narendra Modi and flogging the dead horse of Gujarat 2002. Atkinson would be surprised to know that Indian news interviewers who would be neutral on the subject of Narendra Modi are a rarity. Here is how Rahul’s view of the Sikh genocide of 1984 in which his father had a hand compares with the communal riots of 2002:

In 1984, RahulG was 13. Yet, he knew that ‘the government was trying to stop the riots’. In 2002, he was 31 but he heard that ‘the government in Gujarat was actually abetting and pushing the riots further’.

Rahul Gandhi’s inability to frame his replies in grammatically correct English, though he was presumably educated in England, is not a major issue:

I like difficult to tough issues. I like dealing with them.

Yes, we will be specific but if I would like to sort of explain things in a broader fashion, I think that will okay with you.

I think probably the Sikhs are one of the industrious people in this country.

What is surprising is his mendacity about the process of electing a prime minister, especially by the Congress party. By the by, Rahul utters the word ‘process 29 times in the interview; ‘issue’ 47 times, ‘RTI’ 71 times and ‘system’ 74 times!

Rahul of course doesn’t want to lose an opportunity to plug in his family history, especially the poignant aspects of it (‘as a child, he saw his grandmother jailed and later assassinated; and his father assassinated’). Then there is the invocation of Arjuna (‘he only sees one thing, he does not see anything else’)!

What does one make of this sentence: ‘I am here basically for one thing, I see tremendous energy in this country, I see more energy in this country than any other country, I see billions of youngsters and I see this energy is trapped’?

Here is a gem: because the judiciary and the press are not under the RTI, political parties should not be brought under the RTI as that ‘changes the balance of power’! He is however candid about one thing: in our parliamentary system as it stands today ‘an MLA or an MP does not make laws. He merely presses buttons.

This is how Rahul perceives how the economy works: ‘We are working on prices, as I said we have spoken to our Chief Ministers and we have reduced prices in states where we are in power.’

The nation certainly wants to know what Rahul proposes to do to grapple with the myriad problems the nation faces: spiraling inflation, unemployment, billowing current account deficit et al. The nation would want to know how he would deal with hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China; how he would tackle terrorism and what he intends doing to resolve a number of other problems that befuddle the nation. Sadly the net take away from the interview was that it veered our national political debate away from these questions and bringing Gujarat 2002 back to the centre stage. And that was the grapefruit that Arnab gifted to Rahul!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Formation of Telangana, Claims & Counterclaims

The principal bone of contention between the protagonists of the division of Andhra Pradesh and the votaries of a united state is unarguably Hyderabad. For the people of Seema-Andhra, Hyderabad city as it stands today is the fruit of the combined efforts of the people of all regions over a period of sixty years. They have therefore an emotional attachment to it and are quite appropriately chagrined when asked to give it all up and walk away. The protagonists of Telangana however argue that the city already had educational institutions, hospitals and infrastructure facilities for housing various administrative offices of the government even at the time of the formation of the state in 1956. By implication they wish to state that the role of the Seema-Andhra people in the development of the city, as claimed by them is a myth.

In the debate for and against bifurcation of the state, an argument put forth is about the
Courtesy Indicus Analytics
cultural discrimination of the people of the Telangana region allegedly at the hands of the Seema-Andhra People. The depiction of characters with a Telangana accent in Telugu movies is cited as an example of Seema-Andhra superciliousness, presumably because the Telugu film industry is largely owned by the Seema-Andhra people. Surprisingly members of the national media have swallowed this specious argument without verification.

Let us first examine the case of educational and research institutions and central Public Sector Undertakings in Hyderabad and the rest of Andhra Pradesh. Yes, Hyderabad is a four hundred year old city. Yes, it has plenty of land, monuments like the Char Minar and the Golconda Fort and some buildings for housing offices of the state administration, an example being the state Assembly building. What of the educational institutions which the protagonists claim pre-existed at the time of the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Here is a list of educational and research institutes with the dates of their establishment as far as they could be ascertained from an internet search. The lists may not be exhaustive. Corrections if any are welcome.


1.    Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University (1964)
2.    Administrative Staff College of India (1956)
3.    Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis Group (1988)
4.    Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (1948)
5.    C-DAC Hyderabad (1988)
[Established in Pune.  Hyderabad Centre later established as an offshoot.]
6.    Central Food Technological Research Institute (1950)
7.    Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad (1967)
9.    Central Power Research Institute (1978)
10. Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (1985)
12. Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (1990)
14. CR Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (2007)
15. Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (1961)
16. Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (1963)
17. Directorate of Rice Research (1965)
18. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University (1982)
19. DuPont Central Research (1957)
20. English and Foreign Languages University (1958)
21. Environmental Protection Training and Research Institute (1992)
22. Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology IDRBT (1996)
23. Indian Geophysical Union (1964)
24. Indian Immunologicals Limited (1983)
26. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (1998)
27. Institute of Public Enterprise (1964)
28. Indian Institute of Technology – IIT (2008)
29. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (1972)
30. International Institute of Information Technology – IIIT (1998)
31. Moulana Azad National Urdu University (1998)
32. NALSAR University of Law (1998)
33. National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (1976)
34. National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research (2008)
35. National Balloon Facility (1961)
36. National Geophysical Research Institute (1961)
37. National Institute of Fashion Technology (1986)
38. National Institute for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises -  - NIMSME (1960)
39. National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad NIN (1958)
40. National Institute of Rural Development  - NIRD (?)
41. National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education & Research NIPER (2007)
42. Nuclear Fuel Complex (1971)
43. Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (2004)
44. Potti Sriramulu Telugu Universtity (1985)
45. Small Industries Development Bank of India - SIDBI (1990)
46. South Central Railway HQ
47. Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology (1955)
48. National Small Industries Corporation (1955)
49. University of Hyderabad (1974)
50. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (2010)


51. National Institute of Technology NIT Warangal (1959)


1.    Kendriya Samskrut Vidya Peeth – Tirupathi
2.    Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswa Vidyalaya – Tirupathi

The list does not include universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University which has campuses in all the three regions. As may be seen from the Hyderabad list only two of the fifty institutes predate 1956.

Here is a list of central Public Sector Undertakings. The lists may not be exhaustive. Corrections if any are welcome.


1.    Andhra Bank Ltd.
2.    Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (1970)
3.    Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (1964)
4.    Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (1967)
5.    HMT Bearings Ltd. (1981)
6.    Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd. (1983)
7.    Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (1961)
8.    Misra Dhatu Nigam Ltd.
9.    National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd.
10. Praga Tools Ltd.
11. Sponge Iron India Ltd.
12. State Bank of Hyderabad (1941)


1.    Bharat Heavy Plates & Vessels (1966) – Visakhapatnam
2.    Dredging Corporation of India Ltd.
3.    Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (1952) – Visakhapatnam
4.    Hindustan Zinc Ltd. – Visakhapatnam [Disinvested in 2002.]
5.    Visakhapatnam Steel Plant Ltd. (1973) – Visakhapatnam

The lists do not include regional offices of central institutes or public sector undertakings located in the state.

The educational institutes and public sector undertakings are located in Hyderabad primarily because it is the state capital and are expectated provide opportunities for people all across the state.

In the early 1980s the PSU, Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) became sick. Some scientists who worked in IDPL joined hands with some entrepreneurs, and founded companies like Standard Organics Ltd. (which later became SOL Pharmaceuticals Ltd.) The success of SOLPL and its splinter DRL spawned the growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Hyderabad. Today there are more than 250 bulk drug units making Hyderabad the largest producer of bulk drugs in the country. Most of the Pharma entrepreneurs, as in the case of the Telugu film industry which shifted from Madras to Hyderabad in the seventies, are from the Seema-Andhra region. However an interesting feature of the two industries is that over 70% of the workforce is drawn from the Telangana region.

The misconception about the cultural discrimination in Telugu films will be dealt with in the concluding part of this article.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Telangana And Political Ploys

For nearly ten years Congress, the ruling party at the centre brushed aside demands for a separate Telangana state. This is the fourth time that the issue has become a national political issue since the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Political leaders and parties either raised the demand for a separate state or supported agitations purely based on electoral considerations. Marri Chenna Reddy’s somersaults on the issue are a case in point. In 1956 he was for a united Andhra Pradesh. He later changed his stance and became a votary of a separate Telangana state. In 1968 the AP High Court annulled his election to the state assembly and debarred him from contesting elections for six years. ‘Vandemataram’ Ramachandra Rao of the Arya Samaj (and later the BJP) challenged Chenna Reddy’s election on the grounds that he appealed to the religious sentiments of the Muslims. (See Election Law Reports Volume XXXVII p 269 - 349). The judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court. Forced out of electoral politics he floated the Telangana Praja Samithi (TPS) to remain relevant in politics. His TPS won 10 Lok Sabha seats in the 1971 general election. After his return to electoral politics and after being suitably rewarded by the Congress party he merged his TPS with the Congress.
In 2001 Chandra Babu Naidu walked into a trap cunningly laid by Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. CBN had a problem in that he had too many claimants from the Velama community and too few cabinet berths. But those were heady days for him. The blemish of back-stabbing his father-in-law was behind him and he returned to power for a second time in 1999, riding on the coat tails of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Confident he would be able to contain the fallout he relegated K. Chandrasekhara Rao to the post of Deputy Speaker.
With a deft Machiavellian stroke YSR inveigled KCR to come out of the TDP and form a new party. Thus was the TRS born. YSR aligned with the TRS just before the 2004 general election, with a promise to help the formation of the Telangana state, a promise which he had no intention of keeping. During his tenure (and life) he had repeatedly proved that the demand for Telangana did not enjoy popular support. The TRS’ tally in the state assembly and local bodies had continually declined.
In 2009 CBN wanted to do a YSR but he lacked the latter’s deft touch and perhaps his finesse. After tasting power and been in office for nine years Chandra Babu Naidu could not stomach the 2004 defeat. He should have taken it in his stride. A good leader does not sacrifice his core beliefs for temporary gains. But that was what CBN did. By 2009 CBN was ready to walk up a wall if it would make him 'CEO' again. Seeking to make substantial inroads into Telangana and probably misled by the overconfidence of his own regional leaders he blundered into an alliance with the TRS. However, during the closing phases of the election campaign KCR deserted CBN and walked into the NDA camp but that was a different matter. At this time, the TDP gave its consent for the formation of the Telangana state.
It was CBN’s somersault that breathed new life into the Telangana agitation, which was getting nowhere, and forced the Congress party’s hand. It also brought matters to a head from which there was no return. Therefore the people of Seema-Andhra will have to thank CBN for the bifurcation of the state. Till then, YSR’s view on the issue prevailed and the Congress was against the formation of the new state. It did not have to pronounce its stand, the excuse being the state’s principal opposition party was opposed to the formation of the Telangana state.
CBN’s consent for Telangana and YSR’s death in September 2009 changed the political dynamics and in a way foreclosed the issue. K. Rosaiah who succeeded YSR as the interim Chief Minister could not withstand the political turmoil caused by KCR’s fast unto death on the one hand and YSR’s son’s revolt within the party on the other. Based on his recommendation the centre was forced to concede the demand for the new state. The ‘victory’ made KCR a hero in Telangana. For the centre, there was no going back and it was only a matter of time before a decision had to be taken. 
The stand of the CPM on the Telangana issue was true to its character, Janus-faced. The party could always reconcile diametrically opposite views. While as a principle it opposed formation of new states, it would not oppose the formation of Telangana if the centre wished to do so.      
Just before the 2009 election, the wily YSR struck with another of his machinations. This time he contrived the formation of Chiranjivi’s PRP. Had he been alive the merger of the PRP with the Congress would have been sooner. But his calculation was right. The PRP splintered anti-Congress votes and Congress was returned to power.
When in alliance with the TDP, the BJP stoutly argued against the bifurcation of the state. After the TDP severed its ties with the BJP, ostensibly because it lacked secular credentials (which the TDP seems to have suddenly discovered!) the BJP reverted to its advocacy of smaller states. Both the parties now find themselves in a quandary in the Seema-Andhra region and do not know how to come out of it.
Why did the Congress party which has been dillydallying on Telangana for more than four decades suddenly awake to the need for decisive action? It doesn’t require great intelligence to find an answer. As many political analysts opined, it is based on electoral calculations for 2014. However it is the behavior of its Seema-Andhra leaders that is far from exemplary. They knew for quite some time that the decision to split the state was in the offing. Yet, lured by the crumbs of power thrown at them, they pretended that it was not happening and fooled their constituents. They have underestimated the emotional attachment their constituents have with Hyderabad (it is all about Hyderabad!). ‘You cannot fool all the people all the time’, might be a cliché but it is nevertheless true. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Agenda For Cleansing Our Political System

Here is an e-mail I have received from Mr. K. Gopal, a former colleague. (To be frank, he did not claim authorship. He has probably received it in what the mainstream media pejoratively likes to call a 'chain-mail'.) I have tweeted the points mentioned in it twice, the whole message in the Twitlonger format a few days ago and as individual tweets yesterday. Mr. Rajendra Shukla, a friend on Twitter, suggested that it is worth sharing with all. I am therefore reproducing it here with slight editing.

Winds of Change.... 

If you agree with this please pass it on. If you are RIGHT don't GIVE Up... 

Please share it with a minimum of twenty people among your contacts and in turn request each of them to do likewise.

In three days, most people in India will have this message. 

This is one idea that really should be passed on.


NO TENURE / NO PENSION Parliamentarians collect a salary while in office but should not receive any pay when they're out of office.

NO RETIREMENT PLAN Parliamentarians should purchase their own retirement plans, just as all Indians do.

NO RIGHT TO VOTE PAY RAISE Parliamentarians should no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Their pay should be linked to the CPI or 3%, whichever is lower.

NO SPECIAL HEALTHCARE Parliamentarians should lose their current health care system and participate in the same health care system as the Indian people.

NO LEGAL IMMUNITY Parliamentarians MUST also abide by all laws they impose on the Indian people.

ANNUL CONTRACTS All contracts with past and present Parliamentarians should be void effective 1/1/13. 

NO DYNASTIC / FAMILIAL SUCCESSION Total ban for five years of any family members of elected members of Parliament / Legislature becoming members of Parliament and state Legislature during and for 3 years after cessation of membership. Any violation will attract penalty of withdrawal of recognition of party / right to stand for election of the individuals!

The Indian people did not make this contract with them.  Parliamentarians made all these contracts for themselves. 

Serving in Parliament is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person who receives this message contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people in India to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?

If you agree with this, please pass it on.