Cabinet reshuffle

Cabinet reshuffle

Why choose Satyapal  Singh?

By

Faraz Ahmad

More than half way through his five year tenure Prime Minister Narendra Modi has effected a much hyped reshuffle in his council of ministers, inducting a set of “tried and tested bureaucrats” with “proven records” of efficiency and integrity or so his admirers claim.

So we have the likes of Satyapal Singh, a former Mumbai  Police Commissioner a IPS officer from Maharashtra cadre now a Union minister.

His tenure as Pune Police Commissioner witnessed the 2010 German Bakery bombing in Pune that killed 17 people and injured at least 60 more. His so-called action resulted in a big embarrassment to the then Government when it turned out that he apprehended wrong persons for that blast solely on his intuition since they happened to be Muslims. He however earned kudos for defeating the formidable Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh in his home territory Baghpat and become a member of the 16th Lok Sabha.

So let us examine the past record of Satyapal Singh. Before he quit as Mumbai Police Commissioner, hardly anyone outside Maharashtra and many even within Maharashtra had heard of this Jat from Meerut who joined the IPS in 1980.

His opportunity to head the high profile Mumbai Police also came as sheer godsend, following the riotous demonstration by Muslims in Azad Maidan over the killings of Rohingyas in Maynamar for which the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik was blamed by the communal Shiv Sena and BJP for handling the rioting Muslims with kid gloves and unceremoniously bundled out. And so a wimp of a Home Minister in Maharashtra  belonging to the NCP R R Patil chose  a supposed tough cop with proven record of targeting Muslims and Maoists, Satyapal Singh.

The Wikipedia tells us that on 31 January 2014 Singh tendered his resignation and applied for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and sought to be relieved immediately to contest the upcoming the general elections on BJP ticket. That Patil, post haste accepted Singh’s request and hurriedly granted him VRS to facilitate his joining the BJP, to enable him to attend a rally in Meerut for joining that party in the presence of Narendra Modi and the then BJP chief Rajnath Singh.

On quitting the Police service and joining the BJP, Singh announced grandly, “My inner voice is telling me that it’s time to change profession. As a police officer, I have worked for the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra for many years, but now it’s time to work for the entire country with a renewed energy.”

Less than six months of quitting and within a month of being elected the MP from Baghpat on June 2, 2014, the Mumbai Police busted a prostitution racket running from a flat in the fashionable Versova in Andheri west facing seaside owned by Singh and arrested two women and a man we were told was the caretaker of that flat. Singh first avoided any reaction to the news report and later claimed he had rented it out to IndiaBulls (his close proximity to IndiaBulls is another story, reflecting on his financial integrity but that for another day) and had no idea who all were using his flat and for what purpose. This coming from a former Police Commissioner of the Metropolis showed how efficient and competent this man was even if he was really ignorant of the goings on his own flat. And Modi has rewarded Singh for his supposed “integrity and efficiency.”

As for the prostitution racket and the IndiaBulls connection, the company claimed with documentary evidence that it had vacated that flat quite sometime back and returned it to its owner,  that is Singh. Nothing was heard of that disgraceful racket run from the Police Commissioner’s home. And why would it, he was the chosen one. The embedded media buried that story and we never ever heard of it after the first news broke.

Singh was a first time MP and so had difficulty in securing government accommodation for a couple of months. In that situation new MPs are either made to stay in their respective state guest houses in Delhi or in government owned Ashoka Hotel. Singh being the MP from UP was naturally entitled to a room in UP Niwas. But then who would pay this first time MP any special VIP attention in UP. So he decided to park himself in the newly constructed and tastefully furnished Maharashtra Sadan at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and occupy not one but a couple of adjoining rooms there for the staff knew him as a former Police Commissioner of Mumbai.

This in turn caused considerable heartburning among other first time MPs from Maharashtra and one of them Ravindra Gaikwad of Shiv Sena took it out on a Muslim caretaker on August 4, force feeding him while the poor man was fasting during the month of Ramzan. The Sena later went public explaining the anger and annoyance of its MP over the VIP treatment being given to Singh.

Singh was spotted by the Sanghis when as Nagpur Police Commissioner, he started forming Mritunjay clubs mainly of ABVP students from college and university campuses ostensibly to aid the Police hunt for terrorists (read Muslims) and in effect spy on Muslims neighbours  and acquaintances. He formed 386 such clubs in Nagpur from 122 senior colleges and 86 junior colleges. The state’s minority commission then questioned its legitimacy and intent.

But what endeared him to Modi and helped his decision to join the BJP as a better career prospect was his role as a member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Gujarat High Court to probe the Ishrat Jehan fake encounter case which implicated Modi and his Gujarat government  In June 2011, within weeks of being appointed as chairman of that team comprising also of two other members Mohan Jha and Satish Verma, he quit citing his differences with the other two members who as it turned out later, came to the conclusion that it was a fake encounter.

So it is neither financial nor personal integrity which has been rewarded in the case of Singh. Grapevine has it that Sanjeev Balyan who quit paving way for Singh and other entrants in Modi’s ministry had become a bit of an embarrassment for Modi all the time harping on corruption. But then he had to keep the communal cauldron boiling among the western UP Jats which he and Amit Shah had ignited in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining western UP Jat belt  in 2013 and that’s where Singh came in handy.

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Bharat Mata ki Jai

Bharat Mata ki Jai!

Do they really love Mother India?

By

Faraz Ahmad

 

They say they love India. They say to prove your love for India, you have to loudly proclaim “Bharat Mata ki Jai.”

I say anyone who loves India would draw a lesson from next door Pakistan and would want India not going down the Pakistan road.

India and Pakistan got their independence simultaneously. In fact Pakistan got it a day earlier because before the British rule ended in India the British empire had to create Pakistan and so on August 14, 1947 it created Pakistan and a day later on August 15, India was declared independent.

Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam became its undoing. On October 15, 1951, Islamic fanatics shot dead Liaquat Ali Khan the first prime minister of Pakistan for his reluctance to wage holy war (Jihad) against India. Before that on 11 September, 1948, just a year after its creation its creator Mohammad Ali Jinnah died a lonely, broken and despairing man regretting his whole effort in creating the state of Pakistan, though he died of advanced stage of tuberculosis.

Husain Shaheed Suhrawardhy the man who helped Jinnah create Pakistan due to his efforts in what then became East Pakistan was expelled, at Jinnah’s instance from the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and virtually declared a persona non grata in Jinnah’s lifetime for having shared a roof with Mahatma Gandhi to end the communal massacre of Hindus in Noakhali, Bengal.

It was Jinnah a Gujarati, barely acquainted with Urdu, who imposed Urdu upon the people of Pakistan, Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns and Balochs, none of whom spoke Urdu before the creation of Pakistan. Others swallowed their pride and relented though except for the Punjabis, they continue striving for better recognition of their regional language as well. But the Bengalis stood in rebellion and that produced the sentiment for the ultimate creation of Bangla Desh, proving greater influence of national sentiments than religion even Islam.

Soon after the death of both Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan started getting buried slowly but surely into quick sand leading to the rise of the military and mullah power, because the moment you created a state in the name of Islam, you opened a window for the mullahs with their various conflicting and contradictory perception of Islam to seek an Islamic state and so in February 1953 first time the clerics made a public assertion rioting on the streets of Lahore to declare Ahmediyas, who participated enthusiastically in the creation of this supposed Islamic state, Kafir ‘heretics’. So by 1953 the attempt to create one nation on the basis of one religion, one language, was already in tatters. But even before that Sir Chaudhry Mohammad Zaffrullah Khan, an Ahmediya, the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan who represented Pakistan for five years in the United Nations on Kashmir issue and was the closest associate of Jinnah was prevented from joining the Namaze Janaza (last prayer) for Jinnah. This when Jinnah himself was a scotch drinking, pork eating Shia Muslim. Thankfully till then they did not declare Shias as heretics too. But now that is their current credo and I wonder in which case what would they do with the portrait of Jinnah adorning all official walls of Pakistan.

In 1974 under pressure from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and succumbing to agitation led by Jamaat Islami, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, supposedly a liberal, amended Pakistani laws to declare Ahmediyas non-Muslims. But that did not help Bhutto, who hoped to buy peace with the mullahs thereby. Brushing aside this appeasement, the Jamaat Islami in 1977 brought together Jamiat Ullema Islam (JUI), led then by Mufti Mehmood, and Jamaat ul Ulemae Pakistan (JUP) of Shah Ahmed Noorani Pakistan Democratic Party (PDP) of Nawabzda Nsrullah Khan and such other fringe elements of clerics, to commence the street agitation for “Nizame Mustafa” implying return to the medieval Islamic state. This agitation supported discreetly by Pakistani army, gathered momentum and soon enough all elements determined to rid Pakistan of Bhutto, including Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s son Khan Abdul Wali Khan, his wife Naseem Wali Khan and their party the National Awami Party (NAP) and the Army’s proxy in civilian politics, Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan with his one man party Tehrike Istaqlal, all joined hands with these mullahs to pull down a duly elected government and legitimse the rule of Chief Martial Law Dictator (CMLA) General Mohammad Ziaul Haq, honouring him with the title Ameerul Momineen (the king of the believers) for enforcing Hudood Ordinances which paved the way for turning Pakistan into a narrow minded sectarian anti-secular state.

Zia, as is wont, prescribed heavy punishments and even persecution of Ahmediyas for practicing their religion. That’s what came of the Ahmediyas’ zeal to create an “Islamic state”.  The rest is well known, after the Ahmediyas, Wahabi mullahs targeted the Shias. And then came the turn of Barelvis. But now each of the 72 sects of Islam existing in Pakistan consider the others heretics and are campaigning for cleansing Pakistan of all the others.

This was a nation created in the name of religion, in the name of Islam, believing that Muslims are one people, one Nation and they had one language Urdu.

What is Sanghi Bhajpai nationalism all about? One people (read only Aryavrats), one language (Hindi), one flag (Bhagua), one slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai.” They are neither blind nor ignorant to the descent into morass of their next door neighbour. They know very well what fate awaits India were it to go the Pakistan way. Yet they persist with it surely and determinedly. Is this love for Mother India? Are they Hindu nationalists or simply inimical to modern India? Are they sons or vindictive stepsons of Bharat Mata.

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How much love for Deendayal?

How much love for Deendayal?

Why not reopen the probe into his death?

By

Faraz Ahmad

Now that the Sanghis are fully in command of the Indian state they naturally want to ensure that the stamp of their overwhelming presence be felt by all in all spheres of everyday life. It is therefore no surprise that they now want to rename Mughalsarai railway station where they found the body of the former president of Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) the earlier incarnation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a noted ideologue of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Deendayal Upadhyaya lying on the railway tracks a little distance from the platform.

The Sanghis’ and in particular Uttar Pradesh chief minister Anand Singh Bisht alias Yogi Adityanath desire to deify Upadhyay is for a couple of reasons including the fact that Upadhyaya, like Yogi believed in the Varna vyavastha, meaning the supremacy of the caste hierarchy among Hindus and was a firm believer in the inadmissibility of the Muslims or Christians till they were “purified” in the Indian nation which for him was synonymous with Hindu Rashtra.

In any case, they are out to change the names of all the streets, towns, railway stations and you name it, one after another, history be damned. First it was Aurangzeb Road, then it was Akbar Road and you wait and see for this is just the beginning. Sooner than later they will turn to renaming the places or institutions named after the Nehru-Gandhi family members, for they despise them as much as they hate the Bloody Katuwas (circumcised, for that is how they refer to Muslims when among themselves.)

Be that as it may, we are currently on their new found love for Deendayal Upadhyaya. It is now three years since Modi government has come into being and more than four months since Yogi became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh where Mughalsarai is situated. Last year was the birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyaya and this government has already renamed at least two major projects after their late leader.  The UPA’s Ajeevika scheme is now called Deendayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana to provide skill development to rural poor and the UPA scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana too has been renamed as Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana. That is perfectly understandable though it betrays a small mind to dress up already eistting schemes and make them appear new, but then that is what mean and cussed do. Never mind that.

What is remarkable is that while there appears suddenly such a surge of love and reverence for their former ideologue, there is not even a murmur to solve the mystery of Deendayal’s death. This when former BJS president Balraj Madhok, a contemporary of Deendayal, in his treatise dealing only with the assassination of Deendayal and Indira Gandhi, his third serial book titled ‘Jindagi ka Safar’ insisted that Deendayal’s  death on the outer signal of Mughalsarai railway station was no “accident’ as the BJP leadership maintained but a well-planned and cunningly executed murder.

The Government of India, naturally led then by Indira Gandhi instituted a Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) inquiry which after much humming and hawing concluded that two petty thieves tried to rob Deendayal and in the process pushed him out of the moving train which resulted in his death. The CBI caught two petty criminals tried them and later got them acquitted for lack of evidence. Mrs Gandhi also set up a judicial probe led by later day chief justice Y V Chandrachud, who came to the same conclusion as the CBI, never mind the lack of evidence on this count.

But many in the then Jana Sangh dismissed this thesis outright and believed he was murdered by a killer hired by some top leaders of the Jana Sangh. Balraj Madhok virtually named two senior leaders, namely former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and one time Jana Sangh organizing secretary Nanaji Deshmukh. According to Madhok the two had a falling out with Deendayal on account of their wayward ways. He insisted that these two were fond of good life which was an anathema to Deendayal  and was against the principles of the RSS and Jana Sangh where many in the know, including some leaders disapproved of. This, in turn caused much pain to Deendayal would have logically jeopardized the subsequent rise of both Vajpayee and Nanaji, big favourites of the then Sarsanghchalak Guru Golwalkar as also his successor Balasaheb Deoras.

After being thrown out of the Jana Sangh by the duo, Madhok was naturally bitter. Therefore one may take whatever he said with a pinch of salt. But then current BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramnian Swamy too had raised the demand for a high level probe into Deendayal’s death in Parliament then.

Deendayal was travelling from Lucknow to Patna to attend a high level meeting of the RSS on February 11, 1968 when insiders said he was pushed out of the train. Some circles claim that Deendayal was carrying a report card on the activities of these two leaders and their accomplices in the Jana Sangh one of them being a minister of Charan Singh’s Samyukta Vidhayak Dal (SVD) government Ram Prakash Gupta much later elevated as UP chief minister in Vajpayee’s dispensation in 1999 when Vajpayee got Kalyan Singh removed as UP chief minister. When Gupta proved incapable of that task he was further elevated as Madhya Pradesh Governor, proving the extraordinary bond between him and Vajpayee. Gupta died in office in May 2004, days before Vajpayee’s NDA was voted out in the general elections.

Insiders also said that apart from the CBI and Chandrachud there was also an Intelligence Bureau report, which had remained a secret since then. That report said that Vajpayee too was travelling in the same train in which Deendayal was going, though in a different compartment. It also said that Ram Prakash Gupta was spotted emerging from that train at Mughalsarai station. They say Mrs Gandhi summoned both Vajpayee and L K Avani and showed them this report and then suppressed it on their request.

The simple point is that for all the love, compassion and reverence for Deendayal why has Modi government not bothered to reopen the Dendayal case and order a thorough probe to establish the veracity of all the rumours and speculations about the circumstances surrounding Deendayal’s death and Yogi still a member of Parliament would do some service to Deendayal to seek in Parliament a thorough probe into this mysterious death. After all if you can open the case of the circumstances of the death of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, if you arraign Jagdish Tytler in 1984 pogrom of Sikhs, why not remove the veil surrounding the death of your beloved leader? What’s holding you, Modi and Yogi? That would be a greater service to Deendayal than renaming Mughalsarai and Deendayal’s niece Madhu Sharma, the president of Rajasthan BJP Mahila Morcha has joined the chorus of those seeking a fresh probe into Deendayal’s death.

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Corruption bogey-II

Corruption bogey-II

Who is corrupt?

By

Faraz Ahmad

 

Chhatisgarh Minister Brijmohan Agarwal has built an expensive money spinner resort for VIP guests in Chhatisgarh forest by resorting to unchecked loot and plunder of poor tribals’ land. For three days the Indian Express carried this story. First the reporter got to know of only 4.12 hectares of land grabbed by a company called Aditya  Srijan Private limited with Agarwal’s son Abhishek and wife Sarita being the directors of the said company. Then they discovered another 13.90 ha and last records show another 26 ha of pristine forest land belonging to poor tribals even forcibly and mostly deceitfully grabbed by Agarwal. But Arnab Goswami of the Republic news channel firmly believes that the Nation DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW about Agarwsal’s scam. Nor does it prick the conscience of Times Now. After all this is not Lalu Yadav or Robert Vadra. What’s the fun?

Agarwal admits that he has been at it since 2008, which means nine years, almost soon after he became a minister in chief minister Raman Singh’s government.  Agarwal refused to explain anything to the Indian Express reporter saying, “Right now, there is an environment. After this ends I will give point wise answer. I have asked for many documents. After I get them, I will clear the air. There has been an investigation for eight years, why are notices appearing now?” No outcry in the media or in the BJP and its Government at the Centre or in the state. After all he is no Tejaswai Yadav, who was called upon by Nitish Kumar to immediately clear the air about the allegations.

Agarwal also discloses the embedded nature of our media saying how television channels have gone to the concerned village and the villagers said they are happy that this project is coming up and is bringing development. “We have not put pressure or trouble anyone,” he claimed . But the newspaper interviewed three different people including a widow who clearly say they were either cheated through forgery or simply coerced to sell off their plot of land on which they were doing a little farming to earn a respectable living. But the minister is blasé and says “I have not used my position to get any work done.” That’s it! That is the explanation of the minister and neither Raman Singh, himself involved in thousands of crore rice scam, with son named in Panama papers, seeks to remove Brijmohan Agarwal from his cabinet nor does our supposed squeaky clean Prime Minister Narendra Modi ostensibly crusading against corruption, so much as bats an eyelid. No press conferences by another crusader against corruption, Bihar Deputy chief minister and one of the senior most national leader of the BJP, Sushil Modi. No dismay or shock expressed by one more soldier for probity in public life, a corporate lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad. It does not even register with Nitish Kumar, for whom only the Sangh and Sanghis can be incorruptible.

You never know BJP and Modi might even incentivise Birjmohan  Agrwal with further elevation, perhaps as the next chief minister in case Raman Singh is elevated and brought to the Centre. After all Agarwal has not said anything different from M Venkaiah Naidu when it turned out that Naidu’s son’s car selling company was bestowed special favour by the Telangana government for buying scores of Toyota  Innovas in one sweep giving as seller’s commission worth crores of rupees. Venkaiah also denied bestowing any favours upon his daughter’s NGO and Modi patted him on the back and fielded him the Vice President candidate and thereby the chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha.

Raman Singh has done much more than Agarwal but not an eyebrow raised. As for the Vayapam scam involving not just Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan,his wife and his secretarial staff, not to forget top leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which ruined the career of thousands of prospective doctors in Madhya Pradesh, where in almost every one who rose to expose or could expose has been systematically eliminated and thus everyone has forgotten.

But why are we talking of Vyapam murders only when the list of cases against UP Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya include Sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC) 302 (murder), 120B and 153A conspiracy 188, 147, 148, 153, 153A, 352, 323, 504, 506, 147, 332, 295A, 153A, 353, 186, 504, 147, 332, 147, 332, 420, 465, 467, 171, 353, 380, 148 and 341 in a series of cases including murder, rape, cheating, forgery. You name it and there is not an Indian penal section Keshav Prasad Maurya has not violated. Similarly Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too has violated the law of the land with impunity with cases of inciting murder, loot, arson and rape, publicly to his Hindutva brigade under sections 506, 307, 147, 148, 297, 336, 504, 295, 153A and 435 were registered against him much before he became the chief minister. But that was all in the service of Hindutva and that was a nationalist act. So no media rushed to confront Maurya or the Yogi on their criminal past. The UP Governor Ram Naik refused to grant sanction against Yogi or Maurya. But when it concerned Azam Khan in the previous regime, he wasted no time, even when a statement by him did not amount to any provocation.

Republic TV Pope Arnab Goswami sends ten reporters to question Shashi Tharoor on his former wife Suananda Pushkar’s death. But he firmly believes THE NATION DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW OF THE VYAPAM SCAM and all the murders linked to this scam all of which lie at the doorstep of the  Madhya Pradesh chief minister.. The nation only wants to know of Sunanda Pushkar’s alleged murder. (Alleged by Subramanian Swamy and Arnab Goswami)

The Republic and Times Now have yet again pulled out from his grave that long retired Swedish police constable Sten Lindstorm with some questionable past association with our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to aid the BJP to resurrect the dead Bofors gun issue to splash some corruption dirt on Sonia Gandhi. BJP South Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi, desperate to become a minister,  was prompt enough to take the cue and raise it in the Lok Sabha, exposing who made that parrot Lindstorm speak. Remember since 1999 every time they saw some possibility of Sonia Gandhi emerging as the counter to BJP, they brought in Bofors. Lindstorm is a parrot who has been singing the same tune since 1987. Never mind that the Rajya Sabha records have a speech by Ram Jethmalani, (who once led the Bofors charge against Rajiv Gandhi with daily “TEN QUESTIONS”) wherein he had asked the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao to close the issue and charge the Hinduja brothers, exposed as one of the Bofors payoff beneficiaries, whatever loss the state might have incurred pleading that the Hindujas were willing to pay several times more to bury this. Hindujas, one time big patrons of the BJP are still thriving in Modi regime as well and their Indusind Bank opening branches all over the country.

And what about the Prime Minister himself?  Prashant Bhushan, who by no stretch of imagination could have anything to do with the Congress party and even fallen out with AAP and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, gave the cheque numbers of the payoffs made by Sahara group and Aditya Birla to Narenedra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister and demanded a probe. It was an open and shut case. All the Supreme Court had to do was to verify whether these cheques were really issued and encashed and when and by whom and the truth would have been out. Instead it refused to entertain the petition accusing Bhushan of trying to denigrate and undermine the institution of the Prime Minister. What faith do we have in the institutions when the same Supreme Court let out Saharashri Subrat Roy on a specious plea for a week close to two years ago and the man is still out enjoying full freedom thumbing his nose at our institutions? Is it unfair to see a quid pro quo involving the most sacred institutions here?

The same courts have a different standard for Lalu Yadav. He is corrupt, his wife is corrupt and even his son is corrupt. Never mind if he was not even old enough when the supposed act was committed. But we have to fix Lalu Prasad.

There was a big scandal in Arunachal Pradesh with Union Minister of State for Home Kirren Rijiju’s brother leading a sand mining mafia presenting false bills of transporting stones and sand in trucks while on an inquiry later it was found that the registration numbers turned out to be scooters and motorcycles of their friends and relatives and using his brother’s name to browbeat and influence the officers qustioning him. Remember while campaigning against Lalu on alleged fodder scam Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushil Kumar Modi had made precisely this allegation that the receipts of the cattle fodder supposedly carried bore the registration numbers of scooters and such other smaller vehicles. So during flood time carrying fodder on two wheelers even bicycles is unheard of for the BJP leaders and the media which went to town on that. But large boulders, stones and sand can be ferried in a scooter dicky or on a motorcycle and there is not even a murmur in the media after Rijiju makes some half-hearted statement defending his backside, because here it is a BJP leader.

Just last week almost immediately after Nitish dumped the Mahagathbandhan the architect of the entire game, Arun Jaitely rushed off to Chennai for his next mission to induct the entire All India Anna DMK, (both factions) into the BJP and the first thing he did upon landing in Chennai was to go and place a wreath at Jayalalaitha’s memorial. Who cares if Jayalaitha was convicted by the Supreme Court on corruption? But Arnab Goswami or Navika Kumar won’t send a single reporter to question Jaitley. Why would they, but why not? unless they are either politically or otherwise compromised to the BJP and this Government. So much for our concern about corruption and probity in public life!

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Corruption bogey-Part I

Corruption bogey-Part I
The unseating of Nawaz Sharif

By

Faraz Ahmad

 

The media is currently so engrossed in the corruption and nepotism issue that it has ignored completely the context and the source which has initiated the latest round of debate on corruption. Even our blinkered leftists had been drawn into the debate on corruption, singing paeans to the Pakistani establishment and judiciary for unseating Mian Nawaz Sharif, the constitutionally and democratically elected Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

There is appreciation in our Left oriented digital media of Pakistan’s judiciary and establishment for their supposed courage in unseating their prime minister on charges of corruption. There is no understanding why and how this came about.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is a creation of that Mullah in Khaki Pakistan’s military dictator General  Mohammad Ziaul Haq who firmly established the unbreakable bond between the Army, the Mullahs and a good section of Islamised judiciary which thrives till date. The grapevine has it that before Ziaul Haq patronised the Sharif family, his father Mohammad Sharif ran a small flour mill in Punjab and claimed some kind of familial connection with Kashmir though they are true blue blooded Lahori Punjabis.

There was tremendous resentment against Ziaul Haq when he committed judicial murder of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto because though Bhutto hailed originally from Larkana in Sind, he was equally popular in Punjab as well. So Ziaul Haq needed some bright and young face to launch an anti-Bhutto campaign with the help of the mullahs and thus picked up Mian Nawaz Sharif making him his Finance Minister.

Since then with the Army and Mullahs all smiling upon the Sharif family they accumulated vast wealth all over the country and abroad. By the way they are not alone. The worst offenders have been the Army generals and even middle level Army officers whose wealth disproportionate to their source of income has never been questioned by any court of the supposed upright and uncompromising judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

These revelations in Panama papers relate to the wealth he allegedly collected in his first stint as the Prime Minister between 1990 and 1993. Few people would remember Ghulam Ishaq Khan, a loyal creature of Pakistan’s military establishment who served the Pakistan establishment right from Ayub Khan days to Ziaul Haq and after Zia was blown to smithereens in the plane bombing, he was chosen to succeed Zia as Pakistan President.

Soon after Zia’s death elections were held in Pakistan and both the Pakistan People’s Party led by Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) under Nawaz Sharif contested. PPP won and Benazir became the first and only woman Prime Minister of Pakistan so far. But the Pakistani establishment could not digest this and by November 1990 Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir on charges of corruption disproved to this date. Then he appointed Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister but by July, 1993 also dismissed him on same corruption charges. Nawaz Sharif went to court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan struck down Ishaq Khan’s act whereupon both Ishaq Khan and Sharif demitted office and went for another round of elections of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

The current corruption charges are the same which Ishaq Khan had leveled against him using that as a pretext to dismiss his government. The Pakistan Supreme Court naturally was aware of these charges and did not find enough substance in them to uphold Ishaq Khan’s action. But suddenly now 27 years later based on the same allegations carried in Panama papers, it has disqualified Nawaz Sharif and even blocked the path for his bright daughter Maryam to succeed him.

How did the Pakistan judiciary wake up to Nawaz’ alleged corruption so late in the day? The cue was given by that English speaking closet mullah and a proxy for Pakistan’s bearded army, Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) Party. Wonder how many would remember that there was once a party by the same acronym, the Pakistan Tehreeke Istaqlal (PTI) led by Air Marshal (Retired) Asghar Khan, a small but an important component of the Pakistan National Alliance of 1977 which conspired with Ziaul Haq to get Bhutto’s duly elected government dismissed and get Marital Law imposed. Imran Khan too has proved over a period, to be a proxy for the Army, the ISI  and the mullahs of the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and while he has hardly any political following to become the Prime Minister, the higher judiciary in Pakistan seems to be responsive to Imran Khan, just like once that Asghar Khan with zilch political following played an important role in undermining the democratic institutions of that country for whatever they were worth.

Since the last elections Nawaz Sharif appears to have under gone visible change of heart or rather strategy. He had grown a little soft towards India, making some sincere effort to improve relations with India. Also he has made some move to alleviate the suffering of the beleaguered Hindu minority in Pakistan, by pushing ahead the Hindu Marriage Act in the National Assembly whereby after 70 years of its existence Pakistan finally recognizes Hindu marriages which will restrict the Muslim predators to kidnap and rape and convert Hindu women in Pakistan to Islam.

All this has not gone well with those who lionized that treacherous bodyguard of former Governor of Punjab Salman Tasseer, Malik Mumtaz Qadri who shot him dead at point blank range for criticizing the blasphemous Blasphemy law of Pakistan. Remember the lawyers of Lahore High Court who garlanded and took that murderer in a procession and the judge who handed Qadri death sentence fled the country for fear of being killed by some such fanatic too.

Before that the Pakistan Supreme Court was determined to pull down former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, who presided over Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) after these mullahs in collusion with the elements in Pakistan Army and ISI, gunned down his wife Benazir Bhutto.  And when former Prime Minister of Pakistan Yusuf Raza Gilani did not yield to judicial pressure, the court first dismissed him and then the jidhadists kidnapped his son Ali Haider Gilani in 2013 and kept him a hostage for three years.

So the judiciary in Pakistan will pronounce you corrupt once the mullahs, the Army and the ISI suspect a leader of going soft on India and the religious minorities of the country. Who else would prove this better than Imran Khan who immediately accused Nawaz Sharif of being an Indian agent when Nawaz Sharif pointed a finger at the Army for his dismissal.  So much for the fight against corruption in Pakistan.

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Nitish back with the BJP

 

Nitish back with the BJP

Whither ideology in Power politics?

By

Faraz Ahmad

I don’t claim a copy right to this Urdu couplet: “Pahunchi wahin pe khaak jahan ka khameer thha.” Actually I don’t even know the poet who composed this one. But I recall when Jamaate Islami chief Maulana Abul Aala Maudooodi died in New York, the Urdu daily ‘Masawat’ the party organ of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) , had a screaming eight column banner headline in red ink announcing Maulana Maudoodi’s death in United States of America (USA) with this couplet.

Ironically for all the supposed anti-US and anti imperialist vituperation and rhetoric Mauddoodi indulged in in his Friday (khutba) congregations, he like many others of our sub-continent men suffered from typical racial inferiority complex besotten by fair skin  and therefore took a white American as his wife.

It comes back to me in the context of Bihar strong man and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s latest, though much anticipated somersault discarding the secular Mahagathbandhan and embracing back his alma mater the Sanghi Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). I saw this coming and warned of such an eventuality in my last blog and therefore it is no surprise. The only issue is why did he in the first place ditch the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2013 and suddenly don a secular gown when he was with the Sanghis since 1994 first deserting at their instance the Janata Dal and initially surreptitiously but 1996 onwards, openly aligning with the BJP.

After breaking with the BJP, Nitish led the Janata Dal-U  to a disastrous defeat in the general elections in Bihar in 2014. Pretending to be a leader with a conscience he resigned the chief ministership, made his trusted protege Jitan Ram Manjhi belonging to the Most Backward caste (MBC), the state chief minister but couldn’t stay away from power for long.

On September 30, 2013 when the CBI court in Ranchi convicted Lalu for 5 years in fodder scam and thereby disqualified him from Parliament membership for a period of five years, the RJD accused the JD-U of complicity in securing Lalu’s conviction even accusing the concerned judge of nursing a bias because of his close proximity to a Bhoomihar JD-U minister in Nitish’s cabinet.

Yet Lalu extended support to a doddering JD-U government when Nitish junked Manjhi and became chief minister again in 2015 (though Lalu warned Nitish of the adverse political  fallout of undermining a MBC leader) and thereafter Nitish aligned with Lalu for all the supposed corruption taint on Lalu. It didn’t end here. After the elections he made both sons of Lalu the younger and brighter one Tejaswi and the older simpleton Tej Pratap Yadav ministers and went a step further appointing the young inexperienced Tejaswi his Deputy chief minister.  Curiously the charges leveled by the “caged parrot” Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) against Tejaswi, Lalu himself and wife Rabri Devi were based on a complaint made by a close confidant of Nitish, Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalaln’, who submitted to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010 a written complaint against Lalu for his alleged acts of corruption when Lalu was the country’s Railway minister from 2004 to 2009 and even Harvardians admired his foresight and capability. It is obvious that Lalan, a mere proxy of Nitish merely articulated Nitish’ envy at Lalu’s success. It is common knowledge in political circles that both Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan another political turncoat, also currently enjoying Modi’s lap, have despised Lalu for towering over them politically and could not digest Lalu being acknowledged by the world as a competent administrator as well. Both had been Railway ministers before Lalu and never enjoyed this reputation.   That file was lying dust covered in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when Narendra Modi retrieved it and directed the CBI to pursue the case vigorously evidently to nip in the bud the possible unity of disparate Opposition groups against him. There is a story in that as well. But let us not digress from why and wherefore Nitish Kumar performed this dramatic political somersault once more.

So it is clear that Lalu’s corruption or supposed fear of tarnishing his clean image was far from NItish’ mind when he started turning his back to Lalu. That was merely a ruse. Nitish had started showing his true colours as a Trojan horse when he first commended Modi for the so-called surgical strikes against Pakistan in September 2016, and then enthusiastically supported Modi’s sudden, tyrannical whimsical move to scrap the five hundred and one thousand currency notes, turning a blind eye to the misery and suffering of the poor and down trodden whom Nitish claimed to represent. Actually it required a man of Nitish’ stature and clean image to come out and forcefully criticize in public Modi’s decision to penalize vast sections of population virtually castigating all of us as corrupt unless proved otherwise. This was a Godsend for a Nitish Kumar to build a profile against Modi. Instead he supported this atrocious move and restrained Lalu Yadav from holding public meetings and agitations against demonetization. Lalu, presumably to avoid embarrassing Nitish, relented.

Besides, it does not lie in the mouth of a person to talk of corruption, who being a seasoned politician and having witnessed the fall out of total prohibition in Gujarat, how a parallel black economy runs there  for decades thanks to rampant bootlegging, goes ahead and enforces his prohibition diktat the same way Modi enforced ban on five hundred and one thousand rupee notes. Friends from Patna inimical to Lalu also say that already bootlegging has become big business in Bihar and the enforcement agencies are having a field day, every day. Significantly Modi was quick to compliment Nitish on that.

The day Nitish Kumar broke ranks and announced support to a rank Sanghi Ramnath Kovind it became apparent that Nitish returning to NDA fold was but a matter of time which, as is evident, did not take too long. For someone who left the NDA on the specious plea of secularism after bedding the Sanghis for 17 long years,  it was disconcerting at the very least to jump immediately to support a rank Sanghi who had no other merit, except his lifelong association with the RSS. He was not even a leader of some consequence in the BJP.   But that is where power play undermines ideology, if there be any.

But the moot question is why did Nitish first part company with the BJP and then four years later returned to it, without a whimper and in such haste! Evening 5 pm he goes and submits his resignation to Governor  Kesri  Nath Tripathi who receives orders from Delhi to stay back to meet Nitish and not to entertain the RJD or any of  its leaders and without wasting any time, next morning 10 am he is sworn in back as the Bihar chief minister leading a BJP-JD(U) coaliton. And by Friday morning took the mandatory vote of confidence also. It seems both he and Modi feared any delay might upset their predetermined game plan.  Obviously Nitish and the BJP were apprehending some kind of rebellion or public protest in the JD-U which became apparent after his confidant Anwar Ali went public attacking the move while Sharad Yadav merely privately chafed at that.

I believe there were two factors, first envy and  second the desperation to retain power at any cost, which guided Nitish’s action. He knew that Modi was moving fast to finish off Lalu Yadav politically, imprison not just Lalu but perhaps also his wife, sons and daughter and may be many more in Lalu’s large family. This would have had repercussions with the RJD on the streets making Lalu family a victim of Modi’s vindictive politics. This Act of the play is yet to be staged presumably on August 27 when Lalu has given a call for a big rally in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan and invited Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav to address that rally. He had also offered to send Mayawati to the Rajya Sabha back on the strength of his party in the Bihar assembly. All this would have enhanced the stature of a supposedly “tainted” Lalu Yadav thus diminishing Nitish stature in the eyes of the Bihar masses, whether he attended Lalu’s rally while in alliance or kept away from it. So he had to distance himself from Lalu well before this rally and stop that rally as best as he can.

Same was the case when he left the NDA. He had no quarrels with Sushil Kumar Modi who has always been happy playing second fiddle to Nitish. He is on record to say that he would have been happy to support Advani’s candidature for PM and the grapevine has it that Arun Jaitely had been privately sounding him that in the event of a hung Parliament the BJP could even support his candidature for PM if the number s fell short of forming a Government and other parties refused to support Advani’s candidature. But Narendra Modi’s growing stature was something which left no doubt in Nitish mind that he could no longer nurse the dream of one day becoming a national leader.

So the best thing was like his bête noire Ram Vilas Paswan to suddenly turn secular and oppose Modi. But then being a shrewd politician by now he realized there was no scope for a non-BJP government at the Centre in 2019 and his stature was being undermined by Lalu and so the best option available to him was to return to Modi with his tail between his legs.

As for the BJP what more it could have wished? Naturally there was jubilation in the saffron camp. Narendra Modi immediately tweeted congratulating Nitish and Sushil Modi came trooping in with the entire BJP legislature party to dine and raise a toast to Nitish with Gau Mootra, for liquor is prohibited in Bihar and Gau Mootra has magical medicinal qualities. The Governor, Nitish and the BJP none wasted a minute to form the Government and within 24 hours also went through the assembly trial of strength to foreclose any possibility of a rebellion or protest in the party. Here in Delhi insiders suggested that even though Sharad was not very comfortable, Arun Jaitely has offered him a lucrative portfolio in Modi’s cabinet. What else would power seekers want?

Yes this appears to have poured cold water on any hopes of a combined strong Opposition challenging Modi in 2019. So prepare for a very long haul of Hindu Rashtra, thanks to a secular Nitish Kumar.

Ends

 

 

 

 

 

Nitish’ dilemma:

Nitish’ dilemma:

To resaffronise or not

By

Faraz Ahmad

It’s been more than a month since Sushil Modi, former Deputy chief minister of Bihar and one time close associate and confidant of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been targeting Bihar’s strongman Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad and his family members in some unconfirmed corruption cases, including one on the current deputy chief minister Tejashwai Prasad Yadav, the younger and brighter of Lalu’s two siblings. The older one also a minister in Nitish’ cabinet is evidently a simpleton who could easily be tackled by a smart Nitish.

It is evident that the whole attempt, and it is now out in the open, is to somehow break the grand alliance of RJD, Congress and the JD-U, very thoughtfully and carefully soldered by Lalu, Sonia and the wily nily Nitish himself. Nitish and his party have been slyly making discreet noises about being uncomfortable with the presence of a tainted “corrupt” Tejashwai in the government of Mr. Clean Nitish Kumar.

There is simultaneously surreptitious attempt to impress upon another simpleton Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to the vice of corruption and therefore back Nitish to break this alliance with Lalu. If we go by sheer numbers it is not difficult for Nitish Kumar to go back to NDA and form one more government with Sushil Modi , Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi and assorted right wing elements in Bihar. After all for 17 years they were together and Nitish won a couple of Lok Sabha and assembly elections as a member of the saffron brigade and as Sushil Modi recently stated “Nitish was always comfortable with BJP.”

In the early 1990s before Nitish Kumar walked out of Janata Dal with George Fernandes, who was actually a victim of Nitish’s conspiracy, and many of us pro Mandal journalists swore by Nitish’ commitment to social justice and secularism, one day Uma Bharti, who in her private conversations is a very honest and straight person, mocked us saying, “You don’t know Nitish Kumar, he was offering me Nalanda seat saying that will be a safe seat for me because of overwhelming population of Kurmis who have no aversion to the BJP.”  We never bothered to go back and cross check with Nitish because we didn’t believe Uma then. But her remark keeps echoing in my mind every time Nitish Kumar snuggles upto the BJP on one pretext or the other.

Was Lalu Yadav not tainted when Nitish Kumar broke his alliance with the BJP and aligned with Lalu’s RJD? Hadn’t Lalu been disqualified for six years from contesting any elections by the court when Nitish decided to go and embrace Lalu? Wasn’t Lalu facing corruption charges when the two, together with another “corrupt” Sonia Gandhi decided to form a Grand Alliance in 2015 assembly elections and form a coalition government with Nitish heading it even though RJD is currently the largest party in Bihar assembly?

When Nitish made Tejashwai Yadav his Deputy Chief Minister, wasn’t he aware of the memorandum his confidant Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ had submitted way back in 2010 to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against his bête noire Lalu Yadav? Of course he was and we are not discussing that at the time of the alleged corruption act committed by Tejashwi he was merely 11 year old studying in a school in Delhi and therefore under the law of the land he is not liable of committing any crime, even if we accept the current set of allegations true. If at all it can be Lalu Yadav. But what purpose would be served targeting Lalu who is already incarcerated. So now turn the guns on the brighter of Lalu’s siblings Tejashwi and Misa Devi, a Rajya Sabha MP now.

The entire political class in Bihar knows that soon after the formation of this government BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav was given the charge of Bihar and curiously stressing his caste antecedents, he was meeting Rabri Devi and Misa Devi very frequently. Grapevine has it that he was persuading Lalu’s family members to break the Mahagathbandhan. In turn the offer was to go slow on Lalu’s cases, and make Tejashwi the chief minister. It is said that Lalu put his foot down and refused to bite the bait. Whatever may be the truth in that, but it is evident that once Bhupendra Yadav mission failed Sushil Modi was pulled out from the attic, brushed and wiped to present him once more as a great crusader against corruption and shaming Mr. Clean Nitish Kumar for tolerating a corrupt Tejashwi in his cabinet.

But the moot question is why has Nitish and when did Nitish Kumar wake up to the so called corruption of Lalu and his family members? Actually this was no sudden development if we examine how slowly Nitish Kumar was drifting back to the BJP. First he came up with the corrupt and tyrannical drastic act of putting a blanket ban on the very existence of alcohol in Bihar and impose the severest penalty on not just buying, selling or possessing liquor but even punish the family members and neighbours of anyone consuming alcohol.

Nitish is no spring chicken to be blind to the parallel economy of bootlegging and black money running in Gujarat for several decades and the politicians including naturally Modi getting a fair share of that wealth which they spend lavishly on their elections. He also knows why his friend Nara Chandrababu Naidu withdrew total prohibition in Andhra Pradesh imposed earlier by TDP icon N T Rama Rao because it was creating social and economic havoc in Andhra Pradesh. A progressive political force like the Left Front relaxed the harsh norms imposed by its predecessor the UDF in Kerala banning liquor to discourage bootlegging.

Next Nitish Kumar went and supported demonetization and todate has not expressed a word of regret or sympathy for the hundreds of poor and needy people who died and thousands of helpless people who suffered due to this cruel act of Modi.

Next in line is his enthusiastic support for Ramnath Kovind, Modi/Amit Shah’s Presidential candidate, whose political record as a Sanghi apologist is nothing to talk about. Capitalising on this drift of Nitish, the BJP is working assiduously on him and there is every reason to believe they may succeed sooner than later. But this only shows that there is only one thing the BJP and Modi fear—Opposition unity and how desperate they are to break that unity for whatever it is worth.

Shouldn’t that be a lesson for the likes of Nitish, Navin Patnaik and Mulayam Singh Yadav. But that would only be if they don’t have enough skeletons in their cupboards too and not fear Modi showing them their dossiers.

Again hats off to Lalu for withstanding all such threats, knowing full well that sending not just him but his whole family may not be just an empty threat from Modi. Now let us see if he buckles in and calls off his August 27 rally or will Modi put him and Tejashwi behind bars before that?

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