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  • Modi Sarkar – 40 Months of Governance – A Quick Survey Rings a Warning Bell

    primepoint.in | Mon, 02 Oct 2017 09:44:00 +0000

  • Dr B R Ambedkar's last speech in the Constituent Assembly on adoption of the constitution (25th Novembr 1949(

    primepoint.in | Fri, 25 Nov 2016 09:23:00 +0000

    (NOVEMBER 25, 1949)

    Dr B R Ambedkar’s speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949, presenting the Indian Draft Constitution for approval.  The Draft was approved by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949.  The Constitution came into force with effect from 26th January 1950.

    Source:  http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/vol11p11.htm

    The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar : Sir, looking back on the work of the Constituent Assembly it will now be two years, eleven months and seventeen days since it first met on the 9th of December 1946. During this period the Constituent Assembly has altogether held eleven sessions. Out of these eleven sessions the first six were spent in passing the Objectives Resolution and the consideration of the Reports of Committees on Fundamental Rights, on Union Constitution, on Union Powers, on Provincial Constitution, on Minorities and on the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the eleventh sessions were devoted to the consideration of the Draft Constitution. These eleven sessions of the Constituent Assembly have consumed 165 days. Out of these, the Assembly spent 114 days for the consideration of the Draft Constitution.

        Coming to the Drafting Committee, it was elected by the Constituent Assembly on 29th August 1947. It held its first meeting on 30thAugust. Since August 30th it sat for 141 days during which it was engaged in the preparation of the Draft Constitution. The Draft Constitution as prepared by the Constitutional Adviser as a text for the Draft Committee to work upon, consisted of 243 articles and 13 Schedules. The first Draft Constitution as presented by the Drafting Committee to the Constituent Assembly contained 315 articles and 8 Schedules. At the end of the consideration stage, the number of articles in the Draft Constitution increased to 386. In its final form, the Draft Constitution contains 395 articles and 8 Schedules. The total number of amendments to the Draft Constitution tabled was approximately 7,635. Of them, the total number of amendments actually moved in the House were 2,473.

        I mention these facts because at one stage it was being said that the Assembly had taken too long a time to finish its work, that it was going on leisurely and wasting public money. It was said to be a case of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. Is there any justification for this complaint? Let us note the time consumed by Constituent Assemblies in other countries appointed for framing their Constitutions. To take a few illustrations, the American Convention met on May 25th, 1787 and completed its work on September 17, 1787 i.e., within four months. The Constitutional Convention of Canada met on the 10th October 1864 and the Constitution was passed into law in March 1867 involving a period of two years and five months. The Australian Constitutional Convention assembled in March 1891 and the Constitution became law on the 9th July 1900, consuming a period of nine years. The South African Convention met in October, 1908 and the Constitution became law on the 20th September 1909 involving one year's labour. It is true that we have taken more time than what the American or South African Conventions did. But we have not taken more time than the Canadian Convention and much less than the Australian Convention. In making comparisons on the basis of time consumed, two things must be remembered. One is that the Constitutions of America, Canada, South Africa and Australia are much smaller than ours. Our Constitution as I said contains 395 articles while the American has just seven articles, the first four of which are divided into sections which total up to 21, the Canadian has 147, Australian 128 and South African 153 sections. The second thing to be remembered is that the makers of the Constitutions of America, Canada, Australia and South Africa did not have to face the problem of amendments. They were passed as moved. On the other hand, this Constituent Assembly had to deal with as many as 2,473 amendments. Having regard to these facts the charge of dilatoriness seems to me quite unfounded and this Assembly may well congratulate itself for having accomplished so formidable a task in so short a time.

        Turning to the quality of the work done by the Drafting Committee, Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed felt it his duty to condemn it outright. In his opinion, the work done by the Drafting Committee is not only not worthy of commendation, but is positively below par. Everybody has a right to have his opinion about the work done by the Drafting Committee and Mr. Naziruddin is welcome to have his own. Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed thinks he is a man of greater talents than any member of the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee would have welcomed him in their midst if the Assembly had thought him worthy of being appointed to it. If he had no place in the making of the Constitution it is certainly not the fault of the Drafting Committee.

        Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed has coined a new name for the Drafting Committee evidently to show his contempt for it. He calls it a Drafting committee. Mr. Naziruddin must no doubt be pleased with his hit. But he evidently does not know that there is a difference between drift without mastery and drift with mastery. If the Drafting Committee was drifting, it was never without mastery over the situation. It was not merely angling with the off chance of catching a fish. It was searching in known waters to find the fish it was after. To be in search of something better is not the same as drifting. Although Mr. Naziruddin Ahmed did not mean it as a compliment to the Drafting committee. I take it as a compliment to the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee would have been guilty of gross dereliction of duty and of a false sense of dignity if it had not shown the honesty and the courage to withdraw the amendments which it thought faulty and substitute what it thought was better. If it is a mistake, I am glad the Drafting Committee did not fight shy of admitting such mistakes and coming forward to correct them.

        I am glad to find that with the exception of a solitary member, there is a general consensus of appreciation from the members of the Constituent Assembly of the work done by the Drafting Committee. I am sure the Drafting Committee feels happy to find this spontaneous recognition of its labours expressed in such generous terms. As to the compliments that have been showered upon me both by the members of the Assembly as well as by my colleagues of the Drafting Committee I feel so overwhelmed that I cannot find adequate words to express fully my gratitude to them. I came into the Constituent Assembly with no greater aspiration than to safeguard the interests of he Scheduled Castes. I had not the remotest idea that I would be called upon to undertake more responsible functions. I was therefore greatly surprised when the Assembly elected me to the Drafting Committee. I was more than surprised when the Drafting Committee elected me to be its Chairman. There were in the Drafting Committee men bigger, better and more competent than myself such as my friend Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar. I am grateful to the Constituent Assembly and the Drafting Committee for reposing in me so much trust and confidence and to have chosen me as their instrument and given me this opportunity of serving the country. (Cheers)

        The credit that is given to me does not really belong to me. It belongs partly to Sir B.N. Rau, the Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly who prepared a rough draft of the Constitution for the consideration of the Drafting Committee. A part of the credit must go to the members of the Drafting Committee who, as I have said, have sat for 141 days and without whose ingenuity of devise new formulae and capacity to tolerate and to accommodate different points of view, the task of framing the Constitution could not have come to so successful a conclusion. Much greater, share of the credit must go to Mr. S.N. Mukherjee, the Chief Draftsman of the Constitution. His ability to put the most intricate proposals in the simplest and clearest legal form can rarely be equalled, nor his capacity for hard work. He has been as acquisition tot he Assembly. Without his help, this Assembly would have taken many more years to finalise the Constitution. I must not omit to mention the members of the staff working under Mr. Mukherjee. For, I know how hard they have worked and how long they have toiled sometimes even beyond midnight. I want to thank them all for their effort and their co-operation.(Cheers)

        The task of the Drafting Committee would have been a very difficult one if this Constituent Assembly has been merely a motley crowd, a tasseleted pavement without cement, a black stone here and a white stone there is which each member or each group was a law unto itself. There would have been nothing but chaos. This possibility of chaos was reduced to nil by the existence of the Congress Party inside the Assembly which brought into its proceedings a sense of order and discipline. It is because of the discipline of the Congress Party that the Drafting Committee was able to pilot the Constitution in the Assembly with the sure knowledge as to the fate of each article and each amendment. The Congress Party is, therefore, entitled to all the credit for the smooth sailing of the Draft Constitution in the Assembly.

        The proceedings of this Constituent Assembly would have been very dull if all members had yielded to the rule of party discipline. Party discipline, in all its rigidity, would have converted this Assembly into a gathering of yes' men. Fortunately, there were rebels. They were Mr. Kamath, Dr. P.S. Deshmukh, Mr. Sidhva, Prof. K.T. Shah and Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru. The points they raised were mostly ideological. That I was not prepared to accept their suggestions, does not diminish the value of their suggestions nor lessen the service they have rendered to the Assembly in enlivening its proceedings. I am grateful to them. But for them, I would not have had the opportunity which I got for expounding the principles underlying the Constitution which was more important than the mere mechanical work of passing the Constitution.

        Finally, I must thank you Mr. President for the way in which you have conducted the proceedings of this Assembly. The courtesy and the consideration which you have shown to the Members of the Assembly can never be forgotten by those who have taken part in the proceedings of this Assembly. There were occasions when the amendments of the Drafting Committee were sought to be barred on grounds purely technical in their nature. Those were very anxious moments for me. I am, therefore, specially grateful to you for not permitting legalism to defeat the work of Constitution-making.

        As much defence as could be offered to the constitution has been offered by my friends Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and Mr.. T.T. Krishnamachari. I shall not therefore enter into the merits of the Constitution. Because I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However had a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of State such as the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their purposes or will they prefer revolutionary methods of achieving them? If they adopt the revolutionary methods, however good the Constitution may be, it requires no prophet to say that it will fail. It is, therefore, futile to pass any judgement upon the Constitution without reference to the part which the people and their parties are likely to play.

        The condemnation of the Constitution largely comes from two quarters, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. Why do they condemn the Constitution? Is it because it is really a bad Constitution? I venture to say no'. The Communist Party want a Constitution based upon the principle of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. They condemn the Constitution because it is based upon parliamentary democracy. The Socialists want two things. The first thing they want is that if they come in power, the Constitution must give them the freedom to nationalize or socialize all private property without payment of compensation. The second thing that the Socialists want is that the Fundamental Rights mentioned in the Constitution must be absolute and without any limitations so that if their Party fails to come into power, they would have the unfettered freedom not merely to criticize, but also to overthrow the State.

        These are the main grounds on which the Constitution is being condemned. I do not say that the principle of parliamentary democracy is the only ideal form of political democracy. I do not say that the principle of no acquisition of private property without compensation is so sacrosanct that there can be no departure from it. I do not say that Fundamental Rights can never be absolute and the limitations set upon them can never be lifted. What I do say is that the principles embodied in the Constitution are the views of the present generation or if you think this to be an over-statement, I say they are the views of the members of the Constituent Assembly. Why blame the Drafting Committee for embodying them in the Constitution? I say why blame even the Members of the Constituent Assembly? Jefferson, the great American statesman who played so great a part in the making of the American constitution, has expressed some very weighty views which makers of Constitution, can never afford to ignore. In one place he has said:- 

        "We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of the majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country."

        In another place, he has said :
        "The idea that institutions established for the use of the national cannot be touched or modified, even to make them answer their end, because of rights gratuitously supposed in those employed to manage them in the trust for the public, may perhaps be a salutary provision against the abuses of a monarch, but is most absurd against the nation itself. Yet our lawyers and priests generally inculcate this doctrine, and suppose that preceding generations held the earth more freely than we do; had a right to impose laws on us, unalterable by ourselves, and that we, in the like manner, can make laws and impose burdens on future generations, which they will have no right to alter; in fine, that the earth belongs to the dead and not the living;"
        I admit that what Jefferson has said is not merely true, but is absolutely true. There can be no question about it. Had the Constituent Assembly departed from this principle laid down by Jefferson it would certainly be liable to blame, even to condemnation. But I ask, has it? Quite the contrary. One has only to examine the provision relating to the amendment of the Constitution. The Assembly has not only refrained from putting a seal of finality and infallibility upon this Constitution as in Canada or by making the amendment of the Constitution subject tot he fulfilment of extraordinary terms and conditions as in America or Australia, but has provided a most facile procedure for amending the Constitution. I challenge any of the critics of the Constitution to prove that any Constituent Assembly anywhere in the world has, in the circumstances in which this country finds itself, provided such a facile procedure for the amendment of the Constitution. If those who are dissatisfied with the Constitution have only to obtain a 2/3 majority and if they cannot obtain even a two-thirds majority in the parliament elected on adult franchise in their favour, their dissatisfaction with the Constitution cannot be deemed to be shared by the general public.

        There is only one point of constitutional import to which I propose to make a reference. A serious complaint is made on the ground that there is too much of centralization and that the States have been reduced to Municipalities. It is clear that this view is not only an exaggeration, but is also founded on a misunderstanding of what exactly the Constitution contrives to do. As to the relation between the Centre and the States, it is necessary to bear in mind the fundamental principle on which it rests. The basic principle of Federalism is that the Legislative and Executive authority is partitioned between the Centre and the States not by any law to be made by the Centre but by the Constitution itself. This is what Constitution does. The States under our Constitution are in no way dependent upon the Centre for their legislative or executive authority. The Centre and the States are co-equal in this matter. It is difficult to see how such a Constitution can be called centralism. It may be that the Constitution assigns to the Centre too large a field for the operation of its legislative and executive authority than is to be found in any other federal Constitution. It may be that the residuary powers are given to the Centre and not to the States. But these features do not form the essence of federalism. The chief mark of federalism as I said lies in the partition of the legislative and executive authority between the Centre and the Units by the Constitution. This is the principle embodied in our constitution. There can be no mistake about it. It is, therefore, wrong to say that the States have been placed under the Centre. Centre cannot by its own will alter the boundary of that partition. Nor can the Judiciary. For as has been well said:

        "Courts may modify, they cannot replace. They can revise earlier interpretations as new arguments, new points of view are presented, they can shift the dividing line in marginal cases, but there are barriers they cannot pass, definite assignments of power they cannot reallocate. They can give a broadening construction of existing powers, but they cannot assign to one authority powers explicitly granted to another."
    The first charge of centralization defeating federalism must therefore fall.
        The second charge is that the Centre has been given the power to override the States. This charge must be admitted. But before condemning the Constitution for containing such overriding powers, certain considerations must be borne in mind. The first is that these overriding powers do not form the normal feature of the constitution. Their use and operation are expressly confined to emergencies only. The second consideration is : Could we avoid giving overriding powers to the Centre when an emergency has arisen? Those who do not admit the justification for such overriding powers to the Centre even in an emergency, do not seem to have a clear idea of the problem which lies at the root of the matter. The problem is so clearly set out by a writer in that well-known magazine "The Round Table" in its issue of December 1935 that I offer no apology for quoting the following extract from it. Says the writer :

        "Political systems are a complex of rights and duties resting ultimately on the question, to whom, or to what authority, does the citizen owe allegiance. In normal affairs the question is not present, for the law works smoothly, and a man, goes about his business obeying one authority in this set of matters and another authority in that. But in a moment of crisis, a conflict of claims may arise, and it is then apparent that ultimate allegiance cannot be divided. The issue of allegiance cannot be determined in the last resort by a juristic interpretation of statutes. The law must conform to the facts or so much the worse for the law. When all formalism is stripped away, the bare question is, what authority commands the residual loyalty of the citizen. Is it the Centre or the Constituent State ?"
        The solution of this problem depends upon one's answer to this question which is the crux of the problem. There can be no doubt that in the opinion of the vast majority of the people, the residual loyalty of the citizen in an emergency must be to the Centre and not to the Constituent States. For it is only the Centre which can work for a common end and for the general interests of the country as a whole. Herein lies the justification for giving to all Centre certain overriding powers to be used in an emergency. And after all what is the obligation imposed upon the Constituent States by these emergency powers? No more than this – that in an emergency, they should take into consideration alongside their own local interests, the opinions and interests of the nation as a whole. Only those who have not understood the problem, can complain against it.

        Here I could have ended. But my mind is so full of the future of our country that I feel I ought to take this occasion to give expression to some of my reflections thereon. On 26th January 1950, India will be an independent country (Cheers). What would happen to her independence? Will she maintain her independence or will she lose it again? This is the first thought that comes to my mind. It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lost it a second time? It is this thought which makes me most anxious for the future. What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people. In the invasion of Sind by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of King Dahar accepted bribes from the agents of Mahommed-Bin-Kasim and refused to fight on the side of their King. It was Jaichand who invited Mahommed Gohri to invade India and fight against Prithvi Raj and promised him the help of himself and the Solanki Kings. When Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of Hindus, the other Maratha noblemen and the Rajput Kings were fighting the battle on the side of Moghul Emperors. When the British were trying to destroy the Sikh Rulers, Gulab Singh, their principal commander sat silent and did not help to save the Sikh Kingdom. In 1857, when a large part of India had declared a war of independence against the British, the Sikhs stood and watched the event as silent spectators.

        Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indian place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.(Cheers)
        On the 26th of January 1950, India would be a democratic country in the sense that India from that day would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The same thought comes to my mind. What would happen to her democratic Constitution? Will she be able to maintain it or will she lost it again. This is the second thought that comes to my mind and makes me as anxious as the first.

        It is not that India did not know what is Democracy. There was a time when India was studded with republics, and even where there were monarchies, they were either elected or limited. They were never absolute. It is not that India did not know Parliaments or Parliamentary Procedure. A study of the Buddhist Bhikshu Sanghas discloses that not only there were Parliaments-for the Sanghas were nothing but Parliaments – but the Sanghas knew and observed all the rules of Parliamentary Procedure known to modern times. They had rules regarding seating arrangements, rules regarding Motions, Resolutions, Quorum, Whip, Counting of Votes, Voting by Ballot, Censure Motion, Regularization, Res Judicata, etc. Although these rules of Parliamentary Procedure were applied by the Buddha to the meetings of the Sanghas, he must have borrowed them from the rules of the Political Assemblies functioning in the country in his time.
        This democratic system India lost. Will she lost it a second time? I do not know. But it is quite possible in a country like India – where democracy from its long disuse must be regarded as something quite new – there is danger of democracy giving place to dictatorship. It is quite possible for this new born democracy to retain its form but give place to dictatorship in fact. If there is a landslide, the danger of the second possibility becoming actuality is much greater.

        If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.

        The second thing we must do is to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not "to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enable him to subvert their institutions". There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered life-long services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness. As has been well said by the Irish Patriot Daniel O'Connel, no man can be grateful at the cost of his honour, no woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity and no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty. This caution is far more necessary in the case of India than in the case of any other country. For in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

        The third thing we must do is not to be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. These principles of liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. These principles of liberty, equality and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy. Liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things. It would require a constable to enforce them. We must begin by acknowledging the fact that there is complete absence of two things in Indian Society. One of these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India a society based on the principle of graded inequality which we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty. On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which is Assembly has to laboriously built up.

        The second thing we are wanting in is recognition of the principle of fraternity. what does fraternity mean? Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians-if Indians being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life. It is a difficult thing to achieve. How difficult it is, can be realized from the story related by James Bryce in his volume on American Commonwealth about the United States of America.

        The story is- I propose to recount it in the words of Bryce himself- that-
        "Some years ago the American Protestant Episcopal Church was occupied at its triennial Convention in revising its liturgy. It was thought desirable to introduce among the short sentence prayers a prayer for the whole people, and an eminent  New England divine proposed the words `O Lord, bless our nation'. Accepted one afternoon, on the spur of the moment, the sentence was brought up next day for reconsideration, when so many objections were raised by the laity to the word nation' as importing too definite a recognition of national unity, that it was dropped, and instead there were adopted the words `O Lord, bless these United States."

        There was so little solidarity in the U.S.A. at the time when this incident occurred that the people of America did not think that they were a nation. If the people of the United States could not feel that they were a nation, how difficult it is for Indians to think that they are a nation. I remember the days when politically-minded Indians, resented the expression "the people of India". They preferred the expression "the Indian nation." I am of opinion that in believing that we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into several thousands of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not as yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. For then only we shall realize the necessity of becoming a nation and seriously think of ways and means of realizing the goal. The realization of this goal is going to be very difficult – far more difficult than it has been in the United States. The United States has no caste problem. In India there are castes. The castes are anti-national. In the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste. But we must overcome all these difficulties if we wish to become a nation in reality. For fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint.

        These are my reflections about the tasks that lie ahead of us. They may not be very pleasant to some. But there can be no gainsaying that political power in this country has too long been the monopoly of a few and the many are only beasts of burden, but also beasts of prey. This monopoly has not merely deprived them of their chance of betterment, it has sapped them of what may be called the significance of life. These down-trodden classes are tired of being governed. They are impatient to govern themselves. This urge for self-realization in the down-trodden classes must no be allowed to devolve into a class struggle or class war. It would lead to a division of the House. That would indeed be a day of disaster. For, as has been well said by Abraham Lincoln, a House divided against itself cannot stand very long. Therefore the sooner room is made for the realization of their aspiration, the better for the few, the better for the country, the better for the maintenance for its independence and the better for the continuance of its democratic structure. This can only be done by the establishment of equality and fraternity in all spheres of life. That is why I have laid so much stresses on them.

        I do not wish to weary the House any further. Independence is no doubt a matter of joy. But let us not forget that this independence has thrown on us great responsibilities. By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves. There is great danger of things going wrong. Times are fast changing. People including our own are being moved by new ideologies. They are getting tired of Government by the people. They are prepared to have Governments for the people and are indifferent whether it is Government of the people and by the people. If we wish to preserve the Constitution in which we have sought to enshrine the principle of Government of the people, for the people and by the people, let us resolve not to be tardy in the recognition of the evils that lie across our path and which induce people to prefer Government for the people to Government by the people, nor to be weak in our initiative to remove them. That is the only way to serve the country. I know of no better.

  • Babasaheb Dr B R Ambedkar - Another Forgotten Legend in Indian History

    primepoint.in | Thu, 14 Apr 2016 04:20:00 +0000

  • Exclusive Interview with Suryah, Techno Campaign Strategist

    primepoint.in | Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:11:00 +0000

    Suryah SG (25), a law graduate from a premier Law College at Pune was part of the Political Techno Campaign Team of BJP during the 2014 General Elections and four Assembly Elections.  He will be playing a crucial role in the Techno Campaign Strategy Team for BJP in the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections.  He is one of the few persons followed by Narendra Modi in his Twitter.  In an exclusive interview for PreSense, he shares his views on this new concept.  Excerpt:

    How did you involve yourself in the 'New Age Techno Communication Campaign' of Narendra Modi?

    On 24thJune 2012, I received a call from the Office of the then Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi. I was invited to meet the Chief Minister the following day to discuss the evolving trends of the social media. I was then a law student at Pune.  This phone call proved to be a turning point in my life and provided an opportunity to learn about election communication strategy. The historical interaction with Modi for 20 minutes still lingers in my mind like a dream. I worked for the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2012 and later got involved in different elections to assist the BJP in different capacities thereafter.  The 2012 Gujarat Election Campaign was a landmark in the history of Indian Elections. We integrated all the technology tools like internet, social media, mobile phones, smart phones, 3D Rallies, etc. to connect with people.

    What were the strategies planned by your team during 2014 General Elections?

    In January 2014, Congress MP & Former Union Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar mocked the then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi as a Chaiwala. Our CAG Team (Campaign Team that worked for Narendra Modi during the run-up for the Lok Sabha Elections 2014) immediately sprung into action and coined a political event, “Chai pe Charcha” (Discussion over Tea) throughout the country.  As someone who had organised dozens of Chai pe Charcha events across the country it was a totally new and refreshing experience, interacting with chaiwalas (Those who prepare and serve tea at tea stalls) all over the country, live and through video conferences. We were able to capitalise on Modi being a Chaiwalaearlier in his life. While the ground activity was executed by the party workers, the idea to conduct such catchy events came from our strategy team.

    The importance of the social media is largely underestimated. We normally believe that Face book, Twitter & WhatsApp influence only a particular age group of people.  In reality, the impact of the word-of-mouth campaign spreading through these social media platforms is very huge. One WhatsApp user has the potential to spread the message he receives across an entire village.

    Do the senior political leaders and workers accept a team of youngsters?

    Political leaders who have toiled at ground level for over three to four decades, do not tend to easily accept the newly sprung up election techno strategists overnight. It takes time for them to come into an understanding that the political landscape in India is slowly turning towards a strategy based activity. These political leaders still do not accept the evolution and adaptation of technology as influential factors in electioneering.


    Since I had studied law from a premier law school in Pune, I was fortunate to have friends from different political parties studying with me in my college. I had opportunities to interact with strategists from various political parties like the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Shiv Sena and other small parties during the run up of the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 and the Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2014. Presently, I am also interacting with the strategists for the Assam, Kerala and West Bengal Elections 2016. Everywhere, I find a similar experience cutting across the party lines among the new groups of young techno strategists facing difficulty in being accepted by the old political guards. The seniors in the parties just cannot accept fresh youngsters as potential strategists for the elections. While their worries are totally justified, the recent elections have proven that fresh political techno strategists can walk the talk and give a tough contention to conventional political experts.

    In one of the state elections where my friends were associated, the local political leadership had a tough time to amend their ways. This compelled the central leadership to come down to the state for two days, camp there and convince the local political set up that these techno strategists were present only for a temporary period till the elections were over. Till such time this assurance was given by the central leadership, this young group of people were treated like bitter rivals. The existing senior leaders feel unsecured.  At the same time, I also find that some of the pro-active senior leaders encourage the youngsters by supplementing the knowledge with their own experience and wisdom. 

    What are the skills needed to become a political techno strategist?

    Anyone who wants to become a Election Techno Strategist should have exceptional skills in using technology tools, and smartness to convert every challenge into an opportunity. The Indian political situation is not yet matured like that of the western countries. It needs immense patience and perseverance by youngsters to get into the political setup and become a real strategist and influence the political decisions of the party. With my experience I can boldly say that it is definitely not a cake walk. Ambitious youngsters aspiring to become a politician should behave in a matured manner, if they take the role of a strategist. Exhibiting the political ambitions openly during their role as strategist will prove disastrous and counter-productive.

    What is the difference between corporate campaigning and political campaigning?

    Political campaign is time-based and sprouts suddenly during the election time. Corporate campaigning needs continuous engagement with stake holders through various agencies and PR mechanisms. While corporate campaigning is well established in India, political campaigning will take some more years to stabilise.

    To cite an example, when our team was working for BJP in the Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2015, we formed a Campaign Team Y4D (Youth for Development).  Through this team, we strategised a series of events and meetings to reach the voters.  In Pune, hundreds of volunteers wearing the Modi Mask thronged the streets with printed charge sheets on the misgovernance of the state ruling party.  Using proper strategies, BJP won the toughest seats. After assuming office as Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis invited the entire team for dinner.  In the corporate campaigning, the strategy is different. 

    What is the difference in strategies between national elections and regional assembly elections?

    I worked for BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha Election and four Assembly Elections. The national elections have a broad perspective, while regional elections are localised. People are smart enough to differentiate between them. BJP which won 7 out of 7 seats in Delhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, could win only 3 out of 70 assembly seats in the elections held after 8 months.  In Bihar, where BJP had won majority during the Lok Sabha Elections failed to form the Government, largely because of the unification of two rivals factors, RJD and  JDU.

    Content-wise, the strategy team will have to create contents on regional issues and they have to be delivered through the communication channels of the party. Regional issues should be the talking point and research has to be done locally. Also linguistic problems arise at every stage both in National and Regional Elections. Four big states viz. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam that are going for Assembly elections in 2016 have strong local languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali and Assamese. National Parties like BJP and Congress are handicapped as they deploy their own Strategists who are not well versed with the local language and culture. Therefore from my experience, I would say both the elections are completely different and the approach should be unique.

    What do you think is the future for the Political Techno Strategic Communication experts?  What is the trend among the Indian political parties, both at the national and regional level?

    India has very few national parties. Congress and BJP have already started to realise the need for proper strategies. As for regional parties, we saw AAP in Delhi & JDU in Bihar hiring professional agencies to handle their campaign strategies. DMK and a few other regional parties in Tamil Nadu seem to have roped in Techno Strategy teams to handle their Social Media and PR assignments in the run-up of the 2016 Elections.

    'Political Techno Strategic Communication' is still a grey area; I do not see much scope for aspirants now, unless they have the right connections politically and a proper understanding of the political landscape and culture of the region. It is a difficult area to even risk and venture upon. Those who achieve success in this field will be sure to be successful everywhere. There is no institute or University to teach Strategy. At the end of the day, everything comes down to the individual’s capacity to deal with complex situations with a variety of factors, at the shortest time.

    Surya can be reached at suryah@suryah.in

    Interviewed by the Editorial Team

    Reproduced from the cover story of Jan 2016 issue of ezine PreSense

  • New Age Techno Strategic Political Communication

    primepoint.in | Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:56:00 +0000

    The 2014 General Elections witnessed a new way of political campaigning using various technology tools. The campaign model used in the western countries was tweaked to suit the Indian elections and to promote Narendra Modi.  In any communication, whether it is a political campaign or corporate branding, a powerful message is sent to the audience through effective media tools, with the purpose of creating a positive or negative perception. According to S Narendra, Former Information Advisor to various Prime Ministers of India, it involves a strong strategy to successfully flight the message to the right audience through the right media, distinguishing it  from the competing messages. 

    During the freedom movement, Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March created a strong anti-British sentiment among the people. While Mahatma Gandhi was undertaking the Salt March in North India, Rajaji simultaneously undertook a Salt March in the south, to galvanise the entire country.  In both the events, ‘common salt’ was the message and the 'March' was used as a 'Media' tool, to communicate the message to the people. For any successful campaign, the message should relate and appeal to the audience.  

    'Strategic' is a key word that represents the most critical input. A strategy is not very useful without such a critical input, an input that is a force multiplier. The strategic input can be an investment, person, alliance, a message, event or a decision.

    The 1947-1990 Era

    During this pre-liberalisation period, the radio and print media were mainly used.  The ruling party had the opportunity of using the public sector organisations to promote the achievements of the Government through their advertisements. 

    During the first General Elections held in 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress Party contested on a symbol of 'two bullocks tied to a yoke' and won massive majority. In the later days, Indira Gandhi used the 'Çow and Calf' symbol and the Janatha Party used 'a Farmer Within a Wheel'. These symbols were in themselves powerful messages to connect with  the people and
    appeal to them. 

    In 1971, Indira Gandhi used the powerful message 'Garibi Hatao' and swept the elections. During the 1989 elections, VP Singh used the powerful message of the 'Bofors Scandal' against Rajiv Gandhi.  BJP used the 'Ram Mandir' issue to increase the tally.                                                                                           
    During this period, the political parties used conventional methods of the print media.  At that time, only the All India Radio and Doordarshan were the electronic media available and  mostly used by ruling party.  Political campaigns were based on public meetings, personal contact with voters, wall posters, banners, notices, etc. Cinema, stage dramas, street plays and cut-outs were used by political parties in the south to promote their philosophies.  MGR, Karunanidhi, Annadurai, NT Ramarao, Jayalalitha and Raj Kumar emerged from the film industry to acquire political power. 

    The 1990-2014 Era

    After the economic liberalisation in 1991, the emergence of the television (TV) media changed the campaign strategies.  Political parties started owning TV channels to promote their parties.  In 1993, Sun TV was started as an entertainment channel with an agenda of promoting the DMK political party.  Later on, many more parties started their own channels.

    In 1996, the BSP leader, Kanshiram slapped Ashutosh (now a spokesperson of AAP), then reporter in NDTV, when he was asked some uncomfortable questions.  That led to the political parties thinking in terms of engaging professional agencies for handling the media and appointing spokespersons to engage the media. 

    The BJP and the Congress parties began using Professional Public Relation (PR) Agencies like Good Relations India and Perfect Relations to handle media relations on their behalf.  After 2004, national parties began using professional agencies in the states they were ruling (mostly in the north and the west), for election campaign.

    Soon, national parties set up their own Internal Campaign Managers, to professionally handle the campaign. Arun Nehru (Congress) Arun Jaitly (BJP), Narendra Modi (BJP), Pramod Mahajan (BJP) and Jairam Ramesh (Congress) emerged as good campaign managers. 

    The 2004 General Elections saw the emergence of 'theme-based advertisements'.  BJP heavily campaigned under the theme 'India Shining', employing the Advertising Agency Grey, reportedly spending around Rs.600 crores for the campaign. For the first time, the Indian Elections witnessed a corporate type of advertisements. Although the Congress was weak, they used the campaign 'Aap Ko Kiya Mila' (What Did You Get).  Although the economy was upbeat and BJP had spent a huge amount their campaign, they could not form the Government in 2004.  Experts opine that the negative campaign run by BJP on Sonia Gandhi as a 'foreigner' coupled with the 'India Shining' campaign of BJP could not win them the elections.  The common voters could not connect with the 'India Shining' theme. 

    Technology was used only to a limited extent in the 2004 General Elections.   BJP projected Vajpayee as PM Candidate.  For the first time in the Indian elections, a candidate was projected as a PM candidate.

    After 2004, Political Communication Strategists emerged in a small way to support individual leaders at the regional level. 

    In the 2009 General Elections, both BJP and Congress  used technology tools like the social media, SMS / telephone campaign, etc.  Advani and Dr Manmohan Singh were projected as PM candidates of BJP and Congress respectively.  BJP was the major user of technology tools.  BJP lost the elections.

    Till 2009, there was no 'paid media' concept.  Political parties appointed advertising agencies to plan and place their advertisements. 

    The 2014 (Post Modi) Era

    Narendra Modi (BJP) used technology tools like the social media, 3D hologram, mobile phones, smart phones, etc in Gujarat Assembly Elections in 2012. 

    Political Techno Strategies were used in the 2014 General Elections.   Professionals like Prashant Kishore supported the BJP campaign. A more professional approach towards the campaign, like survey, big data analytics, and micro-management of the campaign through technology were used.  New technologies like Augmented Reality (QR code) and Virtual Reality (like hologram) were also used.

    The campaign branded Narendra Modi as PM candidate.  Slogans like 'Acche Din' (Good Days/Times) and 'Aap ki Bar Modi Sarkar' (This Time, It’s Modi’s Government) attracted voters nationwide.  They involved the youth through the social media.  The campaign was supplemented by a large number of road shows (public meetings) in different states.  The Congress could not match the technology-driven campaign of BJP. BJP and its alliance parties won the election with a big margin, leaving the Congress disappointed.  

    The same model was used in other state elections held subsequently in Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Delhi.  The BJP lost in Delhi and Bihar, indicating that creating 'hype' alone might not be enough to win elections and that it should be coupled with field work.  This new type of campaign will be adopted in the 2016 Assembly Elections.  Some of the regional political parties have begun employing the expertise of professionals for their campaigns.

    After 2009, media houses were encouraging 'sponsored news' or 'paid news' to propagate positive and success stories.  Although the Election Commission and the Press Council of India have banned the 'paid news' concept, excepting a few media houses, many others have been promoting this concept for earning revenue.  Ironically, the same media houses shout about 'values and ethics’, while they go about to the extent of publishing/telecasting sponsored 'opinion polls' in favour of one party or the other.

    Traditional Vs Modern Campaign

    In the traditional campaign, the political leaders and workers had personal interaction with the voters.  After the introduction of the technology campaign, personal interactions were lost.  Since 80% of the voters are not connected with technology tools, traditional campaign model requires to be supplemented.  The technology tools are useful for creating a 'brand image'. 

    In the traditional model, the leaders emerged from the grass root level with knowledge about the nuances of various problems. Vajpayee, Advani, Karunanidhi, MGR, NTR, Kamaraj, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Narasimha Rao, Bansilal, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lallu Prasad Yadav, Mayavati, Mamta Banerjee and Sharath Pawar are examples of such leaders who had emerged from the grass root.  But in the technology model, leaders are emerging from the social media, eg. Arvind Kejriwal, and Narendra Modi as PM candidate). 
    Hype is created through intensive campaigns using the social media and other technology tools, the projected leader runs the risk of losing his image when the campaign ceases. In other words, the leaders or the brand created out of this hype is unable to stand on their own but rely on a virtual standing.  For this reason, a fair mix of both traditional and technology strategies is necessary.

    Presently, political parties suffer from a bad culture of hooliganism, rowdyism, etc.  In future, it is hoped that a balance can be maintained in the political culture, with the emergence of new-age educated leaders.

    By K Srinivasan, Editor in Chief

    Reproduced from the cover story of Jan 2016 issue of ezine PreSense www.prpoint.com/ezine/presense0116.pdf

  • BJP's communication disaster and Delhi Assembly Election 2015

    primepoint.in | Tue, 10 Feb 2015 16:44:00 +0000

    Delhi Assembly Elections 2015
    Delhi Assembly Elections 2015 were held on 7th Feb 2015 and the results were announced today (10th Feb 2015).  Aam Adhmi Party (AAP) won 67 seats in the 70 member Assembly.  The remaining 3 seats were bagged by BJP.  Congress could not get even a single seat.

    Comparison between Dec 2013 and Feb 2015 elections

    Delhi Assembly elections were held on 4th Dec 2013.  BJP secured 31 seats (26.04 lakh votes - 33.07% vote share), AAP secured 28 seats (23.22 lakhs - 29.5%) and Congress secured 8 seats (19.32 lakhs - 24.55%).

    In the Assembly Elections held in Feb 2015,  BJP secured only 3 seats (28.91 lakhs - 32.2%), AAP secured 67 seats (48.79 lakhs - 54.3%).  Congress could not secure even a single seat though they could get 8.67 lakhs votes with 9.7% vote share.

    In 2015, BJP lost around 0.8% vote share with increase of around 2.9 lakh votes.  AAP gained 24.5% vote share with increase of 25.5 lakh votes.  Congress lost around 10.7 lakh votes with reduction of 14.8% vote share.

    During May 2014, BJP won all the 7 Lok Sabha seats of Delhi.

    Why BJP lost heavily in the Assembly Elections at Delhi?

    Amit Shah, Kiran Bedi, Narendra Modi
    Though BJP with Modi and Amit Shah as lead campaigners swept the Lok Sabha Elections in May 2014 and subsequent Assembly elections in Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, etc., they failed to impress the Delhi voters.  Practically, the so called 'Modi wave' got drowned in 'Kejri Tsunami'.  We have been closely watching the developments from the time of announcement of elections and also interacting with various media persons at Delhi, bureaucrats, party workers, party leaders at different level.  A time has come that BJP (read Modi and Amit Shah) should introspect on the 'great fall' and take corrective steps to repose confidence on the Indian public. We share our views based on our interaction and observation.

    1.  During Lok Sabha Elections, Modi generated lot of positive slogans like 'aap ki bar modi sarkar', acche din, etc.  He even promised to credit a sum of Rs.15 lakhs to all the citizens out of the recovery of black money in foreign banks.  Even after 8 months, people did not get the feel of all the promises.  Though Modi might have taken initiative, which could bear results after two or three years, nothing was communicated to general public.  Modi continues with his election type of speeches.  People want only action, nothing but action. 

    2.  There is a lack of communication between PMO and the Media. Earlier, Media Advisors or some experts used to manage the information flow.  Now, Prime Minister Modi himself has taken up the task upon himself and uses the social media to tweet his views. Ministers and spokes persons do not talk about the various initiatives taken up by the Government.  Every day only negatiave discussions are going on the TV channels throughout the country for one reason or other.  Even major discussions with Obama was not properly informed to the Media.  Instead of discussing the points that can project PM, the media started discussing about frivolous and trivial issues.  

    3.  When Modi was the CM of Gujarat, he was known for his connectivity.  After his becoming PM, even the Ministers seem to be afraid of talking to him directly and discussing the issues of importance.  There appears to be an increasing gap between the PM and the Ministers and political leaders.  

    4.  Instead of addressing the local problems of voters, the PM has spent most of his days in foreign relations.  Though, it may be strategy to develop the nation, the message has not gone well with the general public, due to lack of good communication.  Though the Government and the party is spending huge amount in advertisement, it is not generating good perception.  Even the Modi admirers are frustrated.

    5.  After the announcement of elections, Modi and Amit Shah suddenly introduced Kiran Bedi, a new entrant to the party as CM candidate.  Such authoritative 'i am the boss, i dont care for others' attitude has distanced the party cadre away. It is learnt that even senior leaders got frustrated with this decision.  Though the leaders like Harsha Vardhan led the party to massive victory in Dec 2013 and again in May 2014, they were sidelined without giving proper reasons.  Even many of the senior leaders did not like this attitude of Modi + Amit Shah duo and they could not ventilate their feelings.  Right on the day of induction of Kiran Bedi, there were lot of reports about the arrogant attitude of Kiran Bedi and how she might become liability to the party.  Her media talks were also not liked by the people.  Probably Modi and Amit Shah have taken the leaders, cadre and the voters for granted.  Their own party members feel that the earlier victories in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections have gone into their head.  

    6.  Though Delhi was in the Central Government's rule for nearly 8 months, the Central Government did not take any initiative to fulfill the promise made during the Lok Sabha Elections.  In addition, there are allegations that the Councillors of New Delhi Municipal Corporation did not do any work in their wards and they were indulging in corruption.  
    7.  On one side, Modi was talking about development during election campaign.  On the other side, few leaders in the party talk controversial issues against minorities, building temple to killer of Mahatma Gandhi, etc.  Party leadership did not take any action to curb such lose talks which damaged the image of Modi and party.   Even the minorities who reposed faith on Modi started moving away. 

    8.  During the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, BJP and Modi were talking about 'Development' and they did not indulge in personal attacks.  During that time, Congress campaigned with personal attacks on Modi.  People rejected the personal attacks and liked only positive campaign.  Unfortunately, in Delhi Elections 2015, BJP adopted the negative campaign against Kejriwal.  Even Modi personally targetted him.  This has brought Kejriwal to the centre stage.  Further Kejriwal seeking apology for his anarchic deeds in his earlier  term as CM brought confidence among the voters.  

    9.  Arvind Kejriwal was projecting himself as an aam adhmi with his normal dress (muffler, pant shirt, etc.).  During Lok Sabha Elections, Modi projected himself as 'chaiwala' and got the dividend.  Now, Modi is seen as 'pro-rich' PM with change of dress several times in a day and wearing a suit costing 10 lakhs.  Since the media relation is very bad, they could not control the media who projects Modi as close to Ambanis and Adanis.  

    10.  UPA started its 'disconnect' with the people and the party only after completion of 5 years.  This disconnect only damaged the Congress.  Now, the people feel that Modi has started his 'disconnect' within 6 months of his assuming office as PM.  This is because of the development of 'personality' cult, against the practices of BJP.  Some of the Delhi media persons say that Modi is surrounded by a few bureaucrats and their decision is only conveyed to other Ministers.  There are several MPs who are not able to meet the Prime Minister to discuss their issues.  Probably, Modi does not get the real picture from the ground.

    It is time that Modi and Amit Shah introspect on the Delhi disaster and take other leaders in their party into confidence to repose faith in the minds of Indian people.  

    A piece of advice to Arvind Kejriwal

    Arvind Kejriwal
    While we congratulate AAP team for the massive victory, we caution them not to resort to anarchy methods to resolve the problems.  They should take into confidence some of the senior political leaders from Congress and BJP and learn the intricacies of governance.  This massive victory should not go into their head. There are lot of allegations against AAP about their association with anti-national elements.  Whether they are true or false, at least from now, they should be careful about their association.  They should get associated only with people who believe in strong India and democracy.

    They should treat this as another opportunity given by the people to showcase their talents with good governance.  

    By K Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, PreSense  prpoint@gmail.com

  • The Making of the Indian Constitution – Interesting Facts

    primepoint.in | Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:57:00 +0000

    Indian Constitution
    On 26th Jan 2015, India celebrates the 66th Republic Day with joy and gaiety.  While conveying the greetings to all the readers,  we thought of sharing some interesting facts about the significance  of this day for the benefit of our young members.  

    British Rule

    The first Britishers entered India in 1579.  Thereafter, merchants started coming in and soon began to rule us.  In 1765, the Authority was transferred to the East India Company formally.  Then the British Parliament took over the  administration.  Indians started protesting the foreign rule even from the  18th century.  The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 to formally fight the foreign rulers.  After the entry of Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom movement became dynamic.  Before Independence, India was governed by various Acts enacted by the British Parliament.  The Government of India Act 1858, the Government of India Act 1909, the Government of India Act 1919 and finally the Govt. of India Act 1935 framed by the British Parliament governed Indians. (These Acts became irrelevant after Independence and the adoption of Indian Constitution)

    Constituent Assembly Formed

    After the prolonged struggle and negotiations, as a fore-runner of Independence, a 'Constituent Assembly' was formed with members representing different regions and religions.  The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9th December 1946.  Many great leaders  were part of this Assembly.  On the first day, 207 members participated. 

    On the first day, Acharya Kriplani, one of the respected leaders, started the proceedings invoking the 'divine blessings' and proposing the name of Shri Sachchidananda Sinha (Bihar), the eldest member of the Assembly  as 'Provisional Chairman' till the Chairman was elected.  

    Shri C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) was the first member to present the credentials and sign the register to become the member of the Constituent Assembly.  

    On the third day, Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The designation 'Chairman' was subsequently replaced as 'President of the Constituent Assembly'.  

    India attained freedom and Independence on 15th August 1947 and this Constituent Assembly took the Governance of India from the British Parliament.  Lord Mountbatten was requested by the Constituent Assembly to continue as Governor General for some time.  Shri C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) took over as the Governor General on 21st June 1948 and he continued till 26th Jan 1950. Rajaji was the first Indian Governor General of India.  After 26th Jan 1950, the Governor General post was made as President of India.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad become the first President of India. 
    Framing Draft Constitution for India.

    After the Indian Independence, the Constituent Assembly wanted to frame the Constitution for India. They constituted a 'Committee to draft the constitution' on 29th August 1947 with the Chairmanship of Dr B. R. Ambedkar.  Shri Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Shri K. M. Mushi, Shri Saiyid Mohd Saadulla, Shri B L Mitter and Shri D. P. Khaitan were included as other members  of this Committee.

    These eminent people drafted the Indian Constitution and presented to the Constituent Assembly on 4th November 1947.

    Discussion in the Constituent Assembly

    The Constituent Assembly discussed this Draft Constitution in 114 sittings, spread over 2 years 11 months and 17 days thoroughly. The final Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949.  This day is also known as National Law Day.  

    Constitution Document Signed

    On 24th January 1950, 284 members of the Constituent Assembly signed the document and presented the official Constitution to the nation.  Two hand-written copies of our Constitution (one in English and the other in Hindi), illuminated by artists and one print copy of English Version were signed by the members.  

    After putting their signatures, all the members including Dr. Rajendra Prasad (President of India Elect) and other members sang Vandemataram and Jana Gana Mana in chorus, symbolising a great achievement of the Sovereign Independent Republic of India, after a struggle of nearly three centuries.  

    If you want to read the proceedings of the Constitutent Assembly verbatim, please click the link

    This cartoon was published by Hindustan Times on 24th January 1950, two days before the first Indian Republic Day.  This cartoon was drawn by the popular cartoonist Enver Ahmed.  In this cartoon, Mother India gives birth to a baby called 'The Republic of India' and the DOCTOR Ambedkar holds the baby in his hands and gives a gentle touch.  Congress Party is depicted as Nurse.  The people of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Vallabhai Patel are looking at the new born baby with great anxiety.   
Indian Constitution - Some interesting facts

The Indian Constitution, drafted by great visionaries, continues to be one of the best constitutions in the world. Many global legal experts have praised our constitution.  The Indian Constitution contains 22 parts, 395 articles, 12 schedules and 2 appendices. Over a period of 66 years, the Constitution has undergone 99 amendments.  The last amendment being the formation of National Judicial appointments Commission

We are publishing the finer details for the benefit of all the youngsters.  The freedom and soverignity we enjoy did not come on a single day.  Our elders have struggled and lost their lives in the freedom movement spread over nearly 300 years.  The great visionary leaders have also provided us a great Constitution.  None of these leaders, who had signed the constitution is alive today.  
It is the responsiblity of every one of us to salute our great leaders and freedom fighters on this day and live upto their vision.

By K Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, PreSense
(Further updated and edited on 27 Jan 2016) 

  • Terrorists attack on Indian Parliament – 13th Dec 2001 - Homage to martyrs

    primepoint.in | Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:30:00 +0000

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to the martyrs of the Parliament attack - 13th Dec 2014

    Indian Parliament attacked

    On December 13, 2001, the Indian Parliament was in its winter session. At 11.30 in the morning, five armed terrorists belonging to Pakistan supported Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist groups, drove through the gates of Parliament House in a white Ambassador car, fitted with an Improvised Explosive Device.

    When they were challenged, they jumped out of the car and opened fire. In the gun battle that followed, all the attackers were killed. Eight security personnel and a gardener were killed too. 22 people were injured.

    The police said that the dead terrorists had enough explosives to blow up the Parliament building, and enough ammunition to take on a whole battalion of soldiers. Unlike most terrorists, these five left behind a thick trail of evidences — weapons, mobile phones, phone numbers, ID cards, photographs, packets of dry fruit, and even a love letter.

    There were about 100 Members of Parliament in the building at the time, although none was hurt.

    Prime Minister’s TV speech

    The then Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, made a televised address to the nation shortly after the attacks, and was quick to denounce the militants.

    "This was not just an attack on the building. It was a warning to the entire nation." he said. "We accept the challenge."

    Investigations and arrest

    On Dec 14 and 15, the investigating agencies, together with the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, captured four people under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) that was then in force. They were Afsal Guru, SAR Geelani, a Delhi University professor, Navjot, also known as Afsan, and her husband, Shaukat Hussain Guru.

    Geelani and Afsan were let off and Shaukat Hussain Guru's death sentence was reduced to 10 years' imprisonment and he is now out of jail.

    Death sentence to Afzal Guru

    Afzal Guru was sentenced to death on Dec 18, 2002, by a trial court, which the Delhi High Court upheld on Oct 29, 2003. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court on Aug 4, 2005. 

    Execution of Afzal Guru

    After the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, who was involved in the Mumbai attack, a large section of the Indian population demanded the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was the master mind behind this Parliament attack. Human Rights’ organizations protested against the hanging of Afzal Guru. For fear of Muslim backlash in Kashmir and elsewhere, the Government of India withheld the decision without hanging him.

    The citizens desired that there should not be any mercy on the terrorists and that all terrorists should be treated as terrorists, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion, because terrorism was beyond all religions and beliefs
    Afzal Guru's mercy petition was rejected by the President of India on 3rd Feb 2013. 
    Afzal Guru was hanged six days later on 9 February 2013 at 8 am.   Very few officers were told about the decision. Three doctors and a maulvi, who performed his last rites, were informed secretly a night before. They were asked to come early Saturday morning. Guru performed his morning prayers and read a few pages of the Quran. The execution of Mohammed Afzal Guru was named Operation Three Star.

    It is a different story that some of our human right activisits, secular leaders and some media criicised the Government for hanging Afzal Guru secretly.  However, major poliical parties like Congress and BJP welcomed the hanging.

    By Prime Point Srinivasan

  • Hoping for Peace in Jammu & Kashmir – Braving Bullets, People Choose Ballot

    primepoint.in | Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:37:00 +0000

    In the evening of 25th November 2014, when television channels flashed the news of a 72% voter turnout in the first phase of the Kashmir Assembly Elections, the entire nation was pleasantly surprised.  The election of the members to the Legislative Assembly of the Jammu and Kashmir state is being held in five phases commencing 25th November 2014. The total number of seats in the J&K Legislative Assembly is 111, of which 24 seats fall in the regions occupied illegally by Pakistan.  Hence the election is being held only for 87 seats, as the Election Commission is unable to hold elections in the 24 seats, occupied illegally by Pakistan. 

    As against the five-year term for their counterparts in the other parts of India, the term of office for these legislators is six years under the 'Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir'.  The major political parties in the state are the National Conference (NC), the Indian National Congress (INC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP). The results will be declared on December 23, 2014.  J&K State has three regions, viz. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.  The current population is around 13 million, of which nearly 7 million are eligible voters. 

    Accession to India and a Separate Constitution for J&K

    On 15th August 1947 immediately after the independence of India, all the princely states numbering more than 560 were acceded to India due to the indefatigable efforts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel and V.P. Menon.  Jammu & Kashmir was handled directly by the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.  The Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, Hari Singh signed The Instrument of Accession on 26th October 1947 and the same was accepted by the Governor General on 27th October 1947. Though 2.2 lakh sq. kms of land was handed over to India through The Instrument of Accession, only 46% is now available in India's possession, due to some historical botches in the early years after independence.
    The first elections were held in 1951.  With the boycott of all the political parties in the elections (due to the rejection of valid nominations), the National Conference headed by Sheikh Abdullah, won 75 out of the 75 seats.  Although all the 560 princely states became part of Union of India smoothly, accepting the Indian Constitution, the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheik Abdullah had an ‘understanding’ which is known as the ‘1952 Agreement’.  This understanding provided more power to J&K to make laws, conferring special rights and privileges to the state subjects. This was debated in the Lok Sabha in July 1952.  All the opposition leaders did not favour this ‘understanding’.  No written agreement is available in any Government records. 

    The elected members of the 1951 election formed the 'Constituent Assembly' to draft a 'Constitution for Jammu and Kashmir'.  The Constitution of J&K was adopted on 17th November 1956.  The Preamble and Part II, section (3) of the Constitution state 'The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India'

    As per this new constitution, many of the Indian Laws are not be applicable in J&K without the concurrence of the State Government.  The Head of the State Government was called the Prime Minister, and later renamed Chief Minister in 1965. 

    The subsequent elections for the Legislative Assembly were held in March 1957.  Till 1977, elections were held once in 5 years.  Through an amendment in the J&K Constitution, the term of the Legislative Assembly was extended to 6 years from 1977.  The Indian Election Commission was given the jurisdiction to conduct elections by another amendment to the J&K Constitution in 1965.  The first Lok Sabha Members were elected from J&K only in 1967. Earlier, only nominated members represented in the Lok Sabha.

    Challenges and Controversies

    In the militancy and separatist movement in 1988, more than 4 lakh Hindus were displaced from the Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley.  They had to move out of their villages, leaving behind their lands and houses.  “It is a shame for all, that a citizen of this nation had to move out of his own place and live in a relief camp like a refugee, in his own country”, said Yajjin Bhatt, one of the migrants from Anantanag and presently living in Delhi. All their properties in Anantanag were forcefully occupied by the local people, without any compensation to the evicted.  Although the Election Commission allows these displaced people to vote in the elections by setting up special booths at Jammu, Udhamput and Delhi, not many migrants have voted as they did not register themselves as voters.  Many of the migrants from Kashmir Valley have moved to various parts of the country; perhaps they had opted to enroll themselves in the states/places where they chose to settle, instead of going to the special booths in the specified places.

    During the partition in 1947, thousands of Hindu families came from West Pakistan and settled in the Jammu region. Sadly, these refugees (presently 3 lakh people, mostly belonging the Scheduled Caste and the Dalit community) are not able to vote in the elections for the Legislative Assembly and Gram Sabhas, due to some restricting clauses in the J&K Constitution. They are also not allowed to pursue higher studies in J&K. They are however, eligible to vote in the Lok Sabha Elections. These people have since been fighting for their rights in vain, for more than 60 years.

    Ranjan from Haryana, a researcher on J&K issues, says that there is no reservation for the SC/ST candidates in the Kashmir Valley region for the elections.  “The Government does not follow the reservation policies for SC/ST/OBC as followed in the other parts of India. Though J&K has more than 14% ST population, the state does not have any reservation for STs as provided in the Indian Constitution. Many of the important Indian constitutional provisions like fundamental rights, right to education, the Panchayat Raj, the Central RTI Act, are not applicable to J&K, due to Article 370”, Ranjan adds.

    During the past 25 years, no films have been screened in the theatres of Kashmir valley, due to the presence of militants.  If a Kashmiri woman marries a person outside J&K, the spouse and the children are not eligible to vote in the elections for the Legislative Assembly. Although the Central Government provides per capita central funding to J&K  to the extent of more than 8 times as compared to the other states, there is no visible development in the State.  “Maladministration and corruption are mainly responsible for the siphoning of these central funds.  Only 50 families in the state are the beneficiaries”, adds Ranjan, with a sense of helplessness.

    Militants and separatist organisations have been relentlessly trying to influence the people of Kashmir Valley. However, in the recent days, the people have started thinking about the need for development in the state.  Some of the separatist groups too have started feeling that integrating with India could provide them better opportunities. The excellent work done by the Indian Army during the recent floods, by saving thousands of lives, has given the people an inclination towards integrating with the rest of India.

    Landmark Elections in 2002

    The elections in the state upto 2002 were allegedly marked by rigging and violence in order to give an edge to some of the political outfits. Since 1988, the people behind the separatist movement threatened the voters against participating in the elections.  In this backdrop, the Legislative Assembly elections of 2002 and the Lok Sabha Election of 2004 were landmark elections in the history of J&K, setting the trend for future elections, with a virtual slap on the face of separatism. 
    “There were many complaints about the conduct of the previous elections. Prior to 2002, the militants threatened the people against participating in the elections. They had even put up posters of the image of a coffin as a threat, to create fear.  The paramilitary and the army were deployed to sensitise the area and to remove the fear of the people. The people have realised that the Indian experience was better than the Pakistan experience. The turnout was more than 45%, which was a commendable record, considering the overall tense situation prevailing then.  It was a free, fair and transparent poll conducted in the presence of international media and foreign diplomats.  The then American Ambassador in India, Robert Blackwill commended India for her commitment to hold free, fair and inclusive elections in J&K without violence”, recalled T S Krishna Murthy exclusively to PreSense.  T S Krishna Murthy was then the Election Commissioner, who supervised the 2002 Assembly Elections, and later the Lok Sabha Elections in 2004 as Chief Election Commissioner.

    Present Election

    The Kashmir Valley region has 46 seats, the Jammu region has 37 seats and the Ladakh region has 4 seats.  Although the delimitation has been implemented in other parts of India, it is yet to be implemented in J&K.  Around 7 million voters will now be casting their votes to elect their new Government.  With the free, fair and transparent election process, the nation now awaits hopefully for the newly elected Government to resolve the problems of J&K.  It is very encouraging to see the voters enthusiastically participating in the elections, braving the threats by the extremists.  We hope the same enthusiasm will continue for integration of J&K with the rest of the nation.

    By K Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, PreSense

  • India – Pakistan war 1947 (Historical blunder 1)

    primepoint.in | Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:02:00 +0000

    When India and Pakistan were given independence in August 1947, the British Government gave the choice to the Princely States, existing then in the Indian sub-continent, to join either India or Pakistan. With the efforts of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the then Home Minister, who was also known as the ‘Iron Man of India’, 566 Princely states (excepting 3 states) chose India.

    Maharaj Hari Singh
    At that time, Jammu & Kashmir State was ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh (Father of Dr Karan Singh, a well known leader presently).  The state, with a majority of Muslims, was ruled by a Hindu King. The state consisted of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladak.  While the Kashmir Valley had a majority Muslim population, the people in Jammu and Ladak were mainly Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.  As he was under pressure from both India and Pakistan to accede to their Governments, he postponed his decision.

    Pakistan invading India

    Meanwhile, in October 1947, Pakistan organised a clandestine invasion of the State by a force of Pathan tribesmen, ex-servicemen and soldiers ‘on leave’. They broke out in Pooch in Southwest of Kashmir.  The Pakistan army gave them full support and back-up as  they wanted to capture Kashmir within a week.  Maharaja’s army could not withstand this sudden invasion.

    Kashmir accedes to India

    In the afternoon of 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh (photo) offered to accede to India and this was accepted by the then Governor General Lord Mountbatten on the following day.  Within a few hours, the Indian Army was sent to Kashmir valley to drive out invading tribal people and Pakistan army men.

    Indian Army fighting back Pakistan

    At that time, the Indian Army was under the control of the British officers and they had some technical problems in entering Kashmir to fight against the Pakistan army.  The Indian Army under the leadership of Major S K Singh (who later became the Governor of J & K State entered Kashmir Theatre.  In spite of bad weather, they managed to airlift the army men in 800 Dakota sorties from Delhi to Srinagar within a short time. `Lord Mountbatten recorded: “In my long experience of war, I have not come across another such massive airlift carried out so successfully.”

    Sudden orders to cease fire

    The Indian Army was highly successful in chasing out the invaders.  Had they continued for another week or a little more, they would have flushed them out completely. Meanwhile, the Indian Army got the orders to cease fire and to halt the advance to Muzaffarabad. The British Commander, Russell was surprised by the orders. He felt they were losing a golden opportunity. He was of the view that the Indian forces should advance to   Muzaffarabad and seal the border by securing the two bridges at Kohala and Domel. Sealing the entry points into Kashmir, he opined, would also relieve the pressure on the besieged forces in Poonch.

    The then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took up the matter with the UN Security Council and under Resolution 47 of UN, ordered Pakistan to withdraw the troops for a free and fair ‘plebiscite’ in Jammu & Kashmir region.  Although Pakistan did not withdraw their troops from the J & K Region, the cease fire came into force from 1st Jan 1949.  

    Was India’s  move an historical blunder?

    Because of this, Pakistan occupied nearly 35% of the J & K Region ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh, who acceded to India. This portion is still known as ‘Pakistan occupied Kashmir’ and the problems continues till date.

    According to the Army officers and the political leaders of that day, taking up Kashmir issue to UN by Pandit Nehru was a great ‘historical blunder’.  If the Indian Army  had continued the war for another week without declaring a unilateral cease fire, the Indian army would have flushed all the invaders out of the Indian territory and Kashmir would not have become a grave issue today.  The Indian Army site even records the event like this(http://goo.gl/ytupG):

    Quote: Before the remaining areas occupied by Pakistan could be liberated by Indian troops, a cease fire came into effect on 1 January 1949. After bitter fighting lasting 14 months, UN mediation brought about an uneasy truce. Unquote.

    Since the majority of the Kashmiri people at that time were more keen on joining India, ‘plebiscite’ immediately after the flushing out invaders would have permanently resolved the Kashmir issue.  Instead the then Indian Government took this issue to UN for intervention, which complicated the problem further and it  remains unresolved till date.

    Source: www.prpoint.com/ezine/presense1012.pdf

  • Narendra Modi – Statesman cum Rock Star in Australia

    primepoint.in | Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:57:00 +0000

    The recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to Australia and other countries to participate in the G20 Summit has raised eyebrows of many international leaders. His speeches at the G20 Summit and the Australian Parliament has promoted the image of India among the world leaders.  After Obama, Modi was the much sought after leader for individual meetings by many leaders.

    The visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Australia after 28 years has raised hopes among the Indian Australian community. Six hundred volunteers, mainly youth, worked for nearly two months non-stop to arrange the big event in Sydney, where Modi spoke.  More than 21,000 people attended the meeting, addressed by Modi in the evening of the 17th of November, 2014.  A special train named 'Modi Express' was run between Melbourne and Sydney to enable people to attend the Modi speech. Besides, a large number of native Australians too attended the event. Gujarati Muslims, dressed in traditional attire, were also present at the event. 

    The following day, Modi had addressed 500 top  business leaders at  Melbourne. This event was organised by the Australia India Business Council. Accompanied by cricket legends like Kapil Dev, Gavaskar, and VVS Lakshman, he unveiled the ICC World Cup 2015 Trophy in the presence of the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott at the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCG). 

    During his visit to Australia, Modi generated the 'Modi Fever' among all including the media, in the entire country.  He presented to them a new vision of India that combines nationalism with modernity.  When Modi spoke, the world leaders listened to him.

    The local media described Modi’s visit as a grand success. It is opined that even Obama’s visit did not create such an impact.  More than a political leader, he proved himself to a 'rock star', attracting the attention of everybody. 

    On behalf of Primepoint blog, K. Srinivasan interviewed Prof. Murali Dharan, an Indian Australian, living in Sydney for more than 30 years. The interview was conducted through email. 

    Prof. Murali is a senior Management Professor and also the Chair of the Education Industry Chapter of Australia India Business Council, which had organised Modi’s Melbourne meet with top business leaders.  

    Q: This is the first time after 28 years that an Indian Prime Minister has visited Australia.  What is the feeling about this among the Indians there?

    A:  All the Indians in Australia, both young and  old, awaited the Indian PM in
    Australia for 28 years and  all were excited when he arrived. PM Modi is a man with a mission. He showed great leadership, friendship, common-touch and a great sense of humour, to capture the hearts and  minds of the Indians and the Australians in Australia. Every paper carried the news about him on the front page. Several of them described his visit as 'sensational', 'rock-star performance' etc. It is not just a mass popularity. Many  economic and business professionals too believe that he has struck the right agreements and partnerships to deliver great trade, business and other mutual benefits for people of India and Australia.

    Q: There were many international leaders during that time.  What did the Australian Government and the people there feel about the visit of the Indian PM.  How did they view Modi?

    A:  Modi is seen as a  special leader, since he represents  the largest democracy, the third largest economy  and  the emerging superpower.  Due to his charisma and  friendliness  with the Australian PM, Tony Abbott,  the Australian PM addressed Modi several times, using his first name, Narendra. The positive vibes between these leaders were reflected during their joint participation in the G20 sessions, joint sitting of the Parliament and the Melbourne Cricket Ground with cricketers.

    Modi is seen as a great leader with a 'Can-Do' attitude, who can transform India, cut down bureaucracy and improve conditions. For instance, Modi announced that all Australians would get the Visa-On-Arrival, thus cutting down a major hurdle for many Australians wanting to visit India.

    Modi also signed 5 major treaties, including a joint military and security cooperation treaty with Australia. This is a critical step in regional security, which could be aimed at containing China.

    Q:  As a management professor, do you feel that this visit of the Indian PM will help improve the relations and trade between the two countries.  How does India stand to gain?

    A: India should gain substantially from this visit, most definitely in the business, trade and investments by Indians. Several Indian business leaders accompanied Modi and engaged with their Australian counterparts. Indian students, arts and culture will stand to benefit immensely, with Modi promising to open an Indian Cultural Centre in Sydney by February, 2015. People to people engagements will increase considerably. Australian minerals, especially coal, gas, and uranium will provide the fuel to fire the engine of India's economy for several decades, delivering energy security for India. There is no doubt that skilled Indian youth will deliver services in all sectors of Australia for years to come. This is a win-win situation for both the countries.

    Q: How do you rate Modi as a communicator, when compared to other international leaders?

    A: He can be described as a practical Indian leader with the common touch but with the image of a rock-star abroad! A great communicator as he changes the pitch of his voice to the audience, he proved himself a great statesman in the Australian Parliament, while coming across as a common man when speaking to the Indian diaspora. He spoke about the day-to-day problems (peppered with lot of humour) and told how he intended to resolve them. As he stood with the Australian leaders, he was a visionary leader of 1.2 billion people!

    Q: Can you describe your experience and feeling about Modi visit, in a single sentence?

    A: Moment of great pride and transformation for India.

    Please watch this rendering of the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana by 20,000 people at the Olympic Arena in Sydney. This was filmed by me with a small camera!

    Prof. Murali Dharan can be reached at murali2000@hotmail.com 

    By K. Srinivasan Edited by Susan Koshy

  • 100 Days of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister

    primepoint.in | Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:14:00 +0000

    When a new Prime Minister or Chief Minister takes charge, their performance is generally not reviewed within 6 months to one year.  Ironically, in the case of Narendra Modi, the review of his performance started even before he assumed office. Modi’s poll campaign created high expectations among the people, so much so that people expected India’s problems of 65 years, to be solved within a day of his becoming Prime Minister.  In the first week of September 2014, Modi completed 100 days in office as the Prime Minister. Almost the entire media reviewed his 100 days’ performance.

    On behalf of your ezine PreSense, we conducted a quick online/offline survey to assess how people perceived the ‘Modi Sarkar’ at the end of its 100 day rule. Nearly 70% of the respondents gave a rating of over 80% for his vision, governance and communication. So it seems that Modi continues to enjoy the confidence of the people.


    The respondents were asked to indicate one single achievement of Modi’s governance that they considered outstanding. What stood out were his foreign policy initiatives, that is, the manner in which he got down quickly to build/rebuild relationships with foreign countries. His vision for the nation and commitment to  goals, use of technology in governance, his direct  communication with the citizens through the social media, and his ‘Make in India’ campaign were considered the great achievements of his first 100 days. Less government and more governance was his motto during the elections and it has now been amplified to effective governance.

    When we interacted offline with some various groups, including political adversaries of Modi, they hailed his initiatives such as maintaining good relations with foreign countries and marketing India. Many appreciated his focus on increasing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP, to improve it from 16% to 25%.

    A senior bureaucrat from Delhi told us on conditions of anonymity that he could see a sea change in the discipline of bureaucrats and other staff members.  He said ministers and officials got the uncanny feeling that they were being monitored by an ‘invisible eye’.

    Another bureaucrat told us in confidence that though Modi’s experiences were drawn from a state administration, he understood the nuances of Central administration well and adapted himself very quickly.  He started clearing the stumbling blocks to good governance.  “We will be able to see the results of his governance within two years”, he added.

    The leader of a political party admitted that Modi’s constant contact with the youth through the social media was his ‘master stroke’ that would produce long term gains.  A ruling party leader admitted that Modi had a huge back office of social media experts working on analysis of feedback received from the public. Thanks to his communication style, Modi has become an icon among the youth both in India and abroad.  He seems to galvanise the positive energies in people, including the youth, towards nation building activities.

    Expectations Not Yet Fulfilled

    In our study, we also asked the people about their unfulfilled expectations from Modi, and the issues that needed attention. Many of the respondents were of the view that Modi needed to focus more on the internal issues, such as price rise, power crisis and unemployment.   Many of them felt that the initiatives to curb corruption and repatriate black money from the Swiss banks were not visible, as promised during the election campaign. (Incidentally, Modi has set up a high-powered committee to devise ways and means to bring back money, siphoned out of the country by politicians and industrialists. The committee is to submit a report shortly to the government. Also, the Swiss banks have agreed in principle to share information about the source from which they receive funds).

    One of the professors of a reputed institute confided that Modi should control some of his indiscreet party colleagues, spreading ‘hate messages’ while Modi was emphasising ‘inclusive growth and development’.

    One of the main criticisms against Modi’s style of governance by his party members was that in the process of improving governance, Modi had distanced himself from the party leaders and cadre. Modi was known for his easy accessibility to all when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.   In the name of ‘minimum government and maximum governance’, he centralised the authoritative powers at the Prime Minister’s Office.  Quoting the recent setback because of the party’s poor performance in the bye-elections, party men feared that continued disconnect with the party cadre could adversely affect their political performance in the long run.

    Modi and the Media

    During the past ten years, Modi had faced a hostile media.  After assuming office as Prime Minister, Modi kept the mainline media away from his tours.  He advised his ministers and Members of Parliament to refrain from speaking to the media unnecessarily. The way things look now, Modi intends to focus more on performance than promises. Unlike his predecessors, Modi does not have a high profile media advisor but carried over his PA from Gujarat who doubles up as his media advisor.

    He reportedly told leading editors in Delhi that he would directly get in touch with them if there was a major newsbreak.  Modi’s main mode of public communication is the social media. This style has evoked mixed reactions from the journalists.  

    No doubt, 100 days is too short a period for a fair evaluation of Modi’s governance.  Cutting across party lines and age, the survey indicated that Modi has emerged as a ‘strong and dependable leader’ of India, the only one after Indira Gandhi.  He has inspired and ignited hope in the hearts of the Indian youth in India and abroad. A senior journalist said that Modi is among those rare leaders in the recent past who inspire confidence in the people.

    Sum up

    In spite of initial hiccups, Modi has already emerged as a leader of international stature, judging by his address at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York recently. He focused on issues of global importance such as water, sanitation, cleanliness and of course eradication of poverty and the united fight against terrorism caused by fissiparous elements regrouping themselves across the world. Modi told the world from the august podium of the UNGA that he was a leader to watch for, and diplomats have already started comparing him to international leaders like Kennedy and Thatcher, in the manner in which he looks at global issues and addresses them. Modi’s message against groupings, ‘G-8 or G-20 should actually give way to G-all’ emphasised that all nations should come together for a common goal of development instead of a group of rich nations determining the destiny of all. Diplomats have hailed this approach.

    The industry back home and others in the politico socio cultural milieu claim he is the best bet for India and would lead the nation to greater heights and prosperity.  For this, he needs to be given more time and space and a free hand, sans impatient cynicism. Give him the allowance of a couple of years to effect the positive changes he wants to bring to the nation. The process of unwinding from a system of 65 years of bureaucratic cocoon takes time.

    By K. Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, PreSense

  • CSAT - Civil Service Examination controversy

    primepoint.in | Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:16:00 +0000

    CSAT – Civil Service Exmination

    In the last week of July 2014, IAS aspirants in North India went on a mass protest against the CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test), introduced as the second paper in  the preliminary examinations for the Civil Services.  This protest echoed in the Parliament, leading to adjournments.

    Introduction of CSAT
    The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is an independent body that selects candidates to various positions in the Central Government. Earlier, the selection of suitable candidates to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and other allied services, were done at two levels, viz. the main examination and the interview.  Since several hundred thousand candidates applied for hundreds of posts, in 1979, UPSC introduced a three-level system to select the candidates.

    A preliminary examination was conducted to select the candidates to the next level of screening, the main examinations.  Out of the number of candidates writing the preliminary examination, about twelve times the number of vacancies were selected for the main examination.

    In 2014, about 8 hundred thousand candidates applied for the Civil Service examination. Usually, four to five hundred thousand candidates write the preliminary examination. Though not declared officially, there is an estimated 1200 vacancies. Nearly twelve times the vacancies, i.e. 15,000 candidates might be selected from the preliminary exam, to appear for the main examination.

    Pattern of CSAT
    In view of the growing number of IAS aspirants, and the challenges faced in the administration, UPSC altered the format of the preliminary examination by including a paper labelled ‘CSAT’ (Civil Service Aptitude Test) to test the seven critical skills as comprehension, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning/analytical ability, problem solving/decision making, mental ability, basic numeracy and data interpretation.  This paper is set in the English language level of Standard Ten.  There would be 80 objective-type questions for 200 marks.  The candidates need to tick the correct answer from the options.

    The Hindi translation is also provided under each question, so that the candidates can answer either in English or in Hindi. Just 8 questions (out of 80) test the simple comprehension skill of the candidate in English. For these 8 questions, no Hindi translation is provided.  Incidentally, only graduates are eligible to appear for the Civil Service Examination.

    The CSAT paper was introduced in 2011 and UPSC has already run this examination thrice under this new system.

    Controversy and Objections
    v  The Hindi belt students argue that the translation into Hindi is of a higher standard.  According to them, people with the knowledge of the English language have an advantage.  They allege an unfair level-playing field between the rural and the urban students.

    v  The non-Hindi speaking students argue that the paper provides only the Hindi translation.  Non-Hindi speaking students, who are not comfortable with English, are unable to depend on Hindi as their Hindi-speaking counterparts could.  They complain that the Hindi-speaking candidates have undue advantage of the Hindi translation.

    They in turn, allege that there is no level-playing field between the Hindi-speaking and non Hindi-speaking candidates and that this is discrimination. They demand translation in all the 22 approved Regional Languages.

    This problem had cropped up on an earlier occasion.  The previous Government (UPA) had then set up a 3-member committee to examine the issue.  It may be noted that UPSC is an independent body and is not under the control or aegis of the Central Government.  The Union Minister has announced that he would request UPSC to postpone the exam. Technically, this appears improbable to happen.

    Perceptions of Different People
    Priya, an IAS aspirant, says that the new system does test the aptitude of the candidates, instead of the ‘mugging up’ (learning by rote) practice.  As a South Indian candidate, she feels it is biased towards the Hindi-speaking candidates and she questions why Hindi translation should be given for an English paper.  She questions why an IAS-aspirant, who cannot understand even a Tenth Standard level of English, should aspire to join the Civil Service.

    Shankar, who runs a well-known academy of coaching for IAS, says the urban candidates and IIT/IIM graduates find the CSAT examination paper far easier than the others.  He also feels that the current format of the question paper is advantageous for the Hindi-speaking students besides the science and engineering graduates.  

    R. Nataraj, former Director General of Police and former Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission,   says the IAS aspirants need to have an aptitude for problem-solving and decision-making, and a basic knowledge of the English language.  He says the selection process cannot be conducted according to the candidates’ terms, but has to be designed to suit the changing requirements of the employment sector.  He makes a clear distinction between election and selection.  While the politicians who are elected can be removed after their term, the selected officials cannot be removed during their service. Hence, he feels the selection has to be carried out carefully, so that most suitable and meritorious candidates get selected through a selection process which offers a level playing field to the aspirants.

    With the impending elections in the Hindi belt and other states, there would be more political pressure on UPSC to dilute the quality of the selection process for the top civil service posts. Few will have the courage to stand by the demand for upholding high standards of the candidates, to equip them to meet the global standard. They fear being accused of being ‘anti poor’ and ‘anti rural’.

    The Only Solution – Let the Candidate Prepare His Own Question Paper and Write the Examination!

    (With tongue in cheek) The only solution to the problem is to permit the candidates to set their own question papers on subjects they are comfortable with, in their preferred language, and write the answers to those self-selected questions in the examination hall.

    This way, UPSC would not have to worry about setting the question paper and can save on printing costs.  Depending on the other parameters, additional marks also can be given to satisfy all the stakeholders.

    By K. Srinivasan

  • Know about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - Their role in General Elections 2014

    primepoint.in | Tue, 03 Jun 2014 07:37:00 +0000

    RSS Chief Dr Mohan Bhagawat
    RSS Involvement in Elections

    Recently, Ram Madhav, a senior leader of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) confirmed to the media, their involvement in the recent Parliamentary Elections to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister.  Generally, RSS does not compete in the elections and does not share power.  Ram Madhav further  confirmed that this was the second time that RSS had totally involved their cadre in the election strategies. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed the active involvement of RSS in his victory.  When Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in 1975, RSS was banned and more than 10,000 RSS workers were arrested. During the 1977 General Elections, RSS worked at the ground level to defeat Indira Gandhi. During that time, the Janata Party won 345 seats out of 543 seats and formed the Government. Though RSS is an apolitical organisation, they involved their cadre to restore democracy in 1977, Ram Madhav said. 

    After 26 years, RSS recently involved their cadre again to bring a change of Government, when the nation was facing large scale corruption, policy paralysis and lack of leadership. Congress made public statements that the electoral fight was between Congress and RSS. Interestingly, NDA won 336 seats in the Lok Sabha.  RSS is known to work from behind and not publicising their achievements, however significant they might be. 

    RSS – Background

    RSS was founded by Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925 with the intention of promoting the concept of a united India and to promote indigenous ideology.  They drew inspiration from social and spiritual leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Aurobindo.  Their cadre was also active during the freedom movement.

    RSS conducts a daily one-hour ‘Shakha’ (training) of yoga, physical exercise and games for their members to develop their spirit of nationalism and patriotism.  It is reported that around 5,500 full-time workers (pracharaks) manage the RSS.  Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Narendra Modi started their public service as pracharaks.  It is also estimated that around 50,000 shakhas are held every day throughout India, with the participation of nearly 800,000 to 1,000,000 volunteer members, belonging to various castes and professions, without any discrimination of status. 

    The RSS network has more than 30 sister organisations, viz. Sangh Parivar, which includes the political wing BJP, India’s largest trade union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (11 million membership), India’s largest student union, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP with 2,200,000 members), Vidya Bharathi (running 13,500 schools with 3 million students), Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (2 million members), Muslim Rashtriya Manch (1 million members), Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram and many others.   RSS spreads the message of patriotism and nationalism in all the districts of the country through these organisations. 

    The current chief of RSS (Sarsanghchalak) Dr. Mohanji Bhagwat is the 7th chief after the launch of RSS and he is the mentor for all the Sangh Parivar organisations.

    Rescue Operations during Crises

    The RSS cadre is known for its rescue operations during disaster situations like the Bhuj earthquake in 2001, Tsunami in 2004 and the Uttarkhand disaster in 2013.

    In 1962, the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had requested RSS to assist the Government in various assignments during the Sino-Indian War.  As a gesture of goodwill, in 1963, Pandit Nehru invited RSS to participate in the Republic Day parade at New Delhi.  Again in 1965, during the Indo-Pak war, RSS was requested by the then Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri to take care of the law and order and the traffic in Delhi, so that the policemen could be spared for war duties.  Even during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, RSS cadre helped the authorities to maintain law and order in various states. 

    When Gandhiji visited a 1500-strong RSS camp at Wardha in 1934, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the Swayamsevaks were not even aware of the castes of one another, not to speak of any ideas of untouchability. The visit left such a deep impression on Gandhiji’s that he referred to it thirteen years later.


    The RSS, with its paramilitary style of functioning and its emphasis on discipline and nationalism, is sometimes seen by some as "an Indian version of fascism". When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, an ex-member of RSS, the Nehru Government banned RSS for the first time in February 1948.  Justice Kapur Commission was set up to enquire into the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.  Justice Kapur observed that RSS was not responsible for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.  The Government lifted the ban in July 1949 with the condition that RSS should adopt a constitution.  

    RSS was again banned in 1975 during Emergency and the ban was lifted in 1977. 

    Confused Perception about RSS due to Lack of PR

    RSS, as a matter of policy, does not display any reaction to bouquets or brickbats. Thus, even misleading and wrong  information about RSS go undefended. This leads to confused perceptions about it.   Even for writing this article, I had to struggle to get information as they do not have any professional Public Relations set-up, to share their positive achievements and services to the nation. 

    By K Srinivasan, Editor In Chief,PreSense

  • Know your Prime Minister Narendra Modi - Tea vendor to Prime Minister

    primepoint.in | Tue, 03 Jun 2014 07:15:00 +0000

    On 26th May 2014, Narendra Damodardas Modi (63) was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India in an impressive function at the official residence of the President of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi in the presence of Indian and international dignitaries, including the Heads of the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) nations. 

    Narendra Modi was born on 17th September, 1950 into a poor family in Gujarat. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, a social and cultural organisation) at a young age to do national service.  He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1987. He was responsible for the growth of the party’s presence in Gujarat.  Modi is known for his election strategies.  He led the BJP Party to power in Gujarat in 1995 and 1998 through his well-planned out strategies and their execution.

    In October 2001, when the Gujarat Government faced an acute governance crisis, he was asked by the Party’s leadership to take over the helm of the State as Chief Minister, in spite of his zero experience in the Government. 

    The Gujarat Experience

    After taking charge of the Gujarat Government, Modi faced several critical situations like the devastating earthquake in Bhuj, the Godhra riots and the terrorist attack on Akshardam during 2002.   Modi was accused of inaction in Godhra riots and even alleged involvement. The Supreme Court acquitted him of all the allegations and charges. During the 13 years of his Chief Ministership in Gujarat, he proved himself as a development-oriented and good administrator.

    In September 2013, in spite of the resentment of senior party leaders like L. K. Advani, he was named the Prime Ministerial candidate by BJP.  Since then, he galvanised the BJP cadre, which had remained frustrated after the poll debacles in 2004 and 2009. 

    Election Campaign – 16th General Elections

    Narendra Modi travelled more than 300,000 kilometres across the country and addressed more than 5,800 meetings and rallies.  The campaign theme Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ - meaning ‘This Time, (it’s) Modi Government’ - and ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’ appealed to the voters. Even when the opposition parties continued to taunt him personally, he pursued undauntedly, with his dream mission of forming an NDA (National Democratic Alliance) Government.  In spite of the apprehensions that he would not be able to bring together poll allies, more than 20 parties joined him in the NDA alliance.  Modi campaigned aggressively through the effective use of technology and the internet, to draw the younger generation and the middle class voters. His promise of the Gujarat model of development attracted most voters. 

    Campaign by UPA

    UPA, (United Progressive Alliance), led by the Congress Party, could not match Modi’s zealous campaigning.  Modi converted every accusation of UPA into an opportunity for himself and his party.  For example, when Mani Shankar Iyer ridiculed Modi as a ‘tea vendor’, Modi capitalised on it to attract the poor section of the society.  He held live discussions with the people across the country through video conferencing in what he called ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ (Discussions over Tea).  His nomination paper was signed by a tea vendor. 

    Various scams during the UPA regime, especially the 2G Scam and the Coalgate Scam were the main causes for the downfall of the Congress-led UPA Government. During their campaigning, the Congress focused more on pulling down Narendra Modi, than projecting their own accomplishments.  Modi thus gained the centre-stage and capitalised on this opportunity to project his strengths and capabilities, challenging Congress’ mud-slinging. Narendra Modi was projected as a strong contender as Prime Minister. The Congress and the Third Front parties on the other hand, did not name any leader or Prime Minister candidate, to match Modi’s calibre.

    The Congress and the other Third Front leaders failed to present the prospective voters with any constructive plans or strategies and instead indulged in  negative campaigning by canvassing about ‘Modi’s threat to secularism’, to the voters, missing the mood of the nation for a development agenda.  

    Narendra Modi prostrating
    In front of Parliament House before being selected by the party as Prime Minister
    Modi’s Electoral Achievement

    The aftermath of these campaigns was the sweeping performance by BJP, securing 282 seats (NDA 336 seats) out of 543 seats.  BJP gained absolute majority to form a Government on their own.  Congress won 44 seats, failing to win even the opposition party status, which required a minimum of 55 seats.The other major parties which were supporting Congress either directly or indirectly, like the Communist parties, NC, NCP, DMK, BSP and SP lost their prominence. The massive victory of Narendra Modi reflects the anger of the voters and the desire for change.

    When Narendra Modi announced Mission 272+ (which projected a win of over 272 seats in the elections), to galvanise their workers to achieve a single majority, many were skeptical.  But his untiring efforts and confidence in himself and in the system, proved him right. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his office at South Block on 27th May 2014

    On 26th May 2014, Narendra Modi was sworn in with 44 Ministers.  Just like when he took over Gujarat in 2001 as Chief Minister without any experience, he has now taken over as the Prime Minister of India without any experience in the Central Government.  Since he is perceived to be a good administrator
    Namo's top 10 ten agenda for his colleagues - graphics courtesy: Economic Times
    and listener, the expectations of voters are very high.  The economic condition of the nation, the price rise, the chronic state of corruption, strained relationship with neighbouring countries, the issue of unemployment, unaddressed issue of power shortage, and many more challenges are awaiting his attention and redressal.

    His invitation to the heads of SAARC countries has sent out a message to the world that he is interested in good relations with other countries.  Modi has created hope and confidence in the minds of the Indians. Immediately after taking charge as PM, he has also given a 10-point agenda to all his colleagues in the Government.  He shows indications of proving himself to be an effective Prime Minister.

    By K. Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, PreSense

  • Invoking Ram Rajya - Rajiv Gandhi to Narendra Modi

    primepoint.in | Mon, 05 May 2014 11:31:00 +0000

    Narendra Modi and RAjiv Gandhi
    Today (5th May 2014), Congress has accused Narendra Modi for invoking Lord Ram Rajya  during the Election Campaign at Faizabad (UP), in the viscosity of Ayodhya.  Congress has also blamed Modi for using the picture of Ram as a backdrop. Even Mahatma Gandhi was dreaming of Ram Rajya, to denote better governance.  It remains to be seen how the EC is going to deal with this accusation. 

    Inyterestingly, Rajiv Gandhi started his 1989 Election Campaign from the same Faizabad (UP) invoking Ram Rajya.  Wall Street Journal, one of the leading Amnerican newspaper wrote an article on this issue.  I quote the relevant portion from the following link.

    He (Rajiv Gandhi) launched his campaign from the neighboring city of Faizabad in the autumn of 1989.
    On a large field, before a crowd of thousands, he gave a speech from notes that had been prepared by Mani Shankar Aiyar, his special assistant and speechwriter. But, said Mr. Aiyar, the prime minister slipped in an unscripted reference to “Ram Rajya.”
    The phrase connoted the ideal governance that Lord Ram had practiced when, Hindu scripture says, he ruled Ayodhya thousands of years before. It had been a term used by Mahatma Gandhi during India’s independence struggle. But it also was used by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to promote the movement to construct a Ram temple. When Rajiv Gandhi used the phrase, his opponents accused him of pandering to divisive Hindu sentiment. 
    Still, Mr. Gandhi further embraced the Ayodhya issue soon after. In early November 1989, just weeks before the general election, the prime minister sent Buta Singh, the home minister, to the town to participate in a “shilanyas,” or symbolic temple foundation-laying ceremony.
    Interestingly, in 1980s, both Congress and BJP were competing with each other in wooing Ram Bakthas to capture votes.

  • Political snooping in India - How Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi snooped in the past?

    primepoint.in | Mon, 05 May 2014 10:29:00 +0000

    Narendra Modi and Shinde
    Now Congress is levelling charges against Modi for snooping a girl at Gujarat. Though the Union Cabinet passed a resolution long back to appoint a judicial commission, till date the Congress Government has not appointed any judge to head the commission.  Now Shinde has been making announcements that he would appoint a judge before the announcement of results. The alliance parties of Congress NC and NCP have objected to the hurry of the Government.   Many political analysts suspect the motive of the Congress Government to hype the so called snooping by Modi Government.  As I am writing this article, I get the news that the Government has deferred the appointment of Judge and leave it to the next Government, under pressure from the allies.

    Interestingly, in the past, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have snooped Menaka Gandhi, Zail Singh and P V Narasimha Rao. 
    Even recently, under UPA II, news came about how the then Home Minister Chidambaram was snooping Pranab Mukherjee, before he became the President. 

    India Today has carried a story on the political snooping.

    Famous instances of snooping in Indian politics

    Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) joint director Maloy Krishna Dhar, in his book Open Secrets: India's Intelligence Unveiled, has revealed several instances when the intelligence agency bugged the homes and offices of top politicians.

    Indira Gandhi

    Around 1980, as Indira Gandhi planned to make an electoral comeback, the IB bugged the phones of the former prime minister and several of her aides, including R.K. Dhawan, allegedly on the orders of the government. It had planted discreet watchers around Indira's 12, Willingdon Crescent home. Dhawan's parental home at Atul Grove Lane was under blanket intelligence coverage as was his Golf Links house.

    Maneka Gandhi

    The IB was ordered to carry out a "silent Watergate-type nocturnal break-in" into the offices of Surya, a glossy magazine run by Maneka Gandhi, to retrieve the original manuscript of SHE - the censored chapter of Indira aide M.O. Mathai's autobiography that was said to have "scurrilous" details of the rumoured relationship between the two. 

    Maneka was said to be circulating the document among IAS officers as a tool to defame her estranged mother-in-law. Dhar says in his book that he, along with his deputy K.M. Singh, broke into Surya's offices late in the night and managed to recover the manuscript.

    Zail Singh

    Dhar was asked to covertly record the conversation that took place during a meeting between then Union home minister Zail Singh and an emissary of Sikh priest-turned-extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in Delhi. 

    The meeting between Zail Singh and the emissary was said to have "produced tonnes of vital intelligence on the developing imbroglio in Punjab". The orders came from someone close to Indira Gandhi.

    P.V. Narasimha Rao

    In his book, Dhar claims he "stumbled upon another techInt (technical intelligence) operational coup rather accidentally" when he was asked to sweep then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's office with bug-detecting devices in January 1992. 

    Dhar tumbled upon a forgotten micro-recording monitoring machine, implanted inside the phone of an aide to the PM by the IB during V.P. Singh's rule. "The end products, I understand, were delivered to Rajiv Gandhi even when Chandrashekhar warmed the seat for the former. In the melee of fast political and bureaucratic changes, someone had forgotten to remove the spy contraption from the PMO," says Dhar.

  • Can a Rajya Sabha Member become the Prime Minister? - Era Sezhian quotes the Parliament debate.

    primepoint.in | Sun, 04 May 2014 09:19:00 +0000

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh files his nomination papers for Rajya Sabha elections, in Guwahati on May 15. Photo:PTI
    This is an article by Shri Era Sezhian (92), a well known Parliamentarian in the magazine Frontline.

    The highest traditions of parliamentary democracy require that the Prime Minister be a person elected to the Lok Sabha. It was also a solemn declaration made in 1966 by the Congress and its government. By ERA SEZHIYAN

    AFTER his heavy responsibility and laborious work for over 17 years to bring about a functioning democracy in India as head of the Interim Government and as Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru breathed his last on May 27, 1964. His demise plunged the country into deep and inconsolable melancholy.

    Within 17 months of that came the bombshell of a news: the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent on January 10, 1966. It benumbed the nation, particularly the Congress party. Its president K. Kamaraj had in 1964 managed to have Lal Bahadur Shastri elected unanimously as Prime Minister. However, he faced a more difficult situation in choosing a Prime Minister in 1966 as Congress leaders such as Morarji Desai, Jagjivan Ram, Y.B. Chavan and Gulzarilal Nanda (caretaker Prime Minister) were in the fray.

    The Congress Parliamentary Party relied on Kamaraj to find an amicable solution.

    He was keen to have as Prime Minister someone who would be able to lead the Congress party in the general election of 1967. Ultimately, he decided on Indira Gandhi. He was aware that his friends Morarji Desai and other members of the group called Syndicate would not accept Indira Gandhi at any time. However, Kamaraj proceeded intensely to mobilise support for Indira Gandhi by contacting important leaders and Chief Ministers.

    At the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on January 15, 1966, only Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai remained as contestants. Mediapersons were waiting anxiously to know whether it was a “girl” or a “boy”. At the end of the counting, the announcement was that it was a “girl”.

    Indira Gandhi was profusely thankful to Kamaraj who was solely responsible for the unforeseen event of her becoming the Prime Minister. In the formation of the Cabinet, Kamaraj insisted that Indira Gandhi retain most of the Ministers of the Shastri government, and she acted accordingly.

    In her biography Indira Gandhi, Pupul Jayakar noted: “She [Indira] needed Kamaraj’s support and therefore she assumed the role of a pupil, agreeing to every move suggested by him” (page 178, Penguin Books).

    Kamaraj’s ‘mistake’ 

    In June 1966, Indira Gandhi made a drastic devaluation of the Indian rupee, by 35.5 per cent at one stroke. Pupul Jayakar wrote in her biography: “It was shortly before the devaluation of the rupee that she spoke to Kamaraj. He was very upset and angry and felt that the Prime Minister should not have relied on bureaucrats and advisers who had little understanding of the political scene. Speaking to a friend, Kamaraj commented on the great mistake in making Indira Prime Minister: ‘A great man’s daughter, a little man’s great mistake.’” (page 197).

    In the chessboard of politics, a small error in moving a pawn may result in a great defeat because of the well-placed formidable queen piece on the opposite side.

    When Indira Gandhi was appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the Shastri Cabinet, she was not a member of either House of Parliament. She got elected to the Rajya Sabha on August 26, 1964. She retained the position when she became Prime Minister in 1966.

    “Unhealthy conventions” 

    H.V. Kamath, a Member of Parliament noted for his acumen for constitutional and parliamentary procedures (as revealed in his active participation in the Constituent Assembly on each and every Draft Article taken for consideration), moved a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha for the amendment of Articles 75 and 164 of the Constitution.

    The Bill said thus in the Statement of Objects and Reasons: “The highest traditions of the parliamentary democracy, with a bicameral set-up, demand that the Council of Ministers at the Centre and in the States, should consist of members who are directly elected by the people and that the Prime or Chief Minister should in no circumstances be a member who has been elected indirectly.”

    As Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was not an elected member of the Lok Sabha, the Bill attracted the attention of the media and MPs in the labyrinthine political situation of 1966. Initiating the discussion of the Bill on April 15, 1966, Kamath said: “India should set an example in this matter of constitutional and parliamentary manners. The Constitution should stipulate categorically that the Prime Minister of the Union should be an elected member of the Lok Sabha…. Of the 16 Ministers of the present Cabinet, seven are from Rajya Sabha and nine from Lok Sabha. No other parliamentary democracy in the world shows such an example with regard to its own Cabinet. I am sorry to point out that one member who had been defeated in the last election had been appointed to the present Cabinet….

    “The point I am trying to make out is that we are establishing bad traditions, setting up unhealthy conventions, which are antithetical to the principles and spirit of parliamentary democracy and to even the letter of the Constitution.”

    As a large number of members wanted to participate in the debate, Hiren Mukherjee, leader of the Communist Party of India, suggested: “The time may be extended. This is a matter of great importance and [the] Prime Minister should have been here. Some Cabinet Minister ought to be here. The government disregards this debate, because they have a majority.”

    Regarding the constitutional conventions of the United Kingdom, Kamath said: “In Great Britain, regarding the House of Commons from whom we have borrowed much of our Constitution, no member of the House of Lords has been the Prime Minister since the resignation of Lord Salisbury in 1902…. Is it not a mockery of the spirit and letter if the Cabinet is headed by a person who is not a member of that House to which the Cabinet is collectively responsible? When in 1945, the British government was carrying [on] in full swing the war against Japan after the fall of Germany, still general elections were held in Great Britain. Here the government is fighting shy to conduct even a byelection in the country under the excuse of an emergency. But in [the] fitness of things, Srimathi Indira Gandhi should get elected to this House and I am sure that she will face a byelection successfully, and after winning come here.”

    Pointing out the practice in other parliamentary democracies, Kamath said: “In Canada, another Commonwealth country, all Ministers in charge of departments of government must be members of the House of Commons…. In Ireland, only the members of the Dail Eireann can be members of the Executive Council…. In Germany, the Federal Chancellor, nominated by the Federal President, must be then elected by the Bundestag, which is the lower House.”

    Prime Minister and Lok Sabha membership 

    In conclusion, Kamath remarked that he was not against the Rajya Sabha. He had respect for that House, and his only demand was that the Prime Minister should be an elected member of the Lok Sabha.

    H.N. Mukherjee, CPI leader, said: “I cannot understand why the House does not take this matter seriously enough. Government seems to think that this is a matter which being a constitutional amendment has not the foggiest chance of being passed and, therefore, they can make short shrift of it. Here is a matter of principle, as Congress member [Harish Chandra] Mathur has made it clear. Congress members may not agree with all the provisions of the Bill, but the main point is that the Prime Minister must belong to the Lower House…. It is not against any particular Prime Minister. It is based on a principle…. Lal Bahadur [Shastri] is dead and his seat is vacant. Was it not possible for the Prime Minister to contest that seat, which ought to be a very safe seat for a Congress candidate? This kind of thing like the Prime Minister being a member of the representative elected House becomes a categorical imperative. To quote Erskine May: ‘It is the Prime Minister’s duty to express the sense of the House on formal occasions on motions of thanks or congratulations and motions of confidence.’”

    H.N. Mukherjee warned about emerging Chief Ministers who would indulge in the process of choosing Prime Minister: “Already there are indications in the country that the Chief Ministers—satraps—Kamath described them as subedars—are becoming too powerful, and if in addition to the power which they have come to enjoy in the Congress set-up—they dominate in the discussions to decide who is to be the Prime Minister..., then, Sir, where is parliamentary democracy leading us to?”

    As more members wanted to participate in the discussion, the House adopted a motion extending its time.

    Yashpal Singh (Independent) and Viswanath Pandey (Congress) moved amendments to the Bill seeking circulation of the Bill for public opinion. Kamath welcomed the idea.

    Harish Chandra Mathur, a senior Congress leader in the Constituent Assembly and also a member of the Rajya Sabha (1952-56) and the second and third Lok Sabhas, spoke: “As far as the basic principle of the Bill is concerned, I think there can be no two opinions and it will have my full support…. So far as the Prime Minister is considered, it is the first time that we are faced with a difficult situation…. I feel that the only correct thing could have been for the Prime Minister, even before taking the oath before the President, to have resigned from that House. Without being a member of any House, she could be the Prime Minister for six months and then the election should have followed…. I have been advocating all the time that it is time to do away with the emergency…. But it is very significant and important that the government and the Prime Minister make a policy decision that they subscribe to this particular view.

    “You are probably aware that the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had made [it] abundantly clear to all the Cabinet Ministers from the other House that if they were to continue in the Cabinet after the elections, they must contest the elections and come to this House. I think at present, all that is necessary is a clear enunciation of that policy and a commitment by the government.”

    Healthy convention or constitutional amendment? 

    Said R.K. Khadilkar, a senior Congress leader from Maharashtra, a valiant participant in the freedom struggle from 1930 to 1948, a founder-member of the Congress Socialist Party and a member of the second and third Lok Sabhas: “I support the principle of the Bill; whether it should be by amending the Constitution or by a convention should be left to the House, because in Britain, as Kamath pointed out that it is by convention…. Those who have popular support, those who are in touch with the people, with their aspirations and all that, alone lead the country and lead the government and for that it should be a healthy convention.”

    N.C. Chatterjee, Independent member in the first and third Lok Sabhas, said: “It is not merely in the fitness of things, but really parliamentary democracy will not be working properly, if that member is not responsible to the really elected democratic chamber…. How can you compel the Prime Minister or move a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister unless he is here, a member of the House directly responsible for this House. Without casting any reflection on anybody, without making it a party question, I think all members of this House should support this measure that in the Constitution we should have a provision that the Prime Minister should be an elected member of this House....”

    The Bill evoked 32 members of the House to participate in its consideration—19 from the Congress party and 13 from the opposition. All but one of the Congress members participating in the discussion supported the Bill in principle but wanted to develop it by convention.

    Speaking on April 29, 1966, on behalf of the government, Jaisukhlal Hathi, Minister of State for Home, said: “I may say at once that so far as the government and the party and all of us are concerned, those who believe in democracy, in parliamentary method, there can be no doubt in principle that the Prime Minister should be normally a member elected to Lok Sabha.”

    Further he stated: “Therefore it is a question of having conventions, and nobody would deny that we should set up healthy conventions and such conventions as have force more than any law, more than any written law.”

    Hathi lastly observed: “While the spirit behind the Bill is acceptable, it would not be proper to have such a provision in the Constitution. There may be occasions—that too for a limited period—[when] a Prime Minister has to be from the other House.”

    In his reply, Kamath said: “I thank the warm support not merely in the House, but in the press and among the people as well. It has been said by several honourable members that we may not amend the Constitution for this purpose. Why not a convention, a healthy tradition as it has grown up in other countries to support the grand edifice of parliamentary democracy…. I wish, and pray to God also, that such a tradition grows in our country. I would like to remind you all that of the manifold ways in which healthy traditions have not grown in this country, but also traditions are set at naught in various ways. I would only point out one or two instances….

    “Press reports recently have said that in Himachal Pradesh, the warrant of precedence has been newly devised: to put the President of the local Congress Committee to come next to the Chief Minister. I do not know under what provision this has been devised. It is almost like putting Kamaraj next to the Prime Minister. Next, the Governor of Kerala flew from Trivandrum to Delhi to take part in the party election and indulge in partisan attitude. When the matter was raised, the convenient argument was trotted out that there was no code of conduct for Governor. Because of these things, as traditions detrimental to parliamentary democracy have been built up; hence I would like to have the Constitution amended for this purpose.”

    The House was adjourned on that day (April 29, 1966). At the next session of the private members’ business on May 13, 1966, the voting was to be taken as per the Rules of Procedure in respect of a Constitution Amendment Bill. As the government opposed the amendment Bill, the Bill was negatived when the division was taken.

    Indira Gandhi successfully contested the 1967 election to be a member of the Lok Sabha and attended the Lok Sabha on March 7, 1967, as the Leader of the House.

    The Leader of the House is an important functionary directly and immediately responsible for issues in that House to which the Cabinet is solely accountable.

    When in 1991, P.V. Narasimha Rao was elected Prime Minister, he was not a member of either House of Parliament; however, within the time prescribed, he won a byelection from the Nandyal Lok Sabha constituency by an enormous lead of over five lakh votes—a Guinness record.

    When major parties such as the Congress, the Janata Party, the Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party formed governments, the Prime Minister was invariably a member of the Lok Sabha.

    After the 2004 election, the Congress was to form the government with the support of 14 of its electoral allies and the outside support of the Left parties.

    At the time, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had been elected to the Lok Sabha. Though she was called by the President to form the government, she chose Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

    Solemn commitment 

    The question is: What happened to the solemn commitment made by the Indira Gandhi government during the Lok Sabha debate of the H.V. Kamath Bill in 1966?

    Speaking on behalf of the government, the Minister of State for Home said: “So far as the government and the party and all of us are concerned, those who believe in democracy, in parliamentary method, there can be no doubt in principle that [the] Prime Minister should be normally a member elected to Lok Sabha…. It should not be that there should be a total ban or bar. In exceptional circumstances for a limited period, there should be no objection if the Prime Minister is also from Rajya Sabha…. Therefore it is a question of having conventions and nobody would deny that the conventions have force more than the law, more than the written Constitution.”

    The following issues need to be clarified:

    Was the appointment of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2004 not a departure from the solemn declaration made in 1966 by the Congress government and the Congress party on the acceptance of the principle that the Prime Minister should be an elected member of the Lok Sabha—a principle to be implemented by “convention having more force than the written Constitution”?

    The government stated in 1966 that “there may be occasions—that too for a limited period—a Prime Minister has to be from the other House”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has continued in the post of Prime Minister for over nine years. Is it a “short period” as visualised in 1966?

    In the Lok Sabha debate in 1966 Congress member Harish Chandra Mathur referred to the decision of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that “all the Cabinet Ministers from the House [Rajya Sabha], if they were to continue in the Cabinet after the elections, must contest the elections and come to Lok Sabha”. Is there an exemption to the post of Prime Minister in the case of Manmohan Singh?

    H.V. Kamath pointed out in the Lok Sabha that one member who had been defeated in the prior election was appointed to the Cabinet of Indira Gandhi—incidentally at that time it attracted wide criticism and evoked critical comments in the media. Has this point any relevance now in the case of Manmohan Singh who, despite being defeated in the 1999 general election from the South Delhi parliamentary constituency, continues to be Prime Minister?

    Regarding the preference for parliamentary system over the presidential system, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, explained: “Under the non-parliamentary system, such as the one that exists in the U.S.A., the assessment of the responsibility of the executive is periodic. It takes place once in two years. It is done by the electorate. In England, where the parliamentary system prevails, the assessment of responsibility of the executive is both daily and periodic. The daily assessment is done by Members of Parliament, through questions, resolutions, no-confidence motions, adjournment motions and debates on addresses. Periodic assessment is done by the electorate at the time of the election which may take place every five years or earlier. The daily assessment of responsibility which is not available under the American system is, it is felt, far more effective than the periodic assessment and far more necessary in a country like India. The Draft Constitution in recommending the parliamentary system of executive has preferred more responsibility to more stability.”

    The daily assessment can be done only by the Lok Sabha in India; hence the Prime Minister should necessarily be an elected Member of the Lok Sabha.

    Role of Prime Minister in a parliamentary system 

    In his meritorious treatise Cabinet Government, Ivor Jennings stated: “The government owes a responsibility to the House of Commons alone. A vote in that House can compel the government either to resign or to advise dissolution of the House. The Prime Minister is not merely chairman of the Cabinet; he is, also, responsible for the party organisation. That organisation matters in the House of Commons and does not matter in the House of Lords. Even when the government has the majority in the House of Lords, the effective decisions are taken in the lower House. It is essential, in practice, that the Prime Minister should have his finger on the pulse of Parliament; that is in the House of Commons” (page 24).

    More categorical was the assertion of Walter Bagehot in his The British Constitution: “A Prime Minister must show what he is. He must meet the House of Commons in debate; he must be able to guide the Assembly in the management of its business, to gain its ear in every emergency, to rule it in its hours of excitement. He is conspicuously submitted to searching test, and if he fails, he must resign” (page 58).

    In his nine years of adorning the venerable post of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh has failed miserably in all his duties which require no searching test; the only option before him is resignation.

    Era Sezhiyan was a Rajya Sabha member. Email: erasezhiyan@gmail.com

  • General Elections 2014 - Predictions by TN Ashok

    primepoint.in | Sun, 04 May 2014 08:31:00 +0000

    T N Ashok, political analyst (inset)
    2014 general elections is getting curious. There is a tremendous
    ground swell for Modi as the Prime Minister from the BJP led NDA judging by the programmes and advertisements beamed day in day out by almost all the TV channels, at least in northern India. Its bordering on a hype being created by the channels, which some political observers claim, is a determined objective to occupy the mind space of the voters before the elections so that they remember the BJP symbol and Modi as the man to vote for.

    BJP has also put up some weak candidates against some powerful adversaries. One could say it’s a token fight as BJP itself knows that the outcome is not going to be in their favour. Take for instance Smriti Irani, a BJP MP and a onetime popular TV serial actress, is contesting against the mighty Rahul Gandhi. She is a political light weight against Rahul because she longer enjoys the TV serial advantage. Also AAP has put up a verse writer Kumar Vishwas in the same amethi constituency of Rahul Gandhi, he is popular but not a giant killer.

    So the strategy of the leading political parties is very clear: While the canons are arraigned against each other, top leaders are spared – BJP dare not oppose Sonia Gandhi, Congress dare not oppose Modi, AAP dare not oppose Rahul or Sonia. So it’s all token fights ‘while public posturing may be different to keep a semblance of a fight in front of the voters.

    On AAP, which is campaigning vigorously in the northern belt of UP and Bihar and even in Maharashtra in Western India, the party came with a lot of expectations from the people in the Delhi assembly polls capturing some 28 of 40 seats, but faltered by first seeking its adversary Congress’s support to form the government and 2) resigning in haste over the lok pal bill betraying the trust of the Delhi voters. My reckoning of election trends and views from trusted sources in the political firmament, the party has lost its momentum and cannot muster more than 20 seats maximum, But that’s enough for them to create havoc at the centre with the lung power they will have through their intellectuals and might of knowledge power.

    Areas they could get votes: UP, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka and some scattered seats in rest of India.

    Gut feeling: For all the so called Modi hype in the media, the BJP Led NDA front is just crossing the 200 figure mark with or without the allies???? But that would be a setback for the BJP. Both Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries and Gautam Adani of the Adani industrial group, both hail from Gujarat  land of Modi, are known admirers of Na Mo and his style of development in Gujarat. Wanting the same in rest of the country and obviously irked by the policy paralysis in the Manmohan Singh government, they are said to be funding the election campaigns
    of Na Mo to the hilt.

    Some NRI s from USA and UK and some parts of Europe are also said to have pumped in huge quantities of money in the elections on fears that Modi might be their last best bet for stable, effective and good governance for the country, as any 3rd front alliance based on opportunism and no clear objectives or ideals on investments or economic policies could take the country down further from where the
    Congress led UPA alliance had left the country with its populist
    schemes of an expenditure splurge in the midst of a recession that showed no signs of abating. All major industries are backing Modi as they want the country out of policy paralysis. Evidence can be seen in the statements of trade bodies such as CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM.

    Again we have some uncorroborated reports purportedly fed by
    Intelligence agencies that the BJP in its last ditch effort to seize
    power at the centre, having found a powerful candidate such as Modi to catch the imagination of the people, had splurged upwards of Rs 100 crore each on top TV channels in terms of advertisement and endorsement support. No one has any idea of how much the campaigning in the electronic media has cost the BJP but, it’s in hundreds of crores , informed sources said.

    Whether the election coverage by some of these TV channels helps create a hype around Modi as the possible saviour of the country in the political and economic front bringing in stability in both spheres is something that has to be tested because the BJP election campaign has to successfully translate into votes.

    Is the Modi hype a balloon or real?  : How strong is the ground swell for Modi, will it stay inflated or burst is the million dollar
    question. One hopes the Modi hype does not end up as a damp squib as the India shining campaign of 2009 because this time around the BJP has mustered all its strength to swing it to power – projecting a charismatic candidate such as Modi, who has the power of oratory and the magical skills of marketing. Enormous funding for the election campaigns, a huge army led for the first time by its potent grass root force the RSS which has jumped into the election fray.

    It’s no secret that in political campaigns, cadre based parties always hold the trump card, BJP has a tremendous cadre in the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Baj Rang Dal etc. Barring the CPI and CPM or the DMK, none of the other political parties have this advantage of a cadre based working system

    What seems to be clear is that with the new 10 crore voters in the age group of 18 to 25 voting for the first time, the possibility of a 3rd front emerging to form the government as in the period before 2004 does not seem a possibility. Majority of them are said to be anti-congress because of unemployment situation during the recession and they are said to be going either with BJP or the AAP. They will decide the new government as they hold the swing vote.

    Based on the above scenarios emerging, it’s safe to make some educated guesses as to the outcome of the people’s verdict based on some pre poll surveys.

    Scenario One: Modi Wave: Based on his personal charisma and Gujarat model of development as BJP led NDA’s election campaign USP.

    BJP + plus NDA allies = 270 to 300 seats.
    (BJP 190 to 250 seats and allies 80 to 50 seats)

    Scenario Two: Vote for change not necessarily based on a Modi WAVE.

    BJP + plus NDA allies = 200 to 220 seats.
    (BJP 180 to 200 seats and allies 40 to 20 seats)

    Key states which matter:

    Uttar Pradesh (80), Bihar (50), Rajasthan (25), Madhya Pradesh (40), Punjab (13), Maharashtra (48), Gujarat (26), West Bengal (42).

    Media reports suggest that BJP has put in max efforts in UP and Bihar to get anything between 80 to 90 seats destabilising the current war lords there in terms of BSP led by Mayawati and SP led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and obliterating the Congress. Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh, where BJP regimes already administer the state, are expected to get them the additional numbers. Maharashtra where BJP is tied up with the potent Shiv Sena and Gujarat, home state, could provide the swing, unless division in the shiv sena ranks as between the rivalries of Uddhav and Raj Thackeray upsets the apple cart and splits the votes in favour of the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra. Low voting in the state has also causes some fears.

    Guestimates: Uttar Pradesh -- BJP 49, BSP 16, SP 14, and Congress 06.
                            Bihar:                  BJP 24, JD (U) 13, RJD
    10, Cong 04
                            Rajasthan           BJP 22 rest others
                            MP                       BJP 27 rest others
                            Punjab                 BJP+ SAD 19 rest others
                            Maharashtra        BJP + SS   24, Cong+NCP 20
                            Gujarat                 BJP 20, Cong 04, AAP 01.

    As per this projection, BJP should get 185 out of 315 seats in seven key states in north and west and central India. This not an entirely a wave but something short of it.

    In the south projections for key states are: Karnataka: Congress will do well with 18 seats, BJP 10, JD(S) 8. Andhra Pradesh: YSR Congress 19 seats, Congress 06, TDP 15 and TRS 08. Tamil Nadu AIADMK 23, DMK 10, Congress 02, BJP alliance 04.

    This projection gives BJP 204 out of 382 seats in 10 key states. The remaining 13 seats with 161 seats hold the key to government formation.

    It’s anybody's guess that with the most powerful publicity blitz ever launched by a political party in a general election centred around one personality, the BJP will emerge as the single largest party. But will it fall short of the mark or succeed in mustering the right numbers to form the government? Wait and Watch. The suspense has not yet abated. May16 is not far away. Lot of surprises could be in the offing.

    For feedback send mail to ashoktnex@gmail.com
    By T N Ashok (a former election analyst of pti). 

  • Debate on the Gujarat Development Model

    primepoint.in | Sun, 04 May 2014 08:03:00 +0000

    The 2014 General Elections is in full swing.  Nearly four-fifth of the nation has voted, indicating its preference for candidates. While the early days of poll campaigns have been marked by debates on issues such as secularism, communalism, discussions are now swinging towards the advocacy of the Gujarat Model of Development for the nation as being canvassed by its proponents. 

    As is normal in a democracy, there are also opponents to the recommendation of this model of development for the whole nation as they question the credentials and veracity of reports of success of such a model. 

    Leading the political leaders who criticised the Gujarat Type of Model of Development was the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha, claiming Tamil Nadu had a better model of industrial development. Soon enough, the media labelled the issue, ‘Modi vs Lady’ and sought to fan a controversy.  

    Stalin, son of the DMK leader, M Karunanidhi , leading opposition party leader,  added his own bit to the topic by including ‘Daddy’ (referring to his father, Karunanidhi), claiming the DMK regime under his father brought in more development. Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi, in his keenness to counter Modi, inadvertently supported his political rival, Jayalalitha. 

    Amidst this flurry of pros and cons over the Gujarat model of development, I decided to investigate what it was about the Gujarat model under Modi’s regime that has drawn so much discussion in the public domain and sucked political leaders into a virtual verbal maelstrom. 

    I visited Gujarat in the third week of April 2014 and had interactions with many people, including some Government officials, political leaders, and the general public.  Whatever the official claims of efficacy from the departments of the state government advocating the Gujarat development, one can find visible evidences of growth,  improvement in irrigation systems, infrastructure development and e-Governance, uninterrupted  3-phase electricity in all villages, linking of rivers and creating more water bodies.  Other states are trying to implement the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) model introduced in Ahmedabad.  

    In the last 10 years, Official sources claim that Gujarat has laid 5000 kilometres of six-lane roads. After the 2002 riots, Gujarat has not witnessed a single riot and curfew till date, the sources said.  

    After 2003, Modi has been focusing on good governance, the sources I talked to said, pointing out that the issue of ration cards, driving license, property card, redressal of grievances, getting electricity connection – all get done with consummate ease, without having to pay a single rupee as consideration to any government official or anyone in the public administration machinery.  

    Empowerment has been effectively delegated to various functionaries.  The Chief Minister personally reviews the functioning and the status of public grievances through video conferencing with all Districts and Ministers, every fourth Thursday of the month, I was told.

    Modi had set a vision, ‘BIG2020’ to make Gujarat a globally preferred place to live and conduct business.  Within five years of the announcement of this vision, the state attracted Rs.6500 billion crore of foreign investment in 687 projects, official figures shared with me claimed. Gujarat is one of these rare states that utilises in entirety, the funds allotted by the Central Government for the state development projects.

    Definitely, there are other states which have enough development in their regions to showcase. But in my personal opinion, the main difference between Gujarat and the other states is that Modi has succeeded in making the six crore people of his progressive state to feel they themselves part of the great change   That is evidence for you as to why Modi has won the state elections for four consecutive terms and the right to govern the state, as people pinned great hopes on him to change their lives further. 

    I hope all political parties and panelists maintain a healthy debate on the Development Models that they propagate during the rest of the campaign, corroborating their claims with credible evidence, so that the electorate can make out for themselves what real development is and what is on paper. My interactions with responsible people in Gujarat has pointed to the efficacy of the Gujarat model of development.

    By K. Srinivasan

  • Narendra Modi, Prime Ministerial candidate – An analysis

    primepoint.in | Sun, 04 May 2014 07:53:00 +0000

    Narendra Modi
    Early days of Narendra Modi

    Even as political parties hit the campaign trail with their leaders delivering spirited speeches to elect them to power, it is worth looking at the profile of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, who has virtually become a household name in every nook and corner of the country. Billboards dot every city in the country showing the vest-coated Modi with the slogan “Ab ki baar, Modi ki sarkar” (this time round it is Modi’s reign). Radio spots tout a woman called corruption, wanting to quit the country after 10 years because Modi is now coming to clean the stable (the country) of corruption.

    After having missed the bus in 2004 despite a successful run by then PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and again in 2009 because of party in-fighting, BJP has now mounted a powerful nation-wide campaign, projecting Narendra Modi as the man of the hour to fight corruption and inefficiency, and to take bold decisions to kickstart the economy that has remained stagnant during the past few years. 

    BJP’s gamble on the strong, no-nonsense man, Modi, acclaimed for his Gujarat-type development model, has evoked mixed responses nation-wide, with some swearing by him and some others questioning the efficacy of his economic fundamentals. Yet, sixty-four year old Narendra Damodardas Modi,  born in Sep 1950 in Vadnagar, Gujarat, has occupied mind space across the nation.

    Let us look at the profile of this much discussed man, described by his detractors as an autocrat of Hitler’s mettle and some others calling him a strong administrator, who could crack the whip to get the administration and its bureaucrats moving. In 1970, Modi joined the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a full-time pracharak (propagandist).  He also helped his father and his brother in the family business of a tea stall. He was an average student at school, but he was recognised for his brilliant oratory skills. 

    Modi was appointed the National Secretary of BJP after the successful 1995 Gujarat Elections, during which campaign he demonstrated his organisational skills and his ability to return his party to power in the state.  He continues to successfully retain power for over a decade, winning every election since then, convincingly.

    Bharath Matha Mohan, one of Modi’s close associates from 1978 till date, said, “Modi is affectionate with all the people, and is deeply committed to the nation.  He has never shied away from taking up any challenging responsibility.  He has an amazing, photographic memory and he can remember a person and recall the association and the conversations even after many years”.

    Taking over as Chief Minister of Gujarat

    Narendra Modi led BJP to a massive victory in 1995 (121 seats) and 1998 (117 seats) in the State Elections in Gujarat. BJP came to power in 1995 for the first time and since then it has retained power. In January 2001, when Keshubai Patel was the Chief Minister, a massive earthquake devastated the state, hitting Bhuj. Nearly 20,000 people died and properties worth thousands of crore were  damaged. Keshubai Patel was not in good health at that time and the administrative machinery was not equipped well enough to handle a calamity of such magnitude. BJP faced much criticism from the public. 

    Seeing his immense capabilities, the BJP leadership then entrusted the task of Chief Ministership to Narendra Modi. Modi was not even an MLA and lacked any experience in governance. After a long deliberation, BJP confidently decided to make him the Chief Minister because of his effective organising abilities and dedication.  “It is a rarest of the rare decision in politics” said Mohan, recalling those tumultuous days. On 7th October 2001, Modi took charge as the Chief Minister, from Keshubai Patel.

    Major challenge – History of Communal riots 

    With minimal experience in disaster management, Modi rose to the occasion displaying his remarkable leadership skills in organising relief to the victims.  He rebuilt the entire devastated area within three years, which normally could have taken more than 10 years.

    Gujarat has been in the grip of communal riots since 1714. Even in the post-independence era, thousands of people belonging to different communities continued to die in communal clashes. Justice Reddy Commission and Justice Davy Commission, which examined the issue of communal riots in Gujarat, recorded 2938 such instances  in the 1960s. Though the official estimate of the death toll in the 1969 riots was 5000, the actual death toll was reported to be more than 15,000. 1980s and 1990s also saw many communal clashes, resulting in huge loss of human lives and properties, belonging to the Hindus and the Muslims. Many parts of Gujarat were under curfew for many days.

    On 27th Feb 2002, 58 Hindu Karsevaks were burnt alive by some miscreants in Godhra Railway Station.  This sparked a communal clash between the Hindus and the Muslims the following day, in 36 different places in the state.

    Though the army took control of the situation the following day i.e. on 1st March 2002, 1100 lives of both communities were lost by that time.

    Facing adverse criticism as a man new to the government, Modi resigned and dissolved the assembly in July 2002. The Governor however, requested him to continue in office. On 24th Sep 2002, the famed Akshardam Temple was attacked by Pakistani terrorists.  This created yet another big challenge to the Gujarat Government.  In the Dec 2002 elections,  BJP, led by Modi, secured 127 out of the 182 seats in the Assembly, and he became the Chief Minister for a second term.

    A more confident Modi launched initiatives to overcome the challenges, facing the state, and he set himself to improve the governance of the state.

    In the 2007 elections, he secured 117 seats and in 2012 elections, he secured 115 seats. Modi thus assumed his office for the fourth term as Chief Minister, a rare feat by any chief minister. The closest anyone has come to this record is the Congress ex-Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms Shiela Dikshit. She was successfully elected for three terms. She is now the governor of the state of Kerala.

    After 2002, not a single incidence of communal clashes or death has been reported in Gujarat.  The state has not placed any area under curfew ever since.

    New initiatives

    Narendra Modi is both the most admired as well as the most abused or maligned politician of this nation. We gathered some first-hand information from different sources in Gujarat to find out why this was so and how much of it was myth and how much of it, reality.

    Modi introduced new systems to improve the state governance and to maintain peace in the state.  The State Wide Attention on Grievances with Application of Technology (SWAGAT),  launched in April 2003,  is an initiative to redress public grievances. On the fourth Thursday of every month, the Chief Minister holds a video conference with all his ministers, his secretaries, the district collectors and other field functionaries to review pending grievances and the progress of projects in the pipeline.  

    United Nations Award for better Governance

    In 2010,  the United Nations presented an award in the category of ‘Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility in Public Service’ to the Gujarat Government .  “The real test of good governance is its grievance redressal system. In an ideal democratic system, people should be able to voice their problems freely and also get them resolved quickly”, Modi had stated in one of his speeches.

    In order to give more microscopic attention to the villages and towns, Modi increased the number of districts from 26 to 33 and also divided the Taluks to facilitate better attention to the welfare of the people.  He introduced the Apno Taluko, Vibrant Taluko (ATVT) Scheme to empower the officials at the grassroot level to take quick decisions.

    Since 2003, Modi has been organising a three-day ‘Chintan Shibir’ (brain-storming session) annually in one of the resorts. All his Ministers, State Secretaries, and field-level IAS officers as well as other functionaries are invited to participate.  Many eminent people like Dr Abdul Kalam, Secretaries from the Government of India, and experts from different fields were invited as guests, to share their views.  During these three days, various group discussions are held on different problems, and at the end of it, the officials returned to their offices, equipped with effective decisions and solutions. 

    Modi would spend all the three days in the same campus.  He would interact with the officials in small groups, during the breakfast, lunch and dinner sessions, to understand their problems.   This Shibir is a unique governance model practised only in Gujarat and successfully running for the past 10 years. It is learnt that other states are planning to replicate this model. The Gujarat Government has received several awards at national and international levels, for its model of governance. 

    Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh presenting Excellence in Public Administration Award to Gujarat Government in April 2013
    In 2013,  the Prime Minister presented an award for public administration to the Gujarat Government.

    When we spoke to one of the District Collectors of Gujarat (name withheld due to the moral code in force), he said that Modi used to motivate all the officers with his oratory skill and would individually encourage them.  “I am fortunate to work with Mr Modi.  He is a good motivator.  At the same time, he also ensures that projects are completed on time. He does not behave like a boss.  He is always a leader and a mentor”, the IAS officer said with pride.

    Another senior bureaucrat from New Delhi said that Modi had been focusing on infrastructure development, education, healthcare, industry and trade for long term benefit.  He would refer to the example of interlinking the rivers, Sabarmati and Narmada, as this has helped improve the irrigation and water supply in many parts of the state.

    “Agriculture productivity is 9%, as against the national average of 2%. The latest reports indicate that this national average has now touched 4%. Modi is one leader capable of using existing and available  resources for development”, the bureaucrat added.

    Criticisms against Narendra Modi

    Although the people of Gujarat have voted Modi’s government into power for the fourth term in succession, the opposition parties and some Muslim leaders criticise him, comparing him with  Adolf Hitler and allege his involvement in the post-Godhra riots. They also allege that discrimination is shown by Modi to the people of a particular religious faith.

    Some of his critics say that the development story of Gujarat as projected by  Modi was a farce and they claim that many villages in the state, still do not have power and electricity.

    How others perceive?
    On behalf of ezine, PreSense, I spoke to Dastagir Sheik (56), a car driver from Ahmedabad.  He has been living in Gujarat since his birth.  He said that he had seen riots and curfew for many years in the earlier decades, but after 2002, the state had remained peaceful. The Hindu and Muslim communities were engaged profitably in their own avocations.  “Earlier, some people from both the communities were not gainfully employed. Thus, they used to engage in rowdyism, creating communal tension.  They were also involved in illegal activities.  But now, the progress in the state’s economic development has ensured that everyone was occupied. A strict vigil by the authorities deters people from unlawful acts”  Dastagir added.

    Jaffar Sadig (32), a shop-keeper from Vadodra, endorsed similar views.   He raved about the leadership of Narendra Modi.  “Mr Modi is not a Hitler.  He is a strong person.  He has control over the entire administration. Corruption is minimal in Gujarat.  We should not linger on the past riots.  We need to move ahead.  I will definitely vote for Modi, who is standing from our constituency.  Besides me, a majority of the Muslims will vote for him”, he added confidently.

    “It is pointless to continue accusing Modi for what happened in 2002.  Even the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court has not found any valid allegation against him. In the past 11 years, there has not been a single instance of riot reported.  I do not understand why the media is spreading false information and not covering the success stories.”,  Mohan added.

    The District Collector (name withheld), with whom I spoke over the telephone, said that whenever the people came with their grievances, the Administration examines the issues to find suitable solutions for the people.

    “In our district, we used to have low voltage and power fluctuation for various reasons.  Immediately, we added a few more sub-stations and resolved the problem within a few days. We do not believe in ignoring the grievances.  We believe in resolving them. Narendra Modi has set systems in place like Chintan Shibir, SWAGAT, ATVT, for effective functioning of the systems”, he added.

    When asked about the negative projection of the Modi Government by the media, all of those interviewed were unanimous in saying, “Let anybody visit Gujarat and see for themselves.  We do not understand why the media is projecting incorrectly, when there are many positive results to cover and share”.

    What is unique in Modi that differentiates him from others?
    When there were many leaders in the party, why was Modi chosen as the Prime Ministerial Candidate?  What is the uniqueness in him that made him the PM candidate?  When I asked this question to Mohan, his long-time friend, he immediately responded  that his organising ability and effective administration were the main qualities and reason.

    Mr.N. Vittal, retired IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre and the former Central Vigilance Commissioner of India, was closely associated with Narendra Modi in 2003, in establishing the good governance model.  “The so-called secular English electronic media pry into Modi’s affairs with microscopic scrutiny.  Even trivial issues are exaggerated to malign him.  In the past 10 years, he has brought about good model of governance.  The media does not bother to talk about this”, Vittal says.

    “I have worked with several politicians. Mr Modi is a great listener and learner. He is like a sponge, which can absorb water immediately.  He can absorb knowledge quickly.  When you say something to him, he is able to comprehend and think ahead quickly.  I have seen this quality only in Rajaji (C.Rajagopalachari)”, Says Vittal. 

    It was Dalai Lama who said, “When you talk or speak, you are only reiterating or recalling what you already know. But when you listen, you are on the learning curve; you learn a lot.”  
    We can say that Modi is among the rare breed of politicians who has developed the ability to listen to others to emerge with solutions to public problems. 

    By K. Srinivasan and T N Ashok

  • Does AAP’s media obsession lead to anarchism?

    primepoint.in | Sun, 02 Feb 2014 07:10:00 +0000

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri – The forgotten Indian Prime Minister who died a poor man - Januay 1966

    primepoint.in | Sun, 02 Feb 2014 06:36:00 +0000

    Simplicity and Honesty

    These days, when Indian politicians are accused of amassing illegal wealth and having Swiss Bank accounts, can you imagine that the second Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri died a poor man, leaving behind a debt  for the car loan availed by him from a bank?

    Lal Bahadur Shastri did not own a car even after becoming the Prime Minister and  the family members persuaded him to own a car.  Being a simple person, he had only Rs.7000/- in his bank account. A Fiat car cost Rs.12,000/- those days. He applied for a bank loan of Rs.5000/-. When he died at Tashkent on 11th Jan 1966, his loan account was not cleared fully.

    Mysterious Death of Shastri

    After signing an agreement with Pakistan in Tashkent (Soviet Union) on 10th Jan 1966, he died in his hotel room on 11th Jan 1966 reportedly due to heart attack.  Though his family members raised doubt about his mysterious death, till date the cause of his death remains unknown.

    The Prime Minister’s Office, while refusing information under the RTI Act on the cause and the circumstances of Shastri’s death, said that disclosing this information could harm India’s foreign relations and also violate Parliamentary Privilege. Unfortunately, the simple and efficient Prime Minister is forgotten in history forever.

    Shastri in Politics

    Born into a teacher’s family on 2nd October 1904, Sashtri joined the freedom movement in early 1920s.  He spent more than 9 years in the jail on various occasions.  As General Secretary of the Congress Party, he played an important role in the landslide victory of the Congress Party in the Indian General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.

    He served as the Minister of Railways in the Central Government from May 1952.  In December 1956, he resigned, accepting moral responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur  in Tamil Nadu that resulted in 144 deaths, even though the Railway Minister was not responsible for such accidents.

    Shastri as Prime Minister

    Lal Bahadur Shastri took over as the Second Prime Minister of India, after the death of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 9thJune 1964.  At that time the country was facing a huge economic crisis, besides troubles created by China and Pakistan in the border.  He implemented the Green Revolution and the White Revolution in the country to increase grain and milk production.  He even appealed to the people to give up one meal, so that the saved food could be given to needy people.  He gave importance to the Jawans and the Kisans, by coining a slogan, “Jai Jawan; Jai Kisan”.

    Shastri's greatest moment came when he led India to victory in the 1965 Indo-Pak War.  It was during the signing of the Tashkent agreement between Pakistan and India that Shastri had mysterious death.

    The nation remembers Lal Bahadur Shastri with reverence, and salutes him for his contribution to the nation.

    By  Sukruti Vadula, Editorial Team member

  • State Elections 2013 - A quick analysis - Indian democracy has won

    primepoint.in | Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:01:00 +0000

    Nearly 11 crore voters have voted in the 5 state elections in Nov-Dec 2013 and elected their new Government.  Whichever party has won or lost, ultimately the Indian voters have won. Indian democracy has won.  That is why from 2009 onwards, I term this as 'Celebration of democracy'.  'Celebrate Democracy' will be our theme for the
    BJP  Chief Ministers in all their states offer better governance.  The fact that Gujarat, MP and Chattisgarh people have voted back their Governments for the third time in a row is an ample proof.  After 2004 and 2009 debacle in Lok Sabha, BJP workers and leaders became diffident and lacked motivation.  The emergence of Narendra Modi or NAMO has galvanised the BJP workers more.  Though Modi was accused of splitting the top leaders earlier, he has succeeded in uniting the workers at every level across the nation.  He is a great communicator and sets the agenda for the discussion for all parties.  By making himself at the centre stage through positive or negative news, he has made BJP as the main force in India.  

    On the positive side, the BJP top leadership gives enough freedom to their Chief Ministers to function effectively, within the overall frame work of the Policy.  They have developed popular regional level leaders like Modi, Chauhan, Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Manohar Parrikar.  Generally, the functioning of present senior BJP leaders during Morarji and Vajpayee Governments as ministers are still considered as 'excellent' by political experts. 

    Coming to the negative side, BJP is more dominant only in the northern part of India.  They are yet to take roots in East and South.  Even the one Government at Karnataka was lost because of their leadership management.  They are seen more as 'Hindi walas' by East and South people.  Modi's popularity is trying to reduce this feeling, still they have to go a long way. 

    Another negative side is that they are being seen as communal by other parties though they show secular credentials in BJP ruled states. The other parties take advantage of this situation and scare the minority people about BJP.  

    Another negative point is their scant respect for voters.  During the recent state elections, BJP fielded maximum of candidates with criminal background.  Out of 31 BJP MLAs elected now  in Delhi, 17 have criminal background.  This reflects their over confidence on their popularity.  Some of the Delhi experts say that BJP lost the majority in the assembly, because of their fielding candidates with criminal background.  

    Strength and weakness of Congress

    On the positive side, Congress has rich experience in governance.  They have governed the nation during the testing times very well.  They have very good leaders who are well experienced, but not known outside.   Congress is spread across the country.  Whether they rule or not, Congress is the only party which has membership in the entire nation.  Though they play communal and caste politics every time more than other parties, they are still considered as a 'secular' party.   

    On the negative side, the party is controlled only by one family, i.e. Nehru or so-called GANDHI Family.  Even the talented leaders like Pilot, Scindia are not able to showcase their talents effectively. They ensure that talented leaders do not come up to avoid challenge to the Nehru family.   Even the Chief Ministers of  congress ruled states have to take permission from Nehru family even for small matters.  Though they are spread across the nation, they do not allow the regional leaders to grow. They treat even the Chief Ministers as their dummies.  For an example, as against the suggestions of CM of Andhra, Congress is pushing the split of Andhra.  

    In the last ten years, Congress has become highly insensitive to corruption and governance issues. Even the Prime Minister has to kneel down before the Prince Rahul Gandhi.  

    Stunning performance of Aam Aadmi Party 

    AAP which was formed few weeks ago, has surprised everybody by gaining near majority seats (28 seats) in Delhi.  The success of BJP and AAP in these elections reflect loudly that people want a better transparent governance and not mere promises.   

    In the recent decade, emergence of internet and social media has created more political awareness among the new generation voters.  The new generation voters and particularly the first time voters are against the bad governance and corruption. When the emotions were running high, Arvind Kejriwal floated the AAP Party and successfully converted the emotions and mood of the people into votes.  To the surprise of the nation and all political parties they secured nearly 30% of vote share and 28 seats.   This is a great and wonderful achievement for any new party floated few weeks ago.

    Past history of parties floated on emotions,  winning power in short time

    In early 1970, MGR floated AIADMK, when he was dismissed from DMK and within one year, he captured the power in Tamil Nadu securing 31% vote share.  Before floating the party, he was quite popular as an actor and a leader of DMK.  Till date, the party continues to enjoy the supremacy in Tamil Nadu.  His successor Jayalalitha is now the CM of Tamil Nadu.  

    In 1977, immediately after the emergency,  Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan formed Janata Party combining various political parties, with the aim of defeating Indira Gandhi.   They secured 345 seats out of 542 seats in Lok Sabha with 52% vote share. Janata Party captured power at the Centre within few days of formation of the party.  The Government formed by Morarji Desai (Janata Party)  collapsed within 2 years.  Janata Party got split into various pieces, due to internal ego problems of their own leaders.  Now Janata Party is not in existence.

    In the same way in the early 1980s, when Congress  humiliated their own CM Anjaiah in Andhra, NT Ramarao,  popular actor, floated Telugu Desam as 'Telugu pride'.  He also captured power with massive majority and securing 46% vote share within few months.   NTR developed the party with his film popularity. Even when NTR was alive, the party was captured by Chandrababu Naidu, who became Chief Minister later. The party has now become weak. 

    In 1985 Asom Gana Parsihad (AGP) was formed by student leader P K Mahanta in Assam, out of the emotional issues of illegal migrants. In the first year itself, they captured power with 34% vote share. At that time, some of the students who were in the hostel became Ministers.  Though the party formed the Government two times, due to various internal differences got split and they are only a minor party in the state now.

    Of the above parties, only AIADMK is still surviving powerfully for the past 40 years, because of the leadership.

    Strength and weakness of AAP, including challenges

    In the same manner, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also was formed recently as a result of the emotional issues like anti corruption movement by Anna Hazare and Nirbaya case. Under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal (photo), AAP has now secured nearly 30% vote share and 28 seats. Since AAP has secured power and position in Delhi, they have to safe guard themselves from the internal ego clashes and external attacks to split the party.  

    AAP was  formed as an alternate to the present political system and the lack of transparent functions. Unfortunately,  there are more allegations against AAP itself about the lack of transparency, fielding of candidates with criminal background, source of funding, etc. Though AAP was accusing all other political parties for fielding candidates with criminal background, in Delhi, AAP fielded more number of candidates with criminal background, next to BJP. Out of 28 elected AAP MLAs, 3 are already facing criminal charges.  (Source: ADR Report)

    Since AAP was formed on emotional background and public anger against ruling party, they were able to get into Delhi Assembly.  Now their real challenge begins.  Shouting in the streets holding candles in the hands,  without being in power will be totally different from discharging responsibility as MLA.  

    AAP has two options before them.  (1) Collaborate with either BJP or Congress parties and form the Government to prove their governance skills and to comply with the promises they have given to the people.  Definitely, the supporting parties will not pull down the Government, as it may be counter-productive for them.  This is the best option, but it is a double edged sword.  (2) Sit in the opposition and play a constructive role in the Legislative Assembly.  Sitting in the opposition gives lot of learning experience.  

    Now people are watching AAP closely with huge expectations, because of the various promises.  With this victory, AAP also announced that they would become an alternate party to BJP and Congress at National level.  

    Only time can tell whether AAP will survive all the challenges and remain in tact as a 'party with a difference' or vanish in the course of time like many other predecessors.  

    Article by Prime Point Srinivasan

  • Rise and fall of V P Singh - General Elections 1989 - Emergence of caste politics in large scale

    primepoint.in | Thu, 03 Oct 2013 12:01:00 +0000

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