piyush kaviraj

feelings and musings…


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क्या किरण और केजरीवाल में बहस होनी चाहिए ?


क्या अरविंद और किरण में बहस होनी चाहिए। अगर दिल्ली जैसे साक्षर राज्य में बहस नहीं हो सकती तो कहां होगी। कब होगी। दोनों एक अलग गैर-राजनीतिक पृष्ठभूमि से आते हैं। दोनों आज की राजनीतिक प्रणाली के आलोचक रहे हैं। यह सही है कि दांव अरविंद का है तो किरण स्वीकार करने में हिचकेंगी, लेकिन राजनीति में यह कोई बड़ी बात नहीं है। किरण बेदी भी स्वीकार कर केजरीवाल को मात दे सकती हैं। अगर बहस होगी तो हम इस राजनीति को नए सिरे से देख सकेंगे। नेतृत्व की तार्कित और बौद्धिक क्षमता को परख सकेंगे। यह लोकतंत्र के लिए एक रोमांचक मौका होगा जिसे दिल्ली वालों को हाथ से नहीं जाने देना चाहिए। जब विधानसभा में आमने-सामने हो सकती हैं तो पहले क्यों नहीं हो सकती है।

फिर भी किरण बेदी का यह कहना कि बहस सिर्फ विधानसभा के भीतर होती है, सही नहीं है। लोकतंत्र में असली बहस जनता के बीच होती है। जनता के आमने-सामने होती है, एक दूसरे की तरफ पीठ करके चुनौती देने से ही लोकतंत्र महान नहीं हो जाता। आमने-सामने आकर उसका और विस्तार होता है। फिर भी बहस की चुनौती स्वीकार करना एक बड़ा रणनीतिक फैसला भी है। केजरीवाल ने भी किसी रणनीति के तहत ही चुनौती दी होगी। इसी बहाने आज टीवी और सोशल मीडिया का स्पेस उनके नाम हो सकता है। पर यह सच है कि हमारे देश में चुनाव टीवी और ट्वीटर में ढलता जा रहा है। सब कुछ टीवी के लिए हो रहा है। टीवी के लिए ही दिखने वाला चेहरा लाया जाता है, नहीं दिखने लायक चेहरा राजनीति में पचास साल लगाकर भी रातों रात गायब कर दिया जाता है। इस लिहाज़ से किरण बेदी के पास मना करने का कोई औचित्य नहीं है।
by 

For more details, click: http://naisadak.org/kya-kiran-aur-kejriwal-mein-bahas-honi-chahiye/

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BJP and the AAP Position : From The Indian Express


There is a joke in Delhi that the middle class that wants to participate by Twitter joins the BJP; the middle class that actually wants to participate will join the AAP – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bjp-and-the-aaposition/#comments

In politics, it is easy to become a victim of traps laid by our own convictions. We then cease to distinguish between political analysis and political endorsement. We cease to pay attention to trends. The Delhi election is indeed deeply important. It is shaping up to be a closer contest than anyone imagined six months ago. Much will depend on the AAP’s political campaign. But there is little doubt that there is space for it to re-emerge as a potent political force. On the evidence of their campaign so far, the BJP seems to be struggling to understand the nature of this challenge. It would do well to heed the warning signs.

The general election was a product of the twin narratives of fear of paralysis and fear of plutocracy. It was the anti-corruption movement, which morphed into the AAP, that took a battering ram to the legitimacy of the UPA. Modi walked into the breach. He seemed, with good reason, the best candidate, to overcome paralysis and restore a sense of possibility. Even if we argue that the jury is still out on where the NDA government is headed, other narratives are now opening up once again.

The fear of plutocracy has not gone away. It may have been overshadowed by the fear of paralysis. But corruption and unseemly conflicts of interest are still challenges. The government at the Centre may not have been rocked yet by a scandal. But it has done little to restore confidence in accountability institutions. The investigative arms of government remain mired in suspicion of extensive partisanship..

Parliament seems unlikely to exercise an oversight function and fears of the undue influence of capitalists are not entirely misplaced. The private sector’s fear about the legitimacy of PPPs is a backhanded acknowledgment of this reality. Except for dissimulation on black money, the government has no reform proposals to show. The problem with the AAP’s traditional approach was its overinvestment in top-down institutions like the Lokpal. But the presence of the AAP itself generates accountability, by inducing a different fear. It was a small party with disproportionate effect. The power of its own example is not inconsiderable. For the most part, its method of financing elections seems the most transparent that any political party has ever seen, setting a new trend. The AAP’s institutional promise rested on a new paradigm of citizen participation. Government by SMS or continual referendum is not a sustainable idea. But the idea that, in some crucial areas, we might need more participatory modes of government is powerful. Whatever the internal story with the AAP, it still takes the model of governance as a friendly, inclusive, neighbourly chat seriously. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bjp-and-the-aaposition/#comments

Written by Pratap Bhanu Mehta


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Media Factions, AAP sting and Delhi Politics


Delhi politics: BJP's Horse trading and AAP sting

Delhi politics: BJP’s Horse trading and AAP sting

Watching news channels these days sends only one message- Television media is in a bit of dilemma- who to support! Congress remains the ground spectator with a few of its spokespersons claiming to win a handsome number of seats, in case of a re-election; while amusing the audience. Nevertheless, as Bhagwant Mann pointed out in a Mumbai conference, Delhi temperature soars higher in degree Celsius than the number of congress MPs and Lalu Yadav may have more children than their number in Delhi Assembly. Thus, no one is giving a damn about the party. Rahul Gandhi himself is more interested in dhol-beating of Modi.

Everything was crystal clear when Mr. Jung wrote to the President, and people might have embraced BJP government in order to avoid a no government situation when this hell of a video stung the BJP ‘Sher’. That turned the tide. BJP people have gone to the extent of denying Mr. Dagar as an authorized person and issuing show-cause notice to him simultaneously, leading to tweets asking if BJP has a separate department for horse-trading!! Nevertheless, a BJP state vice president being a nobody with Rs 4 Crore, is justified to an extent as Modi and Amit Shah are the whole and soul of the party.

So, media is trying to decide between the labeled ‘Dramebaaz’ AAP and ‘Saint’ BJP, thanks to the sting by ‘unemployed’ AAP and Arvind Kejriwal. While apologizing to the public about quitting as Delhi CMs on grounds of principles, Kejriwal has once again ‘exposed’ and made the people gape. Amongst the news of horse-trading and AAP sting, the media fraternity seems to be divided as who to support and how much to support. It has created four factions.

The second faction includes some channels who have decided not to telecast sting related news but focus on Kashmir floods. Good that they have something to report about Kashmir, without involving religion and Pakistan. Some channels, the third faction, have tried to dig out AAP related negative news and are telecasting them. They would be revisiting history till they are lost in history. The fourth faction is trying to created news against AAPs to continue pleasing their ‘political and corporate bosses’. The fourth faction is to be beware off! They change their loyalty as per their need and may come up with any twist in the tale, for which media is infamous for, in public.

A recent interview of a poet-cum-AAP leader speaks a million. He wants to convey that opposition doesn’t mean continuous criticism but also praising something good, if being, done by the government. If he praises Modi for visiting Kashmir, what is the harm in that! Don’t we expect praise when we do something good? Besides, his identity and existence is due to his poetry. If he attends an event involving a poetry session, why should it be politicized? Assuming a hypothetical situation, if due to some reason Dr Harshwardhan is in a flight and has to give treatment to a fellow congress traveler during a medical situation, does this mean he is on the edge, and against Modi now! Should he remember his medical duties and treat the ‘congress’ patient or act like a BJP member and deny any treatment! Anyway, the fourth faction will not be able to understand my logic. Thus, I should write about the first faction now.

The first faction should have been, ideally, the only faction of media. That is what media is meant for. This faction is supposed to follow the best policy- honesty. Why should media get into a dilemma of taking sides? Wasn’t the media supposed to be unbiased? Media was supposed to bring to people what’s happening around, without their prejudice and verdict. It was supposed to convey the information and not the message of their ‘bosses’! Of course the honest people are doing their job in media, but, being the honest brats; they don’t indulge in self-advertisements and sensationalism. No wonder they don’t get heard many a times. Thus the first faction is not able to make themselves visible due to their principles. Some of them prefer resigning than continuing in their organization when overtaken by businessmen. They are proud of their principles. Everyone should be! But then, even Kejriwal talks of principles. This faction should have tried to analyze this and voiced what they felt! 

By Piyush Kumar

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A new low in Indian politics, or Indian Media?


Article on Amit Shah by Rana Ayub pulled down by DNA

Article on Amit Shah by Rana Ayub pulled down by DNA

This article, published by DNA newspaper group, on Amit Shah has been pulled down by DNA: check  Looks like a new low for media self-censorship!! Now that Amit Shah is BJP National President, and even his lawyer a Supreme Court judge, even the not so wise should get a glimpse of whats in store next.. Rana Ayub has tweeted “Feel terrible, disillusioned with the state of media. Will not be writing for henceforth. Had great respect for them. Alas !” an hour ago.

The article is as follows, without any modification……

Late last week, a special CBI court adjourned the bail application of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter cases, accepting his excuse that he was engaged in political work in New Delhi. Shah, 49, the first serving Home minister of a state to have gone behind bars in a criminal case of murder and conspiracy had a legitimate reason to skip court hearings. He was presiding and taking part in day-long meetings in Delhi with senior RSS leaders and BJP functionaries who were all set to seal his fate as the next BJP President

There is a significant back story to his exemption which did find its way as a small snippet in the media but needs to be brought to light as Shah, the man who waved the magic wand for BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the PM’s confidante and the number two in the government now takes over the reins of the party. Amit Shah had twice in the past sought exemption from personal appearance citing political work, but the then CBI judge JT Utpat had found his excuse inadequate for the court to grant him relief. On June 20, while hearing the application, Utpat allowed the same but made a scathing remark “Everytime you are giving this exemption application without assigning any reason,” he told Shahs counsel. In less than a week, Utpat was transferred to a Pune court before he could preside over Shahs discharge application. Shah managed his way out with a tried and tested formula of transferring judges, practiced brazenly in his home state of Gujarat through his tenure as Home Minister.

As a journalist covering Gujarat extensively since 2005, as someone who exposed Shah’s role in the fake encounters in the state and who can claim to have knowledge of his political trajectory, I would not mince my words in suggesting that by appointing Amit Shah as the president of the party, the BJP has hugely disrespected the law of the land and signalled an all time low for the criminal justice system of India. For the cases against Shah are for crimes so gruesome that the cloak of political astuteness will be too short to cover it.

In its chargesheet filed in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the CBI which had been investigating the case under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court of India had not just named Shah as one of the key accused and conspirators but also named him as the head of an extortion racket which involved underworld thugs, politicians and businessmen. In its submission before the apex court bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan, the CBI stated that the minister was in cahoots with senior cops from Gujarat including the likes of DG Vanzara and Abhay Chudasama who had been sentenced for cold-blooded murder – concluding that Shah was a hardcore criminal. Shah was also chargesheeted in the murder of Kauser Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin who according to the official papers was raped, sedated, killed and her body burnt and thrown in a river.

One could have well debated the merits of the CBI chargesheet and read political motives but for the fact that the Supreme court itself gave CBI the sanction to arrest Shah at the same time, coming down harshly on the Gujarat state police investigation led by the then top cop Geeta Johri for going slow and misleading the courts. If the SIT verdict on Narendra Modi’s role in the Gujarat encounters is to be held as the final word, by virtue of it being monitored by the apex court, it is baffling then that Narendra Modi who promised clean and transparent governance to this country and setting up fast track courts to look into cases of criminal charges against politicians has turned a blind eye to Shah’s criminal past.

Shah has been Modi’s confidante since his days as a pracharak in Gujarat and Maharashtra. With Shah’s induction on the national scene first as the General Secretary of the BJP and now as the BJP President, Modi has risked his own political image for the sake of his ally and friend who has put to shame the best political pundits and strategists from North India with his shrewd manoeuvring. In the coming days, the party will have to prove its popularity not just in the by-elections of Uttar Pradesh but also in the forthcoming Assembly Elections in three states, the most significant being the battle for Maharashtra. Party insiders have stressed on Maharashtra being a prestige battle for Modi whose party swept the Lok Sabha elections a couple of months ago. Going by the minutes of the internal meetings held between Modi, Shah and senior heads in the BJP and the RSS, the Prime Minister has silenced his detractors in the party who were against Shah’s elevation citing his ability to churn out big numbers.

Many in the Gujarat BJP believe that Modi has been under tremendous pressure by Shah to return the favours he has allegedly bestowed on his mentor in the last two decades of their association. It’s a well known fact that during Modi’s rebellion against former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and in his fight with the ex-Home Minister of Gujarat Haren Pandya, it was Shah who stood firmly by Modi’s side galvanizing the cadres and leaders in favour of his boss.

As the second in command in the Modi dispensation, the youngest minister in his cabinet who held charge of twelve ministries including the powerful Minister of State for Home, Shah single-handedly thwarted all trouble that came in the way of Modi with his office getting the infamous tag of the “dirty tricks department of the CM”. It was under his tenure as Home Minister that the Gujarat police went on a spree of fake encounters in the state – holding regular press conferences for the media with the bodies of the alleged assassins on display. The officers would claim that the Gujarat CM was under threat from jihadists who were out to assassinate the man who brought back Hindu asmita in Gujarat.

While the chief minister managed to leave unscathed during the investigations of most of the encounters which were later pronounced as fake, Shah found himself listed as the prime accused in three encounters, his role in the other two being probed by the CBI with investigations in the case still on.

Another major dent in Shah’s image came with his alleged involvement in the Snoopgate scandal, in which he is heard instructing one of his key lieutenants – IPS officer GL Singhal who was then incharge of the ATS, to carry on surveillance on a young woman. The tapes which were released late last year created a furore after it became obvious that Shah as the Home Minister of the state was using state machinery to snoop on innocent civilians, monitoring their moves. In this particular case, a young woman whose movements, including aspects of her personal life were being reported to the CM on a daily basis.

With such serious criminal charges against him, has Modi denigrated the position of the party president by handing over Shah the reins of the party. Would it now be safe to assume that Prime Minister Narendra Modi acted against the interests of the judiciary by rejecting the nomination of Gopal Subramaniam as a Supreme court judge as he was also the amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. Ever since the Prime Minister assumed office, ex-CBI directors including Ashwini Kumar and AP Singh who were at the helm of affairs in the CBI during the investigation of the encounters, find themselves being at the receiving end of Shah’s wrath. While Kumar has stepped down as governor of Nagaland, AP Singh is reportedly under pressure to step down as member of the UPSC after the Income Tax department served notices to him and his family members in an investigation into alleged tax evasion by meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

These could all well be coincidences if one were to take a larger liberal view of the developments including the transfer of 89-year-old ailing governor of Gujarat Kamla Beniwal, who under her tenure locked horns with Modi and Shah over the appointment of Lokayukta in the state. But even if one were to dismiss these actions against officials, lawyers, judges who played significant roles in the criminal justice process involving Amit Shah as conjectures, will it not be pertinent to suggest that by appointing Shah as the BJP President, Modi has acted in contradiction to his promise of a free and fair government, which will have no space for vindictiveness. Hasn’t Modi and the BJP under the guidance of the RSS just made the first attack on the principle of clean governance on the basis of which the party came to power? Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to answer this one.

Rana Ayyub is a journalist and a writer. She tweets at @RanaAyyub

— @piyushKAVIRAJ


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Great Power and Greater Responsibility


The movie ‘Spiderman’ has a wonderful dialogue “With great power, comes great responsibility”. All of us endorse it but forget it altogether when it comes to following it. Recently, a Trinamool Congress (TMC) M.P. kicked a storm by his haughty and irresponsible comment of sending his men to kill those who threatened his party-men and rape their women. I feel it is a sad day for womanhood, democracy as well as our Parliament. What sort of people are we electing to formulate rules and regulations for us! Someone who bears no responsibility of his deeds and actions can’t take responsibility of thousands of people in his or her constituency. Tapas Pal, the actor-cum-MP who uttered these great words, seems to win over his party volunteers by giving them a sense of security of being there with them. Or, did he think he was still acting in a movie, trying to encourage his warriors with his great inspiring speech. How the crowd cheered for him after his rape-remark is utterly disgusting too. Was the crowd happy that for the assurance of such style of justice or was it happy to get an opportunity to rape, flex muscles and prove dominance!

Is he just a party leader now? Once someone is elected a Member of Parliament, he is the caretaker of the entire constituency. How then is this act justified and why he shouldn’t be punished! Why shouldn’t he be charged for  his open threats to a group. Most important, why shouldn’t he be booked for derogatory statements on woman, showing them as nothing more than a medium for vengeance. Doesn’t it reflect the typical male chauvinist attitude of the MP when he should have risen above many petty human feelings while delivering his speech!

His wife offered an apology with a note that the backdrop should be known. Mrs Nandini Pal thinks this is enough to justify his husband’s statements. No backdrop can justify rape threat. If a woman can’t understand this, it is a pity and I feel sorry for my fellow citizens.

Its surprising that his other MP colleagues have nothing to say. Its shocking that TMC supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee has nothing more to say except that she has been saddened. And that she can’t kill him for this. Well Mamatadi, no one is asking you to kill him even though he has killed the essence of an MP and ashamed the womankind. Being a woman you had only this to offer in the name of justice. But then, it is futile expecting anything from her, considering the way she has handled many other issues in West Bengal. She craves for power, but not the responsibility! Mamatadi! responsibility comes by default, with power. No one can deny it or escape it!

-piyush KAVIRAJ

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