Category Archives: Politics

Indian General Elections 2014 – Results

Well over the last leg of the biggest dance of democracy across the world, which saw millions of people vote to elect their representatives who would lead them into the future, we observed great amount of enthusiasm among people & matching performances from their leaders.

Performances, yes that’s what we saw from the leaders. Over the last two months of campaigning it was not issues that were discussed, it was not future policies of the country that caught the attention, it was not even employment, infrastructure, health care, environment or trade relations with world that found merit.

What we saw was a great drama for democracy with top leaders busy in exchanging personal barbs at each other. It was like abyss with no end. We believe that at some point in time, these interactions got people so involved that even the TRPs of running soaps on Indian television would have taken a hit.

We hope that this is not the prequel of things to come. This is not what India needs. India needs Results and result oriented discussions and interactions. The campaign started out well with all parties raising issues and putting forth their plans for the nation but later degenerated into a mad rush to gather headlines and public eye. In most scenarios, it looked like the race to get best media coverage at what ever cost.

We hope that, once the new government is formed they would be result oriented and erase the past two months as a forgetful part of their run to be head of world’s largest democracy.

With respect to the results, whoso ever comes to power is not the real outcome of this elections. We think that winner in this elections are the common citizens of India. Record polling of with over 66% voter turn out, the 550 million people who voted have made it clear that in future “Results only matter”.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

Visit our views on needs of democracy & it’s people

 

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‘dod’ Tram Story: The King Makers

Two men traveling in a tram. It is a hot & humid Kolkata summer. They got into a debate. Getting into a debate is not uncommon in this part of India, it is rather an opportunity to flex intellectual muscle, but with ongoing election fever, any debate other than politics, shall raise eyebrows.

Mr. Das, looking out of the window of slow moving tram, said, “fourteen years have gone dod_Tramby and yet the things have not changed.”

Mr. Saha, wiping the sweat on his forehead remarked, “What are you talking about, CPM (Communist Party) is no longer in power, it is DiDi now. (Didi, referred to head of ruling TMC in West Bengal)

Das, smirked, “Saha, let me tell you, National Parties in India are just rubber stamps. They over last 14 years could not make government on their own.”

Saha for a while could not get head or tails of it, but he did not let his Bengali spirit cow down so easily.  He said, “Sauti (true), but you need to have evidence for same.”

Das was now in full spirit, ignoring the beautiful Victoria Memorial and some cool breeze that gushes along on this stretch of tram ride. He straightened and said, “You know for all these years no matter who was at the center, the state parties where the ones who ruled.”

Knowing that he had Saha grappling to grasp, he continued, “Saha as per past stats, state parties have cornered 28% of seats in national elections, which leaves the national parties to no alternative but seek their support to have 51% majority”. He added, “Worst is that this gives state parties unusual say on national issues and corner key portfolios in the central government. Remember, this is without them having any say in any other part of India.”

Saha understood that Das has got a one up on him, but he still probed further, “Do you have the stats handy?”

Das was now enjoying the breeze as tram moved forward on signal turning green. “Yes, of course, I have the proof. Here you go.”

With this Das showed Saha a piece of paper and it read as follows:

Seats won in the year           2009         2004         1999

National Parties                         376              364         369

State Parties                                146              159         158

Unrecognized Parties              12                 15           10

Independents                               09                 05           06

Total                                                 543             543         543

State Party Seats/Total          26%        29%          29%

Saha knew today Das had come prepared. He acknowledged it and added, “Yes, that is what makes Didi in West bengal, Amma in Tamil Nadu and Bhenji in Uttar Pradesh, key to this elections”.

Das remarked, “Sauti (True), if stats have it’s way they have key to 28% of seats and are the kingmakers.” They both laughed together and got ready to get off the tram.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

KRAs of Democracy

A troubled Rajan was going up and down the corridor of his office. He looked tensed with cold sweat flowing down his brow. Well, it is time of the year when employees are appraised by their employers. This anxiety is common, among most of the working class going through during their appraisals.

Rajan, knowing the outcome, was relaxed. He managed an above average increment. On his way home he saw the congested road, polluted air, slight mayhem in local travel. It got him to think. He like many Indians in democracy want to ask the same question. Where is the appraisals of  MPs and MLAs? What are their KRAs (key result area)?

We in this discussion, shall try and lay down what the Member of Parliaments and that of legislative assemblies need to be measured against. Lets explore KRAs of democracy.

Revenue: All MPs need to have target to increase revenue for their area associated with their seat. This like any CEO, needs to have a forward looking and realistic number. Look up the average revenue per seat of India, covered in our earlier discussion on this subject.

Infrastructure Development: Critical in Indian context, every seat needs to show positive development on infra to provide basic needs and infra development for future needs.

Health Care: Here development needs to get quantified on increase in number of beds, availability of speciality treatments and emergency treatment facility.

Education: To track increase in quality teachers, institutions built for basic and higher education and employable students generated out of this process.

Environment Protection: This is a critical aspect which needs to be taken care while we develop the region. The KRA here should be number of green zones created, forest cover restored and protected.

Apart for above five, we also believe that one needs to have mechanism to track fairness of  Administration. This can be measured by tracking reduction in crime rate, redtapism and corruption cases being filed in the courts, year on year to get to a score.

Rajan was pretty happy to understand the KRAs of democracy and that of his elected representatives. But this was short lived as he wanted to understand how does he, a common man, enforce this?

Ideas are Welcome.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

 

Three Musketeers of Indian Politics 2014

The three musketeers, have very different strengths but one goal drives them together, and when together, they spin out surprises.

Well, we are talking about trio of women power from Amma (Ms. Jayalalithaa) to Didi (Ms. Mamta Banerjee) to Bhenji (Ms. Mayawati) – the only common feature is that all are female politicians of India and at this point in time have decent control over the vote share in their constituencies. That’s where similarities end. Rest all from ideologies to, administrative capabilities, to political allegiances, to constituencies; are different.

So what makes them come together, when we have not even seen them on one common platform. This can be blamed on enthusiasm of media or there is an alternate path which really makes them play the king maker.

In the current reading of the general elections, no party seems to be heading for clear majority which would make the regional party support must for the incumbent government. In this scenario, all three ladies command a decent vote share in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Uttar Pradesh. Their coming together gives them higher ground to negotiate and gain some ministries for their party members. The leaders in question do not look likely to leave their state bastions and move on the national charter which is why they are happy playing to their strengths and be the king maker.

Here there is join hands to create force to recon but all hands are with different agenda. They shall join, looks likely; survive in relation, may be; proliferate in relation, not likely at all.

By “dod Rangers”

DoD Crystal Ball Invoked

Well, we wanted to do see this earlier, we were desperate, Yes! we have not been so for a long time. Why? Oh we wanted to understand the future of Delhi and of course of Aam Admi Party. You would also want to know right? So lets see further.

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As the haze clears on the DoD Crystal Ball, we see three distinct scenarios:

First we see a triumphant Arvind Kejriwal, oh yes, DoD Crystal ball depicts him triumphant. He has pulled out decisive trick in politics, which generally is kept as the last salvo it is to relinquish. Politics is majorly seen as an exercise to rise up the hierarchy and never to let go.  Across the eras there have been few masterminds who have relinquished the throne to gain public acceptance and thus more power. Crystal ball depicts that this happens only when there is more gain in letting it go then to being at the throne.

ArKe has done just that. His back was getting pushed into corner day by day with promises made and system not toeing his line. Read the earlier article on promises made, Arvind KejriWALL & Aam Aadmi Party Fall. Kautalya would have liked this move. DoD crystal ball is hazy on trying to understand if this would really be the masterstroke for Arvind.

Some 10 years back India had witnessed use of this tactics, in different scenario, by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. She had relinquished the PM chair and gained high ground in public eye. It made the then opposition speechless.

Second scenario, is that with this salvo, ArKe has silenced the opposition parties. Yes, you would not hear, for some time, Narandra Modi and Rahul Gandhi picking up confrontation with Arvind. Why? Looks like DoD crystal ball smiling back at us and answering “If they do they shall uphold him in the eyes of public.”

DoD Crystal Ball (CB), clears the clouds, and suggests that both parties, Congress and BJP shall play non-confrontational politics with Arvind and get public involved in issues other than AAP.

We push the DoD CB further, it is time that it goes in hibernation again, but in nick of time it predicts unclear agenda among AAP party leaders in their gest to run up to the Lok Sabha elections would lead to some slip-ups here and there. DoD CB (Crystal Ball) goes white again.

One thing we learned was that we couldn’t invoke DoD CB anytime we want; it chooses its time to foretell. So, lets wait till next time.

Arvind Kejri wall & Aam Admi Party fall

 

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Not long back were the people in Delhi rejoicing on streets, December 28 to be precise. Yesterday too they were on streets to support Arvind & AAP, which has relinquished the power after a run of just 49 days. People were confident then, baffled now. Even DoD crystal ball, was not clear on this internal crumble.

It is mark on these days democracy that people run to conclusion first and then analyze their thoughts. We shall do it the conventional way; lets list the 49-day run, and trust us it was a 100meter dash.

–       Free water to Delhi public
–       Cut power bills by 50%
–       Janta Durbar, a bold attempt
–       CM dharna before the Republic day parade, demanding cop suspension on Danish rape case. Check out “Wake up India – Another Foreigner Raped”
–       SIT filed to probe 1984 riots
–       Power crises as discoms refuse to toe CMs dictate
–       FIR filed against earlier CM Sheila Dikshit, on corruption case
–       FIR against Mukesh Ambani & Oil Minister Moily on gas pricing
–       Kejriwal was not allowed to table the “Jan Lokpal Bill” in Delhi assembly

Huff Huff, it is really a task 10 prominent issues raised, one every 5th day of tenure, this is unprecedented in democracy. Kudos to team AAP and the “WALL” Arvind to bring democracy and issues a talk of every day household. Even media was on toes and had no choice but to cover Arvind, each of the 49 days in office.

At this juncture, we are not evaluating the rationale of stepping out of the government. We believe, on one-hand democracy has won, because people are more aware of the issues and they see a voice leading causes, which are related to them. On the other, Democracy has also lost; the trust that people had reposed on Aam Aadmi Party stands betrayed by them by not being able to maneuver the entire term. It was always going to be difficult and people had voted them to power to run with these difficult situations and quit in between.  It cannot always be “my way” in a democracy; one needs to be patient enough to turn the greatest adversary into believer in ones thoughts. Not far in the history we have witnessed “India’s freedom struggle” which continued to, well over a century, and was successful only because different fractions with different ideologies still had the same dream of freedom. We believe that democracy wins in patience and not in a hurry. Check our earlier article “AAP – Winners in Hurry”

So for the time being AAP’s KejriWALL has fallen from CM’s chair to streets of Delhi.

AAP – Winners in hurry!

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Start of 2014, history was written with democracy as an undisputed winner. Yes! we are celebrating the remarkable victory of AAP (Aam   Aadmi Party) inDelhi assembly elections. In context of new age Indian democracy this is unprecedented where a group of change agents got people involved and went ahead to form a government at the seat of parliament in Delhi.

Manifesto of the party was clear and Arvind Kejriwal was forthright in hitting corruption and bringing it out as the major aliment in India. Indeed in current scenario of Indian polity this is very pertinent, with scams galore. People have given thumbs up to their candid view, on ground approach and to hope that people of the country can bring out change. We think that the later is a big win for democracy.

Going back to old times, once a battle is won, one needs to re-enforce the resources and prepare for the war ahead. AAP needs to recognize this fact, they have proven themselves by winning the battle and there is no need for a rapid slew of actions to prove their mantle in governance. In this haste there have already been false starts with “Janta durbar” to be moved from physical meeting to an online format, free water and 50% reduction in electricity cost is yet to start, saying “no” to FDI in retail, agitation on recent Delhi rape case. These instances are giving confusing signals to people. Various party leaders like Kumar Vishwas, Prashant Bhushan giving divergent opinions on crucial issues to media is compounding the issue further.

People would like to see a concerted action, oneness in party and manifesto towards a) India’s growth, b) bring rural masses to main stream, c) regional issues plaguing the country, d) economic vision and e) International relations. It is to be seen what stance the party takes and get the act right.