Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

SP splits

There was a time when people said UP has five and half chief ministers. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav, Ramgopal Yadav, Azam Khan, and the woman who was chief secretary were said to be the five chief ministers. Akhilesh Yadav was half chief minister.
Gradually Akhilesh Yadav asserted himself. In 2012 he had led the party to victory. He had discarded SP’s opposition to English and computers. Many young people joined SP and voted for SP. He tried to change the image of the party which was known as a party of criminals. That did not go down well with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav.
There were clashes between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav. Akhilesh opposed merger of Qaumi Ekta Dal with SP. There were other issues. In the beginning of November 2016 there was compromise between Akhilesh and Shivpal.
At the end of December there was clash again over the candidates for UP elections. Akhilesh and Shivpal came up with different lists. Mulayam sides with Shivpal. On 30/12/2016 at 6.30 p.m. during a press conference he announced expulsion of Akhilesh for six years. This expulsion was unusual for two reasons. One, a ruling party president expelled its CM. Two, father expelled his son.
Some say blood is thicker than water. Yadavs will eventually patch up. Power is thicker than blood. Ever since Akhilesh became CM, Mulayam had publicly spoken against him. Akhilesh had put up with it saying the leader has the right to speak.
Clashes between father and son for power are not new. History is full of such clashes. Ajatashatru had put his father into prison and is said to have executed him. Salim had revolted against Akbar. Aurangzeb had deposed Shah Jahan. In contemporary India there was fight between Karunanidhi and Alagiri.
Chances of SP winning the next UP election appear bleak due to this split. The fight within the family has become a public spectacle. SP members will have to take sides.

Sahara and Birla

Rahul Gandhi on 21/12/2016 at Mehsana said Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat had received 40 crore rupees from Sahara and 12 crore rupees from Birla. That set off reactions. Rahul Gandhi had not said anything new. Arvind Kejriwal had said this. Prashant Bhushan represents Common Cause in a PIL regarding Sahara and Birla payments to Modi. TMC leaders said they had raised the issue two years back.
Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations against Modi were baseless, false, shameful, and mala fide and reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state. He has been disturbed over the AgustaWestland probe. Congressmen and the family have been named in the AgustaWestland investigations. Rahul Gandhi is on bail in the National Herald case, a case of serious cheating and fraud. Narendra Modi is an epitome of honesty and pure like Ganga.
Ganga is not pure. It is dirty and polluted. It has been that way for more than 30 years. Ravi Shankar Prasad should have known that.
Some wondered is this the earthquake Rahul Gandhi had promised. He had said he has evidence of personal corruption against Modi and if he speaks in Parliament there will be an earthquake. BJP was not allowing him to talk in Parliament. MPs have immunity for what they say in Parliament. The guess was that he wanted immunity.
Where was the earthquake? Gaurav Gogoi said the earthquake was in BJP office. Chandan Mitra said people were laughing in BJP office. One journalist said according to sources in Congress the purpose was served. On TV channels people are discussing what Rahul Gandhi said.
It is not only politicians who receive favours from companies. Journalists also receive. One Essar employee had revealed names of politicians and journalists who had received favours from Essar. Not much happened.
Radia tapes had revealed the relationship between industrialists, corporates, journalists, politicians and bureaucrats.
Companies mostly pay to politicians in cash. They want the payments to remain secret. Few companies pay in cheque to political parties.
No Indian English news channel has reported Directorate of Revenue Intelligence investigations into five Adani companies. There is charge of fake invoices of import of coal from Indonesia mentioning inflated prices. Adani has accounts in Cayman Islands.
Sahara file has names of more than 100 politicians belonging to 18 or more parties. It has name of Sheila Dikshit who was CM of Delhi for 15 years and is Congress UP CM candidate. When asked about her Congress members said let there be investigation about her. There are other BJP leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the list. Congress is not bothered about them. Their target is Narendra Modi. In the political chess game between Congress and BJP, for Congress Narendra Modi is the BJP king who has to be captured. Sheila Dikshit is a pawn. If she goes, so be it. It is a small price to pay.

69 years of black money

BJP members speak of 70 years of black money. It is 69 years since independence. Narendra Modi became Prime Minister on 26/5/2014. It means there was black money generation under Modi government and also under Vajpayee government in 1998-2004. BJP has been in power in many states. In Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, BJP ruled alone and in Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab and in some other states in was in ruling alliance. In Uttar Pradesh it was once ruling party and other times in was in ruling alliance. BJP has been in power in District Councils, municipalities and panchayats.
Corruption has been all pervasive. When people pay bribes to become police officers and judges there is no hope of justice from them. Contractors pay bribes to get their work done.
Robbing rich to pay to poor is bad. Robbing poor to pay to rich is perverse. That has happened under Modi with writing off of loans of thousands of crores of rupees borrowed by corporates. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in reply to Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha said one should not go by literal meaning of written-off, the loans can be pursued and recovered. The reality that once loans are written off they are not recovered.
Many corporates borrowed money from banks and bought properties abroad. No action is taken against them. Now corporates are happy that with deposits going up interest rates will come down. Deposits are up because withdrawals are limited and difficult.
Modi government had announced an amnesty scheme for black money holders with 30/9/2016 as last date. Around 65,000 crore rupees were declared. Then Modi came up with invalidation of high denomination notes.
Modi said people with black money are taking sleeping pills and poor people are sleeping soundly. I do not know how many are taking sleeping pills but many ordinary people are unable to get their white money from banks. Exchange amount changed from 4,000 rupees to 4,500 rupees to 2,000 rupees and now stopped. One can officially withdraw 24,000 rupees in a week but banks on many days have no money and people go back. When there is money it is 2,000 rupees per person. Most ATMs have no cash.
If BJP is serious about ending black money it should make its accounts public including list of donors and the amounts donated. It should be ready to come under RTI and bring a law to bring political parties under RTI. Making promises and breaking them has become a habit for Modi. He promised to bring black money from abroad and put 15 lakh rupees in every Indian’s account in 100 days of coming to power. That was broken. On 8/11/2016 he promised invalid 1,000 rupee and 500 rupee note can be exchanged till 30/12/2016. Exchange ended on 24/11/2016.

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