Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

UK leaves EU

On 23/6/2016 UK held referendum on Brexit. On 24/6/2016 vote counting was over. UK had voted to leave EU by 51.89% to 48.11% votes.
Brexit issue had divided parties. Conservative Party was divided. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer were in Remain Camp. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove were in Leave Camp. Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn did not show enthusiasm for Remain Camp. London Mayor Sadiq Khan was in Remain Camp. David Cameron and Sadiq Khan appeared together to ask voters to choose Remain. Some Labour MPs favoured Leave.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney favoured Remain. Some questioned his propriety.
Former Prime Ministers John Major, Anthony Blair, James Gordon Brown campaigned for Remain.
Many foreigners joined Brexit debate. US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF President Christine Lagarde wanted UK to remain in EU.
Currency dealer George Soros and many industrialists favoured Remain.
During the campaign Labour MP Helen Joanne Cox was murdered. Conservative MP Sayeeda Warsi switched from Leave Camp to Remain Camp.
UKIP favoured leave. When it was clear it was victory for Brexit UKIP leader spoke.
He said: “Dare to dream he dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom. If the predictions are right this will be a victory for the real people, for the ordinary people, and for the decent people.”
“We fought against the multi-nationals, we fought against the big merchant banks, we fought against lies, corruption and deceit”.
“Honesty, decency and belief in nation is going to win. And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired.”
“We’ll have done it by damn hard work. By people like my friend Arron Banks; by people in Labour, the Conservative Party, UKIP and in no party.”
“We’ll have done it not just for ourselves, we’ll have done it for the whole of Europe.
“I hope this victory brings bring down this failed project. Let’s get rid of the flag, the anthem, Brussels and all that has gone wrong.”
“Let June 23 go down in history as our Independence Day.”
Later he said “June the 23rd needs to become a national bank holiday, and we will call it Independence Day.”
David Cameron announced he will step down during Conservative Party’s Convention in October.
Donald Trump was in Scotland to open a golf course.
“I think it’s a great thing that happened. People are angry, all over the world. People, they’re angry.”
“People want to take their country back. They want to have independence, in a sense, and you see it with Europe, all over Europe. You’re going to have more than just — in my opinion, more than what happened last night, you’re going to have, I think many other cases where they want to take their borders back. They want to take their monetary back.”
Markets crash all over the world. There was no rational explanation. There was no good reason for Sensex to crash or rupee to crash against dollar. Pound’s crash seems manipulated.

Raghuram Rajan and RBI

Raghuram Rajan not continuing as RBI Governor for second term has become international news. Many foreign channels have commented and discussed about it. BBC compared him to rock star. This has no precedent.
On 18/6/2016 Raghuram Rajan in his e-mail to RBI colleagues mentioned “While I was open to seeing these developments through, on due reflection, and after consultation with the government, I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term ends on September 4, 2016.”
Raghuram Rajan was a UPA appointee. He did not have the best of relationship with Modi Government. Raghuram Rajan spoke on issues not connected to economy or did not toe the government line. That offended many in the ruling party.
Raghuram Rajan has many admirers. They were hoping he will get a second term. Once Subramanian Swamy started to attack Raghuram Rajan there was doubt over his continuance as RBI Governor. Swamy’s attacks were on issues as well as personal.
One issue on which many blame Raghuram Rajan is interest rates. They say he kept interest rates far too high and far too long to bring down inflation. This affected investment and growth. The critics are wrong. Raghuram Rajan was right to keep interest rates high. Zero interest rate or negative interest rate has not helped any economy. Euro zone countries or Japan have not made progress by having such rates.
Inflation affects Indians as a whole. Low interest rates could have benefitted few industrialists who anyway do not repay loans. They default and go for strategic debt restructuring and corporate debt restructuring which means public money is lost. Public sector banks have lost lakhs of crores of rupees. Raghuram Rajan wanted to make the names of defaulters public. Soon attacks on him began.
Some had predicted Raghuram Rajan’s exit will result in fall in FDI. Modi Government wanted to prove them wrong. So on 20/6/2016 there was clearance for 100% FDI in defence and some other sectors and 74% FDI in Pharma. Congress called it a panic reaction.
Under Raghuram Rajan rupee which had fallen to 69 per dollar had become stable and appreciated close to 55 per dollar and then depreciated and is now around 67 per dollar.
Some are happy and some are unhappy about Raghuram Rajan’s going. BJP members are generally happy. Some economists are industrialists are unhappy. The names of defaulters to public sector banks must be made public. Those who have left the country should be declared robbers and brought back.

2 Years of Modi Government

On 16/5/2014 Lok Sabha election results were announced. BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi won 282 seats. Modi Government took oath on 26/5/2014. There were great expectations. Two years down the line there is great disillusionment. If Lok Sabha election is held in Varanasi today, Modi will lose his deposit.
Modi talked of good days and development. It is not good days for ordinary Indians. It is good days for industrialists who borrow thousands of crores of rupees from public sector banks and default.
Agusta case made news. Subramanian Swamy said there was complicity not to follow the case. Arun Shourie said it was NDA Government which did not co-operate with Italian authorities.
Rupee has lost its value against dollar and other currencies.
There were agitations for reservation by Patels in Gujarat and Jats in Haryana. Jat stir in Haryana was violent. There was arson, loot, rape and vandalism. Many expected Modi Government to put an end to reservations. After loss in Bihar, BJP is favour of continuing reservations. Many are disappointed.
Modi Government gave Bharat Ratna to Atal Behari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malaviya. Malaviya had died in 1946.
Lalit Modi continues to live abroad due to help by Sushma Swaraj. She should not have continued as External Affairs Minister.
Vijay Mallya is a defaulter of around 9,000 crore rupees to banks. He had defaulted on Income Tax and Service Tax deducted. He should have been in jail long back. He was allowed to leave the country. He lives in UK.
China has blocked India’s efforts against terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. India announced and granted visas to Chinese dissidents to attend a conference in Dharamshala. It was said to be tit-for-tat. China protested and India later withdrew the visas. It was a shameful surrender.
Attempts to improve relations with Pakistan did not succeed.
India messed up with Nepal. It did not welcome Nepal’s Constitution. There was unofficial blockade of goods to Nepal. There was an attempt to topple K. P. Oli’s Government. There is anti-Indian feeling in a large section of Nepal. Nepal has moved closer to China.
CBFC Chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani angered many people including some BJP supporters in CBFC.
Modi Government toppled Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh. Its attempt to topple Congress Government in Uttarakhand ended in a fiasco.
Rohith Vemula’s suicide became a political issue. BJP was accused of being anti-Dalit.
JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar was attacked by goons, some of them BJP members and lawyers. He became famous
Some Congress appointees like Ram Naresh Yadav and K. Rosaiah continued as Governors.
Modi Government nominated Subramanian Swamy, Swapan Dasgupta, Mary Kom, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Suresh Gopi and Narendra Jadhav to Rajya Sabha.
Modi Government brought three ordinances on land. Congress opposed them. Bills replacing ordinances did not pass in Rajya Sabha. BJP gave up. This was a setback Modi did not anticipate. Industrialists who had hoped Modi will change land law had a reality check.
BJP while in opposition had opposed Congress GST bill. Now Congress was in opposition. It opposed BJP GST bill. Congress put conditions for support. BJP did not accept them.
There was talk of intolerance and returning of awards by many authors and some other people. Later some of them took back their awards.
FTII students opposed Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as Chairman. They lost.
Judiciary encroached on the powers of legislature. Supreme Court struck down NJAC Act and Constitutional Amendment. Modi Government did not take on the judiciary.
Lowering the age of juveniles from 18 to 16 with certain conditions for certain crimes like murder is a good step. More needs to be done.
West Bengal and Bihar Governor Kesri Nath Tripathi did not follow the advice of Jitan Ram Manjhi to appoint 17 ministers and 17 parliamentary secretaries. Nitish Kumar made a comeback. He formed a coalition with RJD and Congress and trounced BJP and allies in Legislative Assembly elections. It is said Return of Jungle Raj.
Modi Government has failed in bringing back black money.
Jewellers are against BJP due to excise on jewellery. They were supporters of BJP.
Gold bonds succeeded because temples bought them.
Modi did not treat former General V. K. Singh fairly. BJP got many ex-servicemen votes due to him. He won Ghaziabad seat. He should have been made Defence Minister with cabinet rank. He was made Minister of State for External Affairs and continues as such. Smriti Irani at 38 who had lost Amethi was made HRD Minister with cabinet rank. Arun Jaitley who lost Amritsar was made Finance Minister with additional portfolios of Defence and Information & Broadcasting. Arun Jaitley was responsible for affidavit against V. K. Singh in Supreme Court. Later Manohar Parrikar who was Chief Minister of Goa was made Defence Minister.
BJP during elections and later Modi Government had promised One Rank One Pension with effect from 1/4/2014. It gave One Rank Many Pensions with effect from 1/7/2014. The excuse for change of date was BJP came to power on 26/5/2016.
Modi Government has promoted yoga. This year there is controversy surrounding chanting of Om and Vedic shlokas during exercises on Yoga Day. Some Muslims have said chanting Om is against Islam.
PM Modi has visited USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, China, Fiji, UAE, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Brazil, Russia, Iran and some other countries.
Defaults by borrowers of hundreds or thousands of crores of rupees from banks have gone up under Modi Government.
Modi had talked of 1200 years of slavery coming to an end in 1947. Not many paid heed to it. There are attempts to erase whatever reminds of Muslim rule. Name changes are suggested. Aurangzeb Road was changed to Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Road. There is an attempt to rename Akbar Road as Maharana Pratap Road. If that succeeds there will be attempts to rename Babur Road, Humayun Road, Jahangir Road, Shah Jahan Road, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Secundarabad and so on.
In 2015 BJP lost in Delhi and Bihar. In 2016 it won in Assam and formed government. It won three seats in West Bengal and its first MLA in Kerala. It did not win any seat in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Modi Government appointed Kiran Bedi as Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.
Celebrating anniversaries of government is a new phenomenon. It began with BJP celebrating one year of NDA Government headed by Vajpayee in 1999. That was because in 1996 BJP Government had to quit within 15 days. For BJP completing one year at Centre was a great achievement. After one month in April 1999 Vajpayee Government fell by one vote.

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