Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

American Presidential Contest

Have you heard of Benjamin Solomon Carson, Christopher James Christie, James Richard Perry, James Stuart Gilmore, John Ellis Bush, Michael Dale Huckabee, Piyush Jindal, Rafael Edward Cruz, Randal Howard Paul, and Richard John Santorum? Never heard of them. Surnames are familiar, not names. Don’t worry. These are Americans who are or were in race Republican nomination for American Presidential Election. They are better known by their pet names Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Jim Gilmore, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum. Other contestants are or were Donald John Trump, Carly Fiorina (born Cara Carleton Sneed), George Elmer Pataki, John Richard Kasich, Lindsey Olin Graham, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Scott Kevin Walker.
One fascinating thing about American Presidential Election is Election Day is Tuesday between 2nd and 8th November every fourth year. This year it is 8th November. Voting takes place on that day even if there is World War.
When the presidential contest began many presumed Jeb Bush will get Republican nomination and Hillary Clinton will get Democratic nomination. It was supposed to be a cakewalk for both them. Soon things turned out differently. Jeb Bush had many rivals who did better than him in polls. Bernie Sanders (Bernard Sanders) emerged a strong rival to Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.
Donald Trump’s candidacy was first seen with amusement. Last time also he had announced his candidacy and had backed out after some days. This time it was different. There was disbelief when he was second in polls. When journalists asked him he said he was surprised why he was not first.
Carly Fiorina presented herself as rival to Hillary Clinton who wanted to be USA’s first woman president. For some time she did well in polls.
First Republican Presidential Debate was on Fox News. There were 17 candidates. They were split into two groups. Seven candidates who had lower ranking in polls were in a debate before prime time. Ten candidates who had higher ranking participated in prime time debate. Rick Perry was the first to drop out of contest. Gradually some others dropped out.
First Democratic Presidential Debate was on CNN. There were five candidates. Two of them dropped out after a few days. Martin Joseph O’Malley dropped out after Iowa Caucus.
Donald Trump dominated news. He did not worry about political correctness.
Donald Trump had problem with Megyn Kelly of Fox News and skipped one debate and held a Veteran programme. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum attended Trump’s Veteran programme after finishing their debate. Ted Cruz was also angry with Fox News.
Many women above 30 want a woman president. Many women below 30 do not want Hillary Clinton as president. Madeleine Albright came in support of Hillary Clinton and said for women who do not help other women there is a place in hell. Someone countered it by saying there is a place in hell for women who vote for women just because they are women.
Among Republicans Ted Cruz was first in Iowa caucus, Donald Trump second, Marco Rubio third. Soon Ted Cruz was accused of fraud for sending forms about voter record and lying that Ben Carson had quit. Many said the contest in Republican Party was between two freshman senators and a reality TV star.
Among Democrats the contest was tough between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. For three seats winner was decided by toss and Hillary Clinton won all three. Result was Bernie Sanders 697 seats – 49.4%, Hillary Clinton 701 seats – 49.6%, Martin O’Malley 8 seats – .6%.
After Iowa caucus Martin O’Malley, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum quit.
Donald Trump came first in New Hampshire primary. John Kasich coming second was a surprise. Ted Cruz was third. Jeb Bush was fourth. Marco Rubio was fifth.
Bernie Sanders got 60% votes, Hillary Clinton 38%.
After New Hampshire primary Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina quit.
Jeb Bush avoided mentioning his father George H. W. Bush and brother George W. Bush for a long time. He said he was his own man. After Iowa caucus and around the time of New Hampshire primary his mother Barbara Bush joined the campaign. Then George W. Bush joined and addressed meetings.
On 17/2/2016 Barack Obama spoke against Donald Trump. He said “They recognise that being a president is a serious job. It’s not hosting a talk show, or a reality show. It’s not promotion or marketing. The American people are sensible, ,and I think they will make a sensible choice in the end.” Jimmy Kimmel said “Excuse me. I host a talk show and it is a serious job. I hope he will say that to Oprah.” Trump hit back at Obama and said “This man has done a lousy job and set us back so far and for him to say that actually is a great compliment.”
On 18/2/2016 while on flight from Mexico to Rome one reporter asked Pope Francis about Donald Trump. Francis said “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, in not Christian.” Once asked about gays, Francis had said “Who am I to judge?” He was judging Donald Trump. Donald Trump said it was disgraceful for a religious leader to question someone’s religion or faith. He was proud to be a Christian. He further said “If and when the Vatican is attacked by the ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president.” Mark Burns, a pastor and Trump supporter said, Vatican is surrounded by walls.
Another Trump supporter said there is nothing more Christian than building walls. After all Jesus Christ was a carpenter. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio did not speak against Trump. Jeb Bush said he gets his spiritual guidance from pope, not political or economic guidance.
On 1/3/2016 21 states will have caucuses and primaries. Republican candidates, who are six now, may be reduced to two.

BCCI revamp

Lodha committee submitted its report on 4/1/2016. The committee consisted of for CJI R. M. Lodha and former Justices Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran. The committee made many recommendations. Most of them are good, some are not clear, and one regarding making betting legal is bad.
Good to have former Test cricketers who retired five years before as national selectors. How is seniority decided? Date of birth, selection or Test debut.
President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer should be former Test cricketers.
Good to have three terms of three years each and age limit of 70 years.
Good to restrict full membership to associations that field Ranji Trophy teams. Having one vote for one state is a problem for Maharashtra and Gujarat. Maharashtra has three Ranji Trophy teams: Mumbai, Maharashtra, and Vidarbha. Gujarat has three Ranji Trophy teams: Baroda, Gujarat, and Saurashtra.
Betting shall not be legal. It leads to match-fixing, spot-fixing, session-fixing, and toss-fixing.
Ban on ministers and public servants from holding BCCI and cricket association posts is good. It would have been better if only cricketers were to hold offices in BCCI and state and other Ranji cricket associations and all non-cricketers were banned. Managers of cricket teams should be former cricketers. For Test teams they should have played Tests.
Politicians are unhappy. Sharad Pawar was BCCI President when he was Agriculture Minister. Now he is above 70. Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Manohar Joshi, Narendra Modi, Rajeev Shukla, and others have held positions.
On 4/2/2016 Supreme Court bench of CJI T. S. Thakur and Justice F. M. I. Kalifulla told BCCI to implement Lodha committee recommendations as they are straight, reasonable, understandable, and deserve respect and there is no reason to disagree which has the most illuminated and respected members of the legal community. This was in response to BCCI lawyer Shekhar Naphade’s argument that there is need to consult 30-odd BCCI member associations. Supreme Court fixed 3/3/2016 as the next date of hearing.
Many BCCI officials are unhappy. Ajay Shirke has openly come out against recommendations. Others have privately given excuses to journalists for not carrying out the recommendations.
Lodha committee suggested doing away with zonal rotation for BCCI presidentship as it might prevent the best and the most competent person from being selected. BCCI’s claim or excuse that doing away with zonal rotation is not good because India is a vast country and it is imperative that every zone gets a fair share of opportunity is a poor joke. Zonal rotation came a few years back. When it was East Zone’s turn nobody from that zone got selected as BCCI president. It was Shashank Manohar from West Zone. Arun Jaitley was expected to be East Zone nominee. He became minister and did not show interest. N. Srinivasan was barred by Supreme Court. Both of them were not from East Zone.
The argument by BCCI officials about ban on ministers and bureaucrats holding BCCI offices is that without them cricket bodies cannot run well. Politicians, especially ministers, get clearances easily. There is blanket ban on politicians holding officers, only on ministers. If a cricket association cannot function smoothly without a minister at the helm, it should shut down. Political patronage can cover up many illegalities and swindling as we have seen in the case of DDCA.
Lodha committee rightly barred a person from holding a BCCI post and a state association post simultaneously. This is for decentralisation of power. BCCI officials say this will compromise governance of cricket. They are wrong. When a person holds two posts there is scope for conflict of interest and favouritism. Recently we had the case of Nagpur Test pitch report. With Shashank Manohar there was triple conflict of interest. He was ICC chairman, BCCI president and VCA president.
Those who argue against nine years limit give examples of N. K. P. Salve and Jagmohan Dalmiya as fine administrators. They do not mention Dalmiya spent time in jail. Dalmiya was ICC president. He overruled technical committee report that recommended ban on Shoaib Akhtar for wrong bowling action. Dalmiya’s return as BCCI president is a fact stranger than fiction.
Advertisement-free telecast will result in loss of revenue. Not many will pay extra to watch matches on TV. Different series are telecast by different channels and subscribing to all of them or disconnecting and changing channels according to the series is a problem.
Politicians may decide to form Mumbai, Vidarbha, Baroda and Saurashtra states to circumvent one state one vote rule. They may even like to have Brabourne Stadium state or union territory.
Over the years many Ranji Trophy teams have disappeared. They are Central Provinces & Berar, Eastern Punjab, Gwalior, Holkar, Kathiawar, Madhya Bharat, Nawanagar, North West Frontier Province, Northern India, Northern Punjab, Patiala, Patiala and East Punjab States Union, and Western India.
On 5/2/2016 when questioned about BCCI not implementing Lodha committee recommendations Anurag Thakur replied “The BCCI is not looking at an escape route.” He said Lodha committee had taken 12 months to prepare the report; BCCI is taking just two months to deliberate and discuss.
On 7/2/2016 BCCI’s legal committee met and decided to convene a Special General Meeting to respond to Supreme Court.
BCCI has resisted coming under Right to Information. Lot will change when BCCI comes under RTI.

Women and temple

Some have challenged ban on entry of females in the age group of 10-50 to Sabarimala temple. Feminists say it is discrimination. Devotees say it is differentiation. For women there is a separate temple where men are not allowed.
On 26/1/2016 a group of women wanted to enter Shani Shingnapur temple. Local women did not want to allow them. Police detained women who wanted to enter. The temple has a long tradition of not allowing women. Some say it is a 400 years old tradition. It is said at platform men are also not allowed except those who pay 11,000 or 11,111 rupees and at a certain time. The protest gave publicity to Bhoomata Brigade.
One does not have to go to a temple to pray. One can pray at home. Most temples allow entry to women. Local women have no problem. Outside women want entry.
Those who support women’s entry into Shani Shingnapur temple quote Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees Right to Equality. Those who oppose quote Article 25 which guarantees Right to Freedom of Religion.
Some see politics behind this movement. They say it is a tactic to divert attention from Rohit Vemula’s death. Some say it is an attempt by Maharashtra Government to take over the temple.
Some Muslim women want entry to Haji Ali dargah. They claim entry was allowed till 2011. There was no tradition of not allowing women. Bombay High Court did not decide the case.
Women claim gender discrimination.
There is discrimination against men. In city buses seats are reserved for women. In local bodies 33% or 50% seats are reserved for women. Women are free to contest 100% of seats. Men can contest on 67% or 50% of seats. For entry into army men have to cover certain distance in 9 minutes, women in 14 minutes.
For some TV anchors it was an opportunity to attack different religions.
Over the years there have been changes in religious practices. Some traditions have come to an end.
Some say we are in the 21st century. They should know everything is not right in this century. This century saw emergence of ISIS, sale of captured women and girls. It saw kidnappings of more than 200 girls and their forcible conversion to Islam by Boko Haram in Nigeria. This century has seen rapes and murders of many women and girls. This century saw Nidhi Razdan and Anjali Doshi wearing head scarves in London. Shweta Rajpal Kohli wore burkha in Saudi Arabia and went out accompanied by a male. Bombay Municipal Corporation ordered covering of mannequins displaying lingerie. In Italy nude statues in a museum were covered for the visit of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

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