Month: November 2012

Life must go on

It is not right to shut down a city or state or country by forcing a bandh or when there is a terrorist attack or someone dies. Such shutdowns are more due to fear of violence than for respect for the dead or any other reason. It is wrong for people to say police should remain indoors and travel if they must.

When schools, shops, and theatres are shut down and autorickshaws and taxis are off the road unexpectedly it is misery for many people. Many do not have foodstock at home and they have to remain hungry. Without autorickshaws and taxis people who have to go to airports, railway stations, bus stations and people who get down there are stuck. People who get married and those who attend weddings are affected. Halls are books months in advance. People who attend funerals are affected. Many come from abroad or distant places to attend weddings or funerals. Perishable commodities are wasted. Without transport patients are unable to reach doctors and many die.

Sometimes policepersons who should uphold the law are in league with law-breakers. They do not protect people from hooligans who forcibly enforce shutdowns. No action is taken against such policepersons for dereliction of duty.

Cremation should be in a crematorium. Public land should not be used for memorials. State funeral should be only for those who held a government post.

Section 66A of Information Technology Act should be repealed as it is misused and two girls were arrested for comments against shutdown. There were no arrests of goons who damaged a clinic.

RSS and Nitin Gadkari

When IAC headed by Arvind Kejriwal came out with accusations against Nitin Gadkari on 17/10/2012 BJP took it lightly. Arun Jaitley said a mountain is made of what is not even a molehill. Nitin Gadkari said he felt laughing. Many journalists were disappointed that the expose was not explosive. IAC members defended themselves. Kumar Vishwas on Times Now said this is not a T20 match.

TV channels began their investigations into Purti Power and Sugar Ltd (PPSL). They discovered a web of companies in which driver, accountant, astrologer, and other workers of Nitin Gadkari were directors. There was demand that Nitin Gadkari step down as BJP President. Nitin Gadkari said he was ready for any probe. RSS was behind him. They wanted him to continue as president.

On 30/10/2012 IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd came out with an advertisement denying any link between IRB Group and Purti Group.

Ram Jethmalani spoke against Nitin Gadkari. Mahesh Jethmalani on 5/11/2012 quit from national executive committee of BJP. Next day Ram Jethmalani’s letter to Lal Krishna Advani became public. Ram Jethmalani had written that he, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant, and Shatrughan Sinha wanted Nitin Gadkari to quit. On 8/11/2012 L. K. Advani turned 85. Nitin Gadkari met him to wish happy birthday.

S. Gurumurthy got into the act. As chartered accountant he went through papers related to PPSL and other companies and said there is no case against Nitin Gadkari, met L. K. Advani and briefed BJP leaders. Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj prepared a joint statement which Ravi Shankar Prasad read out. The party was behind Nitin Gadkari.

RSS defends Nitin Gadkari means RSS is corrupt. RSS officially says it is for BJP to decide about its president, unofficially it tells BJP leaders what to do. Nitin Gadkari was RSS choice. Mohan Bhagwat wanted him to be BJP President. He wanted him to get second term. BJP constitution was amended to favour Nitin Gadkari.

Apart from Atal Behari Vajpayee no other BJP leader has been able to defy RSS and remain in BJP. L. K. Advani had to quit as president for his Jinnah remark. There is the question of next prime ministerial candidate. Narendra Modi has many supporters, one of them is Ram Jethmalani.

IAC revelations led to copycat revelations by Y. P. Singh and Subramanian Swamy. Y. P. Singh spoke about Sharad Pawar and Salman Khan. Subramanian Swamy targeted Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He said Congress loaned 90 crore rupees to Associated Journals Pvt. Ltd. (AJPL) that published National Herald. AJPL was sold to Young Indian through transfer of shares. The deal was done to acquire Herald House. Young Indian wrote off the debt for 50 lakh rupees.

Manmohan Vaidya blogged Narendra Modi was behind the campaign to oust Nitin Gadkari. RSS said it was his personal view. S. Gurumurthy’s tweets about Nitin Gadkari created confusion. It seems there is confusion within RSS.

CAG and constitution

It is strange that former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) V. K. Shunglu suggested that CAG be made a multi-member body. Narayanasamy, MoS in PMO said the government is actively considering it and later retracted.

V. K. Shunglu had submitted six reports on Commonwealth Games. The government implemented first report which was against B. S. Lalli. Other reports which were against Sheila Dikshit and others were not implemented.

About CAG, V. K. Shunglu had suggested that a three-member body would obtain greater transparency in operation. Was there not enough transparency when Shunglu was CAG?

Former CEC S. Y. Quraishi said CAG will become more powerful if it has more than one member. The fact is additional members are appointed to make Election Commission fall in line with government. One CEC had problem with Navin Kohli who was then Election Commissioner. The CEC did not want Navin Kohli to succeed him as CED but UPA government appointed him as CEC.

The constitution provides for CAG as one person and Election Commission as a body headed by CEC. Articles 148-151 deal with CAG, duties and powers, accounts, and audit reports. Article 148 is clear that CAG is one person. There is no provision for multi-member CAG.

Article 324 deals with Election Commission. It states, among other things, “The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix…” CEC is enough. ECs are optional. For a long time India had only CEC. In 1989 Rajiv Gandhi government appointed two ECs. Rajiv Gandhi was unhappy with R. V. S. Peri Sastry. When V. P. Singh government came to power they removed the two ECs. When T. N. Seshan became CEC he took decisions that favoured Congress. Janata Dal wanted his removal. P. V. Narasimha Rao promised that but did not keep his promise. Later T. N. Seshan became a problem for Congress. Then Congress government appointed two ECs. As the governments changed they continued with Election Commission as a three-member body. They promoted ECs as CECs and brought as ECs people who thought were suitable for them. Sometimes the calculations went wrong.

UPA is unhappy with Vinod Rai as CAG. Previous CAGs were quiet. Vinod Rai said the brazenness with which the decisions are taken is appalling. Amending the constitution to curb CAG’s powers is not easy for UPA. CAG is a constitutional functionary. There is no bar on him holding press conferences, giving interviews, blogging, or tweeting.