Month: April 2013

BJP PM candidate

There is talk of who will be BJP PM candidate. Narendra Modi is most popular among BJP members. He has his rivals within BJP. L. K. Advani is prominent among them. He tries to undercut Modi by mentioning names of Sushma Swaraj and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Advani does not have support of RSS. Support from Vijay Goel and Shatrughan Sinha does not count much. BJP President Rajnath Singh has said Narendra Modi is the most popular leader. That scuttles Advani’s chances.
Narendra Modi does not have support of RSS but he can manage without them. For a man who was blamed for BJP’s defeat in 2009 he has come a long way. Arun Shourie was the first to mention Narendra Modi as the next PM after Advani. That time not many supported Modi as PM. The turnaround came when Tatas shifted their Nano plant from West Bengal to Gujarat. After that Modi was the favourite of industrialists. At the end of 2012 UK lifted its ban on him. EU followed suit. Then three American legislators came to visit him. His international acceptability went up to the chagrin of his opponents in India and abroad. Then he became member of BJP Parliamentary Board.
JD(U), SAD, and Shiv Sena are partners of BJP in NDA. Nitish Kumar is opposed to Modi. JD(U) wants the candidate to be impeccably secular. Perhaps Nitish Kumar has prime ministerial ambitions or some in BJP are propping him up. Shiv Sena says Bal Thackeray wanted Sushma Swaraj to be PM. For Modi it does not matter if JD(U) and Shiv Sena part ways. JD(U) has not much presence outside Bihar. Shiv Sena had supported Congress candidates for President in 2004 and 2009. Modi can get MNS support. Raj Thackeray had met him.
It is difficult to predict election results. If BJP gets 272 seats it will not need an ally.

Bhullar case verdict

On 12/4/2013 Supreme Court delivered its verdict and rejected Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s petition for commutation of death sentence to life sentence on the ground of delay in deciding mercy petition. The judgment has implication for cases of Rajiv Gandhi assassins, Veerappan gang members, and so on. Maninderjit Singh Bitta was happy at the verdict. He was target of terrorist attacks and had lost one leg.
Supreme Court should not entertain any petitions that questions rejection of mercy petition by President. There should be no second mercy petition. Delaying death penalty delays justice for victims. It reduces judicial and executive process to joke and farce. Death penalty is a just punishment. It is not barbaric. Markandey Katju is in favour of death penalty for honour killings (dishonour murders), bride burnings, and encounter killings. TV channels should stop inviting people who oppose death penalty for discussions.
It is too bad India had K. R. Narayanan, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and Pratibha Patil as Presidents who did not do their duty properly in rejecting mercy petitions. Pranab Mukherjee has done a good job and I hope he will continue to reject mercy petitions. The correspondence regarding mercy petitions between Presidents and Home Ministers should be made public. People who have lost near and dear ones should take on LADP (lobbies against death penalty) and ask President to revoke commutations and pardons already granted and if that does not work they should challenge them in Supreme Court. People who oppose death penalty are pseudo-civilised, pseudo-humanist, pseudo-liberal, and pseudo-modern. Let not talk of EU fool us where country after country is going bankrupt and needs bail outs.

Pran gets Phalke Award

On 12/4/2013 came the news that Pran will get Dadasaheb Phalke Award. As per one report some years back Pran was to get the award in 2004. The selection committee had decided to give him the award. Ravi Shankar Prasad, then I&B Minister, overruled them. He told them Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar have got Dadasaheb Phalke Award so Dev Anand also should get. So Dev Anand got the award and Pran missed. I do not know whether present I&B Minister Manish Tewari knew about it but it is good that Pran got it. Congratulations to Pran.
Pran has done various roles in films over six decades. He played lead role in a film in 1942. In the film Ah he played a doctor who advises Raj Kapoor. After that he played villain in many films. Parents did not want to name their sons after him. Then he played different roles. In the film Dharma he played the title role. He acted with four generations of Kapoors, from Prithviraj Kapoor to Karisma Kapoor. Recently he was not well; he has been in and out of hospitals.
Pran is 93. Some say he got the award too late. But it is better late than never; better while living than posthumous.