Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Priyanka Gandhi in politics

Priyanka Gandhi has been in politics for a long time. It was mostly unofficial and she did not get much publicity for it. During elections she campaigned in Amethi and Rae Bareli. Once in a meeting with elders she said her cousin Feroze Varun Gandhi has gone astray. They should bring him back.
Many Congress members wanted Priyanka to be in politics for a long time. There were periodic demands. They think her charisma will get victory for Congress. She worked in background. She did not get credit when things went right or blame when things went wrong.
Rahul Gandhi wanted to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh. He had hired Prashant Kishor for strategy. Prashant’s slogan meant for 27 years UP has been miserable. (Sattavees saal UP behaal). He suggested Rahul Gandhi as No. 1 CM candidate, Priyanka Gandhi as No. 2 CM candidate and Sheila Dikshit as No. 3 CM candidate. Priyanka did not want that. She wanted alliance with SP. Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav were projected as UP’s young men and Narendra Modi as outsider. The alliance was a disaster. Both parties lost heavily. Congress votes did not go to SP and vice versa. Besides, there was infighting in SP with Shivpal Yadav’s candidates fighting against Akhilesh Yadav’s candidates. BJP won with more than three-fourth majority. Yogi Adityanath became UP CM.
When Punjab Assembly elections were near there was talk of Navjot Singh Sidhu joining AAP. Sidhu’s meetings with AAP leaders got publicity. AAP leaders were sure Sidhu will join them. They took his entry for granted. Priyanka contacted Sidhu. Their meetings remained secret. Sidhu joined Congress. Congress won in Punjab. Sidhu became a minister.
Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May. SP and BSP entered into an alliance and kept Congress out of it. They left Amethi and Rae Bareli seats for Congress. Congress announced it will contest all seats in UP.
With her official entry into Congress, Priyanka is general secretary in charge of eastern UP. Jyotiraditya Scindia is general secretary in charge of western UP. May be if things go wrong in UP, half of the blame will go to Scindia.
Recently Congress won in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan without Priyanka. Congress has some good leaders. Victory and defeat are part of elections. Effect of Priyanka’s entry into politics remains to be seen.
Some parties want to defeat BJP and they are ready to align with Congress. Some parties want non-BJP, non-Congress Third Front. Naveen Patnaik said BJD will not align with any party. Priyanka will have a say in selection of Congress candidates and alliances of Congress at state or national level.

Hardik and Rahul

Hardik Pandya and Kannanur Lokesh Rahul are in trouble for what they said on Koffee with Karan. Hardik Pandya’s statements caused lot of outrage. Many said they were misogynist and sexist. BCCI is divided on what to do with them. Opinion is divided among people about action against them.
Misogyny means hatred of women. A misogynist does not sleep with women. The women have not complained. There is no accusation of sexual harassment. Women willingly slept with them. It is wrong to call them misogynists or sexists. It is right to call them fornicators or adulterers depending on whether the women were single or married.
Koffee with Karan is toxic. Usually film industry people take part in it. Cricketers taking part in it and answering questions not related to cricket was strange. Many questions and answers are not edifying. Most viewers watched it for entertainment and did not mind the depravity and immorality expressed.
This changed with the appearance of Hardik and Rahul. May be the offended people were not regular viewers and just viewed it because cricketers were present. May be the viewers were same who did not mind film industry people being obnoxious but were outraged that cricketers said such things.
After the telecast created a controversy notices were issued to both and they apologised. Vinod Rai felt Hardik’s apology was not sincere and was drafted by an agency. Both were suspended and called back to India from Australia where ODI series was to begin. Fresh notices were issued to them. Both were left with no friends. Virat Kohli said the statements were inappropriate.
There was dispute about action against Hardik and Rahul. CoA chairman Vinod Rai and member Diana Edulji were against each other. Vinod Rai wanted CEO Rahul Johri conduct an inquiry as per BCCI Constitution. Diana Edulji said that will result in cover-up and she wanted to conduct an inquiry along with acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary. Vinod Rai opposed it and said he would not be a party to it. BCCI members called for a Special General Meeting to appoint an Ombudsman to decide the issue. Hardik and Rahul have submitted unconditional apologies.
Some BCCI officials have unofficially questioned Diana Edulji’s double standards. She wants action against Hardik and Rahul but no action against Harmanpreet Kaur for possessing a fake graduation degree and losing the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in Punjab. BCCI has not acted against her.
Some feel the matter has been dragged on unnecessarily and should be ended. Players have been punished enough. Some want bans of various periods.
ODI World Cup is due in three and half months, at the end of May 2019. Some want Hardik and Rahul to be available for World Cup.
Vinod Rai does not want to end their careers. He said “It is our responsibility to reprimand them, sensitise them of their misdemeanour and then get them back on the ground once they have suffered the consequences.”
Babul Supriyo wrote Diana Edulji’s thinking has got fossil. ”There is ‘Thick’ line between reprimanding someone and destroying them!! My plea to these seniors: Please behave your ages gentlemen & ladies.. Rest my case.”
Some were angry with Karan Johar and his line of questioning. He had appeared in a selfie with PM Narendra Modi. There was a cartoon. Karan Johar and Narendra Modi are talking on phone. Karan Johar smiles and says “Mission accomplished Sir! Career of Hardik and Rahul almost finished.” Narenda Modi replies “You got the wrong Hardik and Rahul, you idiot!” The reference is to Hardik Patel and Rahul Gandhi, both opponents of Narenda Modi in politics.

Alok Verma Removed

Removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director is the latest twist in CBI versus CBI saga. We do not know whether there will be more twists.
On 8/1/2019 Supreme Court bench consisting of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S. K. Kaul and K. M. Joseph set aside the order dt. 23/10/2018 divesting Alok Verma of his powers as CBI Director. It rejected government stand that he was sent on leave and there was no transfer. However it barred Alok Verma from taking policy decisions and asked the CBI Selection Committee comprising of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CJI and Leader of Opposition to decide on his removal within a week. CJI Ranjan Gogoi recused himself and asked Justice A. K. Sikri to represent him. There is no Leader of Opposition and leader of the largest party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge took part in the meetings on 9 & 10/1/2019. On 10/1/2019 the Committee by 2-1 vote removed Alok Verma as CBI Director on grounds of corruption and dereliction of duty. Narendra Modi and A. K. Sikri voted for removal. Mallikarjuna Kharge voted against removal.
Alok Verma’s term was to end on 31/1/2019. For the remainder of his term Alok Verma is appointed Director General, Fire and Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards.
After resuming charge Alok Verma had reinstated officers close to him who were transferred after he was sent on leave. Now it can be game of musical chairs in CBI. M. Nageshwar Rao is back as Acting Director of CBI.
Corrupt officers should be sacked. They should not be given other positions.
Congress and other opposition politicians were happy at Supreme Court judgment. Now they are disappointed.
It will be interesting to watch what happens to CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana who was sent on leave.
Supreme Court could have first asked the Selection Committee to meet and decide about Alok Verma. After reinstating Alok Verma with limited powers and asking Selection Committee to decide about him Supreme Court created an embarrassing situation.

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