Tag: Sonia Gandhi

Rajya Sabha nominations

Rajya Sabha nomination is not an award or a prize or a title. Article 80 of the constitution prescribes that a person to be nominated to Rajya Sabha should have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art and social service.

Over the years many people have been nominated to Rajya Sabha in violation of the constitution. Mani Shankar Aiyar lost Lok Sabha election, he was nominated. Kuldip Nayyar was a journalist. Fali Nariman was a lawyer. Chandan Mitra, Shobhana Bhartia and Cho Ramaswamy were journalists.

Some qualified for nomination but did not know the importance or responsibility of Rajya Sabha membership. Lata Mangeshkar treated it as an award. Maqbool Fida Husain did not know nominated members did not have the right to vote in presidential election.

Now there is news that Sachin Tendulkar, Rekha and Anu Aga are nominated to Rajya Sabha. Rekha qualifies for her special knowledge or practical experience in art. Sachin Tendulkar and Anu Aga do not qualify. There is no provision for nomination in sport, law, journalism or business. Sport is not art. Journalism is not literature.

Sachin Tendulkar was the surprise choice. On 26/4/2012 Rajiv Shukla took him to meet Sonia Gandhi, ostensibly because Sonia Gandhi wanted to congratulate him on 100th 100. Soon came the news of nomination. The file of nomination moved from prime minister to home minister to president who signed it. Congress was having bad time. On 24/4/2012 it had to suspend its eight Telangana MPs from Lok Sabha for four days. On 25/4/2012 S&P cut its outlook on India from stable to negative. Bofors was back. On 26/4/2012 BJP attacked Congress in Parliament over Bofors. Once the news of Sachin Tendulkar came out that was the main topic on TV channels. Bofors, RISAT, Jhina Hikaka’s release and other matters lost their importance.

There was talk of Sachin Tendulkar getting Bharat Ratna. Sport was not a category for which Bharat Ratna was given. Criterion was changed so that Sachin Tendulkar may get Bharat Ratna. However there were demands for Bharat Ratna for many people. Some people said Dhyan Chand should be the first sportsperson to get Bharat Ratna. When Republic Day came there was no announcement of Bharat Ratna. Sports Ministry is said to have mentioned the names of Dhyan Chand, Tenzing Norgay and Abhinav Bindra but not of Sachin Tendulkar. Sports Ministry said BCCI did not recommend his name. BCCI said we thought government gives Bharat Ratna. Later Maharashtra government recommended Sachin Tendulkar’s name but the government of India did not announce Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar.

Sanjay Manjrekar said he was shocked Sachin Tendulkar accepted the nomination. Some wondered what he will do in Rajya Sabha. He has not retired from cricket. Will he find time to attend Rajya Sabha? It may happen that on a TV channel half screen will show live telecast of Rajya Sabha debate and other half will show live telecast of Sachin Tendulkar playing in a cricket match. Some fans did not want Sachin Tendulkar in Rajya Sabha. Some fans wanted him to join Rajya Sabha later.

Rekha’s nomination is curious. Jaya Bachchan had returned to Rajya Sabha after two years. Sonia Gandhi does not like her. Some years back Congress had got her disqualified on office of profit issue. That had boomeranged and Sonia Gandhi had to resign as MP and chairperson of NAC. Later a bill was passed to make many offices not offices of profit. Amitabh Bachchan was happy that Lindstrom had said there was an attempt to frame him in Bofors case. He had held a press conference and had appeared on TV channels.

Many businessmen have made it to Rajya Sabha by paying money to party presidents or MLAs. Recently a Rajya Sabha election was countermanded because around two crore rupees were found in a car and that money was meant to be payment to MLAs. Now we have nomination of a businesswoman to Rajya Sabha.

Article 80 does not say eminent citizens are to be nominated to Rajya Sabha. If challenged in courts many nominations will be struck down as unconstitutional.

Rajya Sabha should be abolished. That will save time and avoid duplication. Lok Sabha should have at least one representative per million people. India’s population being 121 crores as per 2011 census the strength of Lok Sabha should be 1210. If Parliament House cannot hold that many members Lok Sabha sessions should be held elsewhere.

Kanimozhi bail plea

There were reports that CBI will not oppose Kanimozhi ‘s bail plea. The Supreme Court questioned CBI on the reports and CBI’s lawyer Harin Raval said it would certainly oppose Kanimozhi ‘s bail plea.

Karunanidhi came to Delhi and met Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh on 22/10/2011. On 24/10/2011 CBI did not oppose bail for Kanimozhi, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar. It opposed bail for R. K. Chandolia and Shahid Balwa. On 31/10/2011 Supreme Court judges G. S. Singhvi and H. L. Dattu questioned Harin Raval “Is is true that during the hearing the CBI counsel said that he has no objection to bail for five out of the 14 accused?” and directed him to confirm the next day. On 1/11/2011 Harin Raval confirmed that U. U. Lalit representing CBI had not opposed bail for five accused.

On 3/11/2011 CBI Special Court rejected Kanimozhi ‘s bail plea and other bail pleas in 2G case . CBI had not opposed her bail plea and many had taken for granted that she would get bail. Judge O. P. Saini rejected her plea. Case-fixing by prosecution and defence did not succeed. DMK MPs were in court. Karim Morani’s family members had brought flowers and chocolates. Kanimozhi had applied for bail under Section 437 of Criminal Procedure Code which allows bail if the applicant is under 16, or a woman, or sick or infirm. The court said Kanimozhi belongs to upper echelons of society and a Member of Parliament. By no stretch of imagination she can be said to be suffering from any disadvantage on ground of being a woman alone.

There is much talk about bail not jail being the principle. Most of those who say that are lawyers of the accused. If the court feels witnesses need to be protected and granting bail will obstruct justice it is within its right to refuse bail. During TV discussions anchors should mention which lawyer represents whom. It should not be made out as if the panelists are not connected to the case. Comments like denial of bail is a grave miscarriage of justice and a deliberate misapplication of law or when the prosecutor does not oppose bail there is no reason to oppose bail are contempt of court. If the judiciary has shifted from the rule “bail is the rule and jail an exception” to “jail is the rule and bail an exception” it has good reasons. Prosecution’s objection is of no consequence. It was interesting to watch Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Left, Right and Centre. He criticized Congress. When Nidhi Razdan said Jaswant Singh of BJP wanted bail for the accused he replied “Nidhi, did I say Kanimozhi should not get bail. I did not.” That stumped Nidhi Razdan.

Sheila Dikshit and CG scam

On 1/10/2011 I came across a sentence about Sheila Dikshit – “See how skilfully she handled the CAG report on CWG compared to how many other Congressmen blundered.” The writer wants Sheila Dikshit to be India’s Home Minister. Many people refer to Commonwealth Games as CWG but since Commonwealth is one word I refer to Commonwealth Games as CG.

I do not know what Sheila Dikshit did. Congress members who wanted B. S. Yediyurappa to resign a week before Karnataka Lokayukta submitted his report came to her defence soon after the CAG report. Lokayukta is a statutory authority. CAG is a constitutional authority. Delhi Lokayukta had submitted a report against Sheila Dikshit and PWD minister. Shunglu Committee report was against her.

Why is it that Sheila Dikshit continues as chief minister when there were three occasions when she should have quit? Did she threaten that she would not go down alone but take Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi with her? Did she bribe or threaten BJP members or other politicians? What did she do to silence TV channels about her?

Anyway CG scam is not over. On 3/10/2011 Headlines Today reported the continuing scam of CG stadia. Lakhs of rupees are given every month for maintenance of every stadium yet nothing is done to maintain them. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was renovated at the cost of 961 crore rupees and now 78 lakh rupees are spent to maintain it. On another stadium 56 lakh rupees are spent per month. Similar is the case other stadia. Where has the money gone? Shivaji Stadium that should have been ready before Commonwealth Games is not ready even now, one year after the event.

A corrupt chief minister’s place is in jail and not in India’s Home Ministry.