Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bengal governor against rechristening Jyoti Basu township

Kolkata, Nov 27 (IANS) West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan Wednesday disapproved of the Trinamool Congress government's move to withdraw a bill that named a township in the city after former chief minister Jyoti Basu.

"Well, I'm certainly not in favour of change of name," Narayanan told mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme here.

The Trinamool regime of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday withdrew in the state assembly the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011 passed by the erstwhile Left Front regime that had included a proposal to name the New Town area as Jyoti Basu Nagar.

Disregarding strong protests from opposition Left Front members, the government replaced the legislation by the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which had no provision about the township's nomenclature.

The township, conceived during Basu's tenure, was named after him through a gazette notification in 2010. The New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011, had a clause which referred to the nomenclature.

Born July 8, 1914, Basu was state chief minister for 23 years till he voluntarily stepped down in 2000 due to old age and health problems. State Minister for Urban Development Firhad Hakim said the new bill aimed at relaying the tax system of the township, from that envisaged in the old legislation.

On the other hand, the Left Front termed as "politically motivated" the withdrawal of the old bill and its replacement with a new one.

Our Governor usually gives sage advice but here, I beg to disagree with him.

Being Head of a state, and especially a Congress appointee, he has to say all the correct things.

Just imagine, if the some party came to power and started re-naming all the projects name after three Congress personalities, J. L. Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi?

How would the Congress like it?

So naturally our Governor would object.

But Jyoti Basu was the destroyer of Bengal and I fully support the TMC in not naming anything after him.

Broom-Waving Voters Aim to Sweep Away India’s Elite

The following article is from Bloomberg
For India, Arvind Kejriwal is an unusual politician: he doesn’t use a police escort, he won’t field candidates who face murder charges and he publishes the names of those who contribute to his party’s funds.

Kejriwal’s campaign against corruption is resonating with voters in New Delhi, shaking up the dominance of the country’s two main political groups and threatening to end the Congress party’s 15-year rule of the city. Some opinion polls show his year-old Aam Aadmi Party may win a third of the seats in a Dec. 4 election, enough to make him the capital’s kingmaker.

“His party is transparent and trying to be different on sources of funding, campaigning and fielding of candidates,” said Bhaskara Rao Gorantala, research director at the National Social Watch in New Delhi, which analyzes governance. “Look at the other big parties -- can you find out from where they are getting money to spend so much in elections? Impossible.”

Kejriwal is tapping rising public anger over the corruption Indians face in their daily lives and charges of graft that reach to the heart of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. The Delhi poll is one of five state elections between Nov. 11 and Dec. 4 that cover almost a sixth of India’s population. The results on Dec. 8 will show how far support has slid for the ruling Congress party, which faces a general election by May.

In Delhi, Kejriwal promised to set up an anti-corruption body within 15 days if he gains power and is winning support with populist policies such as a 50 percent cut in electricity rates. Following the gang rape of a woman in the city last year, the party has pledged to set up a neighborhood watch program.

Dirty Delhi

“It’s an effort to clean our dirty system in Delhi,” Kejriwal, 45, said in an interview during a political rally in the capital of 17 million people on Nov. 11, where volunteers formed a human chain to prevent him from being mobbed by supporters. “The revolution will spread to the whole country.”

At the rally in the Seemapuri area of east Delhi, Kejriwal addressed a crowd of about 1,000 people seated by a dusty road in the late evening. He promised an end to power outages, 700 liters a day of free water for each household per day and improved primary education and health care -- all with the savings from curbing graft. The gathering reaches fever pitch as he introduces a key concern: inflation.

“They raised the prices of onions, tomatoes, potatoes, milk, petrol, diesel, water, electricity and cooking gas,” Kejriwal said. “Why are all these costly? Because of corruption.”

Waving flags and broomsticks, the crowd chant: “Long live Arvind Kejriwal! Long live Aam Aadmi! Hail, Mother India!”

Emerging Leader

“He’s articulating the aspiration of a large section of people in Delhi who are extremely disappointed with the two largest parties,” said Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a New Delhi-based analyst who co-authored a book on Indian politics. In the world’s biggest democracy, polls have typically pitted a Congress-led alliance against the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, based on religion, money and social standing. Congress, led by Singh and President Sonia Gandhi, have been dogged by corruption allegations since winning re-election in 2009.

Aam Aadmi may get as many as 25 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, with Congress winning 19 to 25 and the BJP claiming 22 to 28, according to a survey by CNN-IBN television channel published on Oct. 31. A poll in India Today on Nov. 8 gave the BJP a slim majority in the capital and victories in three other states.

Rape, Murder

Kejriwal himself may defeat incumbent Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is seeking a fourth term, as he contests her assembly seat, Economic Times reported today, citing a poll of 2,101 registered voters in the constituency conducted from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24.

About a quarter of federal and state legislators face charges that include murder, rape and kidnapping, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms in New Delhi, which has campaigned for better governance since 1999.

While Kejriwal and four other members of his party face criminal charges over political activities, some of its chief opponents in New Delhi are charged with more serious crimes that would disqualify them from Aam Aadmi. One Congress candidate faces charges for attempted murder, while two from BJP have cases of crimes against women, ADR said in a report yesterday.

Haryana-born Kejriwal, a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology in West Bengal, joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1992 and became a senior tax official in Delhi. In 2000 he began working on social projects and six years later he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, dubbed Asia’s Nobel peace prize, for emergent leadership.

‘Common Man’

Aam Aadmi, which translates as “Common Man,” was born out of an anti-graft movement in 2011 that garnered global headlines. Kejriwal joined veteran campaigner Gandhian Anna Hazare, who was on a hunger strike at the Ramlila ground near Delhi’s Red Fort, to demand the passing of a bill that would appoint a Lokpal, or anti-graft ombudsman. The protest spurred nationwide rallies and the bill was introduced to parliament where it has stalled in the upper house.

Kejriwal’s political rivals responded by questioning the sources of funding for his party. Congress and the BJP said money Aam Aadmi received from overseas was illegal because only Indian citizens can make donations to political parties. The federal home ministry ordered an inquiry into the payments.

“They talk of corruption, but what about all the controversies surrounding funding?” Dikshit told supporters this month.

Donor Details

Gifts have become a standard part of India’s polls. Before the 2009 general election, Congress waived farmers’ loans in a bid to attract votes. In a state election last year, the BJP offered poor families a free cow, laptops and medical treatment.

An estimated $750 million was paid to voters in bribes during elections in five Indian states in April and May 2011, S.Y. Quraishi, India’s then chief election commissioner, said in an interview.

BJP and Congress say they will disclose their spending to the election commission as required by law within 75 days of the assembly elections. Those details are then published on the commission’s website. Political parties are not legally obliged to identify donors who contribute less than 20,000 rupees.

Aam Aadmi said it received 200 million rupees ($3.2 million) from Indian citizens living in the U.S., U.K. and other countries, and published details of the donors on its website.

About 75 percent of funds in the eight years ended March 2012 raised by India’s six national parties, including Congress and the BJP, came from “unknown sources,” according to ADR.

Modi Rally

“Whatever inquiry they want to conduct against me, they should do that,” said Kejriwal, with his trademark mustache and rimless glasses, wearing a blue and white checkered shirt with rolled-up sleeves.

Kejriwal’s roadside gatherings contrast with those of political adversaries such as BJP prime minister pick Narendra Modi. In September, the white-bearded chief minister of Gujarat addressed more than 100,000 people in New Delhi next to a 10-story-high poster of himself, with his speech relayed to 100 screens around the city.

While leading politicians arrive in sports-utility vehicles with a police escort, Kejriwal travels in a blue Wagon R, the flagship hatchback of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. that sells for as little as 380,000 rupees.

As Kejriwal traveled through the capital to the Nov. 11 campaign rally in an open-top vehicle, party workers waved flags and shouted slogans as broom-waving supporters threw rose petals from their balconies.

A smiling Kejriwal waved back. “This is the last chance to bring change,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at; Andrew MacAskill in New Delhi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why is #AAP different?

#1YearOf AAP

* Only party without a high command

* Only party to declare all its donors details

* Only party to declare its expenditure details

* Only party that did not give tickets to people with serious criminal charges

* Only party that made the raw data of its survey public

* Only party ready to come under the ambit of RTI unconditionally

* Only party to take back a candidate on the basis of a criminal case after last date of withdrawal of nomination

* Only party that got its election symbol 6 months before election.

* Only party that gave raw footage of its own sting

* Only party which has more than 10,000 volunteers working for it, free of cost

* Only party that has an ex IITian and ex IRS officer as its national convener

* Only party whose leadership doesn't take security

* Only party whose leadership dares to travel by public transport

* Only party that had the guts to expose top leadership of major political parties

* Only party that made different manifestos for each constituency (Before BJP copied it)

* Only party who refuse to take any donation after meeting the targeted budget.

If you remember any other point feel free to proudly post it as a comment.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mamata regime withdraws bill naming township after Jyoti Basu

Kolkata, Nov 26 (IANS) West Bengal's Trinamool Congress government Tuesday withdrew a bill which had included a clause naming a sprawling modern township on the city's eastern fringes after late communist patriarch and former chief minister Jyoti Basu.

Disregarding strong protests from opposition Left Front members, the government withdrew in the assembly the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011 passed by the erstwhile Left Front regime that had included a proposal to name the area as Jyoti Basu Nagar.

The legislation was replaced by the New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which has no provision about the township's nomenclature.

The township, conceived during Basu's tenure, was named after him through a gazette notification in 2010. The New Town, Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011, had a clause which referred to the nomenclature.

The LF members, led by Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra, protested against the government move, raised slogans and walked out of the house when the fresh legislation was tabled.

Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the new bill aimed at changing the tax system of the township from that envisaged in the old legislation.

On the other hand, Mishra termed as "politically motivated" the withdrawal of the old bill and its replacement with a new one. Virtually challenging the government, Mishra later told reporters that if it had guts it should clearly state that it did not want the township to be named after Basu.

"It is surprising and unprecedented that a bill which was adopted by the house as per recommendations of the select committee and later sent to the government has been withdrawn.

"If the government only wanted to change the tax structure they should have retained the provision naming the township as Jyoti Basu Nagar. But they have chosen to delete it", he said.

Lauding the role played by Basu even before Independence, Mishra said: "He was the longest serving chief minister in the country. The manner in which the legislation has been withdrawn is unconstitutional."

Born July 8, 1914, Basu was state chief minister for 23 years till he voluntarily stepped down in 2000 due to old age and health problems. A founder-member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Basu almost became India's prime minister in 1996 at the head of a centre-Left United Front government. But the CPI-M vetoed the proposal and the leader later dubbed the party's decision a "historical blunder". He died Jan 17, 2010.

While I do not see eye to eye with Mamata Banerjee on many matters, of course it does not matter to her, I fully support her in not naming the township as Jyoti Basu Nagar.

Jyoti Basu has destroyed the economy of Bengal like no other chief minister of any state in India.

From being the most industrialized state in India up to 1965, it went out to become the least industrialized in the same league as Bihar and Odisa.

We have been hypocrites in that we have continued to honour him inspite of all the damage he did to Bengal.

I am glad, Mamata Banerjee has put him in his proper place.

AAP disowns candidate from Delhi's Rajouri Garden

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Tuesday withdrew support to its candidate from Delhi's Rajouri Garden constituency after the party came to know a dowry case was pending against the candidate and his family members in Lucknow.

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said that as the last date of nomination and withdrawal has already passed, technically Rajouri Garden candidate Pritpal Singh Saluja would continue to be on the ballot as a candidate of the party.

But the AAP will leave the seat vacant and will not be contesting from the constituency, he said.

"Though the charges have not been proved against Pritpal Singh Saluja, who is with the AAP since its formation in 2012, but as per the ideology and the principals of the AAP, the party's polling committee won't let any accused or convicted candidate to contest the assembly polls," Yadav told the media.

Earlier, party leader Prashant Bhushan said a delegation of the AAP met Election Commission officials to provide them with the analysis report of the raw footage of the Mediasarkar "sting CD".

The report said the raw footage was edited to delete critical portions.

He said the AAP delegation requested the Election Commission to issue a general order requiring the media to get CDs of a political nature certified from the commission before they are broadcast.

"In the absence of such norms, it becomes extremely easy for any political party or candidates to release such edited and fabricated CDs against their political rivals thus vitiating the fairness of the elections," said Bhushan

Have you ever seen such a thing being done by the Congress and BJP?

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Letter from Arvind Kejriwal 24.11.2013

Dear Friends,

In the last few days, we have seen multiple, coordinated attempts to drag AAP into controversies. Those who insulated & betrayed Anna during the Janlokpal Andolan, are now accusing us of cheating him. Allegations of foreign funding were made by parties who themselves sit on thousands of crores of undisclosed funds. And a sting operation was conducted by some journalists who developed cold feet when the full, raw footage of the video was requested.

Do you see a pattern?

Millions of AAP supporters across the globe sent in messages of solidarity & stood behind AAP, rock solid in their support. This was a proud moment for us, where we realized we are not alone in this. The people are with us. It is their faith & confidence in us that lead us to confront our detractors head on. Within a few days, all questions raised by the Home Ministry on funding were responded. Anna's concerns were addressed and I called him a couple of days ago and assured him that we are open to any audits he would like his team to conduct. And today, we exposed the details of this so called sting where "only parts of the video" was shown on TV. We have made the full video public. The Election Commission has said that it has NOT found any AAP leader doing anything illegal in the raw, unedited footage.

The foundation of AAP is on truth & integrity. Those ideals have not been violated. I have stated unambiguously that any one found guilty will be punished. These are the standards that #AAP has set for itself. We urge those who are finding ways to discredit us to first set their house in order. Its time that they provided some answers for a change.

My Friends, I want to sincerely thank you for your continued support & unflinching faith. You are what makes & drives AAP. There will be more attempts to malign us, to sow the seeds of doubt. But always remember, eventually, truth will always prevail. With your participation, we have run an unprecedented campaign, the results of which are being seen in every Jansabha and the daily Yatra that I am undertaking. A few more days of that passionate energy is required. Together, we shall make history.



PS: Support #AAP and ensure that this kind of dirty politics is defeated

Note: See detailed analysis and videos related to the candidates named in the "sting" The Real Story behind the sting.

These are 5 of the 8 unedited tapes.

Judge for your self whether the AAP people have said anything to be ashamed of.

Shazia Ilmi 0390023&set=vb.290805814352519&type=2&theater

Kumar Viswas 7061287&set=vb.290805814352519&type=2&theater

Dinesh Mohaniya 7066585&set=vb.290805814352519&type=2&theater

Manoj Kumar 3737941&set=vb.290805814352519&type=2&theater

Kapil Mishra 7073178&set=vb.290805814352519&type=2&theater

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A New Party Challenges the One That Has Run India for Most of Its History

Campaigning for Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party's candidate, in New Delhi. The party's name means Common Man.


Published: November 19, 2013

Hari Kumar contributed reporting.

NEW DELHI — Snaking down one of this city’s dusty back streets on a recent afternoon was a line of auto-rickshaws, the motorized buggies that course through this city by the tens of thousands, carrying ordinary citizens on their daily rounds. Unless you looked closely, you could miss the fact that they were part of a political insurgency.

One after another, drivers were plastering their vehicles with posters for the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, Party, which hopes to end the ruling Congress Party’s 15-year dominance in Delhi in state elections two weeks from now.

The idea seemed quixotic at first. Founded last year out of the fading embers of an anticorruption street movement, the party had only one recognizable face, that of a former tax commissioner, Arvind Kejriwal. Most striking, it avoided the red-meat topics that drive most Indian political forces — caste, religion, region and family — focusing instead on the lone issue of stamping out corruption.

Seen from a distance, India’s forthcoming state elections are a gladiatorial showdown between the Congress Party, which has governed India for 53 of the last 65 years, and its Hindu nationalist opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party. But Aam Aadmi has broken that pattern in Delhi, in large part by capturing votes from the city’s working poor, a fast-growing group that has slipped out of Congress’s grip. Aam Aadmi has risen steadily in the polls, startling the heavyweights and setting the stage for a genuinely triangular contest.

Asked why they would use their vote on an untested newcomer, the auto-rickshaw drivers responded with a stream of grievances — over bribetaking transport inspectors and thuggish police constables, but also over the price of onions, registration fees, potholes and a growing sense of disconnection between the governing class and the governed.

“The common man is fed up,” said Pawan Kumar, extracting from his shirt a wad of paper documenting a fine that he had contested, desperately and fruitlessly. Nearby stood Gaurav, who said his frustration had grown so intense that whenever he overheard pro-Congress talk from passengers, he stopped his vehicle and told them it had malfunctioned.

“Congress has been the ruling party for the last 60 years,” said Gaurav, who does not use a surname and who migrated with his family to Delhi as a child. “They say all the right things, but look at the condition of the country. Other countries have come much farther in 60 years. Why don’t we have better medical facilities, educational facilities, roads? Why? Who is answerable for this?”

Even if Aam Aadmi wins only a small number of Delhi’s parliamentary seats — a real possibility, given India’s first-past-the-post system — it will challenge assumptions that have long undergirded Indian politics. Congress, with its socialist roots, addressed the rural and marginalized poor. Bharatiya Janata, created as a party of urban traders, spoke to more affluent, urban Indians, those more likely to hold Hindu nationalist views.

But that calculation is being scrambled in the black box of urban India, where new categories of voters are coming into existence.

Though the new party had little chance of winning the very rich (B.J.P. voters) or the poorest of the poor (Congress’s), the fat layer in the middle is expanding with waves of migration from northeastern provinces. Yogendra Yadav, a soft-spoken political scientist who has become Aam Aadmi’s main strategist, said support for Aam Aadmi had grown fastest among “those who are a little uprooted, who come and are lost for identity, lost for a grouping.”

Those who have latched on to the Common Man bandwagon include many in Delhi’s fast-growing informal economy — “this vast army of drivers, blacksmiths, locksmiths, cobblers, domestic workers, the guys who sell paan on the sidewalk,” said Ashutosh Varshney, a political scientist at Brown University. Voters like these interact constantly with low-level government officials, and their resentment has mounted to the point at which it trumps other political messages.

“There is a certain helplessness that comes from dealing with the malfunctioning state at the street level,” Mr. Varshney said. While more affluent people can “telephone their way through or bribe their way through,” he said, the working poor look to politicians to address their complaints. They vote, and in large numbers.

There are still some gaping holes in the new party’s platform, which is not surprising, considering the group’s swift transformation from a street movement. Though Mr. Kejriwal has pledged that his first major act will be arranging an independent ombudsman to look into complaints against government officials, the party has been slow to issue a clear manifesto beyond opposing corruption.

That has left it unclear where Aam Aadmi stands on basic political and economic questions. Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist, described the party’s appeal as superficial, “another way of saying ‘none of the above.’ ”

As its poll numbers have improved, the party has made compromises that smack of politics as usual, alienating purists who were among its early supporters. On Monday, as Mr. Kejriwal tried to counter a fresh rebuke from Anna Hazare, the Gandhian social activist who was his partner in the anticorruption movement, a man who identified himself as a Hazare supporter sprang up and flung a can of black ink at his face. Party leaders have quietly replaced some of their “common man” candidates with more politically experienced ones.

Mr. Yadav acknowledged that some of those decisions had been painful, but that party leaders had begun to feel “this close to actually making it” and become focused on running candidates who would be seen as viable.

“To be honest, I am stunned with the response that we are getting,” he said. “All I can say is that we have stepped into something not of our making.”

As the last days of campaigning ticked away, earnest volunteers continued to comb Delhi on Aam Aadmi’s behalf. Anita Pandey, 43, was plastering Kejriwal posters onto the back of auto-rickshaws on a recent afternoon. If a driver refused, saying the police were singling out drivers who carried the poster, she hectored him cheerfully and at high volume. “Why? Why?” she cried. “Show courage! If you will not show courage, who will?”

She worried, though, about what would happen when party workers began blanketing low-income neighborhoods with the freebies known here as sops, most often bottles of whiskey and 500-rupee notes.

Sure enough, a campaign worker from Bharatiya Janata — or rather the employee of a subcontractor, Adventure Media — showed up at the same spot a few days later, offering drivers brand-new lemon-colored canvas covers for their vehicles. The covers had a retail value of 500 rupees (about $8), a day’s take-home pay for many of them, and came complete with sewn-on campaign posters declaring support for the B.J.P.

The drivers murmured their admiration from across the street, debating whether accepting such a thing amounted to selling their vote. Each of them could recall the waves of gifts that arrived in their impoverished neighborhood ahead of elections, delivered in crates to the homes of the slum’s rainmakers, year after year.

A driver named Rakesh Kumar glanced over at the stack of auto-rickshaw covers and smiled. “Many people will take it, and they will paint it over,” he said. Then, he said, “we will vote for Kejriwal.”

Even the New York Times has started noticing the AAP

85% of Congress, BJP donors faceless

Political parties in India are getting richer, but the major source of their funding remains unknown, revealed a study released by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday.

Twenty three political parties including Congress and BJP earned Rs. 4,662 crore between 2004 and 2011, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said based on the Right To Information replies it received from the Election Commission and the Income Tax department.

But, source of less than 15% of the contributions was known.

“The unknown donation is a black money box of the political parties,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member ADR, on whose petition the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to make declaration of assets and criminal record must for candidates.

“By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption but can make a major dent”.

The NGO claimed that the income of the parties have shown a steady growth since 2004.

The earning of the Congress went up from Rs. 222 crore in 2004 to Rs. 307 crore in 2011.

For BJP, it increased from Rs. 104 crore to Rs. 168 crore during the same period.

In this, BSP was a party with an exception with its income increasing from Rs. 4.2 crore in 2004 to Rs. 115 crore in 2011 with zero contribution from a known donor.

The figures complied by ADR showed that the Congress’ income was Rs. 2,008 crores, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011, a reason for its donations from known donors being just 11.89 % of its total earnings.

On the other hand, the BJP’s known donors including several corporate provided 22.76 % of its total earning of Rs. 994 crore during the period.

The CPI(M)'s income from 2004-2011 is Rs. 417 crore, mostly contributions from individuals, just behind BSP's Rs. 484 crore, while other major Left party, CPI, has earned only Rs. 6.7

Among the donors, General Electoral Trust (GET) of the Aditya Birla Group, Tata’s Electoral Trust and Gujarat based Torrent Power Limited have given big donations both to some political parties including Congress and BJP.

While the GET gave Rs. 36.4 crore as donations to Congress, it contribured Rs. 26 crore to the BJP's coffers, the report said. Torrent power gave Rs. 14.15 crore to Congress and Rs. 13 crore to BJP during this period.

Several other corporate such as Videocon Industries, Bharti Electoral Trust, ITC, Vedanta Group, Adani Group and Mahindra and Mahindra had claimed income tax rebate for the political donations.

As per Representation of People’s Act, a person or a company can claim income tax rebate for any amount of more than Rs. 20,000 provided the party makes the declaration in its annual return to the Election Commission.

The above is from the Hindusthan Times.

And the BJP and Congress are demanding an enquiry into the Funds of AAP?

Foreign funding of Congress, BJP a matter of public interest: Allahabad High Court

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court has converted the petition filed to inquire into the foreign contributions to Congress, BJP and other political parties as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

The bench of Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Ashok Pal Singh yesterday reasoned that because the matter has a wider public realm it should be treated as a PIL, social activist and member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Nutan Thakur, who filed the petition on October 6, said today.

The High Court has directed that the matter be heard on Wednesday by the PIL bench.

The order hence brought forth the lack of transparency in the election funds of big and small parties. While both Congress and BJP denied to declare their source of funds, the AAP happened to be the only party that has clarified its sources of money.

However, the Home Ministry has ordered an inquiry into AAP's funding from abroad, especially from the NRIs.

The petition described the Ministry's action against AAP as "one-sided" demanding it to be extended to other political parties too.

Thakur had also sent a letter to the Home Ministry to probe into the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) by Congress and BJP for receiving donations of about Rs 5 crore each from Vedanta Group subsidiaries.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Too Had a Dream

The following is an extract from a book of memoirs of Verghese Kurien's with the above name.

Just see the difference meted out by our nation to the families of Nehru and Sardar Patel.

And now both the Congress and BJP are competing for his heritage.

Maniben Patel, Sardar Patel’s daughter, was a woman of tremendous honesty and loyalty.

She told me that when Sardar Patel passed away, she picked up a book and a bag that belonged to him and went to meet Jawaharlal Nehru in Delhi.

She handed them to Nehru, telling him hat her father had instructed her that when he died she should give these items to Nehru and no one else.

The bag contained Rs 35 Lakh that belonged to the Congress Party and the book was the party’s book of accounts.

Nehru took them and thanked her.

Maniben waited expectantly, hoping he would say something more,but he did not, so she got up and left.

I asked her what she had expected Nehru to say to her. ‘I thought he might ask me how I would manage now, or atleast ask if there was anything he could do to help me. But he never asked.’ she explained.

She was extremely disheartened and in a way the incident revealed the strain in the Nehru-Sardar Patel relationship.

It was quite distressing to see that neither Nehru nor any of the other national leaders of the Congress ever bothered to find out what happened to Maniben after her father died.”

“After all the sacrifices that Sardar Patel made for the nation, it was very sad that the nation did nothing for his daughter.

In her later years, when her eyesight weakened, she would walk unaided down the streets of Ahmedabad, often stumble and fall until some passerby helped her up.

When she was dying, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Chimanbhai Patel,came to her bedside with a photographer.

He stood behind her bed and instructed the photographer to take a picture.

The photograph was published in all the newspapers the next day.

With a little effort,they could so easily have made her last years comfortable”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal's Letter to Anna Hazare

Respected Anna Ji,

Last night, while returning after our election campaigning, it was brought to my notice that we received a letter from you. At first, I felt very happy, as every message from you is like a blessing to me. But after reading your letter, I must say that I felt sad and disappointed.

You have mentioned in your letter that some groups have approached you to complain against me. Many serious questions have been raised by you through your letter. I have great respect for you. I hold you in high esteem, respect you as my teacher, and regard you as a father figure. It is my responsibility to answer the questions raised by you.

Issues raised by you have already been addressed extensively in the past. You had been satisfied with the answers to those questions. I was concerned because I wonder who is spreading these false and baseless accusations and what their intentions might be. However at the end of the letter you write - "I believe that these statements will not be truthful". You continue to trust me, I am happy about that.

Your letter asks three questions. The first question is about how we can promise to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly Elections. Anna, as you know, Prashant Bhushan, myself and many other members understand the intricacies of the laws. Obviously the bills passed by the Delhi Assembly will not apply to the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament or employees of the Central Government. We have not promised any such law. You might remember that when Uttarakhand agreed to pass this bill, you yourself supported the Chief Minister Khanduri at a press conference. On 29th December we intend to pass the same bill that will apply in the Delhi State area. The Chief Minister, ministers, Members of Legislative Assembly and all officers and workers of the Delhi government would be under its purview. I hope that you will bless us with your presence on this occasion. I also believe that we can soon pass this bill in the parliament with the support of the people of India.

Your second question was if our party is using your name in our campaign fundraising and campaign related activities. I do not know who is fabricating these lies and what motives they might have. As soon as you made a public appeal that we do not use your name in our campaigning, we have respected your request. We have not used your photograph in any of our campaign materials including posters and films. We do say that in 2011 there was an Anna Movement. This is a historical fact, which no one can deny, not even you.

With respect to the "Anna Card," the Aam Aadmi Party is not involved in it in any way. You may not remember this, but this card was issued with your full knowledge and permission in February 2012. This card was worth 25 rupees and the funds raised as a result were used to send movement related SMS. We received 1,59,415 rupees through the sale of these cards in Feb-March 2012 and 7,67,115 is April-July 2012. The funds collected from the card campaign are clearly mentioned in the audit accounts of the PCRF (Public Cause Research Foundation). The sale of these cards was stopped many months before the formation of the party. Further, the funds that remained unused were even refunded to the people. Hence there is no question of the Aam Aadmi Party using even a single paisa from the proceeds of the Anna Card.

Your third question was how much funds have been raised during Jan LokPal movement, and whether if we are using this fund for Delhi Elections? Anna, according to Income Tax law, we definitely cannot use the funds raised during a movement in elections. This would defy the law of Income Tax, and we would be strictly prosecuted if we ever do so.

You have also mentioned in your letter that you are unaware of the funds raised during the protests at the Ramleela Maidan and at Jantar Mantar. Anna - Of all your questions and statements, this one has hurt me the most. We have discussed this not once, but several times, both formally and informally. Multiple audits have also been done. You had sent a special team to audit our accounts who has checked everything to ensure that you are satisfied and informed about the accounts. Even after that, if you raise the same question, you can imagine how painful that would be for me, personally. Its possible that you may not remember each point from our previous conversations, discussions and audits. So I am re-iterating the key ones here.

1. 'India Against Corruption' is not a legislative organization or constitutional entity, so the entire transactions have been brought under the purview of PCRF (Public Cause Research Foundation).

2. Right after the protest at Ramleela Maidan, under your guidance, IAC's core committee gathered for a meeting on 10th and 11th of September, 2011. According to the outcome of this meeting, starting from April to September, auditing of income and expenses of the social movement have been conducted. On 1st of November 2011, the results of this audit have also been posted on website, and the same report has been handed over to Income Tax department even though no one asked for it.

3. In May 2012, we have requested you to personally examine the accounts of PCRF records.You had constituted a special team comprising of your representatives Sh. Suresh Pathare, Dad Pathare & some other people. This team had audited complete PCRF accounts and found them to their satisfaction.

4. Also, besides the Income tax law that I cited previous, there is no question of the Andolan money being used. PCRF accounts (audited as mentioned above) clearly show that on April 1, 2011 (before the start of the Andolan), PCRF has Rs 54 Lakh (approx). The money that I got from the Magsaysay award was also added to this to help the Andolan. In August 2012, when the Anshann got over, there was only 14 lakh left in the PCRF account. This proves that, not only was the money raised Andolan completely spent, but PCRF ended up contributing another 40 lakh in addition to my Magasay award grant towards the Andolan.

Anna - All this happened with your knowledge, consent and direction. Whenever questions were raised on the finances of the andolan, after consultation with you, complete audit was carried out. With your blessing, this Andolan established new benchmarks of financial transparency in public life.

If, in spite of and after all this, you have questions, its my duty to answer them. We want the politics of India to be clear & transparent. Therefore, we would like to be the first ones to be audited & investigated in full public view, so that there are no questions that remain unanswered.

My proposal, if you agree is this. Let someone of the stature and credibility of Justice Santosh Hegde (or any other person who you trust) audit the accounts of IAC, PCRF and the Aam Aadmi Party. Justice Hedge would also for any complaints against us from the people as well. To carry out this investigation, whatever he needs from us will be provided to him. I want that Justice Hedge finish this investigation next week itself.

I assure you and the entire nation that if Justice Hedge’s investigation reveals financial irregularities with IAC funds, or its use for AAP operations, then I will withdraw my candidacy from Delhi Assembly elections.

If no irregularities are found after investigation, it is not only my hope but the country’s hope that you will come to Delhi to campaign for AAP.

Anna, like you I am always mindful that those in public life have to be extra careful of how they use the public’s money. That is why, despite all the devious and malicious plotting by our opponents, there is not a stain on the record of the movement or of AAP. I sincerely believe that this investigation will settle once and for all that I have abided by your high ideals that I respect greatly.



Monday, November 18, 2013

The benefits of Ajwain or Carom Seeds of Bishop's Seeds

It is a common sight in India to see mothers and grandmothers handing out ajwain seeds to family members who have an upset stomach. Carom seeds or bishop’s weed also known as ajwain is a common herb found in Indian households and is well known for properties that make it one of the most used home remedies. But other than being a good digestive aid, it has a number of other health benefits. Here are some of them:

1. Beat indigestion and flatulence: Ajwain is packed with tahymol. In fact it’s the only plant in the world with the highest amount of thymol. This chemical is very effective in helping the stomach release gastric juices that speed up digestion. It is known to help in cases of indigestion, flatulence, nausea and relieve colicky pain in babies. Tip: Boil a teaspoon of the seeds in a cup of water till it is reduced to half, strain and drink this water for instant relief. Another good remedy for nausea is to take a teaspoonful of the seed and wrap it in a beetle leaf. Place this at the back of the mouth and swallow the juice slowly till as long as the leaf is intact.

2.Improves digestion when your’re pregnant or lactating: Due to its great anti-inflammatory and curative properties, ajwain is great for pregnant and lactating mothers. It helps to improve digestion, ward off constipation due to pregnancy and strengthens the muscles that make up the floor of the uterus. After pregnancy ajwain is known to heal the woman’s body internally, reduce inflammation and helps maintain good circulation. In some cultures it is also believed to improve the production of milk in lactating mothers. Tip: It is important that mothers-to-be do not eat too much of this seed. The seed is known to increase the heat causing pitta levels in the body and can cause problems with the pregnancy.

3. Relieves cough and asthma: The thymol, present in ajwain makes it a great local anaesthetic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is known to relieve congestion due to formation of phlegm even in severe cases. Tip: Crush a few seeds of ajwain, mix it with jaggery and eat the mixture like a toffee. Another quick method is to tie it in a soft cloth and heat the bundle over a warm tawa. Apply this warm bundle over the chest to relieve congestion immediately.

4. Helps ease rheumatic and arthritic pain: Due to its anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic properties, ajwain is a good way to get rid of pain due to rheumatism and arthritis. Try soaking your aching joints in a basin of warm water with a few seeds of ajwain. Alternatively you could crush the seed and apply the paste on the affected area for instant relief.

5. Instant relief from earache: Due to its antiseptic properties ajwain mixed with garlic and sesame oil provides instant relief from earache due to boils. If a person is suffering from earaches due to congestion, a good remedy is to heat ajwain with milk. Putting a few drops of either of the mixtures in the ear can help relieve pain and discomfort.

6. Helps improve your sex life: Did you know that ajwain is a great aphrodisiac? Mixing ajwain with the seeds of tamrind, honey, ghee and milk is a great way to increase vitality. Having the mixture every day helps improve vitality and libido.

7. Keeps the heart healthy: Due to the presence of niacin and thymol along with other vitamins, ajwain is very good in maintaining heart health. It has properties that improve nerve impulses and overall circulation within the heart. Tip: Have ajwain boiled in hot water on an empty stomach regularly to keep heart disease at bay.

8. Cures hiccups instantly: As mentioned earlier, ajwain has properties that help reduce inflammation and soothes irritated nerves. Because of this, it is a great remedy to stop hiccups instantly. Have a few raw ajwain seeds with a few sips of water and watch your hiccups vanish instantly.

9. Remedy for acidity: Since it helps improve digestion, ajwain also helps in relieving acidity. The thymol content helps release stomach acids which helps reduce the regurgitation of acids. Tip: Mix one teaspoon of ajwain with one teaspoon of jeera (cumin) and boil them in a glass of water. The solution should have a golden colour. Drink this whenever there is an attack of acidity for instant relief.

10. Relieves pain due to migraines: Sniffing the fumes of ajwain or applying its paste on the head helps relieve the pain due to migraines. When the seed is burned or crushed into a poultice, it releases its essential oils high in thymol content, this gives it a pain relieving effect.

If any of your symptoms persist or you have a pre-existing condition , please consult your doctor . This is an educational article and not a substitute for proper medical care.

Sent by Arun Shroff

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kejriwal urges people not to donate anymore for Aam Aadmi Party

New Delhi, Nov 17 (ANI): Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal has urged upon people not to donate anymore for the party as they have achieved its target by receiving 20 crore rupees as donation amount.

Kejriwal tweeted that "Ur party needed Rs 20 crores to fight Delhi elections. We have met that target. We don't need any more money for Delhi elections."

Adding to that Kejriwal also thanked its donors in the tweet saying: "A big thank u to all donors. This is their clean hard earned money, which I am sue, will go a long way in cleaning up Indian politics."

AAP is all set to contest on 70 seats of Delhi assembly election.

There were several question raised by different political parties last few days on funding of Aam Aadmi Party. Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had earlier stated that the Central Government has ordered a probe into the source of foreign funding received by Aam Aadmi Party.

"Whatever the source of funding is, which country it is coming from, to probe this we have given it to the ministry. We had got complaints about foreign funding and we are investigating. It takes some time," Shinde said.

In a petition filed by advocate M L Sharma, Delhi High Court also order probe into funding of AAP.

However, Kejriwal had said that there is no violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and party has not taken any amount from foreign nationals but they received donation from NRIs who holds Indian passport and which is permitted under RP act. However the probe into the matter is on. By Ashutosh Mishra (ANI)

Have you seen anyone like Arvind Kejriwal?

Where all other parties have an unlimited appetite for collecting money, AAP has stopped taking donations after reaching the targeted 20 crores.

He is following the example set by Anna during the fast at Ramlila ground by India Against Corruption.

They too had stopped taking donations after reaching their targeted amount.

I am sure, the country will be in safe hands if we vote for AAP

Senior Citizen's Tax Return....

I just received an audit on my tax return for 2012 back from the IRS. It puzzles me!!!

They are questioning how many dependents I claimed.

I guess it was because of my response to the question: "List all dependents?"

I replied: 12 million illegal immigrants; 3 million crack heads;

42 million unemployed people on food stamps,

2 million people in over 243 prisons;

and 535 persons in the U.S. House and Senate."

1 useless President.

Evidently, this was NOT an acceptable answer.


The kids filed into class Monday morning. They were all very excited..

Their weekend assignment was to sell something, and then give a talk on salesmanship. Little Sally led off. "I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30" she said proudly. "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civil spirit, and I credit that approach for my obvious success."

"Very good", said the teacher.

Little Debbie was next. "I sold magazines" she said. "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events. “Very good, Debbie", said the teacher.

Eventually, it was Little Johnny's turn. The teacher held her breath.

Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom, and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. "$2,467", he said.

"$2,467!" cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling?"

"Toothbrushes", said Little Johnny.

"Toothbrushes" echoed the teacher. "How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?"

"I found the busiest corner in town", said Little Johnny.

"I set up a Dip & Chip stand, and I gave everybody who walked by a free sample."

They all said the same thing: "Hey, this tastes like dog poop!"

Then I would say, "It is dog poop. Wanna buy a toothbrush?"

I used the President Obama method of giving you some crap, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it's free, and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth."

Little Johnny got five stars for his assignment. Bless his little heart.

Sent by Prakash Bhartia

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Are anti-corruption movements essentially anti-growth?

Here is an argument which is getting louder by the day. It runs like this. Most developing countries like India are at a stage of growth where new entrepreneurial energies are being unleashed, and hence in the larger interests of growth, one should overlook the corruption which goes with it.

Those arguing say that such levels of corruption had been witnessed in developed countries earlier, and as processes become more transparent, corruption would go away on its own. They also claim that the movement to a mature economy takes time, and one cannot wish corruption away overnight. Most of the corruption is linked to the bureaucratic and political process and hence cannot be reformed in a jiffy.

So this argument gets further fine-tuned to say that the anti-corruption movement in the country is going too far and has merged into the 'anti-growth' brigade. Then the blame for the slow growth of the economy can be placed on the door of the anti-corruption movement.

So if you want growth, you better be prepared for some corruption. And even if you see lot of corruption, you should not be protesting against it, as it might only hamper growth. Such a convoluted argument has its takers.

Now, noted economist Jagdish Bhagwati, speaking recently at a seminar is setting things right with his argument.

He says that the country is in the cusp of change and that so many people are fed up of corruption that has been going on for some time, and are now not willing to make any concessions. This is what is leading to street demonstrations on corruption on a massive scale.

This, he says is creating 'macro-economic problems' because whatever the government does, whether right or wrong, and whether the money had changed hands or not, it is 'going to be challenged by somebody in the streets and in parliament'.

Government policies are seen as a source of corruption and as he points out, that whatever the government does, like accepting a tender, might be seen that it has 'taken money on the side'.

This is the logjam which is leading to the slowing down of the decision making process and the 'reason why growth has slowed' in India.

The story is clear. An robust anti-corruption movement, might slow down growth for the moment, but the resolution of the grievances and an increase in transparency will propel the economy in its next phase of growth. Growth, needs not only to be inclusive, but should be be seen as an outcome of a fairly transparent process.

But without a political consensus, and a clarity on how these 'tenders' are being given out, the anger on the street may not subside. Growth and investment will also avoid 'angry' places. So don't blame the man on the street for poor economic growth.

The above is from "I Paid a"

How ingenuous the BJP and Congress with likes of Mayawati, Mulayam, Sharad Pawar and Karunanidhi become in promoting corruption.

Why shouldn't they when they have able supporters like Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram.

However, let me tell them that people are fed up of corruption and these arguments will not hold.

The AAP is now ready to replace them and provide corruption free government.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

IAS officer Ashok Khemka is transferred for the 43rd time in his 21 year career. Why?

SC reduces political pressure on bureaucrats

New Delhi, Oct 31 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the central and state governments to pass orders within three months on giving fixed tenures to civil servants.

In its order, the apex court said that fixed tenures for bureaucrats will promote professionalism, efficiency and good governance.

The Supreme Court also directed the Parliament to enact a law to regulate transfer, posting and disciplinary action of IAS officers and to immunise them from political interference. (ANI)

The Supreme Court had passed the above order on the 31st October.

Inspite of that, the Hooda government in Haryana cares two hoots for the Supreme Court and has taken the following decision.

I would suggest, the Supreme Court order an immediate stay of the order.

After drawing flak from various quarters for transferring controversial IAS officer Ashok Khemka 19 times in eight years, the Haryana government has again put itself in a spot by handing over his assignment to another officer.

The Bhupinder Singh Hooda government has posted another Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Pradeep Kasni, to be secretary-archives and director general-archives during the election duty of Ashok Khemka.

However, Khemka, who is presently on leave, has claimed that he has not been assigned any election duty by the Election Commission of India. The Hooda government's move over Khemka's post comes even as it is preparing at least four chargesheets against him.

The government is planning to impose major penalty against him, which could even lead to dismissal from service.

Khemka has been transferred 43 times in his career as an IAS officer spanning over 21 years.

Khemka had, October last year, cancelled the mutation of the Rs.58-crore land deal between United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's company, M/s Sky Light Hospitality, with realty giant DLF.

He had claimed other major wrong-doings by the Hooda government in multi-million rupee land deals across Haryana.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tea stall vendor' Modi can never be PM: Naresh Agarwal

Hardoi/ Bhopal, Nov.13 (ANI): Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Naresh Agarwal on Wednesday described the BJP's prime ministerial candidate as divisive, and controversially remarked that a "tea stall vendor" can never become the nation's prime minister.

"A tea vendor's point of view can never be that of a national stature. Narendra Modi says he used to sell tea, now he says he wants to be the Prime Minister," he said in Hardoi.

"If a constable is given an Superintendent of Police's (SP's) job, his perspective will not change. It will remain that of a constable," he added.

Reacting to the comment made by Agarwal, Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat said in Bhopal: "A tea seller can become prime minister, but whether Modi has that national views, even I have doubts on this."

He also said that Modi follows a divisive ideology, and added that someone who cannot take people along together can never become the nation's prime minister.

"This is a democratic country. And whoever gets the support of the people, will become the Prime Minister. But Narendra Modi has a divisive ideology. One, who cannot take everyone together, can never keep India united. So a person like that cannot become the Prime Minister of India,' he said. (ANI)

The above statement just shows the mindset of our political class.

Just why may I ask can't a tea stall owner become a Prime Minister.

Although I support the AAP and not the BJP I am shocked at the statement issued by these people.

The aptitude of the person does not depend upon his birth antecedent or what he was.

The way Namo has performed in Gujarat, I can safely say that he is better than any of the aspirants of all the political parties, excluding the AAP.

I'll name a few who have already proposed themselves.

Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar.

Did I leave out any names?

Narendra Modi will be better than any of the above and after Manmohan Singh's reign, the people of India, want him.

Manmohan Singh is a highly qualified person, respected by everybody.

He was a very able Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

As Finance Minister, he was able to turn around the Indian economy.

But, he has been the worst Prime Minister in India's history.

UPA has given us two of the worsts.

The worst President in Pratibha Patel and as mentioned above the worst Prime Minister.

Congress, BJP face heat in Delhi

There are times when you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry - Like when you watch the spokespersons of political parties such as the Congress and the BJP parrying pointed questions about the sources of their funds. The Union Home Minister’s decision to probe funds of the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) just complicated the discussion even more for the Congress and BJP. “Why target a fledgling political outfit which has raised a paltry 19 crores through tens of thousands of small transparent donations when as per publicly available data the Congress and the BJP have handsome kitties of 2000 crores and 800 crores respectively -- a majority of which were received in hard cash and can’t be traced to specific donors?” - is a fundamental question that comes to mind.

While there are no easy answers for both the Congress and the BJP, by raising a furore the two have unwittingly put AAP on the media map and in the forefront of the public consciousness.

For the first time in India’s history we have a political party starting from ground zero with no money whatsoever and promising to raise funds directly from the public. In the spirit of transparency the party has listed every single donation on the website and continues to do so as the issue is being debated threadbare. The NRI community has stepped up to support AAP through online donations and the government now calls that “foreign funding”. Perhaps the government thinks NRIs are Not Really Indians. Sadly, the Government’s interaction with the NRI community has been reduced to having a dog and pony show once a year on Pravasi Divas.

And what does the BJP have to say on the government probe into AAP’s donations? It says the AAP is a front for the Congress and that is why it has taken them so long to institute a probe. Applying the same logic, the AAP rightly pointed out that since the Congress or the BJP have not called for probes on each other’s sources of funding for years, they are probably working in collusion! Not surprisingly AAP has accepted the challenge and turned the heat on the Congress and the BJP by asking for a probe into their respective finances.

It appears that the public has now woken up to the reality that our political parties are deeply mired .in “black money.” This is partly due to corrupt practices and partly due to not having effectives systems and institutions in place to curb this menace.

It’s not surprising that AAP’s message has struck a chord among the people of Delhi. Both the Congress and the BJP are getting increasingly desperate and on a war-path. Sheila Dixit and team have stepped out on the election field in the last few weeks leading up to the polls. She went from ridiculing AAP as a party, to admitting that AAP had captured the imagination of the people of Delhi, to making a desperate attempt to question AAP’s funding sources.

The BJP on the other hand seems to be attempting last ditch efforts to resuscitate a floundering campaign. It’s poster strongman, Modi, appears to have abandoned Delhi as a lost cause, after a few valiant token strikes that failed to produce the magical wave.

Meanwhile, AAP seems to be on a roll and back in the media limelight. The heightened visibility in the media and controversial probe into its funding seems to have emboldened its core base and broadened its support as seen in the rapid increase in donations since the probe saga broke out. The scenario playing out in Delhi today has a strong similarity to the Obama campaign of 2008 where every time his opponents went on a negative attack his donations spiked!

Winter might be upon Delhi but both BJP and the Congress are surely facing some serious heat. “If you can’t face the heat, get out of the kitchen” goes the saying. It looks like the people of Delhi are inclined to mete out this treatment to both the BJP and the Congress now that they have a strong alternative in AAP.

The above has been written by Pran Kurup for the Economic Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BJP files complaint with EC against Kejriwal

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Delhi BJP leader Vijay Jolly has written to the Delhi Election Commission accusing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal of cheating the people of Delhi by promising to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill if voted to power.

Jolly said that in spite of the Model Code of Conduct being in place in Delhi ahead of the Dec 4 assembly elections, the AAP in its posters has promised to pass the bill Dec 29 which was not legally possible.

"AAP is trying to gain political mileage by giving false assurance that in case they win, the Delhi assembly would pass the Lokpal Bill Dec 29 at the Ramlila Ground. They are violating the Model Code of Conduct," said Jolly.

"Under the existing Indian law, Lokpal Bill in no manner can be enacted by the Delhi legislative assembly. Passing of this bill falls in the exclusive jurisdiction of Indian parliament," he said.

"AAP on its web page and all modes of media is rampantly highlighting the issue of Lokpal Bill and promising to get it passed. They are bluffing, cheating, and making false promise to Delhi's voters," he added.

Jolly urged the EC to issue a show cause notice to Kejriwal.

It is the BJP which is fooling the people.

Arvind Kejriwal has said umpteen number of times that since Delhi is a state assembly, it cannot be called a Lok Pal Bill since that can be passed by parliament only.He has also said that for the states, it is called Lokayukta bill.

He only mentions Lokpal because the people are all familiar with that name since it was on this matter, the whole parliament including the Congress and BJP betrayed the will of the people.

Vijay Jolly is just making a fool of himself. All the voters of Delhi know what Arvind Kejriwal means.

Both the Congress and the BJP are frustrated.

There will be many more complaints to the Election Commission against the AAP but the people of Delhi have seen through their game.

A Sonagachi Prostitute to give a character certificate to Mother Teresa

The Home Minister, Mr. Sushil Shinde, is enquiring into the foreign funding of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Has he never heard of the saying "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others"?

Asking the Congress Party (Sushil Shinde) to enquire into the foreign funding of the AAP is like asking a Sonagachi prostitute to give a character certificate to Mother Teresa.

Each new revelation in the coal scam appears to provide more and more fodder to those who have termed it a classic case of crony capitalism.

It now turns out that the private companies which benefited from the allocation of coal blocks by the government also happen to be the most prominent donors to the two big national parties.

According to a report recently released by the Association for Democratic Reforms, private companies have contributed immensely to the coffers of the Congress as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which has been allocated as many as 12 coal blocks, donated Rs 1.05 crore to the Congress party between 2004-05 and 2009-10. JSPL is owned by Congress MP Naveen Jindal.

'It is obvious the UPA government has continuously favoured Jindal's group as he is one of their own,' BJP MP Hansraj Ahir told Mail Today. Sterlite Energy Ltd, which was given a coal block in Orissa in 2008, donated Rs 1 crore to the Congress in 2004-05 and Rs 5 crore in 2009-10.

Interestingly, Madras Aluminium, which like Sterlite is a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group, donated Rs 3.5 crore to the BJP.

Firms associated with the Adani Group are said to have donated Rs 2.5 crore to the Congress and Rs 2.75 crore to the BJP between 2004-05 and 2009- 10.

Adani Power was allocated a coal block in Wardha, Maharashtra in 2007.

ACC Ltd, which has been given a coal block in Raniganj, West Bengal, donated Rs 1 crore to the BJP in 2008- 09. On the other hand, Essar, which was allocated two blocks in Jharkhand and one in Madhya Pradesh, donated Rs 75 lakh to the Congress in 2004-05.

Tata Sons, whose entities like Tata Steel, Tata Power and Tata Sponge Iron have been allocated four coal blocks also made handsome donations through the Electoral Trust which it established in 1996.

On the basis of the report, there appears to be a slight preference for non-Congress parties as the Electoral Trust donated Rs 6.8 crore to the BJP, Rs 1.58 crore to Samajwadi Party and a little over Rs 30 lakh to the Janata Dal (United).

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja believes private donations to political parties provides a pretext for crony capitalism, especially as many of the firms end up benefiting from government policies.

Political parties in India are getting richer, but the major source of their funding remains unknown, revealed a study released by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday.

Twenty three political parties including Congress and BJP earned Rs. 4,662 crore between 2004 and 2011, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said based on the Right To Information replies it received from the Election Commission and the Income Tax department.

But, source of less than 15% of the contributions was known.

“The unknown donation is a black money box of the political parties,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member ADR, on whose petition the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to make declaration of assets and criminal record must for candidates.

“By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption but can make a major dent”.

The NGO claimed that the income of the parties have shown a steady growth since 2004.

The earning of the Congress went up from Rs. 222 crore in 2004 to Rs. 307 crore in 2011.

For BJP, it increased from Rs. 104 crore to Rs. 168 crore during the same period.

In this, BSP was a party with an exception with its income increasing from Rs. 4.2 crore in 2004 to Rs. 115 crore in 2011 with zero contribution from a known donor.

The figures complied by ADR showed that the Congress’ income was Rs. 2,008 crores, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011, a reason for its donations from known donors being just 11.89 % of its total earnings.

On the other hand, the BJP’s known donors including several corporate provided 22.76 % of its total earning of Rs. 994 crore during the period.

The CPI(M)'s income from 2004-2011 is Rs. 417 crore, mostly contributions from individuals, just behind BSP's Rs. 484 crore, while other major Left party, CPI, has earned only Rs. 6.7

Among the donors, General Electoral Trust (GET) of the Aditya Birla Group, Tata’s Electoral Trust and Gujarat based Torrent Power Limited have given big donations both to some political parties including Congress and BJP.

While the GET gave Rs. 36.4 crore as donations to Congress, it contribured Rs. 26 crore to the BJP's coffers, the report said. Torrent power gave Rs. 14.15 crore to Congress and Rs. 13 crore to BJP during this period.

Several other corporate such as Videocon Industries, Bharti Electoral Trust, ITC, Vedanta Group, Adani Group and Mahindra and Mahindra had claimed income tax rebate for the political donations.

As per Representation of People’s Act, a person or a company can claim income tax rebate for any amount of more than Rs. 20,000 provided the party makes the declaration in its annual return to the Election Commission.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Man sets self afire over police exploitation

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) A man set himself ablaze here as he was depressed over continued exploitation of his two sons by two Delhi Police constables, police said Sunday.

Uday Chand, 48, set himself afire in south Delhi's Neb Sarai area Saturday evening after pouring petrol on his body.

He was rushed with 85 percent burn injuries to the Safdarjung hospital.

In his statement to the police, the victim said he took the step after being depressed over continued exploitation of his two sons by two Delhi Police constables - Raj Kumar and Surender.

Both constables are posted in Neb Sarai Police Station.

The victim reportedly said the constables were allegedly demanding Rs.20,000 as extortion money from his elder son, Naveen, for running his three-wheeler scooter rickshaw (TSR) van without any restriction.

"The constables were continuously harassing Naveen as he was unable to give them such a large amount at the moment. A few days ago, the constables badly beat up the victim's younger son, Bhairav," said sources.

A police officer said a case has been registered following the victim's statement.

"Both the constables have been confined and proper action will be taken against them after a probe," said the officer.

One of the first actions of the AAP when it comes to power in Delhi would be clean up the police force.

If Naveen was illegally plying his auto then Naveen should have been penalized.

By taking bribes, the illegal auto does not become legal.

We see the same thing in Kolkata.

Trucks are not allowed during certain times in the city.

They are not allowed to ply on VIP but they merrily ply on the road and at the police check-post, they do not even stop.

The khalasi just drop a Rs 5/- or Rs 10/- note on the road and the driver continues to drive.

The policeman then scampers and collects the note.

This will all have to change after AAP comes to power.

Aam Aadmi Party receives Rs 19 crore as donation

Press Trust of India Ahead of Delhi Assembly elections, Mr Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has collected around Rs 19 crore as donations from cross section of people, most of them are the first-time donors to a political party.

“We have collected around Rs 19 crore from donations from around 63,000 individuals belonging to cross section of society,” said Mr Pankaj Gupta, Party's National Secretary and in-charge of Funding and donations.

The party claimed to have received donations ranging from Rs 10 to several lakhs, from rickshaw-pullers to traders to industrialists to NRIs to help it fight the Delhi Assembly polls and bring a “corruption-free” administration.

Our aim was to collect Rs 20 crore for Delhi Assembly elections, and we would soon be achieving that target. Till the last week of September, we had collected around Rs 10 crore but within a span of a month, we have received Rs nine crores as donations, he added.

The party has received Rs 13.18 crore from donors in India, while rest around Rs six crore from NRIs based in the USA, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, UAE and even Saudi Arabia.

The AAP, which has kept all its transactions and donations in public domain by posting details on its website, has received most overseas donations of around Rs two crore from NRIs based in the US, while Rs 1.14 crore from Hong Kong-based NRIs, followed by Singapore, UAE and UK based NRIs.

The party has also been receiving funds from NRIs based in Germany, Qatar, Kuwait, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan. The AAP has over 63,000 online donors, which include rickshaw-pullers, soldiers from Siachen to businessmen and students in America.

When asked was receiving funds from overseas for a party justified, he said, we are accepting funds only from Indians and nobody else. Though some foreigners wanted to give donations but we have refused.

“We have every record of our transactions on our website, any body could verify it,” Mr Gupta said, can the Congress or the BJP put their records of donation in public domain.

Last month, Delhi High Court asked the Centre to look into “afresh” the accounts of AAP to find out the source of money received by it after its inception.

A Bench of Mr Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Mr Justice V K Rao asked the counsel for the Centre to inform it by 10 December after going through the accounts of AAP. “You go through the accounts again after the AAP was formed. In case you find anything in violation of Foreign Currency Regulation Act, take action or you inform the court about the status,” the Bench had said.

The above is from the Statesman.

While parties like the BJP and Congress spend Rs 20.00 crores for just one rally, the AAP is spending the same amount for the whole of the Delhi elections for all its 70 candidates.

See the difference and see the difference it will make to the administration.

The BJP and Congress will have to pay back to the businessmen, promoters, smugglers, extortionists and murderers who have financed them by allowing them to continue their underhand dealings.

The AAP is under no such obligation.

It can provide a corruption free government to the people who have voted for them.

Rajiv Gandhi himself said that for every Rs 100/- sanctioned expenditure, only Rs 10/- reaches the beneficiary.

Now, if the balance Rs 90/- reaches the Aam Aadmi he can make progress in life without crutches.

The UPA government loots you and then throws a few paise in your way in the form of FOOD SECURITY, MNREGA and wants you to vote for it.

Instead of giving a man free fish, it is better to teach him to fish so that he can maintain himself.

The AAP will teach you to maintain yourself and not depend on the government alms.

The Campa Cola Housing Scam

With the demolition of Worli-based Campa Cola housing society due to take place on November 11, Union minister of state for communication, IT and shipping Milind Deora has sought the direct intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi through a letter on Saturday.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was earlier seen as a beacon of hope for the 140-odd families residing in the compound but his actions were not seeing speedy results.

Deora is said to have had several meetings with Chavan, repeatedly urging him to act in favour of the residents. While Deora declined to comment on the delay on the part of the CM, sources close to him were critical of his failures. According to sources, the Campa Cola issue is being perceived as Chavan’s latest example of slow moving decisions.

Last Friday, a delegation of the residents called on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and sought his intervention in the matter. Gandhi is said to have directed Chavan to look in to the same but no action was taken.

In the strongly-worded letter (copy of which dna has), Deora wrote to Sonia Gandhi and said, “On November 11, 140 law-abiding middle-class families will be homeless for no fault of theirs.” In the letter, he has referred to the affected residents as “victims of the builder/corporation (BMC) nexus.”

In the letter, the MP notes that “the demolition has been directed by a court order that has spared the real perpetrators of the crime viz the builder and the corporation, and virtually handed a death sentence to the residents. This is a classic case where the builders have colluded with the authorities to dupe home buyers.”

According to Deora, while the number of residents is small, the issue has attained “critical mass” status because of the strong public opinion and media campaigns against the proposed demolition. “The law has been applied, but justice (has been) denied,” he adds.

Deora has urged the state to move quicker and act before November 11. He has also sought legal opinion independently on the issue from Union minister and legal luminary Kapil Sibal.

Deora’s supporters, on condition of anonymity said, “Thousands of buildings in Mumbai have illegal floors, no occupation certificates and misuse refuge areas. But the BMC has not shown any inclination to act against them. The residents of Campa Cola compound feel that they are being singled out.”

Chavan’s advisers reportedly advised him against circumventing the apex court’s order by issuing an ordinance “for a small number of citizens.” They have warned the CM that the BMC could face charges of contempt if the demolition is not carried out. One of the suggestions allegedly made to him include large scale demolitions of illegal structures, specially in high-value buildings, be carried out along with the Campa action to avoid the impression that Campa Cola residents are being targeted.

Chavan did not respond to dna’s repeated calls in response to Deora’s letter to Sonia Gandhi.

I became aware of the above problem when I received an email from one of the old tenants titled "Save the homes of 140 Families. Help Prevent Injustice." Petition by

Save Campa Cola

I signed and forwarded the petition.

What is the solution to this problem?

We are seeing it everywhere, even in Kolkata. I would suggest that both the promoter and the BMC (in our case KMC) officials who gave the sanction should be penalised. If any politician had used his influence in getting the sanction, he too should be penalized. The money so collected should be distributed to the flat owners in proportion to the amount they had paid to buy the flats.

This would prevent government officials from giving illegal permission in future.

Bengal-bound fish, onion cargoes blocked in Odisha

JALESWAR/DANTON: Protesters in Odisha stopped truckloads of fish, eggs and onions from crossing into Bengal on Saturday in reaction to Mamata Banerjee's decision to block potato shipments from Bengal.

Congress, BJP and CPM jointly staged the road block from 9am till 10.30am in Odisha's Jaleswar. West Midnapore's Danton is on the other side of the border.

With Bengal holding back potato shipments, prices have shot up in Odisha, which is still reeling from Cyclone Phailin.

Jaleswar IC Sudip Kumar Pradhan said the parties had submitted a memorandum to the administration on Friday, declaring their intent to stage a road blockade in protest against Bengal's ban on potatoes leaving its borders.

The IC contacted his superiors in the Balasore administration. The Balasore DM and SP ordered him to warn the protesters that no roadblock would be allowed. Local leaders, however, insisted on going ahead with their joint protest after a meeting on Friday night.

On Saturday, they swooped on Lakshman Nath Road and stopped trucks carrying fish, eggs and onions to Bengal. The IC got the blockade lifted after 90 minutes and called the leaders to a meeting.

Local Congress leader Kaliya Giri said they had served a notice to the administration that they would launch an indefinite blockade if Bengal did not allow potato shipments to Odisha in two days. "Odisha needs 500 truckloads of potato every day. Ever since Bengal stopped the supply, we asked the Odisha administration to work towards restoring the supply. I have been informed that governments of the two states are discussing the issue," said Giri.

Onion is selling for Rs 70 a kilo in Bengal's markets and has defied all attempts by the administration . Fish, too, is getting expensive by the day.

In a Federal structure that we have in our country, it is suicidal in being parochial.

However, our Mamata didi is not a normal person.

She takes decisions first and thinks later.

It surprises me why it has taken so long for Odisha to retaliate?

All states in India, depend on each other for everything and when one state takes action against the people of products of another state, the centre should immediately come in the picture.

However, with a silent or rather no prime minister in Delhi for the last 10 years, matters have deteriorated.

Thus we have the Shiv Sena and MNS threatening people from UP and Bihar and not allowing them to sit for railway exams in Maharashtra while the centre looks on nonchalantly just so that the fissures between the two cousins Raj and Uddhav become wider and the Congress party could benefit.

The centre should have immediately arrested, Raj Thakre, and placed him in a jail in UP or Bihar, when he issued those threats.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

After Delhi, will Goa be the next Target of AAP?

Parrikar government with casino, mining mafia: AAP

Panaji, Nov 7 (IANS) Elected as a ray of hope against rampant corruption, the Manohar Parrikar-led government in Goa is siding with the casino lobby and the mining mafia in Goa, Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Yogendra Yadav said Thursday.

Yadav, who is in Goa for a day, was addressing a press conference late Thursday after a meeting with AAP workers in the state.

"Parrikar started with hope and made concrete promises, but instead of removing casinos, more casinos have come in. There is nothing done about the mining mafia, and this government and officials are siding with mafias rather than those struggling against it," Yadav said.

The social scientist, formerly a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC), also said that after Delhi, Goa would be part of the next clutch of states where his party would make its presence felt.

The maverick political party, which has promised to radically change the manner in which politics and governance is conducted, has emerged as one of the three main contenders for the state assembly elections in Delhi.

"Goa is a small state with a high level of literacy and media exposure. It has bi-polar politics (like in Delhi, where the BJP and the Congress are key political forces), and corruption has reached a naked height, and we have a presence here," Yadav said.

He identified these factors as why Goa could be on the AAP radar as it tries to expand its presence after the forthcoming round of assembly elections.

Here we have a preview of the next target of AAP.

When Parrikar initially took over reins in Goa, everybody had high hopes on him.

He is not a run of the mill politician but an engineer and people had expected him to behave differently.

But the people's hope have nee belied.

It would be a good target for the AAP as has been mentioned by Yogendra Yadav.

A vote of thanks for those who were instrumental in the formation of the aam Aadmi Party

Yes, we should never forget the benefactors who helped us launch AAP.

Besides Anna Hazare and the millions who poured into the Ramlila ground in support of Anna's fast, we would like to mention specially the following personalities who played a leading part in the formation of AAP.

Digvijay Singh

Lalu Yadav

Sharad Yadav

Pranab Mukherjee

Salman Khurshed

Mamata Banerjee

Rajat Sharma of India TV


a horde of MPs of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha who taunted us to "fight and enter Parliament to pass the Lokpal Bill".

Well, here we are to take over administration in Delhi.

As Neil Armstrong said, when he set foot on the moon,

"One small step for AAP but one giant leap for us Indians"

BJP and Congress are one party

Arun Shourie is a former newspaper editor, twice a member of the Rajya Sabha, a former Union minister, right-wing thinker and author of 25 books.

He is currently working on this 26th book at the Lavasa complex near Pune, an attempt to understand human suffering through various religions.

Despite the spiritual thrust of his latest book, Shourie, 69, keeps a sharp eye on New Delhi.

Here he takes readers through the minefields of the 2G spectrum scam and the Niira Radia tapes and explains how the political milieu in New Delhi has reached the tipping point.

How can we make sense of what is happening in New Delhi after the expose of the 2G spectrum scandal and the release of the Niira Radia tapes?

What's the bigger message that comes out of Radia's conversations?

This shows the extent of corporate penetration into government, into the media and into details of policy making.

The main point that emerges from the tapes is the level of corporate penetration. These tapes have shown that everybody is now linked to everybody else.

Democracy survives on counter-rallying power. It survives when there are alternate sources of authority. But now those have joined hands. There is, what my friend (Union Urban Development Minister S) Jaipal Reddy has once called, an invisible government of India which is completely stable.

The visible Government of India keeps changing, but that invisible government of India remains completely stable.

That is the real danger because now the Opposition is no different from the ruling party, whichever is the ruling party. The influence of those puppeteers behind the scene works on both sides. As a result, no issue is pursued to conclusion.

Is the 2G issue a new one? No. It is two years old. I know how I have taken documents to editors, to senior people in government. How can it be that only one reporter in one newspaper The Pioneer was following it? He was not withholding information, but not one newspaper or television channel touched it.

Today also the reportage is about what (former telecom minister) A Raja says, what Arun Shourie says. Is that the end of the story? I hardly read newspapers now. I just don't watch television. There is nothing to be learnt.

Why are journalists going for sound bytes? Why don't they take the documents home, study it and come to their own conclusions? I can't understand.

I feel completely distanced from this profession (journalism) and, of course, politicians. They are in bed with each other and with everybody.

Don't you think the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) also has a lot to answer for in the current situation?

I don't see the difference between the two. I feel they (the BJP and the Congress) are one party. They are jointly ruling. It is a dinner party. They meet at dinners. They meet socially. They decide on what has to be done about issues.

It is all very cooperative behaviour. They (the BJP) are shouting (for a Joint Parliamentary Committee). They know that it will kill the investigation.

A JPC will raise side issues and that is what both sides want. Because the corporates behind both sides are the same. They don't want the 2G spectrum investigation to proceed.

If you see the bigger picture of 2G spectrum, it is a battle between the old operators and the new operators in telecom...

But that's the separate issue...

It was during the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government led by the BJP that (then Union minister) Ananth Kumar introduced Niira Radia to the New Delhi set-up.

Yes, that's one point. I remember there was a report in that regard in the Indian Express which had an eight column front-page story just below the masthead. The story was about Ananth Kumar and Niira Radia's association with each other. I don't recollect if Annath Kumar was then the civil aviation or tourism minister.

I was astonished to read that such person has been named in the report. I was told by a very senior official about the observations made by some agency. He was in a position to know about the minister. He told me that the report about Ananth Kumar and Radia's association is correct and that is why no action was taken against the published report.

See, issues are not taken up in New Delhi by anybody. The political parties and corporates have complete liaison with the media. Its not just Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi, it is the whole lot involved with each other.

That's why political parties are not taking up the issue of the Radia tapes. The cpi-m (Communist Party of India-Marxist) shouted about the tapes, but the next day the story came that West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was dealing with Radia for the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

Now can the CPI-M shout 'crony capitalism' in the same way?

The problem is the homogenisation of India's political parties. All are becoming clones of each other. That means there is no counter-wheeling power any longer in the country.

Do you accept the argument of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's supporters and Congress leaders that there are limitations to a coalition government?

Also, a Congress leader claimed that you can't ask the government to abdicate the duty to govern by taking action under pressure.

Why have they taken action now? Has the coalition fallen? No. These arguments are not right.

The prime minister of India has unlimited power. Our system is so structured that the PM knows everything.

Yashwant Sinha, when he was finance minister, told me an incident. He got a message from a leader of the state that s/he wanted to see him. He asked Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee if he could can meet that person. Vajpayee said he could meet her/him.

When Sinha went to the state he met the particular leader without anyone knowing about it. He had lunch and talked about all sorts of things. At the end of it, the leader gave him an envelope. He kept it in his pocket. He came to New Delhi and only then opened it.

It was a legal brief on why cases against that leader should not be pursued by the Enforcement Directorate. He put the envelope in his drawer and did nothing about it. He forgot the case.

Several days later he met Vajpayee and spoke about his meeting with the state leader. Vajpayee listened quietly and kept looking at him. At the end of the meeting he asked Sinha, 'Aur woh lifafa (what about the envelope)?'

Sinha was astonished since he had told no one about the meeting and he did not act on what was requested.

Unless the prime minister deliberately shuts his eyes there is no difficulty in knowing everything. It would be incredible that the prime minister would not know. The system is so structured.

Second, all the telecom dealings were done in public. The Prime Minister's Office would certainly read the newspapers. There was so much commotion in Sanchar Bhuvan that people were beaten up the day the allotment of 2G spectrum was announced.

The point is that the prime minister himself wrote a letter and as politely as possible gave instructions that please examine the issue of auctioning of spectrum and determining its price in a fair and transparent manner.

And his minister disregards that.

Do you think that the PM would not know that?

It was the letter signed by him that was ignored.

Coalition dharma doesn't mean that I will become protector of the corrupt.

I feel the prime minister must have known about the 2G issue. That's evident from all sorts of facts.

Second, coalition compulsions do not give you the licence to abdicate your duty.

If your minister is doing something wrong, as captain of the team, the prime minister owes the responsibility to the country to stop the minister.

If the PM had confronted (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M) Karunanidhi with all the evidence, I don't imagine he would have told the PM, 'Don't take action against Raja'.

It is possible that the Congress party must have prevailed over the PMO in that matter.

I don't know. I have heard the opposite. Six months ago, the Congress party had told the prime minister that you remove Raja and it is your responsibility to explain this matter to Karunanidhi. That is what senior leaders of the party have been saying.

I don't know the inner party politics of the Congress. But your point of view or mine is immaterial.

The material fact is that nothing was done. People are asking, 'Raja ke khilaf karwai kyon nahi ki? (Why was action not taken against Raja?)'

The above is from

I have always been an admirer of Arun Shourie. Want to know why?

Shourie is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha and also held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in the Government of India under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's prime ministership.

As Disinvestment Minister, he led the sale of Maruti, VSNL, Hindustan Zinc among others. His position as Minister was a controversial one, but he and his secretary Pradip Baijal are much respected for kick-starting what people believe was a best-in-class process. In a poll of India’s top 100 CEOs in February 2004, he was ranked the most outstanding minister of Mr.Vajpayee’s government.

Shourie was one of the loudest voices opposing the nomination of Pratibha Patil as the President of India in 2007.

Arun Shourie authored two articles published as a booklet titled 'Does This Tainted Person Deserve to Become President of India?' in which he discussed the highly questionable past of the Congress candidate.

In a detailed interview with Karan Thapar, Shourie gave voluminous proofs accusing Pratibha Patil and her kin of embezzling funds from Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank, a bank which she had founded and was in charge of. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), revoked the licence of the bank in 2003 after it was found out that the bank had illegally waived interest on loans given to many of Pratibha Patil’s family members.Shourie also accused her of obstruction of justice and in a murder case against her brother G.N.Patil.

In a series of exposés, many of which he wrote himself, Shourie and the Indian Express, where he became Executive Editor in January 1979, uncovered corruption in the highest echelons of the government and exposed several major scandals, including what has been dubbed “India’s Watergate.”

Shourie started a one-man crusade in 1981 against Abdul Rehman Antulay, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, who allegedly extorted millions of dollars from businesses dependent on state resources and put the money in a private trust named after Indira Gandhi.

The story caused the eventual resignation of the chief minister and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.

Between 1982 and 1986, Shourie wrote for various newspapers and magazines, at the same time as being General Secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties.

He was appointed executive editor of the Times of India in 1986 but was lured back to the Indian Express by Goenka in 1987.

Shourie launched an attack on then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors howitzer gun purchase scandal.

This contributed to Rajiv Gandhi's defeat in the subsequent parliamentary elections.

Among the many battles Shourie fought for press freedom, perhaps the most famous was his crusade against the government’s proposal in 1988 to introduce a defamation bill.

It was widely perceived that the bill had been introduced with unusual speed in the Parliament in an attempt to muzzle the Indian Express, and the entire media community joined Shourie and the Indian Express in condemning the move.