Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why I will vote for NaMo and you should too

Last week we looked at the qualifications of the leading candidates who want to lead the nation and found (not surprisingly) that NaMo is the most suitable. Weather he fulfils his destiny to become the PM of the country will depend on the electoral mood of the nation, which clearly is yearning for a change.
NaMo’s opponents realise his popularity with the masses and have some serious allegations against him. On the eve of our Republic Day let us see if the charges against “the best man to lead the country” hold up –
NaMo has done little. Gujarat has always been well off
For those who debate that his state has been “traditionally” high growth and well off, please note that delivering such growth on the back of such a high base takes serious effort. Explained simply, for someone scoring 90% in exams, going to 95% needs unimaginable hard work. On the other hand, for someone scoring 30% to go to 50% is not so difficult. The critics can always say that the absolute growth in numbers (20 vs 5) make the second child better. But the fact is otherwise. To keep a state which is already doing well to keep doing better needs serious work. NaMo deliverers on this.
No internal democracy
NaMo keeps all the power. NaMo does not delegate. NaMo is the only face of the Gujarat government. NaMo does not let other leaders emerge from his shadows.
And who makes these allegations? The party where one “family” calls all the shots. A party where the decisions of the family cannot be questioned. A party whose elected government has to abide by the instructions of a family member on bills and ordinances. Come on, give me a break!! Let us not encourage such double standards. 
This is the most serious allegation against NaMo. This is the “Brahmastra” which his detractors use when they are about to lose the debate against him. Mention this and his supporters are supposed to meekly surrender. He is a communal man from a communal party and Godhra is proof, they say. It is important to note that Gujarat has a history of communal riots. Prior to 2002, there were four riots in Ahmedabad with a toll of 912, and three riots in Surat and Vadodara with a toll of 197. About 30 percent of the 1,267 killed in the post-Godhra violence were from the majority community. There have been 17 major riots (more than 100 deaths) since 1967 in India, ten took place under Congress/Allies rule, four under other parties and three under BJP rule. Outlook did a brilliant article on the subject
Sanjeev Nayyar also has a brilliant post on the subject –
Let me also state my position on the matter very clearly here. I am totally for the harshest punishment to people who provoke/aid/abet these riots. But the statistics are very clear. The most secular party has been in power when 60% of the major riots have happened. But that can also be because they have been in power for long (too long). However the question that remains to be answered is that why people behind these go unpunished? Is it not the responsibility of those in power to empower the system in such a way that guilty in such acts are always punished? If not, how can you remain secular?
Coming back to NaMo. Godhra happened in 2002. He has been the CM of the state since then and there have been NO RIOTS in the previous 12 years. This in a state that used to see one incident every 5 years. The courts have not found him guilty. However if you listen to his opponents you would believe that he is a mass butcher of the minority community. But then, as above, the facts portray a completely different picture.  
Now that we have dismantled the accusations against him, let us look at why he should lead the nation. We look at the softer aspects today, the hard facts have been considered in the last week’s blog –
Moved up the ranks
NaMo started at the lowest ranks. Look at where he is today. I seriously believe that he has a lot further to go. He has delivered on all the roles given to him by the party. He has grabbed all opportunities by both hands. He has no famous last name, no big daddy to back him up. I like him because can relate to him as most professionals would. He delivered first and then asked for a bigger responsibility.
No blots on image
This is the strongest point in favour of NaMo. He has spent more than 30 years in public life, the last 15 as the CM of Gujarat. He is under intense scrutiny of the media and his political opponents. I am sure they are trying very hard to dig up NaMo’s dirty secrets, to find something that can be used against him. And what do they come up with? Some surveillance of a young woman which was so laughable that it was quickly forgotten. A hindi proverb potrays this the best “dig up a mountain only to find a mouse”. We need to think hard about this – 30 years in public life and not a blemish. No nepotism. No corruption. No misgovernance. No fraud. No greed. No lapse of moral judgement. Highest integrity. Here is a leader who has the cleanest of records and an enviable delivery standard.
Is there any leader in the current crop that can boast of this? This is why my vote in this LS election will go to NaMo and yours should too.
It is very easy to get carried away by the misinformation campaigns. We need to dig deeper to see the truth for ourselves. I hope the above will help people make up their minds on whom they will support in the forthcoming LS elections. Make no mistake, these elections are the most important ever and each one of us should take an informed decision for the betterment of our society and nation.
Comments are welcome!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The best man to lead the country

This year we will vote for the man who would lead the country for the next 5 years. When I say the next 5 years I am hoping that we as a country will vote for a decisive mandate to the most deserving candidate. The choice seems to be between Mr Narendra Modi (NaMo), Mr Rahul Gandhi (RaGa) and Mr Arvind Kejriwal (AK). I am leaving out the other hopefuls like Miss Mayawati, Mamta Di, Mr Patnaik or Mr Nitish Kumar as this year their chances look slim, they will have to nurse their dreams a little longer.
It is heartening to note that this election has become about the PM candidate and not for the respective parties. In the week that has passed since my last blog the Congress has decided not to name their PM candidate. This is a foolish move in my view and I bet they will find another Manmohan Singh to name as their PM candidate before the elections are over. The “model” of the family holding all the power and a puppet becoming PM serves them well. Doesn’t matter if this model has badly hurt the country, it serves the first family very well.
Till now the debates had been NaMo vs RaGa and the result of the debates were causing serious acidity troubles to the Congress loyalists (mind you, there still are many in spite of the overwhelming anger against them). Enter AK. Out of nowhere he has arrived at the scene and captured the imagination of the people with his simple message and accessibility. In the process he has broken the notions that elections in India cannot be fought without money and muscle power and that it is very difficult for newcomers to shake things up.
Let us go through the credentials of all these candidates and see which one is the best suited for the top job. No emotion, no hysteria, just plain facts and qualifications to help us in making our decision.
Name – Narendra Damodrdas Modi
Age – 63 years (17 Sep 1950)
Educational Qualifications – Masters degree in Political Science from Gujarat University
Track record – Outstanding. Stupendous. Has delivered growth and governance.
Promise – Governance and Growth. Taking India to its rightful place in the world order.
Family Background – Was born in a grocer family, the third of 6 children.
Work Experience –
Has been working from an early age, famously as a chaiwalla
Became an RSS member at a young age
Rose through the ranks of the BJP becoming the CM of Gujarat and the PM candidate of the BJP
Media Score –
Was written off earlier but the momentum that he is generating has led to the blunting of the attack on him
Claim to fame –
Has been the longest serving CM of Gujarat, serving his 4th term currently
What’s at stake –
Everything. If he fails to deliver the 272 Lok Sabha seats for the BJP then expect a clamour from within his own party to even throw him out of Gujarat.
Proverbial “destiny’s child”
Name – Arvind Kejriwal
Age – 46 years (16 Aug 1968)
Educational Qualifications – Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur
Track Record – Outstanding as a leader to start a political party and become the CM. Poor as a CM.
Promise – Corruption free governance, power back to the people
Family Background – was born in a well educated family, has 2 siblings
Work Experience
Worked for Tata Steel for 4 years and about 10 years in the Income Tax Department
Media Score –
Is a darling of the media, am intrigues to note that the media is always present in full strength at all the places that he visits.
Claim to fame –
Was a prominent face of the Anna Hazare movement, came from nowhere to become the CM of Delhi, holds the promise to deliver corruption free government and give power back to the people 
What’s at stake - 
Not much, still has a lot of time on hands, need to deliver in Delhi
Proverbial “underdog”
Name – Rahul Rajiv Gandhi (although Subramanium Swamy disputes that)
Age – 44 years (19 June 1970)
Educational Qualifications – Degrees in internal relations and philosophy from universities of Rollins & Cambridge
Track record – None. Who needs it when you have a famous last name.
Promise - Socialism
Family Background –No need to explain who he is
Work experience – Has been an MP for the past 10 years, the constituency he represents in UP is one of the most backward in the country.
Media Score – The media has been very kind to him. You tube has many videos which if someone else would have said would have created a storm.
Claim to fame
Great Grand Dad, Grand Mom, Dad sacrificed a lot for the country.  The royal blue blood of the Nehru family runs in his veins. Has been totally ineffective in reviving the fortunes of the Congress whenever he has campaigned for elections
Proverbial “man with the golden spoon”
It becomes abundantly clear from this that NaMo is the man to lead the country, there cannot be any comparison between the candidates. But then his opponents also have serious things to say against him. 
Next week we will examine the major charges against NaMo and see if they hold up.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The tough questions that AAP and its supporters need to answer

AAP has become the darling of the media. It has been on the front page of all newspapers and the prime time of all news channels for the past one month. Indeed what they have achieved in such a short span of time deserves this adulation, but I am sorry to note that coverage has been really cosmetic. Let us dig a bit deep into the phenomenon and the promise of the AAP and their performance till date.  
Playing to the gallery – transfer of officers
What is the first thing you do after you come to power? Transfer officers. If you have enough background on them to know that they are corrupt so as to transfer them on the first day of office then why not suspend and prosecute them? Maybe because you just are playing to the galleries and want to “show” rather than “take” action. Officers have been transferred innumerable times in this country and nothing worthwhile has come out of that. No sir, transfer of a few beauracrats does not mean action against corruption. Start from the top, send a couple of big netas to jail. The minnows will then have no courage then to be corrupt. My question is – do you have the courage to take action against them? I am hoping that you will and am watching you, like is most of the country. But if only applause is what you are looking for then other professions are better suited for the same. 
Socialism and subsidies – water, electricity
Socialism has failed across the world, India included. We have been the victims of various socialist experiments of the Congress party. While no person in his right mind is against special benefits for the weaker sections of the society, the problem is the delivery mechanism and targeting of these subsidies. Free water is a terrible idea. So is cheap electricity (where are the environmentalists? Can a scarce resource like water be subsidised for one sixth of the world population?) In fact, free anything is always a terrible idea. Nothing in this world is free, there is a price attached to everything, there should be a price attached to everything. You want to be fair to the customers – create fair competition and let the market forces determine the correct price of the output. What purpose will the audits serve – creating more watchdogs to oversee institutions is a recipe for more corruption.
Congress style – keep promising, not delivering
Congress has said “garibi hataao” for the last 65 years but hasn’t delivered. 
Your poll plank was corruption and the need to tackle the same. Great intentions but I haven’t seen anything till now to see you delivering these promises. I hope that you turn out very different than Congress on this.
What about issues of national importance
Your colleague’s views on Kashmir were quickly dismissed as his personal, although this is the second time in the last year that he has raked up this issue. We are surrounded by hostile countries. What happens in the event or the possibility of war? Or economic crisis? Or a national crisis? We need clarity on these issues and see your performance for at least a full term before seriously considering you for a national level role, no matter what the media says.
Pied Piper
AK is being called the pied piper the way people seem to be blindly following him. Remember, the story ended badly for the rats, the children and the town of Hamlin.
The biggest danger
You targeted corruption and then took support of the most corrupt party to come to power, your opinion poll (an elaborate cover up) notwithstanding. So what has happened? The peoples mandate was decisively anti Congress – it was divided between you and the BJP. By aligning up with the party that the people voted against, have you not gone against the very mandate of the aam aadmi you proudly represent? Your supporters will say that you had to fulfil the promises that you made and you saved the people the entire trouble of re elections. But what about your promise of action against “bhrast netas” Most of them are in the state Congress. I hope you will have the courage to take action against them.
Congress is happy
The nation will vote against Congress this year. The congress is happy that they have a willing partner who will take away some of this vote from their sworn opponent BJP. Now that the “Delhi Model” of a corrupt party supporting a clean party from outside has been established, many in the grand old party are dreaming the same experiment will be played out in Delhi. AAP will hope to win 20 lok sabha seats and the Congress with less than 100 seats will hope to give them and other rag tags an outside support. Keep BJP out at all costs is the strategy that the Congress has adopted and you are being used for the same, I would say willingly. There are no foes in politics, many would say. But you shouldn’t go against your “core” principals. You did claim not to be a normal political party anyway.
What’s the hurry
You need to deliver and then ask for a larger mandate. AK’s favourite dialogue “mai aam aadmi hu, meri koi aukaat nahi hai” seems sincere. You have made your promises, now deliver them, get experience and then ask for a national mandate. Don’t just rush into things, set your house (Delhi) in order first. We hold elections every 5 years in this country so take it one step at a time. Unless you are not sure about yourself and your backers are so worried about NaMo coming to power that they want to keep him out “at all costs” 
I admit that it is too early to pass judgement. They have forced both the large national parties to clean up their act, brought back the spotlight on corruption and encouraged more voter turnout in elections, the candidates now would largely be with a clean background. The expectations are high and I hope that you deliver.
For delivering you will need to focus on Delhi to fulfil your promises. Don’t expend your energies. We Indians are unforgiving and hate being taken for a ride.
Next week I will compare the credentials of NaMo vs RaGa vs AK to see who is the best man to lead the nation.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Build on the momentum – the right thing to do for the BJP

The results of the recently held state elections proved a few things beyond any doubt –
1.       If the elections are a referendum of who should be India’s PM then the clear winner will be NAMO.
2.       There is an anti Congress wave in the country – which party benefits from the same remains to be seen.
3.       Agenda for clean and effective governance will find a lot of takers – the emergence of AAP should be seen in this context.
4.       The coverage of the election results gave a feeling that the national media is still reserved in its acknowledgement of NAMO.
5.       Most importantly, Congress will do anything to retain power at the centre – either directly or indirectly (refer the current Delhi government).
Given the above it is very important for the BJP to come together strongly and project a united front to make sure that it builds on the momentum that it has generated. Unfortunately, it seems to be doing its best to shoot itself in the foot. Refer to the grand old man’s statement that the mandate refers to the good work done by the regional leaders/chief ministers. I am sure that the statement was made in some context but if you know the bias of the media, why give them a chance by making such statements?
Here is what the BJP should have done (and can still do) to build on the momentum –
1.       Call a national level meeting to celebrate the good performance in the state elections.
2.       Felicitate the state leaders in the meeting.
3.       Call the erstwhile NDA and fresh allies to join the next government.
4.       Let the national and state leaders (including Advaniji) call for making NAMO the PM of the country.
5.       Let NAMO use the forum to declare that he will not rest until he delivers a Congress (corruption) mukt Bharat.
6.       Let the cadre and supporters take an oath to say that they will not rest until the dreams of their senior leaders are fulfilled.
I am certain that NaMo on his own will deliver big for the BJP but if the above is done it will make the task easier and the results much better. This election is for the BJP to make into a close contest from a no contest and they seem to be doing the same. The momentum is clearly with them, it just needs some smart planning and execution to deliver a result that will leave the critics astounded.
As promised, next week I will write on the policies of the AAP and hope that they take a U turn from the current destructive journey that they have embarked on.