Monday, July 29, 2013

The Congress department of leaks

 
The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:
In the past two to three weeks, the ‘leaks’ department of the Congress has been very busy leaking their decision on the splitting up of Andhra Pradesh. Following is a brief summary of the various decisions that have been leaked so far to the media (in the order of their leaking):
Splitting up of the State:
» Sonia Gandhi has made up her mind. Telangana will be formed. This way Congress hopes to win at least fifteen to seventeen Lok Sabha seats from Telangana. Genius move from Congress.
» Rayala-Telangana will be formed. Two districts of Rayalaseema will be merged into Telangana. The reason being that the number of Lok Sabha seats in the State will be split equally then.
» Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has tendered his resignation to Sonia Gandhi. He says he cannot be part of the decision to split the State.
» Rayala-Telangana idea is put on the backburner. There are no takers for this idea.
» Ghulam Nabi Azad is still trying to convince leaders about Rayala-Telangana.
» Ghulam Nabi Azad denies talking to anyone about Rayala-Telangana.
» Sonia Gandhi has been told that IB has warned of violence in Seemandhra.
» Deputy Chief Minister tells Telangana leaders that “We may have no choice but to accept Rayala Telangana.”
Capital cities of the new States:
» Hyderabad will be common capital for 10 years.
» Hyderabad will be common capital for 5 years.
» Hyderabad will be made a Union Territory — law and order to come under Delhi Government.
When will decision be announced?
» Before Parliament’s Monsoon Session begins (on August 5).
» On August 3.
» Once UPA co-ordination committee and CWC take a stance.


Meanwhile, here’s what is actually happening in Andhra Pradesh:
» 19 Ministers of the Cabinet have resolved to resign if necessary — they have openly opposed the splitting up of the State.
» Union Cabinet Ministers from Seemandhra have met the Prime Minister twice to impress upon him the need to keep Andhra Pradesh united.
» Despite trying badly, none of these public representatives could get an appointment with Sonia Gandhi. Perhaps her highness is busy drawing up a roadmap?
» AP CM yet to refute reports of his resignation, giving credence to those leaks!
» Protests and rallies have increased in Seemandhra region. Universities, colleges and schools were closed for a day. There is no sign of any of the citizenry going back on their protests.
» Raging uncertainity on how the split will be handled:
» If the State is split, common capital is the only alternative. How will space in Hyderabad be divided so that two large Governments can work simultaneously?
» If, as leaked earlier, the process involves getting the approval of AP Assembly, what happens if it doesn’t approve? Will Sonia Gandhi still go ahead and split the State?
» It has not yet been leaked what the capital of the other State will be – people in AP are waiting with bated breath for Congress to leak that information too!
» What is the plan to share water resources?
» What is the plan to share other resources?
These and many other such questions are bothering the people of Andhra Pradesh. As indicated earlier, the Chief Minister has apparently (or allegedly!) refused to be a part of this decision. So what is Sonia Gandhi’s plan to counter all this?
The State has been burning for the past four years. Sonia Gandhi has never made an attempt to communicate with the people of Andhra Pradesh. Forget the people, we are not even aware of any attempts she may have made to talk to her own party leaders from the State. Her own party is split vertically on this issue. Yet we are subjected to this daily harangue of leaks that give us multiple options on what is going through her mind. The leaks have covered all basic eventualities. The simple question to be asked now is – is this how democracy is supposed to work? Through leaks?

NDTV debates free speech, misses it by a mile

 
The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.
 
“…but Amit, Amit, let’s not lose focus of the larger issue.”
 
Thus interrupted the anchor. Read this in isolation, and you would believe that Amit was completely losing focus of some larger issue and was merely ranting away at his will.
 
This interruption by the anchor, Kashish, happened on her show – The Social Network on NDTV. What was discussed on the show? NDTV describes it thus:
On the show today, we discuss how the removal of a website — narendramodiplans.com — intended as a satirical take on Narendra Modi… and whether in the run up to the 2014 polls, the vibrant space of social media is under threat of being appropriated to settle political scores.
This show was to discuss the removal of a website and it’s consequences. Amit Malviya was mentioning why this website (on which the whole show was based) sounds very dubious and was reeling out facts that were exposing the dirt behind the creation and closure of the website. And as these facts were being recealed, two things caught my eye.
 
» The anchor tries to interrupt and asks Amit to focus on the “larger issue”.
» The smirk by co-panelist Nikhil from Medianama, that implied blatant dismissal of Amit’s arguments.
 
Before we get into discussion on how this programme exemplifies all that is wrong with the way TV media has killed decent discourse, let’s get some background check.
 
The website www.narendramodiplans.com was put up and brought down within a day.
 
On the day it was put up, the link to this site was almost immediately tweeted by many mainstream journalists. It was soon pointed out to them that there existed a www.rahulgandhiachievements.com from 2010 , and was also pointed out that none of them ever bothered to tweet about it.
 
Congress workers, leaders, eNREGA recruits — all of them went gaga over this site which is a rip-off of romneytaxplans.com.
 
The very next day, the site was brought down. The owner said he was being forced to shut it down because of pressure etc. He also took the name of FakingNews.com to show how sattire is only acceptable against the Congress and not the BJP. Faking news owner, Rajesh Roushan, gave a befitting reply to that harangue.
 
The mainstream media latched on to this news almost immediately. They were 100 per cent sure that this was muzzling of free speech. Without a doubt, they believed that this website was genuine in the first place and the owner was being hounded by BJP to close it down. Established journalists like Praveen Swami even called upon “Modi Bhakts” to dare to host this site again. But even before he had made that clarion call, many “Modi Bhakts” had already offered to do the same, but to no avail.
Not to be left far behind, Sagarika Ghose sent two tweets:
 
Attack UPA and everyone loves you, attack Modi and you are attacked, hunted down and forced to quit http://ibnlive.in.com/news/after-60000-views-in-20-hours-narendramodiplanscom-taken-down/407253-11.html …

BJP says website issue is technically flawed. Conspiracy theory or technicality? Tweet me! Will try and do a debate too.
 
Please note the generalisations: “everyone loves you”, “attacked, hunted-down” etc. Pretty strong words for this situation, but such things don’t bother Sagarika Ghose — the important thing is that the BJP has to pay for a foolish act of an anonymous owner. Facts be damned.
 
Meanwhile, active tweeter Suresh Nakhua did some research behind the scenes and came up with this superb expose of the website.
 
NDTV is unruffled by all these facts. They come up with the show: “Muzzled by the fan mob” and it is on this show that Amit Malviya was asked to “focus on larger issue”.
 
The entire show is based on the premise that the free speech of one gentleman, who merely wanted to potray satire, was muzzled. It somehow became an accepted fact that the owner was indeed hounded to close the site. What exactly is the basis for this conclusion? Why was Amit Malviya not heard when he was reeling out facts exposed by Suresh Nakhua? At the beginning of the programme, NDTV aired the views of three viewers. Two of them were anti-BJP, one was “neutral” – why this blatant one-sided presentation of an argument?
 
Why was Nikhil from Medianama smirking when Amit was presenting these facts? Is it so unimaginable that this website take-down episode is indeed a fraud perpetrated to diminish the BJP?
The owner of the site sent a separate mail to NDTV, which was read out on the show. He/she was saying something on the lines of ‘no one is responsible for this and all that he/she said earlier was exaggerated’. His innocent intention “was to point out that election campaigns were moving further and further away from policy.”
 
This point was something that Nikhil from Medianama also brought out on this show — that there are no policy-based debates that will get him interested. For starters, this particular show and debate was not on policy, but on a fradulent website attempting to create ripples.
 
As far as policies are concerned, I will just quote three speeches of Modi in recent times – first at the SRCC, New Delhi; second at FICCI, Kolkata; and the third at a Network18 event in New Delhi. All three focused on various policies and how they have benefited the people of Gujarat. There were Q&A sessions on what kind of policies can make India a better place. Instead of debating policies, Sagarika Ghose was even caught lying on Twitter about Modi’s interactions. It is a pity that the anonymous owner and Nikhil from Medianama refused to get into those discussions, and instead tell us about the fall in discourse!
 
In fact, Nikhil from Medianama is so frustrated with the discourse that he wants “his space” back! I am totally confused on someone stealing someone’s space on the social media. How is that even possible? If you are not putting out views with fears of being bombarded with counter-views and questions, why are you blaming the medium for it? Are you not expecting any naysayers at all? If so, that is pretty na├»ve. If someone is abusing you, you are free to block and disengage – why this cry of victimhood of “my space is being appropriated”? This argument is peddled by almost every mainstream anchor and it is very difficult to understand the logic behind this argument!
 
The anchor Kashish also tells us that she almost stopped discussing stuff on Twitter! She apparently has gone through the tweets of another panelist, @gkhamba, for the past week and noticed that he hasn’t tweeted anything politically. She asks him if he deliberately avoided doing it, to which @gkhamba gives a nice reply!
 
I only wish the anchor had seen the tweets of @gsurya on similar lines. The abuse he resorts to is beyond shameless. Yet, NDTV, the champion of civil discourse on social media, gives a platform to this serial abuser (as it did earlier too, for other abusers). Not only do they give him a platform, they even allow his flawed victimhood narrative to go unchallenged by asking us to “focus on the larger picture”.
 
The highlight of the entire program though was these assertions from the anchor. From ~18:12:
“The whole idea of social media is also to allow people who want to stay anonymous to make their point. And here’s a gentleman who was only trying to do satire. This is not even regular trolling. This is not even trolling as we know it.”
Ah, the irony of this statement! Old timers will recall NDTV’s group editor’s constant complaints against “anonymous handles” on Twitter! And now we have “regular trolling” and “trolling as we know it” becoming part of our vocabulary!

Congress's lack of clarity on Telangana

 
The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting is here for reference:
 
There was a front page banner article in The Hindu today, titled Telangana looks certain. “Senior party and Government sources” told The Hindu the political considerations behind this “decision” but left out details on the administrative considerations (which we will discuss later in the article). There have been other leaks too — to other publications — pretty much saying the same thing. This is the umpteenth time the Congress has leaked such “decisions” to the media, only to backtrack them later. Assuming that the leaks now are true, they expose the severe bankruptcy in the thinking of the Congress.
 
There are two main points that I wish to bring to the notice of the readers here.
 
First, the article also gave a sequence of events that should happen before the splitting of AP can happen. I will paraphrase them here for easy reading (points in brackets are by me).
 
1.Congress Working Committee to endorse decision taken to create Telangana (please note that no decision has been taken yet!)
2. After CWC endorsement, file will go to the Union Cabinet.
3. Then the file goes to the President.
4. President then sends it to the AP Assembly.
5. Assembly approval not mandatory, it needs only “views” of MLAs.
6. If after prescribed time, Assembly does not get back, Parliament to take up the Bill for approval.
 
Let’s assume steps 1 to 3 will be smooth. It is steps 4 and 5 that will become a thorn in the Bill’s side. The AP Assembly is deeply divided on this issue. Congress’s own MLAs, MPs, and Ministers are leading protest rallies (as latest as last week) for a unified State — there has been no instance of any discussion happening with them. If there is a strong pro-single State sentiment in the Andhra-Rayalseema region, political leaders of the other parties will also not simply keep quiet. They too will join the agitation and bandhs / strikes will become the order of the day.
 
Let’s assume that steps 1 to 3 will in fact decide for a unified Andhra Pradesh. The exact same situation mentioned above will happen in the Telangana region.
 
Under such a surcharged atmosphere, how does the Union Government of India propose to make this process smooth? Guess what? They have no clue yet! Not a single attempt has been made to hold extensive discussions with people and leaders of various regions. Only occasional leaks saying that the “decision is almost taken”.
 
Second, please take careful note of what the ‘sources’ are leaking. The article today says:
The key issue, of course, is to address the apprehensions of those from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions who have, over the years, made substantial investments in Hyderabad, geographically located within the Telangana region. “Some safeguards have to be put in place,” a Government source said, “to allay the fears of these people that their investments will be safe.” … One suggestion is to make Hyderabad a Union Territory for a period of 10 years…
Some safegaurds “have to be put” in the place — meaning no plans are even ready. The “suggestion” above is totally unacceptable to the Telangana protagonists. How Sonia Gandhi proposes to handle this situation is totally unclear. And there is one immediate question that arises — what is the plan after 10 years? Is it ready? If so, why are they not leaking it, given their propensity to leaking?
 
Without having such basic plans ready, how on earth do they plan to announce the splitting up of a State? How exactly does the Government of India plan to release a plan for the splitting up of AP (I am not saying bifurcation, because we don’t know if it will be bifurcated or trifurcated!) and take on board all sections of the society? An earlier article on NitiCentral debated these and more points on how the Congress has tangled the Telangana issue in a web!
 
In recent presentations to the Congress Core Committee, both the Chief Minister of AP and the Congress president of AP have made a strong pitch for a united State. Will the Core Committee go against the wishes of their top leaders in the State? If so, has that been conveyed to these leaders? With this news breaking out, there will again be protest rallies and bandhs in the Andhra and Rayalseema regions – does her highness Sonia Gandhi wish to make an attempt to communicate with these people? Or is she assuming that these protests will fizzle out?

"Vasu"'s arrogant response...


The following article was written for Niti Central sometime back. Pasting is here for reference.

It took Sreenivasan Jain a grand total of five paragraphs and nearly 300 words to agree that he made a mistake while arriving at a conclusion, in the “heat of a debate”. He took 300 words to explain why he made a remark that was false and misleading. Reading that explanation provides deep insight into the thinking of his ilk — anything vis-a-vis Narendra Modi.

What was the remark? The High Court has already ‘established that the Ishrat Jahan encounter was a fake one’. The video where he said it is not available on the NDTV website right now, but we needn’t worry because Sreenivasan Jain has confessed to uttering such a statement, which is factually wrong.

The confession was not straightforward though — it came with a lot of caveats. First SJ lampoons about him not able to find that bit in the video!
“I separately heard the discussion at the counter number he provides (5:30) but couldn’t find it there.”
Now there are two discussions that we are talking about here. One on the afternoon of July 27. That report is what Kartikeya was referring to. The report that has been trimmed down to about 3 minutes now thereby depriving us a chance of quoting SJ here. There is another on the evening of 27th June – the one to which we will come back later.

If Sreenivasan Jain does in fact remember “saying something on similar lines”, why does he bother to harangue us with insinuations that Kartikeya was putting out a link that had no basis at all? If NDTV decides to prune a video, how is it the writer’s fault, especially when SJ himself agrees to have made such a point? Alert folks on social media dug up the video which clearly shows Jain telling Vyas this, “…the encounter, as you know, the High Court as declared as fake.”

Now read Jain’s opening argument once again:
Imagine my surprise when I read the piece to find that the only outright discrepancy to which he refers is not part of our report at all!
Jain further alludes that he “perhaps” might have said something similar in the “heat of a discussion”. This was not a heated debate at all. This was the first question he put forth and said this as if it’s a matter of fact! This was a straightforward lie that was exposed. However, after magnanimously establishing that he has infact uttered such a statement, he still does not bother to apologise and move on. More bizarreness follows.

He tells us that the basis of such an understanding was the fact that the High Court accepted the submission of the SIT report; and that they accepted it despite the AG’s objections and therefore it is a matter of interpretation whether this amounts to mere legal procedure and not an indictment! A mere acceptance of submission is being interpreted as an indictment and it is being suggested that one should not question the same?

Thankfully and finally, he agrees to stand corrected on that “limited point”. Phew! He made a factual error — he could have just said, ‘Yes it was wrong. I interpreted the acceptance of submission as severe indictment’ and moved on — but we had to be subjected to a long explanation of the whole fiasco.

The tirade doesn’t end. It now brings us to the second most crucial argument.

It begins thus:
On the actual report itself, the Tanna piece mentions no other ‘lies’.
I have read, re-read and searched for the word ‘lie’ or ‘lies’, in Kartikeya Tanna’s article. I did not find anything. So what exactly was the purpose of putting lies in quotes (before someone pounces on me to know the difference between single and double quotes, here’s NDTV using both types for the same purpose, earlier). Then he tells us this:
Instead, it offers a sermon on how we should have interpreted the information the CBI has gathered. This is subjective commentary and doesn’t merit a response other than to say we placed the facts before the viewer, raised in our view the obvious questions, and allowed a debate on its merits. End of story.
You’d actually think this is the “end of story” but sadly it is not! His harangue continues. But don’t worry. We will not debate the full thing.

There are two key points to note here: The first is the arrogant tone of the response. Phrases like “doesn’t merit a response” and “end of story” blatantly imply that Jain is above scrutiny and questioning — anyone doing otherwise be damned. Sreenivasan Jain is doing us no favours by clarifying on queries raised, the sooner they realise that, the quicker the quality of discourse will improve.

Secondly, he says this, “We placed the facts before the viewer, raised in our view the obvious questions, and allowed a debate on its merits. ”

But some of these “facts” were not facts in the first place. Now let’s get to the video available on the NDTV website (a 45-minute-long discussion on the night of June 27). From 4:48 to 5:28, Jain starts the debate by posing a long question to Gujarat Government’s representative on the panel, Jai Narayan Vyas. I will transcribe some key words for ease of reference:
“Is it time now Mr Vyas, to stop hiding behind this argument…”
“…when clearly this is evidence being gathered by court-monitored investigations.”
“Is this now a matter of serious concern for the BJP? Or shouldn’t it be?”
If one of us were to merely replace some words in the above questions and pose it to NDTV, imagine the outpour of victimhood by this ilk! For example, based on umpteen instances (well-documented on the net), if I were to pose:
“Is it time now dear NDTV to stop hiding behind this argument…”
“…when clearly this is evidence being gathered by open goof-ups of NDTV.”
“Is this now a matter of serious concern for NDTV? Or shouldn’t it be?”
There is not an iota of doubt that I (or you) will be branded as a troll who has no job and is merely an attention-seeker. I might also be the arrogant guy who loves to abuse and has had a very bad upbringing. This halo they have created around themselves that only they are eligible to pose “tough” questions and everyone else has to merely acknowledge their awesome work is, to say the least, amusing!

In this particular instance, NDTV and Tehelka go about insinuating the claim that Narendra Modi knew about the encounter. Is it safe to assume that when Jain said “evidence”, he was also implying that Modi also is in trouble? “Evidence” that was based on double hearsay, as Kartikeya Tanna has clearly exposed.

By “raising obvious questions” in “their view“, what NDTV has done is to successfully plant a doubt that Narendra Modi knew about the encounter (I won’t bother using words like ‘alleged’, ‘fake’ etc. That’s for the court to decide). And they claim to have to done that because they have subjectively interpreted so. Discussing your view is so different from discussing plain facts — a difference NDTV might not appreciate much.

The arrogant tone of the reply, evident in the choice of many words/phrases, implying our interpretation cannot and should not be subject to questioning sums up pretty much everything that is wrong with this ilk. The insinuation at the end that Niti Central is responsible for the interpretation and abusive language of it’s followers is laughable to say the least. But it still beats us as to how a publication can have control over the nature of responses it’s readers generate! This suggestion coming from the channel that gives airtime to the likes of Sanjay Jha and Amaresh Mishra makes it even more amusing.

However, it is heartening to note that social media continues to ruffle many feathers — and this is just the beginning!

PS: Please read Kartikeya Tanna's retort here.

NDTV’s lies exposed again! Sreenivasan Jain’s ‘response’ holds no water
 

While bogus MSM mocks at Modi...



The following article was written for Niti Central some time back. Pasting it here for reference.
 
 
The heartburn that Narendra Modi causes amongst the talking heads of the mainstream media never ceases to amaze. Whilst he remains focused on the job at hand, these talking heads remain equally focused on their untiring criticism of him. Their latest obsession is his "rescue act".

Sample these two snapshots from NDTV:
 
 
On the morning of June 24th:
 

By evening:
 

 
 
What is this "rescue act" of Modi that has riled up these talking heads? According to a Times of India report, in the 2 days that Modi was in Uttarakhand, a whopping 15,000 Gujaritis were transported back to home. The report that they were "rescued" - which riled up the talking heads. How can Modi rescue 15,000 people? Infact, how can Modi rescue people at all? No one made an attempt to find out the truth/lie in that report - it was decided by show of hands that the report was "planted".
 
And then the analysis started - Narendra Modi is politicising the tragedy. Why? Because according to many (sample 1 and 2), despite the erudite Home Minister of India asking for Chief Ministers not to do an aerial survey, Mr. Modi went ahead and did it! The Hindu seemed to be more upset at Mr. Modi's proactiveness in helping victims than the Congress party itself was!
 
Many leaders went on an aerial survey before and after that appeal (including ministers of other states). Many reporters went on sorties before and after that appeal. The saviour of the congress party, Mr. Rahul Gandhi is touring Uttarakhand right now - after that appeal - but the media turns a blind eye to everything.
 
Let's sample the NDTV report - according to them - Narendra Modi "swooshed" into Uttarakhand but the noble soul that is Rahul Gandhi merely arrived to "take stock of rescue efforts." Aww. NDTV doesn't stop with that - it also uses strong words to tell us this: "Before that, he stood by his mother, ...,as she flagged off a convoy of trucks carrying clothes, medicines, packaged food and candles to flood-ravaged Uttarakhand".
 
In English language, "He stood by his mother" has a much stronger connotation that "He stood beside his mother" - which is what he actually did. And what did he do "standing by" his mother?
 

 
 

They look happy as if they are flagging off an Olympic run or a motorcycle rally! After days of being absent from the country, presumably for his birthday celebrations, Rahul Gandhi finally makes an appearance and NDTV starts the celebrations! In any other country, the ruling party would have been hounded by the media to know the whereabouts of their Vice-President but not here.
 
Anyways, coming back to Narendra Modi's gory act of rescuing people and assisting Uttarakhand in times of it's crisis - not to be left far behind, we were told this:
 
Mr. Modi has done no more than other Chief Ministers such as Maharashtra’s Prithviraj Chavan or Tamil Nadu’s Jayalalithaa ...
 
And this:
 
Every state is doing that. NaMo is just seeking publicity using his PR!
 
So it took a "rescue act" by Narendra Modi for the talking heads to tell us that two other states are doing a commendable job too. Why couldn't they report these findings earlier? Why wait for Modi to turn up and rile them, to start praising other governments?
The image below is from largest circulated telugu newspaper in Andhra Pradesh - Eenadu.
 

 
 
 
The gist of the story roughly translates to "If Modi has the time to go and help, why does our CM not do the same?". The article talks about the pathetic response of the state government of AP and compares that with the response of Gujarat. All TV channels have had discussions on the cold treatment that AP government has been meting out to the victims, and most of them have mentioned the exemplary work of Modi.
 
Infact, even The Hindu mentions in one of their reports that the AP govt is thinking of "emulating Gujarat and Tamil Nadu" governments in bringing back its people! So Nikhil Wagle's "every state is doing" comment has sadly gone the drain (yet again!).
 
Today's Hindu also tell us that the TDP President, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu "did a Modi" and arranged for a chartered plane. He did this because the AP government was still thinking on how to transport people back! He tried to arrange for a medical camp at AP Bhavan in Delhi, but was refused permission. But since he is the opposition leader, he is obviously politicizing this issue by doing what the government is supposed to do. Such is the pitiful state of discourse by the Congress party..
 
So did Modi actually "rescue" 15,000 people in his 2 day visit? 
 
First Post is owned by Network 18, the same that owns CNN-IBN. IBN's editor-in-chief enlightened us by saying that the original article in Times of India was a plant. Firstpost explains to us in detail how Modi co-ordinated various rescue efforts. Talk about Irony!
 
This rediff article also explains in detail the work done under the direct supervision of Modi. Both these portals are by no stretch of imagination, pro-Modi. They merely did their homework and informed the readers about the work done by Modi and his team. Something that the talking heads failed (wilfully?) to do.
 
The conclusion of the rediff article is worth reproducing here:
 
The figure of evacuation of 15,000 pilgrims in two days can be surely doubted, but Gujarat state team’s drive and talent to handle the disaster cannot be.
 
One visit and they start crying about "politicizing". Looks like in this country, the only politician who politicizes is Narendra Modi! One would have never imagined that the media would have a problem with even Modi helping out people in times of crisis - such is their hatred towards the man!

 

And now media loves Nitish Kumar too!

 
 
The following article was written for Niti Central long time back. Pasting it here for reference.
 
 
The theme of Mr. (Nitish) Kumar’s speech was that he was not in a personality clash with Mr. Modi but was fighting him for the survival of India.

Survival of India?! We now need a Nitish Kumar to fight for the "survival" of India?! The description of his speech above is not a statement by the JD(U), but is a statement in the editorial of The Hindu.

Suprirsed? Well, don't be. Nitish Kumar is now indeed the hero of the entire left-lib media establishment - so much that he is now being hailed as someone fighting for the "survival of India". What is the severe crisis that has engulfed India that it's "survival" is at threat? Narendra Modi has been appointed election committee chief of the BJP!

Why does a mere appointment to an internal posting in the party raise so many fears? Assuming that the people of this country, through a democratic process, elect the BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi as its leader, is the "survival of India" at stake? Why this contempt towards democracy and why this fear even before the results are out?

Speaking of democracy - the mandate of the Biharis in 2010 was for the alliance of JD(U) and the BJP. Nitish Kumar decided that the alliance should be broken. Once he decided so, what mandate does he have to run the state? Yet, he clung onto power, even taking on the support of the Congress party to enjoy the spoils of power. This open betrayal of the mandate of the people is now being hailed in the left-lib as a "fight for the survival of India".

Infact, in what is probably a first, The Hindu even printed excerpts of Nitish Kumar's speech in it's op-ed page, and titled it as "There can be only be one idea - the idea of India". It was a blatantly political speech, but then it suits the agenda of a lot of people and hence the coverage to it! 
Whilst there can be many ideas of India, us being a democratic polity will definitely rank amongst the top. Nitish Kumar has openly derided that democracy by aligning with the Congress - yet none of these folks have the gall to call out his fallacy.

The BJP released a video of Nitish Kumar praising Modi. The media took it's own time in telecasting it. Even after telecasting it, a cursory mention was made in some debates, and then they moved on to "secularism". If it had been the other way round, there is not an iota of doubt that the media itself would have dug out a similar video and played it in endless loop to "expose" the "hypocrisy" of the BJP leaders! But in this specific case, all that does not matter.

Infact they go a step further - "The Bihar Chief Minister has played his cards well." and "he had to take the discourse to loftier heights." Loftier heights? Exposing his double speak to show his opportunism now means reducing the level of discourse?

Lofty words and irrelevant rhetoric comes naturally to those who claim to represent the "idea of India". They sit and wait for Mr. Modi to say/do something/anything and pounce upon that idea as being detrimental to the "idea of India". So much so that they will refuse to debate something as exceptional as 24x7 power to the entire state, because they cannot bring in "secularism" into this debate.

The Nitish Kumar betrayal of democracy has again brought into focus the severe fall in public discourse that this media has perpetuated. Indeed a shame that the "idea of India" is being driven by such folks!

 

Media's sudden love for Advani

 
 
The following article was written for Niti Central a long time back. Pasting it here for reference.
 
In the past one week, two unthinkable events have happened. One is Mr. Advani resigning for all posts in BJP citing reasons that implied that he didn’t approve of Modi’s rise, and the other (which is more shocking) – the left-liberal dominated media which hated all things BJP – has suddenly found virtues and has sympathised with Mr. Advani.
 
For brevity's sake, we will discuss only two articles, which pretty much summarize the contrived thought process of the Indian mainstream media.
 
 
One would have never imagined that a day would come wherein The Hindu would sympathize with L.K.Advani! Their editorial on the day after he resigned arrived at some bizzare conclusions - the first one being this:
 
Lumpen elements have long been part of the sangh parivar cadre. At the height of the Ayodhya movement, and with Mr. Advani in charge, they brought down the Babri Masjid. Twenty years later, a new generation of hecklers would turn up at Mr. Advani’s home, demanding that he accept Mr. Modi.
 
How can one possibly compare those who brought down the Babri Masjid to those who protested outside Advani’s house? And why is The Hindu calling them "hecklers" - why should protests against Advani invite such crude language in the first place? The BJP has disowned these protestors - maybe they were a political ploy too... but The Hindu is dead sure that these are "lumpen elements" from the Sangh Parivar.
 
And then comes a touching sympathy for Mr. Advani:
 
But even his critics will acknowledge his invaluable contribution to the growth of the BJP. For that reason alone, Mr. Advani, now 85 and at the fag end of a career of five decades, did not deserve being humiliated in the manner he has been.
 
Did not deserve to be humiliated? What exact "humiliation" has Mr. Advani been meted out? Is it The Hindu's contention that since Mr. Advani is absent or doesn't agree with the majority decision, the announcement of that decision has to be postponed? Going by that logic, The Hindu shouldn't have treated Ms. Malini Parthasarathy and N. Ravi the way it treated them during the appointment process of the current editor!
 
Speaking of Ms.Malini – she was one of the known vocal opponents of anything BJP. After nearly 2 decades of opposing BJP and all that it stood for, all of a sudden, she started finding virtues in Mr. Advani, merely because he is opposing Modi!
 
I am strongly wary of Hindutva as a doctrine but I think it's a mistake for BJP to sideline Advani. Like Vajpayee, he believes in tolerance.
 
If the BJP wants to remain in contention for power at the Centre, it can't afford to be polarising. That Advani and Vajpayee understand.
 
Their vision of a resurgent Hindutva still has space for other faiths but Modi's Hindutva has no room for the existence of other cultures

Coming back to The Hindu’s coverage, they go on to give some sagely advice:
 
The least the Gujarat Chief Minister himself could have done was to wait until Mr. Advani came around before going for the big prize.
 
Wait till when? Till the elections? And then go in leaderless into the election? The BJP is a political party and needs to prepare for imminent election - if the patriarch is in the way of planning, what should the party do then? Sulk along with him?
 
One of the many arguments that the anti-Modi brigade have espoused is that he is a deeply divisive figure. The Hindu reiterates the same:
 
Mr. Modi has so far been a deeply divisive figure and the Advani episode has revived all the doubts about his ability to lead an India distinguished by its diversity.
 
Suddenly, Mr. Advani’s opinion has become so sacrosant that his not accepting Mr. Modi’s elevation is further proof of diviseness! This whole concept of “being a deeply divisive figure” is in itself such a contrived argument, but that dicussion is for another time!
 
 
This article represents the second model of reporting/analysing that followed this crisis. Use Advani's position to berate Narendra Modi further! The author, Sagarika Ghose, who is also the deputy editor of CNN-IBN, has used this space to vent out her frustration on Modi further.
 
What kind of politics does Modi represent? Narendra Modi's economic model in Gujarat may be admired as business-friendly market economics.
 
As mentioned in another article earlier, Sagarika Ghose steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that Mr. Narendra Modi has ushered in a new phase of development in various fields and not just "business". She continues to mislead her readers by classifying his governance as "business-friendly market economics". But that's not the shocker. The shocker is:
 
But his political model in Gujarat is vintage Indira Gandhi. Perhaps LK Advani, always a man of the party, anti- Emergency warrior against the Congress for decades, senses precisely this.
 
Vintage Indira Gandhi? Are you confused by what she means by that? Don't worry, she gives a clarity somewhere else in the article. But note how she uses this argument to call Advani the "anti-Emergency warrior". There is no denying that he was, but there's no denying that even Modi was.
 
His political opponents have been vanquished in true Indira style - she says citing examples of a few leaders who have been sidelined in the BJP because of their rift with Modi. Some leaders get sidelined at the cost of others, within all political parties because of rifts; what's so special about this? Going by her logic, many political leaders within the BJP (including Mr. Advani) fit the bill of "true Indira style". However, what's bizzarre is the choice of the word - "vanquished". It speaks volumes about their unreasonable hatred towards Mr. Modi.
 
And she says the inevitable:
 
The BJP cut its teeth in anti-Emergency protests, but Moditva retains within itself traces of the Emergency. Modi is known for his trenchant attacks on the media....."
 
In one stroke, she compares the *actual* emergency clamped by Indira Gandhi to an imaginary situation that might arise if Modi is made Prime Minister. "Known for his trenchant attacks" is Sagarika's (and her ilks) way of telling that us that *they* are beyond criticism and reproach. Near the end of the article, she poses an imaginary question
 
With Modi's constant targeting of the media as "biased" will there come a time when a "biased" media is sought to be tamed just as Indira Gandhi once clamped down on an "anti-national" Press?
 
Whilst this ilk has never questioned the UPA government's intention to clamp down on dissenting voices (through say, Sec#66A), here they wish to imagine if Modi will tame them! Naivety certainly reached new depths with this kind of questioning. With such kind of arguments, it is supreme irony that in an ad by CNN-IBN, Ms. Sagarika Ghose is supposed to represent "Sense over Sensationalism"!
 
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back in 1998 ...

Recently, I was clearing up stuff and stumbled across something I saved from 1998. I knew I saved these, but just couldn't recollect where! Luck has finally smiled upon me, and I could retrieve them! 

Swapan Das Gupta wrote a cover page feature titled, "The Ugly Indian" for India Today in 1998. I read it in a library - and was blown away by it. I read it atleast 3 times and was wondering how it is possible for someone to write so incisively and perhaps beautifully too! 

I wanted to experience for myself how someone can write like that - so I started writing down what Swapan wrote! And at the end of the article, I wanted to continue the flow and pen (literally :D) some of my thoughts and see if I can do it! 

Perhaps that is one of the first (or probably the first) articles that spurred me into a lot of political thinking too... I therefore wish to dedicate this to Swapan da (a bit wierd dedicating his own article to him, but I hope he understands the context :) ) - Thank you Swapan for the inspiration :). 

The three images below are snapshots of what I wrote (replete with P.T.O and "contd." ;) ). Read and see how some issues are relevant even today :).