"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Into that heaven of freedom it should be our intent. ( my adaption from Rabindranath Tagores famous lines)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Indian voting system requires Major surgery. Mere casting of a vote is not the answer

This is once again election time and we are told that as proud Indians we must cast our vote for the next Government and that we belong to the world’s largest democracy and every vote counts. SHIT! However, I voted yesterday for a candidate whom I thought was competent and clean. I know that my vote will NOT count as in the present voting system there is no REAL provision for banning the criminals and murderers. Even the Majority power (Congress or BJP) will NOT pass a bill to debar these culprits as they themselves came to power using these villains.

Yesterday I saw an article in my newspaper “The Hindu” and was ashamed to be an Indian. It was an article headed “Centenarian waits D-day”. It was about Lakshmana Dora, who is aged 108 from a village in Andhra Pradesh (my State – I am also ashamed of my State) and who has voted in every election since 1951. He is also blind having lost his sight at an early age. He eked out his living as a cowherd. He lives on a pension of Rs.200 (less than US$ 5) per month. He however gets only Rs. 190 (Rs. 10 for the middleman). His prayer is to get Rs. 500/-(US$ 10) per month because of being blind, as that is the amount that is paid to physically challenged persons. Possibly he has voted/awaited 60 years for someone to hear him. Who is blind? Is it him or the politicians? BLOODY HELL !

If after over 60 years of independence this is the state of our VOTE, WHAT is the use of voting? I feel ashamed, disjointed and helpless. As an exercise I try to trace the background of why this is happening?

The Congress and the BJP have taken turns at ruling.- the Congress 80% of the time and the BJP 20 %. This is at the Centre. At State level which is Andhra in my case, the Congress has been in power 90% of the time. So the CONGRESS is mainly accountable for India’s torments. Dynasty politics has taken the country to this abominable state. It first started with Motilal Nehru who as the President of India National Congress held the purse strings. After Independence his son Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was made the 1st Prime Minister of India. He trained Indira Gandhi who was by his side most of the time. She was a Minister in charge of Information and Broadcasting in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s cabinet. Shastri died in Tashkent of a sudden and most unexpected heart attack. Indira Gandhi succeeded him. She had a long rule at the helm – 3 terms and another later. All this went to her head and she thought that grooming of her son, Sanjay Gandhi, would ensure the continuance of the dynastic rule. Ruling India was their birthright of the Nehru family. When the High Court declared that Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha was based on electoral malpractice, she imposed the dreadful Emergency. Her groomed son Sanjay died in an accident. She then started grooming her elder son Rajiv Gandhi. Indira used the emergency provisions to grant herself extraordinary powers.

"Unlike her father [Nehru], who preferred to deal with strong chief ministers in control of their legislative parties and state party organizations, Mrs. Gandhi set out to remove every Congress chief minister who had an independent base and to replace each of them with ministers personally loyal to her...Even so; stability could not be maintained in the states..."

She had twice imposed "Presidents Rule”" under an Article of the Constitution by declaring states ruled by opposition parties as "lawless and chaotic", and thus seizing control. Later she played Politics with Sikhs that lead to “Operation Blue Star” and this lead her assassination. Then followed the 1984 Sikh riots instigated by the Congress party. The Nehru dynasty continued to flourish. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was made PM. He was later assassinated by the LTTE for interfering in another country’s affairs. There was a brief period where Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister of India and Sitaram Kesari the Congress President. There was a revolt and then his Italian wife Sonia Gandhi was made President of the Congress. Remember this is where the MONEY and CONTROL lies.

She was the fifth members of the Nehru dynasty to be the President of the Congress Party). When she tried to get elected as the Prime Minister she failed. (It is said that the President of India, Abdul Kalam questioned her foreign Nationality ) and she thought it wise to refrain from seeking the PM’s Job,. As it turned out this made the Dynastic Control easier. She made Manmohan Singh the PM. She now had total power. As the President of the Congress party she could, by remote control and manipulation do whatever she liked. She can sack anyone in the Party who questions her. We must remember that Manmohan Singh on previous occasions failed to win a Log Sabha election and this was a windfall for him. It is also to be noted that before Indira Gandhi all Prime Ministers of India, who served more than a year, either had been Chief Ministers of State or had experience in being a member of the Cabinet earlier. The new Dynasty did not have to follow these qualifications. It was their inherited right.

This was a new method of Ruling India –remote control; puppet on a string! Where an action succeeds the credit goes to the manipulator; if failure then the PM has to answer. Heads I win- tails you lose. So for this election the name of “Prime Minister in Waiting” for the Congress has already been announced and he DOES NOT FACE THE BALLOT. The Italian born President of the Congress Party will be returned to Parliament as the village she represents has been in the dynasty for decades. If Manmohan Singh fights for a Lok Sabha Seat the chances are that he would be defeated. So, take the backdoor and enter through the Rajya Sabha.

If he cannot contest and win he should not a make statement like he made today in Mumbai "They (independents) are 'spoilers'... I seek the cooperation of this vibrant city( Mumbai) not to encourage these independent candidates because they cannot win and they are only spoilers." Does he know what is free elections in a Democracy ?
Sour Grapes !.He does not know because he did not cast his vote in the 2004 elections both for Lok Sabha and the Assembly !

If the incumbent Prime Minister himself is scared of facing the ballot then I cant see what is the purpose of holding Election. Did we vote the British out? No. Mahatma Gandhi used the weapon of Non cooperation and Sathyagraha. The people's voice will not be heard in the present election scenario. The voter and the system should be armed with more powers. For instance, no criminal voter allowed to be put up or stand as a candidate; the right to recall through a referendum every year; the right to vote for “none of the above” in the voters slip; elected MPs to be “derecognized” if they are found guilty of any serious demeanor and many more such aids. I honestly feel that most of these proposals will NOT become law, as the party if elected would have used “other” means to form the Government. If the votes are to count, the present Election Scenario has to be radically changed. If not the only non-violent way out is for the people to have a mass movement NOT to vote. Throwing shoes is not the only way!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Must vote for? Who ?To get a criminal Government? No thank you !

This is once again election time and we are told that as proud Indians we must cast our vote for the next Government and that we belong to the world’s largest democracy and every vote counts. SHIT!

Though I make this statement I have cast my vote this morning. My vote goes to a candidate who I have read and heard about and WHO, to the best of my knowledge is “CLEAN”. Unfortunately when the Government is formed, such persons will not have much of a voice. The voice of the Dynasty (of any party), their relatives, “hangers-on”, sycophants, (“Indira is India and India s Indira”), murderers, booth capturers, ‘threateners’ ,etc who got the party the votes, will finally rule.

The Parties put up candidates based on only a single factor; “winnability”. Several of their candidates are prima facie murderers and who are guilty of anti national crimes, for example Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar for the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, Sanjay Dutt for his possession of prohibited weapons under the Arms Act during the 1993 Mumbai Serial Blasts, and recently, Vaiko for threatening a blood bath in India if alleged Rajiv Gandhi assassination conspirator V. Prabhakaran is harmed, D.Srinivas saying at a public rally that he would sacrifice his life for Muslims and if need be, cut off hands of those who pointed a finger at them,Varun Gandhi saying in another speech about the “ cutting off those hands which strike Hindus’ Lalu Prasad responding in another hate speech that had he been the Home minister, he would have crushed "that person" (Varun Gandhi) for his alleged anti-Muslim speech. We must remember that these words and actions are NOT that which occurred at random; they are planned. They were prepared speeches to be given in front of lakhs of voters. Nobody talks about issues such as the economy, health, poverty alleviation, eliminating terrorism, etc. That is in their manifesto. All this is treated as “given”. Almost all politicians engage in hate speeches using foul language and threats. The so called ‘Prime minister in waiting”, in this election, also traded charges on their individual character and did a ‘tic for tat’ like school children. The fate of a nation hangs in the balance and none can be trusted. Liquor, money and promises of Free Power, colored TV sets, Cooking gas connections, etc are used to entice the voter. One voter confided in me saying that he would welcome an election every month as he will definitely get some money, liquor and a day off!

When things go too far, as mentioned earlier, the Election Commissioner just gives a warning and says that he is powerless as per the present Law. The main parties like the Congress and the BJP also do not take action as they will lose votes. Their ONLY consideration is to come to power. Everything else is not important. And when they come to power they will have to pay a big price to stay on ( e.g.: Shibu Soren,the criminal who served term and was made Union Coal Minister in the Manmohan Singh’s government).

Does the solution lie in the throwing of shoes as this one (Home Minister Chidambaram shooed by a Sikh journalist worked as no ticket was given to Jagdish Tyler and Sajjan Kumar). How many pairs of shoes are necessary to throw out bad candidates?