Politically speaking…

Politics is not a dirty word

Election 2014

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It’s the most important general election for the nation as they say. Everyone feels that they have influence and they can change the outcome of the event. This sentiment is on display every night on news channels. Quite ambitious and egoistic sentiment. Media has very little influence at least in influencing the outcome of election. What they might have is influence in fixing deals just as radia tapes revealed. In this event they are mostly spectators just as everyone else. I would say, it has influence in urban centers of India that too only in Metropolitan centers particularly on apolitical crowd. Why? One, if apolitical they don’t have much context and history. Second, they are mostly naive at least in this matter. As we can see people who would have never voted are now out in full force trying to change the system. Everyone wants to change the system. Everyone wants to have their version of India. But who gives fuck? The guy on the road has very little time for this intellectualisation of simple issues that affect his daily life. Now that’s where media has got it all wrong. Your ideology is not that people are interested in. Neither in your opinion or intellectualisation. We want to see (or if time and mood permits read) little bit of reportage, if you oblige.

 

Anyways, now if this is the most important general election country has ever had whom should I vote for?  And what should be my priorities?  Let’s see. Who can improve macro economic trend and get the fiscal deficit in control? Who can rein in inflation and increase the export? Who can get more FDI in infrastructure and create jobs in manufacturing sectors? Who has better monitory policy to reduce current account deficit?  Who can create better relations among states and federal government? Who is better placed to navigate the emerging geo-political situation in south asia? and who is better placed to find India’s place in 21st century? Now that’s how you complicate the discussion you see. I like street side discussion better.

 

Ah! Whoever serves my selfish interest should get my vote! Isn’t it that simple. My Grandmother told me once that she would vote for Rajiv Gandhi because he increased pension for railway employees. So on same line I would vote for those who will make personal income tax 0%. But that’s not going to happen. Well as I see I need very little of Government. And whatever I need it for is actually at municipal level not at national level. But what about inflation and low growth? Yes, that affects me. Bombs going on and off as it was the case in 2008. Yes, that scares me somewhat. What else is there that affects me directly? Good highways, probably better air connectivity, bullet trains, private trains, better transport in the city (That’s again municipal issue) Electricity! 24 hours is what I want. Water. Potable water! It’s shame we as a country are incapable of providing safe drinking water. Nice, what else? I don’t have kids but education! Better trained engineers will help me hire easily :). What else do I want from my central government? Can I renew my passport in a day? If I already have passport why does it take a month or year to renew it? Better tourist places? All the places that I have visited and I have visited quite a lot and most of them are filled with garbage. They are dirty, filthy and littered with plastic. What else? Better shopping experience may be. Why not let more foreign brands come! Cheaper gadgets. Why TV is twice as costly compared with say Dubai?  So that’s about it. As the song goes… chhoti si asha.

 

So, who can give all these? Well Congress has certainly failed in last 3-4 years. They lost their way since 2G scam exploded on their face. And if we vote for them again it would be encouraging non-performance as we fire non-performing employee we must let this government go. Besides, they are anti-middle class. They threw good money after bad money. Had very little focus on middle class. If you see all their flagship programs all of them were directed on non-middle class (mis-directed because none gave any tangible outcome). Except JNNURM. So whom should I vote for? Modi! Both the detractors and lovers of the man who has made the election as referendum on his work on Gujarat. While media is hell bent upon making it a referendum on him. But that may or may not materlise is a different matter. He is asking for vote based on his performance in Gujarat in last 10 years. He deserves a chance! All he has talked about is development and growth. In fact he Everything else is just noise. And probably people have made up their mind. But I needed to put it on paper to clear my thoughts. Yes, I don’t agree with BJP’s stand on Multi brand retail and article 377 on gay sex! But that’s not a deal breaker. Let’s get Modi. I too think I can influence the outcome 🙂

But I am not voting! Can we get postal ballot?

 

Written by goodapostate

April 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Politics, cricket and bollywood

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Poll bugle is sounded and dates are out. Country is going to decide who will rule takht-e-dilli for next 5 years. Present rulers are struggling to remain relevant but winds of change are blowing hard. It’s clear that change is coming. Heir apparent is not in contention. It’s chieftain of Gujarat or Baniya of Delhi, who are fighting it out. This season get entertained by Kejriwal and Namo instead of Saas bahu.

Indian public is loving this season. We are the umpires, spectators, and commentators. Politicians are performing either on the field or off the field as cheer leaders. It’s just tamasha. And we love them. Everyday appeal for wicket is made in terms of scams or complaints or runs are scored by giving vision of developed country or corruption free republic. One example, Yesterday video of Kejriwal and Punya Prasoon Bajpai of Aajtak was leaked and immediately entire BJP machinery was out complaining match fixing. Entire episode is something like this. Imagine Shahid Afridi is bowling and 6 fielders are surrounding Ravindra Jadeja. Ball hit the Shoulder and Akmal caught it and now entire 11 plus the crowd is going mad appealing for wicket. And we are loving it 🙂 NOT OUT is my call. You the reader, please be the umpire 🙂  Now to extend the analogy. Appeals should be believable, slightly doubtful and plausible. Otherwise umpires will give benefit of doubt to batsmen where none exists. Not because they want to but because those who are appealing have lost ground by making frivolous appeals.

BJP thinks it’s war of old order while it might be just IPL season for Indian public this time as well. It was 9th March and as per my friend’s ground report when he went to register as voter there was nobody at the counter. 🙂 So that’s where we are.

BJP has same old tired faces but it is hoping to win the game by just changing the captain. It’s more like hoping that Salman khan will carry the film irrespective of Cast, Direction, Story, Music and Dialogs. It may still do but then those who are looking for Anurag Kashyap’s level of film will be disappointed at least in near term. On the other end AAP is hoping that they can get in super six stage with 1 player team. And our old Congress is hoping that they can release something not so bad that can stop Salman making 200Crores.

Circus has just started and we are loving it already. We have stakes in the game but we don’t believe anyone can perform miracles. So those who are claiming to be magician by removing corruption or making India like US. Yes, good try. Or those who complain that Nazis are coming or Anarchists are coming. Again good try. But we have stopped buying into emotions and we are ruthless evaluators who work on self interest. And that’s great for our democracy!

So those who are partisan should go on the ground and try to convince those who will vote! Not those who are here for entertainment. You look like clown!

Written by goodapostate

March 10, 2014 at 5:56 am

AAP is fucking up

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AAP is screwing up lately. And screwing up too fast to feel good about. So, some mouthful of suggestions to AAP

1. Shut the fuck up and focus on the job

You have zero experience in governing a municipal ward let alone state. There are huge expectations on your shoulders. If you fail you wont recover. There are large number of people who are expecting you to fail and equally large number of people want you to succeed. Don’t throw goodwill and hard-work by making stupid statements. Rate at which you are making blunders with in month you will loose sheen. One day your leader talks of Kashmir next day another leader talks of reservation. What the fuck is wrong with you guys? Just ask those who are not in the government to just shut up. All the other issues can come later. First show that you mean business. Rate at which you are fucking up is making me go scream on rooftop

2. Walk the talk

Don’t take big houses, cars. Don’t complain that people are measuring you by very high standards. You asked for it. When you set the utopian goals it’s obvious that you will be the first one to be measured by that goal. Don’t you know that kids don’t do what parents tell them to, they do what parents do. Same is true in public life. That’s why it is tough to bring change because the one who is bringing change has to stay out of the current setup. And by the way you have lived without luxury and fame so far you can live without it for few more months/years. Mr.Kejriwal do you know something called distant relationship? So work from Delhi and meet your family on weekends. Do it till dust settles down. If you really want to work closely with your ministers get apartments/houses close to eachother and near assembly and work from there.

3. Forget 2014

Don’t fall in trap. Honestly you will look like B-team of congress. You don’t have machinery. You don’t have cadre (At least I don’t know). You don’t have agenda. You don’t fucking know what is your vision? If your vision is what Yogendra Yadav’s vision is you are fucked. Your supporters are from middle class and they don’t buy this socialist shit anymore. Better option would be to let people look at what you have done in Delhi. They will give you chance. Take one step at a time. Rome was not built in a day. You have long distance to go. Don’t spread too thin too fast.

4. Don’t encourage seasonal birds

Captain Gopinath, Kamal Farooqui and many others like them will come to you. They are like big boss contestants. They are just publicity seekers. Don’t fucking give them eyeballs. You guys look equal morons.

5. Logout and prepare the plan for 100 days

Logout from 24/7 media buzz. It’s not helping you folks. Nobody has ever achieved anything meaningful unless they have plan. I haven’t seen any plan from you folks for next 100 days. If not have it soon. Think big execute bigger. Show results and go for glory. That’s the only way. You can’t hope to just work like donkey and resolve things for city like Delhi in 100 days. There are few low hanging fruits and many which will require planning, convincing and execution.

Will they do it? I don’t think so Why? Refer to my previous post for that… More on why AAP will fuck up faster than we think later.

Written by goodapostate

January 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Agenda for governance: Transportation

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Because my friend Saurabh Bhardwaj is minister for transportation in Delhi now, I thought let me start with what he can consider.

What needs to be done to improve public transport in the cities of India?

1. Get rid of permits for autos or cycle rickshaws

Do we have permits for restaurants, barbershops, movie theater or any other public recreation or requirements? Society finds its equilibrium. Those who make money stay others wind up and leave. By imposing artificial restrictions on number of autos that can ply on the roads we are creating 1. Monopoly 2. Dearth for service 3. Demand supply gap. and incentivizing corruption. It also smacks of communist style governance where Government know and would also decide what is good for the people. Which definitely is not true. Government shouldn’t dictate terms on what services and in what quantity are good for the society. In current situation, auto unions force the rate. i.e. In Bangalore auto costs 13/KM while cab costs 14/KM. Auto drivers can demand arbitrarily high fare and refuse to go by meter. This can be because of scarcity of autos on the roads. It also creates black market where un-registered autos ply and traffic police harasses them for want of permits. It’s also reported that in some places mafia controls the entire auto market and it costs 4 lakhs to 5 lakhs to buy one and operate. Condition is much worse for cycle rickshaws where they are already carrying burden of fellow human being (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUPQPnsIOpc)

2. Rationalize and Privatize routes for buses

This is remarkable that in all Indian cities government works as monopoly as far as large public transportation is concerned. And they do very poor job of it. Very poor connectivity and very poor availability in many cities. (I have lived in 6 cities). What is needed is comprehensive transport policy to ensure that no one in the city needs to take their vehicle if they are willing to walk no more than a kilometer. Once the objective is clearly laid out 1. Identify current capacity 2. service delivery gap 3. See who can fill it (i.e. Autos can be feeders from home to main road etc or mini buses in congested areas). It can be done fairly easily. On top of that government must build all weather shelters at all the bus stops. It can also provide digital devices to let passengers know when is the next bus coming. Show routes on the stops. If government can’t provide let private players chip in and develop the system for the public.

3. Let taxis have their stands

In most Indian cities taxis are not allowed to have their stands. It has stifled the growth of taxi services in many Indian cities. Just like autos they should be allowed to have their meters, stand and pick passengers on the go. Bit by bit auto drivers might find more value in having taxis and we might see transition. Current mechanism just doesn’t allow alternate transport medium to grow.

4. Cycle transport

Today cycle transport is mostly toy and has very little utility value. There are few near Bangalore metro. Has very limited use for multiple reasons. One it’s not well advertised. Two not many cycle stands where people can drop their vehicles. Three roads on which they ride are not very cyclist friendly. For short distances government should allow having cycle stands and companies that allow people to rent cycles and drop at nearest places. For small distances with convenience it may find many takers.

Written by goodapostate

January 5, 2014 at 5:02 am

Is AAP Janata Party 3.0?

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Some AAP supporters claimed what has happened in Delhi is revolution and it has never happened in India. That’s factually incorrect. It is not right to compare past events with the present because things are never same.  People  change, circumstances change. But revolution of much larger scale happened in 77 when Indira Gandhi was thrown out of power by Janata Party lead by Jayaprakash Narayan. It happened at the all India level while AAP’s revolution has happened only at the state level. Yes, the plant has potential to be banyan tree. But it’s just a plant as of now. In 1989 VP Singh lead Janata Dal brought Rajiv Gandhi’s government down  (Janata Party avatar 2.0). The difference between AAP phenomena and previous events is AAP is predominantly represented by the politically inclined youth not part of any party. In 77 and 89 established political leaders, who were in public life for decades led the movements. You can say Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and others are also political activists or are from occupation that’s political in nature with enough experience in organising events and carrying out rallies etc. But they are not part of the establishment. That’s the difference.

Anyway, AAP will see influx of people and leaders joining the bandwagon. AAP has open the door to many who are politically inclined but has no place to go. As Congress is more or less family controlled, lucky sperm party even at taluka levels and BJP is very hierarchical starting from ABVP days. It’s difficult to get the lateral entry into politics in India unless you are celebrity of some kind. AAP has opened shop with solid brand equity. Many people will join. This is great news for Indian democracy. Fresh blood, new talent, lot of raw energy will be on display. AAP for next couple years will be very interesting phenomena that will unfold in India’s political landscape. But will that change India for better? Yes, indirectly. It will make other parties sit up and take notice. At least national parties won’t be able to run affairs in business as usual manner. Impact is already visible the way Rahul Gandhi intervened in Lokpal and later in Aadarsh report. Even before elections BJP was forced to name Dr. Harshwardhan, more likeable leader as CM candidate and after the elections it didn’t indulge in horse trading to form the government. Now BJP has announced shadow cabinet to monitor AAP’s work. That’s very welcome change. AAP has already started playing role of catalyst in that sense.

But AAP as a party of idea is nothing more than cleaner version of JDU or RJD, both are left over fractions of long dead Janata parivar. That’s why I consider them as Janata party 3.0. Comparison here is not about talent, motive or organisation but strictly speaking about their ideas. Consider how many times Arvind Kejriwal thanked Allah and Ishwar in his swearing in ceremony [1]. (Atheist thanking gods in the most important speech of his life so far. Can it get more hypocritical? But that’s different topic) Consider Kejriwal courting Tauqeer Reza Khan (who declared fatwa on Taslima Nasreen) before election [2] and now Kamal Farooquie (member of AIMPLB who claimed Bhatkal was arrested because he is a Muslim, not because he is IM terrorist) joining AAP [3]. Consider on day one he is talking about 30Cr subsidy to provide free water [4]. Consider on day one Manish Sisodia saying private schools are not for making profit [5]. As we can see AAP basically is party with with simialr socialist ethos.

My close friend Vishnu who volunteered with AAP told, “Hope is AAP’s base that is urban middle class. Hopefully they will force party to take reasonable position”. Honestly I don’t have much hope. Consider Kejriwal himself. His entire political upbringing is with Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander. Socialists to the core. Consider Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra yadav. Same. Though foot soldiers have no ideology they forget that their leaders do. Whatever they claim on their party’s website.

There are enough articles already written by eminent people on AAP policies. You can read them here, here, and here.

But on larger question of what are the top 3 things that needs to change immediately for India? What role AAP will play?

1. End of crony capitalism (Remember we need capitalism with fair, transparent, and open regulations unlike current rent seeking that Congress has indulged in in last decade). As we will see later AAP won’t be able to do it. It’s not in their thinking. They may oppose or expose crony capitalism but they can’t propose solution. BJP with Arun Shourie as disinvestment minister during NDA regime initiated the process hopefully they will take it forward during their second term.

2. Police & Judicial reforms: SC has already given judgement on police reforms but it has not been implemented by the states. Without gaining influence in major states AAP can’t hope to have impact on this issue. On Judicial reforms some serious action is required here and hopefully AAP can force others to take position as in lokpal movement.

3. Infrastructure: What country needs is massive investment in physical and social infrastructure. Physical infrastructure like ports, roads, railways etc and social infrastructure like access to  health care, sanitation and quality education. AAP’s thinking is against privatisation and without private money the scale at which country needs to build infrastructure to come out of the trap of 3rd world country is almost impossible.

Finally, if you have political ambitions, it’s good time to join AAP. It’s limited time offer. It’s like start up after series A funding. 

[1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/assembly-elections-2013/delhi-assembly-elections/Once-atheist-Arvind-Kejriwal-thanks-god-calls-it-miracle/articleshow/28047228.cms, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_o4GQL2cQc,

[2] http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2013/11/11/fatwabaaz-and-politicians/ http://www.ndtv.com/article/assembly-polls/cleric-who-issued-fatwa-against-taslima-nasreen-may-campaign-for-arvind-kejriwal-441919

[3] http://ibnlive.in.com/news/sp-sacks-kamal-farooqi-as-secretary-over-his-yasin-bhatkal-remarks/419853-37-64.html

[4] http://www.hindustantimes.com/specials/coverage/myindia-myvote/chunk-ht-ui-myindiamyvote-delhi/kejriwal-s-first-day-as-delhi-cm-holds-aam-darbar-transfers-jal-board-ceo-8-other-officials/sp-article10-1167280.aspx

[5] https://twitter.com/ANI_news/status/416890958844665856

Written by goodapostate

December 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Is it RSS or Modi that is leading BJP charge?

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In last one week events transpired gives some indication of current state of affairs with in BJP and parivar.

For example, Supreme Court set aside order of Delhi high court and made 377 valid and in turn re-criminalized homosexuality. AAP, Left, Congress came out against SC verdict almost immediately while BJP took its time to give its official response. In the end response was homophobic, regressive and utterly medieval. Modi didn’t utter a word on it. Rajnath Singh, made the announcement and on the same day Ram madhav of RSS endorsed his stand. Anybody can guess what might have transpired behind the scene.

In case of Lokpal as well, Mr. Modi’s apparent absent from the scene is clearly visible. Modi didn’t make any intervention.

These are very early days to evaluate Mr.Modi’s style of leadership at central level. But two incidents gives some indication of current scheme of things in the BJP. Though Mr.Modi clearly represents right of the center policy, which is exact opposite of dole politics of the Congress, RSS has enough Swadeshi supporters to shame even Marxists for their left leaning, socialist ideology.

Youngsters who are pinning hopes on Modi might be in for many surprises if Mr. Modi let the RSS dictate the terms of his government, should he come to power. At the moment Modi might be consolidating his position with in the party, and he may be saving his ammunition to fight bigger battles later on. But Modi should take some clues from Indira Gandhi’s battle with in Congress in 69. Because BJP is carrying lot of dead weight on its shoulder right now.

It’s true that AAP might not have big impact on Loksabha election of 2014 but it is certainly changing the way urban India looks at politics in near future. In the new scheme of things to dismiss AAP phenomena as delhi specific event will be a mistake. BJP is equally unprepared as congress to tackle AAP. At the moment BJP is hoping that it will get anti-congress votes by putting Mr.Modi’s face.

While Modi talks of privatisation of railways, BJP in the past has hesitated to spell its economic policy clearly i.e. It opposed FDI in multi-brand retail. It is going to interesting internal battle for Modi to win.

Written by goodapostate

December 18, 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in BJP, congress

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AAP… embrace with caution

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After Delhi election results things look so different that it warrants some study. After winning 28 seats Aam Aadmi Party looks like breath of fresh air. Non-corrupt, full of fresh blood, young minds and lot of passion. Hardly visible in existing parties. Even if we write off congress, BJP is the same old party with just Modi on the top of the campaign. BJP also has lot of dynastic leaders in it. By going through list of 70 candidates in delhi we can see sons of VK Malhotra, Sahib Singh Verma etc. We can see that repeated in every state. BJP is equally bad as far as dynastic leaders are concerned. So is true about corruption. Considering that AAP looks like refreshing change and something that is worth welcoming with open arms. But some digging is required here as well.

So some background. Vyavastha Parivartan was the mul-mantra of the Aam Aadmi Party. Their birth was the result of Janlokpal movement (I also participated in it). Entire movement was to get the Janlokpal. UPA and parties playing politics never passed it. Politicians vouched for supremacy of parliament and prerogative of assemblies to pass the bill and almost forced the movement to take plunge in the politics. They did and now AAP is the second largest party in Delhi. Movement just wanted foothold, but recent election results got the door wide open. Situation is such that AAP has veto and is also in a situation to form government if they wish. BJP, the largest formation can’t govern without the blessings of AAP.

But as BJP is playing politics of appearing moral and trying to see if the repoll along with Loksabha elections can take them through mid-way, so is the case with AAP. AAP is also hoping to get votes of those who were AAP sympathizers but were reluctant to vote for AAP for the fear of wasting their vote. If AAP as they claimed were interested in vyavashta parivartan and change, can’t get better than this. While in the past people who never captured power brought change here you are in a position to actually affect change. But no. We want re-poll.

Why? Because you want power? Nothing wrong with that. If capturing power and bringing change only after that is AAP’s goal then we have to measure AAP not only by their honesty but also by the ideas they re-present and policies they will implement. AAP’s idea is honest government with lot of extreme left policies. It is a socialist congress with more leftist bend with honest pursuit of social equity. The same socialist congress that has brought the country to the grinding halt. Corruption yes, but it’s more the policies of freebies that has brought this country down to 4% growth rate. (Read first part of this excellent article by Surjit Bhalla http://www.indianexpress.com/news/why-the-bjp-loves-aap/1205588/0)

In summary AAP has raised the bar of the game. AAP will capture the space where there is political vacuum starting from Haryana and some parts of UP as well. It’s the new congress party of middle class (probably of Indira era when interest rates touched 97%). While the BJP is hoping for impressing the voter with Modi’s face without changing what lies beneath it will be forced to do so very soon.

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December 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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