Posts Tagged ‘politics’

politician-cartoon-in-india_sIt was quite a unique and interesting proposal that the party had come up with, as a part of their manifesto, so the journalist decided to go and meet the senior minster to understand more about the proposal..

Interviewer: “Sir, where other metros have been working on setting up conventions centres and exhibition grounds in the city, your proposal for Delhi is something very different?”

Leader: “Yes, it is. You see, what Delhi needs today, is not one more convention centre or exhibition ground. What we needs are a few places where Dharnas can happen comfortably..”

Interviewer: “Few places? Why not just one??”

Leader: “See, this is the problem with you, young reporters. You do not go to the depth of any issue…”

“You know that there are all kinds of Dharnas and we need to take care of all of the different types…”

Interviewer: “Sir, pardon my ignorance on this. But for the benefit of our viewers, can you please explain what are the different type of dharnas?”

Leader: “Offooo.. yeh bhi samjhana padega.. chalo theek hai…”

“See, one is the length of the dharna.. from few hours to a full day to a few days to in fact, the Anna Hazare kind, of many many days…; so we need to see if we need to provide sleeping facilities, toilets, bathrooms, changing rooms, etc…”dharna

“Then, we have to consider the size of audience that the dharna may attract. From few where barely 10-15 people gather – ok, never mind, that is not even called a dharna then. But say, from 100 to 500 to 5,000 to 50,000… we have to account for different kinds. Not only to cover the standing / seating space, but the approach road, exits, canteen facilities, toilet blocks… nahin to bahut gandagi reh jaati hai, dharna ke baad. Akhir log kitna control karke baithe rahenge..?”

“The other aspect is the quality of the dharna. Is it a fast-unto-death? In that case, we have to arrange for refrigerated nimbu paani facility…”

Interviewer: “Sorry to interrupt you, Sir. But if they are fasting, why do you need nimbu paani service?”

Leader: “When is the last time that someone actually fasted to his death?? Arre, yeh death-beth kehne wali baat hai. Koi nahi marta. Everyone waits for the right moment to have the nimbu paani. Now, when that moment comes, we do not know. So it is best to provide for a refrigerated supply of nimbu paani ready and available. After all, if we are creating the state-of-the-art dharna facility, we have to take care of this aspect too, no?”

Interviewer: “Wow, I never thought of all this. Sir, what other facilities you plan to have in these centres?”

Leader: “We have a large media centre at all of these places. Of course, if it is a 100-member dharna place, there will be space for only one OB van. The media will have to find a way to share the signals. But for the larger facilities, multiple OB vans can be parked and there will be space for the on-ground reporters and the cameramen to freshen up, do their last minute makeup, have chai-paani, etc. What we must appreciate is that, while the suited-booted stars of the news channels sitting in their air-conditioned studios get all the limelight, it is the on-ground reporters and the cameramen, who really struggle to send the news as it happens, and it is our duty, to take care of their well being..”

Interviewer: “Wah, that is so noble of you. Sir, you have taken care of television. But we are living in the times of social media. Are you doing anything special for them?”

Leader: “This is the first smart question you have asked! And yes, of course, we are a forward thinking party, and we have considered everything for the social media folks…”

“All the dharna centres will be fully wi-fi equipped – that too at 3G levels, and when 4G comes in, we will upgrade too. And there will be no license wars here.. hahaha.. (*laughs heartily as his own joke*). Plus, we will have charging stations all over, for the phones and the tablets and for those, who are still on their old laptops! There will be facility for the dharna organisers to constantly release video clips and official photos, that the social media types can take and share ahead.. and there will be facilities on the stage, where the dharna leaders are sitting, for them to live tweet too….”

“PLUS, we are doing something that not even the biggest of exhibitions or tradeshow folks have done in India yet. We will set up mega Social Media Command Centres at the two biggest dharna facilities, where multiple large screens will show in realtime, all the various tweets and facebook updates about the dharna, as they are happening, so people can pick up trends, see if any other political leaders are also tweeting, etc. and take necessary further steps…”

Interviewer: “Wow.. I am so impressed. This is truly a first-of-its-kind anywhere in the world…”

“But Sir, while you are doing all this for Delhi, the people of Delhi are definitely NOT going to be happy about this. It causes tremendous inconvenience to them in terms of traffic snarls and what not. And now as per your plans to create 5 different dharna centres in Delhi, the people are going to get disgusted. And in fact, they may not vote for you, in spite of this fantastic plan that you have come up with…?”

Leader: “Haha.. hum ko kya bewakoof samjha hai? Do you think, we will do all this, only to lose votes from Delhi??”

“The concern for the people of Delhi comes first. What we are proposing, for each of these dharna locations, is a direct flyover to the place, from the nearest railway station and from the airport. This flyover will not disturb any other traffic and that way, it will ensure that regular traffic in Delhi, keeps moving on fine. Now you understand? Delhi will get the benefit of numerous dharnas that will be based in the city – and the accompanying economic benefits to the trade in Delhi – and yet, it will not impact any traffic problems for the residents of the city…”

“Now, isn’t that a winning strategy??”

Interviewer: “Yes, Minister…”

This is a work of fiction. However, any similarity to persons living or dead is purely intentional 🙂
There was a lot of commotion in the women’s barracks in Tihar Jail. The first class rooms were being cleaned and cleared. There was a special guest arriving.
Not that it is unusual for Tihar. Except that this was in the women’s section. There are not as many such special guests in the women’s quarters. Most of the other special guests were men.
Well, there WAS that one lady, who had been there for a while. Ah, finally she will have some company.
In fact, the lady also seemed excited. She was making unusual chatter with the women guards. There was a wide smile on her face. Almost childlike.
And then they heard the noises outside. The cavalcade of cars stopping one after the other. A rush of personnel heading towards the gate. To catch a glimpse of the Rajya Sabha MP making her way into Tihar. Some went to welcome her, some to escort her inside.
After her concierge completed the paperwork and formalities, she was finally escorted to the first class barracks.
Where the other lady was eagerly waiting for her. Constantly looking out in the direction of the door. Almost chewing her nails out. “When will she arrive? Why is she taking so much time?”
And finally, the door opened.
And NR saw Koi waiting at the door. And she almost jumped in joy. The grin on the face was from ear to ear.
And she ran towards Koi, and Koi ran towards NR. There was screaming and shouting, like teenage girls.
And they hugged and gave their air kisses to each other. Muah.. muah..
And they looked at each other, like long lost friends having been reunited.
Oh, what a scene. The female guards who had come to escort Koi into the barracks could scarcely believe the scene they had just witnessed.
And then, after the initial brouhaha had simmered down, NR escorted Koi inside, and they sat down and started chatting.
So many things to talk about, so many things to catch up on.
Koi: “Soooo, how have you been? How’s jail treating you? You seem to have lost weight?”
NR: “Oh, it’s okay. The first few days were tough. Missed my bed, my car, my team, my phone, my office. But slowly, I have got used to it.”
Koi: “But what’s with this weight loss? Don’t they have good food here?”
NR: “No, re. They have a great gym here. And since there are fewer calls to handle, I get all the extra time. So finally managed to do regular work outs that I was never able to do outside. Does not hurt to get into shape, while I am here, no?”
NR: “Don’t worry about the food. There is good choice, and you can order what you want. Some privileges of being in the first class barracks!”
Koi: “Ah, thank God. I need my rasam and idlis. I will die without those.”
NR: “But I am soooo glad to have you here. I was getting thoroughly bored.”
Koi: “You are saying you wanted to see me in jail?”
NR: “No, no.. not like that. I am just glad to have your company. I don’t wish you, nor me, nor any of my loved ones to be here. But now that we are here, we are here. May as well be here with a friend, than with a foe. What say?”
Koi: “Yes, that is right.”
NR: “And we can talk to our heart’s content. After all, there is not much else that we can do here, anyway!”
Koi: “And we don’t even have to worry about tapped phones.. ha ha.. “
NR: “Don’t remind me about that. In fact, pleasssssee don’t mention tapped phones. I have just about come out from regular nightmares about phones and tapping.”

After some more idle chatter, the talk moves on to more serious stuff. Like work!
Koi: “So tell me N, how’s work? While you are here, has work stopped or what?”
NR: “It’s pretty bad. RT and MA want to keep safe distance now. I don’t blame them, you know.”
Koi: “Too bad. Your big two.. wow. That must be tough.”
NR: “I know. Nobody wants to touch my agency with all this baggage.”
Koi: “So.. have you laid off your team or something?”
NR (with a smile): “NO! I manage to stay busy…”
Koi: “But you just said that no one wants to touch your agency..?”
NR: “Well let me answer this the filmi way.  I know you watch only Tamil films, and that too, mostly the ones starring someone from your family. But I am sure you remember the Yash Chopra classic, Dil To Pagal Hai…”
Koi: “Yes, I do remember. But in response to my question on work, you are giving me an example of a romantic film of Yash Chopra?? Hey N, did you find love in the jail or what??”
NR (laughing heartily): “Nooooo… no such thing. But I like the thought!”
NR: “As they say in that film, there is someone out there meant just for you. And you will find that person/s… “
Koi: “Oh.. that way? Ok.. so whom did you find?”
NR: “Well, you know, due to my tough times, the MAs and the RTs of the world want to keep a distance. Those are the kind who do not want to touch our agency at this time.”
NR: “But then there are others, who need our kind of help, and NO agency is willing to touch them, at this time.. “
NR: “Makes for a perfect match, doesn’t it?!”
Koi: “Ah.. I am sort of getting the idea. So tell me what kind of new work you have picked up?”
NR: “Well, there is SC who wants my help to mediate with his Norwegian partners.. to let him hang on!”
NR: “And there is SB who wants my help to reach Dubai, for some rescue act for him and his partner. After all, his Godfather, SP is also in trouble right now, and not much help to him..”
NR: “And then there is the toughest assignment of all.. “
Koi: “Oh, which one is that?”
NR: “The one who is not even in yet, SK. He needs me to tap my journalist friends, to persuade the GOP to stop now. They have already expelled him, and he wants them to stop there, and not get him here! Although he had “played” sports all his life, he is not really that fit to handle a jail stint.”
Koi: “So why is it that tough?”
NR: “For one, I do not have any journalists friends anymore. No one wants to talk to me, on phone or otherwise! And with so many state elections coming up, the GOP wants nothing to do with SK, and wants to make him the big sacrificial lamb.”
Koi: “So what will you do?”
NR: “Well, they don’t call me the best for nothing, you know. I will figure something out!”
Koi: “Hey, you seem to have your hands full with work, then? Hope you have time for me!”

NR reaches out and gives Koi a nice hug.
NR: “I will ALWAYS have time for you. You are my most loyal client. You were there with me when I was outside, and you have followed me in here, and continue to be with me. Can I EVER abandon you??”

And then, its time for lunch.
The buffet beckoned..

A comparison of two scenarios to drive home a point:

Imaginary Scenario1:

In the middle of a T20 match between Indian and Sri Lanka

The key players:
Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Kirsten and the rest of the team

The scene:
Dilshan has gone hammer and tongs after the Indian bowling. Lot of runs have been scored against the pacers. Indian team at a loss as to what to do now.

The discussion:
“Man, this guy is trouble. How do we stop him?”
“Yeah, really miss Zak at such times.”
“Arre, shall we try spin?”
“Pata nahi whether it will work at all?”
“Yaar, try karke dekhte hai. At this time, we have little choice.”
“Ok, let’s give the ball to Bhajji, then.”

** Off-topic discussion in between **
“Yuvi, where’s your birthday bash yaar?”
“At the Sixer Lounge…; but what if we lose today?”
“Arre yaar, win-lose to hota rehta hai.. after all, it’s cricket. Can’t stop partying because of that!”
** Off-topic discussion over **

What follows:
Bhajji gets Dilshan soon.
Team celebrates.
But in walks Sangakara, the best batsman of spin bowling.
And what follows is a spectacle of unabashed hitting of the spin bowlers. All over the place, fours and sixes galore.

Frantic discussion again:
“Oh my God, where did we land?”
“Yeah, Dilshan gone, but now Sangakara is smashing away!”
“Fours and sixes everywhere. How to stop these?”
In a resigned tone, “Well, we’ll just have to wait for the 20 overs to be completed..sigh!”

And the run feast for Sri Lanka continues.

Not-so-imaginary Scenario 2:

In the highest political echelons of Delhi, between top cabinet ministers

The key players:
Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and the rest

The scene:
K. Chandrasekhar Rao is on an indefinite fast for the demand of a separate state of Telangana. Situation volatile. Huge support. Few suicides already.

The discussion:
“Man, this guy is trouble. How do we stop him?”
“Yeah, really miss YSR at such times.”
“Shall we allow Telangana?”
“Pata nahi whether it will work at all?”
“Yaar, try karke dekhte hai. At this time, we have little choice.”
“Ok, PC, go ahead and announce it then.”

** Off-topic discussion in between **
“So, what plans for daughter’s wedding?”
“Booked the Taj..; but what if this AP matter intensifies?”
“Arre yaar, these things will happen in a country. After all, it’s politics. Can’t stop family affairs because of that!”
** Off-topic discussion over **

What follows:
PC announces that Telangana will happen.
KCR breaks his fast. Telangana supporters rejoice. Random suicides, protests stop.
But now anti-Telangana supporters erupt. What follows is a different mayhem. Resignations, more deaths, large scale protests. More lives lost!

Frantic discussion again:
“Oh my God, where did we land?”
“Yeah, KCR taken care, but now rest of Andhra is erupting!”
“MPs, MLAs, resigning, and lots of lives lost too. How to stop these?”
In a resigned tone, “Well, we’ll reverse the announcement, and wait for matter to fade from public memory…sigh!”
And meanwhile, causalities continue.

The cricket scene is probably imaginary. There is in all likelihood, more strategy that they use. And when they still fail, it is only a matter of a win or loss on cricket field.

The political scene is probably more real. Unfortunately. In a high command led dictatorial regime full of sycophants, political mileage is the only motivation. Even at the cost of random slicing of the country into states, notwithstanding public opinion. And when such knee jerk movements from the centre do not work, it is a serious matter of loss of lives. But then are Indian lives any more valuable to a politician than 4s and 6s on a cricket field??

Are we wrong to expect from our politicians, more responsibility of action, more foresight, some concern for the country and its citizens, and less for their personal political gains??

Yesterday, I expressed my shock at the Samajwadi Party’s decision to put up Sanjay Dutt as their candidate from Lucknow.

And then today, I see more developments that continue to disgust further.

The sycophants of the Congress party, starting with their senior leader, Pranab Mukherjee, are talking about Rahul Gandhi becoming the PM after the next elections. And why, may I ask? Does he have the experience? Has he shown any kind of brilliance to understand the country, its challenges, the economy, to warrant a jump start of this kind? And what about the other politicians who have put in years? Like working in a family owned company, do these leaders have a glass ceiling that they cannot penetrate?

Goddammed sycophancy, at a time when the country is scaling new heights, and is being considered as a future global superpower?

And in all this, where does the existing PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh figure? While he is still in office and leading the country, a senior minister of his cabinet, and a senior leader of his party, is talking about someone else becoming PM of the country, if their party comes back to power in a few months, after the elections? And poor Dr. Singh cannot even protest?!

Then you read the other shocker of the day, from Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party.

He says that if for any reason, the courts not allow Sanjay Dutt to contest the elections (considering his none-too-proud crimilar record and his legal tangles), then his recently wed new wife, Manyata, would be the candidate from Lucknow?!!

I don’t even have the expletives in my vocabulary to condemn a statement and a step of this nature.

Think about the people of Lucknow, whose representative is being talked about.

How can a film actor with questionable criminal and drug history, suddenly come from nowhere, and take care of their interests in Parliament?? And what’s more, if that does not work, then there is his wife.. a person whose antecedents are not known, nothing is known about her education, qualifications, experience… and someone annoints her as a candidate to represent Lucknow!!

God, where is our politics sinking? From thugs and dacoits, now we have strange choices like the above mentioned ones. And we still expect India to be a leading superpower of the world, in coming years. HOW??? Damn! Double damn!!

Why do these politicians not worry about the people, after they get elected? Why do they think about their constituents only during election times? And in between, they behave irresponsibly, and do what they jolly well please.

The reason for this is that once elected, these MPs or MLAs are quite untouchable. They could commit crimes, they could be insensitive to public needs, they could be fraudsters. They still retain their seats. And while they may be called in old British style terms, as public “servants”, they are anything but that!! In fact, they make all service providers dance to their tunes, be it the airlines, the police, the bureaucracy.. everyone.

So what is the potential method to make them more responsible? If any?

Yeah, sure, there is the threat to re-election, if they are seen to be grossly messed up. But most times, things are not that clear. Also its a five year term, and by the time the elections come, some of their misdemeanours might have been forgotten by the people too.

The only weapon that the people could potentially have, in such cases, is the right to “recall” an elected representative. To let it be known, that the constituency as a whole has lost total confidence in the concerned MP / MLA, and would like him / her to be recalled.

This article has some background on the subject. It clearly shows that its not easy or perhaps not possible at all, in India. But as a germ of an idea, and even if there is a slim chance of it being implementable, its something that is worth considering. Especially at such difficult times… !

Even if there is ONE case of recall in India, that may be a strong message to all other elected reps, like no other message could ever give, I suspect!

This time around, the anger is huge. All and sundry have expressed their frustrations against the politicians.

Politicians who have sat on the need for a federal agency against terror, politicians who took their own bloody time to act even as the dastardly act was happening at multiple locations in Mumbai, politicians who repeat the same stupid words after each event (“we are investigating”, “we condemn”, “we will get those responsible”, etc. etc.), politicians who use up high profile security for their own selves leaving the citizens unprotected… the list is endless.

Citizens have made comments on live television saying that let the politicians not come here, as they will be killed by the peple here!!

This angry voice has finally reached the powers to be, and we can now expect actions to be taken. While many may call these actions as too little and too late, the way I see these are, being better late than never!

The first head to roll has been that of Shivraj Patil, the Union Home Minister.

Great! Finally! Phew! He has been one of the most impotent and uninspiring Home Ministers that India has had the misfortune to have. So I am glad that he is gone.

I also hope that other heads roll – soon. Prime candidates being Vilasrao Deshmukh and R. R. Patil, the CM and Dy CM of Maharashtra. Besides their inaction and inability to protect the state and the city, their totally insensitive attitudes convey how completely disconnected they are from the citizens and their feelings. The CM took his film star son and his director friend, Ram Gopal Verma, on a terror tour through the Taj. R. R. Patil put his foot in his mouth when he conveyed on camera that such “small incidents” happen in big cities like Mumbai. BOTH HAVE TO GO. Sooner rather than later.

In fact, there is no real ability factor that could justify a Shivraj Patil as Home Minister or a Vilasrao Deshmukh as the CM. Its clear that they had their positions due to reasons other than capability. Vilasrao is supposed to be one of the biggest “fund raisers” for the High Command, and even Shivraj Patil holds some similar aces in his hand, with respect to his relevance in the Congress. These are the only reasons why these people get to their chairs and hold them for long too.

There will be few other bureaucrats who will also have to go. One of the prime candidates for such a removal is the National Security Advisor, who has been exposed as being a total misfit, time and again.

But the other point is that in spite of such resignations, do these politicians really suffer at all? If past is anything to go by, maligned ministers lie low for a while, and since public memory is short, they make a quiet comeback after a while. Or in some cases, they are given a plush Governor’s position (if one is lucky, they could even aspire to be President), and can enjoy the good life!

Why so? If Shivraj Patil has resigned for being responsible for his inability to prevent such terror happening on Indian soil, its clearly a performance issue. Why should he be rehabilitated? If a CMO of a company has been proven to be not performing well, would you still make him a Branch Manager, or would you just give him the walking orders?? In fact, in other cases, politicians have been accused of being corrupt or being linked to violence, or of embezzlements, and they have STILL been rehabilitated!! Why do politicians never have such problems? Because of their “fund raising” ability?? When will THIS change in our country??