Posts Tagged ‘R.V. Deshpande’

Is ban on cow slaughter, ‘majority appeasement’?

17 August 2010

There are plenty of hints that Karnataka is hurtling towards the hustings once again: a high-decibel Congress padayatra on the illegal mining issue followed by a high-profile Rahul Gandhi visit; an execrable series of “sadhana samaveshas” by a BJP government which spews “development” like a mantra; loud whispers of a JDS tieup with BJP once again, with the unthinkable actually becoming a reality in Chamarajanagar; the launch of new Kannada news channels belonging to the BJP and JDS and so on and so forth.

All those straws in the wind can get blown away, of course, but if there is one substantive issue that is setting the political theatre on edge, it is the proposed ban on cow slaughter by the B.S. Yediyurappa government. The “historic” Karnataka prevention of slaughter and preservation of cattle bill, 2010, was passed without debate in mid-July when the opposition was on a dharna. After that, it has been a circus of deft electoral posturing.

First the governor H.R. Bhardwaj held back the bill on the ground that some provisions had inter-State implications. (This prompted the BJP to demand his resignation.) The JDS chief H.D. Deve Gowda met the President Pratibha Patil in early August, urging her not to give her consent to an emotive issue which was part of the sangh parivar’s agenda. The BJP too met the President, and yesterday, the Congress followed suit.

The BJP, which otherwise has little use for Mahatma Gandhi‘s idea of India, conveniently falls back on the father of the nation (and its other pet hate B.R. Ambedkar) to explain its rationale. It says the ban is already in force in seven-eight (mostly BJP ruled) states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, and in such cradles of democracy as Iran and Cuba. It says the Supreme Court has upheld the ban. And, it says allowing the slaughter of a sacred animal goes against the beliefs of Hindus.

For their part, the Congress and JDS trot out a variety of dietary and economic reasons opposing the ban, chiefly the fact that it is a cheap meat for poor people, especially among Dalits, Muslims and Christians. The leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah has said the State has no business proscribing certain meats. Karnataka Congress chief R.V. Deshpande has talked of the damage to the leather industry. Former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has spoken of a potential law and order situation if the ban were to enforced, and said the bill could be misused to harass minorities.

The BJP’s stand is posited on its farcical concern for “compassion”—cruelty to the cow—when most animals are malreated. Do all Hindus worship the cow (when India’s biggest beef exporter, Al Kabeer, is owned by a Hindu)? Do all Hindus support the ban? Do all Hindus spurn beef? Do all Hindus want to be stuck with animals, howsoever sacred, beyond their utility?

Professor D.N. Jha of Delhi University wrote in “The Myth of the Holy Cow, that in no major scripture…:

“…is killing a cow described as a major or grave sin, unlike drinking liquor or killing a Brahmin… It is only in the 19th century that the demand for banning cow-slaughter emerged as a tool of mass political mobilisation by right-wing Hindu communalists”.

Also, a ban tests the Constitution on two fronts: the freedom to live and act (and eat) as one wishes (provided that doesn’t infringe on other people’s rights), and the right to “carry on any occupation, trade or business”. Could a ban on cow slaughter spark competitive demands for a ban on slaughter of other animals which are part of the diet, like say pigs?

Questions: To overturn a political stereotype, does the BJP’s plan to ban cow slaughter, in the name of “beliefs and aspirations of Hindus”, amount to “majority appeasement” that plays with individual dietary taste and constitutional freedoms? Is the political temperature being artificially pumped up by all sides to encash their political votebanks when the time is ripe? Are elections nigh?

Pongal, puliyogare, pizza or Pattabhi bun for Ajji?

16 August 2010

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji told me she wanted to go on a padayatra from Venkataramana Swamy temple to Chandramouleeshwara temple on temple road in Vontikoppal in Mysorre, a distance of two furlongs at the most.

Ajji! You are not used to walking such long distances, especially after recovering from dengue last year. Why do you want to do a padayatra now? What do you want to prove?”

Saaku muchcho, Ramu. This padayatra is to highlight illegal mining in our State—and the lack of a footpath on temple road. I want to convey this message to our mayor who goes by the name Sandesh Swamy and to city corporation commissioner, Raikar.”

Ajji’s indomitable spirit surprised me. She is bent almost at right angle at the waist. From where does she get the spunk, I wondered.

Ajji!  Your second issue is more laudable. But isn’t there a footpath on temple road?”

“There is. It’s mostly used by vegetable and fruit vendors; pani puri and gobi manchuri vendors; dosa and idli-vade camps and churumuri gaadis; barbers, legal autorickshaw drivers, illegal CD sellers, and stray cattle. Sometimes due to overcrowding, the whole team spill over to the road.”

“Ha, ha! Nobody seems to care for pedestrians here!”

“That’s true. Couple of years back Mayor Ayub Khan and commissioner Raikar came for an ‘on the spot inspection’. It is in the same state as before! They too had to walk in the middle of the road!”

Ajji! Why don’t you invite former CM Dharam Singh to join you? He was the one Congress leader who could have done with the Bangalore to Bellary walk against illegal mining, but he was the one Congress leader missing.”

“Dharam Singhu beda, Karam Singhu beda. I don’t want anybody with me. The last two weeks I saw what happens when too many leaders do a padayatra together. They were jostling for attention and space as they do at the time of portfolio distribution. They were fighting to be at the centre, right of centre, left of centre. They were creating space for their wives, girlfriends, children, etc. It was ridiculous.”

Ajji! This is bound to happen when they are all fighting for recognition from the same master than fighting for the same cause. Each and every leader is video-recording the whole thing so that he/ she can show it to Madam later.”

“I don’t know whether Gandhi’s Dandi March was ever recorded.”

“Gandhi had no sycophants to do that. His enemy and rulers, the British, recorded the entire procession.”

“Ramu, I want a pair of goggles for my padayatra.”

Ajji suddenly bowled a doosra at me.

“For God’s sake! Your walk at most will take 15 minutes or half an hour. The weather is fairly cool and nice. What do you want goggles for?”

“I should look good when they take my video. I don’t want to look like a monkey!”

Ajji! Believe me. You are OK just as you are. You will certainly look like a monkey if you ape others. You don’t have to produce your padayatra as proof to anybody. Why do you want a video?”

“How about my lunch? Will you send me something to eat? Hayagreeva or some seekarani?”

Ajji! Next you will be asking for biryani. Saak-saaku, you will get sakkare pongal as prasada at Venkataramana swamy temple, your starting point. When you finish at Chandra Mouleeshawra they will give puliyogare anyway. If you really get hungry, you can eat a pizza or some bun or bread at Pattabhiraman‘s bakery. If you want coffee, you can stop at Barista or get some yelneer. I can arrange for that.”

Sadhya! At least you are prepared to do that much for me. How will I come back?”

“You are not Deshpande or Deekeshi to have so many options like flying back home or driving down or taking a special train. You are not like Reddy brothers or B. Sriramulu to send for a helicopter. You will do a padayatra all the way back home, another two furlongs to reach home. It will do a lot good  for your constitution.”

“I will be the first person to do another padayatra after finishing one, I guess.”

“That’s true. Only concession you will have is instead of climbing the stairs, you will come up by a lift to reach home. By the way when are you starting?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Just tell me whether you want your pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut, so I can arrange for them to wait for you  in front of their shop. With a bottle of Coke or Pepsi.”

One for the Mahatma, another for Mrs Mahatma

8 August 2010

Karnataka Congress president R.V. Deshpande enjoys the comforting shade provided by party courtiers during the Bangalore-Bellary pada yatra, at Hangal in Chitradurga district, on Saturday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Why you never saw Gandhi do all this—Part I

Another un-Gandhian on the way to Mahatma-giri

One question I’m dying to ask R.V. Deshpande

1,611% jump in assets in 5 years! Hello.

One question I’m dying to ask R.V. Deshpande

9 June 2010

Indian politicians and public servants are masters at making money off the living—and the dead.

George Fernandes played over the dead bodies of the martyrs of Kargil in the coffin scam. Money raised for the victims of the devastating tsunami were diverted in Tamil Nadu without batting an eyelid. Time magazine’s Asian Hero one month for flood relief, IAS officer Gautam Goswami was soon in the doghouse.

And so it is with Karnataka Congress president R.V. Deshpande who lists “service to mankind, especially poor” among his interests, and has just been exposed for misuse of funds collected for last year’s flood in Karnataka. The state Congress is alleged to to have used flood relief funds for buying air tickets, t-shirts and advertisemens.

What is the one question you are dying to ask Deshpande? Like, since the IPL-tained Praful Patel is his son’s father-in-law, does hera-pheri run in the family? Like, is this why he stalled the attempts to secure information about his assets and liabilities because they are “personal and confidential“?

Please contribute generously.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Must read: A 1,611 per cent jump in assets in five years. Hello!

By George, it’s pati, patni aur woh and some crores

Only question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi

30 July 2009


Whoever said only losers take up the arts? At 26 years of age, Priya Krishna, MA, LLB, s/o “Layout” Krishnappa, has Rs 770 crore of movable and immovable assets; and Rs 734 crore of loans from banks and financial institutions.

If Rahul Gandhi is really all he is made out to be—the great white hope of the Congress; the prime mover towards a new, improved Congress; the man who chose bright, clean, young candidates in the 2009 general elections—how on earth does he allow someone like this to be the Congress candidate from Govindarajapura, and how does he expect the world to ignore it?

Image: courtesy The New Indian Express

Link via Anand V.

Also read: When I grow up all I want to do is be a sub-inspector

Carper’s Index: Can crorepatis relate to crores?

C.H. Vijayashankar: That’s why they asked us to shut up and vote

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi

Mayawati: For doyen of dalits, assets is all maya

Kanimozhi: How many poems can fetch a poet Rs 8.5 crore?

H.D. Deve Gowda: A snapshot of a poor, debt-ridden farming family

R.V. Deshpande: A 1,611% jump in assets in five years? Hello!

H. Anjaneya: How to grow your assets by 81,465%? Ask him.

R. Ashok: Everyone is stark naked in the public bathroom

More things change, more they remain the same

27 December 2008

History, it is said, first repeats itself as a tragedy, then as a farce. But usually no one is laughing, no one is even noticing.


From Deccan Herald, 25 years ago, 26 December 1983:

‘Kranti Ranga merger with Congress likely’

New Delhi: The merger of the Karnataka Kranti Ranga with the Congress(I) appeared a distinct possibility today after S. Bangarappa had a meeting with Prime Minister and Congress(I) President Indira Gandhi here this morning. The Kranti Ranga leader, who had been forced out of the Congress(I) two years ago following his differences with the then Chief Minister, R. Gundu Rao, arrived here last night. “We talked about the general political situation,” was all he said.

From Deccan Herald, yesterday, exactly 25 years later, 26 December 2008:

‘Bangarappa wants to rejoin Congress’

Bangalore: Samajwadi Party state president S. Bangarappa is all set to return to the Congress. He, on Thursday, said that he was mentally prepared to contest from Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency on the Congress ticket in the next Lok Sabha polls. He said that his main objective in the state’s politics was to fight communal forces. “In order to pevent L.K. Advani becoming the Prime Minister, secular forces should come together and make sure that UPA continues to hold power at the Centre,” he said.

Bangarappa said he would convene Samajwadi Party working committee meeting and take a decision to merge party’s state unit with the Congress. He said he had been invited to the Congress by KPCC President R.V. Deshpande, working president D.K. Shiva Kumar and the party’s Shimoga unit. He would convey his decision to the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, he added.

Bangarappa’s son and former minister Kumar Bangarappa has welcomed his father’s decision to return to the Congress.

You win some, you lose some in the great game

25 May 2008

Some big guns have been silenced at the hands of people power, bringing under question accepted notions of vintage, big money, star power, and the suspected powers of the excise lobby.

Former chief minister, Dharam Singh, looking to enter the record books from Jevargi; former heavy industries minister, R.V. Deshpande from Haliyal; actor-politician Ambarish from Srirangapatna; former deputy chief minister M.P. Prakash in Harapanahalli; and former chief minister S. Bangarappa, who took on B.S. Yediyurappa in Shikaripura.

churumuri‘s amateur, grassroots surveys had predicted the victories of the first two, but was on the ball with the other three.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

How to grow your assets by 81,465%? Ask him.

16 May 2008

In the 66 constituencies going to the polls today in the second phase of elections to the Karnataka legislative assembly, there are just 14 women candidates; 49 candidates with a criminal record; and 372 candidates whose assets in all exceed Rs 902 crore, according to a report prepared by the Karnataka Election Watch committee of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Among the major parties, the BJP has 13 candidates with a criminal record, the Congress 9, JDS 8, BSP 7, and other parties 12. There are 6 candidates who are charged with murder or attempt to murder.

There are 14 women candidates. The BSP has 4, BJP 2, Congress 2, JDS 2, JDU 2 and others 2. In the first phase there were a total of 17 women candidates from the major parties for the 89 constituencies. The total percentage of women is less than 5% as in the first phase.

The total assets declared by all the 372 candidates considered by KEW for phase 2 was an impressive Rs 902 crore, with average candidate assets of Rs 2.42 crore. The Congress led the parties with total declared candidate assets of Rs 470 crore and average candidate assets of Rs 7.35 crore. The BJP candidates had total assets of Rs 249.8 crores and average of Rs.3.78 crore; JDS Rs 77.9 crore and Rs.1.28 crore; BSP Rs 40.6 crore and Rs.0.64 crore.

The three major parties account for 88.5% of total candidate assets with average candidate assets of Rs.4.18 crores. Clearly, elections have become a rich man’s game. There are 5 candidates who have declared “Very High” assets of over Rs 30 crore. Of these, 3 are from the Congress, 2 are from the BJP. Compared to phase 1 which included Bangalore, the number has come down from 14 to 5.

# Anil Lad of the Congress is the richest among the candidates in the fray with declared assets of Rs 172 crore, jumping 2,343 per cent since 2004.

# R.V. Deshpande of the Congress, whose assets since 2004 have jumped 2,091 per cent, has declared assets of Rs 116.29 crore.

# The assets of G.S. Manjunath, the BJP candidate from Chitradurga, have shot up by an eye-popping 2,125 per cent since the 2004 elections.

# The BJP candidate from Holalkere, M. Chandrappa, has seen his assets grow by 2,107 per cent. The assets of his Congress rival H. Anjaneya (in picture) have grown by—hold your breath—81,465 per cent, according to KEW.

Then there are 17 candidates who have “High Assets” between Rs 5 crore and Rs 30 crore. In spite of having such high assets, some of them have not declared their IT PAN numbers as required by the Election Commission.

As many as 74 candidates reported a very steep increase in total assets between the 2004 Assembly Elections and this election. The average increase in assets was a huge 465.6%.

There are 49 candidates with a criminal record. Among the major parties, the BJP has 13 candidates having a criminal record, BSP has 7, the Congress 9, JDS 8, and other parties 12. There are 6 candidates who are charged with murder or attempt to murder.

Of the 372 candidates considered in phase 2, 31 had post-graduate degrees, 26 had technical degrees (like BE, etc), 6 MBBS, 47 LLB, 97 graduates, 48 PUC, 49 matriculates, 35 non-matriculates. The rest did not mention their educational qualifications. The number of candidates who were 60 years old or more was 41, between 45 and 60 was 171, and less than 45 was 160.

KEW’s conclusion: The overall quality of candidates leaves much to be desired. The criminal records in particular are a little alarming. Unless this trend is checked, elections, democracy and overall governance will suffer. A lot of candidates are industrialists from the real estate, liquor, mining and other businesses. Unless business interests are aligned to citizen interests this raises interesting questions about governance and democracy. The average assets of candidates from the major parties was Rs.4.18 crores which means that the parties have turned their back on candidates with low assets. A lot of candidates have reported huge increase in their assets. This also needs to be investigated so that public trust is restored.

(Karnataka Election Watch (KEW) is part of a nationwide movement to improve democracy. It is a citizen-led non-political, non-partisan effort. This time several NGOs activists and civil society organizations in Karnataka are participating in this effort.)

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

1,611 per cent jump in assets in 5 years. Hello!

1 May 2008

The gentleman in the picture possesses the most famous set of silver strands in Karnataka politics.

When he got his son married off to Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel‘s daughter in November 2006, the who’s who of politics (P. Chidambaram, Dayanidhi Maran, Amar Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan, Jaipal Reddy) posed with the bride and groom.

When an educational trust named after his father was inaugurated in May 2005, “a galaxy of industry icons” (K.V. Kamath, Nandan Nilekani, T.V. Mohandas Pai, Sudha Murthy, Baba Kalyani, R. Gopalakrishnan, Vijay and Vikram Kirloskar) was there to lend glitter.

He is, of course, R.V. Deshpande.

For years now, Deshpande has stalled attempts to secure information of his assets and liabilities filed before the Karnataka Lok Ayukta for two years 1986-87 and 2004-05 using the Right to Information Act.

Deshpande has consistently said that the information given by legislators is “personal and confidential“, and should not be made available to the public as it had no relationship to any public activity or interest. Revealing the details would cause an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.

Personal? Confidential? Intrusion of privacy?

You bet.

Deshpande, 61, who is the Congress candidate from Haliyal constituency in the 2008 assembly elections, has filed the mandatory affidavit before the returning officer, and every line of it reveals why Deshpande has been so cagey about his assets and liabilities.

# Deshpande’s assets at the time of the May 2004 elections: Rs 9 crore.

# Deshpande’s assets at the time of the May 2008 elections: Rs 145 crore.

That Rs 136 crore jump is one part of the “Deshpande Shining” story. The other part is the pathbreaking empowerment of women in the Deshpande family (and indeed in most political families), as a result of which women of the house are all miraculously worth more than the men.

# Deshpande owns properties of Rs 47.83 crore; Radha Deshpande owns properties of Rs 97.74 crore.

# Deshpande has Rs 1.66 lakh in cash; Radha Deshpande has Rs 12.92 lakh in cash.

# Deshpande has Rs 26.78 lakh in deposits; Radha Deshpande has Rs 2.94 crore in deposits.

# Deshpande has investments worth Rs 21.87 crore in various companies, Radha Deshpande has investments of Rs 63.68 crore.

# The share of Mr and Mrs Deshpande in the undivided family is Rs 12.58 crore.

# Mr and Mrs Deshpande have national savings certificates and insurance policies of Rs 4 crore; gold, silver and diamond jewels of Rs 59 lakh; agricultural property and sites worth Rs 4 crore; residential and commercial buildings worth Rs 6 crore.

Deshpande has been a member of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th assemblies. Deshpande has held six different portfolios: minister for small scale Industries, agriculture, housing, major and medium industries, infrastructure development, and co-operation.

But can anybody explain how a man who lists “service to mankind, especially poor” among his “other interests” saw a 1,611 per cent appreciation in his assets in the last four years?

The Sensex ended 2004 at 6602; yesterday in 2008, it was 17,287. When the Sensex has seen a 261 per cent jump in a four-year period, how has the “Deshpande Story” been 6.17 times better than the “India Story”?

Oops, sorry, we missed something. Deshpande owes financial institutions Rs 2,032.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A snapshot of a poor, debt-ridden farming family

And a snapshot of a simple devotee of Lord Rama