Posts Tagged ‘Samajwadi party’

CHURUMURI POLL: Could Jayalalitha be PM?

20 December 2013

Counting the chickens before they are hatched, is a familiar human frailty. And, as elections draw near with intimations of the mortality of the Congress-led UPA, there are many who are rehearsing their speeches from “the ramparts of the Red Fort” in the not unreasonable expectation that dame luck may not just smile but wink at them at the polling booths thanks to a lame duck government.

The Usain Bolt of them is, of course, you-know-who, who shall not be named. But a not quite unlikely silhouette is emerging from the shadows: Jayalalitha Jayaram.

With poll after opinion poll predicting that virtually 250 of the 543 seats in the next Lok Sabha may be occupied by non-Congress, non-BJP parties—with Tamil Nadu having 40 of them—the straws are somewhat leaning towards the Mysore-born AIADMK supremo who is now that State’s chief minister for a second term.

In just the last week, H.D. Deve Gowda (who became PM with 12 MPs) has suggested her name:

“An inner voice tells me that Indian polity is going through a sea change, and as a believer in the Hindu dharma, let me tell you that someone from the south is going to become the Prime Minister,” said Gowda, a frequent visitor to the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam, which also happens to be Jayalalithaa’s assembly constituency. “I wholeheartedly support the candidature of Jayalalitha for the Prime Minister’s post provided such a favorable political mobilization takes place.”

Now, the AIADMK general council has echoed Gowda’s sentiments:

“All the members of AIADMK want Jayalalitha to become prime minister this time and we have been working in this direction for the last three-four months. The federal structure of the country should give a chance to political leaders of other states to lead the country,” said M. Thambi Durai, an AIADMK leader in the Lok Sabha.

At a function held in Madras last year, Cho Ramaswamy of Tughlaq magazine said that Jayalalitha stood a good chance if Narendra Modi became unacceptable to NDA allies.

Obviously, this is speculation predicated on the assumption that neither BJP nor the Congress will be in a position to form a government on their own or with the support of their allies. But the fact that Jayalalitha has not met the BJP “prime ministerial candidate” Narendra Modi on three occasions, nor have her representatives been present at Modi’s rallies in Tamil Nadu, suggests that the flame of hope burns bright in more than just one Gujarati’s heart.

Questions: Does Jayalalitha, with her food schemes, her grasp of English and slightly understated demeanour in her latest term, stand a chance if AIADMK wins, say, 32-35 of the 40 seats? Is she a more accetpable bet than Narendra Modi? Will she be acceptable to other parties like Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress, which are also likely to score heavily in Orissa and West Bengal? Will her proximity to the left parties (the CPI’s D. Raja won with AIADMK support) make her more amenable to Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Samajwadi Party, just to spite Mayawati?

Is it time a Mysorean became prime minister? (Just kidding.)

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Is Jayalalitha PM material?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will Yedi exit harm BJP?

4 October 2012

After threatening to leave the Bharatiya Janata Party virtually every fortnight since he resigned from office in disgrace under a haze of sleaze and corruption in July 2011—and after making a mockery of two wonderful Kannada words sthana (position) and maana (respect) since then—former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has finally mustered the strength and the courage to say that he has had enough with the BJP and will call it quits from the party.

By all indications, Yediyurappa will announce his new party in November or December, in time for the assembly elections due in the first-half of 2013.

Yediyurappa has ruled out joining any other political party although he has been singing paeans of Sonia Gandhi‘s Congress party over the last few weeks, and although Nitish Kumar‘s JD(U) and Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Samajawadi Party, both avowedly secular parties with little presence in the South, are both said to be toying with the idea of joining hands with Yediyurappa, who cut his teeth in the RSS.

But the questions remain: Has Yediyurappa delayed his exit too long? Has BJP neutralised his influence by allowing him to drag on with his antics? Will Yediyurappa on his own be even half the force he was with the BJP? Will the BJP split help the Congress in the assembly polls? Will Yediyurappa’s new party result in a four-way race in the State and thus make it easier for the BJP?

December is when a migratory bird flies the coop

27 December 2010

Middle age is when one of your shoe laces comes off and you wonder if you should bend down now and tie it up, or wait for some time for the other lace also to come off before you tie them both.

Old age is, well, when it just doesn’t matter; there will always be some lackey around to slip on your slip-ons. In Shimoga, yesterday, an aide helps former chief minister Sarekoppa Bangarappa do the needful.

This December, Bangarappa indicated he may join the Janata Dal (Secular) from the Congress. Two Decembers ago, he joined the Congress from the Samajwadi Party. And 27 Decembers ago, he merged his Karnataka Kranti Ranga with the Congress.

In all, Bangarappa has left and joined a party nine times.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: It’s news only when Deve Gowda takes a snooze

Red or white, Bangarappa is ready to fight

Umbrellas, shoes, our democracy and theirs

‘Hindi’s like Hinduism, not the only thing around’

12 November 2009

R. Jagannathan, executive editor of DNA, hits the nail on the nationalistic head in the Raj Thackeray-Abu Azmi faceoff on Marathi versus Hindi:

“Speaking about Hindi as a national language is no different from speaking about Hinduism as India’s official cultural expression. Hindi is a great language, but it is not any more national than Marathi or Kannada, or Bengali or Telugu. Ironically, it was left to the MNS to point out the obvious: that Hindi is just another regional language of India.

“This is not an attempt to belittle Hindi. In fact, Hindi is best served when it gently mingles with the other national languages, contributing to their growth and, in turn, being enriched by them. No language grows by being exclusive: it grows by importing words and expressions it lacks; it strengthens other languages by giving them what they don’t have.

“If there is to be a truly national language, it will develop from an admixture of all Indian languages. One can see the beginnings of it in Mumbai’s khichdi Hindi — a Bollywood-enhanced version of which we saw in Sanjay Dutt‘s Munnabhai.

“Even as we wait for a truly national lingo to evolve over the decades, supporters of Hindi are doing the language a great disservice by asserting its hegemony. Hindi is India’s largest spoken language, but that does not give it sole status as a national language. That would amount to imposing a linguistic majoritarianism that cannot but harm the country.”

Read the full article: Fighting Hindi hegemony

CHURUMURI POLL: Has BJP shot itself in the foot?

24 March 2009

The BJP’s strident defence of Varun Gandhi‘s hate speech in Pilibhit, and its open defiance of the Election Commission’s advisory to it to deny him a party ticket, opens up a simple question: Has the “party with a difference” endeared itself to voters across the nation with its stand, or has it shot itself in both its feet?

There are plenty of legitimate points the party has raised: the EC’s over-eagerness in this case without giving the hate-monger a fair hearing; its technical expertise to adjudge the veracity of the video; and above all, the EC’s lack of a similar advisory to the Congress (which has the 1984 Sikh riots’ accused Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in its ranks), and the Samajwadi Party (Sanjay Dutt with his conviction in the 1993 Bombay blasts’ case).

Nevertheless, there is such a thing as public perception and a good question to ask of a party which is said to be be on the backfoot in the coming elections, is: having initially expressed disapproval of Varun Gandhi’s remarks and its resolve to stick to the model code of conduct, has it missed a trick in so publicly backing religion-based hatred?

Would the BJP have gained in stature if it had acceded to the EC’s censure and shown the nation that it is different from the Congress? Would the BJP’s national acceptance have grown had it signalled that it was against spreading hate and enmity on grounds of religion? Or, is the party, which depends on the lunatic fringe in the saffron brotherhood for sustenance, right in sticking to its “core competency”?

CHURUMURI POLL: Is Nepal row Indian business?

5 January 2009

The controversy over the decision of the Maoist government of Nepal to force priests from Karnataka at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu to resign and appoint Nepalese priests in their place threatens, among other things, to turn into a fullblown bilateral row between India and Nepal.

On the one hand, BJP president Rajnath Singh has written to Nepal’s prime minister Prachanda urging the reinstatement of the South Indian Bhatta priests, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP) has alleged the Maoists were eyeing the priceless jewels in the 17th century temple. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav has “expressed concern” over the sacking of the priests.

Question: Should Indian politicians interfere in the religious affairs of another country? Merely because we are an 80 per cent Hindu nation, does it give India the right to dictate terms to the “Hindu Kingdom” or any other country for that matter? Is Nepal, now the world’s newest republic, within its rights to embark on temple reforms? Or are the “godless” Maoists playing politics by making the temple the centrepiece of Nepalese identity?

Should the government of Manmohan Singh step in?

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.

Is an MP’s loyalty only worth Rs 25 crore in 2008?

16 July 2008

The grisly sight of law-makers being bought out like horses to shore up governments is an old story, as anyone acquainted with the Veerappa Moily tapes from the early 1980s will vouch. But it seems to be fast becoming a national epidemic; a legitimate, almost acceptable, way of saving the government of the day.

In Karnataka, if MLAs are being purchased like insurance policies to help the BJP government of B.S. Yediyurappa on a rainy day; in Delhi, MPs are being rounded up to help the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh in his hour of need next Tuesday.

Everyone, it seems, is naked in the augean stable of Indian politics.

The CPI’s AB Baby, Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan, told a public meeting on Monday that the going rate for MPs was around Rs 25 crore to help save the UPA government during the number count. This was, of course, denied with due self-righteousness by Congress media mavens like Jayanti Natarajan and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

And, as if on auto cue, Amar Singh produced a mandatory slip of paper for the cameras to claim that Mayawati was buying up MPs for Rs 30 crore to achieve the opposite: to bring down the UPA government.

Either way, though, buying and selling is happening.

Mail Today, the tabloid newspaper owned by the India Today group, has a story in today’s issue in which two SP MPs, Akshay Pratap Singh from Pratapgarh (”They asked me to take Rs 25 crore and stand by the Opposition or face the consequences”) and Munawar Hasan from Muzaffarnagar (”Men carrying suitcases were knocking at my [Delhi residence] door”), confirm the worst fears of Bardhan.

Munawar Hasan, a rebel SP MP who has decided to vote against the UPA government, in what looks like a telephone conversation, tells the paper:

What you told me last night has been confirmed by A.B. Bardhan. He is also talking about Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore being exchanged. Have they fixed an amount?

Yes, they must have decided to fix a rate.

Who are these people?

Those who want to save the government. Who else? You think about it yourself, who else would try to save the government?

I want to know who this man was who had met you and what did he tell you?

He said he was a chartered accountant of a company. He said he worked for big companies and his name was Rupesh Kumar. He said he could make all arrangements.

What amount did he quote?

Whatever I told you.

Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore?


What did he look like?

He was good looking, tall and handsome, looked like a big manager of some company.

What did he say?

He said there was no problem. He said he could do it and asked me to trust him.

What could he do?

He could make the money possible.

By itself, the transcript does little to confirm the rumour. But it throws up some questions: Like, is an MP’s loyalty only worth Rs 25 crore when MLAs seem to be extracting a lot more from their suitors in the States? Or is the Left out of touch with reality in their estimation of MPs’ worth too?

Is Rs 25 crore just for casting the vote on D-day or for continued loyalty during the remainder of the UPA regime? Will a party or its moneybags make the mistake of giving cash after the JMM episode singed P.V. Narasimha Rao? Or are the Samajwadi MPs indulging in a bit of bluster to increase their bhaav?

There is an additional bit of irony in all this.

The Indo-US nuclear deal may be the best thing since sliced bread. And Manmohan Singh may be intregrity personified.

But the fact that to save both, criminals have had to be hauled out of jails, criminals have to be promised cabinet portfolios, the sick and ailing have to be brought in on stretchers, that truant film stars have to be dragged away from overseas locations kicking and screaming, and that lawmakers have to be purchased like this, tells its own story.

Or is everything par for the course when it comes to cause and country?

This piece also appears on

What if BJP backs the Congress on the N-deal?

4 July 2008

SHRINIDHI HANDE writes from Madras: It may sound absurd, of course. But I see great benefit to the BJP if it chooses to suppress its political rivalry with the Congress for a few months and support the Manmohan Singh government on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

For months now, the left parties have been holding the UPA government to ransom on the n-deal. The differences between the two has even brought their relationship to break point. The Congress is desperately hunting for prospective allies, like the Samajwadi Party, to save the government.

What we are seeing right now is political opportunism of the obnoxious kind. But…

What if the BJP came to the Congress’ rescue?

After all, there’s no rule that an opposition party shouldn’t support the ruling party. After all, it was the BJP government headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee that had given flight to the nuclear dreams the second time round in Pokhran, a decade ago.

If the BJP can bury their animosity for the Congress, I believe this will help create history.

Here’s how:

1) It would send a strong message to the nation and the world that the BJP will not its political rivalry with the Congress come in the way of “supreme national interest”.

2) Such a move would surely impress lots of voters who may not see the BJP the way the BJP would like to see them. This could be encashed by the party in the next general election.

3) The general elections are less than a year away. So the timing would be just perfect, and the BJP’s magnanimity will be fresh in the minds of voters till that time.

4) The BJP will earn the applause of the electorate for putting national interest above its own interests, for saving the government, and for avoiding a mid-term poll.

5) Backing the Congress will help the BJP clip the wings of its arch rivals, the left parties, who have been contributing nothing to the nation’s progress, but setting hurdles in its path at every opportunity. The BJP’s move will drastically reduce the importance of left parties altogether.

6) Manmohan Singh was never able to think and act on his own, as he always had to bow to the demands of his allies. By saving his government and allowing him to complete his term, the nation and the world will be able to see if he is capable of doing anything bold and effective. If he succeeds, good for him and good for the country. If he fails, good for the BJP.

Do you see any harm in the BJP backing the Congress on the nuclear deal? Does the BJP have the large heart required for this? Does the Congress have the humility to accept such support? Will such a move help restore the trust of the people in politics and politicians?