The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

EVEN IF I WAS IN TWO MINDS..

COLORES INFINITUM

Like it happens every day with them, they were calling to pull attention as I got down the Delhi Metro station. It was the hottest day of May so far, over 45 degree Celsius.

It was routine, calling passengers like this, but the rickshaw-puller on that day pulled my attention. He was a lanky fellow, lean and thin, extremely skinny. His bones were visible on his long and thin body. And he was underage too, certainly below 18.

His rickshaw was nearest to me so it was natural I would go him but after seeing him, I was in two minds.

It was more due to his physical structure than his age. I was in two minds that how would he pull the rickshaw and how would he climb up the patch of the track with a passenger ?

I am anti to underage labour but not the way it is in rulebooks. In fact, underage workers are prevalent and it is a burning truth about India and many societies in other. And it is not wrong. The first preference always goes to the survival instinct. And the primal survival instinct is to survive each passing day by first having food and a place to sleep.

And it is true for societies across the world.  We may debate the age of underage workers. In India, education of children up to the age of 14 years is state responsibility. Children up to 14 years of age cannot be employed, except in 'family enterprise'  and 'entertainment trade'. Children above 14 years can work based on socioeconomic profile and survival needs.

This rickshaw-puller was around 16-17. Yes, like it happens he was not sure of his exact age. And like everyone, he had all the rights to make ends meet of his life. The family support for education goes up to at least 20-22 years of age but it is empty sociological theory for many. Education is still a distant dream, an ignored entity in the list of priorities of millions.

They know only one thing - somehow to survive the day - while thinking for the next. And it is true in societies across the world.

The rickshaw-pullers, originally from the hinterland India but toiling in big and metro cities, are a prime example of this social order, an order that is complex and multi-layered.

And like everyone in the society, this rickshaw-puller, too, had every right to survive the life, to meet the basic needs of the day and to think of the day coming next. There are many including me who feel heat pangs even if the window is of 10 minutes while the people like this rickshaw-puller earn their livelihood under the open sky, be it in the scorching heat of May or June or in the rainy days of Monsoon.

I was in two minds that how would this extremely lanky fellow would pull his rickshaw along with me. I was also thinking that I had no right to deny him his livelihood because if it was not me, he would carry someone else to earn his living.

The two minutes of dilemma gave way to saying yes to the rickshaw-puller. I was thinking he would not be able to pull the rickshaw easily and I would get down wherever required, i.e., on the upslope of the track. Also, as is the case with me, I was thinking simultaneously about my write-ups while taking the rickshaw-ride to my workplace. Public transport is my favourite for the reason that it provides me with time and ideas to think further about my written work.

While lost in my thoughts and looking all around, I asked the rickshaw-puller if he could pull me and if he went to the school.

He confidently said yes but what he said on my second question I could not understand. His language was not totally comprehensible but I could grasp from his words that he was around 16-17  years old and driving rickshaw at this age was his compulsion.

Soon he proved his words - about pulling the rickshaw. His speed was even faster than many well able-bodied ones. He was pulling rickshaw efficiently and easily. And he carried me to my destination in less than usual time.

I felt relieved  - on the fact that he pulled rickshaw like any other rickshaw-puller, like any other able-bodied person. He did not show the problems I was thinking about. I was thinking to offer him some extra money but why I didn't offer him I could not say.

But after leaving his rickshaw, I was feeling good that, somehow, even if I was in two minds, I took the right decision and didn't deny a person the chance to add to his share of daily earning.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Monday, 25 May 2015

TALKING POINTS ON ONE YEAR OF MODI GOVERNMENT

Given the state of political affairs and style of politics in the country, it is to continue. The Modi government will says it has done everything right and is well on the day to make an India it promised and its opponents will deny every such claim - on every pointer - in every sector - on each promise. After all, we don't talk of and expect ethics and substance in politics anymore.

Narendra Modi then and now, when he took over on May 26, 2014 and what the indices say now, when Modi is completing his maiden year in the office. The usual flavour of the season will be made of the following elements:

-- Major schemes of the Modi government - well, by any count, they are around 20, and could be even more - the most important part of the pro-people and anti-people debate

-- Land acquisition in the first year - an important aspect of the pro-farmer and anti-farmer debate - high on agenda after the land bill ordinance by the government

-- WPI and CPI trends - the monthly trends and the yearly performance - in May 2014 and now - will include debates on inflation, price rise and the state of economy

-- Riots in one year - yearly data of riots  - accordingly, religious controversies during Modi's first year in prime-ministerial office

-- Avoidable statements in one year - many by the BJP and the NDA leaders in last one year - surely a point where the government needs to work - the critics are expected to exploit the mileage

-- Black money measures - it was a big election promise and campaigning point for Narendra Modi and though the government has not been able to bring the stash back home so far, it does have cleared a law to regulate the menace

-- Cabinet size trend - maximum governance minimum government - size of Manmohan's cabinet - Modi's promise - and his cabinet now

-- Foreign policy - with a prime minister circling the world with 18 foreign tours in his first year - a way to look ahead based on the record so far - India's image does have improved - and so are the attacks of Modi's political opponents

-- How he dealt with Pakistan - he first invited SAARC leaders including Nawaj Sharif for his inauguration - then he cancelled India-Pakistan talks - it's an year of no ups and more downs in India-Pakistan ties

-- GDP in 2013-14 and GDP in 2014-15 - with contribution of each sector   

-- Sensex and Nifty then and now - the wealth created - the confidence in Indian economy

-- IIP trends - IIP of May 2014 Vs IIP now - recovery Vs status quo Vs fall

-- Rupee then and now - maintaining a downward trend these days - though is not attracting the intense debate

-- FDI-FII in the first year - what were the figures when Modi took over there level now

-- Foreign Reserve then and now - how much has it grown in an year since May 2014

-- Reforms in one year - reforms stuck in the last one year - Indian economy and therefore Indian society cannot advance unless its policymaking is reformed - an important facet is about the bills passed and stuck in the Parliament

-- Disinvestment then and now - part of the reform process - but not much on the front in spite of claims

-- What Varanasi got in Modi's maiden year - it is not just people in Modi's parliamentary constituency but even analysts and political opponents are keenly watching the concerned developments

So, in Modi's first year in the PMO, that he is completing tomorrow, as expected, there is much to talk about. And all of it has begun. And we are expected to hear more of them in coming days.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

AFTER ALL, FIRST NON-CONGRESS GOVERNMENT WITH MAJORITY IS COMPLETING ITS FIRST YEAR..

Tomorrow, the Narendra Modi government, the first non-Congress government with majority, is completing one year in office.

Given the momentous nature of the event, the Modi government, the Bhartiya Janata Party and other parties of the National Democratic Alliance are celebrating the feet with élan.

Narendra Modi is addressing rallies. Arun Jaitley is issuing statements. MPs are visiting and are to visit constituencies and cities to spread the word about achievements of the government. Rallies, exhibitions and pressers are being organized and several events are to be held. The official version of rallies are to be from May 26 to 31.

And as expected, the political opposition is going all out to oppose the government, showing it in a negative light of failures, empty promises and plain rhetoric.

Given the state of political affairs and style of politics in the country, it is to continue.

The Modi government will says it has done everything right and is well on the day to make an India it has promised and its opponents will deny every such claim.

After all, we don't talk of and expect ethics and substance in the politics of the day anymore.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/ 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

LG VS CM: CRISIS DEEPENS FURTHER

The crisis further deepens.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is quoting senior lawyers and constitutional experts K. K. Venugopal and Gopal Subramaniam on Ministry of Home Affairs's (MHA) gazette notification calling it an unconstitutional act by the Government of India.  

Former solicitor general of India is of the view that Kejriwal and his cabinet has legitimate rights to appoints 'civil servants' and functionaries for their own government, against the MHA notification that makes it the exclusive domain of the Lieutenant-Governor. "Such an exercise may be assailed in a court of law as a fraud on the Constitution or a colourable exercise of authority...It singularly lacks propriety when the President is still seized with the question. It is illegal and unconstitutional; and presumably, it has been issued without the requisite presidential approval"  - the Times of India quoted him saying.

His views were echoed by senior lawyer K. K. Venugopal. He, too, termed the MHA notification unconstitutional and 'void'. He backed Arvind Kejriwal on Shakuntala Gamlin's appointment.

The latest controversy in 'chief minister Vs lieutenant-governor' story began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary of Delhi as Delhi's K. K. Sharma was on a personal leave for 10 days.

Gamlin wrote to the L-G that the Delhi government was sitting on the appointment even if she completed all requirements and norms. She even figured in the list sent to the L-G by the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Reasons best known to Kejriwal, though he officially said that he didn't like Gamlin as she was backing corporate interests and he even wanted to remove her from the office of the power secretary, made the Delhi government sat on the  file for three days before her appointment by the L-G.

The row that began with Shakuntala Gamlin's appointment saw heads of other civil services officials roll in an ugly public display. Subsequently, officers held a meeting. Both, the Delhi CM and the Delhi L-G met the President separately. Kejriwal tried to drag in the Union government. Though Narendra Modi has not, so far, spoken on the issue, even if Kejriwal has blamed his government for 'running Delhi by proxy', his Home Ministry under Rajnath Singh, has issued a notification backing the L-G.

The MHA notification says the power to appoint the civil servants rests with the L-G and consulting the CM depends on the L-G's discretion. The notification also says the Anti-corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government cannot take cognizance of offences committed by the central government employees.


And Kejriwal is not going to take it. In fact, the notification has given him another opportunity to squeeze in the political mileage. The party met today and has called a special session of the Delhi assembly on May 26 and 27 to further discuss the notification.

So far, we have not heard a written reply by the President. Constitutional experts are divided over the issue. Those consulted by the AAP support the party's stand. There are others including Subhash Kashyap who support the stand taken by the L-G.

The MHA notification has further exacerbated the issue. And it is expected to figure prominently in the public dialogue organized tomorrow at Connaught Place on completion of 100 days of Kejriwal government in Delhi.

The row, effectively, has been converted into a political slugfest now.

Kejriwal terms the notification a 'nervous' move by the Union government. Manish Sisodia is alleging a section of officers behind it who were behind the 'transfer-posting' industry that the AAP government shut down. The AAP leaders and spokespersons are seeing 'collusion' behind the latest row. They are still trying to make it 'Modi Vs Kejriwal'. They are asking the government the constitutional provisions that allow sweeping powers to the L-G in the case.

On his part, Najeeb Jung has not spoken much, apart from issuing written missives. Rajnath Singh said Kejriwal and Jung should sit together and resolve the issue. Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders have blamed the AAP for high handedness, constitutional impropriety and trying to suppress the laws that govern Delhi.

So, what does the Constitution of India and related laws say?

It is to be seen which third party response the AAP would accept - the President's or the court's. Let's see if the President comes up with a written response on the whole issue and let's see if that is acceptable to the parties involved, now that there central government is also involved.

Or is it heading to the legal opinion of the court as the last resort?  

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 23 May 2015

JAYALALITHAA AGAIN: IT WAS MATTER OF ‘WHEN’ ONLY

It was matter of ‘when’ only and it came today.

J. Jayalalithaa became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu again. And she is stronger this time, than her absolute victory in 2011 assembly polls and an even performance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2011, she won 150 out of 234 assembly seats. DMDK was a distant second with 29 sears. DMK could win just 23 seats. In 2014 LS polls, extending the winning streak of 2011, her party AIADMK won 37 of 39 seats.

Yes, the disproportionate assets case that has derailed her juggernaut has still life if it is pursued in the Supreme Court but the Karnataka government and her political opponents are yet to make up their minds in spite of debating the matter in the media.

Probably she took her time, from May 11, the day of her acquittal by the Karnataka High Court, to further handle such issues before taking the reins of the state again, for the fifth time. Her first public appearance came only yesterday when she met the Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah to stake claims again.

She was convicted by a Bangalore court last September in a DA case and was imprisoned for four years and Rs. 100 crore fine. It led to her disqualification till the decision on her appeal by the Karnataka High Court. The case had to be shifted out of Tamil Nadu and the decision had come after 18 years.

Like September 2001, when Jayalalithaa was barred from holding the chief-ministerial post after she was found guilty in cases including the TANSI land deal, her trusted aide and the current Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam was made the chief minister again, even if ‘temporarily’. On both occasions, he did not enter the chief minister’s office.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted her on her swearing-in. He was there in 2011 as the Gujarat’s chief minister when she took the office for the fourth time. The PMO Twitter handle tweeted – “PM @narendramodi congratulates Jayalalithaa ji on taking oath as CM of Tamil Nadu and conveys his best wishes to her & her team.”

He had also congratulated her on her acquittal from the Karnataka HC in the DA case. A Union Minister of the BJP was present there today. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu sent his wishes. Clearly, Jayalalithaa knows how imperative she is for the Centre for floor management exercise of the Indian Parliament where the BJP is in underwhelming minority in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha. In turn, a friendly tie with a strong prime minister and majority Union Government can be very helpful, especially when elections are just a year away.

It will be interesting to see the further political developments in the state where elections are less than a year away. ‘Amma’ (mother, as she if fondly called) is back after her exoneration from a higher court and she will exploit both the gains now – the ‘pluses’ of exoneration that come after her ‘victimization’ in the DA case.  

Tamil Nadu’s ‘who’s who’ including Rajinikanth, Sharat Kumar, N. Srinivasan and A. C. Muthaiah were present during the grand oath-taking ceremony in the Centenary Auditorium of Madras University. Jaya’s fans were shouting slogans and were looking to get a glimpse of their leader. Giant screens at different places were broadcasting the event live.

The oath-ceremony today should be seen from the political perspective of a state assembly election that is to be held around April 2916. And therefore, it was all in the grand style of the South Indian politics – especially of Tamil Nadu.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Friday, 22 May 2015

MHA NOTIFICATION ON DELHI: IT MAY EXACERBATE THE SITUATION EVEN MORE

As was being expected last evening, the Centre came with a notification backing the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung in the latest episode of the war between him and the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The notification, dated May 21, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, to which the Delhi L-G reports, said the L-G was right in exercising his powers and he did not violate the Constitutional norms.

The gazette notification by the MHA says, “It is clear that the National Capital Territory of Delhi does not have its own State Public Services. Thus ‘Services’ will fall within this category.”

The notification further says, “Subject to his control and further orders, the Lieutenant-Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, shall in respect of matters connected with ‘Public Order’, ‘Police’, ‘Land’ and ‘Services’ as stated hereinabove, exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the Central Government, to the extent delegated to him from time to time by the President.”

And the notification says it is the discretion of the L-G to consult the CM ‘in regard to the matter of Services’. In other words, if he doesn’t feel it fit to consult the CM in case of any bureaucratic appointment, the CM cannot question him.

The notification, therefore, absolves the Delhi L-G in the ongoing row and puts the onus of the whole controversy on the Delhi Government.

Obviously, Kejriwal is not going to accept it.

So, on a day, when the Centre backed the L-G and MHA’s notification spoke on the L-G’s behalf, Kejriwal targeted the Modi government on the whole issue, alleging it of running Delhi by proxy. He tweeted, “BJP first lost Del elections. Today's notification shows BJP's nervousness abt our anti-corruption efforts. BJP again lost today”.  

He equaled Modi’s PMO with London and Najeeb Jung as the Viceroy who was taking orders from the PMO to run Delhi. Clearly, apart from reacting to the step taken by the Centre, it was also yet another attempt to convert this whole episode into a ‘Modi Vs Kejriwal’ fight. Now, with a changed and mainstreamed Kejriwal, that is not going to happen. Majority of those who voted for him take his words with ‘fistfuls of salt’ now. And within 100 days only.

And it also tells us the war (or the latest letter war) is not over yet. Those who know Kejriwal (and obviously everyone knows him now), the MHA notification may even exacerbate it.

After all, apart from hitting him on the core issue, it also says that the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Government, an important unit in the ‘Kejriwal’ scheme of things, cannot ‘take cognizance of offences under against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central Government’.

Related posts:

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 21 May 2015

DELHI: WE ALL ARE FEELING 'OBFUSCATED' BY THIS VITIATING ATMOSPHERE

We all are feeling 'obfuscated' by this vitiating atmosphere. Some of us had faintly, vaguely hoped that they would hesitate in taking the matter further after meeting Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India.

Yes, we had no way to know what transpired in two meetings on May 19, even if Manish Sisodia, the deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, expressed satisfaction and called a meeting of all secretaries last morning.

But we hoped the situation would not be so flared up and tense yesterday.

But the 'yesterday' in the political logbook of Delhi saw an even bitter display of the hostility between two topmost functionaries - the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, the Constitutional representative of the Union Government, in this case the National Democratic Alliance's government led by Narendra Modi of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) - and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who take reins of the city-state for the second time this February.

Though we did not hear much about the proposed meeting of Delhi secretaries that Manish Sisodia had called after meeting the President, Delhi saw a lengthy meeting of IAS officers last evening. Reportedly, the IAS officers of AGMUT cadre are displeased with the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal's government and had called the meeting to deliberate over the resultant issues.

But first about Delhi L-G Vs Delhi CM.

After meeting the President, Kejriwal shot a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi blaming the Union Government of trying to run Delhi through the Delhi L-G.

In response, Jung, furthering the letter war and taking it to an even more bitter level, cancelled all the appointments by the Delhi government in the past four days. In a letter sent to Kejriwal, Jung alleged the government of 'obfuscating' the atmosphere in Delhi by interpreting the Constitution in Kejriwal's own way, and he blamed it was in violation of the norms.

The battle got worsened, on a day we hoped to get some sort of restraint. Jung cancelled all bureaucratic appointments where he was not consulted. On the other hand, Kejriwal has ordered his officials to not consult the L-G in Delhi government's matters.

Kejriwal hit back on L-G's letter asking him under what provisions of Indian Constitution, Delhi Act and Transaction of Business Rules in the context empowered him to do so.

And in the line of fire are the officials the Civil Services.

The Delhi L-G is asking them to not obey the Delhi CM and the Delhi CM is asking them to not follow the orders of the Delhi L-G. And they don't know whom to follow. IAS officers of Delhi termed the treatment being meted out to them in words like 'harassment, character assassination and public humiliation' in the meeting.

What else can we say when Manish Sisodia openly says that they were operating a 'transfer-posting' industry in Delhi. We are not left with any options but to think so when office of a secretary is sealed by the Delhi Government for following orders of the L-G. We don't know if Shakuntala Gamlin is pro-corporate but Arvind Kejriwal criticises her publicly. Delhi Government alleged she was acting for a corporate house and it wanted to remove her from power secretary post, yet she figured in Manish Sisodia's list sent to the L-G to shortlist the acting chief secretary. With objectionable points like this, what else can we think?

The follow up of the controversy may throw two consequences. IAS officers of Delhi may take a tough stand and openly rebel. Or the Delhi government may come up with the proposal to withdraw the completely IAS cadre from service under it.

Union Government, so far, has not reacted on affairs in Delhi. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has advised L-G and CM to sit together and resolve the deadlock. But, the Centre discussed the issue with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi yesterday. Also,  the state unite of the party is blaming the AAP for Constitutional crisis in Delhi. Vijender Gupta met the President today to demand his intervention in the matter.

We hoped yesterday would be a day of restraint after meetings with the President. That didn't happen. We now hope the President would release a response in the matter to clarify the Constitutional position in Delhi as the concerned parties decided not to follow his verbal advice.

But we have to say its effectiveness would be doubtful if it comes out to be anti-AAP response. Kejriwal and his government may continue with the stand in that case. Court would be then the final place then to resolve the crisis.

Delhi has not seen such situation before - tension between the Delhi L-G and the Delhi CM so scaled up.

Due to unique nature of Delhi, being a city-state and the national capital of India, it is governed by different set of laws than other Union Territories including Pondicherry. The different set of laws derive from the Indian Constitution, different provisions of the GNCTD Act and the Transaction of Business rules and the Union Government has a serious stake in running it.

And that it does through its representative, the Lieutenant-Governor. In fact, many important administrative aspects of Delhi, i.e., law and order, security and lands are with the Union Government. Delhi Police and Delhi Development Authority are not under the Delhi CM. All three municipal corporations of Delhi are ruled by the BJP.

Delhi's ruling politicians and bureaucrats, so far, have found a mid-way to get out of the situation arising out of this segregation of responsibilities - of two power centres in the Capital. Even Tejendra Khanna was not a titular head even if Congress had governments, both in Delhi and at Union level.

Kejriwal wants to change that. He wants supremacy of his elected government. He wants Delhi Police under his control. He wants Delhi to be recognized as full state. During his previous term of 49 days, he even sat on a protest for it.

And the recent episode of the controversy with the Delhi L-G has its origin in his such aspirations. The controversy that began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin will see its conclusion in a court if the warring parties do not listen to the President.

That may be a blessing in disguise because laws governing Delhi presents a shady, grey area that has divided even the Constitutional experts. The court ruling in that case would be the final word then.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

WHO IS MORE POWERFUL - DELHI L-G OR DELHI CM?

This one is a rarely seen event, even in Indian politics. We regularly political ups and downs. But we have not seen so, at least, in the recent political history of India.

Hopefully, now, with President Pranab Mukherjee's advice in, attitudinal airs will see some reversal from tomorrow. Yesterday, they both, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, met separately the President.

Even if Manish Sisodia called it a good meeting with the President and called the meeting of the Delhi secretaries next morning, only time would tell what transpired in the meeting.

The Aam Aadmi Party alleges that the L-G cannot dictate the elected government of Arvind Kejriwal in choosing its own secretaries. The party has gone ahead in its offensive and has ordered the city-state officials to not follow the L-G orders without consulting the Delhi government.

L-G says he cannot tolerate such orders and whatever he did was within Constitutional limits and to save Delhi from a Constitutional crisis after he found the government was sitting on the file of acting chief secretary appointment.

What followed after it in this round was a bitter battle then. And it is still ongoing.

The Delhi power struggle is on - to decide who is more powerful - the Delhi L-G or the Delhi CM?

The AAP finds the minds of Rajeev Dhawan and Indira Jaising the 'best ones' in interpreting the Constitution of India because they were consulted by the AAP. The party is quoting their 'favourable views' in the matter everywhere. It didn't find any worth in 'opposing' interpretations. I heard on a TV channel that Rajeev Dhawan had represented the AAP leader Ashutosh in past.

Dhawan said in his letter, "The Chief Minister has a perfect right to a Chief Secretary of his choice. I am firmly of the opinion that this crisis has been created entirely by the LG."

Supporting Kejriwal, India Jaising said, "There is no provision  granting the LG the power to act at his own discretion in the matter of appointment of the Chief Secretary."

But the contrary views are also many.

According to the Economic Times, "In the nasty "follow the Constitution" face-off between Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung, the odds are stacked against the chief minister due to the unique administrative character of Delhi."

The article quotes S. K. Sharma who served as the chief secretary for four chief ministers, saying, "There has never been such a fight. Even when CMs did not get along with the Centre, they found a way to get work done. In Delhi, L-G is more powerful."

The article further quotes a Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap. He says, "The Union Territory is administered by L-G. The Council of ministers is to aid and advise him. In case of service matters, it is the L-G's call. In such a matter the CM should go to L-G and sort out these matters."

Another article on the Firstpost says, "The law under which Delhi was converted into a state is the main villain of the piece, not Jung. So, while Kejriwal is right in principle to demand the right to appoint his own bureaucrats, the constitution gives Jung the effective power in many areas. Unlike the central government and other states, where the elected government is the real power and the President or Governors mere titular heads who are bound by the advice of the council of ministers, in Delhi the Lt Governor (LG) is also the executive authority in many domains."

So, like many, even the political analysts and Constitutional experts are divided on it.

Let's hope the matter will not go to the courts after the Presidential intervention yesterday. But, then, we can only hope so.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

L-G VS CM: HOPE, ATTITUDINAL AIRS WILL SEE SOME REVERSAL FROM TOMORROW

This one is a rarely seen spectacle, at least in the recent political history of India.

Hopefully, now, with the President's advice in, attitudinal airs will see some reversal from tomorrow. They both met him today. Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung's meeting with the President was followed by  Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

President Pranab Mukherjee first met the Delhi L-G. This meeting was a bit longer than the meeting with Delhi the Delhi CM. We don't know what transpired there as the Delhi L-G didn't speak on it. And we cannot expect an statement  from the President in the matter.

And like expected, we know the AAP side of the way the meeting with the President went. Manish Sisodia, the deputy Chief Minister of Delh and trusted Kejriwal aide, came out to address the media after the meeting. He expressed satisfaction over the talks. And soon, we came to know that he had called a meeting of all Delhi secretaries tomorrow at 10 AM. He also advised them to read the rulebook before the meeting.

Manish Sisodia's words told us the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gained positives from this meeting. Neutrally, and objectively, we don't know what transpired there.

But we don't need to wait longer to know that. It will, hopefully, reflect in the responses.

And we expect the latest round of tug-of-war between L-G and CM, that scaled up in a full blown Constitutional crisis, will see moderate stands tomorrow and will gradually tapered out.

The controversy, this time, began with L-G appointing Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary of Delhi. But Kejriwal was not in her favour.

And in this round of the war between the Delhi L-G and Delhi CM, officers of the Civil Services became the goalposts to settle scores.

Kejriwal alleges Shakuntala Gamlin is anti-people as she favours power distribution companies of the city-state. Yet she figured on the list sent by Manish Sisodia to the Delhi L-G to finalize the name of the acting chief secretary in absence of K. K. Sharma who was on a personal leave.

Kejriwal went open about her, criticising her and told every file during her temporary tenure would go through him so that he could personally look for any deviations.

Shakuntala, who has more or less a non-controversial tenure so far, wrote to the L-G on badmouthing about her.

Though the government accepted her appointment by the L-G, it removed Anindo Majumdar, Principal Secretary (Services) for issuing orders of Gamlin's appointment. The L-G objected to it and rejected the decision by the Delhi government. In response, the officer, who has an honest image, was issued notice and his was office was sealed.

Later, the Delhi government replaced him with Rajendra Kumar, a secretary to the CM, yesterday, His appointment was also declared void by the L-G hours after. After it, without consulting the L-G, Arvind Kejriwal today appointed Arvind Ray as the Principal Secretary (General Administration) replacing Rajendra Kumar.

Kejriwal has also ordered the Delhi government officials to not obey the L-G orders without consulting him and other Delhi ministers. The L-G met with the Home Minister on this call to clear the position. He said such orders could not be tolerated.

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/

Monday, 18 May 2015

KEJRIWAL IS DOING MANY THINGS. KEJRIWAL IS NOT DOING ANYTHING.

Arvind Kejriwal’s government is doing many things.

Arvind Kejriwal’s government is not doing anything.

Both perspectives have their proponents and opponents. And that is ironical about it.

We did not hear the ‘rush to reform’ the system by the Aam Aadmi Party government like it was the last time. Apart from some populist measures of offering subsidies on electricity and water tariffs, the AAP government has done nothing significant. And it is going to complete 100 days in office on May 24.

During the campaigning phase, Arvind Kejriwal could easily be seen apologizing for deserting Delhi in just 49 days. And at the same time, he could be seen trying to sell the goodwill of those 49 days.

And after results, he found those 49 days a ‘better than thought’ proposition. We can find a link even on the AAP website talking achievements of the 49 days rule.

Yes, it is true the 49 days rule played a major role in better than expected poll outcome for the AAP. But the ‘better than expected’ results also tell that it was not an entirely won battle.

Because vote share of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) more or less remained the same.

And almost entire vote share of Congress went to the AAP. The BJP could not win it or a share of it, owing to its lackluster show during the President’s rule in Delhi through the Lieutenant-Governor.

That is not going to happen again. And there are reasons for it.

The AAP’s confrontationist approach figures majorly among that. Right from its inception, the AAP has been engaged in a sort of confrontationist politics. The AAP leaders kept on issuing statements against the Congress leaders even if its first government (the government of 49 days) was in office with Congress’s support.

They continue to do so, targeting everyone who is non-AAP politically (and administratively).

The AAP tried to create an atmosphere where it looked engaged in an anti-establishment confrontational politics even if it was taking or trying to take Congress’s support. It successfully created veil of a populist pro-common men approach.

And it followed some of it during its first, now hallowed 49 days of government, though, with errors.

Sample this – Arvind Kejriwal decided to end the VVIP culture in Delhi. He said he would not take the chief minister’s bungalow and other arrangements. His MLAs or he himself contradicted this stand. He was hooted on social media for accepting a VIP accommodation. It forced him to make U-turn on it. A larger than life Kejriwal, present on banners, posters and hoardings, on every nook and corner of Delhi, appealed Delhiites, from common men to auto drivers, to film corrupt officials on hidden cameras. His government took action against such officials. He offered subsidies for electricity and water for the months left in the year. To prove his political activism, he offered to give subsidies to them who had not paid their electricity bills on his request, before he became the CM. He also filed case against a prominent corporate house alleging corruption in fixing petroleum prices. And he reasoned his resignation behind a similar issue – on Jan Lokpal. He alleged the present political class of the time was not supporting his cause.

But after the humiliation of the Lok Sabha polls where his party created a record of ‘forfeitures’, he had to come back to Delhi again. He tried to form the government there, again with Congress’s support, if we go by the reports. Like this option had to fail, and it failed. All this while, he was preparing for the next Delhi assembly polls, well in advance. All this while, he maintained a confrontationist attitude, visible to us, enveloping it in his apology for deserting Delhi in just 49 days.

And the residents of Delhi, disappointed with the BJP in Delhi and fed-up of Congress, believed in him, in his apology and in his confrontationist approach, giving him 67 out of 70 assembly seats.

That was it. 

Kejriwal’s government is completing 100 days this time and there is nothing to talk about.

The tenure that has come after many promises is looking more like a naturalization process and the AAP has been co-opted by the Indian politics of the day, which they talked of changing when they began. 

He and his partymen accepted VVIP accommodations and made no fuss about it. They even needed a separate VVIP corridor during events. Corruption is as usual in Delhi. Kejriwal’s full-time government has not brought any change to that. At least we are yet to feel it. He has given electricity and water subsidies but even people are not talking about it anymore. He made larger than life promises to win Delhi but then felt it would be enough if he could deliver even 40%/50% of that.

After taking the reins for the second time, with a full-time government, he is making news, but mostly due to negative reasons. His anti-establishment attitude, something that was behind his ‘anarchist’ proclamation, is now looking rubbish, stale, so routine and selfish.

He is completing 100 days of governance and he has nothing else to talk but electricity and water subsidies. And that too sounds ineffective now. The cruel Delhi summers are already witnessing protests over water and electricity shortage.

He promised Delhiites full statehood and many projects for which lands were needed. Now, everyone knows Centre cannot give full statehood to Delhi, cannot give the Delhi Police under the Delhi government and cannot leave land to the state government in a state that is also the National Capital of India. Even Sheila Dikshit, Kejriwal’s predecessor, could not achieve full statehood or could not get the Delhi Police under her control even if she had three full terms in office and even if Congress led the Union Government from 2004 to 2014.

Yes, Delhi is a half state and is also the most important Indian city where people of national and international importance reside. It had offices and institutions that go beyond the Delhi CM and need to be looked after by the Central government. 

And Delhi has to be governed like that. The confrontationist approach will not work here. The BJP government at Union level, with the BJP being the main opposition in Delhi makes matters in Delhi even worse.

Kejriwal needed an approach of reconciliation and needed to work with the Union Government for the development of Delhi. He needs land that is under the BJP government. He needs cooperation of the Delhi Police that is under the BJP led Ministry of Home Affairs. Full statehood demand was not a practical one. Delhi being the half state and the seat of the Government of India, he needs assistance from the Central government. For, for his own political career, he needed to consolidate the Delhi gains first. 

Instead, he has chosen confrontation. And he is not sparing even his own officials and media here.

And a credibility crisis for him has made his every act look like a sham - an atmosphere of credibility that had given him the advantage earlier (including this election).

He first stage-managed and then got Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, the two senior-most members, who along-with him had formed the party and weaved the Anna Hazare led anti-corruption movement of 2011, kicked out. The AAP of the day is clearly a one-man show which doesn’t go beyond Arvind Kejriwal (and will not go beyond Delhi if something is not done).

Then he adopted silence after a farmer’s suicide at his rally that was organized to launch the AAP protests against the NDA’s land acquisition bill. His reaction came very late. The incident fizzled out the AAP protests against land acquisition.

In both incidents, it was clearly visible that he was not doing pro-people politics. He was not setting any precedent. Instead, he was doing pure politics, and going even beyond ‘them’. Whether it was in him or whether it came upon him is not what matters. What matters is that he is sounding more and more incredulous and routine now.

And the latest episode of the appointment of acting chief secretary of Delhi, too, is being seen in this context.

Delhi’s chief secretary K. K. Sharma is on leave for 10 days and the Delhi government needs to appoint someone as the acting chief secretary in his absence. There are valid questions over rights of the Delhi L-G and the Delhi CM on the issue and the unprecedented alertness shown by the Delhi L-G.

But Kejriwal is not finding support here. And when writing so, it means public support. He is not getting public support on any of the vital issues in his manifesto – full statehood to Delhi, Delhi Police under his control or the issue of Delhi land for new hospitals and educational institutions.

This time, he has, so far, not launched any public agitation, like he had launched the one against the Delhi Police during his government of 49 days. The one where he tried backfired due to his ill management and a farmer’s suicide. And in spite of a war of letters, he is not going to launch the next even the Union Government is imposing itself on Delhi in case of the acting chief secretary issue.

He needs a practical approach here but then he himself has closed the doors. 

The L-G will say yes. The CM will say no. And 10 days will pass. Only Kejriwal and his men know why they are bad-naming and badmouthing about Shakuntla Gamlin who the Delhi L-G has appointed while K. K. Sharma is away. Even if his Government is not agreed to it, her appointment is according to the choices of names by the Delhi Government. And she is not alone. The war is engulfing others. The Delhi civil services officers are facing heat in this war in the war between the Delhi L-G and the Delhi CM. Removal of the official who issued appointment order for Shakuntala Gamlin has already been rejected by the Delhi L-G and it is to be seen how the Delhi government reacts next. 

Irrespective of the question of a Constitutional Crisis, the matter will further harm Kejriwal’s chances in Delhi and beyond. His government is doing petty politics over a woman official and is levelling allegations without proof. If she is corrupt, as is being said (by people like Arvind Kejriwal), why is she still there?

Kejriwal thinks he is safe for five years now. But he has to face a government at the Union level that is of the main political opposition in Delhi. And he has to face an aggressive Rahul Gandhi. He got almost votes of Congress this time but that will not happen in the next polls.

And to make matters worse for him, he will be facing anti-incumbency (huge, as he has promised Delhi many things that he cannot give) and a deteriorated credibility base.

He has proven he is not the kind the politician Delhiites had thought of and voted for. He is same, from the lot. He has proven he is not different.

The irony is Arvind Kejriwal thinks his government is doing many things.

The irony is Arvind Kejriwal has failed, so far, to do anything for Delhi.

The irony is he has started attracting negative public sentiments. 

And the irony of all ironies is – his mainstreaming is complete even if he has no means to further his political career. He thinks Delhi voters will forget his misdeeds in five years – when the next elections come. He thinks such things will not go beyond Delhi. And if he thinks so, he is committing the same mistake as his political brethren did. He has seen what happened to the Congress across the country. He has seen what happened to the BJP in just nine months in Delhi. And he has seen his own party’s humiliation in the Lok Sabha polls last year. 

Yes, the full-time politician in him is out there and with force but even he is not advising him the right course. 

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/