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Congress Undemocratic Ideology - 2
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> Bajaj slams govt for slow reforms

- NDTV Correspondent

Friday, June 16, 2006 (New Delhi):

A day after being elected to the Rajya Sabha, industrialist Rahul Bajaj has hit out at the government for its "slow economic reforms programme".

Speaking to NDTV, Bajaj said the government is bowing to Left pressure a bit too much.

He said if the government can't push ahead the reforms agenda, it should perhaps think of holding mid-term polls.

"If I were the PM or the Congress President, I would be constantly wondering when to hold the Parliamentary elections. If I don't do so, then I am not doing my job right," he said.

Bajaj's candidature for the Rajya Sabha had created a rift between the Congress and the NCP.
Couldn't find any thread on the current UPA govt. So posting in this thread...

Carry on Doctor, but not this way

If the UPA, led by Manmohan Singh, cannot function as it should, the Prime Minister has two options before him: either he should state his agenda and deliver the goods or he should step down and let someone else deal with the outside force of 60.

The Congress Party has two options as well: either run India, energise it with the opportunities and vitality it deserves, or sit in the Opposition. This present wishy-washy governance is corrosive in this day and age. We can all see the Left trying desperately to work an alliance with some UPA partners, Mulayam Singh, Chandrababu Naidu and other such players who are masters at the political jig rather than good governance, and who will do anything to sit in the treasury benches for however short a while.

The Congress should encourage this predictable and rather silly political game. They should sit in the Opposition, gear the party at the grassroots, and when the possible, motley coalition that seems to be on the cards disintegrates some months into their tenure, force an election. They may well score 200 plus. If they carry on this way, diluting themselves and losing their self-respect and, therefore, the respect of the public, they could well descend to double digits.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Is Congress giving India's wealth to Islamists?</b>

<b>India to give $2.2 million aid to Palestinians  </b>

Urdu Times(News): India is to give 2.2 million dollars worth of aid to the Palestinians, officials said Saturday. The aid would mostly be in the form of medicines and medical supplies, the foreign ministry said.

"The government of India has decided to give humanitarian assistance worth rupees 100 million (2.2 million dollars) to the Palestinian people," a ministry statement said.

"India is seriously concerned at the hardships and sufferings of the Palestinian people as a result of the evolving situation in Gaza and the West Bank."

The announcement came as the United Nations warned that the Palestine region was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis because of cuts in aid after the election of the Hamas government in January.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Singh’s report card is dismal </b>- By Satish Chandra
As it approaches the midway point of its term in office, a holistic assessment of the UPA government’s performance is called for on security related issues including foreign policy, insurgency management, security reform, governance and management of the economy.

Indian foreign policy has traditionally, with few aberrations, been uncompromising in ensuring the country’s independence of action. This time-tested approach has been jettisoned by the UPA government. India has been reduced to a client state of the US as evidenced by its unwarranted vote against Iran at the IAEA, its "soft" policy towards Pakistan, its disinterest in multipolarity, the trilateral Sino-Russian-Indian dialogue process or the SCO (India alone will be represented at the SCO summit meeting at less than head of state or head of government level), its postponement of the Agni III test etc. This turnabout has already cost us dear. It has severely damaged our ties with Iran, aroused China’s suspicions, adversely affected our standing in the international community, hurt sentiment in the Islamic world, undermined our strategic deterrent, and above all, divided the country. India’s autonomy of action will be further eroded once the nuclear deal goes into effect due to India’s enhanced dependency on US nuclear fuel, materials and technology and to the ensuing continuous US monitoring of India’s actions on the entire range of nuclear related issues.

The UPA government’s pusillanimity in dealings with neighbours has undermined national security. Though Bangladesh and Pakistan have been involved with terrorist activities directed against India, government has not taken any punitive action against them, thereby encouraging them to continue to do their worst against us. In Sri Lanka, scarred by our IPKF experience, we have played the role of a mere spectator allowing the Sri Lankan-LTTE peace talks to break down. Thus a fresh bout of fighting on the island with all its negative consequences is on the cards. An influx of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees is already underway. In Nepal, instead of boldly aligning ourselves with the democratic forces, we sought to prop up an unpopular monarch, thereby becoming suspect in the eyes of the former which constitute the wave of the future.

Internal security management has been below par. This is ironic, as some of our self-anointed strategic pundits had hailed the appointment of the present NSA as a panacea for our internal security problems which, they made out, his predecessors had neither the interest nor the expertise to handle. No part of India is immune today from terrorism. Insurgencies in J&K and the Northeast as well as the violence wrought by the Naxalites continue to wrack the country. ISI-supported terrorist modules are well entrenched in many parts of India.

Rather than first firmly putting down all anti-national groups and insurgents, the UPA government has opted for the soft option of dialogue. Thus we are witnessing the bizarre spectacle of the government talking about talks with the representatives of ULFA — an outfit which currently is under ISI influence and has no interest in genuine peace — even as it undertakes terrorist actions in Assam on a daily basis and against which counter-terrorist operations have been put on hold for months.

It may be recalled that when the UPA government assumed office, the Naxalites were on the run, the ULFA was on its last legs and the Hurriyat counted for little. The government’s supine approach has infused new life into these entities and magnified the security threat posed by them.

Far from taking steps to curb illegal Bangladeshi migration to India, which poses a major security threat to the country, government, in deference to vote bank politics and in defiance of the spirit of Supreme Court’s ruling, has brought back the IMDT Act through the back door which will facilitate the continuance of such migration.

The National Security Council system as well as several other mechanisms established, on expert advice, for better security management, and which were being worked till the untimely demise of J.N. Dixit, the former NSA, have been allowed to atrophy. The Strategic Policy Group rarely meets. The National Security Council Secretariat, currently headless, is discouraged from making policy recommendations. The Intelligence Coordination Group, dealing with the oversight of the agencies as well as their tasking and evaluation, and the National Information Board, dealing inter alia with information security, are inactive. Not a single meeting of the Economic Intelligence Council has been convened to date under the UPA government. The implementation of the numerous recommendations made in May 2001 by the Group of Ministers for Reform of the National Security System is no longer being monitored. Even more disquieting is the fact that the Nuclear Command Authority has not met for over one and a half years.

While India’s record on good governance has historically not been anything to write home about, that under the present government has touched a new low. Provision of basic services like water, electricity, health etc., is well below acceptable levels even in the capital and major metropolitan cities and little is being done to improve matters. Regularisation of illegality has become the norm for government whether in regard to illegal structures in the capital or on the office of profit issue. Vote bank politics has led the government to further divide the country on the quota issue, and to pursue a line which will lead our best and brightest to leave the country and end up making India a nation of mediocrities.

The 8.3 per cent GDP growth rate attained in the last fiscal year was not due to the government, but despite it. With a more effective government, the country’s economic progress should have matched that of China. The rate of India’s economic progress has been far below its potential because government, instead of leading, has been led by populist considerations and been timid in pursuing reform. Additionally, the government has been ham-handed in addressing issues as evidenced by the CBDT circular on the tax liability of foreign institutional investors, which dampened the mood in an already jittery stock market and contributed to its decline, by the Saral form controversy, by the creation of conditions leading to massive wheat imports, and by the convoluted manner in which the petrol price hike was effectuated. The Economist of June 3, 2006 best sums up all that ails our economy under the present regime in the following terms:

"Trade liberalisation is halting and partial; the banking system allocates credit to the wrong places; labour laws deter employment; privatisation is stuck; a fiscal deficit, bloated by ill directed price subsidies still sucks resources from productive investment in infrastructure, education and health; and foreign investment in many industries is hampered."

It would be evident from the foregoing that the government’s performance has left much to be desired. Under it, India is set to become a second rate nuclear weapon state, closely tied to the US coattails, counting for little in the international comity of nations and unable even to influence to its advantage developments in its immediate neighbourhood. Internally, it is fast becoming a nation divided against itself, with atrophying security systems and structures and quite unable to effectively address the insurgencies afflicting it. Incapable of providing good governance and sound economic management, such progress as we see is due in the main to the acumen, perseverance and ingenuity of the Indian people.

<i>Satish Chandra has served as India’s PR (Permanent Representative) to the UN in Geneva, High Commissioner to Pakistan, and Deputy National Security Adviser</i>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->2 J&K ex-ministers held
- By Our Special Correspondent
Srinagar, June 20: The CBI on Tuesday arrested two former ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Raman Mattoo, on charges of being involved in the sensational sex abuse scandal that has evoked a public outcry in the state for weeks.

The CBI also sealed Mattoo’s house on the fashionable Gupkar Road here and before doing that seized several documents in the presence of the accused. Mattoo, a Kashmiri pandit who got elected as an Independent from Habba Kadal constituency in the September-October 2002 Assembly elections and was made minister of state for industries in the Mufti Sayeed-led coalition government, was having his breakfast when the CBI sleuths, accompanied by a contingent of the local police, arrived there to arrest him. His mobile phone was also taken away, witnesses and official sources said.

Also sealed was Mir’s residence nearby. However, the former works minister was earlier picked up by the CBI from Kashmir House in New Delhi’s Chanakayapuri area where he had been staying for the past several days, during which he reportedly tried to pull strings in the national capital. He was questioned at length and then placed under arrest, and informed that he would be taken to Srinagar on a transit remand.

Mir had sought an appointment with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who however refused to meet him, reports said. Mir is a Congress MLA elected from a southern Anantnag constituency and was known to be very close to the party high command prior to his losing face as his name figured in the long list of top mainstream politicians, bureaucrats, police and other civil officials involved in the sex abuse scandal.

The investigations by the local police and the CBI have revealed that kingpin Sabeena would allure minor and teenaged girls by promising to get government jobs for them. But instead they would be drugged, filmed in the nude, sexually exploited and then coerced into prostitution.

Both Mir and Mattoo have been booked under Section 5 of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act for procuring persons for prostitution. Under this section, the two, if convicted, will have to undergo three months’ imprisonment or pay a fine of Rs 20,000, or both. Sabeena had named the duo, police sources said. The CBI has also arrested BSF deputy inspector-general K.S. Padhi and Kashmir police DSP Muhammad Ashraf Mir, who have been booked on charges of rape on the basis of a statement made to both the CBI and local police investigators by a 15-year-old victim. She has also reportedly named an IAS officer and several other mainstream politicians and civil and police officials as having exploited her.

The CBI, however, is yet to arrest these individuals. The Kashmir High Court Bar Association, which had filed a public interest litigation case before the high court, has alleged that the CBI has deliberately not taken any action against the other accused. Its president, Mian Abdul Qayyum, also criticised the CBI’s "dilly-dallying" attitude which, he alleged, had resulted in its failure to seize another "big fish", former state additional advocate-general Anil Sethi, who is absconding.

A division bench of the state high court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the CBI was conducting investigations and asked it not only to step up the probe but also lay hands on the "big fish". The court had observed that by allowing the "top guns" involved in the scandal to remain at large, the CBI was wittingly or unwittingly providing them with enough time and opportunity to pull strings in order to influence the probe. The division bench, comprising Justices Bashir Ahmed Kirmani and Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussein, adjourned the case till Friday.

The CBI has, meanwhile, announced a cash reward of Rs 2,00,000 for anyone giving information that would lead to the arrest of Anil Sethi, who is absconding since the arrest warrant was issued against him. By arresting the two former ministers the CBI has tried to impress the court as well as the general public, which is keenly watching the case. The CBI has also indicated that two other senior members of the legislature and a couple of other "influential persons" might be taken into custody soon.

The chief judicial magistrate, Srinagar, has deferred the hearing on the bail applications of DSP Mir and another accused Merajuddin till June 23 as the lawyers have refused to plead their cases. Mir’s wife told the court that even the attorney she had hired earlier for pleading the case had refused to continue.

Mir was nominated by the Congress election committee as polling agent for Sonia Gandhi’s byelection from Rae Bareli. His nomination as the agent was, however, withdrawn after his name started doing rounds in the sex scandal.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mir was nominated by the Congress election committee as polling agent for Sonia Gandhi’s byelection from Rae Bareli. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
One can't find this titbit in HT. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
More on Mir
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>Mir, 47, an MLA from South Kashmir constituency Dooru, was chosen by the Congress for a year-long training in political coordination in 1980. Mir steadily strengthened his political contacts in the party’s central leadership and also joined former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s election campaign. Sources said Mir had gone to New Delhi to lobby for a berth in the forthcoming expansion of the Ghulam Nabi Azad Cabinet.</b>

The other one arrested today, <b>Raman Mattoo, 42, is the only Kashmiri Pandit MLA and was junior Industries Minister in the Mufti government</b>. A prominent businessman, Mattoo is the son-in-law of former Law Minister and National Conference leader P L Handoo.

He joined politics in 1993 but came to the limelight after he won the Habakadal constituency as an Independent in 2002 elections and was subsequently inducted in the <b>Congress-PDP coalition as a minister</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jun 21 2006, 12:33 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jun 21 2006, 12:33 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mir was nominated by the Congress election committee as polling agent for Sonia Gandhi’s byelection from Rae Bareli. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
One can't find this titbit in HT. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Compare and contrast the attention given by media to a greif stricken kid doing some drugs versus a high placed neta ruining lives of some young kids. The bias is a bit too obivious.

Rajnath Singh criticises UPA's `minority appeasement' policy

Staff Reporter

Criticises decision to allocate 15 per cent of welfare scheme funds for minorities

# BJP demands `White Paper' on the country's economy
# 'Some influential persons are involved in the War Room leak case'

BANGALORE: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh has come down heavily on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, for depending on "minority appeasement" to retain its shrinking vote bank.

He criticised the recent Cabinet decision to allocate 15 per cent of funds under development and welfare schemes, exclusively for minorities.

He was talking to presspersons after a meeting of the BJP SC Morcha executive committee here on Sunday.

Mr. Singh said that his party had never felt the need to resort to appeasement of the minorities. When the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was in power, it had achieved the unique distinction of passing three constitutional amendments for the development and welfare of Scheduled Castes, he said.

The Cabinet decision on June 22 had added a new feature to the Prime Minister's 15-point programme for minority welfare, which was formulated in 1983. It followed proposals outlined earlier by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The revised programme was aimed at preventing communal riots, prosecuting people for communal offences and rehabilitating victims of communal violence. It would cover minorities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists.

Mr. Singh said the move to make separate allocation for minority welfare was "dangerously divisive" and the UPA was giving a new definition to secularism.

"The BJP will abolish it the moment it returns to power," he said.

Mr. Singh said the UPA had failed on all counts, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seemed to be pulled in different directions by the Congress and the allies.

The price of essential commodities had shot up. The Prime Minister should immediately convene an all-party meeting to discuss the state of the national economy and come out with a "White Paper."

The country enjoyed food surplus during the NDA regime, but now there was food insecurity and the Government was getting ready to import wheat, he said.

Mr. Singh wondered why the UPA Government had dithered on testing Agni III for the past two years, causing concern over the Government's commitment to the nation's security."We are behind Pakistan in testing and deployment of intermediate missiles, and since we are not part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, why should we be shy of testing our indigenous missiles?" he asked, adding that Pakistan had already deployed over 100 Chinese warheads.

Mr. Singh said it was intriguing that the accused in the War Room leak case were being investigated four months after the First Information Report was filed.

"This seems to indicate that some powerful and influential persons are involved and they are being shielded," he said.

He demanded an all-party meeting to discuss which agen

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indira began Congress' defence deal safar: VP </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
Deal troubles do not seem to ebb for the Congress. Now, former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh has let the cat out of the bag by alleging that the majority party in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has been collecting "funds" through defence deals right from the days of India Gandhi. 

<b>"I believe every party has to generate resources. Previously, funds were procured from corporate houses. But a time came when funds began to be collected through defence deals abroad,"</b> he said in his latest book, Manzil Se Zyada safar (Travel beyond Destination) released on the occasion of his 75th birthday on Sunday here.

Singh recalled when Indira Gandhi found herself in the eye of a political storm, she made the arrangement of procuring funds from defence deals abroad. Later this became a practice, he said.

He gave a detailed account of the beginning of his differences with the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi because of which he had to resign from the post of Defence Minister. The first direct tiff with Rajiv Gandhi was over the HDW submarine deal.

<b>Singh said when Rajiv Gandhi took over as Prime Minister, he had said there would be no middlemen in defence deals.

"I received a telegram from our Ambassador in Germany, which mentioned that a senior officer of that country told him the rate of the submarine could not be lowered as an Indian agent had to be paid seven per cent commission," he said in the book.

Singh said he took up the matter with Rajiv Gandhi the same day at a Cabinet Meeting, but he did not say anything. Singh then ordered an inquiry into the matter.
The former Prime Minister said the then Defence Secretary told him that in the earlier submarine deal, during the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi, also an Indian agent was involved.</b>

<b>Singh recollected in the book that Rajiv Gandhi was very unhappy over the inquiry ordered by him. He was "red with anger and asked many questions". </b>It was then that he decided to resign as Defence Minister, Singh said.

Asked about the practice of middlemen in defence deals, Singh said that there used to be middlemen before Rajiv Gandhi and they would take commission.

Singh denied that he had to quit the Government in the wake of the controversy over the Bofors gun deal. "This is absolutely wrong. The Bofors charge was levelled after I had resigned from the Defence Ministry," he said. He said the Bofors deal took place when he was the Finance Minister. Singh said when he received the Bofors file; the instruction was to act fast as the Army needed the weapon urgently.

He said that the Finance Ministry gave the clearance with some conditions but it was not known whether those conditions were met.

Singh said after this controversy, Rajiv Gandhi's emissary kept coming to him repeatedly, urging him that "I stay put at home and avoid going to any public function".

<b>'Zail Singh offered me PM post'</b>
At the height of his differences with late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the then President, late Giani Zail Singh, offered VP Singh the Prime Ministership but the offer was turned down. In Manjil Se Zyada safar, Singh claimed Zail Singh called him over and took him to Mughal Gardens as he feared bugging inside Rashtrapati Bhawan. "I will give you oath as Prime Minister. I am told 150 Congress MPs will be with you and you may get majority," Singh quoted the then President as saying. The former Prime Minster then told Zail Singh "it is wrong to think this way."
Shrugging off
<i>The PM’s lack of political understanding has become a serious handicap.</i>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On the nuclear deal with the United States, the PMO has got a captive press, but that is no substitute for political consensus. Without a political consensus, any international agreement is a non-starter, and we don’t want a situation where, at the last moment,<b> there is panic in government and a scramble to bring the political parties on board for the deal, and everybody turns away</b>. The PMO should be apprehensive that the Congress party itself is mum about the deal, but somewhat strangely, nobody in the prime minister’s office is.
It is here that the absence of a political PM is being most acutely felt. Winning the nuke deal in the US is obviously important, <b>but it is no more important than getting a political consensus on it here.</b> <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'> It is an issue of continuity, consensus ensures continuity, on national and energy security issues, a consensus is non-negotiable. </span>But the PMO carries on as if the BJP is of no account, as if Left opposition to the nuke deal can be somehow squared. But how? When?
Spineless is good for signature, lack will and vision and love for country called India.
Continuity on important issues are important. India is more important then Queen or votes.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>NDA has caused price rise! </b>
Yogesh Vajpeyi | New Delhi
Cong says it all started in 2002, * BJP retorts, why not blame the British? ---- Congress president<b> Sonia Gandhi's meeting with Chief Ministers </b>of the party-ruled States on Wednesday turned into yet another exercise in futility as it sought <b>to blame a four-year-old NDA Government order for the current price rise instead of coming out with a concrete plan of action</b>.

"The Chief Ministers said that the NDA Government order of February 15, 2002 rescinding all control orders under the Essential Commodities Act was making it difficult for them to act against hoarders," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told media persons after the two-hour meeting.

The meeting also wanted forward trading in food grains and some other essential commodities to be "better regulated" in order to curb "excessive speculation".

The BJP expectedly dismissed the Congress charges.<b> "In 2002, the country was not faced with a food grains shortage. After mismanaging the economy, the Congress is now blaming the NDA. They should have gone even further back to the British rule for the problem," </b>was party spokesman Prakash Javadekar's caustic comment.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->

No good news please, we are the Congress
Shekar Gupta!!!

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You see a Congressman today and you see a long face. At a public function, on a flight, in a seminar, or just one-to-one, you will see the same hopeless fright. Things are not working out, he’d say, our government is not going anywhere. Some bolder ones would say the Left is not letting us do anything and we can’t say boo to the goose. Some, actually many others, are scared the party high command just might do that: “Boss, we did nothing to be in power. Now we have it, so let’s keep it for as long as we can. But what if the lady (Sonia) decided to tell the Left enough was enough? She might believe in renunciation, but, Boss, what about the rest of us?” It is almost the kind of fright you saw on the faces of India’s batsmen when going out to play the West Indies in pre-helmet days. But it is also what you’d expect from most successful rent-seekers among our political classes.

Here is a sample of things I have actually heard from Congressmen in the past two weeks: Why can’t we put off all disinvestment through the term of this government? Why can’t we announce the setting up of fair price shops to sell vegetables and pulses all over the country and subsidised by the Centre? After all, if we can subsidise petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG to the tune of thousands of crores, why not the aam admi’s dal-bhaat? We can fix that when we are returned to power next. Then we will reform. I haven’t yet met my fly on the wall at the CWC meeting on Thursday. But I can bet some similar talk went on there.

Fear of never winning power again is predictable for a party that still does not believe it deserved the victory in 2004. And you cannot win the same lottery twice. With three more years to go, their concern is to collect what rent they can, now, from this opportunity rather than use this term as a springboard for a better future.

In any case, most of the important Congress leaders today are too old to even have a stake 2009 onwards. Of the top dozen in the party, more than half will be well into their eighties by then. Four of the rest will be in their seventies. So what is their stake either?

The typical Congressman sees his party, and, more specifically, the Gandhi family, as an open ticket to perpetual power. Their faith and loyalty are directly proportional to what that ticket can buy. And when somebody, even a Gandhi-Nehru, tries to change the rules, they panic, and break out in subversion sabotage and revolt.

<b>Sonia would remember the history of Rajiv Gandhi’s five years. There was widespread unease within the party the moment it looked like he was willing to make a departure from old-style Congress politics. His speech at the Mumbai AICC session in 1985, where he charged his partymen with being powerbrokers and worse, only confirmed their fears.

They wanted a Gandhi-Nehru merely to fetch them the votes and power. But if one showed the audacity to redefine how they exercised (or rather exploited) this power, he was going to be made to pay for it. The second half of Rajiv’s term saw a spectacular decline in his, and his party’s, fortunes as the same internal noise, suspicions and doubts robbed his government of its freshness and focus. </b>

We are now seeing a repeat of the same theme. A Gandhi is not directly in charge of the government, so the old establishment only becomes bolder and more vicious. They can’t stand a Prime Minister who is not only competent and clean but is also widely respected. Their insecurities are compounded by the fact that the inner core of his Cabinet, obviously chosen in full agreement with Sonia, is one with him on most significant issues. In some ways, this “apolitical” prime minister, his core group, and Sonia personify some of the ideas that Rajiv Gandhi spoke about so passionately at his peak. Also, much like Rajiv in the first half of his tenure, they are building a critical mass of good news that will give their party a chance in the next election.

One thing you’d often hear from these panicky Congressmen is, you cannot win the election on another slogan of India Shining. But can any party go to the voters seeking re-election on the slogan of India Declining?

They are so confused because they are still fighting the election of May, 2004. In 2004, the BJP made the mistake of going to the polls with eight months of eight per cent growth. By 2009, if this government keeps its focus, it might go back to the voter with a six-year average of eight per cent plus growth, raising national incomes by 60 per cent. Add to this another 5,000 km of four-laned highways (even at the slowed down pace now), four new world-class airports, several new ports and metros. And if you think all this is purely for the executive-class voter, consider how sustained high growth will help poverty reduction—according to the Eleventh Plan approach paper, going by data of last five years, an estimated 32 million will be lifted above the poverty line by 2009. Add to this the 1 lakh km of rural roads and, not to forget, a Rs 40,000-crore per year rural employment guarantee scheme, and you might have a feel-good mood that the BJP only wishfully presumed in 2004.

In any case, how else can an incumbent go to the polls except riding a mood of success and optimism? That is the lesson Congress has to learn. Unless they have been totally brainwashed into thinking this is their last look at power, and either that there is no hope for the future, or they don’t care, because most of them will be too old by then anyway.

<b>'Manmohan ceased to be a centre of power'</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ridiculing the way the Congress-led coalition was functioning, he said the Prime Minister was ‘willing to kneel’ to please any and every pressure group. He claimed that Singh has ‘ceased to be a centre of power’ and was ‘caving in’ to the agendas of individual Ministers.

Jaitley alleged that <b>the Prime Minister had ‘caved in’ to ‘every impropriety and unconstitutionality’ of allies including JMM in Jharkhand, RJD in Bihar, DMK on economic agenda and PMK on AIIMS, which have only brought ‘bad name’ to the government</b>
<b>PM, Sonia take stock of political crisis</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On a day when the Sensex in the Bombay Stock Exchange nosedived by 258 points on rumours of Prime Minister's resignation and the Neyveli fiasco following DMK's threat to pull out of the coalition, <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Singh called on Gandhi at her residence </span>ahead of the weekly Congress core group meeting in his residence.
<b>HRD Minister Arjun Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and political secretary to Congress president Ahmed Patel</b> were among those who attended the meeting.

The Delhi High Court's stay on the moves for removal of AIIMS Director P Venugopal by Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss added to the discomfiture of the government, sucked into what is seen as a controversy triggered by another Tamil Nadu ally, the PMK.
Spineless met Queen at her residence. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Rumours of PM quitting create a flutter</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Meanwhile, the BJP rubbed salt into the Prime Minister's wounds by questioning his authority and isolation and advising him to ask why he is the country's Prime Minister.

<b>"Is the PM caving in to pressures from all quarters, because the Congress has refused to stand by him,"</b> asked party general secretary Arun Jaitley on Friday.

<b>"There is a complete policy paralysis that has struck the Government. It is unprecedented that individual ministers are setting the agenda for the Prime Minister, and he is caving in to them. The drift is so large that the Prime Minister's ability to lead the country comes under a serious question. He is willing to lean so as to please any pressure group," </b>Mr Jaitley said.

Referring to the BJP's assertions that there were extra constitutional centres of power within the UPA, Jaitley said: <b>"Today this position has been altered. Earlier the Prime Minister used to be a power centre. The PM now has ceased to be a centre of power. Individual ministers and allies set the agenda, the PM gives in."</b>

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>"Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh set the agenda for reservations in institutes of higher learning, PM caved in. So did Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss in the case of AIIMS, Saifuddin Soz in the case of NBA, RJD in Bihar, DMK in the matter of disinvestment, and Prime Minister goes two steps ahead to give in,"</span> Jaitley said.

"It is the defeat of the Prime Minister to put the entire process of disinvestment on hold simply because the DMK objected to disinvesting Neyveli Lignite Corporation beyond 10 per cent.<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'> The Government's policy on Nepal has been outsourced to the CPM. It is unprecedented that the Government's policy in sensitive strategic matters is being outsourced," </span>he said.

Expressing surprise over the state of affairs in the Government, Jaitley said: <b>"One wonders if the present Government is the Congress Government or Congress-led Third Front Government that sacrificed the policy against terrorism for the sake of vote bank politics and India's independent foreign policy after the Indo-US nuclear deal."</b>

<b>Asserting that the NDA Government under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee never faced such situations, Jaitley said: "Whenever the Government took any decisions, the party as well as the allies stood by him. In the case of UPA Government, hardly any decisions are being taken."</b>
As usual, clueless CONgress chamcha Sekhar Gupta is begging SONIA to do right thing. These bast@rds all divert the total failure of CON woman into failure of Arjun SIngh or CPM's fault in their quest to keep BJP away from power.

This MORON does not realize the plan of SONIA. She is trying to force ManMohan to resign or he become such a laughing stock that all CON men will be begging her to become PM to save the nation (means the garbage GANDHI die-nasty).

Here Sekhar Gupta idiot is begging her to do right thing.

<b>Party, president, PM</b>
Posted online: Saturday, July 08, 2006 at 0000 hrs 
Time that Sonia shows her support for PM. Otherwise, it will cost both equally

Totally baseless and utter nonsense: those were the adjectives the PM’s press advisor used to deny rumours of Manmohan Singh’s resignation. The same adjectives can be employed for much of what the Congress has been saying about its own government. In fact, whatever was the immediate provocation for rumour mills to start churning on Friday, the general context was provided by Congressmen who, for example, a few days ago turned what should have been a regulation meeting on price rise into a party versus government tussle. But, and this is a question that will not go away simply because Sonia Gandhi met Manmohan Singh before the weekly UPA meeting, what precisely has the Congress president done recently to strengthen the hands of the prime minister she chose herself.

This question survives even if one were to accept the slightly unlikely hypothesis that Sonia Gandhi is in complete agreement with Dr Singh over all the economic policies that have caused the Congress heartburn. <b>In politics, sometimes it is not enough to know yourself that you have faith in your nominee — others must get to know what you know</b>. There really hasn’t been any perceptible effort on the part of 10 Janpath to communicate to the party that it stands four square behind the prime minister. True, there hasn’t been any discernible effort to express a growing divide with Dr Singh either — had there been, for sure some Congressmen would be saying things on record that they now say only when tape recorders are switched off. <b>But given the current political context, what the PM needs is an unmistakable sign that he enjoys Mrs Gandhi’s confidence.</b>

<b>The consequences of having a PM who appears to everyone as losing bits of elbowroom over every other issue will also affect Sonia Gandhi.</b> No matter what some Congress courtiers may be saying, Dr Singh’s prime ministership will become a true liability only when it is seen to have lost most of the symbols and substance of authority. That is when questions will be raised why Sonia Gandhi didn’t back a man she picked over the ambitions of many wily old Congressmen. That is when those wily old Congressmen would claim a victory of sorts. That is when Sonia Gandhi would be seen to have conceded ground to the very forces in the party she doubtless had in mind when she picked Dr Singh as prime minister.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Look at the pathetic Sekhar Gupta. These bast@ards made this government by spreading gloom and doom when NDA provided the boom. Noe the bast@ards saw how this garabge sh!tty alliance called UPA is destroying the nation. They can't admit they are wrong. This pathetic MORON is trying to send message after message to SONIA warning her that if this bumbling continue, people realize what they have done and bring back BJP.

<b>Handicap at 7, Race Course</b>
Shekhar Gupta
Posted online: Saturday, July 08, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print Email
No good news please, we are the Congress Centre-right? That’s all right Who needs checks & balances? Up & down in down southNow, don’t lose the plot

The central fact of our politics is that since 1971 no prime minister has got re-elected. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in 1999, was the only exception, but his first term had lasted less than a year and he rode to an even greater majority on a wave of public disapproval over the way his first NDA government had been brought down. True, the Congress got re-elected under Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, but it was widely believed that if Indira Gandhi had led the party in that election, the results would have been very different. Also, while an incumbent prime minister is therefore sure to lose power, there is also by now a confirmed phenomenon — whereby he makes, or is hustled into making, a whole series of mistakes that rob him of his authority and prestige, reducing him to lame-duck status. A lame-duck, downhill incumbent versus a resurgent challenger also makes for an easier choice for the voter, whose natural inclination is towards change anyway.

There are no exceptions to this rule. In 1977 Indira Gandhi lost power — even her own election to a maverick like Raj Narain — because her own prime ministerial authority and respect had been destroyed by the excesses of the Emergency. In 1980 she came back in style because she was challenging, in Charan Singh, a totally inconsequential prime minister whose predecessor, Morarji Desai too had had a short, colourless tenure (history remembers him more for his fads like auto-urine therapy than any statesmanship). The verdict of the summer of 1980, therefore, was a punitive verdict against the Janata Party for giving us not one but two inconsequential prime ministers.

While 1984 became an exception because of the incumbent prime minister’s assassination, the most unfortunate case is of Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. He started with the most brute majority an Indian prime minister had ever secured, and probably ever will, with 413 seats. His favourite joke, then, was that his HRD ministry’s 10+2+3 formula had first been applied to his Opposition, the Jana Sangh, Janata and Socialists, because that pretty much represented the number of seats they had secured. In his first two years, he could have done anything. So much was the popular affection and euphoria, he could have — if he wished to — changed our national anthem, and won applause for it. But by the middle of 1987, things had begun to go wrong. From then until the elections in 1989 it was all downhill. His majority of 413 was reduced to 197. A man who was applauded for every idea, every exhortation, every promise, had now become an object of derision.

How Rajiv, and his government went downhill in 1987-89 is a lesson for our political classes for all time to come, but most of all for Congressmen today who, in this peculiar Parliament, are both incumbents as well as aspirants. How did they decline from a point where it looked like they were destined to rule for ever; decline so dramatically they lost power to a dissident like V.P. Singh, who could not even be defined as a national leader?

The Bofors and HDW submarine scandals played their role. But what diminished the moral and political authority of Rajiv was a series of blunders in which he was pushed by circumstance, cynical advisors and his own inexperience. From blundering in the Shah Bano case, that angered both secular Muslims and Hindus and strengthened the BJP charge of minority appeasement, to the shilanyas at Ayodhya — were a series of disastrous mistakes. The anti-defamation bill angered all in the media when memories of the Emergency were still fresh. The party’s hasty intervention in Sri Lanka was seen as a politically motivated exercise; Brasstacks, another evidence of his “inexperience” and lack of control. His by now infamous threat of naani yaad dila denge in a Boat Club rally directed at mythical foreign powers out to de-stabilise him, caused more laughter than fear. And then there was that most unfortunate but forever lingering slip of the tongue, hum haarenge yaa loosenge.

Maybe it was Bofors and the ‘betrayal’ of his closest friends that made him take his eye off the ball. But the net result was that the Rajiv Gandhi that sought re-election in 1989 was already looking like a prime minister who had lost authority.

The other subsequent prime ministers and their performances at elections are a mere footnote in comparison. But the trend was exactly the same. V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar went to the polls in 1991, both looking like caricatures of prime-ministerial authority and received a thrashing from which they never recovered. Narasimha Rao was a different case. He was never elected, only destined to be prime minister. But by the time he sought re-election in 1996, his prime-ministerial authority was also in tatters, partly because of dissidents and partly because of his brutal attempts to fix them, in alliance with Chandraswamy. Subsequent prime ministers, Gowda and Gujaral, may not deserve too much space as individuals. But it was a continuing process of the devaluation of the prime minister’s stature that brought the NDA under Vajpayee into power. Vajpayee — the only incumbent prime minister to get re-elected in 35 years so far — could ensure this because not only was his authority intact in 1999, it had been enhanced by Kargil.

This is what Congressmen whose favourite whine these days is that “Manmohan Singh is such a non-political prime minister!” need to remember. Their calculation in May 2004 was sound and reasonable. That Singh will run a decent government till 2009 and then, since he obviously will not be seeking re-election, they will manage to buck the anti-incumbency and seek a more complete mandate for Rahul, or even Sonia. They need to ask themselves if they can do so with a prime minister who is reduced to a lame-duck when his second anniversary celebrations have barely concluded. Can he even drag on like this for two more years? And if he can’t or won’t, do they have a Plan B? Can they now appoint another, ‘political’ prime minister and hope that he will help them get a better mandate in 2009, or even preserve power for them till then?

The consequences of undermining their own prime minister’s authority will be one more disaster for not just the Congress, but the entire ‘secular’ alliance, even if the Left will see in that the hope of a third front government, should the 15th Lok Sabha unlike this one provide that opportunity. At least they are being upfront about the fact that they see the UPA as an interim arrangement, and that they are working towards a third front which can only come to power if the Congress cedes even more ground to regional, caste-based parties and the BJP, and falls below 125.

With the continuing weakening of Manmohan Singh, they have got at least one thing going their way. Rollbacks under allies’ pressures apart, not one of his recent economic or foreign policy decisions has found moral support from his party. Too many members of his cabinet, most notably from his own party, give the impression that they are their own masters. Some, notably Shibu Soren and Chandrashekhar Rao, do not even bother to attend most cabinet meetings. Others defy his decisions and, behind his back, repeat the same whine of “such a non-political prime minister”.

The only man this government has dared to fire in two years for inefficiency, non-performance or insubordination is Dr Venugopal of AIIMS! Can it get more ridiculous than this? You can bet the voters are watching in disgust and the detractors of the Congress — the BJP, Mulayam and certainly the Left — in delight. They are also waiting for the next election, which will at this rate be much closer than 2009.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Shekhar Gupta is known Congress pimp and bought by external agencies.
When Shekhar Gupta gets alms from Congress why he will stop, I think now his own kids must be beating him on regular basis, Dad you are mad.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The only man this government has dared to fire in two years for inefficiency, non-performance or insubordination is Dr Venugopal of AIIMS! Can it get more ridiculous than this? You can bet the voters are watching in disgust and the detractors of the Congress — the BJP, Mulayam and certainly the Left — in delight. They are also waiting for the next election, which will at this rate be much closer than 2009.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is good. Mid term election between 2006-2007.
Anyone interested to join IF team to do work for coming mid-term election e.g. articles etc.... <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jul 8 2006, 06:10 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jul 8 2006, 06:10 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Shekhar Gupta is known Congress pimp and bought by external agencies.
When Shekhar Gupta gets alms from Congress why he will stop, I think now his own kids must be beating him on regular basis, Dad you are mad.

<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The only man this government has dared to fire in two years for inefficiency, non-performance or insubordination is Dr Venugopal of AIIMS! Can it get more ridiculous than this? You can bet the voters are watching in disgust and the detractors of the Congress — the BJP, Mulayam and certainly the Left — in delight. They are also waiting for the next election, which will at this rate be much closer than 2009.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is good. Mid term election between 2006-2007.
Anyone interested to join IF team to do work for coming mid-term election e.g. articles etc.... <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
The only unfortunate thing is that BJP is not ready for elections. They are confuses. RSS and BJP are still fighting. Uma Bharati might hurt them in MP. They still have to put their house in order especially in UP. NDA is in tatters. The SD and BJP are figthing in Bihar.

BJP left so many opportunities to put this govt. on mat e.g. Volcker, Quattrochi, submarine deal etc. But they could not take advantage of any thing.

The NDA alliance is in tatters. BJP is making no effort to build an alliance. I hope they get their act together because it is very important to have a strong leadership and clear agenda.

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