Monday, December 29, 2008

Snippets / Mail Today, December 29, 2008

ABOUT three weeks ago, Veerappa Moily submitted a voluminous report to the prime minister. Moily, as we all know, is a former Karnataka chief minister, among the senior- most Congress leaders, and chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission. The tome that he handed over to Manmohan Singh was the tenth his commission prepared. His recommendations cover a whole gamut of issues, from tackling corruption to taming the bureaucracy to revamping security. Moily is on record that 80 percent of his recommendations could be implemented administratively and only the rest would require changing the laws of the land. I wonder if the prime minister or any of the worthies have even bothered to go through the reports. It must be pretty frustrating for the ARC chief, who holds the rank of a cabinet minister, to see his love’s labour gathering dust in the store rooms of South Block.

National security or civility?
AFTER the languorous Shivraj Patil, the ever- alert P. Chidambaram is a welcome change at North Block, the home ministry HQ. His decision to set up four new regional hubs of the National Security Guard in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderbad and Chennai has been welcomed. Yet Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yedyurappa has reasons to feel aggrieved as Bangalore has been left out. Apart from the IT industry, Bangalore is home to prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Science which has already faced one terror attack, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, etc. Just two weeks ago, Yedyurappa had presented a wishlist to Manmohan Singh who was in Bangalore for the centenary celebrations of the IIS and the PM saw sense in his argument. BJP leaders see a design in Bangalore being overlooked as all four cities that are to become new NSG hubs are either ruled by the Congress or its allies or erstwhile allies who have divorced and who may be ready for a remarriage after the next elections. God forbid, should a 26/ 11 happen in Bangalore, Yedyurappa and his party will be left holding the can. Chidambaram has convened a meeting of chief ministers in Delhi on January 6 and security may not the only issue that Yedurappa will confront him with. The home minister’s language, for another. His letter dated December 17 to the CMs is typical Chidambaram — to the point, tough talking, no nonsense. Just as they do in Harvard, I assume. But problems arise when Harvard toppers meet Haradanhalli and Hardwar dropouts. I know many CMs feel offended by the tone of Chidambaram’s letter. Waiting to see what tops the agenda on January 6: national security or ministerial civility.

THERE is a vacancy coming up at the top in the Research and Analysis Wing( R& AW), and as usual, there’s intense lobbying going on. Incredibly, pamphlets whose origins are shrouded in mystery are regularly dropped in the mail boxes of the high and mighty in South Block, plugging for one candidate while debunking the others. One such is an unabashed plea to give an extension to incumbent Ashok Chaturvedi. His term ends on January 31 and three officers — P. V. Kumar, R. Banerjee and S. K. Tripathi — are in the race to succeed him. As in the past, the powerful Mallu brigade looks set to win this round too, in which case, the job will be Kumar’s. He is due to retire on February 28, 2009, but as with all high- level appointments, Kumar, if selected, will have a minimum two- year tenure. If they have their way yet again, there will be enough Mallus among the movers and fakers in Lutyen’s Delhi to form an exclusive Kerala Babus’ Club. TKA Nair, PM’s principal secretary, K. M. Chandrashekhar ( CabSec), Shiv Shankar Menon ( external affairs), National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan, G. K. Pillai ( commerce and industry) Madhavan Nambiar ( civil aviation).
The list goes on. Last month, Raman Srivastava, a Kerala cadre IPS officer, was appointed special secretary, internal security. With A. K. Antony in charge of defence, the country, we are led to believe, is safe only in the hands of Mallus.

BJP, Cong lie low over UP
WHEN large parts of Uttar Pradesh were aflame after the brutal killing of a PWD engineer allegedly by a BSP MLA last week, the Congress and BJP were missing in action. Rahul Gandhi showed the sensitivity to place a phone call to the slain engineer’s son and commiserate with the family. But for that, central leaders of the two largest national parties, both fringe players in Uttar Pradesh now, were conspicuous by their absence from the statewide protests. This has fuelled rumours that the two outfits deliberately lay low as they didn’t want to offend Behenji whom both may need if, as is expected, the Lok Sabha elections don’t throw up a clear winner.
So it was left to the Samajwadi Party, the only outfit which has no use for Mayawati’s BSP( and vice versa), to kick up the dust. The waves of protests that erupted across the state were orchestrated from 27 Lodi Estate, the residence of party strategist Amar Singh, and percolated down to the level of the ordinary red- capped SP workers on bicycles in far- flung towns and villages. The directives were to aim railway stations, police posts and other high- impact targets.
The tactic obviously worked. Not good news for Mayawati.

Power & Politics / Mail Today, December 29, 2008

THEY all speak the same language — English — but strangely when the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues talk, they convey different things to different people at the same time.

That’s such an irony. After a long, long, time, we see ordinary citizens talking in one voice and saying “ Come on, it’s time we gave the Pakis a bloody nose”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who told an election meeting in Srinagar just a month before the Mumbai attacks that “ while we cannot change borders, we can make them irrelevant” must no doubt be regretting his words, since the average Indian would volunteer to work for free if the CPWD were to undertake construction of a Great Wall of India, not to rival China’s, but to keep the thugs from Pakistan out. In his many pronouncements since those three fateful days, not once has Manmohan even mentioned Pakistan. The lack of clarity is contagious. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee warns one day that “ our patience is wearing thin” but the next morning says “ we expect good sense to prevail in Pakistan”. A. K. Antony, who all his life has battled crisis by offering to resign tells the armed forces one day to “ be ready for challenges” and follows it up two days later saying “ India is not contemplating warlike measures against Pakistan”. We have an Army chief who believes the real enemies strut around not across the border but in North and South Blocks. So he seems more keen to fight to the babus over salary structure and parity with the IAS. Ironically, in Pakistan, where a change of government is normally a consequence of coup, assassination or death by hanging, everyone from the President to the Prime Minister and army chief downwards are talking in one voice and saying that the Mumbai terrorists were not Pakistanis, that if India attacks, retaliation will be swift and debilitating. Mian Nawaz Sharif was briefly the lone voice of dissent, when he said that Kasab, the only surviving terrorist is indeed a Pakistani. But even he was quick to join the chorus and I can only presume that sometime before he changed his mind, he must have got a call from the ISI chief’s boss, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Maybe we are paying the price for being a democracy and leaders are expected to talk and act in a responsible manner. Indeed, they must. But is too much to expect a few dozen ministers to at least say things that reflect the collective mind of the cabinet and the will of the people of India? One explanation for this state of affairs, a bit uncharitable perhaps, comes from a bureaucrat friend who thinks the government is hoping the current standoff will give gains similar to what Atal Bihari Vajpayee earned in 1999 after Kargil. But that is to overlook the fact that the former prime minister Singh: Mistimed anger? depended solely on the Indian armed forces to deliver. This government on the other hand is running to Washington, London, Riyadh and beyond to bail itself out. South Block’s latest strategy involves putting pressure on the US, Saudi Arabia and other countries to cajole Pakistan into handing back Maulana Masood Azhar. Yes, the same fellow who was traded in exchange for the safe return of passengers on IC 814.

They can then approach the next elections with the boast “ See we got him back”. If my bureaucrat friend’s instincts are right, only one conclusion can be drawn: the UPA wants a political solution that will help tide over until the next elections. The terror problem can wait. Priyanka Gandhi was absolutely right when she said the other day that her grandmother would have handled this “ differently”.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Power & Politics / Mail Today, December 22, 2008

THERE must be something about Abdul Rehman Antulay that makes him more than just a nuisance. In the Congress, such types are easily shown the door, but when he made the preposterous statement last week that the Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed in circumstances that looked suspicious, the omnipotent High Command, which is known to be ruthless with dissent, was caught in a state of paralysis.

Strange, because even Shivraj Patil was swiftly sacked despite his proximity to the High Command, which enabled him to stick it out through four- and- ahalf years of mismanagement at the home ministry.

Let’s face the facts. Antulay found a place in the cabinet not because of an impressive CV but because he was Muslim. His tarnished past didn’t inspire confidence to win him any of the coveted portfolios. So they created one for him — minister for minority affairs. It is a measure of the seriousness with which the portfolio is taken or the credibility of the man entrusted with it that for two years he wasn’t even allotted office space. When he finally got a room, he found no work to do. Not even looking after Haj pilgrims, which was in the hands of someone else. It is the kind of humiliation no one can take for long and Antulay has been gulping it since May 2004. It all boils down to tokenism and there is no better practitioner of the art than the Congress party . Of course it claims to be the protector of minorities, but even Muslims are beginning to realise that apart from the token presence at the high table, there is little else for them. The Congress’s successive poll manifestos have talked about inclusive growth but when the balance sheet is prepared, there is little to show by way of results. It would be silly to believe that Antulay’s remarks are the isolated antics of a 79- year- old political has- been. While the High Command was trying to douse the fire, he found cross- party support from fellow Muslim politicians. Last Friday, Shakeel Ahmed, the Union minister of state for home, was by his side when Antulay addressed a press conference to virtually taunt the party and the government to take action against him. That Ahmed didn’t mind putting his career on the line by appearing alongside the minister is proof perhaps that the party’s token minority “ faces” are beginning to see what the masses discovered long ago. The inexplicable delay in sacking Antulay from the party and the government leads us to just one conclusion: the vote bank gets precedence over national interest.

Snippets / Power & Politics/ Mail Today, December 22,2008

VAYALAR RAVI holds the dual portfolios of minister for overseas Indian affairs and parliamentary affairs. I have no quarrel with his handling of the latter portfolio, despite his lack of familiarity with Hindi, the language most used and abused in Parliament. But it is the first that I have reservations about. As its name suggests, Ravi’s portfolio relates to the 20 million strong Indian diaspora spread around the world. But for reasons that are not difficult to guess, his attentions are mostly focused on the Gulf region where about 5 million Indians work, more than 70 per cent of whom are NRKs or Non Resident Keralites from his home state. Recently he convened a meeting of heads of Indian missions in the Gulf whose agenda must no doubt have been the welfare of the Non Resident Keralites. If they had a constituency, Ravi would be in the Lok Sabha instead of the Rajya Sabha.

Pranab is not losing steam
IT’S been a busy year for the government and its ministers, but none has been as busy as Pranab Mukherjee. He capped off a hyperactive year with a sterling performance in Parliament last week that had even the Opposition eating out of his hands. Pranabda is naturally in an expansive mood and is moving into territory unchartered for long. For the first time since the Nehru era, a foreign minister has convened a meeting of our heads of mission stationed in 104 world capitals. The three- day conclave is to be held in Delhi. Besides the clinking classes, the mandarins will discuss a new road map to give a push to India’s new emphasis on economic diplomacy based on our growing intimacy with the United States. The meeting was fixed a couple of months ago and wasn’t derailed by the terrible events in Mumbai last month, an indication of the importance that the foreign minister attaches to it. Yet some diplomats themselves are questioning the exercise.
They say that on his frequent travels abroad, Mukherjee regularly holds HoM meetings at regional hubs. More importantly, when the government is almost getting into election mode, the sceptics wonder, what kind of policy or agenda can be formulated at such a conclave? But Mukherjee has his supporters in South Block who defend the exercise — and the Rs 2 crore that will be spent on it — on the grounds that the country’s foreign policy has never been at the mercy of changing governments. I believe Pranabda merely wants to leave an imprint. No one deserves it more than him.

THE papers — and not just the pink ones — are splattered with bad news: job cuts, real estate meltdowns; negative industrial production. But at the finance ministry and in some Congress circles, there is a feeling that the worst is over and that happy days will soon be here again. This may have been prompted by the fact that after months of double digit inflation — 13 per cent at one point — it is now less than seven percent. After tumbling for months, the Sensex has crossed the 10,000 mark. Interest rate cuts will spur spending and all will be hunky dory, goes the argument. But wait, there are resident party poopers who feel the worst is still awaited. They are preparing a note to tell the prime minister that all initiatives so far are aimed at the rich and they fear the voters will show their wrath during the elections. They have a point. Inflation may be down, but the aam aadmi still finds the prices of essential commodities the same as before.

True the government slashed Rs 5 off every litre of petrol, but the new price still corresponds to a crude price of $ 90 a barrel when the international price is less than $ 40. Banks have been ordered to cut interest rates, but the ordinary citizen still cannot get loans. PSU banks would rather correct their ledgers and as one officer told me “ Why give loan when we know we will face action after the election”. I suspect our rulers, driven by market sentiments, feel comfortable as long as the Sensex doesn’t take a tumble. Unfortunately, most investors don’t vote.

If only dowry was all prevalent
HOW the CBI wishes that like corruption and terrorism, dowry was also a global scourge which international investigators pursued with the same vigour as the other two. Scandalous stories are coming to light about NRIs and foreign nationals of Indian origin landing in droves in this country to find matches for their sons from wealthy desi families, mostly from Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, two states with a heavy NRI presence in the UK, USA and Canada. The boys tie the knot after pocketing crores in dowry and go back, promising to return with the immigration papers for their new brides. Mostly, they are never seen or heard from again. There are over 100 such cases pending with the CBI but suddenly there seems to be a sense of urgency after the daughters of two influential politicos fell victim to such flyby- night grooms. The parents are now putting pressure to have the “ husbands” punished under Section 498A of the IPC that relates to the anti- dowry act, where the offence is not only non- bailable but non- compoundable ( meaning arrest can be made on a mere complaint even before investigations start). The CBI has given a list of the offenders to Interpol and wants Red Corner Notices against them put up at airports and transit points. The hitch: agencies abroad have no clue what dowry is all about, even less about the laws governing it. Since there are no such laws in other countries, Interpol will find it difficult to extradite the offending grooms and oblige the CBI.

Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, December 21, 2008

‘Don’t get too close to America’

Muslim cleric Mahmood A. Madani , Member of Parliament and leader of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind says on Seedhi Baat that close relations with the Western world may cost India dearly as terrorists might start to feel that by hurting the country they can hurt the US.

Video: part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5 and part 6

पाक का रवैया ढुलमुलः मौलाना मदनी
आज तक के साप्‍ताहिक कार्यक्रम 'सीधी बात' में जमीयत-उलेमा-ए-हिंद के नेता मौलाना मदनी ने कहा है कि आतंकवाद के मुद्दे पर भारत के साथ पाकिस्‍तान बड़ा ही गैर जिम्‍मेदाराना रवैया अपना रहा है.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Power & Politics / Mail Today, December 15, 2008

THE MORE things — and people — change, the more the government refuses to change or learn. After the terrorist attack in Mumbai, a new chief minister and deputy are in place in Maharashtra, a new home minister has taken over in Delhi. Of course, some things — and people — don’t change. Like the National Security Advisor who hangs on to his job with barefaced cheek, the home secretary who is left without even a fig leaf. The IB director will soon go but only because he is retiring. The list is long: the Maharashtra DGP A. N. Roy, the Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor, his deputy Rakesh Maria and others down the line.

These are anxious times for ordinary citizens and they need to be assured that the government cares. Instead, we are saddled with a set- up incapable of drawing lessons. Maharashtra’s new chief minister, the fun- loving Ashok Chavan’s only familiarity with the sensitive subject of law and order is that he is the progeny of a decent man who was once the Union home minister. It is now nearly three weeks since the murderers from Pakistan unleashed mayhem in Mumbai, but there seems to be no urgency to the probe. Instead, myriad agencies in Mumbai are involved in a turf war over who will handle the investigations.

The job is naturally the Mumbai ATS’s, but K. P. S. Raghuvanshi, who heads it now, had earlier been shunted out to the railways and is back only because the brave Hemant Karkare, who we saw on TV borrowing a fellow officer’s bulletproof jacket to take on the killers, did not come out alive. It’s not the kind of CR that inspires confidence within the force, not to speak of ordinary citizens. As of date, 12 FIRs have been registered but nobody knows who will investigate them. Jt. Commissioner Rakesh Maria has such a tight media interface schedule, many wonder when he finds time for his job. So the job now lies with the state crime branch whose methods are more suited to dealing with Mumbai’s underworld and criminals of a lesser Devil.

Sadly, in our investigative agencies, as in so many spheres of life, it is connections that matter. The crime branch reports to police commissioner Gafoor, while the elite ATS reports to DGP Roy. Peers attribute the tug of war to the commissioner’s alleged benefactors at the most powerful address in Delhi while the DGP reports to the chief minister who is at Delhi’s mercy.
Commissioner Gafoor was outside the Trident and Maria in the control room when the horror unfolded but it is clear they were able to do nothing. You couldn’t miss the irony on Friday when TV channels reported that Fahim Ansari, an accused in the CRPF terror attack in Uttar Pradesh, has been handed over to the ATS. This when the ATS has been kept out of the investigations.
In one of his many interviews, Maria said he will file the charge- sheet within 90 days.

Why 90? Because that’s the deadline as per Indian laws. It would have been laughable if the matter wasn’t so serious. 26/ 11 is a case that calls for professional handling of the highest order; unfortunately, it stands in danger of falling victim to political one- upmanship and bureaucratic turf wars.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, December 14, 2008

"I had faith that we'd win"

Speaking on Seedhi Baat, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit says though the Congress won in the state, the margin of victory came down as it was not the usual BJP vs Congress battle, but many other parties, mainly the BSP, had their share in the vote pie.

आज तक के साप्‍ताहिक कार्यक्रम सीधी बात में लगातार तीसरी बार दिल्‍ली की मुख्‍यमंत्री बनी शीला दीक्षित ने कहा कि मुझे इस चुनाव में जीत का पूरा विश्‍वास था. उन्‍होंने कहा कि इस चुनाव में विकास हमारा प्रमुख मुद्दा रहा.

Snippets / Mail Today, December 15, 2008

EVERY now and then the Third Front sputters to life, raising hopes among a motley bunch of co- travellers about a smooth ride to power. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Comrade Karat and Jayalalithaa posed for photographers after the AIADMK was welcomed into the front. A combination of the Dalit Diva and the Empress of Poes Gardens would make the Third Front unassailable, went the chorus. But wait. Fresh from the 14 per cent votes that she notched in the Delhi elections, Mayawati has upped the bar and has told the comrades that she is not game for pre- poll alliances. This is a dampener for the Front, as in several states she will be taking on its constituents, cutting into their votes to benefit the Congress or the BJP. Last heard, Karat has appointed N. Chandrababu Naidu as the arbitrator. Hopefully Naidu will find time for his new job in between trying to keep his own house in order.

For once, leaders present a united front
I HAVE covered Parliament for over three decades and was there on Thursday when it met to discuss the Mumbai terror attacks. I had anticipated frayed tempers and fisticuffs. Instead, I was surprised at the show of bipartisanship in both houses. The only jarring note came from a CPI( M) campus recruit in the Rajya Sabha who attributed the attacks to the terrorists’ anger over the Indo- US Nuclear deal. Luckily for him, the mood was somber and fellow MPs let him get away with that yarn. It was LK Advani who set the tone for the day’s proceedings by staying clear of politics and offering his party’s unstinted support to the government. In turn, he was repeatedly cheered by the treasury benches. As he finished his speech, Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram crossed the aisle and walked over to Advani to thank him for his gesture.

With the top trio breaking the ice, there was a clamour among Congressmen to go greet Advani. There may be more to this new found bonhomie than meets the eye. The government is committed to bringing new POTA like anti- terror laws whose passage in Parliament could prove difficult if the comrades and the “ defenders of the faith” among the socialists put hurdles in the way. With the opposition BJP on its side, the government will not need help from its allies, inside the UPA or outside.

PC a whiff of fresh air in the ministry
MAHENDRA Singh Dhoni is a good example of a new captain galvanising a team. P Chidambaram is another. After four and a half years of the Shivraj Patil kind of leadership, things are finally moving. Among the most abhorrent sights witnessed during the Mumbai siege was that of then Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh whizzing past the Trident Oberoi in a 25- car motorcade, sitting behind the safety of the bulletproof window panes. It were sights such as this that triggered the public outcry over security cover that the political class had taken as a matter of right. From now on, they will take nothing for granted. Taking the cue from the minister — who abhors bullet proof cars and black cat commandos — mandarins in North Block have begun a quiet review of the security requirements of our netas. In Delhi alone, nearly 9,500 out of the total 60,000 police personnel — 1 out of every 6 in uniform — are permanently on VIP security duty. Many of the 400 odd VIP protectees need to be protected from potential killers only because they are murderers themselves. Politicians are not the kind to voluntarily surrender anything, so Rahul Gandhi must be lauded for seeking a review of the current security provisions which he said “ were designed and operated in hierarchical ways”. In the next few weeks, the security cover for many will be downgraded, if not withdrawn. A politician friend who will soon lose his security cover didn’t get to know about it from any official note from the government. It was his “ protector” who told him “ I won’t be with you from next month”. What an abrupt way to end a relationship!

LOK SABHA Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s multi- tasking skills could make many CEOs turn green with envy. Even a casual glance at his daily schedule would leave many wondering how he, just a year short of 80, still manages to pack so much into his everyday life. Not only is he active beyond his years, the Speaker’s office has a hyper active press and public relations cell . On an average, I get 2 to 3 SMSes from his office about his engagements for the day. Last Friday, I got 4. The first one told me, “ Please see the Lok Sabha website for the Honourable Speaker’s remarks at the end of the debate on the Mumbai attacks”. No sooner had I checked out the site, my handset beeped again to inform me that Chatterjee will be chairing the first meeting of “ Parliamentarians on Global Warming and Climate Change”. Even before I began to feel the heat under my collar came a third one saying that the Speaker has invited former UN under secretary general Shashi Tharoor to talk to MPs about terrorism. If you think that’s time management, he isn’t done yet. The fourth message said the Honourable Speaker will inaugurate the “ 3rd Sustainable Summit Asia 2008” later in the afternoon. All this on a day when Parliament opened its winter session. Only the Marxists who chucked him out think he is a spent force. I think he will go on and on and on.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

POWER OF THE PROVINCIAL/ Essay/India Today, December 22, 2008

The verdict is a celebration of local leadership with direct access to the mass mind. Welcome to the age of the strong State and the weak Centre.

Let us resist the familiar post-election temptation of looking at the results through the prism of caste, creed and communities. When we survey the wreckage of defeat and the enormity of victory, we just can’t miss one redeeming reality: the leaders were at last separated from pretenders. The power of leadership, not the colour of ideology, makes all the difference. The electorate was merciless in its verdict on those who failed to gain access to the people’s mind. If Sheila Dikshit—the soaring Mrs D who is emerging as the second-most powerful woman in the Congress—has won Delhi for the third time, the victory is hers—hers alone.

With leaders of both parties lacking pan-India appeal, a syndicate of regional leaders may choose the ruler in DelhiIf BJP chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh have prevailed in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, it’s because they are performers with a common touch. And if Vasundhara Raje has been ejected from Rajasthan, it is because she is not yet the Rani in her own parivar. So the refrain of the commentariat: in the semi-final between the Congress and the BJP, our GOP wins 3-2. I would rather see the assembly elections as the primaries of our national parties, though I am yet to see an Obama.

Still, there were only dispensable scapegoats and no bloated heads rolled from the central commands for bad performance. In the past, there were many claimants for success but none for defeat. Within the Congress, the whisper campaign targeted the so-called awesome foursome of AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, star campaigner and Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, MPCC President Suresh Pachauri and the young Jyotiraditya Scindia for the resounding rout in Madhya Pradesh. On the saffron side, one section put the entire blame for the humiliation in Delhi on obvious soft targets like V.K. Malhotra and local party President Harshvardhan. In the twisted hierarchy of politics, nothing succeeds like defeat.

That is why those who chose weak leaders and dubious candidates and ran expensive yet ineffective campaigns were not asked any questions because they control the high command in both the parties. The results made it clear that the states were not looking for national leaders.
The verdict is a celebration of local leadership. Three of the four chief ministers were able to defy the anti-incumbency devil. It reflected poorly on the reflexes of the central leadership of both parties. In Delhi, Malhotra became the third choice of the party because the high command thought even a lamp post would win because of the anti-Sheila wave across the capital. In retrospect, the wave was there only in the fantasy of the mighty strategist.

The BJP fell to hubris—and a veteran like Malhotra was wasted in the doomed campaign. As a Congress leader puts it, “we won because we had a star campaigner in Sheilaji while the BJP had five-star campaigners”. She became the first Congress politician in four decades to win an election for the third time after V.P. Naik in Maharashtra and Mohan Lal Sukhadia in Rajasthan. The Congress leadership was equally confident of defeating Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh. The party never projected any leader in any of the three states, expecting the local satraps to defeat the incumbents.

The Congress, though, was wiser. Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi made only symbolic appearances in the campaign. Sonia didn’t even bother to visit many states during the first round. And son Rahul Gandhi kept himself away from the battlegrounds after a disastrous experience in the Gujarat elections. The Congress high command left the selection of candidates and the campaign strategy entirely to local leaders. The big daddies of the BJP were everywhere; they flew across the states in chartered planes.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, L.K. Advani, and party President Rajnath Singh even skipped the all-party meeting convened by the prime minister following 26/11 as they thought campaigning was more urgent. There was total disconnect between what the local leaders projected and what was being espoused by the central leadership.

The message can’t be missed by those who aspire to rule India. Power at the Centre can no longer be sustained without strong political input from the provinces. The Centre can impose leaders on the states but, on its own, it cannot win an election. Welcome to the age of the strong state and the weak Centre.
And the BJP will be the most affected in this age. With the retirement of its most popular leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the party’s vanguard is formed by leaders like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, party Vice-President Gopinath Munde, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, General Secretary Ananth Kumar and Rajnath Singh.

They are fighters and winners, and most of them are mentored by the party’s first charioteer Advani. He has not let a new set of younger leaders grow, and remains heavily dependent on not street-fighters but apparatchiks. The BJP doesn’t have a leader worth its salt in states like Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and in the Northeast.
The Congress doesn’t exist in more than 250 seats in the country, and the party’s destiny is dictated by the impulses of the Dynasty. The party that ruled the country for almost five decades has not crossed the 150 mark in the Lok Sabha since 1996 because it has systematically demolished the state structures. Lessons of December for the big two of Indian politics:

  • Nepotism will not win elections;
  • Give more political autonomy to state leaders;
  • Honesty and leadership matter more than sycophancy;
  • Choose leaders who can lead and govern;
  • Make development the campaign mantra.

Will the national leadership now let winners from the states take the centrestage? This question was asked when leaders like Nehru and Indira Gandhi were around. While Nehru allowed powerful state satraps to co-exist, Mrs Gandhi was ruthless in neutralising them. The result was the emergence of regional parties formed by former Congressmen or caste leaders who were denied a stake in power. Those who followed Indira to lead the party never got the same mandate; even her son Rajiv Gandhi became the first Gandhi who failed to get a second term. Sonia is yet to become the restorer of glory.

Now that the state elections have turned out to be a draw, neither of the parties can approach Elections 2009 with certainty. They need winnable allies and credible candidates. With national leaders of both parties lacking pan-India appeal and acceptability, a syndicate of regional leaders is likely to choose the next ruler in Delhi. The Left may become the kingmaker again if the NDA and the UPA fail to cross the 150 mark. We are headed for a longer season of rule by a national leadership that can’t win a state but is controlled by leaders who can win the states.

Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, December 07, 2008

'UPA lacks will to fight terror'

Speaking on Seedhi Baat, BJP president Rajnath Singh says that his party is willing to stand with the UPA provided the government took stern steps to fight terror.

आज तक के साप्‍ताहिक कार्यक्रम 'सीधी बात' में भारतीय जनता पार्टी के अध्‍यक्ष राजनाथ सिंह ने कहा कि आतंकवाद से निपटने के लिए दृढ़ इच्‍छाशक्ति की जरूरत है लेकिन वर्तमान सरकार में इसकी कमी दिखती है

Monday, December 8, 2008

Power & Politics/ Mail Today, December 8, 2008

IF THE events of November 26- 28 in Mumbai were a tragedy, then those of the last week — both in the government and the ruling party — are nothing less than a farce which reinforces the widely held belief that the Congress seldom draws lessons from experience.

It has in Sonia Gandhi a leader who is both unchallenged and unquestioned. When nothing less than decisive action was called for, it has been proved itself woefully inadequate, unable to come up with a cohesive, credible and efficient strategy to fight terror.

Accountability began with the sacking of two Patils — Shivraj, who deserved a break because the country needed a break from his policing — and the Maharashtra deputy chief minister R. R. Patil, who will forever be remembered for this gem that “ in big cities such things happen”. Imagine Rudolph Giuliani, then New York mayor, saying on the afternoon of September 11, 2001 that in a city with so many skyscrapers, it is quite possible that the occasional aircraft strays from its flight path and hits something as tall as the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.

Getting Shivraj Patil, the weakest home minister that it has been this country’s misfortune to suffer, was the easy part, but somewhere thereafter, the Congress got paralysis. Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh “ offered” to resign, but held out stubbornly as crucial days went by. Even Narasimaha Rao, not exactly the most decisive of men, got Sudhakar Rao Naik to step down and dispatched Sharad Pawar in his place after terrorists struck Mumbai in March 1993. This time, the party pussyfooted, sent external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and defence minister A. K. Antony, who had their jobs cut out in a crisis situation like this, to sort out what was essentially an intra party matter.
Let’s get this straight. Sharad Pawar wasn’t seeking accountability from his party mate RR Patil when he got him to resign.

He wasn’t setting an example either. He just grabbed the best chance to oust Vilasrao Deshmukh for whom he has as much love as, say, George Bush would for Osama bin Laden. But Vilasrao was not about to quit without extracting a price. And it was obvious that with his powerful backers in Delhi, he could afford to flex his muscles. After six days of dilly dallying, the Congress on Friday indicated it was ready to meet his terms by appointing Ashok Chavan, Deshmukh’s preferred nominee as Maharshrtra’s new chief minister.

The appointment has brought flak, from within. Narayane Rane, who lost out yet again, is hurling abuses at the high command which can do nothing more than grin and bear it. Leave aside the fact of the dynasty in Delhi propping up another one in Mumbai. Son of S. B. Chavan, amongst the most formidable Union home ministers ever, Ashok is known more for qualities that his father would have disapproved. But he has his uses, particularly when the party has to face in a few months time a general election it’s known to dread.

Ashok has an immense ability to mobilise resources and one of the senior- most cabinet ministers from the state , no pauper himself, once told me that Maharashtra pools in about 70 per cent of the money that the Congress needs to fight elections.
The bottomline is: The fight against the enemy outside can wait until we sort out the minor issue of electoral battles to be fought at home.

DECLARE WAR ON TERROR/ Essay/India Today, December 15, 2008

Betrayed & savaged

Indian citizens are condemned to be the permanent victims of jihad and a political class which has no sense of the nation

Forget that platitudinous naiveté: terrorism has no religion. And remember that simple truth: when you are within the firing range of the killer, religion offers little protection. Of the 59 dead in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji station, 19 were Muslims. In death at least, there was no communal divide.

The killers were firing straight into the already scarred soul of India. They—10 jihadis from across the border and armed with AK-56s, bombs, RDX and 2,000 rounds of ammunition— came crossing the sea with one deadly agenda: a spectacular, prolonged assault on India, a rising power but known for its weakened resistance to forces that challenge its very existence. Mumbai, the emblematic city of India’s soaring ambition, was an obvious target. When the nation, scalded and poorer, regained consciousness after 60 hours of unsolicited hell, we expected a morethan-obvious rejoinder from those who are in charge of our national security. We were hit by a barrage of bunkum.

A nation abandoned by its ruling political class has become the most favoured target for the enemies of civilisationThis one from P. Chidambaram, the newly anointed home minister and the Government’s hit man for all seasons: “This is a threat to the very idea of India, the very soul of India, we know, that we love—secular, plural, tolerant and open society. I have no doubt that ultimately the idea of India will triumph.” How perceptive. The minister has at last acknowledged that “there is a threat”. Thank you, but mouthing those seminarfriendly Indian qualities once more are of little use because blatant political expediency at the cost of national interest has already made those lofty sentiments empty banalities.

Is being tolerant, secular, plural and democratic an excuse for being a passive power where lives are cheaper? India is fast emerging as the safest country for the warriors of radical Islam, and it’s no longer an exaggeration when Mumbai or any other Indian city is considered safer than Kabul—or maybe as safe as Baghdad. Chidambaram has only tired rhetoric to offer. No answers.
Our politicians never get the message. The fury of a nation betrayed by its political class knows no bounds. Our discredited politicians are protected with the most sophisticated arms when the ordinary cops have only antiquated guns to save the citizens. Soon, the netas may have to be protected against their own people. When India erupted in rage, predictably, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, instead of facing the people as a war-time ruler, took refuge in tokenism.
The exit of Shivraj Patil, whose entire term as Union home minister was
a prolonged dress rehearsal, could have only satisfied the most gullible, for he, no matter how effete, was the softest target. Really, how could you reduce the enormity of the Mumbai tragedy to the size of a Shivraj Patil? And his sacking was followed by the resignation of a political lightweight, Maharashtra deputy chief minister R.R. Patil, and then, after much dithering, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

There should have been more. Why were the powerful National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and his intelligence cabal consisting of the IB chief, the R&AW boss and the home secretary spared? Maybe their duties were more ‘political’ than ‘national’. Why were the top navy brass and the state’s senior bureaucrats and police officers let go unpunished? Because this Government is only interested in finding dispensable scapegoats.
This nauseating display of hogwash doesn’t mean that the predecessor was any better. Following the attack on Parliament, the NDA government made a lot of noise about teaching Pakistan a lesson but Washington’s word of caution prevailed. India asked for the repatriation of 20 dreaded criminals including Dawood Ibrahim but it did not even get one.

Seven years on, we haven’t come a long way. The moment the badly mauled UPA Government hinted at the possibility of an attack on terrorist camps in Pakistan, President George Bush, who is more concerned about America’s war on terror in which Islamabad is still an ally, sent his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the flashpoint on a peace mission.

Lesson: we are alone in our existential war; there won’t be an international coalition and Pakistan is not going to be India’s Afghanistan. That too despite the fact that Mumbai is not just another city; it’s one of the throbbing nerve points of the so-called flat world. The “twin towers” of the Taj and the Oberoi were—and will continue to be—global landmarks. Among the victims included 14 nationalities. The world was called Mumbai during those darkest hours. For Mumbai, though, there won’t be a global war on terror.

We are not politically prepared to wage our own war—and to defend the nation, which, in certain quarters, continues to be a bad word. And that is why Mumbai will not be India’s 9/11. On that September morning seven years ago, there was no red America and there was no blue America but there was only a nation united by grief, rage and patriotism. In the India after Mumbai, there is a frightening gap between national sentiment and political attitude.

A politically divided India cannot redeem the nation—or defend its people. We are condemned to be the permanent victims of jihad as well as a political class which has no sense of the nation. The popular consensus on asserting the national will is not matched by any political urgency in defeating the enemy. A nation abandoned by its ruling political class has become the most favoured target for the enemies of civilisation.

Sinippets / Mail Today, December 8, 2008

BARRING Chidambaram’s move to North Block, the government is yet to send out any signal that internal security is a top drawer subject. On the contrary, the appointment of Raman Srivastava, former DGP of Kerala as special secretary, internal security, raises serious questions about the government’s commitment to put its money where the mouth is as far as internal security is concerned. As an IGP in Kerala, Srivastava had the dubious honour of being questioned by his juniors in the crime branch of the Kerala Police, by the CBI, and was placed under suspension for his controversial role in the infamous ISRO spy case in the mid- 1990s. This, despite the best efforts of his then benefactor K. Karunakaran, the state chief minister. He subsequently approached the Central Administrative Tribunal on the basis of whose order, he was reinstated but was not given a police posting.

Instead he was posted as security officer in a central public sector undertaking before donning khakis again as IGP, Armed Battalions and Traffic! Originally from Uttar Pradesh, the 1973 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer is a Mallu for all practical purposes. And with so many high and mighty Keralites strutting around South Block, is it any wonder that this adopted Mallu has made it to the crucial job of special secretary despite his less- than credible career sheet. It is to be hoped that he manages internal security somewhat better than he did the traffic management on the crowded roads of Thiruvanthapuram.

Your safety is in unsafe hands
IS IT an admission of the shortage of talent in the government that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could find none other than P Chidambaram to fill the vacancy created by the sacking of Shivraj Patil as home minister? By his own admission, PC was a reluctant transferee to North Block. But it is a measure of the government’s warped sense of priorities that it thinks there is nothing amiss in carrying on without a full- time finance minister when the country is heading for an economic downturn. This is not to belittle the challenges on the security front or suggest that PC is the wrong man for the job.

On the contrary, there is nobody more equipped than him to deliver on an issue that is top of the mind for all Indians. But his is a tough job, made tougher by the fact that he is saddled with the same set of people who, as has now been proved beyond doubt, are simply not unto the job. There were inspired leaks that M. K. Narayanan, the national security advisor had offered to quit.

If indeed he had, why wasn’t it accepted forthwith considering the advice he gave amounted to nothing. The home secretary still reports for work as do the IB director, R& AW chief, etc. The IB Director’s singular achievement so far has been keeping MPs under surveillance during the infamous trust vote in July to ensure the UPA victory. Narayanan’s indispensability may have something to do with the fact that he knows too much. These uncomfortable facts are not state secrets. Even the killers who arrived by slow boat from Karachi knew it. That’s why they could strike at will. And so easily.

All’s not well that ends well
FORGIVING and forgetting doesn’t come naturally to anyone who has been through the long, hard grind of Tamil Nadu politics and nobody knows this more than Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the Tamil Nadu chief minister. There is thus intense speculation over the carefully choreographed photo- ops whose intent seems to be to convey the message that all’s well that ends well. Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran are grandnephews of the DMK patriarch. The former runs a hugely successful media house whose flagship is SUN TV, South India’s largest TV network. while the latter, until mid last year, was the suave Union minister for communications. Things went wrong when in May 2007, the group conducted an opinion poll about Karunanidhi’s successor. The result enraged Karunanidhi who saw it as an attempt to drive a wedge between his highly ambitious offspring, all intensely political.

Dayanidhi was given the boot. The bitterness was so intense that, it was thought, the twain shall never meet. But there is a settlement in place and I understand it has as much to do with business as politics. Though it was the Marans who ran the media house, it is widely known that SUN TV couldn’t have reached the dizzying heights without help from the DMK, which along with Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK could teach parties like the BJP and the CPI( M) a few lessons about cadre bashing. The settlement also includes a political accord engineered by M. K. Stalin, Karunanidhi’s politically less- gifted son who saw in the Marans a threat to his own ambitions. He is now supping with them, glad to see the fledgling career of his half- sister M. Kanimozhi clipped. Karunanidhi must have been through torment since the extremely talented Kanimozhi is said to be his favourite. In a final gesture, he took Kanimozhi and her mother, his second wife, to visit Sonia Gandhi when he last visited Delhi. But at the end, victory belonged to the boys. Stalin will be the DMK’s face in Tamil Nadu, the suave Dayanidhi in Delhi.

THANKS TO the antics of chief minister V. S. Achutanandan outside the Bangalore residence of Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the Army Major who lost his life fighting terrorists in the Taj Hotel, chain mails and SMSes are doing the rounds suggesting God’s Own Country should now be called Dog’s Own Country. Yet our netas in Delhi would do well to imbibe a few lessons in bipartisanship from the political class in Kerala.

Last week, when nine children, were mowed down by a speeding minivan in Kannur, several state ministers and Opposition leaders landed up to commiserate and attend the funeral.
Last week, I wrote about the significance a Manmohan- Advani joint visit to Mumbai would have had. The visit never happened. Little gestures like this would have gone a long way in redeeming the image of the political class, which has hit rock bottom.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Power & Politics / Mail Today, December 01, 2008

EVERY crisis brings with it an opportunity. We Indians are, at the best of times, a divisive lot and 26/ 11 afforded our leaders an opportunity to show that at the worst of times, we can unite. But on the day terrorists stormed Mumbai, the political class let us down by proving once again that they were more keen on keeping their vote banks intact than the country itself.

The unprecedented strike at the very root of the Indian state gave Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the BJP’s PM- in- waiting Lal Kishan Advani the perfect opportunity to assure us that when India is under attack, they are ready to sink their differences and go into battle together.

Pictures of the two together in Mumbai on the day after the attack would have sent the strongest of signals to saboteurs worldwide, however belated they may be, not to mess around with us. Instead, petty politics ensured that Manmohan and Advani weren’t ready yet to put on display the spirit that unites India.

Why? Both sides have their own stories to tell. Late on Nov 26, some time after the attacks began, Advani called up Singh and assured him of the BJP’s support to the government in tackling the crisis. To be fair, it was Manmohan who mooted the idea that they both travel together to Mumbai the next day, a suggestion that Advani readily agreed to. Advani had already cancelled the planned birthday celebrations of his wife and had decided to fly out to Mumbai when the PM made the offer of a joint journey.

He rescheduled his agenda and made plans to fly out to Mumbai with the PM, when the next afternoon, barely hours before they were to take off from Delhi, he was informed from the government that since the rescue operations were still on, it would be wise to put off the trip by a day. The Opposition leader politely declined on grounds that he is scheduled to address several meetings in Rajasthan which is due for polls later this week and therefore was going to Mumbai himself.

But by late afternoon, Manmohan Singh changed his mind and decided to fly the same day in the company of — who else — Sonia Gandhi. Upon which Advani who was already on his way to Mumbai is reported to have informed the government of his readiness to meet the PM at any predetermined spot in Mumbai. According to Advani, who was keen on a public show of unity, he was assured he will be informed about the venue and time for a meet- up. There was no further word from the government. But as in any story, there is the other side which tells a different tale and paints Advani as the vil- lain of the botched opportunity.

The government has it that the PM was keen on an allparty show of unity. Amongst those he had invited to join the hurriedly drawn up entourage were Sharad Pawar and Amar Singh. A man is known by the company he keeps and Advani may have had his reasons not to share the stage with Singh.

But it still begs the question: When Advani had offered to catch up with the prime minister in Mumbai, why was his request ignored? Couldn’t Manmohan, who has learnt in these past four and half years to make the impossible possible, have kept the larger picture in mind and persuaded the Opposition leader to be by his side in this gravest of hours? Politics aside, it’s a decision both will grieve over for long.

Snippets/ Mail Today, December 01, 2008

YOU’D expect someone high as M. L. Kumawat, special secretary ( Internal Security), to be leading the battle from the front. How wrong. The only time he was seen was when he came before TV cameras to say “ I congratulate all channels for the wonderful show these past few days.” With men like this, is it any wonder that questions are periodically raised about how equipped this government is to ensure the safety of our citizens.

But why blame the babu alone? home minister Shivraj Patil has proved time and again he has little clue about the job entrusted to him. He is so obsessed with his sartorial appearances that he would fail to hear a bomb blast if it were to go off outside his office in North Block. At an emergency Cabinet meeting convened to discuss the Mumbai attacks, he could not even get the names of the hotels right. I wasn’t surprised that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh didn’t even bother to call him to a meeting convened to discuss internal security. But it’s not unprecedented. It happened once before when Patil was asked to stay at home and away from his ministry. But this one takes the cake. Last week, many journalists got SMS messages informing them about Patil’s visit to Mumbai.

The SMS also said he would be taking about 200 NSG commandoes for rescue operations. Lest you think it was an anonymous source tipping off journalists, perish the thought. It was Patil’s office at work. I would just like to ask the minister one question: Since when have commandoes started to operate in the full glare of the media?

Failure has rewards for duds in govt too
SUCCESSIVE governments have set up innumerable committees, groups, authorities and what not to deal with emergencies like the one that had riveted the world for much of last week, but when disaster actually struck, their response was tepid as usual. I was in Mumbai last Wednesday to record a show for Aaj Tak TV when the terrorists sneaked in and let mayhem loose.
Though I was staying at the Taj Land’s End in Bandra, as soon as I heard the news in the hotel restaurant where I was having my dinner, I persuaded a reluctant taxi driver to drop me and a couple of friends near the Trident.
We reached there around midnight only and came face to face with the near indifference of those in charge to the human tragedy that was just unfolding. Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor was there, accompanied by his senior officers, all of whom were standing outside the Trident and holding discussions among themselves.
A little away stood a group of Navy commandoes who I assume are based in Mumbai and therefore were the first to reach the spot. But apart from being there, they didn’t se
em to be doing anything of consequence. Can’t blame them, the young men perhaps were waiting for orders from above. Johny Joseph, Maharashtra’s chief secretary, who was supposed to call the shots in the absence of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who was away in Kerala presumably taking a good ayurvedic massage, was nowhere to be seen.
He is also the chief of the state crisis management committee. I don’t know if Johny Jospeh either sought or got any inputs that would have given him an idea of how to go about the job. The National Security Guards didn’t arrive in the city until 5 am the next day. If little Johny had acted with the urgency that the situation demanded, the elite force could have arrived at least four hours earlier. Those were precious hours lost.
But honestly, only a fool would have expected anything but this from the man. Three years ago, when Mumbai was devastated by the worst floods in living memory, Johny was the city’s Municipal Commissioner. There were a million voices demanding his head for the local administration’s shoddy response to the calamity in which more than 1,000 people died. But far from punishing him for his incompetence, he was rewarded and promoted to chief secretary.

Modi, the innate scene stealer
FROM the PM and the BJP’s PM- in- waiting to the selfanointed PM in waiting. On a day when Vilasrao Deshmukh, Maharashtra Chief Minister, dared do nothing more than whizz past the Taj and Oberoi in his bulletproof motorcade and Mumbai’s goons famed for targeting outsiders chose to stay indoors, Narendra Modi landed in Mumbai and held forth outside the Trident Oberoi in full glare of the world media. Though there are few administrators with better anti- terrorism credentials, Modi was, in fact, an unwelcome visitor.

On Nov 27, the man who has relentlessly and ruthlessly pursued terrorists in his own state had telephoned Deshmukh and Dy CM RR Patil and expressed a desire to visit the city but was told to defer it until the operations at the Taj, Trident and Nariman House were over. Modi would perhaps have gone by Deshmukh’s advice had the Maharashtra CM, not long afterwards, not tried to inject some needless politics into it.

Already under attack for fiddling while his showpiece city burnt, Deshmukh was further riled by news reports which said his government sat on tip- offs from Gujarat intelligence agencies which warned about the likelihood of terrorists using fishing trawlers and such like to enter Mumbai via the sea route. The reports were rubbished by Deshmukh and his aides at the Mantralaya, who said the warning from the Gujarat authorities were very general in nature and the inputs contained no specific information that could have averted this tragedy.

An incensed Modi then dispensed with protocol and arrived in Mumbai and headed for the Trident. Outside the hotel, he virtually taunted the Maharashtra government by announcing Rs 1 crore each for the three slain top Maharashtra police officers — as against the Rs 5 lakh that the Deshmukh government gave. And then drove over to ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s residence to commiserate with his family.

How ironic! The scourge of green terrorists paying homage to the bane of saffron terrorists.

Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, November 30, 2008

"I have no reason to resign"

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Ramchandra Patil, better known as R. R. Patil says on Seedhi Baat that India should ask Pakistan for answers to the latest attacks in Mumbai. He even stated that there was a Pakistan link in every terror attack that has shaken the country so far.
आज तक के साप्‍ताहिक कार्यक्रम 'सीधी बात' में महाराष्‍ट्र के उप मुख्‍यमंत्री आर आर पाटिल ने कहा कि उनके इस्‍तीफा देने की कोई वजह ही नहीं है. पाटिल मुंबई में हुए आतंकी हमले के बाद उनके इस्‍तीफे की अटकलों पर बोल रहे थे.
watch video: part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4 and part 5