Monday, December 26, 2011

Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard/ December 25, 2011

Power & Politics

The King C0ng Option is on the Table, and It's Not Going To Work

Consistency has never been the virtue of Indian political parties. The ruling Congress is no exception. Mauled and marred by adverse publicity for its failure to create a strong Lokpal Bill, the Congress first chose to walk with Team Anna. It accepted the deadline set by Hazare for the Bill’s passage. It made Team Anna’s voice mightier than its own collective speech. Leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, provided mass legitimacy to the movement by writing numerous letters to Anna. But that was a couple of months ago.

Last week, the same Congress party questioned the very idea of civil society activism. Suddenly, it invoked the principle of parliamentary supremacy and asserted its right to legislate, even if it went against the spirit of the Constitution. Through various actions and statements, the party leadership is trying to create the impression that it is not merely hanging on in office, but also has the will to govern with full authority. It is not willing to lose sleep or prestige under pressure from an agitation led by an ‘individual’. The Congress has once again asserted its unique DNA, which allows it to make and break deals according to its convenience, even at the cost of conviction.

The Congress has decided to confront its challengers within and outside. None other than the Congress president herself blew the bugle. While addressing partymen, Sonia scolded them for behaving like losers. She repeated her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi’s favourite ideological weapon — the destabilisation theory. She said: “Let’s fight the forces out to destabilise us; the forces who never accepted the verdicts of 2004 and 2009.” She went a step further by announcing, “I am always ready for a fight.” The party, as well as UPA ministers looking forward to their Christmas holidays were once again ordered to train their guns on the Opposition. During the Lokpal debate, Sonia thumped her desk vigorously when Lalu Prasad Yadav made fun of Team Anna. The Congress was once again at its usual best: dividing the Opposition and isolating its worst enemy, the BJP. Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee took an uncharacteristically confrontationist approach when he dismissed important objections raised by the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj on the Lokpal Bill. Mukherjee argued that Parliament cannot give up its right to legislate simply because the judiciary may strike it down. Interpretation: Parliament could also pass laws that can take away the fundamental rights of citizens as it happened during the Emergency. After Sonia and Pranab became aggressive, Manmohan couldn’t afford to be left behind. During a meeting with corporate leaders last week, the Prime Minister chastised them for attacking the Government for policy paralysis. Even top industrialists like Ratan Tata must have been shocked at Manmohan’s newly acquired confidence. He left none of them in doubt that the Government wouldn’t treat them as partners in growth if they continued their pessimistic attitude.

He couldn’t have spoken like a maverick in the House, unless he was assured the full support of various political parties. For the first time after many months, the Congress was able to divide the entire Opposition in the name of the minorities. One could notice a sense of relief on the once-sullen faces of Congress leaders when the composition of the Lokpal, and not its contents and powers, became the subject of national debate. By adopting the British policy of divide and rule, the Congress changed the discourse on corruption. Barring the BJP, all parties who were earlier pleading for a strong Lokpal suddenly chose to support and laud the Government on the clause providing for not less than 50 per cent reservation for SCs, STs, OBC, minorities and women in the Lokpal bodies. They must have forgotten to read the Bill, which is an apology of a legislation. If passed in its current form, the Lokpal wouldn’t have any powers to investigate or prosecute and will be just one of the many commissions or panels that occupy over 100 offices in the capital and whose members enjoy all the perks of a Cabinet minister, but not the authority to advise even a ministry official. Obviously, the Congress and its allies have come to the conclusion that corruption isn’t an election issue in India. Recent by-election results in Bellary and other places delivered verdicts in favour of those who are symbols of corruption in high places. According to Congress insiders, the party is confident of scoring impressive victories in all the five states going to the polls in early 2012. For the Congress, winning an election by any means symbolises political acceptability. In the process, it is betraying the most powerful and innovative slogan Indira gave the nation in 1980: “Elect a government that governs.” prabhuchawla@newindianexpress.com

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Salman Khurshid on Teekhi Baat/IBN7 on December 24, 2011

As the issue of Lokpal snowballs into a political hot potato, Law Minister Salman Khurshid in an exclusive interview for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7, answers questions on the issue Lokpal , independence of CBI, the politics of reservations, team Anna and many other contentious issues.

PC: Hello! I am Prabhu Chawla, and our guest for today on Teekhi Baat is Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, welcome to our studio Salmanjee.

SK: Thank You, Prabhuji and I am happy that I am back in your fourteenth episode.

PC: Congress got freedom for the country, by putting the British out of power, but you adopted their strategy of divide and rule. Divide political parties and rule all of them. And you have done a very good thing about lokpal, made everyone fight on this issue; this is what we expected of you, divide and rule, make Laloo fight with Mulayam, Mulayam with BJP and CPM with somebody else.

SK: Please see, we want the Lokpal bill to come to reality. And we want it because it is needed today and today the environment is such that people seek faith in such an institution which can stop corruption, only time will tell, whether it will be able to stop it or not. But even then, there is a necessity.

PC: There is a necessity. But today discussion is happening whether it should be reservation for minority or not, Laloo started giving speeches on this issue. The discussion to stop corruption is not happening, but sure they say in the last sentence that Lokpal should be a strong bill. But the whole discussion in parliament was centred around the topic whether there should be reservation for minorities. This means you wanted to divide people, people say your intentions are not right.

SK: No, no please see, let the Lokpal be formed first, after that we will talk of intentions. Because, before anybody announces decisions on our intentions, you are questioning intentions, which is not good, I believe that the condition that our politics is in today, the reality, is the same thing which we are seeing on television today. Now to run from this reality and form any institution, that will not run. We will have to accept the reality. If this reality can be changed, time will change it, some big leader will change, some party will change it that is a different issue. But today this is the reality.

PC: You want to show you are ushering in change, tinkering and altering the system.

SK: We are not tinkering with the system, please see.

PC: Kiran Bedi said that the earlier bill was not Lokpal but Jokepal. But today people are saying that you have made jalebi.

SK: Who is the joke on, the people who said that this is a jokepal bill and the other bill was good. Who is the last laugh on.

PC: You messed with the lokpal bill so much, people are saying you have made it jalebi pal bill.

SK: Eat the jalebi and see.

PC: One will get diabetes.

SK: No, diabetes will not happen by eating jalebi , but if one already has diabetes, then jalebi has a bad effect.

PC: You have made such a jalebi nobody is understands what is what.

SK: These days sugar free jalebis are also made.

PC: You have put rabri on it

SK: (laughs) rabri daal di.

PC: Your intention is that the lokpal bill should be formed, because the kind of bill that you have brought forth, from what I read I could make out that there will be two agencies to deal with corruption in the country. The idea of Lokpal was to have one agency to deal with corruption in the country. Now CBI which should have been under Lokpal, is out of its ambit.

SK: This is whose idea, of them who have not fought elections. Who has not experience of coalition government, who is not inspired nor experienced about politics, he said that he has had a vision, let anyone have won or lose an election, he should accept that vision. We heard, tried to understand, tried to mould it into our thought process, some of the aspects we moulded into our thought process, but they say that not even one word should be changed from here to there, and if that happens, we will not accept.

PC: That man disturbed your sleep, you sat all day along with other ministers, some went to receive them or others at airport, you first surrendered and today you say that the man is wrong.

SK: Please listen, I am not saying wrong.

PC: I mean you are saying things like he has not fought an election. Earlier also he had not fought, it is not a new fact brought it light. He dictated you to sit all night, pass it in the Loksabha session, you followed their agenda and calendar. Later, you understood the politics, and started to divide.

SK: If we would have given no response, then we would have been labelled as insensitive.

PC: Some said who are they (team Anna) to decide about how the parliament will go about…

SK: In parliament all agree on this issue, that we will listen to everybody, but doing the thing is our job, nobody can dictate us, and there is nothing wrong in that.

PC: They dictated and you followed their agenda and time frame, they will sit for hunger strike on 29th, hence we have to pass.

SK: No, no, no, since last time we said that we will pass it in next session, hence it will be tabled in this session, it is not so that anybody is giving us a schedule, that they (team Anna) are doing something on this date, and hence we do such and such thing before. People also told us, why are you doing it now, show it to them, do it later. We said no, if there is a feeling in the country, how much ever support it may have got, more or less, it is a good through and hence we must respect it.

PC: Your language has changed since Soniaji said that we will fight, ‘Soniji ki lalkaar, Congress ladne, marne ko tayiaar’

SK: Why not, why

PC: Why not earlier, why not earlier, the day Soniaji said we will fight, earlier you used to right letters to them, suddenly they said we will fight.

SK: The army starts when the commander says start, soldiers, move ahead. Before that the army stands, silent.

PC: Earlier you were compromising

SK: We didn’t compromise; there is no harm in talking. Even if somebody talks today, I think that talks should happen. Nothing happens in a democracy by shunning dialogue. There should be a dialogue. But dialogue cannot be one sided. There should be give and take from both sides. We move ahead a bit, the other moves back a bit, we accommodate them somewhat, then accommodate us somewhat.

PC: In the bill you have brought out, you accommodated no one, you did what you had to do. You kept CBI totally out of the ambit, you also attacked the existing federal structure, that the leader of opposition also said, and others agreed.

SK: Leader of opposition did not do that.

PC: The leader of opposition said that you cannot make such a law which curbs powers of the states

SK: May be she would have not read the whole bill, which states that the law will only be enforced in the states if the incumbent assembly in the states wants to keep this law above the existing law and proposes the same.

PC: The law is being brought to reduce corruption in India, there are two agencies, will CBI or Lokpal be big according to you.

SK: No, no there will be different administration for CBI and lokpal.

PC: If a complaint goes to both places, then what will happen.

SK: No, no it cannot go to both places, because, if a complaint goes to the place at first, is regarded a s valid complaint. Just for example, if an application has to be made in the High Court and Supreme Court under article 32, if you give it first in the High Court under article 226, then the Supreme Court will not hear it. If you give it first in the Supreme Court, then the High Court will not hear the matter. And sometimes the Supreme Court says to the other court to send the application to Supreme Court as they have similar applications before them. They say we will hear it collectively. This is what the Supreme Court says, in every organisation, there are rules, every organisation, there is a system, if you have a choice at two places, then you must go to only one place, for which there are rules.

PC: On the one hand CBI does independent inquiry, does trap cases, but you have not given any such powers to Lokpal.

SK: Lokpal cannot do investigation, when it receives any complaint; it will start in inquiry, after the inquiry, if Lokpal wants an investigation, the CBI will do that.

PC: If anybody wants to complain against you, he will go to Lokpal,

SK: It is his own choice.

PC: Just presume he went

SK: Yes

PC: Then Lokpal gives the matter to CBI to investigate; the CBI will investigate, isn’t it.

SK: CBI can do, some other agency can also do, like Delhi police.

PC: Mostly, corruption charges against public servants are investigated by CBI.

SK: Because they are given to CBI.

PC: But Lokpal.

SK: Lokpal can autonomously do it, but if Lokpal wants to give it to somebody like CBI, they will have an option to do that.

PC: But if it goes to CBI, then it is under your control, the central governments control.

SK: No, it is not under our control.

PC: Will you give it to Delhi police or state police.

SK: CBI is not under our control, you have read the Supreme Court decision of Vineet Narayan, CBI is under CVC. CBI works independently.

PC: CVC in under Prime Minister, this means it is all under political control.

SK: Why not do one thing, let us say there will be no prime minister in India, issue would have been over. But there will be a prime minister, and everywhere there will be a chief minister, and the prime minister will have some powers at least. Will we make a prime minister sans any powers.

PC: There are all powers; the law is for the whole country.

SK: Then why do you need the prime minister, have only MP’s.

PC: There is a leader to take decision; otherwise too many cooks spoil the broth, there should be a super cook.

SK: Hence, will be give the super cook any rights or not.

PC: The government is there to form system and make it independent.

SK: Make system independent, let Supreme Court announce a decision and put them on the computer, after which there is no need for hearing the decisions again, you see the computer.

PC: You are forming two agencies.

SK: We are not forming two agencies. When there is a CBI, the police in every state has a CID.

PC: CID did not have prosecution power, but investigation power.

SK: Prosecution and investigation are two difference things. Even now, who appoints prosecutor under CrPC, the state government appoints. It is used by the police. I the whole world, prosecution and investigation are different wings. Only in our country, prosecution and investigation has been attached. If prosecution and investigation are attached, then the safeguards are over.

PC: When you changed or made laws two three times after under pressure from team Anna. Are you not sending across a message that democracy has been rooted so strongly in this country, that outside voices can also force the legislature, to make the law,

SK: They don’t force, they persuade, like I spoke to you today, you said one such thing, whether it be Teekhi, Seedhi, then I will go to Prime Minister and say that Prabhu Chawlajee said one very good thing, we also should incorporate.

PC: But I don’t say that I will sit one hunger strike if you don’t agree.

SK: That I don’t know, hunger strike is a different issue. But if you say a good thing, then I should listen. Not only because Prabhu Chawlaji said it in his programme.

PC: You will not agree, but you have set a precedent that any civil society movement, will persuade you, force, to say it in your words, to bring a law fast.

SK: Convince.

PC: Then how is parliament supreme.

SK: Parliament, in today’s democracy, a dialogue with civil society, any group, stake holders , that we say always hence we put on our website that we want to make such and such a law and invite suggestions. Then when it goes to standing committee, advertisements are issued, and seek inputs from all stakeholders, let the issue be pertaining to patents, or making any law, or making any policy, then people come, give their opinion. You know that before the budget, finance minister speaks to the stake holders. In the same way, this thing has been taken ahead, because today, democracy has become participatory, it is not the case that you vote once in five years and sit at home. Now, every day in a democracy, that you make your voice heard, to your MP, write letters,

PC: Stage Dharnas.

SK: No, no even Dharnas, even Dharnas are a part of our political system.

PC: You said parliament is supreme, people should give their suggestions, but should parliament be allowed to pass any law.

SK: No, no if parliament passes a law, which is not good, then the people who have been voted to power in parliament, who are in majority, will lose next time.

PC: There is a history of parliament, like the 40th or 41st amendment in the constitution, when emergency was imposed, even that law was passed by the parliament.

SK: Yes

PC: That was not interest of the country.

SK: And lost after that.

PC: After that, there was 44th amendment, which means parliament can make even wrong laws, public is supreme. Your imposed emergency and took away people’s rights.

SK: That is not the case, public is supreme, which is true, but the same supreme public game themselves a constitution, and gave rights of amendment to the constitution,

PC: It means we will make the law, then Supreme Court will declare it ultra vires, like it did earlier.

SK: According to our understanding, we will do what is right, but we cannot duplicate supreme court here, what can happen in supreme court, cannot happen here. The kind of arguments and thoughts presented in supreme court, and the kind of study that is done in supreme court, that cannot happen in parliament.

PC: I am reading his statement; which he said in the house, our work is form legislation, the supreme court will decide its implications.

SK: Of course.

PC: In the constitution, it has been said you cannot have more than 50 per cent reservations, but you said,

SK: Now, supreme court, sees two things, what you have said and what you have done, you said minimum 50 per cent,

PC: Not less than 50 per cent.

SK: Yes, not less than 50 per cent, all right, then it is minimum. But if you exceed 50 per cent

PC: But you said not more than 50 per cent.

SK: No, no if we exceed 50 per cent, then Supreme Court will say it is wrong. But supreme court, in the two matters of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the limit, set by the supreme court itself, has ordered to go more than that, has given this right.

PC: In services not in constitutional bodies, it has not be done for CEC

SK: No, it is not there, not in Supreme Court, reservation is not there in Supreme Court, not in any high court. This is an experiment in the modern world, in the background of changing politics, not leaving all parties, one party raised the issue of minorities,

PC: This is what you wanted, use the minority card and divide.

SK: So should we not put it.

PC: No, I am not saying that, I am saying reservation shouldn’t be there, but there should be merit based reservation in this country.

SK: You are saying it shouldn’t be there, but you having a firm point of view. Now there are people who say it should be there, but it should be this much, not that much, now only seeing his benefit he changes, then he has to be told that you are faltering.

PC: But to attach the word minority, earlier you told we will not attach, then you withdrew the bill,

SK: I will clear the issue for you. In the all party meeting, in that 99 per cent of the people, including BJP, they said that there should be reservations. But BJP had not said anything in the matter of minorities.

PC: Then why was it not in the bill.

SK: It was in the bill, cabinet passed it, it was in the bill, then there were talks with all stakeholders, in which there were talks with the BJP too, when the issue was raised that there is a category for socially and educationally backward minorities, that category cannot assimilate all minorities, they said that, and hence we said that we will think over it. Hence, till that time, we did not include it in the bill, but when we thought, and after giving a thought everybody formed an opinion that there should be no doubt as it is a constitutionally valid category, hence we included it.

PC: There are five minorities recognized nationally, with you make minorities fight against minorities in the Lokpal.

SK: No, why.

PC: You will keep five, each from one community,

SK: No, we will not be able to keep five.

PC: Then you will leave somebody.

SK: if we keep four, then one will be left, but next time.

PC: You will have to have one women member.

SK: About women member, women can be included from anywhere.

PC: How many members are there in Lokpal.

SK: Lokpal has nine members.

PC: From nine, if you have to include, five, four minorities, then after four, one woman.

SK: Now it is not said that if somebody is from minority, then the person cannot be woman. It can so happen a woman from minority is included.

PC: Then five are done, from where will you take backward.

SK: No, all five won’t come at one time. One backward, one dalit,

PC: Then according to you, somebody or the other will be left out.

SK: In backward also there are 2000 different backward,

PC: In this country, you started a discussion, earlier scheduled castes, scheduled tribe, which is ok, which was for the first 10 years in the constitution, now it is permanent, accepted, for eradicating social backwardness. But now if you split the minorities, then in this country, till when will you continue splitting caste, sub caste, religion, sub religion, is it in the interest of the country.

SK: I ask you, if you want to finish this system, can we take all people together and ask them, are you getting justice, till people keeping on thinking that they didn’t get justice as compared to others, till then reservations will have to continue.

PC: This is what the politicians say

SK: This is even in America.

PC: Public is not demanding reservations as much as politicians.

SK: That is not the case, there are reservations in America,

PC: That is affirmative action

SK: There is affirmative action, hence you are saying there should be affirmative action but not reservation.

PC: Yes, in affirmative action economic criteria are included.

SK: In affirmative action, at someplace economic and some place social criteria are included, some where there is historical, there can be anything.

PC: There is a logic behind that, here, let anybody be rich or poor, everybody gets it.

SK: No, that is not the case, there is a creamy layer.

PC: That is in backwards, it is not in religion based reservation.

SK: No, no, what we know, creamy layer was not written in the constitution. Supreme Court gave directions regarding the same.

PC: What do you think, the bill that has come now finally, (Lokpal bill), will you be able to get the current draft passed, or will there be changes.

SK: That is our aim, but Pranab da has said that we have come with a free mind, everybody have to get together and pass it. What is somebody’s opinion on it,

PC: You don’t have majority.

SK: No majority that does not mean

PC: Hence, you will have to take everybody together.

SK: If there would have been no majority, how would we have been in the government?

PC: You are in the government because you don’t let the no confidence motion come.

SK: No, no

PC: Don’t let any voting resolution come

SK: That is not the case, vote is cast every day. We have our partners, our colleagues,

PC: The majority was not in favour of your bill today in the house.

SK: Today

PC: Let’s take today’s sense of the house

SK: It has been admitted on the basis of the sense of the house.

PC: But people have not asked for division.

SK: If division is not demanded, is it our fault, or theirs

PC: Now you will have to do some compromises to take people together.

SK: Compromise is a word which people understand wrongly. But dialogue

PC: You will have to do adjustment

SK: Accomodation, not adjustment and accommodation and dialogue is a part of democracy.

PC: Will the government think on making some necessary changes in Lokpal bill later.

SK: That happens in every bill and in many bills official amendments are moved in which people say that do these amendments in the bill. It happens in every bill, and where there is brute majority, where there is no need to listen to anybody, there a person can ask to close eyes and ears and ask to vote. But where there are coalition governments, there dialogue has to be done, accommodation has to be done,

PC: Tell me one thing, who will do Lokpal’s inquiry, if there is a complaint of corruption against them.

SK: There is a provision of inquiry of Lokpal, the complaint will go to the Supreme Court, a Supreme Court committee will inquire into it, even today this happens, you will know that the head of Prasar Bharati, if there is a complaint against person holding that post, it goes to the Supreme Court, Supreme Court inquires, after that, Hon. President is told,

PC: What about the staff under Lokpal.

SK: There is a system for staff under Lokpal. Their inquiry can be done by Lokpal themselves or the Lokpal can give it to somebody else.

PC: Who will do CBI’s inquiry

SK: Who does CBI’s inquiry today

PC: Can Lokpal do it or not

SK: CBI themselves to CBI’s inquiry today.

PC: If any independent inquiry has to be done then, will Lokpal have the right.

SK: Even CBI people are from group A, group B. The complaint of group A,group B can go to Lokpal.

PC: You mean they can do CBI’s investigation

SK: Why not, there is no problem, there have to be checks and balances.

PC: Will you get this law passed in this session

SK: I have full hopes, I have full hopes and we have this aim in mind because we have promised the country that will be get the bill in this session.

PC: Promised the country, due to Anna’s fear

SK: No, no,no,no, we did not get scared. Please see, one senior citizen, who is respected by so many people, if he is in pain, he is in trouble, in matter of his health, if we gave some indications, that we want his health to be fit and fine, then is it a bad thing,

PC: You have brought this bill fast to keep his health right.

SK: No, no it is the issue of that time. Sense of the house

PC: Am taking of today

SK: No, we are doing what our sense of the promise was.

PC: Their team rejected you bill today, they will sit on hunger strike, they are ready to fight against you

SK: No issues, now what can be do

PC: Aar paar ki ladai ke liye taiyaar hain

SK: Aar paar ki ladai kya hain, why will we fight against them. We have to do something in this country; we will do that and show. If the country is with us, we will go ahead, if it is not with us, we will stop.

PC: The country is with you or not, that will be known in elections. These all things you have done keeping the UP elections in mind

SK: (laughs)

PC: You are UP incharge

SK: Keep on giving us best wishes.

PC: Thank you for coming to our studio.

SK: Thank you, Prabhuji!

video

Monday, December 19, 2011

CONGRESS CANNOT SUCCEEED .../The Sunday Standard/December 18, 2011

POWER & POLITICS

CONGRESS CANNOT TASTE SUCCESS AS LONG AS IT IS GUIDED BY FEAR FACTOR

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of losing, goes an old proverb. It aptly describes the current state of Indian politics with most political parties locked in the grip of the fear of losing. When the Congress party decided to welcome Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh into the UPA fold, it reflected more weakness than confidence. Ajit has never been known for good politics or great governance. He has always been a politician on the prowl, seeking easy prey. He has always been led by his mission and has consistently ignored the means. He mastered the art of wooing those who are suffering from the fear of losing power or facing defeat. After weeks of both secret and open dialogue and deals, Ajit got the better of the Congress leadership and became the 33rd minister in Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet—the largest since Independence.

While Ajit’s triumphant return to power marked his rise, it also signalled the erosion of Congress’s confidence in retaining power at the Centre and winning the state Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. For the past few months, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has been crisscrossing the state—covering sweltering hamlets and stinking cities—to establish his acceptability and proving his ability to win an election for his 115-year-old party. In his speeches, he always expressed confidence and assured his workers a return to power for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh after 20 years. The Congress had never sought an alliance with any regional party since it trusts the power of Brand Rahul to get the winning votes. His contempt for local heavyweights like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati was more than visible in his diatribes against the politics of caste and community. During his seven-year stint in politics, Rahul’s objective has been to win Uttar Pradesh for the Congress and for himself; as he knows, without a success in his own state, he can’t become the leader of the nation or Prime Minister. The Congress was taking its success in Uttar Pradesh for granted until recently till they were suddenly struck by a fear of the unknown.

Instead of fighting to win, the Congress chose to make compromises with its avowed ideology to ward off the fear of defeat. In the process, it has indirectly conceded Rahul needs more time to win an election for the party without leaning on the crutches of a regional party or tainted leaders. Perhaps, after losing miserably in Bihar in spite of Rahul’s vigorous campaign, the party isn’t willing to risk another political blow to their future leader’s iconic image. Though there is nothing in common between a 72-year-old Jat leader and a 41-year-old Gandhi scion, both will be seeking votes against Mayawati’s misrule in return for a better development-oriented coalition government. The longevity of a pre-poll alliance, however, is highly suspect. In the most unlikely event of them getting a near-majority, the Congress may find it difficult to retain Ajit in the alliance. His destination is Lucknow and not New Delhi. Since the Congress hasn’t declared its chief ministerial candidate, the junior Chaudhary is most likely to stake his claim for the post that was once held by his father, Chaudhary Charan Singh.

But the fear of losing has blinded the Congress from looking into the future. For example, it was the fear of losing Andhra Pradesh that led the Congress to finally admit film actor Chiranjeevi into the party; he was also promised a berth in the Union Cabinet at the cost of old and loyal Congress leaders. The party showed some guts when it replaced old Rosaiah with a young and clean Kiran Reddy as AP chief minister. He would have succeeded had he been given a free hand and authority. Within a few months, the Congress leadership lost its confidence in his governance and the local leadership; it went on a witch-hunt against its opponents because it feared the whole world was conspiring against the Centre.

Even while conducting its business in Parliament, the Congress hasn’t pressed for the passage of various important bills in the Rajya Sabha because it fears it will lose. Instead of calling the Opposition’s bluff on the floor of the House, the Congress has either chosen to withdraw many legislations or not to press for their introduction. The Prime Minister is also unwilling to take on his Cabinet colleagues on crucial decisions. On food security, nuclear energy plant in Tamil Nadu, Foreign Direct Investment in retail and others, the UPA leadership is reluctant to take the plunge to succeed. The Congress is bound to achieve a remarkable success in the long run if it rejects invisible barriers now. But it has chosen to accept the roadblocks because it fears to in the short run. No wonder, even after two decades, the party is still hobbling on borrowed crutches.
prabhuchawla@newindianexpress.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sachin Pilot on Teekhi Baat/ IBN7/December 17, 2011

Interview with Youth leader Sachin Pilot, who is a member of ‘Team Rahul’ and is currently the minister of state in the ministry of Communications and Information technology, for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7. PC: Youth leader Sachin Pilot, we are not presuming you to be a minister, what do you want to be a party leader or minister.

SP: Give any description of mine, but working as a worker of the Congress party in this country.

PC: There is only one youth leader, Rahul Gandhi.

SP: Rahul Gandhi is our leader, he is a national leader.

PC: You are also the spokesperson of the government, now some names have been added to the list and you are one among them. You know it, you have been sent a copy of the decision.

SP: I am in the know and recognize the responsibility Prabhuji.

PC: Senior ministers keep you together just to state that they have a youth face with them.

SP: The work given to us and which has got done from us is not for fulfilling your expectations. But the news about the government should reach people in different states in the right manner for which we have been given a collective responsibility.

PC: It is written in the letter that if you want to ask anything about the government you can ask any of these people.

SP: You are free to ask me anything, not only me all the ministers in the group.

PC: I want to ask you that no face representing the youth from your party was seen the Lokpal all party meeting, who want to speak on behalf of the government.

SP: You ask a question and take and answer from me.

PC: Yesterday, who said what in the meeting?

SP: Our government called and all party meeting, which was attended by leaders who gave their opinion. It was not a UPA government meeting; it was an all political party meeting.

PC: So, UPA prime minister called the meeting, all other ministers were present in the meeting.

SP: So, will all 75 ministers sit in the meeting?

PC: I am speaking of those who have been made spokespersons.

SP: You ask any question that you like, what you want, and I will make full efforts to satisfy you.

PC: I am asking about the view of the government, not the party, regarding proposal Lokpal.

SP: Congress government, UPA coalition government has a clear view; we want to get a strong bill, so when the Lokpal is formed, a message should go into the country, that Lokpal formation is one part of our fight against corruption, and we have committed ourselves towards this. From the past 45 years..

PC: In the standing committee, there is news regarding dissenting votes.

SP: There are people from different parties in the standing committee. The MP who is part of the standing committee gives his individual opinion. He is a MP of his party, and his job is to give his and his party’s view and suggestions, this is the work in the standing committee. The report of the standing committee is tabled in the parliament, and we want that in this winter session.

PC: I am asking the spokesperson of the government, you will not be present in the cabinet meeting in which the bill will be tabled, because you are not a cabinet minister, but are spokesperson.

SP: Prabhuji, we are members of parliament, we are members of Congress party, we are ministers of the government, we have assured the country that we will bring a Lokpal bill, more than this what do you want to know.

PC: The view has come, the chairman has present, some Congressmen have given dissent note, there is no view of the government on this.

SP: What can be the governments’ view, we will consult all parties and a consensus will be formed, we will bring that bill. And we don’t want to complete a formality by doing this, but for 45 years the issue is going on, hence Manmohan Singhji has said on the floor of the parliament that we will table a Lokpal bill and get it passed.

PC: What view do you have regarding the Prime Minister coming under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.

SP: I think the view that will be formed after consultation between all parties, that view the government must go by. Because, it is not question of one Manmohan Singhji,

PC: All parties, except one or two small ones, are of the view that the Prime Minister must come under the jurisdiction of Lokpal, even your allies are in favour.

SP: Even Prime Minister saabI wants to be under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.

PC: Am asking a young, youthful spokesperson of the government, what is his view.

SP: I feel that after consultation with all parties, Congress party view, UPA government view, and form a consensus. But if I tell you in this programme, whether it will come or not, wouldn’t it be insulting the parliament?

PC: I am not asking whether it will come or not.

SP: All people should fulfil his responsibility and if anybody comes under the jurisdiction of Lokpal, then it will harm nobody.

PC: Because Anna Hazare said that your youth leader derailed Lokpal bill.

SP: I found his statement highly unfortunate, because the movement that Anna Hazare saab started, he is digressing from it so much, may be even he is not realizing it. Because the people surrounding him used to talk of changing the system, and now they talk about changing the ones who are ruling. Hence, to make this movement political is not doing his movement any good.

PC: They are talking about changing the party who is ruling because the ruling party is not allowing the bill to come through, hence uproot the party in power. I am stating their argument, neither justifying nor arguing.

SP: Prabhuji, I am feeling that you are talking like their spokesperson.

PC: Na, na, they have said all this. We asked them a question, why you are speaking against the Congress, they said that if the Congress party wants, the bill will be passed ,which is true.

SP: Please know one thing, this is the Congress party government will make Lokpal a reality. Till now so many governments came and went, nobody did anything. If Anna Hazare saab kept this movement apolitical, then credibility would have been maintained. Today they have started campaigning against the Congress party, and only making the Congress party their target, they have politicized it. Cant he go to Karnataka and speak against Yedurappa, go to Uttar Pradesh and speak against Mayawati, campaign there. I understand that the mission that he had spearheaded, he has somewhat digressed from it.

PC: There were so many cases and enquired opened against the people surrounding him, it is happening even today. But from the time they started targeting Rahul Gandhi, Congress party had more problem.

SP: It is absolutely correct, if you criticize somebody’s leader, if it is based on facts, that fine, but making baseless allegations, that does not suit. And please listen the second issue Prabhuji, any per son who is in public life, political life, is in a party, at a post, is a minister, if he is scrutinized, then it is fine. But if any enquiry if there on team Anna member, then ‘doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jaana chahiye’ . Why have double standards, why do you have any problem, if anybody spends or not.

PC: If Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi committed a fault four – five years ago, then why was your government silent? Why didn’t you enquire then?

SP: When a person becomes prominent, when people know him, there are 120 people staying in this country, if you are taking up an issue and want to show yourself squeaky clean, then you will have to go through the same process that you want to implement on other people.

PC: It is fine to punish them, hang them for their mistakes, but when they started speaking against you, you started digging graves.

SP: If don’t think that the government has acted in a vindictive manner. But if an issue is published in a newspaper, will the government close it eyes.

PC: Your note was printed in the newspaper.

SP: When the information was received, then there was action ,some media printed it, some raised questions, let it be against any person, if there is an inquiry, then what is the objection.

PC: Rahulji had given a statement that it should be a constitutional authority, this was a suggestion of Rahulji in parliament.

SP: He has a right to speak as an MP.

PC: Certainly, you and he both have rights, the question is when Annaji is saying again and again, but for that there has to be an amendment in the constitution with two third majority, it this a way of delaying things.

SP: You know how the things have moved fast this time, because there is a commitment from the government, we are acting on it. Then you boycott the process of the standing committee, you go and make all laws at Jantar Mantar, you only want to go on with your dialogue, become inflexible, don’t listen to anybody, political party MP’s who have won parliament elections, they all are saying that they are with this issue, and are against corruption, we want to give our opinion, but if you want to impose every full stop, every comma sitting outside the parliament, that I think is not right.

PC: The question Sachin is that all the things that you are saying, in public, media, in other political parties, you have be isolated, all your seniors, from whom you will take over again, if you win next time and it seems you will win if you keep on working, but does it seem that the senior people are leaving a infamous party, failed government. It will be a reason of worry for youth leaders like you in the party.

SP: Please see, we won elections in 2004, after five years the people of India again gave us the mandate to run the government, and today according to you, your perception, if there is any deficiency in the government, then this is a collective responsibility. The government has appreciated all good things done by us, and made us win elections, for which we all take credit. But if there is any mistake, deficiency, according to you, for that collectively the cabinet has the responsibility, and all of us. I don’t believe this, but if you feel that we have committed mistakes or deficiencies, only then. This is your allegation.

PC: A chief minister of some state reverses the cabinet’s decision, this is not happened in the history of India. This is a reflection.

SP: First of all, the decision has not been reversed, Pranab Mukherjeeji, leader of the house

PC: It is on hold, or whatever other terminology.

SP: It has been said that we will stop it till a consensus if not evolved.

PC: Does the chief minister have a right to make such an announcement.

SP: This announcement has been done by Pranab Mukherjeeji, in the Lok Sabha.

PC: But she said that Pranab Mukherjee will say it in parliament.

SP: What anybody writes, speaks to the newspaper, is not my responsibility,

PC: She said on TV

SP: But the government’s decision, was stated by Pranab Mukherjee, who is leader of Lok Sabha of Congress party, he conveyed his decision in the house.

PC: Youth leaders like you, who are not in cabinet, but will soon come, don’t you think senior people over 70 -75 want to stay in power, there is a police complaint against one minister, other minister is boycotted by the BJP, third minister is infamous for some other reason, don’t you think that the credibility of your ministers at getting affected because of this, the youth leaders are being affected most.

SP: Like I said under the government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singhji, we have collective responsibility. In every decision, if there is a credit, we all get it. If you want to make allegations, if you think something is wrong, then for that we all together are responsible for it.

PC: For failure you have collective responsibility, for success it is the same.

SP: It cannot be that we wear a sehara for success and according to you if there is a mistake.

PC: Some 6 8 youth leaders like you, who are seen with Rahul Gandhiji, you are going for Rahul Gandhiji, and then you beat up workers; it seems that you are youth leader, if they have problems taking them with you.

SP: You have no authority to give judgement on this.

PC: I am asking a question.

SP: Rahul Gandhi is our leader, what relationship, what working we have is our internal matter. We want to present such a face in front of the people which is acceptable to all. And according to me, in this country, and specially in the Congress party, the transformation that is going to come about under the leadership of Rahul Gandhiji, even you will say that the strategy that we adopted, have given us a positive result.

PC: If Rahul Gandhi was so strong, then why would you take a minister like Ajit Singh ,who is not so strong, but you are making him cabinet minister. You decided some days before election, if you and Rahul Gandhi are so strong, why do you need people.

SP: Tell me one thing Prabhuji, in Uttar Pradesh, there are 22 MP’s from the Congress party out of 80. There are so many states in the country, where coalition governments are running, our coalition partners are in state as well as centre, and if we fight elections in Uttar Pradesh by keeping one, two or three alliance partners, and give a united opposition to Mayawati government, then what why objection to that. In politics, if you compromise with somebody and fight an election, you consolidate you position, and you get more strength in uprooting Mayawatiji’s government, then what problem can anyone have.

PC: After touring, Rahul Gandhiji came to know that he cannot win on his own, hence it is necessary to go with Ajit Singh,

SP: Both parties feel that by fighting elections together.

PC: Is that a party,

SP: He has a support base in west Uttar Pradesh, their MLA’s MP’s have been elected. We know that to defeat the Mayawatiji’s government we need a united opposition. And today the alternative is not Samajwadi Party (SP),

PC: Join hands with BJP, Samajwadi.

SP: SP, BJP is not an alternative. Only Congress party is an alternative to Maywatiji. And we will fight elections under the leadership of the Congress party, I feel we will be successful in forming government there.

PC: Hence, you had to take Ajit Singh, till yesterday he was voting against you.

SP: In politics if you take somebody together for fulfilling your collective objective.

PC: Why didn’t you do it earlier, why three months before the elections?

SP: Coalitions are formed before the elections. Can you do political coalition five years before, there are so many parties who went to NDA, came out.

PC: This is a political compromise to fight elections, win elections.

SP: We are forming an understanding with them so that we can do seat sharing and give a united fight to Mayawatiji’s government.

PC: What is happening in parliament FDI bill is stopped, some other bill is reversed, what is happening to the leadership.

SP: I think that your way of viewing, you think if we suspend any cabinet decision,

PC: Earlier this would not happen.

SP: Please listen, if we take opinion of any party, if we accommodate anybody, become flexible, hence in a democracy everything is not winning or losing. We try to take everybody and go together. It is a coalition government; there is a limited elbow room.

PC: What about leadership.

SP: There are 40 parties in parliament, keeping such a big country together, we have run a stable government for 7.5 years. And on all parameters, be it economic growth, prosperity, be it the economic situation, we have maintained that , for which you will give some credit to the government.

PC: In UPA 1, such fights would not happen. You put down CPM in such manner, whether the vote of confidence was tainted or not I am not going into that. You showed them muscle, now why don’t you have strength to show muscle.

SP: Where did we not show muscle?

PC: You would have told Mamta, we have taken a decision, we will not reverse it, do what you want. FDI is in the interest or the country or not, do you agree with it or not.

SP: I think that if Mamta Banerjee wants something, is she a member of our coalition or not? If she has an objection.

PC: Why didn’t you consult with her earlier then?

SP: Because in the FDI proposal, every chief minister has a free hand to decide whether you want to implement or not in your state.

PC: You went into nuances, I don’t want to go in to that. You have Soniaji, Rahulji

SP: But prime minister himself said that would could have held consultations on the same, but they didn’t happen in the right manner. The consensus which should have been formed inside and outside the parliament, which we could not make. But in the next few months few would be able to do the same.

PC: You feel it is the collective responsibility I don’t want to discuss on the same. . But the question is from the time Rahul Gandhi has come on the scene, he does not say anything even if the government is criticized time and again. What do you think about Anna Hazare’s statement that nobody can become prime minister by staying into a hut for one day.

SP: I think in politics, one should have a big heart sometimes. If somebody taunts, criticizes, if anybody raises a finger at you, then in a democracy you have to take humble in your stride and move ahead. And let it be anybody, I don’t want to name any particular person, if you in a principled, political way oppose anybody, we have no objection to that, but if you say something below the belt about a person, that does not suit our culture.

PC: He is from a village.

SP: Let him be from anywhere.

PC: You mean people from village are not mature, they don’t know how to speak politely.

SP: Now some people say ‘tu ki bole’ now somebody may say saying ‘tu’ is not right, now it is the nuances of a language.

PC: Languages and words both are different.

SP: Let one say something, by the way one says it,

PC: Do you think that by standing in a hut, one can become, you think going to a hut, this style of his..

SP: I don’t understand, Prabhu Chawlaji, if Rahul Gandhiji is a leader of our party, and if he goes to poor, dalit, weak, farmer’s house, sits, talks, has food, then Mayawatiji has so much of a problem, Prabhu Chawla has so much problem, Anna Hazareji has so much problem, why does it happen?

PC: I am asking a question.

SP: You people don’t do, if somebody does,

PC: You feel the media has no right to ask question.

SP: You ask so many questions, but you have no patience to listen to the answer, nor do you want to.

PC: You don’t give straight answer

SP: You ask what the question is, you are doing all ‘feeki baat’, and you said you will do ‘Teekhi Baat’ but you are doing all feeki baat.

PC: I am doing a Teekhi Baat, can one become a prime minister by staying in a slum.

SP: In this country, the person who stands with the poor, will share his sorrows, understand their pain, will stay on ground. By taking out big yatras and giving big speeches, and by doing dharna’s if people would have become prime minister, or coming to power, that is easy. But leaving ones impression on the mind of the common man, understanding people’s pain, share their work, this is the first responsibility of a political worker, that is what Rahul Gandhiji does. But Mayawatiji gets troubled because of that, the whole media feels troubled by that, but ‘janta janardhan hai woh samay aane par apna nirnay degi’

PC: That they have given, in the byelections in the past five years, you have lost deposits.

SP: In 2009, 22 out of 80 we won, how many did BSP win, 19, SP 20,

PC: But you had admitted people like Ajit Singh then, 7 8 people had left other parties and joined you, defected.

SP: If anybody wins from the Congress party, you will read his whole history. But some other party

PC: That is the case with all in UP, Mayawati is also the same.

SP: That is why I am Prabhu Chawlaji, elections are going to be held in Uttar Pradesh, I want to request you humbly

PC: You did not answer my question; next Prime Minister is Rahul Gandhi

SP: I think he should certainly become prime minister,

PC: Now he should become?

SP: This decision is of the party, but my personal opinion is, if youth leaders come rise in the country, then Rahul Gandhiji has all the qualities and capabilities, to lead the country.

PC: Hence, Rahul Gandhi should become prime minister and under his leadership, it will be easy for you to win 2014 elections I feel.

SP: This decision is of the party, but he has got all qualities to be prime minister, and in the past eight years he has proved, that he knows how to connect with the masses.

PC: Hence you said that he should become prime minister, the party will decide, but he should become.

SP: Certainly.

video

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yashwant Sinha on FDI_Teekhi Baat/IBN7/December 10, 2011

Interview with senior BJP leader and former union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha for Teekhi Baat on IBN7.

Hello! our guest for today on Teekhi Baat is senior leader of the BJP and former union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha. Welcome to our studio.

YS: Thank You Prabhuji!

PC: I said that you are senior leader.

YS: (Laughs)

PC: You are one, isn’t it?

YS: If you say, then may be.

PC: It is said that Yeshwant Sinha is a tall statured but small leader.

YS: Laughs

PC: You have the senior most standing in the party after Advaniji, among leaders, but Advaniji’s stature and position both are big. But you are talking big these days.

YS: Is it.

PC: You have become the spokesperson of the party on issues relating to economic policies. But I don’t understand one thing, the party which was known as reformist under Atalji’s government, now is opposing on every issue, whether the subject at hand is good or bad. Like FDI in multi brand retail, you started it first; you were to get the bill, you even opened up insurance, now with FDI in retail the people will benefit, any loss won’t happen, then what is your problem?

YS: Please see, first I will like to say that the assumption that you have, that we were bringing it (FDI in multi brand retail) and that we had taken a decision regarding the same, this is absolutely wrong assumption. And, history is witness,

PC: You opened up FDI in insurance.

YS: I will come to the issue of insurance afterwards. History is witness, that during our time thought was given to this subject (FDI in multi brand retail) and knowingly we took a decision that will not allow FDI in retail. And an assurance in this regard was given by our leaders, including me, in both the houses. Hence, there was a note

PC: But in the 2004 manifesto

YS: Please listen, I will come to the manifesto. The first thing in 2002,

PC: There was a note by Maran saab (referring to former union minister Murasoli Maran)

YS: It was not Maran saab’s note, it was Maran saab ministry’s note. And you know government’s way of work, that there are many notes going to and fro.

PC: But cabinet note comes via the minister.

YS: It didn’t come to cabinet sir. It was a note of May,2002 and I am talking of December 2002 when an assurance was given on behalf of the government in the house that we have no interest to allow FDI in retail. Now, come to 2004 NDA (National Democratic Alliance) vision document, it was not NDA or BJP manifesto, NDA’s vision document. In which it was stated that we may open retail. But we didn’t accept this thought in 2009 BJP manifesto, not today when this government decision. We said it clearly that we are not in favour of FDI in retail, and we oppose it.

PC: Sinha saab you mean to say that some constituents of NDA were in favour of opening it.

YS: No. We fully own the vision document, I don’t reject it. I am saying the truth, you were saying it was BJP’s, it was not, it was NDA’s vision. But we stand by it; I will also say that we did not change that position today, but in the 2009 manifesto when there was no talk of FDI in retail on the horizon, then we said it.

PC: Sinha saab people feel that because the trading community supports your party, middlemen are associated with you party, you are known as a middlemen’s party, I am saying in the trading sense. To save those middlemen, you are leading the farmer to ruin, there is the claim of who are supporting FDI. I have not read economics regarding this issue as much as Dr. Manmohan Singh or you. But for safeguarding the interests of a small community, you are stalling money coming into the country and progress, why do you have an objection, why should it not be allowed.

YS: In 2002,when this issue was raised in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, who opposed it, who said that doing such a thing will be anti national.

PC: FDI in retail.

YS: Yes, the Congress spokesperson said this.

PC: Who was the Congress spokesperson that time?

YS: Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, he stood up and said in the Lok Sabha, that we are hearing and there is news in the newspapers that you are going to do this. And I want to know from the government that what is your policy, and our minister Arun Shourie was present in the house that time, he stood up and said that the government is not thinking about any such proposal. That time Congress party said something different, now it is saying that it is in national interest, but allowing it that time was against national interest. Now, you will not focus on that statement, but your attention goes on BJP, because BJP has to be made whipping boy somehow.

PC: You have been the finance minister, you lowered interest rates, you did many such reforms which lead to development. But I feel under the Congress rule, in UPA one and two, there has been eight per cent growth, now do you want to stop this growth, that is why you are opposing.

YS: No, please listen, growth did not happen because of their policy.

PC: There is 7.5 per cent average growth.

YS: Not, 7.5 per cent let it be 8 per cent, or let us presume 9 per cent. But the economic car, ran on the petrol that we filled in, and it ran as far as it could, they did not put any fuel in it, and hence the vehicle is stopping now.

PC: But it is still highest as compared to other countries all over the world, except China.

YS: It is not highest; it has 6.9 per cent now.

PC: Even that is highest.

YS: It is not highest; we are behind China and other countries. It is not a question of highest or lowest. I am saying why it became 6.9 per cent, you will go in the reasons of the same. We were progress oriented, even now we are progress oriented, but I want to say one thing clearly to you, but you me and other people should not say and make people presume that if we get foreign investment in this country, then you are heavily progress oriented. And if you don’t get foreign investment, then you are not progress oriented. The way foreign investment is now being linked to being progressive, I flatly reject this theory. And I want to ask you, if this government wants to make roads, this government wants to make airports, this government wants to make steel, this government wants to make improvement in infrastructure, increase power supply, then who has opposed it, aren’t these measures towards progress. No, just talk about FDI in retail, FDI in retail. And then you are saying there is a small group of middlemen, and connecting it with BJP, this is absolutely wrong. This step (FDI in multi brand retail) will cause the most loss to farmers in India, which comprise of 80 to 90 per cent farmers with small land holdings; they will have the biggest los sir. What did Wal Mart do after going in other countries of the world? You are talking people like you and me, who will enjoy when they will go to big store and will buy what we like but I want to tell you that the aam aadmi of the country, common farmer, common trader, he will have so much loss.

PC: Any government takes decision to retain or come to power. Now when Congress party has taken such a decision, what reason could it be for taking such a decision?

YS: There is only one reason behind this, they are under pressure from America, that you open this sector and they want to open.

PC: There is American pressure; will they do anything under American pressure.

YS: They keep on doing. They passed nuclear deal on the basis of what America said, they are opening FDI in retail after America said, and this is my direct charge on the Manmohan Singh’s government.

PC: The progress of corporate India, even now they are saying, they are partners

YS: Corporate India does not vote, they don’t go to vote in our constituency. I opened all gates for corporate India when I was finance minister, now they put us aside like a fly is taken out of milk. Hence, corporate India, corporate India, it is there, they also have a contribution.

PC: You mean they are opportunists.

YS: Opportunists, do you have any doubts about it. They know tow to the one who is in power.

PC: Then why do you go to CII, when you were finance minister, you used to go in CII conventions.

YS: Yes, I used to go.

PC: You also used to enjoy sitting there.

YS: After that I realised that today no CII or PII calls us.

PC: When you become minister again, will you go.

YS: I i become finance minister again, they will call again, they will call again.

PC: You will go to Davos again

YS: Will go on not that is in future, will become finance minister or not is in the future, but I want to tell you that corporate India, and pink papers think that those who are in power has all the knowledge and intelligence, nobody else has. Hence, when I was the finance minister of this country for four years, now today they don’t need our knowledge. Hence, I don’t go.

PC: Now names like rollback Yeshwant Sinha, rollback BJP are being chanted.

YS: When this government rolled back FDI,

PC: Where has the rollback happened, they have suspended the decision.

YS: It is ok, the suspension,

PC: I read your statement, your party’s demand was that till there is not complete roll back, you will not let parliament function.

YS: Yes, after that.

PC: You changed after that.

YS: No, no nobody changed.

PC: You said, they suspended, now after session, they will again start.

YS: How will they start, you listened to Pranab Mukherjee’s speech which he gave in the Lok Sabha.

PC: They will engage in consultation.

YS: No consultation, he said consensus. Until there is consensus with all stakeholders, and there are political parties in stake holders, stakeholders include state chief ministers, stake holders include farmers, stake holders include businessmen, stake holders include corporate India also, talk to everybody, this is what we said.

PC: Congressmen say that BJP is Bharatiya Jhagda party; they don’t know to do anything except fight.

YS: Please listen; it is absolute rubbish and wrong talk. You talked about insurance sector, when we talked about improvement in insurance sector, tabled a bill, then I went to the Congress party, then Murli Deora was the chairman of standing committee on finance,

PC: Whose incumbent chairman you are now.

YS: Yes. I spoke to him, we together prepared a roadmap, we had no majority in Rajya Sabha, hence ever after standing committee’s assent, we held wide discussions on this issue with Congress party leaders. We accepted their suggestions, then we got the bill passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. I will say that Atalji had a very distinct style of working, they way Manmohan Singh works is very distinct. We used to value and respect the opposition, they want to sweep the opposition with a broom.

PC: You feel that there is a great difference between Atalji and Manmohan SinghjI’s stye of working.

YS: Certainly.

PC: You were saying that there is great difference between Atalji and Manmohansinghji.

YS: Please see, I myself come from a civil service background, you know it. But after coming into politics, I felt want I worked with leaders like Atalji, worked with leaders like Chandrashekharji, and today I am seeing Manmohansinghji, like the people who have come up from the grassroots, the people who spent their life at the grassroot level, the understanding which they have about India, that cannot be ours or yours or Dr. Manmohan Singh’s. You were talking of Atalji, Atalji’s was a great democrat

PC: He used to speak less, and listen to everybody more.

YS: He used to listen to everybody, give a chance to everybody, he used to take the whole party together with him, take together the alliance partners, he used to take together even the opposition, presume if an urgent letter from Shrimati Sonia Gandhi is received, she raised some issue, he will invite them immediately saying please come, let us sit and talk. This was the way the government functioned then. I told you regarding insurance, because, in that same way we were moulded, and were working in that style.

PC: After forming consensus.

YS: Going ahead after forming consensus. The basic element of democracy is consensus, agreement, maintain that and go ahead. Numbers are not the soul of democracy, being in agreement is.

PC: Why is the difference in Manmohan Singh.

YS: He does not do it. Now you see regarding FDI in retail, if he would have talked, even if he had not had dialogue with the opposition, he should have spoken to their alliance partners at least, at least their party members, opposition in the party, in their own party,

PC: Yes from Kerala, it was said.

YS: Sanjay Singh, even people from Kerala. Sanjay Singh gave an open statement, and DMK, TMC had reservations, which became public. Hence, not even taking you own people together, what is a great feat in this, I don’t understand. So, they had to roll back.

PC: You don’t think that the Prime Minister would have the interest of the party in mind. He has been a Prime Minister for seven years, running the government for seven years, eighth year is on. Now, because his hold is good, the Bharatiya Janta Party is struggling to weaken it always.

YS: No at all, we are not working to loosening his hold, when his hold is automatically loosening then why there is a need for us to toil for it.

PC: You said politics, he may not know politics.

YS: No, I did not talk about politics; he may be a big politician. A renowned economist told about him that he is less of an economist and more of a politician. But leave that, I am saying that building a consensus.

PC: Dr. Manmohan Singh is less of an economist and more of a politician.

YS: A renowned economist has said this, before us and you.

PC: You mean one economist is saying to another that the economist has forgotten economist.

YS: (Laughs) Forgotten or not, but knows less of economics and more of politics. But I am saying that the politician who has come up from grassroots level, Dr. Manmohan Singh fought one Lok Sabha election, which he lost, after which he never fought a Lok Sabha election. I want to ask you, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the country went to what village last time.

PC: What do you mean by going to village?

YS: He will go to some village; he is the Prime Minister of the country. What is the condition of the village, he will go to some village to see it. When did he meet poor people, when did he last meet the poor people of the country,

PC: They have the SPG surrounding, which Prime Minister goes to meet..

YS: No, no, no they can meet. Atalji has a constituency, of Lucknow, he used to go there and come back, meet people there, whoever is in the Lok Sabha will do this.

PC: You mean Dr. Manmohan Singh has got nothing to do with villages.

YS: We feel the same because he never goes to villages, he never goes.

PC: But he has become the Prime Minister of the country.

YS: How he has become you and I both know.

PC: Through Rajya Sabha, you never took an objection.

YS: He became with the blessings of somebody, and is running with that person’s blessings.

PC: Don’t you think that Bharatiya Janta Party selects and targets ministers, first they targeted P. Chidambaram, SM Krishna, you are targeting and destroying assets of UPA one by one, because you have no agenda of your own.

YS: Please see, we believe that Shri. P. Chidambaram, is responsible to the extent in the 2G scam that A. Raja is.

PC: Why, there are there any allegations of taking money against A. Raja but not against him?

YS: There is no need of taking money under the Prevention of Corruption Act Sirji. If you have helped somebody make money, even then you are guilty, it is not related to whether you made money or not. So, when he approved all decisions taken by Raja.

PC: But that was your policy, of 2003, and you were in the committee which took the decision.

YS: Certainly I was, but where did they ride on this policy.

PC: On that policy they allotted 2G.

YS: No, no, this is absolutely wrong, then why are we not in jail, why he is jail.

PC: There is no court verdict, but on everything you demand P. Chidambaram’s resignation.

YS: We certainly believe that he is guilty and the matter is before court. Court has gone ahead with it and let see what happens in future.

PC: The negative attitude you party has, to not let this government function, don’t let the country progress.

YS: I want to give you an example, I am also in parliament for a long time. Chandrashekharji’s government used to run with the help of the Congress. One day a foreign guest was to come, his flight landed early, and senior Congress leaders stood up in the house and said, how this government is running the man has come at the airport and your people who were to receive him were not present, such a big bungle. Now, they said that it was such a big problem because there was some delay in receiving him. And now in their rule, let P. Chidambaram do any scam, you spoke about Krishna, SM Krishna who is foreign minister now, who read the Portuguese foreign ministers speech, leave that. Now, after the Lokayukta and court said, there is an FIR against him, we did not say

PC: Hamaam mein agar sab nange hain to kya kar sakte hain

YS: No, this is not right, when their issue comes, then saare nange hain.

PC : Saare nange means, the hold of political parties is decreasing, people started slapping, somebody throws a shoe.

YS: That is a wrong thing.

PC: But it is in issue of worrying for all.

YS: Well, a shoe was even thrown on Bush, and many other people.

PC: Even his credibility was bad, isn’t it.

YS: The falling of standards in politics, is not true to India, but other nations also.

PC: But you have no positive agenda, BJP has an agenda to not let the session run.

YS: Certainly, we wanted in this session, we had an adjournment session, have a discussion on the same. Now, under what rule will we raise our issues, will this be decided by the government, in what language we will raise issue, will this be decided by the government. Then how will the Lok Sabha run in such manner.

PC: You party taken a decision in the morning, changes it later in the afternoon.

YS: When?

PC: Your leaders and you decided that you will not let the session run till there is no rollback, they did not rollback in any manner. You said that will bring an adjournment motion and 2g and black money,

YS: We are bringing, with everybody’s agreement we decided that the adjournment motion will be brought on the issue of black money, as far as inflation is concerned, we will under 193, under which there is no voting.

PC: But in every session, you make demand of voting but then don’t take action on it.

YS: In every session, there cannot be voting on every issue. Hence, the whole opposition decided together, that we will demand for voting on issue of black money not inflation. On both we cannot get voting done.

PC: Leaders of both Congress and the BJP seem to be cut off from the party, leaders are engaged in saving the government, and the other ones in troubling the government.

YS: So should we sing praises of the government every morning in the parliament.

PC: But they have done good work.

YS: Good work, let me tell you in the last budget session, the pension fund bill was to be tabled, if we had not supported the government, the bill would have not passed through that day. We supported because it was the bill that we brought.

PC: You are finance committee member, I have read the report, you have opposed UID.

Ys: I will make no comments on the same because that report, when it is before the country, before parliament.

PC: Do you see any good thing in the government.

YS: When we see any good thing we will say it.

PC: There is no good thing.

YS: We cannot see it now

PC: Prime Minister is famous all over the world, he is respected,

YS: We also respect a lot, we also respect a lot. Did you see any time that we troubled him.

PC: Respect in terms of good economist.

YS: Good economist good not control inflation in three years. Good economist could not look after growth rate, under good economist tenure the reserve bank has increase rates 13 times. Investment is finished under the rule of the good economist.

PC: Yesterday, your party said in the house that if the ruling party cannot, you will run the government. Do you have the capacity to run the government?

YS: We have run and shown it.

PC: After which the people defeated you two times.

YS: Let them defeat two times or five, is voting done on performance. If there was voting on performance, the UPA one

PC: why don’t you bring no confidence motion then.

YS: When there is a need we will bring.

PC: You don’t want to make the government fall.

YS: no, when there is a need we will bring.

PC: Now you are not in a mood to make the government fall, am doing Teekhi Baat, are you not in the mood of making the government fall or you have no capacity of making the government fall.

YS: No, when there is capacity, that day we will make the government fall.

PC: Today you don’t have

YS: What need we have to make it fall, when their tallest leader Pranab Mukherjee, he himself said that they had to suspend FDI in retail otherwise the government would have fallen.

PC: Hence you are exploiting their weakness.

YS: They have a weakness, which they themselves are responsible for creating.

PC: What is future agenda, will you let parliament run.

YS: Parliament is running, parliament is functioning.

PC: You will let it function.

YS: Certainly.

PC: You will co operate with the government.

YS: I mean we will want the parliament to function.

PC: Let’s see what roadmap you take, thank you for coming to our studio.

YS: Thank You Prabhuji!

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