Monday, June 25, 2012
Sonia is finding it extremely difficult to find a suitable leader who can strike a balance between the avaricious expectations of market-driven India and the aspirations and expectations of a mass-based party like the Congress.
The Congress is all set to capture Rashtrapati Bhavan. It is, however, finding it difficult to appoint a new general to retain its political control over the Lok Sabha. It has 206 members in Parliament. But not more than a couple of them are capable of replacing Pranab Mukherjee, either as the Leader of the House or as the finance minister. It boasts of a strong leader. It hawks its Prime Minister as one of the cleanest leaders the country has ever had. Yet, it is not confident of the ability of any of its MPs to communicate both within itself and the Opposition parties with the same authority and ease Pranab could. Ever since Sonia Gandhi announced Pranabda as the UPA’s Raisina Hill candidate, the party has been in a huddle to find his replacement. Never before has a sitting minister been allowed to retain his post even for a day after his presidential nomination. Giani Zail Singh and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed quit their ministerial positions within hours of their names being public. But Pranab chose not to, because Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh couldn’t decide on his successor. As a result, the already paralysed government has been without a full-time finance minister for the past one week. North Block is now left with a boss who doesn’t take decisions. Meanwhile, the Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu is lobbying publicly with the prime minister for the finance minister’s chair.
According to senior civil servants, the hidden agenda behind keeping Pranab on as finance minister for a few days more was to clear up the mess in the telecom and infrastructure sectors. As chairman of over 60 Empowered and formal Group of Ministers, Pranabda was expected to bail the government out of the most controversial auction policy ever for spectrum allocation. TRAI had recommended a minimum price band for auction, which was not acceptable to many telecom operators. If TRAI’s suggestions were to be implemented, they would have ended up paying over `20,000 crore to the government. Pranabda smelt a rat and decided not to get trapped in the well laid-out plan; he cancelled the EGoM meeting on spectrum at the last minute, leaving his successor to face the music.
With Pranab’s elevation, the fight for control over the parliamentary wing of the party has begun. While a couple of known sycophants have already launched an operation to make Rahul Gandhi the Leader of the House, there are others who want a Sanjay or Rajiv loyalist to take over this position as well the finance minister’s job. Rahulites are dead against their leader taking this plunge at a stage when the government is not only maimed but also defamed. Never before in the history of the Congress has the promotion of a senior minister or a functionary led to such upheaval, both in the government and the party. As Pranabda gets ready to walk from North Block to Raisina Hill, he has ignited an ideological and institutional fire in political circles. He is known for his left-of-centre approach on both politics and economics and Sonia is finding it extremely difficult to find a suitable leader who can strike a balance between the avaricious expectations of market-driven India and the aspirations and expectations of a mass-based party like the Congress. While those who get frozen in any chill that makes corporate India sneeze, dominate the government, the organisation remains firmly in the hands of those for whom markets are as politically dangerous as they are for the Marxists.
Choosing Pranab’s successor is not simply a government exercise in which the Prime Minister has the upper hand. It may be possible for Manmohan to choose a finance minister of his liking, but he wouldn’t be able to impose a Leader of the House on the party. Sonia Gandhi alone will make that choice. A compromise between the party president and the prime minister may happen, with Manmohan having his way and Sonia her say in their respective selections. The finance minister may be allowed to carry on with the business of keeping corporate spirits high, but it will be the Leader of the House who would dictate the political and ideological line of the government. There is a possibility that a Gandhi loyalist such as P Chidambaram may be inducted as finance minister; and another, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath—the senior most Lok Sabha member—as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary party. The choice of the finance minister and the Leader of House would also set the ground for the future politics of the Gandhi Parivar. The family’s need of the hour is a Pranabda of a different kind, who can line up various national and regional parties to support a Gandhi in 2014 instead of merely winning the battle for Raisina Hill.
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Monday, June 18, 2012
Congress Must Realise that Jagan's Rise is not just an Andhra Coup
But 2012 is not 2009 for the Congress. In the past few months, it has lost almost every Assembly and Lok Sabha by-election. The YSR Congress has 17 MLAs and two Lok Sabha members now. Fifty-year-old Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, Andhra’s suave chief minister, remains in office but hasn’t been able to impose his authority. He is the youngest of the 13 Congress chief ministers to have ruled the state, yet he hasn’t been able to stop Jagan’s juggernaut from trampling the party. It is a measure of Jagan’s fighting strategy that his party could win 15 of the 18 Assembly seats even though he is in jail, facing a corruption witch-hunt. The Congress couldn’t even take advantage of the three-way split between its rivals. Voters trusted a tainted Jagan than a holier-than-thou Kiran. If the current swing in Jagan’s favour continues unabated, the YSR Congress will soon replace the official Congress. Then the Grand Old Party would have given yet another big state on a platter to one of its own siblings. It lost Tamil Nadu to regional parties three decades ago. In Karnataka, it vacated its space first to the Janata Dal, and later to the BJP because it failed to recognise the new leaders. Even in a tiny state like Puducherry, the leadership couldn’t read the writing on the wall when it denied power to a regional leader; when the elections finally happened, N Rangasamy won after leaving the Congress and floating his own All India NR Congress.
The fault lies with the Congress central leadership, which hasn’t learnt its lessons from the many electoral debacles of the past. As long as YSR was alive, no Central leader was able to dictate terms. He was a master of means and methods. He not only demolished Chandrababu Naidu’s halo but also made regional parties look like pigmies. He ruled through the might of the state and the mesmerism of money power. Barring Telangana, his writ ran large over almost every corner of Andhra. If there can’t be a Congress without a Gandhi at the Centre, it was almost a sin to think of an Andhra Congress without YSR. As he ruthlessly ran the state, he also trained his son Jagan Mohan in the same methods that sustained him in power. The Central leadership was totally oblivious of the generational transition taking place right under its nose. For others, Jagan was just an MP who was asked by his father to build a business empire and take care of the financial needs of the family and the state Congress. But he was secretly building his mass base and sharing his assets with trusted colleagues. According to local Congress sources, it was YSR who contributed over 30 per cent of the Central political collections for contesting the general elections. Jagan quietly adopted his father’s techniques and secrets of political commerce to his advantage.
His phenomenal rise as a political leader in his own right appears to be part of a spreading trend visible in many other states. If the Congress fails to accept dynastic succession in the states, its local leaders would either float their own parties or join a regional outfit to ensure their progeny’s political future. The Congress was replaced by NTR because it didn’t give recognition to any local leader. The Gowdas could stage a comeback because the local Congress was being run from New Delhi. In Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi has already carved out a succession plan for the DMK. Andhra Pradesh has joined the elite familial club of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya where democratic means are being used to impose dynastic succession.
The message from Andhra is loud and clear. The Congress and the BJP must stop ignoring genuine mass leaders from the states. The voters are willing to suffer a local leader—dirty or clean—who can do the job. The Andhra verdict also means that the country is gladly accepting the rule of family-owned smaller political parties and giving a thumbs down to national leaders lacking a popular base.
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Hello! our guest for today on Teekhi Baat is national president of Samajwadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is affectionately known nomenclature is ‘Netaji’. Netaji welcome to our studio
MSY: Thank You, Prabhuji!
PC: Netaji, you have shown that you are a real Neta. Please tell me one thing, how did your mind change. First day you read out the name of APJ Abdul Kalam, other names, and in 48 hours you did something opposite of what you said
MSY: I did not do opposite of what I said, people may not know, but one Congress leader knows. One month earlier, there were discussions about the upcoming Presidential elections, in which I had taken Pranab Mukherjee’s name, then Congress leader said that you took name, I said that he is a very intelligent and mature personality, hence I agree on Pranab Mukherjee’s name.
PC: You mean to say you had suggested his (Pranab Mukherjee’s) name a month earlier.
MSY: No, big leader,
PC: Which other big leader is there in Congress
MSY: No, there are many big leaders
PC: What is the issue in telling the name, now there is no secret?
PC: One month ago, when you had met Soniaji, when you had food together, did the incident happen during that meeting
MSY: Laughs…If you have understood, then it is ok
PC: If not then, you would have met separately.
MSY: No, there was a meeting, it is correct that I had put forth the name (Pranab Mukherjee) before Soniaji
MSY: I put forth saying that he is the best in the Congress party, who can be the Presidential candidate.
PC: Then why together with Mamta you suggested three more names
MSY: No in politics situation change sometimes, and other leaders have to be kept together. Had taken opinion of other leaders, thought is may be possible that other leaders have a consensus about one of the three names. But they did not agree on the three names
PC: You said the name of Pranab Mukherjee from the start. You could have said his name, but when you took three names with Mamtaji, it seemed you went with her
MSY: Did not put forth names, only gave suggestions
PC: You suggested three names
MSY: One name I had already suggested.
MSY: One name I had already suggested to Soniaji.
PC: But in the three names, there was no fourth name, which you could have kept.
MSY: But the name I suggested first went through
PC: But the day you did press conference, let the misconceptions be cleared
MSY: When It seemed that Pranab Mukherjee’s name is not coming forth, then Manmohan Singh is fine, Somnath Chaterjee, Kalam is fine. I took three names, Mamtaji too took three names. But later came to know that Pranab Mukherjee’s name is acceptable. Hence, I had already agreed to Pranab Mukherjee’s name and talked about it.
PC: When you announced on Wednesday, at night you met
MSY: Kalam refused stating that he does not want to be the candidate,
PC: He never did that
MSY: Yesterday, he did
MSY: Today, it is in the newspapers
PC: From Nitish Kumar’s sources it is understood that he said nothing. But on Wednesday, you announced and the same evening, may be, you met Soniaji,
MSY: Soniaji said that you had taken his name (Pranab Mukherjee’s)
PC: You had gone and met her on Wednesday
MSY: Met her
PC: Did you met her at her residence or the Prime Ministers
MSY: I meet many times, did not meet her one time, Soniaji
PC: No, you met her in the evening on the day you announced Kalam’s name
MSY: No, not on that evening,
PC: You did not meet on Wednesday
PC: It means when you announced the name with Mamta, you did not meet Soniaji after that
MSY: After that I met
PC: I am taking after that
MSY: After that when I met, then they put forth Pranab Mukherjee’s name, and I had suggested his name (Pranab Mukherjee’s) name earlier.
PC: The day you suggested three names, that very evening
MSY: That suggestion they did not agree to
PC: Did you go to meet (Soniaji)
MSY: Did not go to meet, but I got to know that the three names are not acceptable to them. But when I met her, she said that you had taken Pranab Mukherjee’s name first,
PC: Which means you met Soniaji only once after that
MSY: Only once
PC: On the day you went to Agra
MSY: A day before I went to Agra
PC: A day before was Wednesday
MSY: A day before I went to Agra
PC: You had gone in the evening a day before your Agra visit, before that some people would have come to meet you on her behalf. Had some people met you on behalf of Soniaji.
MSY: No, nobody else met me.
PC: Some ministers would have come, Ahmed Patel would have come,
MSY: No, nobody came. When I am speaking to Soniaji directly, then what was the need for anybody to come
PC: Then Soniaji said that you had taken the name (of Pranab Mukherjee), and she also suggested his name, and you agreed
MSY: No, I have met Anthony and Ahmed Patel.
PC: Together or separately
PC: After that meeting you met Soniaji
MSY: After that I met Soniaji
PC: You would have gone on Wednesday evening at 10 Janpath
MSY: I met Soniaji
PC: But the journalists did not come to know, did you meet secretly
MSY: I did not want to go after alerting journalists
PC: I am asking because camera-wallahs are there outside her house all the time, it seems you would have used the other gate
MSY: Laughs…..would have gone anyhow …but I met.
PC: Nobody was with her that time, who was with you, Ram Gopaljee
MSY: No, nobody was there
PC: Who was with her
PC: With Soniaji
MSY: Nobody was with her
PC: How long did the meeting last
MSY: For a long time
PC: There would have been discussions on other issues too
MSY: No, no discussions on other issues.
PC: Only on the issue of Presidential elections
MSY: Only on the issue of Presidential elections
PC: What were you both talking for such a long time
MSY: Talks happen, when two people in politics meet, talks happen
PC: Now this meeting with Soniaji happened for the first time you met Soniaji at the dinner, there was not meeting in between.
MSY: No, there was no meeting in between
PC: Then there would have been many issues to talk about
MSY: Talks keep on happening
PC: Was there some other talks and decisions taken that time, please tell me the truth
MSY: No there was no talk on any other issue
PC: You spoke for such a long time
MSY: No there was no other political talk
PC: There was such a long talk on Pranab Mukherjee
MSY: It was important to talk on Pranab Mukherjee, because we had announced three names, Mamtaji and me together. Then I had understood that Pranab Mukherjee’s name is not being put forth. Hence, there is Manmohan Singh, Somnath Chaterjee, Kalam saab. These were also three good names, thought they may accept anyone from the three. But they made clear that they don’t want to accept Manmohan Singh’s name. But it is true that I had earlier discussed the name of Pranab Mukherjee with Soniaji.
PC: But did Mamtaji tell you that Pranab Mukherjee’s name had been put forth
MSY: Mamtaji, gave only three names when we met face to face.
PC:Both of you gave three names, but when Mamtaji told you, she had come to meet you after meeting Soniaji, after that
MSY: I don’t know, I did not ask her from where she is coming from.
PC: But she would have told you that she is coming after meeting Soniaji
MSY: No, did not tell
PC: Did not tell
MSY: Did not tell
PC: That she is coming after meeting Soniaji
MSY: Didn’t tell
PC: It was running on tv, live press conference
MSY: Something running on television is other issue. But when I and Mamtaji spoke, there was no mention.
PC : Hence Mamtaji did not tell you that she is coming after meeting Soniaji, and she had suggested names
MSY: I did know that she had gone to meet Soniaji
PC: But she did not tell you when she came to meet you
MSY: But I knew that she is coming after meeting Soniaji
PC: That you know, but she did not tell
MSY: Now what is the need for telling, I knew.
PC: If she would have told you that Pranabjee’s name has been taken, you would have said yes then
MSY: I did not ask what Mamtaji and Soniaji spoke regarding Pranab.
PC: She also did not tell you
MSY: She did not tell me
PC: But when you changed you mind, that you will support Pranabji, then you told Mamta when she had come to meet you on the second day, when you did not come out.
MSY: Mamtaji did not know that I have already told Pranabji’s name to Soniaji. Mamtaji did not know
PC: You did not keep your word, she also did not keep her word
PC: When she came to meet you on the second day, then you did not tell her that I have told Pranab’s same, now please move from the scene
MSY: That happened a long ago.
PC: No, am talking of when she came to meet you on the second day. She met you on the day you announced three names and again came to meet you on the second day.
PC: Did you tell her that you have changed your mind and you have already told Pranabji’s name.
MSY: No I did not tell that day
PC: Did no tell her
MSY: Did not tell her
PC: She came out, you did not
MSY: I did not come out.
PC: You did not tell her
MSY: I did not tell her. After that I spoke to Soniaji.
PC: After that you spoke to Soniaji
MSY: After that
PC: You are always with minorities, you credibility is good, don’t you feel that you changed your mind and removed Kalam’s name, who has come from minority, and got Mukherjee. Hence, don’t you feel that a wrong message will go to the minorities?
MSY: How can you say that when our party does not have the strength to make a minority one to the post
PC: You all together could have made
MSY: All together, do you think all with agree to me. Earlier, situation was when I took Kalam’s name, Ataji accepted, Atalji’s party was big, and NDA was in majority, hence Kalam saab became. But this time neither Congress party not we have power. Then how could what I said been agreed to. There is UPA, NDA and were are neither in NDA and UPA.
PC: You cannot go to NDA
MSY: NDA, UPA we cannot join either of them.
PC: But Mamtaji is part of UPA
MSY: Samajwadi Party is alone.
PC: You are supporting UPA government
MSY: We are supporting UPA government but, we are not in UPA.
PC: You are out of UPA, but please tell me one thing, people talk many things, among newspaperwallahs too that you were threatened, that cases would be done against you,
MSY: Nobody has threatened me, nor I get afraid by any threatening. If I would have been getting afraid by somebody threatening us, then the work we have done in politics, could I have come this far.
PC: You are saying that there was no deal, you were not threatened, you had suggested Pranab Mukherjee’s name earlier, hence when she put forth that name again, you agreed.
MSY: It is true, nobody threatened me, nor I have done any deal. I thought a very experienced and intelligent leader, who we have seen in the Lok Sabha, his behaviour as a leader of the house, his decency and simplicity, agreeing to the right thing, it is a big thing.
PC: But Kalam saab is also a good man
MSY: Kalam sahab has already been (President) one time.
PC: When you took Kalam’s name, it seemed he could also have been
MSY: I took his name, but he could not have been
PC: Could not have been, if he could have been would you have supported him
MSY: It would have been a different issue if he could have been. Then it could have been thought of. But I knew that Kalam saab could not have gone through. Because, he did not Congress party’s support.
PC: Without Congress’s support too he could have won. Congress has 20-25 per cent votes , not more
MSY: They have votes, UPA has majority
PC: If there is no Mamta and Mulayam’s support,
MSY: But UPA is in majority. If we don’t support, UPA is still there.
PC: Then the government will fall. If you don’t support the government will fall Netaji
MSY: UPA has majority,
PC: UPA is not in majority
MSY: No, it is in majority
PC: I can make out count the numbers. But coming back to the topic, on this issue there was no pressure, no deal, but why did you compromise
MSY: I personally like Pranab Mukherjee.
PC: How will you benefit
MSY: On such occasions, profit or loss is not seen
PC: You said that there is no deal, but there are whispers that there would have been suggestions for Mulayam Singhji becoming Vice President. He can become in this manner
MSY: There is no question. There is no question of me becoming Vice President. There is no question of being part of the government
PC: Samajwadi Party will keep on giving support from outside, will not be part of the government
MSY: Will not be part of the government
PC: In 2014
MSY: In 2014, Samajwadi Party will contest elections on its own
PC: Before 2014, you will not withdraw support, under any circumstances.
MSY: There question of withdrawing support arises when they do any anti national thing, any anti people thing, then this can be thought of. Till they are not doing nay anti national, anti people thing, till then support is there
PC: Mayawatiji has said that this government is anti people, but she will keep on supporting it. You think government is not any people, inflation is not increasing, petrol prices are not increasing, there is no corruption, this government is good.
MSY: No, the government is not very good. But issue question is that it is not fair to hold elections now.
PC: But the way you have won in UP, the people of UP have given you such a big mandate, don’t you think that people would like to send your people thinking that it should have an influence at the centre, or will you keep on blackmailing from outside
MSY: Will prepare for 2014 so that Samajwadi Party members win lok sabha seats with huge majority.
PC: You can have losses of supporting Congress till 2014.
MSY: Our support is on fair, unfair. If there is some unfair issue, we cannot support it.
PC: If you have to give this government number on a scale of 10, how many will you give this government?
MSY: It is true that inflation has increased during the tenure of this government, the government has not been able to stop corruption,
PC: Is the government fail or pass.
MSY: The people would give marks to the government in the test in 2014,stating whether it is good or bad.
PC: No I am talking of today
MSY: As far as we are concerned, we are supporting on only one issue, no to let the communal forces come forward.
PC: Communal forces, BJP has 116 seats, from where they would be able to form the government
MSY: There is NDA, there are many parties in addition to BJP
PC: 148 are there in total in NDA
MSY: How many in NDA
PC: How can the government be formed with 148 seats
MSY: There is Bal Thackerayjee’s party
PC: But the total is 148
MSY: Even they are supporting
PC: 148 total
MSY: There are other supporters
PC: Where, you are not supporting , Mayawati is not, communists are not. This you are using as an excuse
MSY: The people do not want elections now. The people want elections straight in 2014.
PC: Is the government fail or pass, do Teekhi Baat.
MSY: As far as the government is concerned, the government has not been able to fulfil the expectations of the people.
PC: Could not do
PC: Even then you will keep on supporting it to keep communal forces at bay.
MSY: Only on that issue. You would have seen, when I was giving speeches, did you feel I am supporting. On day one of my colleagues asked, your are criticizing the government so much, and you are supporting, I said No, our support is only to stop Advani sahab . This I have said in the house. I said I have given no support.
PC: You are saying that you are supporting the government to keep Advani saab out,
MSY: That’s all. Like somehow the BJP will bring a no confidence motion, or on any issue, then we cannot support BJP. But on other issues, we have not voted for them,
PC: When you will take back the support,
MSY: No, on many issues I have not supported Congress party
PC: In what condition will you make the government fall, if things came to such a pass
MSY: How can we make it fall,
PC: The day you take back support, the government will be in minority.
MSY: It cannot happen. BSP is supporting
PC: Both together it is 280, if you withdraw, then they are less. But you do not think the time has come to withdraw,
MSY: The people want to see elections in 2014.
PC: Did you make efforts to get some package for your UP government, is there some deal on that,
MSY: UP did not get, till now they have not given one rupee. Pranab Mukherjee was finance minister, did not get any money, then Akhilesh met Prime Minister, even I spoke to Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee also, but not getting anything
PC: Tell me one thing , you formed the government, you yourself did not become chief minister, people voted for you, you made your son, why did you do this?
MSY: Akhilesh and my vote is the same.
PC: But till a day before Akhilesh was telling me that you will become
MSY: I have been chief minister for three time, now I have no liking to be chief minister.
PC: Even then people say that let the chief minister be Akhilesh, but the government is of Mulayam Singh, the ministers are his.
MSY: If I am the president of Samajwadi Party, then the party is of SP, the president is for all
PC: But the chief minister runs the government, you can guide him, your blessings can be there, but people feel that even now Mulayam Singh Yadav is running the government
MSY: That is wrong, there is a conspiracy to publicize these things,
PC: You have given him full freedom
MSY: Have given full freedom, and I interfere nowhere. Now I am out since three days, in these four days, I did not speak to Akhilesh pertaining to the government.
PC: But among his ministers there should be young people, which are not there, all are old, people who have worked with you, majority of those people are there.
MSY: No, no he is working in his own manner,
PC: Because with him all uncle ministers are there. Out of fear Akhilesh would not be able to tell them to work, do something.
MSY: No that is not the case, that is not the case, all ministers are working well.
PC: You feel you have given full freedom to Akhilesh
MSY: Full freedom.
PC: You do not interfere at all
MSY: No interfering anywhere
PC: Do you feel he will be successful
MSY: Certainly, I have confidence, he will be successful
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio
MSY: Thank you, Prabhuji !
Monday, June 11, 2012
Modi Must Learn the Politics of Tolerance to Take National Stage
Modi has proved his skills of governance. But he is yet to prove his pan-India acceptability, like Indira did.
Arrogance and ego are perhaps the most lethal traits that can spell doom for a personality. If combined with unbridled power, they can destroy even the most powerful icons on earth. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has added these two visible vices to his positive image of a strong leader with an agenda. Until the past few months, Modi was perceived as man of development, vision and ideology. Now, he symbolises the victory of an individual over ideology. For Modi, his party is merely a convenient vehicle to reach the ultimate office. As the BJP’s most visible face, he is expected to prepare to win the big war of 2014. Today, however, he is fighting petty battles within his own party.
With his no non-nonsense approach, Modi made Gujarat the darling of Corporate India. A man who was shunned and spurned by industry leaders became India’s most sought-after chief minister. Even as motivated and sponsored campaigns against him continued unabated, Modi was seen a leader for today and tomorrow. The BJP has been living in awe of Moditva: the Modi mantra was the model of modern India. He has been fighting a lonely battle against the combined might of the UPA and other so-called secular forces in the country. Most of Modi’s own party leaders have been quietly waiting for him to fall the weight of his own mighty image. For the past nine years, he has been living under the fear of either being dislodged or sent to jail. But it didn’t deter him for doing what he is best at—development.
Events of the past few weeks, however, have diminished a leader of great stature like Modi. Instead of showing tolerance and a spirit of accommodation, Modi has betrayed his insecurity. By forcing BJP President Nitin Gadkari to get rid of Sanjay Joshi, a full-time RSS worker from the BJP, Modi has damaged himself. The party expects Modi to take on Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. But he chose to strike at his own ideological colleague who neither has the resources nor the organisational clout to inflict even a minor injury. The Modi- Joshi feud reflects all that is rotten not within just the BJP, but also with the mindset of various leaders who have acquired immense power through democratic means. Joshi has never contested an election, nor is he likely to do so in his lifetime. He has no roots in Gujarat. He is just an ordinary RSS worker who knows how to organise shakhas and keep people together. But Modi sees in him a monster who poses a grave threat to his supremacy in the party, and one who may throw a curveball to his prime ministerial ambitions. But Modi has forgotten that he has become what he is today only thanks to the massive support given to him by the rank and file of the organisation.
A decade ago, Modi could hardly be called a leader. His comrades had packed him off to the north from Gujarat. But the RSS and distinguished leaders like LK Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee saw in Modi a potential leader. They made him the chief minister of Gujarat even though the majority of MLAs were against it. Former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana was sent to Ahmadabad to supervise the transition and ensure Modi’s smooth anointment. Modi had not held any ministerial or elected post before. To his credit, however, Modi proved himself by winning the elections thrice and breaking the record of the longest surviving chief minister of the state.
In Modi’s case, it is not the chair that makes him an iconic leader but his success in restoring the powers and effectiveness of the institution of the chief minister. As he grew in status, he opened more fronts against himself rather than follow the politics of inclusiveness. His integrity, decisiveness and clarity of thought are great virtues which most of our leaders lack. But the path to acquiring the status of a statesman needs a certain degree of tolerance. Modi doesn’t forget to visit the ailing Vajpayee, but he hasn’t picked a leaf from Vajpayee’s unwritten book on politics. The former prime minister never allowed his personal likes and dislikes to affect his choice of party satraps or ministers. He even made insignificant rivals ministers in his Cabinet, choosing to forget that some of them were involved in filthy personal campaigns against him when they weren’t part of his government. Vajpayee believed in minimising drifts and rifts and maximising consensus and confidence. On the other hand, Modi is now maximising confrontation and intolerance and minimising mutual trust and accommodation.
If Modi feels that, like Indira Gandhi, he can win the people’s mandate by trampling on internal democratic processes, he is sadly mistaken. He has proved his skills of governance. But he is yet to prove his pan-Indian acceptability, like Indira did. To do so, he has to attract workers like Joshi and not crush them instead under the might of his state power.
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PC: You are the youngest chief minister
PC: It has been 7—75 days, what have you learnt
AY: Many days have passed
PC: In 75 days you would have become of 75 years due to thinking
AY: No, age has not increased, but every day I am getting experience.
PC: Because when one comes to power, his (weight) increases and gets grey hair
AY: No, time has passed, but with time, am getting experience.
PC: This government is yours now
AY: The government is of Samajwadi party
PC: Akhilesh Yadav is its chief minister
AY: The decision of the party, after the decision of the Vidhayak dal, I have become chief minister
PC: Now the impression is that the government is of Mulayam Singh Yadav, but its chief minister is Akhilesh Yadav.
AY: it is a good thing if people are considering it has Netaji’s government. It is a good thing. Because if they are taking it to be Netaji’s government, then the farmers would be benefitted, poor would benefit,
PC: Who is running it- Netaji or Akhilesh
AY: We are running, there is a whole council of ministers to run the government.
PC: There is a council of ministers, is it of Akhilesh or Netaji
AY: In the government the council of ministers is of the chief minister.
PC: People say uncle is minister
AY: This is a good thing, that uncle is there with me, people with whom I am from the time I was a kid, I have looked up to them with respect and continuously worked with them. And today they are with us is good, they are giving their advice and guidance. They sometimes tell us how to do a thing this way or that way. Then what is wrong in this.
PC: If ‘ chehra and chaal’ is the same, then what is the ‘parivartan’
AY: You would have seen the budget, we have added new things which were there in the party’s manifesto.
PC: I will talk about the budget, but talking about politics, Akhilesh Yadav is a fresh face, many times the image is that Mulayam Singh has been in the state, centre, he has a good image, because of which you have won, but the question is, that many times when the new generation comes in, then there is ‘naya chehra and nayee chaal’ which should be seen. What is that you were made because of compulsion
AY: Our MLA’s won in huge numbers, it is true that there is time now, and when expansion will happen some new people too would get a chance.
PC: During expansion
AY: They will get a chance. And even now there are people who have become ministers for the first time, and the work that is happening in the Vidhan Sabha, they are participating in it. Many times they are asking questions to the government.
PC: Do you have vacancies now
AY: Now there is possibility, lot of possibility, and people can and will become ministers.
PC: Now are you studying their performance in the assembly, on that basis you will take a decision
AY: It is natural, because the session is for the first time, and they have come before the Vidhan Sabha for the first time, we will see their experience and their style of working, and the party will give them chance.
PC: But the question is pertaining to your supporters, who expect new faces to come say that this is a bad government of a chief minister with a good image.
AY: No, nobody would agree to this, it has been too little time, the people have given a time of five years. Within five years, and you will see, as the government runs, new things would come, and according to time.
PC: People who are tainted, who have criminal cases on them, are charged for murder, what was the need of keeping such people
AY: And of some people are there, the party has full control, there is no untoward incident, and there are people in this government who have been trapped in fake cases by the Mayawati government.
PC: Raja Bhaiiya
AY: The maximum cases that have been registered against Raja Bhaiiya have been done by the former government.
PC: His father too was put in jail
AY: His father was put behind bars, his lands were snatched away, his business was shut down, amd was sent to jail by framing him in false cases.
PC: Let me do a Teekhi Baat with you
AY: Why not you should
PC: You gave me to interviews, in both of them you said that the chief minister would be Netaji and not you, then what was the game played by you are Netaji that you were made
AY: Please see, the decision of the party
PC: You had told me
AY: Even today I accept, that I know that I had said, that I will not become the chief minister.
PC: You had also said that Netaji will become
AY: I had said that Netaji would become. And many times I said that only Netaji would become. After Netaji and party decided, then I was given a chance by the party
PC: In this country there have been two such instances, and two you people become chief ministers in the same way, one day before the election Farooq Abdullah said on television, that I will become the chief minister, don’t know what transpired during the night that Omar Abdullah became chief minister in the morning. Even at your place, two days ago Netaji was to become, you became. Was this a family issue or party conspiracy or did people say that the win happened because you hence you should be made
AY: See, there is no conspiracy, and we had full support, the party got majority, and after getting majority, the decision of the party and the MLA’s, after that I became chief minister.
PC: Vote was for transformation, because people said that we voted in the name of Akhilesh Yadav. The kind of yatra’s that you took out, cycle yatra, new face over all television channels, newspapers, said Akhilesh Yadav, and Akhilesh Yadav said that he would not become,
AY: If the party gives responsibility, then one had to fulfil it.
PC: But then it should be said from the start, that we will make him chief minister
AY: No, when the party manifesto was made, the decision as taken, the party fought elections on Netaji;s name, even now, people remember the works done by Netaji. Hence, the government has come to power because of Netaji.
PC: But the kind of Mayawati govenrment that was there last time, people were saying that we will keep this government out of power, let anybody else come. When they saw a new and honest face of yours, they made you
AY: I agree that the people wanted to previous government to go out power, and people got an opportunity to elect a good government. We kept the thins said by Netaji in the manifesto. And when we went among people which were stated in the manifesto, the people supported us.
PC: You won by record margin, in the history hardly ever any regional party won such a large number of seats. Like when Mayawati won 206 seats, it seemed like magic has happened. You got even more seats, even you would not have predicted that you would win so many seats. You told me that you will get majority
AY: I had presumed that the party would get majority, but we had presumed that the party would get 207 seats and above. And when the results came, it was a good one,
PC: We all journalists thought that you would get 180 seats, you would be dependent on the Congress. The government would not be formed without the Congress. We all journalists were saying this
AY: In the run up to the elections, I said that party would get more than 207 seats, and we won 224.
PC: You became chief minister, I had seen that in the past 70 days, you presented a budget, regarding which I will discuss with you later, but your magic is running, as the Congress and BJP did not field a candidate against your wife, either you have scared them or they love you so much.
AY: This is the decision of those respective parties. Congress took the decision earlier. Now, even the Bahujan Samaj Party has not fielded a candidate.
PC: They say it is law and order issue, you are engaging in goondaism
AY: One should fight elections, take the issues in front of the people.
PC: The Congress that made Dimpleji lose, they are having so much love now for you now and why are they not fielding a candidate now
AY: It is a good thing that Congress did not field its candidate.
PC: Has there been any compromise
AY: There has been no compromise
PC: But you are saying it is a good thing
AY: It is a good thing,
PC: What about BJP
AY: I think that the tenure of the elected representative was less 12-13 months, that is why they did not field any candidates.
PC: What was the need for you to filed somebody
AY: That we have too, somebody has to be fielded. The people of the constituency accepted and said that they will not accept unless somebody from the family contests.
PC: You said the issue of parivaarvaad, but the question is in a lohiate government, lohiavaad is turning into parivaarvaad.
AY: There is nothing above the decision of the people .
PC: Public’s decision is allright, you had fielded her, if you had fielded somebody else, he too may have won, because the way in which a popular wave is in favour of you these days. The honeymoon period of the party that is on now, in this if any other candidate would have contested, wouldn’t he too have won
AY: But the public demanded, the came walking to us
PC: Who public
AY: The karyakartas and netas walked over and told us, from Kannauj and they demanded, that somebody from the family must contest, your wife must contest in these elections
PC: It means the demand has come from below
AY: You please believe this that the people of Kannauj came and put forward this demand, that is why I will say thank you to the people of Kannauj who accepted and gave such a big public approval to the party and its candidate.
PC: Educated and you people like you have come into politics in the country, don’t you feel that the support of the people can be with your family, don’t you think moving away from parivaarvaad, one should go be meritocracy, there can been many more eligible people, whom you may want to reward, what are you in this issue, be it you, Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Stalin, all the young generation people coming, they are making their family go ahead,
AY: Now one cannot go against the feelings of the karyakarta. People of Kannauj
PC: In addition to family, building leadership and institution
AY: Our party makes efforts to see that new leadership comes up. Hence, you would have seen that the MLA’s that have won, they are of young age, have won for the first time, from whose family nobody has ever won, nobody was in politics, we gave chance to them this time.
PC: Which means you are doing the same type of politics that the Congress party is doing. Even there the parivaarvaad runs,
AY: If the karyakartas are accepting, if the people of the constitutency accept, then we will have to take the decision that the people want.
PC: You mean to say that dynasty through democracy can be imposed
AY: I am not in its favour, but if the people accept, and the karyakartas accept, if karyakartas say that if this is the candidate, the election can be won. Then it is natural that he party will take the same decision.
PC: Many times you see the kind of sycophancy that goes on in political parties these days, but educated people like you moving away from sycophancy, can take decision on merit sometimes,
AY: Why not, we will take decisions, other places I said, in the other vidhan sabha, other elections the people who would come in the coming times, the decision will be on the fact that the karyakarta and the neta, he will be made to contest elections.
PC: You may not match any of the Congress but in this ideology all the regional parties are together, that we must take ahead only the members who are from our family, even if a honest leader like you comes forward,
AY: No, but when the public demands, and the karyakartas come and demand, then you will have to listen
PC: Karyakartas took only one name
AY: Karyakartas did not take any second name
PC: Then you said ok lets listen to the karkartas
AY: And I said when we could not win the last election, this time I got the excuse, this time lets win the election from Kannauj.
PC: Please tell one thing, what relation do you have with the Congress these days. What kind of political relations, of love, of hate, no hate, khatti-meethi is possible,
AY: We have got good relations with the Congress and there are differences over some issues.
PC: But differences are not so much for you to fight with them
AY: But the political issues that we put forth, if the Congress doesn’t accept then we have differences on those issues.
PC: But like it is seen that, for AIIMS, you gave land immediately in Soniaji;s constituency of Rae Bareli. This goodwill gesture on your party that is going on
AY: This we did because, Samajwadi Party too this decision because then nobody can level allegations against us that we are anti development. If they are ready to establish AIIMS in Uttar Pradesh, then we are ready to allot land. In the same lines there was an issue that they wanted land to build an aviation academy or university, we accepted that too as if they are wanting to bring that, then we are ready to give land.
PC: In Rae Bareli, during Rajiv Gandhi’s time we had done story, that so much money had come there, but there was no development, all the candidates lost there. Hence, don’t you think that you did a symbolic gesture, that we are with Soniaji, we will let them do development too
AY: Not symbolic, but if they want to build AIIMS,
PC: The Central government wants to make
AY: Yes, the central government wants to make here, and this allegation is made by the central government, that land for AIIMS is not being made available,
PC: AIIMS will go to Rae Bareli, there are many backward regions
AY: We have demanded from them, that because Uttar Pradesh is a big state, it is big by the amount of population, hence one AIIMS will not suffice, even if they want to give two-three, the Samajwadi government will allot land for the same
PC: If they want to give or is it your demand
AY: We have demanded from them,
PC: There should be two three AIIMS
AY: Yes, they should be in UP.
PC: You did not make a demand for IITs
AY: We will demand IITs too. And we have put forth this issue too that the money that the Uttar Pradesh government should get, under all schemes, which the centres responsibility to give, now the central government has not given, now presume that we have to set up power plants, work for it, if we do not get coal linkage, we will never be able to set up plants. Now, the central government would have to help somewhere.
PC: Coal linkage is different and financial help is different, the question is that every state government says these days, that give money to us, they don’t want to raise resources on their own, raise or impose any new taxes. What is the reason that all state governments are saying, give us a special package, but we will not impose new taxes in our state. You said that the central government does not give you money, the question is that you presented a budget of 2 lakh crore, hence you would have made many schemes, some would be of dream, some in reality, but there is no money as you have imposed no new taxes.
AY: Please see, the money that is demanded from the central government, we have not asked for package. What they should give in all schemes and programs. Only that money we have asked saying that it is Uttar Pradesh’s right. Like, money comes for health, then the government should give it in full, If money is due to come to some area, it should be given in full, we are only asking money which the central government has to give. In the same way the budget that we have come with, it is true that it is a big budget, over 2 lakh crores, and it is because we have fixed a target of more. This time, without levying more taxes, we will do more recovery.
PC: You will do recovery, earlier recovery outstanding is not happening
AY: The earlier government did not do it.
PC: You did not show much income in this
AY: The earlier government did not do it. But if we run the same departments in the right manner, then a lot of arrangements can be made.
PC: How will it happen, because after reading your budget, doesn’t seem from where you would get so much of income
AY: Uttar Pradesh is capable, will get, there is income, because there is a target
PC: From where will the income come, from liquor,
AY: It is there from liquor, registration,
PC: You have no money to give sugarcane farmers. From where will Rs. 5000 crore come.
AY: The compensation of sugar cane has started, private have started giving and government mills will also pay.
PC: What is the deficit income today, you did not show in the budget
AY: We cannot go outside our compulsions,
PC: So much difference, one thing is very interesting in your budget, after reading one feels, you did magic, what is your income and the expenses you have shown
AY: There is income, why not, 60,000 crores is the income of the government
PC: 60,000 crore but 1.40 lakh crore..
AY: Other income comes from other programmes, loan
PC: Will come from central sponsored schemes
PC: That is after budget
AY: Yes, but we have income of 60,000 crore
PC: Rs. 60000 crore income but from where would you get money to spend Rs. 2.04 lakh crore
AY: From other methods, money is coming, which totals to 2.04 lakh crores.
PC: Akhileshji you are not telling the people from where would you get Rs. 1.40 lakh crore. If you levy tax, then rates of power would have to be increased, increase rates of water,
AY: We said that we will not levy tax.
PC: Will you print money then?
AY: What is our budget, it has increased from the last time. And hence we have an estimated budget of 2.04 lakh crore. We are increasing our revenue resources.
PC: You have made efforts to build Taj Mahal, from where will stones, money come for Taj Mahal
AY: You will see that all the schemes started by us, or will start, adequate money for the same has been given in the budget, it has been disbursed, these schemes would be completed.
PC: From where would you spend Rs. 5000 crore on roads. You said Rs. 4,800 crore and linkeages expenditure of Rs. 12-1300 crore. In such a big states, in 6000 crore, 800 km of roads would not be made
AY: Because times have changed, these government roads we will make from government funds. But along with this we are having projects under PPP. Though other schemes, to make it viable we are making VGF roads too. Hence, if on PPP roads can be made, there are 21 projects.
PC: In PPP projects, CAG reports are coming, the kind of loot that is on
AY: Please see, if loot is on. One has to make roads, if some people invest via PPP and road is made, then we will have to encourage it. We are going to encourage it, hence good roads can be made in Uttar Pradesh
PC: Akhileshji you are computer expert, you have studied in Bangalore, but you said regarding free laptops and free tablets. In a state where more than 40 per cent people are illiterate, where power supply is not for more than three hours, where will laptops work there, isn’t this wastage of money. Don’t you think, in the school where there is no teacher, light, no doctor in hospital, medicine, there you take computer, what is this stance
AY: I agree with some issues put forth by you. But when we have started to run the government, you will see we have started to make arrangements of the power plants that can be operated. Today we have taken a decision in the cabinet, the people who want to reform their land, we are giving them opportunity for it. The former government did a MoU with eleven companies, to make plants, but not even one have arrangements for it now. Hence, the people who can set up power plants, two are schemes where power plants can be set up by 2014-15. These are big plants which are being set up, more than 500 mw. Likewise, if anybody invests in the area of power plants, we will encourage them, because in Uttar Pradesh there are line losses, theft, we will have to do work on stopping that. Today 30 per cent, 40 per cent is loss, if there is line loss of 30 per cent, then where would one give electricity. Hence we are making arrangement for electricity, those who can bring changes in distribution, we are doing even that, we are doing the improvements that we can do in transmission, in the farmers section, which we will have to keep them on priority, for wheat, we have done raids, so that farmers get money for their wheat. For Rs. 1285 we have taken action against officers continuously. So many officers would not have been suspended, how many we have done in the Samajwadi party government. This we have done because. Likewise, there is an issue of sugar cane, sugar cane farmers are on priority, wheat, pulses, and potato farmers would have to be helped, then Uttar Pradesh would move ahead. But along with this, if we also give laptops, if we give computer tablet too, then the children staying in villages, the governments used to scare them that children cannot use computers, hence knowingly, we kept this issue in manifesto
PC: What is the budget of this laptop scheme
AY: Around Rs. 3000 crore
PC: Rs. 3000 crore, I want to ask you a straight question, the children who do not have medicines, there are no teachers, if that Rs.3000 crore was spent there. Now the educated would get these things and get their benefit
AY: The computer and laptop that are being given, the rural children too would get it,
PC: What is the need there, of good schools and hospital or laptops
AY: We are making arrangement of schools, we accept that, that arrangement of good schools needs to be done, likewise, arrangement of hospitals and medicines would need to be done and we are doing that. Likewise, the big hospitals which are there presently, their administration has to be improved. And presume if there are diseases like cancer
PC: What is your agenda
AY: Our agenda is clear, farmers, people staying in villages, and people staying in cities should be taken together. We have to give facilities to people staying in villages and improve the condition of cities. Arrangements of both would have to be done together. Samajwadi Party is doing those arrangements.
PC: You said that your agenda is good governance. You transferred 2500 in one month, your agenda was to demolish whatever Mayawati made, every officer should be punished, and your worker, as seen in the newspaper, have come to blows at every places in the recent times.
AY: I cannot accept that Samajwadi karyakarta is disturbing law and order anywhere. Samajwadi party workers are following the law.
PC: There was firing on your MLA recently
AY: No, no, the incidents that have happened, there action is being taken against them. The incident, you are speaking of Moradabad, one MLA’s brother and, wherever the incidents have taken place, we have taken action against the accused. Now there are so many stone sculptures, our party said that they would be used in the right manner. If you see, we opened Parag milk bar there.
PC: So, many trees have been planted, what is wrong in that
AY: We have not removed the trees, we will plant more trees, we have not removed trees, the former government has certainly cut trees, in their memorials, there are no trees,
PC: What will you do, open hospitals
AY: Where the place is being used, we are doing that. Now a place where statues were there, we built a milk bar there. Parag milk bar has been opened there.
PC: If your workers do goondagardi will you put them in jail like Mayawati
AY: I say this and all Samajwadi party karyakartas believe and know that they do not have to break law and if they break law then the government will take action.
PC: Like Mayawati put all her ministers, MP’s,
AY: We will not copy anybody, but anybody who breaks law, let him be of any party, even if he is from our party, action would be taken against him.
PC: You will fight battle against corruption
AY: We are continuously fighting, and will keep on making efforts to eliminate corruption completely.
PC: Then why are you against what Anna and Baba say
AY: I am not against their fight, their issue is correct,
PC :Then what is wrong
AY: If they have affiliation to some particular ideology, hence we are against.
PC: Like their Lokpal bill, will you make parivartan in UP Lokpal bill by including the CM.
AY: Because we had opposed it in the centre too, corruption will not be eradicated if only the Lokpal bill comes. We will have to accept and all work together to get it eradicated.
PC: Took make Lokayukta in your state strong, CM should come under
AY: That our party did not accept, that we cannot accept.
PC: Hence Lokayukta will not come under CM,
AY: How much powerful the Lokayukta has to be made, even more powerful, we can work for it. But brining the chief minister under its jurisdiction, on this the Samajwadi party did not agree earlier, and won’t agree now.
PC: Tell me one thing, coming to the Presidential elections, it seems Netaji has been left at the national level and you are not going to centre and are busy working here. Do you think it should be a minority for the president’s post, do you agree that the president should be chosen in the name of caste and religion.
AY: The position of president if big, and I think, though common agreement, all parties should take decision.
PC: Do you think it should be of minority or political, like netaji said for the first time that it should be a political leader.
AY: I accept what the Samajwadi party has said that a political, and be made with the common agreement of all parties, then I think it would be a good president
PC: Even now you are saying that let it be of Congress or anybody else, it should be common agreement
AY: Yes, should be made with common agreement, all political parties are keeping their own points forth,
PC: All means
AY: All means all political parties
PC: You mean even the ones who are not with you
AY: If they have any opinion it would come forward.
PC: Then you would go with Congress
AY: The party has taken no decision now, at this time the decision has not been taken by the party,
PC: Let me ask you one last question, like Mayawati used to walk with 40-50 commandos, you are not doing that you are not with so much security, don’t you fear, don’t you fear Mayawati.
AY: No, I didn’t fear.
PC: Hence you have left it
AY: No, there should be security, and security should be as much as its needed.
PC: Now you do not stall traffic, that CM is coming but the traffic should not stall
AY: If the traffic stops or not, how much time difference does it make, I think it does not make a lot of time difference.
PC: Is this temporary or will run, like every chief minister starts and stops everything after six months. Like babus near you, saying, no no there is danger, and you would fall for what the babus say, Akhilesh Yadav is now our of the babus clique but tomorrow would be in their trap, will you give guarantee of this
AY: No, no, now this would not happen, and the way I am working I will not surround myself with so much security like me predecessor. What security I have, what is needed, only that much would be there.
PC: That you for coming to our studio
AY: Thank you, Prabhuji