Monday, June 24, 2013

Get rid of those....Power & Politics/The Sunday Standard/ June 23, 2013

Get rid of those who have outlived utility, replace with effective diplomats

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second term draws to an end, his promoters are concerned about the legacy he would leave behind if denied a third term. From Jawaharlal Nehru onwards, all Indian Prime Ministers have been obsessed with their brand of diplomacy and their role in dictating the tone of international relations. From Nehru to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, each one of them has left their own distinctive mark on foreign policy.
India’s first Prime Minister was a towering presence on the world stage. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, he laid the foundations of Non-Alignment. Domestically, Panditji laid the foundations of a modern, secular and vibrant democracy. Yet, his abiding legacy is that of India’s military humiliation at China’s hands. India Gandhi’s is a mixed legacy—the imposition of Emergency and the curtailment of civil liberties, but it is possible that it will be defined by the liberation of Bangladesh. She displayed the ability to show the Americans their place by refusing to succumb under pressure. Vajpayee brought balance into the unipolar world with a close relationship with the US; at the same time engaging Pakistan in a dialogue.
For the present PM, the jury is still out on domestic issues. On the foreign policy front, however, there is no ambiguity. The sincere and genuine efforts he has personally made to improve relations with Pakistan and the US will stand out. He was willing to stake the future of his government on the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was a game-changer of sorts. It is, of course, another matter that the deal remains stuck in red tape, besides being economically non-viable. Those swayed by the dreams of getting better power at cheaper rates are regretting the day they lauded Singh for ending nuclear apartheid. Undoubtedly, Singh’s first term was marked by significant foreign policy initiatives, which would be remembered for a long time. But his second term is being dubbed a diplomatic disaster. India is no longer the most sought-after companion on the high table of diplomacy. Economic disaster has taken the sheen off the Prime Minister’s reputation as an economist engineering a revival.
Above all, utter confusion prevails in diplomatic circles on our stand on the Sino-US relationship and how we deal with Japan and other eastern countries. Our neighbours do not take us into confidence, let alone fear us. Issues relating to foreign policy seldom resonate with the electorate during poll season, but they can critically define how a Prime Minister is remembered.
Those who live under the illusion that the Prime Minister has a credible, consistent foreign policy vision are blaming his advisers for his failure to implement his vision. His 100-odd speeches—which could give some indication of Singh’s thinking on various international issues—hardly reflect any long-term perspective on the challenges which the country faces. From the far east to the far west, with Europe in the middle, India’s stamp is hardly visible on any diplomatic move. While some parts of Europe are engulfed in strife, we have no role to play in any global initiatives. Our decades-old aspiration for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council has remained a pipe dream with none of the major powers even willing to take up the issue at the right forums. We, too, seem to have forgotten all about it. UN reforms are just a mandatory part of joint statements issued whenever Singh visits a friendly country like Japan.
In September, the Prime Minister is off to the US, for what is considered to be his last bilateral talks with the US establishment. While various officials are still working on the agenda, they are more concerned about the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, which begins today. South Block mandarins are finding it difficult to understand the meaning behind the PM’s remarks on China during his interaction with IFS probationers. US diplomats have already been advised by their officials to show Kerry the transcript of Singh’s remarks, which provide an insight into his vision and worldview. A senior MEA official present at the interaction made an interesting comment: “It is one thing for the Prime Minister to say that new entrants to the Foreign Service should carefully study the rising power, China. But it is clearly premature to infer that the United States is a declining power.”
A section of the Congress leadership is now convinced that the PM has advisers who do not share his vision, are incompetent and lazy and not capable of delivering the goods. If this is indeed the case, the PM should not feel hamstrung by the principle of seniority and acceptability in choosing key advisers like the National Security Adviser and the Foreign Secretary. He should pick only those diplomats who can help him craft his vision and ensure its implementation. With the Congress in election mode, it wants Singh to restore India’s supremacy at international forums and acquire some say in determining the course of any future diplomacy required for India’s economic revival. For that to happen, the PM has to take some risks by getting rid of those who have outlived their utility and replace them with effective, credible and suave diplomats who can not only argue with him but also present India’s case with dignity and authority. If some disgruntled seniors quit the service, so let it be. Let the buck-passers be bypassed. The buck stops at the Prime Minister’s desk, and the Prime Minister’s desk only.; Follow me  on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

Monday, June 17, 2013

Teekhi Baat with Sharad Yadav/ June 15, 2013/ IBN7

INTERVIEW with  Janta Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav for Teekhi Baat on IBN7

PC: You seem to be very sad.
SY: Laughs
PC: Why are you sad, you are never seen as such? You are a fighter, hardworking person
SY: There is a lot of work load
PC: What is the work?
SY: The talks on the alliance, we are speaking to our party men all over the country.
PC: It seems that the whole pressure of saving the alliance is on Sharad Yadav
SY: If something is saved, it is because of everybody’s work.
PC: But there is one leader, behind who people walk
SY: There are many leaders in NDA
PC: Who are the many leaders of NDA? The me one person who is leader of NDA
SY: Advaniji
PC: You consider him as leader
SY: Yes
PC: His is NDA leader according to you
SY: Sure, his is.
PC: What is the problem with Nitish?
SY: A lot of water has flown under the bridge. They (BJP) have called their party meeting. And the conditions that have emerged lately, Advaniji’s resignation, then elections of Maharajganj, following which they (BJP) formed a ‘Sangarsh samiti’, we said it is their domain, But following which the speeches given by BJP leaders.
PC:  Who Narendra Modi,
PC: Which leaders
SY: All the leaders whose names have come up.
PC: But nobody except him (Modi) has spoken anything
SY: Many people have said
PC: Amit Shah has said.
SY: Many leaders spoke
PC: You mean the way in which those leaders spoke was not right
SY: For the past 17 years, who are working within the framework that was made by Atalji, Advaniji and us. But the statements given recently have drifted out of that framework.  
PC: You feel it is a transgression of NDA’s policy
SY: Not full transgression, but it seemed drifting out of the framework.
PC: Narendra Modi included, it seems you are affected a bit by his speech too
SY: By everybody’s speech
PC: You are feeling hurt
SY: By everybody’s speech
PC: You too fear Narendra Modi?
SY:I don’t fear, I never take anybody’s name.
PC: I am taking name, but you said leaders, he is among leaders
SY: People will know, only four five leaders have given speeches
PC: I heard only one person’s speech
SY: I heard many people’s speeches.
PC: You felt they are drifting from NDA framework
SY: That is not the sole reason. Let me tell you a lot of water has flown under the bridge.
PC: I have seen, it seems so from your and their way of speaking. A new era is starting there (BJP)
SY: There are some tensions from some days in the alliance that we ran all these years with Atalji and Advaniji. There is not one reason for the tension, there are many, which I cannot say not but will say in the party meeting.
PC: What is left of NDA, BJP, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and you, there are only four constituents
SY: What is left of UPA?
PC: UPA has a team and you don’t have tensions with UPA?
SY: There is Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, JD (U), means there are 70 to 80 seats.
PC: Which means you will have rift with all three? Shiv Sena, Akali Dal are with BJP, come what may
SY: Where is the talk of separation happening now? There is no talk of separation, we are still part of NDA. And we are calling meeting, a BJP meeting was held, now we are calling meeting of our party. Out meeting happens once every six months, we are calling this meeting a little early.
PC: BJP national executive meeting happened, they announced their party leader for campaigning, regarding which you have no objection. You just have objection to the language used in the speeches thereafter, which you feel was drifting from NDA’s framework
SY: Yes, it is right
PC: But you said NDA leader is Advani saab? Their own party does not consider him their leader? Then how can he become your leader?
SY: We have called a meeting. We are saying, all of us, party people had come together because of Atalji and Advaniji.
PC: But Advaniji is active now
SY: Atalji is unwell, but the way, in which Advaniji wrote a letter, following which his resignation was taken back. Then the whole thing was revealed. When they are not listening to him (Advaniji), in Goa, they didn’t listen to him.
PC: You are saying if they don’t listen to him, how they will listen to you?
SY: How will they listen to us? We felt that when a person who built the whole party was not listened to.
PC: Certainly, from 2 seats to 190
SY: They are not listening to him, and they are sidelining him on the pretext of generation change.  A person with age has experience, Jaiprakashji was on dialysis, he got everybody together by saying that all come together otherwise I will do anything. And even in that condition, the whole country listened to him. See all over the world, who can deny something what Nelson Mandela says. Who has initiated this generation change in BJP? This is surprising, not in interest of the country? Along with age, experience also counts.
PC: New people will come to lead, Jayaprakash Narayan lead and
SY: Prabhuji, new people came forward earlier too, Jayaprakash was young.
PC: He could have become Prime Minister, but he didn’t
SY: Jaiprakashji was young, Lohaiji was young, haven’t young people come forward before the  generation change happening now.
PC: You mean the NDA running on philosophy of Atalji and Advaniji. Do you think that NDA cannot be imagined without Advaniji.
SY: Certainly.
PC: which means if there is no Advaniji, there is no NDA?
SY: That is certain. When he is not listened to, how NDA can run?
PC: Even you don’t want to imagine NDA without Advani? And any other NDA partner too wont accept?
SY: It is right, nobody will accept. Shiv Sena too says it wants Advaniji.
PC:  Nitishji is talking dual membership, Sangh
SY: Nitishji has not spoken one word. He said that he announced that party will decide in its meeting.
PC: Nitishji has spoken against Modi. He is also said he wants secular Prime Minister, will now allow Modi to come in Bihar.
SY: Gujarat chief minister went to Kolkata, talking about Gujarat model there, he said, that it will be good if Bihar agrees to Gujarat Model. On that statement, Nitish Kumar spoke for 10-15 minutes, I am saying that a model of one state cannot be implement on this country. Geography, rivers, land, culture, language is different. The way of one state, cannot be the way of the whole country, there is no bigger truth than this.
PC: But one will have to agree that Modi delivered on development issue, his model is not bad?
SY: We never said that development has not happened in Gujarat? We never said anything like that.
PC: Both NDA governments are running well, in Gujarat and in Bihar
SY: Reasons being we never contest in alliance with BJP in Gujarat. Earlier, we had 8 MLA’s there, then four, now one. In Gujarat, we never allied with BJP.
PC: You fell till such time Modi is there you won’t have an alliance there
SY: You want to take name and make statement.
PC: Earlier alliance did happen
SY: No, if there is conflict between with somebody, he is a person, while the differences may be ideological, hence we contest separately. He is in BJP, we don’t want to form opinion based on a person.
PC: But fight is happening around in individual
SY: I will give you copy of national executive agenda, check if a word has been written against anybody.
PC: But you say time and again that the country’s Prime Minister should be secular
SY: We said that we are working within the framework made by Atalji and Advaniji with us. The agenda says the whole society is to be seen with one vision and everybody must be taken together.
PC: You are saying that you don’t see that the BJP’s new generation has the capacity to take everybody together with them; your speech makes it seem sp.
SY: During Atal, Advani’s time there was a tack to the horse, which has been left now.
PC: There is no tack now
SY: Yes
PC: You feel that the BJP you allied with and the BJP now have a lot of difference
SY: It is not an issue of lot of difference, but there are some roadblocks in functioning.
PC: You have no dialogue with Narendra Modi
SY:   Why not, there is a lot of dialogue
PC: At the party level
SY: We sit together if there is a party meeting
PC: He has not come for NDA meeting
SY: He has
PC: When was he called for NDA meeting
SY: He has come on one or two occasions
PC: You don’t have political discussions with him? Like you do with Advaniji?
SY: There is interaction with Advani, with Rajnath, in the same manner we have interaction.
PC: You don’t have that same level of interaction with him or is not possible
SY: Why not? We are in one country.
PC: If he sits in NDA meeting, for BJP
SY: He has been sitting in NDA meetings
PC: He has never sat for NDA meetings
SY: Has has
PC: When did Modi saab sit
SY: We had called all chief ministers
PC: That is a different issue, am speaking of NDA co-ordination meeting
SY: They are not a part of it
PC: But if he is represented from BJP’s side then
SY: We will see when it comes to that
PC: you would have problems then?
SY: No, what problems?  We will have talks with him., till now there has been no problem.
PC: There was no problem before, but there is problem now because the new chief of the campaign committee has been announced and it seems he is on way to become Prime Minister, If he is made member of NDA co-ordination committee.
SY: When his name was not even announced, somebody told me such an such person is being appointed chief of campaign committee, I told him it is a decision of their party, by keeping whom where they want to play chess. But the appointment is not of NDA campaign committee chief.
PC: All right, he is not in NDA, but there are people of BJP in NDA, besides Advaniji, president too is there
SY: Besides president, many other leaders are there.
PC: Leader of opposition is present, and after that if they also made campaign committee chief part of team, then you will have talks with him
SY: Your asking question like when will the tears fall, when the old men will die.
PC:  When will the old men die, when will the tears fall, you don’t want to answer my question
SY: Your question is hypothetical, when it happens, it will come to it
PC: When it happens, will it be acceptable to you
SY: Talks would be held with BJP
PC: BJP won’t ask you regarding its appointment
SY: They do
PC: Advaniji asks
SY: Everybody asks each other
PC: Subramaniam Swamy is part of co-ordination committee
SY: That was done by asking people
PC: You are convenor
SY: I was asked and it was postponed for one-two months.
PC: Which means NDA co-ordination committee changes, appointments cannot happen without asking you
SY: Yes
PC: If Modi’s name crops up, you will hold talks
SY: If anybody’s name crops up, talks would be held
PC: Jairam Ramesh said Modi is Bhasmasura, he has devoured Advani, he will devour others too
SY: What we have go to do with his statement, since when has he started doing politics? I will not reply to political statement and every person’s statement.
PC: Many years, he is a central minister
SY:  So what, Ramesh is a good friend of mine. But I have no friendship with his statement.
PC: The quarrel is between Nitish
SY: There is no difference between me and Nitish, we have a ideological relationship, Lohiaji, Karpuri Thakur, Jaiprakashji, Chaudhary Charan Singh, we all together, the ideological relations between all of us.
PC: You are remembering names of all Samajwadi leaders
SY: You know that the relationship of ideology is bigger than blood relations. I and Nitish have ideological relations.
PC: Nitish Kumar wants to separate because
SY: I had gone to Madhepura, he came to me and told me about the prevailing conditions, to which I didn’t have answer for many questions.
PC: Seems Nitish is in tension due to your recent loss in Maharajganj
SY: The whole party in in tension, not only Nitish
PC: People are ceased supporting you there
SY: There are many reasons, because all BJP leaders
PC:  Did not work with all their heart?
SY: Some did
PC: But others didn’t
SY: There was some problem in our party too
PC: You want to say your party sabotaged to make Nitish lose
SY: No, I am saying there are many factors, out of which this is one factor. And statements made indicated that RJD didn’t win, rather BJP has won
PC: You feel RSS people sabotaged
SY: There were seven byelections, we won all seven, but in this by elections, the margin of loss was high.
PC: You mean to say BJP has won in Maharajganj not Laloo
SY: This is the feeling
PC: Nitish is also feeling the same
SY: No, I have said this thing, Nitish has not said it
PC: Doesn’t it seem Nitish is unpopular, it is said that he is very arrogant, he is like BJP leaders, he feels how Modi has become bigger than him, hence it is a personal fight, not an fight of ideology?
SY: We left the Government of India after Mandal was implemented. After Mandal, Advaniji sat on Rath, BJP said that if anything happens to Advani…till  4 pm, I sat and thought that it is not safe in UP, and got him arrested
PC: Laloo was with you then
SY: Yes, and principles we left he Government of India.
PC: The one thing about Samajwadi is, the leaders equal the number of parties
SY: The thing in this country is that those to contest on principles are criticised, but not those you loot the country
PC: No, rather image of all of you is good, but you fight amongst each other
SY: Dacoits don’t fight, only those who want to go on the right path do so
PC: Nitish Kumar said that talks regarding federal front are happening now, we are talking to each other. You are President, you too would be consulted before any decision on alliance is taken. In talks and meeting of your party tomorrow, this issue too would be discussed.
SY: Now it is NDA, we and BJP people have met each other, talks have happened with Nitishji, these talks would be put forward in the party meet, talks would be held on differences, after pondering on these issues, we will decide what to do
PC: You want to save NDA, but what are your conditions
SY: That we cannot say now. We have spoken to BJP people.
PC: The condition is that Prime Minister candidate should be announced prior
SY: This is what you media are saying to give news
PC: Then what is the issue of discussion
SY: We will not tell you the issue to be discussed
PC: Prime Minister candidate
SY: Discussions are happening regarding why there is tension between our relations now
PC: But one issue would be that Prime Minister candidate should be decided in NDA meeting, not before that
SY: Certainly, that is there
PC: They say their parliamentary board will decide
SY: After parliamentary board where have they said that discussion would not be held with NDA? Earlier too talks would be held.
PC: Nobody had a question mark on Atalji, hence there was no question that you or anybody else would speak against Atalji. But now there are many leaders eyeing Prime Ministerial post
SY: Hence, talks would be held. Nobody can function without NDA. They will put forth a same, because they are the biggest party, it is their right, but without discussion and common acceptance in NDA, nobody can become Prime Minister.
PC: You are saying BJP as the biggest party will propose name, but till NDA does not accept, he cannot become Prime Minister.
SY: There is no question about that.
PC: If that is not agreeable you will leave NDA
SY: Why will we leave, we move with consensus.
PC: You go by consensus; they will say it is their right
SY: No they cannot say anything like that. It is a matter of family.
PC: Last time there was no other candidate, this time there is a fight
SY: Advaniji was there
PC: Advaniji was announced prior by NDA as their prime ministerial candidate.
PC :What do you feel, should prime ministerial candidate be announced before elections by NDA
SY: It will be very good.
PC: If NDA announces candidate before elections
SY: It will be very good
PC: What will be the benefit
SY: The benefit is that things would be clear, the picture of NDA would be clear.
PC: Hence, you would discuss this issues too that it is in NDA’s best interest to declare Prime Ministerial candidate before elections
SY: Yes, it is right
PC: And it can be anybody
SY: Yes, can be anybody
PC: First right is of BJP the NDA
SY: Then NDA
PC: Hence, you would not go without it, but what will you do if such thing does not happen
SY: It is going on for 17 years.
PC: Sharadji it was running for 17 years, but there was no controversy, but you have no name, they have names from BJP’s side.
SY: I  have said that they will propose.
PC: Your condition is that it is better to announce prime ministerial candidate prior to elections
SY: Yes, we think it is better if Prime Ministerial candidate is announced before elections. 

You are aiming hihg.... /Power & Politics/The Sunday Standard/June 16, 2013

You are aiming high, but beware of marketers selling you as an FMCG

Dear Narendrabhai,

We have known each other for over 35 years. Your meteoric rise from an ordinary member of the ABVP to a national leader is well deserved. Though you still have to go far to acquire the status of the maximum leader, a national debate around your personality has the potential to minimise your achievements. You are perhaps one of the few workers of the Sangh Parivar who has risen from the ranks through hard work, loyalty, commitment and a frugal lifestyle. You were known as a team-builder and organiser. You were the party’s political strategist who had no connections with elitist opinion-makers or corporate planners. You hardly ever visited a five-star to address an audience or confabulate with your contacts. You were like Arjuna, whose eyes were fixed on the target and whose methods were well defined.
From 1985 to 1999, none of your current followers sought your company, let alone opinion or guidance. They couldn’t imagine that a canteen boy would become the most powerful contender for the PM’s post in less than two decades. They ignored your presence. They even painted you a demon after the 2002 Gujarat riots. While the rest of India bayed for your blood, there were very few in your own party who stood by you. One of them was L K Advani, who saw in you a potential leader. Advani stood like a rock with you and not behind you like other invisible opportunists who didn’t want to be seen as your protectors in public. I remember how Advani pushed you as the candidate for Gujarat chief minister in 2001. Former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana was aware of the problems in getting you anointed by replacing old warhorse Keshubhai Patel. Khurana was sent as observer to organise the transition from the old to the new. Advani put his weight and authority behind you, like he did for other young leaders like Vasundhara Raje, Uma Bharati, Shivraj Chouhan and Raman Singh, despite massive opposition from within. You didn’t let him down in delivering a better government. When you were in trouble over the riots, it was Advani who stood by you in Goa. I was present there, covering the meeting of the BJP’s National Executive. You may not have forgotten the torture you went through those two days. I remember your victorious smile when you were told to continue in spite of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s reservations. The majority, led by Advani, overruled the will and wish of the person who was then India’s undisputed darling. You sounded humbled. You returned to Ahmedabad brimming with gratitude and resolved to change Gujarat’s face. You became the state, the party and the only leader.
This time round, you are a different Narendra Modi. Unlike in 2002, your arrival in Goa resembled a general’s. The V-sign was a clear sign of your new mission. Your admirers and supporters put up larger-than-life posters of you along the road from the airport to your hotel. The choreographed welcome was a clear indication of the change in political style. The party, which chose principles over personalities, appeared to be at war with itself; and you were portrayed as the one leading a faction. The BJP meeting was meant to discuss ways and means to win the 2014 elections by trouncing Congress. It wasn’t called to demolish an established hierarchy. But a section of the party now feels that Goa became just another Kurukshetra.
Instead of the party and BJP, you have become both subject and target of the current political discourse. Your detractors haven’t found fault with your economics. But they find the new Modi’s politics a threat to democratic institutions. The conduct and language of your fans like Amit Shah drive even your hardcore loyalists away. Don’t forget that most self-appointed Modi acolytes were once Advani’s courtiers. Advani may not be an attractive proposition for the money-minded Indian middle class, but he is still like a father who can keep a family together.
Please don’t forget that your acceptability will not be measured in terms of how many times you have hosted corporate bigwigs or addressed industry forums in Gujarat or elsewhere. A Time cover story on you may be a topic of discussion over cocktails in urban drawing rooms but will not enthuse semi-literate voters. Your suitability for a national responsibility will not be judged by how many media-hyped interactions you’ve had with college students. You even shared the dais with corporate leaders who were college alumni. Your eagerness to woo foreigners or NRIs isn’t a strategy that will ensure broader acceptability. Don’t get carried away by the number of requests which you now get from ambassadors seeking appointments. They want to assess you as a person and not as a leader who has delivered a unique development model. After 2002, you were a pariah for them. Most of them funded NGOs who are in the forefront of launching long-drawn legal and social battles against you. They will not miss an opportunity to support the cause of the types of Nitish Kumar once they feel that you have lost your relevance. Some are already whispering about your inability to take your own parivar along and your tendency to humiliate senior leaders. Don’t forget that the party leadership allowed you to demolish top honchos like Keshubhai Patel, Sanjay Joshi, Kashiram Rana and others. But once you move to the national platform, it will be difficult for you to ignore old colleagues. Indira Gandhi could do it because her enemies were discredited and she had nationwide appeal. You are also the most popular leader but your acceptability is still limited.
You are aiming high. But the success of a leader lies in his ability to make himself redundant in his current post. You haven’t shown that tendency. Are you willing to hand over Gujarat’s reins to any leader you have groomed? In your endeavour to make Gujarat India’s most modern state, you forgot to create successors. You have unwittingly let your benefactors promote you as a brand. Please do not allow them to hawk Brand Modi like a deodorant or a freshener, which attracts people only temporarily. Don’t ignore the fact that multinational food chains haven’t been able to find a replacement for the desi dhokhla, vada pao, Tulsi or Haldiram. You are a homegrown brand and its dilution will spell disaster for you alone. In a country that still preaches respect for elders, a person like you can’t be sold like an FMCG. Unfortunately, your over-enthusiastic marketers are not pushing you as an idea because they also feel that its time is yet to come.; Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

Monday, June 10, 2013

Teekhi Baat with Lalu Prasad Yadav/June 08, 2013/IBN7

INTERVIEW with  Rashtriya Janta Dal president Laloo Yadav for Teekhi Baat on IBN7

 PC: Are you national leader or leader of Bihar
LPY: Our’s was a national party but we got less votes in Jharkhand elections we got regional party status, but we have got symbol, status which states we are national party.
PC: I asked something else
LPY: Rashtriya Janta Dal has presence all over the country, even if we don’t contest elections in as many places.
PC: I mean Sharad Pawar is national leader, but his party is not national in the same way Laloo is known across the country, he is a national leader, even if his ‘Dal’ is not national.
LPY: We have roots in Janta Dal, I the chief minister of state, was minister of railways, for 15 years our government was governing Bihar, our party has got national recognition.
PC: One time
LPY: One time we have got, and in Jharkhand, due to LJP tie up, we vote tally became less, hence now we are in avatar of regional party. Laloo Yadav is not only known nationally, but internationally.
PC: You too are an international brand like Narendra Modi
LPY: Narendra Modi is known for communal hatred all over the world.
PC: You mean you are known are positive and secular
LPY: All over the world, there are people who know me. In Emirates, a square has been named Laloo Chowk by people from our country who went there. Internet, tv and mobile has turned world into a global village. People residing anywhere, in every country can keep track of who is doing what.
PC: You are famous
LPY: People know me, which makes me feel proud
PC: Laloo and ‘aloo’ is internationally known as brand.
LPY: People know me everywhere. When I was rail minster, my role was discussed worldwide, people came from America, from Harvard, Insead, to know how loss making railways were turned to a profit. I have taught, the case study is there in Harvard.
PC: You are working and you have a brand, you won Maharajganj, first, you got Prabhunath Singh to defect. Congressmen and Nitish Kumar said Laloo didn’t win, but their candidate defected and he won.
LPY: Nitish has defected from here, Nitish, Sharad Yadav all are defectors, there are ‘dal badloo’,  they were all part of Janta Dal, under me, I have nurtured then, JD (U) is a collection of ‘dal badloos’. Prabhunath Singh and many others were all together. Nitish’s party lost by a huge margin and all their propaganda of development has burst. Even those from his caste voted for us.
PC: Which means negative vote was cast against him
LPY: Today, there is a mood in Bihar, he is a fake person sitting in the lap of RSS and BJP. He gives big ads in newspapers at a time when the education system has broken down, there problem of power supply, there is no development in villages.
PC: In one sentence could you tell us why Nitish Kumar’s party lost
LPY: Nitish Kumar’s party got defeated because people are waiting for elections to remove Nitish. Bihar’s population is aware and political. He created rifts in minorities, dalit, maha dalit, and various castes.
PC: After 10 years, people feel Laloo was better than Nitish Kumar
LPY: These are people who grew under me, in our 15 year government, there were with me for eight years. We were all together when Mandal commission was implemented. In our 15 year rule,  in that era, there was no mobile telephone, landlines existed, there was no MNREGA, there was no Prime Minister road construction scheme, there was no central scheme for hospitals or grants for power. I sat with Balooji (DMK leader) and got two and four lane highways approved for Bihar. This man (Nitish) has not even started a factory to make needles.
PC: Why did you lose then if you did so much development work?
LPY: Hatred was generated against me. In our era, everybody should accept, we worked for social justice and communal harmony. There was Advaniji’s rath on side, on the other, there was Mandal Commission. My whole time was spent in restoring harmony among people. There was no single paisa grant from Delhi in NDA government, even Nitish said not even a single paisa should be given to Bihar.
PC: If you see Maharajganj result, it is clear that that is a wave against Nitish Kumar, you won all six assemblies by a margin of 20-25 thousand.
LPY: Maharajganj result is the semi final. The whole country was keenly watching what happens to Laloo in that area. In the elections, with our tie ups, we will win 400 seats.
PC: After a by election, you demanded resignations, it is right to do so?
LPY: Nitish Kumar gave speech in Maharajganj, telling people not to vote for him if they don’t like his government’s performance. Now, people of Maharajganj have rejected your work. Nitish job is to open liquor shops selling Indian and foreign liquor all over the state. He does not want any old people in state, because everyone will die young drinking alcohol.
PC: You feel he wants to make everyone a drunkard
LPY: Every were in the state one can see boards with Nitish’s photo states that eradicating alcoholism is our priority, but on the contrary one can see alcohol shops in every village. Nitish told upper casts that Laloo is against you, and now the same people who voted for Nitish, state that Laloo may be rough in his ways of talking, but Nitish, there is no person whom Nitish has not looted. They tried to spread hatred against me, Congress, left were contesting separately, BJP and our defectors were together, by how many votes was I defeated? Merely three per cent, but now Nitish has lost many votes.
PC: After winning Maharajganj, you said no government in centre can come to power without your support
LPY: I never said anything like this, or to this effect. I talked regarding communal and fascist forces in parivartan rally, I said that in 2014, the people have to decide whether India will remain united or break up. Communal forces want to break up the country and hurt the opposition. I have told the people of Bihar that they have to decide whether India was be united or will break.
PC: Laloo Prasad Yadav is alternative in Bihar, there is no Congress contender in the state
LPY: I am there, even if Congress is not.
PC: Why you hold the Congress flag and move everywhere
LPY: Even now we support the Congress party and tomorrow too will do the same.
PC: But they make their candidates against your party
LPY: It is my duty to keep communal forces at bay, becoming a minister is not my priority. I will not allow the country to break.
PC: Earlier too you have contested against the Congress party. You birth was in anti congress ideology
 LPY: That was my mistake, shouldn’t have done that, as communal forces took benefit of the same.
PC: If you have love affair with Congress, then why don’t you merge in Congress
LPY: Why will we merge, there is a different party, ours is a different party.
PC: But principles are same
LPY: The principle is to keep communal forces at bay
PC: You both have same goal, you have small party, hence if you merge, you will emerge as national leader
LPY: If not national, am I a regional or a district leader?
PC: When Congress party does not want you.
LPY: Let Congress want me or not, we want it. What problem do others have?
PC: You have love with Congress
LPY: What problem do others have?
PC :Rahul Gandhi does not like you
LPY: It is a wrong that that people speak by putting words in to Rahul Gandhi’s mouth.
PC: When did you meet Rahul Gandhi. When did you speak one to one
LPY: I have met and spoken.
PC: When
LPY: A month or two ago, before elections
PC: On what issue
LPY: The issue is, am saying in record, Rahul Gandhi said that Lalooji, I want to meet you, I told him tell me what your order is? He said we are not against you. He said that, I am not lying. Leave all those issues aside, how can I allow communal forces to gain power in the country?
PC: Laloo can win even without Congress.
LPY: That is a different thing, but I will make attempts again and again to see that there is no division of votes. There should be no division of secular votes.
PC: You think Congress even now can win elections to form government, when so many scams are tumbling out.
LPY: What scams are happening, tell me one person who is clean, against whom allegations have not been levelled? All this is happening because of leaders who are calling each other thieves. What happened in cricket now, are thieves present only in politics? Allegations are levelled, and the courts will look into the cases.
PC: Corruption is not an issue anymore, everybody is the same
LPY: Government should make arrangements for it, I has said that right to property should be abolished, take over everybody’s property, farmhouses and do redistribution. Make a law.
PC: What will be your agenda
LPY: Our agenda would be redistribution, keeping communal forces ay bay, integrity, peace, communal harmony should be maintained.
PC: You speak of communal harmony, Modi is becoming popular, every survey says it, be it any magazine or television channel, all newspapers, everybody says Modi is the biggest popular leader.
LPY: There have been so many allegations against Modi, Lal Krisha Advani, who got Babri Masjid demolished.
PC: But the government was formed in 1996 for 13 days and subsequent to that
LPY: Where was the government formed?
PC: In 1996 13 day national government was formed when Ataji was Prime Minister. That happened after Babri Masjid incident. After that in 1998 it was formed.
LPY: Anybody who troubles minorities, weaker sections, or spread hatred, will not stay in power in the politics of this country.
PC: But they ruled for five six years.
LPY: They did rule be didn’t we defeat them. They got Gujarat riots done. Advaniji was home minister and there were riots in Narendra Modi’s rule. Atalji said Rajdharma is something. We demanded he (Modi) should be dismissed, government should be dismissed and presidential rule should be established in the state, Advaniji used to support Narendra Modi. Now I don’t know what it is, now he has fallen ill. Those are their issues, I have not said anything. Advanji has been first in the taking up the communal issue, the name of Narendra Modi follows.
PC: There are 40 seats in Bihar, you have close to five. It is said that if Modi comes, even you would be wiped out
LPY: It is wrong, falsehood and a psychological war of certain media, electronic media psychological war, even if Nitish-Modi is together or not, we will defeat both on 400 seats, even in Jharkhand.  
PC: The current quarrel is on who will be Prime Minister of the country, Modi or somebody else.
LPY: That will never happen
PC: Is Laloo Prasad Yadav in the race to become Prime Minister
LPY: No I am not. Even if there is no tie up before elections, after elections, secular powers will come together and all secular parties will consult together and have a Prime Minister, bring back Common Minimum Programme. Will defeat BJP.
PC: You said you will bring back common minimum program, but who will be the leader
LPY: All together will decide on the leader.
PC: Will it be from Congress, or it can be somebody other than Congress
LPY: Congress party, us, we will win, then we will all sit together and decide.
PC: It is binding that it should be from Congress
LPY: Is it binding that it should be from somewhere else?
PC: You mean everybody will decide, like NDA says Nitish Kumar and everybody else will decide
LPY: No, their matter is different. Nitish Kumar is a parrot of RSS and BJP. Let them create any wave, secular parties will win in decide in Delhi and Hastinapura.
PC: CPM, CPI and Left are not with you, Mulayam is not with you now, Mamta is not with you,
LPY: Then is she with BJP? Is she with RSS? Is Mayawati with RSS? Is Mulayam Singh with RSS?. We will all sit together (on the issue of Prime Minister)
PC: Which means it could be from any party
LPY: It can be, we will all sit together
PC: You could be the one
LPY: I would not be the one. I will be with people to get them together.
PC: You will be kingmaker
LPY: Certainly, I will be kingmaker
PC: But will not be the king
LPY: I will not become King
PC: All secular parties will get together to keep BJP, RSS out,  and there can be a leader from any of these parties, it can be from Congress or any other party.
LPY: We will sit and decide
PC: It is an open issue
LPY: Certainly. If any party comes up with their candidates, how can I have a say in that. But my view is that be it Congress party, left or us, everybody will win, come together, and will form the government.
PC: Will the Prime Minister be from the single largest party or it could be anyone who is acceptable to everyone.
LPY: It depends on the single largest party. Even the one who have won less seats have responsibility to see to it that they support the biggest party.
PC: You will support the Congress party
LPY: Why not?
PC: You are saying everybody will get together, make common minimum program, secular agenda and choose a leader
LPY: We have to keep them out, even if we contest separately, we will come together.
PC: Is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doing good work
LPY: yes.
PC: Or will Rahul be a good Prime Minitser
LPY: Please don’t compare the two and create rifts.
PC: Who can create rifts when Lalooji is there
LPY:  Now, Rahulji is not on the post of Prime Minister or an ministerial post. He is working hard, he is young. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a good human being, we are continuously helping him. These are issues of the Congress party.
PC: I am asking your personal opinion that is Rahul Gandhi eligible to become Prime Minister
LPY: What is the problem if Congress party wants to make him one?  You want to create fights. When Congress party gets a change, then it is duty of the Congress party to decide
PC: Without Gandhi parivaar, Sonia or Rahul, because you speak lot of positive things about Soniaji, praise the work done by her, do you think there is a Congress without them like there is no RJD without Laloo.
LPY: It is true that they are the Centre Point.
PC: Without them Congress is zero
LPY: Please listen, they are not zero, everybody has a contribution, but there should be one Centre. Like Laloo Yadav is centre in his party. In Congress party, Sonia Gandhi and this family has a contribution. This does not mean that I am playing a middleman’s role. In the country’s politics, Sonia Gandhi has seen so much; she is great and strong lady, so many things were said.
PC: Sonia Gandhi is the soul of the Congress
LPY: Certainly.
PC: One cannot dream about the Congress without her
LPY: No, it is not so, everybody is together. Sonia Gandhi takes everybody together.
PC: You have decided even if Congress does not like you, you would be with the Congress.
LPY: I am against communal forces
PC: What will be your message in Bihar
LPY: Decide whether you want to save or break the country, make NDA lose on each seat
PC: Which means you will give national slogan, will not take up local issues
LPY: Local issues like I developed railways, now I will go all round development. He (Nitish) has not opened even a needle factory. All is development slogan is humbug. Development slogans by him are mischievous.
PC :You are saying Nitish Kumar, Modi have done no development
LPY: What have they done, they have done nothing. All the Government of India programs,  Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, highway, Prime Minister road scheme, ration at Rs. 2, Rs. 3, these are all our schemes
PC: You are president of Bihar Cricket Association. You said BCCI is Ali baba’s team, what does it mean?
LPY: This is all a money game. When IPL was formed, you know when IPL allocation happened, every person in parliament said that this should be stopped, there should be action against gambling, now they are all together.
PC: But you didn’t make any statement
LPY: I have said, the government should come ahead and take over.
PC: BCCI should be taken over
LPY: Certainly, take over and evict everyone
PC: Then the spot fixing and betting
LPY: The level has degraded
PC: But it has politicians from every party
LPY: Everybody was saying that politicians are thieves, they have made money, now what has happened?
PC: But politicians are present in this too, from BJP, Congress, you, Sharad Pawar’s people.
LPY: I am there, where Is any leader with me.
PC: You didn’t say anything
LPY: I have said that everything should be closed and government should take over.
PC: Then why don’t you resign
LPY: There is no recognition
PC: No vote
LPY: There is vote, but no match happens at our place.
PC: Do you feel politicians should be part of cricket and sports
LPY: Should not be, the government should take over, appoint better people, move this game forward.
PC: Sharad Pawar gave a statement that IPL should be inquired into Home Ministry, CBI, do you agree
LPY:  I am in agreement.
PC: There should be punishment for guilty
LPY: Certainly.
PC: Because credibility of politicians, actors is declining
LPY: From Tharoor’s time enquiry should be held.  One knows what is happening, I am in Delhi since 1977. Even now I appeal to the government, that this should be taken over and remove everybody.
PC: Then write a letter to Prime Minister regarding the same
LPY: Now that I am saying, will the news not reach the PM
PC: You will not write letter
LPY: Will write letter too, get me a draft, will also speak in parliament.
PC: You feel that the way to clean sports is by letting government take it over
LPY: Take over and clean and book cases against guilty
PC: Now the order has come which states that political parties should come under RTI
LPY: This is all useless, no work is happening in the country, RTI is a useless thing, all officers and offices are busy in this work, all offices are busy in seeing who said what, it is useless.
PC:Hence political parties should not be under RTI?
LPY: Why should it be, no (party) should be
PC: Then shut RTI
LPY: Vice President said that he has appointed an officer, and questions are being asked about the medical bills of all vice presidents before him. What is this?
PC: Hence RTI is useless organisation you say 
LPY: It should be removed
PC: Should it be abolished
LPY: It should be abolished.
PC: When you come to power, you will keep this on agenda and abolish it
LPY: When we come to power, we will abolish all this.
PC: Let see what will you do when you coming to power, will you becoming rail or finance minister, or become Deputy Prime Minister, wont you become deputy Prime Minister
LPY: Will made everybody one
PC: You will not become yourself
LPY: Will make one

South Block Watch / The Sunday Standard/June 09, 2013

Bulldozing Diplomacy
With Indian diplomacy failing to deliver on crucial fronts, the cry for an overhaul is getting louder. The mechanism devised by the British to administer colonies is obsolete today. Designations and functional nomenclatures have changed, but old age has made India’s 650-member diplomatic structure fragile. The Indian Administrative Service Group, which controls the bureaucracy, has added perks and posts, but stopped other services, including IFS, from evolving their own structure. Before Independence, South Block functioned through a Secretary General, a Commonwealth Secretary and a Foreign Secretary. Jawaharlal Nehru retained the British system. Lal Bahadur Shastri decided to Indianise it. He abolished the Secretary General’s post, deciding that one Foreign Secretary and two secretaries could handle geographical divisions. Later, Indira Gandhi added another post—Secretary, Economic Relations. With the demise of non-alignment and marginalisation of Commonwealth diplomacy, India was hardly in a position to influence international confabulations. However, with its growing markets and envious growth rate, the West started perceiving India as a nation to engage with. But our mandarins were neither trained nor equipped to deal with diplomacy’s changing narrative. After 2000, all secretaries were reduced to being stenographers for the PMO and the office of the National Security Adviser.
For four decades, the three-plus-one model is being followed. No secretary has been allowed to take independent decisions, with the Foreign Secretary remaining the first among equals—East, West and Economic Relations. The enormity of each one’s responsibility is affecting performance. The Foreign Secretary deals with the US, Russia, China, France, UK, Japan, India’s neighbours and sensitive countries like Iran and Afghanistan. The Secretary (West) is the next most powerful, as he is lord of diplomatic relations with over 100 countries, including entire Northern Europe, Latin America, Canada and parts of Africa. The Secretary (East) has to look after interests in 80-odd countries in Asia. But the Secretary (Economic Relations) is not in charge of any country but is expected to protect India’s economic interests in the BRICS nations, international food security, energy security and WTO. It is only in India that one expects greying babus to fly almost every second night for diplomacy to survive. Since secretary-level officers remain at headquarters around three years, none are able to visit most countries even once.
Successive foreign secretaries have made serious attempts to induct more senior officers in South Block, only to be stalled by the IAS lobby. It has only agreed to increase the IFS cadre strength from 650 to 1,200 by 2015. It is ironic that the finance ministry has more than half a dozen secretary-level officers. Many other ministries have more than three secretaries but the external affairs ministry has been starved of financial and administrative autonomy. No wonder, India is unable to think and plan in advance when it comes to dealing with complex international conflicts. Former diplomats are mounting pressure on the PM to create an institutional mechanism to handle external affairs and minimise the role of individuals. From Nehru to Manmohan, Indian diplomacy’s journey has been downhill with powerful individuals bulldozing the system for personal interests.
Problem of Plenty
Since the PMO is hardly concerned with making systemic changes in the diplomatic machinery to make it more effective, individuals are lobbying hard to capture sensitive postings in South Block. The shortage of ambassadorial posts has led to numerous senior officers in junior positions abroad returning to HQ to fill secretary and additional secretary-level vacancies and then wait for plum posts abroad. Three officers have already expressed a desire to return to fill two of three posts that will fall vacant on October 1 with the retirement of Sudhir Vyas (1977 batch) and Pinak Chakravarty (1977). They are Virendra Gupta (1977), High Commissioner to South Africa, Dinkar Srivastava (1978), Ambassador to Iran, and Anil Wadhwa, Ambassador to Thailand—the topper of the 1979 batch. If the PM chooses a 1977-batch officer as the next FS, all three aspirants will become eligible for promotions to secretary-level posts. The present dispensation is, however, inclined to clear only Wadhwa and leave it to the next FS to decide on the other two. Sujata Mehta, envoy to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, is also slated to return to Delhi. She is likely to replace Ashok Mukherjee as Additional Secretary (Pol). She will be replaced by Venkatesh Verma, Joint Secretary (DISA). She and Navtej Sarna (1980)—AS (IO)—will be due for promotion in the next few months. If that happens, MEA could end up with more senior officers than it needs.
Women Power
The PM has reasons to be satisfied with his Tokyo and Bangkok visits. South Block mandarins are giving full credit to the highly effective Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, India’s first woman envoy to Japan, and her husband Anil Wadhwa, posted in Bangkok. PMO claims that apart from the warmth and ceremonial welcome, both visits registered substantive pluses. If defence and civilian nuclear cooperation start with Japan and the collaborative ventures underway with Thailand take off, this visit will be remembered among the more successful of Manmohan’s recent overseas trips. An interesting sidelight of the Japan visit was when Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai was asked by his Japanese counterpart whether India had lady ambassadors in other countries as well. Mathai proceeded to reel off names, both past and serving. He also inquired politely how many Japanese lady ambassadors there were, catching the hosts off guard. After several minutes, they responded that they have one serving lady ambassador, in an insignificant country. Both Wadhwas will be in line for the Foreign Secretary’s job in 2015 when   successor retires.; Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

Monday, June 3, 2013

Frequent denials no way ..... Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard/June 02, 2013

Frequent denials no way to counter perception of rift between PM and Sonia

Normally, offence is not considered the best defence. When it comes to Indian politics, the defence is now proving to be a cardinal offence. Frequent denial has often proved to be the most ineffective weapon to erase a strong perception. For the past few months, both the Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been strongly denying the perceived rift between the two on many political and administrative issues. But the perception refuses to die. It keeps popping up whenever Manmohan or Congress President Sonia Gandhi speaks on any public platform or interact with a captive media. The Prime Minister had to undergo the agony of denial again while returning from his trip to Japan and Thailand. Here’s what he had to offer when asked about the discord: “In all truthfulness, there are no differences between me and the Congress president. We are together on almost every issue and wherever consultations are needed, I consult the president.” Neither the correspondent nor the PM clarified the issues on which the duo agreed to disagree in the past year. Since Manmohan rarely opens his mouth or expresses his opinion, it is left to either his official or private spin doctors to explain. They have been giving him full credit for all the correct decisions and passing the buck to Congress regarding any incorrect decision taken by the government.
But the debate over the rift between the head of the government and the chief of the UPA’s leading party has raised a question mark on the relationship between Congress and the government. If there are no differences as the Prime Minister claimed, it leads one to draw the conclusion that either he simply follows the high command’s diktat, or that Sonia is unconcerned about implications of decisions and actions taken by the government.
In a healthy democracy, it is diversity of views that give institutions credibility. Even those who support the Congress are aghast at the denial mode in which the party and the government are in. They feel the PM would have gained politically by admitting that there have been healthy differences between him and the party on various issues that were resolved after discussions. After all, it is the party and the PM who won the elections. The reality is that the Congress without a Gandhi is a humungous ship without a captain. The party, under Sonia, improved its tally from 112 seats in 1999 to 206 in 2009. She was able to deliver victory on the basis of political alignments and promises made on the manifesto. During the past nine years, however, the government has ignored many promises in the manifesto concerning the social sector.
According to insiders, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. The Opposition has charged that there are two power centres in the country and the PM is remote-controlled from 10 Janpath, the official residence of the Congress president. Both the Congress and PM lack the courage to admit that there have been times when they haven’t shared the same view on many issues. Even recently, the PM took the diametrically opposite view to the party’s on the dastardly massacre of top Congress leaders by Red terrorists in Chhattisgarh. Both Manmohan and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde assured the state’s BJP government of their full support and termed the assault a terrorist attack. But the Congress president and vice-president Rahul Gandhi were extremely aggressive in their tone during their meeting with Chief Minister Raman Singh and almost asked for his resignation. It was the state’s chief secretary Sunil Kumar who saved the situation by accepting responsibility. On dealing with Naxalism, both the Congress and government have been speaking in two voices. When he was home minister, P Chidambaram had ignored the advice of his party colleagues to treat Leftist extremism as a mere economic issue. He always treated it as an attack on democracy, and the party has now veered around to his view.
It is not just on Maoist terror that there appears to be a divide between the party and the government. It is a well-known fact that the government’s major concern has been to promote everything that brings in foreign investment and creates a favourable climate for Indian corporates to flourish. It is the same policy, which Manmohan followed as finance minister under P V Narasimha Rao; the party lost the election in 1996. Sonia has learnt lessons from that debacle and would like the government to follow a policy which ensures equitable distribution of growth while also inviting massive foreign investment. A quiet anger is simmering in party circles about the way various popular schemes like the Food Security Bill, Women’s Reservation legislation and the proposed minorities quota have been sabotaged from within the government. Even on foreign affairs, the Congress is not happy with the way the PMO has been dealing with Pakistan and China. On resignations of Union ministers Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, individuals within the government—and not the party—were telling the media about the disagreement between the PM and Sonia. As the countdown for the General Elections begins, more scuttlebutt would be coming out about the growing chasm between the political establishment and the government leadership. The Congress is determined to prove the point that its objective is not to save the government any cost; its mission is to save the party. In the past, the question of a rift never arose because, since 1978 it was either a Gandhi or the same person who headed both government and party. In 2013, the Congress is more dependent on the Gandhis than ever. Instead of denying the divide, it would enhance the credibility and status of the PM if he admits to genuine conflicts and concedes that it is the will of the Gandhis which will always prevail.; Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

Teekhi Baat with Raman Singh / June 01, 2013/ IBN7

INTERVIEW  Chattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh for Teekhi Baat on IBN7.

PC: Such a big incident (naxal attack) happened in the country, Congress blames BJP , BJP leaders blame Congress. Somebody must be involved, Congress or BJP.

 RS: It is an act done by naxals to end democracy in this country. The issues which have come forward in the country’s biggest naxal incident, those responsible are the naxals which engage in violence, the way they killed people, stabled a senior leader like Mahendra Karma 70 times, this is in incident done by them. There are questions raised by Congress and BJP, but for the democracy’s biggest fight, that Congress, BJP and the whole nation, all parties should stand. We have to move ahead together, not Chattisgarh, but the whole the country should stand united to fight against these issues.

PC: You said that there has been a mistake from the government’s side.  

RS: Such a big incident happened, somewhere on some issues, there may have been a mistake. If there is talk of judicial enquiry, I want to know who is responsible at what level.

PC: Congress made allegations, BJP leader Ananth Kumar said that Ajit Jogi role is in doubt. One is making allegations against the other, won’t this affect enquiry?

RS: The enquiry encompasses all aspects, how the incident happened, the lapses, what the police and administration should have done.

PC: Many enquiries are held, on various comm
unal riots.

RS: But facts will come out of an enquiry

PC: Enquiry happened when 70 CRPF staff was killed, who was punished.

RS: What were the problems in security, their movement, their station places, these things are identified, and after that incident there was no incident involving CRPF. 

PC:  seven eight people were killed some months ago.

RS: There were training lapses. They had training in jungle warfare, which we reviewed. Now they are being giving more information, because these people come from the ground and are pushed into the jungle.

PC: Congressmen say a whole convoy goes with the Chief Minister, a whole lot of people go with him, but when their leader goes there are no people.

RS: In that area even I take safety measures, there are gatherings, but instead of taking 50 vehicles on road, I got by helicopter, because I don’t want to too many people’s lives at risk by taking the road route in Bastar. Because If I do a 100 km yatra, and there is a bomb blast, then along with me, there are 100 others people, including police and other staff. We had made efforts to see that in difficult areas, we go by helicopter for programmes and go via road to other places.

PC: You mean there is a fault in Congress’s strategy, like when chief minister is taking helicopter, why did they Congress leaders go in a convoy.

RS: Big Congress leaders also go by helicopter. But some leaders for this program took Sukma ghat route which is difficult terrain.

PC: You mean they should not have gone, or you would not have undertaken such a journey.

RS: The government cannot stop a yatra.

PC: But when they informed the government about the yatra, the administration did not deploy police.

RS: All VIP protection was given.

PC: You accepted mistake, there are chief minister which don’t accept, hence moral responsibility is yours, when Congressmen say you have to be dismissed or you should resign, why don’t you agree?

RS: The enquiry will tell who can be held guilty; the enquiry is done by a High Court Judge

PC: But it is your moral responsibility

RS: It is the government’s responsibility, but the government also has the responsibility to find out mistake and take corrective action.

PC: Congress is demanding your resignation

RS: It is an odd thing to demand by Congress, sometimes they say the state should be under President’s rule. If governments keep on changing due to naxal violence, then for how many days governments would run in India? And you talk of strengthening democracy, you cannot dissololve panchayat, if you dissolve an elected government after such incidents, you will end up strengthening terrorists and naxal movement.  

PC: You feel it is political, you cannot even think about resigning

RS: There is no question because thousand and lakhs have struggled for nine and a half years to strengthen democracy; and if on such issues talks of resignation and President’s rule will happen, and then I don’t think how we will make ourselves strong, be it any political party.

PC: I have been in journalism for 40 years, 1000 of enquiries are held, there is no action.

RS: If you want to bring all facts forward, should I ask SP or DIG to investigate? I and the country have only this option, to have people other than politicians, who are away form BJP, Congress and incumbents, hence we requested the Hon. Court to have a sitting judge to enquire.

PC: It is also a political question, because naxals are a threat to democracy, you consider them terrorists, some Congressmen did not consider them terrorists before, now Jairam Ramesh says it is terrorism, home minister also said.

RS: Home Minister said that after the Chattisgarh incident, his thought process has also changed, it is 100 per cent terrorist activity, the country and state have contest it strongly. He said that he used to think these are ‘different’ kind of andolan, but after the Chattisgarh and some other incidents, his illusion regarding such movements is a thing of the past. These are powers which want to weaken the state.

PC: Don’t you feel that there is a political conspiracy behind this, home minister hinted, Ananth Kumar said something to that effect, do you agree?

RS: When political conspiracy is talked about, then it also is an issue. I will not blame anybody today by naming, but it is an issue which needs to be investigated.

PC: Do you think it could be somebody from the Congress; somebody could be hand in glove

RS: What could be from where, all these things we don’t know.

PC: Because it came out in reports that at Congress MLA were let off during the attack

RS: Home Minister said that if some issue like this crops you, it will be within in ambit of investigation.

PC: It was said that you were informed regarding the route change

RS: On 22nd, there was no Darbha visit, on 25th Darbha was added, till then it was only Sukma, am not saying all these issues, it is the media which is saying them, then if these changes have happened, these are references,

PC: You party leader Ananth Kumar made a statement, do you agree with him

RS: All these things would be kept before the enquiry committee, hence there is no need for me to agree or not agree on something today.

PC: Will you raise the issue why the route was changes, why some people did not join the rally

RS: Party will put forth

PC:Did the government keep it before the committee in the terms of reference

RS: The government has openly kept all facts before the committee

PC: Which means Congressmen will also be investigated

RS: Congress, BJP, others and all administration were be in the ambit of investigation
PC: Even BJP karyakartas are involved

RS: If anybody keeps any facts before me, regarding any issue, then I will keep it in the ambit of investigation

PC: You don’t agree with Ananth Kumar

RS: Ananth Kumar has put forth his point

PC: You are the chief minister, you would have information inputs from CID, intelligence,

RS: Am content with the investigation going on

PC: What he (Ananth Kumar) said would be brought by you in the ambit of enquiry

RS: All information will be collected.

PC: But you are not ready to agree that it could be a political conspiracy

RS: It could be politics

PC: Because Karma was fighting against the naxals, like you.

RS: All facts would come out

PC: You cannot rule out political conspiracy

RS: If any such thing comes forth

PC: But you haven’t ruled out that

RS: We are not denying anything today

PC: You took our vikaas (development) yatra from nine years, parameters too say there is development, but if development was happening, why ‘vinaash’ (destruction) would happen?
RS: This is the issue I wanted to say, that naxals are scared of development, they fear that political people who go to Bastar and organize rally of 20,30,40 thousand people, all political parties are engaging in political activity there, naxals don’t like that all political parties are working there actively. And this reaction is anti development, understand that these naxals oppose any democratic activity of India, from panchayat to vidhan sabha to lok sabha, they are against rallies and sabhas.

PC: They don’t want to take part in electoral process

RS: They say power is acquired by the bullet of gun.

PC: You say they are terrorists

RS: It is their ideology, thinking, which is wrong, against democracy, against India’s constitution. This incident is a reaction telling that if you undertake such activity in our territory, then this is how we will take revenge. Be it BJP, government programmes, Congress, CPI, CPM, they want to tell them by their actions that they are against democratic movement.

PC: Congress levels charge that since you have assumed power only Congress men and police have died, since you have some connections with naxals. They don’t attack BJP people.

RS:  I want to tell the public that there is lack of information on this issue, the maximum number of attacks have happened on BJP workers. 80 to 90 of our senior party workers including sarpanch, leaders have been killed, recently my district vice president was working in Dantewada, he was shot at, bullets were fired outside our MP’s Baliram house when he was there with his son, my parliamentary secretary life was saved by a time of one second in a blast. Maximum martyrs are from our party, and in nine and a half years, we are combating it will full strength. Be it our MP Balirm they have struggled against naxalism. Mahendra Karma’s had an important role, and I will not say BJP or Congress, but people’s representatives have been attacked, but the most number of people attacked are from BJP, we are their target number one, they had caused as much damage as they could, I don’t want to count. But the incident of attack on Karma was big,

PC: The leadership was wiped out the state president, Karma saab was killed

RS : …Karmaji was killed and this is a causing problem to the state, national and me because Karmaji has been at a the forefront of fighting against this movement along with me. The incident has caused loss to the state of Chattisgarh, our democratic process, this is a big incident.

PC: Hence the Prime Minister, Soniaji, Rahul Gandhi came.

RS: All came

PC: But Rahul Gandhi attacked you politically that you have been unsuccessful

RS: I told them that you party people have become martyrs, we respect them, but don’t forget that in the past nine and a half years, the most amount grief and problems, we have suffered. And we are in sorrow due to this incident, this is not only your sorrow, in such issues, we don’t see who is BJP or who is Congress party worker. CRPF, police jawans, common people of Bastar, are involved in this fight. Bastar, state and the country are agaisnt naxsals, but some people due stand by them due to terror and fear,

PC : Villagers have not see any development and are with naxals because they have no clothes to wear, water to drink or food to eat. But people say since mining activity has started under your regime, corporate has been given a lot of importance, they pay naxalites and hence there is no attack on them.
RS: You and country have a wrong notion, the mining in Bastar, is not done by any private entity by by the national mineral development corporation, which has been mining for the past 12,20,25 years, iron ore is mined, 95 per cent of mining is done by the government of PSU, some 50-100 acres mines may be with some small private companies,  there has been no incident there, employment has increased and Bhilai steel plant is getting iron ore. A three million tonne plant is being set up in that area in joint venture with the government of India.

PC: You will face elections in some time, now you will be impacted due to the attack as people will feel that the government is weak as it cannot save its own people. The question is if YSR Reddy could finish naxalism, then why not Dr. Raman Singh.

RS: We will do it

PC: You didn’t do it in nine and a half year, how will you do it now

RS: Go into a background, naxalism is happening here since the past 40 years,

PC: Even in Andhra it was there, Orissa and Bihar too

RS: In Andhra, they rain a campaign for fifteen years, greyhound was established. There is a difference between the boundaries of Chattisgarh and Andhra, Bastar is spread across 40,000 square kilometre, bigger than Kerala, and there are seven districts on the interstate border, a stretch of 100-150 kilometers which has no police stations, basic infrastructure was so poor in Chattisgarh after becoming a state, we went in to direction of developing the same. From 2010 to 2013, casualties, blasts have decreased, there has been a 30 to 40 per cenr decrease, that is why Naxalites are not happy, because development is happening in Bastar, PDS system has reached the last village, electricity has reached the last village, employment guarantee schemes are being run, skill upgradation college has been started, it has becoming education hub, 150 students have gone in all India competitive exams, they are being selected in AIEE and IIT, Bastar is standing up which is causing problems to naxals, which they want to attack. On the one hand, people are standing up for development, they feel they are losing due to this,

PC: Are you getting full support from the central government

RS: Today I told the home minister the same thing, don’t count whether 10 or 20 battalions are needed, make integrated action plan

PC: In the past nine years, did you get money, infrastructure required by integrated plan

RS: We get help, but every time I tell Prime Minister, home minister, when Chidambaram was there, a long term strategy was decided by central and state government to combat naxalism, after which the speed of actions increased, hence I say a plan once decided should be acted upon.

PC: Chidambaram used to take more interest

RS: He had very clear think on the issue of Naxalism

PC: Which means you had better understanding with him

RS: Understanding with him also will get better

PC: Till now it is not, its been one year

RS: Today he took a tough stand and spoke, and gave a message to the country

PC: You feel Chidambaram was active of the two

RS: Chidambaram did a lot of study on the naxal issue.

PC: You don’t find incumbent as committed

RS: He is committed, he will push for things

PC: Did the NIA enquiry happen after asking you

RS: There is no consent of state government needed for NIA enquiry.
PC: Tomorrow they will say your people were responsible
RS: Government of India home department does this, it can do it, they do not need any written permission for conducting an enquiry.
PC: You were not asked
RS: We had spoken I said it is the right of the central government
PC: Did they speak to your before appointed
RS: I was told they will order enquiry, I told them that it their authority
PC: If their report blames your government
RS: As soon as they told me I said that keeping in mind the seriousness of the issue, we have appointed a High Court judge, spoken to the Hon Chief Justice and he recommended a name, we said that if you want better enquiry, we had included terms of reference, and if you want add to it, more terms of reference can be included,
PC: But if two reports with different results come out, which one will you believe
RS: NIA can investigate
PC: But they can file FIR and arrest too
RS: Yes
PC: If they nab any of your party worker or officer, what will you do then?
RS: How will they catch anybody who have committed no crime
PC: They will conduct enquiry, like they have earlier nabbed many other people
RS: They told me that they will need the state government’s help in investigation, we said we will
PC: Which report would you believe
Rs: The judicial enquiry has full range. It is for the country and Chattisgarh
PC: Hence you will give greater importance to judicial enquiry
RS: Certainly
PC: And if there is a conflict in both enquiries
RS: There will be no conflict
PC: Will this affect elections, what will be your slogan
RS: A big incident has happened, but the people of Chattisgarh know how fast we have fought against naxalism in the past nine and a half years. And the people of Chattisgarh believe that without fear and bowing down only BJP government can fight against naxalism
PC: Hence your slogan is that you should be brought to power to fight against naxalism
RS: We will say how far we have reached in the past nine and a half years, and in the coming five years, will be of peace and development. On the issue of peace and development people of Chattisgarh will certainly support us
PC: You have called Prime Ministerial candidate earlier, will your call Modi saab again for campaigning
RS: I will welcome everybody, Shivrajji will come ,Narendraji will come, Arunji, Sushmaji, Rajnathji, they are my seniors
PC: Modi is senior to you, or you are senior to Modi
RS: He has won three times consecutively, it is a hatrick. His tenure is more than mine
PC: As a chief minister his tenure is more, but as a party worker
RS: He was my general secretary (organisation), when I was working in the state, he has been my state prabhari (in charge), and he is senior,  
PC: You consider Modiji senior
RS: I will invite everybody, even Modiji
PC: He has seniority; hence he can become Prime Minister
RS: That is not my area, not my thinking, till now am not even in the body that decides the Prime Minister,
PC: Do you think the PM candidate should be decided before elections, will you derive benefit out of that
RS: It is not a BJP issue alone ,is the question of NDA,
PC: Will you benefit in elections if Modiji is made PM candidate
RS: Vidhan Sabha issue is Vidhan Sabha issue.  
PC: No difference is made due to PM candidate
RS: yes.