Tag Archives: Narendra Modi

ARVIND KEJRIWAL V/S NAJEEB JUNG: GOD MUST LOVE STUPID PEOPLE. HE MADE SO MANY !

Some Delhi school, actually two, will need to come forward and make an exception for mid-session admission of two kids in the Nursery section – that of Master Arrvind Kejriwal and Master N’ajeeb’ Jung ! When the two are not tweedling and sucking at their thumbs they are also the Chief Minister (CM) and Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi NCT respectively .The two “toddlers have recently run amok and wreaked havoc with the Delhi Administration. And how!

When the Delhi Chief Secretary (CS), Mr KK Sharma, proceeded on a 10 day leave, little would he have realized that it would be the most talked about leave in the country (of course after RaGa’s disappearance).The LG appointed a stand in CS ,1984 batch IAS officer Shakuntla Gamlin (wife of former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress regional satrap Jarbom Gamlin).

“Baby” Kejri soon opposed the appointment of Mrs Gamlin on the grounds that he had not been consulted and accused the LG of usurping the powers of the elected government , of not adhering to the ‘the Constitution, GNCT of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business Rules’ . Now “baby” Jung (jaisa naam waisa kaam, so true!), took out his thumb, and claimed that he had acted under the provisions of Article 239 AA of the Constitution, and is the representative of State Authority in Delhi and that he is the authority on appointments and postings and his decisions will be binding on the government.

And hereon it was a veritable free for all.

Kejriwal shredded Mrs Gamlin’s public reputation by insinuating that she was close to power companies and had recently sought to influence government decisions in favour of the latter.Adding, in crass taste, that she (Gamlin) “might be in office for the coming few days, but rest assured the government will keep an eye on her every move and not allow her to misuse the power of her office.” After humiliating the officer in the Auto Samvad, Kejriwal then asked Mrs Gamlin not to take charge as her appointment was against the set rule. She however assumed charge.

The very next day, in an openly vindictive , brusuque and arrogant manner, Kejriwal removed his Principal Secretary (Services),Anindo Majumdar, from the position ! And this was meted out as “punishment” to the officer for simply having simply followed established procedures to issue the appointment letter to Mrs Gamlin, based on the instructions received from the LG. The other “baby” in the mix, Najeeb Jung, then attempted to bail out Mr Majumdar by declaring his removal as void on the grounds that the AAP government had failed to seek the LG’s sanction for effecting this change.

By now the entire saga had taken a sordid , comical and farcical turn.

And since kids love comics and make believe, both Kejriwal and Jung did not relent even at this stage. Shunning all possibilities of a consensus Kejriwal donned his “muffler man” suit and proceeded to defy authorities (isn’t he the authority now??). Reminiscent of his disconnecting – cables-from electric meter- days, Kejriwal ordered that Mr Majumdar’s office be locked and he be barred from entering it ! (Yes he did that !) Mr Majumdar , a senior bureaucrat, was humiliated in front of his own staff for simply following orders and procedures!

And the “AAP ka CM” was now back in his comfort zone, openly charting a confrontational course. By now I almost expected him to sit on Dharna. He did just that , but by other means available to him.

Following the “lock out” the AAP government defiantly appointed, the CM’s Secretary, Mr Rajendra Kumar, to look after the two departments which were previously under the charge of Mr Majumdar – Principal Secretary (Services) & the General Administration. This appointment too was promptly declared void by the rapier wielding Jung, who was also out to match fire with fire.

Mature handling, I must say.

And thanks to their respective attitude of seeking an eye for an eye, both Jung and Kejriwal were by now blinded by rage, arrogance and fury (all misplaced of course) and continued to blunder on. Kejriwal passed instructions that no bureaucrat shall initiate any action on the verbal or written directions of the LG without approval of the CM or the Ministers. Kejriwal was now openly challenging the Constitution while complaining that Jung wasn’t upholding it. This was simply preposterous.

And then in yet another escalatory action he appointed Mr Arvind Ray as the Principal Secretary (General Administration), and to really get everyone to ease out he added a dash of comedy by getting Mr Rajendra Kumar to issue the order in his capacity as Principal Secretary (Services), whose appointment, incidentally, had already been declared void!!!

Yes, fellas what you just read actually happened. And no points for guessing what happened next. This appointment too was declared void by the LG!

Having soundly pinched, bitten, kicked and blinded each other both kids now walked up to the Principal (the President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee) to seek resolution to the impasse and paralysis that had taken over the Delhi administration. It was comical sight indeed and I hope the “Principal” gave them a sound thrashing, for being the truant kids that they were at the moment!

Some drama was still left in the story.Now both the kids carried out some letter writing practice as well. Jung wrote to Kejriwal and declared void all appointments made by the latter in the intervening period since the appointment of Mrs Gamlin.Mr. Jung said he alone was competent to approve transfers and postings of senior bureaucrats in consultation with the CM. He also added he had the constitutional authority to decide on policy matters of importance over and above that of the CM.

In his reply, Kejriwal questioned Jung’s moves and sought to know under what provisions the Lieutenant-Governor had exercised his authority? He also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and urged him to allow the “Delhi government function independently,” and to not hijack it through the office of the LG..

The NDA government at the centre queered the pitch by issuing a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification ( LG functions directly under the Home Minister) making it clear that it was not mandatory for the LG to consult the CM on matters like services, public order, police and land and the Delhi Assembly had no executive powers on the subjects.It would have been prudent to take a dispassionate and concilliatory position at this stage, to get both the CM and the LG to sit and talk things over.

Predictably, the notification led to the AAP government accusing the BJP led NDA of nervousness and seeking to protect the interests of corrupt bureaucrats as also of being the brain behind the confrontation. And with this the imbroglio turned into an impasse.

This amul ad / topical on Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung depicts the impasse in the Delhi administration which has resulted due to the ongoing feud between the two protagoists. The topical has two caricatures depicting the principal actors of the feud who are engaged in a duel, with Jung carrying a sword and Kejriwal carrying his party’s symbol – “jhadu” (broom)- in the backdrop of the Red Fort which gives a lively red hue to the ad.

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The Tag Line …Najeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh… is a play on the name of the LG, Najeeb Jung as well as a spin off an old Bollywood song – “ajeeb dastaan hai yeh” – which referred to life being a strange tale.And in this case it’s a take on the distressing tale of the clash of egos of Kejriwal and Jung.

The Punch Line …Feud Chhodo, Food Khao… is a subtle call to the feuding duo to bury the hatchet and move on !

Kejriwal’s reaction to the appointment of Mrs Gamlin triggered the entire fracas and farce of appointing and “discarding” bureaucrats. It was just a matter of ten days and Kejriwal could have avoided this ugly spat by seeking constitutional recourse and not by indulging in impulsive actions aimed at playing confrontational politics resulting in pronounced brinkmanship, which seems to have become the operational philosophy of Kejriwal and by extension of the AAP as well.

Importantly, Kejriwal has sensed opportunity and now, through this bizarre fracas, has brought to center stage the demand for full statehood for Delhi. His assertions are absolutely valid that the CM needs to have a say in the appointments and transfers of officials as after all it is the government which is responsible for governance. Otherwise he isn’t really independent and it won’t be democracy either. He also sought a clarification on the powers of the LG so that the limits of intervention or affirmation are well laid down especially when it comes to the jurisdiction over critical departments, failing which the elected government will face hurdles galore in implementing its people oriented policies. According to Om Thanvi, a veteran political commentator quoted by Firstpost, “Kejriwal wants to raise the question loud and strong to prepare ground for a new mass movement to press the Centre to give Delhi the status of a full-fledged state” as by now the AAP government has realized that it does not have the requisite freedom of action to deliver on the campaign promises and to provide the model governance the Party claims to believe in. Which will cost it heavily in the long run.

The discordant note is how Kejriwal has denigrated civil servants and made them scape goats at altar of his the self-declared constitutional crusade. He tarnished the reputation of Mrs Gamlin in the most inappropriate public forum and and humiliated her and Mr Majumdar..By this he has deflated the intensity and morale necessary to be possessed by bureaucrats.Humiliation and derision are seldom known to motivate.

It is no surprise that Mr Majumdar has since requested for leave as well as deputation out of Delhi. And also that a body representing the IAS officers has protested against this insanely disdainful disregard of the dignity, prestige and respect of a bureaucrat.AAP may claim that it is acting against the “transfer-posting” industry in Delhi, but in real terms Kejriwal has denigrated the civil servants by using them as pawns against the centre and Jung.

By taking on the LG, the BJP,the NDA and the bureaucracy – which represent the “ruling” class- the AAP and Kejriwal are panning to their core vote base which comprises of the youth and the socially and economically under privileged. To them , this spectacle is a sign of empowerment and they will cheer AAP through every “guillotine” that it organizes to decimate the oppressors. In essence, Kejriwal is et again relying on anarchy to whip up emotions and achieve his ends.

But deep down, hopefully, he too must know that the systematic denigration of every established pillar of governance will erode the people’s faith and render the tools of administration ineffective. And no AAP KI SARKAR or Kejriwal can ever rebuild the edifice from scratch. And indulging in arrogant behaviour as well as constantly alleging that the central government wants to rule by proxy wont help either. AAP and Kejriwal are paying with fire. They need to realize that politics is best when it is based on consensus and not confrontation. Failing which , the AAP is only betraying the trust and faith of the Delhi electorate.

5 Saal Kejriwal?Any takers if the preceding is what it holds within?

As for Najeeb Jung, he hasn’t shared a comfortable relationship with Kejriwal who has gone from describing him as a “very noble person” (source India Today) to an “agent” of the Congress and the BJP. Jung could have demonstrated maturity in the face of impetuosity. Instead he chose to be equally immature. Rather than declaring everything void and rendering or presenting the Delhi government as impotent he could have sought constitutional opinion, and though the process would have been long drawn it would have maintained dignity and prevented a complete beak down from taking place.

And in this vein, the MHA notification was a needless act which only added to the impression that it was actually the Central Government which was the master mind behind the fracas. Both Jung and the Central Government need to be cognizant of the fact that the the AAP has been given a mandate for governance by the Delhi electorate and any tinkering with that will only result in a severe political and social backlash. Hopefully, grandiose plans for imposing President’s rule are not being discussed.

The entire controversy was needless. And its handling lacked maturity. Not even once has any one amongst Jung, Kejriwal or the MHA sat down together to help resolve the impasse. Each one of them is simply pursuing their respective narrow agendas. The Central Government is probably hoping to create enough friction so that the AAP government collapses under the weight of expectations. And Kejriwal is hoping that he will keep getting these “ropes” to help him deflect attention and come out of the hole the AAP finds itself in the face of unfulfilled promises.

It is undeniable that from this fracas what emerges clearly is that Delhi needs full statehood and denying it will only imperil the BJP, it needs the powers to be clearly defined, the electorate need governance which is presently paralyzed and lastly it doesn’t need kids to be CM and LG –but mature people with some vision.

More drama as well as TRP motivated histrionics of all concerned can be expected especally as a special session of the Delhi Assembly has been convened on the 26-27 May 15 to discuss the issue of the Queen’s (NDA government) notification to its Viceroy (Jung)- as referred to them by Arvind Kejriwal.

And after going through all of the above, I realise that God really loves stupid people. Thats why he made so many.

Some with mufflers and coughs and some with a beard and name which implies war !

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A “RENEGADE” & THE “FUNNY PEOPLE ” !

The visit of the President of the United States (POTUS) is an event to remember. But, when Barack Obama decided to visit India for the Republic Day Celebrations it triggered unprecedented excitement as after all he was going to be the first ever US President to visit India twice and the first ever to be the Chief Guest at the R Day Parade.

To begin with, the visit offered 24 hour news (gossip?) channels an opportunity to shift focus from “really grave” issues such as the survival prospects of a live fish stuck in a boy’s wind pipe. Having long mastered the art of saying the same things in many ways – What will Obama do in India? Will Obama do anything? Has Obama done anything ever? – “in depth” expert analysis was provided. Nothing was too banal or sacred and Obama’s stomach ailment was explored ad nauseum and almost the entire nation was now an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of “acid reflux” – which was going to deprive the POTUS of the sumptuous and spicy Indian cuisine. Acid reflux?Its our very own “khatti dakaar” !

An earlier Amul ad covered this incident when Obama’s personal physican diagnosed him with “acid reflux”.The Tag Line ..Obamasala Nahin…is a play on the name Obama and the hindi word for spices –“masala”- and translates into no spices for Obama. While the Punch Line…No Spices Here……endorses the taste and virtues of Amul butter.

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Obama’s US codename “Renegade” was known to all and his seven layered security was reported upon in so much detail that even the US Secret Service learnt about its own capabilities watching these Indian channels. Also, ISIS got to know enough to threaten POTUS with beheading inside the White House itself! But some like the Delhi Police weren’t amused on being the outermost layer in their own lair (the farther the better?)!!!!

American “super dogs” were the toast of all channels. Their reported abilities and traits caused de-recognition of “desi” dogs as dogs itself. One guest on a show was at a loss of words when asked why Indian dogs in the forces did not have an officer status akin to their American counterparts. The reporter though tried to suggest that American dogs were smarter as they were thinking in English (Bihar Police dogs would be be gung ho in Bhojpuri?) !

Obama’s USD 1.5 million armour plated Presidential car –the Beast – mesmerized us Indians who are even deprived of wipers (Tata Nano) and other basic safety measures in cars.To ameliorate the situation “manufacturing” hubs in Punjab announced that one can get even his Maruti 800 converted into “the Beast” for a pittance and choose any colour as well. Fluorescent Green with MSG logo is a rage!

In the midst of all this the Americans rapped the Pakistanis on the knuckles over ensuring zero terror strike during the visit or be prepared to face the consequences. This left the neighbours red faced and obviously warmed the cockles of all and sundry in India.

An Amul ad on the US warning to Pakistan depicted this incident with Uncle Sam walking along with the Amul Girl dressed as a NCC Cadet and humiliatingly threatening a caricature depicting the Pakistani Army to ensure an incident free visit.The The tag line “O, bam abhi nahin” is a play on Obama’s name and the hindi word for a bomb and translates into “no bombs now”

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Just before the visit was too happen Obama cancelled the Taj Mahal due to the sudden demise of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. This was a dampener of sorts but for some it was good news as they could now merrily spit and deface the monument once again.

An Amul ad had highlighted this issue previously in 2014.

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Finally..Finally..Obama and Michelle arrived.

PM Narendra Modi broke protocol and received Obama and the First Lady at the airport.From then on, for the next three days, it was the personal chemistry between the two that drove the agenda.

Visuals of the ingenuous “chai pe charcha” (talks over tea) at Hyderabad House between Obama and Modi were beamed the world over and it was a unique one- on- one, in full public view but in private too. The body language and the personal rapport were indicative of a level of comfort unseen between US Presidents and Indian PMs.

This Amul ad on Obama’s visit shows two caricatures depicting him and Modi respectively in the lawns of the Hyderabad House in the same setting as it was during the “chai pe charcha”. The Amul girl has been shown as serving the butter laden toasts being savoured by the two leaders.

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The Tag Line..Buddy buddy baatein?.. is a play on the word “buddy” showcasing the bonhomie between the two leaders and the hindi word “badi” meaning big, which illustrates the fact that it was during these talks that perhaps the two leaders laid the foundations for the big breakthroughs achieved during the visit.

The Punch Line….. Bread Butter Bromance. Simply endorses the Amul Butter and the “brotherly” bonhomie between the two leaders.

Obama attended all the functions with a sense of purpose and commitment. He broke protocol during the R Day Parade by attending for two hours instead of the security stipulated 45 minutes. He also made it a point to break into Hindi, whenever he could.Obama’s speech at Siri Fort Auditorium was replete with examples of Indian icons such as Mahatama Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand, Milkha Singh,Kailash Sayarthi,Mary Kom and Shah Rukh Khan.Infact Obama’s attempt at a Bollywood dialogue…”Senorita ..bade bade deshon mein… “ struck a chord and further showcased his intent and positivity towards India and the relations between the two countries.The joint hosting of the popular radio chat “Mann Ki Baat” by Modi and Obama further underscored their personal rapport and was a unique way of demonstrating the growing bonding to a larger audience.

Much of the credit for this rapport goes to the highly successful US visit of Modi, He and Obama bonded based on their humble beginnings and have since carried it forward. The two have demonstrated tremendous statesmanship in taking bilateral relations forward. It’s quite a feat for a second term President, who is considered a “lame duck” to risk his political legacy for India ,whose citizen were once referred to as the “funny people” by Eisoenhower. This is  especially remarkabke for a US President who has lost control of both houses of the senate after the recent midterm elections.

An Amul ad on the US mid term elections to the senate covered this development in the US political sphere.

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The delegation level bilateral discussions fed on the rapport between Modi and Obama and major breakthroughs were achieved in the fields of civilian nuclear cooperation, India’s quest for a permanent seat on the UNSC, defence cooperation and bilateral trade. If India will benefit so will the US. India will bolster the US’s case in the international strategic sphere and is also a major economic market for the US to tap.

It has taken 70 years for the world’s leading democracies to draw closer. As one commentator has aptly put “it’s the dance of the stars” that are finally fortuitously placed to allow Indo-US ties to come out of the shadows of the past. A shared China centric view, common threats in the form of global terrorism and India’s rise and potential as an economic power are the three pillars of this transforming relationship.

Pakistan and China added to the fun by behaving like a jealous couple. Pakistan sulked at being passed over by the US for arch enemy India .And China uncharacteristically betrayed its anxiety at the sudden warmth between India and the US.

In the final analysis India should remember that the US always keeps its national interests foremost and so she should never be blindsided by any personal charisma or rapport or strategic promise, but maintain a pragmatic course.It was an immensely successful visit by the POTUS and the results will definitely emerge in time.

Overall the visit was an emphatic success and tremendously choreographed.The first ever Guard of Honour by a woman officer,Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, and the first ever all women’s contingents of three services were a special legacy of the 66th Republic Day celebrations that even the Obamas will remember. 

To round up the zany side.

The media focused so intensely on the numerous hugs between the two leaders that at a point it seemed as if it was dying to identify if they weren’t “straight” !For their part the two couldn’t really keep their hands off each other either!!!

Then someone remarked how Modi upstaged Michelle Obama’s fashion tastes (???)! Mrs Obama versus Mrs Li Xinping is fine but Modi versus Michelle???? Well, this happened because NaMo consistently wore some “cool” and chic kurta’s and bandhgala suits.One which caught the eye the most had his name embroidered in vertical stripes.So much so that the observers felt he had upstaged the first lady of fashion in the world !

Amul caught on the idea and made use of the same in this well timed ad on the personalised monogrammed suits wirh the Amul girl showing off the company branding in the same style as Narendra Damodardas Modi was embroidered on the PM’s suit designed by Bipin Chauhan.

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Though Amul found enough in the visit to take out four topicals, sadly it missed out one on the 66th Republic Day itself especially with its numerous and unique firsts. 

Lastly…The master stroke almost got missed out.PM Modi invited Obama and the American’s took over the security and thus Modi’s first R Day went incident free.Smart boy.For the next one lets call ISIS Chief Baghdadi.What say ?

Parting shot…Any guesses whom does the US Secret Service refer to as  Renaissance, Radiance and Rosebud in the Obama Presidential entourage 😉

POST SCRIPT 

Other than the nuclear deal it’s only the personalised monogrammed suit of Narendra Modi which has managed to retain its sheen from the not so recently ” concluded Obama visit.

The suit was associated it controversy when Modi’s opponents used it to attack his pro poor credentials.In fact the suit was seen as a factor, during the Delhi Assembly elections, in swaying voters towards the Aam Aadmi Party as it made Modi seem elitist and far removed from the underprivileged sections of the society.

However there was a clever twist in the tale when Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to auction the gifts received by him for garnering funds for the Clean Ganga Campaign.The Surat Municipal Corporation was entrusted with the responsibility.

The auction evoked derision,criticism as well as support but most of all keen interest and even keener bidding.bidding . For a total of 460 items the bid amount collected was a whopping Rs 8.33 crores with the replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Pashupati Nath temple drawing bids of Rs 1.11 crores.

But the star attraction was “the suit” which drew 47 bids and was sold for a whopping Rs  4.31 crores. The bidding had stabilised at 1.48 crores on the second day of the auction but on the third day it sky rocketed to the final amount.The successful bid was made by Dharmandan Diamonds’ Hitesh Patel .The prized item is now gracing the reception of the diamond firm.

This Amul advertisement on the auction of Modi’s suit shows the Amul Girl looking at a display of the famous attire with a Narendra Modi mannequin donning it.A photo depicting the moment Modi wore the suit while receiving Obama completes the background to the suit and it’s claim to fame.

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The Tag Line …And the highest coat is… a take on the high bids drawn by “the suit”.

The Punch Line …Utterly Button-ly Delicious… is a play on the famous Amul ad line.

The high bids and the cause for which the auction was held may help in blunting the damage that the suit had caused to Modi’s image but in a sense it was good fun too as never had a dress made it to the headlines in such an emphatic manner.

I for one am eagerly awaiting the China visit !

CONVERSION CHARADES:STUPIDITY IS A GIFT OF GOD TOO..LETS NOT MISUSE IT.

Religion is “the opium of the masses” – these words of Karl Marx perfectly explain why our polity would choose dogma over progress. Religion has been unabashedly exploited in India by the British and this continues unabated even now. It seems God too is fond of jokes, and he played one on us by making us the people that we are – helpless against our own failings!

In December 2014, Dharam Jagran Samiti (DJS), carried out the reconversion of some muslims into Hinduism in the city of Agra. It turned out to be a fiasco as the affected individuals, all rag pickers, declared that they had been duped into forsaking their faith and allurements such as BPL cards, Aadhar cards and entitlement to government housing were used in the attempted subversion of their faith. DJS , however denied the allegations and claimed the activity to be voluntary.

Matters weren’t helped further when plans for a slew of such events, termed “ghar wapsi” (homecoming),came to light and other right wing Hindu organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal announced plans for unprecedented number of reconversion to Hinduism in diverse places such as Aligarh, Rae Bareilly, Kerala, Goa, Bihar and elsewhere.

These reconversions were justified by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on the ground that the ancestors of the Christians and Muslims of India were essentially Hindu and had been converted under coercion and now that the conditions had changed, the present generation was merely making a “homecoming”.

The opposition parties, were till now like a hapless boxer who didn’t even have his shorts on let alone the gloves, suddenly found themselves with an agenda to throw punches at the Modi government.

Meanwhile minority organsations rushed “task forces” to areas where the planned reconversion was likely to take place to help people keep the faith (why were they losing it in the first place?). Emergency symposiums were also conducted by them to keep their “flock together”.

The BJP government was accused of not reining in the Hindu organisatons and the opposition demanded that the PM make a statement in the Parliament to reassure the minorities. The PM did not oblige and instead the BJP asked the opposition parties to support a National Anti-Conversion law to ban all conversions completely. This led to a deadlock and the combined opposition stalled all legislative activities.

Dance of Democracy indeed !

The Amul Ad deals with the Conversion Controversy.The Amul Girl dressed as a chef, with caricatures depicting a Sikh and Tamil Brahmin and serving generous dollops of the “yellow delight” on platters of Parantha (Indian Bread) and Idli, Dosa and Sambhar respectively. The strip attempts to showcase the regional diversity of India.

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The Tag Line…..Easy To Convert To… hints at the complexities of the conversion conundrum by using the Amul butter as a medium. The line extols the pan India acceptance of the product and that it adds taste to any regional cuisine.

The Punch Line…Aapsi Mein Baato..is a play on the term “ghar wapsi” and literally translates into “equally distributing amongst all” implying that the product be consumed as widely as possible.

Religious conversion has been a sensitive issue in India due to the legacy of forced conversion of Hindus to Islam by various Muslim rulers and the proselytizing carried out by the Christian missionaries. Princely states had anti conversion laws specifically directed against conversion to Christianity. British India though did not have any such law and for obvious reasons.

Post-independence the Indian Constitution recognizes, in Article 25(1), that “all persons” are free to “profess, practice, propogate freely” the religion of their choice. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the right to propogate be not confused with the right to convert and has also empowered states to enact Freedom of Religion laws to deal with forced conversion related issues. States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh ,Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh have all enacted such laws right from the 60s upto now which make forced conversions a cognizable offence under the sections 295 and 298 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Also, while law prohibits conversion, `reconversion’ of low caste Hindus is permissible.

The above mentioned laws are seen to be aimed at keeping the low caste Hindus within the folds of Hinduism in the face of socially demeaning practices. Since most of the low caste Hindus are at the lowest rung of the society they are succeptible to coercion as well as allurements. Christian Missionaries have been regularly accused of proselytizing in the garb of providing relief during disasters or while spreading literacy and providing medical care.

Interestingly, though Islam and Christianity do not claim to have a hierarchical strata, yet in India these faiths too follow a caste system! At times converted Christians are discriminated against based on their erstwhile Hindu   caste ! The Hindu organisations have declared that all reconverted Hindus will be free to choose their new castes !This is an impossibility in Hinduism at the same time it’s a fantastic allure keeping in mind the sops and reservations available to low caste Hindus in jobs and education.

To those who fight over religion, I ask is there a perfect religion worth fighting over?

The Bible has improbabilities such as talking snakes and bushes ! Ask a dad about his belief in the story of the Virgin Mary if it is to be applied on his daughter? And how come Noah found Penguins and Polar Bears in Palestine??? (Where was the North Pole back then??)

Even in Islam the Quran is said to contain fables already existing at the time which have been presented as the “word of God” to the Prophet Mohammad.

Perfect religion?

A word about our politicians. The opposition came across as “pseudo secularists” when they do not complain against any incident of forced conversion of Hindus coming to light. Also they balked at the idea of a National Anti-Conversion law not on the grounds of constitutionality (as the constitution guarantees freedom of religion) but offered obfuscated logic to try and hold on to THEIR “flock of voters”.

I also ask the Indian National Congress (INC) or the “Janata Parivaar” that which PM of India has made a statement since 1947 to reassure the Hindu community when cases of forced or coerced conversion at the hand of Christian Missionaries have come to light? Then why such blatant vote bank politics at the cost of governance and development? Let religion be in the absolute background.

The ruling combine needs to be faulted for not nipping the menace in the bud and letting the Winter Session go down the drain.Also, could not the PM have addressed the people of this Country through any medium to instil confidence in his governments commitment towards secularism and secondly to defeat the opposition’s banal tactics?

Its time we got on with governance and development as even as I write there are millions sleeping on the roadside in the bitter cold, who have also gone hungry and will squat in the open tomorrow morning and have no way of ensuring that their children can avoid this fate.

Religion after all is the opium of the masses. Is it?

Btw the Bible does contains much that is relevant today, like Noah taking 40 days to find a parking spot !

YEH INDIA KA CRICKET HAI -PART II :JITTERY DRIVES,NERVY HOOKS & BLIND REDEMPTION !

The India Australia Test Series is underway and the Indian Team is straining all its sinews – not to meet competition- but to go Down Under! With the Indian galley holed and sunk twice already only the committed few have survived scrutiny. For the others, there’s no Anushka Sharma this time around, to play scape goat for their “jittery drives” and “nervy hooks”!

The contest for the Border Gavaskar Trophy is always a much anticipated affair. It’s billed higher than the England Australia Ashes too and more so this time as the current series is being played under the emotionally charged backdrop of the tragic demise of Aussie cricketer Phillip Hughes.

So far the Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli led Indians have faltered miserably.

Yes! We have two Captains, so what? We have the richest and most powerful cricket set up – BCCI – and we can do anything! Why, we can even add a third Captain after all its an important series, isn’t it? And I recommend Team Director Ravi Shastri as Captain No 3. One for each session of play.The Aussies will probably be too busy laughing and might lose half a Test Match !!!!

In the first “Test” at Adeaide,India lost narrowly by 48 runs largely on the back of stand in Captain ,Virat Kohli’s “tons” (centuries – 100 runs)in each innings. Making his debut as Captain, Kohli led from the front and bravely too, especially after being hit on the head off the very first ball he faced. At this stage it seemed as if the “no WAGs on tour” ( WAGs – Wives and Girlfriends) theory had some merit indeed.

So,I waited for the results of the Second India Australia Test Match at Brisbane to see if the controversial “no WAGs” assertion got established for good.or would come undone.

India batted well in the first innings and it seemed that the absence of WAGs was doing them good. But the second innings saw a woeful batting display.Shikhar Dhawan’s freakish wrist injury during practice on the fourth morning of the second Test Match meant that Kohli would have to go in instead at the start of the day’s play. The switch didn’t work and the Indian batting collapsed. The Captain said that Kohli got just 10 minutes to prepare for the switch in batting order and the change “unsettled” the team! Did I hear it correctly? The change in batting order “unsettled” the team???(And not the presence of a WAG – MIND IT !)Also,Kohli failing in both innings implies that after all its not Anushka Sharma but his batting prowess which holds his game together or otherwise.

And by the way, professionals don’t proffer such lame excuses and are supposed to be conditioned and always prepared for the worst just as doctors and Army personnel are. Highly paid and pampered – our cricketers blaming the practice pitches, lack of time for preparation or lack of vegetarian food for their dismal performance smacks of a fortress and under siege mentality. Just admit that Mitchel Johnson was too good on the day. With this attitude I predict a 4-0 score line in favour of Australia..

Now that the “no WAGs” theory is all but consigned to the dustbin, what if some team member insists on rechristening WAGs as BAGs? BAGs ? Boyfriends and Girlfriends! Prepare for it now, lest we find ourselves as unprepared as our “dhoorander” (or down under) cricket team.

The Amul ad/ topical on Virat Kohli commemorates his remarkable achievement of scoring a century in each innings of an overseas Test Match.It has a caricature depicting the bearded Virat holding a placard in each hand announcing his feat.The Amul Girl is holding the player’s cricket gear and offering him a Amul butter laden toast as a reward for his achievement.

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The Tag LineVir Proud of Youis a play on the name Virat and the words “we are” and expresses the sense of pride in the manner in which the “Captain Braveheart” compiled the centuries , in the first Test Match in Adeaide, in spite of getting hit by a bouncer as well as inspired an epic, though unsuccessful, run chase.

The Punch LineTons of Tastealludes to the two “tons” – 100 run scores- copiled by Kohli as well as extolls the superlative taste of the Amul Butter.

And the WAGs have struck back too, as not taking them along on tour has denied our team management valuable options,as some of the WAGs would surely have batted better than the Indian “tail” which has refused to wag so far and has firmly stayed between the hind legs!

Curse of the WAGs, any takers?

The Indian cricket team may not win redemption Down Under but it did happen in some measure through the astounding feat of India’s Blind Cricket Team. They beat arch rivals Pakistan in the fourth World Cup recently held in South Africa. These are “bravehearts” too, who deserve accolades galore.The media chose to relegate the achievement to an almost “non-issue” status and though the Team was felicitated by PM, Narendra Modi there wasn’t any accompanying euphoria or ticker tape parade either. They have equaled the feat of the able bodies cricket teams of 1983,2007 and 2011 but for our lack of regard for the specially abled, their achievement has gone unsung. None-the-less, these brave blind men have won our cricketing heritage a redemption of sorts.

The Amul ad line also paid tributes to Aussie cricketer Phillip Hughes (also known as Phil Hughes) who died as a result of a bouncer hitting him on the back of his neck.He died 3 days short of his 26th birthday and was also on the cusp of his recall to the Aussie Test Team.His accident and demise provoked a huge outpouring of grief in Australia and amongst cricket players and enthusiasts.The incident also sparked a debate on the safety gear in cricket as well as whether the “bouncer” needs to be banned or not.

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This Amul ad/ topical on Phil Hughes pays tribute to his memory and cricketing persona and has captured the “#PutOutYourBats” campaign and form of tribute adopted by millions of people worldwide when they “put out their bats” with a cap in remembrance of the fallen cricketer. A huge loss indeed.

RIP “HUGHESY” -1988 – 2014 !

23 December 14; On the eve of the Boxing Day India Australia Test Match it has emerged that after Virat Kohli got out cheaply on the 4th day of the second Test Match at Brisbane , he came and lambasted Shikhar Dawan for “feigning” injury to avoid facing the Aussie pacers.To which Dhawan retorted sharply leading to Team Director Ravi Shastri intervening and preventing the situation from going out of hand.

“Virat Kohli Shikhar Dhawan Fight” ! I typed this to get in on the details myself.Happy surfing !!!

Post Script; April 2015

Virat Kohli’s disappointing performance in the knock out games in the World Cup came in for critical review as it seemed that young firebrand and the Indian Test Captain , for all his imperious talent had yet to learn how to handle the pressures and weight of expectations of being a frontline Indian cricket player, especially in big ticket games.He is being touted as the next Tendulkar, but he has a long long long way to go before he can emulate the maestro.Its not about the cricket scores alone, its also about the temperament and the ability to soak pressure, which Tendulkar did admirably for 25 years and stayed at the top of his game dishing out one memorable performance after another.

The adoring millions turned against Virat Kohli ,as they sought to vent their ire and lay the blame for the loss of their team at the World Cup.The presence of his girlfriend , Bollywood actor, Anushka Sharma, with him during the World Cup once again coincided with his poor form and led to blame being laid on her for Virat’s performance.Her presence was considered as the reason for Kohli losing his focus and concentration.Lots of netizens ripped into the duo and anequal number lent them support as well.Kohli and Sharma exited the airport, on arrival in India, holding hands and looing distraught and uncertain and clearly seeking solace and comfort in each other.

Also, Kohli’s misbehaviour with journalists and intemperate and immature on field spats an reactions point towards a larger malaise in the talented player.He needs to channelise his energies correctly or he may find that “jab tak balla chalta hai , tab tak thaath hain !”

This Amul ad/ topical on Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma captures the criticism that the duo faced for Kohli’s poor performances with the bat.It shows two caricatures, depicting Virat and Anushka sitting togethr and tending to each other, with the Amul Girl offering them the delicious Amul butter laced toasts.The topical captures the cricket player’s and the Bollywood actor’s romance especially in the backdrop of the negative publiciy that the duo received.

The Tag Line …Sab ne bana di jodi…  is a play on the Anushka starrer Rabb ne bana di jodi and hints at the Virat and her being a couple.

The Punch Line …Have It NHow… is a play on the word “now” with the first two letters in the word “NHow” ,subtly reminding us of Anushka’s home production NH 10, in which she also stars in the lead role.

This is not the end of the story.There’s much more and i am sure they will be happy tidings to say the least.

MODI IN SIACHEN: BETWEEN MANTO AND A HOT DIWALI ROCKET !

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with the Indian Army soldiers in Siachen, it captured the nation’s imagination. On the back of resounding election victories and a successful US visit this was a political “masterstroke” which was bound to bolster his political star.

At 5 AM on 24th October, there was a desperate knock on the bed room door of Nawaz Sharif. It was the Pakistan Army Chief, Raheel Sharif. He informed a bemused Nawaz that Modi was on his way to Siachen and that Pakistan HAD to respond at all costs. And that too soon.

Still wearing his pink coloured polka dotted night suit, Nawaz Sharif was bundled into a chopper heading to the Pakistan side of the Saltoro Ridge which houses the Siachen Glacier.As Modi was reportedly wearing two jackets in the icy heights, the Pakistan Army thought their PM would look “macho” without wearing even one !!!

Without a jacket, Nawaz Sharif developed delirium and started praising Modi for his adroit sense of politics and shouted that “Pakistan mein bhi Modi Sarkar” !!!! Fearing embarrassment, the Pakistan Army chopper was ordered to abort mission!

Modi’s surprise visit to the “world’s highest battlefield” had claimed its first unintended victim.

The Indian PM was to initially mark Diwali in flood hit Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Intending to send across a message he also added Siachen to his itenary. This was to be the first visit in a decade by an Indian PM to Siachen Glacier (which in Balti means ” Land with an abundance of roses”; an irony indeed )During the visit to the glacier he flew over the Indian Army positions,visited the Base Camp,addressed the troops as well as interacted with them over a cup of tea.

Modi expressed solidarity with the soldiers and conveyed to them the Nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices of the Indian Army. He also commended the Army’s rescue effort during the recent floods in Kashmir and assured that prickly and emotive issues such as modernization, One Rank One Pension and a National War Memorial will be addressed satisfactorily.

The sub text of the visit was also unmistakable as the PM was visiting a difficult battle zone in the backdrop of his decisive and firm response to Pakistan’s trans LC firing. And with a strategic connivance of China and Pakistan converging in Kashmir, his visit held massive significance.

By now the opposition had woken up to the news of the latest Modi manouevre. Dear ol’ “Pappu” was confused as to why was Modi visiting Siachen on Halloween and claiming it was Diwali ??? Halloween???Someone quickly went an placed an earthen pot on his head lest he called a press conference to “expose” facts which would decimate his Indian National Congress (INC) to the extent that all its members would only be acting in Ram Leela for the next few decades or so. Pappu of course would struggle to get the role of even a tree in the “Ashok Vatika”!

Modi was also visiting Srinagar and this gave the opposition a whiff of a chance to get back into the “game”.Spokespersons and leaders such as Rashid Alvi (Congress),Anwar Ali (JDU), Tariq Anwar insinuated that Modi’s real intent in going to Srinagar was to further his Party’s prospects in the upcoming elections in J&K. Irrespective of the truth, not one demonstrated neither compassion for the flood victims nor solidarity with the soldiers. All that mattered was “the Party line”. For this unbridled buffoonery all  of them have qualified for an all-expenses paid 9 nights and 10 days on Bana Top, a post at 22000 ft! Of course without jackets !

The Amul Ad/ topical on Narendra Modi’s Siachen visit is based on a photo of the PM during his  visit, wherein he is depicted as seated and patting a dog with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag and another officer are present in the background.A smiling Amul Girl is shown as the dog handler. The detailing is good as the characters are identifiable by their attire during the actual event.

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The Tag LineSiachen Jahan Se Achchais a take on the popular patriotic Urdu poem “Saare Jahan se achcha Hindustan Hamara” by Muhammad Iqbal (also known as Allama Iqbal) and conveys Modi’s intent in celebrating Diwali in Siachen rather than any other place in the world. Ironically the creators have chosen a tag line to depict Siachen – a battle zone between India and Pakistan – from the works of a poet who was later the ideologue behind the idea of Pakistan. (Iqbal composed this poem as the Taranah -e- Hind in 1904 and his transformation from a secular poet to an ideologue of a future Muslim society was complete when in 1910 he composed the Taranah -e-Milli ,an ode to the greatness of Islam).

The Punch LineTop of the worldsignifies the giddy heights at Siachen and relates it to the status of Amul Butter as being on top of its trade!

There’s been much speculation about whether the dog with Modi depicted was a adopted stray or a trained canine serving alongside the troops? It reminds me of Sadat Hasan Manto’s short story “The Dog of Tithwal” wherein the Indian and Pakistani troops name the same stray dog as “Jhun Jhun” and “Shun Shun” respectively. And to underscore the situation of the time the dog is expected to choose nationalities.It later loses its life when he is shot at by both sides.

To lift the veil, the dog in the strip is named Deva and it’s a Great Swiss Mountain Dog serving as a combatant with an Indian Army Dog Unit and is trained for Avalanche Rescue Operations.

Its important for us all to realize that Siachen is one of the key national efforts and the PM’s visit has gone a long way in endorsing the fact. Some columnist have also observed that Modi has re-established the “institutional relevance of the military” in nation building. His visit endorses the Government’s commitment towards defence related issues, be they operational or administrative in nature.

Modi’s visit was like a well-made Diwali rocket which had the intended effect its fired for – loud and spectacular. Its just that some in the opposition felt its hot end finding its mark on them !!!

After having walked to the Base Camp the onus is on Modi to walk the talk.He will need to back his words with deeds and resist the temptation to use the military as an expedient for his political agenda.Genuine or rhetorical – the true import of his actions will emerge as time goes by. Mr Modi, history and the thousands of families who have given martyrs to this country are watching you intently.Fail at your peril !

Meanwhile, taking a leaf out of Modi’s book, Mulayam Singh Yadav has decided to express solidarity with “his” troops over Christmas.He is visiting the buffaloes in his native Saifai !!!

 

A SLIVER OF PEACE, SOME SMILES & A FEW CHUNKS OF CONTROVERSY !

Amidst a recent conflagration at the Line of Control (LOC) between India & Pakistan, Kailash Satyarthi (India) & Malala Yusufzai (Pakistan) were declared the joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014.Coincidence?Agenda Based? There’s enough intrigue associated with the Nobel Prize & surprisingly & there’s enough to make us smile too!

In 2012, Malala was shot in the head for championing the cause of education for girls & for defying the Taliban in Pakistan’s restive Swat region. She miraculously recovered in a hospital in Birmingham. Embodying strength & belief she went back to school & once again fearlessly stood up for her espoused cause.She has since addressed the UN, met Barak Obama & gained access to those who can make a difference. The Peace Prize was awarded to her in recognition of her work & the indomitable spirit of the 17 year old.

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An erstwhile electrical engineer, Kailash Satyarthi was chosen for the award for his work in securing child rights & fight against child labour. He has rehabilitated thousands through his NGO,Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) & has received numerous awards from various countries. Interestingly,for the Peace Prize he was nominated by the European Parliament & is yet to receive any official recognition for his work by the Government of India.Instead it has been reported that he is a “persona non grata” for some sections of the Indian officialdom-  as his stance supposedly hurts Indian industry.Narendra Modi has felicitated him after the announcement of the Peace Prize.

Controversially,incidents relating to children being tutored to falsely speak about their alleged bondage have been cited to disprove the Mr Satyarthi’s credentials as a genuine choice for the Peace Prize & the the Nobel Committee has been accused of bias & favouring NGOs affiliated to western countries.

Even the Nobel Committee’s statement that “It is an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” was criticised for hyphenating two unrelated issues & painting it in a religious hue. This was seen as “Christian Missionary Mischief” by Madhu Kishwar (as reported in the Global Post).

The timing of the announcement itself was interesting as it coincided with heightened confrontations between India & Pakistan.

Even earlier,the Nobel Peace Prize has occasionally raked up controversies. Henry Kissinger’s selection for his role in bringing an end to the Vietnam conflict was roundly criticised & his credentials as a war monger forced some Noble Committee members to resign.Then in 1994 Yasser Arafat shared the honours along with Israel’s Shimon Peres & Yitzhak Rabin & it was denounced globally for his terrorist credentials.

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated thrice for the Peace Prize but never received it. Quoting Wikipedia Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question?”. And this cannot be undone as posthumous nominations are not made.

Another controversial rule stipulate that a Nobel Prize can only be shared by three individuals; sometimes only three in a team have been chosen thus raising heckles all around.

I need a comic relief now.

Did you know there are “Ig Nobel” awards as well to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”(Improbable Research).Some of the top winners are covered here on.All of these have later proven to have significant scientific utility beyond the obvious.

2000- The British Royal Navy “for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout “Bang!” (After the government drastically cut military budgets.)

2003- W. Moeliker’s 2003 inquiry into the existence of homosexual necrophiliac ducks.

2007- USAF researchers at Wright Laboratory in Dayton, were working on : the “gay bomb.” ! To compel enemy soldiers to make mad, passionate love to each other instead of fighting a battle .(USAF reps did not attend the award ceremony & mercifully did not bomb the venue with the deadly aphrodisiac!!!).

2008 – study determining that lap dancers ear­n higher tips while ovulation.

2009for inventing “a brassiere that is converted into a pair of protective face masks”!

Coming to the Amul Ad/ topical on Malala Yusufzai and Kailash Satyarthi.It depicts the two joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, seated side by side with the Amul girl holding the medals.The caricatures are seen in the attire associated with Mr Satyarthi & Ms Malala.The rostrum, the arch way & the “peace” dove with the olive branch rounds up the ad in a subtle manner.

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The Tag Line..Satyartea aur Maskala …is a take on the names of the two winners & otherwise alluding to having a toast with Amul butter as a tea time snack.

The Punch Line…Noble Piece Prize..is a spin on the award conferred on Mr Satyarthi & Ms Malala as well as endorsing the Amul butter as the claimant for the noblest piece amongst all butter brands.

Malala’s struggles have been celebrated previously in an Amul ad in October 2013 while also marking the occasion of the release of her autobiography “I am Malala”.

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The Nobel Prize signifies the highest honour that can be bestowed on an individual in the designated fields.Since there are so many claimants for the honours, the Nobel Committee does have an onerous task in remaining totally objective.And its creditable that it has remained above board mostly.To say that the Nobel is spiked with vested interest is to denigrate the legacy of the extraordinary men already feted by its awards.Also it is undeniable that at times the Peace Prize has been awarded or not awarded out of overbearing political interests.

The bottom line is that the legacy of these awards is ever enduring & most importantly it brings the spotlight on issues which merit attention & spurs others to follow & make efforts to make this a better & more knowledgeable place for us all.For us Indians however ,its a matter of pride that beginning with Rabindra Nath Tagore , eight other Indians (including Mother Teresa) have been honoured by the Nobel Committee & cover all categories of the Nobel!

In the end-I wonder if the following will find a place in the list of “Ig Noble” awards

Effect of knuckle cracking on the mental balance of Pervez Musharraf (for his recent ballyhoo on India-Pakistan dynamics).

10 December 2014,Oslo

Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yusufzai  today received the Nobel  Peace Prize for their pioneering work in promoting child rights in the Indian Subcontinent.It was awarded to them by the Chairman of the Nobel Committee Thorbjorn  Jagland in Oslo today.They received received the Nobel Medal which is 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold and weighs around 175 gms. 

Both recipients addressed the gathering which included King Harold V of Norway and former Pakistan PM  Yusuf Raza Gilani. President Barak Obama also congratulated the winning duo.

MAHACHAOS: EXIT CUPID;ENTER AFZAL KHAN !

To be allies for twenty five years in Politics is a ‘Nirmal Baba’ miracle of “kripa” proportions.So,“breaking up” is not only unthinkable but also spells certain doom. But in Maharashtra, its not doom ,but “Dhoom Macha Le” time as the four principal groups seem to be enjoying their new found status –“Single Again”! But only on the face of it, for there’s more to it than meets the eye!

The Indian National Congress (INC) – Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine had been thrashed in the general elections & Narendra Modi’s ascendancy had thrown up a tremendous opportunity for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine – to assume leadership in the upcoming State elections.

However in a classic example of putting the cart before the ox, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine hurtled towards a shocking & quarrelsome split! Elections were barely announced & the protagonists were already squabbling over installing their own Chief Minister!

Shiv Sena had mentored the BJP in the state & were a larger state party with a broader appeal & thus felt they had rights over not only the larger portion of the electoral cake but also the cherry on top of it. Whereas an ascendant BJP was unwilling to play second fiddle to its longtime ally & also staked claim to greater number of seats than before & also to the Chief Minister’s position. The recent by election results had not gone in favour of the BJP & this too had strengthened the Sena’s case.

Many rounds of tea, bhel puris & bondas & 25 years later the two partners, BJP & Shiv Sena decided to go it alone in the elections.

Certain of losing power in Maharashtra after a 15 year rule.Sharad Pawar, party chief, NCP, was desirous of ditching the sinking INC Titanic to save his outfit.For the INC – NCP grouping there best bet lay in imitating the actions of their rivals & the very first thing they did to follow in their rivals’ shoes was- to part ways – after a 15 year rule during which they presided over Maharashtra’s collective deterioration.

With no coalition in the fray the stage was set for an humdinger of a four cornered contest.And also for some bizarre storytelling..with some modicum of truth as well.

Its rumoured that to better his electoral prospects, Udhav Thackeray,the Shiv Sena Chief sought the blessings of Nirmal Baba.The God man has purportedly advised Udhav to act childish & immature if he wants “kripa” descending on his electoral ambitions. Udhav has since been steadfastly following the advise.

The BJP has been reveling in its single status & is riding high on the popularity of the Prime Minister.Such is their confidence, they have now demanded that the Democrats & the Republicans in the US get into a seat sharing arrangement with them in the upcoming US senate elections.

Raj Thackeray has been having a whale of a time.Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS) is unlikely to win anything substantial & so he has a lot of time on hand. He has bought the full set of Amar Chitra Katha & Indrajal comics.He is sharing his joy & the plots of the comics with brother Udhav,just as they did in their childhood. And Udhav is then selecting the most bizarre ones & attributing them to the BJP, like it was the BJP that Shivaji fought against in the battle of Singhgarh! Also that BJP was on the side of the Mughals in the Battle of Haldi Ghati & that Afzal Khan, a turncoat Mughal chieftain from the 17th century was responsible for the BJP – Shiv Sena split.

The INC has been busy doing nothing to further its prospects. To rid themselves of the agony of campaigning & losing, Congress leaders have requested Rahul Gandhi (aka-Pappu) to campaign for them. The “Shehzada” obliged & in his first speech forgot the name of the candidates he was endorsing. The audience have not come to know of the candidate thus sealing an emphatic defeat at the hustings!

The NCP for its part is working so discreetly that even its supporters don’t know whether the party is in the fray or not! They are waiting for Ajit Pawar to utter some “utter non sense” so finally the party can have some hope of gaining visibility.!

The Amul Ad/ topical on the Maharashtra Elections has been well timed & conceptualized.It shows two gransdiose looking chairs depicting the chair of the Chief Minister which is being vied for by the political parties.On to the right of the Amul Girls are erstwhile allies Prithvi Raj Chauhan & Ajit Pawar (INC-NCP) & onto her left are Narendra Modi & Udhav Thackeray (BJP-Shiv Sena).Each of the individual is carrying their respective electoral symbol as well.The Amul Girl is seen handing out equal measure of butter from a deliciously golden block of butter and unlike in real life, in the scrip the “allies” seem satisfied with their respective share !!!

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The Tag Line….Can’t share seats?Share eats…is taking a swipe at the inability of the political groupings to arrive at a satisfactory seat sharing arrangement. It exhorts the readers to “share eats”, an obvious reference to Amul butter & the numerous dishes this butter supports!

The Punch Line…Allied with Bread..is a take on the fickle mindedness of the political parties to not be allied to their long standing allies. It also stresses upon the loyalty aspect of the butter to the bread & hints at the fact that its consumed best with bread!

These elections are a watershed event in Maharashtra & for the nation. If the BJP forms the government then Modi shall be firmly seated in power. For the Shiv Sena too these are a make or break elections as a defeat will marginalize it further in the state politics. As for the NCP , it can hope to retain some strongholds & luckily is not seen allied to the INC, who in these elections are going to be DECImated!!!

None of the rivals have ruled out coming together after the elections.So..i guess…Picture abhi baki hai mere dost!!!I predict an outright BJP victory.What say?

19 October 14; the results are out & the BJP is the single largest party with 124 seats but short of the 145 majority mark.The gamble has paid for them but the intrigue & suspense persists.

BJPs astonishing win – result of its bold gamble plays out on yet another Amul ad strip.It depicts two caricatures representing Devendra Phadnavis & Pankaja Munde (of the BJP) along with the Amul girl announcing their win with a traditional Marathi trumpet.The CMs chair,finally belonging to the BJP, is shown with a yellow block of butter.

Sweeping winners indeed!!!!

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31 October 2014; Much drama has already unfolded in Maharashtra since the last update.Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the first ever BJP government in the State, albeit without the requisite numbers !

The split with the Shiv Sena widened to a seemingly disastrous level. And the scam tainted NCP offered outside support to the BJP led minority government in a display of opportunistic pragmatism and shockingly the BJP accepted it too !

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12 November 2014;Much chaos preceded the vote of confidence. Shiv Sena’s brinkmanship cost it heavily and the state level acrimony spilled on to the national stage when Modi inducted Sena dissident Suresh Prabhu as the BJP nominee in his cabinet.

The vote of confidence took place on the anointed hour but was controversially passed by a voice vote rather than a division of votes. The Shiv Sena sat in the opposition and staked claim for the position of the leader of the oppositon. The voice vote was a departure from convention and sullied the BJP government’s image to a great extent. It certainly has not put its best foot forward.A credibility crisis has already gripped the nascent government.

08 December 2014; Good sense prevailed and the BJP and the Shiv Sena have now patched up, albeit on the BJP’s terms, and the Sena has now joined the Maharashtra government.The NCP is out of reckoning for now.And the Congress is no where to be found.Probably the undercurrent of the publics disapproval of the political wranglings and a scary prospect of going to elections again has impelled the principle protagonists to come together.Shiv Sena stood to lose the most especially after being relegated to the second place in the State’s saffron politics.And this development also augurs well for the NDA in the Lok Sabha and more so in the Rajya Sabha where it is in minority.

Hopefully the government will complete its five year term.But be prepared for an even larger round of Mahachaos in 2019, if not earlier !