An Open Letter to Supriyo Mukherjee Responsible For The Death Of Intellect

Hello Mr. Supriyo Mukherjee,

Hope this letter finds you in the pink of your health. You may accuse me of stereotyping but your surname suggests that you’re a Bengali and I am sure you enjoy your fish and mutton like most Bengalis do.

Anyway, coming back to the letter which you wrote accusing the BJP MLA of beating & killing a horse. Frankly, I was quite amused that the Editor at Scoop Whoop allowed it to be published given the fact that your letter completely ignores the facts of the case. But then I don’t expect any ‘investigative journalism’ from Scoop Whoop writers so let me help you understand how Shaktiman fractured his leg. As you can see in the video, Shaktiman’s leg got stuck in an iron railing and while trying to rebalance he fractured his leg. The following paragraph from an NDTV story on the same reaffirms the fact that BJP MLA “did not strike the horse”.  

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What kind of a human are you if you have to cook up stories to get your fucking piece get some hits? You were so busy proving how Ganesh Joshi hit Shaktimaan (even when there were videos which clearly proved otherwise). Sorry to burst your outrage bubble but Mr. Mukherjee, you got it all wrong!

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Source: OpIndia

 

How fucked up should your cause be if you need to harm an individual to get your story some hits?

You point out that BJP doesn’t think twice about calling homosexuality a mental disorder. One, you are quoting an individual’s tweet which nowhere qualifies to be the stand of the “party”. Two, if you still think it does; then let me quote Arun Jaitley who recently said that “SC must review Section 377 & allow gay relationships”.

How will you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you falsely accuse someone of a crime and the incorrect letter will be read by many?

May this case come as a harsh realisation and a severe blow to your airy castle built on high moral ground but there are many in our country who vote for Mr. Yadav or Mr. Khan or Mr. Gandhi. They vote for their caste representative. Yes, it doesn’t fucking matter whether you like any particular political party, you can at least vote for your caste & community leader during elections. Had it not been the case, Rahul Gandhi wouldn’t have been still the MP from Amethi & a convicted Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party wouldn’t have won in the recent Bihar elections.

Mr. Mukherjee, we know that you’re telling us that Ganesh Joshi is guilty but we’ve all seen the videos and the photographs. You might not have intentionally written this letter but the stupidity is on your hands.

You cleverly say that this is not a question of animal cruelty or a debate on whether the consumption of animal protein is right or not because you know you’re on a sticky wicket here. Personally, I am a vegetarian and I am totally cool with anyone eating anything (beef, pork or whatever). But I have issues with selective outrage. More so, when the outrage comes from non-vegetarians. If you are someone who believes that the beef ban by certain state governments was wrong then why this hypocrisy of being empathetic when a horse is dead? Interestingly, you quote Mahatama Gandhi who was one of the strongest proponent of cow protection.  Quite melodramatically, you say that the blood of Shaktiman is on Ganesh Joshi’s hands. LOL! Just like the blood of every Hilsa fish is on your hand every time you eat one.

Isn’t it fucking ridiculous how you wouldn’t have written a letter had Shaktimaan been a cow? Are we being that stupid?

We, as a nation, have failed the citizens when we give writers like you a platform. You have failed all the writers and the country.

 

– A concerned human being.

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Punjab : How AAP is playing with fire

After making a surprisingly spectacular debut in the Delhi elections last year, Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal are eyeing the state of Punjab which is due for elections next year. The choice of state shouldn’t come as a surprise as Punjab is the only state in India which gave the Aam Aadmi Party 4 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections. Icing on the cake is that the ruling SAD-BJP is facing anti-incumbency and with Congress still getting its act together under Captain Amarinder Singh (Who has strong chances of winning); people of Punjab are searching for an alternative.

In his one year tenure as Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal has been more in news for blaming the center and Prime Minister than his own achievements as Chief Minister. He is a shrewd politician and though he is new to politics he has learned the tricks in no time; so much that he can give the old school netas a run for their money. Neither does he shy away from talking about his ‘baniya’ caste while addressing the traders nor does he mind wearing a skull cap or a ‘pag‘ depending upon his audience. He has skillfully mastered the art of perception where he is seen as an anti-corruption crusader even after hugging and supporting a convicted politician like Lalu Prasad Yadav or by remaining mum on the National Herald Case involving the Gandhis. Of late he is emerging as a wile politician who is far away from the one that promised a ‘different’ politics in his campaigns. A farmer died in his rally while he continued giving his speech blaming the Delhi Police. An illegal slum was (rightly) demolished by the Railway Ministry but Arvind Kejriwal again blamed the centre thus securing his vote bank. He recently visited Hyderabad University to show solidarity with the ‘Dalit’ students who also happen to be sympathizers of a dreaded terrorist like Yakub Memon.

Earlier this year, Baijayant Jay Panda who happens to be the Member of Parliament from Odisha and is widely respected across political parties; tweeted something very intriguing.  He of course did not name anyone in his tweet but one has to be really stupid to not to discover the underlying message in these 140 characters.

In Punjab, we are seeing an interesting yet dangerous trend where Aam Aadmi Party is cozying up with hardliners and giving fuel to the dormant Khalistani sentiments among them. The first signs of this came in 2014 when Arvind Kejriwal and AAP supported the protests by radical Sikhs for the premature release of Sikh militants.  Dharamveer Gandhi; its own MP from Patiala said that his party is playing a “dangerous game”.

Somewhere in April 2014, United Sikh Movement, which is led by former Khalistanis like Gurdeep Singh Brar & Bhai Mohkam Singh have extended their full support to AAP. Bhai Mohkam Singh is the former chief spokesperson of the Damdami Taksal, the Sikh institute once led by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. Baljit Singh Daduwal, radical Sikh leader even went a step further declaring that he would like to ‘publicly honour’ Arvind Kejriwal.

In November 2014, Sarbat Khalsa organized a mammoth rally in Punjab which saw lakhs of Sikhs attending the meeting. At this congregation, the dominant theme was ‘Struggle for a Sikh Raj’ and although no formal resolution was passed but the ‘panthic’ committee made the demand for the same subsequently.  AAP’s Punjab convenor Sucha Singh Chottepur supported this gathering saying it is an outcome of people’s anger against the government. However, SAD president Simranjit Singh Mann said “Sarbat Khalsa was a Khalistani stage and everyone knew it”. Former AAP leader Yogendra Singh Yadav alleged that AAP convenor Sucha Singh had supported all the resolutions adopted at the meeting (though he refused).

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Last but not the least, we all know the infamous journalist Jarnail Singh who made news in 2009 when he hurled a shoe at P. Chidambram. But what many don’t know are his views on Khalistan and that he had addressed a rally in London in 2011 showing support for the creation of a separate Sikh state. Surprisingly, Arvind Kejriwal gave him a ticket in 2015 Delhi Assembly elections and he is today an MP.

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AAP MLA, Jarnail Singh addressing a Khalistan supporters rally in London, 2011

 

‘Jab boya ped babool ka toh aam kahan se khaaye’ This wise saying by Kabir is the best advise for AAP. Indira Gandhi nurtured Bhindranwale for political gains, he became a nuisance and she lost her life at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards who were sympathizers of Bhindranwale. Benazir Bhutto as PM allowed the Taliban to grow and co-incidentally she was assassinated by them. AAP must take cue from history and introspect a little because they are literally playing with fire.

Insurgency in Punjab was one of the darkest periods in India. We had successfully ended it with the killing of Bhindranwale in 1984 but it’s on the rise again and the secessionist sentiment is slowly growing.There is a lot of funding coming in India from Sikhs in overseas; particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada for the Khalistani movement revival. Dal Khalsa, a separatist organization has recently supported Hurriyat’s call of boycotting Republic Day in Kashmir and want the same to be done in Punjab. This is eerily similar to what started in the 1980’s. It’s time we nip it right in the bud!

 

7 Reasons why you should not vote for AAP!

As Delhi goes to polls on 7th February 2015, I give you 7 reasons why you should NOT vote for the Aam Aadmi Party!

  1. 49 and Retired Hurt!

As somebody who earns his daily bread and butter from Recruitments; let me explain this in HR terms. There is a candidate who desperately needs a job & is after me (begging) to consider him. I accept his candidature, find him good for the job & hire him. He works for 49 days and then absconds from the organization. After one year he comes back to me asking for the job. Will I give him the job? The answer is NO!

Here, ‘Delhi’ is the organization, ‘Arvind Kejriwal’ is the candidate and ‘Delhiites’ are the HR.

  1. Economic Policies

AAP’s economic vision is best explained by Arvind Kejriwal, who hates the private sector for ‘looting’ the country & its resources that belong to Indians. This is much in tandem with what Nehru & Indira believed in. They tried to nationalize most sectors of enterprise and pushed in the people’s money into the public sector.  It was only after these companies failed to record any profits; doors to the private sector were slightly opened.

As the capital of the country Delhi is not even close to the standards set by world class capital cities. Delhi needs investments; Delhi needs infrastructure; Delhi needs employment; Delhi needs development.  And this will come with the help of corporate whom Arvind Kejriwal and his left leaning socialist colleagues like Prashant Bhushan hate.

AAP’s economic vision is to oppose privatization, increase subsidy on electricity and fuel and take away the exemptions thereby increasing the effective taxes.  While the BJP is promising 24 hour electricity; populist and subsidy loving AAP is offering cheaper electricity. Decision is yours!

  1. Regionalism

Delhi is probably the only city in the country that can boast off of being ‘cosmopolitan’ in true sense. While every state and Union territories have a native population/ethnic groups; Delhi’s ethnic groups are diverse.  Historically speaking, the original natives of Delhi were folks who resided somewhere in the Yamuna basin which stretched several kilometres beyond what is today’s Delhi. Yes, it is an ancient city which was once called ‘Indraprastha’ under the rule of Pandavas but Pandavas were also ‘outsiders’.

Today Delhi comprises of Punjabis who migrated from Pakistan after partition, Bengalis who moved when the British capital shifted from Calcutta to Delhi and many other ethnic groups ranging from the ‘Jats’ of Haryana to the ‘Tamilians’ of Tamil Nadu. There are no concrete statistics that trace the descent of Delhiites.

In its 49 day stint, AAP wanted to reserve 90% seats in the Delhi University colleges for the locals and a proposal was sent to the Central Government by the Education Minister Mr. Manish Sisodia. Apart from the fact that many students from different cities and towns come to Delhi for studies; this proposal also gives rise to regionalism. How different is this from Shiv Sena and MNS in the Maharashtra who want to send the immigrants back to where they belong?

Hence, if not for anything else, just for the spirit of Delhi you should not vote for AAP.

AAP

  1. Arvind KejrUwal: Nothing is permanent in politics; friends turn foes and foes become friends. So, ideally one shouldn’t make much hue and cry about few statements which are made while campaigning. But, Arvind Kejriwal is GOD -Honest, truthful, divine & God is not allowed to make mistakes. Here are some of the U-Turns of Mr. Kejriwal:
  • From ‘I don’t want to join politics’ to becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi
  • ‘I swear on my children that I will not take support of Congress’ to taking support of Congress
  • Shiela Dikshit is corrupt to where is the proof that she is corrupt when in power

The list can go on; in fact there is a Facebook page dedicated to the ‘U-Turns’ by Aam Aadmi Party. Might help to decide as to why NOT to vote for AAP!

  1. Vigilantism: Prashant Bhushan had asked for a referendum in Kashmir over the deployment of Army in the valley. So what if Jihadi’s from the border infiltrate on a daily basis and kill our soldiers? He also wanted the ‘extra police’ to be removed from Maoist areas. So what if these Naxals blow up CRPF Jawans? AAP also did a silly ‘SMS’ poll about forming government in Delhi. This vigilantism endorsed and adopted by the party scares me and is definitely not the solution in a country which is run by ‘law’. God forbid, if tomorrow people want a rapist to be ‘stoned to death’; will AAP agree?

As someone said ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’. So, respect the system, laws, constitution and protect your liberty!

  1. Anarchist Aadmi Party: The last thing Delhi needs is a CM sleeping on roads and staging a dharna every other day. Enough said!
  1. Kiran Bedi: Last but not the least, KIRAN BEDI! Though it’s not announced yet, she is most likely to be the Chief Minister candidate of the BJP. As Ms. Kiran Bedi rightly said in her press conference while joining the BJP “Mere pass 40 saal ka administrative experience hai”. So, what will you choose? 49 Days of anarchy & dharnas or 40 years of solid administrative experience?

The fall of a Leader

I still remember watching Sushma Swaraj’s campaign trail in Delhi on news channels in 1998; her fiery speeches attacking the Congress, reaching out to the refugees in transit camps, the tongue in cheek statements drawing thunderous applause from the audience and being thronged by women as she campaigned through the bylanes of the capital. She was the star campaigner of the party and had enormous mass appeal. Taking a jibe towards the ‘Italian’ Sonia Gandhi, she once told NDTV that ” Ordinary women connect with me because I dress and speak like they do”; which was indeed the truth.

When she took over as the Leader of Opposition in 2009, it was almost certain that she would be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. We all saw a mellow and mature Sushma Swaraj compared to the feisty Swaraj of the 1990’s. Though she never talked about it but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that she was preparing herself for the larger role. However, Narendra Modi led BJP’s victory in 2012 Gujarat polls altered the situation. The entire BJP cadre saw Narendra Modi as the BJP’s PM candidate and given his Sangh background he was also the RSS’s blue-eyed boy. Fighting all the internal tussles and differences, he was finally declared as the Prime Minister candidate.

Sushma Swaraj has had a remarkable career. She has many firsts to her credits as being the youngest ever Cabinet Minister in the history of India, first woman Chief Minister of the capital, first woman spokesperson of any political party and of course BJP’s first woman Leader of Opposition. She has won elections in Haryana, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh with remarkable margins. Though she lost the 1999 Bellary elections to Sonia Gandhi, nobody can deny the fact that she had put up a great fight and secured massive 3,58,000 votes in just 12 days of campaign.

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As a Union Minister in the NDA government she handled various portfolios and brought radical and important changes in the ministries. She can be credited with establishing six All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across India; an initiative she took as the Health Minister aimed towards providing economical yet efficient health services to people. As the minister of I&B and Telecommunications declaring Films as an industry was a milestone step as it made the industry eligible to get loans and be financed by banks which was otherwise funded by underworld. She freed the industry from the control of underworld and ironically the same industry now takes out petitions against her party. She can also be credited for much of the ‘radio boom’ in the country as she encouraged community radio services which enabled colleges and universities to start their own FM stations.  In a span of over 3 years she brought the radio and cable services to a large population in the country. Her popularity can be assessed by the fact that Multiple System Operator (MSO) wanted Sushma Swaraj back as I&B Minister when she was moved to another portfolio.

Though her party has produced many women netas but it is Sushma Swaraj who is a feminist in true sense. It was due to her efforts that two thirds of the seats in BJP were reserved for women. Smriti Irani who is often touted as the next ‘Sushma Swaraj’ acknowledges this and thanks Swaraj for pushing through the reservation. She has been quite vocal about women equality & security. I still remember her Lok Sabha speech on International Women’s Day where she talked about increasing crime against women and urged that irrespective of political ideologies, the political class should ensure that women are safe in the country. She is also one of the few BJP netas to have come out strongly against the moral policing by organizations like the Sri Ram Sene. She has stated that her daughter who studies in Britain often visits pubs and it is up to her to decide whether she wants to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not. However, it’s unfortunate that her critics still view her as a traditional (may be orthodox) Bhartiya Nari who vowed to shave her head if Sonia Gandhi became India’s Prime Minister.

As the leader of the opposition, Swaraj has been brilliant in the Lok  Sabha. An articulate and forceful speaker, she managed to keep the ruling party on its toes and successfully brought the agenda of the opposition on the table. Some of the outstanding debates in the parliament saw speeches by Sushma Swaraj; especially on price rise, LokPal Bill, Coalgate , Cash for Votes and the FDI. Whether it is the ‘sher-o-shayri’  with the PM or advising the young Manish Tiwari to learn ‘vinamrata; she has been one of the finest Lok Sabha speakers that the country has seen.

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However,  it would be wrong to blame the party entirely for this fall of hers. As a senior leader and a seasoned politician, Sushma Swaraj (after her initial sulk) should have come to terms with the fact that Narendra Modi enjoys immense support from the party cadre. She should have accepted him like her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha who might be the Deputy PM if NDA comes to power. Instead, she chose to rebel and brought out the differences out in open. She took to twitter to talk about her reservations on the inclusion of Sriramulu in the party who is a close associate of the Reddy Brothers whom she was once closely associated with. Her rift with Nirmala Sitharaman on the Telangana issue was also out when she retweeted a tweet that criticized Nirmala. Today, the usually vocal Sushma Swaraj is silent. She hasn’t campaigned much beyond Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. An active twitter user who tweeted even when she was detained by J&K CM has gone offline. She looked lonely when the BJP released its manifesto and hasn’t given any interviews of late.

Today, she is often ridiculed on the many satirical websites in the internet space and many even accuse her of being a part of fictional ‘Club 160’ in BJP  that is working against Narendra Modi. Without any backing from a God-father, she emerged as a top BJP leader solely because of her hard work and capabilities. It is indeed sad that one of the tallest woman leader of the country and her party has been pushed into oblivion. A leader of her stature deserves more!

 

 

A rejoinder to Arvind Kejriwal on his 17 questions to Narendra Modi

Now a days, it’s difficult to ignore Mr. Arvind Kejriwal as he is all over the news channels, newspapers and social media. I happened to read the 17 questions which he asked Mr. Narendra Modi and argued that his claims of development are nothing but a farce. Frankly, a person who couldn’t run a government for 49 days questions a CM who is in power for 13 years seems more farcical though. Khair!

As a young voter of this country, I see Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister and would definitely want him to be one. So, I try to answer the questions to the best of my ability as a ‘Aam Aadmi’.

Q1. Why does your government buy solar power at Rs 13 per unit? Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are buying it at Rs 7.50 and Rs 5 per unit, respectively?

A1. Gujarat is the pioneer Indian state in solar energy. When they started, the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd had signed 88 agreements to buy 971.5 Mw of solar power for 25 years at a blended price of Rs 12.54 a unit. It’s a DAMN AGREEMENT! Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam is pushing for a 25 per cent rate cut from what was agreed in the original power purchase agreements. You should also know, that Gujarat is NOT Madhya Pradesh. The land prices have shot up in the last few years and hence the investors are demanding higher rates. This is plain business. Thought being born into a Bania family, I am sure you would understand.

Also, the prices are fixed by the regulators and NOT by the government.  In this case Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) just like prices in Delhi are fixed by DERC.

Gujarat wants solar power tariff reduced


Q2. You claim 11% agriculture growth in state while your government’s data says production has shrunk at 1.18% annually and revenue declined from Rs 27,815 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 25,908 crore in 2012-13. Why?

A2. I thought you would have done some reading on this Mr. Kejriwal before raising the question. Narendra Modi’s claim of 11% growth is echoed by the ASSOCHAM report (2011) which says that Gujarat recorded the highest decadal growth from 2001-2010; the time Modi took over as CM. So, for heaven’s sake, read this:

Gujarat records highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97%

Also, the Gujarat government was presented the Krishi Karman Commendation Award for higher production of food grains in 2013. Of course you will say that all these are corrupt institutions and awards are bought by Modi.

A decade of agricultural revolution

As far as the decline in production you point out, what’s the big deal in that? In a year there might be several reasons ranging from low rainfall, high rainfall, pest attack etc. that can affect the agricultural production. The production might increase in one year and can decrease in another. Understood? Of course, Yes. You are an IITian!

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Q3. In the past 10 years, two-thirds of all SMEs have shut down in Gujarat, especially in your home town Mehsana where 140 units out of 187 died away. Do you want to concentrate all power in the hands of a few big industrial houses?

A3.  ‘Humne suna hai’ – Seriously Mr. Kejriwal? You must have heard some awesome things about Gujarat also, why not believe them too? Reminded of this popular saying in Hindi ‘Hawa mein Teer Chodna’. You “found out” that 140 off industrial units had closed down. Proof? Anything that supports your claim? If yes, we will talk.


Q4.  You claim to have eradicated corruption in Gujarat. People here claim that up to Rs 10 lakh bribe is demanded for appointment of a ‘talati’ (revenue official).

A4. I will make you meet people in towns and villages who say Arvind Kejriwal is stupid. Will you believe them?

On a serious note, LET’S BE REAL Mr. Kejriwal. There are thousands of employees who work for any state government and it would be indeed foolish to believe that all of them would be honest and won’t take any bribe or gifts. If some of them do, then it is for the people to report the issue to the authorities. Did they report? Of course you didn’t ask them. Did you? If they reported and still no action was taken, then you blame the government.


Q5. Your ministry has people like Babu Bokhiria, convicted for three years in a mining case, and Purshottam Solanki, accused in a Rs 450 crore fishing scandal. Why?

A5. Your minister Somnath Bharti is racist who told women from another country to pee in public and Kumar Vishwas is a male chauvinist who calls the nurses from Kerala ‘Kaali-Peeli’. Couldn’t you find sane-thinking people for your ministry among 9.8 million Delhiites?

Coming to the question, the ministers you mentioned are “accused” and as far as I know being an accused is not the same as being guilty. So, let the law take its own course. If the charges are proven, they will be expelled.

Q6. Why have you inducted in your cabinet a minister who is the son-in-law of the Ambani family?

A6. Is there a law that prohibits induction of a minister who is a relative of any businessman? To my knowledge, NO!


Q7. About 13 lakh people applied for 1,500 posts of ‘talati’ recently. How can you claim to have solved the problem of unemployment?

 A7. Err… when did Mr. Modi “claim” that there is NO unemployment in Gujarat? I am told you can find everything on Google, so I did try to search but couldn’t find any such statement. Even the most developed nations suffer from unemployment and it would be idiotic to even expect that a state government can solve the problem of unemployment completely!

Also, there are thousands of people who apply for government post every year but how on earth is this a measure of unemployability? I have a job but if I apply for a government job, then according to you I am unemployed. Don’t you think it’s a VERY BAD measure to analyze the unemployment rate? Meanwhile, you can read this report which says Gujarat has the lowest urban unemployment rate in India.

Gujarat records lowest urban unemployment rate in India

Q8. Why is your government exploiting young graduates by paying them only Rs 5,300 per month for five years on contract basis?

A8. You say why would any ‘educated & self-respected’ individual work for Rs. 5,300. There are lakhs of youths in Indian states who are educated and yet are out of jobs. Sitting at home without job hurts the self-respect most and many even end up their lives.

Whereas, here the Gujarat government is providing the people employment. Is Rs. 5,300 less? Yes; for you and me. But for a person who is sitting idle at home and has the burden of running a family, it is not less. Also, I happen to be a Human Resources professional and whatever little Labor Law I have read, the Gujarat government is no where at fault and is not flouting any of the labor laws laid in the country.

Q9. The state of government schools can be gauged by the fact that only three teachers teach 600 students at some places. What is your comment?

A9. Dear Arvind Kejriwal, before I answer the question let me just throw light on few of the achievements of Gujarat government in education. The concept of ‘smart classrooms’ which is often heard in city schools has made its way to the smallest of villages in Gujarat. The Vataman village of Ahmedabad district & the Ajab village of Junagadh district  are live examples where students get to learn through computers and other audio-visual aids. The Punsari village has schools with CCTV Cameras, 24 hour Wi-Fi and solar powered lamps.

With such education system, the country can surely progress. No?

As far as your claims of “finding” colleges with 3 teachers, why don’t you name the colleges? Where are they located? Why don’t you support your claims with proof?

Q10. Medical and health services in Gujarat are in a shambles and in grip of corruption.

A10. In just four days, you came to the conclusion that health care services are crippled in the “entire” state. You can give these superheroes a run for their money yaar!

Coming to the question, again you just vomit out some statements which are not supported by facts or figures. But I will give you facts about the efforts taken by Gujarat government towards improving the health care facilities.

Gujarat government rolls out healthcare scheme for poor

Healthcare boom in Gujarat

Q11. At least 800 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat in recent years as the government has stopped subsidies and not paying support prices. What is your reaction?

A11. Again, you just throw figures without quoting any credible source. Though I don’t deny that farmer suicides have occurred in Gujarat like all other states but I have a problem with you blaming the Gujarat government for it.

While replying to an RTI application, the Gujarat government stated that between January 1, 2008 and August 20, 2012, 115 farmers had committed suicide. And most of them had ended their lives because of growing debts caused by crop failure. 115 deaths in the last few years and you say 800. WOW!

By the way, read this How did Gujarat Become a Farming Paradise?

Q12.
 Four lakh farmers are waiting for years to get electricity connection. How can you claim 24×7 electricity availability? 

A12. 4 Lakh farmers without electricity. WOAH! That’s news to me. So, in four days you visited the villages in Gujarat and even got a count of farmers who don’t have electricity? Nice. Why don’t you name these villages?
While you continue to nit-pick, read this story about the scientists in Gujarat working on a novel concept of providing electricity to villagers

Power to farmers: Gujarat scientists float novel concept


Q13.Farmers have not been paid adequately for acquisition of their land for industry while the Ambanis and Adanis have got it for just one rupee per square meter. Some farmers have not been paid any compensation at all.

A13. May be you didn’t know or may be you chose to ignore but  the Gujarat government in 2011 revised its compensation figures and introduced a new ‘jantri rate’. which gave the farmers much higher compensation whose land was being acquired. Farmers whose land was specifically acquired for the Narmada canal network benefitted from it. The new janri was three times the old one and the farmers received a 30% hike in the prices. Where is the injustice?

Q14. Despite raising the Sardar Sarovar dam’s height in 2005, the Kutch people have not been provided water but industries have been. Why?  

A14. Oh dude! An NGO (AAPke bhai-bandhu) raised this issue few years back and the SUpreme Court REJECTED the plea to increase the quotas of water for Kutch region. You love anarchy and I am sure you will now brand the Supreme Court corrupt but sadly we respect the law of the land.

Supreme Court rejects plea for more Narmada water to Kutch


Q15.
 Despite assuring Punjab that the Sikh farmers of Kutch will not be deprived of land allotted to them, the Gujarat Government has not withdrawn court cases. Why?

A15. Narendra Modi “assured” that no Sikh farmer will leave Gujarat; he did not assure that their land will be given back. Last I read, farms of 52 farmers have been defreezed and rest cannot be defreezed as they are not farmers or Santhani land-holders as per official records.

As the matter is subjudice, why do you want the government to withdraw the case? What if they win? Will you still hold the same opinion? Why not wait for the judgement?

Q16.
 How many aircraft and helicopters do you have? And who owns these? How much do you pay or someone else pays? Why don’t you make public these air expenses?

A16. I would have loved had you asked the same question to all the Chief Ministers but you seem to have a personal grudge against Modi. Next, you will ask him how many underwear you have? Jockey or VIP?

A person who overstays in the government bungalow even after resigning as the Chief Minister, gives his ministers brand new Toyota cars, takes a Religare private jet sponsored by India Today doesn’t deserve an answer on this.

Q17.  If you become the PM, will you raise the price of the KG Basin gas, which has already been doubled by the UPA government to $8 per unit?

A17. Hypothetical Question. Yawn! Why should he talk about his policies even before he has become the Prime Minister.  One thing is for sure but that it won’t be and should not be free like the water in Delhi.

Flashback: 13 moments from 2013

1. Jhaadu ka Jaadu

Though their leanings towards the left worries me but have to give it to Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party for their splendid debut in the Indian politics. They represent (or at least claim to) represent the voice and concerns of the ‘aam aadmi’ who wants to see a clean and non-corrupt system of governance. Aam Aadmi Party has clearly emerged as a credible alternative to the two major national parties in Delhi. I am no astrologer but their future looks bright and they will surely make the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 more interesting!

2. I am Malala 

The beautiful dark-eyed Pashtun girl Malala Yousafzai  who was shot by the Taliban for voicing her opinion on girl’s education wowed all of us when she addressed the United Nations. It was a moment of pride for Pakistan who has of late been in news for all the wrong reasons. More power to her because our neighbour needs many more such girls who can save Pakistan from becoming a banana republic.

3. Farewell, Master

As they say cricket is religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is the God for millions of Indians. The master blaster decided to call it quits after a splendid career of many years. Every Indian was glued to the television as he played his last test match. Many of us (including me) might not be a fan of the sport, but whatever little we have seen is because of Sachin. In fact I used to stop watching the match as he got out. Many of us couldn’t hold back our tears as Sachin gave an emotional speech at Wankhade.

4. Year of Judgements

While the judiciary set an example by giving death sentence to the men who brutally raped the girl from Delhi; it let down the homosexual community when it upheld the law that criminalized homosexuality. In fact the judgement was a letdown for all the Indians who stand for liberty. Had the court decriminalized homosexuality, it would have been a milestone in India’s history.

There were many other talked about judgements too. Like the one which sent Sanjay Dutt & Lalu Prasad Yadav to jail or the one which accused the Talwar’s of killing their own daughter Aarushi. And last but not the least which gave Narendra Modi a clean chit in the Gujarat riots case.

5. Mangalyaan

India’s maiden spacecraft to Mars was launched this year under the ‘Mars Mission’ project. There was a lot of cynicism about India’s ability to pull it off or whether India should spend on these projects. However, all the naysayers went quiet as the ‘Managalyaan’ successfully cruised towards the Mars. A moment of pride for all Indians.

6. Maid in America

The year also saw the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and the alleged mistreatment by the U.S. officials as she was accused of flouting the U.S. norms by underpaying the maid (who was also an Indian) and not having proper documents. India reacted strongly to the arrest while U.S. said that they were just following the law. Interestingly, in this whole debate nobody really seemed to believe the maid. Class bias?

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7. Namo Namah

Apart from the Aam Aadmi Party making news, there was one more person who was all over making headlines – Narendra Modi. Love him or hate him but surely cannot ignore him. Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was an important moment in the Indian politics. Fighting all the odds and internal politics within his party, Narendra Modi rose to the top and is now leading the party into the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. If we go by the number of people who attended his rallies this year, the mood of the nation seems to be in his favor and we might just see him as our next Prime Minister!

8. Nature’s Wrath

One of the worst natural calamity that hit India this year was the floods in Uttarakhand which left thousand displaced and hundreds dead. The famous pilgrimage site for Hindus; the Kedarnath temple was also affected to a large extent. It will take almost 2 years for the hill town to get back on its knees.

While the floods saw poor disaster management by the state; another incident saw excellent management by the state governments. The cyclone ‘Phialin’ hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh & Odisha this year and brought back memories of Tsunami. However, because of the excellent management; the evacuation was done on time and there wasn’t much loss of life.

9. Muzzafarnagar Riots

Another blot on India as riots broke out in the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Like always, the politicians instead of calming the people , instigated them. A large number of people from a community left their homes fearing death and are living in tents. Last I read, over 30 children have died in the camps due to severe cold. Cry India, Cry!

10. Year of Good Byes

2013 will also be remembered as the year that took away many legends from us. Shamshad Begum, Manna Dey , Reshma (Music), Rituparno Ghosh (Director), Jiah Khan, Pran, Paul Walker, Farooque Sheikh (Actors) and Nelson Mandela. May their soul rest in peace!

11. The Lunch Box

The year also saw this gem of a film – The Lunchbox. If we will look back at the history of Indian cinema then this shall be seen as one of the finest films made in the country.

12. RIP Tehelka

The editor Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a journalist working in the same organization. What followed was the management’s disappointing response, leaked e-mails, resignation of its ‘holier than thou’ Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury and eventually arrest of Tarun Tejpal. A magazine that has always taken a high moral stand failed itself when it came to standing by one of it’s employees. Read  Open Letter to Shoma

13. Hanged Till Death

Afzal Guru, the accused in the Parliament attack was finally executed as the President (rightly) rejected his mercy plea. A heated debate followed the execution with many calling the trial unfair and as expected it saw protests in the valley. My only complaint with the police was that in times of internet & mobiles, they chose postal service to communicate the news of his execution to the family. Of course, they never wanted the family to know in order to avoid repercussions. Sad!

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P.S. – The ‘moments’ are not ranked. So there is no Number 1 or Number 2. Just 13 moments from 2013! And on that note Happy 2014 !!

Vasundhara Raje’s victory will be the victory of every woman!

Let me start by stating the obvious; ours is a patriarchal society where men have always been the primary authority figures and over the years nothing much has changed as far as the Indian society is concerned. Being a woman in India is tough; it’s tougher if you are a woman into politics and the going gets even tougher if you are in Rajasthan.

Before I actually discuss Rajasthan and its politics, let’s see how women politicians have been wielded upon. If we move to the Eastern India, we have a woman ruling the state and Mamata Banerjee’s journey to the CM’s office has not been easy.  Who can forget the infamous incident when she was dragged by her hair and shoved out of the Writer’s Building in Kolkata when she had gone to the then Chief Minister seeking justice for a rape victim? Moving down the Southern India, we have Jayalalitha who was manhandled by the DMK members who even tried to pull her sari. These two instances pose a larger question, that, had there been men in their positions would it have been the same? Can we imagine a male politician being dragged by his hair or being stripped off his dhoti? No!

Being born into the desert state, I realize how difficult it would have been for Vasundhara Raje to ascent to power. Rajasthan is one of the states which has one of the lowest literacy rates, child marriages are still a norm, sex ratio is highly skewed and female infanticide is one of the gravest problems faced. I have so many marwari friends whose families still don’t allow their women folk to join the ‘barat’ during weddings, ghoonghat is very much a reality in large number of homes, and many more conservative practices!

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Vasundhara Raje has been a target of sleaze and muck by the Congress who has always tried to pull her down. Many would argue that isn’t that obvious in any democracy? Yes, it sure is but one needs to draw a line somewhere! In its desperation to save its seat, the Congress party came out with CD’s and posters of utterly disgusting nature that talk about Vasundhara Raje’s personal lifestyle. Raje is quite famous in the state because of her drinking. Hence, Ashok Gehlot’s speeches saw lines like 8 PM, No CM’ hinting at Raje’s habit of drinking in the evenings. One of his ministers also asked the people once “How can you vote for somebody who drinks?”  According to Congress ministers drinking is a sin and if women do it then it’s next to a criminal offence. Otherwise, what could explain making drinking an “issue” in the election? If that was not enough, Gehlot raised another point in his speeches where he talked about Raje’s visits to London. He said Latka-jhatka dikhati hai… pata nahin London gayi thi ya kahan gayi thi’ attacking her character. Of course the Congress and its ministers wouldn’t have bothered had it been a man instead of Vasundhara. Much of it has to do with the fact that our society smells of sexism and chauvinism. Raje might be an alcoholic; she might be even in love with someone but how does that make her a woman of bad character? How does that make her less worthy for the post of Chief Minister?

What’s even more surprising is that Vasundhara Raje doesn’t have so many well-wishers in her own party too. Her first term as the Chief Minister saw a lot of infighting among the party men and much of it had to with the fact that the men in her party were just not happy with a woman calling the shots and often called her autocratic. For a state where most women are still confined to the four walls of the house, having a woman chief minister was of course a humongous change. Many attribute BJP’s loss in 2009 due to internal bickering. Later in 2010 she even stepped down as the Leader of opposition in Rajasthan. But little did BJP realize that the only hope of their party in the state was Raje. Eventually, things were forgotten and she was back to take hold the charge of her party. The BJP realized that there was not even a single leader in the state that could get into the shoes of Vasundhara. Her charisma, confidence, ability to connect with people, oratory skills had no match. The same men who made her step down now had to stand behind her because they failed.

As I write this post, most of the exit polls predict a thumping victory for the BJP and Vasundhara Raje in the Assembly polls held in the state. Her victory will be a slap on the faces of all the men who tried to pull her down by questioning her character. Her victory shall be the victory of every woman who dreams of achieving something in life. Her victory shall be the victory of every woman who wants to break the glass ceiling. Her victory shall be the victory of every woman who wants to come out of the shackles of patriarchal society. Her victory will be the victory of every woman who wants to come out of the four walls of the house. Her victory will indicate that the society is changing and a woman drinking or a woman in love is not considered a taboo anymore. Her victory shall be the victory of every woman!