Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Re: A Government of the people, for the people and by the people for Delhi; Kejriwal


A Government of the people, for the people and by the people for Delhi; asserts Kejriwal after massive majority


A physically ill, but determined and focused Arvind Kejriwal took the oath of office of Chief Minister of Delhi again after exactly one year and promised to deliver a corruption free, people responsive , stable government without diverting his energies to other states for his five-year term. He confessed that it was a mistake to have left Delhi and to spread the wings of the fledgling new party into other states for the central parliament elections .He may be right about it, but as his deputy leader Sisodia said in an interview that Aap party has 400 leaders who stood on its ticket for the parliamentary elections in May last year and the country knows about the aims and objectives of this party. The party also won four parliamentary seats from Punjab.


Kejriwal speech was along well-known lines, and he came out very convincingly about his honesty, his dedication and is integrity. The author has seen and met with many international leaders during his 35 a long diplomatic career, beginning with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Nasser, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ben Bella, Che Guevara, Indira Gandhi,( who took the author out for a walk after the successful visit to Romania in October 1981.Other leaders include  president of Senegal Sedat Senghor, revolutionaries leaders and presidents of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands, followed by Communist leader Ceausescu of Romania , King Hussein of Jordan and Turkish leaders like Demirel, Turgut Ozal and Azerbaijan's Aliev .


Kejriwal is only 46 years old, but has amazing presence, conviction and integrity, even playfulness, if necessary and honesty of purpose with genuine humility, qualities which are very rare among political leaders. He is not a political leader in the normal sense of the word, which most of the present leaders  are .In this era of neoliberal capitalism majority of the political leaders are puppets in the hand of robber barons and capitalists .Eighty rich people control 50% of the world wealth . This is certainly not the destiny of the human beings and they must rise up against it.


Apart from Cuba under Castro since end 1950s, in a number of countries recently ,specially in Latin America, Venezuela, Bolivia and few others, including Brazil have followed a pro-people policy in the teeth of total opposition and intrigues and international pressure from the leaders of military-industrial complex other corporate interests and basically warmongers, led by USA, UK, Israel and other NATO members.


In the subcontinent and the region of Delhi, the capital of India of  12million will be watched not only in India but all over the world. Kejriwal is peaceful revolutionary and the contrast of the way his government works will be resisted politically and even otherwise by all general run of political parties. Just see outside your house poor people transporting human beings by cycle rickshaws from one place to another for Rupees 10, while those who have benefited from spectrum sale or coal blocks auctions have made billions of rupees without doing anything at all.


Modi with his 1 million Rs suit


Preacher Modi with his 1 million Rs suit and false promises and his party thought that perennial Diwali ( festival of Lakshmi –Goddess of wealth -has come for loot and dividing the country. Kejriwal's victory has exposed them .Very little has been done .BJP party president Amit Shah has a very unsavory reputation and past life  and Modi is almost nothing without his hatchet man . BJP, which won a majority in the central Parliament with only 31% of votes, is already jittery with the performance of Kejriwal win and will try its best to put obstacles to stop his mission. BJP's abysmal performance in Delhi has emboldened its coalition partner Shiv Sena in Mumbai .Scared Modi who during elections called Sharad Pawar corrupt is now making up with him. Modi's reputation has been smudged and tarnished.


If the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has any sense of dignity and pride, he should resign .He was a puppet in the hand of first Congress government and then Modi's government. He did his best to make things difficult for Aap party and delayed the elections as long as possible, which in any case benefited Kejriwal .Still on principle; he should resign and go away.


Modi's reputation of the poor man's Prime Minister across India and of all sections of people has been exposed. He turned out to be a petty small-minded person calling Kejriwal names. He will do his best to see that Kejriwal program is not implemented. He should be aware of the people power in Delhi and if Modi and his government are irresponsible you can expect in spite of Kejriwal, people's anger getting out of hand. India is a very big country where people are living in different centuries with different religions, castes, ethnicities and languages and in my opinion, barring small percentage living in feudal time warp with mediaeval outlook. Because of illiteracy and the caste system even stupid people have become not only members of Parliament, but even members of the Cabinet Central government.


I reproduce  below two articles from today's Indian express .The first on philosophy, policy and possibilities of success and failure of Aap party. This is a good article and needs to be studied. The second article is by a recently retired Indian diplomat Katju , who was reportedly close to LK Advani .So his philosophy is well-known and is quite different from Justice Katju's views on Brahmins. But Katju is quite right in pointing out the impact on India's international relations, especially relations between prime minister Modi and leaders of USA, Russia, China and Japan, with whom Modi has established close relations .But they now find that there is a more acceptable leader to Indians in the heart of the capital who will challenge Modi's economic and political policies and it will not be easy for neoliberal capitalists to exploit the poor in India. India's might have slower rate of growth, but with equitable distribution and less inequality. Inequality has become the bane of human history since the fall of the Berlin Wall.


As I have repeatedly written about the pressitutes in Delhi, Kejriwal was constrained to bring up the subject of the Media against him and his party .


K.Gajendra Singh 15 Feb., 2015,Mayur Vihar, Delhi


Left, right, AAP

Written by Harbans Mukhia | Posted: February 13, 2015

Indian Express  Oped


Has Arvind Kejriwal altered the paradigm of India's politics? What rubbish, many of us would say. Politicians of this brand come and go and are soon forgotten. One serious charge that is constantly levied against the Aam Aadmi Party in general and Kejriwal in particular is that they lack a clear ideological perspective to guide their actions, which then acquire an ad hoc character. And the charge does not originate in hostility to them, even as it is not even firmly denied by them.

But then the charge itself arises from certain ideas about what constitutes ideology. We have grown up with ideology being cast in terms of binary opposites of class, gender and, in India specifically, caste. Its purported "scientific" schema was laid down by Marx and Engels. In this schema, society, economy, state, politics, culture, religion — everything — imbibed a class character in a general context of irreconcilable class antagonism. Change, in this scenario, could occur only with the overthrow of one class by another and the replacement of an entire structure dominated by one class with an alternative one. There was no shared space in between. It had a sense of deliberate abolition of the past, as it were. The French Revolution was the first such moment of transition, which "abolished feudalism" through a law passed by the Assemblée Nationale one fine morning in August 1789. The 20th century saw several more changes which overthrew either feudal or bourgeois regimes. The socialist revolution of Russia was to mark the arrival of the penultimate stage of class antagonism, prior only to the end of all class struggle as humanity marched into the stage of communism, which would eradicate all trace of class difference among human beings. A dream-like prospect.


If the failure of the Soviet experiment does not nullify the concept of class difference in existing societies, it points to alternative modes of resolving social and other tensions. The concept of liberal democracy, which has virtually come to be equated with periodic, multi-party free and fair elections or representative democracy — very inadequate, in effect, for meeting the aspirations of the common masses — is a working alternative, and the only one available at present. The other option is to boycott it and wage revolutionary class war outside its framework, an option no longer viable.


It is true that the working of liberal democracy has almost universally been characterized by a gap between its promises and its delivery. The promises made to "we the people" in idealistic constitutions drafted in grand constitutional assemblies, made up of the most highly educated elites, have been denied to the people in real life. We have now reached a stage where about 80 individuals own half the world's wealth and they have acquired it largely in the most advanced democratic set-ups.


Yet, the option of delivering the promises made by the same liberal democratic constitutions is opening up. Several experiments in Latin American states and societies, in Iceland and, most recently, in Greece have demonstrated the feasibility of looking after the interests of the poor and the downtrodden — and of the ecology — within the available framework of "democracy". In other words, the ideology that has guided these experiments is redefining Marxism itself by drawing it away from the premise of irreconcilable class antagonism. The objective here is not to do away with the capitalist system but to compel it to fulfill the promises made by the "bourgeois" constitutions. Honesty of purpose seems to have replaced the ideological commitment to class antagonism.


This appears to be the guiding perspective of the AAP. It is not as if Kejriwal and his friends have sat down to deliberate these issues, even though it has eminent intellectuals steeped in the social sciences, such as Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar, Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Rajmohan Gandhi and others, in the higher echelons of the party leadership. But then, perspectives do not evolve through deliberations among intellectuals. They evolve through interactions with the people and a deliberate as well as intuitive understanding of their problems and aspirations. It would be interesting to investigate how many epoch-making leaders, like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, developed their perspectives by reading learned treatises. As recent exciting experiments in direct democracy, in Iceland and earlier Venezuela, have demonstrated, perspectives traverse many diverse and complex terrains as they evolve.


Thus, what the AAP is experimenting with is not a grand theory of overthrow or revolution but one of enlarging the public space within the existing structures. It is not premised on upheavals of one sort or another, but on an incremental claiming of rights that have, in practice, been denied to the common people, the aam aadmis.


Will this experiment evaporate into thin air? There is no guarantee that it will survive the expected onslaught of vested interests. But there is no guarantee that it will succumb to threats or temptations held out by vested interests either. Kejriwal has always laid stress on the sincerity of intentions and shown no sign of wavering from them, although it is too early to decide and power has the habit of corrupting. But if it is important to keep one's scepticism alive, especially when it comes to leaders, it is equally important to grant them honesty and commitment to a cause until such time as they belie it. It is the simple principle of "innocent until proven guilty".


But the success of the AAP experiment in Delhi will, even if not in full measure but substantially, in Nehru's memorable words, galvanise other areas of public and political life in India. It is easy to envisage its cascading effect if it works out. That is its real message. That is our hope.

The writer is national fellow, Indian Council of Historical Research




The Delhi fumble

Written by Vivek Katju | Posted: February 13, 2015


THE Delhi assembly election has attracted the keen attention of foreign diplomats, India-watchers and the international media. Mostly because the BJP leadership chose to invest it with significance that it intrinsically did not deserve. The complete rout of the BJP has also raised questions about the election's impact on national politics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's spectacular and decisive victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections convinced the international community that he had emerged as the country's tallest political leader, without a real rival. As Modi's star rose in national politics, many countries shed their earlier inhibitions and started to engage with him. After his electoral success last year, important foreign leaders displayed eagerness to accept him as a peer and do business with him. Modi, in turn, showed great interest in foreign affairs and met his international counterparts with ease and a sure touch.

The international community only truly respects heads of government who have real power and are politically durable. It recognizes that only they can actually deliver on assurances and implement decisions. It swiftly realised that Modi was the first such leader to emerge in India in over two decades — his political success exceeds Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi's. This view was confirmed as the BJP won state elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra as well as vastly improved its performance in Jammu and Kashmir. Modi's decisions to change the land acquisition law and allow greater foreign investment in critical sectors like insurance were signals of his intent to move purposefully to overcome the impediments to implementing his vision for India. But he still has to navigate the ordinances through Parliament.


Press Mute

Kabul Breakpoint

Chemistry Is Overrated

But international observers and Modi's peers will now pause to assess the impact of the Delhi election on the Indian political scene, especially on Modi. They are likely to focus attention not only on what led Modi to stake his reputation against Arvind Kejriwal, who was in no way his political equal, but also, more importantly, on how he would absorb this reverse and move ahead. Will it bring changes to his economic and foreign policies? Will he move to a more collegial style of functioning? Will he seek to curb the sharp rhetoric and actions of Hindutva elements in the Sangh Parivar? If, in the coming months, they conclude that Modi has taken this defeat in his stride and not allowed it to change his economic and development agenda, they will continue to actively engage with him. But they will focus, in particular, on his moves to ensure the maintenance of social harmony. If these happen, the Delhi elections would be considered as no more than a blip in his five-year prime ministerial term.

Kejriwal evokes intense curiosity among Delhi-based foreign diplomats and India-watchers. They would have been impressed with his remarkable ability to overcome crippling political reverses in a very short time. They would also feel his party had the potential to appeal to vast sections across India, depending on its ability to deliver on electoral commitments in Delhi.

But the international community has great interest in a political party's economic policies, approach to global issues and national security concerns. It is on these matters that countries spar or cooperate. Governance issues that directly impact people's lives and domestic economic policies win or lose elections but are not of direct interest to global players. But Kejriwal has not spelt out his views on these international matters and would need to do so before the world can form an opinion of him.

The Congress party seems to have fallen into the political precipice. Rahul Gandhi has failed every significant electoral test in the past few years. The party is so closely identified with the Gandhi family that it seems not to have a future without them at the helm. Will the international community write off the Congress — in the Delhi election, it did not win a single seat and its vote share fell below 10 per cent? This is unlikely. Global leaders know the Congress party well and have, in the past, been comfortable dealing with it. Besides, let's not forget, it is still the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.

The Delhi election will make India-watching more interesting and complex for the international community.


The writer is a former diplomat