Sunday, 20 January 2013

Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday in a highly emotional speech after taking over the new mantle,

Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday in a highly emotional speech after taking over the new mantle,“My mother came to my room and cried... because she understands that power is poison.”Of course, it is poison and it is going to inflict the masses first. Union home minister is already engaged to spill the poison in the streets.

Palash Biswas

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Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday accused BJP and RSS of conducting ‘terror training’ camps to spread saffron terrorism in the country.Why the government does fail to act against this?It is no secret.The allegation is nothing new. As Rahul Gandhi is projected  as the next prime minister face against hindutva icon Narendra modi and direct battle has to be fought out. The reference and context become political!On the other hand,Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday in a highly emotional speech after taking over the new mantle,“My mother came to my room and cried... because she understands that power is poison.”Of course, it is poison and it is going to inflict the masses first. Union home minister is already engaged to spill the poison in the streets. Nevertheless,President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that law-breakers should be dealt with “swiftly and effectively” to maintain equilibrium in society and thereby gain the confidence of people in the judicial institutions.Where does the government act? No act of saffron terrorism has been punished in the past.Most notorious acts of saffron terror has been enacted jointly by Congress and Sangh Pariwr jointly. While Sikh genocide and  Babri mosque demolition had been the result of the joint venture undertaken by the ruling hegemony. The genocide culture has been introduced as free market economy to which both parties are most committed. Even the criminals against humanity in Gujarat genocide is not punished just because the centre itself has opted for the extreme religious nationalism which is well showcased by the hate campaign launched against the indigenous aborigin majority bahujan India. It is also well reflected in killing the constitution and democratic set up, militarisation of the state, monopolistic corporate aggression against the people of India and invoking war hype to benefit global war economy.

As slogans rent the air and fireworks lit up the chilly night sky above the B.M. Birla Science and Technology Auditorium in Jaipur, the Congress announced that the party’s yuvraj, Rahul Gandhi, had just been appointed vice-president, and formally “elevated to the number two” position in the party, after his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, a year and half ahead of the general elections.
Mr. Gandhi’s appointment, which came more than a year after the clamour for his elevation began within the party, was endorsed by the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, which met here on Saturday evening to approve the draft Jaipur declaration that has emerged from a two-day chintan shivir intended to create an agenda for 2014.The Hindu reports.

Defending himself, Shinde said that he didn't say anything new and only spoke about saffron terrorism which has already been talked about many a times in newspapers. "It is saffron terrorism that I have talked about. It is the same thing and nothing new.Shinde clarified he had only stated what has been appearing in the media and his reference was to "saffron terrorism".Speaking at the All India Congress Committee Chintan Shivir here, Shinde referred to the involvement of right-wing elements in terror incidents and said there was a need to be alert against misinformation.As usual,BJP onSunday attacked Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for accusing it and RSS of running terror training camps and demanded an apology from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for the remarks.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said: "Saffron is the antonym of terrorism. Saffron is the symbol of our traditions, culture, renunciation and sacrifices. The home minister must apologise to the nation."

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Shinde's remarks were "objectionable, dangerous and unfortunate" and demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi, now named the party vice president, apart from Shinde.

Naqvi said a nationalist organisation has been linked to terrorism and Shinde's remarks amounted to "disturbing the peaceful atmosphere for political reasons".

"It is very unfortunate. Terrorists are feeling encouraged. They are infiltrating and carrying out their activities. The instrument to fight terrorists has been repealed. But the party is silent on it," Naqvi said.

Referring to the brutal killing of two Indian Army soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month, Naqvi said militants could be involved in the incident.

"The prime minister reacted late on the incident. The government gives warnings in compulsion. The Congress has been silent on it," he said.

He termed the Congress a "defaulter party" and said the government it leads is "defamed". He also attacked the party on corruption and inflation.

"With the blackness of coal, a garland of price rise and ankle bells of scams, what kind of a dance is this?" Naqvi said.

Congress leaders defended Shinde.

"There is no Hindu or Muslim terrorism. What he meant was right wing terrorism," said Minister of State for Parlianmentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla about Shinde's remark.

"We have known this for long. Shinde had the courage to say it," Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar told reporters.

“Their (Congress’) destructive mindset is reflected in the statement of the Home Minister. The statement he has given at the Chintan Shivir is very objectionable. It’s not only unacceptable but also dangerous,” BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in New Delhi.He said Mr. Shinde’s statement was aimed at disrupting peace and harmony in the country.

Terming RSS as a “nationalist organisation”, the BJP leader said, “Sonia Gandhi should apologise. Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister should also apologise, otherwise there will be serious consequences. This is not accepted. Such baseless things when said by Home Minister amounts to giving clean chit to real terrorists.”

“Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism...Bombs were planted in Samjhauta express, Mecca Masjid and also a blast was carried out in Malegaon.

“We will have to think about it seriously and will have to remain alert,” he said at the AICC meeting in Jaipur.

As his remarks came under attack from BJP and RSS, Mr. Shinde later said, “This has come so many times in the papers...It is not a new thing that I have said today.

“This is saffron terrorism that I have talked about. It is the same thing and nothing new. It has come in the media several times,” the Home Minister said.

To a question if it was Hindu terrorism or saffron terrorism, he said, “This is saffron terrorism (that) I have stated.”

Mr. Shinde said that infiltration from Pakistan, insurgency in the north east and Naxalism were the main challenges before the country.

“Infiltration is from Pakistan, insurgency is in some states in the north east and Naxalism is another challenge.

Environment is being created against peace but the department will do its complete work,” he said.

The Home Minister said a solution to Naxalism could through initiation of development in the affected areas.

“Facilities will have be provided to bring peace in Naxal-affected areas,” he said.

Mr. Shinde said that Congress is the only party which follows the fundamental principle of secularism and has given opportunities to several members from dalit, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and minority communities to rise.

“Our leader Sonia Gandhi gave me, a dalit, and an opportunity to become Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and there are many names from SC, ST, OBC, minority communities who were made ministers and given other opportunities.

“The communities have been adequately represented in the government,” he said.

The Home Minister underlined the importance of rise of regional parties and said that if any leader who parted ways with Congress in the past wanted to join again, it should be taken into consideration.

Striking a personal note, the 42-year-old leader in his maiden address as party vice-president, recalled the moments when his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi walked into his room on Saturday night.

“Last night each one of you congratulated me. My mother came to my room and she sat with me and she cried... because she understands that power so many people seek is actually a poison,” Mr. Gandhi said at the AICC session in Jaipur.

He recalled the time his grandmother and the then Prime Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by security guards with whom he used to play badminton as “friends” and how his father Rajiv Gandhi, who was himself “broken inside”, showed a “glimmer of hope” to the people.

The young leader received a standing ovation by the audience which included Sonia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he said “We should not chase power, only use it to empower others.”

He said his mother could see that power is poison “because she is not attached to it. The only antidote to this poison for all of us to see what it really is and not become attached to it. We should not chase power for the attributes of power. We should only use it to empower the voices.”

Mr. Gandhi recalled that as a little boy, “he loved to play badminton. I loved it because it gave me balance in this complicated world. I was taught how to play in my grandmother’s house by two police men who protected my grandmother as my friends.

“Then one day they killed my grandmother and took away the balance from my life. I felt like I had not felt before.”

Mr. Gandhi recalled how he knew his father was “broken inside” and “terrified of what lay in front of him“.

“My father was in Bengal and he came back.... It was the first time in my life that I saw my father crying. He was the bravest person I knew and yet I saw him cry. I could see...I was small, but I could see my father was broken. They had taken away his mother and he was broken. In those days our country was not what it is today.

“In the eyes of the world we had nothing, we were worthless.... Nobody thought about us. That same evening I saw my father addressing the nation on TV. I know like me he was broken inside. I know like me he was terrified of what lay in front of him. As we spoke in that dark night, I felt a small glimmer of hope.

“It was like small ray of light in the dark sky and I still remember what it felt. The next day I realised that many people had seen it as well.”

Amid repeated applause from the gathering during his 45—minute speech, Rahul said “as I look back... I have a political career of eight years and 42 years old...I could see that it was that small ray of hope in the darkness that helped changed India into what it is today.”

He said that he realises he has a big responsibility in front of him and that people are standing behind him.

Mr. Gandhi said without hope nothing can be achieved. “We can have plans, we can have ideas but unless you have hope, you cannot change.”

The leader said Congress is the symbol of hope. “Congress party is now my life, people of India are my life. I will fight for people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything that I have.”

Speaking in the backdrop of a nationwide outrage over atrocities against women, specially the death of a Delhi gang rape victim, Mr. Mukherjee said, “The judiciary has to ensure that those who are on the wrong side of the law are dealt with swiftly and effectively to maintain social balance.”

Addressing the sesquicentennial celebrations of Calcutta High Court, the President acknowledged that for a country of a large population of 1.2 billion, the judicial institutions had the unenviable task of delivering timely, affordable and quality justice to all its citizens.

“Though, the Indian judiciary has preserved its pre-eminent place in Indian democracy, one area where it has lagged behind is in not fully meeting the aspirations of the people and provide quick, speedy and accessible justice to those who knock at its doors,” Mr. Mukherjee noted.

The President also advocated the need for maintaining the independence of the judiciary while at the same time maintaining the delicate balance.

“The independence of the judiciary is the cornerstone of our democracy. Everything necessary needs to be done to reserve and protect the independence of our judiciary. But, needs to be done while maintaining the delicate balance of power enshrined in the Constitution,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Maintaining that it was important for each organ of the government to operate within its own sphere, the President said, “While exercise of powers of the legislature and executive are subject to judicial review, the only check on the judiciary’s exercise of powers is the self-imposed discipline and self restraint.”

He also reminded that the Constitution was supreme and not any one of its creations -- the legislature, executive or judiciary.

He hoped that both the state governments and the central government would be committed to making sure that funds were not a constraint in implementing the initiative for delivery of justice.

He stressed on filling up vacancies in courts across the country which, he said, should be taken up on a priority basis and that the selection must be on transparent principles.

Calling for speedy disposal of cases, he said, “The Calcutta High Court today has 41 judges against the sanctioned strength of 58. There are 3.47 lakh cases pending as on December 2011. The pendency in the subordinate courts is an estimated 26 lakh and more than 21 lakh of them are criminal cases.

The President expects the number of initiatives by Union government, including the e-court mission project, to help in speedy disposal of cases.

Another important judicial reform which is underway, he pointed out, was in regard to court procedures and court processes.

“The Supreme Court has notified a National Court Management System for addressing issues of case management and court management, for setting up measurable standards for performance of the courts and laying down a National System for judiciary Statistics in the country,” Mukherjee said.

The sub-group under the chairmanship of Law Commission has been set up for taking a closer look at reforms in criminal justice system, Mukherjee observed.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said people were getting disillusioned with the political process and urged party workers to introspect why people should vote for them.

“We must accept that people are getting disillusioned with the political process. We must introspect why they should vote for the party,” Sonia Gandhi told the All India Congress Committee session on the final day of the ‘Chintan Shivir’ (brainstorming meet) in Jaipur.

“Our answers should be clear and we have to explain it to people with simplicity and confidence,” she said.

Sonia Gandhi also urged party workers to oppose those who levelled false allegations on politicians, parties and institutions.

The Congress chief also suggested a rethink on electoral reforms, especially political funding, saying she would set up a group in the party to examine the issue and suggest an action plan.

Struggle against corruption

Calling corruption a “deep rooted malice”, the Congress president said the party must lead the ‘struggle’ to counter its effect.

“Let me reiterate corruption at all levels is a deep rooted malice and all sections of society are affected by it. As a party we must lead struggle to combat its effect,” Sonia Gandhi said at the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Jaipur.

The ‘Chintan Shivir’, the Congress’ introspective meet, began here on January 18 and will conclude on Sunday.

The Congress president said corruption was the main concern of the nation when the party held its session at Burari in July 2011.

Sonia Gandhi said that a five-point agenda to deal with corruption was given and the party has moved on with it.

The key among the steps taken was introducing Lokpal bill in the parliament and introducing more transparency in the process of allocating natural resources, said the Congress president.

“We have introduced path-breaking legislation for grievance redressal, whistle blowers, and the historic ‘apka paisa apke hath’ (your money in your hands, the direct cash transfer scheme) initiative,” she said.

Youth, women and middle class

The Congress president targeted the youth, women and the middle class in the party’s quest for widening its base ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Opening the AICC session, she also made some plain speaking to her partymen saying they should not indulge in nepotism and should show unity to face the challenge of elections which are 15 months away.

She said party leaders should work for the welfare of all and not restrict themselves to their "favourites".

“I am sure if we make the right efforts with unity, there is no doubt in my mind why we will not get the mandate again,” she said.

Ms. Gandhi said she was happy with the participation of the younger colleagues in the brain storming conclave and hoped that it will help the party project new leadership.

Who's real Rahul?
Jan 21, 2013
Aware of its plunging stock with the people and fast eroding vote base, the Congress has predictability turned to ‘The Family’ for answers. Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as vice-president and number 2 in the party may be intended to give a ‘youthful face’ to the party, but everyone knows that it is nothing but formalising the existing power structure.

Rahul’s nomination may boost the sagging morale of Congressmen, but whether it can enthuse India’s voters is another matter. Many Indians are familiar with his face and family name but little is known of his views on key issues of governance.  Rahul has been reluctant to speak his mind on contentious issues such as corruption, economic reforms, caste reservations or the development versus environment debate. He was holidaying abroad when the whole country burned for over a month over the Delhi rape case recently. He will have to end this reticence to engage with ordinary Indians if he is keen to emerge a mass leader with substance.

The Congress’ Chintan Shivir at Jaipur was to prepare a battle-planfor General Elections-2014. The entire ‘thinking’ seemed to be focused on singing praise of Rahul and little else. It shows how out of touch the Congress is with the prevailing mood in India. While party president Sonia Gandhi did draw attention to peoples’ weariness with corruption and crime, she provided no pointers to what the Congress proposed to do on these matters. Instead of brainstorming on how to tackle price rise, corruption and the agrarian crisis, all that one saw and heard through much of the meeting was sycophancy and sloganeering calling for Rahul’s elevation.

Rahul’s elevation is being touted as a generational change in the leadership of the Congress. It will require more youth to being inducted at all levels for this change to have meaning. Congressmen have hailed Rahul’s elevation as a game changer. This perception stems from an underestimation of the Indian voter, from a belief that family names rather than governance and performance determine who people vote for. It is as though Rahul at the steering wheel of the Congress is a cure-all for all the ills of the party and the shortcomings of the government it heads. A more realistic appraisal of what individuals can and cannot do, an honest assessment of the government’s performance and a robust battle plan to improve governance may provide the Congress a better starting point in the run-up to the general elections.

Dynastic succession sanctified at Jaipur?


January 20, 2013:  
It is both natural and understandable that the unanimous crowning of Rahul Gandhi as the Vice-President of the Indian National Congress should overshadow all the rest of the pronouncements emanating from the Chintan Shivir held by the Party at Jaipur during January 18-19.

Although his pre-eminence within the Party had never been in any doubt, and although it was always assumed that he would one day take over the reins from Sonia Gandhi, and possibly from Manmohan Singh as well, there was some haziness about the exact timing and the manner of the formal announcement.

The Jaipur Declaration sets all speculation at rest and it is just as well. Succession planning is as important in the case of political parties as it is for corporates and, indeed, for any organised or group endeavour. It enables the duly appointed successor to prepare himself for his assigned role and responsibilities. Those whom he would be leading are also clear about the future source of direction and control.

Its essential purpose, however, is not so much to facilitate the wielding of authority, but to signal where the accountability for failure or success in the tasks entrusted will lie.

For this reason, it need not be that the successor should be a perfect or ideal choice.

What is expected in him is undoubted leadership abilities distinguished by a degree of drive, commitment to the cause, and energy, He should, of course, have clarity of the mission to be accomplished, and an optimal awareness of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the outfit he is slated to head, as well as the scope ahead for exploiting its potential to the maximum public good within the prevailing competitive milieu.


If he is a political leader, in the Indian context, he has to take account of the compulsions, contradictions, complexities and diversities, and the refusal of the people to put up any more with incompetence and indifference of those in power and authority.

He should, in particular, command a general acceptability in the sense of enjoying the trust and confidence of governmental set-ups, State leaderships, economic players, business and industry, the public and even institutions and governments abroad.

As an inevitable corollary, it is best for the person on whom the mantle of political leadership falls to have the accommodative temperament to reach out, build bridges and forge a consensus out of a conflict of opinions.

Does Rahul Gandhi have what it takes? He starts off with a bumper advantage as being his mother’s son. It is all very well for carping critics to question ‘dynasticism’ as a legitimate credential, but it cannot be denied that it certainly has in it the vital and positive element of experience from close quarters over the years of problem-solving, conflict-managing and people-handling by the topmost leader and the opportunity to draw the appropriate lessons in both how-to and how-not-to.


One point that goes greatly in Rahul’s favour is that, unlike Sanjay Gandhi with reference to Indira Gandhi, he has not misused his position to browbeat and or harass. Such advice as he had been credited with giving, whether it turned out to be suited to the circumstances or not, has been in good faith and for the betterment of the party and the polity. Also, there have been no big blunders on his part that have worked against national interest.

I would rate his biggest endowment by far is his youth, capacity for hard work and the desire to do the best he can.

The enthusiasm he inspires among the leaders, members and workers under the Congress banner is genuine and unmistakable. Thus, both on relative and absolute merits, he indubitably deserves to be given a chance to lead the party after Sonia Gandhi who reportedly wants to retire when she is 70 in 2016.

From now on, he will be under the scanner, nationally and internationally, as the man of the moment. It has become incumbent on him to do everything possible to deliver.

Even in the second slot as the Vice-President of the party, the road ahead for him could not be clearer. His immediate task is to make sure that all that is required is put in place for the victory of his Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, if necessary, by working out a winnable configuration and if possible (and why not?), by self-confidently going it alone.

In pursuit of saffron terror, NIA digs out blasts evidence in Indore
Mahesh J. Mishra, DNA | Jan 15, 2013, 04:47AM IST

Indore: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) sleuths on Monday conducted a massive search operation at three places in Indore and Dhar districts to collect evidence relating to the murder of former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi and saffron terror attacks allegedly masterminded by him.

Around 50 NIA officers with 150 local police men including bomb disposal squad, conducted thorough daylong searches at houses and farms of late Jitendra Patel of Dakachya village and former district BJP general secretary Uttam Chouhan in Mandlavda village of Indore district.

Patel had died due to blood cancer in 2011.

Similar operation was carried out at a house and shop of timber merchant Manish Tiwari on Baleshwar Road in Dhar city. Tiwari is the brother-in-law of Lokesh Sharma, one of the accused in Mecca- Masjid, Malegaon, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express blasts.

Sharma was arrested by NIA in 2011.

"We have seized some material during the raids. We will be examining them before proceeding further," a senior NIA officer told DNA. The NIA had got clues about Joshi's murder and links of the suspects to the blasts during interrogation of those recently arrested from Indore division.

The NIA had arrested Rajendra Choudhary, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Tejram in connection to the blasts in last 30 days.

The accused, who are in judicial custody, had informed the NIA that Sunil Joshi and his friends were involved in bomb making, planning and executing the blasts. Joshi was killed near Dewas city in December 2007, which the NIA believes was handiwork of saffron activists to thwart blasts investigations.

The four accused arrested recently told NIA that Joshi and his friends used the establishments of Patel in Dakachya and Chouhan in Mandlavda as safe houses on several occasions while hiding from the investigators.

Both families of Patel and Chouhan have lavish houses and are known as heavyweights in the areas.

The NIA had received information that Joshi might have hidden live bombs at their establishments. Every nook and corner of their farms and residential areas were examined by the bomb squad.

However, no explosives were recovered during the operation.