WHO IS AFRAID OF RAHUL GANDHI?

Rahul Becomes President

Rahul Gandhi is named President of Indian National Congress finally setting up a challenge to Prime Minister Modiji in 2019 polls.

Rahul ‘s task is very demanding at a stage when the Congress party is at its low ebb, and his performance will be judged from the exalted standards displayed by earlier Presidents , jawahar lal Nehru ,Indira Gandhi among many others who had unfaltered commitment to the values of the party.

He is reported to be a hard task master and his first test will be how he would balance the political aspirations of new and old congress guards.

The big question comes to mind; Who is afraid of Rahul?

The critics of Rahul Gandhi abound all around, inside party ,and much more vocal outside from the ruling camps who see him as the contender to lead forces opposed to Modi .

Rahul’s sudden assertion in Gujrat elections has sent the top brass of BJP into jitters.

Modiji and his team have literally camped in Gujrat to counter Rahul’s onslaught in the massive congress campaign to dislodge BJP in the state elections.

He is seen as a new messiah by a vast section to bring hope to millions reeling under the negative impact of GST among traders small and big ,the trevails caused by Demonetisation ,the rising prices ,the patidar agitation,the atrocities on Dalits .

However as always it is difficult to predict the outcome of elections,but one thing is very evident Rahul has made a considerable dent in the BJP bastion.

The sight of Rahul Gandhi drinking tea ,interacting with people on the road shows, the oratory excellence of his speeches, speak volumes of his leadership acumen.

Having said so The Prime Minister shri Narender Modi , a selfless politician ,a sauve firm administrator and above all the son of the soil entrenched in local politics may not give in easily.

The people of Gujrat and the country have great love and affection for him. And probably he has earned it over a period of time.

The People have their own yardstick to measure the leader’s worksheet and act accordingly at the moment of crucial decision.

A moment to reflect and wait for final results.

The strategy of lampooning of Rahul by BJP over the years have fizzled out and pushed the leaders to face the impending challenge thrown by the rising Rahul in Modi’s den.

The era of belittling him as “shezada” and “Pappu” seem to end and the rival party has realized the impending threat of losing the state election in Gujrat.

Pak ‘hand ‘ in polls

Speaking in the town of Banaskantha ,located on the border Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi said in an election rally on Sunday “ Pakistani former army director general Rafiq Arshad said that in Gujrat Ahmed Patel (the political secretary to congress president Sonia Gandhi)should be made the chief minister .why is senior retired army officer exercising his brain in the Gujrat elections.Apakistani delegation meets at Mani shanker’s house and next day he disrespects Gujrat’s society.its pachat(backward) society its poor and Modi.Don’t all these things raise questions and concern? The Congress has to  answer”. Sources The Indian Express

Rahul Gandhi addressed the rally at Kalol on Sunday evening stating he would not use foul language against PM Narender Modi irrespective whatever he had to say but would defeat him with love .

However the question still remains ;Who is afraid of Rahul Gandhi ?

A t the outset Rahul Gandhi has to weild a stick to bring chaotic Grand old Party to discipline to adhere to its ideology and rejuvenate it accordingly to the level of instilling hope in the people of India ,a country thrumming with multicultural, multilingual, multicaste energy.

BJP ,especially the top brass ,is curiously eyeing   Rahul as chutzpah to lead the congress effectively and keep the grand old party in the combative stage for good.

Rahul has been talking of new ideas to refurbish Congress and now in the saddle to weild

power , he could implement some of his vibrant ideas without any hindrance from the old guards.

For instance intra –party democracy and bringing new youth into its fold may take final shape.

The work of INC PROFESSIONAL under the chairmanship of Dr shashi Tharoor has already begun.

In a vibrant democracy like India opposition should be strong to save the country from slipping into a dictator’s hands.

 

 

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NEPAL GOES TO POLLS.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBOUR;

 The first round of first Provincial and Parliamentary elections concluded peacefully in Nepal on Sunday.

Despite scepticism of some voters , the voters largely  are hopeful of the much needed political stability of the Himalayan Nation.

The on going election is first under the new Constitution ,which came into effect on 20th September 2015.replacing the interim constitution of 2007.

Until 2006 the Nepal government waged a decade long war with Moist rebels that killed around 16000 people.

The new constitution  defines Nepal as multi religious ,multi-ethenic, multilingual with common aspiration of people at large.

Nepal is a soverign Himalayan state ,bordering China in the North and India in the south ,east and west.

Nepal is divided into 7 states , with 4 Metropolises, and 13 sub-Metropolises.

Interestingly Nepal does not have border with either Bangladesh or Bhutan.

It is a country of vast plains, beautiful Forested hills, and is home to eight of the world’s Ten mountains including highest Mount Everest .(8,848m) (29,029ft).

The Nepali Congress ,the largest party ,heading the current coalition government is clear about following a balanced policy towards Its neighbours including India and China.

But the communist party of Nepal unified Marxist Leninist and the Communist party of Nepal the party of Maoist Rebels (CPN-UML) are fighting the current election as an alliance and adopted anti India and pro China stance during the campaign.

Rabindra Adhikari a leader of UML party tweeted “ let there be polarization of left and democratic parties . This is global democratic exercise to form a majority government.” Source   Aljazeera Reported.

 Strained Relationship

 Despite India’s active diplomatic efforts in brokering peace between the Maoists and the Nepal Government , relations got sored between the two neighbouring countries in recent years.

The blockade decision by the Government of India in 2015 severely affected imports of items like fuel ,food and other essentials from India making life difficult for Nepali citizens.

However UML leader Mr adhikari said “UML hopes that presence of Maoists leaders will improve their relationship with India “ .

But K.P.OLI made it clear that by signing treaty with China during India’s blockade of transit routes ,Nepal would not have to suffer hardships any longer.

UML Alliance is expected to maintain Anti India stand till completion of second phase of election on 7th December.

One thing is clear India needs hard to placate with Nepal to restore a good neighbourly relations as in the past.

Much depends on Maoist as they are obliged to India for forging them in to political arena after being underground for years together.

In June The Nepal government signed a $2.5 billion deal with Chinese state company China Gezhouba Group to build the Budhi Gandaki plant in Nepal, the biggest dam in the country. 

Last week, the Nepalese government – under an interim administration led by the pro-India Congress Party ahead of elections indicated it would abandon the deal.

In the first phase 3.19 million voted peacefully to elect lawmakers for 32 districts,mainly mountain regions. Some of the regions saw voting turnout as good as 80%.

The elections are being held to elect 175 members of Parliament and 350 members of Provincial Assemblies.

Nepal knows well it cannot afford to be at loggerheads with India  for long and both need strive hard to maintain brotherly relations as in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POLITICAL RUMBLINGS ACROSS THE GLOBE

INDIA

 STATE ELECTIONS;

 GUJRAT

The Gujrat State Assembly election has entered crucial stage, just short of a war between Congress and BJP.

Rahul Gandhi is approaching this election on alliances and understandings thus deviating from the subtle formulae of previous elections.

With induction of Alpesh Thakor ,the leaders of other castes communities like Dalits ,tribals and Patels have entered into deals with Congress Party , a firm personal understanding with Rahul Gandhi to target the might of BJP.

Rahul Gandhi has a definite strategy for challenging BJP in its den.

With Alpesh in Congress ,the OBC belt of North Gujrat is taken care of . For SC vote ,Jignesh Mevani is being consistently campaigning among SC belt to vote for the Congress.

And the Patidars led by Hardik Patel ,having in principle accepted PAAS demands, the Congress hopes to see Patidars vote for it this time particularly in Saurashtra.

Just to ameliorate PAAS the Congress revised its list of candidates to accommodate Hardik patidar quota leaders.

The Congress leader spokesperson Manish Doshi said that the changes were resorted to win the elections.

Last but not the least BTP ( JDU faction of Sharad Yadav) led by Chhotubhai Vasva a tallest tribal leader of South Gujrat and now backing the Congress .

Though the Congress is upbeat this time but BJPis leaving no stone unturned to retain the state .

In most of the urban areas election discourse is all about Modi.

For instance Anand the home of milk and butter ,once stronghold of the Congress, has now been a BJP favourite.

This is the area where patels speak against PAAS and they support Modi as their leader. The change was due to communal polarization .

But however some MLAs claim that there is fierce opposition to BJP now and due to absence of communal polarization in the current elections the wind is strictly in favour of the Congress.

A time to wait and watch the electoral contest of the year .

 

VENEZUELA

 With rapid decline from a rich boisterous country of South America to the world’s troubled economies, Venezuela stands on the brink of a storm perhaps never to revive .

The economy of Venezuela is dependent on the oil business and since 2006 the nation’s debt increased tenfold and inflation is likely to rise to 2,300 percent in the year to come.

Venezuela’s downfall was exacerbated by the Nations Autocratic political ones.

Both Hugo Chavez and his mentor ,successor ,the current President Nicolas Maduro scuttled democracy by fixing elections and silenced the democratic institutions that could stand in its way to re-write the constitution for consolidating power without any opposition.

Both Eu and United states embargoed Maduro through economic pressure.

But Russian Foreign Ministry offered olive branch by stating that the $3.5 billion debt could be paid over ten years with minimal repayments in first six years.

However the dire economic crisis has caused cutting on the imports of food items , medicinal supplies, resulting in nearly 54% of malnourished children causing deadly diseases.

HAITI

The united states has decided to end the programme granting asylum to nearly 60,000 Haitians ,allowing them to stay and live in US following devastating earthquake in 2010.

Those covered under the programme supposed to leave united states by july 2019.   Reports NY TIMES.

 The catastrophic earth quake 7.0 on the Righter scale causing destruction to 3 million people ,killing nearly 300,000.

The US Department of Home confirms that the conditions in Haiti are congenial to take Haitians back.

However some lawmakers were lobbying with Trump administration that Haiti is not still prepared to take the Haitians in one go and pleaded for extension of their stay.

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD AT A GLANCE

Latin America

 Pink Tide Movement

 Pink Tide is in jeopardy. In 1990 ‘s and 2000’s Socialists rose to power in Latin America and brought economic bliss to the region .The Socialist movement called ‘PINKTIDE” became sign of economic Growth and thus a rage of the era.

Now the situation looks uncertain as most of these countries   namely   Chile ,Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Handuras, Paraguay, Venezuela, Gautemala, Panama , Uruguay  are holding elections in next two years.

The mainstream political parties are generally out of tune with the wants and desires of voters in context with the weak and varying economic Growth .The key question uppermost in the minds of voters will be to what extent the country’s Institutions stand to the populist whims ,instincts, political fads of leaders .It should be matter of brave crescendo for the political leaders, Court Judges , Activists ,journalists to resist and withstand the idiosyncrantic leaders who would dismantle such democratic institutions to empower themselves in the executive.

The United States stands glaring example of Containing President Donald Trump’s whimsical manoeuverings,the congress , bureaucracy and the courts successfully withstood his instincts.

There will be around roughly 30 Presidential candidates in the fray ,majority running as Independents ,and nobody would venture to make any predictions at this time.

However it is most likely only Hinduras President Jaun Oralando Hernandez and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ,have strong chances to get re-elected.

IRAQ

 Chilly welcome ;

 After a night’s stay in Afghanistan Secretary of State Mr Tillerson arrived in Iraq to more or less a chilly welcome last Monday.

His primary purpose was to seek Baghdad’s cooperation in isolating Iran , an important ally of Iraq.

After meeting PrimeMinister Al Abadi Mr Tllerson called for the unity in the country troubled by sectarian and tribal conflict.

Last week Iraqi Military forces seized KirKuk ,wresting the city from Kurdish forces ,which controls the Northern third of total country.

“ we are concerned and saddened by the recent differences that have emerged between the Kurdistan regional government and Iraqi central government “ Mr Tillerson said to reporters after he met Mr Abadi .

Mr Tillerson continued “we have friends in Baghdad and Kurdish region’s Capital Erbil ,we encourage both to enter into dialogue and discussion.”

In a news conference with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arab Adel al Jubair Mr Tillerson said “Iranian Millitias that are in Iraq , now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow Iraqi people to regain control of areas that had been overtaken by ISIS.”     Source   N.Y.TIMES

 With the fight ending against Islamic State , both US and Russia are scrambling for a place of influence and power.

CHINA

 Xi Jinping, in addition to serving as President , has been   entrusted with other major titles at the top of the country’s power structure including general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee,chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission .

Xi Jinping is referrd too as “chairman of everything.”

On Wednesday, at their 19th annual Congress, Xi was elvated still further, enshrining his name and political vision in the country’s constitution.

At the Congress, Xi promised to build on Mao’s legacy of stability and Deng’s foundation of prosperity. He reiterated his mission of making China Stronger .

“Living in such a great era, we are all the more confident and proud, and also feel the heavy weight of responsibility upon us,” he said,     —source Associated press

 “ Xi Jinping has become king of China” PresidentDonald Trump told fox Business.

BATTLE FOR GUJRAT

The battle for Gujrat assembly elections in December has begun with Alpesh Thakor ,the OBC leader joining Congress in a rally in Gandhinagar in presence of Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

PM Narender Modiji’s greatest test and dilemma is to fight the broad anti BJP front coming together under the leadership of resurgent ,buoyant Rahul Gandhi .

He understands that the election of Gujrat is no cake walk for BJP anymore under the changed circumtances and one needs to work hard to retain the home turf.

Rahul Gandhi on the other hand is determined to dislodge BJP in Gujrat.

Congress has meticulously worked out a strategy and following the call by congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki to the young anti BJP caste leaders Hardik Patel of Patel Community, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor , Dalit leadres, the Anti BJP Front was established.

Hardik and Mevani declared their support for the Congress; “we see Congress as the main opposition and the people should vote for it “ Mevani said.

Congress is refurbishing its image wearing a young look in Gujrat elections.

With 65% of Gujrat population below 35 years of age Rahul Gandhi rightly chooses to use youth power to dislodge BJP from the state.

Hardik Patel’s support would fetch Congress votes of Patels in addition to Dalits and Tribals.

In 2012 Assembly Congress had 38% votes and 61 seats against 116 of BJP. So a push of votes from Alpesh and Hardik could turn the tables in their favour.

Rahul Gandhi has reinvented himself by starting poll campaign from a Hindu Temple and he visited many more temples during his Gujrat stay thus re-assuring the people that Congress is not anti Hindu as being projected by its adversaries. As a matter of fact Congress was never anti Hindu but its firm belief in multi religious Idealogy has led some to deliberate as Hindu neglect.

Modiji is spending more time in Gujrat to embolden the state with projects worth hundred of crores to re-assure people that BJP stands with the people of Gujrat and would not shun them .

In fact BJP and his entourage Shri Amit Shah are making announcements of sops to bolster the slagging growth of state.

Amit shah has managed weaning over more than 70 members of PAAS ( Patel Amanant Andolan Samiti) including close aides of Hardik Patel –   Varun Patel , Mahesh Patel have joined BJP to keep interests of Potidar Community afloat under the able stewardship of PM Modiji.

Ideally all these leaders of Patidar ,Dalits, Tribals are playing safe by joining either Congress or  BJP so that they remain relevant in case of any eventuality.

Conclusion;

 Amit Shah and Modiji are fully aware how to twist the arms to win in their home state.

But having said so BJP knows they have a battle to fight on this time.

Firstly Congress is more confident as Rahul Gandhi has rightly succeeded in convincing people especially youth of Gujrat they deserve much better and only congress can do it.

Secondly Congress has taken full pains to placate

Aggrieved Hardik Patel , Alpesh Thakore , Jignesh Mevani by promising to include their grivances in manifesto and would receive full weightage. .

Thirdly Congress has won by polls , like Nanded in Maharashtra and Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab. with impressive margins.

Mr Modi needs to wake up and work hard to set to fulfill the promises made ,and genuinely govern the country with full gusto.

No seconds thoughts.

No” jumlon ki baarish” should really help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KASHMIR–A FESTERING WOUND.

Kashmir continues to be a festering wound and needs   remedy to heal it up permanently.

All genuine efforts from Jawaharlal Nehru to sheikh Abdullah, Indira Gandhi to Shaikh Abdullah , Tashkent agreement ,Simla agreement,

Vajapayee’s Agra Summit ,Lahore Declaration were made from time to time to bring sanity to the permanent solution and make people of Kashmir prosperous responsible citizens of the country.

But every time some disgruntled elements of the valley ,at the behest of Pakistan , fomented trouble and finally joined militancy to threaten peace loving Kashmiris to follow their dictates. Thus jeopardizing any attempt to heal up the wound permanently.

The Central Government over the years has always made efforts to reach out to stakeholders in the valley to help in keeping situation more or less under control.

Surgical Strike

Since the surgical strike the Central government and J&Kgovernment adopted a tough stand to deal with the situation to root out the militancy completely from the valley.

The counter insurgency operation has been on the upswing.

The number of militants killed since 2017 till date is 138 including 60 locals reported to be highest in the decade.

The top commanders of Hizbul including yasin Yatoo has been killed by Government forces.

Recently ( 26th August) at least eight security persons were killed by three JeM fidayeen militants at police lines pulwama .

Interestingly it has been a year since the surgical strike in Occupied Kashmir carried out by special forces of Indian Army ,having no desire for bilateral talks to pursue peace, the two acrimonious neighbours are simply engaged to firing across the borders in Jammu and Kashmir .They resorted to calling names in global forums. Just a few days back the External Minister Sushma Swaraj at UNO General Assembly termed Pakistan “exporter of terror”.To which the permanent representative of Pakistan Maleeh Lodhi responded India is “mother of terrorism’ in south Asia.

Protests

The people of Kashmir thus are caught in the melee ,and subsequently with each passing day the political situation worsens in the valley of Kashmir.

The college girls, boys filled the streets to give vent to their grievances and fight for their future. In the past Girls ,young women did not join protestors as such. The unique protests carried out by younger generation became a matter of concern .

The J&K government under C M MehboobaMufti earlier advocated talks with all stake holders irrespective of their political affliations ,but the Central government did not agree to her pleas .

Mehbooba Mufti said “Only way to face this new reality is that instead of using Kashmir as a political issue to divide public opinion, parties across the political divide should come together and country should be united on Kashmir”.

“There is no other way to resolve Kashmir other than dialogue with parties involved “

 

Ray of Hope

 A ray of hope upon the gloomy Kashmir horizon was brightly seen as PM Mr Narendar Modi pitched for “love and “compassion”message in his 15th August address from the Famous Red Fort, as only possible solution to militancy problem in Kashmir.This was followed by the visit of Home Minister shri Raj Nath to the valley to pursue peace process in Kashmir much admired and applauded by one and all.

Challenges Ahead

The challenges to bring back the people of Kashmir aboard Indian vessel are many but the most prominent ones could be following.

  1.   To preempt any large scale protests seen in the previous  year.

This needs earnest efforts to integrate with masses and youth in particular and try       to understand the problems and work out the solutions..

  1.  Stop Kashmiri youth to join militancy.

 

It is reported that about 80 young Kashmiri men joined militant ranks this year.

 

  1.  Stop identifying every Kashmiri with a militant.

For instance I interacted with Kashmiri youths in Train to Jammu in April2017.

“whenever I introduce myself as a Kashmiri and muslim,I am termed as anti –       national.” Said Ali Mohmmad an IT engineer working in Bangalore.

“my political position is to follow peace and work for my living. When people distrust  me I feel disturbed.”

I replied trying to re-assure him “all this is due to certain elements you know better ,  mostly external forces, who try to wedge a deep divide and we must fight such forces  together. The whole Nation will be with you ”.

“Let God listen to your prayers sir .” He replied hoping for a better tomorrow.

4.       To involve women in Kashmir and empower them with responsibilities in administrative tasks to look after poor and needy .This should help to integrate the youth to a great extent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING AROUND THE WORLD.

SINGAPORE

Democracy with difference.

Singapore is slated to elect its new President on Sept. 23 2017.

last year as per the constitutional amendment made by Singapore Parliament the presidency is reserved for one of Singapore’s three largest ethnic groups – Indian, Chinese and Malay.

Accordingly this time around, the next president of Singapore must be an ethnic Malay.

And in case only one candidate is nominated unanimously then that candidate will automatically become president without a popular vote.

Singapore’s success story.

Singapore is multi ethnic Country and its late founder father Lee Kuan Yew’s principle “illiberal politics in exchange for good government and high living standards.”still holds good for all practical purposes.

Lee Kuan Yew’s gospel has proved right mantra for propelling Singapore from third to first world status .

Low taxes with minimal regulation have made Singapore a dream for foreign investors, contributing to one of the world’s highest standards of living. The government has made it mandatory to provide equal opportunity for every ethnic group in sectors like housing and political representation. A unique feature in the parameters of economic growth in the region and the world as well.

The racial harmony is maintained strictly by adhering to strict quotas.

The government excercises constraints on free speech. Speaking against the government’s racial policies can land a person in jail with heavy fines.

Apart from the developing nations western rich world

too tries to emulate some of successful policies of Singapore model.

“let us copy Singapore health care miracle,” echoed an opinion piece on the website of Fox News ,American broadcaster to replace Obamacare effectively.

It broadly argued on its two features “empowering consumers and fostering competition.”—-  Source Economist.

American conservatives believe that Singapore’s health system yielded results because of Singaporeans’ sharing personal responsibilities of to pay around 2%of their health care from their pockets. The government spends total 5% of GDP on healthcare thus enjoying highest life expectancy with lower infant mortality.

America spends nearly 17%of GDP on health care with people much less healthy.

Also some of the Brexiteers enthusiasts would like Britain to be “Singapore-on-Thames”.

A low regulated tax heaven for business eager to trade with Europe.

But Britain being already light taxed as per European standards and thus cannot shrink further to reshape its national health services. Also Singapore system envisages coercion in making people to pay from their pockets .

Hence both Americans and Britishers would not accept any such thing. The voters would thrash any party attempting to do anything of the sort.

Presidential election

Coming back to the presidential election Malays are totally dissatisfied with prospective presidential candidates.

Abdullah Tarmugi, Halimah Yacob and Yaacob Ibrahim will be eligible for the elected presidency.

The candidates are not very popular with the Community and are reported to be very partisan as well.

Former member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock is still a favourite for many to run for the Presidency.

He is highly critical of PAP ( the people’s Action Party)

which has ruled Singapore from its founding.

All Singaporeans eagerly wait for the right man to be their beloved President.

IRAN

United Nations confirms that Iran is complying with the provisions of the deal it inked with the US and the world body . The results obtained as per United Nation report undermines the Trump’s claims that Iran does not comply with the provisions of the pact.

Under the pact Iran is allowed to produce 130 metric tons of heavy water used in reactors producing plutonium and to maintain 208 kilograms of non enriched uranium. Iran is said to comply with above provisions without fail .

Trump however stressed that IAEA(International Atomic Energy Agency) to ensure as well that Iran complies with the tenets of the pact to be doubly sure.

POLAND

Strategy Cry.

Poland stirs its hot issue of demanding reparations to stir up nationalist mood as and when required.

Poland has demanded reparations from Germany to the tune of billions and trillions of dollars for the mass killing of its people during world war 11 – warsaw’s strategy cry whenever its relation gets soared with Germany and Europe.   Associated Press reports.

This time Warsaw brings up bill following strong criticism by Germany at the ruling Law and Justice Party over its new laws

giving enormous powers over the judicial system.

However Germany dismissed the financial claims as compensated long ago ,hence Poland having no claims whatsoever.

For Warsaw it is hot issue to stir nationalist mood to appease their people.