Army Of Dis-Satisfied Supporters
Narendra Modi’s directive that all ministers’ SAs and PAs and such staff allowed to them would have to be cleared by the PMO has created a massive problem for the ministers. During their vanvas from power days, that lasted 10 long years, quite a few netas who had no other profession but netagiri were looked after by some well-wisher or the other.
Now some of these netas are in positions of authority and could disburse favours in return have been bound by the Modi directive. They cannot ‘oblige’ their mentors who helped them through 10 years of drought of power. Sources say many former supporters of netas now in power are waiting in the capital for the time when such tight leash is loosened and they can be allotted. Those who are in the know of the working style of Modi say grimly that such people are in for a long wait. Poor benefactors, ultimately they might have to write off their “investments”.
The Centre’s move to rehabilitate two officers who suffered because of their honesty will go a long way in shoring up the morale of the bureaucrats in states. It would also send the message to the corrupt officers and also those who do wrong things to please their political masters that days of bad governance and taking money under the table are over he two are, Ashok Khemka of Haryana cadre and Durga Shakti Nagpal of UP cadre. The first one invited the wrath of the Congress-led government in Haryana when he exposed some serious wrongdoing in land acquisitions and sales made by the First Son-In-Law of the country Robert Vadra.
Khemka pointed out some ‘creative’ accounting practices that hinted strongly at a crony capitalist deal between Vadra and the DLF group over credit, land acquisitions and subsequent sale after rezoning. For his work in uncovering this alleged little arrangement Khemka was pilloried. Durga Shakti Nagpal came under intense fire from the Samajwadi Party and was also suspended briefly for daring to follow the letter and spirit of the law in cracking down on the sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh. When she ordered the demolition of a mosque wall built illegally on government land, she was summarily suspended by the Akhilesh Yadav government. She was subsequently reinstated only after she apologised to the Chief Minister. Such actions made other honest officers and those willing to take initiatives to restrict them to the routine.
The calling of these two officers to Delhi is a signal that right will be done to officers who have been wrongly published. But more will have to be done to really assure the honest and independent officers to convince them that they would not be put in the dock for doing their duty.
Otherwise the rehabilitation of the two officers could very well be interpreted as a partisan action for some reason. We must also remember that a major part of bureaucracy has been rotten and as bad as politicians who indulge in corruption and lawlessness. These must be made to realise that only honesty pays now! As a signalling exercise, this move carries considerable weight and tells the bureaucracy at large that this is a government that will put honesty first.
Why Media Persons Are Not Allowed On Air India One
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seemingly policy decision not to take journalists on board his special plane Air India One during his trips abroad has been a mystery and attracted murmurs of criticism. More have been disappointed. Only four or five journalists from news agencies and state-controlled media like Doordarshan and All India Radio were taken to Bhutan and Brazil. Now the eternal optimists are waiting for his US trip in September.
The practise of taking a media contingent was started by Lal Bahadur Shastri and thereafter every Prime Minister followed it. Only Modi has digressed. He has his reasons.
With the advanced IT technology, news from anywhere in the world is available in less than a fraction of a second. Of course it depends on the importance of the news. Anything a Prime Minister says or does especially on his foreign trip is important. The correspondents of news agencies accompanying the Prime Minister report and also foreign agencies and the media report too, although their priorities are different. In UK for instance news about an Indian Prime Minister used to be found somewhere on inside pages and just in two or three paras. The coverage is better now. Also almost all major Indian publications have foreign correspondents. They file immediately. So media party not going aboard the PM plane is not a calamity. Yes analytical pieces and soft news, tit-bits on the side are casualties.
And another point, the US trip is very important. The need is for senior editors or journalists who have covered such occasions previously to be able to see first-hand the courtesy, warmth and the ambience in the Oval Room to be able to analyse the impact of Modi on Barack Obama and the State Department. Most know that Doordarshan or All India Radio journalists are ‘factual’ reporters being seasoned in several restrictions that do not allow freedom of expression. It’s like noting on files. Let’s see what Modi does. If he does not like anyone of the “select group” he mentioned in his blog on the completion of his 30 days in office, he can pick and choose from some very seasoned freelancers who are not attached to any publications or channels. Most of them are as unbiased as possible.
“Wise” Deserting Sinking Congress Party But …
The National Conference and the Congress Party have ended their alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. Reports are that the NCP of Sharad Pawar will say bye bye to its power sharing with the Congress soon, before the elections in Maharashtra. Pawar is hoping for some signal from BJP but if that does not happen he could go it alone.
In Assam, Congressmen have rebelled against Tarun Gogoi who is said to be Rahul Gandhi’s man. So was Omar Abdullah. It seems that some kind of curse is following Rahul and from him casting its shadow on anyone whom he supports.
Not very long ago, AIADMK, TMC and BJD refused to be seated in the Lok Sabha anywhere near the benches occupied by the Congress. They seem to be highly superstitious lot and want to keep away from whatever bad vibe the Congress is reeling from.
Dr Subraramaniam Swamy’s National Herald case seems to have made many parties and individuals keep their distance from the Mother and Son. The general feeling is that this case could be the Waterloo for the Dynasty and the Congress which is their fiefdom.
In fact reports are that some old Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh have met a couple of times to lay foundation for a new party to take over the legacy and values of the Congress of Gandhi, the original one, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad and Shastri.
This group is likely to contact some of the younger members of the present Congress. They plan to start a movement to renew membership. Noting the response to AAP when it seemed to be the party to provide clean government and a disciplined, liberal and tolerant society. A member of this group said we think the word secular has been sullied by the Congress, Lalus, Nitishs and Mulayams. So we shall talk about equality and tolerance. Good Resolution!