Friday, March 31st, 2023 02:30:04

Modi Rallies Unnerve Congress?

Updated: March 15, 2014 3:14 pm

One wonders whose brainchild was the idea to impose entertainment tax on Narendra Modi’s rallies. There are plenty of speculations including the rumour that the Finance Minister himself being concerned at the mammoth crowds to listen to Modi and he also learnt of the nerve-tingling in the Gandhis as well. So he thought that stopping people to attending Modi’s rallies would be impossible, as people are paying for attending the rallies. The best way was to make the BJP pay for the huge number of people attending the rallies. Narendra Modi taunted that the tax was for augmenting UPA’s revenue.

It is said that Excise Department’s seniors anxious to ingratiate themselves to the Minister went to him and outlined their proposal. The justification for imposing the tax was that since people had to buy ticket, the entertainment tax was applicable. But the fact was that the UPA abhorred hundreds of thousands attending Modi meetings. Furore over such a tax was described as inflicting a body blow, of cutting into freedom of speech and of discrimination. Legal sources said it would have been struck down as several rallies with huge attendances were never taxed.

The widespread anger and fear of legal intervention ultimately instilled fear in the government of loss of face, and it withdrew the order to tax Modi meets. Congress leaders, it seems, ignore all alerts hoping that Nature might relent.

Modi Needs To Have Chai With The Two Needing A Nudge

It takes all sorts to make a political party. Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prme ministerial candidate, is literally living out of suitcases. He addressed rallies in Kolkata and Chennai apart from one place in between the same day. He would ultimately by the last day of campaigning have addressed a total of over 230 rallies. Such a marathon can only be undertaken by one who has the determination, perseverance and the stamina.

But a few of his colleagues, who are generally rubbing their hands in anticipation of becoming ministers, are the ones who could cost Modi a sizeable number of votes. For, in the hope of becoming ministers, they are practicsng elitism and thus keeping the proletariats far away from themselves. Of such former ministers, both come from the same state, are well educated, are of the same caste and while one handled several portfolios, the other one was minister of state with independent charge.

If Modi feels every vote would matter, one supposes he should have to ask the two to start chai pe charcha. But first Modi himself would have to have chai pe charcha with the two former ministers.

BJP Loses The T-Game

Why did the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) support the Telangana Bill, which would make the party lose heavily in other regions of Andhara? BJP sources said that the BJP had always supported the division. But possibly, it ultimately realised that in the rest of Andhra Pradesh whatever chances it had of winning a few seats were over.

So when the Bill went to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP stalled the Bill and moved 20 amendments to the Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha. Arguing that with Hyderabad gone, the state would have financial deficit, the BJP demanded that Seemandhra be given relief through a one-time payment of Rs 10,000 crore and other concessions like tax-relief and national status for irrigation projects.

But the advantage BJP wanted to secure would most possibly be negated because of a clever counter move by Sonia Gandhi. She demanded special status for Seemandhra.

A few insiders in the BJP said that the party is trying damage control, but any move by it would be countered by the Congress. It knows that except in the Telangana region, it has no chance to win even one seat. But by creating the 29th state, it has ensured win in at least eight to 10 constituencies.

The BJP, however, by supporting the creation of Telangana, is unlikely to win anywhere in the state. Surprisingly, Narendra Modi, an astute and far-sighted politician, was party to the decision to support the division.

Secure Votes, Damn Morality

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, in a sudden shocking move, caught practically everyone, both politicians and the common man, off guard. Immediately after the Supreme Court commuted death penalty for three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, she announced in the state Assembly that the Centre had three days to respond to the decision, after which her government would exercise its power to free the convicts.

The Supreme Court had left it open for Tamil Nadu to grant remissions to them under the executive powers of the state government. Jayalalithaa moved fast after cabinet meeting –to discuss the release of these three, and four others serving life terms in the same case–and declared: “Taking into account that they have spent nearly 23 years in prison, the state cabinet has resolved to release them, exercising the power of remission vested in it under Section 432 of the CrPC.” All legal and transparent! But she was inhibited by another provision of the CrPC. Under Section 435, since the case was investigated by CBI, a central agency, and tried and convicted under the now-repealed TADA, the state was obliged to discuss it with the Union government. Jayalalithaa knew it.

The state cabinet’s decision to remit the sentences of the seven persons had to be forwarded to the Centre immediately. If the Union government delayed its response beyond three days, the state government could exercise its powers and will release Perarivalan, Sriharan, Santhan, Nalini, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran. Such a move was most unexpected. Even convicts’ families were stunned. The incident shows how strong is electoral politics. It makes leaders forget human feelings—a young Rajiv Gandhi was callously killed but it hardly matters to Jayalalithaa as long as she can ensure votes of Tamils. Even P Chidambaram, a Union Cabinet Minister, who was Home Minster not long ago, said he was not unhappy with the Jaya move. He too needs Tamil votes.

Political parties including the CPI, PMK, MDMK, VCK, SDPI and several others welcomed the decision for the same reason–to try and get Tamil votes. It is unfortunate that in democratic India parochialism, caste and community considerations apart from regional differences continue to rule despite 66 years of Independence. Rahul’s lament at the decision was totally justified. But who cares, votes are the only thing politicians focus on!

IAS Man Eyeing A Widow, Promoted


It’s a well-known fact that politicians and bureaucrats in our country can get away with murder. An IAS officer who allegedly sought sexual favours from a widow has reportedly been promoted in Karnataka. An embarrassed Karnataka government has now ordered a probe.

The former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde’s revelation that the state government was safeguarding a senior IAS officer, who had sought sexual favours from a widow when he was the District Collector of Ramanagaram in 2007, has led to the identification of the man.

He used to contact Yamini, a widow, over mobile and landline phones frequently and was also in the habit of going to her house, as alleged by the complainant. The report also said that Yamini had quite a few messages stored in her mobile phone, which she could display as evidence to her complaints.

Rajiv Gandhi used to say, in desperation, that power acts as aphrodisiac. How right he was. The passion shoots up when the victim is a weak, helpless person.

 Last Bits

The women wing of the BJP launched a ‘mehndi’ campaign to create awareness by writing “NaMo” and drawing the party’s Lotus symbol on their palms. Some likely BJP candidates are planning door-to-door campaign in Delhi and Haryana.

Arvind Kejriwal, unemployed presently, is gearing up to oppose Narendra Modi from wherever he stands outside Gujarat. It would be an interesting contest. AAP leader might have to revaluate himself post-poll.

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