Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shyam Saran-am, Pranab Saranam

1) Seems like Shyam Saran is trying to personally gauge the state of affairs in Nepal. That explains the series of meetings, banquets, tete-a-tetes etc.

Saran first met Unified CPN (Maoist) leaders including chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Dahal's residence in Nayabazaar, Thursday morning. Party vice-chairmen trio Mohan Baidhya, Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha, general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and in charge of foreign department Krishna Bahadur Mahara were also present at the meeting. The exact content of the meeting has not been disclosed. Nayabazaar sources say, Saran discussed Nepal's current political deadlock and the UCPN (Maoist) - India relations with the Maoist leaders at the meeting.

It is learnt that NC acting-President, Sushil Koirala made it clear to the Indian envoy that NC won't accept a Maoist-led government unless the party fixes the number of combatants to be integrated into the state security forces, return the private properties it seized during the conflict period and dismantle the paramilitary structure of its youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL).

Also today, Saran met with CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal at the latter's residence in Dallu and discussed the present political deadlock and issues being discussed with other leaders. The election for a new prime minister, army integration, constitution-drafting and UML's role in it also featured heavily during the meeting, it is learnt.

Reports say, he met President Ram Baran Yadav at the presidential palace in Shital Niwas Wednesday evening. He also met former Prime Minister and chairman of Rastriya Janashakti Party Surya Bahadur Thapa yesterday. Sources say, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu threw a dinner party to leaders of Madhes-based parties at the Indian embassy in the presence of visiting dignitary Shyam Saran Wednesday evening. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) chairman Upendra Yadav, MJF-Loktantantrik chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) chairman Mahanth Thakur and Sadbhawana Party chairman Rajendra Mahato among other leaders of Madhes-based parties attended the dinner.

From saag, Linky

Reports from Kathmandu indicate that India is now veering towards the view that only a consensus government could help in moving forward with the twin tasks of integration and constitution making. If true, this will be a change in the policy of India. A consensus government cannot be made in Nepal unless the Maoists are allowed to lead or accommodated in the new set up. A Nepali Congress led majority government cannot fulfil the task however good the party or its leader may be. The cooperation of the Maoists is necessary for completing the two unfinished tasks faced by the country. While Shyam Saran will find it difficult to persuade the Nepali Congress to withdraw from the contest, the combined MJF is only waiting to be convinced by him to vote for either of the two contenders!
There are two proposals more or less similar that have been proposed on the same day and both deserve a careful examination. Ram Karki, a Politburo member of the Maoists from the east, said on 3rd August that both Dahal and Paudel should withdraw from the contest. If a consensus cannot be forged under Dahal’s leadership, the Maoist party is ready to forward the name of its Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai. It does not look that Karki got the clearance of his party before making this statement.

Clearly, as my post Linky indicates, this aint such a bad option after all.

Bhattarai himself had said earlier on 27th July that if formation of a consensus government fails an alternative will be sought. He had earlier said that the parliamentary regulations could be amended to make way for a national consensus government. Baburam’s statement was not to the liking of the Maoist leadership then.

Jhalanath Khanal suggested on the same day (3rd August) that both the Nepali Congress and the UCPN (Maoist) should withdraw from the contest and chart a new course for a consensus government that could include an amendment to the parliamentary regulations. Contentious issues like integration/rehabilitation, return of seized property and state restructuring should be settled first before a consensus government is formed. This appeared to be a sensible proposal, but was rejected outright by the Maoists. The Nepali Congress also did not agree with his proposals.

Only two viable options appear to be available. One- a consensus government led by Maoists but not by Dahal or a consensus government led by Khanal with the support of the Maoists. In the former case there will be internal problems in the party of the UCPN (Maoist) and in the latter case the unity of UML will be affected. It is a difficult choice.

2) Linky

During his brief visit, Pranab Mukherjee would meet his counterpart AMA Muhith, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. At that time he will discuss entire range of bilateral issues, especially post-January visit to India by the prime minister of Bangladesh. The Indian finance minister will witness the signing of the $ 1 billion Line of Credit agreement to be signed by CMD, EXIM Bank of India and secretary of the Economic Relations Department (ERD) of Bangladesh. The prime minister of India announced the $1 billion line of credit during the path-breaking visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to India in January 2010. It is meant for a range of projects, including railway infrastructure, supply of BG locomotives and passenger coaches, procurement of buses and dredging projects. Signing of the agreement would pave the way for implementation of mutually identified infrastructure development projects in Bangladesh.

3) MJ Akbar nails it with flamboyant rhetoric Linky

The Games were never about sports. They were a fortuitous opportunity for Delhi's ruling class to divert a vast fortune from the national exchequer, in the name of national prestige, and spend it on just those few parts of India's capital where the elite lives. As patriotism, despite its many virtues, is also the last refuge of the scoundrel, a healthy part of the money was siphoned off, evidence of which has begun to move towards the front page.

Trenchant critics like Mani Shankar Aiyar could be falling into a trap when they pray for calamity. (By the way, which would you prefer; a good monsoon or a good CWG?) The oldest PR ploy is to deliberately lower expectations so much that even if the event is halfway average it can be billed as a triumph and all memory of corruption can be washed away in the ensuing gloating and self-congratulation. You have to be seriously stupid if you cannot get a few stadiums in shape after spending Rs.35,000 crore, and we should never underestimate the intelligence of the corrupt.

Posting my own post in brf-crikkit thread on why we joined the Commonwealth to start with: (From Mihir Bose: The magic of Indian cricket: cricket and society in India (get the book on ggle books, p. 65 and roundabouts))

The situation in India in 1947 was entirely different. India had become free but it still accepted the King of the United Kingdom as the King of India. The question was what would happen to the position of the Crown when India got her own constitution?

The Congress policy on this was clear and had been so for decades. That India would become a republic and while there would be friendly ties with Britain there would be no formal ties with the British Crown. The basic nationalist position had been stated by Subhas Bose.

Independence which India aspires after today, is not ‘Dominion Home Rule’ as we find in Canada or Australia – but full national sovereignty as obtained in the United States of America or in France.

Bose was writing in 1933. By 1947 nationalist India was even more determined to have an India totally free of British control in any shape or form.

In 1947 the British Commonwealth was essentially the white Commonwealth. India and Pakistan were the first non-white dominions to become self-governing. The white dominions accepted the King as their head of state whose representative in their country was called the Governor-General. This is still the position in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, although over the years there has been much debate in Australia, even a referendum, about becoming a republic. It is important to note that in 1947 such self-governing white dominions included South Africa although within a year the whites would vote for the National Party which would eventually declare it a republic and take it out of the Commonwealth. There was no concept of a republic, headed by a president, remaining part of a Commonwealth whose head was still the British monarch.

The Indians saw dominion status in 1947 as a temporary measure until they finalised their constitution, declared themselves a republic and left the Commonwealth. But the British, still unwilling to lose their links with this Jewel in the Crown, began to pester the Indians to stay in the Commonwealth. Leading British politicians came up with all sorts of ideas which would keep the King at the head of the new Indian state. Churchill suggested that even if India became a republic, in the style of republics in the Roman Empire India could remain a republic within the Commonwealth and still accept the King. The King seemed to like the idea and both men thought of the King becoming the President of India. Attlee wanted India’s constitution to have a specific role for the British King, wondered if a republic was really in the traditions of India and suggested a title might be found for the King from India’s heroic age. He talked about the royal family being of a universal nature transcending creeds and races.

Nehru found such ideas ‘juvenile’ but politically he felt there was merit in staying within the Commonwealth. The Soviet Union was very hostile to India and Pakistan was hoping India would leave the Commonwealth so it could became the Northern Ireland of the subcontinent. Although there was fierce opposition in India and from within his own Cabinet, led by Patel, Nehru agreed to keep India in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth had to be reinvented, convert itself from its historic role as a white man’s club into one where other races could all aspire to equality. The position of the King also altered. India would become a truly independent country with its own President but it would also remain part of a wider club whose permanent President was the monarch of the United Kingdom. The club as such had no power and the British monarch had no power in India. But India accepted ‘the King as the symbol of free association of its independent member nations and as such the head of the Commonwealth’. The decision met with much hostility in India but such was Nehru’s power that the nation accepted. It took nearly two years for all this to be sorted out and agreement was only reached at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in London in April 1949.

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At August 5, 2010 at 4:21 PM , Blogger Sid Gau said...

India should get out of Commonwealth, no point.

At August 8, 2010 at 6:54 AM , Anonymous Al said...

It is not like the UN is worth anything for Indian interests either. Ensuring the death of the UN and the Commonwealth, or at the very least making them impotent forever, needs to be central to India's long-term plans.

Also, it seems likely that the recent con job by the EU, where they tried to create a group and play china against India in the Indian Ocean, will be repeated again over time. The westerners want a base in the Indian Ocean badly and they will whatever they need to get it.

Now, private companies are reporting caste numbers -- hopefully the data will be deemed enough to stop all the asshole politicians who want to play quota politics with the private sector. If it is not your money invested, then you cannot have a say in it, dear asshole Indian Politician (AIP) -- do charity with your own money, you crooked/spinless motherfuckers currently running India. Just having a Ph.D. in economics and then instituting programs that cause India to slide in to debt. and inflation will only leave you with a legacy worth crapping on, Dear Prime Minister. yes, I am talking about the criminally wasteful NREGA program that you instituted in spite of knowing better, you worthless asshole.

At August 8, 2010 at 7:14 AM , Anonymous Al said...

The spiralling inflation on the ground is hurting the middle class, why? simply because the govt. has given free money to people on the ground (with a good bit of corruption and looting of the funds) without any corresponding results to show for "jobs" for which all this money was paid.

That is, if the roads and all the public works were carried out 100% efficiently and correctly, they would have assisted the economy significantly to pushed up the overall economic growth. Instead, money from the public exchequer was paid out as political freebies, and the money just made a lot of people have higher buying power, but without the upgraded infrastructure as there should have been.

I am sure this Prime Minister knew all this damn well when he started with his social welfare schemes, that these guys wrote into the CMP in UPA-I.

These guys living in New Delhi do not have to face the consequences of their socialist economic schemes that makes life harder for every Indian without any resulting improvement in the lives of the public for all the public money spent, driving India deeper into debt.

This Prime Minister must think the exchequer is his Party's piggy bank, just like the criminal Kalaignar Karunanidhi does. Depressing to actually be in India with no scope for improvement in this type of political behaviour in my lifetime.

At August 8, 2010 at 7:29 AM , Anonymous Al said...

After all the drama, why no disinvestment? The standard excuse for the likes of today's people in power is "we need a consensus before execution, therefore a group of Ministers has been instituted. I would like to know the Biriyani bill alone for the 100s of GoMs that have been instituted this decade. The good lord alone know how many of these resulted in any results for the public....shouldn't it be public information? No, you see, we have supreme court justices that argue that the right to Information does not exist for the average citizen. This is the kind of Judges produced by the Indian justice system.

Third-rate losers who think that the word "socialist" must remain in the constitution, even if it is being contradicted every election by multiple parties that are clearly not socialist ideologically. This Prime Minister is an ardent believer in Socialism too, which is why he is so ineffective. He performed better as a minister under Prime Minister Sri PVNR, who was a great man, even if he is disrespected deliberately by the Congress party.

At August 8, 2010 at 7:40 AM , Anonymous Al said...

All the good infrastructure and roads connecting Bangalore to other cities are toll roads, that is, they were not build using public funds. All the list of "results of NREGA" are a pack of lies since it is being published by the same people (bureaucrats/politicians/contractors) who seem to have stolen a bunch of public money.

I am truly sick of having to walk across an open drain for a whole decade -- a drain ripped open by some private contractor, who has not bothered to repair the damage he caused for a decade. But nothing can happen, because someone with political clout is involved in the "process of land ownership" (by transferring benami public lands to their own name by abusing government forms and records. And this politician will just get you killed if you try to open a RTI case, as has happened twice in Bangalore already. #%#Q%Q#$ disgusting.


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