Enron & Political Corruption

Dabhol Power Project at Night

Deep inside one of today’s newspaper pages was a small report about the closure of corruption case of Enron’s Dabhol Power Project. As per the report the case has been closed on an application moved by the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra State Government. What an Irony!! https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/300915/04120254190935/0/12042019/18/image/

I remember this controversy vividly as it was during that time I had moved to Mumbai in 1993 for my further studies. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who was then in the Congress had just been moved from the Defence Ministry  to take over as the Maharashtra CM to control volatile situation post the Babri Masjid demolition riots and the Mumbai bomb blasts.

Indian Economy was then just opening up and the Government had got a major FDI for a Power Project in Dabhol, Maharashtra which was to be set up by Enron Corporation. Reports started coming out about opacity and underhand dealings in this project. The opposition led by Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray went hammer and tongs about this alleged corruption and his newspaper ‘SAAMNA’ was filled with stories about it. He went so far to say that if his party was elected to power he would throw the project in the Arabian Sea.

Balasaheb Thackeray with Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Rebecaa Mark at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.

Riding high on this above point besides the Hinduvta card the SS-BJP combined formed the government for the first time in the State and guess what nothing like promised ever happened to Enron’s Power project. Balasaheb went on the entertain Enron Chief Kenneth Lay and the alleged face of everything wrong with Enron deal – Ms. Rebecaa Mark at his residence. The controversy was soon put in the back burner and twenty years later it has died its natural death.

Our political discourse is filled with narratives like these that the political leaders use as a stepping stone to power. Hearsay, without sound legal backup, playing the emotional card, blaming the other side and playing holier than thou!!

From The 2G Scandal’s absurd loss figures that were dismissed by the Special Courts, to tall claims of putting the entire Congress Leadership in jail in 2014 election rallies the list is endless.

The current NDA government is once again asking for mandate on these very alleged cases without acting out on its claims in the last 5 years or managing to get even a single conviction by the courts. For they know it makes out for an excellent vote catcher but a really bad legal case.

Till we have people who are constantly fed on propaganda and are ready to lap it up, we shall have cases like ENRON whose initial wildfire quickly turns in cold ash and helping bring political gains without ever managing to jail a single alleged culprit.

ADVANI JI

भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने आगामी लोक सभा के लिए अपने उम्मीदवार हाल ही में घोषित किये, चर्चा टिकेट मिलने से ज्यादा जिनको नहीं मिला उनकी थी, मुख्यतः आदरणीय लाल कृष्ण आडवाणी जी की!!

उनके बारे में आज कल कम ही सुनने और पढ़ने में आता है जब से उनके शिष्य और हमारे देश के प्रधानमंत्री मोदी जी ने उनको मार्ग दर्शक मंडल में डाल दिया है. कभी कभार आप श्री के हाथ जोड़े वाले विडियो ज़रोर वायरल हो जाते हैं.

लेकिन पिछले दो दिन से अडवानी जी सुर्ख़ियों में नज़र आ रहे हैं जब से उनकी पारंपरिक सीट पर मोटा भाई को लड़ाने का निर्णय लिया है. कारण कोई भी चाहे उनको टिकेट नहीं दिया या उन्होनें स्वयं मना कर दिया , एक बात तो पक्की है की वाजपेयी जी के युग के नेताओं का युग का समापन. वह युग जहाँ राजनेताओं में थोड़ी बहुत आँख की शर्म और आपसी सामंजस था और अब की तरह विषैला, संकीर्ण और कटुता भरा नहीं था.

एक बात कुछ दिनों से ज़रोर सुनने को आ रही है की उन्होनें अपनी पुत्री प्रतिभा जी को अपनी जगह टिकेट देने से मना कर दिया क्यूंकि वह वंशवाद नहीं फैलना चाहते. आशा करता हूँ की इस सिधांत पर उन के परिवार जन हमेशा द्रढ़ संकल्पित रहे क्यूंकि यह भले ही सुनने में अच्छा लगा लेकिन सत्ता के मीठे फल को छोड़ने का मन आज तक इतनी आसानी से आगामी पीढीयों में देखने को नहीं मिला.

इतिहास उन के राजनीतिज्ञ के रूप का आकलन कैसा करेगा? एक ऐसे नेता के रूप में जिसने १९८४ की 2 सीटों वाली पार्टी को श्रीराम के सहारे मात्र एक दशक में सत्ता के करीब ले आने वाले या एक लौह पुरुष के रूप में जिसने कंधार में आतंकियों को छोड़ा था ??

या उस व्यक्ति को याद रखेगा जिसने भारत को धर्म के नाम के दो हिस्सों में बंटवारा किया और जिनके मकबरे पर आपने उनको सबसे बड़ा धर्मनिरपेक्ष व्यक्ति कहा, मैं बात कर रहा हूँ क़ैद-ऐ-आज़म मोहम्मद अली जिन्नाह की.

मेरे लिए अडवानी जी हमेशा वोह व्यक्ति रहेंगे जिनकी सोची-समझी रणनीति के तहत निकाली रथ यात्रा जहाँ जहाँ से निकली दंगे और समाज में अविश्वास फैलाते चलती गयी. ऐसी रथ यात्रा जो शरू तो हुई थी १९९० में लेकिन जिसके पहिये ना जाने कितने घर दबाये आज तक हमारे दिलो में एक दुसरे के खिलाफ शक और पूर्वाग्रह लिए निरंतर घुमती जा रही है. मैं उनको हमेशा याद रखूँगा जिनके कारण मैंने पहली बार मेरे शहर में कर्फ्यू लगते हुए देखा 6 दिसम्बर की घटना के बाद. जहाँ तक मुझे याद है तब शायद ही मेरे शहर में कोई दंगा हुआ था, शुक्र है उस समय व्हात्साप नहीं था वरना ना जाने मात्र अफवाहों से कितनों की जानें और चली जाती.

आशा है की अब सार्वजनिक जीवन से अलविदा ले अपने सगे-सम्बन्धी और शुभ चिंतकों के बीच सुख-समर्धि से रहे.

UNDERMINING INSTITUTIONS

There is a famous Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” which means “Who will guard the guards themselves?”

The last few days are nothing but playing out of this above phrase in the premium investigation agency of India i.e. The CBI. As the CBI files FIR against its own and the head of the Bureau asked to go on leave. All this is as some leaders like to say ‘happening for the first time in 70 years’.

The moot question that needs to be asked is it just this one off case or there is a pattern in all of this. Is there a pattern to undermine Institutions, to scuttle divergent idea or for that matter to push an agenda through their own man??

Some examples over the tenure of the current dispensation of the BJP led Central Government happen to reinforce the above view:

  • 330px-Raghuram_Rajan,_IMF_69MS040421048l.jpgRBI – The post of RBI Governor is usually overboard and beyond politicking however in the case of Raghuram Rajan with an increase personal attack by the maverick BJP MP Subramanium Swamy, he choose to vacate the post rather than face the usual Mr. Swamy’s unsubstantiated charges. The Central Government didn’t come out in support of him or reign in their MP to undermine the office of the Governor of Reserve Bank India.
  • Niti Aayog – One of the most vociferous supporter of Shri Narendra Modi ji before he became the PM in 2014 download.jpgwas Mr. Arvind Pangaria – Economist and Professor at University of Colombia. He was well rewarded and aptly appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog in 2015. A tenure that is usually concurrent with the Central Government. However in just two years he chooses to resign from this post to go back to teaching. A person of his stature and knowledge could have been put to better use to drive the engine of Indian Economic Growth but the nation lost out on that due to as some reports are to be believed due to differences with the Finance Minister.
  • Supreme Court – Never before in the history of Independent India have the sitting senior most Judges of the download (1)Supreme Court of India has held a press conference to air their dissatisfaction with the functioning and interference in the working of the courts. To quote Justice Chelameswar “The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things that are less than desirable have happened in the last few months. Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country.”
  • FTII – download (2)The premier institute in India for film and Television was saddled with a Chairman whose minor claim to fame was being part of the Epic Mahabharat TV Serial and major claim was that he is card carrying member of BJP. The students went on strike, film fraternity objected to his appointment but again who can protest against a brute majoritanism?

These are just few examples for I am sure there are more that quietly die down never surfacing on the forefront. Are these the promised ‘अच्छे दिन’ that the people of India voted for in 2014 ?

General Elections 2019

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Immediately after the stupendous success of the BJP led coalition in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and the dismail performance of Congress, I happened to be at a social gathering. Knowing perfectly well where my political loyalties lay a dear friend walked up to me and said “अब तो हिंदूं की सरकार आ गयी, अब अपने हिसाब से सब कर सकेंगे!”

What left me surprised was not that there was a Hindu Sarkar in place but the latter part of his statement. I did ask him what he was it that the previous governments had prevented him from doing?? He was definitely at a loss of words but was so sure that NDA was all set to empower the Hindus to take on the might of others!! BTW I was having this discussion with a professionally qualified supposedly well read individual.

4 years hence I have come to realise this supposedly well read group of people so vehemently putting across their point of views are PHD holders from the ‘Whatsapp University’; as Ravish Kumar so aptly defines it. Most news channels and newspaper are also feeding such phobia and false ideas about supposedly appeasement of minorities by the opposition parties.

What is the minority appeasement that they talk about?? Facts disprove any beneficial treatment meted out to the Muslims as has been pointed out by the Sachar Committee. Muslims were around 13.4% of the total population as per 2001 Census. However there were only 1.3% of them in the total number of students in all the IIM courses and only 3.3% in IITs. The presence of Muslims was found to be only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS. Share of Muslims in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels. In no state does the representation of Muslims in the government departments match their population share.

However one thing is for certain they is a mass who now represent a major vote bank that no political party wants to offend. So we have parties playing the supposedly ‘Soft Hinduvta’ and prefer not to be seen to close to the minorities especially the Muslims. We have the Prime Minister of our Country wearing all sorts of headgear but not The Skull Cap. I agree this is just symbolism but why this avoidance with symbols of Islam only??

India is sixth largest economy in the world and having a second largest population of Muslim after Indonesia. No party can afford to be just catering to one section of society and not be the voice of its minorities and in this case the Muslims of India.

The run up to 2019 we are once again seeing the rise of Hindu Identity well I too am proud of my Hindu Identity but my religion teaches me inclusion and not exclusion. There is no either-or for me but rather cohabitation with all the religion that make up India.

We can speculate on the results of 2019 Lok Sabha however what is non-negotiable in this mad rush in the ‘first past the post’ system is our duty to stand up and be the one for its weakest members and that is what the President of Indian National Congress Shri Rahul Gandhi recently said during one of his interactions.

Speak Up

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I concede that it is a little late in the day to vent my anger and disgust against the recent rape incidents that has rocked our nation, but the recent polarization and crazy messages floating across the social media questioning this very angst and that also from the so called educated mass is surprising.

These people are questioning this angst and asking where were we when some previous incident happened?? Why such hue and cry now?? Just to answer them, we were there showing our angst then also!! It is just that you are so blinded by the communal hatred and in love with your so called emancipator, to not notice this and yes even if we didn’t protest earlier that doesn’t take away our right to protest now, does it??

It took months and the media scrutiny before The Supreme Leader, the state governments (incidentally both are governed by the party that is in Centre) for some action to happen. They were supposed to be a proactive / decisive and the deliverer from injustice weren’t they??

Action speaks louder than words and it takes a statement full of platitudes by The Supreme Leader for these state governments to take action. Words that should have been spoken much earlier like the birthday greetings that he is so prompt in making to the world leaders on Twitter. Yes he has been elected to power and we expect him to make a statement on such a heinous crime, that’s his job. He does us no favour !!

And yes this issue is about religion and how the nations treats its minorities, be it religious or otherwise and how a party that claims to be the voice of majority has failed them by inaction and delayed response. As a father of eight year olds, my heart bleeds making me want to throw up each time I hear the gruesome and chilling facts that are in the charge sheet. Despite this some of them have the audacity to take my Lord’s name and shout to protect the accused or defend themselves.

Yes I am a member of Congress and yes I will demand action from the Prime Minster as he is answerable to all Indians whether we voted for him or not, despite the name calling by his disciples. What pains is the fanaticism of the educated and the hatred for the minorities that was heard in private conversations which can be seen in not so subtle ways in the social media.

What have we become?? Is this the kind of hatred that we want to pass on to the next generation ??

It is time for all of us to ponder, make informed choices and question what we is being fed to our brains day in and day out.

ये दाग़ दाग़ उजाला, ये शब-गज़ीदा सहर,

(This stained tainted light, this night bitten dawn)

वो इन्तज़ार था जिस का, ये वो सहर तो नहीं

(That we were waiting for, this is not that morning)

 

एक युग का समापन

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आज सुबह जैसे ही उठा और अपना मोबाइल देखा तो एक मेसेज पड़ा और ज्ञात हुआ की आज भानु का तेज और प्रकाश हमारे जीवन से हमेशा हमेशा के लिए चला गया .

हृषिकेश भैया का यह मेसेज अपने साथ न सिर्फ आदरणीय भानु कुमार जी शास्त्री जी के निधन और उनकी सफल और प्रेरणादायक जीवन यात्रा का अंत लाया था और शायद उसी के साथ उनके और मेरे दादा स्व. मोहनलाल जी सुखाड़िया के ज़माने के उसूलवादी , सहजता अवं आत्मीयता वाली राजनीती अवं राजनीतिज्ञों पर पूर्णविराम था. आदरणीय भानु जी ऐसे युग का नेतृत्व किया जहाँ द्वेष, बदले और प्रतिद्वंदी के प्रति असम्मान की कोई जगह नहीं थी. वोह उस दौर के नेता था जहाँ राजनीती सेवा थी ना की रोज़गार का एक और साधन.

मेरा सबसे पहले उनसे वाकिफ मेरी दादी स्व. इन्दुबाला जी सुखाड़िया के लोकसभा चुनाव के दौरान हुआ जो वह भानु कुमार जी के सामने लड़ रहीं थी. मैं लगभग ६-७ साल का था और ऐसे ही हम सब घर के बच्चे बे-सर-पैर के नारे लगा रहे थे भानु जी के खिलाफ. मुझे आज भी याद है की दादी ने मुझे डआंट लगायी और कहा की ऐसे नहीं करते. यह था प्रतिद्वंदी की प्रति सम्मान. समय बीतता गया और साथ ही जानने के मौका मिला की हमारे परिवार का कोई भी शुभ काम उनके पूछे बगैर नहीं होता, यह था दोनों परिवार के बीच के सम्बन्ध. भानु जी दादा-दादी दोनों के सामने चुनाव लड़े लेकिन हमारे पारिवारिक संबंधों में कभी नाम मात्र भी कटुता नहीं आई.

हमारे परिवार की सारी जन्म कुंडलियाँ उनके द्वारा ही बनायीं गयी है. कुछ वर्षों पहले मैंने एक चुनाव लड़ने का मानस बनाया. सबसे पहले पापा – मम्मी उन्हीं के पास मेरी पत्री ले कर गए, देखते ही उन्होनें चुनाव ना लड़ने की हिदायत दी. लेकिन मेरी जिद और कुछ नासमझी में वोह चुनाव मैं लड़ा और हारा. बात को स्पष्ट कहना उनकी आदत थी चाहे तब कही या कहीं मिल जाते और मेरा वज़न बड़ा होता तो वहीँ टोक देते थे. ऐसे थे भानु जी ….

कई बार उनसे मिलने के लिए सोचना पड़ता था क्योंकि बाउजी के पास किस्सों का पिटारा था और उनसे मिलना मतलब पूरा समय देना क्योंकि उन किस्सों में समय का मालूम ही नहीं चलता. बीते कुछ वर्षों से उनका फेसबुक पर दिखना एक सुखद अनुभव था. उदयपुर और राजस्थान में उन्होंने जनसंघ और बाद में भारतीय जनता पार्टी का ऐसा बीज बोया जिसके फलों का फायदा आज उनकी पार्टी को मिल रहा.

आखरी बार उन्हीं के घर पर उनके ९२ वें जन्मदिन के मौके पर मिलना हुआ और उम्र के उस पड़ाव में भी उनकी कभी न कम होने वाली उर्जा और बुलंद आवाज़ अब हमेशा कानों में गूंजती रहेगी ……

Bihar 2015

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Dear Modi ji ,

By now all the data must have been analysed to the last details and some of the analyst will definitely try insulating you from the disaster and loss of face that has happened for your party and more specifically for u !!

Just hope that you realize within a short span of 16 months since you came to power in May 2015 the public has rejected the growing intolerance, religious bigotry and the polarization of us as Indians on communal lines. What worked for you in Gujarat from 2002 do not and cannot be replicated on a Pan India basis. You will have to take all the constituents together be it the minorities, opposition and the disgruntled sections of the society, mere words do not matter they have to be backed by actions.

The public voted you in for development and good governance, so plz start delivering them and get out of the campaign mode and into that of able administrator. You do not have to win all state elections personally, leave that for the state leadership.

Beef is a non issue and the growing intolerance is most definitely is , irrespective of what Mr. Anupam Kher tells you, the intelligentsia and the middle class is over and done with your great oratory skills (btw the speeches in these elections were unbecoming for the PM of India)

So start delivering and stop campaigning !!

Dear Nitish Babu and Lallo ji ,

Many Many congratulations for the spectacular win in these elections!! It is unprecedented in the history of state elections where the anti incumbency in a state of Bihar is just not an issue and people have voted your alliance with an over whelming majority. The people have reposed faith in your leadership and administration.

I have just one humble request that you both prove the previous example of the Janta Pariwar wrong and stay together and not squabble over petty issues. The issue of CM is settled so Lalooji plz act like a big brother so guide & cooperate with Nitish Babu to provide governance to Bihar and to pull it out of BIMARU state category and be a showcase for the other CM’s. Let this be the beginning of the end of the communal politics in India and your state be the torch bearer of this mission.

Dear Rahul ji,

You have risen like the Phoenix, after everyone had written you off after the 2014 debacle. It is only because of your initiative the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ was put in place and was able to stop the Modi juggernaut in Bihar and to put him on a back foot country over. Congress has made mistakes in the past but the party has learned and moved on and like how!!

The only way forward is to take along the non communal forces together for that is what the people of India deserve and need and we are so proud that Dr. C P Joshi ji a leader from our region of Rajasthan i.e. Mewar was in charge of the congress campaign in these elections.

Dear Pollster,

You all have it got it horribly wrong!! You cannot do any forecast irrespective of your methodology , sample size , experience and the certification from Yogendra Yadav ji. For you it’s just a guessing game and who ever claims to get it right is just a matter of luck and fluke, PERIOD !!

Only thing you are good at doing are postmortems which even I am good at as you can see from the above letters to the three principal players of the Bihar Elections !!

Till all this is looked into we shall have to see and wait and see what the future holds, to quote the Great Poet Faiz Sb…

हम देखेंगे, लाज़िम है की हम भी देखेंगे

हम देखेंगे , वोह दिन की जिस का वादा है

जो लौह-ऐ-अज़ल पे लिखा है , हम देखेंगे  …..