AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the Karnataka leadership issue remained unresolved. For a Saturday following the week when the problem with the Congress is that there is no clear cut line of command. For a Saturday following the week when the Congress Muslim vote bank made a major contribution towards its victory. For a Saturday following the week when the perception that Narendra Modi is invincible has started eroding. For a Saturday following the week when flood waters and choked drains will convert Panjim into a Mhadei river.
AND a few stray thoughts on the Karnataka chief minister’s issue still not being resolved. The two main contenders Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will not yield ground to each other. They have rejected a timeshare agreement whereby each of them will occupy the chief minister’s post for two and a half years respectively in the five-year tenure of the assembly. At a meeting of the Congress legislative party held on Monday, May 15 the president of the Congress party Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that enjoyed the confidence of the majority of those who were elected to the assembly. This is strongly denied by Shivakumar. In its usual opaque tradition the Congress did not have an open transparent election to let the legislators decide whom they wanted. On Monday night when the whole country was eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Karnataka chief minister, flashed the news that Siddaramaiah had gone to Delhi late at night apparently to meet Rahul Gandhi. Shivakumar did not initially accept the invitation to go to Delhi but changed his mind. He left for Delhi on Tuesday publicly announcing that he was going to meet Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka. Suggesting a split even at the topmost level. The problem is that the Congress still dances to the tune of the dynasty. There is no genuine democracy in the Congress.
AND a few stray thoughts on the lack of interparty democracy in the country. In the genuinely democratic countries like the UK and the US committees are formed democratically to select the candidates for the post of governor of a state or even the police commissioner of a city. There is no question of a political parties deciding who would be the presidential candidate. Both the Democratic party and the Republicans have a meeting of the citizens authorized participants in the selection of the presidential candidate. Both the parties have conventions at the end of which the presidential candidates are declared. In the UK also registered voters can support candidates of either the Tories (right wing) or the Labour party. Open elections are held at which the leader of the concerned parties are declared. Elections are held between the two chosen candidates from Labour and the Conservatives or Tories. It is through the electoral process and not through the manipulation of lobbies that Rishi Sunak became the first Indian-origin prime minister of the UK. Never mind the claim of Sudha Murthy that it was her daughter Akshata who made Rishi Sunak the prime minister. In a statement to a television channel who is probably becoming senile declared that it was she who made Narayan Murthy chairman of Infosys and her daughter made her husband Rishi Sunak the prime minister of the UK.
AND a few stray thoughts on the degeneration of party politics in the country. Historically, during the time of Jawarharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi the Congress was a democratic party. There were several strong senior Congress leaders ranging from YB Chavan to Lal Bahadur Shashtri who were contenders to the dynasty. Elections were held both at the level of the states and the centre in a transparent way. The All India Congress committee was made up of representatives of the one day election at state level. This is why when Jawaharlal Nehru died a democratic Congress voted in favour of Lal Bahadur Shastri to become the prime minister. Even at that time there was a demand from Indira Gandhi that she was the logical successor to Nehru. The Congress party rejected this dynastic claim. The Congress did a very good job under Lal Bahadur Shashtri who fought and won the war with Pakistan in 1962. After retirement Lal Bahadur Sahstri rejected all the privileges offered to former prime ministers and went back to his two bed room flat and virtually died in penury.
AND a few stray thoughts on the collapse of the Congress as a democratic organisation. It began with Indira Gandhi declaring an Emergency after her election from the Rae Bareily seat was set aside. The person who challenged her election was the Socialist leader Raj Narain. Indira Gandhi instead of stepping down as democracy demanded declared an Emergency. She handed over the reins to her delinquent song Sanjay Gandhi. Fortunately for the country Sanjay Gandhi died in an air accident while flying his own aircraft. Indira Gandhi called for elections in the certainty that everyone had supported the Emergency. The Congress was wiped out and this marked the entry of the BJP into the national political scene.
The Janata Dal which was a coalition of parties which had opposed the Emergency formed the government but could not sustain itself. There were a series of prime ministers ranging from IK Gujral to VP Singh. Unfortunately, the Congress did not have a majority and had to depend on even regional parties like the AIDMK to remain in power. It was the withdrawal of support by the AIDMK to the Gujral government that brought Atal Vajpayee to the prime minister’s seat. When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil militants Sonia Gandhi was keen on making herself the prime minister. However, when it was pointed out to her that it would be inappropriate for an Italian citizen to stake claim, she offered the job to Dr Manmohan Singh.
There has been a total revolt against Sonia Gandhi, particularly on her insistence that Rahul Gandhi should be made the Congress president. A large group of senior leaders of the Cognress headed by Kapil Sibel have formed the group of 20 demanding a democratic election for the post of Congress president. This forced Sonia Gandhi to declare in independent election ithout the interference or participation of the dynasty members. But it was a farce because they rigged the election to make Mallikarjun Kharge the president. Though Mallikarjun Kharge was authorized by the Congress legislative party of Karnataka to choose the new chief minister, apparently nobody listens to him. So much so the pretenders Siddaramiah and Shivakumar have run back to the dynasty.
FOR another Saturday when the Muslim vote bank swing in favour of the Congress in Karnataka. The Muslims comprise 30% of the population of Karnataka. Indeed, more than 50% of the residents of Bengaluru are Muslims. As in Goa the Muslims control all the markets in Bengaluru also. Of the 135 MLAs elected on the Congress ticket more than 15 are Muslims. Besides the fight between Siddaramaiah and Shiv Kumar the Muslims are demanding they the deputy chief minister’s post in the new Karnataka government. Karnataka is the only state which has a 4% special reservation for Muslims in jobs and admission ot professional colleges.
And a few stray thoughts on the destruction of the credibility of Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi has been projecting himself in the image that he is invincible. That nobody can beat double-engined BJP’s government at the center. The defeat of the BJP in Karnataka comes as a shock to Narendra Modi. It is only after 48 hours that Modi showed a display of humility and congratulated the Congress on the victory in Karnataka. The bitter truth is that neither the BJP nor the Congress have been able to command or control the southern states. In Tamil Nadu the DMK and the AIDMK have alternated in forming the government. Similarly, it is regional parties which have formed the government in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In Kerala the Congress with the CPI has kept the BJP out. The BJP has not been able to cross the Vindhyas. South India rejects Modi.
AND a last stray thought on the Mhadei returning to capital city Mhadei this forthcoming monsoon. With the monsoon imminent the Smart City is still dug up in many places, the St Inez nallah is still choked. The road leading to the Don Bosco School is in shambles. 18 June Road which is the main shopping mall of Panjim also has been demolished. Nilesh Cabral, Minister for Environment , claims that there will be no floods this monsoon. He has been sharply contradicted by Babush Monserrate who insists that he cannot give such assurances. So, Ponjekars need to take out their boats and keep them ready, in addition to their umbrellas, for this coming monsoon.

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