Crime costs Congress women’s votes?
Dr Deepshikha Chauhan
India is home to unspeakable crimes against women, and this crime graph has been steadily rising in Congress-led UPA rule. The rape and murder of a Youth congress worker in Latur, Maharashtra on March 21 when she had went to attend the birthday party of MLA Amit Deshmukh, is a recent black spot on Congress. The brutal gang rape of a Delhi paramedic student (christened ‘Nirbhaya’ by the media) inside a moving bus on December 16, 2012, and her subsequent death stirring the conscious of the nation in Congress’ regime, including Congress’s Lok Sabha Candidate from Meerut actor Nagma facing repeated mishandling and harassment during election campaigns are incidences that raise poignant
questions about party’s inability to protect their own women workers, and of the validity of tall claims it makes to ensure the security of women in the country in the wake of such incidents.
Advocate Kalpana went missing on March 21. She had left home to attend an event organised to celebrate the birthday of local Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh, son of the late Vilasrao Deshmukh. But she failed to return home. After her parents alleged that their daughter was raped before the murder, two Congress workers, Latur district President Mahender Singh Chavan and his accomplice in the crime Sameer Killarikar have been nabbed by the police. According to police sources, Killarikar confessed that Mahender did not like Kalpana’s repo with MLA Amit and, as he assumed her to be a political hurdle, he took her in his car (KA 51 AMA 3657) near a lake 60 km from her hometown on March 21 night, asked her to do what he desired and later threw her in the lake.
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said in a campaign rally recently that, “The women of India cannot be safe in the hands of Congress if the women in Congress party themselves are unsafe,” referring to Latur Congress worker and advocate Kalpana Giri's murder last month.
If women aren't safe in your own party, how will the women of the country be safe?” Modi said.
The Congress-led UPA is in power for the last ten years and has made tall claims about women security and the efforts it has taken to fight crimes against women, but the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data paints a different picture. It points that the proportion of IPC crimes committed against women towards total IPC crimes has increased during last five years from 8.9% in the year 2008 to 10.2 per cent during the year 2012- In 2008 crime against women(IPC cases) were 1,86,617, in 2012, the cases have gone to 2,44,270. The (NCRB) annual report for 2011 had also revealed that the crime rates under the UPA regimes increased by 27.60%, which otherwise posted an improvement of 3.54% during the NDA rule.The NCRB data has also revealed that the number of cognizable crime cases between 2005 and 2011, which marks the UPA rule, jumped to 23 lakh 25 thousand 575 in 2011 from 18 lakh 22 thousand 602 in 2005. In comparison, in the NDA regime, the number of cases dipped from 17 lakh 79 thousand 111 in 1998 to 17 lakh 16 thousand 120 in 2003.
The answer to the security issue it is believed will be given by the women voters in the 2014 polls. The poll survey indicates that this election more women both in rural and urban India will vote against the Congress. While voter share for BJP is set to increase from 26 to 36 per cent, Congree vote share is declining from 38 to 26 percent in urban pockets.
Asim Kumar Mitra
Muslims in West Bengal are a divided house so far as the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are concerned. In West Bengal, Muslims constitute 27 per cent of the total population of the State of whom 21 per cent Muslims are Bengali speaking and they live in rural areas of the State. Remaining 6 per cent are non-Bengali, who live in urban areas. This section is very much vocal against the ruling party and for that matter chief minister Mamata Banerjee as they are not satisfied with the progress of the projected work. Initially, TMC thought that this time Muslims are going to support them en bloc as they think that there is no other option left for them. BJP was never at the helm of affairs of State power corridor. Both Congress and Communists including their cronies have left the Muslims of the State in a pathetic condition. In recent years there have been two enquiry reports one by Justice Rangnath Misra Committee and the other by Justice Sachar Committee. Both the reports have claimed that the condition of Muslims in West Bengal had been pathetic under the Left Front rule for uninterrupted 34 years and they suffered most during that period.
Even under these circumstances, Muslims of the State were not united. On different pleas, Muslims have been creating fissures among themselves. Barring a few discordant voices generally Muslims living in rural Bengal, have been sided with Mamata Banerjee. They have benefitted by this stance. The urban Muslims, on the other hand, have been criticising her like anything as she did not kept her promises given to the Muslims. But the fact remains that Mamata was partisan in implementing her programmes for Muslims. Her equation was very clear. Primarily she wanted the support of those Muslims who are living in rural Bengal. This had a political consideration behind it as she knew it for sure that rural Bengal constitutes maximum number of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats. This divide was not at all helpful for the overall Muslim politics.
But on the eve of ensuing parliamentary election, ‘Modi-wave’ and ‘Hindutva-wave’ by their strong presence have disturbed all political perceptions and calculations. In almost all pre poll studies it has been highlighted that the BJP is going to capture a very big vote share (from 4 to 16 per cent) in West Bengal. The first visible reaction of Muslims is that they have given a clarion call to all their brethren “to stand solidly behind Mamata this time”. In this context while considering the performance of Mamata government they are quoted to have said: “It is the Urdu-speaking Muslims who are disenchanted with Mamata for they believe her policies have largely benefitted their Bengali speaking brethren.”
According to Shahi Imam of Nakhoda Masjid Maulana Mohammed Shafique, three years (since 2011, when TMC assumed power in the state) is very little time for Mamata to implement all the projects, so this time Muslims will spare her but in 2016 (the year of next assembly election.) she has to account for her promises. The Muslim leaders of this State have chalked out a strategy that Didi would provide safety and succour to them and fulfill the promises made for the uplift of minorities has largely tilted the minority vote-bank in favour of her.
The CPM is shrewd enough to take advantage of the situation. Desperate CPM has now played Trinamool-RSS alliance card. CPM’s new document highlights Mamata’s inherent soft corner towards RSS. After making claims and allegations of clandestine BJP-Trinamool Congress understanding, the CPM is now desperate to show chief minister Mamata Banerjee as the supporter of the fundamentalist principles of the BJP’s parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS). The CPM wants to bring home the point that Mamata is not sincere to any party, ideology or community. All she is concerned with is getting votes by hook or by crook. With the dropping of this bombshell Muslims no doubt have become a bit confused. But again it has not to be forgotten that the consolidation process of Hindu votes is working well.
BJP set to Retain safe bastion Madhya Pradesh
Going by the achievements of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Assembly and previous Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh, the party is expected to nearly sweep the General Election 2014 in the state with a record margin. The poll surveys have predicted that in Madhya Pradesh, which has 29 seats, the BJP could win 24-28 seats while the Congress is likely to get around four to five seats.
According to the CNN-IBN-CSDS- Lokniti-The Week national election tracker, the BJP is making huge gains in the Hindi belt states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Jharkhand and its Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat. “We are confident of the voters of MP and BJP will win this election with record number of seats and margin in the state,” BJP state president Narendra Singh Tomar told Organiser.
With the MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan making it a hat-trick victory in a row in the assembly election, the survey sees a thumping win for the BJP in the state. As a last minute push, BJP’s manifesto is likely to seal victory for the party in MP. “Narendra Modi’s development plank and his idea about the nation would definitely play a positive and decisive role in MP,” adds Shri Tomar, the sitting Member of Parliament from Morena.
The Election Tracker shows the net satisfaction with Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is 66%. While 23% of the respondents feel corruption is the most important poll issue, 15% of respondents feel price rise is a vital poll issue. The survey predicts that while the BJP may get 52%, as against 43% in 2009 (24-28 seats), the opposition Congress may get 28% vote-share, as against 30% in 2009 (1-5 seats). In 2009, the BJP won 16 seats, Congress 12 and BSP one.
Out of 72.6 million population in the state, 5 million are likely to exercise their voting rights for the 29 seats. Of the total population, 35% is OBC, 21% ST, 20% Upper Caste, 15% SC and 9% minority Muslim. Going by the assembly election results, BJP is confident of getting Muslim votes as well, because Muslim-dominated Burhanpur voted in favour of BJP in Vidhan Sabha polls.
However, it’s not all hunky-dory for the ruling BJP, as enough mud-slinging has taken place over the state’s one of the worst scam related to Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (VYAPAM) that has tainted the image of the party. Five villages in Chhindwara district have decided to press ‘NOTA’.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her rally in MP had launched a scathing attack on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, accusing it of corruption and describing the multi-crore Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board irregularities as the biggest education scam rocking the country.
However, senior BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan, who is confident of retaining the Indore Lok Sabha seat for the eighth time, claimed there is a pro-Modi wave in the country. “There is a wave across the country in favour of forming a BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi at the Centre and therefore, I am confident of my eighth victory from Indore,” said Mahajan, who is popularly known as ‘Tai’. Some of the seats considered as Congress bastion like Chhindwara (Kamal Nath), Guna (Jyotiraditya Scindia) and Mandsaur (Meenakshi Natrajan) would be interesting to watch out for.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist, who writes on various issues and specialises on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh)
Secular Opportunists: New allies of Congress
The Congress in Karnataka has found a new ally—not another political party but a group of Kannada writers, some of whom go by the pompous description, intellectuals. The group calls itself ‘Samakaleena Vichara Vedike’ (Forum of Contemporary or Modern Thinkers) with a declared agenda to save the nation and secularism from the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The names of members of this group include Zoya Hassan, Rooprekha Verma, Shashi Kumar, Vivan Sundaram, Achin Vanaik, Jayati Ghosh and Prabha Patnaik, often appear in print thanks to some likeminded English newspaper proprietors cum editors.
The Vedike has two veterans in the secular brigade in Prof UR Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, both recipients of the Jnanapeeth award. The others are Prof Marulasiddaiah, Prof SG Siddaramaiah and the president of Kannada Lekhakiyara Sangh (women writers’ Sangh) Dr Vasundhara Bhupati.
The former BJP MLC, “Mukhyamantri “ Chandru, who has clung to the chairmanship of the Kannada Development Authority even after the Congress came to power, has also joined the bandwagon. Chandru is a Kannada film comedian and is the all time “Chief Minister”, a cognomen he earned after acting in a play by that name. The office he holds gives him the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
Demonising Narendra Modi, the Vedike says that Gujarat Chief Minister has the demeanour of a dictator and his rise in the BJP has drowned all moderate voices within the Party. Falsehood about the developmental achievements of Modi is being perpetrated by a “Cyber Army”.
In the words of Girish Karnad, “I am not a member of the Congress, but I am with the Party now because our future depends on it.” Prof Marulasiddappa says, “We are unhappy with the corruption in the Congress. But we do not have an alternative now.”
The Vedike is working to defeat the BJP candidates in the three Lok Sabha seats in Bengaluru City and the main target is the Party’s All India General Secretary H.N. Ananthakumar. However some others like Marulasiddappa are campaigning in other constituencies like Mysore-Kodagu and Davangere. The Vedike is appealing to the people to elect the Congress candidate from Bengaluru South and former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Nandan Nilekani. Prof Ananthamurthy who was at one time a Lohia brand socialist, does not seem to appreciate the irony of campaigning for an IT industry leader who is one of the richest candidates in the country.
Though Karnataka has produced several other writers and academics, who were definitely notches above the Ananthamurthy-Karnad duo in erudition and literary output. Another Jnanapeeth awardee from Karnataka, poet DR Bendre hardly received any notice or monetary rewards. Two giants of Kannada literature, V Sitharamaiah and GP Rajarathnam, had the mortification of being denied professorship in Kannada by the University of Mysore. An authority on ancient Indian history, Sondekoppa Shivarama Sastry, a polyglot who knew 13 languages (including Hittite and Assyrian) was professor for just six months!
It is no surprise that Ananthamurthy and Karnad are campaigning for the Congress openly. In the past they had done so covertly in the name of secularism. No doubt Ananthamurthy has suffered rebuffs from the secular parties, one in 2004 Lok Sabha elections when volunteered to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Bengaluru South and the other one when he contested an election in 2006 to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. Thanks to Girish Karnad, the 2012 Tata Literary Festival held in Mumbai became a theatre of the absurd. He chose to use the occasion to hit out the English literary giant Sir VS Naipaul for his antipathy towards Indian Muslims.
Rejoice that India is coming into her Own
A Response to the Appeal made by Left Academics
A group of nationalist academics have appealed to the people of India to welcome the possibility of a new Dawn of India in the form of Narendra Modi-led goverment and do everything necessary to make it happen. The appeal came in response to the noises made by a number of academics who recently issued a statement warning the nation that the strong possibility of the NDA under the leadership of Narendra Modi coming to power “constitutes a palpable threat to the future of our secular democracy.” They even went on to issue a direct appeal to the electorates to vote against the BJP-led NDA. In addition they have appealed to various individuals and political formations to “urgently take whatever steps are necessary for defending our secular democracy.”
The Left sponsored academics who signed this appeal, include—the usual left leaning activists; some of them are now active leaders of the Aam Aadami Party (AAP). Knowing the bias of many of them for violent extremism, one shudders to think what the urgent steps they have called for might mean. The left-leaning academics of this kind have unfortunately dominated the intellectual discourse of the country since Independence. Through their control of the academic institutions and policy-making bodies, they have ensured that India remains struck in the corrosive self-negating worldview inculcated and nurtured during the colonial times. They have obstructed the path of India recovering pride in herself, her people and her civilisational heritage; and thus, they have kept India from seriously applying herself to the task of nation-building. But, though it may be possible to stop the progress of history for a while, history cannot be kept in abeyance for all times. The people of India have been kept waiting for nearly seven decades; the time has now come for India to break free and begin moving confidently towards her destiny.
The nationalist academicians called upon the people of India to rejoice at the emergence of a leadership that is committed to restoring the glory of India as one of the most ancient, populous and important civilisations of the world. Prominent among the such academics who signed the Appeal include Dr. J. K. Bajaj, Prof. MD Srinivas, Dr SL Bhyrappa, Sri Suryakant Bali, Sri Rambahadur Rai, Sri Banwari, Dr. Smt. Santishree D. Pandit, Prof. Purabi Roy, Ms. Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Prof. Kapil Kapoor, Prof. Bharat Gupt, Prof. KV Varadarajan, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Sri Adeesh Anand, Ambassador Prabhat P Shukla, Prof Ashwini Mahapatra, Shri Shakti Sinha, Shri Gaurinandan, Dr. Balwan Gautam, Prof. Pushraj Jain, Prof. Rajkumar Bhatia, Smt. Sandhya Jain, Prof. Brij Kishore Kuthiala, Shri Farooq Khan, Shri DC Nath, Shri RK Ohri, Prof. Meenakshi Jain, etc. n
Pragna Bharathi’s appeal to Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan and Chandra Babu Naidu
Pragna Bharathi congratulated Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan for the statement that anti-Congress vote should not split and that his Lok Satta Party is prepared to work in alliance with the BJP-TDP alliance in Andhra Pradesh. “It is very necessary that the corruption-ridden, nation-dividing (into minority and majority) and unIndian Congress should be got rid off, if the nation is to preserve its Independence and integrity,” Pragna Bharati said in a statement.
It welcomed the Lok Satta Party’s decision to unilaterally withdraw all its candidates from the electoral fray to the State Assembly and Lok Sabha in Andhra Pradesh. It regrets that in spite of its earnest effort to convince Sri Chandra Babu Naidu and TDP that the Lok Satta may be accommodated in the alliance with one MP seat and a few MLA seats has not been met with acceptance. Yet in the larger interest of defeating the anti-national Congress, the party is unilaterally withdrawing from the fray.
“We hope this gesture of Lok Satta will be appreciated by Sri Naidu’s TDP and BJP, and they would be generous and wise enough that in the post-election India the talents of all well-meaning Indians will be utilised by the new governments that will be formed at the Centre and in the state,” the statement said.
Intellectual Emergency by secular brigade
Dr Ravindra Agrawal
India has a long history of freedom of speech. Gandhiji, too, advocated it throughout his life. But the Gandhi Peace Foundation formed after his name does not want to respect this freedom. It recently cancelled the permission granted to a prominent woman journalist Madhu Kishwar for release for her book on Narendra Modi. The book, Modi, Muslims & Media, was to be launched on April 1. When the event organisers started distributing invitations for the book-release function, the Gandhi Peace Foundation cancelled the function reportedly citing it a pro-Modi event.
This was not the single embarrassment that Madhu Kishwar received. Prior to it, several other institutions, including India International Center, India Habitat Center and Indian Women Press Corps refused to grant space for the release of this book. The only reason for the refusal was ‘secularism’. Madhu Kishwar faced the similar situation when she discussed publication of her book Modinama to a prominent publisher of Delhi. The Publisher agreed to publish the book and asked her to send sample chapters, which she did promptly. But a couple of weeks later, the publisher told her to write the book on any other topic like Modi as‘Manager’ or ‘CEO of Gujarat’. After this episode, Madhu Kishwar decided to publish the book under the banner of ‘Manushi’.
This is not the only instance which exposed the ‘attitude’ of India’s secular brigade, which dictates the terms of discussion and preach on the basis of their own whims and fancies, as was witnessed during the Emergency of 1975 when nobody was allowed to write or speak against Indira Gandhi. Madhu Kishwar seems to be the victim of the same mentality. After her books, Modinama and Modi, Muslims & Media, this secular brigade has become highly critic to her. But she plainly said, “Challenge me on facts, instead of countering with ideological attacks. I am willing to be corrected, if better counter-facts are brought to my notice.”
The same approach was seen a few days back, when the Cobra Post released a sting operation ‘Janmabhumi’. In the sting, the Cobra Post unsuccessfully tried to establish that the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya was a preplanned affair. Some questions arise in this regard. More than two decade old episode was thoroughly investigated by the Inquiry Commissions and the CBI and it is still subjuice. If the Cobra Post is so much confident about its ‘findings’ then instead of approaching the competent court, why did they release it to the media in middle of the general elections? What was the real motive behind it? Another important thing is that the news channels, which telecast it, gave a disclaimer about the authenticity of the sting, stating they were not responsible for it. The disclaimer is self-explanatory. When the news channels are not confirmed about its authenticity, then why did they telecast it? Before telecasting such unauthentic things, do the media should not think of their responsibility towards the society? In the whole episode one thing is clear. The main objective of the Cobra Post was to create confusion in the society with the help of this secular brigade.
There is another interesting point. Now-a-days the same brigade is very much appreciative of Atal Behari Vajpayee’s vision and working style. Their objective is not to appreciate Modi, but to criticise Modi saying Vajpayeeji had an inclusive vision, which Modi does not. In the same way, they had praised LK Advani. The question is whether these ‘intellectuals’ always had the same view about the two veteran BJP leaders? No. When Vajpayeeji was discussing Gandhian socialism, the same secular brigade was critical to him as they are critic to Modi today. It is clear that these secularists choose their arguments according to their suitability, not on merits. If Vajpayeeji and Advaniji were not acceptable then, how can they accept Modi today? This attitude has similarity to Saudi Arabia’s thinking where the state declares its political opponents as terrorists terming them atheists.