domingo, 20 de mayo de 2018

OÍDO AL PASAR

el dispreciau ha oído al pasar: analiza los parecidos y te sorprenderás de las brutales semejanzas... (que envuelven a la política mundial en contra de las sociedades humanas)... MAYO 20, 2018.-
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Out Of My Mind: A tragedy | The Indian Express

Out Of My Mind: A tragedy | The Indian Express

Ultimately it is Modi who has made BJP the party of the future



Out Of My Mind: A tragedy

The latest election has confirmed the decline of the Congress. Once again, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi confronted each other. There is no doubt that Rahul is trying harder and getting better. But ultimately it is Modi who has made the BJP the party of the future.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Updated: May 20, 2018 12:15:48 am
congress rahul gandhi forms alliance with jds alliance against bjp in karnataka election
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, right, and party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala address the press on Saturday in New Delhi (Express Photo/Amit Mehra)

Next Sunday will be 54 years since Jawaharlal Nehru died. He was a towering figure as prime minister and party leader. He was the last party leader to be PM three times in a row. Unlike his daughter and grandson, he did not inherit but earned his position. He laid such deep foundations for India’s democracy that even his daughter could not destroy it despite her best efforts. He gave a shape to the Indian Union which has endured. But his party is a sad shadow of its glorious past. Indira Gandhi split the once great party five years after Nehru’s death. She transformed a vibrant party with a long tradition of service and progressive thinking into a family firm where only blind loyalty was rewarded. The fruits of that corruption are now coming up thick and fast.
The latest election has confirmed the decline of the Congress. Once again, Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi confronted each other. There is no doubt that Rahul is trying harder and getting better. But ultimately it is Modi who has made the BJP the party of the future.
This conclusion is not affected by who will form the government in Karnataka. If the BJP does not, it will be because the Congress has decided that it is happy to be a B-team to stay in office.
It is the consequence of the Congress having been in denial ever since 2014. It has never analysed the reasons for its debacle in 2014 and since. It has not had a serious examination of its ideology nor of its policies, let alone the party structure. The idea of public service has left the Congress. It has been worried only about the apex leadership, i.e. Rahul Gandhi’s succession. Sonia Gandhi quite rightly refused the crown when it was offered to her after Rajiv Gandhi’s sudden and tragic death. Alas, that act of self-abnegation did not last long despite the spectacular record of Narasimha Rao (for which he was punished by the Family). The Family reasserted its control in 1998 and the rest is dysfunctional history. If the Congress had any decency, it should have offered Manmohan Singh the Presidency. It was he who restored the Congress’s reputation by winning a second term in 2009. For that he suffered the best efforts of senior Congressmen to undermine him.
The loss in 2014, the decline to third position in Bihar and now the willingness to sink to number two despite having the larger number of seats are symptomatic of the desperate hunger of the Congress to cling on to the trappings of power. This is because it is so used to being in office that it has no knowledge of how to behave as an opposition. It has no capacity for forward thinking and no way to clarify, let alone redefine, its ideology. It has no facility to train new cadres of volunteers. The foreign consultancy engaged to reshape its image advised it to become a paler version of the BJP. Hence the temple visits and the boast of Rahul being a Brahmin.
It is a tragedy. A great party, one of the oldest in the world, an exemplar to many other parties across the formerly colonised world has become a shadow of its former self. India deserves better.
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Inside Track: Fast on the draw | The Indian Express

Inside Track: Fast on the draw | The Indian Express

 BJP believed by not obtaining an outright majority they had overcome the jinx




Inside Track: Fast on the draw

The speed with which the JD(S)-Congress stepped in to stake claim to form the Karnataka government is thanks partly to Sitaram Yechury and Mamata Banerjee, who gave the Congress a push, but largely to H D Kumaraswamy.

Written by Coomi Kapoor | Updated: May 20, 2018 12:15:05 am
H D Kumaraswamy (C), Janata Dal (Secular) leader, speaks to the media outside the legislative house after a vote of confidence motion against BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa, in Bengaluru, May 19, 2018. (Reuters/Abhishek N Chinnappa)

The speed with which the JD(S)-Congress stepped in to stake claim to form the Karnataka government is thanks partly to Sitaram Yechury and Mamata Banerjee, who gave the Congress a push, but largely to H D Kumaraswamy. Deve Gowda’s younger son realised that time was of the essence and his father was not given to taking a decision in a hurry, that he would wait for a counter-offer from the BJP. Also, there is a power struggle on within the Gowda family. Kumaraswamy’s elder brother H D Revanna nurses a grievance that it is his turn to get a position in the new government, and his followers talked of a deputy chief ministership in a BJP alliance. Earlier, several family members had been keen to contest the elections, including Kumaraswamy’s wife Radhika and Revanna’s son Prajwal. Eventually, the patriarch put his foot down and decreed that only Kumaraswamy and Revanna would contest as it would be embarrassing if the family hogged too many seats.
To ensure that the BJP did not have sufficient time to get its act together, Kumaraswamy did not wait for his father to formally give his consent to the Congress offer of support. He signed the letter of agreement on his own. He then accompanied Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to Raj Bhavan and appeared on television so that there could be no opportunity for the JD(S) to backtrack.
Jinxed either way
As the Karnataka results came in, some members of BJP president Amit Shah’s team were so cocksure of forming the government that they were actually relieved that the BJP did not cross the 112 halfway mark. This is because there is a superstition that the party which wins Karnataka loses in the general elections. The BJP leaders believed that by not obtaining an outright majority they had overcome the jinx. Little did they realise that in the bargain, the slight shortage of MLAs meant the state could slip out of their hands.
Rivals together
Neither the Indian government nor the Pakistanis appreciate this joint venture. A S Dulat, former R&AW chief, and Mohammed Asad Durrani, former head of Pakistan’s ISI, have collaborated on a book. Titled The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, it is to be formally released shortly. It will enlighten us on various flashpoints in the subcontinent, from hostilities in Kashmir to the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Hafiz Saeed and the arrest of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. Both Dulat and Durrani have a lot to reveal considering that they headed their country’s external intelligence agencies apart from working in senior positions in Indian intelligence and Pakistan’s military intelligence respectively. The book has a third author, journalist Aditya Sinha, who guided the conversation between the two former sleuths, which took place on neutral territory, in Istanbul and Kathmandu. It would be interesting to know if the intelligence agencies of either of the two hostile neighbours got wind of the project.
Embattled minister
Smriti Irani’s removal from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry came as no surprise. In less than a year, she managed to alienate all sections: the party president, her Cabinet colleagues, the media, the President’s Office, the Prasar Bharati Chairperson and the staff working under her. The PMO was flooded with complaints. Among Irani’s many unnecessary duels was insisting on opening a crèche next to the busy journalists’ work station at the PIB’s media centre, even though it was pointed out that it was an unsuitable location and there was no demand for a crèche from accredited correspondents. The room expensively decorated with tiny Donald Duck beds and colourful wallpaper now lies empty and locked.
Bad timing
Regardless of the final outcome, the Congress performance has come as a blow to Rahul Gandhi. Unlike Gujarat, where the Congress was seen as the underdog, this time the general impression was that the Congress was ahead. After Karnataka, Rahul planned to reconstitute the Congress Working Committee. The youngsters he trusted were to be given key assignments, while easing out the older generation close to Sonia Gandhi. But Rahul, now in a weakened position, may be compelled to make compromises. Some of those from Karnataka considered close to him have not covered themselves with glory. Divya Spandana is a former MP from Mandya and the party’s social media in-charge, but the Congress lost all seven Assembly seats in her area of influence. Another Rahul favourite, Madhu Yaksh Goud, was one of the secretaries in charge of Karnataka. The Congress performance in the very seats for which he was personally in charge was particularly disappointing.
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Fifth Column: Endangered democracy | The Indian Express

Fifth Column: Endangered democracy | The Indian Express

 Sickness in our democracy did not begin after Modi became PM




Fifth Column: Endangered democracy

This sickness in our democracy did not begin after Narendra Modi became prime minister. But, it is this storyline that has been sought to be disseminated by secular, leftist political commentators in order to disguise their loyalties to the Congress party.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Updated: May 20, 2018 12:15:24 am
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the press on Saturday in New Delhi. He clearly forgot that if there was one conclusive thing that came out of the Karnataka election results, it was that it was a mandate against the incumbent Congress government. (Express Photo/Amit Mehra)

Three words that I got sick of hearing as the Karnataka drama unfolded last week were: democracy, secularism and Constitution. Nearly everyone who spoke them meant only one thing, and this was that the Bharatiya Janata Party must be kept out of Karnataka at all costs. Perhaps, by the time you read this, the BJP juggernaut will have been stopped from finding a toehold in southern India, but it is important that we remember that whatever happens, it will have nothing to do with those three words.
It is important also to remember that the post-election drama in Karnataka had everything to do with the Congress party’s desperation to keep its own little toe grounded in the state they have ruled for five years. Without Karnataka, our oldest political party has only Punjab and Puducherry left, and this is very bad news. How will Rahul Gandhi continue to dream of becoming prime minister in 2019? How will there be enough funds to fight the Lok Sabha elections if one of India’s richest states slips away? So even the most humiliating compromise with a party derided by Rahul Gandhi as the B-team of the BJP is better than losing power altogether. You realise what a sham ‘secularism’ has become if you remember that during the campaign the (S) in the party’s name was mocked by Congress leaders as standing for Sangh and not secular.
Now let us talk about democracy. Even as B S Yedyurappa was taking his oath of office last Thursday, the president of the Congress party tweeted this: ‘This morning, while the BJP celebrates its hollow victory, India will mourn the defeat of democracy.’ He clearly forgot that if there was one conclusive thing that came out of the election results, it was that it was a mandate against the incumbent Congress government.
On constitutional proprieties the less said the better. They were stretched and moulded last week by most politicians and political commentators to make whichever case they wished to make. What can be said for certain is that the men who wrote our Constitution never envisaged a situation in which the verdict of governors would be challenged by violent thugs on the streets. Or that newly elected legislators would need to be locked up in fine hotels to prevent them from selling their souls for filthy lucre.
It is not as if they need the money. The Karnataka Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms analysed the assets of 221 newly elected MLAs and found that 97 per cent were ‘crorepatis’. Of these, 16 had assets worth more than Rs 100 crore. You do not need me to tell you that the main reason why Indians fight and sometimes kill for a ticket to contest elections is because there is no easier way to become very rich very quickly.
This sickness in our democracy did not begin after Narendra Modi became prime minister. But, it is this storyline that has been sought to be disseminated by secular, leftist political commentators in order to disguise their loyalties to the Congress party. It is this ‘secular’ caboodle that uses words like democracy and secularism most often. Sadly, they see the weaknesses in our democracy through tinted lenses. So what happened in West Bengal’s panchayat elections last week has been almost ignored by liberal, leftist commentators. In these village elections, ballot boxes were torn out of polling booths and thrown in ponds, and gangs of armed thugs wandered about violently preventing people from voting. These events escaped the notice of ‘secular’ politicians and commentators who moan endlessly about how democracy has died in the past four years. Rahul went so far as to say in Chhattisgarh that India has become a dictatorship.
To support this ludicrous charge, the Congress president has exalted disgruntled judges who actively harmed the Supreme Court by going public with their disgruntlement. Disgruntled public intellectuals have also sided with the judges and the ‘secular’ media has done its best to provide a platform for their views.
Having lived through that time when there really was a Dictator ruling India, I can report that journalists, writers and poets were jailed for speaking out. It was also a time when disobedient judges got the sack. So the Supreme Court obsequiously went along with the Dictator’s diktat when she ordered them to suspend even the right to life. When the Dictator’s grandson now makes reckless charges, he needs to be reminded of that one period of Indian history when democracy nearly died.
Modi is no match for the powerful elite who lost their vast influence in the public square when he became prime minister. So now when he appears to have lost some of his magic, they have taken charge of the narrative and their message is clear: democracy is doomed if Modi remains in power.
Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @tavleen_singh
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Across the Aisle: Who will save the Constitution? | The Indian Express

Across the Aisle: Who will save the Constitution? | The Indian Express

Who will save the Constitution?


Across the Aisle: Who will save the Constitution?

The question that remains is, will the legislators elected on their respective party symbols remain faithful to the party, to the voters who supported them, to the unwritten rules of a democracy, and to the Constitution of India?

Written by P Chidambaram | Updated: May 20, 2018 12:15:54 am
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa addresses members of the Karnataka Assembly before a floor test, at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. Two days after taking oath as CM, he resigned. (PTI Photo)

Let me remind myself — before others remind me — of what I wrote on March 19, 2017. Elections had been concluded in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The BJP won in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Congress won in Punjab. Referring to the other two states, I wrote: “In Goa and Manipur, the loser stole the election”. I based my remark on the following: “The party that secured the highest number of seats would be invited first to form the government… By that rule or convention, the Congress should have been invited to form the government in Goa (17/40 seats) and in Manipur (28/60).” The controversy was around the principles to be followed by a governor in inviting a person to form the government. In the absence of a party that had secured an absolute majority, should the governor invite the single largest party or a post-poll alliance (that prima facie had the majority)?
The Last Statement of Law
The question had been examined in the past and there were observations in several judgments. Goa presented a concrete opportunity. In an order dated March 14, 2017, and made in Chandrakant Kavlekar vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court observed: “The (Goa) Assembly comprises of 40 elected members. The party having the support of at least 21 elected members would obviously have majority. Annexure-B reveals that besides the 13 elected members from the BJP Legislative Party, 3 members from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa, and another 3 members from the Goa Forward Party have expressed their support to the BJP Legislature Party. Besides the above, two elected independent members have also been mentioned in the letter of the Governor — Annexure B — as having expressed their allegiance to the BJP Legislature Party. It is, therefore, that the BJP Legislature Party is shown to have the support of 21 MLAs.” The Supreme Court upheld the governor’s decision and allowed Mr Manohar Parrikar (who had not contested the election) to prove his majority — but directed him to do so in two days, by March 16, 2017. So, I was wrong on the law. Mr Arun Jaitley’s view, stated in his famous blog, was held to be right.
Governor Mocks at Court
The Goa verdict is the law declared by the Supreme Court under Article 141 of the Constitution. Under Article 144, all authorities are bound to act in aid of the Supreme Court. Goa was a text book case that the governor of Karnataka ought to have followed. It was the last and latest pronouncement on the subject by the Supreme Court. That Governor Vajubhai Vala did not will remain a blot on his record. He was loyal to the RSS/BJP and not to the Constitution of India. Once the orders were given from the top, events unfolded rapidly in Karnataka. A letter inviting Mr Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove his majority within 15 days was delivered late in the evening on May 16, the Congress and JD(S) moved the Supreme Court just before midnight on that day, a post-midnight hearing was granted by a three-member Bench, notice and certain interim directions were issued but there was no stay of the swearing-in, and Mr Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister on May 17. The case before the Supreme Court was heard on May 18, 2018.
Saving the Constitution
The hearing, and the directions, were a blow to the designs of the BJP. The Supreme Court’s order can be faulted on only one ground: after having demanded and got the letter(s) written by Mr Yeddyurappa to the governor staking his claim, the Supreme Court must have noticed that Mr Yeddyurappa had never claimed that he enjoyed the support of the majority of the elected legislators! The governor’s invitation to him also did not mention any number! On this ground alone, the Supreme Court would have been justified in quashing the appointment of Mr Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister and directing the governor to take a fresh decision, but the Court was kind to both. Everything else in the order of the Court dated May 18 was unexceptionable:
* Take the vote of confidence on May 19 at 4 pm;
* Vote not by secret ballot;
* No appointment of an Anglo Indian member for the present;
* No major administrative decision until Mr Yeddyurappa secured a vote of confidence.
I salute the Supreme Court. The Court has done its utmost to save the Constitution from being ravaged by a group of power-hungry people. The question that remains — as I send this essay to the newspapers — is, will the legislators elected on their respective party symbols remain faithful to the party, to the voters who supported them, to the unwritten rules of a democracy, and to the Constitution of India?
Postscript: Thanks to the Supreme Court, every citizen watching the proceedings of the Karnataka Assembly live became a pro tem Speaker. After covering themselves with everlasting shame, before the vote could be taken, the leaders of the BJP threw in the towel. The 75-year-old pretender resigned. The puppeteers went into hiding. Democracy in Karnataka has been saved — for the time being.
Website: pchidambaram.in; Twitter: @Pchidambaram_IN
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Catalan independence drive: Nightmare in Barcelona | In English | EL PAÍS

Catalan independence drive: Nightmare in Barcelona | In English | EL PAÍS

Nightmare in Barcelona

Does the new Catalan premier Quim Torra, with his savagely xenophobic views, truly represent today’s pro-independence movement?

Nightmare in Barcelona
RAQUEL MARÍN

It bears repeating once again, in the hope that by sheer repetition we will finally come to terms with it: Joaquim Torra, the brand new premier of Catalonia, is an admirer of Estat Català, a fascist or para-fascist and secessionist party that set up violent militias in the 1930s with a view to armed conflict; he is also an enthusiastic supporter of its leaders, particularly the notorious Badia brothers, two terrorists and torturers whom Torra has defined as “the best examples of separatism,” as Xavier Vidal-Folch recently noted in this newspaper.
The word “enthusiastic” is not an exaggeration. Barely four years ago, in an article titled “Pioneers of independence” published by the Catalan newspaper El punt/Avui, Mr. Torra wrote the following about Estat Català and Nosaltres Sols! (a current within Estat Catalá spawned from a clandestine paramilitary network): “Now that the country has embraced what they defended for so long, I think it’s only fair to remember them and thank them for so many years of solitary struggle. What a lesson, what a magnificent lesson!”.
All of the above is more or less common knowledge; fewer people know, however, that the party so revered by Torra survived the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime, and resurfaced again during the transition to democracy. The archives of Barcelona’s Autonomous University hold a booklet signed by Nosaltres Sols! that was published around 1980, according to historian Enric Ucelay-Da Cal. It contains eight pages of typewritten text written in the Catalan language, and titled “The scientific basis of racism”. The authors reach the following conclusion: “For the above reasons, we consider that the Catalan racial makeup is more purely white than the Spanish one, and hence that Catalans are racially superior to Spaniards.”
I would feel much calmer if the Catalan premier were a fugitive from the Sant Boi mental asylum with a chainsaw in his hands
Any second-rate Nazi ideologue could have written these words if we replace “Catalan” with “German” and “Spaniard” with “Jew.” Is this the magnificent lesson that, according to Torra, all of us Catalans should learn from his beloved independence pioneers? The answer can only be yes, judging by the articles and tweets that Mr. Torra has published during the last few years, and which we have discovered in recent days, much to our astonishment. In them, Spaniards are always described as undesirable individuals deserving expulsion from Catalonia (“There isn’t room for everybody here”, he wrote in 2010 apropos of two Catalan socialists with Spanish surnames).
In his first interview as a candidate for the premiership, Torra made a statement about his xenophobic rants: “I apologize if someone took my words as a personal offense.” Really? Perish the thought! I mean, who in their right mind would find it offensive to be described as a filthy, fascist, violent plunderer as he did with millions of people?
The real question now is: Do Torra’s savagely xenophobic views represent the current pro-independence movement? Is this what lay concealed all along behind the broad, tolerant, open and embracing kind of nationalism that Catalanists preached for so long, and which so many of us believed for years (even if we were not nationalists ourselves)? One can very well understand that Mr. Puigdemont and three or four fools like himself may share Torra’s views. But are those views also endorsed by the PDeCAT, the party born out of the old Convergència once led by the likes of Jordi Pujol, Miquel Roca and Artur Mas? Are they endorsed by the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and by the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), two parties that brand themselves as leftist? And if they don’t endorse them, how is it possible that they have just allowed him to become premier with their votes?
It’s not just that Torra does not deserve to be the Catalan premier; he doesn’t deserve to be anyone’s political representative at all, and the Catalan parties that retain a modicum or sanity and dignity should have demanded his prompt resignation as a member of parliament. How long would any Spanish representative have lasted if he or she had written about Catalans the same sort of brutal insults that Mr. Torra wrote about Spaniards? Or if they had expressed enthusiasm for the fascist party Falange, the Spanish equivalent of Estat Català?
How long would any Spanish representative have lasted if he or she had written about Catalans the same sort of brutal insults that Mr. Torra wrote about Spaniards?
That was the part about feelings of disgust and shame. Now comes the part about fear. Because, standing inside the Catalan parliament, and speaking in the name of (but with absolute contempt for) democracy, Mr. Torra has vowed to do exactly the same things that his predecessor did, the things that drove Catalonia to two months of upheaval following a coup unleashed by separatists on September 6 and 7, a time during which the country was split in two and teetered on the brink of civil conflict and economic ruin (a ruin that some economists whisper it will be difficult to avoid: a slow death).
And this xenophobic admirer of a fascist party finds himself in a position to fulfill his ominous promise, because as soon as he is sworn in he will have at his disposal a police force with 17,000 officers, powerful media outlets, a budget running into the billions of euros and the vast resources that Spanish democracy bestowed upon the Catalan autonomous government, in addition to things like the education of thousands of kids. I can only add that I would feel much calmer if the Catalan premier were a fugitive from the Sant Boi mental asylum with a chainsaw in his hands.
Sometimes history does not repeat itself as a farce, as Marx believed, but as a nightmare; this is what is happening in Catalonia now. Torra is right about one thing: for some time now, the whole Catalan nationalist bloc and two million people seem to have embraced the ideas defended in the 1930s by Estat Català and Nosaltres Sols! Most separatists are not aware of this, of course, but it explains why it was possible for Torra to become premier. To put it another way: yesterday we witnessed the ascent to power of those who, since the 1930s and until very recently, had been viewed by mainstream Catalan nationalists as dangerous extremists, if not outright demented.
In these circumstances, I don’t know if it’s even worth asking for help from the Spanish government, since it has not even been able to explain what’s going on in Catalonia to the European public opinion. So I ask for help from the democratic state, from Europeans, from Spaniards and from Catalans of good faith – including separatists of good faith. We need to stop this nightmare.
Javier Cercas is a writer and the author of Soldiers of Salamis.