The Presidential Joke

As the hunt to fill in Kalam’s shoes is on, I just thought I might write some of my views on one of the sadder jokes in Indian politics. Last time we had a certain Lakshmi Sahgal contesting alongside Kalam. If her credentials were dubious (versus Kalam), now we have yet another joke (post-quotas :D) that’s being played by the ill-humoured UPA (I’m apolitical mostly, I’d criticse NDA and UNPA any day too), who is backing a certain Pratibha Patil (who did not even have a wikipedia article in her name until it was put forth by UPA).

Considering especially that it’s Kalam’s shoes that need to be filled, it’s hilarious to see such names doing the rounds. I write this post hurriedly, for if I wait a fortnight, I might be guilty of throwing eggs at the National President (which is orthogonal to our culture: to see what I mean, you could google for miserable failure :D). Kalam is indeed the favourite of the masses, but unfortunately, the so-called representatives of the masses have different ideas!

Kalam had enough of confrontations with Sonia, and to hope for Sonia to be an all-forgiving saint wiping out the Prime-Minister fiasco (remember Tyaag Divas?) and the office of profit bill from her memory would tantamount to hoping that Australia would stop sledging from their next test (forgive me, cricket has to figure in every post i write).

For five years, we’ve been proud to have a renowned scientist and more than that, a great human being as our President. But, don’t they say “Pride goes before a fall?

To sum it, I think Cho has a nice cartoon in today’s Tughlaq (his tamizh magazine):

tughlaq-cover.jpg

For the benefit of those who can’t read tamil, it goes thus:
Rabri: In what way am I inferior to that lady? Why did you not propose my name for president?
Laloo: That lady has only been a minister, whereas you have been a chief minister! Won’t [Sonia] be scared that you would know a few things?! That’s why I hesitated.

Jai Hind!

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No win, but IITians give a fight

(Courtesy: Press Trust of India) 

Chennai: The fledgling Lok Paritran, a party floated by former IITians, has surprised many by making inroads into the vote share of established party candidates like Arcot Veerasamy (DMK) and S Ve Shekar (AIADMK).

Between them, the seven Paritran candidates, who contested from five constituencies in the city, one in Tiruvallur and another in Ramanathapuram district, cumulatively polled more than 34,000 votes.

Party leader Santhanagopal Vasudev, pitted against political heavyweights Shekar and DMK's Napolean in Mylapore garnered 10,000 votes.

Political analysts feel Vasudev played a significant role in weaning away a chunk of Napolean's vote share in this constituency, which could have led to his defeat.

Rajamani, another Lok Paritran candidate fielded in Anna Nagar, polled 12,000 votes contesting against stalwarts like Veerasamy and the powerful MDMK, a party spokesman said.

Another party candidate Elanthirumaran mustered 669 votes contesting against DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi from Chepauk and finished fifth among 20 candidates in the fray.

The Lok Paritran, contesting elections for the very first time, was formed a mere two months ago.

While established parties competed with each other in promising freebies to voters, the Paritran said it stood for good governance, transparency, accessibility, freedom from corruption and proper implementation. "Short term promises are a strict no" was the party's refrain.

Some hope at the end of the tunnel? Maybe. These, by any standards are not small numbers, that too in a state dominated (like most other Indian states are) by caste politics and other stupid issues. This is a good beginning. It's well known that the populace in the age of 18-30 is significant in the country. If that segment can shed their laziness, complacency, illiteracy and other biases and vote for the party that promises to build India's future, we might well have glorious days ahead. Jai Hind.

For heavens’ sake, vote!

I guess you all will at least remember that the elections are round the corner. We've often been guilty of not voting albeit on the pretext that there is no one worth voting for. This time, at least in the following constituencies, we have someone whom we could give a chance. Instead of voting for the mindless power-hungry politicians who are currently in the fray, and the even more jobless film artistes, I think it behoves us to vote for some people who have dared to do something which most of us can't and rest of us only speak about but consistently fail to do.

I understand this is the list of candidates contesting for LOK PARITRAN (the political party formed by the former IITians and other guys who care for the nation):
*Santhanagopalan Vasudev, Mylapore
*Elanthirumaran, Chepauk
*Mahesh, Thousand Lights
*Prashanth sharma, Egmore
*Arvind Tiruvaiyar, T Nagar
*Rajamani, Anna Nagar
*Hariharan, Saidapet
*Rabindra Ganesh, Park Town

Please cast aside arguments that there is no point in voting for these people since they would anyway not win or form the government. I think that's not what should drive one to vote. At least give them a pat on the back and possibly help them recover their deposit, if not a seat.

Please pass on this message to your parents & relatives if you are not in town/not yet old enough to vote etc. This is the bare minimum we could do to think of improving the state of affairs in the nation. If you are in a college, please urge your fellow students to at least vote, if not for Paritrana. It's irresponsible to not exercise your franchise, whatever be your excuse.

Don't be under the impression that it's not going to matter to you who forms the government. Governments have degraded enough to even cause sufficient trouble to an indifferent no-nonsense citizens. VOTE!

Finally, your mandate is your mandate. This is just a request/wake-up call. There is no reason to believe that these people are any less capable of governance than the illiterate politicians we have. Yes, they are very incompetent in dirty politicking though, which is the prime asset of the contemporary politician.

Best Regards
Karthik
p.s. Check out their website is at http://www.lokparitran.org/

Update: Election Manifesto of Lok Paritran:
The only `freebie' in the manifesto of the Lok Paritran is a corruption-free government.

The raison d'etre of Lok Paritran is to eliminate corruption and bring ethics into governance.

The leadership of the political outfit started by a bunch of IITians on Monday outlined the key aspects of their first-ever election manifesto: cleaning up the `implementation pipeline' to ensure trickledown of benefits; rewarding merit, ability and skill; introducing technology and training employees in government departments.

The party's Mylapore candidate, Santhanagopalan Vasudev, said their efforts would result in better functioning of police and crime control, quick and easy processing of official documents, including licences and ration cards, better employment opportunities, poverty reduction and improvement in the health and nutrition status of the people. Education and welfare of farmers are the other subjects the party promises to take up.

Most importantly, Vasudev says, "We will ensure that the MLA's Constituency Development Fund is used solely to improve the constituency."

The party's nominees will contest in five constituencies in Chennai (Anna Nagar, Thousand Lights, Chepauk, Mylapore and Anna Nagar) and Villivakkam and Mudukulathur in Ramanathapuram on `axe' and `drums' symbols.

"We are now a force to reckon with," says Tanmay Rajpurohit, party's national president. "This is just the first step. Even if we lose seats now, it will not affect our morale… We'll get there, sooner or later."

Paritrana, by the IITians, for the Nation, of the People

(Trana) means the act of relieving a conscious entity from the state of distress or pain. However, this relief may not be of permanent nature. (Paritrana) is the complete relief implying the end of the very cause of distress.

— from www.paritrana.org

परित्राणाय साधूनाम् विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे॥
— भगवद्गीता ४-७
paritrāṇāya sādhūnām vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām|
dharmasaṁsthāpanārthāya saṁbhavāmi yuge yuge||
— bhagavadgītā 4-7
“For the protection of the virtuous, for the extirpation of evil-doers,
And for establishing righteousness on a firm footing, I am born from age to age.”

After this elaborate introduction, let’s get to the real news. To quote Economic Times:

START QUOTE

Seems like Mani Rathnam’s Yuva is getting off the reels. Five IITians, all in their 20s, have decided to take up mainstream politics. The youths, based in Jodhpur, will be in the city to campaign for their national party, “ Paritrana’’ , which was launched in Jodhpur on Friday.

“Giving up handsome pay packages, comfort of family and support of friends wasn’t that easy,’’ says Tanmay Rajpurohit, the national president of the party and B Tech in aerospace from IIT Bombay followed by an MS from GeorgiaTech and double masters in arts.

“But my inner voice told me that I should invest my efforts in my country rather than making my pockets heavier,’’ said Ajit Ashwalayan Shukla, vice president of the party.

“People think we are crazy so much so that our families have also failed to understand our motto, but we won’t give up,’’ he added.

The core team of “Paritrana’ ’ comprises Rajpurohit , Shukla, Amit Beesen, also the vice president and a B Tech (Mechanical) from IIT Bombay and a LLB graduate, Chandrashekhar (national treasurer), B Tech (computer science) from IIT Kanpur, Bharat Sundaram, the PRO of the party and B Tech from IIT Kanpur and PhD in electronics from Melbourne.

“Paritrana means complete relief from the various causes of distress, and that is what we want to do for our people,’’ added Chandrashekhar. Low funds have not discouraged them in their efforts of holding door-to-door campaigns in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and parts of Maharashtra.
“We strongly feel that the politicians of today are no longer the voice of the common man but instead they voice their own personal agendas through which they can fetch maximum votes,’’ said Shukla.
“We are not here for the power game. We are here to deal with the grassroots issues of each and every small village that we come across,’’ added Shukla.

The zeal and burning desire of the five youngsters sounds sincere. “I believe that we are just five ordinary boys from the middle class family with no godfathers in politics but have dared to come forward and fight for our rights,’’ said Chandrashekhar. “And we will succeed in it,’’ he added.
After the launch of the party at the Suchana Kendra in Jodhpur, the party members, as a part of their promotional campaign will tour Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.

END QUOTE

It does seem that we’re in for something. Let’s hope we have no more Satya Dubeys though. It is critical that the youth of today’s India, which includes me and you (probably) should really do something for the nation, instead of sitting and cribbing or praying. We must seize an initiative. Being reactive never helps — we’ve got to make things happen. Jai Hind!

p.s. If you really did take my words to heart, download the application form to join Paritrana here.

A scare for democracy?

“Buta Singh resigns as Bihar governor”, says rediff. I wish he had resigned before hosting the flag on R-Day. He did not deserve to. The obvious question arises as to how many governors in the country indeed are worthy of hosting the Indian flag. Tough one! However, I would still term the act of dissolving the Bihar government most dastardly and unconsitutional. Things turned out well for Bihar in the end, with Laloo being ousted for the first time since ages, but not before crores of rupees were flushed down the drainage for a useless exercise of a repeat election.

There are several things that one can prodigally spend the taxpayers’ money on, but nothing could be worse than a re-election, particularly when there was a clear party that could take the helm.

Talking about politics is utterly distasteful to me, with better work and interesting research to do, but as a responsible citizen, I would consider it my bounden duty to voice my opinion against such desperate events that could well destroy the fabric of democracy. I care not who rules the country as long as they do it well. But the point is that people holding offices of the Prime Minister and President, cannot be tricked, and cannot cut a sorry figure as this, pleading innocence or naïveté.

Indian politics desperately lacks professionalism and needs young men and not young heirs of a dynasty — we’re not running a kingdom here. Be it H D Kumaraswamy or Stalin or Rahul Gandhi too, it’s just the case of a son filling up, however good or bad they are.

In any case, India has proved time and again that it can progress — progress to great heights — despite all these obstacles. But, in a world that’s progressing so fast, shouldn’t we been running forward like a 100m sprinter, rather than walking forth and back like the proverbial drunkard?