''A stunning victory in Delhi’s state assembly for the anti-establishment Aam Aadmi party has brought Narendra Modi down to earth Aam Aadmi Party win election in Delhi''
Tag - Corruption
AAP claims to have no ideology or affinity to doctrines like socialism, secularism, liberalism or Hindutva. Ideology, it says, is “for the pundits and the media…” AAP is itself content to be “solution-focused”. It deplores the “tendency to pin down political parties as Left, Right, Centre…”
Within days of making a stunning electoral debut in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party finds itself in a dilemma. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have offered to support AAP if it forms a government with 28 members in the 70-strong Legislative Assembly. Should it accept the offer and assume governmental responsibility? Or, should it, in keeping with its “idealism” and the popular mandate, stay out of power until it wins a majority?
On October 15, the Central Bureau of Investigation did something unusual in the coal block allotment scam—if only under the Supreme Court’s goading. It filed a First Information Report against top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh for illegally allotting two coal blocks in Odisha in 2005 to the Aditya Birla group-owned Hindalco Industries to generate electricity.
As many Indians expected, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has succeeded in scuttling an odious ordinance which would have enabled lawmakers sentenced to jail for two years or more to hold on to their seats. It took the cabinet a mere five minutes to withdraw it.
If the Bharatiya Janata Party is deluding itself that Narendra Modi’s stormtrooping methods will miraculously ensure its victory in the next election, the Congress is no less dangerously mistaken in thinking that Rahul Gandhi will craft its return to power by assertively signifying his importance in the party—by bypassing it. Gandhi may have scuttled the odious ordinance that was designed to prevent convicted lawmakers from holding on to their seats pending legal appeal—as might have happened by the time these lines appear in print—but he has not brought the party or himself any credit by the manner in which he went about doing it.
Having tasted blood through the Anna Hazare campaign, the Sangh Parivar is launching an all-round attack on the Manmohan Singh-led government. The UPA cannot defend itself with weak-kneed Right-leaning policies.
Team Anna must show some humility instead of imposing its will on society. It doesn’t hold a monopoly on understanding how to make governance more inclusive, clean and people-responsive. It must recognise that, finally, it is Parliament that prevailed on the Lokpal legislative process, and that’s how things should be, says Praful Bidwai.
No government in India has bent over backwards to please a civil society campaign as much as the Manmohan Singh government, in respect of the Jan Lokpal (ombudsman) Bill, drafted by a small group of people, including Anna Hazare, nominated by an NGO called India against Corruption (IAC). And no single individual’s act has recently attracted as much popular support as Mr Hazare’s fast for passing the Bill on terms dictated by him by an impossibly short deadline.
Corruption doesn’t occur primarily, as Team Anna holds, because there’s a “lack of an independent, empowered, … anti-corruption institution”. The real reasons include a neoliberal policy regime that encourages privatisation of common property resources through sweetheart deals and a politician-bureaucrat-businessman nexus; the rise of greedy entrepreneurs; an increasingly compromised civil service; poorly monitored public service delivery; and a dysfunctional justice delivery system.
Hazare’s success in mobilising the normally apolitical middle class speaks of a strong revulsion against corruption and shows up huge flaws in the system. But it can also harm democratic politics.
By threatening to withdraw its ministers from the United Progressive Alliance government over a seat-sharing dispute in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham sprang a stunning surprise on the Congress. DMK president M Karunanidhi assumed a self-righteous posture and charged the Congress with greed for raising its demand for tickets for the coming elections to the 234-strong Assembly from the 60 seats agreed earlier, to 63 seats.
Leaks of tapped phone conversations reveal how corruption propels India's booming economy
How the mighty have fallen! The Congress party was so exuberant and confident after its Lok Sabha election victory last year that it imagined that it would be only a matter of time before it returns to the glorious past of one-party salience when it used to call the shots nationally and rule in all but a handful of states. Barely one-and-a-half years later, the party is besieged by scandal after scandal, buffeted by defeats in the Bihar Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls and various by-elections, politically confused, and organisationally demoralised. Suddenly, its return to power in 2014 no longer looks a near-certainty, as it did only some months ago.
As the 2G scam reverberates, shocking revelations have emerged of another, related, scandal involving collusion between big corporate houses, political parties and the media in influencing key policy decisions and ministerial appointments. Outlook and Open magazines have reproduced partial transcripts of telephone conversations between Ms Niira Radia, a corporate lobbyist for the Tata and Mukesh Ambani groups, and several top journalists, industrialists and politicians, which show journalists playing political roles well beyond the legitimate bounds of their profession.
fter Ashok Chavan's role in the Adarsh Society scam was exposed, his continuation as Maharashtra's chief minister became simply untenable. His replacement by Prithviraj Chavan is premised on the hope that a person known for integrity and probity, and what some call a "process-driven management style", would help clean up the horrible mess that is Maharashtra politics. The new Berkeley-educated CM indeed has a reputation of a sober politician and administrator. Moreover, he enjoys the confidence of the Congress president and the prime minister — an advantage few Maharashtra CMs have had in decades. But whether he can clean the state's Augean stables is an open question that can't be answered by managerial styles. On it depend the fate of India's most industrialised state and, not least, the credibility of the Congress's apex leadership.
The Commonwealth Games have proved the Cassandras right. Every single dire forecast and dismal prediction has turned out to be correct and every dark fear has come true. The mis-planning and mismanagement of the event was gross, the scale of corruption staggering, the profligate spending on the international sports bureaucracy unparalleled, and the brutalisation of Delhi and its suburbs complete.
The Cassandras have proved right. The Commonwealth Games have turned into a gigantic multi-billion rupee racket, under which Delhi’s landscape is recklessly ripped up, inappropriate and wasteful projects are shamelessly promoted, public funds massively looted, workers sadistically brutalised, the poor summarily evicted, and human rights egregiously violated—supposedly to enhance India’s global image in pursuit of hollow notions of prestige. The CWG, far grander than the Asian Games of 1982, will be monumentally irrelevant to the future of sports. But they will leave a toxic legacy of empty public coffers, disused stadia, and a battered mass of underprivileged people.
A rash of scandals has broken out over contracts for the construction of infrastructure and sports facilities for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This raises disturbing questions about transparency, accountability and governance failure and the existence of an Indian kleptocracy which sets no limits to how low it will stoop in looting the exchequer. But the Games must also be criticised on grounds other than corruption. They will be a hollow, tawdry 12-day spectacle, which does nothing to promote sports, or to earn India any goodwill or prestige, which the elite craves.
One of the greatest failures of governance in India lies in appalling poor regulation of entrepreneur activities in the public interest. This is as true of vehicular pollution—less than 200 inspectors for Delhi’s 5 million-plus registered motor vehicles—as it is of such diverse areas as natural gas, education, and the higher judiciary. It is often comfortingly thought that self-regulation is the answer given the near-impossibility of reforming our lethargic and corrupt bureaucracy. Alas, this is largely an illusion.
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