IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 11th, 2013
In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Godhra is a stain on Narendra Modi, Vajpayee’s niece says
- Patel would not have recognized Modi as ideological heir: Rajmohan Gandhi
- CBI to spread net, may trouble Narendra Modi
- 3 RSS men held for CPM worker’s murder
- Several Hindu youths arrested for Patna serial bomb blasts before NaMo rally
- Who is responsible – Shivraj Singh Chauhan, his police or judiciary? Several Muslim youth arrested under UAPA in MP on dubious charges, says report
- CAUGHT ON PHONE: ‘Uncle’ stopped PAC from reaching riot-struck villages in time during Muzaffarnagar violence?
- UP man kills father to get riots compensation, throws skull cap at scene to give communal angle
- Mumbai property broker posts online ad, says no to Muslims
- Lack of development forcing people in Chhattisgarh into Naxalism: Sonia
Opinions & Editorials
- Narendra Modi and why 2002 cannot go away – By N Ram
- Modi: Inheritor of Patel’s legacy – By Kaneez Fathima
- Patna serial blasts: Why the authorities are soft on ‘Hindu Mujahideen’? – By Imran Khan
- Muzaffarnagar Riots: Who’ll Sharpen The Sickles Now? – By Pragya Singh
- The Coercive Powers Of The ‘Caged Parrot’ – By Amitabha Pande
- Can Opinion Polls Be More Damaging Than The Lies Politicians Tell? – By Shougat Dasgupta
Godhra is a stain on Narendra Modi, Vajpayee’s niece says (Nov 6, 2013, Times of India)
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla, BJP’s national vice-president who quit the party last month, on Wednesday hit out at party president Rajnath Singh and prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi. “BJP has degenerated like a transport company owned by Rajnath Singh. Godhra is a stain on Narendra Modi. It will never be wiped out,” she said at a press conference in Rajnandgaon from where Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh is pitted in the state assembly elections against Congress nominee Alka Mudaliyar, widow of an ex-MLA Uday Mudaliyar who was killed in the May 25 Maoist attack in Bastar.
Karuna Shukla, who was BJP’s vice-president for the last 13 years, quit the primary membership on October 24, alleging that the party leadership had deliberately sidelined her and also blaming BJP president Rajnath Singh for not having taken her into confidence in the party affairs in the election bound Chhattisgarh. Before quitting, she was seeking a ticket to contest from Beltara constituency, from where the party fielded an octogenarian leader.
On Wednesday, Shukla blamed the BJP government in Chhattisgarh for its failure to contain Naxalism and check corruption during the last one decade. Claiming that the BJP’s true character stands exposed, she said: “I have come here to canvass support for Alka Mudaliyar who lost her husband in the Maoist attack. Others, who are contesting as independent after leaving the BJP, have also invited me to campaign in their respective constituencies.”
“I have left the BJP but will not join any other party. I have also decided not to return to the BJP fold”, she said. Shukla, who earlier called on Congress candidate Alka Mudaliyar at her residence, said the BJP has become a party where muscle and money power prevails and it is in the grip of businessmen.
The former prime minister’s niece also lashed out at the party leadership in Chhattisgarh saying that senior leaders who had served for the party for long, have been marginalized and isolated and now they were forced to enter the electoral fray as independents. “I will start my campaign from Alka Mudaliyar’s house. The BJP government’s security lapses have led to the Bastar massacre. This will remain as a scar in the peoples’ mind,” she claimed.
- ‘Face’ of Gujarat riots to share stage with Karat (Nov 7, 2013, Indian Express)
- Modi’s elevation a tragedy: Arundhati Roy (Nov 11, 2013, Times of India)
- Tit for tat? Congress moves EC over Modi’s ‘bloody hand’ barb (Nov 10, 2013, Rediff)
- Modi being projected as a Messiah: Rahman Khan (Nov 11, 2013, Yahoo)
Patel would not have recognized Modi as ideological heir: Rajmohan Gandhi (Nov 4, 2013, Times of India)
Amid a slugfest between BJP’s Narendra Modi and Congress over Sardar Patel, a noted biographer of Patel has said the country’s first home minister would not have recognized Modi as his ideological heir and been very “pained” with his behaviour towards Muslims. Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who has written a biography of the country’s first home minister, said Patel certainly would not have felt at the time of 2002 riots in Gujarat that Modi fulfilled his ‘rajdharma’, a phrase used by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to chide Modi.
“I think it is quite obvious that he (Patel) would have been very disappointed, very pained and saddened not only as an Indian statesman but also as coming from Gujarat, that this should not have happened in Gujarat and the government of the time was not able to prevent it,” he said. Talking to Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate, Gandhi said that claims by BJP supporters or Modi himself to project him as Patel’s heir misunderstands and misrepresents Patel.
“If Modi can grow into that kind of image that would be wonderful, but by two reasons he has fallen short. After all Patel grew as a disciple under the umbrella of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Modi had his career under the umbrella of RSS and that makes a difference. “Also Patel as an individual was always a team builder, other people were prominent in his daily life. Whether Modi is like that… I would like him to be like that,” he said.
Gandhi, however, accepted the criticism that Congress has forgotten Patel or relegated him to the background in the 63 years since his death. He noted that Nehru was succeeded by Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi while none of Patel’s children inherited or benefited from his power. Patel was proud to be a Congressman and accepted that Mahatma Gandhi’s decision to make Nehru Prime Minister was correct, Gandhi said, adding the Mahatma chose Nehru over Patel because he was older by 14 years and in poor health. Nehru was also better known internationally, he said.
The ‘Iron man’, a popular term used for Patel, had appreciated the work of RSS during riots in 1947 but after Gandhi’s assassination, his attitude changed and he was thereafter an implacable opponent if not an enemy of the Hindutva organisation, he said. Modi and Congress leaders have engaged in a war of words over Patel with the BJP’s PM candidate claiming that the country’s destiny would have been different had he been the first PM instead of Nehru. Congress has hit back at him, saying he was trying to hijack Patel’s legacy as BJP lacked any icon.
- Modi’s role during 2002 riots would have saddened Sardar Patel: Rajmohan Gandhi (Nov 3, 2013, IBN)
- Patel would not have endorsed Modi: Rajmohan Gandhi (Nov 4, 2013, The Hindu)
- ‘Only I know how much Nehru toiled for India’ (Nov 6, 2013, Rediff)
- Stop lying, Nitish Kumar tells Narendra Modi (Nov 11, 2013, DNA India)
CBI to spread net, may trouble Narendra Modi (Nov 1, 2013, Asian Age)
In what could be bad news for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the CBI is all set to elaborate the roles of certain state level politicians (including a former minister), former Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials and Gujarat cops in its supplementary charge-sheet on the conspiracy which led to the encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others on June 15, 2005. Maintaining that the agency has completed its probe into the conspiracy which led to the encounter of Ishrat, a source said, “The supplementary chargesheet will be filed soon.”
The source further said, “Probe has also established senior Gujarat BJP leaders had allegedly directed some public servants of the state in November 2011 to ‘monitor and influence’ the probe of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Ishrat case. This will also be mentioned in the chargesheet.” The CBI has already recorded the statements of several former state ministers, including the then Gujarat minister of state for home Praful Patel twice in this regard.
“Findings of the documents provided by the ministry of home affairs and the analysis of the conduct of the suspected IB officials before and after the encounter, will also be crucial part of the supplementary probe report”, sources said. The agency sleuths have collected enough evidence which prove the direct involvement of former IB officials in hatching the conspiracy which led to the encounter of Ishrat, the source added.
The CBI has also found that a former IB officer and another senior official of the Gujarat Police had interacted with Ishrat and Javed at Khodiyar farm a few days before the encounter. “Agency has evidence which proves that she was abducted by Gujarat Police from Vasad toll booth and the suspected officers of the IB had information about this,” another source said. The agency sleuths scrutinised the call detail records of IB officers and also tracked their locations before and after the encounter, the source added.
- Judiciary should monitor fake encounters in Gujarat: Sibal (Oct 30, 2013, Times of India)
- Sabarmati Jail authorities withdraw ‘application’ on Vanzara questioning (Oct 31, 2013, Indian Express)
- It’s CBI vs IB in Sadiq Jamal fake encounter case (Nov 9, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- Bhatt’s security scaled down (Nov 8, 2013, Times of India)
3 RSS men held for CPM worker’s murder (Nov 9, 2013, Times of India)
Vellarada police arrested three people in connection with the murder of CPM activist Narayanan Nair of Anavoor. Binukumar of Keezhavoor, Ajayan of Kavalloor and Saji of Pashuvennara near Vellarada were taken into custody soon after the crime was committed on Tuesday night.
Vellarada circle inspector J Mohandas said that the three accused have confirmed to be strong activists of RSS. “They are not the main accused, who attacked the father and sons, but they were also present at the spot along with other assailants,” the inspector said. There are eye witnesses, who saw the accused brandishing swords at the locals when they rushed to Nair’s house. He added that police have taken more people into custody in connection with the murder.
Meanwhile, the prohibitory order which was in effect in Neyyatinkara taluk came to an end by Friday midnight. Though no more incidents of violence were reported after Wednesday night, tension still prevails in the area.
Police have not withdrawn their personnel deployed in the area. “Many houses of the RSS and BJP supporters were vandalised during the protests by CPM supporters,” the CI said. No arrests were recorded in connection with the CPM attacks so far, he added. Meanwhile, the arrested RSS men were produced in the court and remanded in judicial custody.
- BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki from Gujarat arrested for RTI activist’s murder (Nov 5, 2013, DNA India)
- RSS will polarize India on communal grounds: Swami Agnivesh (Nov 10, 2013, Times of India)
- BJP candidate booked for allegedly distributing cash to voters (Nov 12, 2013, IBN)
- Congress asks Election Commission to derecognize BJP for ‘misusing’ national flag (Nov 11, 2013, Times of India)
Several Hindu youths arrested for Patna serial bomb blasts before NaMo rally (Nov 11, 2013, NVO News)
After arresting several Muslim youths on suspicion of being behind Patna bomb blasts, state police have arrested a person belonging to the Hindu community for allegedly being behind serial bomb blasts in Patna. A report by leading news agency IANS says that following a tip off from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Bihar police teams have arrested Raju Sao, from Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district.
The IANS report says that Raju Sao was arrested from Jharia in Dhanbad when a Bihar police team conducted raids late Sunday in search of his brothers Jitendra Sao, Pappu Sao and Bittu Sao, who were not found, a police official said. Immediately after the serial low intensity blasts in different parts of Patna media went to the town immediately claiming that Indian Mujahidin (IM) was behind bomb blasts and several Muslim youths were rounded up from Ranchi and Patna.
IANS quoted a police official as saying, “Police have brought Raju Sao to the state’s Lakhisarai district for interrogation”. Three days ago, the NIA detained six people and seized dozens of bank passbooks, ATM cards and other documents in Lakhisarai, about 150 km from here, during raids at several places in connection with the Oct 27 Patna blasts.
“Four of the six people including Gopal Kumar Goyal, Vikas Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Ganesh Kumar were sent to jail on the charge of providing financial help to terror suspects after they were produced in court,” Lakhisarai Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra said. Mishra said police are investigating a possible Pakistan ISI link with the four. But he denied that they had any link with the Indian Mujahideen. Police teams from Lakhisarai and Munger districts were sent to Dhanbad on the basis of information given by arrested suspect Gopal Kumar Goyal.
In the last three days, the NIA has conducted raids at several places in Bihar in search of those involved in the blasts. Earlier this week, Bihar Police formally handed over investigation of the serial blasts to the NIA. The NIA also raided Muzaffarpur and Motihari in search of suspects. At least six people were killed and nearly 100 injured in the blasts ahead of Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally.
- Arrested youths’ ISI links being probed (Nov 11, 2013, Times of India)
- Patna blasts: One more arrested from Dhanbad (Nov 11, 2013, Deccan Herald)
- 26 alerts failed to prevent 26/11 (Nov 8, 2013, DNA India)
- IED blasts in Chhattisgarh 24 hrs before voting begins (Nov 11, 2013, Asian Age)
Who is responsible – Shivraj Singh Chauhan, his police or judiciary? Several Muslim youth arrested under UAPA in MP on dubious charges, says report (Nov 6, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
There are a number of terror cases across the country that have resulted in the incarceration of hundreds of men, mostly on the basis of alleged ‘seized literature’ and nothing else. On April 7, 2008, the Madhya Pradesh police raided the house of one Rafeeq Maulana in Chachoda and arrested nine persons, including five of his neighbours. Some clippings of Hindi newspapers carrying news items about SIMI, allegedly recovered from the accused, are shown as incriminating material. Indore-based Mohammed Imran Ansari had to fight case after case for nearly 10 years to prove that he is not a terrorist. A magazine Tehreek-e-Millat, allegedly seized from a woman Asiya Khan in Kotwali Khandwa, was shown as an item of recovery in the court. Notably, the magazine registered with the RNI and never declared as “unlawful”. The magazine has also magically appeared in the seizure list of Mumbai ATS in at least four different cases.
This is how members of a particular community have been “falsely implicated” in terror cases in Madhya Pradesh despite the fact that the state has so far remained the most peaceful and largely terror-free, says a report prepared by Delhi-based Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA). The report has been sourced from police FIRs and court affidavits and documents. It lists 75 cases that were registered between 2001 to 2012 against former members of the banned outfit Students Islmic Movement of India (SIMI), their friends and acquaintances in police stations in Bhopal, Indore, Seoni, Khandwa, Burhanpur, Ujjain, Neemuch and Guna. According to the report, which will be released in Bhopal next week, as many as 200 youth of the Muslim community were randomly booked here in 80 different cases under the amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Muslims, who comprise 6% of the state population, account for 13% of the jail population here. In 2013 alone, the state has filed eight FIRs for “non-violent” acts of terrorism.
In several cases, people with no links to SIMI were also booked on the the charges of unlawful association with the outfit. While most of these cases were registered during the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government, many of them began when Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh was the chief minister. Surprisingly, the language of almost 78 FIRs filed at different places and at different times is remarkably similar. The common thread in the FIRs is that the accused were standing in public places and shouting slogans in favour of the banned SIMI. “They were carrying posters and pamphlets, as if waiting for the police to arrest them with proof of their guilt. In many cases, the accused was addressing public at the time of arrest. But the police is unable to arrest anyone, except the alleged speaker,” the JTSA report pointed out. An overwhelming number of cases pertain to seizure of SIMI posters, pamphlets and other literature. Interestingly, the SIMI posters and pamphlets invariably belong to the period prior to the ban.
Not only are the crimes identical, but so are the set of accused and the dates and time of the crimes. In other cases, it appears that old FIRs are brought out, the files dusted and the facts of the case simply copied on to a new FIR. Same copy of a magazine is being produced in at least four different cases across the state. The same receipt of contribution to SIMI funds has been produced as evidence at least in two different cases. The incriminating material, allegedly found in the possession of Rafeeq Maulana, also include identity cards, mobile phones and a document related to appeal for funds issued by a registered madrasa Darul Uloom Rashidia of Mewat in Rajasthan. All these people are in jail. Arrested in 2001, Imran was charged with holding a “secret meeting” on November 1, 2006 in Wadi Chicken Centre, Banda Compound in Indore, while he was in the police custody. He is alleged to have met with the owner of the Wadi Chicken Centre, Akhtar Rasheed, Abdul Razzaq, Gulrez and others to disturb the communal harmony and to perform terrorist acts.
Two constables – Rajesh Jhansekar and Parshuram Dawar – who had brought Ansari to Indore from Khandwa were suspended. But, they were soon reinstated and no case was filed against them for allowing such a “secret meeting”. More brazen is FIR No. 36/06 in police station Gohalpur, under which 23 people are behind bars. The FIR claims that on January 12, 2006, on the occasion of Eid, these people had put a hoarding on the electric poll at Charkhamba wherein a drawing of an Ox and Camel was drawn. The police inferred the picture was put to encourage people to sacrifice these animals. In another brazen case, the police claimed a citizen Raja Bhaghel reported that at a bus stand at Seoni, two persons Ahmad and Abdul Rahman, persuaded him to purchase a particular book. When he purchased and read the book, he found that it was a journal of SIMI which had articles spreading hatred against other communities. The JTSA report also illustrates how, despite this kind of sketchy evidence and rampant procedural violations, many accused are being convicted by courts. The organisation of Jamia teachers has earlier released several such reports like ‘Encounter’ at Batla House: Unanswered Questions (2009), The Case that never was: The ‘SIMI ‘ Trial of Jaipur (2012), Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell (2012), Capital Punishment: An Agenda for Abolition (2013), Beyond Reasonable Doubt? The Conviction of Shahzad Ahmed (2013).
- JTSA report points to ‘judicial abdication,’ lists 77 cases of ‘guilt by association’ of Muslim youths in MP (Nov 5, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Muslim youth booked for terror in Gujarat while still in MP jail (Nov 4, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- Anti-terror film gets clerics’ nod (Nov 7, 2013, Times of India)
- Malleswaram blast case: State told to pay compensation to Peer Mohideen, two others (Nov 6, 2013, The Hindu)
CAUGHT ON PHONE: ‘Uncle’ stopped PAC from reaching riot-struck villages in time during Muzaffarnagar violence? (Nov 5, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
Records of purported cell phone conversations “reveal” that the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) was “asked” to go slow during the September 7 and 8 communal violence in and around the western UP district. Rihai Manch, a UP-based civil society group, has unearthed the mobile conversations recordings apparently of a Jat boy with several other persons who is found extolling about murder of members of the minority community, burning their houses, looting their properties and even claiming that the PAC was “directed” to halt a little and delay reaching the spot during the Muzaffarnagar riots.
According to Rihai Manch spokesperson Rajeev Yadav, they have got hold of mobile phone recordings in memory chip of conversations of someone from twin villages of Kutba-Kutbi, purportedly made on September 8, 2013. The cell phone was allegedly in possession of a close relative of former Maharashtra ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi, who belongs to Kutba village of Muzaffarnagar district. Below is the transcripts of seven conversations which allegedly took place during the riots. The conversations are in local dialect of Hindi.
First conversation (file name +91991773****_2013-09-08_10.38.112021392617) Caller (woman): Hello. Respondent (man): Hello. Caller: Tu mujhe ek cheez bata (Tell me one thing). Respondent: Haan bata (Yes, ask). Caller (woman): Gaon men un logon ke mare ya nahin (If they, purportedly Muslims, were killed or not)? Respondent: Maar liye (They have been killed). Caller: Pakki khabar hai bilkul (Is the news confirmed)? Respondent: Bilkul pakki hai, Aag de rakhi hai ghar men (Fully confirmed. (We) have put house on fire). Caller: Pakka (sure)? Respondent: PAC aa li hai, PAC lag rahi hai (The PAC has reached).
Caller: Pata hai thori late kyun aayi (Do you know why the PAC arrived late)? Respondent: Haan (Yes). Caller: Rukwayi thi kahkar ki uncle thori der rukwa do. Mere kahte hi rok di. Yun kah rahe the ki baat aisi hai ki puri team ko pata chal gaya hai ki wahan par danga ho gaya. Sirf mushkil se mushkil 10 minute roko. Phir 10 minute bolkar 10 minute hi roka (I told uncle to halt it for some time. As I asked, it was stopped. He was saying that the news of riots and arson had spread. I urged uncle to delay for at least 10 minutes). Respondent: Haan ho liye. 5-6 to mar liye (Yes, It was done. Five to six persons have been killed). Caller: Haan to chokkha aur Kutba (Good job and what about Kutba)? Respondent: Kutbe men hi 5-6 mare. Aur bhag liye sab (At least, 5-6 persons were killed in Kutba village and the rest fled to other places). Caller: Haan achcha, kutbe men mare hain sab (Okay, all of them were killed in Kutba). Respondent: Bhag gaye sab (Rest of them fled). Caller: Thik hai, thik (Okay). …
- UP govt yet to act on letter that can nail rioters (Nov 12, 2013, Times of India)
- Like Varun Gandhi, SP Govt is trying to protect Sangeet Som: Rihai Manch (Nov 11, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Muzaffarnagar riots: Take Rs 5 lakh and leave your village forever, UP govt tells victims (Nov 12, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- Muzaffarnagar riots: State extends commission’s tenure (Nov 9, 2013, Indian Express)
UP man kills father to get riots compensation, throws skull cap at scene to give communal angle (Nov 7, 2013, India Today)
A man killed his father and another man and gave the crime a communal angle to grab the compensation promised by the Uttar Pradesh government to victims of the recent riots, police said Thursday. Chandra Pal Singh, a retired soldier, and Sauraj were found dead in Badgaon in Saharanpur district Oct 2.
Police earlier thought the killings were related to the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas that left 63 people dead Sep 6-10. But investigation revealed that Jogendra, the younger son of the soldier, shot his father so that he can claim the Rs.10 lakh in compensation and Rs.15 lakh from his insurance.
Jogendra and his widowed mother claimed that men from a neighbouring village killed Chandra Pal Singh. Officials told IANS that to give the crime a communal angle, the accused had thrown in a skull cap at the crime scene.
- Rehabilitate UP riot victims for meaningful normalcy, says AB Bardhan (Nov 6, 2013, Economic Times)
- Muzaffarnagar riots: Survivors demand shifting trial outside UP (Nov 11, 2013, Times of India)
- Enthusiasm to help Muzaffarnagar riot victims diminishing: Mushawarat (Nov 6, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Violence-hit UP town continues to be tense (Nov 9, 2013, Deccan Herald)
Mumbai property broker posts online ad, says no to Muslims (Nov 7, 2013, IBN)
A leading property portal is in the line of fire after a broker posted an advertisement for the sale of a flat in Mumbai clearly mentioning that Muslims are not welcomed. The advertisement about a flat located at Dadar’s Hindu Colony in Mumbai was put up on 99acres.com by broker Vishal D’Souza. The advertisement read: “Excellent brand new 2BHK fully furnished flat with cross ventilation, natural light. Cosmopolitan society, no Muslims, with car parking on immediate sale, fifth floor interested please call”.
After the advertisement came to notice a young lawyer and social activist Shehzad Poonawalla filed a petition with the National Commission for Minorities seeking action against the broker and 99acres.com. “I would like to draw the urgent and immediate attention of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) towards the discriminatory approach of a leading property website 99acres.com and a broker namely, Vishal D’Souza from Mumbai, wrt to access to housing by Muslims. The home in question is located at Dadar’s Hindu Colony in Mumbai and was put up by broker Vishal D’souza. A screen shot of the said ad is being provided here,” he said in his petition.
Claiming that the advertisement is not only discriminatory and reflects unethical standard of business, it also runs contrary to the Indian Constitution which is secular. Poonawalla also said that such cases are increasingly coming to light where Muslims are denied houses in certain localities of Mumbai because of their religion. 99acres.com issued a statement on Thursday claiming the company was totally against discriminatory practices.
“This has reference to the posting of a classified advertisement placed by M/S Jacinta Estates for sale of a property on our website 99acres.com. The said listing contained offensive references to a religious community. Our company is totally against such discriminatory practices. At any point of time 99acres has over 4,00,000 classified listings. These are uploaded directly by advertisers on the site using our self-service online interface. The offensive text was removed from the listing by the advertiser before the matter was brought to our notice.
“We are in the process of investigating the matter in more detail. We are a platform or an intermediary and as per industry practice it is our responsibility to remove any illegal content from our site after it is brought to our notice. We are also examining other listings on the site for any such objectionable content. We are in the process of putting in place checks and processes to prevent the recurrence of such acts. We are deeply embarrassed that our site was misused in this manner,” the statement said.
- 99acres to put checks for discriminatory ads (Nov 7, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Now, Bangalore townships sell plots only to Brahmins, Lingayat (Nov 11, 2013, IBN)
- NCM assures actions on ‘No Muslim’ ad (Nov 9, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- W. Bengal loses out on central funds for minorities (Nov 12, 2013, Hindustan Times)
Lack of development forcing people in Chhattisgarh into Naxalism: Sonia (Nov 12, 2013, Indian Express)
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said lack of development in Chhattisgarh has forced some people to adopt the wrong path of Naxalism. She also targeted the Raman Singh-led BJP government for the poor law-and-order in the state and not effectively dealing with the Naxal problem despite Centre’s full support. She questioned the steps taken by it to bring those involved in Naxal activities into the mainstream.
“When there is no development in the state the problems of people, unemployment, dejection among people have increased. This has forced some people to adopt the wrong path (of Naxalism),” Gandhi told a poll rally here. She accused the BJP of befooling people in the name of development and said the state had moved behind in the past 10 years of its rule.
Gandhi said people in Chhattisgarh have not derived the benefits of the central social schemes due to the neglect of the state government as the Centre had sent thousands of crore help to the state. She also alleged that the state government was not giving foodgrains to the poor despite the Centre sending tonnes of it.
“There is a huge difference between what they (BJP) say and what they do. I want to ask the BJP where this development that they claim is taking place. Whose development and for whom this development is taking place. Corruption has broken all records in the past 10 years in Chhattisgarh. We don’t make hollow promises. Whatever we say, we do,” she said. “Law and order has deteriorated. Women are living in fear,” she said.
Voicing concerns about the dismal state of tribals, she said the BJP government has been cheating on them. “Tribals have not been given their rights on their own land. Poverty and unemployment are on the rise in rural and tribal areas of Chhattisgarh,” she said. Gandhi also recalled the May 25 Jagdalpur killings that had swiped out the senior state Congress leadership, saying, “Nothing can be more shameful than the incident”.
- Maoists kill 2 BSF jawans, 1 civilian in Chhattisgarh (Nov 12, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- Naxal threat kills poll fervour in Bastar (Nov 6, 2013, Asian Age)
- Owing to Naxal threats, 167 polling stations in Bastar relocated (Nov 2, 2013, IBN)
- Five cops killed in GNLA ambush in Meghalaya (Nov 6, 2013, Indian Express)
Opinions and Editorials
Narendra Modi and why 2002 cannot go away – By N Ram (Nov 6, 2013, The Hindu)
There is a buzz around Narendra Modi wherever he goes these days. The jauntiness of his stride reflects reality: his campaign to become Prime Minister of India has gained momentum. He has rhetorical skills, although nothing that approaches the heights of political oratory that Atal Bihari Vajpayee could attain at will, with practised effortlessness, over the decades. The Gujarat Chief Minister even has charisma of a kind, which appeals to a sizeable section of India’s urban middle classes and youth. … There is an air of aggressive anticipation and flexing of muscle by the most fanatical organisations, and the extremist elements, of the Parivar. They are the would-be enforcers of the anti-constitutional and un-Indian Hindutva agenda in a country of enormous diversity, which includes the world’s third largest population of Muslims (after Indonesia and Pakistan), estimated to be in the region of 170 million. …
From time to time, Parivar spokespersons have aired the complaint that ‘double standards’ are adopted by the news media and ‘pseudo-secular’ politicians and intellectuals when it comes to judging 1984, when an estimated 8,000 Sikhs were massacred, and 2002, when the death toll was ‘just over’ a thousand. The comparison, although not the complaint, is valid. The underlying argument, that one monstrous wrong neutralises or cancels out another, is morally repugnant and politically beyond the pale.
An interesting question arises at this point: So why has Mr. Modi not apologised for the 2002 pogrom? Why has he not learnt from the precedent set by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who, although he was in no way accountable for the carnage of Sikhs in 1984, had “no hesitation in apologising to the Sikh community… [and] the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution.” It is true that the Prime Minister’s public apology, which was made in Parliament on August 12, 2005, fell far short of a ‘truth and reconciliation’ exercise. Nevertheless, as a moral and political gesture, it contrasts positively with Chief Minister Modi’s unrepentant and unreconstructed stance.
There is a strategic calculation behind the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s position on what happened in 2002. It is that this benighted chapter in contemporary Indian history appeals reflexively – ideologically and emotionally – to the Parivar and feeds naturally into its core communal agenda. By all accounts, after a decade of ideological confusion and political disarray within the Parivar, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decreed that the BJP’s focus, for mobilisation as well as national governance, must be on core Hindutva.
There is no objection of course to bringing in the development theme, the ‘Vikas Purush’ narrative that beguiles corporate India and appeals to cohorts of voters disillusioned with Congress policies. But the focus on core, irreducible Hindutva, with its panoply of disintegrative issues, symbols, and campaigns, including ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’, must not be blurred. It is this unbreakable genetic connection between 2002 and the present that makes it clear that a Modi prime ministership would be disastrous for democratic and secular India – where the Constitution’s most important commandment, that nobody is more or less equal than anyone else, can be honoured in principle as well as in practice.
- Vibrant Gujarat: The True Story About The Condition Of Women – By Sonika Dhingra (Nov 10, 2013, Countercurrents)
- How Kashmir Became More ‘Developed’ Than Gujarat – By Siddharth Mazumdar (Oct 23, 2013, Tehelka)
- Modi’s blunders underline Indians’ history deficit – By Reshmi R Dasgupta (Nov 2, 2013, Economic Times)
- ‘Statue Of Unity’ On One Side: Asthi Kalsh Yatra On The Other – By Ram Puniyani (Nov 6, 2013, Countercurrents)
Modi: Inheritor of Patel’s legacy – By Kaneez Fathima (Nov 8, 2013, TwoCircles.net)
History has been distorted by the Hindutva ideology upper caste ruling class people and used as a weapon against backward classes as well as Muslims. It is in this scenario that the praising of Patel by Modi has to be seen and for a while now Patel is used as a new play card by the Hindutva ideologues even though he was a Congressman. It should be noted that Congress is a mixture of all kinds of people in it. Patel carried state sponsored genocide on Muslims in Hyderabad as well as other parts of the country. Later Narasimha Rao played an important role in Babri Masjid demolition. History is not only distorted but also being saffronised and infringed in the tender minds of children through school textbooks. State sponsored Hindutva hegemony was started by Patel and it became deep rooted in the regime of Modi in such a manner that the people are singing anti Muslim songs instead of national songs on 15th august which is Independence Day (Ex. Banayenge hum mandir banayenge etc.).
When the Britishers slowly occupied our country on the name of trade and started ruling over us, they observed that there are people of various castes with different customary habits. Then they slowly started implementing divide and rule policy that led to the division of this country into India and Pakistan. Though Mr. Gandhi is projected as father of nation but as per the records of Indian government the title was not conferred officially. It was not Gandhi who started freedom movement but was already initiated long time ago by rulers such as Bahadur Shah Zafar, Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh and Tipu Sultan and was followed by Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, Tantia Tope etc. After the suppression of 1857 first independence war, the Muslim clerics of Deoband and at other places played an important role and sacrificed their lives for the sake of country’s freedom. Then it was revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh and Ashfaqullah Khan who came forward to free the country from the clutches of Britishers and they gave the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (which has very wide meaning in it). It was Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind that for the first time made a call for complete independence of India. In these changing scenario, Gandhi and his team got afraid and negotiated with the Britishers for share of power with the Britishers and when that did not work out, in the course of time it was named as Independence movement. Many Muslims played a key role in the independent struggle but most of them are forgotten for eg. Ali Brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai etc. (slowly names erased from history of even those Muslims who were in Congress).
The divide and rule policy of Britishers was further followed by the Indian leaders. It was basically C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) who planned for the division of the country in the year 1943 in his famous C.R. formula and got it approved by Gandhi. Gandhi and Patel proposed Mountbatten for the division of the country on the basis of religion and their basic idea was that when Muslims migrate to Pakistan, the upper caste ruling class can maintain their hegemony over the backward classes and indigenous people of India. Jinnah did not agree to the proposal of Mountbatten about the division of the country but was forced to accept it. Thus he is blamed for the division of the country. In the year 1932 itself Communal Award was given to Muslims by the colonial rulers but Gandhi and Patel strongly opposed it. Congress continuously pressurized Muslims to leave separate electorates. Opposition against Muslims increased with the official declaration of Lord Wavell that there will be equal share of Hindus, Muslims and depressed classes after the transfer of power and it was Patel who opposed it very strongly. They were unable to digest that Muslims will also become the rulers of this country along with upper castes. Congress party thought that the upper castes can have complete control of power only after dividing this country on the lines of religion and they did as they thought. In result Muslims lost political voice in the Constituent Assembly. Patel had forced Muslims to give away the constitutional rights guaranteed by the objective resolution of the Constituent Assembly. In the year 1947 when a resolution was passed in the Constituent Assembly to cancel the separate electorates, quota in education and employment which was enjoyed by the Muslims before partition, there was no Muslim voice to protest against it.
Country was divided on the basis of religion and Muslims are blamed for it. After the partition many from the Muslim intelligentsia migrated to Pakistan but those intellectuals who remained and refused to go from India were robbed of their voices. Even Maulana Azad could do nothing about the communal politics played by Vallabhai Patel. Patel even killed thousands of Muslims in the name of merging Hyderabad state into the Indian Union under police action against the Hyderabad state. Even though he was a Congress man but it is his anti-Muslim actions which made Narendra Modi praise him and saying that he must have been first prime minister of this country. As Patel could not become prime minister, now Modi wants to become prime minister and complete Patel’s unfinished agenda. Patel was not nominated as Prime Minister because it was only Nehru and Jinnah in those times who had understanding and capacity to handle and maintain international relations.
Though Patel is praised as iron man and his role in merging 550 princely states into Indian union is appreciated as a major task, but it is forgotten that he has carried genocide on Muslims in Hyderabad state on the name of police action by attacking Hyderabad state without warning and lakhs of people were massacred. This cannot be justified by blaming Nizam and it has to be acknowledged that Indian Army under the leadership of Patel has carried genocide on Muslims, the scars of which are still fresh in the minds of the community. Moreover, Patel’s mindset can also be understood by his eagerness to recognize Israel as soon as possible by India, not only that he was pro-capitalist and pro-US. He might not have been a member of RSS but he was neither secular nor democrat. Even Jawaharlal Nehru had called Patel a communalist. The people who divided the country on the basis of religion, how can they be called as secular and in favor of pluralism? After the assassination of Gandhi by the RSS, it was banned, but the strangeness is that the charges of banning RSS were not the charges of murdering Gandhi but their speeches being full of communal poison. This itself shows Patel’s soft corner for RSS. And today if Modi is praising Patel then that is no surprise! …
- Sardar Patel: separating the man from the myth – By Aakar Patel (Nov 3, 2013, The Express Tribune)
- Where does Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel belong? – By Rajmohan Gandhi (Nov 6, 2013, Economic Times)
- A time to recall the stalwarts – By Hasan Suroor (Nov 6, 2013, The Hindu)
- Narendra Modi’s lack of knowledge on Sardar Patel, history matter of big concern – Shashi Tharoor with CL Manoj (Nov 5, 2013, Economic Times)
Patna serial blasts: Why the authorities are soft on ‘Hindu Mujahideen’? – By Imran Khan (Nov 11, 2013, Muslim Mirror)
After four Hindu youths were arrested in Bihar in connection with the Oct 27 Patna serial bombings, activists say authorities are maintaining a “soft approach” to labelling them terror suspects connected with the Indian Mujahideen outfit. Gopal Kumar Goyal, Vikas Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Ganesh Kumar were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Saturday in Bihar’s Lakhisarai district in connection with the serial blasts. Seven people, including a suspect in the seventh bomb explosion at the Patna railway station, were killed and nearly 100 injured in the bomb blasts ahead of a rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Activists say that since the blasts, all those arrested or detained from Bihar and Jharkhand have been termed without hesitation as terror suspects linked with the Indian Mujahideen. But in the case of the four Hindu youths, who were arrested on charges of financially helping terror suspects, they have just been called “hawala racketeers”. This has raised many an eyebrow. “It stunned me to see that there is a soft approach by police as well as other government agencies to term the four Hindus arrested as terror suspects in serial blasts case,” said activist Aneesh Ankur. Ankur said it appears that there is a “communal mindset” among police and other agencies to describe a Muslim as terror suspect if arrested or detained in connection with a terror act.
Irshadul Haque, editor of Patna-based website naukarshahi.in, said: “All four (Hindus) are surely terror suspects as they were getting money from Pakistan’s (intelligence agency) ISI and distributing money for terror activities. “If the NIA and police investigate without bias, it could provide more leads in the serial blasts and other terror activities,” Haque said. He said that four days after the serial blasts in Patna, he wrote a news story on what happened to a man named Pankaj, who was arrested by police from the Gandhi Maidan soon after the serial blasts. “I have failed to understand why there is no news about Pankaj, who declared himself a BJP activist after being arrested by police,” Haque said. “Neither Bihar police nor NIA has come out with any explanation about Pankaj, whether he was released after interrogation or it was a case of mistaken identity,” he said.
A senior police official said Indian Mujahideen may be using Hindu youths for terror activities. “It is a serious matter with the arrest of the four Hindu youths,” he said. An intelligence official, however, told IANS that neither police nor intelligence officials in Patna are sure that the four arrested Hindu youths were aware they were working for the Indian Mujahideen. According to police, the NIA detained six people and seized hundreds of bank passbooks, ATM cards and other documents in Lakhisarai, about 150 km from Patna. Four of the detained were in touch with people in Pakistan through mobile phones, the intelligence official told IANS, not wishing to be identified. He said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may be behind the transfer of money for Indian Mujahideen operations.
“Four of the six, in the age group of 20 to 25, were sent to jail on charges of providing financial help to terror suspects after they were produced in court,” the official said. The NIA also suspects that those detained have links with terrorists in and outside the country. “The NIA is scanning their mobile phone details to ascertain their connection with people based in Pakistan and other countries,” police said. Police sources said the NIA is likely to conduct raids in some places in neighbouring Jharkhand and in Karnataka in the coming days. In the last few days, the NIA conducted raids at several places in Bihar in search of suspects involved in the serial blasts.
- ‘Guilt by association’ to SIMI just one example, communities demonised on ascribed identity: Dr Binayak Sen – By M Reyaz (Nov 7, 2013, TwoCircles.net)
- ‘Government knows condition of Muslims in India is worsening’ – By Zeeshan Shaikh (Nov 11, 2013, Indian Express)
- Removing ‘No Muslim’ ads will not open the doors of apartments – By M Reyaz (Nov 10, 2013, Twocircles.net)
Muzaffarnagar Riots: Who’ll Sharpen The Sickles Now? – By Pragya Singh (Nov 18, 2013, Outlook)
On September 9, at the break of dawn, Yameen and his family fled Kutbi, their ancestral village, in a military rescue truck after a night of terror where they were besieged by hundreds of armed men. “Some 300 people, the Jats of Kutba and Kutbi along with outsiders, pounced on us with guns, knives and lathis. We hid for 12 hours, fearing for our lives every second,” says Yameen. In Kutba, it started the day before. Tractor-loads of Jats were returning from a mahapanchayat held to mourn —and debate—the death of two boys of the community in Kawal. The entourage was attacked, four people died. After the resultant bloodbath, people like Yameen joined thousands who fled their villages across this belt of western UP, to become refugees in Muslim-dominated hamlets. Nine weeks later, the social landscape of Muzaffarnagar continues to alter.
A steady stream of ‘tempos’ litters the highways, packed with Muslim families and their possessions as they leave their mixed-community villages. “We will never return,” says Yameen. “We sharpened the Jats’ farming instruments, their ploughs and sickles for generations…and they used the same things to cut us. We’ll never return.” In Kakda, a few miles away, some Muslim families have returned from the camps to gather their belongings. They are not staying, which seems enough reason for the Jats and other Hindu residents to taunt them. “We never asked you to leave, but if you’re going, don’t come back,” a group of women hiss at Ibrahim and Ilyas, as they load a tempo with their cot and few other meagre possessions. The story’s the same throughout this belt, Shamli, Sisauli, Shahpur, Jauli, Bahavadi, Phuguna, Bohpa—it’s evident that a new phase of reorganisation, or call it ghettoisation, is well under way in western Uttar Pradesh.
“It’s clear by now that some of the people who went away will never return,” says Sanjay Singh Chauhan, RLD MP from Bijnor. He says for too long the government ignored the steady polarisation in the villages. “A very big mistake has been made,” he says. There are some 1,000 refugees in Shahpur’s Camp No. 1, and it is lacking in everything essential. “From food to water, toilets to healthcare, the state only provided help for 15 days…we’re on our own now,” says Irfan, who moved here from Kawal, the epicentre of the riots that broke out in late August. And where the state moves out, other players move in. In Shahpur, even the tents providing shelter are provided by the Jamaat. The children say they want to return to school but it’s difficult, most of their documents were lost in the melee. Some parents, reluctantly, are letting the children join madrasas instead of regular schools. “We are living off charity, dying slowly without any work,” says Ibrahim, a mason who also came from Kawal two months ago. “We don’t have the luxury of choice.”
The women are worse off. Underage or not, over 200 have so far been married off in haste as their families pass on the job of protecting them to their husbands. Many women have been transferred from one camp to another. Almost every tent has a family member who died—some in the violence, some at the camps after catching some disease. … Some 437 riot-related FIRs have been filed in two months, says Chandervir Singh, a prominent lawyer in Muzaffarnagar. Chandervir, who is vying for a BJP ticket in 2014, is representing all the Jats (and other Hindus) accused in the FIRs. So far, 5,000 people have been named in FIRs and 14,000 “unknown persons” have been charged—an “indication of outsiders” playing a much greater role in the violence than is being acknowledged. Harinder Singh Malik, a prominent Jat leader and ex-Congress MP, says the Jats are afraid of admitting that “outsiders came to Muzaffarnagar to cause riots”.
Leaders also say the violence this time is being engineered along fresh lines of discontent, the “bahu beti izzat” issue in particular, to whip up emotions. “If there were no elections in 2014, there wouldn’t have been any riots,” Chauhan says. Rakesh Tikait, Bahujan Kisan Dal (BKD) leader and the late Mahendra Singh Tikait’s son, says he spent Diwali in Bijnor with thousands of cane farmers protesting against payments of roughly Rs 280 crore being delayed by a year by the sugar mills. With the Muslims having fled and others reluctant to leave their homes in fear, this year’s crop of sugarcane lies uncut, rotting in the fields. Tikait underplays the Jat element and says the riots were not Jat-Muslim but Hindu-Muslim. “Jats won’t get swayed as easily in the polls as people think today,” he foretells. That’s not to say the political parties aren’t trying their best. The blood hasn’t dried but already parties are parrying for position, the latest being the move to add the Jats to the OBC central reservations list, a sure Congress-RLD move with 2014 in mind. After the communal uproar, will it now be a Mandal battlefield next?
- Why aren’t the Muslims going home? – By Joel Rai (Nov 10, 2013, Rediff)
- Muzaffarnagar aftermath: Where the state steps out, others step in – By FP Politics (Nov 11, 2013, First Post)
The Coercive Powers Of The ‘Caged Parrot’ – By Amitabha Pande (Nov 16, 2013, Tehelka)
With the cries for CBI autonomy becoming shriller and the Supreme Court joining the chorus, the investigation agency has sensed a unique opportunity of transitioning from being an institution that would occasionally help political masters in their dubious political ends to becoming a self-propelled behemoth of coercive harassment and extortion. The transition enables it to be an ‘autonomous’ player in power politics and command its own price in political power markets. The recent FIR against former coal secretary PC Parakh and Aditya Birla Groupchairman Kumar Mangalam Birla is a masterstroke towards asserting the claim to autonomy in the perverse use of power. The move achieves several ends. First, it establishes the CBI’s credentials in not being afraid of targeting seemingly powerful and well-placed persons. It is a classic image-making stratagem.
Second, focussing public attention on the exalted status of the suspects rather than on any actual wrongdoing deflects attention from the more shadowy deals that form the bulk of the dubious coal allocations – exposing those deals would require forensic skills far beyond the competence of ham-handed CBI sleuths; deals that may render many of its political masters more vulnerable by exposing the real villains. Because, after all, the charge of a criminal conspiracy to bestow “undue” favours in the Hindalco case wears thin when it is known that there was no quid pro quo and that the decision to allocate the Talabira mines, superseding the Screening Committee’s recommendations, was arrived at after taking into account the arguments against Hindalco’s claim.
No law was circumvented, nor were processes deliberately manipulated. Hindalco argued and pressed its claim, which it thought to be legitimate and justified; the Odisha government supported the claim; the PMO felt that it merited consideration. On consideration of all these factors and after giving a hearing to the claimants, Parakh recommended that the Screening Committee’s recommendations against the allocation be overruled. His decision was approved by the competent authority. So, choosing a case as straightforward as this, in which only a convoluted mind will find even a scintilla of suspicious criminal conduct, is actually a masterly manoeuvre of deception to conceal the real wrongdoers.
Third, it provides a perfect cover for lazy investigations that can be prolonged indefinitely and thereby keep alive rent-seeking opportunities for decades to be availed of whenever convenient. Fourth, by choosing a weak case, which is guaranteed not to withstand objective judicial scrutiny but that may take years to come to a conclusion, the CBI can successfully buy time to enable the real wrongdoers to plan their escape. Fifth, it enables the CBI to hedge its political bets in a way that the agency can quickly change course to align itself with the winning side in 2014 and embarrass Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should fortunes change.
Sixth, it deliberately chooses soft targets who, unless they are driven to the wall, will think countless times before they retaliate, because they would much rather allow better sense to prevail and let the case die a quiet death rather than fight a noisy court battle and risk more adverse publicity and consequent loss of goodwill. Seventh, it ensures that any attempts to make the CBI more accountable are nipped in the bud. Lastly, by continuously adding new high-profile cases to its portfolio, the CBIsuccessfully diverts attention from its dismal track record in all previous ones. We seem to have a genius for defining a problem incorrectly and then finding solutions that not merely exacerbate the problem but give rise to a host of new, much worse, problems. The misuse of the CBI as a political tool is said to be the main problem. But is it? …
- Vigilance And Corruption: Where Is Governance Headed? – By S.G.Vombatkere (Nov 5, 2013, Countercurrents)
- Break The Corrupt Coalition – By Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (Nov 2, 2013, Tehelka)
- Myopia on Coal – By E A S Sarma (Nov 2, 2013, EPW)
- Unsettling orders – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Nov 1, 2013, Frontline)
Can Opinion Polls Be More Damaging Than The Lies Politicians Tell? – By Shougat Dasgupta (Nov 16, 2013, Tehelka)
Does it really matter if opinion polls get it right? The news has been dominated by the story of the UPA government’s letter dated 30 October expressing agreement with theElection Commission’s misgivings about opinion polls in India and supporting a ban on them between the announcement of the election schedule and the final phase of polling. The broadcasting and publication of exit polls is already barred in India until half an hour after the final phase of polling.
Such polls, the EC argues, affect voter behaviour, particularly if exit poll results are released before all voting is finished. Of course, jumping the gun by announcing election results based on exit polls can make anyone look stupid. Somewhere onYouTube are clips of confident British TV presenters announcing a hung Parliament in 1992 only to find that the Conservative Party, against the results of every poll, had in fact won the election, albeit with a reduced majority. The extent to which the polls got it wrong led to an inquiry and a revised methodology.
Opinion polls in India are often inaccurate. The regional complexities, variety of parties, sheer number of people and a system in which vote share can bear little resemblance to the number of seats won makes polling an intricate, delicate business. And intricacy and delicacy are not attributes associated with political parties eager to trumpet favourable results, or a media just eager to trumpet any sort of result so long as there are clear winners and losers.
By calling for a ‘ban’ on opinion polls, the Congress should have known it was setting itself up for ridicule. Recent polls for important upcoming elections – including Delhi, where the three-time incumbent Sheila Dikshit is predicted to be in a tight, likely losing race with the upstarts of the Aam Aadmi Party – suggest an outlook for theCongress as hazy and dim as the post- Diwali Delhi sky. Any complaints about polls was bound to be spun as sour grapes. And how the Congress complained. Even a leader as unruffled as the media-savvy Digvijaya Singh spluttered with anger, describing opinion polls as a “joke” and calling for them to be “stopped”.
Did Singh have a point? Probably. There is no question that too many polls are flawed, their methodology unclear, their caveats and margins for error ignored in the gleeful reporting of ‘results’. But polls, as with everything in politics, are as much about appearance as accuracy. Whatever the justice of the Congress’ complaints – and opinion polls are a longstanding irritant for most political parties – it looks like a churlish incumbent lashing out at results it doesn’t like. No wonder Narendra Modiand Arun Jaitley took their chance to get some sly digs in. …
- The Weather Vane Speaks – By Anuradha Raman (Nov 18, 2013, Outlook)
- On Opinion Polls – Editorial (Nov 10, 2013, Peoples Democracy)