Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who is holding back the Prime Minister from working? Not us.

Bemused by this article, 2G scam: Let the PM work freely - Who has or is holding back the PM not us.  by Mr. Pankaj Vohra in Hindustan Times 22nd Nov 2010

There are broadly 10 assertions that are made by the author in the course of his write up. I will try and examine each one of them on their merit. Before we get down to doing that, there also another interesting article in the Indian Express by Mr. Mihir S Sharma "Less Mud Please" Once upon a time, India’s middle class seemed to have made a bargain with its politicians  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not speak to us other than on 15th August and 26th January. Maybe we are to be blamed for it, because we did not elect him to the parliament ultimately to the office of Prime Minister. He tends to speak to those who are responsible for him being in the seat of power.

Interactions of Prime Minister with the media are also rare, as it is since the last few day credibility of the media is under great amount of scrutiny and stress former on account of role of a few that have been exposed in allegedly murky dealing, latter on account of complete and deafening silence on the issue of role of its fraternity in murky dealings.

Now that we know where we figure in the scheme of things vis a vis our Prime Minister. It becomes that much easier to dispassionately deal with the issues raised by Mr. Vohra. “Let the P. M. work freely” we always thought as head of the government he was free to work, who or what is holding him back? Why and to whom is Mr.Vohra addressing? Surely it could not be the people of this country. Would it not have been proper if this plea by Mr.Vohra was made at the just concluded session of the AICC in New Delhi. We have our own complaint that the Prime Minister is not working.

“The possibility of a mid-term poll may arise if the Congress-led UPA government is unable to take stringent measures against those involved in large- scale corruption not only in the 2G scam but also in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh Housing scandal in Mumbai.” I do not think we need to be employing any sort of rocket science to arrive at this conclusion. The moot point is nothing significant has happened in public perception to give us any hope. We do not want to see a few junior members being punished, people demand the entire range of individuals involved regardless of position, post or seniority be dealt with in an expeditious visible manner.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. That the guilty will not be spared.” We have been down this road repeatedly it is kind of worn out needs serious repairs. The mismatch between words and actions compels us not to take them at face value, we chose to ignore such rhetoric even when it come from the Prime Minister lacks weight and credibility.

“The credibility of the government is at its lowest and unless the PM is allowed to set things right by all the constituents of the UPA including his party.” This must surely rank  as the biggest understatement of 63years of independent India’s history facts are not just speaking they are screaming out not just at India, the world at large. We are the laughing stock of this world at this point of time.

“It is a crisis that has several dimensions.”  This is where conspiracy theories and the internal power struggle of the Congress comes into play. Sycophancy rules supreme, change of guard, all this is at the expense of India. We cannot be held hostage to these machinations of a party. Inaction on corruption cannot be justified on these grounds.

“Commonly felt that a no- confidence motion could put the fear of God into the government.” Why should such a move be contemplated at all? When the issue is corruption, the focus has to be on punishing those responsible. Why should we digress nothing would be achieved by such a move? It would self defeating, incase UPA sails through which it will given the tricks that it can employ for this purpose. Once that happens nothing will move on corruption!

“If the government and the party have to face the challenge and come out of it, the PM must be fully empowered to deal with various aspects of the issue.” This precisely validated the claims made by opposition parties that the incumbent Prime Minister is weak, it not on physical strength basis, the ability to act on issues which are prime importance to the nation.

“For that to happen, all the constituents of the UPA must stop putting pressure on him and allow him to take his own decisions and run the government the way he wants to.” Mr.Vohra what are you trying to tell us, that the national interest is being compromised for the sake of power that is available by virtue of being in the government. This is a very scary scenario that all constituents are working for thei benefit and not for the nation. What happened to the Aam Aadmi who was the main plank of this Congress lead government? Where does he figure in all this?

“The PM must also take a leaf from Indira Gandhi's experience in dealing with corrupt and irrelevant politicians in 1969.” Please refresh our memories on this. I am a little lost with this statement of yours. When and who has ever confronted corruption seriously in this country least of all is the Congress? Track record available with us speaks volumes contrary to your assertion.

“Manmohan Singh has started well by putting Kapil Sibal in charge of the telecom ministry.” The first interview given by the gentle man has anything but reassured us that corruption will be dealt with, with the serious intent and purpose. The impression gained is he was more concerned about deflecting blame from the government then tackling the issue head on. Let me state this candidly Mr. Sibal for all practical purposes told the citizen that his value is zilch when it comes to preserving the government. Pointer “The Prime Minister should have thrown the petition into the dust bin.” “Every common man cannot get up and ask for permission to probe.”

Does this leave any doubt with you as to where we are heading?

Face The Nation Sagarika Will You??

The constant chatter on the net and twitter in particular about the Radia tapes which the twitterati has christened as #barkhagate has been trending for last 5 days. In sharp contrast to this has been the deafening silence from our mainstream English media.

We are more accustomed to a sensational and hyper reportage from our electronic medium, which has disappointed us by not picking on this subject. Leave alone playing the tapes of the conversations which are readily accessible on the net, no mention has been made by any channel. Normally we are compelled to watch the recordings/cds repeatedly until we full up to our noses.

Last evening CNNIBN conjured up the required courage to host a show at 10PM Face The Nation “Is corporate lobbying undermining democracy?” This we believe was done under tremendous public pressure, who are visibly agitated by the conspiracy of silence on part of the media?

I returned to viewing this channel after almost a lapse of 2 years. Yes with a very smug feeling, that we did achieve a success, IBNlive is at liberty to deny the role of public pressure and can state it as an editorial decision, yet it came 4 days too late. How many would buy it?  

The points raised were valid role of corporate lobbyist per se is not evil, nor is it illegal, however the journalists involved in peddling influence or facilitating the corporate lobbyist in their endeavors is a totally different issue. This was the consensus among the panelists.

Host of the show did make a feeble attempt at trying to defend members of her fraternity. The right and choice is her’s. The point that I wish to raise is larger, we the viewers have been subjected to biased and opinionated editorials which have been presented to us in the garb of news.

It is not just the two journalists who are in the eye of the storm, the host Mrs.Sagarika Ghose is also guilty of being contemptuous towards us, our contrarian view have lead her to label us as “Internet Hindus” which was her way of hitting back at a vocal audience, who dared to voice their opinion/views via the net. Very often she would not permit comments from a large number of us to appear on her blogs.

Somewhere prior to Ayodhaya verdict she tweeted in the most irreverent manner about “Lord Ram being a Divine Encroacher.”  Maybe there was a minor uproar or it dawned on her that she may have overstepped the line and she deleted the offensive tweet. Not before it had been saved by many on the net.

The question that is being posed to her is, did she in the course of the discussion last evening at any point of time ever so fleetingly feel a tinge of remorse for her actions?
1. Coining the term Internet Hindus. (Which is derogatory in nature)
2. Tweet about Lord Ram.
Has she considered the possibility of tendering an unconditional apology to the viewers and the majority community of this country! No I am not a religious person nor a bigot, yet irreverence towards something or someone who is revered by millions not just in this country but also overseas, who have not taken kindly to her acts.

We do accept the fact that sensitivities, emotions are intangibles.
Ethics and Morality will not touch on these subjects since the words themselves are foreign to our mainstream English media. The concepts or meaning would not be known to them at all.
Let me address this issue from another perspective and that is the sales and marketing and corporate governance. Which business school in the world teaches and trains the sales and marketing teams for companies on the basis of a confrontational approach towards it consumers, clients and viewers? Which business school prepares us for being contemptuous towards our clients and consumers? Is it not repeated ad nauseum  that customer is the Master and King?
How come the sales and marketing personnel in your company have not raised this issue with the management? Which corporate would accept the conduct that you have displayed? Not even a family owned business. We are not the intruders; we are raison d’etre for your organization.

We will wait for your response.
I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.