Saturday, March 14, 2009

Congress’ tactic: Kalawati

Congress can only protect the dying farmers. Only Rahul Gandhi can. Only Congress can replace poison from their food and give a new life to the suicidal peasants. Only Rahul Gandhi can. Ministers are responsible for their present sorry state. The Prime Minister can also be, but not Congress and definitely not Rahul Gandhi. Probably this is what Kalawati would say to the farmers of Vidarbh.

The ministers aspire to become the Prime Minister. Sharad Pawar in spite of throwing farmers to suicide wants to become the next PM and Manmohan Singh, whose policies drove farmers to death, aspires to become the Prime Ministers again.

“It has only been possible due to Rahul Gandhi that people now know about Amravati, Yawatmal, Akola, Buldhana and Chandrapur. The leaders of India only came to know about Vardha because of Mahatma Gandhi but because of Rahul Gandhi people now know about us. They have been acquainted with our villages. If Rahul Gandhi would have not been there no minister would have come. If Congress comes to power this time, Rahul only will lead the nation and the voices of us farmers will be heard.” This is something that possibly Kalawati would want to say.

This is Kalawati’s saga whose pain was felt by Rahul Gandhi. The time when the Parliament was busy debating the nuke deal, Rahul Gandhi brought Vidarbh’s Kalawati and farmers into light and now it seems that she is being trained for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. This is an effort of the Congressmen in Vidarbh who think the farmers are enraged with them and can go against them while voting. In this light, some petty politicians reckon that it would be better to publicize UPA sans Congress’ policies.

Sharad Pawar is also a target. Farmers are being acquainted with the fact that each department is headed by a minister. Had it been just about Congress, Rahul Gandhi would have managed it, but actually it’s about various parties who have claimed departments in the Centre and Sharad Pawar is one of them heading agriculture. Pawar promised Gandhi that he would ensure wellness of farmers. However, to defame Congress, he did nothing substantial for the farmers. The local Congressmen not only targeted Sharad Pawar but also Praful Patel, who himself belongs to Vidarbh. The so-called antagonism between NCP and farmers is visible in the speeches given by NCP.

The lands of farmers were snatched away by the government on the name of development and subsequently permission was granted by the Centre to construct buildings. To build an international cargo, 20,000 farmers were rendered jobless. In the last 5 yrs, more than 20.000 farmers have killed themselves. This is the result of the unfulfilled promises made by ministers. The same Praful Patel that initially talked about water and roads, now talks about air planes and cargos. The same Praful Patel who once did his business from Nagpur and travelled in his car now flies abroad for expanding his business to America and London. Now it’s for the farmers to decide whether they want their daily bread or build castles in air.

The Vidarbh farmers are furious over Manmohan Singh too as no promised aids reached them. Both, loans by banks and by lenders are being recovered still. The tedious policies of banks to maintain transparency on the contrary have become a headache to the farmers, jeopardizing even their money safety. No issue came up in open. Names of around 2 lakh farmers from Akola and Amravati are registered in the banks. They were supposed to get a sum of amount ranging between 20,000 and 1.5 lakh till 2008 but unfortunately they haven’t received a single penny. However, as claimed by the government a total of ten crore approximately has been already given.
After the declaration of PM’s relief the rate of suicides among farmers increased by a 20%. Earlier the average of deaths per month was between 50 and 57 % but after the package it increased to 65 - 70%. After the budget was made on the 16th February 2009, 27 farmers committed suicide in Vidarbh in a matter of 20 days. Congress as an escapist subscribes to the fact that Manmohan Singh doesn’t belong to Congress but UPA, like Sharad Pawar.

Kishore Tiwari, who works for the farmers, thinks that promises of ministers’ makes farmer hopeful for development. Afterwards the same farmer heads towards Delhi or Mumbai for earning livelihood. The farming stops and they don’t even intend to work under employment guarantee schemes and in the end commit suicide.

Before the 2004 Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha Elections, Sonia Gandhi went to meet a farmer’s widow in Vardha. That visit had some political influence. Shiv Sena took the same path and sent Uddhav Thackeray to similar visits. Similarly, L.K Advani also visited Vidarbh thrice disillusioning RSS and the farmers justifying his presence. BJP Chairperson Rajnath Singh started his journey from Vidarbh. PM Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi paid two-two visits each to Vidarbh. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar went there twice in his whole term and if we calculate the total number of visits by ministers and other government officials it comes out to be over a thousand.

According to NREGA, Vidarbh is the region where least or no work has happened. Promises over giving relief packages have been numerous that now no farmer wants to leave his field for even a day to do any other work for a hundred rupees. Even the NREGA officials don’t want them to do any such work as this would start a new saga of joblessness among the farmers which would for sure go against the government. Congress firmly believes that if farmers stand by them nothing can stop them from winning.

In 1997, when congress lost the whole nation, Vidarbh was the only region where it won 11 seats. This time however, there seems no scope; the public has become more important than a minister. In this light it seems a good proposition for Congress to find a Kalawati in every region to ensure its success.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Government feeble over terrorism

Sri Lanka is recognized by cricket and Jayasuriya. Differently, Sri Lanka is also identified by LTTE and Prabhakaran. Both confronted in Lahore. Presently LTTE is going through an existential crisis in Sri Lanka because of the prevalent armed force action. At this time, attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team can be taken as a great opportunity by LTTE to negotiate with the Lankan Govt. The whole attack was allegedly conspired by Harkat-ul-Mujahideen creating favourable conditions for LTTE. Fortunately, they did not succeed in captivating the cricket team.

Consequentially this unfortunate incident has raised numerous questions allover. For instance, what should be a democracy’s ideal way to deal with terrorism? Amid dividing societies, section centric power-mongering governments, violence as the only effective tool for negotiation; what significance does the ‘civil society’ hold? If the Govt. monopoly is killing people through its policies on the name of Democracy, what becomes a difference between the so-called Democracy and simply gunning down people for no reason? These questions become even more important as LTTE and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen share a good rapport from the times when Harkat-ul-Mujahideen was called Harkat-ul-Ansar. Harkat-ul-Mujahdeen was a member of the International Islamic Organisation then and also was a key player of Al-Qaeda known for smuggling drugs and weapons between other Islamic organizations.

It was in 1993 that the Indian Navy got to know about a ship that was carrying arms. The ship was going to Sri Lanka from Karachi with LTTE leader Kittu on voyage. LTTE comprehension about Indian Navy led to burning of the whole ship in the sea itself. Also, it was revealed that the Pakistani terrorist organizations took LTTE’s regular assistance for smuggling heroin between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were also supported by ISI and Navaz Sharif openly. During that time Harkat-ul-Ansar was responsible for smuggling weapons to Palestine. LTTE was an active support all through because of its nautical strength.

In the 90s, LTTE was the only powerful organisation known for shipping arms and weapons of destruction. Between 1995 and 1998, ISI provided LTTE with anti-aircraft weapons and missiles. This action was however opposed by the Lankan Govt. and as an afterthought, pressure was created on Pakistan. This wasn’t the end of their age long relationship. Post 9/11, when Pakistan and Afghanistan faced deployment of US Army, smuggling weapons to Palestine happened via Myanmar and southern Thailand. Had LTTE become weak during all these events, it wouldn’t have used cricketers as bait for negotiation like it did now.

The present unfortunate incident has reminisced of the 37 year old Munich Olympic in which 11 Israeli athletes and the coach was held captive by a Yasser Arafat backed terrorist organisation called ‘Black September’ demanding release of 234 Palestinians. Jayasuriya was born two years after that incident and he definitely must not have gauged the possibility of an almost similar incident that happened some days back.

This episode has raised many questions before India. Is Pakistan ready for a democracy? Can America’s pseudo military and civil aid promoting terrorism and hampering Pakistan’s growth, justified and legitimate? And in the course of such happenings there is a starry world of cricket on one hand and on the other stands the enticement for Democracy through elections. Can they co-exist? We have more Muslims than Pakistan has, but divisive politics is prominent. India has more poverty than America’s combined population. In this light how can economic development be envisaged? Is all this a conspiracy to beat power and politics? Questions are many but the solution lies only in uniting the Nation. Calling off IPL is easy, building trust in the Nation is not.