Q&A with Arvind Kejriwal

(c) Firstpost

Looking for answers Arvindbhai? (c) Firstpost for image

So you came here thinking I’d have conducted an interview with Arvind Kejriwal? Sadly, no. I’m a common man… as of now. And he is no longer a common man. Yeah, he is not. At least not now, while he heads the Delhi Govt. He has been making all sorts of promises, patting his back, stabbing others and throwing mud at every one. But is he really THE man India is looking for? Lets find out. I will ask a question I want to ask to Arvind Kejriwal and try to be as logical as possible in my analysis. If I’m biased, you may stop reading and go else where to some other paid media.

Q1: Why did Arvind Kejriwal for a political party?

In the annals of political history, great parties and great leaders have taken birth out of a mass outcry or a nation wide movement against gross atrocities. Some leaders such as JP, Vajpayee, Advani are an examples of it. So Kejriwal forming a party of common men was not out of place. He was challenged time and again to step into the system and change it. He sort of volunteered. What beats me though it his constant denial of the fact that he never had (or has) political ambitions. He always wanted to change the system and remove corruption. Every one knows if one wants to clean the sewerage, he must get in and get his hands dirty. Thats how it happens. But when a person who has got in starts throwing filth at onlookers… there is when the problems start

Q2: When you say you want to end the congress rule and establish good governance in the system, why do you oppose Narendra Modi and the BJP?

Beats me again. No doubt congress is corrupt till the last vein. He has happily and strongly put congress out of power in Delhi. Every one knows they have no chance at the center. Besides BJP and Narendra Modi haven’t had a chance to for central government. When Vajpayee was prime minister for 5 years about a decade ago, hardly any corruption charges surfaced. So we can safely assume that they were the less corrupt and better at governance (if not fully honest). They also have the strength and experience to form a stable central government. Why then oppose the BJP? Besides Narendra Modi is widely recognized as a progressive leader. Never has any corruption charges leveled against him or his ministers in Guj. Even the SIT and courts gave him a clean chit in the 2002 riots case. How then is he your enemy number 1? Pl acknowledge the fact that AAP is neither strong nor intelligent enough to lead the nation as of now. But in 5 years, may be. Let the right people do their job.

Q3: You targeted Robert Vadra for a paltry land row but targeted Nitin Gadkari, then national president of BJP for supposed irregularities in his business (Not politics)

It was equally surprising. Robert Vadra got the benefit from Haryana Govt. So they were at fault and not entirely Vadra. Beside he is an unimportant person even in the Gandhi family, let alone Congress. Then why target him and not some one more important such as Shiela Dixit or Suresh Kalmadi or Diggy? But you chose to target the national president of BJP. The irregularities that you pointed out were, though dubious, but within the system. No one got arrested but led to lot of face loss and the party post of Nitin Gadkari. After that you never targeted any one. Why so? Congress’s ally in Maha, the NCP is THE MOST CORRUPT in the world. But never every you have dared to act against them. You have never even mentioned the proven conman Sharad Pawar in the list of corrupt. Can I ask why?

Q4: You have not even proven yourself in Delhi and you are already gunning for Loksabha elections?

One of the reasons could be because of AAPs popularity around the country. After they won good number of seats in Delhi, they got many more registrations across the country. It is though being said that most of the people who have applied have asked for a ticket looking at what kind of people were fielded in Delhi. But with growing popularity, AAP has become conscious. But again, though you are growing in numbers, the sanctity has not been proved. Thats the reason why people like Somnath Bharti, Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas and Anjali Damania are getting unnecessary exposure. But they are not good enough. They are not even close to being good. Dont you think it will be good to build a party first and then try? This way, people who may vote for an honest Arvind Kejriwal will have to content with opportunist leaders who are no good.

Q5: Are you going to get out of the protest mode?

CM protesting outside rail bhavan instantly made news. But the reason for protest was so down rightly stupid that it made heavy weather of the proven and test method Arvind Kejriwal has introduced. Or should I say reintroduced? Mahatma Gandhi gave us a peaceful way of non-cooperation. That led to out freedom. But look what happened after that. non-cooperation took form of strikes. Now every now and then some one holds the city/country at ransom for a paltry demand. If the chief minister is going to sit on a dharna every now and then, what is the general public supposed to do? I must say it here that leaders dont whimper. They take up the task in hand, find a solution and do it. It is time you understood this.

Q6: Is your sole purpose to stop Narendra Modi from becoming a prime minister?

Could be. The way you said BJP is your main enemy makes me feel this is true. Because I dont see any reason why Congress is tolerating your non-sense. To prove this, let me take you to Andhra Pradesh of 2008. After going to public and collecting their opinions for 6 months, south’s most popular actor Chiranjeevi decides to float a party. Why? Only holy Balaji knows. He declares a manifesto in which he counters most of Telagu Desam Party’s promises. TDP and Chandra Babu Naidu were the strong challengers to the incumbent congress government. TDP is also widely regarded for making Hyderabad what it is today. Chiranjeevi also advocated a unified Andhra in a bid to woo voters. In many of his speeches, he promises that if he comes to power, he will end the rampant corruption by the YSR government. Most of his promises were populist measures. He obviously did not win too many seats to form a government. But he did manage to massively split the Congress-TDP votes, mostly urban. And then what happened? Congress formed the government with help from Chiranjeevi’s MLAs. Rampant corruption by YSR be damned. Further in 2011, 2 and half years after floating the party, Chiranjeevi suddenly has a change of heart and merges his party with the Congress, citing good governance by Congress (and possibly death of YSR).

Notably, TDP is a part of BJP led NDA. And do you know the name of the party Chiranjeevi’s party? Praja Rajyam or the rule of the people. Aam Aadmi? Rings any bell? May be all of it is not true. But till date, the AAP story is starkly similar to Praja Rajyam. I hope this is not true and I’ll be sincerely happy if Arvind Kejriwal becomes our man friday. But for now, my vote still goes to Narendra Modi!

The News Makers of 2009

2009 is on his way out. Here is my take on the 10 most featured and most discussed news makers of India in 2009. Remember, this is only my take on the people, places, parties and things. Enjoy!

  • Ajmal Aamer Kasab: A guy like hi needs no introduction. Unlike the others who accompanied him through the sea route, created a havoc on Mumbai on 26/11/2008 and died for their cause, Ajmal Kasab was captured alive and looks all set to very much remain alive for the year 2009 too. The shoddy governance and the inability of the police to frame the case means Kasab keeps doing the U turns on his confessions and enjoys a protected stay, savoring Chicken Biryani. Shame on us and our judiciary system.
  • Chandrayaan: This has been a major boost to India’s mission to moon, or should I say ISRO and its space programs. After already spending close to some $ 80 million on the project, the shuttle final entered the Moon’s orbits and boy, what a job it did. The ISRO scientists not only claimed but proved that indeed they found water on moon. It came as a shock initially to every other nation. But later it was confirmed and accepted even by NASA. Chandrayaan 1 has made us a lot proud. Chandrayaan 2 is already in progress and slated for a launch in Dec, 2013.
  • Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress: It makes me wonder, why is the Congress government elected time and again? There are many people like me. But none have the answers. So I have no choice but to accept the good performances by Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi yet again. Despite the terror attacks and the instability, Congress managed to come back to power and is very much likely to stay. AT least we have a stable government. I’m happy.
  • Sachin Tendulkar and the Indian Cricket Team: Indian team and Sachin Tendulkar were both in the news for long time this year. Although they could not repeat the success of the T20 championship they won two years back, they did scale new heights by convincingly beating almost all the teams they played against (including Australia) and captured the pinnacle of test cricket rankings in November after they beat Sri Lanka. Sachin Tendulkar surpassed the world record of being the highest run scorer in test cricket beating Brian Lara and also completed his 20 years in international cricket. I think he might have easily surpassed the definition of a Legend as well.
  • Large Hadron Collider: I simply dont know what to comment on this one. It simply created a lot of furore and panic around the world. But nothing really happened. The had scheduled a second run in November. I’m sure it was successful. But what was the end result of it? Has it answered the fundamental question of the existence? WIll it answer in future? I’m sure we will hear more of it in future.
  • Stock Exchanges, Dr. Y V Reddy and Dr. Subbarao: That name Dr. Y V Reddy appears there in the heading because I think he was largely responsible to prevent India and Indian banks from going down the recession drain. Dr. Subbarao, who took over from Dr. Reddy as the governor of RBI had himself acknowledged the fact that it was difficult for him to match what Dr. Reddy had done. But he indeed matched. The stock market did plummet to 8 thousand some thing, but bounced back and thank fully doing well. India is credited today for largely keeping the economy stable despite difficult economic conditions. All credit to Dr. Reddy, Dr. Subbarao and and the financial planners
  • Tiger Woods: Again, need I say more? A person who redefined golfing also went ahead and redefined the serial monogamy. The stories of his casanova acts are dominating the world news papers today. And there are so many, it might even over shadow Giovanni Jacopo Casanova, the original one 🙂
  • The Copenhagen Summit: Climate change is the prime concern today and will remain a prime concern unless we dramatically or radically change the way things are. The summit was attended by the UNFCCC member countries. They did arrive on an ‘agreement’ drafted by US, India, China, Brazil and South Africa, named as ‘Copenhagen Accord’. However it was only recognised and not accepted. This becomes another reference and another conference, meaning Climate change issue will resurface soon.
  • Shiney Ahuja, Ruchika, Jessica Lal, Aarushi: All of them have been criminal cases, some recent and some long pending. Top story earlier was the denial of bail for Shiney Ahuja, who is accused of raping his minor maid. Recently the Jessica Lal murder case and the Ruchika molestation case has been reopened. The debate still goes on. The talking point, in my opinion is, there are many other Ruchikas and Jessicas around us. We need to reopen them all. This is why most of the common people do not believe in Indian Judiciary.
  • The bollywood flops: There have been many. Consider this, 138 films have been released in 2009, and only 4 of them can be classified as hits. Sorry state, isn’t it? Bollywood was not even helped by the ongoing feud between the distributors and producers as well. But that remains the story. It started with Ghajini (released in Dec 2008), then we saw Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani, New York and finally 3 Idiots. And all of them have been differently made movies. I think the KJo’s and the Chopras of Bolly world need to under stand this. The viewer is short of patience. SO dont show us another Kurbaan or a Dilli 6. Dont teach us… entertain us!

So thats me Mayur signing off 2009 on a happy note. Happy new year to you all. Ta!

One Year After Attacks, Have We Moved On?

In another 4 days, the dreaded terror attack on Mumbai will complete one year. A night when a handful of gunmen from across the border held the city at gunpoint will be remembered again. It was an incident, which changed the life of many people. But has any thing really changed otherwise?

As an after effect we saw both CM Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy CM & Home Minister R R Patil being removed from their posts. The ruling Congress party was flayed, the intelligence agencies were questioned, other political parties were criticized, Raj Thackeray was ridiculed. The people of Mumbai gathered together for a solidarity march at the gateway of India. The protests arose, the cause was raised and gradually every thing died a slow painful death. Is it an irony? I don’t think so…

The only terrorist captured alive is still living in the Arthur road jail without much discomfort. The perpetrators and conspirators are freely roaming around in Pakistan. We are (still) waiting for US to help us.  Congress came back to power both at the centre and state assembly. Vilasrao is enjoying his stint as the union minister for heavy industries, R R Patil is back at the helm of home ministry, Raj is back and busy fighting for the Marathi ‘language’ rather than the people, conducting gheraon and angry protests on issues as trivial as debating on ‘Why Hindi is not a national language’. Shiv Sena, now led by a much mellowed Uddhav Thackeray is criticizing the legendary Sachin Tendulkar because he put India ahead of any one else. It looks like they are coming back to the vandalizing best. The men who could have, should have and must be protecting us from the possible attacks, the Police are busy pointing fingers at each other, one year after we were attacked.

Nothing has changed for a normal Mumbaikar like me… and nothing ever will. Terrorism, in my opinion, is a secondary problem for us. We are battling more than that every day, every month… the ever increasing population on roads, trains and buses, the sky rocketing property prices, the water and power crisis, substandard infrastructure and a slowly retreating ghost named recession. Every day journey to the office seems like a solidarity drive.

I think Mumbai is ready for another attack. Any takers?

What Does a Marathi Manoos Want?

… a question that goes unanswered in all the elections. From wherever and whenever the Thackerays started wooing the Marathi junta, I dont really remember one good initiative taken by any one to ask the real ‘Common Marathi Manoos’ as to what his real demands are.

In fact, in between the digging of the cricket pitches, the riotings and the banishing of the so called ‘Bhaiyyas’, the real cause of concern has been getting lost time and again. The situation is that now the real common ‘Marathi Manoos’ doesn’t know where to start and what does he really need from the innumerable political agendas being manifested and bulldozed on his own name. May be he has accepted the silent corrupt (read Congress) over the shouting bigots as his and Maharashtra’s saviour for a better future. Yes, Raj Thackeray has won 13 seats in Maharashtra. We have seen all the talking he did. May be we can see things improving on the ground level too. May be…

Anyway, I’m not spending too much time on who has done what and who wants to do more. I’m just addressing the plain question asked by a ‘common marathi manoos’ and I want you (YOU the reader) to answer it for me.

PS: In my opinion, all a Marathi Manoos wants is better opportunities for him, better living conditions in his own motherland, greater financial stability and peaceful dwelling. And of course he doesn’t like some one else dominating his life. But I’m sure he doesn’t care who sits next to him in his office, whether a Gujarathi or a Bihari.

What will LK Advaniji do now?

LKadvaniFrankly speaking, I was well prepared for welcoming the saffron brigade back to power. Although I mentioned this in my earlier post that Advaniji is a bit old for the office, I have a soft corner for that man. I was completely bowled over by the aura of the Iron Man of India when I first met him. But sadly, a modest and humble Dr. Manmohan Singh made his way back to the PMO again.

Though there is no point in fault finding now that Congress has the majority, probably the flaw lies in their buildup to the election. BJP stressed too much on trying to be a ‘One National Party’ as against the UPA who contested majorly as an alliance. Moreover some other rebel parties such as the ill-famous MNS has all but helped the cause of Congress, at least in Mumbai. Without them the Congress couldn’t have won a single seat in Mumbai. Anyway, thats not the point here.

I think the next course of action for Advaniji is to retire and say good bye to his prime ministerial dream. There will be enough mourners, me included. But thats the best thing right now. May be next time we will see the BJP poster boy Narendra Modi coming to power and wrestling his way to the PMO. May be next time we will see a better party being elected. As of now I’m happy that the trouble makers (RJP, SP, BSP, CPI/M) are routed and finally we will have a stable government.

Goodbye Advaniji, we will miss you.