INDIA ISRAEL TIES: WHEN EINSTEIN FAILED TO CONVINCE NEHRU

Though India had formally recognized Israel in 1950, it took decades before it established full diplomatic ties with the country in early 1990s. The foundation of India’s policy towards Israel and Palestine was laid by Mahatma Gandhi who, though sympathised with the Jews for their persecution, was never in favour of a forced state of Israel in Palestine against the wishes of Palestinians and Arabs. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister religiously followed this line and India voted against the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly for partition of Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews that led to formation of Israel as an independent state on May 14, 1948.

Before the scheduled day of UN vote on November 29, 1947, the Jewish leaders were holding hectic parleys and were lobbying with the UN member countries to vote in favour of the partition. To gain India’s support, the Jewish leadership convinced the best known Jewish face of the time, Albert Einstein, to bring India on board. Nehru respected Einstein as a scientist and humanist.

According to an analysis of communication between Nehru and Einstein on the issue, analysed by Israeli professor and historian Benny Morris, published in The Guardian, the Jewish leaders urged Einstein to write to Nehru hoping it could do the “miracle of persuading India to vote in favour of a Jewish state.”

Einstein wrote to Nehru on June 13, 1947. His four page letter touched themes like persecution of the Jews since the ancient times and recent massacre by Adolf Hitler and compared the Jews with the untouchables of India, something that Mahatma Gandhi had written about in past. Praising India for abolishing Untouchability, he called India to stand for the rights “an ancient people with roots are in the East who have been victims of persecution and discrimination for centuries”, invoking “justice and inequality”.

Though Einstein was not in favour of a nation state and had long advocated for an Arab-Jewish state than a Jewish state where the Arabs and the Jews would live together in peace, the communication says he was forced to change his opinion, “The Jewish people alone has for centuries been in the anomalous position of being victimised and hounded as a people, though bereft of all the rights and protections which even the smallest people normally has. Zionism (the movement to establish Israel) offered the means of ending this discrimination. Through the return to the land to which they were bound by close historic ties, Jews sought to abolish their pariah status among peoples.”

Making the case of Jewish settlement in Palestine, Einstein wrote that “one of the most extraordinary features of the Jewish rebuilding of Palestine was that the influx of Jewish pioneers resulted not in the displacement and impoverishment of the local Arab population but in its phenomenal increase and greater prosperity.”

But Einstein’s appeal failed to convince Nehru to leave India’s principled stand for the Palestinian cause and vote in favour of Palestine’s partition for the proposed Jewish state.

In reply to Einstein’s letter, he wrote back on July 11, 1947, “I confess that while I have a very great deal of sympathy for the Jews I feel sympathy for the Arabs also. I know that the Jews have done a wonderful piece of work in Palestine and have raised the standards of the people there, but one question troubles me. After all these remarkable achievements, why have they failed to gain the goodwill of the Arabs? Why do they want to compel the Arabs to submit against their will to certain demands [i.e., partition and Jewish statehood]?”

Nehru also made it clear to Einstein that apart from India’s principled stand, it was also because of India’s policy concerns on domestic and international developments which could not allow India to vote in favour of Israel, “National leaders, unfortunately, had to pursue essentially selfish policies. Each country thinks of its own interest first. If it so happens that some international policy fits in with the national policy of the country, then that nation uses brave language about international betterment. But as soon as that international policy seems to run counter to national interests or selfishness, then a host of reasons are found not to follow that international policy.”

India, which was going to celebrate its first Independence Day a month later, on August 15, 1947, had a sizeable Muslim population which was opposed to the Jewish occupation of Palestine. Besides, the wounds of India’s partition along the religion lines were still fresh. Also, a war with Pakistan was looming large and India needed international support including from the Arab nations.

The UNGA resolution on division of Palestine was passed with a mandate of 33 votes while 13 member countries, including India, voted against it. All six Arab member countries of the UN staged walk-out highlighting the fact that the partition was not acceptable to the Arab nations.

10 countries along with Britain abstained from voting. The British stand was bizarre because it was an ill-conceived and half-baked British document only, known as 1917 Balfour Declaration that gave rise to the whole Palestine-Israel issue as we see it today. The British stand was that anything inimical to the interests of the existing non-Jewish communities would not be acceptable while advocating for Jewish homeland in the British Mandate of Palestine, something that made it to abstain from voting 30 years later. Nehru’s was also against the Balfour Declaration because it sought to create a Jewish nation in Palestine which was not “empty and uninhabited and was already a home to Arabs.”

©SantoshChaubey

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66 MILLION DISPLACED PEOPLE: HUMAN COST OF WAR IN 2016

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Wars, homegrown armed civil conflicts and disasters left 65.6 million people displaced in 2016 a United Nations report released on the World Refugee Day on June 20 says. “Global Trends: Forced Displacements in 2016“, released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that “20 people are newly displaced every minute or one person every three seconds.” It puts the global refugee count at 22.5 million, internally displaced at 40.3 million and asylum seekers at 2.8 million. Be it wars being waged by humans or against nature, the human crisis is getting deeper.

Syrian civil war that is in sixth year with no signs of cessation of hostilities continues to force people out of their homes and country with 12 million Syrian refugees scattered across countries and continents. They are followed by 7.7 million displaced Colombian refugees, 4.7 million Afghan refugees and 4.2 million Iraqi refugees. Children make for around 31 per cent of the world’s population but 51 per cent refugees today are children including those 75,000 asylum seekers who were left alone or were separated from their families.

To make matters worse, South Sudan, that gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after years of civil war, has emerged as the new crisis spot to produce refugees. Despite independence, civil war has continued and according to the report, 3.3 million South Sudanese were forcibly displaced by the end of 2016. The report says that “South Sudan became the biggest new factor when peace efforts broke down in July 2016 resulting in some 737,400 people fleeing by the end of the year”. South Sudan, in fact, has replaced Syria as the country with the fastest-growing displacement of people in the world. It is among the top three countries along with Syria and Afghanistan accounting for 55 per cent of refugees worldwide.

And it’s the poor and developing countries support them the most. They are home to about 84 per cent of refugees and asylum seekers. In fact, according to the report, “one in every three people, roughly 4.9 million people, were hosted by the least developed countries in 2016.”

Europe saw millions of refugees and migrants reaching to its countries in 2015. But since then, the rich western nations have tightened their procedures to take in refugees and asylum seekers after a series of terrorist attacks involving refugees, migrants or their dependents. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations’ migration agency, the number of migrants and refugees that entered Europe by sea routes saw further drastic reduction this year. 73,189 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 whereas the corresponding figure for January-June 11 was 211434, almost three times. In 2015, European countries had received 1,321,560 asylum claims.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has lauded the role of poor and developing countries saying “it is so inspiring to see countries with the least doing the most for refugees.” At the same time, the UN report has warned on this huge imbalance that can create instability in the host countries saying “the figure illustrates the need for countries and communities supporting refugees and other displaced people to be robustly resourced and supported.”

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP SECOND US PRESIDENT TO WITHDRAW FROM A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

As it was widely expected, US President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016, days before the US presidential election on November 8, 2016.

US withdrawing from it is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the glbal greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. And the US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. Trump and his associates would refer to the Paris deal “a bad idea” that would be detrimental for the US economy and therefore for the US jobs. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, Trump behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it.

During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact. During the G7 Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal. But his final decision says he had already made up his mind.

It is the second occasion when the United States has walked out of a global climate deal after endorsing it and on both occasions, it was a decision by a Democrat president that was overturned by his Republican successor.

In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. The agreement document was signed by former US vice-president Al Gore but could not be ratified by the US Senate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was also aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases that are chiefly responsible for global warming. Like Trump says about the Paris Accord, Bush would say the same about the Kyoto Protocol that it “would have wrecked the US economy”.

This time also, it is a Republican president who has overturned a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama. The Republican controlled US Senate would never ratify the deal and therefore the agreement document signed by Barack Obama is considered an executive agreement as a traditional international treaty would require ratification by the US Senate, media reports in the US said. Under the Obama curated deal, the US had agreed to cut its 2005 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025. Since the Paris Agreement was not ratified by the US Senate, its many provisions were not binding on the US. And since it is an “executive agreement”, Trump is well within his authority to withdraw from it.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN’S TERROR HAVENS DESTROYED? ITS ARMY CHIEF GEN BAJWA CLAIMS SO!

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

When it comes to lying in plain sight, no one can match Pakistani politicians and military officials and the sham this time have come from none other than its army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

According to a Radio Pakistan report, Bajwa called up Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani on Sunday to express solidarity with Afghanistan on its fight against terror and to condole the loss of lives in terror attacks. Claiming Afghanistan and Pakistan being ‘brotherly countries’, ‘he expressed sympathy with families of the victims and empathized on the tragic series of events that have befallen people of the both the countries over the last many years’, the report said.

The report quoting an official Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) release said that ‘Bajwa emphasized that Pakistan had come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and colour and had eliminated all safe havens in the process’.

Now that is a claim that no one is going to buy including Afghanistan, a country that as recently as January 10 saw big terror attacks in Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar that killed dozens including the UAE Ambassador and four other UAE diplomats. Afghanistan blames Pakistan for continued terror attacks in the country and has raised the issue of Pakistan promoting terror in Afghanistan and harbouring terrorists in its backyard on every international platform. During the Heart of Asia Summit held at Amritsar in December, Ashraf Ghani had called for international intervention to check and stop cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

While shedding crocodile tears, claiming it is the biggest terror victim, Pakistan uses terror as state policy very conveniently, exporting terror to India and other parts of the world and providing safe havens to dreaded terrorists from across the world, be it Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and its other members or Taliban and its chief Mullah Omar or the Haqqani network or India’s most wanted like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim or even terrorists operating in China’s Xinjiang region. It all-weather ally China is reportedly going to seal its Xinjiang border with Pakistan to control terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

India, the biggest victim of Pakistan sponsored terror, has been voicing its demand to dismantle the terror infrastructure in Pakistan. There are many launch-pads and at least 17 terror camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that keep on feeding the terror machinery active in India. The SAARC Summit to be held in Pakistan in November was cancelled after other nations of the South Asian grouping had refused to join the Summit blaming Pakistan’s continued use of terror as state policy.

The US has always blamed Pakistan for fomenting terror in Afghanistan and has blamed it for giving safe havens to terror outfits like Taliban factions, Al Qaeda, LeT and the Haqqani network. James Mattis, US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for his Defence Secretary, has warned Pakistan ‘to expel or neutralise externally-focused militant groups that operate within its borders’. In October last year, in its first ever public warning, the US had said it will go alone in destroying terror networks operating from Pakistan if Pakistan couldn’t do that and had named its all powerful spy agency ISI for actively colluding with the terror groups.

Yet, Pakistan keeps on ranting, shamelessly, that it has destroyed all terror safe havens and has no terror elements acting and spreading terror from its soil, as General Bajwa has done again.

©SantoshChaubey

MY FACE IS JUST AN ACCESS TO THE MIRROR..

My face is just an access to the mirror
Otherwise there is a deep disconnect
Perpetuated by years of dependence
Perpetrated by countless hours together
We never realized what would be the life
When reflections will tell different stories
Now there are colours to mix in yours
And there are colours to fade in ours
The mirror shows us those tales to plead
But I find you adrift, lost in yesteryears
And how would I not know the eventual
You are as I am, lost in time and its stories
My face, like yours, lost in each other, is,
Just an access to the mirror, not its stories

Entrapped by Loss

MY FACE IS JUST AN ACCESS TO THE MIRROR..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET – SCHOOL EDUCATION (II)

SchoolEducationStatales2

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET
SCHOOL EDUCATION
LITERACY-DROPOUT RATE-STUDENT-TEACHER RATIO

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LG VS CM: CRISIS DEEPENS FURTHER

The crisis further deepens.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is quoting senior lawyers and constitutional experts K. K. Venugopal and Gopal Subramaniam on Ministry of Home Affairs’s (MHA) gazette notification calling it an unconstitutional act by the Government of India.

Former solicitor general of India is of the view that Kejriwal and his cabinet has legitimate rights to appoints ‘civil servants’ and functionaries for their own government, against the MHA notification that makes it the exclusive domain of the Lieutenant-Governor. “Such an exercise may be assailed in a court of law as a fraud on the Constitution or a colourable exercise of authority…It singularly lacks propriety when the President is still seized with the question. It is illegal and unconstitutional; and presumably, it has been issued without the requisite presidential approval” – the Times of India quoted him saying.

His views were echoed by senior lawyer K. K. Venugopal. He, too, termed the MHA notification unconstitutional and ‘void’. He backed Arvind Kejriwal on Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment.

The latest controversy in ‘chief minister Vs lieutenant-governor’ story began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary of Delhi as Delhi’s K. K. Sharma was on a personal leave for 10 days.

Gamlin wrote to the L-G that the Delhi government was sitting on the appointment even if she completed all requirements and norms. She even figured in the list sent to the L-G by the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Reasons best known to Kejriwal, though he officially said that he didn’t like Gamlin as she was backing corporate interests and he even wanted to remove her from the office of the power secretary, made the Delhi government sat on the file for three days before her appointment by the L-G.

The row that began with Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment saw heads of other civil services officials roll in an ugly public display. Subsequently, officers held a meeting. Both, the Delhi CM and the Delhi L-G met the President separately. Kejriwal tried to drag in the Union government. Though Narendra Modi has not, so far, spoken on the issue, even if Kejriwal has blamed his government for ‘running Delhi by proxy’, his Home Ministry under Rajnath Singh, has issued a notification backing the L-G.

The MHA notification says the power to appoint the civil servants rests with the L-G and consulting the CM depends on the L-G’s discretion. The notification also says the Anti-corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government cannot take cognizance of offences committed by the central government employees.

And Kejriwal is not going to take it. In fact, the notification has given him another opportunity to squeeze in the political mileage. The party met today and has called a special session of the Delhi assembly on May 26 and 27 to further discuss the notification.

So far, we have not heard a written reply by the President. Constitutional experts are divided over the issue. Those consulted by the AAP support the party’s stand. There are others including Subhash Kashyap who support the stand taken by the L-G.

The MHA notification has further exacerbated the issue. And it is expected to figure prominently in the public dialogue organized tomorrow at Connaught Place on completion of 100 days of Kejriwal government in Delhi.

The row, effectively, has been converted into a political slugfest now.

Kejriwal terms the notification a ‘nervous’ move by the Union government. Manish Sisodia is alleging a section of officers behind it who were behind the ‘transfer-posting’ industry that the AAP government shut down. The AAP leaders and spokespersons are seeing ‘collusion’ behind the latest row. They are still trying to make it ‘Modi Vs Kejriwal’. They are asking the government the constitutional provisions that allow sweeping powers to the L-G in the case.

On his part, Najeeb Jung has not spoken much, apart from issuing written missives. Rajnath Singh said Kejriwal and Jung should sit together and resolve the issue. Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders have blamed the AAP for high handedness, constitutional impropriety and trying to suppress the laws that govern Delhi.

So, what does the Constitution of India and related laws say?

It is to be seen which third party response the AAP would accept – the President’s or the court’s. Let’s see if the President comes up with a written response on the whole issue and let’s see if that is acceptable to the parties involved, now that there central government is also involved.

Or is it heading to the legal opinion of the court as the last resort?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 28

— Death toll in Nepal has crossed the 5000 mark. Injured count over 10,000. The final figure, as expected, is to be in many thousands – of dead – of injured.

— India has reported 72 deaths, China has 25.

— Most affected districts in Nepal – Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lalitpur (Patan), Lamjung, Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Bhaktapur, Rasuwa, Dhading, Langtang, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Kavre, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Parsa, Bara, Saptari, Dhanusha.

— Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur have lost many temples and heritage sites. Kathmandu’s Darbar Square and Gorkha’s Gorkha Durbar have been hit badly.

— Millions were displaced and left homeless. Their rehabilitation is a priority but public frustration is growing. Relief is not reaching to them as expected.

— Rescue and relief efforts are proving difficult to carry out, especially in remote towns and villages. Many of them are still out of reach. Teams are facing problems of logistics with cracked roads and dysfunctional power and communication lines.

— Nepal’s small and chaotic airport is proving to be a problem. It is inundated with people, and with relief material and is facing logistical problems in managing them. People are rushing to go out of Nepal while support from the world community has created a sort of mismanagement at the airport.

— Nepal, due to its goodwill, is getting overwhelming response from the world community. India, Nepal’s neighbour, the only country with direct road access to the country, is playing the role of big brother with its ‘Operation Maitri’, helping Nepal in every respect. It is helping in rescue, relief and reconnaissance efforts in Kathmandu, in Everest base camp area and in other quake affected regions. It is expected to play a big role in rehabilitation and reconstruction work. It is airlifting people and trying to open up more roads to the country to carry more people to this side of India-Nepal border and heavy equipments needed to that side of the border. Indian Army has established a camp in Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest district, to coordinate the operations. The international community, including China, Pakistan, US, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, etc., and different aid agencies including the UN are there with helping hands.

— Stormy weather with warnings of heavy to very heavy rains are affecting rescue and relief work. Whenever rains happen, efforts to reach and help people across the affected region come to a virtual standstill.

— Electricity was restored in some parts of Kathmandu with help of India.

— Though there was no major earthquake today, Nepal continue to experience aftershocks.

— People continue to stay in the open – in Kathmandu and across Nepal. Kathmandu looks like a refugee camps with many tents, open hospitals and relief centres.

— According to the UN estimates, some 8 million are affected and many of Nepal’s cities look like ghost towns. It is revised and up from an earlier UN estimate of 6.6 million quake-affected people. According to the revised estimates, 39 of 75 Nepal districts are earthquake affected. 11 of these are severely damaged.

— Around 20 bodies are recovered from Mount Everest base camps. Some reports say 18. The final figure is yet not available. Scores are still missing. Some reports say them to be around 200, some 400. Dozens are saved from the way up and the area surrounding Everest base camps. The way up from Tibet side, in China, the northern side, is closed. The southern side, from Nepal, the popular one, is devastated. Everest climbing season this spring is virtually over with it.

— Nepal’s deputy PM said the rescue efforts were over and it was the time for rehabilitation work even if the reconnaissance work was not yet complete.

— Also, petty politics, though to a smaller extent, is at play. Nepal has rejected Taiwanese offer of help. There are reports of China expressing displeasure on India, choppers flying near China’s border. Also, there are reports of skirmishes between Indian R&R teams and Nepal’s defence forces.

— Different estimates say different things and will continue to say so. The impact of this earthquake on Nepal’s economy is severe. Nepal and global agencies are already assessing the damage. If we believe the US Geological Survey estimates, the damage could be to the extent of around $US 10 billion. IHS Global, a US based firm, estimates Nepal needs $US 5 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction works.

— Remittances form around 30% of the GDP while tourism’s share is 8%. This 38% also helps Nepal to work on its unemployment problem, that is as huge as 50% according to some estimates. In the aftermath of Nepal quake, the sectors are going to be hit badly, affecting thus Nepal’s economy badly.

Related post:
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: UPDATES SO FAR – ON APRIL 27
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/nepal-earthquake-updates-so-far-on-april-27/

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NITISH KUMAR ‘MAKES’ A COMEBACK

The stage was set for the final showdown on February 20, but then one of the principal protagonists suddenly left the arena, giving walk over to his opponent.

And the opponent, the three-term chief minister of Bihar, was inaugurated for the fourth term today.

Nitish Kumar is the chief minister of Bihar again. And as he says – that his predecessor, Jitan Ram Manjhi, who was handpicked by him last May, had derailed the state from the path of progress – he has some eight months, as the current Bihar assembly is completing its term on November 29, 2015,
to bring the state back to the growth trajectory that he claims he had achieved for the state.

Nitish has been apologising for leaving the office of Bihar’s chief minister last year and letting Bihar on a negative growth spiral and his ‘Kejriwal act’ is being much talked about and discussed.

Probably, after seeing the brilliant success of Kejriwal’s apology act, Nitish thought he could do the same to deflect questions on his last year rhetoric that he would not come back to the office unless he gets a fresh mandate from Bihar’s voters.

Another pretext that he is speaking about is Manjhi’s misrule. Nitish says he was forced to come back as people were disappointed and angry with governance of the day in Bihar.

Now that he is back, he has to come out with 100% on his performance amid intense media and opposition scrutiny that would run along with a union government headed by his bitter political rival Narendra Modi.

While the good will go in mitigating the ‘bad’ of his ’emotional decision’ last year, any bad will have amplified repercussions on his chances to score positively.

Can Nitish deliver when he has just eight months, given the fact that he was ‘forced’ to come back as Manjhi had brought bad days back?

The ‘bad days’ that he is also responsible for as bringing in Manjhi was his unilateral decision.

Now, the BJP may not ask this question to milk the better prospect of wooing the Mahadalit voters in the name of ‘Nitish insulting a Mahadalit leader and chief minister’, the young and educated voter would certainly think about it.

Also, the realpolitik of the day is different. The good governance days of Bihar under Nitish Kumar were from a coalition government with the BJP as an equal partner. It was in fact widely analysed that the BJP ministers were better performers.

Now Nitish is dependent on Lalu Yadav and his Rashtriya Janata Dal. Lalu is convicted in the fodder scam and is barred from contesting polls. The Bihar of his days, either under him or his wife’s rule, was seen as a failed state, a state where development politics had become a ‘forbidden political paradigm’.

Nitish changed that. He rode to the power promising development and delivered. But all this while, he was with the BJP.

Now as he is with Lalu Yadav and Bihar is heading for polls in few months, his political rivals will ask this question day and night. Now, only time will tell (and polls will tell) how effectively Nitish will be able to counter this question.

Nitish-Modi rivalry to surge: Though Narendra Modi tweeted to congratulate Nitish Kumar after his swearing-in ceremony and Nitish Kumar said the differences he had with Modi were ideological in nature and there was nothing personal, the history of Nitish-Modi rivalry says another episode is in making with the upcoming assembly polls in Bihar.

And we saw its first signs today when, after taking oath, Nitish told everyone that the mandate of 2010 was in his name only.

Now, Bihar is a make or break electoral proposition for both, the BJP and the JD(U).

After the humiliating loss in Delhi, the BJP must win Bihar to bounce back in the race of becoming a major political force and that cannot happen without having a winning or a major presence in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two state that count for 120 Lok Sabha seats and 37 Rajya Sabha members.

For Nitish, who had tied his political future with Modi’s political prospects, he is already on the back foot, retracting on his ‘quit rhetoric’ of last year.

With Modi having the advantage of the general elections win, a loss to Modi in Bihar polls would throw Nitish on the political periphery of Bihar and he would find in the similar situation Lalu Yadav is in.

Both, Modi and Nitish have their ‘make or break’ reasons to take on each other in the Bihar polls and each of them will try all to outdo the other.

And for Jitan Ram Manjhi, the chief minister till February 21, he was always a non-entity in Bihar’s politics before his sudden elevation. But his acts soon made it clear that Nitish had miscalculated in reading him. The ‘perceived yes man’ soon started spreading out, undoing moves by Nitish Kumar, transferring officials, installing his family members and making overtures to reach out to others including the BJP. It was soon going to be ‘enough is enough’ for Nitish Kumar to digest any further. His ‘yes man’ was working to dig his master’s grounds and the master was feeling increasingly unsettled. And it was just a matter of days.

Now, how much relevant Manjhi is going to remain will be gauged by the outcome of the polls only.

Though the BJP was seen in a tight spot on its decision to support Manjhi in the trust vote, that it could take only a day before, on February 19, after Manjhi’s equally sudden demotion on February 20, the day of the floor test when Manjhi resigned to flunk the test, the party breathed easy.

Supporting Manjhi had the inherent risk of alienating many caste blocks in the caste-ridden politics of Bihar. Also, going with someone like Manjhi, who is perceived as an inefficient leader with a trail of corruption and nepotism to talk about, could have alienated the young and the educated voters from the middle class.

Now, with the relief from Manjhi’s volte-face, the BJP, in fact, can expect to gain some good political mileage. With the Lok Janshakti Party and Ram Vilas Paswan, the BJP is already in comfortable position on Dalit votes with Paswans forming some 31% of Bihar’s Dalits.

Now, through Manjhi, the BJP would try to alienate another chunk of the Dalit voters away from Nitish Kumar. And Manjhi as a humiliated Dalit leader leading a front against Nitish Kumar would be a perfect beginning.

Bihar is heading for interesting, colourful political events in the run-up to the assembly polls.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FEBRUARY 10, 1952 TO FEBRUARY 10, 2015: TWO KEY DATES IN INDIA’S ELECTORAL POLITICS

It was February 10 in 1952 when the results of the first democratically held elections in India were announced.

Then, the Congress party led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had won a thumping majority winning 364 of 489 parliamentary constituencies.

On February 10, 2015, the same Congress party has witnessed a humiliating loss in Delhi polls failing to win even a single seat. 63 of its candidates lost their deposits. Its vote share sank to 9.7% from 24.55% in 2013 Delhi assembly polls. And this loss is following a humiliating downward trend. The party could get just 15% votes in the 2015 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress’s fall, from electoral pedestal and from grace in India, is emblematic of the phase of political transition India is in.

After scoring a historic low in Lok Sabha polls with just 44 seats, Congress performed even more miserably in different assembly polls of 2014.

In Andhra Pradesh, it could not open its account. In Telangana, the state it created to reap its act’s political windfall, it was down by 30 seats to 21 seats in the 119 member strong assembly. In Odisha, it could win only 16 of 147. In Maharashtra, where it ruled for three terms, the party came third with 41 seats of 288. After ruling Haryana, it was pushed to the third spot with only 15 seats.

Similar stories were repeated in Jharkhand and J&K where the party came fourth with abysmally low numbers. In further misery, reports from Jharkhand say that four of the six Jharkhand Congress MLAs are ready to join BJP. Add Delhi debacle to the list.

The grand fall of the Grand Old Party of India is proving unstoppable.

February 10 also brought another unexpected turn to this process of political churning with sending BJP packing.

The party that had won 31 seats and 33% of votes in the 2013 assembly polls emerging as the largest, and the party that had won all seven Delhi parliamentary constituencies, leading in 60 of the 70 assembly segments securing 48% of the votes.

BJP’s 2013 performance in Delhi had preceded the Party’s spectacular show in the 2014 General Elections where the party had got majority on its own, becoming thus the first party to do so in 30 years. Before it, no party in India had got a clear majority on its own after the 1984 general elections when Congress, riding on the sympathy wave that had swept the country after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, with 404 seats and 49% vote share.

BJP had won on raising hopes, promising better lives and ensuring all around development. BJP’s winning streak continued in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand and in Jammu & Kashmir, it registered an impressive show and is in talks with PDP to form the government.

But, while all this victories, time was also passing, and anti-incumbency had started making inroads. Now, it is certainly debatable that how much time Narendra Modi needs to deliver on the promises he made, but the electoral behaviour is clear that perform or perish.

Delhi has stalled development to talk about while BJP was ruling Delhi through L-G since June 2014 and the Delhi electorate chose to recruit the option that it had, in hopes that it would deliver.

February 10, 1952 is historic for electoral history of India as it gave the country its first democratically elected government.

February 10, 2015 is historic as the electoral behaviour of Indian electorate saw its biggest churning so far, installing a two-year old party with a historic mandate to run the affairs of the Indian national capital, sending a message to the political class of the country that in future it is performance that is going to matter and the voter would not hesitant if there are alternatives available.

And alternatives are building in India’s political ecosystem.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/