GREAT! AFTER LAPTOPPED, UP IS NOW GOING TO BE SMARTPHONED!

So..Akhilesh Yadav has finally got the potion that will get him his opponents’ sleep – that will fetch him finally the stick to wield power over his rivals in the upcoming electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh where the incumbent assembly under him is completing its term in March 2017.

It will be a healing touch that, in one go, will transcend beyond all ‘ifs and buts’ and will transform the lives of all state residents, especially the downtrodden one that form the majority of the state, something that Akhilesh Yadav has been trying ever since he was inaugurated in the Lucknow secretariat.

He is justified in half-launching it. While the preparatory ground work is going to be laid out right at the moment, the real implementation phase to reach out to the intended beneficiaries will began only after the next assembly polls – conditioned to the conditionality that Akhilesh returns to the office.

And what’s wrong in that. After all, this one and, in fact, every political step that he takes to ensure his victory – over the rival factions inside his party – and over the political opposition – should be seen in this context only.

He began his term with a digital initiative – distributing free laptops. To give it his party’s socialist emblem, he christened it as ‘Samajwadi laptop’ and then rechristened with a Samajwadi home page. That was a milestone in introducing digital literacy in India and was a logical extension of the utterly illogical freebie culture in our elections – especially in the state elections – where from televisions sets, to cable connections, to mixer-grinders, to sarees, and to what not is on free fall.

So when Akhilesh Yadav, while announcing the scheme, claimed that he launched a comprehensive digital connect initiative much before Narendra Modi’s Digital India imprint, he has a point to make. If he is looking for some credit here that he should ideally be given.

And we hope this free smartphones scheme will go much beyond the numerical extent of the free laptops initiative. After all, it has the inherent cost advantage that could have been a factor with laptops in taking it to a wider base. If we talk about even the cheaper range of laptops, in the range of Rs. 40,000, we can have some 8 good smartphones in the price of one laptop. And a proper negotiation based on volume and scale can take this to 10 handsets.

Now, as per Akhilesh, the SP government under him has distributed around 18 lakh laptops in the state. If we take a direct corollary, that comes to be around 1.8 crore smartphones. Uttar Pradesh’s population is around 20 crore, out of which, around 12 crore are in the 15-59 age group (59.5%).

The scheme Akhilesh announced yesterday is for over 18 years of age and is basically for have-nots, having a family income below Rs. 2 Lakh a year. Also it not for the government sector employees. Anyway, no government salary bracket is in that lower range. So, there may be a bit of redundancy here. But that is ok. We must go by the larger canvas.

And the larger canvas is – Akhilesh wants to take his digital initiative to the next logical level – from a shared mode of communication (from laptops that is generally used by all users in a family) – to a personal channel – mobiles/smartphones – with individual users.

It is the logical next step of empowerment and we believe Akhilesh will try to cover the whole base here, so we can expect that even if the intended population segment represents some 8 crore members, Akhilesh will try to reach all of them.

And like said in the above lines, Akhilesh has all the rights to strengthen and perpetuate his legacy and for it, he needs more than one five-year term. So when he expects that people give him another chance and he links his aspirations with his next flagship initiative of free smartphones, like free laptops were during his first term, there is nothing wrong in it.

©SantoshChaubey

NEW AGE LEFTIST WISDOM: MUHAMMAD ALI WAS BORN IN KERALA!

Kerala sports minister E P Jayarajan is in news. He is in news because of the views he has put forward so emphatically – again because of the office he holds.

And this is when he is just few days old in the office. So, he is on the job right from the day one.

And he a Leftist – from the intellectually most sound political lot!

He is from the Left Democratic Front government of Kerala. LDF is led by CPI(M) which won Kerala state elections last month ousting the Congress party and its chief minister Oommen Chandy from the office. It was a desperate win for the party that is otherwise becoming irrelevant in the Indian politics.

E P Jayarajan is in news because of the allegations made by Olympian athlete Anju Bobby George. Anju said Mr. Jayarajan misbehaved with her and made harsh and derogatory statements against her.

Anju was made the President of the Kerala Sports Council by the previous Congress led United Democratic Front government and she had gone to meet the sports minister in that capacity.

Though Mr. Jayarajan has denied the allegations, we are going to believe Anju Bobby George given the precedent set by Mr. Jayarajan – a much discussed feat!

Mr. Jayarajan has been in news because of the precedent he has set.

He began with undoing of what, so far, had the last preserve the Left-wing politicians in India (or for that matter elsewhere) – that the Communists (or the Left Front) politicians are intellectual – that they all are well read!

How well read Mr. Jayarajan was – was out in the open before everyone when an international news broke – thousands of miles away – across the Pacific – in America – that the boxing legend Muhammad Ali was no more.

Now Muhammad Ali was one of the rare breed of sports persons who not only became synonymous with their game, but also became crusader of human issue – like fighting for Black Americans.

Mr. Muhammad Ali was as familiar for boxing in India as Dara Singh was for wrestling. In fact, many Indians would not know the names of even its top ranked boxers of the day, but they would certainly know the name ‘Muhammad Ali’ – even if they would know the details of his personal and professional life.

Mr. Jayarajan was in news because he said Mr. Muhammad Ali was born in Kerala and he had brought home name and fame winning a Gold Medal. According to the off-the-record versions, he did not stop at it. He, in fact, went ahead with his glowing wisdom, and was to announce some financial compensation for Ali’s family – whose fortune is estimated to be some 90 million $.

Here is the conversation between him and a news channel anchor (courtesy – Firstpost):

News anchor: The state’s sports minister, E P Jayarajan is now with us on the telephone line. Mr Jayarajan, Muhammad Ali, the legend, has left us. How would you share your memory about that legend?

E P Jayarajan: I just came to know that Muhammad Ali died at America. Ali was an eminent personality in Kerala’s sports world. Ali elevated the name of Kerala internationally by winning a gold medal for us. I hereby share the sadness Kerala’s sports world in Ali’s demise.

Here is the video:

See it to enjoy the new age Leftist wisdom in India – that is tasting some new waters after facing the crisis of a lifetime – of being relevant in Indian politics – after being pushed to the distant third spot in the West Bengal assembly.

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

TENDER FOR A TURBAN (OR TWO): IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA!

I came across a social media post today. Later, someone forwarded it on my WhatsApp ID.

It was a perfect example of how labyrinthine Indian bureaucracy is – that how tortuous its ways are – that how obsolete its functioning is – still!

It was a newspaper cutting of an advertisement by the General Administration Department of the Himachal Pradesh government – issued on May 31.

It is a tender advertisement issued in the name of an Additional Secretary level official.

And it is for!! Hold your breath!! Even if you are aware of some silly ways of the Indian bureaucracy!!

It is for turbans to be used by the drivers of the GAD, Himachal Pradesh.

Okay, if transparency has to the sole point, then why not follow the due process – even if it is for turbans or for a bicycle!

But what if it is for two turbans – and one of the stated terms of the tender notice says it cannot be more than Rs. 50 a meter.

So, for the sum total financials related with this ‘turban’ requirement cannot go beyond Rs. 350.

That is the sum total wisdom of our bureaucracy that propels the minds of the most brilliant lot of our nation – after all, recruitment to the Indian civil services is probably the most gruelling selection procedure in the country.

And examples like this ‘turban tender’ show transparency can never be more transparent than this!

ShimlaGADTender

This is the screenshot of the page with the directing link on Himachal Pradesh’s website.

Shimla2

And this is where you are directed.

Shimla3

And you can find the PDF of the tender document here.

I would not say ‘see it to believe it’ – because such pathbreaking acts are a norm with the archaic mode the Indian administration functions – including its bureaucracy – be it the archaic laws – or the all pervasive VIP culture. You can add more to it.

‘See it to feel the way you want to feel about it.’

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

WHY TWO STATE GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN DISMISSED? WHY MORE IS UPCOMING?

Simply, because it has been the political culture in India.

Congress was always notorious for dismissing/sacking elected governments in states and the party has exercised/exploited this option innumerable times during its long reign in India – some 55 years of India’s 68 independent years.

And like the Congress party is complaining now – is crying now – all those parties did so when their governments were thrown out of the power.

So, in a way, it should be kind of sweet revenge – that Congress is facing something that it so conveniently did when it had the power.

A very famous poem that is taught in school curriculum says that those who have seen defeats in life can only know the taste of victory.

And it applies to the both parties here – the state run by BJP led NDA government in Centre and the states run by Congress governments – first Arunachal Pradesh, now Uttarakhand – and there are murmurs of same fate about Himachal Pradesh and Manipur.

Going by the poem, and going by the proverbial wisdom, Congress is now facing the brunt of defeats, first electorally, and now in the name of the Constitution, and we should rightly expect that it will do all to taste the sweet ‘taste’ of victory once it regains the power in Delhi – either in 2019 or some other time.

But first about the erstwhile losers – or the parties that have had very little say in running the affairs of India – and except BJP, the only party that has had so far only any full-term government (in fact, only single full-term government) – will certainly be feeling more ‘justified’ in exercising this Constitutional provision while running the country with their government installed in Delhi.

Because, when it was its term, even Congress was always Constitutionally right – irrespective of what the common sense’ political wisdom said – irrespective of what the experts said – and irrespective of what the Constitutional custodians, the courts, said.

To continue…

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

’68’, AMMA AND TAMIL NADU: BAAHUBALI TO ‘AMMA’NADU

“68 is the natural number following 67 and preceding 69. It is an even number.” – that is what the Wikipedia page on the number 68 says. There is nothing much else on the page except some technical information that, for most, is like filling a page entry somehow.

And here comes this development in this time of need. The editors or writers of the page should take note of the dominance of the number ’68’ in Tamil Nadu now – to put some interesting stuff there (on the page) – as the number has become the most important symbol of a populous Indian state – with wide display today.

Today is the day when ’68’ has become synonymous with Tamil Nadu – a state of some ’68’ million people – a state, that in turn, gives feelers that it has become synonymous with J. Jayalalithaa, its chief minister since her sweeping re-election in 2011 and her comeback to the throne in May 2015 after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the disproportionate assets case.

Jayalalithaa had assumed the office for the third term in 2011 and since then her party AIADMK has swept every election in Tamil Nadu including the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014. And it is when her DA case is decades old and it was not the first time in 2014 when she was disqualified and barred from the political office. Something similar had happened in 2001 when she was barred from contesting the polls after she was found guilty in the TANSI land deal case which was overturned later.

When we see the political history of Tamil Nadu – it has been between these two parties – DMK and AIADMK – and time has been fair about listening to both of these parties.

But, it seems the Amma times are here to stay this time. It is being expected that AIADMK will be able to decimate every opposition in the upcoming assembly polls later this year.

And its echoes are already here – with the ascendance that the number ’68’ saw today.

Let’s see the colourful elements:

The first and the foremost things is the great coincident – Jayalalithaa at ’68’ has a Tamil Nadu of some ’68’ million people.

Tamil Nadu, (it seems the whole state), is celebrating Jayalalithaa’s birthday in a grand style – in an electoral year – (obviously we all can see through the acts and through the kaleidoscope) – but here we are talking about the colours.

AIADMK workers and supporters organized functions for ’68’ mass-wedding ceremonies across the state. The couples wore an interesting headgear with Amma’s photograph like a crown jewel.

At AIADMK office in Chennai, a ’68’ Kg cake was cut. Huge cakes were prepared in different parts of Chennai and in the state.

’68’ lakh trees were to be planted across the state. Reports further said that these saplings were to be planted in ‘6868’ temples across the 32 districts of Tamil Nadu.

’68’ medical camps were organized and blood donation drives were held across the state.

Special ‘poojas’ were performed in 122 temples across the state to pray for the long life of Amma. Special cow worship and cow donation drives were held. Women members of AIDMK performed a ‘pooja’ – carrying milk pots on head while visiting temples and praying.

All Amma canteens of Chennai served free meals today. Across the state, community lunches were organized.

Cleaning of water bodies across the state was carried out. South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce donated lamps.

It was announced that every girl child born today in every hospital run by the Chennai city corporation would be given a donation of Rs. 10,000.

An AIADMK lawmaker announced that he would ‘gift’ gold ring to every child born today in North Chennai.

Some AIADMK leaders presented before us adventurous shows of floating on water while praying for Amma’s long life.

AIADMK leaders and Jayalalithaa supporters made it a point to flaunt Jayalalithaa tattoos – with her face, name or taglines carved.

Distribution of Amma brand of products were done free of cost across the state – with Amma soaps, Amma shampoo and other products on display. Goodies like sewing machines, television sets, sarees, dhotis, school notebooks, etc., were donated liberally.

Rallies were held across the state with huge fireworks planned for the evening.

And this is when Jayalalithaa didn’t make any personal appearance today. She didn’t come out and say thanks to her followers and fans.

Amazing! Subtle! God like! The celebrations are expected to last till weekend. But expect the continued run in the context of the electoral symbolism of all these activities.

Jayalalithaa’s 68th birthday made Tamil Nadu – ‘Amma Nadu’. Jayalalithaa’s party has tried to scale ‘her cult’ from ‘momentous to monumental’ – from her ‘Baahubali’ incarnation during the Chennai floods of November-December last year – floods that had battered the whole state badly – killing over 500 people – rains and floods that are considered among the costliest natural disaster of 2015.

Welcome to the kaleidoscope the South Indian politics is – totally person centric – going to the extent even to erect temples and offer worship.

The number ’68’ had never things going so good – to offer so much – so much to brag about – so much to write about. The Wikipedia editors must take this into consideration and act immediately.

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

A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY AGAIN TO PLAY THEIR VICTIM CARD!

That was again in the air. What looked on air – looked like a genuine case – a disgruntled person approached Arvind Kejriwal – during one of his trademark self-obsessed events – this time to say thanks to Delhiites for the ‘odd-even’ scheme – to express her displeasure.

Okay, we may disagree by the way the lady chose to express her displeasure – by throwing ink and some pieces of paper (and a CD) – but we will certainly disagree with what followed – with the lady – and in general – especially with histrionics of the Aam Aadmi Party leaders.

As soon as the news broke, it became ‘the’ most important news of the ‘nation’ – as expected – and as expected – the AAP machinery went into overdrive – to squeeze in the maximum political mileage – to play the victim card – to get in the war of words that is getting so ugly with each passing day.

As soon as the news flashed – as soon as its images started getting viral – the AAP propaganda – yes, now we should say them a well oiled propaganda machinery – took to social media and media in full overdrive (with as much throttle speed as possible) – inhabiting nooks and corners of media and social media spaces – with their victim card – with their ‘good samaritan’ card.

In their trademark way – that has started making us cringe now – something that AAP totally disregards.

So, as soon as the news broke, everyone in AAP started shooting (and shouting at the top of their voices) that it was a political conspiracy – and plans to kill Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders were in making.

The party took no time in coming directly to its point – in getting direct confrontation with BJP and with the Delhi Police. In fact, the party looked desperate to catch political prospects from this ‘windfall development’ as the Punjab assembly polls are around the corner where the party is betting big.

And it was ironical!

Making a fuss around this issue by a party that owes its origin to the ‘common man’ – sending a common woman to jail – is condemnable. A disgruntled auto-rickshaw driver had slapped Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal forgave him and reached out to meet him – though he made a big public spectacle of it. But then, Kejriwal is not chief minister then.

He is chief minister now – and with a solid mandate – 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. And after taking Delhi’s CM office second time in February 2015, he has shed all his inhibitions – including his ‘common man’ branding. Now, AAP is like any other party.

And like any other leader of any other political party, the Delhi CM did not show largesse this time. No one in AAP is talking about her now. Kejriwal did not go to meet her today.

Instead, its ministers, leaders and spokespersons are busy since yesterday in milking this incident to settle score with the Delhi Police, to target BJP and to show how everyone else is behind life (and times) of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP.

It all looks so gaudy – so funny now. And it will certainly reflect in electoral politics. The party that borrows its name from the ‘common man’ could have logically chosen to downplay the incident – with a genuine clemency for the lady.

But we all knew what was coming.

To continue..

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

EXISTING VS NEW BREED IN INDIAN POLITICS

Rapidly changing developments in Indian politics – coming in with a new, brazen attitude to follow your stuff and stick to your logics (even if the logics fall very well in the realm of senseless arguments or arguments that can never be proved)!

Welcome to the changed realpolitik of Indian politics with its new breed (or the latest addition) that is trying to capture the centre stage with rapid fire rounds in almost everything that comes across – the breed that sees a political opportunity in anything and everything – be it political or apolitical.

How will it affect the scene?

How will it affect the locales of the political landscape in India?

How will it affect the rules of the games politicians play in India?

Well, there are no visible answers as of yet.

It is too early, in fact, (too) premature to write who is going to prevail and who is going to concede.

It is too judgemental at this primitive stage to write that who will assimilate/incorporate changes and who will lead the way politics is exercised in this country.

It is too irrelevant at this juncture to look for any symbolism in the ongoing juggleries and manoeuvrings so far.

But if it is disturbing to watch the devaluation of values to a new low, analytically, it is interesting to see how it develops further and what elements it throws in and throws out in the process.

On one side there is this breed, with decades of experience that has fine-tuned their politics to the level that they do whatever they want to do – but at the same time, they also keep the space for fine prints in dealing with complex/crisis issues to subtly settle them. Though they talk of social parity, they believe in and follow elitism.

Then there is this new class of entrants – with windfall gains in the very beginning. Bolstered by the unexpected foothold and ‘unbelievable gains of apologies’ (intentional or fake) they have gained in a span of just three years, they are out there to ‘brazen’ it out – to claim their political territory and to win over domains that have been preserves of others so far.

And there are bound to be struggles – struggles for survival – and it has already progressed to the final stages of its initiation with the Delhi assembly election results this year.

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

AND ARVIND KEJRIWAL IS NO EXCEPTION..

Students of communication (or mass communication) are told the dictum in the very beginning of their coursework that ‘communication is power’.

Now how many of them assimilate is a matter of another debate but the ‘fact’ is becoming more ‘tactful’ for the political class as we are heading more into the times of political experiments.

And Arvind Kejriwal is no exception.

The ‘class’ believes communication can do anything. The ‘class’ believes communication can empower words and associated images to the extent of reality even if reality itself is non-existent. The ‘class’ increasingly believes in the ‘fact’ that it needs to spread its ‘words’ first. The action may or ‘may not’ follow. That is of least concern or of no concern. Yes, ‘action’ does have heightened ‘concern value’ during election times, but communication must have a ‘blitzkrieg’ sort of presence always.

And Arvind Kejriwal comes from this class.

So, Arvind Kejriwal has come up with a blitzkrieg sort of idea to enhance his governance’s and government’s visibility by enhancing his government’s communication (advertising) budget by some 22 times. It is true that the Aam Aadmi Party, the party that belongs to Arvind Kejriwal (and now Arvind Kejriwal only), shuns any wasteful expenditure – as its founding principle says. But those who are terming this as ‘wasteful’ increase are not seeing the underlying wisdom of Mr. Kejriwal.

Mr. Kejriwal and his party are on the way to do an innovative experiment. Apart from doing work to meet their electoral promises, they also want to see what happens if they don’t meet most of what they have promised. They can afford it as they are just beginning. It is still not five months yet from 14 February 2105 when there government was inaugurated again. And they have five years ahead. So, they can attract ‘some public wrath’ for the overall larger public good. (Yes, such altruism, some selflessness is rare.)

Also, after the ‘class metamorphosis’ of the AAP is complete, it has to do certain damage control exercises.

First, it doesn’t share good relations with media. Media outfits say he is acting like them who happened to be his ‘stated reasons to enter politics to cleanse it’. Now, media is not going to change its view until and unless something groundbreaking happens.

But in order to do something groundbreaking, Kejriwal first needs to experience all political grounds – good, bad, ugly, controversial, appreciative, etc. – and it may lead to negative reporting against him.

And therefore, Kejriwal has taken the task of experiencing controversial ground after his initial offers from Delhi’s coffers to subsidize water and electricity, even if it is giving rise to his increasing criticism.

Kejriwal will weather it, like the ‘class’ usually does in such cases. Yes, to cushion his party members – and the three year old party – with many of its ‘prominent’ members from media – Kejriwal has come with a respite – by increasing the advertising budget – from 24 crore to 526 crore – that is probably largest, many times of many states, for a state government in India – for spreading the word about Delhi government’s good intent – that is evident from his and his ministers’ words – action will follow – as the Delhi government promises.

Yes, media and political opponents will criticise the move citing negative points like the huge increase, like wastage of taxpayer’s money, like no real work on ground, like taxpayer’s money being splurged on practice like spreading the word about the government’s work when there is nothing much to talk about, like the controversy around violating the Supreme Court’s order on political advertisements, like reneging on its poll promises, like diverting funds from development works to fund expenditures like this and so on.

But this Delhi government would take all that. After all, after becoming so uncommon, Kejriwal’s next aim is to make every common man think ‘uncommon’ – the way he has made the AAP think and decide on its future political course of action.

Yes, communication is power and he has initiated ‘tactfully’ with the formal process to live this ‘fact’.

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