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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

After Narendra Modi became Prime Minister and a retired IPS officer was appointed NSA (and made virtual super boss of intelligence and security agencies), the killings have steadily gone up, both in militancy-related incidents and Naxalite incidents.

In Jammu and Kashmir, 198 jawans and 91 civilians were killed in the 35 months of Modi rule, while the figures for the previous 35 months were 103 and 50, respectively. (In the Naxalism-related incidents 442 jawans and 278 civilians were killed in Modi’s 35 months as against 229 jawans and 47 civilians in previous 35 months.)

Former RAW chief A S Dulat, who was Advisor on Kashmir to PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, explains in an interview to Sheela Bhatt in The Indian Express: ‘because of alienation and the anger of youth, young Kashmiri minds have gone out of control. There is a sense of hopelessness. They aren’t afraid to die. Villagers, students and even girls are coming out on the streets. This has never happened in the past’.

He further points out  that terrorism, that intensity of violence and militancy ‘that we saw in 1990 is not there now. There were more guns then… Actual militancy was more then but today the situation is scarier. When stone-pelting is done by youth and girls it’s abnormal… Today, they are proud of being stone-pelters. They are no longer hiding. Schoolgirls and women are coming out to throw stones. The Kashmir situation has never been so bad’.

In a perceptive piece in The Hindu, Radha Kumar says candidly: ‘We have allowed our security forces (Army, Central Reserve Police Force and State police) to be the only visible face of India in the Valley — our legislators and civil government are not to be seen’. Academic and author, Radha Kumar was one of the three interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir  appointed by the UPA government in 2010 The panel was headed by Dilip Padgaonkar, former editor of The Times of India. and the other member was M M Ansari, a former Election Commissioner of India.

In sum, solution to Kashmir problem is not possible without ending alienation of the people there. For that the BJP leaders will have to change their inborn mindset and start trusting Muslims.

 

The BJP swept the February-March, 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The instant reaction of BSP supremo Mayawati to her party’s miserable performance  in Uttar Pradesh was that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were manipulated. Soon the Samajwadi Party and AAP leaders joined Mayawati’s outcry. Even some Congress leaders in Uttarakhand also started talking about EVM manipulation. Meanwhile, a discussion on the fragmentation of non-BJP votes in Uttar Pradesh had also started (the BJP got so many seats with a vote share of less than 40 per cent while the combined vote share of BSP and SP was over 44 per cent plus six per cent of the Congress share).

The subject of EVM manipulation has been cropping up almost from the time EVMs were introduced.  A sort of campaign on this issue was launched by then Madhya Pradesh Congress President Suresh Pachouri after the 2008 Assembly elections which had returned BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the second term. A distraught Pachouri had threatened to expose EVM manipulations with the help of his “friends in the UK and the US”.

Before Pachouri could carry out his threat, Lal Krishna Advani jumped in the fray after the BJP lost the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and his dream of becoming the Prime Minister was shattered. He demanded discontinuation of EVMs and going back to the printed ballot papers. Advani’s demand was supported by the leaders of various parties like the AIADMK, CPI (M), Janata Dal (S) and the Lok Janshakti Party. Advani had the support of a bureaucrat also. Former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal had surfaced to claim that he knew a secret code in the EVM, through which the machine could be programmed to transfer every fifth vote to a particular candidate. Petitions were filed in courts on the fallibility of EVMs, one of the most vocal petitioners being BJP’s Kirit Somaiya.

There was so much noise in the country that the Election Commission felt it had to do something. In August 2009, the Commission randomly obtained 100 EVMs from 10 States (Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh). The Commission invited political leaders, petitioners and other critics of EVMs and also made the media announcement that the EVMs would be kept in the Commission office for a specified period and anyone could come and show how these machines could be manipulated. No one did. The EVM bogey, though, has one merit. It keeps occupied the politicians who have been defeated in the elections and have nothing else to do at the moment.

 


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Value of propaganda

Adolf Hitler believed in the use of propaganda as an integral element to seizing and holding on to political power. His maxim was 'the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be believed, provided it is repeated vigorously and often enough'. (Sean Murphy in his book 'Letting the Side Down')

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