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Posts Tagged ‘Narendra Modi

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is in jitters. The cause of his distress is not the opposition Congress, which is yet to put its house in order, but his own party’s leadership. First, the appointment of Anandiben Patel as Governor. From the day one, she started acting like an additional Chief Minister, visiting places, attending functions, interacting with people, calling reports from bureaucrats and, at least on one occasion, she even told the bureaucrats what to do to ensure votes for the BJP, forgetting that she was holding a Constitutional position and was not an errand lady of Amit Shah. All along, Anandiben has been keeping Chouhan aside.

Then came a bigger shock to Chouhan when Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan was replaced by Rakesh Singh as the State BJP president. Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan was to Shivraj Singh Chouhan what jesters used to be to nawabs in the mediaeval India. Rakesh Singh is a low profile Member of Lok Sabha from Jabalpur. That he was never known to be confidant of Chouhan is one thing. What is more, BJP president Amit Shah flew to Bhopal for a couple of hours in the midst of his do or die election campaign in Karnataka just to introduce Rakesh Singh to senior party functionaries who were summoned from across the State for this special occasion. If Chouhan still had a flicker of hope in his heart, it was mercilessly shattered by Shah by announcing that the party would contest the Assembly elections later this year under collective leadership which was interpreted to mean that Chouhan may not be the chief ministerial candidate.

In the light of these unsavoury developments for Chouhan, it is anybody’s guess if it was a Freudian slip or an expression of his dying hope that at an official function he indicated towards the chair kept for him and remarked that the Chief Minister’s chair was vacant, anyone could sit on it. Later on he did say that he had made the remark in jest but that explanation was irrelevant. The newly nominated PCC chief Kamal Nath was quick to interpret that the reality was slowly dawning on Chouhan that the BJP would be routed out in MP (in the forthcoming elections).

It is being argued in BJP circles that the party leadership is planning to keep Chouhan on the sides and deny ticket to a large number of ministers and MLAs with a view to countering the incumbency of the 15-year BJP rule. Another theory, which looks bizarre by its nature, being discussed is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may hold the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh not later this year when these are due but hold them along with Lok Sabha elections in May next year, so that there is greater focus on Lok Sabha elections which the BJP hopes to win because of Modi’s oratorical skills. Elections to an Assembly have to be held within a stipulated period from the day the term of the present Assembly expires and there is no precedence of the President’s Rule in a State after the term of the Assembly has ended. But the BJP circles feel that Modi may find a way out.

The State Congress leaders are, on the other hand, euphoric as they have started seeing the end of the 15-year rule of the BJP. PCC chief Kamal Nath is said to be planning a two-pronged strategy to make the Congress formidable enough to take on the BJP. For one, he plans to ask party leaders to submit panels out of which to pick up a specified number of names for inclusion in the PCC working committee so that there is a wide representation in the State party’s decision making body. Secondly, the only criterion for giving party ticket to a person will be his/her winning chances and the candidates will thus be selected after a strict scrutiny. Sounds good. The problem comes when implementing such ideas. The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has a long history of sordid factionalism. 

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Union Minister of Law and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad does not favour linking Aadhaar with voter ID card. He said so in Bengaluru on April 1. He, though, added that it was his personal view.

Personal or official, this view makes little sense to the people at a time when the government is going all out to link Aadhaar with everything conceivable by projecting it as the panacea for all evils afflicting the society. In fact, the voter ID should have been the first to be linked with Aadhaar in order to eliminate the scourge of fake voters which have been vitiating electoral process.

The problem of fake voters has been there from the beginning but not on the large scale witnessed in the recent years. The BJP appears to be the biggest beneficiary of the fake voters. Could the fear of checking fake voters through Aadhaar linkage have made Prasad say that linking Aadhaar with voter ID is not necessary?

Narendra Modi had won from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency with a margin of over 3.7 lakh votes in 2014. During the revision of electoral rolls towards the end of the year, over six lakh fake voters were discovered in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. It did not help Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal who was a runner-up in Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. But it made him wiser for the forthcoming Delhi Assembly elections.

Both AAP and Congress had detected bogus entries in voters’ lists for the Delhi Assembly elections. Leaders of the two parties approached the Election Commission but the Election Commission behaved shabbily and refused to take notice of their complaints. The matter was then taken to Delhi High Court which pulled up the Election Commission and asked it what action it had taken on the allegation about the presence of a large number of bogus voters in various Assembly constituencies of the national capital. ‘What is the cause of it? Obviously someone is not doing their job properly’, Justice Vibhu Bakhru said while directing the Chief Election Commissioner  and the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi to file an affidavit ‘indicating the cause of error.’ The court said that there were ‘discrepancies’ in the electoral rolls as shown by the petitioner, Naresh Kumar. The court also said that the allegation that there were many persons in the city who had numerous voter cards in their names but with different addresses needed to be rectified if they were still existing.

Election Commission snubbed

In response to the complaints of Aam Aadmi Party and Congress that Delhi’s electoral rolls carried names of a large number of bogus voters, Election Commission wrote to the two parties on January 11, 2015 that 1,20,605 ‘duplications’ had been noticed in the electoral rolls (which have been deleted). Election Commission’s response came two days before it was scheduled to file an affidavit in the High Court. That AAP got 67 seats and BJP only three in the 70-seat Delhi assembly is history.

Madhya Pradesh had two Assembly by-elections in February this year. During the campaign, Congress activists detected discrepancies in voters’ lists. Photocopies showing the same voter registered in more than one locality started appearing in social media. As the complaints at local level did not have the desired effect, the party led by Lok Sabha member from Shivpuri Jyotiraditya Scindia approached the Election Commission. A summary re-check of voters’ lists was ordered. A week before the day of polling, the Ashoknagar district Collector’s office sent its report to the Chief Electoral Officer in Bhopal saying that 1800 fake voters had been detected in Mungaoli Assembly constituency (which falls in Ashoknagar district). Of these 1800, as many as 834 were dead, 312 were listed at more than one place, 245 voters were not traceable and 435 had been transferred to different places but had not got their names in Mungaoli constituency deleted. Similar was the case for Kolaras Assembly constituency (in Shivpuri district).

The BJP candidates were defeated in both the constituencies though Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made it appear like a life and death question for himself by deputing all the party leaders including his cabinet colleagues to campaign there. The BJP campaign did not recognise the words like ethics and morality.

The Election Commission has ordered a full revision of voters’ lists in Madhya Pradesh in view of the Assembly elections due later this year. So far the Collectors have detected nearly seven lakh fake voters – three lakh of them dead and four lakh untraceable. Scrutiny is on. 


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Outright Perilous!

An egoist as the head of the government is bad enough. An egotist is a nuisance as his constant chant of I…, I…., I….. jars on the listeners’ years. But when he loses touch with the reality and starts believing his imaginary achievements to be his real achievements, that’s outright perilous.

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