Guest post by T. R. Ramaswami
Many statistics are pouring like tears from vested interests to make the BJP victory look less impressive than it is. In fact, in all bipolar contests the BJP has trounced the Congress. One such table shows that the BJP has achieved a single party majority with the least percentage of votes. The table is amusing. It goes from 1952 to 1984 and then jumps to 2014. That itself tells the magnitude of the victory. The table has also been economical with the truth. It should have a column showing how many parties contested the elections. The Congress votes until 1984 are now split between the NCP, BSP, SP, TMC, RJD, JDs, BJD and many more. Until 1984 the main other parties were only the Left and the two DK descendants. The Congress followed the British policy of divide and rule by allowing the political structure to fracture as it suited its interests. However, as in economics, even in politics, the divide and rule policy appears to have a law of marginal utility. Divide too much and you will become the remainder. That is exactly what has happened. The equation has shifted. Now after having tasted blood will the parties that were originally part of the Congress come together again? Let the Congress try for an amalgamation – if it can.
The election has thrown up so many issues – each can be an article. Rahul Gandhi not to be blamed as he was not PM candidate? OK, he was unfit to be PM candidate, but was he not the leader of the election campaign? If not who was? Moreover, who fights elections – party or government? What started in 1969 when Indira Gandhi neutered anyone with a political base and made personal loyalty the key factor, is now complete. The Congress wanting to be everything to everyone is now nothing to anyone except to the family. It was an ice-cream carton – party size, but to be enjoyed by one family. A democracy was slowly converted into a hereditary wombocracy.
Although the BJP has a majority and pre-poll alliances, post poll alliances must not be allowed. Post poll alliances must statutorily banned and pre-poll alliances formally documented and registered with the EC. The President, EC and the Judiciary must ensure this so that the elections are not a tamasha to get 800 million out of the way so that 550 can decide who loots the country in what proportion.
The role of NOTA has been minimized by deliberately castrating it. Make it potent it with a provision that if NOTA wins in a constituency, all lose their deposits, and see what happens. Only when NOTA can reject everyone, democracy will be in the hands of the voters. If first past the post is undesirable then only NOTA can ensure a true winner.
The next government needs to begin work on some long overdue national and social reforms. The first is an amendment to the Constitution relating to citizenship. Indian citizenship is too cheap. Many are o not aware that Indira Gandhi and Mujibur Rehman signed an agreement that refugees who came before March 1971 will NOT be repatriated. Evidently this was to get more so-called “secular” votes. Only “Natural Indians” alone would be eligible for ALL Constitutional posts and those involving security. A Natural Indian is one whose both parents were Indian citizens at the time of his/her birth and who has never held the citizenship of any other country even for a single day. That should settle the hash of not only false Gandhis but also Farooq Abdullahs and Navin Patnaiks. Next, if we are secular then we need a secular civil code. Let us formulate one and throw it open WITHOUT COMPULSION to all Indians. Let ALL Indians be allowed to segregate religion from personal life. There are many who want to boot mullahs, bishops and purohits out of their lives. In one generation religion and caste will cease to be a vote garnering issue. The government must affirmatively demonstrate that it is the executive and legislature that run this country – not the judiciary or the EC or even the CAG. Lastly let subsidies and reservations come with riders – like limits on number of children eligible, preferably no children. Why allow poverty to be perpetuated? What about loss of voting rights? The country needs people who work for a living. Not those who vote for a living or need votes for a living.


Pricing of public services

The cost of 1 water tanker is more than the monthly water bill that we pay.
The cost of purchasing the invertor/UPS/generator is more than 2 year of electricity bill. Add to it the running cost and the diesel fumes etc. State electricity board electricity is not only cheaper but much more convenient.
The cost of public transport (bus, local trains, metro) is substantially less than auto, taxi or even self-driven vehicles.  Railway Trains are cheaper than bus, flight or cars. LPG is cleaner, greener and more convenient that its alternatives chopping trees for firewood or burning the smoky kerosene stove.
As an educated, smart and savvy statesman interested in public welfare what would you do? Well it’s no brainer that you would invest in the cheaper & more convenient for the mass public. After-all power-plants are not only cheaper but also greener (per unit electricity produced) than a private generator. Public transport can go a long way in reducing congestion, pollution and making urban life more affordable etc. etc.
But you cannot! Why because Indians are like crabs in the basket. They are Ok with not being able to escape poverty, but they will surely drag down anybody else who wishes to.
We want electricity to be provided free of cost, water is already provided free of cost, bus fares have increased by 5-10% over the last decade (while diesel and salaries have increased 5 folds), railway prices have remained untouched since the Independence of this country (well at least for the last decade).
Public enterprise is no different than a business the profit it generates paves way for further investment and expansion of service. In absence of appropriate pricing the services are either shut-down or will suffer with years of neglect & underinvestment. (Some subsidized services like healthcare, police generate profit through the economic development and social impact).
You don’t expect your grocery store to stock your kitchen and feed you for free. The rent you pay motivates the builders and landlords to develop new & modern real-estate. Similarly the price you are willing to pay for public utilities funds for better services. If we are willing to pay for it then we might as well move to forest. (Water in the streams is free, firewood/energy is free, nobody will tax you for walking)
In the 80s, my father used to joke that although the entire west have a Communist-phobia USA, UK & Western Europe is more communist than the so called communist countries. (With reference to unemployment benefits, pension policy, disability and maternity support) Today in Shanghai I am getting some top notch capitalistic advice. What’s more the gentleman even said that India’s communistic & populist policies will undo whatever economic development it has. Isn’t the world is so different from what it appears to be.



Guest post by T R Ramaswami
Opponents of ASFPA must read the autobiography of an ex-IPS officer, Shri E.N. Ram Mohan, titled Simply Khaki. Mr. Rammohan was last DG of the BSF (1997-2000) and had served for extensive periods in the North-East and J&K. In the book he states that every political party, particularly in the North-East and Kashmir has a militant unit which comes into play when that party is in the opposition. Insurgency is therefore a political issue which ALL political parties are responsible for creating and nurturing.
Instead of asking for the ASFPA to be repealed, why doesn’t anyone, including human rights activists, central/state governments and the media have the guts to ask for withdrawal of the army in toto from internal security duties? Or let us have another alternative – if any state wants the army for insurgency operations, without ASFPA, the Home Secretary and the DG Police of the state will be sent home for incompetency and the army commander will function in both those offices. Or better still, President’s rule will be declared in the state and martial law declared. Done? Every political party wants ASFPA to be repealed when in the opposition but needs the army to hold their pants when they are in power. Will media even have the courage to state openly that using the army internally signifies failure of all politicians, police and bureaucrats? I challenge anyone to counter my views openly. I am of course assuming, but am open to correction, that media has the courage to publish this letter. It is lack of this courage to express true public views, that has led to “hate sites” which are now clownishly attempted to be censored.