Monday, 13 May 2013

If Only...

BJP ally Shiv Sena claims that the projection of Narendra Modi as a Hindutva leader would have led to a BJP victory in Karnataka. They're wrong--because it was not the projection of Modi as a secular leader that put off voters, it was the BJP's association with Yeddyurappa and the Bellary coal scandal that put off Karnataka voters. We are all sick and tired of ministers treating their offices of service as offices of profit. And the only way to teach them all a lesson, no matter which party they belong to, is to give them a drubbing at the elections. Let them lose their deposits; let them sit in opposition; let them repent of their sins and learn some humility. So far, they have only lost an election, not their lives. Let them beware, lest the people lose all patience and let loose a revolution, in which ministers and their kin, who have been fattening themselves at the expense of the country, lose not just their wealth but their lives as well.

And talking of Hindutva--how does the building of a temple to Rama help at all, when not a single politician follows his values? We're far more interested in education, health care and livelihood than in building temples to gods whom we worship but do not emulate.

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Ancien Regime Rides Again?

Stories of a top railway official willing to allegedly offer the railway minister's nephew a bribe of Rs. 90 lakhs for an even more impressive post on the railway board have appalled those of us who have read of plum posts in Church and State being sold under the ancien regime in Europe. Perhaps we should not be surprised at this--the Congress suffers from a feudal/durbari mindset, and these stories of such impressive posts being sold for large sums of money, supplied by vendors, are but the tip of the iceberg.

The question then arises--if a man is willing to pay more than 90 lakhs for a place on the railway board, after borrowing the money from a vendor, is he not likely to take decisions that benefit that vendor? In short, is he not likely to buy the cheapest materials possible for the railways, while billing the railways for more expensive goods? Remember that scene in Jolly LLB, where station house officers with a relatively clean image are required to bid for a post in the capital? Isn't it likely that, if a man has paid for a certain post in government, his first concern will be to repay the money he owes and make as much as he can (in whatever way possible) out of his investment? He's not likely to do an honest job or give an honest opinion--he's more interested in making a profit on his investment. Is that how our government is run?

It is evident, from the stories that have appeared in the press, that companies owned by members of the minister's family have received crores of rupees in loans, after a certain CA was made a director in Canara Bank in 2007, when the minister in question was MoS in the Finance Ministry. Evidently, members of the minister's family, whether close or extended, see his office in government as an office of profit. Does the minister in question see his government post in that light? And how many such men are there, who have entered politics because they had no marketable skills, and want to retire after making a killing?

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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