The Indian government is becoming a joke by the day! Now The Economist, my favorite magazine, has written about the irrelevance of Rahul Gandhi in an article asking, “What’s the point of Rahul Gandhi?” Before that, TIME magazine had dubbed our Prime Minister as an underachiever! The harsh truth is that the term ‘underachiever’ is such a mild word to use for a politically comatose man who has been literally sleep-walking in his monotone voice over his two stints.What a letdown for a democracy and the electorate, for never has India had a worse and more inactive man as its Prime Minister. And then, of course, Washington Post came down heavily on him. And what was the Indian government’s reaction? Well, like immature intolerant fools, they lodged an official protest – exposing to the world that the article was indeed right and more; exposing to the world the government’s mindset, which looks eerily similar to that of Mamata, who shows complete disdain for democratic values and goes about arresting lecturers to farmers – and betraying the sentiments of the same democracy and all those voters who brought her to power. And if that was not enough, then the Indian government gets a cartoonist arrested by using a law that should have been discarded ages back. Yes, it is the same mindset which protests against a Washington Post article, that gets a professor arrested for sharing cartoons on Facebook, that makes an Aseem Trivedi a victim of an archaic law! The way this law has been used to suppress the voice of Binayak Sen earlier, and that of his likes, stinks of an intolerant and draconian government that is becoming irrelevant by the day. It is a matter of utter shame how even today, we cling on to our colonial past and their discriminatory laws, which were crafted to bootlick a select few who ran the government.

The completely shameful arrest of Aseem Trivedi has brought to light again this prevailing archaic law whose legitimacy can only be comprehended after going into its historical milieu and the reason why it was drafted. As I wrote last year during the Binayak Sen case (Read my two related editorials at http://arindamchaudhuri.blogspot.in/2011/01/binayak-sen-victim-of-state-and.html and http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/-change-sedition-law-free-binayak-sen/13763/), in the Indian context, sedition dates back to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, wherein the objective was to forcefully suppress the democratic aspirations of a particular section of society. The skeleton of this section was derived from the common law of seditious libel, meant to control press and publications during that time. This law, regardless of being touted as curbing resistance, is nothing but a rotten remnant of the colonial past with the sole intent of suppressing potential paradigm change-makers. In its current state, the yardstick that gauges the amplitude of disaffection and the resultant violence is very vaguely defined and is highly subjective.  Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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UP elections have always been intriguing and most of the times for the wrong reasons. This is one state where political leaders have always been riddled with controversies, be it from criminalized and caste-based politics, to corruption and scams. But this year, controversy seems to have taken a new shape. With the rise of a young and dynamic leader in UP, the scenario here would change soon. Against expectations, Samajwadi Party (SP) suddenly came out and swept the elections. This sweeping victory cannot be credited to anyone else other than Akhilesh Yadav – a young politician who never projected himself as the Chief Minister, even after the victory. But then, SP read the minds and hearts of the electorate and decided to make Akhilesh the CM. And thus a new star was born in Uttar Pradesh!

Akhilesh Yadav, son of UP strongman Mulayam Singh Yadav, steered SP to a sensational victory in the state assembly, a victory that decimated all their political rivals. Uttar Pradesh may be the biggest state in India (and hence politically most important) but certainly, it is not the best governed state. Even though the state sends the maximum number of MPs to the Centre, it has been perpetually ripped apart through generations (how else would one describe the agenda of UP’s division) by the communal, casteist, self-indulgent, and shortsighted chieftains to meet their short term goals. The last two decades probably have been the worst for the state when Mayawati and Mulayam Singh reduced the politics in the state to nothing but a jungle raj! The battle was almost lost for UP, had it not been Akhilesh Yadav taking centre stage to rechristen the state with long-lost optimism and hope. His performance speaks for itself for he is the one who rightly represents today’s youth. Amidst many other young politicians, his one young face shines the brightest, and all because of his calm, pleasant, confident and positive attitude which most of the other young politicians in India comprehensively lack.

Amidst the praise and starry eyes of hope that surround him, one cannot undermine the immensely difficult and daunting task ahead. And that’s exactly what happened within days of his winning. The same media, which lavished much praise on this young man for winning, wrote him off overnight the moment he announced his cabinet. Along with the infamous Raja Bhaiya, his cabinet of 47 ministers (that is much smaller than his father’s jumbo cabinet of 97 ministers) had as many as 28 with a criminal background. All I can say is that it’s not easy to win elections in a state like UP and any other party’s cabinet would have looked quite the same if history and Indian politics are things to go by. Akhilesh inherited a party, which had a history of harbouring thugs and goons. Their inbred nature certainly cannot be changed by merely snapping off ties! And if Akhilesh tries to replace them abruptly, it will create such an upheaval that his government could even fall. Akhilesh in his campaign did stress repeatedly of clean and transparent governance by scientifically sidelining the criminals. However, let’s as of now assume this cabinet to be his political compulsion! He perhaps had no choice but to induct these people to safeguard his government.
But to his credit, he smartly and cleverly kept the ‘head’ of all thugs away from his cabinet. Despite huge pressure, he didn’t allow DP Yadav to become part of his team – smartly cutting the umbilical cord of all thugs from their mastermind.

This allowed him to win support and confidence of all minorities and those pockets of population that underwent immense subjection during the reign of DP Yadav and the likes. Akhilesh cleverly kept all key ministries with himself (that would allow him to keep a track of all funds and curtail embezzlement). More than 100 contestants of SP were below 40 years of age with many having professional degrees of medicine, engineering, management and science.

The first name in team Akhilesh that must find a place in any reference is Abhishek Mishra, a 35-year old gentleman with a PhD from Cambridge and a professor at IIM Ahmedabad. A friend of Akhilesh, Abhishek was persuaded by the former to join his team after 6 years of teaching at IIM-A in the field of strategy and innovation. And what an astounding strategy he made in Akhilesh’s manifesto and campaign! He was the man behind the criticism-free election campaign strategy and the ploy of advertising in the media outlets.

Then comes Tej Narayan Pandey, a close friend of Akhilesh, an ex-student union vice president in UP with a resounding influence on student unions. He was instrumental in mobilizing the student unions in favour of Akhilesh. He is all set to head the Home and Finance ministries besides key departments like administration, vigilance, tax and registration, education, housing, IT and many others. A quick glance would be enough to gauge the intelligence and technocracy Akhilesh possesses. He cleverly gave the less-important ministries to old and non-performing cabinet ministers and gave specialized ministries to talented and educated ministers. Something that the Centre also needs to learn.     Read More....

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