Oldest Democracy vs Largest Democracy ; An intro of US Politics for Indians !!!

This Tuesday will be the day when we come to know who would be the most powerful person of this planet for next four years.  Iam not going into the candidates but i hope she wins.
US presidential election is the one of the most complex, elaborate and systematic approach of election i know. The process usually takes around 1 year with some of the best twists happening in the due course that you can only see in a Emmy Award winning Drama series.
Right from people declaring their candidacy to be President Nominee from a party , the primaries and caucuses they go through for Party conventions, debates after being declared the candidates is probably the most scrutinized process for a job.
A good visual representation of the process is here.
Link from USA.Gov
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Technically, the US president is elected by an electoral college of 538 ‘electors’ with each state voters voting for some 438 people to vote for their to represent their candidate . Another 100 people who decide the President are the State Senators , who are a constant 2 for each state. Each state has certain number of delegates  of this 438 it can send to decide the next president. This is based on population,  If a state has high population, that state would have more electors. This is somewhat similar to deciding the Prime Minister of India where members of parliament vote and decide the Prime Minister(Supposedly) . However, the members of Parliament wield some power since India is a parliamentary style of Democracy whereas electors do not have any power or term .
In reality, the presidential voting in US happens this year on Dec 19th and votes are counted on Jan 17th 2017 while people vote for the candidates ‘electors’ who vote in Dec on Nov 8th.
The most interesting thing of the elections for an outsider is that almost all states have Winner take all approach of electors. ie. If one candidate gets majority votes, the entire electors of that state belong to that candidate.  If a candidate is more popular in most populated states of California, Florida, Texas  , then he/she has more chances of winning. Except Maine and Nebraska states, all other states have such elector model and these states have some local “Congressional elector model” . This winner take all approach sometimes cause a grave concern that a candidate is more popular nationally with more people voting for him but looses the crucial states. Al Gore, in 2000, had got more votes than George W Bush but lost due to loosing more states and thus having less electors. And there is nothing stopping from a elector , to vote for the candidate who he/she was selected to vote for during Presidential voting . This gerrymandering is not rampant but is not taken care legally, whereas in India an MP if elected on one party ticket cannot switch parties without loosing his MP status.
In US, Ballot access is restricted to people who fulfill a certain criteria of voters signatures or other criteria which differs from state to state . Ballot access is the privilege to be on ballot paper in election. In India, any person can contest elections if he has sufficient deposit money and he would loose deposit amount if he does not get atleast one sixth of valid votes polled. The voting percentage in US is not that great when compared to India and it is usually less than 60 %.
Winnability of a candidate is usually determined by the money raised and money spent on TV Ads. Transparent process in political donations is the most important thing India has to learn from US politics.  Organisations donate money to candidates so that they can lobby later, but its a bit transparent. Groups called PAC (Political Action Committee) can be formed by people on behalf of candidate and they can pour in as much money as they can into a candidate campaign. Whereas we do have legal limits of campaign expenditure in India which nobody honors and is not actually sufficient for a party.
One interesting thing about US presidential election is tax payers can pay 3 dollars of their taxes to Presidential election fund which is later given to presidential candidates for their election campaigns. However, if a candidate takes that money, there would be cap on his expenditure and cannot take money from others. In a way Govt will sponsor your campaign (the current limit is around 40$ million) if you can stand in an election and can fulfill a certain criteria. Usually the candidates ignore this money and raise on their own and this money is donated to cancer research.
The rules are not same when the prospective candidates go through primaries and caucuses of their parties and thats a whole lot of complex system altogether where electoral engineering plays more role than popular vote . The parties have this some established internal democracy rules and someone who is incapable cannot be on the ballot to be most powerful person of this planet. John oliver, noted TV host, in this video informs what is wrong with this primary and caucuses approach .
 US also has a bicameral legislature, ie. there are two legislature bodies like India.
The upper house in India is called Rajya Sabha where the representatives are elected by states and some are nominated by President . The upper house in US is called Senate and each state gets 2 representatives each who have 6 year terms and some of them do have elections  during the same Presidential election time on this Nov 8.
The lower house in India is called Lok Sabha where representatives are elected by their specific geographical electorate or constituency . The lower house in US is called House of Representatives and each of these are won from their Congressional district. Both these House of Representatives and Senate are called as US Congress , like Indian Parliament.
The TIME cover this week .timesign

All the best Dr JP

It has a bit disappointing start of the last week with a party (i.e Loksatta Party) i followed, volunteered ,spent money and cherished has decided to quit elections .I am privileged to say that iam one of the team working behind the scenes to ensure the party and Dr.JP voice to as many eyes and ears as possible in this digital social media era. ;the team managing DR JP , Loksatta party and other loksatta pages in facebook, twitter and youtube platforms. I have to think like Dr JP and be sure of Loksatta work a lot of times and respond to many hundreds of people who message to these platforms (ofcourse with Admin tag wherever necessary) .I can understand the pain he felt with such a decision. I know this day would be sooner or later with the way things have been going on. I have seen his humility, his anger, his optimism, his despair, his oratory , his knowledge, his wisdom from a man to man distance . I even joke to my wife that iam probably the only person who sat in Dr JP’s chair while he was in the same room ( While setting up his laptop for Google Hangouts 🙂 ) . Although, as a follower and student i have always been learning from him and never tried to give my own gyaan to him like many people do it when they meet him.

Did Loksatta and Dr JP fail ? Analysis and statistics might say an YES but the heart would say a loud NO. He has graciously accepted that his ideals or the change he wanted to bring, cannot be possible in this electoral way. There are tons of reasons why he has to take such sensational decision of stepping away from electoral politics, some mistakes being on his side and on the side of people hebelieved in and some on the side of the people who couldnt vote for his platform.

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In India, reforms happen only when we are neckdeep in sh*t.

Green revolution in 1960’s started only when our leaders realised that we cannot sustain an occupation of 50% population with the agri produce we have and processes we follow. There were some deadly famines just before our independence and building dams,canals were not sufficient to sustain the growing population.
Liberalization  in 1991 came only after India was almost bankrupt and couldnt raise more loans from international community. PV Narasimha Rao literally had to airlift tons of Gold from Indian treasury to NewYork in exchange for some loans. Policy reforms like RTI  , Aadhaar happened after decades of advocacy, and ofcourse to the indirect impact to then lawmakers.

There is a movie scene in Telugu movie “Leader” when the hero, the state CM proposes an anti corruption law but it doesnt get passed with lawmakers objecting it .An experienced and old leader suggests to exempt the lawmakers and the bill passes with thunderous applause.Hero would be in disappointment having exempted the biggest sharks of corruption but the old leader consoles him saying you are catching the fishes and without fishes there wont be sharks after sometime. Our elected public representatives are similar to this . This is as true in Indian politics that no elected representative would pass big ticket reforms which they would be a victim of (eg. Women Reservation, strong anti corruption body, police reforms etc) .

Even in such a scenario, DrJP and Loksatta movement had brought some great institutional reforms working non partisan across party lines and across think tank intellectuals.He has worked with ADR on bringing laws for candidates to disclose their financial and criminal details in elections . He has worked with Aruna Roy drafting a strong RTI law . He has worked with Vajpayee govt and got 91st constitutional amendment restricting ministry size to 15 percent of total members in a legislature and political funding reform requiring political parties to be transparent in their funding.He has worked with UPA1 for sometime in NAC and formulating “National Health Mission” to ensure healthcare to last mile of rural India. Loksatta and Dr JP has worked closely with Justice Verma and brought the Nirbhaya act. He has fought against illogical agriculture policies and was successful in removing export of grains and now fighting to sell agriculture produce across states.The Lokayukta bill which advocates strong Lokpal to probe corruption and which was the main agenda of Anna Hazaare movement was the brain child of Dr JP. Dr JP was working in background then to ensure that movement to be fruitful.The biggest achievement is probably Dr JP proposing special status to AP and development ideas to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during state bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. There are lots of policy work done by Loksatta movement and more details on Loksatta achievements are at :Loksatta Achievements

If i was Dr JP, i would put up a photo collage of all these at my door,take my monthly IAS pension from government, take vacations every month, give some talks and retire writing books.Yet this man, cannot stop working and bringing some REAL CHANGE. We all donate to some NGOs for girl child education or for some medical operation but Dr JP works to do something to ensure these cases wont need in first place trying to bring universal healthcare and education for all.We call up our MLA when our colony roads gets damaged but cannot spare a thought that we have a local representative in name of corporator or panchayat which is actually responsible for it but cannot execute it due to lack of power,privileges and funds. These small things if reformed properly,can ensure a better life for billions of Indians.Our governments are ready to provide crores of compensation to victims of Rail accidents, or crowd stampades but cannot spend lakhs to ensure better facilties to avoid the disaster. Somebody has to look through the symptoms and fix things before they are taken into operation theatre.
Our murky politics and biased media cannot ensure these things to be taken care via electoral win means. Every new political revolution was accompanied by things which Loksatta cannot associate with and is not part of its DNA. I would discuss below with some personalities entered into political arena to bring a change ie. Arvind Kejriwal,NTR,Chiranjeevi.
AAP has the biggest advantage in choosing the battle ground as Delhi.Delhi is a glorified municipality and Kejriwal has no worries on solving agriculture problems,get more investments into state , take care of law & order which are the top 3 issues a govt perception is based on. Adding to it, media bias against Modi , media publicty, freebies gave AAP the edge , which Loksatta cannot do it.You can definitely reduce traffic and some pollution with odd even rule with hundreds of authorities monitoring vehicles but it is not possible every single day.
NTR came like a storm into AP politics unimaginable at that time of 1980s.However, he had a great support from disgruntled Congress leaders , a strong anti incumbency factor and his knack of choosing people battles . Adding to it socalist measures of freebies.
Chiranjeevi , when he started PrajaRajyam and he projected as the change agent.He lost the plot in couple of months and ultimately merged the party into Congress.I dont need to elaborate on his grand failure.
Loksatta has ensured the commitment and conviction remains in the 10 years of party progress and 12 years of being a civil movement earlier .One cannot run a political party without money or media controversy. Loksatta is not built to attract these and cannot loose its DNA to get some visible progress and credit.You can always achieve lot of things when you dont care who gets the credit.Being apolitial yields more results than getting caught in quagmire and myriad political controversies in current day Indian political scenario.
However, I dont think Loksatta would be silent and this platform laid by Dr JP will continue their fight to solve problems. Our current day politics are worse but people actually got used to it . Many of us dont watch India playing cricket if we think we are loosing even if Kohli or Dhoni is batting , we dont watch movies with exceptional acting prowess but has less entertainment in it. Such is politics , we dont support an entity which doesnt provide entertainment ,vote for those who we think will win, rather than people who we want to win. At such times, we cannot afford a statesman and visionary like DR JP to continue his energy wasting in fighting political electoral games . He has to get back to his work , looking into symptoms, start the cure. Iam glad i will continue to be playing my part.

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The Death of a revolution.. AK Anna to AK Laloo

Some years me ago, there was an old man who rallied entire nation against the corrupt practices of Government.
An educated young government servant and excellent oratory leader was with him.This young man created history by being part of an historic political gamechanger which shook the strongest political party and changed politics of India.
The young leader was Laloo Prasad Yadav. And with him is Arvind Kejriwal here in this pic.
Old Man: Jayaprakash Narayan JanataParty , Strongest political party then: Congress ,Time: 1970s
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Very rarely is that a vast and diverse country like India witnesses a revolution. After Independence, there were very few changes occured in India on a scale of revolution. We call them notably as White Revolution(Milk) , Green Revolution (Agriculture produce) which changed the food habits of many people. There was a political revolution sometimes called as “Emergency Revolution ” which shook the democracy of India . Then , there was Liberalisation which changed India. Such was a rare moment when Lakhs of people rallied with a frail old man with a Topi to join his fight against CORRUPTION. This “India Against Corruption” produced some good leaders who later went on to pursue their political interests. Arvind kejriwal was the one who was  successful in making his political platform a bit reality.
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There is no wrong in an activist turning into politician.  Jayaprakash Narayan, an ex IAS officer and ran an NGO Loksatta and turned his organisation into a political entity. There are certain limitations for a Non Governmental, Non political entity which cannot be overcome unless there is political power.
When Arvind Kejriwal wanted to start a political party and contested elections, i thought he is intelligent and knew what to do.
When Arvind Kejriwal formed government with the help of Congress , i thought he knew how to do it.
When Arvind Kejriwal left the government in 49 days due to some politically silly reason, i thought he is calculative and risk taker.
When Arvind Kejriwal decided to contest against Narendra Modi and started a war against Ambanis , i thought he is getting adamant , desperate and foolish.
But when Arvind Kejriwal shared the victory cheer with Laloo in Bihar CM Nitish Kumar swearing in ceremony, he has gone mad in power and lost the game.
Yes, Arvind Kejriwal has brought some change and i applaud him for that. Even UPA1 brought some good changes like RTI to curb corruption and initiated MNREGA trying to resolve unemployment issue , the socialist way. AK can publicize that a flyover was constructed in 100 crores less budget but hide the fact that flyover design was modified and he was not the one who modified it. He can publicize that SwacchDelhi will make Delhi Clean but get funds from Central government to do that. He can publicize that Jan Lokpal is ultimate anti corruption tool but just adding a name “Jan” before the existing Lokayukta act that even his fanboys RTI activists dissent due to lack of transparency.He can blame Central Government every small thing that he is incapable of rather than pushing for reforms.He can call hiimself the new progressive politician yet give free sops to people in elections .
He has become the TRP messiah for media which is thirsty ,hungry and angry with Narendra Modi.
He has become the only hope for thousands of NGOs who do dubious work and got their funds curtailed .
He has become the real front end for the grand old congress party which cannot redeem itself and can only be happy seeing its rival BJP going down.
He has become the real hope for some of the parties who were let alone by Modi and BJP in their quest for power.
He will be remembered some one like Morarji Desai or VP Singh who was very capable and lost the game entirely in quest of power . The greatest worry is that this generation will think twice before voting for someone who can bring a political revolution. He pushed political reforms atleast by two decades . The most worrisome is that his AAPTARDs who are with high intelligence and less wisdom and create the most disturbing political discourse on new media platforms.
The good thing is there is still time,he just started his journey and he can redeem himself . He has the entire Delhi Assembly to him and lakhs ov volunteer who can work with him . And be the Good Guy who knew what to do, how to do and DID IT.

Objection your honour !!! NJAC may not be incorrect afterall..

TL;DR This post is regarding the recent squashing of NJAC act by Indian Supreme Court .

There are some South Indian films where there is a village head and passes judgements on issues related to that village. And yes , many times the judgments give justice. But then he becomes old and is replaced by his son or his favorite person. We dont feel any discomfort because its usually the hero who plays the new guy role and if not, its the villain who has a hero and a rebellion . What if this really happens in a real life state system ? and let me remind you , are there any heroes in real life ? Would you be comfortable that a person who decides the most contentious issues in your village, is elected by a non transparent mechanism ?

Well, now replace Village with India , and village head with Supreme court judges . Villages might not have written rules but it is as good as our complex legal proceedings and procedures. There is no transparent mechanism on what basis they are appointed to Supreme court and high courts . Yes, Supreme court is Supreme and has delivered justice on lot of issues which were highlighted in media and became a TRP sensation. But there are many instances when an influential entity got justice in their way within the judicial constraints. Also, no one can criticize a Supreme court judgment as its a contempt of court and even considered as sedition sometimes. Yet, people in the heart know 100% Justice is not delivered 100% of all the times. We know persons who have scams of one lakh crores and even after proven guilty , can now be Leader of Opposition in a state. We know persons who got dethroned from Chief minister due to judicial intervention on corruption , yet back to CM chair in an year with you-know-what loopholes .

A former Indian Supreme Court Justice Examines Corruption in the Judiciary here and called Supreme court workings “the best kept secret in the country”
Prashant Bhushan , noted activist says out of the last 16 to 17 Chief Justices, half have been corrupt;Link is here . Not all Supreme court judges have declared their assets ( Link ) and they only describe personal and spouse assets and not other family members. Currently , Supreme court judges are appointed by Supreme court judges and this system is called Collegium.

Silhouette of scales of Lady Justice holding scales

Now some Civics 101; Legislative branch of government (i.e politicians) have a check every 5 years and are accountable to public and judiciary. Executive branch of Government (i.e IAS and other bureaucracy) are accountable to public and Legislative can control it. But why is the Judiciary exempt from check and accountability completely. There is a process called impeachment but it requires 2/3rd majority of legislatures and usually doesnt happen ; Only 2 judges have been so far . But is it not better to avoid bad than to mitigate them with such extreme process ? So, how do you ensure this close knit people organization which impacts a 1.2 billion nation’s present and future, be as transparent as possible ?

NJAC or National Judicial Appointment Commission was an act, initiated by Loksatta Jayaprakash Narayan , proposed and prepared by three eminent Retired Supreme court jurists , passed by Parliament, signed by President and ratified by 20 states as of now. This ensures that Supreme court judges, Chief justice of India, High court chief justices , High court judges , Judges transfers are recommended by a 6 member panel consisting of Chief Justice of India, Two Senior judges of Supreme court (next in line to Chief justice) , Union Law minister, Two eminent persons for a duration of 3 years recommended by Prime Minster, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice .

Why are we involving politicians here ?
Arent they corrupt and can influence judiciary ?
Isn’t Judiciary supposed to be Independent as per constitution ?
Only 1 out of 6 is a politician in NJAC and its the Law minister of India. Judiciary still has the majority vote and there is a veto power for 2 of NJAC members . So, a bad judge even if he is favorite of all judges cannot make it as Law minster can object . Vice Versa , a favourite of politicians cannot make it as Judiciary is majority and 5 other people have veto power.
Yes, as per constitution “Judiciary has to be independent ” and is part of basic doctrine which is not allowed to change . But Independence can also be interpreter as Functionality and NJAC does not practically impact Independence of Judiciary.

Now some technicalities; As per Article 368 of Indian Constitution, any constitutional amendment pertaining to the Supreme Court and High Courts require special majority in the Parliament and ratification by half the states. And NJAC successfully passed all stages and got accent by the President of India. That means the whole process of framing NJAC is absolutely constitutional which is now termed ‘unconstitutional’ by the Supreme Court. But, the process of Supreme Court repealing NJAC is also constitutional.

Article 50 talks only about separation between executive and judiciary: “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State”. Article 50 is within part IV of the constitution, i.e. it is one of the articles of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). DPSP are non-justiciable in nature and therefore, in my opinion even if NJAC Act violate the article 50, it cannot be a basis for declaring NJAC Act as unconstitutional. DPSP are positive obligation of the state and not the negative obligations.
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Almost all the major democratic countries (Link for some list) have higher judiciary elected as transparent as possible with sufficient checks and balances with involvement of Executive or Legislative branches of Government except INDIA. Judiciary is probably the most confused , enigmatic branch of Governance in India. Unless, there is transparency and proper process , we cannot expect for more reforms to resolve the pending 3 crore cases.

“In retrospect, the events of the 1970s and 1980s (Events preceeding to Emergency) justified the Supreme Court taking unto itself the appointment of judges, in the interest of keeping the judiciary independent. But times have changed. The judiciary’s independence is no longer in doubt. And India is a much more mature democracy, whose citizens deserve better. It is time for the highest court to loosen its grip a little, and let the pendulum, which had gone from one extreme to the other, swing back to the middle. “

Why Loksatta

We are at a crucial juncture of our nation where we need to choose the future  In the next  6 months from now, we will see all kinds of politricks to be played to woo the voter base of the country.

Let me present you the my views on party i started admiring a couple of years back and been a relentless follower of it . Starting 2009,politics in my homestate of AP have changed and all parties got back so defensive and so ambiguously ambitious to sustain their survival.Like they say, every adversity provides an opportunity to see the silver lining and help a new force emerge with a sane voice. I will be presenting my case below in a form of Q&A on why you must be supporting a party like Loksatta for better future for ourselves.

TL;DR

If you are already aware of Loksatta and want to be part of the revolution,you can join at http://members.loksatta.org .If you are not in India, you can join Loksatta NRI wing PeopleForLoksatta  and contribute from wherever you are.  Incase of any further questions, you can call up Loksatta at 040-66736672 . Or you can just ping me if you can  .If you want to contribute more in volunteeering, i can help that your passion is not dried of and put to best use.

Q. Why does someone need to have a political opinion ?

  • Believe it or not,everyone is part and parcel of politics. You have a birth right and a fundamental duty to vote in this country and elect people to make laws  when you turn 18 and have your say in future of the nation. We pay around 50 % of our earnings as taxes directly or indirectly and politicians are supposed to ensure they are used for better good. Its your tax money used for repairing those potholed roads you travel everyday, taking care of water supply , electricity supply and sewage supply for your house,ensuring that your safety is taken care by law enforcement agencies,provides scholarships to your children’s education and much much more .Dont you think its our duty to ensure politics are good and your money is accountable.

 

Q.  What is the political party i support ?

  • I support Loksatta Party .

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Q.What is Loksatta Party ?

  • Loksatta Party is founded by Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan , an IAS officer who served as Andhra Pradesh state secretary and his accolades and accomplishments are extraordinary.He started Loksatta as an NGO for electoral and public policy reforms.This wiki page provides you with ton of information and you must look at the party website .This NGO was transformed to a political party in 2006.It can easily be said as a pioneer for clean politics for this new generation.

 

Q. Why was an NGO turned to a political party when it was doing a good job ?

  • Loksatta NGO was turned to a political party for better good. An NGO has limitations on lawmaking. You can take up an issue , take it to law makers but cannot ensure  steps to be taken to mitigate an issue.  A public society opinion is only considered when the issue is serious and also mostly for political mileages. This was the same reason Anna-Kejriwal led IAC had to form a political party called AamAadmi party by Kejriwal . Rest is all the recent news.

 

Q. What makes me think Loksatta is better and apart from all political parties ?

  • Loksatta Party has strong ethical principles, extraordinary track record as an NGO,an excellent dedicated cadre and most importantly a practical visionary agenda. In the past 5 years where Dr.JP has been a elected MLA , he has taken up to light on some of the most demanding issues . Search for “Jayaprakash Narayan in Assembly” in youtube and you can see the action first hand. One sample video on youtube. You can check out the 50 guarantees of Loksatta Party for the promises. Please take time to read them. And what not, the office bearers are choosen by internal democracy.You vote who takes care of party.
  • I personally believe that TDP is following Loksatta Agenda these days. Todays Agenda of Loksatta is tommorrows action point of TDP. TDP has taken up the VANPIC issue only after JP raised it in assembly. TDP took up the Farmers satyagraha only after Loksatta led a protest to sell AP farmer produce to Karnataka.
  • A party with good beliefs and vision will always make other parties change. Recent PehleAAP phenomenon in Delhi is the living proof.

 

Q. What is the work done by Dr.JP in Kukatpally in last 5 years   ?

  • You dont need to do much effort, entire list is collated at http://www.kukatpallynow.com  .  Surajya Movement was done recently to give awareness of good politics. For other tons of Loksatta efforts in last 5 years,you can check out the Activities tab in official website.

Q.What are the achievements in electoral field for Loksatta from its inception as a party ?

  • Loksatta Dr.JP has won Kukatpally Assembly constituency in 2009 polling around 70+  thousand votes. LSP contested the by elections in 2008 and secured second place in Khairatabad and Terlam constituencies in Andhra Pradesh. There have been good number of Local panchayat representatives elected in the recently finished Panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh. Loksatta has polled around 7.5 lakh votes in entire state of Andhra pradesh in 2009 (thats more than half of Chiranjeevi’s PRP for comparison)  elections with close to 10-12 % in constituencies in Hyderabad and other urban places. And let me remind you that all this wins are by using the legal money given by people, without distributing any liquor or a green note.

 

Q.What is the stand of Loksatta on Telangana issue ?

  • Loksatta is not against Telangana formation. But the due process has to be followed in a logical ethical manner where all stakeholders are in a win-win situation and nobody looses because of a political decision. More from official website here.

 

Q. Why couldnt Loksatta perform in 2009  as similar to AAP in 2013 ?

  • Delhi is a mostly urban territory . AP is not. LSP did the strategic mistake of contesting all 294 constituencies inspite of only urban appeal. LSP made a dent in Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Ask TDP , they will tell how LSP made a difference in these urban places.
  • 2) Delhi in 2013 is vexed with 15 year rule of Cong . The only alternative was BJP. It is comfortable to play the game as underdog with only 3 players. AP in 2009 had Cong with YSR launching stellar welfare schemes just before elections in his first 5 year term. PRP was just being launched . TDP,TRS trying to make a living . There was no political vacuum left for LSP. Things in 2014 will be entirely different.

 

Q. Where all the states Loksatta party is functioning and how can one be a member of it ?

  • Loksatta party currently has strong base in Andhra Pradesh. It is significant in Bangalore and even participated in Karnataka elections securing a very good vote presence. Loksatta Maharashtra has won some panchayats and is the next big thing. Loksatta Tamil Nadu is roaring and hoping to make its presence in coming elections. Loksatta has good number of supporters in Haryana and Delhi.
  • If you are an NRI, you can join Loksatta NRI wing PeopleForLoksatta , the most dedicated and vibrant overseas supporters ushering for a change in India.
  • You can join loksatta at http://members.loksatta.org . Incase of any further questions, you can call up Loksatta at 040-66736672 . Or you can just ping me if you can 🙂

Q. What are the official online channels where i can keep track of Loksatta activities ?

 

PS: I hope i could write much more , but the aim of blogpost was just an introduction .

If you do not have a vote and need to make your voice count for India’s future,please checkout my earlier blogpost MakeYourVoteCount

Make your Vote count

If there is one thing, that needs a UID Aadhaar scale of data management, that has to Electoral rolls in India . I was verifying my parents and brothers voter id cards for any mistakes and then tried to check my name in voter rolls of my constituency and it took one hour to find out our polling stations , verify our names in roll calls.My brother, who recently took voter id card has been allotted to a polling station 15 km from our home.My mother has two entries in roll calls. My rollcall in polling station is with old NVT number which has incorrect name. My dad voter id card had different address.Imagine the amount of work, every voter has to undergo to correct all such mistakes.

Its one thing that you have a valid voter id with you, but the most important is that your name and voter id card should be present in the electoral rolls of a polling station which you know.Just learnt that , atleast 22000 names have been deleted from electoral rollcalls in the posh Jubliee hills constituency of Hyderabad city. On this scale, on an average, imagine the number of voters who are not in voters list and people who have incorrect entries. As an Indian , its your responsibility to not only get our voter id card, but also need to make our vote count.

People of Andhra Pradesh can go to their polling stations on Dec 8 and Dec 15 and get their details verified and rectified .

I believe there are three steps,to make your vote count .

1) Get a proper voter id card

2) Verify if your voter id is listed in a polling station you know

3) Know the polling station, you have to vote

If you are not residing in India but have India Passport, Use this link and get your form 6A filled (  http://eci-citizenservices.nic.in/frmForm6ANew.aspx ) . Please note that voting is only done in your polling station in  India and not even by postal ballot or in Indian Mission abroad.

1) Register yourself for a voter id card

Go to your nearest Revenue office of your mandal or block/Panchayat office and fill up form Form 6. For Karnataka, http://voterreg.kar.nic.in has the best interface and intricate details on how to get it done online.

Check out http://www.firstpost.com/firstvote/ and contact them for any help in registering your vote or any queries. OR google search for “voter registration initiatives india” and choose your platform to get your voter id registration.

http://www.allindiadaily.com/2013/07/apply-for-voter-id-online.html has listed the process in detail.If you are tech savvy , there is an android app which takes care of this process flawless.

 

2) Steps to verify your voter id and to know your polling station

For Andhra Pradesh : http://123.176.47.59/Search_new/search1.aspx

( If you have your voter id number, NVT number which starts with NVT , search with it and find out your details and your polling station name )

For all other states, check this and select your state (UP not in the list)  : http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Linkto_electo_search.aspx

For UP: http://164.100.180.4/searchengine/SearchEngineEnglish.aspx

For any corrections, find out your state election commission website and fill out the required form and follow procedure.

For any quick things, Just remember,

Form-6(Inclusion)
Form-7(Deletion)
Form-8(Modification)  – To modify incorrect details
Form-8A (Transposition)   – To change address and change your polling station

3) Find out your polling station on this google map (Please note the polling station name and number you found out from above links )

http://www.eci-polldaymonitoring.nic.in/psl/default.aspx

Any doubts or any other queries, check out http://eci.nic.in/eci/eci.html , its as crystal clear but will take second level authentication to avoid spam.

Happy Voting and Changing India !!!

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How to ‘Be The Change’ sitting at Home**

Yes, you read it right and you have definitely heard it right. You can Be the change and start changing India by sitting at Home. The only prerequisite is your Will.  We all agree that India is in a mess and God knows what can be next . Believe it or not, there are too many people  who want to do something and have no idea of what ‘bit’ they can do for the country .  . And this is just a START .

“Be the Change you wish to see in the World”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Social Media Activism

Nobody denies the fact that Facebook and Twitter fueled the Egypt Tahrir Square Revolution and are now the driving tools for all the people movements happening worldwide. In India, Social Media buzz determines the hot topics that need to be taken by News Channels and in turn put pressure on Governments to act upon issues. Adarsh Housing Scam, 2G Scam are  some of the successful stories of Social Media Activism in India.  Anna Hazare movement was catapulted to National Level using these social media tools.

Every major political leader is using social media to be more reachable to public and to avoid confusions in their standings on various issues.This page gives the list of major Indian politicians on twitter and their influence in Social Media.Almost every political party now has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Putting right amount of pressure on these political entities online will make sure they realise that they are in public scrutiny .

And what not, in a recent study, it is believed that Social Media would decide atleast 100 MP seats in next elections.

 Online Petitions

I was one of the cynic , and a  bit hesitant to spend couple of minutes on signing any online petitions. Later , i came across some successful online petitions and they have really made a Change.

If you come across any online petition, just spend one min of your time and understand the summary and if you think is rightful, just login with your email id and sign it. It takes very less effort and even lesser risk on your part but gives a tremendous boost to the petitioner . Many state administrations have considered such online petitions and issues have been rectified.

 Online Grievance Redressal tools

Many of not aware that online grievance system works super fast when compared to traditional public grievance systems. One occasion, i had trouble with my BSNL landline and after a month of wasting my time on recurring visits to local office, i have complained in the National Grievance redressal portal. ( http://pgportal.gov.in/ ). Next day, the divisional manager landed at my home and issue was rectified in hours. I have other successful personal encounters with Hyd Metro water works, Hyderabad Municipal Corporation ,Hyd Traffic Police.

Yes, the System Works and it just needs a little push from your side .

Atleast in Andhra Pradesh, there are online grievance portal/mechanism for all the government departments and they are bound to respond within an SLA.

http://pgportal.gov.in/ works for issues all over India.

RTI

And ofcourse, how can this list be without the greatest tool any Common Man has in his hand. If you see any discrepancy in any public work , just file an RTI with the required details and you may suddenly see the half dig up pipeline in your next lane being completed , roads being laid and that pothole on that  mainroad is filled up. Who knows you may be unearthing the next big scam.

You can file RTI offline by sending a 10INR DD to the respective department Information Commissioner. Just google it for the respective contact and you can find it.

If not,one can file Online RTI from http://www.onlinerti.com

Understand whats going on

  • PRS legislative is one initiative which documents all the proceedings of Parliament and some of the State Assemblies . It also has some insights into what each new policy is about and gives notifications/alerts as per your interests.You can also Track your MP performance in Parliament.
  • MyNeta gives complete details of people who have contested elections in both state and central elections. See how worse and good your candidates are .
  • Association for Democratic Reforms is one website which is tracking all the happenings in Indian Democratic politico sphere.
  • You can also be a citizen journalist and report issues to the media.CNN IBN has one of the most successful contributions from Citizen Journalists. Hop on to this website

PS- This is not a complete list and if you feel that something more can be added. Please let me know.

** – This post only informs about the options which are present for common man in shaping up the nation. If you are already in public domain and working hard towards betterment of Nation , All the best and we all are with you.

Srikrishna’s ‘Telangana’gita – What all points are against separate state.

After considering all aspects, the Committee found the balance tilting in favour of keeping the state united”

This can easily summarise what the six member committee on Telangana wants to say. This is not a final mandate on Telangana nor brought out some new facts and analysis.

It would be an official proof for all the claims and arguments the both side leaders are propogating.It is the whole database for the central govt and state govt to actually find the loopholes of the administrative activities in the telangana region.

Here are the some interesting points I have found in the report.

Note:These are only the interesting points i found and not the summary.

1)      “The States Reorganization Commission, accordingly, unanimously adopted the principle of linguistic homogeneity as the basis to recommend the reorganization of states.” .

2)      Though this is not related but gives a insight about political atmosphere in AP. “Incidentally, in the post emergency Lok Sabha elections (1977),although the Congress Party led by Smt. Indira Gandhi lost in almost all the northIndian states, in Andhra Pradesh, it won 41 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats” .

3)      “Dr. M. Chenna Reddy, earlier a well known protagonist of separate Telangana, became the Chief Minister on March 6, 1978, and reportedly announced that “separate Telangana is no longer an issue”.

4)      “The enduring leadership in the form of N.T. Rama Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party and of Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy of the Congress Party for long periods, aided by a strong political machinery for governance while at the same time continuing to champion the cause of Telugu unity, helped in keeping the demand for a separate Telangana dormant or at best in a subdued state”

5)       “In the Congress election manifesto for 2004 elections, it was stated that “the Congress Party recognizes the growing emotions and aspirations of the people in the Telangana region”. It was further added in the manifesto that „while respecting the report of the States‟Reorganization Commission, the Congress Party notes that there are many valid reasons for formation of separate states in Vidarbha and Telangana. However the reorganization of existing States raises a large number of issues.The Congress Party feels that the whole matter could be best addressed byanother States‟ Reorganization Commission to look into all the issues involved”.

6)      “It may be relevant to mention here that unlike the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of UPA-1, the NCMP of UPA-2 did not make any mention of the Telangana issue

7) “One of the major arguments for a separate state of Telangana has been that since the formation of the state of AP, this region has been neglected and even discriminated against, resulting in economic and social hardship.” “Yet, when a study of rate of change,growth rate and shares in the state economy is evaluated, nothing unusual emerges.”

8)      “The relatively deprived region of AP is Rayalaseema

9)      Page 191 – TRS and other groups gave wrong data to committee on university grants .

10)   “While the progress of literacy and access to schooling is satisfactory in Telangana, there are some differences in allocation of funds and location of institutions that need to be rectified”

11)   “There is a strong case, therefore, to allocate more funds to Telangana colleges”

12)   “The frustration of the youth when their expectations are not met is exploited by politicians who claim that their inability to get a job commensurate with their degree is due to discrimination against Telangana people thus causing interregional and inter-community disaffection.”

13)   “The data about incumbency of Ministers in charge of major and medium irrigation, and data about Engineers in Chief, as available from the Government of Andhra Pradesh, was also seen. The Ministers for Major Irrigation were mostly from Telangana (55%). The Engineers-in-Chief were mostly from coastal Andhra (56%) but those from Telangana were also incumbent for a considerable period (43%). This does not indicate that those in charge of this sector were mostly from outside Telangana”.

14)   “Catchment area cannot be the only criterion. “

15)   “on polavaram – part of the share of Andhra  Pradesh could come to Telangana also. Thus Telangana, while losing some land, would also benefit from the project. A demand for stopping the project at this stage appears misconceived.”

16)   “The agricultural power consumption in Telangana is much more as compared to coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema “

17)   “That demand for “regional reservation” for Group A  and B posts in administration carries serious national implications and was not found to be feasible

18)   “Thus an analysis of MPs elected in the 2009 election shows that compared to 92% of Seema-Andhra MPS, only 35% of those from Telangana had a political or business family background. Among the MLAs elected during the same election, while 63% of the Seema- Andhra winners had a political family background, only 20% of those from the Telangana region had such a background. “

19)   “The Committee did not find any real evidence of any major neglect by the state government in matters of overall economic development

20)   “The grievances of the people of Telangana, such as non-implementation of some of the key decisions included in the Gentleman‟s Agreement (1956), certain amount of neglect in implementation of water and irrigation schemes, inadequate provision for education infrastructure (excluding Hyderabad), and the undue delay in the implementation of the Presidential order on public employment etc., have contributed to the felt psyche of discrimination and domination, with the issue attaining an emotional pitch. The continuing demand, therefore, for a separate Telangana, the Committee felt, has some merit and is not entirely unjustified.”

21)   “The view of the Committee is that since a new governance model giving powers to a Regional Council within the state is to be legally established, a suitable provision to that effect may be necessary to be incorporated in Part XXI (Article 371) of the Constitution

22)   “The united Andhra option is being suggested for continuing the development momentum of the three regions and keeping in mind the national perspective. “

23)   “Separation is recommended only in case it is unavoidable and if this decision can be reached amicably amongst all the three regions. “

24)   “The other combination of regions – coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema together can also sustain themselves as a state; in fact they can also sustain themselves separately.”

25)   Hyderabad‟s historical distinctiveness has always been well known. As a city, it is, as Nehru said of India, “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously”

Disclaimer: All these points are directly copy pasted from the original report given to Ministry of home Affairs, GOI. The author does not hold any responsibility for any of the 25 statements.

AP Polit(r)ics.

“We are a funny nation. Elections were held in Bihar, we expected Karnataka CM to get down and by the end of day AP got a new CM.”

Are you one of them, who like one of my colleagues, was surprised how a CM can resign without any reason. ?  Don’t be so surprised. I replied my pal “Its AP politics dude. AP politicians don’t know why they resign and when they resign. Infact there is a party which does nothing but resignations for survival and even nick named R for resignations in its name.”

Resignations of CM are an age old ritual of Regional Congress in Andhra Pradesh right from the formation of state. Guess the number of Congress CMs who had a full five year term in Andhra Pradesh in this long 40 years of Congress rule in the state. Its a meager 3.Yes, that’s right. THREE.  Technically only fifteen years were ruled properly.

It all began when Indira Gandhi, the first madam was ruling the nation. Someone got on a plane to Delhi and did bhajan for some days and returned as a new CM for the state. We had 4 CMs from Congress for the period 1978-1983. (This irritated the then movie star NTR and he started a party with the sole campaign topic of “Self Respect” for Telugus. And he was the next CM within 9 months of party launch). This was followed by 3 Congress CMs for the period 89-94.

I am not sure if other state politics are so interesting, but I bet someone can actually make a epic movie about politics of Andhra Pradesh.

The main regional party of AP, the TDP (Telugu Desam party) came to power within nine months of its formation. All the candidates stood as independents as the party was not a recognized by then and won 212 seats out of 294. It was the main opposition party in parliament for the period 84-89 in Parliament, read it again, the Parliament. After the death of Indira Gandhi , whole country was on congress sympathetic wave, but not Andhra Pradesh. Rajiv Gandhi won 404 of 543 seats and in AP, congress could get 6 out of 42. Since 1991, the party which ruled AP was also in power in centre or was a part of central coalition. It faced two major coups; one when the CM from the party, NTR went for a surgery in US was backstabbed by his deputy and formed a government unconstitutionally with the aegis of Central government and Governor. It again faced a coup by the founder’s son-in-law due to the reasons which are controversial till now and a black spot on the present president, also known as modern chanakya. He forms alliances in most unexpected combinations and recently did campaigning in the recent by polls by doing a dharna in Maharashtra.

The other regional party or technically a sub-regional party was formed when the founder was denied a ministry in the state government as legend says. The party elected representatives have resigned more than the times that the number of representatives presently. The president of that party leads the tally with 3 times getting elected to parliament in his 7 year MP career.

The newly formed party PRP founded by the megastar of Telugu Film industry could garner a decent amount of 20 % votes even though it couldn’t make a reasonable tally . And I personally believe the only party which understood the Telangana issue correctly by supporting a social Telangana cause.

The LOKSATTA party which was formed by a former IAS officer Sri Jaya Prakash Narayana, after being an NGO for ten years, is a non-political political party; it aims to start a second freedom struggle against corruption and began its long journey of thousand miles with one mile. It secured one seat in the last elections. The Loksatta NGO previously contributed significantly to the formulation of administrative and political reforms. Hope it succeeds as soon as possible.

PS: Everytime the congress changed CMs as per its wish, it lost the power in the state.

 

Its certainly an uncertain verdict !!

It’s an event where an uncertainty is certain… It’s an event where the ultimate tactics are put to place… It’s the game where we spend almost as the Olympics as expenditure, making it the extravagant non-sport event ever to take place.. It’s an event which India is famous all over the world because of its largest participation.. Its occurring in next few months… its IPL . it’s the same acronym but not for the cricket lovers .. but of the cricket loving nation.. It’s the event where teams co operate to win over other teams.. where the winner can be a team of teams… and audience may not predict in what team , a player ends up finally .. .. It’s the Indian Politics League….. the real action that gonna entertain the nation for the next few months… It’s these elections , which truly makes us the largest democracy in the world with over 1 Lakh elected representatives .( considering all the elections extending upto grass root level).

There are lotta advantages of elections ..Read the newspapers and blogs and u get some exciting tolly and bolly stories.. Expect the unexpected. Also it’s the very probable chance where u can see ur fav reel actors in real when they hit road and do some roadshows .. .. Also u suddenly get uninterrupted electricity and water supply and bureaucrats become polite at the time of elections ..n many more to count.

Taking a glimpse at current scenario.. We have two major parties where, one has strong principles but not strong people…. They need to maintain the long history and heritage .They still go on the name of the famous families whose belongings we have to buy out in foreign auctions. Other has strong people and not strong principles or rather I say based on absurd principles ..whenever they want something , they take the name of god to rescue them and become like a temple building organization…n then we have other front which says we neither build temples nor we allow scions to rule the country…. Nobody is sure who is gonna win.. everybody are confident of their strategies and strategic alliances..
Here I wanna mention some people in the state level who r really changing the rules of the game.. CBN.. Chandra Babu Naidu..ultimate tactics .. mixing poltics , economics, society needs and people pulse . He gave the campaigning responsibility to the charismatic family of NTR with the Balakrishna and Jr NTR countering the recent entrant , Megastar Chiranjeevi. He is bringing out the others-think-impossible and legendary manifestos. The money transfer scheme to the poor was a breathtaking one .Many may ask , how it is possible … my answer would be “ he was a Gold medalist and a PhD student in Economics and his son is a MBA grad from Stanford…. It was implemented in Brazil and other parts and is regarded as highly successful poverty eradicating scheme”. I never knew giving Color TVs to poor had so many advantages. The tactics being played by him are top class and zero-fault finding .. awesome.. the waves he is creating in the TV channel and newspapers is tremendous.Even if he wins or not , which I wish he must win, he would be remembered as the best player in this tournament.
The other one I admire is a 1980 IAS batch topper .. JP.. LokSatta’s Jayaprakash Narayan.. a bureaucrat turned politician , trying his best to clean this politics..I hope he gets his credits for his work and hope to see him very high someday.
Watever it is, it’s a nice timepass to see how they play the game and who ends up sitting in the throne.

My verdict: Congress needs to take the support of third front to form the govt in centre(Considering the blows that Cong and BJP getting these days from their allies, they both might not get a clear majority). In the AP state, it would be The Grand Alliance may be with the help of PRP.
PS: One may ask, how come two different results here. But AP has the history of showing completely unrelated attitude in the state and centre politics. When Rajiv Gandhi won almost all the lok sabha , he couldn’t get decent enough numbers from AP and when the non-congress VP singh was the PM , congress swept almost all seats in AP.

PS: No offences.

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