The year 2022 has ended and it is a matter of relief. For past many years end of year comes with the relief that it is over but unfortunately that is not happening. The recent developments in China shows that the pandemic may not be over as yet even though in India, it is almost normal now. Let’s look back at the year 2022.
During the year, the Reserve Bank of India has added 65.11 tonnes of gold to its pile. This is the highest purchase in a single fiscal year, second only to the 200 tonnes of gold bought in FY10 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is seen as an attempt to diversify away from US dollar. RBI has launched Digital Rupee and as also started International trade in Rupee, starting with Russia and Sri Lanka.
While inflation in India is at modest 6%, the entire world has experienced inflation in double digit something the western economies have not seen for several decades. Rapid increase in repo rate by Central Banks did not prove very effective in controlling inflation but it may cause recession. We have to wait to see if it happens and its domino effect on the world. If Pandemic was the cause for the economic turmoil, Ukraine war acted as a booster to the problems.
Maharashtra reminds me of Vladimir Putin’s Prime Minister between 2008 to 2020. His name was Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev. How many people remember that Medvedev was the President of Russia between 2008 to 2012 and in this period, Vladimir Putin was his Prime Minister. Again in 2012, Putin became the President and Medvedev became the Prime Minister.
A similar arrangement has been made in Maharashtra. Devendra Fadnavis is Deputy Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde is the Chief Minister. The reason is rather obvious.
First, with this castling, Shinde can ask for nothing more. This is the end of the bargain. This also shows to Thakrey that the problem was his being in office and it was not about Fadnavis in the office of CM.
Secondly and more importantly, Shinde as Chief Minister, will attract the rest of the party workers like Magnet. He will go around visiting City after city, seeking support at the ground and then file a claim on the party i.e. Shiv Sena with the Election Commission. This is the jugular vein of the political capital of Thakrey.
Shinde has a big task ahead and Fadnavis will run the Government for him.
Surprisingly, Thakrey is literally sitting like ducks. With his serious health problems and arrogance disproportionate to his stature, he can’t match the street fight. Not beyond Mumbai in any way.
Today’s vote of confidence in the house is a mere formality. With the success in election of speaker with 167 votes in the house of 288, it will be a cakewalk for ruling combine in the house today.
People can start writing political obituaries of Thakrey. The father and the son and his recent benefactor ‘Kaka’ who led him to this day.
If you disagree with my chess analogy, listen to what Chagan Bhujabal, leader of NCP has to say about it:
Teesta Sitalwad has been arrested last week by Anti-terror squad (ATS) of Maharashtra from her residence in Juhu, Mumbai. Her arrest was such a big event that the United Nation spokesperson expressed concern and in reply a spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Government of India had to issue following statement:
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said that we have seen a comment regarding legal action against Teesta Setalvad and two other persons by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The comments are completely inappropriate and set an example of interference in the independent judicial system of India. Bagchi further said that India works strictly against violation of law as per judicial procedures. Labeling such legal actions as harassment for the sake of activism is misleading and unacceptable.
The question arises as to who is Teesta Sitalwad?
She was destined to be a lawyer, like her father and grandfather but she left law and passed out as a journalist. He credentials as a journalist remained foggy but after 2002 she emerged as a professional public interest litigant. Her case would eventually land up in Supreme Court before a particular judge and she would get some relief or the other. Few years back she was arrested on the charge of misappropriation of money from Charities created for victims of 2002 riots in Gujarat but she was released on bail as it was granted on an alleged phone call from Kapil Sibal.
The Sitalwad Family:
Like many in lime lights of the media, the Sitalwad Family has an illustrious past.
Her great great great grandfather, Ambashankar Setalvad (1782–1853) worked for the East India Company.
Her great great grandfather Harilal Ambashankar Setalvad (1821–1899) was awarded the title of Rao Sahib by the British for his loyalty to the crown and in the process he made substantial wealth.
‘Sir’ Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad (1864–1947) was one of the member of Hunter Commission which gave ‘clean chit’ to Reginald Dyer for Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919. He was awarded title of ‘Sir’ in 1919 & appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1924 by the British. He was also a family friend of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad (1884–1974) was India’s first & longest serving Attorney General (1950–1963). He helped Nehru in imposing a tax on salt from retrospective effect in the name of cess. Courts had struck it down. (Remember slat agitation of Gandhi called Dandi March?) He also helped Nehru in keeping Rowllet Act in Constitution of India as article 22 by strongly defending it in courts.
Atul Motilal Setalvad (1933–2010) was a left leaning Mumbai based lawyer with a rather not so illustrious a career but had left behind aan ancestoral home in Juhu, Mumbai which has a personal garden of 3 acres. Nobody, even the richest men of India namely Ambani and Adani enjoy this luxury in the heart of Mumbai.
Teesta Javed Setalvad (1962– ) is a journalist cum activist who married Javed Anand who is also an activist cum journalist. Presently she is under arrest for forging affidavits, manipulating litigation and abuse of legal process for 16 long years. The matter is under investigation.
Few other British loyalists:
Sitalwad is not alone. The British left behind their loyalists who shifted loyalty to the Nehru family immediately after 1947 and their descendants continue to do so thereafter.
Kunj Bihari Thapar gave a saropa to Governor Dyer who was the Governor of Punjab when Jalainwalan Bagh massacre took place. His illustrious descendants include General Thapar who lost 1962 war to China. Romilla Thapar and Karan Thapar are the other descendants continuing the legacy of Raj.
Khuswant Singh was press secretary of Nehru who was fired after a picture of Lady Mountbatten in night gown kissing good bye to Nehru in London, appeared in Newspapers. His father Sir Sobha Singh became a British loyalist who was awarded acres of land in and around Delhi at throw away prices after he testified against Bhagat Singh and B.K.Dutt, the freedom fighters in courts to ensure their hanging till death. Khuswant Singh defended his father as he spoke the truth.
There are many such illustrious British loyalists who joined Nehru and his descendants in doing what the British did to India namely LOOT away wealth. British looted 45 trillion dollars. So much so they refused to pay what they owed for war supplies in 1947. It was about 2 billion pounds. Nehru never mentioned it.
Arrest of Teesta could be a trend setter that these dynasts in media who represent British legacy of personal loyalty and not merit may soon become a thing of past. It is important that this happens as meritocracy is not possible with dynasties of loyalists.
Media anchors, experts, YouTube commentators would have us believe that the opposition parties in India seem to have no plan against the ruling BJP in 2024. It is plainly incorrect. They have a plan and it is hidden in plain sight. Before evening their plan let me share with you a few facts.
Abdullah is a member of parliament from Srinagar. Do you know how many people voted for him?
The total turn out in abdullah’s constituency was 10%. In other words 90% of people did not vote. Abdullah got more than 5% of votes and became a member of parliament.
In the elections in five States, BJP has won 4 States and remained lost in 5th to AAP in Punjab. I will analyse Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and touch Uttrakhand a little as I have no clue about remaining Manipur and Goa. Punjab first:
Elections are won on the strength of five components:
1. Popular Votes, 2. Unpopular Votes (anti-incumbancy) 3. Money Power 4. Muscle Power 5. Random Factor.
In Punjab, State Congress Party President Navjot Singh Sidhu, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, and former Chief Ministers Capt. Amarinder Singh, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Prakash Singh Badal have all lost.
Punjab voted for ‘Old Monk’ Bhagwant Mann, a sitting Member of Parliament, who won State Election as well by a convincing margin of over fifty thousand votes.
Punjab is politically controlled by six families. While they are opposed to each other politically, the are intertwined with each other by marriages etc. Irrespective of the party in governance, these families are always under protection from the Government.
It appears that all five factors went in favour of AAP. The Congress Party which was in power, let the muscle power roam free, hoping, it will help them, won them 13 seats only. The inexperienced Chief Minister fought from 2 seats and lost both.
Popular Votes were in favour of dark horse AAP on the strength of huge advertising campaigns funded by Delhi Government of AAP. They have tied up with muscle power and money Power. The last one has special element in Punjab which is similar to Maharashtra. Hope you get the hint.
The last factor was unpopularity among the voters which resulted in loss of all stalwarts i.e. former Chief Ministers and present CM as well.
The muscle power is a two edged sword. While it gets influence it also creates huge unpopular Votes. The Jat Sikh group which constitute about 20% of votes, is historically oppressive group. Always flexing muscle without reason and harrassing people especially the 39% Ramgadia and other historically weaker sections who are not so weak economically but are still socially oppressed.
The Akali Dal stitched last minute alliance with BSP hoping to rein in oppressed group but apparently failed. The present Chief Minister who is possibly Crypto Christian, was installed to rein in this group but apparently had no base in that group.
Rout of BJP:
BJP fought this election in alliance with Caption Amrinder Singh, the deposed Chief Minister who was shunted out of Congress at last minute. He is one of the six families, mentioned in the beginnin. Remember the Unpopular Votes which the press in India has given a fancy name Anti-incumbancy. The Governments which do not perform for the people become unpopular. Amrinder was head of one such Government. Prior to him BJP was in alliance with Akali Dal for more than ten years in power and performing nothing for people. This made BJP itself unpopular.
Remember BJP has two Members of Parliament from Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur in Punjab. This should translate into 16-18 seats in State Elections but all it got was 2 seats.
A weak Party:
The BJP in Punjab is the weakest of all parties. It’s sitting MLA’s are disrobed in public and it is helpless. The convoy of Prime Minister is stopped mid way by muscle power and Central Government is helpless. The helplessness of Central Government is visible in Maharashtra and west Bengal where it is unable to support its followers. The net result is that while Congress manages to win 13 seats despite anti-incumbancy, BJP is actually routed and has won two seats due to some local, random Factor.
Now look at Uttar Pradesh. It is a example in exact reverse. It came to power in 2017 just after demonitisation when the money Power was completely vanished. Just before this election raid by Income Tax resulted in a haul of over 230 Crore illegal cash allegedly belonging to Samajwadi Party suppoter.
In past five years, the Yogi Government has crushed muscle power in Uttar Pradesh. He is hugely popular, more then the cinema stars, and has created a pro incumbancy for his Government. But he had to face his telly go down from over 300 seats to about 266. The reason for this loss was anti-incumbancy of his MLAs. Yogi’s two Ministers lost elections, namely Keshav Prasad Mourya and Upendra Tiwari.
This shows that Yogi won despite poor decisions of BJP which failed to drop non performing Legislative Members who did not keep them connected with people. Keshav Mourya is glaring example as he had not been keeping good health and had marriage of a progeny which kept him occupied in past several years. Of course Corona too kept people indoors, except Yogi himself who visited every city even during Corona pandemic to ensure relief work.
Press is attributing the victory in Uttar Pradesh to free distribution of ration(food) during pandemic is missing woods for trees. It is a combination of factors. No single factor can make a Government win. The example of Punjab is writ large where exactly opposite strategy or complete lack of it caused it’s rout.
Uttrakhand is the classic example of what is wrong with BJP/RSS cadres. They produce honest, hard-working, loyal and down to earth followers but they do not have leaders. Narendra Modi became one after he became Chief Minister of Gujarat. Today BJP has won 47 (down from 57) seats to form the Government again in Uttarakhand. Remember that in this hill States, the demographic spread is such that victory and defeat means a difference of few hundred votes.
BJP has changed three chief ministers in Uttarakhand in past one year. The big question is why the first one was allowed free reign for 4 years or so if he was incompetent? Now the sitting Chief Minister has lost his election along with the leader of Congress who was the challenger namely Harish Rawat. Both have lost!!!
Too much credit is given to BJP for it’s grand wins. I would say it is lucky and it has no opposition on the ground except the press. It is winning despite its gross failures and incompetence. Two of it’s most popular Chief Ministers namely Yogi Aditya Nath and Hemant Bisva Sarma are not from BJP/RSS ranks. Those who rose from ranks have lost elections like Shivraj Singh Chouhan in M.P. and Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh. Chouhan came to power with engineering and defective in Congress via Jyotiraditya Scindia.
To quote Harish Salve, ” Congress Party is collapsing faster than the expansion of BJP”.
BJP has to pull it’s socks and find people who know administration. Merely winning elections is not enough. It needs CEOs who can run governments and perform. Presently BJP can’t even find legal officers in Courts to represent it. It has to rely on people from different ideology to represent it. See the present Attorney General or his predecessors. Both had nothing to do with BJP, entire life.
This is the state of affairs after nearly 8 years in Government. If the change doesn’t happen in BJP, India will soon see a musical chair governments of coalitions in which BJP may have no role to play as a pariah party to all. AAP win in Punjab is a writing on the wall.