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Kumar Ketkar

Who could replace Modi in 2019?

Kumar Ketkar

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The names have begun flying in the media and in the eternal gossip and rumour circuits of New Delhi. The hypothesis being Narendra Modi will not make it. If he manages majority or re-manoeuvres the NDA, then, of course, he would be the PM again. But more and more pundits have begun to say that there is huge discontent in the BJP and resistance to him from the RSS. If the BJP gets less than 200 seats, then Modi’s future as PM will be in jeopardy.

I don’t like the expression, “dark horse” because it sounds demeaning and even racist.  But to use that conventional terminology, there indeed are several “ dark horses” who are being brought into drawing room discussions. Everybody agrees only on one point. And that is: no Party will get its own simple or even thin majority.The coalition then would be inevitable, either led by the BJP or some Opposition Party. So it could be another NDA or yet another UPA or Third Front and well, perhaps even the Federal Front! There are some self-proclaimed PM candidates, and some quietly working on the possible election outcome. One such permanent “Future PM” is Sharad Pawar. But he is a straight-faced poker player. He will neither reveal sentiment nor strategy!

The other (dark horses) in the race are Sam Pitroda and Ram Madhav. And also Rajnath Singh and Mamata Banerjee. While Prakash Karat lobby in the CPM describes Mamata as “fascist”, the Congress thinks the real “fascist” force in India is led by Narendra Modi. The Mamata backers argue that she would “punish” the “Modi-Shah gang” if the BJP loses power. The Congress, given its moderate nature, would never take such hard line!

A section in the CPM believes that the RSS is a fascist organisation, but BJP is only communal! However, conflicts in the CPM were sorted out by their politbureau, by some semantic skulduggery. At one point, Nitish Kumar had emerged as a front-runner in the race for PM. But it appears, he committed political “Harakiri” by suddenly changing loyalties and joining the NDA. Now again he is trying to distance himself from the “communal” BJP! Then there are some creative political crystal ball gazers who would not rule out even Pranab Mukherjee!

Ram Madhav could be the candidate of the RSS and Sam Pitroda of Rahul Gandhi. A famous Hindi TV anchor in fact recommended Sam Pitroda ’s name. Pranab Mukherjee’s name could come as a compromise of the Opposition parties when they fail to arrive at a consensus. After all, most parties had supported him as a President.

All this speculation is of course completely wild kite flying and image building by ambitious politicians. But then who would have thought that the offer would go to Jyoti Basu in 1996 and his party would refuse him the “NOC” to take charge as PM and take the plunge. Basu himself described later that refusal as the “Himalayan Blunder” of the Party. There was also some lobbying to rope in VP Singh as Prime Minister again. But he categorically refused. Nobody ever thought then that eventually, Deve Gowda would become the PM followed by Inder Kumar Gujral. Similarly, the name of Dr Manmohan Singh was also a startling surprise in 2004.

Such questions were never raised in the fifties and even in the sixties. There were no speculations and no “dark horses” in the race! As long as Pandit Nehru was alive, it was considered natural that he would be the PM after general elections—in 1952, 1957 and 1962. The question did get posed in 1967, but not too seriously.

That was (1967) the first election after Panditji’s death. There was an interregnum of about 20 months during which Lal Bahadur Shastri was the Prime Minister. He had to face war with Pakistan in 1965, which ended in a kind of stalemate, though India could retain its image and pride. But Shastri’s death in Tashkent (former the Soviet Union) forced an internal election in the Congress party.

The Old Guard chose Indira Gandhi but another section of the party thought Morarji Desai would be a better choice. Desai was a well known Right Winger and also stubborn orthodox Gandhian in personal lifestyle. But the Old Guard (which came to be known as Syndicate), thought Indira could be manipulated to take the country Rightwards. It was clear that though they swore by the name and legacy of Nehru, they wanted a break from his political philosophy. To them, Indira was a “dumb doll”.

Moreover, they also calculated that to win general elections in 1967, daughter of Nehru would provide a perfect foil. Though the party had lost  Pandit Nehru, the towering leader, there was no Opposition worth the name to challenge the Congress. The Jan Sangh, a political party floated in 1950, by the RSS was slowly spreading its tentacles it never thought that it had potential to come to power on its own. Congress was like a colossus.

The parties that were getting popular appeal were the Communist Party and the upfront Right Wing outfit known as Swatantra Party. The Communist Party had come to power in Kerala in 1957. (that was the first ever democratic victory of the communists in the world). There were socialists, mainly breakaway factions of the Congress but they were in the political wilderness, constantly splitting and repositioning.

It was Ram Manohar Lohia, the socialist ideologue and a maverick politician who first conceived the idea of “Congress-Mukt” India. But for that idea of “anti-Congressism” fifty years ago, there would not have been the BJP or Narendra Modi today. Lohia forged the non-Congress alliances in 1967, to challenge the Congress led by Indira Gandhi. She returned to power, though with a small majority in Lok Sabha. In as many as eight states the Congress lost power giving hope to the Opposition.

No political pundit or even the party ever thought then that the Congress would be dethroned at the centre. The Grand Old Party was just too deeply entrenched in Politics and in the minds of the people. The question as to who would be a Prime Minister never really arose. The split in the party in 1969 raised the hopes and ambitions of the Opposition parties. But Indira Gandhi’s single-handed landslide victory in 1971 (the famous “Garibi Hatao” election) reinvigorated the Party and her leadership. But after the Emergency, Indian politics changed at the core.

It is from 1977 that the general elections acquired the “suspense dimension” and the question of who would be Prime Minister began to be discussed in the media. Actually, even the Janata Party could not agree on any name for quite a few days despite its historic victory. They differed with each other intensely on the names of Morarji Desai and Jag Jiva Ram and Charan Singh. Madhu Dandavate’s name also floated for some time.

In 2014, Narendra Modi’s name could not have been challenged. He as well as the party, the media and the pundits had all seen the aggressive campaign, the super confidence, his way of humiliating Party colleagues, eliminating all competition. From Day One, he gave the impression, and it was believed by the corporates as well as the middle classes that he is invincible. He used to say, loud and clear, that he would be the Prime Minister for 10 or even 15 years. The Congress would cease to exist! His dream was to make India “Congress-Mukt” forever. His weapon was massive hate campaign, mainly through social media. That proved to be successful for First three years. Modi-led BJP captured as many as 19 states!  But then the tide began to turn.

In the last four years, his confidence has waned. His policies have failed. His dramatic and dubious decisions like demonetisation have boomeranged. His policies of “friendly neighbourhood” have fallen wayside. Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka do not even respect him or India. Neither terrorism has been brought under control, nor Pakistan has been tamed. His Kashmir policy has further alienated the people of Kashmir. His “blow hot, blow cold” relationship with Pakistan and China has exposed the thoughtless and visionless foreign policy. He has failed to get black money and miserably lost the war against corruption. The money that he and Amit Shah deploy in every election is a visible evidence of the power of black wealth they have generated for their party.

And that is why there is speculation as to who would be the Prime Minister of India in 2019. But he would not go away from the national stage without some huge drama, even violent and vicious. He could still dare some mind-boggling, even disastrous economic announcements to impress upon the gullible voters and the frenzied middle class. This middle class was his strongest vote bank, but now it is imploding. It is that impending implosion which has made his, and India’s future uncertain. Hence the suspense: Who Would Be The Next Prime Minister?

Kumar Ketkar

A 50 years of BJP rule?

Kumar Ketkar

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Modi

Despite all these monumental achievements under the Modi-Shah rule of 55 years (2014 to 2069) some skeptics wanted to know, will there be a conflict and power struggle between Bhagwat and Modi?

Addressing the National Executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party, president Amit Shah said that not only the grand victory in 2019 is certain, but the party will also decimate the Congress totally and vanquish the so-called “Mahagatbandhan”! Then like Oracle, he proclaimed that the BJP will rule for next fifty years. That is at least till the year 2069!

But this is not a new prediction. According to the ardent “Bhakts” of Narendra Modi, Nostradamus had predicted five hundred years ago, that he would become Prime Minister of India. India will then rise to great glory. Once Modi becomes PM, prophesied by the legendary French philosopher, India will have not just “Acche Din” but fantastic “din”! Amit Shah did not quote Nostradamus but went on to see his own crystal ball.

The entire leadership of the party gathered in Delhi to the war cry for the campaign for 2019, was thrilled by Shah’s prediction. They could not visualize themselves to be in Hastinapur in 2069. But they could believe that Modi and Shah were immortal and could keep winning elections till 2069. They are not power hungry and will take “Sanyas”, that year. They will renounce all worldly pleasures? But what about the other mortal BJP MPs?

However, they felt relieved that in 2069, there would be no Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. That biggest hurdle to the Hindu Rashtra will have long gone. Sri Sri Guru Golwalkar will be the “Rashtrapita”. The geography of the region will have undergone major changes. “Akhand Bharat” with Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal will have merged in the “New Hindustan”. There would be no Pakistan. The question of sending Muslims in India to Pakistan would not arise. They would either have migrated to some Arab countries or be dead. “Akhand Bharat” would be the world leader.

China will be reduced to a secondary power and America will have been disintegrated as USSR did in 1991. Donald Trump was the last president of the United States. He had reversed everything Abraham Lincoln had achieved. The country was divided in North and South. Trump’s efforts to restart the slavery system, had succeeded but led to the Civil War! Modi and Mohan Bhagwat had advised Trump to follow Manu Smriti instead of the American Constitution, but he refused. India, on the other hand, had reclaimed its ancient glory, thanks to Manu Smriti.

But all that was rather a distant future and some skeptics raised questions after the eloquent futurist speech of Shah. Those skeptics were invited to the 36th chamber of “ Shahlin “.In that chamber, there were ways to silence the skeptics. Even skeptics of the stature L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were silenced. So those doubting Thomases were also convinced of Modi-Shah strategy of eternal rule! Particularly after the skeptics were shown files of the Enforcement Directorate, IT and CBI.

So they realized that fifty years from now, Amit Shah will be 104 years old and still as energetic as in 2018. (The skeptics will have retired from politics or jailed or dead) Shah was born on October 22, 1964. Narendra Modi would be 117 in 2069. But there is a slight dispute about his birthdate. According to his election affidavit, he was born on September 17, 1950, but some other biographers say he was born in 1949.

The skeptics who were not convinced after the national executive meeting said that the futurist scenario painted by Shah does not take into account the future of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and of Mohan Bhagwat, who actually began the process of creating a Hindu Rashtra. Bhagwat had appealed from Chicagoan 2018,  that the Hindus of the World must unite. The impact of his speech was such that all the Indian Hindus in the US and in many other countries got united.

The initiative for that unity of the Hindus was taken by those thousands of software engineers, who went to the US during the nineties. The Vedic and Hindu management courses started in the IIMs, set up by the First Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had changed the syllabus to incorporate courses in Vedic HRD, ancient space travel logistics, and Ramdev Baba’s Yoga. There were regular tours to Moon, Mars, Venus, and Brihaspati-Guru.

This Universal Space travel programme was started by Narendra Modi in 2018. NASA was now an Indo-American space research institution, named as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Vishwa Avkash Kendra.

The JNU was renamed in 2019, soon after the Congress was permanently demolished, as Atal Behari Vajpayee Vidyapeeth of Eminence(ABVVE). The ABVVE had become global university eclipsing Harvard, Stanford, Yale. In fact, Yale University was renamed as Smriti Vidyapeeth, because Smriti Irani had studied there many years ago.  Native Americans were now re-identified as Ancient Indians. This is how the process of disintegration of USA began.

Despite all these monumental achievements under the Modi-Shah rule of 55 years (2014 to 2069, some skeptics wanted to know, will there be a conflict and power struggle between Bhagwat and Modi? Will the RSS and the Modi-Shah-Doval clique be able to work as one team?  But then the skeptics were firmly told that the RSS would be dissolved and Bhagwat will be irrelevant. Then the decks will be clear for Modi, Shah and Ajit Doval. Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal, Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will be in the new Margadarshak Mandal. But then some rebellious skeptics raised other questions.

The Margadarshak Mandal had proposed to build two statues, that of Modi and Shah, one in the liberated Pak Occupied Kashmir and the other near Ram Setu in the oceans linking India and Sri Lanka. These statues will be taller than that of Vallabhbhai Patel, which itself was taller than the Liberty Statue and Shivaji Maharaj Statue in the Arabian Sea. ( But by the way, the Arabian Sea was named as Hedgewar Hindu Mahasagar ).

Thus, by 2069, the world will have transformed so completely that Gandhiji would not even recognize the country which achieved independence in 1947. That was, of course, the partial independence. Therefore, Rashtrapita Gandhiji’s 200th birth anniversary will not be celebrated. Narendra Modi will be known, by ordinance, as “Akhand Hindustan Pita”. There will be no statue fir Bhagwat in India. It will be erected in Chicago, where Bhagwat had issued an appeal for the world’s Hindus to unite.

Valmiki wrote Ramayana before Ram actually arrived on the scene. Valmiki was a criminal-robber before becoming the great poet. That also proved to be a perfect and divine coincidence in history when Modi and Shah jointly scripted the “Narendrayana”.

This is a story and history of the next fifty years, which will be now part of the history textbooks. Not only geography of the world will have changed, but also history and even the Glimpses of World History, which will be freshly written by two Maharshis of the twenty-first century, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

So tighten your belts as you enter this Time Machine and begin the great journey to 2069. We will complete the journey in just eight months. So relax and enjoy the magnificent adventure which was started as a small step by the Mumbai-Ahmadabad Bullet train in 2019.

The End!

Since everything about Modi is in doubt, even his age, therefore, is slightly doubtful. His so-called valid graduation certificate is not available. Arvind Kejriwal’s RTI query on Modi’s graduation details (his college, university, subjects for BA and later his claimed post-graduation, etc) could not be obtained. Press reports said, that information about his academic qualification could not be revealed or perhaps even obtained because it is a security issue.

In one of the candid interviews with Journalist Rajiv Shukla, Modi had said, off the cuff, that he never went to any college. So like his birthdate, his exact qualification remains a mystery. So does his marital status. In 2002 and 2007 election affidavits, he did not write that he was married. In 2012 he just stated that he was married. But nobody knew who and where was his wife. When a curious journalist went to Gujarat and located her in some school, working as a teacher, that journalist was whisked away, with camera and notes. The journalist was warned never to visit Jasodaben again.

She was not invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Her husband in Delhi on May 26, 2014, where many celebrities and Hollywood stars including Salman Khan were prominently present. It was natural that she felt upset, but soon she realized she was persona non grata as she was never ever invited to the Prime Minister’s House.

Feeling humiliated, she came to Mumbai, to the famous Azad Maidan, where all protests are usually held. She carried a placard which described her plight. But within a few hours, she was whisked away by the police. Most of the electronic media did not carry these stunning visuals. Except for a couple of newspapers (which carried the news item deep inside the pages), nobody even published the news. It speaks volumes about our media, for whom Prime Minister’s wife’s plight is not even worth a mention.

Courtesy: National Herald

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Kumar Ketkar

Leaders may perish but not their legacy

Kumar Ketkar

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deaths

In college, in our logic class, the simple syllogism used to be taught to prove the validity of deduction as a method for arriving at “truth”. The most popular syllogism worldwide was: “All men are mortal, Socrates is a man and therefore Socrates is mortal.” I did not understand why mortality of poor Socrates was invoked to show that the “a priori” statement can be taken to its “logical consequence” and proved right.

In the last three weeks, that syllogism came to haunt me. Suddenly death was becoming a “normal” news. If indeed it was necessary to remind us that we are all mortal, that reminder was served with unusual frequency. For most politicians, who live life and play power games as if they are immortal, the warning of mortality came in such rapid succession, that they were rattled to the core.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi’s death was followed by Atal Behari Vajpayee, both in their mid-nineties. So it was considered “natural” to die. Also both were ill and in hospital for long. But not so the vibrant Gurudas Kamat who was just 63. As if to keep the continuity of series of death, the wonderful human being Ajit Wadekar passed away at 77. He was not a politician, but he kept mortality “alive” in the media. Then came the sad news of energetic Kuldip Nayyar. He too was in the mid-nineties.

These and some other, not so famous, but important persons in their own right too left this world. The politicians and the celebrities, know in their hearts that they are all mortal. But such quick reminders of the inevitable gave rise to private, hush-hush conversation of who are in the queue now.

Often, such deaths are seen by other seniors in the Party as opportunities for changing the line, strategy or alliances. Many in the same party look forward for a better position in the Party. Those who keep nursing private jealousies and envies in fact are even cynically happy at such deaths. Those in other parties also have a vested interest in such mortalities.

We have seen very recently how after Jayalalitha’s death, the AIADMK went for a free fall. A few years earlier, we saw how NTR’s death led to turmoil in the Telugu Desam. Or we are witnessing how after YSR’s accidental death the whole Congress in Andhra Pradesh disintegrated. Over forty years ago the Janata Party had fallen apart even before Jaiprakash Narain passed away.

Of course, Vajpayee’s passing away is the unlikely to change the equations in the party. Narendra Modi had effected the changes, much before Atalji took last breath. So he and Amit Shah are not particularly bothered about who else is in the departure lounge of life.

It would be unethical to list the names. But all of us know who they are. Some of them are on life support system, some in coma and some others apparently healthy but in the twilight zone.

They played their innings, practiced skulduggery, betrayed or backstabbed, made headlines in the media, were controversial, achieved grand success, won awards but often thought that they would continue to be in limelight, even would remain young and charming. They do not realise that the Socratic syllogism will hit them too.

The scientific research on ageing and man’s eternal desire to conquer death have made most even common people to feel that they can beat the nature. The number of cases pending in the courts, often change the the course of the conflict by sudden deaths.

In case of industrialists, deaths can crash the markets, split families and companies they Inherit. We know how one leading celebrity family in industry went through huge and vicious corporate fight between the two brothers. Frequently the internecine or fratricidal war within continues till the company and family is destroyed. This happens very routinely. But in some cases, the death in the family closes the chapter for ever.

Despite these issues existential realities, the societies mourn deaths, political parties pay rich tributes to the departed soul and some enthusiastic supporters start planning monuments. Poor statues stand somewhere in utter loneliness, till a next generation or further. Next one comes and slowly starts wondering who the character was and what he or she did for whom!!

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Kumar Ketkar

Is Hindu Rashtra turning into a reality?

Kumar Ketkar

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Hindu

The iconic Red Fort in Delhi is still “Red Fort”! Maybe if Narendra Modi is back as Prime Minister next year, he would want it to be known as “Saffron Fort”. The city of Allahabad is renamed as Prayag, the railway station Mugalsarai as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction. Aurangzeb Road as APJ Kalam Marg. Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road station as Prabhadevi.

There is also a proposal to rename Taj Mahal as Tejo Mahal! Recently the Supreme Court admonished the Modi government for neglecting the magnificent monument of Taj Mahal and letting it get ruined by lack of maintenance and pollutants. The Court said, “if you don’t want to preserve it, demolish it, but don’t neglect it”. After all, some fringe Hindutva fanatics had said soon after the destruction of the Babri Masjid that there was no reason for the Muslim architecture to be there in Hindu India.

So when Narendra Modi addresses the nation for the last time of his “first term” in office as Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he could very well signal the New India that he envisages. He need not plan Hindu Rashtra, de jure, when he has already achieved it de facto. There is no necessity to change the constitution. Within the current framework, the RSS can bring about the Hindu Nation.

Ban on beef, even non-vegetarian food, in many parts; the tendentious debate on triple Talaq and polygamy, the introduction of National Registration of Citizenship, branding all “unwanted” Muslims as illegal Bangladeshis and campaign for throwing them out, with violence if necessary, sustained and inhuman demand to let Rohingyas die or disappear from our nationalist soil, removing all chapters in history books relating to Mughal period, rewriting history of Tipu Sultan by calling him a vicious villain, undermining, even erasing the glorious era of emperor Akbar—are all reflections that the Hindu Rashtra has arrived, without changing even an alphabet of constitution.

You can pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, even as you eulogise Nathuram Godse, you can destroy the Gandhi Samadhi, even as you create “Nathuram Mandir”, you can isolate inconvenient constitutional provisions while proclaiming from housetops that Modi regards Constitution as true Indian religion, you can celebrate Dr Ambedkar even as you quietly undermine his legacy.

Then why will the Red Fort remain Red and not become Saffron? It too is the architectural grandeur of the Muslim rule. No less but Aurangzeb himself issued his diktats from there. Now the Hindu emperor named Narendra Modi issues ordinances from there. (And indeed, Narendra means the Emperor on Throne). Why don’t we change the calendar too? Why should we follow the Christian calendar and celebrate January 1 as the first day if the New Year? Already there is a demand that we should introduce the Hindu calendar. We will have Modiwahan Shak from 2019!

Narendra Modi had promised “New India” and he has brought it in his very first term. In his second term, with 350+ seats, he says, India will replace China and even America as the global superpower!

For being a superpower, you don’t depend on French Rafale planes, F-16 US planes, Russian Kalashnikovs, Israeli intelligence-gathering equipment. You don’t have to plead and beg for membership in the Nuclear Supply Group or for entry in the Security Council, support for South China Sea diplomacy or for Doklam military management.

You can’t be a superpower when your 35 per cent of people live in abject poverty, when two-thirds of India is on rural economy and when your science and technology research is pathetic. You can’t be a superpower when almost all your neighbours taunt you, insult you or do not care for yours.

Even Nepal, with a population of just three crore people can challenge India. Sri Lanka with two crore people can politically confront India. Pakistan has about 19 crore people. Our one state of Uttar Pradesh is demographically larger than the whole of Pakistan (including Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and frontier region) and yet the aspiring superpower India is obsessed with Pakistan’s military and political challenge.

The so-called rate of growth of the economy, even if you ignore simulated statistics, does not attract Foreign Direct Investment. The planners are constantly worried about the flight of Foreign International Investors. The rupee is falling incessantly vis-a-vis dollar and it could go to even 80 one 90 rupees a dollar. Modi had said that when he comes to power, the dollar-rupee rate will be ₹40 a dollar.

You can’t be a superpower with thousands of your farmers committing suicide. You can’t claim even to aspire for that status with the army of the unemployed expanding at two crores an everyday year. You can’t be a superpower with your education and health expenditure is at the lowest, even lower than during the UPA.

And yet a vast mass of the educated middle class in India is not only enamoured of Narendra Modi, they think he is the Messiah. With such mediocrity in the “intelligentsia”, India cannot be a superpower.

What India can surely achieve is changing of names of the airports, railway stations, erect statues, run down or destroy institutions built over 70 years. So what if Red Fort becomes Saffron Fort?

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