Lala lajpat rai Balidan programme Organised by Loka sebak yuva mandala(Cuttack) & Swami vivekananda yuva parishad at Bhatimunda. Jagnnath Sahoo the leading volunteer of the village help to well-come all activist in the occasion. Youth made a road show at village for awaken the mass.
By Irfan Iqbal Gheta on November 16, 2012
Clean chits, these days, are flying thick and fast. Some clean chits are accepted and other are viewed with suspicion. It all depends on who is issuing clean chits and to whom. Clean chits have never been in such a huge demand before.
And the people who issue these clean chits? The less said about them the better.
S Gurumurthy, the CA and finance expert, has been in the news for issuing a clean chit to Nitin Gadkari. The kind of euphoria his clean chit has generated borders on cacophony. The purpose seems simply to attack both the accused and his hapless defender at any cost.
It is appalling to see the media running a kangaroo court and being least bothered with checking the authenticity of the charges. Once it pronounces someone guilty, the media never takes back its judgement even though evidence against the accused may suggest otherwise.
S Gurumurthy is a thoroughly harassed man nowadays. In the eyes of some, he has committed the grave sin of coming to the rescue of BJP’s party president Nitin Gadkari. When accused of corruption and shoddy dealings involving his Purti Group, Gadkari expressed his willingness to undergo any fair probe so that his innocence may be proved beyond doubt.
S Gurumurthy, therefore, was brought in to investigate Gadkari and his Purti Group. After a professional probe, Gurumurthy concluded that there was no evidence to substantiate the corruption charges against the man in the dock.
Little did Gurumurthy know that this conclusion will be termed a ‘clean chit’ and will end up giving him sleepless nights. Gadkari’s detractors are busy hauling Gurumurthy over the coals. They have been subjecting him and his clean chit to various cross examinations. What they intend to prove is that this clean chit given to Nitin Gadkari is not fair, partial and not transparent enough.
Vindictiveness crossed all limits when Gurumurthy’s tweet landed him in a soup and he was forced to delete it since some mischief mongers (read mediapersons) chose to misinterpret it and tried to rake up a whole new controversy. The beleaguered CA found himself pushed to the wall with no one coming to his rescue.
Recently, the Haryana Government also issued a clean chit — Robert Vadra was declared innocent of all the charges against him that had followed the unearthing of an illegal land-grabbing scam. The Haryana Government went one step further and ordered the transfer of an honest IAS officer Ashok Khemka for doing nothing more than performing his duty. Khemka was punished for standing up to the powers that be.
This particular clean chit, curiously enough, never came under scrutiny. Quite the opposite in fact, there was a palpable sense of relief when the clean chit arrived. Everybody accepted and welcomed this clean chit with open arms as if everything were hunky-dory between DLF and Robert Vadra from the start.
How short the public memory is! The amnesia is surprising given the fact that these so-called conscience keepers turn a blind eye to one clean chit while at the same time subjecting the other clean chit to this much ‘scrutiny’ (read witch-hunting).
It is abundantly clear that as far as Gurumurthy’s clean chit to Gadkari is concerned, the media is asking for a clean chit on Gurumurthy’s ability, expertise and position to issue a clean chit? This is theatre of the absurd at its best where instead of going after the real issues, the artificial ones are manufactured and the manufacturers themselves go after these so-called important issues with missionary zeal.
Even as people watch S Gurumurthy issuing denials and clarifications right and left with growing dismay and cynicism, the fact that is emerging clearly is if this is what media gets up to time and again, in the days to come it will be the media itself that will be in dire need of clean chits. Maybe at that time very few will be around to issue clean chits to it as the term ‘clean chit’ has become a cliche and sadly lost all its meaning.
Sonia Gandhi never opened her mouth on the 2G scam when the 2G scam broke out in 2009; or, when the CBI raided the DoT in October 2009; or, when the CAG report indicted the government in November 2010 for causing loss as between Rs 58,000cr and 1.76 lakh cr; or, when A Raja, the Telecom Minister resigned a couple of days later; or, when the UPA Government’s one man inquiry by Justice Shivraj Patil indicted him in January 2011;or, when Raja was raided by the CBI in January/February 2011; or, when he was arrested in February 2011; or, when the Supreme Court began chasing the government to act against the looters in 2G scam; or, when the CBI said in its chargesheet in April 2011 that the loss was Rs 31,000 crore; or, when the Supreme Court cancelled the 2G licenses in February 2012; or, when the former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar told the JPC in October 2012 that he had recommended to the PM to charge Rs 35,000cr instead of Rs 1,658cr charged.
She has opened her mouth only now when R P Singh, former Director General of Audit [CAG], obviously lied to the nation that he was made to sign the CAG report. R P Singh is now Sonia’s new Gospel.
R P Singh, who had signed the CAG report on 2G scam on 8.11.2011, began prevaricating that he did not want the loss figures included in the report.
He shamelessly says that he was made to sign the report. Most media reports have ripped apart his lies. He has not only signed the audit report, he had also sent a forwarding letter to the report saying “If 2G rates are to be pegged to the rates discovered through auction for 3G spectrum, the impact would be Rs 1.02 lakh crore. “ Does it not mean that he fixes the loss as Rs 1.02 lakh cr. The difference between the high-end figure of Rs 1.76 lakh cr and Rs 1.02 lakh cr is because he did not account for dual technology and extra spectrum that was included in the total loss of Rs 1.76 lakh cr. Now, the man says that the loss is only Rs 2,645 cr. Why did he not mention it in the covering letter in 2011? The man is lying is self-evident. The proof will come when he gets the reward for his lie. R P Singh’s success is in making Sonia talk on 2G.
Sonia Gandhi had long back declared zero tolerance to corruption.Obviously she does not seem to tolerate the zeros in the figure of 1,76,000 and would like them knocked out. She hints at the zeroes being added by the CAG at the instance of Public Accounts Committee headed by M M Joshi.
Kapil Sibal claimed once that there was zero loss in 2G licences. But,he did not dare repeat it a second time. Even P Chidambaram, who almost did a Sibal on Coalgate, didn’t support Sibal in 2G. No one questions the fact of the loss, even though the extent of loss is debatable. Even the CAG report, bearing R P Singh’s signature says: “The fact that there has been loss to the national exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum cannot be denied. However, the amount of loss could be debated.” On the extent of the loss arising by selling the spectrum at 2001 rates, the CAG report had put the loss at between a low of Rs 57,566cr and a high of Rs 1,76,645cr.
The CAG’s range consists of the following four indicators: One, Rs 57,566cr on the basis of the offer made by S Tel for open bid for the spectrum; two, Rs 1,76,645cr on the basis of open bids for 3G licenses; three, on the basis of the sale of shares by two of the licensees, Unitech [Rs 69,626cr] and Swan [Rs 57,566cr]. The Swan-sale based loss figure is the lowest and the 3G auction based figure is the highest. Even Sonia’s fans cannot argue that the loss to government could be less than the profit accrued to Swan and Unitech which just resold the 2G licenses allotted by the UPA Government. The media and the Opposition picked up and highlighted the upper end of Rs 1.76 lakh cr. If the yardstick of former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar is accepted, the loss figure would be as high as Rs 4lakh crore, as the draft report of CAG had mentioned. So even the original figure of CAG in the draft report was not without basis. It was founded on the Cabinet Secretary’s view.
The debate on the amount of loss has restarted because, in the auction of 2G spectrum in November 2012, most telecom companies which bought spectrum at throw away prices in 2008 refrained from bidding. There was virtual stampede for spectrum with 575 applicants for 122 licenses in 2008. But only five players have bid in 2012. Reason? Against the throw away price of `1,658cr charged for 22 circles in 2008, the government demanded a high minimum base price of `14,000. The telcos could have paid this price in 2008 but not in 2012. Because the market conditions have changed. See what a global telecom player says on why there is not so much demand for spectrum now as compared to 2008. Marten Pieters, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone, who has welcomed and participated in the auction of 2G spectrum now, says, “The value of spectrum depends on a lot of factors. Three years ago, when 3G spectrum was auctioned, the Indian economy was booming. But now the economy is not performing so well. And in the last few months, the number of our customers has reduced to just over 900 million from around 930 million.” This answers those who question the CAG’s numbers.
Spectrum commanded much higher value in 2008 than now. So what the government should have done in 2008, namely fix a high minimum price, it has done now. The debate is about what was the spectrum value then, not what is its value today. That the value of spectrum then and now, is manifest in the share prices of telecom companies. Bharti Airtel share price in January 2008 was Rs 482. Before the 2G bid now, it was Rs 264, at almost half.
Take a comparison. If the land prices were low in 2001 and high in 2008, could the government have sold land in 2008 at 2001 rates to the first applicants without bid? Obviously not.
Assume the CBI had prosecuted those who undersold the land in 2008 and the land prices fall in 2012. Can they turn around and say that the land prices in 2012 should be substituted for its 2008 prices and they should be acquitted? What applies to land applies to spectrum as well. The loss to the government on sale of spectrum has to be computed under the market conditions that obtained in 2008 when the telecom industry was booming, not under the current market conditions when the telecom industry is doing only half as well as in 2008, though still several times better than in 2001.
Even now, Vodafone has bid for 14 out of the 22 circles; and Telenor for 5 circles at base prices. The bid amount of Vodafone is not known. But the Telenor bid [for 5 circles] is Rs 4,048, while, in 2008, pan-India spectrum [22 circles] was sold to Telenor for Rs 1,658 cr. For these five circles alone, the government had lost Rs 2,598cr in 2008. The number of circles in issue is 122. This is not to say that the loss would be proportionately high. But that it would be a staggering sum, not Rs 2,645cr as R P Singh falsely says, is established by bids for spectrum now.
QED: Zero tolerance to corruption does not mean knocking out the zeros in the amount of loss–or what it yields namely, BRIBE.
Author: KG Suresh
Half-baked and half-hearted policies that the BJP has so far adopted to attract the minority community have not worked. The main Opposition party should show sincerity towards the minorities, and for that it must take the help of credible leaders of the community
Outlying his roadmap for transforming the NDA into ‘NDA Plus’ ahead of the 2012 general election, at the BJP’s recent national executive meeting at Surajkund in Haryana, veteran leader LK Advani said the process would involve reassuring potential allies that they have nothing to be apprehensive about partnering with the party.
“This requires an imaginative re-projection of our commitment to secularism. We should, with full conviction, reassure our brethren belonging to the minority communities that we brook no discrimination or injustice in dealing with different sections of our diverse society”, he said.
Further, the former Deputy Prime Minister also suggested evolving a ‘Common National Commitment to Good Governance — of tomorrow’s NDA Plus’. Interestingly, out of the eight elements he suggested, three points are directly related to the minorities.
They include complete and earnest assurance to preserve communal peace, promote communal harmony and strengthen national integration, promote social justice with social harmony and give economic reforms a demonstrably pro-poor thrust, with innovative policy initiatives for kisans, landless workers, workers in the unorganised sector, SCs, STs, OBCs and the poor among the minorities.
While this could be interpreted by some sections as an attempt by the architect of the Ayodhya movement to gain wider acceptability post-Jinnah episode, the fact also remains that the BJP cannot ignore almost 13.4 per cent of the country’s population (Census 2001), not only to retain and increase its allies but also because the minorities matter in electorally crucial States such as Uttar Pradesh (18.5 per cent), Bihar (16.5 per cent), Assam (31 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (14 per cent), where the party has a significant presence.
However, save for a couple of prominent Muslim faces in its central leadership, the party’s attempt to reach out to the community has been a superficial, if not insincere, exercise. It has in vain tried to gain the support of Muslims in the past by wooing either discredited or little known clerics and middlemen, whose sole objective has been to extract their pound of flesh rather than take the party’s message across to the community.
Though it had always opposed the ‘minority appeasement’ policy of the Congress, the BJP has not hesitated from playing the same game while in power. For instance, in August 2002, the party pompously declared how it outperformed the Congress in providing Haj subsidy.
Then Union Civil Aviation Minister, Shahnawaz Hussain, the party’s young Muslim face in the Cabinet, tom- tommed how the BJP Government had been far more generous to the Haj pilgrims than the previous Congress regimes. He pointed out that while the Congress had spent a “paltry sum” of Rs10.54 crore for the Haj pilgrims, the BJP Government had released a whopping Rs164 crore as Haj subsidy.
Again, addressing an election rally in the Muslim-dominated Kishanganj, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee promised to provide two lakh jobs to Urdu teachers, prompting many to ask later as to how many such teachers were actually appointed during the NDA regime.
What’s more, during the 2004 poll campaign, a select band of Muslims set up a ‘Himayat Committee’, which toured Uttar Pradesh in a bus with portraits of then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Mr Vajpayee and asked the Muslims to vote for the BJP, in an act perceived by many Muslims as an ‘insult’ and as ‘questioning’ their patriotism.
Over a decade since then party chief Bangaru Laxman’s landmark “Muslims are the blood of our blood” speech at Nagpur and a stint in office with little to write home about on the minorities welfare front, the party will have to reach out to the real representatives of the community, to look truly pro-minorities.
Paying lip service to the concerns of the minority community as against the vote-bank politics of other parties won’t suffice. BJP-ruled States should become role models in the socio-economic emancipation of the Muslims, including modernisation of madrassas, education of children, particularly girls and ensuring proper utilisation of the Waqf property for the benefit of the community at large, as against vested interests and individuals.
More importantly, BJP Governments should recognise and isolate the Wahhabi elements and strengthen the hands of the peace-loving and patriotic Sunni Sufis. The growing influence of Wahhabism is a threat not only to the country but also the Sunni Sufi traditions, which have contributed immensely to our composite heritage.
Congress Governments are realising the dangers fast. The Ashok Gehlot regime in Rajasthan and the National Conference-Congress Government in Jammu & Kashmir have responded against the Wahhabi elements, who are making desperate attempts to dominate minority-related Government institutions, influence policy matters and capture the lucrative Waqf property, in pursuit of their divisive, fundamentalist agenda. It’s time the BJP-ruled State Governments too learn to distinguish the wheat from the chaff instead of getting “overwhelmed” by some Muslim support, without knowing their credentials. The party went gaga over an educationist-entrepreneur just because he praised the Chief Minister of a party ruled state, without realising it was a tactic to divert attention from the Wahhabi moorings and ideology of his institutions.
Like any other Indian, the Muslim youths too want jobs, peace, safety and prosperity. They are no more enamoured with slogans of threat to Islam or with sops such as Haj subsidies. They are fed up with political parties patronisingthem and treating them as vote-banks. Contrary to the stereotype image of the Muslims having a clinical hatred for BJP, the electorally proven fact that 10 per cent of the minorities in Gujarat voted for the party is only a small indicator of the deep undercurrents below and the changing dynamics in the community’s mindset.
Muslims are no more naïve to determine their voting preference on the basis of any face or façade. They have learnt to see through the dubious games of political parties. They hold the Congress under PV Narasimha Rao more responsible for the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya rather than the BJP or its leaders. That communities keep their wounds open to fester is a myth perpetuated by vested interests to browbeat potential political rivals. Isn’t it a fact that the people of Punjab had voted for Congress, both in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, from time to time, post-Operation Bluestar and the 1984 pogrom?
Indian Muslims too have moved forward post-Partition. There could not have been anything more difficult and challenging. From the days of a Yusuf Khan donning a Hindu name (Dilip Kumar) to gain acceptability to the days of SRK’s My name is Khan assertion of identity and yet remaining a national heart-throb, the community has come a long way and come to terms with the realities. A life of peace and dignity is what an average, educated Indian Muslim looks forward to.
Michael Eugene Porter, professor at Harvard University, had once famously remarked, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” The BJP too would do well if it does not resort to the same ‘appeasement politics’ it accuses the Congress of practising and does not rely on a handful of opportunistic clerics and self-styled Muslim leaders to reach out to the community.
The party should also realise that any change in the community’s perception of the BJP or the former’s attitude towards it would not happen overnight.
Nevertheless, a better appreciation of the Muslim psyche, a deeper understanding of the Muslim polity, a closer engagement with the intellectuals, a conscious and greater involvement of Muslims at the grassroots level and a strategic response to the aspirations of the community can help the party convert many a Muslim into the party’s foot soldiers, in its march to Delhi in 2014.
(The author is a Delhi-based senior journalist)
Swami Vivekananda 150th bairth aniversary will start from 12th January in Odisha – said Dr Dhirendra Nanda to Media at Rotary Bhawan in a press meet. Swami vivekananda Sardha SatI Samaroha Samiti decide to observe this programme for one year from 2012 January 12 to 2013 January 12. It aiming to inspire youth by Swami Vivekananda work and life.