Centre may want quietus on Guv. report

The Union Cabinet appears not to be in a hurry to act on the recommendation to impose President’s rule in Karnataka even as the Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa gears up to parade his MLAs before the Governor at Raj Bhavan later this evening.

The Cabinet Committee which had a divided view on the Governor’s recommendation had decided to let the Cabinet decide on the matter. Sources now say that the Union Cabinet has decided on bringing about a quietus on the issue and may not decide on anything anytime soon. On one hand they would not want to reject the report as it would show their own Governor in poor light while on the other rejecting it may have some disastrous consequences such as setting of a precedent and also the fact that it could be the end for the Congress in Karnataka. Another indication is that the union cabinet has not even indicated any urgency to discuss the issue and this clearly shows that it is not keen on acting on the report for the moment.

The meeting between Yeddyurappa and the Governor will be an interesting one today. Apart from parading his MLAs at the Raj Bhavan, Yeddyurappa would also request the Governor to convene the legislative session on June 2. An earlier demand to convene the session was not acted upon by the Governor.

The Governor’s decision on whether he would want to convene the session immediately or not would be an indicator of what exactly would happen to his report. If he does agree to convene the session then it would become clear that there is no action on his report. However if the Governor feels that the Union Government may even consider his report then there is every likelihood of him of delaying the session further.

The Governor however continues to be hopeful that the centre will accept his report. He has made it clear at Bangalore that he had not acted in haste and there are enough and more grounds to seek dismissal of the government. Moreover there appears to be a major confusion in the war between the BJP and the Governor. The BJP continues to show its numbers to all those who matter, but the Governor on the other hand has not made any mention about the numbers. The Bommai judgment does not give the Governor the right to seek dismissal of a government in minority unless and until the strength is tested on the floor of the house.

There are also rumours afloat that the Governor may step down in case his report is not accepted. The other version is that the Union Government is buying time so that they could give the issue a decent burial or even buy more time to relocate the governor to some other state.


The BJP parade of strength

In a bid to counter the actions of the Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj, the Karnataka BJP led by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa paraded his MLAs before the President of India. The exercise was undertaken at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan in order to show the President that the Yeddyurappa government enjoyed the support of a majority of the MLAs and were not wrong in continuing to rule Karnataka.
A similar excercise will be undertaken before the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Wednesday. No memorandum would be submitted to the Governor though.
The Karnataka BJP would however have to wait another day to find out the fate of their government since the Union Cabinet is scheduled to meet only tomorrow. On Monday the Cabinet committee had decided to let the Cabinet decide on the matter since there was a division of opinion on the report of the Governor. The cabinet is expected to meet on Wednesday in the backdrop of the assurance given by the Prime Minister that they would not act unconstitutionally on this matter.
The state BJP leaders led by Yeddyurappa and senior leader Venkaiah Naidu paraded 114 MLAs before the president. The magic number required in Karnataka is 113. The BJP however claims to have the support of 121 MLAs. 8 of them could not make it due to personal engagements.
A memorandum too was submitted to the President of India demanding the immediate recall of the governor. The BJP stated that the Governor ever since he was appointed in Karnataka has been trying to destabilize the BJP government. He has acted arbitrarily and recommended the imposition of President’s rule when there was no ground to do so.
Further in the memorandum, the BJP also demanded that the recommendation of the Governor not be acted upon since the Government has not acted unconstitutionally. Following the verdict of the Supreme Court, the 11 rebels who were disqualified came back to the BJP and have even extended their support to the government. Moreover the claim that the government has been reduced to a minority is false since the BJP today has 121 MLAs which is 8 more than the magic number on the floor of the house.
Earlier, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said that the opposition in Karnataka along with the Governor has been trying to get rid of his government illegally.
Nithin Gadkari, the national president of the BJP said that the Congress has realised that it was not possible to defeat the BJP and hence they have resorted to such measures. The report of the Governor itself is an unconstitutional one and hence the Union Government would do well not to accept the same, he also said.

Rana trial-India to wait and watch

As the much hyped Tawwahur Rana trial gets underway in Chicago, India poses an optimistic note since they expect answers to a lot of their questions. Sources both in the NIA and the Intelligence Bureau say that they have decided to adopt a wait and watch policy during the course of this trial and would prepare their next move only once the trial is complete.

A draft of the questionnaire is already ready and the Indian agencies ie the NIA will head to the United States once they are accorded permission to probe Rana. Sources say that an extradition of Rana is highly unlikely and one must not get too optimistic about the same. Pressure and requests through diplomatic channels will be made to secure him, but at the moment it appears that the extradition is a distant possibility. Hence the Rana case would be on the lines of the David Headley one. This would again mean that Rana would be convicted in India, but in absentia.

Although India would have preferred having Rana in their custody they are still optimistic since this trial is not just about one case, but it would put a cloud on Pakistan’s claims that it does not support terror. If at all Rana sticks to his statement that he was working for the ISI and not the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, then it would generate immense heat on Pakistan. Moreover it will also compliment the most wanted list that India has just prepared which makes a mention of several members of the Pakistan establishment who played a part in the 26/11 attack.

Indian agencies say that this trial is more important for them when compared to the US. We have lost more citizens in that attack and more importantly it has been carried out on our soil. However there are various laws which prevent an extradition and hence we need to make the best use of whatever information that we get.

Although during the trial, the main focus would be on the links between the ISI and terror, India would still go ahead with its own set of questions. The likes of Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal and the rest all need to be exposed and these were the persons who were part of the horrific plan since day one. In addition to this the testimony by Headley who would be a witness in this case is also very important since he will need to substantiate his claims as to how Rana had helped him scout targets while he was in India.

The IB says that this trial will be a big headache for the ISI in particular which will need a face lift after this trial. The process to shift/change a lot of senior officials in that outfit has already commenced and once implicated Pakistan would not want any of them to part of the establishment. Pakistan at any cost cannot afford the questioning of these men since the lid of the entire establishment could be blown off. This country would make it look as though it has entered into a cleansing act to keep the rest of the world quiet but in reality would be protecting these men.

However Indian agencies also wonder whether the trial may live up to all the hype. On one hand Rana may speak, but then it would be hard to establish his testimony due to the numerous aliases that have been used by these ISI officials at the time of the operation. Take the case of Sajid Mir who continues to be a mystery man for all investigating agencies. He is without a doubt the most important man in this entire case and the Pakistan version of Mir continues to be that he is nothing but a cleric and no such person exists in the army or the ISI. In addition to this one cannot expect much of a testimony from David Headley to strengthen the Rana case. He has a plea bargain in place and one can say with a certain amount of confidence that he will not divert even an inch from what he has already spoken before to both the Federal and Indian authorities.

Namaste- you have just been spammed

The next time someone says Namaste to you on your mail, it is time that you are on guard. Cyber criminals across the world have now realised that there is a large Hindi speaking population across the globe and for the first time have adopted the language to send out spam mails.

Symantec which has done a study to this effect has for the first time observed spam emails – using the “419 “ or “Nigerian” technique – in Hindi. This represents a paradigm shift in 419 scams, which users around the world have learnt to be wary of. While these messages were earlier predominantly in English, even when targeting Indian users, it shows that spammers have become extremely specific about their target.

Over the past few years, India has increasingly become the target for cybercriminals – from phishing and spam attacks around Diwali, to the more recent Cricket World Cup, India-specific events are being used to fool users in the country into parting with their money and information.

Furthermore, Hindi is widely spoken not only in India, but Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and among Indian Diaspora settled around the world. This is a clear indication of the fact that Asia ranks high on the cybercriminal’s target, especially countries like India with a rapidly growing internet population.

Gaurav Kanwal, Country Sales Manager, India, Consumer Products and Solutions, Symantec says that another factor that makes Hindi an attractive medium for cybercriminals is the possibility of first-time or emerging Internet users in India being more comfortable with their mother tongue, and therefore more easily deceived. This is a classic example of “social engineering” – where the attacker does not exploit any vulnerability in the system, but rather dupes the victim into revealing sensitive information.

While German, Spanish and other European languages are routinely used in scams, the discovery of the first Hindi spam reinforces the fact that India – where 35% of spam in the region originated, and the 6th ranked country for malicious code in 2010 – is rising on the cybercriminal’s radar.

Bharadwaj and his goof-ups

Photo caption: The Hindu

The question on everyone’s mind is whether it is the end of the road for Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj. Even as the Congress in the state have decided to block all highways in the state between 11 and 12 today demanding that the centre implement the recommendations made by the Governor, Bharadwaj finds himself in a lonely position.

There are many factors here that are being debated about his latest course of action where he went ahead and recommended President’s rule in Karnataka. At yesterday’s cabinet committee meeting he did not find the required support for his letter. Three senior leaders, P Chidambaram, A K Antony and Kapil Sibal had literally discarded the report stating that the situation in Karnataka did not mandate President’s rule. A final decision in this matter is expected today when the Cabinet meets expectedly today.

Rumour is already afloat that Bharadwaj may either quit or also be recalled if the Government of India does not go ahead with his recommendation or accepts his report. This would be the second time in less than a year that his report is being rejected by the Centre, something that not many governors have faced in the past. The last time he had sent such a report was in October 2010 following the controversial trust vote in Karnataka, but the report was rejected.

Although Raj Bhavan sources are mum about the Governor’s future course of action, his actions make it clear that he has decided to stay put within the four walls of the Raj Bhavan until there is a clear cut picture in this matter. The Governor was supposed to attend a function at the St Johns Hospital on Monday, but cancelled the same abruptly after the developments in Karnataka started to heat up.

Going by the developments, many in the political circles especially in the Congress indicate that he may step down or even be recalled. In all probability he is likely to step down if the Government does not implement his recommendation and the deadline for the same is the end of the week.

Many other believe that he has hit the nail on his own head. He has acted in haste and as far as our information goes, he has not really consulted the centre before shooting off the report. Sources say that he had just informed the centre in principle that things are not looking good in Karnataka and also stated that if the state government continues to tamper with the constitutional provisions then one may have to act.

It is also being pointed out that the Governor in a bid to act touch ended up acting in haste. If at all he wanted to act, he ought to have acted immediately after the verdict of the Supreme Court and stated that the government was in minority now. However he waited nearly two days to send out a report and that too at a time when the rebels and the BJP had kissed and made up. Moreover Bharadwaj also found himself crippled when it came to playing the number card since the Bommai verdict clearly mentions that any such case shall be decided on the floor of the House.

However the biggest bit of criticism which the Governor continues to face is the fact that he did not let the rebel MLAs into Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening. He had made it clear to the rebels who had gone with letters of support to the Yeddyurappa government that it is Sunday and due to the fact that the staff are on leave, he cannot meet them. However he acted in contradiction and ended up sending the report later that evening. Now this threw up the question as to how he managed to dictate the report when it was Sunday and he did not have the staff to work. Another factor that will play truant for the governor is that at the same time the rebels wanted to meet him, he was in a meeting with Congress leaders, Siddaramaiah and Parameshwar who had called on him seeking dismissal of the BJP government which at that point of time was in a minority.

A lot would depend on the Union Government and how they would act on his report. The Prime Minister has assured that nothing unconstitutional would be done in the case of Karnataka. What transpires during the course of the day is to be seen.

4 assemblies and its tainted members

The assembly elections are over and the results too are out. As the new governments get ready to take their place and commence their five year term, here is a report on nature of the MLAs these governments will have. The West Bengal assembly tops the list of criminal candidates and it has 102 such MLAs. Most of these MLAs have serious charges pending against them.

Among the four assemblies (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, West Bengal andAssam) which have been analysed by the National Election Watch the richest assembly is without a doubt Tamil Nadu. It has 120 crorepati candidates in the assembly. The one with the least number of crorepatis is Puducherry with 19 such candidates.

Assam: 13 MLAs i.e. 10% (out of 126 analyzed) in the new Assembly have criminal cases pending against them as per their own declarations.  8 MLAs out of these 13 analyzed have declared serious IPC charges like kidnapping and extortion against them. This is an increase from the 2006 Assembly where the number of MLAs with criminal cases pending was only 7.

All major parties have MLAs with pending criminal cases against them. AIUDF has 6 MLAs out 18 MLAs analyzed (33%), INC has 4 out of 78 analyzed (5%), while AITC, AGP and BJP have 1 MLA each out of 1, 10 and 5 MLAs analyzed respectively with pending criminal cases.

A total of 47 MLAs (i.e. 37% of the total MLAs analyzed) are crorepatis

Puducherry:  9 MLAs i.e. 30% (out of 30 analyzed) in the new Assembly have criminal cases pending against them as per their own declarations. 2 MLAs out of these 9 analyzed have declared serious IPC charges like voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means and obscene acts and songs against them.

All major parties have MLAs with pending criminal cases against them. All India N.R. Congress has 5 (33%) MLAs out of 15 MLAs analyzed, AIADMK has 3 out of 5 analyzed (60%) and DMK has 1 (50%) out of 2 MLAs analyzed with pending criminal cases.

19 MLAs (i.e. 63% of the total MLAs analyzed) are crorepatis.

Tamil Nadu: 66 MLAs i.e. 29% (out of 231 analyzed) in the new Assembly have criminal cases pending against them as per their own declarations. 36 MLAs out of these 66 analyzed have declared serious IPC charges like murder, attempt to murder, robbery, extortion etc. against them.

All major parties have MLAs with pending criminal cases against them. AIADMK has 46 (31%) MLAs out 147 MLAs analyzed, DMK has 7 out of 23 analyzed (30%), CPI (M) has 3(30%) out of 10 analyzed and PMK has 2(67%) out of 3 MLAs analyzed with pending criminal cases.

A total of 120 MLAs (i.e. 52% of the total MLAs analyzed) are crorepatis

West Bengal: 102 MLAs i.e. 35% (out of 293 analyzed) in the next Assembly have pending criminal cases as per their own declarations. 75 MLAs out of these 102 analyzed have declared serious IPC charges like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and theft against them.

All major parties have MLAs with pending criminal cases. AITC has 69 MLAs out of 183 analyzed (38%), INC has 17 out of 42 (41%) and CPI (M) has 7 out of 40 (18%) MLAs analyzed with pending criminal cases.

47 MLAs (i.e. 16% of the total MLAs analyzed) are crorepatis.

Advani gets an assurance from PM

The leaders of the National Democratic Alliance met with Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and demanded that the governor of Karnataka H R Bharadwaj be recalled with immediate effect. Following the meeting, L K Advani told reporters that the Prime Minister had assured him to look into the demands and also that no unconstitutional decision based on the governor’s recommendation will be taken.

The leaders of the NDA comprising Advani, Nithin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Sharad Yadav among others also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister. In the memorandum they demanded that the PM reject the report of the Governor. They said that ever since Bharadwaj had assumed office he has taken a confrontational approach and has always tried to destablise the BJP government in Karnataka. The memorandum also stated that the governor of Karnataka be recalled with immediate effect.

The next course of action would be to parade all the BJP MLAs from Karantaka before the President of India on Tuesday. They would submit a memorandum with the same demands to the President on Tuesday.

The memorandum was submitted ahead of a cabinet meeting of the union government to be held tomorrow. The meeting has been held to study the report of the governor which had recommended President’s rule in Karnataka. Earlier today, the cabinet committee had deferred the decision for Tuesday in the wake of divided opinion as some leaders had said that the Governor’s recommendation could not be acted upon.

BJP to parade MLA’s before Prez

The BJP government in Karnataka has decided to remain unfazed by the developments surrounding it and has decided to hold the legislature session from June 2 onwards. An emergency cabinet meeting headed by B S Yeddyurappa was held a while ago in Bangalore following which the decision to convene the session was taken.

Following the meeting a letter to the effect was written to the governor who will need to give his nod to convene the session.

Meanwhile following the order of the high command, the BJP has decided to parade its MLAs before the President of India. The MLAs will be taken to New Delhi in three batches starting today evening. They would first meet with the party high command and if the need be the MLAs would be paraded before the President of India tomorrow. The high command would also meet with Prime Minister and speak to him about the situation. The BJP in Karnataka has made it clear that its government is in majority and they enjoy the support of 127 MLAs.

The parading of the MLAs will take place as the Union cabinet takes a final call on the governor’s recommendation which had asked for the imposition of President’s rule in Karnataka.

Was the Governor right?

As Karnataka plunged into a crisis yet again politically, a debate has been raging on questioning the actions of the governor of Karnataka H R Bharadwaj who had recommended president’s rule late last night.

Like in every action there are two reactions to this incident as well. We speak to former Law Minister of Karnataka, M C Nanaiah and Advocate General, Ashok Harnahalli about the actions of the governor.

M C Nanaiah, former law minister of Karnataka and JD(S) leader: First and foremost the report of the governor is a mere speculation. None of us know for sure what he has written in his letter of recommendation. Looking at the manner in which Karnataka has been governed in the past couple of years, I say that this is a fit case to invoke President’s rule in the state.

Many speak today about the order of the Supreme Court which reversed the order of the speaker disqualifying the 11 rebel BJP MLAs. However look at the Yeddyurappa government and its functioning in the past couple of months. Corruption, scandals and everyone does remember the manner in which they conducted the trust vote the last time. You must also remember the Operation Lotus that they conducted to win over some MLAs from other parties.  It becomes clear that he has had no regard for the provisions of the anti defection law and this amounts to a break down of the constitution. All this just makes one thing clear and that is Yeddyurappa does not want to govern but only wants to protect his chair.

The governor has in the past written several letters to the Chief Minister reminding him about the state of affairs. Has Yeddyurappa changed after these letters? The governor has always had a fit case to suggest imposition of President’s rule in Karnataka and the recent Supreme Court verdict has only come to his rescue.

I know a lot of people are speaking about the Bommai verdict in this context. How can this verdict apply in the instant case? The Bommai verdict does not say anything about a constitutional violation where as the current issue is centric only to that. The Bommai verdict only makes it clear that the strength of the government can be decided only on the floor of the house.

Ashok Harnahalli, advocate general of Karnataka: The Governor has no grounds to suggest imposition of President’s rule in the state. The grounds are not sufficient. In his letter to the government ofIndiahe has gone on to make a series of allegations which range from corruption to horse trading.

The issue of president’s rule comes into play only when the government has lost support or is in minority. The BJP in Karnataka is not in minority. In fact the verdict of the Supreme Court clearly states that the 11 BJP MLAs are part of the government.

The governor has adopted very flimsy grounds. If there is an issue with the numbers then he should convene a session and test the strength of the government. Here he does not even want that session to take place.

Good governance is not the job of the governor. He cannot cite mal administration and he can use the President rule option only as a last resort. In this case where is the break down? If he is speaking about the trust vote conducted a couple of months back then I feel that it is wrong. Not only in Karnataka, but MLAs fight in every assembly and that does not mean you go around dismissing the government.

The governor also goes on to cite the issue of mining and corruption. Where mining is concerned the state has imposed a ban on export and has also told the Supreme Court that it is committed to the cause of stopping illegal mining. Speaking about the corruption charges, then the matter is before the court and it is for the judiciary to decide on that and the governor cannot act suo motu on such an issue when the matter is pending before the court of law.

One must remember that propriety is completely different when compared to statuatory action and the President’s rule must be invoked only if there are proper and satisfactory grounds to do so.

Prez rule- Chidu says no, Moily yes

pic-www.churumuri.wordpress.com/ kpn photos

The B S Yeddyurappa will have some more anxious movements with the Cabinet committee at New Delhi remaining divided over the imposition of President’s rule in Karnataka. The decision will now be taken on Tuesday during a full fledged cabinet meeting to be held on Tuesday.
A cabinet committee meeting was convened in New Delhi by the Union Government to decide on the recommendation of the governor of Karnataka H R Bharadwaj to impose presidents rule in Karnataka in the wake of a constitutional break down.
At the meeting, Home Minister, P Chidamabaram, A K Antony and Kapil Sibal spoke strongly against the imposition of President’s rule. They said that this is not a fit cause to impose president’s rule in the state and doing so could have severe legal repercussions.
However their opinion was strongly opposed by Ghulam Nabi Azad and Veerappa Moily who claimed that the governor had acted correctly. They said that there has been a break down in Karnataka and hence President’s rule must be imposed.
The decision on the imposition of President’s rule has now been deferred for tomorrow and a final decision on the same will be taken. A full fledged meeting of cabinet will be held in New Delhi tomorrow to take a final decision on the issue.