Was Moily the right choice in the first place?

First a rant and then a change in stand. Veerappa Moily who was handed over the Corporate Affairs Ministry after being shunted out as the Law Minister says he has no comments to offer regarding his infamous vested interests comment that he had made yesterday.

I am happy with this new assignment and I am grateful that the Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister have entrusted me with this job, he said when asked. I will focus on my new portfolio and this is an important ministry and I will look to take it forward by doing some very good work.

Moily’s exit from the law ministry was an expected one and as the Supreme Court began to pile on the misery on the Government of India almost all had said that the law minister will be the first target during the re-shuffle. Moily did come across as a person who was interested in judicial reforms and certain statements made by him did indicate the same. However his critics say that they remained mainly statements and even blame him for not being assertive enough when it came to taking hard decisions.

This brings us to a crucial question as to how important is the position of a law minister. Several lawyers point out that it has not been a very high profile ministry but in today’s context when there are more scams than ministers in a government, the position of a law minister becomes extremely important in nature.

Former Law Minister of Karnataka, M C Nanaiah who was the leader of the opposition when Moily was the Chief Minister has this to say about the recent development.

I personally have seen Moily functioning very closely. He lacked a crucial quality and that was to keep his team together. In today’s context, the Law Ministry is a very crucial post. The government is battling many cases and hence a strong law minister is required. The government is going through a very rocky phase as of today and Moily on the other hand had been shooting his mouth off too much which in turn has only angered the government. It looks as though by making this change, the government was looking for a more sane and competent person.

A law minister needs to be an expert and a proper aptitude is required for this post. The statements that are made by a law minister need to carry weight and I would not rate Moily very high. Even during his tenure as the Chief Minister, he did not carry the conviction that was required.

With the government facing the flak of the Supreme Court today, it is the law minister who has to coordinate the law officers and face the court. Today unfortunately for Moily who should have been more pro active it is not the vested interests who have ensured this change, it is his own vested interest which has brought about the change for him.

Just after being changed, Moily had said in New Delhi that no one likes reforms and he was doing everything to introduce a change. A lot of things are the fault of the administrative ministry and it has nothing to do with us. We are only the face in the court, he had also said. However today Moily refuses to comment on all that he had said yesterday and only says that he is looking forward to his new portfolio. My top priority today is to pass a new bill which would replace the  Companies Act. I have to see this bill through and this is a major challenge before me he also added.

Sources in New Delhi however add that the issue is not all that simple. The government found the law ministry to be a completely mismanaged one. There were dual representations in the 2G scam where Gopal Subramainam was concerned and this had led to several conflicts of interest. The ministry has come under fire several times and to add to the head ache the Supreme Court was going hammer and tongs against the Government. In New Delhi they were looking for a man with more aptitude and also who could be more assertive by nature. In Moily they found more of an academic and they were looking for someone more shrewd. Moreover he was also dealing under the shadow of a very pro active former law minister, H R Bharadwaj who on several levels was considered to be the perfect candidate for the post.

Justice Santhosh Hegde, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India says that the duty of the law minister is to advise the government on all matters before the Supreme Court of India. If the Supreme Court has taken up an issue suo motu, it is for the Law Minister to advise the government on how to go about it.

I however will not accept the argument that a law minister has to be a constitutional expert. No person can an expert on all subjects and political and legal personalities are completely different. As a law minister apart from having a fair idea of the law, he needs to be diplomatic. In the case of Moily, I think he has been changed mainly because the government did not find the representation before the Supreme Court effective enough. What Moily ideally had to do was to take stock of the situation and advised the government properly. The cases before the Supreme Court are of supreme importance and it is the job of the law minister to ensure that the government is represented properly before the court.

A mess called Telangana

One look at the Telangana issue and you could easily say it is one big mess. Leaders have resigned, the government has a solution on hand but is waiting to announce it and then there is also the sentiments that the entire state of Andhra Pradesh has attached to the capital city of Hyderabad.

While speaking to various people regarding this issue, one gets the general impression that they want this issue to be over with since it is becoming messier with each passing day. Today the Congress has a formula on hand and that is to hand over Telangana and retain Hyderabad as a common capital for at least ten years. The agitators from Telangana and also the intellectuals had always opposed sharing a capital, but today there is a slight change in that stand.

Dr Sangam Prithviraj who has been spearheading the students movement on this issue says, “ do they want time to develop their own capital? Well then if that is the case let them take that time. We are not cruel people and do understand their sentiments. They are bound to feel insecure about losing Hyderabad since 80 per cent of the real estate is controlled by the people of Seema-Andhra,” he also adds.

G V L Rao, political analyst who has been watching this movement closely says that all that talk about a united Andhra Pradesh is trash. The issue is just Hyderabad. There is no doubt that real estate is the biggest issue over here and they would try and safeguard Hyderabad in order to protect their interests. Over the years they have invested a lot. Another issue is what the common man from the belts of Andhra and Rayalseema face. They have an emotional attachment for this city and take pride that this IT hub is their capital. Hence they would be fine if Hyderabad is retained as their capital too, he also adds.

The Congress has a lot at stake over here. In the beltbelts of Andhra and Rayalseema, Telangana is not an issue at all. The people over there expect a YSR kind of rule which this government has not been able to provide. This is what is giving Jagan Mohan Reddy the edge. Hence for the Congress to save all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh, not only would they have to grant Telangana, but would have to utilize the next three years providing better governance in the other two belts. Look at the manner in which YSR managed the votes from Telangana. He was never in favour of the movement, but did govern well and even the common people of Telangana did give him their votes.

The proposal by the Congress to hand out a separate state and then retain Hyderabad as the capital is a significant step. However what I feel is that their proposal to keep Hyderabad as a common capital only for a fixed amount of time would not go down too well with the people of Andhra and Rayalseema. Ultimately the government would have to ensure that Hyderabad is left out and made into a Union Territory. The people of Seema and Andhra would not want their real estate or their businesses to be part of Telangana. The movement has always been a violent one and they would not feel safe if Hyderabad remains in Telangana.

Keshava Rao one of the MP’s who has resigned was trying to meet with leaders of Rayalseem and Andhra to discuss this issue. Sources say that with the bone of contention remaining Hyderabad, he and the rest of the leaders wanted to hold a meeting and sort this issue out.

Now this brings us to the question as to who can bell the cat. The formula offered regarding Hyderabad needs to be a feasible option for all the three regions. The people of Telangana may accept a stop gap arrangement, but the question is will the people of the other two regions accept the same? Rao adds that this is when K Chandrashekara Rao would come into the picture. The Congress will look to him to address this issue to his supporters. The Congress does realize today that KCR is on the back foot following the resignations of all these leaders. In fact one could say that following the resignations of these MLAs, it is KCR who was seen as the lone crusader who has lost the most. If Congress were to announce a separate state then it would be advantage them. Hence in my opinion KCR would look for a tie up and would largely depend on the Congress. This the Congress would use to its advantage and ensure that he would be the one who would convey the message regarding a common capital or a Union Territory status for Hyderabad.

Rao adds that the leaders from Andhra and Rayalseema for the sake of everyone speak about a united Andhra Pradesh. However the issue is nothing but Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh does not have a major city like Hyderabad and this city has emerged as a major capital. It is an IT hub and is also seen as an employment opportunity for one and all from the state. The people of Seema-Andhra fear that if Hyderabad goes away then they could face discrimination. Apart from the huge real estate interest there is also a psychological issue regarding this place. He also adds that the people who have invested would want this issue over with. The agitation has killed the real estate prices and the sooner there is a solution, the better it is for their investments.

For the Congress addressing just the Telangana issue does not solve their headache in Andhra Pradesh. Political analysts say that at the moment Telangana is a non issue in Seema-Andhra and all these people would be content if Hyderabad is retained as the capital. If the Congress does manage this then their headache in so far as these two regions will be sorted out a great deal.

However this would not be the way to counter Jagan. As far as Andhra and Rayalseema are concerned he has an edge and is way ahead of the Congress today. However there are a couple of concerns with Jagan and that is whether he would be able to use this advantage. There are some cracks in his party with some of the leaders feel that he is only interested in his personal success. However these are not issues that the Congress could bank on since Jagan does enjoy major support from the public.

His statement on Telangana during the plenary of his party was a clear indication that he has no real fascination for this issue. They were evasive by nature which indicates that he wants to focus more on the rest of Andhra Pradesh. If the Congress does go ahead and declare Telangana then they would clearly beat him in this belt. While this would end the issue during the elections in the other two belts, the issue regarding the capital city could be raked up by Jagan. If the Congress decides to make Hyderbad as the common capital only for a limited period then Jagan could well say that the Congress was trying to cheat the people of Rayalseema and Andhra who have contributed so much for the city.

A decision on Telangana would safeguard the Congress in this region, but then for them to win in the rest of Andhra Pradesh against Jagan they would have to not only settle the issue of Hyderabad, but would have to ensure that Kiran Kumar Reddy becomes a functioning Chief Minister.

Rao adds that they will have to first settle the issue of Hyderabad as a permanent common capital or a Union Territory. Then they would have to get over the Jagan fixation and focus on governance, he also adds. Jagan at the moment is promising the moon and the Congress would have to do more than that to beat him.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

The HuJI re-grouping saga

The recent threat by the dreaded Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) to bomb the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi is a pointer that this outfit is becoming more brazen and wants to focus most of its activities in India.

With the Lashkar-e-Tayiba taking a back seat where India operations are concerned for the time being, it looks like this dreaded outfit HuJI which operates primarily out of Bangladesh is planning on taking centre stage.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that HuJI has always been looking to dominate in India. The original plan by the ISI was to keep India on tenter hooks from both sides ie Pakistan and Bangladesh. While the Pakistan border was to be controlled by cadres of the Lashkar, the border along Bangladesh was always considered to be the domain of the HuJI.

A dossier prepared by the Indian Intelligence Bureau goes on to show that there has been an increased amount of activity where HuJI is concerned. The recruitment is at an all time high and records would show that at least 150 youth from West Bengal have gone missing. Investigations have gone on to show that these youth were picked up by the cadres of HuJI and are being trained to launch operations against India.

However an interesting point that Intelligence agencies make is that the kind of terror that HuJI is looking to launch would be different in nature. They are looking for abductions of high profile individuals so that they can hold the state to ransom.

HuJI is known to specialize in this field and they would using their knowledge in this regard on the Indian soil as well. This would solve two issues for this terrorist outfit. One they would try and raise money through such abductions and secondly they will ensure that the state is held to a ransom through such activity.

The growing ties between India and Bangladesh have put the brakes on this outfit and both countries have agreed to jointly counter the menace of this outfit. HuJI relied on the counterfeit notes racket to a large extent like all other terror outfits. However with the relations with two countries growing stronger the brakes have been applied on raising money to a large extent.

The IB says that HuJI would surely try and focus on carrying out terror attacks. However first on their agenda would be to try and raise funds for such attacks. They have been offering lucrative packages to their cadres.

They have decided to go about their India operations in a systematic manner. First and foremost they would raise funds through abductions and later use the same funds to carry out terror strikes. They have even started to offer their cadres attractive packages and the families of the suicide bombers are being offered anything between Rs 20 and Rs 25 lakh, the IB says.

The strongest base for the HuJI in India had always been Hyderabad and this was set up by Shahid Bilal who was two years back killed in an encounter at Pakistan. The fall of Bilal and the police action in Hyderabad had put this outfit completely on the back foot. However today they are trying to make a come back and using all of their resources to ensure that they do successfully. They have appointed cadres mostly from West Bengal to set up sleeper cells and each one is being offered Rs 10,000 per month. All this information that has been picked up based on intercepts by the IB also suggest that these sleeper cells would be set up first in the Nothern part of India before they move down South.

There are already two control centres that have been set up in Bangladesh exclusively to monitor the operations in India. These centres have been set up to train the youth who have been picked up from India and once their training is complete they are sent back to carry on with their work.

Following a Home Ministry alert regarding these developments, security agencies have already started to monitor the youth who have returned to India from Bangladesh. The alert is high the IB says and all police stations from across the country have been alerted regarding these developments. Security agencies also warn that action needs to be taken swiftly. If one looks at the manner in which the HuJI is going about its work, it becomes clear that the outfit means business and is going out of its way to strengthen its base in India which it had lost 3 years ago.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Any self respecting SG would have done the same

Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanyam. Photo courtesy: NDTV

The resignation by Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramaniam has created quite a stir in both the government and the judiciary. The Solicitor General who is second to the Attorney General of India had resigned to his post after the Union Government decided to field senior advocate Rohington Nariman instead of him in the Supreme Court during the 2G case hearing on Monday.

Sources close to Subramaniam say that he was upset that another counsel was brought into argue the matters pertaining to the 2G scam. They also say that he was upset about certain remarks made against him after arguments in the cases pertaining to black money.

Senior advocates and former judges of the Supreme Court say that when the judiciary becomes extremely assertive as it has been in the past one year, it becomes very difficult for advocates to present their case unless there is a proper resolve. A Solicitor General is a very senior counsel of the Government and like any other lawyer he too cannot exceed his brief. If the Judiciary is being assertive and comes down heavily on these advocates then only the government can be blamed since he is always acting on the instructions of the government.

Justice Santhosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court who has also been a solicitor general says that there are bound to be pressures. Ultimately the SG is acting as per the brief of the government and there are times when these advocates suggest things which the government may not like which leads them to lose favour.

Solicitor Generals work under extreme pressure. There is immense pressure from the government and most of the time from the bureaucrats.

In the instant case I am however inclined to think that the SG was right in principal. The government is sure at liberty to appoint a counsel of its choice. This is the 2G scam we are talking about the government cannot afford to go wrong since it could earn the wrath of the Supreme Court which could turn into an embarrassment for them. However courtesey demands that the either the Attorney General of India or the Solicitor General is consulted before any such appointment is made. These are top law officers and they hold a position of importance. Hence the government should have consulted them before any new appointment is made.

This has happened many times in the past too where the AG or the SG have not been consulted. However what is important is that people with self respect will not remain in office if they are by passed on these issues.

These appointments to such posts have always been a problem. Such appointments need to be made on merit. However in most cases such appointments are made mostly on political considerations.

Such things only make the case of the government weak and such risks ought not to be taken when matters of such importance is being argued before the Supreme Court. There are so many competent lawyers in the bar and yet the government looks for political considerations when they make such appointments. The government must remember that it is the biggest litigant before any court and hence it needs to have a very strong legal team.

Coming back to the instant case, the government felt that Subramaniam may not be able to put up a strong case before the court. The government also points out that Rohington has been in the panel since 2009 and hence there was no issue with appointing him. However sources close to Subramaniam say whatever the case may be, either the AG or the SG ought to have been consulted before such an appointment was made.

T-Congress on the offensive

The rebellion within the Congress with regard to the Telangana issue appears to be growing bigger with each passing day. First all the leaders from the region tendered their resignation and now some of them went up to the Osmania University campus and when they were prevented from entering into the campus they shouted slogans such as Sonia Gandhi murdabad.

The Congress leaders from Telangana are now planning on a two day bundh in the entire Telangana region in a bid to step up the pressure on the government to make a quick announcement on the issue.

A raging battle is on between the police and the students at the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad. Tear gas shells have been fired and several students have been taken into custody already. Moreover the trouble began when the leaders from the Telangana region both MLAs and MPs tried entering into the campus and were prevented by the police. Since morning around 15 MLAs from the Congress have tried to enter into the campus, but were prevented by the police which forced them to shout slogans against Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress leaders are now deciding on the next course of action and would decide on calling for a 48 hour bundh starting tomorrow.

Hyderabad as common capital for ten years

Cops fire tear gas at students during a protest in support of Telangana at Osmania University. Photo Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

The Government of Andhra Pradesh appears to be testing the waters on the Telangana issue. As the students from the Telangana region get ready to go on a mass indefinite hunger strike from today onwards, the Government has already made its decision on this issue and is trying to buy more time before it could make an announcement.

Sources now confirm that the decision to hand over a separate Telangana has already been made by the government in consultation with the Union Government. Earlier it was being said that they would keep Hyderabad as a common capital for five years, but now they have decided to maintain that position for ten years.

There is an ongoing consultation process with leaders from all parts of Andhra Pradesh on this issue. While the leaders from Andhra and Rayalseema appear to have agreed to this position, the leaders from Telangana continue to remain adamant about sharing a capital. However the government says that it has no choice but to maintain this position since it would be very unfair on the cosmopolitan population of Hyderabad if this position is changed. However the leaders from Telangana say that this is being done only to facilitate the investors who fear that they may lose out if Hyderabad becomes an exclusive capital of Telangana. The leaders have also assured that they would pose no threat to the existing population of Hyderabad from different regions, but the leaders of the other regions have no confidence in this assurance.

Earlier the government had decided to wait until August to make this decision. However if the situation gets out of control it may be just a week or two before the government announces a separate Telangana. Currently the union government is battling its own set of problems which has made them keep this issue on hold for sometime. However the Andhra Pradesh government has been advising them to arrive at a decision soon because things are getting out of control back down here. Moreover the government has also started its consultation process and would look to make this decision as soon as possible.

The government is also aware that it would have to face the elections once this announcement is made and hence the ruling Congress is ensuring that it keeps all factions happy before they face the elections. The Congress is however relieved that Jagan Mohan Reddy had made no strong statement regarding Telangana during the plenary held last week. He had only put the ball in the court of the government.

However at the end of it, there would be a break even situation and all regions would have to eventually agree to a common capital for the next ten years.

Meanwhile the situation at the Osmania University has turned worse with the students going going on a mass hunger strike. Last night a spate of arrests were carried out in order to prevent this agitation. The police are also on their toes since there appears to be a culmination of students from across Telagana. The police have also advised that the leaders from Telangana who resigned to their MLA seats be prevented from entering into the Osmania University campus since this would fuel the already tense situation over there. Security at the moment is tight and the entire focus is on the Osmania University at the moment.

How will Congress wriggle out of Telangana storm?

A file pic of Congress MPs from Telangana in New Delhi. Photo courtesy: The Hindu

The Congress in Andhra Pradesh finds itself in a  very uncomfortable position with nearly 40 per cent of the MLAs from the assembly resigning over the Telangana issue. Will the Congress continue to sit over these resignations and dodge the issue or does it have something in mind?

The Congress is aware that it cannot sit over this issue for too long since the protests regarding Telangana appear to be growing stronger with each passing day. Earlier it was being discussed that the Congress may try and save at least one region and that was most likely to be the Telangana region. However now it appears that the Congress has a strategy on hand and has chalked out something so that it could save all three regions in Andhra Pradesh.

The think tanks within the Congress have been discussing this issue since the past one week and have decided to remain non-committal at least till the end of this month.

They have decided to announce a package which would suit all regions. The Congress leadership has realized that it will need to announce the formation of a separate state. Hence they are planning on doing the same before dissolving the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and then going in for elections. Once the formation of a state is announced then the party really would have no problem in getting the numbers in Telangana during the next elections. The biggest threat for the Congress would then be from the Telangana Rastriya Samithi. Sources in both the parties say that this aspect has been taken care of since in the days to come both the parties would enter into a tie up and then the Congress would announce a merger with the party. This is primarily being done so that the votes do not get split up between the two parties. The people of Telangana would be confused who to vote for once the formation of a separate state is announced. They would have to chose between the TRS which has been fighting for this cause for ever and the Congress which actually made this dream of theirs’ possible. Hence both the parties realize that a merger is the best option when the fight the elections in a sepearate Telangana state.

Now this brings us to the other two regions-Andhra and Rayalseema.  There is a major Jagan wave in these regions and any wrong move on part of the Congress could land them in big trouble. They are pretty sure that Jagan would not take a strong stance on the Telangana issue and hence he would end up being the hero in the Seema-Andhra region. Various polls and surveys indicate that when one speaks about the Telangana issue the big bone of contention has always been Hyderabad. When the people from the Seema-Andhra region speak of an united Andhra Pradesh they have always meant that they wanted Hyderabad. The people of this belt have a lot of investment in Hyderabad and they feel that they may be driven out if Hyderabad is taken away from the Seema-Andhra belt and made the exclusive capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress is aware of this and has decided that it would keep Hyderabad as a common capital. Once this is done it would cool the nerves of the people from the Seema-Andhra belt and the Congress would not lose favour with its voters.

However this could create a problem again for them in Telangana. The people of this region have been saying that there is no question of sharing the capital and Hyderabad is a part and parcel of Telangana. They also quote the former Home Secretary of India G K Pillai who had also made a statement to this effect.

The Congress does realize that the Capital issue could become a problem and hence has decided that it would announce that Hyderabad be the capital of both regions for the next five years. This would basically be the period for those investors to make other arrangements. However the people of Telangana see this as a ploy and at the end of five years they feel that the Congress may end up maintaining a status quo in the case of Hyderabad. The Congress however feels that the people of Telangana must agree to some sort of a compromise formula and once the statehood is announced then they would not argue too much on this issue. The Congress says that it has to take care of the interests of each and every person and this is the best workable solution available to them.

While these issues continue to be discussed, the Congress is also planning on having an all party meeting on this issue. During the meeting the above points would be discussed and a quietus would sought to be achieved on this issue.

A one day fast for Telangana

A one day fast will be conducted in New Delhi next week in support of the Telangana movement. The fast to be headed by Gummadi Vittal Rao a.k.a Gadar will be held at the Jantar Mantar.
This programme would see a large number of students and also politicians, Dr Prithviraj, chief of the Students Joint Action Committee for Telangana confirmed. We are in talks with all political parties and would like those leaders who have resgined to take part in this programme. Leaders of all political parties would be part of this programme.Students from New Delhi will also take part in this protest, he also said.
Dr Prithviraj however said that he was disappointed with the rapid pace at which the Political JAC is changing its statements. In the morning they speak of protests and in the evening they speak differently. The students will continue the protest irrespective of the political JAC says. There needs to be continuity and a break can break the momentum. We are also awaiting the outcome of the meeting of the Telangana Employees Association which will once again undertake a pen down programme.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

India needs guidelines on temple wealth

Treasure pile from the temple. Photo courtesy: http://vakkomsen.blogspot.com/

The finding of Rs 90,000 crore worth treasure in the secret cellars of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, Kerala continues to be a subject matter of debate. For starters the debate is whether this money should be used for public purpose. The other point that one would observe is that would finding of such wealth in a temple cool the egos of a community which has been up in arms thanks to the large number of funds being remitted from the Gulf which according to estimates is almost equal to the state budget.

Dr Mohanan Pillai, a professor at the Centre for Development Studies at Thiruvananthapuram who has been following this issue very closely takes us through this entire issue. He discusses with us whether finding of such wealth in a temple would close the communal divide in Kerala and also speaks to us about the treasure that was found in the temple.

For starters the wealth in the temple coffers must seen in the light of the politics and religion in the past. This wealth has been preserved for over centuries and now the inventory is being taken. Similar type of wealth is available in other religious institutions and often I wonder why this is being sensationalized.

Yes there is a debate over what needs to be done with this wealth. Unfortunately our country has no guidelines on how this wealth needs to be dealt with. One should look at all the problems that people face and one argument could be that it could be used to alleviate those problems. However the moment this wealth is touched it could be dangerous as it would emerge into a major controversy politically.

According to me some portion of the wealth should be kept in the temple itself. There are ornaments which are used for day to day ceromonies and every year this has been used. Hence there is no question of doing anything with that and it should remain the way it is.

The other part of the wealth does have an antique value to it. This according to me should be kept in a museum. However this museum should be created by the trust of the temple in consultation with the government. It is important that we get to see our national treasure and also ensure that our great grand children get to see the same. Putting up such a museum can attract a lot of people and this would contribute to the economy of the temple.

However the debate is with regard to the coins that were found as part of this treasure. I feel that there should be a political agreement on this. The trust and the government could discuss whether these coins could be possibly transformed for economic development of the state. However this is not easy in the absence of guidelines and there is a major consensus needed on this.

Now coming to the point regarding the close up of the gap in terms of a communal divide in Kerala after wealth to this extent has been found in a Hindu temple. Yes there is a lot of money that is being remitted into Kerala from the Gulf and some people have been feeling that too much contribution is from another community. There was also a feeling of a rich-poor divide due to this factor among a section of the people. Finding of such wealth may satisfy the egos of some. A section of the people may be feeling in Kerala that such wealth in temples puts them in a better position since their community too has wealth.

It is a natural feeling. If you notice, if we have a rich person in the family, we always tend to be quote him or her or try and be associated with that person. The same logic applies over here too. However this may not close the entire gap between the communities since it will not be a general feeling. Yes in some communities this feeling of being rich could make a slight bit of a difference.

There is also another debate that is on regarding the origin of this wealth. Some have said that the king had not contributed to the temple, but had in fact hidden the wealth.

As per the Travancore annexure some wealth had been confiscated by the Raja. Other records would show that this wealth was generated through pepper trade. There is also a considerable amount of wealth that was attained through collection of taxes. Lastly there is also a certain amount of wealth which was given to the temples by the devotees as offering to the deities.

I would not buy the argument that this Raja was hiding the wealth in the temples. In fact we must appreciate the fact that he had not spent this wealth and has kept it for the generations to come. In fact the Maharaja was very particular this temple must be kept as a private one. During the annexation he had bargained for the same and finally the temple was kept as a private one. This gives us the indication that the wealth was not hidden but given to the temple. Unlike the rest of the temples which are under the Devasom board, this one is private and is handled by the trust. Another argument to substantiate my claim that the money was not being hidden is that no member of his family today can stake a claim over this wealth. It is entirely the property of the temple which is being managed by the trust.

There is a record in the palace of Travancore which states the above and how the wealth had been accumulated. Hence one cannot say that there is no record. However it would be good if this record comes out in public so that the confusion is sorted out once and for all. It is very important that one gets to see this record since it can say for sure if this money was tax money or was it a combination of temple offerings and public money.

Telangana: JAC takes the fight to Delhi

With nothing concrete coming out of the Cabinet meeting on Telangana, the protestors have now decided to take the fight to New Delhi. The Joint Action Committee on Telangana has decided to continue its protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
The members of the committee and student leaders were expecting something out of the Cabinet meeting at New Delhi. However the meeting did not make any concrete announcement and have decided to discuss this issue further. The Home Minister P Chidambaram too had said that this issue needs to be discussed further.
The JAC has now decided to take the fight to New Delhi. It would stage protests at thw Jantar Mantar and also before the President of India. Whether all parties would take part in this protest is something that will be decided later today.
Meanwhile the students continued their protest and have stuck to the July 10 deadline. The other political parties such as the Telegu Desam Party have also been staging protests in Hyderabad. The rail rokho programme will commence tomorrow.
The JAC says that they have to take this fight further since the Cabinet meeting only indicated that the government was planning to delay this issue further. We did expect something concrete but we are disappointed the members of the Joint Action Committee for Telangana said at Hyderabad.