Lokpal Comity not for me

Even as the Government of India is contemplating making Justice N Santosh Hegde the Chief of the Joint Committee to discuss the draft of the Lok Pal bill, the man himself says he has no clue about such development. Even if I were to be offered this, I would turn it down since I don’t want to be some kind of a middle man to discuss the issue.
I don’t have a hint or any idea about what this government is planning on the draft of the Lok Pal bill. However I would make it clear that I will not accept this even if I am offered.
I have done whatever little I have had to do on this issue and I don’t wish to play the role of a middle man now. Basically there is a lot of negotiating to be done if I accept this role. I will need to convince the government and then ensure that the other party too agrees to what I am saying. I am not good at this and hence would not be interested in the post. Moreover I am tied down with work in Karnataka and there is an important report on illegal mining that I have to submit and hence it would be difficult for me to take up this assignement.
I would however suggest the name of Justice J S Verma for this post. He is straight forward person ( does not mean that I am not-laughs) and will call a spade a spade. Ideally he should be the man who should don this role. He is capable of convincing both sides to agree to whatever he feels about the Lok Pal bill.


A nightmare called 3G


Remember how I waited for my first Ipad? Well the wait for the 3G from Airtel was something very similar. I had in fact told a friend that while each one bursts crackers on Diwali, I would be rejoicing the launch of the Airtel 3G which never happened at the end of it. Ten to twenty trips to the airtel store and the representatives over there appeared as clueless as me when questions were shot off regarding the “Grand” launch. They kept telling me to try it on their system and check out the speed, but I refused to do that since I do not trust these trial runs as connections are bound to be faster when they work on limited systems.
So, the wait continued and one fine day I get a message from Airtel saying 3G services are available. Ok, first thing I do is send a message 3G to 121 and then comes a reply-“ we are processing your request.” I wait a couple of hours and when nothing turns up, I call the customer care (some balls I had to do that). The usual questions begin-“ which make are you using and blah blah blah. Then comes the shocker, “sir the 3G services are not available for the Iphone 4.” I get into a fight and ask them to check their website which clearly mentions that the 3G services are available for this phone. They say that they would get back to me and fifteen minutes later they say, “sorry sir, it is available and are engineers are working on it.” They also go on to say that I need to resend the activation message. I do exactly and the message I get is, “we already have a provisioning request with us, please try after sometime.” I try for exactly another month and I would not want to mention the number of times I have called their dumb customer care regarding this. Finally I give up and go for the next best option. I buy two more sim cards. I try activating the 3G on one of them and unfortunately or expectedly their servers are down. I resend that message after some time and to my horror I get the same message, “we already have a provisioning request with us, please try after sometime.” I start to give up, but then I need an internet connection on my phone and so go in for the regular GPRS connection which gets done immediately. Once this was done, I try activating my 3g once again. Magically it is done this time. Thrilled obviously, I go to the next step and that was to activate a data plan. The message is sent and then comes another nightmare. You already have over 50 MB in your account and hence a data plan cannot be activated. Do I dare call the customer care again? Yes I dared do that once again and the same bull shit was given to me.
The next thing I do is throw the damn sim card and replace it. This time the activation was smooth and my 3G services were finally activated. I sit down with my friend Abhishek to discuss 3G. The one question that we ended up asking each other, “where the fuck is the speed man?” Abhishek then goes on to say that the speed is slow is because they have not launched completely and it may take a while more for them to improve their services.
Ok, as of now the 3G services are active on my mobile. It works once out of every ten times. The solution to get it working again is a restart of the phone and this option again works once out of every five times. Once you use up the data there is no indication of how much I have used or how much is left in my account. While I continued to battle all this I get a call from airtel and the representative goes on to say, “ good morning sir (in the afternoon) we are pleased to launch the 3G services and as you are our special customer we are offering a free trial.” It was time for me to get back and I tell him to go to hell. I ask a couple of questions and narrate my trauma to him to which he says, “ how sir, no chance sir.” Then he says I will get back to you. It has been 34 days and I am not waiting for him to get back.
I am sure that many if not all of you have had this problem. If you want to vent your anger out against these services then post your comments. And by the way, I don’t even expect Airtel to change things at the end of this.

Who will succeed Sai Baba?

Will Sathya Sai Baba make it is the big question that each and every devotee of his is asking. There is anger and anxiety at both ashrams at Puttaparthi and Whitefield and the devotees ask if the doctors claim that he is fine, then what prevents them from showing a photograph or a video of Sai Baba. However the doctors have refused any such request saying shooting pictures in an ICU is gross violation of human rights.

The question now is however regarding the succession of Baba who is the Chairman of a trust which has assets close to Rs 40000 crore. Minutes after the news of Baba’s failing health broke out, the Andhra Pradesh government rushed a team to discuss the issue of succession. However this team which is in Puttaparthi have not received exactly a warm reception from the members of the trust who feel that the Andhra Pradesh government should not be running the ashram and the assets attached to it.

The AP government did feel the heat of the resentment from the trustees and was quick to deny any take over of the ashram. N Raghuveera Reddy, revenue minister of the state says on record that there is no decision to take over the trust. The government would not be taking it over, but would oversee a smooth transition. While none of the other members sent by the AP government are acceptable to the trustees, they would however make their peace with one of the members, L V Subramanyam who is the principal secretary finance (government of Andhra Pradesh). The government has said that Subramanyam would be staying back there since he is a more acceptable face for the trustees and the devotees at Puttaparthi ashram. Subramanyam is not only an ardent devotee of the Baba, but has also done his education at the Sai Baba institution in Puttaparthi.

Sources informed that no information from the hospital would be forthcoming unless and until a succession plan is put in place. There is a lot at stake at the moment and the devotees who continue to spend anxious moments at the ashrams too will have a lot of questions to ask. Even if the trustees come to any conclusion the successor to the trust would have to be someone acceptable to the devotees who are spread over across the world. The trust has properties in Puutaparthi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, the USA and is all worth over Rs 40000 crore.

As of now there are two names which come up when issues of succession are being spoken about. There is Ratnakar Raju who is Baba’s nephew and also Chakravarthi, both who are members of the trust. Baba’s family which has a say in the affairs of the trust continue to back Ratnakar. However Chakravarthi who is a retired IAS officer has the support of the majority of the trust members. During the discussions on this issue, the debate was whether the head of the trust should be succeeded by a member of the family or elected in a democratic manner. A majority of the trustees feel that a democratic process should be in place which would mean that Chakravarthi would have the edge over Ratnakar. However the other issue is that the devotees would be more inclined towards a member of the family.

While Chakravarthi enjoys the support of the trustees, the devotees have an axe to grind against him. There have been complaints that he kept Baba away from the common man and once he took over as the secretary of the Satya Sai Central Trust. In addition to this he has had a battle with the members of the Sai Baba family. When Sai Baba’s brother Janakiram was alive and a member of the trust he interacted a lot with the villagers around Puttaparthi and often took them directly to Baba in order to solve their problems. However after the death of Janakiram, Chakravarthi became the more powerful member in the trust and imposed a lot of restrictions on the devotees. This is exactly what the devotees are angry about today and say even today Chakravarthi continues to isolate Baba and it is on his instructions that information regarding the health of the God man is being kept a secret.

Sources in the ashram however point out that Baba has not named any successor. Prophecy has it that Baba would leave his body at the age of 96 and would be reincarnated as Prema Sai Baba who would be born in a small village near Mandya in Karnataka. This was mentioned by Baba himself during a discourse in the year 2003. However Baba has not identified Prema Sai Baba.

Suspense over Sathya Sai Baba continues

The suspense over the health of Sathya Sai Baba continues with the latest medical bulletin stating that he has been responding to treatment. However the grim news that comes from the bulletin is that there has been a multi organ dysfunction and hence he is being kept on artificial support.
The doctors are Puutaparthi said that he was suffering from multi-orga
N dysfunction. He was however responding to treatment, the doctors claimed. The 86 year old God man continues to be on the continous renal replacement therapy in order to help his respiratory and kidney functions, the doctors also said.
Dr A N Safaya director of the hospital said that his condition was stable, but refused to divulge any details of how long Baba would have to stay in the Intensive Care Unit. We are providing him with the best of treatment and are hopeful that everything would be fine.
The doctors also said that while his heart beat and blood pressure were normal, the concern was the dysfunctioning of the kidneys and also the accumulation of water in his body.
The atomosphere in Puttaparthy is however tense. The devotees feel that the hospital staff are not giving out all details. As the anxiety continued to build up, the devotees started demanding video footage and also photographs of their spiritual leader. However the doctors are refusing any such request and also have advised that people be kept away from the hospital since it may increase the infection. They also say it would amount to gross violation of human rights if pictures within the ICU were clicked.
Meanwhile the police bandobast in the holy town is at an all time high. Devotees are being closely monitored and the town has been barricaded thus restricting entry of any vehicles into the town. No new person too is being allowed into the town since the police feel that people may create trouble when the situation is already so tense. Moreover there is growing anxiety among the people within the town and there is a chance of troubling breaking out if doctors and members of the trust continue to refuse access to at least a photograph of the god man inside the hospital. There have been special prayers both in both Ashrams at Whitefield and Puttaparthi praying for the speedy recovery of Sai Baba.
The Andhra Pradesh government is however taking no chances in such a situation since they are aware of the chaos that could be caused when issues pertaining to sucession comes up. A five member team of the government is already in Puttaparthi and is exploring the possibility of a possible take over of the trust by the government. The five-member team comprising principal secretary, finance, L V Subramanyam; principal secretary, health, P V Ramesh; director of medical education Dr Raghu Raju; Osmania General hospital cardiologist Dr Laxman Rao; and OGH general physician Dr Bhanu Prasad will interact with other members of the trust regarding this issue. However sources said that there is not much that has come out from this interaction as the trustees feel that there is no need for any such move at the moment.
The trust known as the Sathya Sai Central Trust is worth over Rs 40000 crore and on an annual basis receives a large amount of donations. The government team is also trying to find out if all the accounts are being properly maintained and would consider a take over if it finds a lot of problems. The team would also try and ascertain whether there is any form of dispute between the members of the trust during their stay at Puttaparthi. This team would then hand over a report to the government following which a decision would be taken.

Kerala will fight with 153 criminal candidates

153 candidates with a criminal back ground and 53 crorepati candidates will battle the elections from the state of Kerala this year for the assembly elections. According to a report prepared by the National Election Watch, a total of 53 candidates, i.e. 15%, (out of 355 analyzed) are crorepatis. Percentage of crorepati candid to ates in INC, ML, BJP, CPI(M),CPI and KC(M) is 13%, 57%, 6%, 8%,4% and 46% respectively
In addition to this the report also goes on to state that 153 candidates i.e. 43% (out of 355 analyzed) with self declared pending criminal charges contesting in the Kerala Assembly Elections. 30 candidates out of these 153 analyzed, have declared serious IPC charges attempt to murder, extortion, causing hurts by dangerous weapons etc against them.
All major parties have given tickets to candidates with pending criminal cases. KC (M) – 62%, INC – 54%, CPI(M) –45%, CPI and ML – 43% each.

Top five with criminal charges-

Liju of the Indian National Congress from the Amabalapuzha constituency tops the list with a total of nine pending cases against him.

S Subhash Chandra of the CPI(M) from the Chitoor constituency has 4 pending cases

M Divakaran an independent candidate from the Dharmadam constituency has 2 cases pending against him, but has nine very serious counts under the Indian Penal code.

E S Purushotham of the BJP from the Paravur constituency has 1 case pending against him

Prekumar of the BJP from the Vallikunnu constituency also has one case pending against him

The Richest-
Udaya Bhaskar of the BJP tops this list with assets worth Rs 15 crore
Mani C Kappan of the NCP shares the top slot with Rs 15 crore
Manjala M K of the Muslim League is worth Rs 14 crore
K Muralidheeran of the Indian National Congress is worth Rs 10 crore
Shev T Kuruvilla of the KC (M) is valued at Rs 8 crore

The Least-
V A Krishnakumara of the BJP has the lowest assets valued at Rs 1000
M Rijil of the INC is worth Rs 2509
R S Pattazhi of the BJP is worth Rs 12500

The Case of Puducherry
At Puducherry 24 candidates (i.e. 13% of 183 candidates analyzed by the Puducherry Election Watch) have self declared pending criminal charges. 5 candidates out of these 24 with pending criminal cases have declared serious IPC charges like kidnapping and extortion charges against them.
All major parties have given tickets to candidates with pending criminal cases. AIADMK has 4 out of 10 (40 %) , DMK has 2 out of 10 (20 %), All India N.R. Congress has 7 out of 18 (39 %), INC has 2 out of 17 (12 %), DMDK has 1 out of 1 (100 %), CPI (ML)(L) has 1 out of 3 (33 %), BJP has 1 out of 20 (5 %) candidates with pending criminal cases.
A total of 48 candidates, i.e. 26%, (out of 183 analyzed) are crorepatis.

Show Reddy brothers the door

The Reddy brothers of Karnataka should be given the same treatment that both Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi were given by the people when they were both sent back home. S R Hiremath of the Samaj Parivartana Samudaya which has been battling the issue of illegal mining the most rampant activity in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh says that there is very little one can expect from any government in Karnataka regarding this issue.
I however feel that with the right intervention of the authorities and the Supreme Court of India, the days of the Reddy brothers are numbered. In this interview, Hiremath says that they have ample documents on hand and have all been submitted to the Supreme Court and if acted upon then it would surely bring about the end of illegal mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Tell us about the litigation.
We have filed a public interest litigation through our senior advocate Prashanth Bhushan way back in the year 2009. Along with the PIL we have clubbed reports of the Lokayukta along with various other documents.

What have you sought in this PIL?
In this 1274 page petition that we have filed, we want action against illegal mining which the governments are unable to take. The whole idea is to bring about some control to illegal mining. The Karnataka government instead of controlling it is only helping the rise of illegal mining. Moreover there are so many reports which nail these persons involved in illegal mining but the government and its officials ensure that no action is taken.

There is already a Lokayukta report on the issue. What would be your role in the middle of all this?
The Lokayukta report nails many persons, but unfortunately has not been implemented. Our job would be to bring the executive before the judiciary in order to make them work, which unfortunately they have not been doing so far.

What is the status of the PIL in the Supreme Court?
The court has issued a directive to the Central Empowerment Committee to prepare a report on illegal mining.

There appears to be a delay in the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
When we filed the PIL, Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan headed the forest Bench. We wanted to wait for his retirement and then move the matter. We finally did it when Justice Kapadia took over.

Why were you waiting for the retirement of Justice Balakrishnan?
I would not want to mention the obvious reasons for that.

There have been many hearings before the CEC. What have you sought from them?
We have sought the cancellation of the mining leases belonging to the Reddys. We made a 499 page submission to this effect.

You speak of proof against the Reddy brothers. Can you share some of them with us?
We have put together a map which shows that the Reddy brothers encroached into the Forest area of Bellary. They have also destroyed a temple in the same area due to their greed to mine some more. The CEC was impressed with this and they had recommended
cancellation of the lease.

Speaking about official apathy, can you point out an instance please?
I had visited the Ramgad village in Sandur Taluk, Bellary. There is a Ram Malai block here where the mining is rampant. I had met with the forest department officials. A month later I met with the additional Principal Conservator of Forests regarding the same. However he refused to go ahead with this work and said he would speak with the conservator. Despite reminding him that the conservator was not doing anything, he still did not react.

Why do you think this is the case?
We all know who are the most powerful people in Bellary. The government has come to a grinding halt in Bellary and the officers are all hand picked. The CEC however visited these areas which we have been speaking about and later there was a presentation at the Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore. The presentation by the government of Karnataka was a very general one speaking about what they were doing to control illegal mining. However when they were asked for specific instances, they did cut a real sorry figure.

Could you be more specific about the case against the Reddy brothers?
I spoke about the Ramgad area. We have seen a company called Park Line operate from there. Had we not gone there they would have broken down a Rama temple over there to further their mining greed. These Reddy brothers have been saying that they have no mining in Karnataka. We have documents showing how Janardhan Reddy and his wife were brought in as partners into the Associated Mining Company which operates in Karnataka. The mining by them is rampant in the Ramgad area which has 220 million tones of rich iron ore. In addition to this we have submitted documents which speak about their complex financial maneuvering which they did with the Black Gold mines in Karnataka. We have submitted the lease deed of the Associated Mining Company as well. Further to this we have also submitted details regarding the manner in which they ship ore at very low costs in order to dodge tax when in reality the shipment reaches elsewhere are a very high price.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa says he is serious about stopping illegal mining. Your thoughts on that.
The CM has more statements than political will. That is all I have to say.

When people speak of mining, they associate the BJP with it. Don’t you think all other parties too have their share of interest?
As I have studied for the last few years there are mining sharks in every party. S M Krishna, Dharam Singh, H D Kumaraswamy and B S Yeddyurappa all have got support from illegal mining. I feel all these persons must be held accountable. However the reason why the Reddy brothers get associated everytime is because they have taken it to a whole new level.

I have been wanting to ask you about the Sushma Swaraj link to the mining lobby in Karnataka.
The association between Sushma and the Reddy brothers goes a long way back when she contested the polls against Sonia Gandhi. I would not be able to say what her interests in mining is, but what I hear is that she is the one who suggested to the Reddy brothers to enter into mining. I must also add that she has double standards.

This is an inter state menace and even Andhra Pradesh is involved. Do you see that government to be more receptive to your demands?
After the death of Dr YSR, the Reddys here lost all support from AP. Today I can say some right noises are being made in AP. AP will at least act. They may not be perfect, but today the officers are far more assertive and have been giving better reports. In Karnataka I have no hope. Don’t forget Yeddyurappa who had transferred some corrupt officials out of Bellary had to reinstate them when the Reddy brothers threatened to withdraw support.

Do you see the issue ever being resolved?
Yes I think it would be sorted out. I feel that their days are numbered. The people should do the same thing to the Reddys what they did to Indira and Sanjay Gandhi post emergency. That day is not too far according to me and I hope the officials act in a better manner when dealing with this problem.

Badaruddin and the Kashmir worries

Badaruddin Sirajuddin Haqqani will be the new face of the Al-Qaeda according to reports from Islamabad. The reports also suggested that he would emerge as a household name in the world of terror and he will be the most feared Al-Qaeda leader till date.
Badaruddin is one of the sons of Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani of the Afghan Taliban which is closely associated with the Al-Qaeda. Indian intelligence agencies see this as a surprising move since the Al-Qaeda appears to be springing up some new names to head their organizational and operational activities.
Sources in the intelligence bureau say that this is something that they had been discussing for quite sometime and the fact that a member of the Haqqani network has been roped in to head the Al-Qaeda is only an indication that the group is planning on splitting into splinter groups. When groups are bifurcated into splinter groups it is an indication that the focus would be on particular targets and this would include India as well.
Under Badarrudin who is lethal, young and is being groomed into a full fledged terrorist, the Al-Qaeda would see a lot of changes. Badarrudin has been in the fray for quite sometime now and he has been trained under his father a fierce warrior himself who has been battling US troops in Afghanistan.
The IB says that the plan to split into splinter groups would be confusing for very many security agencies since these would report to one head, but would fight independent battles. Moreover Baddarudin is a surprise factor and popping up such a name would only confuse security agencies. Moreover springing up new names would also mean that security agencies would take a while to commence their chase since a whole load of new information needs to be derived on this man.
Coming to the Indian problem, a group under Baddarudin would be in charge of Kashmir. Under the joint operation of both the Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, Baddaruddin has managed to recruit nearly 26000 persons to wage a battle in Kashmir. In addition to this they have also formed 30 suicide squads for Kashmir alone. However the IB adds that this new faction would not restrict itself just to Kashmir and there is every possibility of it spilling into the rest of the country.
The entry of Baddaruddin into the main fray would not necessarily mean the end of the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar or Jalaluddin Haqqani. These men would continue to play a prominent part in the operations, but the introduction of young blood would only boost the two outfits, the IB points out.
Another dangerous ploy which can be witnessed in this is that most of these developments have taken place without the blessings of the Pakistan establishment. The reason why these groups decided to go aggressive against India is because they felt that the Pakistan establishment was going soft on the Kashmir issue. Moreover they felt that the groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which is completely under the control of the ISI was walking away with pie. The Afghan Taliban and the Al-Qaeda feel that the Lashkar acted only on the instructions of the ISI and they feel that being a toy in the hands of an establishment was not allowing them to wage their battle effectively. These groups want a solution while the ISI wants an issue alive is what the Al-Qaeda feels. Unfortunately for the ISI too this thought process appears to be catching up among the cadres of the Lashkar as well and they are finding it difficult to keep the group united.
The IB says that in the days to come one could find a more aggressive approach from the Al-Qaeda both in Kashmir as well as Afghanistan due to this revamp within the jihadi forces.

Jaya, Karuna not the richest in TN

The AIADMK will go to the polls this year with 43 candidates who have pending criminal charges against them while their arch rival DMK has fielded 24 such candidates, according to a report by the National Election Watch.

The report has been prepared on the analysis of 679 candidates so far in the Tamil Nadu 2011 Assembly Elections. There are 125 candidates out of 679 analyzed, (i.e. about 18.4%) who have pending criminal cases against them as per their self sworn affidavits given to the Election Commission.

Out of these 125 candidates with pending criminal cases, 66 have declared pending serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. on them.

All major parties analyzed have given tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds. AIADMK has 43 out of 144 (30 %), DMK has 24 out of 111 (22 %), BJP has 19 out of 169 (11 %), PMK has 14 out of 27 (52 %), DMDK has 7 out of 36 (19 %), INC has 6 out of 54 (11 %), VCK has 3 out of 6 (50 %) and CPI(M) has candidates with pending criminal cases.

All major parties have also given tickets to candidates with serious pending criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, theft, dacoity etc. in the Tamil Nadu 2011 Assembly Election. Of the candidates analyzed, AIADMK has 27 , BJP has 10 , DMK has 9 , PMK has 6 , INC has 5 , DMDK has 2 , VCK has 2 , CPI(M) has 2 , PTP has 1 , BSP has 1 such candidate.

Top five candidates with pending criminal cases:

M Muruganandam (Nagapattinam )of the BJP has a total of ten cases ranging from attempt to murder and dacoity.

J Gurunathan of the PMK from the Jayankondam constituency has 9 cases ranging from voluntarily causing hurt and promoting enemity.

Raja of the DMK from the Anthiyur constituency has 4 pending cases ranging from theft to abduction.

P G Bose of the BJP fighting from the Didigul constituency has 4 pending cases which include attempt to murder.

R Elango of the BJP from the Peravurani constituency has 2 pending cases against him ranging from obscene acts and attempt to murder.

The richest:

When it comes to the richest candidates the AIADMK again leads the pack with 75 crorepati candidates while the DMK has 73.The Congress and the BJP come third and fourth with 33 and 25 candidates respectively. The DMDK and the PMK have 12 and 11 such candidates respectively.

c of the Indian National Congress is the richest candidate with 133 crore

S Duraiswamy of AIADM is worth Rs 64 crore

E Subaya of AIADMK is worth Rs 60 crore

Mohammad Sheikh Dawood of the IUML is worth Rs 53 crore

J Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK is worth Rs 51 crore

M Karunanidhi chief minister from DMK is worth Rs 44 crore

Karthe of PMK is worth Rs 33 crore

Vijaykant of DMDK is worth Rs 27 crore

c of DMK is worth Rs 27 crore

Doraiswamy R of AIADMK is worth Rs 27 crore.

The poorest:

Easter Rajan S of MGRSP has no assets. RR Jeyram ( DMDK), Marthanandan, Manidhan and Karupanannan ( all independents) have shown zero assets.

8-5-11: Will it be the end of the Congress?

Jagan Mohan Reddy
May 8 2011 will be a turning point for the politics in Andhra Pradesh. Sources now confirm that Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of the late Dr Y S Rajashekhar Reddy will be contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Kadapa constituency while his mother will fight from the same constituency in the assembly segment.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy would watch with bated breath the results of these two results since his future would depend largely on the result of this election.
Jagan ever since he broke away from the Congress due to differences with the high command has aspired to be the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh a position held by his father. It sounds surprising that he is contesting the Lok Sabha elections when the aseembly seat from Kadapa is lying vacant. However Jagan has decided to field his mother Y VIjayalakshmi to that seat. The justification given by Jagan to his followers is that if he contested the assembly seat and won that would mean he would be entering into the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly. This would be seen as a move to destablise the government. He says that he has no intention of destablising a government which was brought to power by his father.
However Jagan has bigger plans on his mind while contesting the Lok Sabha seat on May 8. He realizes that it is time for him to build the party in a big way and it is very important that he has ample representation in the Parliament. Once in the Parliament, Jagan will first enter into talks with the National Congress Party, the DMK and the Trinamool Congress. Although these parties hail from different states and do not have any presence in Andhra Pradesh, Jagan feels that these parties could support his cause in the Parliament. He has intentions of raising various issues regarding his state in the parliament and would need strong support from these parties which will support him. Moreover this would also mean that he becomes a stronger force in the Parliament when compared to the Telegu Desam Party and also the Telangana Rastriya Samithi.
Now coming to the state related issues, these by-polls to both the assembly and the lok sabha constituencies will have a direct bearing on the fortunes of Kiran Kumar Reddy and the rest of the Congress. Political observers and also supporters of Jagan say that a victory especially by a thumping margin will make a huge difference. Jagan has no intention of pulling out MLAs from the Congress at the moment and toppling the government led by Reddy. He has asked these MLAs to wait and watch and also play their cards carefully this time around.
Today there are 27 Members of the Leigslative Assembly, 2 Members of the Leigslative Council and two Members of Parliament from the Congress who openly support Jagan. While Reddy knows fully well that he will lose these leaders at some point of time, the bigger worry for him are the 30 other invisible members of his party who support Jagan behind closed doors. The Congress has managed to keep them within the party with the lure of lucrative posts in the corportations and also more funds for their respective constituencies. In addition to this they are also being warned about disciplinary action if they go to the Jagan camp.
However the worry is that these 30 MLAs have not yet bitten the bait and are waiting for the result of this by-poll. A victory for Jagan and his mother would give them the confidence to cross over from the Congress and once this happens the downfall for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh begins. Jagan has also told these MLAs to remain in the Congress for now and to put in their resignations once they witness the results of these by-polls. Sources say that what is also very important is the margin by which Jagan wins. If he manages to sweep the by-polls by a record margin there will be more in the Congress who will cross over since the confidence of these MLAs in Jagan is also expected to rise.
The Jagan camp feels that once he wins these by polls then the Congress will lose at least 57 of its MLAs. This camp expects panic at such a stage and feels that more will come into their fold. These MLAs have also been told that they should not cross over blatantly from their party and join Jagan. They would need to resign to their posts first and then immediately face the by-elections, which according to them would be helpful to avoid the anti defection law.

Firing at Mecca Masjid and the aftermath

Photo courtesy: Outlook
The Mecca Masjid bombing at Hyderabad was a turning point in the social dynamics in Hyderabad many would claim. The case took many twists with the Harkat-ul-Jihadi being blamed at first before the CBI was brought in who finally concluded that it was an act committed by some extremist Hindus.

The blame that was laid on the Muslim community at first was not too well received with a large section of them asking one question, “why would our own people bomb a Mosque?” However that sentiment has now calmed down among the Muslim community in Hyderabad and they appear to be happy that the truth in so far as this case has finally come out.

However the burning issue today is the police firing subsequent to the bomb blasts of May 18 2007. Immediately after the blasts, there was chaos around the Mosque. The police claims that there was stone pelting protesting the blasts and hence they had to fire at them. Nine people lost their lives in this firing.

A commission of inquiry was set up and was headed by Justice Bhaskar Rao. The Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee which has been spearheading this cause to bring out the real picture says that the commission report which is of extreme importance appears to have gone into the cold storage.

The convenor of this committee, Lateef Mohammad Khan says that it is clear that the police had acted out of spite and had fired indiscrinately at the mob which was just trying to help out those who were injured in the bomb blast. The government fears that if the report by the Commission which was handed over when K Rosaiah was the Chief Minister will bring about the down fall of many in case it is made public. The commission worked for nearly 3 years trying to find out tthe reason for the firing and in the bargain the government has spent crores of rupees.

Although it is not clear what exactly the commission has said at the end of it, here are some records to show what the submissions before it were. The special branch of the Hyderabad city police and also the state intelligence bureau in their preliminary reports stated that the police firing on the protestors was ‘indiscriminate and unwarranted’. The preliminary reports admitted that the police had shot both at the protestors as well as the panic stricken people who were present around the Mosque at the time of the incident.

Further the commission also relied upon the post mortem reports which indicated that the police firing was indiscriminate in nature. The report also went on to state that the bullets were fired from self loading rifles which are normally used in battle against extremists such as terrorists and naxalites.

Further before the commission was also the report of the City Security Wing which stated that 90 rounds were fired by the police force at that time. 6 constables of the Quick Response Team of the City Police had fired 72 rounds, 3 constables of the City Armed Reserve had fired 11 rounds, and 3 constables of the West and North Zone Task Force had fired 7 rounds at Punch Mohalla and Charminar bus stop near Mecca Masjid.

Khan goes on to state that the police men were chosen specifically for the job by the then additional commissioner of police (crime branch). Civil Liberties in its fact finding report had also indicated that there was a connection between the blasts and the police firing. When the commission submitted its report to the government, the Congress government as usual dumped it in cold storage, Khan further adds. The government fears to place the facts before the people.

We expected that report would be presented during the budget session, but that was not done. Worse even the Muslim representatives in the assembly did not make any noise about it. Khan says that many families who lost their loved ones in the firing are badly affected by the incident