Akalis Cong in Punjab

Akalis, Cong Finished In Punjab, People Fed Up With AAP: Capt

Exuding confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will come to power in Punjab, former Chief Minister and BJP leader Captain Amarinder Singh say that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress are finished in Punjab and the people of the state are fed up with Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in six months.

Last month, Singh had joined the BJP and merged his party Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) with BJP.
Speaking to ANI, “I am very happy ever since I joined BJP and I feel that now BJP will rule all over India and in coming times in Punjab also because there is neither a leader in Congress nor leadership.”

Talking about the situation of the Congress party, the former Punjab CM said that it is very difficult for the grand old party to come out of the present condition in which they are in, because the Gandhi family wants “yes man”, even in the party presidential elections.

Amarinder Singh had floated the PLC last year after quitting Congress following his unceremonious exit as chief minister.

In September last year, Amarinder Singh had resigned from Congress ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.

He stitched an alliance with the BJP that already had made SAD (Sanyukt) as its ally.

Former Chief Minister further said that BJP will form govt both in Punjab and the Center.

“Akali Dal and Congress are finished in Punjab and people are fed up with Aam Aadmi Party, so now BJP will rule in Punjab and together we will bring BJP power in Punjab and at the Centre,” said Singh.

It is pertinent to mention that Amarinder Singh failed to win polls from his home turf of Patiala Urban in Assembly polls. His party also failed to win even a single seat in the state assembly polls.

In six months of the government of Bhagwant Mann, he said that the APP government in Punjab has failed in all ways.

“I have been in politics for more than 50 years but I have not yet seen a government like this which has brought its confidence motion within six months. This shows that nothing good is going on within the government and this government has failed in all ways,” he added.

Further slamming the AAP government over the law and order situation, the former CM said, “Law and order are the responsibility of the state government. The government needs to crack down on the issue of Khalistan. Khalistan slogans weren’t raised during my tenure as I took strict steps. According to the Constitution, the state government has the right to keep its province safe. They are not doing anything.”

Attacking Pakistan for making attempts to create unrest in Pakistan, Singh targeted Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for faltering in dispensing his duties.

“Pakistan is engaged in sending drones and efforts are being made to spread unrest in Punjab. The Chief Minister is not able to give as much time as he should. The duty of running the government here was of Bhagwant Mann but he is not doing it,” Singh said.

“This is the duty of the Punjab government, it is the duty of Bhagwant Mann as law and order is state subject,” Singh added.

On the question of making Governor by the government, Singh said he would follow what BJP will ask him to do but he will not contest elections.

“I have been in the army since the beginning, so if the BJP government of India tells me I am ready to fight, but now I will not contest elections,” he said.

He also expressed happiness over the closure of the Twitter handle of Pakistan by the Central Government and said that it should have been done earlier.

The Twitter account of the Pakistani government has been taken down in India. “Account Withheld. @GovtofPakistan’s account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand,” a message in the page read.

“I want to congratulate the Government of India for this because Pakistan is always engaged in destabilizing India and Punjab,” he said.

Responding to his wife Preneet Kaur’s question, he said, “It is her wish that from which party she contests elections, but if she asks for my opinion, then I will advise her to fight from BJP.” (ANI)

Read More:

Akalis Cong in Punjab

Amarinder: No Modern Defence Equipment During Antony’s Tenure As Def Min

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday accused the Congress of not taking steps for supplying defence forces with modern equipment despite India being surrounded by two hostile neighbours and said during the tenure of AK Antony as defence minister in UPA governments “not even one type of weapon was purchased for Army, Navy or Airforce”.

Amarinder Singh, who formally joined the BJP at the party headquarters on Monday, said necessary weapons are being procured by the BJP-led government.
Punjab Lok Congress, headed by Amarinder Singh, also merged with the BJP.

Amarinder Singh said it is time to join a party that is looking after the interests of the country.

He said China had gone ahead of India in terms of modern defence equipment and “it is fault of Congress”.

“We are hemmed in by two hostile nations China and Pakistan and we (Punjab) are the ones suffering. It is our duty to protect our state and country. Unfortunately, China is way ahead of us in weaponry and it is the fault of Congress. I am not saying this because I am no longer part of Congress but I don’t think that in the four terms that AK Anthony was there, not even a one type of weapon was ever purchased for Army, Navy or Airforce. Now weaponry is coming which is necessary for us if we are to secure our nation”.

Antony was Union Defence Minister for the most part of the two Congress-led UPA governments from 2004 to 2014.

Amarinder Singh BJP was looking after the interests of the country.

“Now is the time that we should think that what we should do for our country and for ourselves… we have seen with Congress for so many years and now is the time that we should go to a party that looks after the interest of the country and that is BJP,” he said.

Amarinder Singh also referred to efforts by Pakistan to create trouble in Punjab.

“Punjab is a border state, and I have seen our relations with Pakistan deteriorating…Drones are coming into our territory now to create complete chaos in Punjab. China is also not far from us. It’s our duty to protect our state and the country,” he said.

Further, Amarinder thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Party President JP Nadda for welcoming him.

“I am today grateful to the PM, Home Minister and President Nadda Ji for welcoming… We are a local party but we have grown with time and we have made our reach and support in Himachal Pradesh too…”

Amarinder Singh formally joined the BJP on Monday at the party headquarters here in presence of union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Kiren Rijiju.

Earlier in the day, Amarinder Singh met BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hailed Amarinder Singh for joining the party and said the right-thinking people of the country should be united.

“A sensitive state like Punjab should be handled carefully. During his tenure as CM, he never kept politics before national security,” Rijiju said.

Amarinder made the announcement of joining the BJP after he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 12 in Delhi.

Amarinder Singh served Congress for long years and resigned as Chief Minister in September last year ahead of assembly polls.

He later also resigned from the Congress and formed Punjab Lok Congress which tied up with BJP and SAD (Sanyukt) for the assembly polls held early this year.

Amarinder Singh’s joining the BJP is a big shot in the arm for the party in the border state. The BJP now has a credible Sikh face in Punjab who has been active in state politics for several decades. (ANI)

Read More:

Weekly Update: Punjab, Lotharios & Politicians; Global Britain Single Focus

Punjab’s politics seems to be like the last days of the Sikh Raj in 1840s. But more than that, it seems Pollywood has taken over politics and made it into an entertainment, splashing a different twist every day on the media. Some of the politicians appear to be political Lotharios looking for Sugar Daddys, bed hopping political parties like the changing mix of papri chaat. Some politicians are even threatening to form new types of Political Papri Chaat.

It all started with the Badals, the most promiscuous of ideological bed-hoppers. Senior Badal raised issues of Sikhs, then went against them, detaining hundreds if not thousands. He then became Indian nationalist and made the party ‘secular’. He then tied nuptials with the BJP, gathering substantive Punjabi Hindu vote. He then decided to make this historic party into a family enterprise, casting away other powerful and serious Akali leaders and promoting his son for the succession.

Instead of demanding resolution of Sikh issues such as release of long held political prisoners etc, he demanded a berth for his family at the BJP Cabinet. He then divorced the BJP as it became a liability. The father-son duo realised BJP was toxic after farmers rose against farm laws. Badals are now desperately seeking a link up with any party, such as Bahujan Samaj etc. The Akali Dal is now an unrecognisable party. What does it stand for? What is its political ideology except to protect the Badal family? They have their own TV channel to boast of ‘what they will do’ that they were not able to do in the long reign of Badals before.

It seems Punjabis have decided politicians are always acting. So why not put in professional actors. There is Navjot Sidhu, Deep Sidhu and now Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu (Moosewala). It seems the Sidhu clan have taken over entertainment from traditional marasis. All these three have provided endless entertainment off stage and on stage, in politics and in entertainment media.

Moosewalla played to the Khalistani sentiments, exploiting Bhindranwale and secessionist desires in his songs. He has now joined Congress, the party that in power attacked Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) and killed thousands of Sikhs. In Punjab politics, such hoola hoops raise no eyebrows.

In fact, Navjot Sidhu himself has been like a ‘Bhambiri’ (spinning top) on a string. It seems whereever the pull of political gravity is heavy, he falls onto that side with a hundred explanations on why he did that to save the Punjab (from itself). After retiring from serious cricket, he became a clownish entertainer. He joined the BJP, then the Congress. The two parties that have no common political ideology. Only in Punjab can one be a secularist and Hindutva-wadi within a period of 24 hours and still have integrity. Punjabis have no concept of political ideology any more. Politics is entertainment. Sidhu apparently even considered joining Akalis at one time as well but senior Badal had already decided on the succession.

Deep Sidhu of the Khalistani flag at Lal Qila fame is another entertainer. Delivering speeches best suited to an emotional Sikh nationalist drama documentary, Deep decided to be the bull in a China shop during the very well organised peaceful march in Delhi by farmers protesting against farm laws. The world was awestruck at the size of the march and more importantly that it was peaceful. Most of the protestors were and are Sikhs. The Image of Sikhs as peaceful marchers was going down in the annals of history. World opinion had started swinging in favour of the farmers. The BJP government was worried.

Deep Sidhu did the spoiler as many suspect. He fired a group of youth. A breakaway section who put the Sikh religious flag, Nishan Sahib, on a historic seat of power turned museum building called Lal Qila. Violence happened and turned the media hostile. Hundreds of thousands of peaceful farmers had to struggle peacefully for another eight months to get repeal of the farm laws.

Why Lal Qila? It was the throne of the Mughals. Sikh General Baghel Singh had successfully taken over the Mughal seat of power in 1783 for a short time and installed the Sikh flag there. Now Lal Qila is a museum. Anyone can hire it for a day and put any flag there, family flag, corporate flag, Tik Tok flag, even a Sikh flag during the day of hire. It doesn’t need a mock siege. Just hire the building from the Dalmias.

The Govt of India hires it for Republic Day etc and puts its flags all over. Why Indian media made the Deep Sidhu episode into ‘attack on Indian sovereignty’ is another of those hilarious Indian politics cum entertainment dramas. It would have been an episode worthy of Baghel Singh’s courage had Deep Sidhu himself gone and put the Sikh flag on Rashtarpati Bhavan (Presidential Palace). That is where the seat of power in India is now. But Sikh courage now lives bravely on the celluloid and Tik Tok reality, so a flag at Lal Qila can be turned into the most heroic episode for a Sikh generation groomed on virtual reality. Consequently, Deep Sidhu is in the running now for some sort of leadership but looking for a home.

There is of course Amarinder Singh. Captain Sahib, Maharajah Sahib, Leader Sahib who knows. He hails from the great Maharajah family of Patiala who gave their formidable army over to India in return for being Maharajah forever only to find that Indira Gandhi asset-stripped him and made him a commoner after buying him out with some peanuts. So much for political acumen in the family. Captain-Maharajah-Neta Amarinder Singh found that politics can be entertaining. He was first elected under Congress in 1980, then resigned after Operation Bluestar, then joined Akalis and then sensing he was to remain second in any succession, joined Congress again and became the CM. He has now left Congress and threatening to form a new party. Rumours are that he is now in bed with BJP.

And there can be so much written about Bhagwant Maan of AAP. It could take pages.

Is there an ideological gap between Akalis, Congress, AAP and BJP? Not in Punjab which is ideologically rudderless. Party hopping is so common, no one in Punjab probably knows what any of the parties stand for. They all promise swarg (heaven).

There is now a melee of politician-entertainers in Punjab. In fact the whole Punjab politics has become one great entertainment industry. It is difficult to know who is a political Lothario and who is a serious politician. Perhaps, Punjab is showing, politics does not matter. It is all razzmatazz after all. Today here and tomorrow there. Secular one day, Khalistani another day and then Hindutva-wadi the third day. It’s just actors mugging up for a part.

Global Britain’s Focussed Foreign Policy

It used to be Pakistan that was famously mocked for a single focus foreign policy. It was Kashmir, Kashmir and Kashmir. Pakistan Foreign Policy has become more diverse now with Afghanistan and China among other interests. Where Pakistan left, it is Global Britain that is filling the vacuum of one focussed Foreign Policy. Its obsession is France.

It seems the bumble bee Prime Minister of Global Britain, Boris Johnson gets up every morning and dreams up ideas on how to ‘piss off the French’. Brexit Britain hasn’t quite turned into Rule Britannia as he had promised. So why not rally the nationalists against the oldest enemy on tap, France.

There is more coverage of spats with France in British media than any serious Foreign Policy. To get the French colourful language retched up a bit, Boris proposed in full social media glare that he send troops to France to ‘jointly’ guard against all those illegal boat people crossing over into Global Britain. This would be akin to India offering to send troops into Pakistan to stop insurgency crossing over into Jammu Kashmir.

Of course, Macron (France) had a few ‘curses’ to utter against Global Boris in private. In public he banned the British Home Minister from a meeting. British commentators called it ‘over reaction’ without adding ‘over reaction to a clown’.

More ‘illegal’ migrants have been invading the Global Britain shores since on boats. Meanwhile Boris who plays Laurel (from Laurel and Hardy) in real life with even scratching his hair and head, is dreaming of another shot at the French. What an end to an inglorious Empire and its once renown diplomatic corps.

Weekly Update: Corporate-Civil Service Divide; Captain Deserts, Cong At Sea

Grit and determination are what helped Shubham Kumar, this year’s topper in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination, realise his ambitions. It was his third attempt this year. Last year, when Kumar took the exam, he was selected but his rank was 268. Kumar wanted to realise his ambition to do much better. So he took the exam again. This time, he topped.

Kumar, 24, comes from Kumhari village in the Kadwa block of Katihar district in Bihar. It is in a zone that is chronically ravaged by floods. The son of a rural bank’s branch manager, Kumar, a graduate of IIT-Mumbai, has always been determined about pursuing success single-mindedly. And, from a very young age, he wanted to become an IAS officer, a dream that has now come true.

The examinations conducted by the UPSC are for aspiring candidates who want to join the elite bureaucratic cadres in India–including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), among others. Every year, as many as a million candidates register for the examination and of them,about half actually complete the exams. But the number of positions that they compete for is less than 1,000. So the percentage of candidates selected from all of those who take the tests is 0.2%. There are very few competitive exams in the world that are as difficult to crack as the UPSC examination.

Kumar is emblematic of the drive that UPSC toppers demonstrate. Last year’s topper, Pradeep Singh, son of a village sarpanch from Tewari village in Haryana’s Sonipat district, made it to the top rank in his second attempt. Kumar and Singh are also examples of how, increasingly, aiming high in the UPSC exams has become more an objective of, often less privileged, rural Indian youth rather than their more well-heeled urban counterparts.

Although accurate statistics are not easy to come by, it is estimated that the majority of the candidates that get selected for UPSC’s elite cadres each year come from the two states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Of course, these two states are among India’s most populous ones–UP has over 200 million people, of which 77% live in villages; and Bihar has a population of 104 million, of which 88% live in villages. In UP, there is a tiny village named Madhopatti in the Sirkoni block of Jaunpur district, where just 75 households live and, it is believed, that each of these households has at least one member of the family in one of the elite UPSC services. It is even known as the Officer’s Village of India.

Why do rural youths seem to aspire more to join the UPSC cadres more than urban youths do? Is it because the cachet attached to those services appears to be valued more highly in India’s villages and small towns than in its cities? Is it a truism that India’s urban youths eye careers in the corporate world, and aspire more for an MBA tag than that of an IAS, IFS, or IAS? Questions such as those require sociological probes.

Is there a divide between India’s youth? Are India’s urban youngsters more westernised, corporatised and lured by wealth and material acquisitions? An MBA from even a low-tier business school could expect a starting salary of Rs 1lakh plus a month, which is roughly double of what a freshly-minted IAS officer makes. But a job in the corporate sector has none of the responsibility, commitment and dedication to nation building or administration that comes with the job of being a civil servant. Half of India’s 1.36 billion people are below the age of 25. With such a huge proportion of youth among its population, questions such as the ones just posited require to be addressed.

Captain Ejects

One month is a long time in politics. The latest example of this truism is the Punjab unit of the Grand Old Party. At the beginning of September, it seemed Captain Amarinder Singh was firmly in the saddle, despite a bitter faceoff with newly-appointed Pradesh Congress head Navjot Singh Sidhu. The party seemed to be in pole position for the next Assembly election due early next year. Captain had made the right noises amid raging protests against central farm laws and this was not lost on the state electorate. The second week of September saw Sidhu garnering support of state legislators who were miffed with the Chief Minister, and there were quite a few of them.

Interestingly, Captain had more support from Congress leaders active in Delhi than in Punjab. However, Gandhis seemed tilted in favour of Navjot Sidhu who paraded about three dozen MLAs to buttress his claims in public view. Before the end of third week, Amarinder Singh put in a one-line resignation to the state governor. The wounded tiger minced no words in raising questions on Sidhu leadership. The acrimony did its damage to the Congress party.

The Congress went into a huddle to pick up the next chief minister, months ahead of elections. When they picked up Charanjit Singh Channi, a Dalit Sikh, for a state which has about 30% Dalit voters, some viewed it as a masterstroke to resurrect the turbulent jet. Barely had it gained balance, just a week after the Captain had deserted the ship, when the mercurial Sidhu rocked the boat once again. Citing some ‘unexplained’ principles, Sidhu quit as the PCC chief, making himself as the shortest PCC chief in the party’s recent history. Captain was grinning from ear to ear, with a told-you-so look on his face. His exit from the party, with a vow to defeat Sidhu in next election, brought the unwashed linen in public.

Central leaders like Manish Tiwari and Kapil Sibal, dubbed as members of G-23 band of party ‘rebels’, found an apt opportunity to question the party leadership in handling the matter. From the numero uno status in the beginning of month, the state Congress unit had egg on its face just before the flip of the calendar leaf. The electorate must also be thinking: if a party cannot manage its domestic affairs, how will it rule a border state effectively?