Archive for the ‘Indian Economy’ Category

Indian Polity’s Bigger Headache: BJP or Congress …?

November 13, 2012 5 comments

So-called internal matters of the BJP are in facts issues of importance. Global importance.

BJP after losing power has been a strange case of disintegration - compared to the BJP before gaining power  |  Satish Acharya cartoon on Wednesday, October 26, 2011  titled Gadkari wants to prove his political fitness...

BJP after losing power has been a strange case of disintegration – compared to the BJP before gaining power | Satish Acharya cartoon on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 titled Gadkari wants to prove his political fitness…

There Is No Alternative

From 1947 to 1987, for the first forty years of modern India, Congress was the behemoth that dominated Indian politics. For a brief two years, a combined opposition had managed to unseat the Congress in 1977-1979 – only to fall apart amidst power-jockeying.

Probably, one man changed that.

Cutting Edge

Lal Krishna Advani.

In 1986, Advani a second rung leader of BJP, was appointed president, though not much was expected from him. BJP then, under the shadow of a lone-star leader,  AB Vajpayee, was a fringe party in national Indian politics, that had been without power for nearly forty years.

At the cusp of a changing world-order, BJP under Advani became the force in Indian politics. Instead of Congress aligning with a declining Soviet Union, BJP proposed closer ties with the West. Slow-paced reforms after Bombay High, by the Congress was challenged by BJP’s agenda for faster liberalization. The Congress stance of apologetic secularism, after granting Pakistan to Indian Muslims, was roundly lampooned by the BJP.

Events were on Advani’s side.

Power competition has become a subject to regional-tribal instincts. Between Gujarati Modi and Marathi Gadakari.  |  Satish Acharya cartoon on October 26 2012

Power competition has become a subject to regional-tribal instincts. Between Gujarati Modi and Marathi Gadakari. | Satish Acharya cartoon on October 26 2012

When Things Go Right

Soviet Union collapsed. The Islamic world, under Western dominance rebelled. Starting with the Iranian Revolution under Khomeini, the Islamic world took a turn towards fundamentalism – unleashing a reactionary Islamic demonization by the West. Reforms and liberalization paid off – and Pakistan imploded.

A Partition-era refugee from what is now Pakistan, Advani had few pre-conceived notions on politics. Taking a leaf from an Andhra politician, NT Rama Rao, Advani went on his first rath yatra on Septemeber 25th, 1987. NT Rama Rao had earlier wrested AP from Congress strangehold with a nearly year-long mass-contact campaign, in his chaitanya ratham.

Two years after his rath yatra, BJP supported the formaton of a non-Congress government under VP Singh. BJP had arrived. Congress was decimated. After Advani, Congress has not won an electoral majority for 25 years now.

Post-Soviet World

Between 1986 to 1991, for the Indian Republic it was trial by fire.

In 1986, Advani became BJP party president and Rajiv Gandhi was a democratic dictator with a brute majority in the Parliament. ND Tiwari, Pranab Mukherjee and VP Singh were seen as dynamic Finance Ministers who were liberalizing India after Bombay High.

Licence Raj was being dismantled. Shoots of a new India could be seen – with Indian companies charging in all directions. Stocks markets were in a frenzy. The 1977 George Fernandes industrial policy was effective at buffering Indian companies from Big Brother multinationals.

Companies like HCL, WIPRO, pioneered Unix-based systems – among the first in the world.

Bofors and Soviet implosion changed India forever. Rajiv Gandhi lost the election in 1989 – with BJP helping form a minority VP-Singh government. In 1991, Soviet Union collapsed. Indian foreign policy lay in tatters. India itself was on the brink of a financial default.

Election results returned a hung parliament.

RSS seniors seem to feel threatened. After foisting irrelevant leaders on BJP, they wonder why BJP is revolting?  |  Cartoon by Surendra on November 19, 2011; source & courtesy -

RSS seniors seem to feel threatened. After foisting irrelevant leaders on BJP, they wonder why BJP is revolting? | Cartoon by Surendra on November 19, 2011; source & courtesy –

Crisis after Disaster

BJP under Advani’s leadership stablized a minority government. Finally, a BJP government was formed – from 19 March 1998 to 22 May 2004. These were crucial years. A stable coalition government, a first in India, lasted a full term. It presided over India’s affairs in a very fluid world.

It was during this period that India initiated, a different relationship with Russia. As the more stable partner, India defined this more equal relationship that saved Russia’s defence industry from ruin. In turn India itself benefited by getting defence products on the cheap, more suitable for India’s requirements.

India also created a global industry, in which semi-finished Russian armaments were fitted with advanced third-party technologies to make these products comparable to the best in the world. India’s frontline fighter, Su-30 MKI is one such example.

No surprises then when the Russian ambassador landed at Advani’s home, to wish him well on his 85th birthday.

Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin bends down to LK Advani on Advani's 85th birthday on Nov 08, 2012 |  Image source  PTI; courtesy -

Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin bends down to LK Advani on Advani’s 85th birthday on Nov 08, 2012 | Image source PTI; courtesy –

In a rare gesture, Russian ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin today broke away from diplomatic protocol and touched the feet of BJP veteran L K Advani while visiting the leader to wish him on his 85th birthday.

Such a gesture is virtually unheard of in diplomatic circles as most diplomats and heads of state or government only go to the extent of folding their hands in a ‘namaste’ to wish an Indian leader. Shaking of hands is the norm in such meetings.

Kadakin, an Indophile, conversed in chaste Hindi with Advani throughout his visit at the Prithviraj Road-residence.

via Russian ambassador touches Advani’s feet – Times Of India.

The Russian ambassador is not a private person, who can claim indulgence. He is governed by diplomatic protocol – and represents his country. So, when he pays respects to Advani, it is a gesture of far-reaching symbolism.

On one side.

Rubber Hits The Road

On the other side, when events conspire to show a different side of BJP, it become a matter of national importance – even though BJP is not in power.

Ever since anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal trained his guns on Mr. Gadkari for the alleged wrongdoings by a company owned by him, there have been murmurs within the BJP that an influential section within is targeting Mr. Gadkari. However, it is for the first time that any one has pointed fingers at Mr. Modi.

The rumblings within the BJP surfaced after BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh Jethmalani went public saying Mr. Gadkari should immediately step down from his post as the charges against him were damaging to the party.

The senior Jethmalani claimed the backing of other party leaders like Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha. The campaign within the BJP against Mr. Gadkari is widely perceived as a power struggle among senior leaders with an eye on the 2014 elections.

via The Hindu : News / National : Gadkari rejects ‘insinuation’ made by RSS member, says party united behind Modi.

In fact not just national importance – but international importance. Unlike what Congress says, these are not the internal matters of the BJP.

Envoys from 20 Arab countries met BJP President Nitin Gadkari today to discuss his party’s plan in the forthcoming Parliament session, it’s agenda on the internal and external affairs if it comes to power, and relations with the Arab world and India’s neighbours.

The diplomats led by Moroccan Ambassador Larbi Reffouh, who is the acting president of the Arab Group, met Gadkari at his residence here.

The Arab Group met Gadkari to discuss the BJP’s plans for the forthcoming winter session of Parliament that begins on November 22, as also the party’s vision on the present internal situation in India.

The grouping was also keen on knowing the BJP’s internal and external affairs agenda in case it is voted to power in the next general elections.

The ambassadors also wanted to learn about the main Opposition’s attitude on relations with the Arab World and India’s neighbours.

via Envoys from 20 Arab countries meet BJP President Nitin Gadkari – Economic Times.

The BJP-RSS combine, popularly known as the sangh combine, have projected themselves as proponents of an akhand Bharat (Greater India), movers and shakers of Hindutva, and ultra-nationalists.

Imagine the surprise, when a national daily reports

Competitive politics will have some road-kills - like Sanjay Joshi. This cannot become a rationale for negative politics of Gujarati vs Marathi  |  Manjul's Cartoon: Narendra Modi removes Sanjay Joshi's posters on 6.10.2012Competitive politics will have some road-kills - like Sanjay Joshi. This cannot become a rationale for negative politics of Gujarati vs Marathi  |  Manjul's Cartoon: Narendra Modi removes Sanjay Joshi's posters on 6.10.2012

Competitive politics will have some road-kills – like Sanjay Joshi. This cannot become a rationale for negative politics of Gujarati vs Marathi | Manjul’s Cartoon: Narendra Modi removes Sanjay Joshi’s posters on 6.10.2012

For several weeks now that there is a grand Marathi versus Uttar Bharatiya divide a la Bal Thackeray and Raj Thackeray within the RSS and its organisational wings, with RSS sarsnaghchalak Mohan Bhagwat believing that north Indian leaders are skimming the cream for work really done by Maharashtrian pracharaks in various states that brought them to power (for example: Sanjay Joshi versus Narendra Modi in Gujarat).

That is why Gadkari is still supported by RSS leaders but he should know by now that this is a fight to the finish for leaders like LK Advani and Modi, who still hope to be prime minister.

It is very clear that the anti-Gadkari lobby in the BJP is trying to make the RSS’s position on their choice of BJP president unsustainable by the day and I wonder how long it will take for Reshim Bagh to cave in. But the pro-Advani-Modi lobbies in the BJP are making a serious mistake if they think a little thing like foot-in-the-mouth disease or some as yet unproven allegations, however serious they may appear, is going to deter Bhagwat from his chosen path So I would watch Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar rather closely – yes, the very same person who had called Advani a `rancid pickle’

via A season of gaffes – Hindustan Times.

This entire speculation gained credibility, when MG Vaidya, a unofficial spokesman of the RSS joined the debate weighing in on Gadkari’s side. Vaidya, the Nagpur-based ex-chief editor of Tarun Bharat, the RSS publication, in his Marathi-blog asserted that the anti-Gadkari campaign started in Gujarat.

Original Marathi text

एकाच व्यक्तीच्या एकाच वक्तव्यात, गडकरींनी जावे आणि मोदींना प्रधानमंत्री करावे, असे उल्लेख आल्यामुळे, गडकरीविरोधी कारस्थानाचे केंद्र गुजरातमध्ये आहे, असा संशय कुणाच्याही मनात येणे स्वाभाविक आहे आणि गुजरात म्हटले की, मग नरेंद्र मोदी यांच्याकडेच संशयाच्या सुईचे टोक जाणार.

Hindi Translation provided by the author /publication on the original blog.

एक ही व्यक्ति के एक ही वक्तव्य में, गडकरी जाए और मोदी को प्रधानमंत्री करें, ऐसा उल्लेख आने के कारण, गडकरी विरोधी षड्यंत्र का केन्द्र गुजरात में है, ऐसा संदेह मन में आना स्वाभाविक है और गुजरात कहने के बाद, फिर संदेह की उंगली नरेन्द्र मोदी की ओर ही मुडेगी.

via RSS Veteran MG Vaidya blog article on BJP issue: भाजपा की अ-स्वस्थता: मा. गो. वैद्य | Vishwa Samvada Kendra.

English reportage

In his blog, Vaidya has said the “needle of suspicion in the campaign against BJP president Nitin Gadkari points to Gujarat BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.”

He also noted that “Ram Jethmalani had in one breath said he is seeking the resignation of Gadkari and that he also wanted to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister in 2014.”

While both L K Advani and Gadkari have publicly stated that they don’t have Prime Ministerial ambitions, Vaidya, a former spokesman of RSS, said he “hasn’t read anywhere that Narendra Modi has denied reports of his ambition to become the Prime Minister.”

Vaidya today stood by his remark, saying, “It is my opinion and because Jethmalani has combined two things demanding Gadkari’s resignation and making Narendra Modi as PM, I think that the needle of suspicion goes to Gujarat.

“I did not say that, I just said that needle of suspicion goes to Modi and that raises suspicion if Jethmalani is entitled to his own point of view, I am also entitled to my point of view and RSS has nothing to do with it.”

via Vaidya blames Modi for “campaign” against Gadkari.

Narendra Modi may be a great demon or a superb chief minister. That question for this discussion is irrelevant. However, if his candidature is being decided on the basis of Gujarati vs Marathi axis, RSS deserves much greater contempt than what they have got till date.

Kejriwal Misrepresents

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Kejriwal’s press conference is a defeatist approach to a global problem. Factually and conceptually wrong, Kejriwal has an ’empty’ agenda.

While Robert Vadra calls India a ‘banana republic’, Kejriwal is trying his best to prove Robert Vadra’s description becomes reality. Kejriwal has just finished a press conference where he has made some serious allegations of black-money abroad.

For now, no transcript is available or any links. Below is my summary of the points that Kejriwal makes.

  1. Yumm-Rika is right. Indian Government is incompetent.
    • If this right, what is the status on the US$10 trillion DoD scam. This amounts to about 80% of US GDP – by one department in a short period of time. As Kejriwal should know, the DoD-GOTUS has not obtained a clean audit report for decades now.
    • Moral of the Story: – Corruption is a global story – and more taxes, more laws, more police, will not solve this. Less power to the State is a good starting point.
  2. UBS came running and gave details to Yumm-Rika.
    • Blatantly untrue.
    • The GOTUS had to institute legal proceedings, diplomatically push the Swiss Govt. – and obtained this info. after considerable effort.
    • Read this anti-Swiss actions by the GOTUS alongwith the passing of the NDAA Acts. This probably points towards closing all doors and windows for US citizens, before some kind of gold-confiscation by GOTUS is done. Obama has won his second-term – and will probably do this in the next 12-36 months.
    • Moral of the Story: – This is maya. Look at things a little deeper.
  3. Hawalatransactions.
    • For money to be given in India does not need hawala. There are perfectly legal methods to do this.
    • Moral Of The Story: – Check with IT, Finance Ministry and banks how this can be done. Talk to the guilty party also.
  4. At the beginning of the press conference he makes a defeatist statement that we will never get our money back. But just before Prashant Bhushan starts off, Kejriwal asserts that this money comes back as FII /FDI investment.
    • Silly Indians keep money in Swiss accounts these days. India is the best place to keep your money these days – black, white, accounted, unaccounted.
    • Moral of The Story: – Three important points. Data. Data. Data.
  5. Rs.6000-Rs.7000 crores abroad. And not 25,00,00,000 crores as per CBI estimates.
    • The amount of money that Indians supposedly have in foreign banks exceeds our GDP. Any economic calculation will tell you that this is not feasible.
    • Moral of The Story: – Data. Data. Data.
  6. Why were the small guys targeted.
    • Yes. The small guys are always the first to be hit. And this is the reality of Desert Bloc polity. This is the only sensible point that Kejriwal makes.

Answer and solution – Bharattantra.

US$ 150 Billion FII Inflows: India’s Next 10,000 Businesses

November 2, 2012 2 comments

In the last twenty years some ten thousand Indian business attracted US$150 billion investments. What is India doing to grow the next ten thousand businesses?

Creating the next 10,000 small businesses will secure India's economic future.  |  Cartoon titled Big Bad WalMart By J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register - 12/6/2005 12:00:00 AM; via Cartoon.

Creating the next 10,000 small businesses will secure India’s economic future. | Cartoon titled Big Bad WalMart By J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register – 12/6/2005 12:00:00 AM; via Cartoon.

India’s total forex reserves are now around US$300 billion. Simplistically, one could claim that half of this was contributed by investments in Indian businesses by foreign investors who seeks to share profits – without aiming for control.

Even as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have crossed the $150-billion mark in net investments in Indian stocks over the past two decades, domestic investors are concerned about the markets’ dependence on foreign money.

According to the data published by capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), FIIs have had a net investment of $152 billion till October 30. In October alone, FIIs put in $3.5 billion, which took the total value above the $150-billion mark.

Sebi’s data since November 1992 show FIIs have made $119.6 billion of net investment in equity and $32.4 billion in debt through stock exchanges, primary investments or other routes.

According to the regulator’s records, there are 1,751 registered FIIs in India. Sensex, the benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange, has risen to 18,415 from 2,929 in this period.

via FII inflows top the $150-bn mark in India – (Links supplied).

Small business - over-regulated and underfunded. |  Cartoon source and credit embedded

Small business – over-regulated and underfunded. | Cartoon source and credit embedded

Between Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which is usually accompanied by case-specific exemptions, permissions, policies, rebates, FII seeks simpler systemic and transparent exemptions, permissions, policies, rebates. Indian businesses have attracted FII flows rather easily – and India has always been a laggard in FDI inflows.

Between 1970-1990, India created many small business that needed some capital to become world class. It is mostly these companies that got the US$150 billion. These are about 10,000 companies – mostly listed on the stock exchanges.

India’s main issue is that today the next 10,000 companies that can attract US$150 billion are nowhere in sight.

The Indian Government is busy protecting and fixing older businesses – while next-generation of 10,000 businesses are on no one’s radar.

Where Do Terrorists Get Their Plastic Explosives from?

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Tracing back the sources of explosives is muddied by serious and deliberate leakages and clandestine sales.

US, the world's largest arms' exporter, spreads the fertilizer of arms and ammuninution, which creates conflicts - and then US steps in to resolve these conflicts  |  Cartoon by Polyp.

US, the world’s largest arms’ exporter, spreads the fertilizer of arms and ammuninution, which creates conflicts – and then US steps in to resolve these conflicts | Cartoon by Polyp.

Boom & Explosions

Ordinary gunpowder, is no longer a high-tech secret. Mix diesel, common nitrate fertilizer and sulfur, all commonly available items, and you get gunpowder.

Things were different a hundred years ago. India was the largest producer of this high tech product – and the British Empire rested on its ability to exclusively access Indian production of gunpowder elements. Within India, gunpowder was commonly available – and manufactured in the private sector, without State control.

In the last 50 years, we have seen a new explosive. Plastic explosive. Like wet clay or plasticine in texture, and stable, it has much more explosive power compared to ordinary gunpowder. Many terrorist incidents in India reported use of plastic explosives. An item with restricted access and limited manufacture, usage of plastic explosive usually signifies State involvement.

Known by various names like C4, Semtex (a mix of RDX & PETN),  visual identification is easy. C4 leaves off-white traces on the debris and Semtex has a tell-tale brick-red color.

Agents and double agents  |  Cartoon by by Dave Coverly; 31 May, 2012

Agents and double agents | Cartoon by by Dave Coverly; 31 May, 2012

There Goes The Neighborhood

We had David Coleman Headley, a CIA-DEA American agent, who was deeply involved in the Mumbai attacks. US has more troops in Asia than other part of the world – except Europe. While Europe has a 500-year history of wars, to justify this US army role, where is the need in Asia?

Except the imposition of Pax Americana?

US is today at war with Pakistan – next door to India. After deluding Pakistan for 50 years, US the ally has started war with Pakistan. Neither US nor Pakistan has admitted they are at war – yet American drones have been killing Pakistanis for years now.

In Pakistan, this class of explosives are made by Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF)  and Wah Nobel, a 1962-joint venture between Almisehal (Saudi Arabia), Saab (Sweden) and Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

Making The Wheels Go Round

US is the world’s largest arms producer and exporter. These clandestine sales and furtive supplies have been done by arms agents like Viktor Bout or Wilson.

NOTHING about Edwin P. Wilson was quite as it appeared. If you met him at an airport—en route to Geneva, London, New York, on joking terms with the Concorde stewardesses—he looked like any other globetrotting businessman. In fact, he was a spy.

His chief business in the 1970s was shipping arms to Libya, then under Western sanctions. He didn’t advertise it. But then again, he claimed later, it wasn’t what it seemed. He sold Muammar Qaddafi firearms. But that was done to “buddy up” to him, to try to use him like an asset. He offered him plans for making a nuclear bomb, but only to find out how Libya’s own bomb-making was going. The plans were bogus anyway. He recruited ex-Green Berets to train Qaddafi’s intelligence officers, and to teach them to make bombs disguised as bedside lamps and radios. He earned $1m a year from that, but also learned the officers’ identities. It was all done with CIA backing. These were patriotic acts.

Most spectacularly—and disastrously for his cover—in 1977 he shipped to Libya 20 tons of C4 plastic explosives. This was almost the whole of America’s stockpile, flown out of Houston in a DC-8 charter in barrels marked “oil-drilling mud”. Mr Wilson felt no qualms about it. He didn’t believe it had been used for terrorism. He had sent it to ingratiate himself and to get intelligence. The CIA, he said, knew all about it. But the CIA denied it.

He worked actively for the CIA for 15 years, destabilising European labour unions by using anything—Corsican mobsters, plagues of cockroaches—and setting up his front companies. The work was “a hell of a satisfaction” to him. He left, officially, in 1971, but only for Task Force 157 of the Office of Naval Intelligence, another super-secret outfit.

Then, in 1976, he went “freelance”. The CIA contacts, and all the front companies, continued—sending arms to Angola and boats to the Congo, bringing intelligence back—right up to the moment when he stood in a federal court, in 1983, accused among other things of shipping the explosives and sending the guns to Libya without a licence.

The third-highest CIA officer in the land declared then, in a sworn affidavit, that since 1971 the agency had had nothing to do with him. Not directly; not indirectly. Contacts zero.

The CIA’s story was that he had gone rogue. Deniability was part of the deal, of course. But it was sheer success that made him, in the end, “a little hot”. His front companies were also legitimate businesses, and they made real profits—all the more because his books were hardly audited. Asked once to itemise the cost of a trawler stuffed with surveillance gear, sold to the agency for $500,000, he quoted $250,000 for “product” and $250,000 for “service”. Fine and dandy. Kinglike, and worth $23m, he rollicked over a 2,500-acre estate at Mount Airy in Virginia, lavishing jewels on his girlfriends, entertaining congressmen and generals to picnics and hunting parties.

Not bad for a poor farm boy from Idaho. There were “very, very nice” villas, with Pakistani houseboys, in Malta and in Tripoli,

His revenge for his framing came almost too late. In 2003 his conviction for the explosives-shipping was overturned because, wrote the judge, the government had lied. Far from no contacts with the CIA between 1971 and 1978, there had been at least 80. Several ran intriguingly “parallel” to the illegal acts he had been charged with. The next year he was released, white-haired at 76, fighting fit and pumped up with his own righteousness, to spend the rest of his days trying to clear his name.

He knew that would be a tough sell. For many he would always be a traitor and a terrorist as well as an amoral profiteer.

via Edwin P. Wilson | The Economist.

Af-Pak: Is Something Big Cooking?

October 17, 2012 4 comments

Will the first fifteen days of October go down in history as that which changed 21st century?

Between policy and propaganda; trying to link reality with 'spin'  |  Cartoon on Oct  15  2012  titled Unraveling  by Bob Gorrell; source & courtesy -

Between policy and propaganda; trying to link reality with ‘spin’ | Cartoon on Oct 15 2012 titled Unraveling by Bob Gorrell; source & courtesy –

The last 15 days  has seen some curious diplomacy that spilled over into the public domain.

First was China ratcheting up hostility with Japan over some silly islands – which had some value in the past. And supposedly some value in the future. For now, there is a chance of hostilities (not war) between Japan and China.

Question: Why did China decide to take on the Japan – when it could have more easily taken on Vietnam, Philippines? Maybe even India.

What we have finally after 25 years of American intervention in Afghanistan  |  Cartoon on Oct  14  2012  titled Triumph of Taliban  by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy -

What we have finally after 25 years of American intervention in Afghanistan | Cartoon on Oct 14 2012 titled Triumph of Taliban by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy –

Two. There was Putin’s non-visit to Pakistan for a quadrilateral summit (Oct 2-3) between Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This Pakistan visit was to be followed with an India visit by Anatoly Serdyukov, Russian Defence Minister, on October 4, 2012 – which too was postponed.

In the meantime, Pakistan’s Army Chief, Ashfaq Kayani landed in Moscow. Even as Kayani was in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov was in Pakistan.

Three: In the rest of world, momentous things were happening. Venezuela, which today has bigger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, has re-elected Hugo Chavez as its President. This will possibly deeply affect global oil equations. Meanwhile, the West continued with its Middle East war plans against Syria and Iran.

Could the answer to this puzzle be Afghanistan?

Why is Afghanistan so important? The Soviet Union spent billions on the Afghan invasion – and the US has spent trillions. The Afghan War is already the longest war the US has fought.

Three reasons why Afghanistan is important.

Why have peace, when you can have war?  |  Cartoon by Cameron Cardow  on Oct  11  2012  titled Opportunity; source & courtesy -

Why have peace, when you can have war? | Cartoon by Cameron Cardow on Oct 11 2012 titled Opportunity; source & courtesy –

Oil. Oil. Oil.

But Afghanistan has no oil.

The oil is in Central Asia and Russia.

While Asian oil consumption is increasing, Western oil consumption is expected to slightly decline. Shale oil in US, North Sea oil in Europe are likely to account for   increasing share of Western production and consumption. Brazil, Canada, Venezuela can’t ship more oil to US and Europe in the next twenty years. China, India, Japan and Korea are dependent on oil imports. Oil consumption in these markets is growing – unlike the West.

In which case, the Central Asian, Latin American and Russian oil exports will move towards Asia.

While Obama promised one thing, he did another. No different from other US President. |  Cartoon titled President Strangelove By RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch - on 4/10/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy -

While Obama promised one thing, he did another. No different from other US President. | Cartoon titled President Strangelove By RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch – on 4/10/2012 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy –

India’s stakes are really high in Afghanistan, especially once the Western troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. What are the likely scenarios that may develop in Afghanistan once the foreign troops leave that country?

With India getting closer to the US, and building on its historic ties with Russia, there are even more opportunities for India, US and Russia to collaborate in stabilising Afghanistan.

India should help Afghanistan become the gateway between South and Central Asia. India is already building close ties with the Central Asian countries, especially given the rising demand for oil and natural gas in India. The historic TAPI gas pipeline, when completed, will bring natural gas from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan, which could be a game-changer for the entire region.

via India’s options in the Afghanistan end-game | Russia & India Report.

From Reagan to Obama, from Iran to Afghanistan, how US interventions have handcrafted the Islamic monster  |  Cartoon on Oct  16  2012  titled Mind Over Monster  by Cal Grondahl; source & courtesy -

From Reagan to Obama, from Iran to Afghanistan, how US interventions have handcrafted the Islamic monster | Cartoon on Oct 16 2012 titled Mind Over Monster by Cal Grondahl; source & courtesy –

With the Middle East in a state of permanent state of instability, India would like to have greater diversity in supply sources. This where the Russian oil comes in.

India is an energy deficient country and Russia has an energy surplus and therefore, a mutual interest lies in this sector. India’s policy makers are trying to promote energy cooperation based on political understanding. The Indian side feels that there is a clear compatibility between India’s needs and Russia’s resources. The Indian side is adopting a policy to implement the experience of Sakhalin-1 to other oilfields in Russia.

The Indian side feels that though these two countries are not geographically contiguous it is not a hindrance for cooperation since the international oil and gas trade is not based on contiguity. India’s interest in the Russian energy sector has already been proved by the country’s investment in Sakhalin-1. While public sector energy companies from India have already made considerable investments in Russia, now India is also promoting its private sector companies for investments in downstream petroleum units in Russia in return for a stake in petroleum refineries there. India has proposed an exploration venture with Russian gas majors Gazprom and Rosneft and sought a stake in the Sakhalin-III oil and gas project in the Far East. The Indian side has proposed joint venture to work on gas liquefactions projects in Russian offshore fields for Shipment to India. Indian companies are being welcomed due to Indo-Russian strong strategic ties.

India is also looking for options for transporting Russian crude to India through a pipeline link from Xinjiang to India. But this depends on a joint agreement between Russia-Kazakhstan-China-India. The proposal is such, where crude from Russia could be transported via 1,240 kilometre-long pipeline from Atasu in northwest Kazakhstan to China’s Xinjiang province. Depending on the robustness of multilateral initiatives, a pipeline could be constructed to connect China’s Xinjiang province to India. This pipeline could enter the Xinjiang province in China at Altai, climb the Tian Shan Mountains and extend southward to the Kunlun Mountains in India.

India’s ONGC has proposed another energy highway to construct a Russia-China-India (RCI) pipeline. The RCI is supposed to stretch from Russia through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, to Kashgar in Chinese Xinjiang. It will enter India via Laddakh, crossing the Siachen glaciers and the India-China Line of Control or alternatively through Himachal Pradesh to supply gas to Northern India. According to ONGC (India) officials, the economic and technical aspects of the proposal remain undetermined. The proposed pipeline would extend over an extremely long stretch of varied terrain (construction of the pipeline may cost somewhere up to $15 Billion, or slightly less if connected through already operating pipelines).

The Russia’s energy strategy towards Asia clearly mentions India as one of the important target countries along with Japan, China, and Korea. India is carefully taking note of Russia’s hydrocarbon vision, as now India wants to have a strong presence in Russia’s massive energy sector that can help ensure India’s vital energy security. All these indicate that both the nations can expand the cooperation in the energy sector too as they did in the defence sector. Amidst all these developments there is a hope that India-Russia energy cooperation will scale towards new heights.

via Energy cooperation between India and Russia: Policy and approach | Russia & India Report.

For too long, India has been dependent on a unstable Middle East for oil imports  |  Cartoon dated Sep  19  2012  titled Agitator  by Arend van Dam; source & courtesy -

For too long, India has been dependent on a unstable Middle East for oil imports | Cartoon dated Sep 19 2012 titled Agitator by Arend van Dam; source & courtesy –

In the meantime, Pakistan is seeing a conflict between US Army and Pakistani Army. Facing an unprecedented barrage of drone attacks from US, a ‘so-called’ ally, Pakistan’s civilian population is paying a heavy price.

Is the United States starting a low-intensity war against Pakistan? The signs look ominous. The relentless drone attacks through the recent months are destabilizing Pakistan’s tribal areas, especially the areas adjacent to the border with Afghanistan. The US’ excuse is that the drones are hunting down the militants belonging to the so-called Haqqani group. But they are causing a lot of civilian casualties so much so that the United Nations officials begin to wonder if these wanton killings would constitute ‘war crimes’.

Pakistan government keeps protesting to the US about the violation of its territorial integrity but the US ignores the demarches and continues with the drone attacks.

The US would know that the drone attacks do not provide the conducive setting for a normalization of the US-Pakistan relationship. Yet, it is not prepared to give up the drone attacks. There seems to a game plan to systematically destabilize the Waziristan area and to provoke the Pakistani military leadership.

Meanwhile, there has been a concerted attack by assorted militants of dubious backgrounds on Pakistani troops from across the border in Afghanistan. Exactly who they are or who are their mentors no one knows. In a cross-border strike on Monday, the militants used extremely brutal method to behead Pakistani soldiers. Evidently, they were making a point – showing their thumbs up at the Pakistani military leadership.

To add to the tensions, for the first time, the militants have publicly admitted that they do enjoy ‘safe haven’ on Afghan soil. This is something Pakistan has hinted at in recent period but it is now coming into the open. Again, they are taunting the Pakistani military leadership. The former US President George W. Bush would say, “Bring ‘em on!”

This is going to be a cat-and-mouse game. Pakistan is hunkering down and the US is losing patience. The decision in Washington seems to be to carry the war into Pakistani territory and incrementally inflict such unbearable losses that Pakistan finds it impossible to defy the US’ regional strategies.

Quite obviously, the US has concluded it has no alternatives but to step up the pressure and escalate tensions in a calibrated way. The US has been taken by surprise at Pakistan’s ‘strategic defiance’. The fact of the matter is that the present directions of Pakistani foreign policy hold the serious threat of undermining the US’ regional strategies with regard to permanent military presence in Central Asia, US’ containment strategy toward China (and Russia), projection of the NATO as a global security organization and of course the so-called New Silk Road Initiative.

The possibility that with Russian and/or Chinese participation, Pakistan might proceed with the Iran gas pipeline project infuriates the US to no end. Pakistan’s manifest enthusiasm for Russia’s participation in the TAPI [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India] gas pipeline project rubbishes the US’ expectations that American companies could secure lucrative energy contracts via involvement in the project. The US apprehends that during the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pakistan in September, the two countries may begin a qualitatively new level of relationship with major projects in the energy sector.

If that happens, the US’ containment strategy toward Iran also begins to unravel.

In sum, the US’ patience is wearing thin. The common wisdom in the international community, historically speaking, has been that the Pakistani elites with their comprador mentality might say a few hot words now and then but would ultimately be loyal foot soldiers of the US agenda. The basis of this supposition is that ultimately the class interests of the Pakistani elites would prevail as the crucial determinant of statecraft. Of course, the US has had to pick up the tab for the services rendered by Pakistan but that was only to be expected.

The US establishment has been attuned to this paradigm characteristic of the cold-war era. That is why the US establishment is shocked to see that the Pakistani elites (military leadership, in particular) are no longer what they were supposed to be – Washington’s hirelings serving the US’ global agenda.

Washington’s wrath will only increase in the coming months. We are witnessing the commencement of a US-inspired low-intensity war against Pakistan being waged by obscure militant groups based in ‘safe havens’ inside Afghanistan. Call it by whatever name one likes, but the project aims at breaking Pakistan’s strategic autonomy.

To be sure, Pakistan comprehends what is going on. But what are its policy options?

via “Bring ’em on!” – US tells Pakistan | Russia & India Report.

And guess what?

Indian paparazzi, chatteratti, twitteratti, bloggeratti, not to forget the literati, glitterati, were busy with ‘corruption-scandals’!

The Scientist Who Wasn’t A Spy

October 4, 2012 4 comments

Similar to the deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists, were the deaths of Indian nuclear scientists – Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai.

For long

It has been whispered for more than four decades now, that the deaths of Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha were not accidents or medical incidents.

These were assassinations.

More recently, in the 90’s as India was struggling with a rampant West and a Soviet Union on the verge of collapse, a ‘scandal’ hit the ISRO. To an India struggling to develop cryogenic technologies for advanced rocketeering, this was a big set back.

More than 15 years later, these ‘spy’ scientists have been exonerated – but India’s space program was slowed down.

They began their scientific careers as the two bright stars of India’s space research programme . Later, of course, APJ Abdul Kalam‘s and S Nambi Narayanan‘s lives would go on separate trajectories and their stories would read very differently.

Kalam, who was working on the solid propulsion system in the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), went on to become a much-loved President of India. S Nambi Narayanan, who was working on the liquid propulsion system — the technology was successfully used in many satellite missions — during the same period, was branded a spy and traitor, his brilliant scientific career dented forever even as he fought against an unjust system to prove his innocence.

Narayanan, along with six others, including his Isro colleague D Sasikumar, was arrested on November 30, 1994 on charges of espionage and for selling defence secrets to two Maldivian women, Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan.

He spent 50 days in jail after that and lived in anxiety and ignominy until the Supreme Court cleared him of the charges in 1998. But even after that he never got to work in the prestigious cryogenics field at ISRO.

“They framed me in a false case, perhaps to destroy India’s space research program which was moving at a fast pace,” he says in a soft voice, caressing his long, grey beard that shines in the morning sun.  “The state police pressured me to say that even the Isro top brass was involved,” says Narayanan.

The case was later taken over by the CBI which found no evidence, and said it was fabricated. This was later upheld by the Supreme Court. But it may not be closure yet for Narayanan as the identity of key players who fuelled the case still remains in the dark. Also, the question remains unanswered whether it was merely an unfortunate chain of events or if there was a larger game plan.

Narayanan, personally, believes in the role of some external agencies which wanted to halt India’s cryogenic space research programme. “We can now put the jigsaw puzzle together if we can look at what was happening internationally at that time as India was cutting into a billion dollar space industry poised to take off with its cryogenic engine research,” he says.

Police inspector Vijayan, who registered the first case against the two Maldivian women for overstaying, and the vernacular media which printed verbatim what the state police said, were perhaps minor characters in a larger international conspiracy.

India, by the early 1990s, had developed its own solid and liquid fuel and was able to put its satellites in orbits up to 800km. But the ultimate challenge was to develop a cryogenic engine that would propel heavy rockets with payloads of more than three tonnes to the geo-synchronous orbit, 36,000 km away from earth. These satellites would then provide accurate geo-spatial images of earth and would usher in a path-breaking revolution in telecommunication and media.

Cryogenics, the science of extreme low temperatures, has been a tricky one for rocket scientists across the world. “At stake was a 300 billon dollar space research and applications industry which was in the hands of five nations — the US, France, China, Russia, and Japan. Almost every major country wanted to put its own satellites in the orbit and they could do it only with the help of these five nations,” says J Rajashekaran Nair, who authored Spies from Space: The ISRO Frame-up .

In 1992, India signed an agreement with Russia for transfer of technology to develop cryogenic-based fuels. The agreement was signed for Rs 235 crore, when the US and France were offering the same technology for Rs 950 crore and Rs 650 crore respectively. “Documents show that US president George Bush (Sr) wrote to Russia, raising objections against this agreement and even threatening to blacklist the country from the select-five club,” Rajashekaran says. Russia, under Boris Yelstin, succumbed to the pressure and denied cryogenic technology to India.

To bypass this monopoly, India signed a new agreement with Russia to fabricate four cryogenic engines after floating a global tender without a formal transfer of technology.’ Isro had already reached a consensus with Kerala High Tech Industries Limited (Keltch) which would have provided the cheapest tender for fabricating engines . But this did not happen as the spy scandal surfaced in late 1994.

“If you look at the people who were arrested in the case, they were all connected in some way in developing or procuring the technology . We cannot rule out foul play by an external agency,” says Rajashekaran. The plot, says Narayanan, was to tarnish the image of a premier research institution.

“How could we have leaked out cryogenic missile technology when we did not even possess one? But what we lost in the process was years of hard work to revolutionise our space research, and the credibility and morale of our scientific community. And on a personal level, it ruined the lives of six families who were dragged into the case for no fault of theirs.”

via The scientist who wasn’t a spy – Times Of India.

Death of Bhabha

For decades now, there has been a speculation about the death of Homi Bhabha. To my mind, till today, these were ‘conspiracy’ theories – of a weak and poor nation, which probably saw ghosts under their beds.

Bhabha died in mysterious air crash near Mont Blanc in Swiss Alps, when Air India Flight 101, a scheduled Boeing 707 flight from Mumbai to New York, crashed on January 24th, 1966.

Officials investigated bombing that killed an Iranian scientist in January, 2010  |  Source:

Officials investigated bombing that killed an Iranian scientist in January, 2010 | Source:

The pilot did not report any problem with the aircraft, and was preparing to land at Geneva, when without any forewarning the plane crashed. All 106 passengers and 11 crew were killed.

A subsequent enquiry concluded that it was pilot error, who had miscalculated his position – and started descent for Geneva, while still in the mountains, only to crash in to the Swiss Alps.

Some other individuals concluded otherwise.

Two deaths in two weeks

Bhabha’s death was 15 days after Shastri died at Tashkent – again by mysterious heart attack.  Before that in 1955, in another Air-India crash, it was suspected that Chou En Lai was the intended victim.

Strangely, Vikram Sarabhai, also died in his sleep at Kovalam, even though he suffered from no signs of any heart disease. Before Pokhran in 1974, Nehru claimed from 1958 onwards, that India could produce a nuclear weapon in a few years time.

Game of Death – In Persia

In an attempt to delay the alleged Iranian development of nuclear weapons, top nuclear scientists from Iran have been assassinated.

In total, 5 Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed since 2007. Another has been wounded and one more has disappeared. In addition, the head of Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been killed and a deputy defence minister disappeared.

via Iran nuclear scientist dead: mysterious recent deaths and disappearances – Telegraph.

Iran claims that this is the handiwork of Israel and USA.

Iran says the attacks are part of a covert campaign by Israel and the West to sabotage its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies suspect is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

Iran has blamed Israel’s Mossad as well as the CIA and Britain’s MI6 for the assassinations, with support from some of Iran’s neighbors. The U.S. and Britain and denied involvement in the slayings. Israel has not commented.

The TV said closed circuit cameras in a Tehran street recorded one of the operations, providing clues for Iran’s intelligence agencies to identify and arrest the suspects.

One of the suspects, Behzad Abdoli, claimed that he received training in Israel, along with several others.

via Iran Scientist Assasinations: Confessions In Murder Of Nuclear Scientists Aired On State TV.

Not surprisingly, USA denies and Israel does not reject any involvement in these killings.

Like three previous Iranian scientists ambushed on their morning commute, the latest nuclear expert to die on his way to work was a victim of Israel’s Mossad, Western intelligence sources tell TIME. “Yeah, one more,” a senior Israeli official said with a smile. “I don’t feel sad for him.”

Wednesday’s attack followed the pattern of previous operations planned by Mossad and carried out over the past two years by Iranians trained and paid by Israel’s spy agency, according to intelligence sources. The targets were chosen from the ranks of scientists seen as crucial to Iran’s nuclear effort — the country’s top physicist, Majid Shahriari, was killed by a magnetized bomb in October 2010.

The similarities among the attacks were not lost on Iranian authorities, who immediately blamed both Israel and the U.S. for Wednesday’s attack. “The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists and is the work of the Zionists,” Tehran’s Deputy Governor Safar Ali Baratlou was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency.

Israel is officially silent on the incident. However, its top spokesman for the country’s military posted this on Facebook: “Don’t know who settled the score with the Iranian scientist, but for sure I am not shedding a tear.” The Obama Administration insisted it had nothing to do with the attack. “The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor declared. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her denial of U.S. involvement “categorical.”

The contrast in responses reflects the good-cop, bad-cop roles the allies have assumed in the international effort to dissuade Iran from pushing ahead with its nuclear program. While Washington leads the global effort to press economic sanctions on Tehran, Israeli leaders frequently make thinly veiled suggestions that it may not be able to restrain itself from launching military action on Iran; they also never bother to deny a leading role in covert efforts to slow the nuclear program. In addition to the assassination campaign, Western intelligence sources say Israel was responsible for the massive explosion at a missile base outside Tehran in November.

via Who Killed an Iranian Nuclear Expert? Israel Isn’t Telling – TIME.

Most analysts believe as do

A lot of western security experts will say that the Iranians have some justification in their suspicions, at least as far as Israel is concerned. Mossad is expert at carrying out assassinations abroad and Israel has most to lose from Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

How effective the assassinations have been remains unclear. Experts generally agree that the most effective covert strike was the deployment of the Stuxnet computer virus, which caused the uranium-enriching centrifuges at Natanz to spin out of control and then blow up. Stuxnet, probably developed in a joint mission by Israel, the United States and Britain, allegedly set back the Iranian nuclear programme by more than 12 months.

via Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist is a familiar story – Telegraph.


Team Anna Breaks Up. Anna, Kejriwal go separate ways: The Dance Of Lilliputs

September 20, 2012 1 comment

Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile an expanding State with decreasing corruption?

Will Harry Potter-Anna Hazare riding on a magic broomstick, wave a wand and corruption will disappear?  |  Cartoon by Manoj Kureel.

Will Harry Potter-Anna Hazare riding on a magic broomstick, wave a wand and corruption will disappear? | Cartoon by Manoj Kureel.

What can you do with anger, rage, fury?

Can empty rage fuel a revolution?

Not in India, at least. Ideologically empty movements like Arab Spring have little impact on a nation – except it replaces one mobster with another.

Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile an expanding State with decreasing corruption? Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile more police with less crime? Have these ‘corruption-fighters’ studied the global corruption scenario? Have these ‘corruption-fighters’ quantified sectors where it is rampant, has increased, and where it has decreased? Have they quantified the volume and value of corruption?

Even before the battle has been defined, there is strategy and tactics. The corruption issue in India is so deeply superficial, that it is a matter of greater concern than corruption itself.

Arvind Kejriwal’s former associate, member of Team Anna and now associate of Baba Ramdev, Devinder Sharma (thinks) the split is a victory for the Congress which always worked for it. He said the Congress also wanted them to form a party which would then eat into the Opposition votes and improve its own chances of victory.

He should go back to Anna and the movement as forming a party now would only help the Congress, says Sharma. He says that right from the beginning it was known that Anna was sympathetic to the Congress. But the Congress also maintained a hot line with Kejriwal, and tried all means to create differences in them, besides pushing them away from Baba Ramdev, says Sharma.

He says that when the five Congress ministers came to receive Baba Ramdev at the airport and held talks at Claridges hotel, one of the demands made by Kapil Sibal was that Anna Hazare should not be allowed to come to the Baba’s stage. “If Baba comes talks fail, Sibal told us,’’ says Sharma. “The very next day Arvind Kejriwal gave a list of conditions for us if we wanted Anna to share stage with the Baba. ‘’

Kapil Sibal also told us that he was talking to Arvind every day. This was confirmed later by Arvind to me, says Sharma.

Again in December when the crowds were thin in Mumbai, Baba offered to come and join the protests but Arvind did not allow it. While first it was Sibal who was doing the manipulation, later it was Sandeep Dixit who was in touch with Arvind followed by Yogendra Yadav. “You need time to build a party. If they form a party now, they would help the Congress which is what they want,’’ says Sharma.

Yogendra Yadav political analyst and now member of the political alternative being formed by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan said a new party by them need not necessarily help the Congress. He said that the exit of Anna Hazare from a future political option is a set back. But at the same time it opens up new opportunities, he said.

via Anna, Kejriwal enacted a Cong script, says former associate.

After splitting with his team, Anna Hazare on Wednesday night had a hush-hush meeting with yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

The surprise meeting was held in a house in posh Golf Links of Delhi in which former Army Chief Gen V K Singh is believed to have been present.

The meeting came soon after Hazare had a tumultuous meeting with his team over turning the anti-corruption movement taking a political plunge.Pramod Joshi, a spokesperson for Ramdev, confirmed the meeting but said he was not aware of what was discussed in the meeting.

There was also no confirmation about Singh’s presence in the meeting.

Hazare had earlier skipped the protest organised by Ramdev last month.

via Post split with Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare meets Baba Ramdev : North, News – India Today.

Have the  'corruption-fighters' studied the issue seriously?  |  Cartoon by Yusuf.

Have the ‘corruption-fighters’ studied the issue seriously? | Cartoon by Yusuf.

What can we do with corruption?

Corruption is the handmaiden of democratically managed Welfare State – a model imported by India, from the West. Silly protests or one more quasi-judicial body will probably add another layer of corruption at worst – or check corruption at the very best.

The same media that inflated Anna to Gandhiji’s level now blames

‘a large section of India’s middle class believed that the Anna-Kejriwal combine had miraculously created the magic potion that would, in one fell swoop, rid India of one of the biggest ills plaguing the country.’

Unlike 2ndlook. While 2ndlook was clear on the expectations from Anna, there was also understanding that Anna Movement was ideologically empty.

But Anna had crowds?

What of the crowds that supported Anna movement and hunger strike?

If RSS was indeed behind the Anna Movement, like the RSS has claimed – and Anna disclaimed, I am afraid.

It is worth remembering that RSS also supported JP’s movement  that had the Janata Party as the electoral lead. RSS supported Janata Party, led by an ex-Congress leader Morarji Desai at its head, who had a credible allegation of being in CIA pay.

The split between veteran anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and his one-time man Friday – Arvind Kejriwal – was engineered by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), sources told Headlines Today on Thursday.Sources said that it was emissaries of the RSS and Hazare’s close aides who convinced the Gandhian against Kejriwal and facilitated the split.

Revealing the inside story, sources told Headlines Today that RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav was assigned the task of effecting the split, while industrialist Sitaram Jindal was tasked with facilitating communication between the saffron organisation’s top leadership and Hazare. Reportedly, Jindal made multiple trips to the crusader’s native place, Ralegan Siddhi, over the last fortnight.

Sources said that Jindal convinced Hazare’s old aides against Kejriwal’s political party. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and spiritual leader and Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, who are considered close to Hazare, also played a significant role. They were aided at every step by Kiran Bedi and former Army Chief General V.K. Singh.

Once Hazare made the split official last night, he left for Jindal’s farmhouse around 8.45 P.M. He then moved to Golf Links for a secret strategy session. Ramdev joined the meeting later even as Jindal, Gen Singh and Bedi remained in a huddle for over 30 minutes.

According to sources, Bedi has been promised chief ministership of Delhi and Gen Singh a BJP ticket from Bhiwani Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana.

via Is Anna Hazare the Sangh Parivar’s new mask? : India, News – India Today.

So full of himself

Anna’s assessment of his own value is breath-taking.

Announcing his break with Kejriwal, he warned, चुनाव के टाइम पर मैं प्रचार करने के लिये नही जाऊंगा. इतना ही नही, मेरी फोटू नही यूज़ करना, मेरा नाम नही यूज़ करना. आपके हिम्मत पर जो कुछ करना है कर लो. (In effect he is saying,  Do what you can, without me, my name, my photos or my campaigning.). See video below.

Did someone tell Anna-bhau that his work was not about his photu, his name or his silly speeches – but about corruption?

Anna is such a ideological deadbeat!

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