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Team Anna: Are they ready to campaign across 400 constituencies in 700 days

August 2, 2012 9 comments

Between a decrepit Congress and a paralysed BJP, we need an alternative. Anna can have my vote if he gives that choice.

Can Anna take on these entrenched forces? It has been done before.  |  Cartoon by Kureel on October 22, 2011; source & courtesy - iacpune.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

Can Anna take on these entrenched forces? It has been done before. | Cartoon by Kureel on October 22, 2011; source & courtesy – iacpune.blogspot.in | Click for image.

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has finally said that he is ready to give a political alternative to the country. Making the announcement at Jantar Mantar on Thursday, Anna has asked public for ideas on a political roadmap.

Making the announcement, Anna said, “Political alternative will be found, we will travel across the country for the next two years.”

Talking about the funds required for the purpose, Anna said that it was yet to be figured out.

He said, “We will have to see where the funds will come from in case we plan to give a political alternative.”

Anna, however, clarified that he was not willing to contest an election. He said, “I will not enter politics. Choosing the right candidate is important. Candidates will be scanned. Need to have the spirit of service, must be patriotic, and non corrupt.”

Following the announcement by the veteran social activist, Kejriwal addressed the gathering at Jantar Mantar saying the country needs people’s alternative to the government.

“Our movement is for the change of system and not change of government. Our movement is for decentralisation of power, power in the hands of the common man, power to people,” said Kejriwal.

Hitting out at the government for not accepting the demands of Team Anna, Kejriwal said the government was not willing to pass the Lokpal Bill.

He said, “This government is deaf and mute. They do not want to pass the Lokpal Bill. All parties are corrupt.”

However, Team Anna defended the decision with key member and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan saying that the only option left with them is to bring revolution.

“When the government is showing arrogance of power, the only option left is to bring revolution,” he said.

Bhushan further said, “Existing political parties are corrupt beyond repair, so we need an alternative politics.”

The decision by Team Anna came after around 22 eminent citizens, including former army chief V K Singh, appealed them to end their fast.

via Team Anna ready for a political role, to end fast on Friday – Politics – Politics News – ibnlive.

Democracy is not like…

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra – where kings ruling small kingdoms, without

  • A standing army
  • Many ministers
  • Large treasuries and bureaucracy
  • Prisons, courts and police
  • A Parliament

were able to create the most industrialized society for the last 2000 years – till we had the ‘glorious’ British Raj.

Promise and performance are two different things. To me winning a majority is performance. | TN Ninan cartoon on 20 Apr 2011 in Pune Mirror | Click for image.

Promise and performance are two different things. To me winning a majority is performance. | TN Ninan cartoon on 20 Apr 2011 in Pune Mirror | Click for image.

Cut out the glib talk

Democracy usually means:

1. Single Party democracies like China and Communist Russia – where lakhs of Party members choose leaders from among themselves.

2. Two-Party democracies like America, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany Japan, etc where leaders are chosen from thousands of leaders that belong to one of the two political parties. Using complex mechanisms, more than two parties are usually not allowed to survive or win elections in these two-party democracies.

3. Multi-party democracies – India is the closest that has come to this system. With Congress and BJP in shambles, we need a good Third alternative.

After Indira Gandhi in 1980, no one has gained an electoral majority in India for the last 30 years.

You can have my vote

If Anna can change that, he can have my vote.

Between a bad government by the Left in Bengal and a bad government by Mamata Banerjee, I will give Mamata Banerjee a chance.

How much harm can she do? Compared to the Left?

Similarly, compared to a bad governance by Mulayam Singh /Akhilesh Singh Yadav or Mayawati, I will choose Mayawati.

On the other hand, stellar performers like Nitesh Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu can get my vote anytime – based on a positive agenda.

Any day of the week.

Will Anna be able to change the rules of the game?  |  Cartoon by Manjul on July 31, 2011; source and courtesy - manjul.com  |  Click for image.

Will Anna be able to change the rules of the game? | Cartoon by Manjul on July 31, 2011; source and courtesy – manjul.com | Click for image.

700 days

Two years of hard work can win you an election.

NTR Rama Rao came from nowhere and trounced Indira Gandhi’s party twice – in Andhra Pradesh. YS Rajasekhara Reddy turned around the Congress in AP based on his two-year padayatra.

NTR’s Chaitanya-ratham morphed on the national scene as LK Advani’s rath-yatra. This rath-yatra re-floated the sunk-ship of BJP into an electoral victory – and a party of national standing.

So, Anna go for it

I know you have no agenda. I also know that you are very disparate lot – with Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal pulling in 75 degrees of each other.

You have some 700 days to contact important 400 parliamentary constituencies. It is a lot of work. If you do 2 years of mass contact work…

But you can do it. Eat well. No more fasts. Sleep well.

And give us a parliamentary majority.

PS

psst … like Rahim said many centuries ago

बिगरी बात बने नहीं, लाख करो किन कोय।
रहिमन बिगरे दूध को, मथे न माखन होय॥6॥

अर्थ: जब बात बिगड़ जाती है तो किसी के लाख कोशिश करने पर भी बनती नहीं है। उसी तरह जैसे कि फटे हुए दूध को मथने से मक्खन नहीं निकलता।

This Lok Pal is a silly idea.

One more policeman will not change anything. This system is broken – and it can’t be fixed.

Go the भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra way.


 

Anna dictates to Indian Polity – & the Voter

December 17, 2011 1 comment

When a lightweight like Anna Hazare starts dictating terms to Indian polity, the issue is no longer the Indian Parliament. It is the irrelevance of current political leadership.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology |  Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology | Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

The Great Disconnect

No Indian political party has won a majority in the last 30 years based on merit. Not after Indira Gandhi’s win in 1980.

This is all the more remarkable as it takes just 15 crore votes to win a majority. From more than 70 crore voters. The size of the electorate in the last two elections has grown to 71.4 crore eligible voters (2009), up 6.4% (4.33 crore) from 2004. The number of votes polled increased to 41.72 crores against 38.75 crores in 2004.

Voting percentages have come down by 25% – from nearly 80% in 1960’s to around 55% now. Though improbable, lower voter turnouts could also be due to the better enrollment – compared to previous elections. Does this mean a disconnect between Indian leadership and Indian voters?

Or more ominously, between the political system and its users.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India.  |  Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India. | Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

Featherweight Champ

In such a vacuum, a light-weight like Anna Hazare has become the ‘conscience’ of India.

Anna Hazare’s empty idea of using super-policemen, raises an important question.

Who will guard the guards?

Anna Hazare has camouflaged his Talibanic idea of punishment, prisons, flogging by using Indian props like anshan (fasting) and satyagraha (protests).

And using a huge poster of Gandhiji as backdrop.

Going in … or coming in?

An Indian political analyst, draws interesting parallels between JP’s movement of the 70s and Anna’s protests now (highlights extracted below).

Similarities apart, there are big differences, too.

For one, JP’s movement was rooted in a stagnant Indian economy, recovering slowly from the depredations of the British Raj – unlike India of today, which is a more robust economy. Without contest or argument.

For another Indira Gandhi dominated Indian politics – like no one does today. BJP and Congress are at parity today – unlike in the 70’s. In fact, at the State level, BJP is today a stronger party than the Congress.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan  |  Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan | Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

JP, as a leader cut his teeth against the British Raj – and steeped in the development of Indian polity and power systems. Unlike Anna Hazare, who is greenhorn. Ideologically or otherwise.

And that is one thing that puzzles me.

Why is a politically strong party like BJP, trying to find shade under Hazare’s banner?

Now for the similarities.

Anyone watching the one day fast of Anna Hazare on Sunday would have been struck by the image of him sitting on the dais with prominent politicians around, as if he was holding a darbar.

Flanking him, on either side, were two senior politicians from polar opposite ends of the ideological spectrum: Arun Jaitley of the BJP on his left and Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) on his right. Other politicians, such as Sharad Yadav, A.B. Bardhan, Yerran Naidu all became just supporting cast in this theatre.

Some of those who have long memories about the Indian political scene, however, will not be particularly shocked, or even surprised. We have been here before. In 1977, after the lifting of the Emergency, both enthusiastically joined the campaigning against Indira Gandhi. The CPI(M) never formally merged with the Janata Party, but were willing followers of Jayaprakash Narayan, who was the mentor and guide of the Opposition.

Indira Gandhi’s suspension of democratic and fundamental rights for a year and a half had traumatised the country and when the elections were announced, all that suppressed antipathy burst forth. The people were not so much supporting the newly formed Janata Party but opposing her and her son. Jayaprakash Narayan, with his saintly image of being above mere party politics, emerged as the spearhead of the anti-Congress movement and helped form the Janata Party, consisting of socialists, Jan Sanghis and disgruntled Congressmen. The CPI(M) had a lot of misgivings about both JP and the Janata Party, but such was its hatred of Indira Gandhi that it went along.

That Opposition unity did not last long — the inner contradictions were just too powerful — and the Janata Party government collapsed two years later, paving the way for the eventual return of Indira Gandhi. But the concept of the joint, anti-Congress opposition had taken root.

Exactly 10 years later, the CPI(M) and the BJP got together again. They formed the two crutches of support to V.P. Singh who had walked out of the Congress. His agenda was also corruption-related, since the Rajiv Gandhi government was being accused of receiving kickbacks in a defence deal. In his rallies, he used to pull out a piece of paper and proclaim that he had the number of Rajiv Gandhi’s secret Swiss account where the kickbacks were deposited. The gimmick worked with the crowds, but when it came to voting, Singh’s Janata Dal got only 143 seats compared to the Congress’ 197. Rajiv Gandhi declined to form the government and with the help of the BJP (85) and the CPI(M) (33) and others, Singh became the Prime Minister. His government too fell after a year.

In both the above cases, the central anti-Congress figure — JP and Singh — had a few things in common. Both appeared Gandhian, in their demeanour and body language. Both were regarded as clean and both were seen as uninterested in political office and the loaves and fishes that come with it. JP had never contested an election and Singh, though a politician, managed to carve out an aura as being above the common fray. Indeed, soon after he was invited to form the government, when the Janata Dal met in the Central Hall of Parliament, he proposed the name of Devi Lal as the Prime Minister. India loves those who spurn power — they may harbour ambitions, but these ambitions should never be publicly aired. Singh became the hero of the moment.

Mr Hazare, too, fits that mould. He is a social worker who appears to have “Gandhian” traits — simplicity, no apparent lust for power, a willingness to fast etc. He has never stood for elections. He speaks in moral aphorism. The optics are also Gandhi-like: see him sitting at Rajghat, alone in his struggle. It is made for television. Never mind if he proposes public flogging of those who drink alcohol or is prone to the occasional gaffes; his followers don’t care. It is also quite possible they agree with him and his worldview wholeheartedly.

The fragmented Opposition, which finds it difficult to stick together and take on a government even as incompetent as this, has latched to him as not merely a mascot but also the man who will show the way. The BJP has not been able to put the UPA on the mat, but it has the cadre and the organisation skills; the CPI(M) is shaken by the drubbing it got but it has workers. Mr Hazare suits them both.

Who can forget BJP president Nitin Gadkari asking Mr Hazare to lead so that his party can follow? There is a good chance that some of the smaller parties, such as the Janata Dal (United), Telugu Desam Party and even the Akalis have misgivings about him and his programme, but for the moment they are keeping their counsel. Sunday’s event was a good opportunity for them to come and attack the Congress and they jumped at it. It was like a pre-election rally, with Mr Hazare too going for Manmohan Singh’s jugular. Janata Party, Janata Dal, Jan Lokpal Bill; the broader agenda remains the same.

Major state elections are to be held in the coming year and soon after that preparations for the general election will begin. (via Everyone’s invited to Anna theatre | The Asian Age).


2ndlook posts

External posts

Black Box Mamta

May 14, 2011 1 comment
Will Mamata didi also behave like this? (Cartoon by - by Abhishek Tiwari; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click for larger image.

Will Mamata didi also behave like this? (Cartoon by - by Abhishek Tiwari; courtesy - toonpool.com). Click for larger image.

Lone woman standing

Mamata Banerjee, an ex-Congressi, split from the Congress  over strategy on how to defeat the CPI-M. Friendless for sometime, without any patron or godfather, she ploughed a lonely furrow.

Till an alliance with the BJP gave her impetus – and political standing. A split with the BJP and an alliance with the Congress put the wind in her sails.

India's oligarchs are a significant threat in the Mamta program. (Image courtesy - economictimes.com). Click for larger image.

India's oligarchs are a significant threat in the Mamata program. (Image courtesy - economictimes.com). Click for larger image.

Blackbox

Her policies and programmes are a black box – and may not make a big difference. Mamta Banerjee has broken the Communist hold over West Bengal – which is an unalloyed plus for West Bengal.

Red Flag

India’s emerging oligarchs who are in control of crucial parts of the economy – and the political support they get, are possibly the biggest problem. With Amit Mitra, earlier of the FICCI (a business union for lobbying) as her ‘finance’ brains and consultant, a backdoor entry by the oligarchs is a distinct danger in Mamata’s  poribortan.

Will BJP revive the Population Control dogma?

September 1, 2010 14 comments
Old lies have become the New Truth! Population Control, Climate Change - Frauds!

Old lies have become the New Truth! Population Control, Climate Change - Frauds!

Great successes in Population planning

The Romani Gypsies, Sinti have been a favored European target for Population Planning in the last 500 years . By the Vatican, by the Protestant Church, by monarchies and by Republican Governments. In war and and in peace. Pakistan is another great success in Population Planning for Hindus. There are hardly any Hindus left in Pakistan.

Vatican does not want to be left behind in Population Planning. There are few Protestants in Catholic France, Spain, etc. America’s undertook a mission to implement Population Planning for ‘Red’ Indians. Hardly any ‘Red’ Indians are left. Australia is is the envy of the world in Population Planning for aborigines. There are so few aborigines left. Hitler was a great believer in Population Planning. He said, “Let us start with Jews first!” Hitler, Australia, America, Vatican, Pakistan – Population Planning Champions.

Now India also wants to join this Elite Champions Club of Population Planning. In India it is called Family Planning for the Poor.

Ideological frauds of 20th century

Before the Climate Change Scam, the West had pressured the world to accept the Population Control Fraud. Under various names and disguises, this theory has been time and again been reborn. After Sanjay Gandhi and the Emergency, it had become unfashionable to talk of Family Planning anymore in India.

In the last few months, BJP has taken off from where the Congress abandoned this rather flagrant fraud. A few days ago we had Shivraj Chauhan extolling Sanjay Gandhi and Family Planning.

Speaking at a function, Chouhan said, “After the Emergency the leaders abandoned population control completely. One remembers Sanjay Gandhi in these times. The programme that he started is praise-worthy”.

He also admitted that malnutrition was a big problem in Madhya Pradesh.

It appears that efforts made to control malnutrition in the past did not meet desired success, he said.Before malnutrition is contained steps should be taken to stabilize family planning methods in the state, he added. (via MP CM lauds Sanjay Gandhi’s sterilisation drive).

Earlier, in March while

Expressing concern over rising population, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the state would observe year 2010-11 as a ‘family planning year’.

“Population stabilisation is necessary for ensuring development and therefore the issue will be included in the ‘Madhya Pradesh Banao’ campaign, Chouhan said, while awarding 22 couples under Prerna Yojana at his residence yesterday.

Yet another BJP Chief Minister, in Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa, fresh from his China visit threatened the people of Karnataka. From the floor of the Karnataka Legislature, Yeddyurappa thundered, “limit two children per couple and those who fail to adhere to this norm lose all government benefits”.

Venkaih Naidu, the past-BJP President weighed into the debate supporting Yeddyurappa and Shivraj Chauhan. Naidu said, “Population control is not a religious issue. It’s a social issue for the entire country”.

Famous last words?

I hope so!

Human beings are such a pain! We should do something about people!

Human beings are such a pain! We should do something about people!

Saffron Terror – What must Muslim response be!

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment
Many essential issues get sidetracked into the political noise! Cartoon by Shreya Navare.

Many essential issues get sidetracked into the political noise! Cartoon by Shreya Navare.

From various news reports

Home Minister, P.Chidambaram (PC) raked up a ‘storm’ by terming some bomb blasts as ‘saffron terror while addressing a national level conference of conference of DGPs on Wednesday. “There is the recently uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism that has been implicated in many bomb blasts” Chidambaram said.

“Terrorism cannot be attached to any religion,” Rudy said, of the BJP. Immediately, the Congress General Secretary and media department chief told reporters and the controversy has erupted because of a word.

“As far as saffron or bhagwa or kesariya (other words for saffron) it was not not an issue then. The issue was terrorism. Terrorism does not not have colour. Terrorism has only one colour and it  is black.

“Whatever colour terrorism may be associated with. whatever you call it saffron, green, white or  red can you associate it with one colour,” he asked. (more news reports linked below).

Caricature of caricatures! (Cartoon by TN Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com).

Caricature of caricatures! (Cartoon by TN Ninan; courtesy - indiatimes.com).

Equating religions

Why is it that I am surprised by Muslim silence on ‘Hindu’ terror! I expected Muslims to explode in anger! After all, the idea of ‘Hindu’ terror implies that just like ‘Muslim’ terror there is also ‘Hindu’ terror.

Now people are not really quite lining up to believe in Chidambaram’s theory of ‘Hindu’ terror. But, it leaves the lame concept of ‘Muslim’ terror intact and standing.

As this charade of ‘Hindu’ terror winds its way to a stale end-game, the apparent perceptual ‘validity’ of ‘Muslim’ terror will become stronger.

And that is why Muslims particularly should be concerned – and not satisfied with this ‘saffron’ terror game.

How ‘saffron terror’ will be used against the Muslims

The trick of ‘Hindu terror’ is so well-executed, its simplicity breath-taking, that one no longer knows who the villain of the piece is.

The ‘centrist’, secular democratic Kawngress who is persecuting these Hindu terrorists? Instead would you like to paint the desi-version of Christian Democrats of India (Bhajpaa) as the villain of the piece? Or the Leftist-Socialist-Communists (Vaampanthis) who are cheer-leading this ‘game’ in their skimpy ideological bikinis.

Cartoon by Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - blogs.outlookindia.com;  Jul 24, 2010 15.27 IST)

Cartoon by Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - blogs.outlookindia.com; Jul 24, 2010 15.27 IST)

It is counter-intuitive but the battle against ‘Hindu’ terror is the one that Muslims   must fight! That may about be the only way to kill this malformed idea of Islamic terror.

At least, in India.

Related news posts

Can Rahul Gandhi deliver for the Congress?

August 30, 2010 13 comments

The Nehru-Gandhi ‘dynasty’ has not connected to India in the last 40 years after India Gandhi – and it is not for lack of trying.

Rahul Gandhi's image management. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan;

Rahul Gandhi's image management. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan;

Does nurture work?

For a few years now, Rahul Gandhi’s political persona is being crafted in New Delhi. There is clear and conscious design behind this.

The trips to UP, a politically important state, the selective engagement with the Government, the complete lack of involvement with the Government are new ideas in political nurturing.

This लोक सेवा ‘lok seva’ and ‘power I dont want’ stance is being projected extensively.

Rules of the game

MJ Akbar captures this surreal political atmosphere in his recent post

Rahul Gandhi in the Hindi heart-belt. Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; cartoon courtesy http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

Rahul Gandhi in the Hindi heart-belt. Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; cartoon courtesy http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

It is axiomatic that a largely impoverished nation needs a political party that the poor can identify with. The Congress has set out to be the party of the poor in daytime, and of the rich at night. Its sunlight politics will fetch votes, its twilight policies will enable it to govern. This is an extremely clever act whose opening scenes are being played out for a new generation that is vague about Indira Gandhi and amnesiac about Nehru. The hero of this drama must have the charisma to dazzle the poor and the flexibility to keep the rich onside. That is the challenge before Rahul Gandhi. His avowed role is to be the guardian of the poor in Delhi, which means that the poor need protection from Delhi. He is at home with the elite in the in the evening and is now making the effort to capture the sunshine hours. (via Crown prince Rahul cannily turns left : India : M J Akbar : TOI Blogs).

Rahul Gandhi's image management. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; 2009 May 08	in The Times Of India Bengaluru  |  Click for larger image.

Rahul Gandhi's image management. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; 2009 May 08 in The Times Of India Bengaluru | Click for larger image.

The political apprenticeship of Rajiv Gandhi needed Indira’s Gandhi’s assassination to win an election. After that one singular victory, Rajiv was electorally ineffective and politically insignificant. Before Rajiv, his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi could not take on the Nehru mantle as his mother had done. Priyanka Vadra’s attempts at politics did not get the electoral traction that the Congress needed to win an election.

Rahul needs BJP’s help

If Rahul Gandhi succeeds, the single biggest reason may well be the BJP. Headless and clueless, BJP out of power, is a shell of BJP before coming into power.

Losing power can do some strange things to people.


Trinamool storms to power in Kolkata civic polls

June 2, 2010 1 comment
Mamata's supporters in mamata with Mamata (Picture courtesy - The Hindu)

Mamata's supporters in mamata with Mamata (Picture courtesy - The Hindu)

The Trinamool Congress, which had already won two-thirds majority in the 141-member KMC, will not need the support of the Congress to rule Kolkata where her party has already captured 94 of the 135 wards the results of which were available. (via Trinamool storms to power in Kolkata civic polls – Economy and Politics – livemint.com).

Decline of the Bengal’s economy

From a prime business centre till the 1960’s West Bengal stagnated during the last 30 years of Communist rule. Rampant storm-troopers kept political opposition at bay. Voters were ‘kept’ in line. Trade Unions suppressed businesses till there was no industry left in West Bengal.

 Members of the Chinese community display their voter identity cards during the Municipal elections. (Photo: PTI; Courtesy - The Hindu)

Members of the Chinese community display their voter identity cards during the Municipal elections. (Photo: PTI; Courtesy - The Hindu)

Mamata Banerji’s biggest symbol of success was reversal of the Tata Nano project – where prime agricultural land was forcibly acquired by the state – for ‘progress.’ Mamata’s detractors alleged that Tata Nano’s automobile competitors were behind the Mamata campaign.

Lone woman standing

Mamata’s, an ex-Congressi, split from the Congress  over strategy on how to defeat the CPIM. Friendless for sometime, without any patron or godfather, she ploughed a lonely furrow.

Till an alliance with the BJP gave her impetus – and political standing. A split with the BJP and an alliance with the Congress put wind in her sails.

A victorious Mamata! (Picture courtesy - Outlook magazine).

A victorious Mamata! (Picture courtesy - Outlook magazine).

Blackbox

Her policies and programmes are a bit of a black box – and may not make a big difference. Hopefully, it will break the Communist hold over West Bengal – which is an unalloyed plus for West Bengal.

Related reports

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