Sunday, March 25, 2012
The party needs to understand that action should be taken against those who didn’t perform otherwise complacency will set in. And it is the grassroots worker who will pay the price.
A senior Congress Minister in Uttar Pradesh last week said that since there was no cadre in the State, the party lost. My question — who did he expect to make the cadre? He then went on to say that it was the High Command’s fault. There was nothing that I could say except feel sorry for the Congress. Moreso, for the grassroots worker, because he is totally dependent on leaders who have no backbone, charisma and are unaware of the ground reality. It is time that such leaders came down from their high horse, otherwise the public will do it for them.
Most of the leaders in UP are Rahul Gandhi’s right-hand-men who hold plump ministries. Many monetary benefits along with reservations and sops were announced for the Assembly elections in the State just before the polls. Congress office bearers and MLAs’ were supposedly working hard. Then why were efforts not made to ensure that what transpired in Bihar was not repeated?
No action was taken against any person when the Congress lost in Bihar. No action has been taken in Uttar Pradesh as well. If no one is held responsible, complacency sets in. But then, it is not the leaders who suffer, it is the grassroots level worker who has to pay the price. His advise is never taken into account and people who join from other parties are given plump positions. This makes the grassroots worker lose faith in the High Command. In most cases he shifts his loyalty. That is how one loses a good worker.
Seventy five per cent of the candidates lost their deposits in UP. Instead of doling out sops, the Congress should revamp the AICC and focus on empowerment. They should also start living permanently in their constituencies and visit Delhi whenever there is work. And as for the Assembly elections, the Congress should have made sure that the general secretary incharge, the PCC president and the Congress president were informed about the lack of cadre in the State. It is sad that no developmental work was done in the constituencies.
The Congress leaders in the Capital, even after the dismal performance in five States, refused to acknowledge the fact that infighting is very common in the party. They don’t understand that appointing one person who will be held responsible is better than having 10 leaders. What is the harm if he becomes a dictator. At least he will deliver like Nitish Kumar in Bihar and Narendra Modi in Gujarat.
Gone are the days when a leader’s personal charisma worked. Accountability, performance and deliverance is what gets votes. A new breed of voter has come up. They don’t remember former Prime Minster, late Indira Gandhi or former Prime Minister, late Rajiv Gandhi. Today, there is competition between Rahul and other regional youth leaders. These young leaders are grounded and don’t have a larger than life image. They have not become complacent like the Congress or the BJP. They have the hunger and drive to reach the top and they don’t take the voter for granted.
It is shocking that the Congress, in UP, didn’t think that their Union Ministers needed to campaign. The result — the voter rejected the candidates. Sycophancy is eating up the Congress. State leaders are given importance over the grassroots worker, this is really a shame.
The Congress needs to give the revamp of the party to people who are masters at it and give them a free hand on how to handle ticket distribution. Then one will see the difference. The common man will not tolerate non-deliverance, corruption or negative campaign. They will reward development, a non-corrupt Government, accessibility and transparency.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Rahul Gandhi needs to understand that the grassroot worker is loyal, proud and hardworking. Taking him out of the equation will not win votes for the party.
Congress’ debacle in five State elections doesn’t come as a shock to the grassroots workers of the party. They had their apprehensions when the tickets were distributed by leaders in Delhi. The party’s general secretary and other top Congress office-bearers who were incharge of elections should resign immediately. Heads have to roll to set an example for the future. Central Ministers who could not win in their area should resign too. Leaders need to realise that the public will not vote if the party has not kept its promise.
It is time for reality check. A senior leader from Punjab had predicted the outcome after looking at the how the tickets were distributed. In UP, the arrogance of the Congress leaders and the negative campaign led to the party’s defeat. Blaming others, showing aggression, making contradictory statements and addressing paid rallies obviously did not yield the necessary results. The leaders who are always around the Gandhi family did not give them the true picture.
Sycophancy is part of politics but in the Congress it exists at all levels. A grassroots worker is ignored by leaders. One wonders if the English-speaking leaders, who sit pretty in Delhi, are taken seriously.
There are stories how these people are blackmailed by State leaders who tell them how close they are to the High Command. The insecure leaders in Delhi, who have no idea on how things work, make life extremely difficult for competent and hardworking grounded leaders.
The end result is that the Congress is becoming hollow. I am told that many grassroots workers are very happy with the party’s disastrous results. They hope that this will open the eyes of the leaders. After all, the Congress now gives more importance to the likes of Beni Prasad and people who join it from regional parties.
This move may force the loyal partyworker to leave the party. The grassroot level worker feels humiliated. Ministers, MLAS and partymen from States have to wait for months for appointment. Only a select few get an audience. Even the youth elections were a flop.
If the Centre does not approve the person elected, the election is null and void. This irks the worker. Every State has at least 10 such leaders. They are mere creations of the High Command. This creates a rift and the leaders at the Centre take advantage of the situation. But the days of divided and rule have gone.
And so have the days when the partymen used to talk warmly about former Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi, or the charisma of the late Indira Gandhi. In those days, everyone was given an audience. Decisions were not based on feedback from one or two people but from various quarters. Today, sons and wives become leaders overnight and money is what makes the world goes round.
The High Command needs to understand that a real worker is proud, harworking and wins on his merit.
Genuineness with the right attitude and pleasantness matters and will win votes.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Road accidents in Delhi are on the rise. The blame for this fatal increase goes to the parents who spoil their children by giving them expensive super fast cars.
Last week, I lost a dear friend who was travelling with five others in a road accident in south Delhi. Two days prior to this accident, my son-in-law lost his friend. In another accident, a family friend’s relative died. And then there are newspaper reports one reads every other day where a person dies in a road accident. Driving in the Capital has become a nightmare. Even if you are in the right, the same can’t be guaranteed about the other drivers. One wonders what is wrong with the traffic rules, control and the drivers today?
In the last couple of months, I have heard of many youngsters who have died in accidents. Parents are scared when their children go out for a party in the evening. Even if your child is not under the influence of alcohol how does you ensure that the other driver is driving carefully. Nightlife in Delhi is full of fun and teenagers are seen visiting clubs where parties are in full swing.
But to be a part of the party gang one needs money. So, where do these children, who are still in college or school, get the money from. Most of them are seen carrying expensive mobiles and drive expensive fast cars which are not meant for Delhi roads. The kind of lifestyle they lead is beyond the imagination of an average person. I believe that it is the parents who indulge their children.
By giving them such expensive gifts, the parents are not only spoiling their children but also the society. What is more amazing is how these youngsters dress. Their one T-shirt is more expensive than aam admi’s entire month’s salary. I want to know what these parents get from ruining the future of their children? It is a shame that in order to make up for the time they can’t give, parents shower them with gifts.
Today’s mothers, especially the nouveau riche, obviously do not need to work but they don’t give time to their children because they are busy with kitty parties, card parties, shopping, going to beauty parlours because they have to attend a dinner at night. For them, money is more important. Values, etiquette and culture have no meaning for them. For such parents lack of time spent with children is compensated with expensive gifts to reduce the guilt factor.
Governesses and nannies are hired to shower the children with love and affection which they can’t give because of time constraint. Schools are chosen on comfort level rather than academic results. There is an old saying: Spare the rod, spoil the child. This can only be done by parents who are not guilty of neglect towards the children.
I think the laws should be stricter on club timings and driving regulations. Fine should not be the only punishment. Those who cause accident due to negligent driving, need to be imprisoned immediately. Children should be taught how to be responsible citizens in school. May be then the children would tell their parents that they don’t need expensive gifts. There should be a check on corrupt cops who let the errant drivers go scot-free.
The cops needs to ensure that the roads in the Capital are safe and innocent lives are not lost.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is in her 13th year of power. Despite many controversies, fact is that she has done a lot work for the Capital.
Last week, driving through a busy South Delhi road I noticed many hoardings praising the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. Though the hoardings of politicians and the work done by them is nothing new in the Capital, it is the aam aadmi who is tired of this propaganda.This doesn’t mean that Dikshit has not done any work in Delhi. As she completes her 13th year in power, one can see the changes that have taken place. Even an outsider who is coming to Delhi, after a gap of five years, is spellbound by the changes — the city can now be compared to any foreign city. Almost all roads have street lights, they are wide, clean and have sign boards to give directions.The BRT which created a huge controversy when it was being built and the months that followed has become a boon for the common man. It is another matter that the rich in their swanky cars get caught in the traffic jam, the aam aadmi traveling in buses just zooms past in green, orange and red DTC buses.Gone are the days of the blueline and redline buses which used to kill innocent people standing at the roadside on a daily basis. Though not many would agree with me, but this move by Dikshit has ensured that the city has become a class apart in comparison to other cities in the country.The Metro is another advantage that the city has. People living in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad can travel long distances without having to spend hours stuck in traffic. The Metro is efficient, safe, fast and clean. The stations are just as neat and clean. The Delhi Government had faced a lot of flak for this as well. However, for any construction to take place, one will need to dig. And the outcome of this one is for all to see. Wherever the Metro has gone, the roads have become wider and cleaner.And then there are parks. Almost every colony in Delhi — big or small — has a park where the children can play. Obviously, the CM has made sure that her votebank is intact.Various schemes like Laadli have become an instant hit with the public. The Bhagidari initiative preceded her other major initiative — Right to Information. Programmes like Stree Shakti instill capacity building in women of the weaker section. It provides them with access to free healthcare, training in different vocation and give financial aid for self-employment.If democracy is to survive the basic norms of correct behaviour and mutual respect is a must. Communal harmony has been Dikshit’s priority. It is a matter of pride for every Delhiite that thousands of foreigners visit the historical sites in the city. Though Dikshit was in the thick of Commonwealth Games fiasco, it was her who cracked the whip so that we met the deadline set.But the public is used to such political gimmicks that are played out during elections for votes. Diskshit will have to take a much tougher stand before the next Assembly elections in Delhi. She may have hinted that she is not interested in contesting another election, the truth is there is no other person of her calibre to step into her shoes.
People spend hundreds of crore on a wedding and yet are unable to make it look elegant. It is unfortunate that these functions are organised in such a distasteful manner.
Last week, I attended a few weddings. They were all over the top when it came to decorations and food. I am not grudging that people should not spend money when it comes to wedding or other functions. After all, it is their money and they can spend hundreds of crore. What I am concerned about is the distasteful manner in which such functions are held. I may have not have believed it if it was hearsay, but since I was present for these functions, I had a first hand-experience of them.Usually, such weddings are devoid of any emotions as they are handled by wedding planners who are extremely professional. No effort goes into taking into account the emotional needs of individuals. It all starts from invitation cards which cost thousands of rupees. Though they are very expensive, they lack class, they lack the touch of our rich heritage and culture. The fact that they are sent with inedible locally-made chocolates and are ugly, only adds to the distaste. I personally prefer a wedding card to be accompanied with a mithai ka dabba or the traditional shakarparas.If this is not enough, they have international performers flown in from across the world. Since most people have not heard of them, they don’t even bother to listen to them while they are performing. I am sure these artistes feel insulted.In the name of hospitality, the host drowns the guest in Patiala pegs who then do their own style of bhangra which looks awkward. And then, there are elderly women who forget their huge sizes and go for the latest designer wear. The saris studded with real diamonds and rubies makes them look gaudy. The men, instead of dressing in elegant kurta-pyjamas or a sherwani, wear a suit with a tie that has a precious stone for a tie-pin. And then there are young girls. Though their lehengas are beautiful, one will need binoculars to see if they are wearing a blouse!Attending the wedding of a prominent person’s daughter was an eye-opener. Interestingly, the family was Hindu yet the bride was wearing a gown. If it was supposed to be on the lines of a Christian family, they forgot one main thing — the bride wears white!But they decided to go with blue. The decorations were in blue. The bride was wearing a blue gown. The bridesmaids, too, were in matching tiaras and gowns. A 10-foot-tall blue and white cake stood in the middle, overshadowing the bride and the groom. The food section had counters — Paris, Italy and London. I didn’t know whether to be amused or sad.These people need to thank God for the privileges they enjoy. But in their effort to announce that they have made it big in life, they end up making fun of themselves. But I would also blame the planners. They need to understand that it is not always about making money because their client can afford it.People have forgotten that India is known for its simplicity, rich heritage and culture. It is this that we need to pass on to the next generation. One has to remember that it is not money that makes a society rich, but the values that the society inherits.