The Lingayat Issue in Karnataka Election

Congress has made one of their biggest mistakes in recent times by trying to divide the community of Lingayats and Veerashaivas by holding out the “Reservation” carrot.

Reservation is the bane of our country and needs to be eliminated completely. However politicians have been revelling in holding out the incentives to different castes and religions based on the concept of “Reservation” and Siddaramaiah has now taken this concept too far to divide the developed community of Lingayats.

Lingayats in Karnataka are the ruling class and are well developed educationally and economically. Hence they donot need reservation. Actually it is demeaning for most Lingayats if they get some benefits in future based on the concept of “Reservation”. Today they are considering themselves on par with the “Bramhins” in the society but once they become “Reservation targets” , Lingayats will get demoted in public perception as equivalent to SC, ST and BC.

I therefore think that most Lingayats are not comfortable with the “Separate Religion” tag. However, like the majority of Muslims not being able to oppose the minority radicals in their community, some Lingayat leaders may find it politically incorrect to oppose what on the face of it is projected as a “Benefit”.

Today, this silent majority may be in a dilemma what to do in the election. But the progressive people in the community will see the Congress bluff and remain with BJP. Even if some vocal leaders try to support Siddaramaiah, they will remember that Mr Siddaramaiah and his Congress Culture is more suitable for the PFI than the Lingayats  who are an off shoot of Hindus who revolted against some customs.

The Lingayat issue has given an indelible mark on Siddu as a “Divider of Hindu Community” and along with his support for PFI by withdrawing cases against the radical elements and then accepting the support of PFI in the elections has declared a war on the Hindu community.

People of Karnataka are aware that Congress of Rahul Gandhi is fundamentally anti Hindu despite his temple hopping gimmick and Mr Siddaramaiah though a staunch Hindu at heart would not mind selling out the interest of Hindus to remain in power.

The Lingayat issue therefore has indirectly created a polarization of Hindu votes not limited to the Lingayat community but also in the larger Hindu-Muslim polarization. The Lingayat Veerashaiva division is recognized as an attempt to weaken the Hindu community in general and help the Muslim community to consolidate their support base.

Perhaps Siddu did not anticipate such a backlash and also BJP may not like to openly exploit such a sentiment but the undercurrent of feeling that Rahul Gandhi and Congress is dangerous to the very existence of Hinduism in the world is slowly gaining strength. This could hurt Congress and could be a parity breaker to swing the pendulum in this election in favour of BJP.

The present community in the “Reservation Category” will also be upset that Congress is bringing a dominant community within the “Reservation Category” and ultimately, this can only dilute their present privileges. Hence Congress should lose some of its present support base also for its ill advised move to divide Lingayats.

There is no way leaders like Anant Kumar Hegde and others will leave an opportunity to exploit the situation and we can therefore see some fire works nearing the election. The Coastal Karnataka which has seen many killings of RSS workers may therefore consoldiate behind BJP much to the discomfort of Congress.

We have to wait and see how Congress counters this backlash.

Naavi

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The Water issue…in the Karnataka elections

The twin water disputes namely the Cauvery dispute with Tamil Nadu and the Mahadayi dispute with Goa appear to be another bug that is hurting BJP since it has some responsibilities as the Union Government. When Jayalalitha was alive, she was able to manipulate the Supreme Court judgements in her favour by even manipulating the Karnataka Chief ministers and hence the blame was always on the Supreme Court.

However now there is a perception in Tamil Nadu that the Center is responsible for action and will bring pressure of its own.

Unfortunately there is no solution that would be acceptable to both States and hence whatever decision Mr Modi wants to take he has to be ready to lose either Karnataka voters or the Tamil Nadu voters. Presently Karnataka election is in the radar and hence TN has to wait for its turn to get some favours.

While Mr Modi may remain silent for the time being on this issue, he should take some steps to make the South Karnataka people comfortable that the injustice committed by the British and blindly supported by the Supreme Court cannot be the basis to deny water to the Cauvery basin in Karnataka. There is no way people in Karnataka will see water flowing in front of their eyes to TN where as TN continues to ignore its responsibilities of coming out of the British protection and develop its own resources. Mr Subramanya Swamy is pragmatic in some of these aspects and Mr Modi should listen to his advice.

Similarly the Mahadyi issue is politically sensitive between Karnataka and Goa as any decision would be interpreted as against one of the States and Center has to tread its path carefully.

However, Mr Modi is capable of finding acceptable solutions to both and if he is able to provide some hint to such a possibility, there could be a huge swing of farmer’s votes in favour of BJP.

The river water issue therefore appears to be also an opportunity for BJP to be converted into a potential weapon to win this election.

I hope Mr Modi would be properly advised in this regard. I am not however confidant that BJP would be able to harness the potential of this issue and it may be satisfied by remaining neutral even if it may help Congress in the process.

Naavi

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What bugs BJP?

BJP suffers greatly from its “Pro Hindi” image which is exploited by Siddu by whipping up of the Kannada sentiment. While during the election time, Mr Modi and others may be making efforts to dilute the feeling that BJP in the long run will impose Hindi on south Indians, the efforts so far has not been convincing.

Unless Mr Modi himself provides the kind of assurance that Mr Nehru was supposed to have given that Hindi would not be imposed on South India, and backs it up with efforts such as “Scrapping of the Hindi Prachar Sabhas” which are a symbol of Hindi imposition in South India, people in South including Karnataka has to live with the feeling that just as Indira Canteens are a political pre-election stunt, BJP’s efforts in projecting a Pan-India image is unlikely to be trusted.

We must however appreciate that Mr Modi can speak far better Kannada and even pronounce Sir M Vishweshwaraiah flawlessly while Rahul Gandhi always looks like a joker when he tries to pronounce Vishweshwariah or quote a vachana.

I wish Mr Modi provides his personal assurance that Hindi would not be imposed on Kannadigas and Kannada would be respected as a language. Once the distrust is removed, Kannadigas are comfortable in adopting to many languages and one can see BJP making more progress in Karnataka than before even if the local leadership is weak.

Language is therefore the first issue that bugs BJP and they need to tackle this effectively during the last few days of the campaign. They have Pratap Simha and Sulibele Chakravarthy to help them and these two should be used as “Star Campaigners” though Sulibele may like to remain an a-political character.

Naavi

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Is Indira Canteen a show of Development?

While the Congress Government led by Mr Siddaramaiah has been in power for the last 5 years, they seem to have woken up only in the last 6 months talking about development by introducing many welfare schemes including the “Indira Canteens”.

Public know that these are election gimmicks and funded out of Government money which the honest tax paying citizens have contributed.

While the beneficiaries of the scheme may enjoy the discounted food for the time being, every body is reconciled to the fact that either these will be closed down after election or will become white elephants that breed corruption.

Citizens know that whether it is the Steel Bridge project or any other major construction project, Congress Government will consider them only because while awarding the contract, there is flow of funds to the election kitty.

All major private sector construction companies including the types of L&T are aware how contracts are awarded on the basis of negotiations below the table.

Hence these projects which have been introduced in the last six months are of little consequence for the voters to consider that this Government is development oriented . In fact these “Give Away” schemes are only “Welfare Schemes” and donot qualify as “Development Schemes” since they may actually work against the interest of encouraging people to work hard for a living.

As regards BJP, the development at the country level can be projected with the additional sting that Karnataka missed out on many development schemes because Siddu Government was not cooperative.

There is no doubt that Karnataka lost out participation in many development opportunities not only because the Government here was of the opposition but also because Congress has been openly antagonistic in its approach to cooperation between the State and Center. Neither Mr Siddu has the necessary vision nor RG has the inclination to work towards a cooperative federal Governance scheme and hence if Congress continues in power in the State, the disadvantage of being in opposition with the center will continue.

Congress may like to say that they may come to power even in the center in 2019 but what they mean by power is to cross 50 Loksabha seats instead of the present 44 and hence the possibility of Congress coming to power at the center in 2019 is too remote to be of consequence in the current Karnataka elections.

If therefore Karnataka hopes to develop in the coming days by working closely with the Center, Voter has to chose BJP instead of Congress.

Naavi

 

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What is the Key determinant for the Voters of Karnataka in terms of leadership?

It is fashionable for political parties to say that the key issue in the election is “Development”. “Sabke Saath and Sabke Vikas” has been the slogan of BJP. It is politically considered as incorrect if there is any deviation from this  central theme.

However, every election will have more than one reason for the voter to decide and he has to make the tough choice of chosing a party or a candidate and live with them for the rest of the term. Every candidate and party has both positive and negative features and ultimately the voter has to arrive at a collective estimation of which party or candidate is better suited to be the MLA.

A party is reflected by its leader and often the voter has no choice but to frame his views on a party based on its leader.

In this context all the three major parties in Karnataka have at least two leaders reflecting the policies of the party. BJP has Mr Modi (NaMo) and Mr Yeddyurappa (Yeddy). Congress has Rahul Gandhi (RG) and Siddaramaiah (Siddu)and JDS has Devegoweda and H D Kumaraswamy (HDK). In each of these teams, one is the read driver of the party while the other is a probable CM candidate.

In the JDS the past has indicated that HDK and Deve Gowda have held independent views and once HDK joined hands with BJP and later at the instance of Mr Deve Gowda dumped them midway. Voters are some what confused whether they should take either HDK seriously or Mr Deve Gowda seriously. In the bargain the local candidates of JDS seem to be more prominent than the leaders for the voters to decide.

Siddaramaiah is the incumbent CM and is responsible for the development of the State in the last 5 years whether good or bad. Yeddy has a tainted past but is a much chastised leader now than he ever was and NaMo is the real driver behind BJP.

People in Karnataka will vote for or against BJP only because of Mr NaMo and Mr Yeddy and the local candidates are of much lower significance. In the Congress, Siddu is a major factor and RG is only a media face. People will vote for or against Congress because of Siddu and not RG.

The major battle is therefore between Mr NaMo and Mr Siddu. Others are only supporting actors.

Naavi

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Some Banner Ads which may be used by others.

Here are some banner ads which I request other bloggers to use to create a virtual campaign if they agree with the message.

This is also a basic disclosure of where my personal choice lies though in my writings, I may highlight even the weaknesses of BJP

Naavi

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It is election time in Karnataka

It is election time in Karnataka. On May 12th, the State is voting for the legislature of 224 seats and the fight is as usual between Congress, BJP and the JDS. Of these three parties, Congress is the ruling party at the State and BJP is the ruling party at the center and both are good enough to garner around 40% of the seats. But it is the JDS with the possibility of 20% of the seats that may have the last laugh by negotiating with either of the two parties to grab power.

The electorate of Karnataka need to evaluate the three parties and take a decision. Since there are hardly 10 more days of campaign left this is the critical time when the voters may have to take a final call and it may determine if any one of the major parties will cross the 50% mark or let the assembly remain hung and go for a coalition rule.

Being a voter in Karnataka, despite other professional ethical commitments, it is natural for the undersigned to express his views on the politics of the day and some thoughts may be expressed through these columns.

So here we go…

Vijayashankar

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The Judges Controversy. What “We The People” say

The Four judges of Supreme Court who recently held a press conference appealed to the public through the media with a request ‘please take care of the institution and take care of the nation’. The judges namely Justices Chelamaeshwar, Rajan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Jurien Joseph were complaining that the Chief Justice as “Master of the Roaster” is actually behaving as a “Master” and he should not do so. They said that their efforts to make him allocate sensitive cases only amongst the top 5 judges were not being heeded and some cases are being allocated to the junior judges.

The revolting judges agreed that this was an unprecedented situation and they wanted to go through this exercise as otherwise history would accuse them of having sold their souls.

The conference itself was held very clumsily. The judges did not have the press release nor a proper statement to be handed out to the press. There were favoured lawyers who were in the crowd of the journalists and Mr Shekar Gupta a veteran journalist was even invited to sit on the dais.  Immediately after the press meeting, the CPI party leader Daniel Raja, a known opposition party leader was seen shaking hands with Justice Chelameshwar giving a political colour to the entire episode.

The judges came out as completely inexperienced in not only the manner in which they conducted the press conference but also the manner in which they were fumbling for words during the interaction.

Justice Chelameshwar said that what they wanted to share was a letter they had written to the CJI a copy of which would be shared and that is all they wanted to say. Gagoi confirmed that there is nothing more to say beyond the letter but inadvertently admitted that the admission of the case in the Justice Loya’s death was a reason for this press meet.

Mr Dushyant Dave has been the advocate strongly advocating that the Justice Loya case should not be heard by a specific judge and it should be heard only by one of these four judges as if they would give a decision in his favour only.

Another advocate Mrs Kamini Jaiswal who is bitterly against Mr Amit Shah indicated in her subsequent statements that the possibility of Mr Amit Shah not being convicted was the reason behind this revolt. It was as if Teetla Setlwad was speaking through Kamini Jaiswal.

Yet another advocate Indira Jaising has also been vocal with similar views indicating that the politics of “Anti Amit Shah” forces were truly pushing the judges into a corner with the press conference.

It appears that these three advocates are either directly or indirectly responsible for the current mess in the Judicial system and are unmindful of the damage that they have done to the Indian judiciary for their own personal gains.

It was not surprising that Congress followed up with its own Press Conference though it was also as indecisive as the Judges press conference. It appeared as if Mr K.S.Tulsi had strongly opposed Congress getting into this controversy but Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram pushed through the conference.  Rahul Gandhi in his usual style spoke a rehearsed sentence and ran away without taking questions.

With the Meeting of D Raja with Chlemeshwar and the Congress press conference, it was clear that the Four Revolting Judges were playing the tune of the political parties. However much they may try to whitewash their intentions, the perception with the public is clear that this was a political agenda playing out through the four judges.

It appeared that these four judges wanted to say more but were restraining themselves. Finally the charges made by the four judges appeared hollow and self defeating. Had they been more forthright, they would have atleast sounded more convincing.

Since then, several legal luminaries are expressing their views on the points raised. A large number of advocates are on the side of the Four revolting Judges while a large number of past judges are holding  the view that conducting of the press conference was wrong.

If we ignore the perceptions and focus more on the problem they have highlighted, then solution is not difficult to find.

The accusation is that while the CJI is considered as having a discretion to constitute benches and allocate cases to any of them, he should do so only with the consultation of the 5 senior most judges who form the collegium.

While the Judges 2-5 in seniority who held the Press Conference hold that CJI is only the “First amongst equals ” and not more important than any of them, they consider that other judges of the supreme court who are 6-25 in seniority are lesser mortals who are not equal to the first five.

This does not seem to be a logical l argument and has to be rejected.

Either all the judges have the privileges attached to their seniority in which case the CJI as the senior most has higher privileges that includes the management of the roaster, or they should agree that all judges of the Supreme Court are equally competent to handle any legal matter before them without fear or favour and with the legal expertise required.

Expecting that the rule of “First amongst Equals” applies only to the first five and not to all the 25 judges of the Court indicates a self serving argument.

If we admit that the roaster allocation had some “Motive” behind it as implied by these four judges, we can also imply a “Motive” behind the accusation of the four revolting judges. If CJI wants to avoid handing over some sensitive cases to any of these four and wants to give it some other judge down the line which is a departure from the procedure indicates a “Bad motive”, then the demand that such cases should be handed over only to them and not to anybody else also indicates a “Bad Motive” on the part of the four judges.

If we leave aside these perceptions since these judges are not transparent about their motives and want to hide behind the respect they enjoy as judges of the highest court of the land, let us accept that the only grievance is that the allocations are being done not in accordance with the established procedures of the past where all the five senior most judges worked together as a collegium and distributed sensitive cases only amongst themselves so that none was unhappy but the current CJI is trying to break this tradition.

Perhaps this is making these judges insecure and their friend lawyers also more insecure because they were perhaps existing in the system more by the strength of their relationship with the judges rather than their ability to fight a case on the merits.

The solution for this is not in asking the media and the public to adjudicate since what “We the people ” may say will not be palatable either to these judges nor to their favoured lawyers. Nevertheless since they have sought our advise, let us provide them the advise.

The problem is about allocation of cases to the 25 judges of the Supreme Court in an equitable manner that justice is done to the petitioners. The criteria of seniority is only relevant as a demonstration of the expertise of a judge and not otherwise. Each judge may however carry a badge of domain expertise based on the type of cases in the past where he would have examined a particular domain in depth and thereby gained an expertise. There cannot be any expertise based on qualifications since the College qualifications of all the judges are at least 3 decades old and has no relevance today. For example, Mr Chelameshwar being a student of Physics in his college does not make him a domain expert in a case involving Noise pollution or Electric outage etc.

Either the judges have to declare their top three areas of interest/specialization based on their own self introspection or based on the cases they might have handled in their career  and have to be tagged with the domain of expertise which were required to resolve them.

Assigning a “Domain Expertise Tag” to every judgement released by a judge in all the Courts is a process that has to be introduced now so that after a decade or so, it becomes a reliable barometer to tag a Judge with his area of domain expertise. Criteria for this needs to be developed and adopted.

In the meantime, an adhoc measure can be adopted where each judge of the Supreme Court is asked to declare three areas of interest that is used as his “Specialization Tag”.

Every judge will automatically have a seniority tag also. Using these two tags along with a “Random Allocation Tag”, it is possible for the Chief Justice to select a Judge or a Bench of multiple judges for assigning any case.

For this purpose, the CJI may categorize a case as “Requiring a specific domain expertise”. He can use is “First amongst equals” privilege to do so. Similarly, he can decide on whether the case requires a single judge or more judges to be in the bench.  Having decided these two parameters out of his privilege of being the CJI, he can proceed to allocate cases in the following manner. CJI can also determine the workload of a judge and determine if he has to be part of the selection for a given case or not.

a) In case of single member allocations, the choice can be completely randomized, such as picking up a judge out of the 25 (or lesser numbers if some is over burdened with cases at present). It is possible to do this by computerized allocation with priority criteria for domain expertise and seniority to be set to zero.

b) In cases where two  judges are there in a bench, one of the selections can be made on domain expertise criteria and the other on random basis.

c) In cases there there are three or more members in the bench, one member may be selected on seniority basis, second on domain expertise basis and the third randomly.

In larger benches the criteria can be repeated for the balance vacancies to be filled up.

This process leaves enough scope for the CJI to exercise his privilege and also provide opportunities for the senior members to be part of the important cases where there are at least 3 members. The single member benches which are prone to manipulation by friendly advocates would be randomized so that no advocate would gain an unfair advantage with a petitioner saying “I Know this Judge, Come to me”.

If the Supreme Court wants a software to be developed for the purpose, I am sure that there would be many software professionals who would be willing to develop it for free as their contribution to protect the institution which is the concern of these four revolting judges.

Naavi

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Uppi’s “Super” dream is becoming a reality with Oppo Police Stations.

In the context of  the recent ghastly murder of Gauri Lankesh a politician-journalist,  in Bangalore,  there is a discussion going on in Karnataka about whether the case has to be handed over to CBI or the State Police is capable of solving the case themselves.

There is no doubt that Police in Karnataka as elsewhere are capable enough to solve any mystery including the type of Gauri Lankesh provided they are given a free hand by the politicians who may want to take the investigation in a particular angle.

In the instant case, it is possible that a few political parties want to fix some body connected with BJP/RSS so that there would be an adverse impact on them in the next elections. Some times it is more difficult to sustain a falsehood than the truth. This may be one of the reasons that  there is no progress in the investigation or the Police may be resisting any political manipulation.

However it is very clear that the key to the investigation lies in the mobile world. Very recently, they solved another mystery assault on a women at the dead of the night intelligently analysing mobile data. Knowing the efficiency of professional police in Karnataka, by this time they would have already analyzed the mobile data of different types and traced the killers and they my be zeroing in on them if a clearance is received from the leaders.

In this background, the above name board of an “OPPO Women’s Police Station” indicates as if Karnataka Police has set up a special women’s police station to investigate mobile related crimes particularly on women,  going by what we see above. If so, it would have been most appropriate to take up the investigation of this murder.

Unfortunately however this may not be the case. It may be just that Oppo sales manager  is an intelligent marketing person who has convinced the Police that he would give free name boards for all Police Stations and the Police could have accepted the offer without thinking of  how the Boards may look like. Oppo could have offered it as complimentary so that the other Oppo boards in the city in front of mobile shops look as if they have the patronage of the “Oppo Police Stations”.

Nevertheless, it is a coup for the sales manager to have been able to get the Police accept the offer and display such prominent Oppo hoardings on the Bangalore Mysore highway which should cost them a few lakhs each month in terms of rent at market rates. I should congratulate him for his achievement.

We may observe that the board looks more like the Police Station being an Oppo property than the Government of Karnataka Property. The Board reminded me reminded of Upendra’s  Kannada film “Super”in which the hero acting as the Chief Minister of Karnataka sells the entire Karnataka state to different private companies like an IPL auction.

It appears that even before the new Political party of Upendra namely “Praja Rajya” starts its activities, his filmy concept of Government selling off the State in a privatization drive is becoming a reality.

……unless the Chief Minister of Karnataka wakes up and gets the boards replaced…without further delay….

Naavi



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It is Media Vs Yogi now… Mr Rajdeep, are you listening?

For the last two years since Mr Modi won the Loksabha elections, self styled opinion makers in the media like Rajdeep Sardesai, Rahul Kanwal, Barkhadutt, Nidhi Razdan and several others  were hounding Modi and Mr Amit Shah. As both stonewalled the media and went about their work,  the media stalwarts slowly were getting tired.

Now in a master stroke, Modi has simply redirected the attention of the media to Mr Yogi Adityanath. Along with the media, the politicians in the Congress and Communists also have now re-set their guns on Mr Yogi Adithynath instead of Mr Modi. At best, Modi is only a secondary target. This will provide some relief to Mr Modi even while Yogi needs to face the heat on his past statements which are being taken out of the archives of the TV studios.

Mr Yogi has been so far not providing any new controversial statements to the media and media has to only find something in his activities which they can call as “Controversial”.

Media is seriously discussing how many cows are there in Gorakhpur Mutt and what is the name of the  Bull and who takes care of it etc. I am enjoying watching and listening to frustrated tones of these journalists in trying to some how rake up the old Videos of Mr Yogi and keep asking questions.

The first administrative decision on which the media has now chosen to start its battle is  the “Ramayan Museum” proposed in Ayodhya.

This is a project completely different from the Ram Mandir and has the potential of softening the hardliners espousing the immediate building of the Ram Mandir.

The project has the potential to be a great tourism attraction when it comes up when a theme park where tourists can live through the Ramayana story can be built up.

There is no religious controversy in this project and media is trying to find one by saying why this is one of the first projects of Mr Yogi?

In the process of this Yogi bashing, the media is losing more of its waning credibility and by 2019, they would be so frustrated that many of the senior journalists of today including Mr Rajdeep Sardesai may find it difficult to remain relevant.

In the interest of the need to have a vibrant media, it is essential for the journalists to leave their negative reporting and turn to positive reporting about Mr Yogi and his work. Then after some time when Mr Yogi really makes a mistake and the media points it out, public may give some credence. Otherwise the traditional media will become irrelevant in no time.

Mr Rajdeep…are you listening?

V N Rao

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