After days of high-octane drama over the Karnataka election saga, the resignation by two-day CM, BS Yeddyurappa took away the saffron hue from southern India, eventually making BJP loose a sense of comfort. For now, it is the Congress-JD(S) alliance that has turned victorious and is all set to form the government in the crucial state of Karnataka with HD Kumaraswamy being the CM candidate.
MULTIPLE QUESTIONS RAISED
The ‘Natak in Karnataka’ which started the very same day when the election results got declared, ended up raising multiple questions over the sanctity of governor’s position and the entire process of forming a government itself. Not only were there charges of money laundering against the two parties- Congress and BJP but there also was a blot on the integrity of ministers.
Honorable Governor’s credibility under scanner– Karnataka Governor, who was being termed as a ‘Modi Loyalist’ by many was also severely criticized for giving BJP a timeline of 15 days to prove its mandate/majority on the floor of the house, despite Yeddyurappa having asked for just 7 days.
An unprecedented overnight hearing was held at the apex court after Congress approached the top court which refused to stay BJP leader B S Yeddyurppa’s swearing-in as Karnataka Chief Minister. The hearing which continued till the wee hours was a historic one in itself, posted the matter further for 10.30 am on Friday morning, saying that it would continue to peruse the letter which was considered to be crucial in deciding the matter. Later on friday, the Supreme Court reduced the deadline of proving majority to 24 hours which required an urgent appointment of protem speaker. By protocol, this decision making again fell on the shoulders of Karnataka Governor, Vajubhai Vala who appointed BJP MLA, Bopaiah as the protem speaker, giving way to more controversies. The opposition alleged him of not obeying convention, according to which the governor must appoint the seniormost MLA (who in this case was VK Deshpande) as the protem speaker. With less than 24 hours remaining for the floor test, Congress-JD(S) again decided to move supreme court to oppose appointment. This time the top court decided to not hold an conduct an overnight hearing but ordered a live streaming of the floor test, keeping Bopaiah’s appointment as the protem speaker intact.
Question over Congress’s sudden faith in JD(S) as Rivals Stake Claim- Rahul Gandhi’s party ended up forming a post poll alliance with JD(S), a party which the Congress President, himself used to accuse of being B-Party to BJP.
Besides, former CM Siddaramaiah’s open hatred towards Dewe Gowda’s family is also not unknown and was being seen as another major factor in not making the two parties align. However, with so many internal rifts still intact, what remains to be seen is if the alliance can offer a stable government, serving full term.
As the suspense around floor test settled down, the anger towards the governor didn’t pacify. Various party spokespersons, even after the resignation of Yeddyurappa continued to question the integrity of Governor. Many like Shiv Sena Spokesperson Manisha Kayande and NCP President Sharad Pawar demanded his resignation. Meanwhile, Congress Leader Sanjay Nirupam broke all boundaries of respect and gave a disrespectful analogy, equating Governor’s ‘loyal’ behavior towards the BJP to the loyalty of a dog.
SCOPE FOR SUSPENSE AHEAD?
With HD Kumaraswamy all set to swear in on 23rd of May, the Congress-JD(S) alliance has been again given 15 days to prove their majority in the house. The question is- does this still leave any scope for JD(S) or Congress MLAs defecting to BJP?
Though chances cannot be ignored in the world of politics, experts are of the view that BJP is now concentrating on 2019. BJP Union Minister , Prakash Javadekar held a press conference after Yeddyurappa’s resignation, saying that the Karnataka result doesn’t signify their loss but Congress’s defeat since the number of seats under Congress’s kitty reduced to 78 from 122.
2019 PICTURE REDEFINED?
Currently, the saffron splash dominates the entire northern part of India except the state of Punjab. But the seemingly ‘United Opposition’ could be a cause of worry for the Mr. Narendra Modi led BJP. Multiple opposition leaders like RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Communist Party of India leader D Raja, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, NCP President Sharad Pawar, DMK President MK Stalin, and RLD leader Ajit Singh are likely to give a nod to HD Kumaraswamy’s oath taking, Mamata Bnaerjee being the first one to confirm her attendance at the swearing-in ceremony.
To add to the trouble, senior congress leader Mlalikarjun Kharge has gone on record to suggest that the Congress party and other parties will continue to join hands and will stand united, making all possible efforts to sweep out BJP from the Centre in the 2019 elections.
As a law abiding and responsible citizen of this country, I still feel that the mandate of the people of Karnataka hasn’t suffered in these elections. The voters of the state still haven’t got what they wanted. With 104 seats in BJP’s name, the concept of post-poll alliance seems to be nothing more than a tool to usurp power, let alone catering to the demands of people or being stable enough to create an integrated ideology altogether. While some promising claims have been made by HD Kumaraswamy to lead a full term government, the sudden alliance of two rivals may prove to be a threat to the democracy of the country. These elections, however dramatic they were, will definitely will be a pivotal thread in shaping national political front for 2019.
Since it is not just about today, but everyday! My tribute to all the amazingly fearless women out there.
The Perfectly Flawed Woman
If I don a short skirt as I cross the street,
I am stared at by both men and other women – as they pass a stare scanning me, from my face to my feet…
To those who judge me for the amount of make-up I put and if I like to cook,
Hey people, there’s a lot more to me than how I look…
Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,
No superpowers but I am definitely human.
I may be terrible at pleasing the rest,
But when it comes to being a friend, daughter, sister or partner, I am no less than what defines the best…
I make mistakes and I cry,
But only to bounce back and retry,
It’s my life and it’s not a lie,
Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,
No superpowers but I am definitely human.
If only others had flaws like mine,
World would be a much better place with less crime.
If only the existence of a woman was celebrated every day,
The world would belong to us but without a fray.
Let’s question if you would choose to be perfect or human,
Now that the tagged ‘perfect’ is mostly not a gentleman.
Go for being an imperfect human, while we say…
Yes, I am a perfectly flawed woman,
No superpowers – but I am definitely human.
For a party which started with a promise of literally ‘sweeping’ away corruption, 4 years down the line, its credibility stands questioned. This, being probably the last expectation in line of what the potentially strong, then debutant party must have anticipated during the time of its inception.
It all started with the recent revival of the petition filed by Prakash Patel around 3 years ago. While Patel’s petition moved at a glacial pace initially, owing to multiple RTI applications and follow ups, it was just recently that the Election Commission took cognisance of the petition. Why the delay? The fact that the next Delhi Assembly Elections are slated for contest next year is being seen as a probable reason behind the sudden uproar.
INTERNAL AAP RIFT INFLAMES EXTERNAL SPARK?
The trouble-shoot game for the Aam Aadmi Party started soon after former AAP leader, Kapil Mishra came out in the open against the AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal in May 2017 itself. There was no stopping of fissures for the Aam Aadmi Party eversince. Next in line came the internal rift within the party post AAP’s Rajya Sabha Nominations. Kumar Vishwas, one of the closest aides of AAP Chief, Arwind Kejriwal and also one of the main founders of the Party openly expressed his disappointment and discontent with the party chief after he failed to make it to the Rajya Sabha. Even now, the Aam Aadmi Party appears all split over the Upper House berths.
While the party clearly stands disunited, it is the opposition which has a lot to discredit the AAP for, making the party a soft target for many against those who still wish to trust the common man’s party. If one is to ponder in the backdrop of the corruption charges laid by Kapil Mishra against Arvind Kejriwal and Co., the ‘Office of Profit’ case doesn’t seem like a false theory, making the party’s internal factions validate and account for its reputation being at stake.
VICTIM CARD TO TRIGGER PUBLIC SYMPATHY?
One of the most pertinent questions around the controversy, however, is- ‘Why did EC end up targeting AAP when BJP and Congress have had a similar past as well?’ This very question in itself is an indirect factor which would trigger public sympathy in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party. In fact, this may work wonders for the party whose credibility has been under the questioning lens over the past few weeks with the latest charges against the party chief. Kejriwal, who has been accused of selling Rajya Sabha seats quite recently could utilize this inferno as a political mileage. This crisis can possibly help Kejriwal to unify the party around him yet another time. If or if not the argument stands true, the Delhi chief minister will now get an opportunity to play the victim and the party cadre and volunteers will be expected to rally around his leadership, thereby garnishing support from voters which would make AAP recover its lost ground.
BLAME GAME NOT ENOUGH
Keeping the political plank aside, there now lies a dire urgency to redefine or rather expand the definition of ‘power’ in the ‘Office of Power’. With multiple instances of blame game and no concrete conclusion in the past, we must move towards inclusion of ‘power and influence’ within the purpose of creating such offices or instead, removing the provision as it fails to achieve the goal of legislative independence.
The big question here, therefore is if and can the poll panel apply a selective law under the dependence of the existing political equations? As not many would withhold themselves from openly acknowledging, this debate is way beyond than just any other random debate about the corruption free promising AAP’s credibility or Office to Profit Case, it is about the principle of impartiality which the common voter of this country expects the vanguard of our democracy to function with. It just doesn’t end at EC vs AAP.
(Feature image courtesy: YouTube)
As an issue which continues to plague the country for as long as we can recollect, the taboo around periods and sanitary pads seems to have mustered some kind of support from cinema. The Super Star Stunt-Man of the Indian Cinema, Akshay Kumar, has turned into a Pad-Man to reflect upon a key issue as he puts on the domino of a man with a mission- a mission to perish the perils associated with menstrual menace in India. With Pad-Man not being a first to highlight periods in the cinema, Phullu was another movie which got released in 2017 but failed to induce dialogue or provoke thought. PadMan on the other hand, is based on true events, the upcoming movie is a fiction on the story of Arunachalam Muruganatham who in 1988 embarked upon a seemingly impossible journey of making sanitary pads easily available for women after he saw his wife using old rags as substitute for the essential commodity.
WHEN AEONIAL LAXITY CALLS FOR ACTION
Since decades, there has been a complete state of denial and stigma attached to confronting the menstrual troubles of women or even discussing periods for that matter in our country. The societal taboos have pervaded reality where Barely 12% of India’s menstruating women use sanitary pads. While most women are not allowed to visit temples during their periods, others are treated as untouchables within the premises of their own houses. While stepping inside the kitchen (which is considered to be the most pious spot of a house) during periods is forbidden for most of them, it is men on the other hand who refrain from acknowledging the various medical ailments and problems their counterparts tend to go through.
While nobody forgets to expect a baby out of a woman, what they forget is that she too is a human and needs proper care for maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle which will eventually lead to the birth of a healthy baby.
Substandard state of menstrual hygiene over a long stretch of time, has led to worsening health conditions. Women in our country now suffer from reproductive tract infections, urinary tract infections which in most cases leads to cervical cancer which itself kills around 72,000 women in India every year, more than anywhere else on the globe.
MENSTRUAL WOES BREAK WALLS- IT’S HYGIENE VS EDUCATION
So far, there has been an immutable trade off between women trying to educate themselves and women on going through their menstrual cycle. This grave situation has been on the rise due to lack of basic facilities and hygienic access to women during menstruation. In India alone, 1 girl out of every 5 girls drop out of schools because of something as natural and basic as menstruation. A total of 28% girls in our country end up abstaining from school and the ones who attend tend to perform poorly owing to the stigmatized perceptions and hesitations their minds are preoccupied with. As unfortunate as it may sound- in a country which envisages itself as one of the major global fore-runners when it comes to technology and power, at least 1 in every 5 girls drop out of the schools due to something as basic and natural as menstruation.
BIG SCREEN VS SMALL AUDIENCE?
Though the movie carries forth a message as strong as that of promoting menstrual health, the question is, how many people in our country will be able to visit cinema halls to watch it?
India accounts for the largest number of people living below international poverty line, with over 30 per cent of its population under the $1.90 (Rs.121.28) a- day poverty measure. While a movie ticket costs way beyond what the daily poverty limit is, it is clearly not something which 50% of the rural Indians- Indians who indeed need the maximum awareness regarding menstruation will be able to afford. So, then it again boils down to what more do we need beyond a star studded and intensely promoted movie to sensitize the masses? Certainly, a lot of active campaigning, and counselling by the renowned celebrities along with ‘free’ access to sanitary napkins to people who certainly cannot afford.
What our governments fail to realize is that, while we can certainly manage without ‘free’ laptop distributions (SP Govt in UP distributed free laptops to to the people of the state), what continues to be a dire need of the hour is free sanitary napkins to the ‘betis’ of the nation.
DISCUSSIONS IMPERATIVE. PERIOD
And, here we are, selling sanitary pads as a blotted commodity enclosed in black wraps. Irony lies in how we don’t shy away from yelling while we purchase cigarettes or alcohol but when it comes to buying sanitary pads, our voices can barely be heard as the chemist wraps up the sanitary napkins in a black polythene, only to depict how dark and blocked the mindset of the so-called progressive India is.
On the other hand, as the men in our country continue to have the privilege of not being questioned, there lies a larger onus of responsibility on them. More men need to come up and speak for those millions of women while they succumb to the societal mindset. The discussion which needs to be striked is- ‘If, a menstruating woman’s blood is impure, isn’t so the entire human existence?’ ….. Definitely, while movies like ‘PadMan’ can act as catalytic initiator, it is imperative discussions, acceptance, receptivity and campaigns by the masses which need to take the lead in the long run. PERIOD…..
This is in memory of my dear pet dog, Simba. He left us on October 19, 2017, a day ahead of the Indian festival of Diwali. For a 6 year old golden labrador as active as him to die of a stomach infection just within a day of ailment, was an extremely unexpected and uneasy situation for my family to go through. Of what they tell me, he had tears in his eyes while he was being treated. When I think of it (which I do almost daily), one of the biggest regrets of my life or rather one of the unluckiest things to have happened to me was that I couldn’t see him one last time. The same morning when I reached home to celebrate Diwali, I was shocked to realise that he wasn’t their to jump, rejoice and welcome me- that he was gone the same day just 4 hours before I arrived…
This little piece is an expression of what Simba or for that matter all the dogs who leave behind their human companions alone in this world would tell us if they met us or rather if they could speak. A glimpse into a Dog’s mind, analyzing what their ‘Life’s Purpose’ is… This, I feel is what Simba wishes to tell me:
Simba was more than just a pet. I may not have been quite expressive with him which is my general pattern of behaviour with the people I adore the most, but whenever I felt low, all I needed to do was go play with him for a minute or two and I would be all fine- he was therapeutic- a dog which made everyone who visited our house- even dog haters fall in love with him…