Verbatim
TJS George - Today’s Congress does not even have the moral right to blame Narendra Modi for trying to hijack the Patel legacy. Where was the Congress all these years when that legacy remained neglected in the attic? The Congress, in its obsession with the Indira dynasty, tried to depersonalise men like Patel and Narasimha Rao. But historical figures of that stature cannot be erased. It is the dynasty that will eventually have to go, because in a democracy dynasty is an unnatural idea.
A Surya Prakash - A bit of advice for the I&B Minister. Since he wants to prosecute persons who “denigrated” the office of Prime Minister, he must act on the most publicised denigration of the office of the Prime Minister which happened on September 27 this year. The accused publicly condemned and humiliated the Prime Minister and members of the Union Cabinet and even threatened to tear up a law proposed by the Union Government. The people of India know him as the shehzade!
MJ Akbar - Congress has begun to take its own form of pre-emptive protection, by rigging up alliances where its vote has collapsed. The price, however, goes up when you are down. And so Mayawati is taking payment in advance before she does a deal by January with Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Cases against her have been withdrawn. Her brother Anand Kumar has got back Rs 400 crore in fixed deposits which were seized by the income tax department. And she is a bungalow or two richer in pricey Delhi. Not bad. Even if she loses, she has won. Bribery is India’s most creative art form.
Shekhar Gupta - Everybody in Tamil politics now spitting such fire knows the truth of the summer of 2009, when the atrocities we are now complaining about took place. Many of them were more than willing participants and complicit either in deed or in conscious denial. The Indian armed forces, along with RAW, were working quietly to help the Sri Lankan effort. The cornering and killing of Prabhakaran was made possible by specific surveillance and satellite information given by India. All Tamil parties made token noises. The DMK threatened to break away from the UPA routinely, but did not. Karunanidhi sat on a fast "unto death" demanding a ceasefire, but declared victory six and a half hours later, effectively in time for his next meal.
Narendra Modi - In Patna, terrorists attacked and exploded several bombs — they had conspired to kill BJP leaders. But there was no sign of grief in the city. Such a big incident took place, lekin wahan ki sarkar mehfil mana rahi thi (but the government was partying) and enjoyed chhappan bhog. When he (Nitish) was asked about any likely security lapse, he arrogantly dismissed it. There was no mention of any inquiry.
Rajesh Ramachandran - What is ironic is the Congress’ utter contempt for national icons. Forget the Sardar, the UPA under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to honour the man who offered testimony against Bhagat Singh. Manmohan Singh wrote to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit in 2011 asking her to rename Windsor Place after Sir Sobha Singh. In what could have probably been false testimony, Sobha had told a British judge that he had seen Bhagat Singh throwing the bomb down from the visitor’s gallery of the Central Legislative Assembly. Fortunately, a public hue and cry stopped Manmohan and Sheila from committing a grievous sin to the memory of a national hero.
KPS Gill - From my first-hand experience of Gujarat situation, I can say with conviction that Gujarat riots were not the failure of Mr Narendra Modi; instead it was the failure of Gujarat cops as well as the intentions of the neighbouring states which had then denied forces to Gujarat when the riots started. I found the police force unequal to the challenge; majority of the policemen themselves had become communal in their duty as they were enraged with the killings of so many kar sevaks (fellow Hindus) at the hands of Muslims in Godhra. Mr Modi had made all efforts to stop riots, he had called in the Army with swiftness, he sought forces from the neighbouring states and the Centre. The so called dharm-nirapeksh (secular) parties were taking advantage of the fact that Mr Modi follows the principles of Hindutva. My understanding was that Mr Modi's practising of principles of Hindutva in no way meant that he would allow killing people of other religions... Today Gujarat is one of the best administered states not only for Hindus but for all religions and all castes. The credit for this goes to only Mr Modi.
Gautam Mukherjee - What will we get if Congress comes back either at the head or at the tail-end of a coalition? We will certainly get more povertarian politics! There will be no justice brought to all the masses of corruption perpetrated over the last few years. ‘RaGa’ will continue to rule from the wings in tandem with his mother. ‘Dynasty’  will become a non-issue just like the ‘foreigner’ issue before it. Populism will be applied with a passion. Business and industry, GIP, infrastructure, security, diplomacy, reform, progress, practically everything else will languish. ‘Accountability’ and ‘Performance’ won’t matter .
Narendra Modi - Is desh ko hamesha ek gila-shikva rahega, ek dard rahega. Har Hindustani ke dil me ek dard rahega. Kaash Sardar saab hamare pehle pradhan mantri hote, toh aaj desh ki taqdeer bhi alag hoti, desh ki tasveer bhi alag hoti (This country will always have one regret. Every Indian will have this pain in his heart. Had Sardar Patel been our first Prime Minister, then the face and the destiny of the country would have been different).
Economic Times, Editorial - At the moment, if India appears as an object of ridicule to foreign observers, it is difficult to blame them. With one of the largest reserves of coal in the world, India's power plants lie idle for want of coal, iron ore mining stays banned for the most part, the courts have taken over large parts of the executive's domain and the administrative apparatus has turned into a dithering, timid jumble of people who stop sitting on their hands only to pass the buck to a quivering counterpart in a different section. To project strength abroad, India must at least become functional at home.
Manohar Lal Sharma - For the first time since the coal scam came to light, the Prime Minister has explained about one allocation. But there have been more than 150 coal block allocations, and only he will be able to explain all of them. Until now, the Centre, in its reply, had not stated anything about the true role of then Coal Minister [Dr. Singh] in the allocation… It had put the responsibility upon the screening committee, concealing the fact that the committee was nothing but an eyewash, and the allotments had in fact been done by the then Coal Minister himself. It is a confession of the then Coal Minister to allot the coal block [to Hindalco], and he had taken a decision on the basis of the documents and facts submitted to him. Therefore, he (Dr. Singh) must be called upon to file his affidavit before this court to make his position clear for suitable action pertaining to the FIR [against Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh] and criminal action based upon such confession by the then coal minister.
J Gopikrishnan - The JPC did not touch the subject of the Aircel-Maxis scam, which is an open and shut case for fixing the fate of Mr Chidambaram and Mr Dayanidhi Maran. This dubious deal was approved by Mr Chidambaram, by violating all norms. The deal, worth more than Rs 4,000 crore, had no mandatory Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approval. Maxis acquired almost 100 per cent shares in Aircel, while the rules permits a maximum of 74 per cent. There was a huge variation in the sale of shares. Seventy four per cent was sold for around Rs 4,000 crore and the rest went  for  a pittance of Rs 30 crore in same period. The 2012 Budget Session of Parliament came to a standstill on revelations about the complicity of Mr Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis deal. But Mr Chacko, who jumped on a tainted retired auditor’s dilly dallying utterances (a planted one), kept his eyes, ears and mouth shut.
Rajesh Singh - Rahul Gandhi has made a fine beginning in hypocrisy. One moment he grounds to dust the reputation (or whatever has remained of it) of the Prime Minister, and the other moment he praises him to the sky. He gets extremely upset at an ordinance that offers protection to convicted lawmakers, but does not back a strong Lokpal Bill which civil society activists led by Anna Hazare campaigned for and which has the support of an overwhelming majority of the people. He is against corruption but not in favour of a strong anti-corruption law like the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Arvind Sharma - India, as a nation, had a long tradition of dealing with religious plurality by embracing religious pluralism rather than secularism. One can trace this line right from Gandhi, through Akbar and Ashoka, back to the Atharvaveda, wherein the seer marvels in the Prithvi- Sukta (XII.1.45) that the earth supports people following different dharmas (na-na-dharma), and even to the Rigveda (VII. 93.13), wherein the seer marvels at the fact that cows of different hues all produce milk of the same color. From the Indian point of view, pluralism means that there is no religious other, only another.
Praveen Swami - “Filthy as the Dal Lake”, former United States ambassador David Mulford wrote in a leaked diplomatic cable back in 2008. “Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and from Saudi and other foreign extremists has further distorted Kashmiri politics, incentivized leaders to perpetuate the conflict, and perverted state and central government institutions. While this river of dirty money has led to a boom in Kashmiri household income and real estate prices, it also calls into question whether the Kashmiri elite truly want a settlement to their problems”.
Rahul Gandhi - Aeronautics mein ek escape velocity ka concept hota hai. Escape velocity matlab agar aap ne dharti se space mein jana hai... agar aap hamari dharti pe hai to 11.2 km per second aap ki velocity honi padegi. (There is a concept of escape velocity if you want to go into space from Earth... your velocity has to be 11.2 km/sec). Agar ussey kam hogi to aap kitna bhi karenge aap space mein nahin ja sakte aur agar jyada ho gayi to aap nikal jayenge. (If it is less then you can't go into space, if it is more then you will get away). To Jupiter ki escape velocity kya hoti hai? Agar koi Jupiter pe khada hai aur Jupiter ki kheech se nikalna ho to usey 60 km/sec ki acceleration chahiye. (If you are standing on Jupiter you need to go at 60 km/sec). Yahan Hindustan mein hamara jaat ka concept hai. Is mein bhi escape velocity hoti hai. Dalit community ko iss dharti pe Jupiter ki escape velocity chahiye. (In India we have caste. Dalits need Jupiter's escape velocity on Earth).
Karnataka Congress Chief G Parameshwara - The Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation, instead of giving small loans, should sanction huge amounts like Rs 50 lakh. Never mind if the beneficiaries don't repay the loans. Topi hakidre parvagilla (colloquial for 'no issues if they cheat'). Many people and officials have duped government agencies of several thousands of crores of rupees. It's part of the development process.
Meghnad Desai - Historically riots such as Bhagalpur, Meerut and Bhiwandi which happened during the Congress years in power did not lead to any serious convictions. The Gujarat riots have, however, led to convictions. Is it not strange that no Congress leader has yet been sentenced for 1984 nor anyone for the Mumbai 1993 riots, or that the riots during Rajiv Gandhi's days such as Bhagalpur have not led to many convictions? Is it because the Congress is secular that no riots during its rule can be communal?
S Prasannarajan - Few men in power - sorry, I mean, in  office - are condemned to go through the kind of ordeal Dr Manmohan Singh is going through today. He is a Prime Minister unwanted by his party (despite all the public platitudes by his employer) and about to be dumped by the country. No one worked harder than him to attain a front seat in the Hall of Infamy. If India of the moment is a byword for bad governance, bad economy, corruption, absence of transparency; the missing leader, Dr Singh - the do nothing, hear nothing, see nothing - Prime Minister, is the reason. He has no choice but to suffer; he has been denied even the freedom to resign.
Jaganmohan Reddy - I appreciate Narendra Modi as an administrator. What I want Narendra Modi to do is to change the entire system in bringing every political party to the secular platform for the interests of this country. Religion is something personal. Why should religion be politicised? I am from this generation and what I want is peace and development.
Narendra Modi - Our PM met Obama and said 'Obama ji, I have come from India... I am the PM of a poor country. Instead of grovelling like that, why couldn't the PM just say I have come from a country where 65% of the people are below 35 years of age? You behaved just like those filmmakers who sell India's poverty in the West to win awards. I want to know from the PM if he was actually referring to India's actual poverty, as seen on the streets, or poverty as a state of mind. Because as per the shahzade's definition, poverty is a state of mind.
Vinod Mehta - Last Tuesday Ajay Maken came to see me. He was trying to fix meetings between his chief and a few editors. I gave him coffee and biscuits and we talked of cabbages and Narendra Modi. Just before he left, he requested me to tell Rahul Gandhi what a terrible idea the ordinance was and how 'younger elements' in the party were upset at its extra-constitutional passage. Without sounding like Rahul's PR man, I ask those pounding him, what is the end result of his admittedly clumsy intervention? Despite its last minute, stagey rendition, did he do the right thing?
Narendra Modi - The Congress is a political party following divisive politics. The divisive character of the Congress is engraved in its DNA. It divided the country on communal lines immediately after the Independence for which the Hindus, Muslims and other minorities fought together since 1857. Even after the Independence, it divided the Indian electorate to further the party’s vote-bank politics. The Congress survived all these years by inculcating a fear psychosis in the minds of the minorities and playing the perpetual minority card. Gandhiji knew the evil designs of the Congress. That’s why he demanded that the party be wound up immediately after the Independence. Now the responsibility of fulfilling Gandhiji’s dream has come to us. We should use the earliest opportunity to root out the Congress.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta - You have a PM of the country who consistently abdicates responsibility...he has not only not exercised leadership but has stood by while institutions have been decimated bit by bit. Here is a PM who seems not to know what he wants, added to which is a lack of political authority and legitimacy. As for Rahul Gandhi, there's almost nothing in what he does or says that actually reflects any big ambitions for India ...in every national crisis, he has been missing in action. When you need the reassurance of somebody, to say you know somebody is in charge, he has been absent.
Surjit S. Bhalla - Demands for apology, to have any merit and efficacy, should apply to all riots — for example, the Sikh pogrom of 1984, the Mumbai riots of 1993, the Godhra-Gujarat riots of 2002, and now the Muzaffarnagar 2013 riots. Note that, except 2002, all the riots were under the so-called secularists.The Sikh 1984 pogrom, under the noses of the Central government led by Sonia Gandhi's late husband Rajiv Gandhi, was possibly larger in scope, magnitude and despicability than any previous riot, or since, in India. So what is most intriguing is that none of the card-carrying members of secularism has bothered to ask the Congress party, and its leader Sonia Gandhi, to apologise for the organisation and execution of the Sikh pogrom of 1984.
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