Verbatim
Ajay Shah - Some good men say, "Let me be a dictator, and I will give you a good outcome." The trouble with the rule of men is that in the future, we will be ruled by bad men. When we depart from the rule of law, the attraction of arbitrary power generates incentives for bad men to devote resources into capturing these positions. We need a strong state and not a strong man. We need a machinery of impersonal checks and balances, with dispersion of power, which yields good outcomes when government is populated by ordinary folk. Sad is the land that needs heroes — in bank licensing and RBI as much as in the Jan Lokpal.
Ravi Shankar - India’s new Don Quixote tilting at the windmills of corruption, Delhi’s own Arvind Kejriwal—who yearns to be India’s Kejriwal—could prove to be just another power hungry amateur who believes that soapbox oratory is statesmanship. Perhaps he didn’t expect to win. Now that he has, he is rummaging in the dustbin of history for a vision. What is the change Vision Kejri offers? The end of corruption. Admirable. But how will he do it? By starting an anti-corruption hotline? Who is going to man it? Kejri himself? A call centre? How will the corrupt be prosecuted? Delhi Police doesn’t report to the chief minister; so who will carry out arrests? For a party that hadn’t even thought of getting a flag of its own, it is obvious that Kejri is flying by the seat of his pants. AAP is a contradiction—an elitist party wooing the plebian vote. There is no objective examination of promises and delivery mechanisms—it’s just a high-profile magnet for celebrities like ex-Infosys satrap V Balakrishnan, privileged rebels in search of a cause. There will be more recruits with chequebooks and passbooks.
Tavleen Singh - The rats of Lutyens Delhi, dear Prime Minister, are already beginning to desert the ship. Among those quietly building bridges with the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party are high officials, low officials, big businessmen and small, high-minded editors, lowly reporters and even socialites and shopkeepers. In private conversations and public, senior Congress leaders admit that the only hope they have of stopping Modi is Arvind Kejriwal. When senior leaders start speaking this way, it does not take long for rats and other survivors to get the message.
Arun Jaitley - The Prime Minister’s office demands that a Prime Minister in his vocabulary and idioms must always maintain dignity and grace. Manmohan Singh failed that test today. No Indian politician has gone through the kind of scrutiny that Narendra Modi went through on the 2002 riots. The Supreme Court appointed SIT and finally the courts have both vindicated him. The electorate gave him a thumbs up thrice. Opinion polls indicate that he is the most popular leader in race for becoming the Prime Minister and yet Manmohan Singh used phrases like ‘disastrous’ and ‘mass murder’. A person against whom no evidence has been found by repeated inquiries deserves better. By using this phraseology the Prime Minister has demeaned his office. Is he willing to use the same phraseology for the Prime Minister as on November 1, 1984 during whose tenure the worst ever genocide in the country took place against the Sikh community and for which nobody till date has been held responsible?
Harsh Vardhan - By forming a government with the support of Congress, AAP has lost the moral right to talk about corruption. Delhiites had given their verdict on December 8 and AAP by going against it has shown disrespect to it. When we finished with 32 seats (four short of majority), AAP issued statements like 'BJP can buy four members and form a government'. But they did not tell us which of their four members were on sale? I want to know what gives them (AAP) the moral right to call everyone corrupt.
Meghnad Desai - It is AAP which may very well replace the Congress as the national alternative to the BJP. It is modern, young and secular. Its economics is populist to a fault and we have yet to see it survive its contact with political realities. But it has generated a momentum precisely because it has broken the mould of old politics. Being an old party is no guarantee for the survival of the Congress, especially if it ends up with less than 80 seats. In British politics, the Liberal Party won by a landslide in 1905 but never returned to power ever after and the Labour Party bcame the principal opposition party for the rest of 20th century, having started in 1900.
Arun Jaitley - If Shri Rahul Gandhi feels so strongly on the Adarsh issue, the guilty must be prosecuted and certainly not be the country’s Home Minister. Is this a contrived anger and a manufactured dissent aimed at  image correction or is it a genuine expression of opinion ?  The Congress Party and its government  have a scandalous record on the issue of corruption.  It has recently decided  to align with a convicted Lalu Yadav. In the 2G spectrum allocation scam  where a monumental loss has been caused to the National Exchequer, the Congress Party has tried to put a lid on the scandal by producing a spurious JPC report  which carried no credibility.  It exonerates the guilty and blames the NDA government.  In the Coal block allocation scandal,  the illegally allocated blocks are yet to be cancelled. Shri Gandhi remained a mute spectator in relation to the Commonwealth Games scams. A crusade against corruption has to be continuous and consistent.  It cannot be sporadic, a put-on exercise. Sporadic reactions dramatized before the media  are only intended to show oneself as different even though you are still a part of the same cesspool. 
R Jagannathan - When it comes to Modi, no evidence will be accepted as proof of his innocence, no matter how many courts clear him. There is a clear cottage industry that has invested too much capital and emotion in sending Modi to prison — and it is now not possible for them to abandon the vocation that gave them so much international importance. For Modi, every court verdict in his favour will be rejected out of hand by the small group of die hard opponents, and only a conviction will be seen as justice. This is a no-win situation for him. Modi’s detractors have found a receptive backer in a beleaguered Congress party, which appears to be spooked by Modi’s rise. They will continue to be encouraged by the party to keep embarrassing the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Arvind Kejriwal - I grew up in a very religious family. But the scientific temper ingrained in me during my time at IIT Kharagpur made me a non-believer. But everything that has happened in the last three years has made me believe in God once again. Anna sat on a fast and a massive movement took birth. What has happened after that has made me realise how small I am. Something divine is happening in this country. I am convinced all I have to do is continue with my work and leave the rest to God.
Pallavi Aiyar - In many ways the Chinese are the Americans of Asia, while the Indians are the Europeans. As players on the international stage, the United States and China are both goal-oriented and able to act decisively in their national interest. Despite the existence of internal divisions, they are coherent entities that speak with a unified voice. Backed by hard power, their strategic planners take a long-term view of evolving rivalries and alliances. In contrast, the Indians, like their European counterparts, are notable for the glacial pace of their decision-making. They often appear unable to articulate a clear vision of their core interests, with internal factiousness hijacking unified, long-term agendas. Unlike the Unites States and ironically, 'communist' China, the political mainstream in both Europe and India is Leftish and characterized by a distrust of unfettered markets.
Harsh Vardhan - After winning 28 seats, AAP had announced it will neither cooperate with Congress and BJP nor seek their help to form the government. After that this party changed its agenda at the instance of Congress. AAP is an ally of Congress. AAP's decision to seek people's view on taking support from Congress is nothing but drama. Congress allied with AAP to keep BJP out of power. Otherwise, why did Rahul Gandhi heap praise on AAP after results were declared?
T N Ninan - The disconnect with the AAP is that its economic agenda sounds suspiciously like Indira Gandhi's of the early 1970s: more subsidies, higher taxes, regulation of private school fees, free water, et al. The popular author Gurcharan Das, in his book India Grows at Night, recounts how he told giant-killer Arvind Kejriwal that preventing corruption was better than curing it, and it could be done by reforming the institutions of governance, eradicating the licence raj and ending populist policies that created room for corruption. It was not apparently what Mr Kejriwal wanted to hear, and Mr Das recalls how Mr Kejriwal had mounted a campaign to scuttle an experimental programme through which Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit hoped to provide 24x7 water to parts of the capital. So is Mr Kejriwal an unreformed socialist, and not an economic liberal?
R Jagannathan - UPA-2 has been a graveyard for good economists and alleged reformers – from Manmohan Singh to P Chidambaram to C Rangarajan to Montek Singh Ahluwalia – largely because the Sonia-Rahul political spending agenda continues unabated despite warning signals on the economic front for several years now. It is not as if Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram do not know about the damage inflicted by the policies they are willy-nilly implementing, but they continue to do so. (I say willy-nilly because I assume they are closet reformers, who are being forced by the Dynasty to do things they would rather not). One can only say they have mortgaged their brains to 10 Janpath for reasons of political opportunism and the narrow pleasure of holding high office.
Aditi Phadnis - Isn't politics about when to give up power and when to use it ? Arvind Kejriwal has abdicated power – either he wants absolute power or he wants none of it. He says everyone is corrupt and till the jhadu is allowed to clean, he will not side with anyone. At the same time, there is talk of contesting 70 Lok Sabha seats. What happens then? If the BJP or the Congress suggest something sensible in the Lok Sabha, will the AAPsuppport it or oppose it ? What will they support and what will they oppose ? Or will they just stay out of Parliament until they have the numbers to do what they think is right – whatever that might be ? It is all very confusing. You can see what AAP doesn't want – but you are not clear what it is they want and how they're going to go about achieving it.
Priyadarshi Dutta - I am left with no doubt that the religion-wise data is being purposely concealed. It is unlikely to be released before the upcoming general election. The reason is that the religion-wise census is sure to confirm an upsurge in Muslim population that militates against all predictions by sociologists. It is likely to reveal that the Hindu population has fallen below 80 per cent in India for the first time after independence. It implies severe micro-level changes in the entire northern belt running from western Uttar Pradesh to Assam covering trans-Ganga districts of Bihar and a chunk of West Bengal. Parts of northern Kerala, Haryana (Mewat district) and some districts of Jammu have become red zones for the Hindus. This also has severe implications for internal security.
Arun Jaitley - Is the AAP merely a freak phenomenon? Or is it going to be a lasting experiment? The last word on this cannot be said at this moment. This party is unconventional. It has attempted to exploit the general mood of cynicism. It has made unrealistic promises and does not want to sit in a position of responsibility where it has to walk its talk. The very suggestion of being in Government to implement its policy and promises appears to be scary for this party. In a democracy, the voters vote in order to elect the government. When there are no clear majorities, the Government formation is an art of the possible. In power, such a party would be like a fish out of water. It is possible to make exaggerated promises, and capture the imagination of a few by making unimplementable promises. The strategy of the party is to avoid power rather than be in a position to implement the unimplementable.
Rajiv Kumar - The most important lesson from the elections in the four major states is loud and clear: It is not going to be business as usual in Indian politics. This may well be the watershed in the development of Indian democracy and India reaching its 'progressive moment.' The moment when the old world politics of casteism, money power, muscle power, hereditary privileges and rank opportunism gives way to the new, issue-based politics that derives its electoral appeal from grass-roots movements, accountability, and a strong anti-corruption, good governance platform.
Arun Jaitley - Article 370 of the Constitution has turned into an instrument of oppression and discrimination against Indian citizens. Those who migrated to India after partition and settled in other parts of the country have all the constitutional guarantees. But those unfortunate ones who migrated to J&K, who have been conferred citizenship of India, have not been conferred the status of being state subjects under Article 6 of the J&K Constitution. Being citizens of India, they are discriminated against.  They cannot vote or contest elections of the assembly, municipality or panchayats in the state. They cannot get a job in the state. They cannot acquire property in the state. Their children are not entitled to admission to colleges as state subjects. It is discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights. I wonder if its constitutional validity will be challenged at some point of time.
Ashok Malik - In wide swathes of middle India, the media’s reputation is mud. It is easily linked to cronyism, corruption, megalomaniac editors, half-baked information, and now molestation and rape. Journalists are feared or held in contempt. They are rarely respected. In turn, journalists and the media community increasingly talk to only each other. They scoff at middle-class folk as “socially conservative” and unable to understand the creative genius and licence of media, and envious of their (the journalists’) supposedly superior status. In actuality, the national media in India is the one public institution that is probably the most cut off from the urgings and undercurrents of common, everyday citizens. The Tejpal case personifies all of this. Tehelka was once held up as an example for the media; today it is a warning.
Statement of Victim in rape case against Tarun Tejpal - The law is clear: what Mr. Tejpal did to me falls within the legal definition of rape. Unlike Mr. Tejpal, I am not a person of immense means. I have been raised singlehandedly by my mother’s single income. My father’s health has been very fragile for many years now. Unlike Mr. Tejpal, who is fighting to protect his wealth, his influence and his privilege, I am fighting to preserve nothing except for my integrity and my right to assert that my body is my own and not the plaything of my employer. By filing my complaint, I have lost not just a job that I loved, but much-needed financial security and the independence of my salary. I have also opened myself to personal and slanderous attack. This will not be an easy battle.
R Jagannathan - Secularism has always been the last cloak of the political scoundrel; it now appears to be a good enough defence to protect oneself from the consequences of sexual misconduct too. In making these claims, Tarun Tejpal has exposed the fact that our secularists have no clothes. On the other hand, he has also done enormous damage to both causes: the cause of genuine secularism, and the cause of journalism. It is interesting to note that Tehelka was the first to decry the cash-for-votes sting planned by some BJP leaders to expose the UPA’s efforts to buy MPs’ loyalties before the 2008 confidence vote. So, a Tehelka sting to discredit the NDA with the defence scam is okay, but a sting to discredit the UPA is not okay? My sting is holier than yours!
Gallup Poll Organization - Average suffering in India more than doubled between 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2012. In 2012, a full quarter of Indians were suffering. The significant deterioration in Indians' well-being is likely to be rooted in the country's disappointing economic performance. India's growth rate has now sunk from 9.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 to 4.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2013, the worst quarterly rate since 2002.
Vrinda Gopinath - Oh, when did the radical campaigning that Tehelka so championed come to bite me, must be the cursed thought racing in Tehelka founder and editor- in- chief Tarun Tejpal’s demagogic head. A self- styled Julian Assange of hyper journalism, who has used entrapments, honey traps, ambushes, decoys and enticements to uncover, expose and publish criminality, transgressions and wrongdoing, is now the victim of his own tactics. For, in a stunning display of the Tehelka School of Hyper Journalism, a young staffer who was the target of Tejpal’s revolting and hideous sexual assault, not once but twice, did not waste a moment to exercise what she learnt best – instant revelation and justness, and demanded her statutory rights.
Arun Jaitley - How does the Congress party deal with Narendra Modi? It is a question that the party is unable to answer. Rahul Gandhi is no match. So they are back to their old game of detecting a disgruntled police officer or a civil servant and getting him to make absurd charges. This didn't work when Sanjeev Bhatt (a suspended IPS officer, who is an important witness against Modi in 2002 riots case) did it. It won't work with the Congress party's newly discovered suspended civil servant doing it.
Inder Malhotra - Let me tell the ignoramuses something about what wise men thought of the Bharat Ratna in a better era. The legendary scientist, Nobel laureate C.V. Raman, was among the first four recipients of this award when it was instituted in 1954. Around the same time, he was also made a national professor. A year later, he received a letter from a deputy secretary in the Union ministry of education, asking him to submit a report on the work done by him as national professor. Raman picked up a hammer and a chisel, used them to break his Bharat Ratna into pieces, wrapped these in the deputy secretary's letter, and sent it to Nehru.
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Verbatim

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