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Editorial

The Politics of Loan waiver and Plight of the Farmer

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The practice of loan waivers and the politics around it are not uncommon in India. Let us confine our discussion to the recent past to drive home the point better. When the TDP in Andhra Pradesh and TRS in Telangana promised loan waiver ahead of 2014 polls, there was hue and cry in government and economic circles over its wisdom and the long term negative impact it could have on the fiscal discipline, banking system and the economy at large. The fact that they could implement it only in part is a different matter.

The issue was taken to a different dimension when Narendra Modi, after criticizing such populistic schemes vehemently took a u-turn and promised loan waiver in UP elections in 2017 and BJP’s Maharashtra Govt followed it. Both these big states promised waiver to the tune of Rs 70,000 Cr in farm loans. Punjab Karnataka, Rajasthan etc followed suit. Very recently, Congress promised loan waivers in Chattishgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and came to power. All these states put together promised Rs 1.9 trillion since April last year. Now, Rahul Gandhi demands a nation-wide loan waiver.

What is clear is, every party is guilty of these promises whenever it finds that it is behind its political rival in elections and all the parties consider this promise as a safe bet for winning over the farming community which is the most numerous and decisive vote bank. The fact that it has been the most common populistic promise every political party could make again and again clearly shows that it can not in anyway solve any of the problems faced by the farmers.

Farmer welfare in India has always been in slogans only right from Nehru to Modi for the very basic reason that they never tried to address the basic challenges facing Indian agriculture, but always relied on temporary balms to temporarily assuage the anger of ignorant farmers. None of the prime ministers of India right from the aristocratic Nehru to the Chaiwala Modi came from the farming community. (The very brief tenure of the ‘farmer PM’ Chowdhury Charan Singh was no better as doesn’t represent the real soul of the Indian farmer) When this dependence on the third party for understanding the farmers’ issues is perpetual, it doesn’t augur well for the country which is still predominantly agrarian atleast in terms of population and when the challenges are mounting in geometric proportion both in number and magnitude.

What is the real challenge for farming in this country? It lies in the interface of low-productive technology, unempowered farmer, unempathetic government and the relentless market forces. All the so-called policies till now have treated each of these factors in isolation and their interplay is ignored. As a result, none of the initiatives could have the desired effect. Market yards have no infrastructure to store the unsold produce. Lack of market intelligence results in either glut or severe shortage of the same produce in different months. New technologies never reach small farmers. For every one organized market mechanism, there are ten unorganized and exploitative mechanisms. Govt machinery’s callous attitude kills many innovations. Govt doesn’t care about brining climate resilience into our agriculture in spite of the devastating effect the green house effect is causing, as much as it cares to make it mandatory listening to Vajpayee’s poems in scientific meetings. 

Is there any respite to the farmer’s plight? Does he have to be always at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to distribution of income in the society? Does the price escalation of the produce on year-on-year basis ever matches  atleast the increase in the cost of inputs? Will the fact that the income from the agriculture is the only income in the country showing negative growth, ever change? Is there any solution to this paradox of dwindling income for farmers and high cost of produce for the consumers? Can the tenant farmers ever be treated like the farmers in the Government’s scheme of things? In a nutshell, will the farmers’ suicides ever stop?

When the obvious answer to all the questions is a firm NO, there will always be clamour for the temporary relief. Loan waivers will continue to flourish and every party will be privy to it without exception, the only difference being in their tone when in power and out of power.

Then, doesn’t it have a negative effect on the fiscal discipline, banking and the economy? It will, just like the NPAs and the populistic Mudra loans have their effect on these parameters. Am I being pessimistic and regressive? I don’t want to be. I am ready to change my opinion, if you convince me when the farmers’ income is going to be doubled.

– Sekhar

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Editorial

Why Modi Government became Soft State?

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It is shameful on Republic Day. Instead of Tri-color, some other color flags were hoisted at Red Fort. The more painful incident occurred. The flag post earmarked to hoist by Prime Minister every year on 15th August was chosen by miscreants and rowdy elements to hoist other flag from the same flag post. It is unthinkable. It is an insult to India. It brought defame to the whole country. Why did this happen? That too, on the day India became Republic. Why this day was chosen by agitators, now let them call rioters? Why Government permitted Tractor procession on this holy day?

Is it planned conspiracy to choose Republic Day?

Yogendra Yadav, the unofficial leader of this farmers agitation tried to defend choosing this particular decision in Media emphatically. He assured the country through Media that it will be totally peaceful. What happened to his assurance? Now, he says that certain elements who are outside Samyukta Kisan Morcha were responsible to this unfortunate incident. Did he not anticipate this in advance? Whosoever he is mentioning now are moving freely at Singhu border all these days. Deep Sidhu was branded as BJP/RSS man as if BJP planned this ghastly act.  Kisan Sangharsh Samithi is now branded as out side SKM but their leaders attended regularly meetings with SKM leaders. Leave alone these questions, why did they choose Republic Day? Why not on 25th or 27th? Is it not to attract international attention? Delhi riots linked to Shaheen Bagh protests were well planned to coincide with Trump’s visit. Even this also, a similar exercise? New York Times wrote an article very same day with three contributors together. Such was the speed and importance with which it found space in it. What happened at Capital Hill on 6th January was repeated on 26th January at Red Fort.

Who are these leaders? As informed already Yogendra Yadav, the unofficial coordinator of this movement. He is President of political party by name Swaraj Foundation. Hannan Molla, Politburo member of CPM, Darshan Pal Singh, Ex Maoist, Vugravan, another ML leader and so on. And they say that it is apolitical. In several earlier occasions, we pointed out that radical left is influencing this agitation. Many of these leaders do not want settlement of the issue at all. They deliberately chose this date to attract world wide attention and of course to damage the country’s prestige and Modi’s image.

Why Government allowed this happen?

It is quiet surprising that Government became Soft State. When supporters of so called agitation defaced Gandhi’s statue at Washington DC, Government would be cautious about their motives. When these agitators damaged Jio Towers, Government would be sensible about their motives. When they displayed portraits of Sharjil Imam, Varavara Rao and Umar Khalid, Government would have understood their designs. When they rejected the offer of Government to withhold these laws for one and half year, that should have been end of bon homie with these people. How did Government believe the assurance of these people when their motives were totally suspect. It is blunder on the part of Government to allow this Rally.

Moreover, why Government went back and offered withholding of Laws. It was considered by them as weakness of Government. What message Government want to give to the rest of people in the country? Is one and half State dictate terms to the rest of people? What happened to reforms? When will they be implemented? After one and half year, they can not implement because General elections are approaching. Merit for agri-reforms was given a go bye. It is nothing but surrender to the minority pressure group in the country. It seems that RSS is also having reservations on Farm Laws and advised Government to withhold the laws. Swadeshi Jagran Manch, another RSS wing wanted these reforms to be halted. But these organizations were not accountable to the people. Modi and its elected Government is only accountable to the people. Earlier, amendments to Land Acquisition Act were withdrawn at the pressure point. Now, Farm Laws were with held at the pressure point. There is some thing wrong with the thinking of political leadership. We all believed that Modi was strong and bold in not only taking decisions but stick on to them for implementation. The way things are moving indicates our opinion is wrong. He is also bending like any other leader. This image is neither good for him nor for the country.

Move ahead boldly, people are behind you

At the outset, perpetrators of this plot must be booked and punished with out any mercy. It is not an ordinary crime they committed. It is equal to sedition. Climbing Red Fort and hoist other flag instead of Tri-color is nothing but sedition. Immediately, they must be booked under UAPA. Nation must feel that Government acted firmly and assertively. Second, Government must review its decision to withhold Farm Laws. It is a regressive step. Agriculture badly needed reforms. Farmers who grow paddy and wheat are not only farmers but others are also farmers, Sir. That too Paddy and Wheat farmers of Punjab and Haryana are not whole and sole. Rest of Paddy and Wheat farmers are also to be treated equally. If Government postpone the reforms, it is loss to agriculture sector and its dependents. Now, there is no obligation to the Government to honor its earlier offer. Let government move forward, people are behind it. There is conspiracy in the country to snatch away power from elected representatives to miniscule minority who were rejected by the people. In fact, silent majority of farmers are solidly behind these laws. Since Independence, they are fighting for freedom from licence Raj, controls and barriers. Unfortunately, they are not vocal like this minority group. Farmers of one and half State can not dictate to the whole country. Majority voted for the present dispensation, majority Parliamentarians approved these laws. What more required? Consent of this anarchist group? They never give consent. Move ahead jet speed, people are behind you.

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Editorial

Threat to Democracy from Trump as President

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TrumpIt is unheard in the annals of US history that President himself is the reason for anarchy in the country.  Trump created this record also. US Congress must impeach him immediately so that threat perception to democracy will be reduced. It is dangerous to keep him as President even for one minute because lot of national security and information is in his hands. President who has to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of United States as per para number 6 of Section1 of Article2 of the Constitution failed in his duty. He has to be removed from office as per Section 4 of the same Article. As per  section 1 of Amendment 25 of the Constitution, Vice President can take charge in place of removed President. US Congress must show to the nation its strong commitment towards democratic values by removal of President who failed in his duty to protect the Constitution.

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Democracy must be supreme, not the President

President is Executive authority as per the Constitution. At the same time, there are checks and balances provided in the Constitution. President is respected as long as he respects Constitution. Today’s incidents proved that he failed totally in his duties. Protector himself became destroyer. Then, what recourse left to anyone except removing him. The way he incited his followers, the way he directed them to Capitol Hill is highly condemnable. His actions and provocations made entire country went into tensions and it is unprecedented situation prevailed after 9/11. Can anyone be mute spectator? Trump should not only be impeached but also be punished with high crime/treason charges. The Congress members undergone unforeseen trauma because of Trump today. Let it  be not undermined under any circumstances. Even if he apologizes, Congress should not condone him.

Also Read: God of cricket Urges ICC on this rule

Elections were over. He did not accept defeat graciously. Ok, Constitution provides relief which he availed. That should have ended there itself. In fact, US tradition never reached to the stage of Court post US election result. Even people reconciled to this position because he is having right to approach Court bypassing convention/tradition. But he should not cross the limit from that stage. Today, he made the crowd to gather at White House, spoke at length and incited them. He asked them to proceed to Capitol Hill to lodge protest. Irony is that he did not condemn Capitol incidents. He loved them and advised them to go to Home. What a President the mighty US have? Now, he can not even operate Twitter account, no pity at all. He created a record in the annals of US history for such a disgrace.

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US Congress is in session once again now to confirm Joe Biden as President. US Congress should continue its session till Trump is impeached. The things happened today are no smaller than coup. Congress should debate this incident and take firm and concrete decision in this regard. Congress must show to the world that US is role model in preserving democracy and should establish that it will not spare anybody including President if tried to tamper the democratic values. Democracy is Supreme to President, dear democracy lovers.

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Editorial

A comprehensive analysis of J&K DDC results

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Jammu and Kashmir DDC election results are out. Immediately, there is a narrative in circulation in Media as if 7 party coalition PAGD( People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) swept the polls. Further, there is demand to restore Article 370 because BJP got defeated and PAGD got majority seats in the elections. It started with Omar Abdulla, Ex CM who propagated this narrative in his interviews to the national media. The same was picked up by Media in their broadcasts. Of course, some are overenthusiastic in carrying this propaganda and some are not studied the results properly. What is exactly the result?

Results indicate mixed verdict

At the outset, the above narration is totally false. Here are the details. As on now( at the time of writing this editorial), 278 results out of 280 were declared. Out of these, PAGD got 110, BJP 75, Independents 50, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF 2, JKNPP 2, BSP 1. Among PAGD, NC got 67, PDP 27, PC 8 CPM 5, JKPM 3. The votes polled by different parties: BJP got 4.87lakh votes, PAGD( all 7 parties together) 4.78 lakh and Congress 1.39 lakh. If we see Region wise, Jammu: BJP 72, PAGD 26, Cong 17, AP 3, NPP 2, BSP 1 and Independents 19; Kashmir: PAGD 84, Cong 9, AP 9, BJP 3, PDF 2 and Independents 31.

Now, let us analyze further with deep insight. South Kashmir witnessed very less percentage of voting. Pulwama: 7.6; Shopian: 15.4; Anantanag: 24.9; Kulgam: 25. All these four districts of South Kashmir are heavily infected by terrorists and thereby people did not come forward to vote. In such circumstances, the number of people who decide the fate of winner is very insignificant number. In Pulwama and Shopian, the total votes polled in many constituencies did not cross three digits. So, technically, whoever gets majority out of this tiny number, they are winners. But they are not at all received people’s mandate. 93% to 75% people did not vote. In these constituencies, PAGD won the most of the seats. Omar Abdulla’s big claim includes these four district seats also where overwhelming majority even did not vote. Out of 56 seats in these four districts, PAGD got 37 seats.  These 37 are part of their 110 seats. Morally, these seats should be kept aside as people rejected all contestants in these districts.

In North Kashmir, the average polling percentage is around 45% to 50%. It is respectable figure to count. Here, the results are mixed. PAGD got clear majority in three districts only( Kupwara, Budgam and Ganderbal). In Baramulla and Bandipora, PAGD got 7 seats each. In Bandipora, one more seat is yet to be declared. That means they are dependent either on Congress or Independents. In Srinagar, PAGD got 3 seats only.  Independents got 7, Apni Party 3, BJP 1 who are in majority. That is why, North Kashmir where voting took place with respectable figure voted mixed way. So, PAGD claim as if people voted for them totally is false. If they remove South Kashmir, their performance is good but not exemplary. Out of 72 seats, they got 47 and others got 25. Remember, Kashmir valley all these years, political space was occupied exclusively by the partners of Gupkar alliance. First time, significant number of Independents got elected. BJP also first time made entry with 3 seats. Is it defeat or victory to PAGD? It is a moral defeat to them because first time , they conceded 25 seats in north Kashmir and another 14 they conceded in South Kashmir. What does it mean? Kashmir valley is now open to others.

Coming to Jammu region, voting percentage is 68.5%. it is even more than Indian average. Here, BJP is clear winner in 5 districts and an edge in one more district with 7 seats and with Apni party winning 2 seats. In no district, PAGD is clear winner. In three districts, it got 6 seats. A minimum of two more required to win over in these districts. In Poonch, Independents won 8 seats whereas PAGD got only 2. BJP got 72 seats out of 140. Here also, BJP’s performance is not exemplary. It won 6 DDCs out of 10. In three districts, PAGD is having edge with the support of Congress and Independents. In one district, Independents dominate the scene. Overall, PAGD may likely get elected to the Chair in 12 districts provided Congress extend support. In 6 districts, BJP will took the chair. In two districts, Independents decide the fate. It is the scenario. However, remember that BJP got higher percentage of votes than PAGD. As Omar Abdulla is claiming it as people’s referendum, voting share is also to be reckoned with.

Conclusions

  1. These elections were totally violence free, a record in J&K history. Also, these elections are free and fair compared to previous elections. The Gupkar Alliance do not have any moral right to speak now. The way elections were rigged in the year 1989 by Farooq Abdulla and Congress is known to everybody. It triggered separatist and terrorist movement in the State. Pakistan got an opportunity to attract these stiff into their country claiming that elections in J&K were always managed. Now, all these voices were kept mum because elections were conducted free and fair.
  2. The voting percentage in these elections was doubled compared to 2019 Lok Sabha elections which brings more credibility to democracy and democratic process. Can Gupkar alliance deny this? Can CPM which supports this Gupkar alliance deny this? Can Congress whose hands were covered with dirt in J&K deny this?
  3. The tall claims of overwhelming victory to PAGD is false and misleading. Number one, BJP as a single party got more number of votes than 7 Party Gupkar alliance together. If it is a referendum, this votes should be the first factor to be taken into consideration. Number two, PAGD on its own got majority in 6 districts alone out of 20 districts including less polled districts in South Kashmir. BJP on its own got majority in 5 districts. What does it mean? No party is clear winner in J&K. In the remaining 9 districts, 2 are Independent majority. In one district, BJP is likely to win the Chair with Apni party support. In the remaining,6 districts, PAGD may win the Chair provided Congress will declare unstinted support. Now, let anyone claim that it is overwhelming support to PAGD in the elections? Can anyone say that it is verdict against abrogation of Article 370?
  4. First time in the history of J&K, all these elected Councilors are going to be sworn in on Indian Constitution unlike in the past wherein they used to swear in on J&K Constitution first and then Indian Constitution. Where is the argument for these parties to tell that they never raise Indian flag? Their double standards are being exposed by this election.
  5. The leaders who insulted our Flag and country were shown the door by Kashmir people. Mahabooba Mufti who declared that she will not raise Indian Flag until J&K Flag is kept high was routed totally in this election. Her party received not only lesser number of seats but also got the least number of votes. They got only 55 thousand votes much lesser than Congress which got 1.39 lakhs. Similarly, Farooq Abdulla who wanted to take the help of China for restoration of Article 370 was received slap on his face. Srinagar where he contested in the elections as MP did not allow Farooq’s party to win. In this district, NC got 1 out of 14 equaling with BJP who also got 1. It is the way Jammu Kashmir people shown their loyalty to the country.
  6. Congress which played double role in these elections was treated badly by getting fourth place in party wise and seat wise tally. Interestingly, the Hindu dominated four districts in Jammu region i.e. Kathua, Samba, Jammu and Uddhampur, Congress drew blank by not winning single seat. Congress is totally isolated in Hindu minority community in Jammu and Kashmir State. However, it is having solace that PAGD requires its support in almost all districts where they are not clear winners. Whether it will be positive or counter productive, time only will tell.
  7. BJP emerged as single largest party in the State first time in the history of J&K. Also, it is first time, they got 3 seats in the valley, that too one seat in Srinagar itself. It is a big boost to them. In many other constituencies in the valley, BJP candidates were polled good number of votes. It means that slowly, not strongly as on now, people in Kashmir valley are accepting BJP. All the candidates contested in the valley on behalf of BJP are from majority Muslim community only. If it turns to be the new outlook of BJP, it is welcome in the pluralistic society of India.
  8. National Conference emerged as pan J&K party in these elections. In the coalition of PAGD, if anyone gains, it is NC. It got seats and votes not only in north Kashmir but also PDP strong hold South Kashmir. Also, its performance in Jammu region is noteworthy. Muslims in Jammu region used to behave differently since inception. When Shaik Abdulla converted his Muslim Conference to National Conference, Muslims in Jammu region remained in Muslim Conference only. Later, Congress used to be strong in these Punjabi speaking Muslims. This time, it seems that NC made inroads into this vote bank. One way, it marginalized PDP in the State. Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference which got 8 seats retained its traditional base in Kupwara and Baramulla districts whereas CPM’s Mohammad Tarigami retained his base in Kulgam district. In conclusion, it is gain to NC and loss to PDP within PAGD.
  9. Apni party which was formed with dissidents from PDP mainly and also from Congress and NC did not make much impact. It got 9 seats in valley and 3 seats in Jammu. But remember that NC and PDP made vilification campaign against this formation. Despite this counter propaganda very widely, it was able to spread its influence across the State. It particularly got foothold in Srinagar. Its Mayor is now in Apni Party. It got 3 seats in Srinagar district and emerged as the single largest party there. It may occupy some political space in the coming period.
  10. The important factor emerged in this election is Independents. In two districts, they are in majority. Almost in all districts, they got sufficient number of seats. PAGD may argue that it contains rebels from their parties. It is partially true. Some of them are rebels but not all. There are younger generation people who contested and won in many places. They are going to play important role in the coming days. They may form a new party challenging the established parties and leadership in the valley. The developments may be unfolded in the coming days.
  11. The unity generated among 7 party alliance in the name of PAGD is going to be tested in the election of Chairman and Vice Chairman to DDCs. We witnessed power politics in India very much. We reserve our comments till the election process completes.

In conclusion, this election proved that Indian democracy is vibrant and strong. The ultimate winner is democracy in the elections. Modi should be credited for conduct of peaceful and impartial election unlike in the past. It also vindicated that abrogation of Article 370 is not boiling in the State as claimed by PAGD. If it is so, political space was not available to other players in the State which did not happen. Let all of us celebrate this happy occasion for gradual but effective integration of J&K with rest of India.

 

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