Thursday, 31 May 2018

BJP stares at by poll defeats


The results of the by-elections to the 11 assembly seats across 10 states came as a rude shock to the BJP-NDA. While NDA has managed to win only one seat in Uttarakhand only whereas Congress emerged victorious in four seats one each in Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab and Maharashtra. JMM won two seats in Jharkhand, SP & RLD won one each in UP, RJD won one in Bihar, TMC won one in West Bengal and CPM won one seat in Kerala.
  • At Jokihat (Bihar) RJD defeated JDU with huge margin. The Jokihat bypoll defeat has come as a jolt to JDU CM Nitish Kumar who dumped RJD and INC last year to join hands with BJP to form a new coalition government in Bihar.  
  • At Kairana (UP) Tabassum Hasan of RLD won against her BJP rival Mriganka Singh (daughter of deceased BJP MP Hukum Singh) with the support of INC, SP and BSP. This by-poll was pitched as another test of opposition unity against the BJP after SP-BSP combine defeaed BJP in its strongholds Gorakhpur and Phulpur in March 2018. In the Noorpur Assembly seat, which became vacant due to death of a BJP MLA in a road accident, the SP has won. These victories are likely to evolve template for joining of non-BJP parties 
  • In Maharashtra's Palus-Kadegaon assembly constituency, by-election was necessitated due to the death of Congress MLA Patangrao Kadam. His son Vishwajeet Kadam, INC candidate,  was elected unopposed. 
  • In Maharashtra's Palghar Parliamentary constituency the bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MP after a heart attack. The by-election was contested by ruling BJP, its ally Shiv Sena, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) and INC. In the multi cornered contest, BJP emerged victorious and retained the seat. This victory of BJP is the only  consolation to BJP facing several humiliating defeats. In the by-poll in Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituency due to resignation of the BJP MP, INC supported NCP defeated BJP in straight contest. The bypolls to Maharashtra's LS seats are seen as a litmus test for the next general election. 
  • In Nagaland, parliamentary bypoll for the lone seat was due to the resignation of Neiphiu Rio to become NDPP CM, ally of BJP. BJP's ally and ruling NDPP's candidate Tokheho Yepthomi won over NPF candidate CApok Jamir.
  • In Jharkhand's Gomia & Silli assembly constituencies by-poll was necessitated due to the disqualification following conviction of JMM MLA's YP Mahto in a coal theft case and AK Mahto in a manhandling case. In the triangular contests, JMM retained both the seats defeating BJP & AJSUP.
  • In Meghalaya's Ampati by-poll that was necessitated due to former CM Mukul Sangma vacating Ampati seat as he had won two seats in the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly elections, retaining the Songsak seat. Congress had won the seat with margin of over 3,000 votes. With this win, Congress strength in the 60 member Meghalaya assembly is 21 surpassing ruling NPP's 20 seats.
  • In Uttarakhand's Tharali assembly constituency by-poll was necessitated due to death of BJP MLA and BJP retained the seat in the by-polls. 
  • In Karnataka's Bengaluru-RR Nagar assembly constituency, locked in triangular contest with BJP and JDS, INC emerged victorious. 
  • In Punjab's Shahkot assembly constituency, ruling Congress party wrested the seat from Akali Dal, due to the death of its MLA.
  • In West Bengal's Maheshtala assembly constituency, ruling TMC retained its seat by securing 104,814 votes against BJP candidate's 41,987 and INC backed Left Front candidate's 30,316 votes. 
  • In Kerala's Chengannur assembly constituency, CPM polled 67,303 votes defeating INC 46,347 and BJP's 35,270. 
As Ambedkar feared in 1948, every government with full majority in Parliament will invariably try to undermine constitution, abuse institutions to their selfish and short sighted ends with utter disregard to principles of democracy were proved to be true with Modi's dictatorial attitudes and abuse of authority and destruction of institutions surpassing Indira Gandhi's abuse in 1970's. India has progressed well during the coalition governments between 1992-2014 (22 years), despite some setbacks and slow speed compared to other 49 years, after independence in 1947. It is better to have strong states and regional parties and weak coalition government at centre driven by common minimum program of all states & parties with extra ordinary central powers only to deal with defense, external threats or natural calamities. Centre must be responsible to Parliament on continuous basis in letter and spirit of constitution while upholding principles of democracy.



The message is loud & clear. 
United Opposition Parties can and will win over lone BJP.


The BJP has set precedent through Karnataka governor, that largest single party should get first opportunity to form government with liberal grant of 15 days time (for horse trading and/or forging coalitions etc) to pass floor test. Now in these bypolls, INC with 21 seats emerged largest single party surpassing ruling NPP's 20 seats. Will Meghalaya Governor dislodge existing BJP supported NPP coalition government and offer INC to form government by virtue of its being largest single party and pass floor test in 15 days time? Let us see what Modi & BJP will do, who are notorious to twist every event to their advantage with no regard for 'rule of the law'. 

As things are unfolding, Modi, Amit Shah, BJP etc are now clueless of how to arrest the negative vibrations due to their misrule, wild economic reform adventures resulting in economic distress and headstrong arising out of victories in almost all the elections during the past 4 years. They can only be helped by divided opposition parties, which is unlikely because they have a common and most feared enemy in Modi.



Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Petrol prices cut by 1 paise!


After completion of polling in Karnataka, Petrol and Diesel prices were increased relentlessly every day during past 30 days. In the last fortnight Petrol price at Hyderabad was hiked from Rs.79.37 to Rs. 83.13 (an  increase of 4.7% in 15 days). Today oil companies have announced reduction of petrol by Rs.0.60 today and quickly corrected it to Rs.0.01 (1 Paise) citing clerical error is a cruel joke on consumers. While reduction was announced by Oil companies routinely, the correction announcement is suspected to be at the behest of government for unknown reasons. With large scale usage computers and other technologies, citing clerical error is unacceptable non sense. If it is true, that clerk and his superior officers should have got suspension orders right away but no such thing has happened. While oil prices fell by 70% between 2014-17, both central and state governments merrily increased excise duty and VAT and ensured that consumer got the benefit of 15% only while 85% of low price benefit was grabbed by them. Now in 2018, while oil prices have gone up from $30 to $84 per barrel, neither centre nor state(s) are prepared to reduce their taxes and provide relief to consumer. They are insensitive to the inflationary effects their action and inaction.  Ironically, leakages suggested that government is mulling excise duty cut on petrol & diesel and wants states also to cut their VAT and consumers were expecting some big relief, for which Modi & Jaitley were never known for. 


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Modi squander's away low oil price advantage



  • Every $10 price variation in crude oil price, simply means for India as GDP 1% and loss/gain of 1 million jobs lost/added, without doing anything.
  • While UPA II under Manmohan Singh suffered above $100 per barrel oil price, Modi was gifted by God with $50 per barrel oil price regime. The difference simply means 5% GDP growth and 5 million jobs added without doing anything by central government. 
  • Modi retained 85% of lower oil rices to government by increasing excise duty while passing on benefit to consumer - limited to just 15%. This amounts to nearly Rs.7-8  lakh crores additional money with central government and no one knows where it has gone?
  • Modi and FM Jaitley also changed series for GDP growth calculations which has added another 2% totaling to 7% advantage.
  • Average GDP growth rate during the period of UPA Government (2004 to 2014) has been 7.7% despite two global slowdowns in this period.
  • It was 6.9% GDP growth rate, when Modi became PM in 2014. Year-on-year GDP growth was increasing when Manmohan Singh assumed office in 2004, but was falling after Modi took to the helm. Modi inherited a sluggish economy stricken by policy paralysis and corruption. 
  • FM Arun Jaitley, inherited a situation where there was little room left to increase public expenditure. Growth has slowed down but consumption hasn’t gone down, while demand is still there in the market the same was fulfilled by imports.
  • The Demonetisation and the GST rollout have caused major disruption, effecting GDP numbers.

The impact on GDP growth rate with variations in economic activity is never simple. Despite high oil prices, corruption, policy paralysis etc - UPA's economic performance was exuberant where as aided with low oil prices, Modi's reckless fiscal reforms boomeranged and almost destroyed economy. However Modi & Jaitley squandering away the huge savings due to low oil price regime, not solving any of the ailing sectors, their inaction leading to huge pile up of NPAs and banks pushed to brink of collapse etc are unpardonable. Neither Modi nor Jaitley has any depth of knowledge of economics nor have any good people to assist them and most of the time seemed helpless. Definitely we don't need helpless leaders!


Cartoon of the Day








































Delhi archbishop warns of threat to India's secular fabric

 


The archbishop of Delhi has called for a prayer campaign until the next general election in an unprecedented political intervention, citing a threat to the country’s secular fabric, triggering angry reactions from the ruling Hindu nationalist party. "We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation," Archbishop Anil Couto wrote in a letter issued this month to all parish priests and religious institutions in the archdiocese of Delhi.
  • Christians constitute less than 3 percent of Hindu-majority India’s 1.3 billion people. India is officially secular, but four-fifths of its population profess the Hindu faith.
  • The BJP said the letter was akin to calling people to vote along communal lines, and that it was unfortunate. The next election has to be held by next May.
  • The Archbishop’s secretary, Father Robinson Rodrigues sad that such prayer campaigns took place before every general election, but the exercise was being politicised this time.
  • The spokesman for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, Father Savarimuthu Sankar, said the archbishop only called for a prayer campaign not an election campaign. He said the letter, the first of its kind from Archbishop Anil Couto since he was installed in 2013, was prompted by continued violence against Christians over the past four years and following attempts to bring back to Hinduism people who converted to Christianity. We try to influence at least those people who are educated, who are balanced. So far we have been saying these are fringe elements who are behind the attacks. But there is a danger that fringe elements may become the mainstream. To some extent they are succeeding also.
  • Responding to questions about the letter, Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh told reporters that minorities are safe in India and that no one is allowed to discriminate on the basis of caste and religion. Between 2014 and 2015, Couto and other Christians in the national capital region of Delhi told Rajnath Singh how violence had picked up after Modi came to power, detailing at least five cases of attacks on churches in New Delhi following which extra police had been deployed to protect 240 churches in the capital.
  • The prayer for our nation says, “Let the dreams of our founding fathers and the values of our Constitution – equality, liberty and fraternity – be always held in highest esteem. Let the people of all castes and creeds, all denominations and persuasions live in harmony and peace steering far away from hatred and violence." The prayer also focuses on the poor and the marginalised, saying, “Let the poor of our country be provided with the means of livelihood. Let the dalits, tribals and the marginalised be brought into the mainstream of nation building. Let justice and integrity prevail in every sphere of our life.”
  • The prayer further says, "Protect our legislature as a place of discerning minds. Raise our judiciary as the hallmark of integrity, prudence and justice. Keep our print, visual and social media as the channels of truth for edifying discourses. Protect our institutions from the infiltration of the evil forces.” 

While the letter and prayer has no inflammable content, the underpinning is very clear that minorities have apprehensions about their safety, rights and privileges compromised. They are all living with their mouth shut for the last 4 years, with fear gripping them choking. Now that Modi & BJP got weakened, vulnerable and uncertain of wining no more elections owing to his worst performance in all fronts, it is natural that all suppressed sections of people will speak out their mind ventilating their grudge reflecting their anger. With minorities at 20%, dalits at 18% thoroughly alienated, there is no way BJP can win 2019 general elections unless oppositions parties fail to put up common candidates. But with Karnataka episode, Modi has himself united all the opposition parties, underwriting his own defeat. 


Risk of doing nothing

 

Hardly a day goes by without a story that financial markets are in “bubble” territory. Stock markets around the world are at record highs and bond yields are at record lows. The former means that valuations are at the upper end of historic ranges. The latter has meant that many unusual things can be sold to investors anxious for yield. 
  • Investors remain nervous and many choose to hold significant amounts of cash. This appears to be a conservative strategy but in fact it is a rather risky one. The obvious problem is that with rates at record lows you receive virtually no interest on your capital.
  • The bigger problem is that with inflation running well above the level of interest rates the conservative strategy of putting money in the bank is actually destroying your purchasing power at an alarming rate. As inflation has been higher than the interest you have been receiving, your purchasing power has been declining.
  • Bank interest rates are likely take a long time before the bank rate gets above the inflation rate. Consequently this trend of real capital loss from holding cash will continue for years.
  • While we are conscious that there are fewer opportunities to find attractively valued investments, we continue to dedicate your resources to finding such opportunities.
  • Risks that affect investments are -- doing nothing risk, inflation risk, market risk, specific risk, currency risk, default risk, sector risk, liquidity risk, false confidence risk, duration risk and leverage risk.
A diversified equity portfolio, or a balanced portfolio of equities, corporate credit and government bonds, are expected to continue to provide investors with capital growth in real terms. In fact such portfolios may be less risky to your financial well-being than sticking your money in the bank.

The only certainty is uncertainty. There is no such thing as “risk free”. 
Even government and banks can or have the potential to default. 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results and the value of such investments and their strategies may fall as well as rise. Capital security is never guaranteed. Yields on investments may fall or rise on the performance of the investment and the financial markets.  As such no warranty can be given that the yields will consistently attain such levels over any given period.


Monday, 21 May 2018

DK Shivakumar: The man who checkmated Amit Shah in Karnataka


Tasked with keeping the flock together after the Karnataka Assembly Elections verdict revealed a fractured mandate, DK Shivakumar passed with flying colours on Saturday May 19, 2019.

The name of Doddalahalli Kempegowda Shivakumar is met with fear and awe in Karnataka in equal measure. The Congress’s master strategist, Vokkaliga strongman and former state Energy Minister will go down in history not only for engineering the loss of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the political thriller that followed the 2018 Karnataka verdict, but also for taking BJP National President Amit Shah head on and emerging victorious.  

Tasked with keeping the flock together after the Assembly verdict revealed a fractured mandate, DK Shivakumar could even be seen smirking by the time two-day Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa said that he was stepping down. Shivakumar is credited with personally keeping the flock together, ferrying the MLAs to Hyderabad and back, and ensuring that the BJP didn't get through to the Congress-JD(S) combine.

However, this isn’t the first time he was tasked with the job. In 2002, when the then-Congress leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was staring at a no-confidence motion, Shivakumar, a trusted aide of SM Krishna and the then-Karnataka Urban Development Minister, hosted the Congress MLAs at the now-infamous Eagleton Resort, and escorted them to Mumbai on the day of the trust vote, ensuring that they cleared it.

Less than a year ago, DK Shivakumar successfully prevented the horse-trading of 44 Gujarat MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. This, just a week after there were Income Tax raids on 64 locations connected to him in a tax evasion case.

From his earliest days in Karnataka politics, Shivakumar has been an astute leader who has always played his cards well. When he filed his affidavit for the 2018 Assembly elections, he and his wife declared assets worth Rs 730 crore.

Born into an agricultural family, Shivakumar has been a member of the Congress since the beginning of his political career, after playing a leading role in the Youth Congress since his RC College days. He held the position of General Secretary of Karnataka State Youth Congress between 1983 and 1985. His first electoral success came when he was elected to the Zilla Panchayat in 1987.

At the age of 25, Shivakumar went up against seasoned politician HD Deve Gowda in Sathnur, where he lost by a slender margin. He contested again in the 1989 elections as an independent candidate and won. He became the youngest minister in the state just two years later, at the age of 30, where he served as a Minister of State under Chief Minister S Bangarappa from 1991 to 1992.

A seven-time MLA, Shivakumar was the campaign committee chairman – a post held by former Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and SM Krishna earlier.

However, Shivakumar’s record is nowhere close to clean. He has been accused of illegal granite mining, encroachment of government land, tax evasion, Forest Act violations and corruption.

This record is said to be the reason former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah maintained his distance from Shivakumar when he came to power in 2013. The legislator from Kanakapura was then offered the Energy portfolio in 2014.

Politics

Even though Shivakumar has fought tooth and nail to install HD Kumaraswamy in the Chief Minister’s chair, there is no lost love between Shivakumar and the Gowdas. Both Vokkaligas, the battle has often been in Ramanagara district, the Vokkaliga heartland in Old Mysore. Shivakumar has gone head-to-head with former Prime Minister and veteran leader HD Deve Gowda in the past.

In the 2002 Lok Sabha bye-polls, Shivakumar lost to Deve Gowda. He then rose to fame during the 2004 Lok Sabha election, when he supported the candidature of newbie Tejaswini Sriramesh, a television journalist-turned-politician against Deve Gowda in Kanakapura. She went on to win by a landslide, and earned the reputation of being a giant killer. But it was Shivakumar, who was then the Urban Development Minister and Sathanur MLA – which was a part of the Kanakapura constituency – who earned the praise and trust of the Congress top brass by ‘discovering’ Tejaswini. 

He is also credited for the seven JD(S) MLAs rebelling against their party supremo and cross-voting in the 2016 Rajya Sabha polls.

The 2018 elections

A man with strategic prowess, D K Shivakumar has proven his mettle time and again, and has made clear that he intends to sit in the Chief Minister’s chair someday. With Shivakumar eyeing the post of Deputy Chief Minister for now, one will only have to wait and watch for what the Congress’ Chanakya does next.


Modi is so much vulnerable today

 

Akhilesh Yadav was first to discover that Modi's winning spree is in fact is defeat of other parties divided. Ahead of Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls he reached out to his arch rival BSP Supremo Mayawati for exploring national interest in defeating Modi rather than fighting among themselves. And BJP's 2014 victory of Gorakhpur & Phulpur by over few lakh votes got inverted into defeat in 2018, by few lakh votes in the hands of SP+BSP. Just double digit winning of Gujarat elections and falling short of majority in Karnataka elections and subsequent unethical adventures by BJP, Modi & Co that compelled BJP new CM Yedurappa resign with in 55 hours, left Modi & BJP so much vulnerable they stand top of non performance, corruption, subversion of institutions, economy in shambles, ever rising crude oil prices threatening economic disasters and fiscal deficits makes winning 2019 general elections with just under 31% popular vote share an impossible task, with opposition getting united with a single objective of defeating BJP, everywhere. 

It is worry some for the BJP that the Karnataka setback has shown that the extra effort put in by Narendra Modi by raising the number of his rallies to 21 in the state did not pay dividends. BJP might have fared worse if Modi had stuck to his original plan to address 15 public meetings. In hindsight, it might have been better for the BJP if it had conceded defeat when it saw that it had fallen short of the target of 112 in the 224-member House. Instead, by opting for a floor test, Modi & Amit Shah combine provoked all the avoidable controversies about horse-trading and corruption and to cover up resorted to innumerable lies and lost credibility. Congress party releasing audio clips of BS Yedurappa, his son Vijayendra, BJP leaders Muralidhar Rao and Sriramulu had sealed the BJP’s fate. The potential turncoats in the Congress-JD(S) coalition were doubly convinced that siding with the BJP was a bad idea. With Modi losing his cutting edge as the party's only star campaigner and any hint that he can no longer enable the party to cross the winning line is a major concern when the BJP faces crucial assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in next few months' time. The burden he already carries as the spearhead of the BJP's campaign will become heavier after the Karnataka outcome.


Sunday, 20 May 2018

Supreme Court saves democracy

The fast-changing political scenario in Karnataka, where BJP & Congress-JD(S) alliance were trying to outsmart each other in reaching the magical figure of 112, has not only kept the political pundits on tenterhook but the Supreme Court judges had also to go through the sleepless night and restive day in deciding their legal battle. The battle to form the government not only confined to political arena but also spilled over to the court with Congress-JD(S) alliance approaching the Supreme Court by first challenging Karnataka governor decision to invite the BJP to form government and again on appointment of pro-tem speaker. The court first ordered floor test for BS Yeddyurappa by Sat May 19, 2018 4PM and later ordered the proceedings to be video recorded and telecast live to bring fairness to proceedings.
  • Had SC not intervened, BS Yedurappa would have successfully completed horse trading and won floor test in stipulated 15 days time. And BJP, Modi & Co would have resorted to high decibel campaign that JDS & Congress MLAs defecting on their own will, getting attracted to Modi & BJP's policies and so on. But SC reducing floor test time to just 35 hours preempted all BJP's evil undemocratic efforts of horsetrading of MLAs. And BS Yedurappa was compelled to resign and avoid floor test.
  • SC deserves credit for upholding the democratic values. But yet another Institution, the Governor of Karnataka has been reduced to just another wagging tail of shameless BJP. 
  • Kudos to Justice A K Sikri (bench headed by him) and comprising Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan, for fearlessly passing orders and saving democracy much to the discomfort of PM Modi and ruling party BJP.
  • Utterly bitterly shame on BJP & Modi to have subverted the office of Governor and attempted horse trading to get themselves to power in Karnataka. Modi & BJP lost the right to talk about ethics now. The shameless Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, must resign on his own or the President must sack him. Those who compel and impose fake nationalism were seen walking out when National Anthem was sung.
  • The beauty of democracy is that whenever executive tends to misbehave autocratically, in violation of constitution, other institution(s) shall rise to fill the void and correct the coarse of events. Hence it is crucial to ensure independence of press & media and all its autonomous institutions.

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed 
no better than we deserve ... George Bernard Shaw

In the 1996 general elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha and AB Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but failed to muster enough support from other parties to obtain a majority. He resigned after 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner a majority. He just needed 1 or 2 MP's to scrape through the floor test, which could have been easily managed, unethically. But Vajpayee preferred to stick to ethics and resigned after delivering emotional farewell speech in Lok Sabha. On the contrary, Yedurappa having failed in all his shameless unethical efforts to buyout any of the JDS or Congress MLAs, attempted to deliver emotional speech on May 19, 2018 in Karnataka Assembly, emulating Vajpayee, is ridiculed by one and all. Shameless Yedurappa, BJP and its leadership.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Yedurappa resigns. But what about Governor Vajubhai Vala?

  • Just two days after taking oath as the Chief Minister, Karnataka BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa resigned ahead of the crucial vote of confidence on the floor of the house.
  • Outnumbered by the Congress-JD(S) combine, the BJP needed the support of 111 MLAs to sail through the vote of confidence on the floor of the house. It had only 104 and its efforts to buyout few MLAs from JDS and/or Congress fell flat leaving indelible blot on their face.
  • In a surprise farewell speech in the Assembly, an emotional Yeddyurappa said he will campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and ensure that BJP wins all 28 LS seats in the state.
  • The BJP never had the numbers, but the governor invited them to form government and generously gave 2 weeks time for horse-trading and winning trust motion on floor of the Assembly. But Supreme Court curtailed the time to just to 36 hours, only to avoid judicial scrutiny of actions of constitutional office of Governor.
  • The Supreme Court today ordered live telecast of the floor test, when Congress challenged the appointment of KG Bopaiah (BJP MLA) as Protem Speaker who is not the senior most MLA but also with questionable past record as speaker.
  • In a democracy we have to accept not only people's verdict but also the follow the rule of law.
  • Earlier in the week, BJP which had emerged as the single largest party, was invited by the Governor Vajubhai Vala to form the government ignoring the post poll coalition between JDS and Congress, which together had 115 MLAs, well above the mark of simple majority of 112/222 which was challenged by JDS & Congress in Supreme Court for staying the swearing-in of BS Yedurappa as the Chief Minister. 
  • "The Governor has invited us to form the government. The swearing in ceremony will be organised on Monday May 21, 2018. I have personally invited Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Chandrashekhar Rao and Chandrababu Naidu to attend the ceremony," Kumaraswamy told reporters.

Governor Vajubhai Vala's  baseless and senseless decision to invite minority BJP leader Yedurappa, ignoring JDS+Congress combine's leader HD Kumara Swamy with clear majority that lead to intense horse trading activity by BJP with unlimited budgets of several thousands of crores of rupees was thwarted by JDS & Congress leadership, cadre with support of Supreme Court interventions, almost all opposition leaders across many states, JDS & Congress MLAs unwilling to cross parties within hours of electing by public. Karnataka showed that the BJP's downslide has started with arrogant and audacious actions of Modi and Amit Shah, who lost their face with steep fall from their high moral ground to deep corruption. Their credibility is totally lost and this fiasco will have its telling effect on 2019 General Elections on Modi & BJP. The need of the hour is that Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala must resign and get out.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Modi unites all opposition parties against himself

  • Recent developments suggest that Narendra Modi and his BJP can no longer afford to be over confident about their prospects in the next parliamentary elections. 
  • BJP's recent victory in Gujarat is so much narrow that in next LS elections it may not even get 13 of 26 seats. In last elections BJP won all 26 seats.
  • BJP's impressive victory in Tripura and in North East has just 24 LS seats only. 
  • The recent LS bye poll humiliating defeats with massive majority in MP, UP, Rajasthan and Bihar only indicates its vulnerable position in Hindi heartland states, where it has won thumbs down in 2014, almost 90% LS seats.
  • RSS survey had warned that unless BJP makes some in roads in South, East and North East, BJP may not be able to form Government in 2019, even with the help of allies.
  • BJP allies from several states have either jumped ship recently or have begun making dissonant noises and a federal front is being talked about, and many has begun exploring viable anti-BJP groupings.
  • The realignment conversations could be described as signs of political desperation and opportunism, the BJP will take these lightly at its own peril. Even the smallest allies that had  contributed to the 2014 result and their exit will hurt.
  • Regional and small parties are usually more closer to the people, and their growing openness to considering non-BJP options suggests that they may be sniffing a change in voter mood.
  • The first is the puncturing the exaggerated claims of the Modi government and its all-round failure in delivering "achhe din" by the Congress took with some success in Gujarat.
  • The second is the Modi government’s callous attitude to regional aspirations and its unfair treatment of regional opposition-led states, the factors said to be behind the TDP’s exit from the BJP-led NDA.
  • The third is the strong anti-democratic strain in the functioning of the BJP and Modi government, with sweeping decisions such as demonetization taken without much consultation, opposition leaders being hounded, much energy being devoted to sabotaging opposition governments and installing BJP/NDA state governments even after electoral rejection, and meddling in the working of constitutional and other authorities.
  • The SP and the BSP tie-up for the UP by-elections has made the most news, but there are others too. 
  • The BJP is facing criticism on non-performance, regional neglect and anti-democratic attitude, but the fact of the matter is that these have emerged as the principal themes and much of the blame must go to the Modi-Amit Shah duo. 
  • The BJP’s top two have made no secret of their Congress-mukt Bharat agenda or their desire for a longer stint in the government, to realise a "new India". Political ambition of Modi-Shah duo’s chosen approach are exceptionable as their plans to continue in power appear to rely less on demonstrated performance, more on headline management, a systematic crippling of the opposition, and projection of their electoral record as a popular vindication of positions and endorsement of performance.
  • The BJP has never spared the Congress for the propaganda and opposition stifling the grand old party resorted to in its heydays, and its position on electoral record smacks of duplicity. If the BJP’s election wins reflect the people’s approval of what it is doing, surely the Congress must have performed extremely well for it to have ruled the roost for decades.
  • The Modi-Shah recipe, viewing BJP more as an election machine has driven the BJP to high-voltage propaganda, riding roughshod over regional sentiment and established democratic proprieties.
  • Modi’s carefully crafted larger than life persona is another reason for the kind of Opposition build-up being witnessed. In painting Modi as a hugely popular, unassailable political mastermind, and Modi himself seriously invested in perpetuating the image, the BJP has hastened the process of self-reflection across various Opposition parties and given a certain credibility to charges of self-aggrandizement and totalitarianism against Modi.
  • It is likely that the Modi-led hegemony not been pitched so strongly and that the men and strategies that catapulted the BJP to parliamentary majority and have delivered several important Assembly election wins will emerge as the party’s weak links now. But then, as Shah himself says, every election is different and the past matters little.

While not understating Modi's charisma and oratory skills of mesmerizing and carrying audience with him, the fact of the matter is that the people in the seats of power must deliver to the expectations of people over time of 3-5 years. Otherwise, building up anti-incumbency is inevitable. In 2014 it is not Modi's victory but loss of elections by UPA regime. Same thing will repeat in 2019, due to no-performance by Modi and humiliation of allies & opposition parties. All BJP electoral victories from 2014 onward, are mainly due to divided opposition not an endorsement of its performance. Now visible BJP's losses are also due to unification of opposition parties. The desire to defeat Modi is reverberating, unification of all opposition parties is a certainty by 2019 general election and that would ruthlessly consign Modi & Co to their hometowns. The ever increasing crude oil price will aid economic distress for people of India and will aid destruction & demolition of Modi & BJP. 

Modi & BJP's desperation to form government in Karnataka, despite falling short of majority while JDS+Congress having clear majority, with the help of their own Governor and SC passing strictures has only united all the opposition parties in the country. In the end, truth will prevail i.e. JDS+ Congress will form government and BJP will stand isolated. That would seal BJP's ambitions to make way into South and will have negative effects in 2019 elections.


Truth

There is no such thing as the truth. Truths are facts and there are no facts, only interpretations. Try as you will, there will always be a trace of untruth. Truth is in the eyes of the beholder. It may not appear as truth to others. Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. God alone knows absolute truth. Man is a finite being and is incapable of knowing absolute truth. Relative truth is all we know. Therefore, we can only follow the truth as we see it. Anyone who believes in absolute truth is a fanatic. Absolute truth is the mother of extremism everywhere.

Truth is what the voice within tells you. 
What may be truth for one may be untruth for another. 
Therefore, we can only follow the truth as we see it. 
Such pursuit of truth cannot lead anyone astray.
 ... Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Sonia Gandhi outmaneuvers Modi in Karnataka

Karnataka Elections 2018 Results

What Karnataka Governor Can Do?

Recent Precedents Favoring BJP
Arun Jaitley - Goa Assembly Elections 2017

By hook or crook, BJP is hell bent on formation of government in Karnataka, despite falling short of numbers by 8. While JDS has accepted post-poll coalition with Congress, for CM position to its leader Kumaraswamy, independents & others are just 3 and are in no position to help BJP. The only option left for BJP is to engineer defections from JDS or Congress and that is what they are doing exactly by making Governor not inviting Kumaraswamy to form government and BJP leader BS Yedurappa asking Governor for inviting him, on the basis of being leader of the largest party, to form Government without majority numbers and no confirmed support and asking one week time to prove majority on the floor of the house thus getting sufficient time for horse trading of JDS & Congress MLAs, shamelessly. When the Governor acts decisively and correctly or what shape the issue takes and ends up is for the time to decide.

Earlier while BJP was rejoicing their certainty of reaching magic figure, Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi moved in swiftly by offering JDS to form government and Congress willing to support from outside unconditionally was readily accepted by Deve Gowda & Kumaraswamy with a condition that Congress be a part of coalition with Dy.CM, Speaker and 19 ministerial positions and JDS taking CM & 12 cabinet positions which Congress actually wants to get from JDS. Realising the situation BJP too reached out to JDS offering them with DyCM post etc, but was ignored by them. Deve Gowda always maintained that he was secular and always opposed to RSS-Hindutva idealogy.

Now Modi & BJP's central team staying at Bengaluru todo every possible thing for BS Yedurappa forming BJP Government unethically, immorally, unconstitutionally etc and luring all non-BJP MLAs is nothing but murder of democracy and rape of constitution in the streets of Bengaluru by Modi, Amit Shah, BJP, Governor etc. But they won't care. All that they want is power in Karnataka and perceived political entry into South India, otherwise Modi & BJP are certain to lose 2019 General Elections in the reality of negative vibrations in West & North India due to Modi government's gross under performance and economic distress, as per political analysts. BJP & needs to win as many MP seats as possible in South, East and North East otherwise Modi & Shah will get dumped back in Ahmedabad.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Karnataka Elections 2018 - Funny result


Karnataka elections 2018's fractured verdict has some funny outcomes. BJP gets highest seats of 104 with second best popular vote of 36%, while Congress with highest popular vote of 38% gets only 78 seats. Surprisingly, JDS with popular vote share of 18% gets 37 seats will form the government with Kumaraswamy as CM. With no clear indication of voter's verdict, Congress+JDS and BJP+ JDS breakaway MLA's claim to form government.
  • Congress was quick to offer JDS (combined strength of JDS & Congress 115/222) CM position and outside support. But JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda accepting the offer with condition that Congress be part of coalition with DyCM, Speaker & 20 ministerial positions while JDS will take CM position and 14 cabinet berths. This appears sensible.
  • In SR Bommai 1994 case, SC guidelines are clear: (1) Party with clear majority (2) Pre-poll largest alliance (3) Post-poll largest alliance (4) largest party withoiut clear majority ... in the same order. While no one qualifies for position 1 & 2, Congress-JDS alliance at 115/222 comes 3rd whereas BJP being largest party 104/222 comes 4th.
  • But BJP with 104/222 MLAs will not allow JDS/Congress alliance form government so easily and sit in opposition benches. Governor is likely to invite BS Yedurappa, the leader of largest party i.e. BJP, to form government and prove majority with in 15 days on floor of the house. 
  • This will only to facilitate BJP to break JDS disgruntled group of 13-15 MLAs and join BJP. 
  • This would be murder of democracy - Governor ignoring JDS-Congress combined majority claim and inviting minority BJP to form Government without clear majority support and help them resort to horse trading.
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala is a hardcore RSS person and Modi's blind follower from Gujarat and hence much decency to follow democratic principles can't be expected.
  • Now the burden on JDS and Congress to keep their elected MLAs intact and ensure vote against confidence motion on the floor of the house to bring down minority BSY government of BJP in next 15-20 days. No easy task!
  • In Hyderabad-Karnataka and Bangalore regions (total 67 seats), where most Telugu people reside ... BJP won 26 seats, Congress won 34 seats and JDS won 7 seats. BJP paid bitter price for not fulfilling AP Reorganization Act 2014 provisions and promises made by Modi and MMS in RS regarding granting Special Category Status to AP and offending Telugu people worldwide. Had Modi & BJP been fair to Telugu people ... they would have easily won another  10-12 seats in these regions and get simple majority. Too big a price paid by BJP for their rogue & dirty politics.
  • The fact that film actor Sai Kumar of BJP not only got defeated at Bagepalli constituency (30km from Hindupur) but was relegated to 4th position & lost his deposit is a matter of shame for BJP. But Modi & BJP will not learn lessons.

Had Congress and JDS formed pre-poll alliance and with combined popular vote share of 38+18=56% against BJP's 37% would have got some thing like 160/222 seats relegating BJP to insignificant status. Now they have to contend with 116/222 post poll alliance running the government on narrow majority. In the meantime BJP will resort to all sorts of unhealthy campaigns that they had penetrated into south, even though not. Rahul Gandhi had to blame himself for getting carried away by Siddaramaih's overconfidence unable encash opportunity of non-anti-incumbency in Karnataka. Rahul Gandhi learnt a very bitter lesson for his run upto to 2019 general elections to dislodge BJP-Modi at centre.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Rs.50,000 crores coal import scam

During the last four years, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, or DRI, has unearthed over-invoicing of imports of coal and electricity generation equipment against at least 40 of India’s biggest energy companies. The total scandal amount is Rs 50,000 crore (~$8bn). Of this Rs 30,000 crore is on account of the over-invoicing of coal imported mainly from Indonesia. The remaining Rs. 20,000 crore is due to over-invoicing of power machinery imported mostly from China. The higher costs were passed on to consumers, who paid more for electricity.
  • NTPC and various state electricity boards are involved in the over-invoicing scam, along with private companies of Adani, Essar, Anil Ambani etc. 
  • As claims of corruption and favouritism emerge involving corporate entities headed by politically influential tycoons and powerful technocrats, the finance ministry's pursuing these cases are being stymied and the prosecution process thwarted.
  • The DRI investigation alleged that 40 major companies, including Knowledge Infrastructure Systems Private Limited (KISPL), had inflated the value of coal imported from Indonesia for power generation, resulting in illicit benefits of Rs 30,000 crore. This resulted in consumers having to pay more for electricity. 
  • The DRI investigation further claimed that the illegal gains were then laundered through shell companies in tax havens outside India.
  • The adjudicating authority of the DRI, has cleared two companies, both part of the Adani Group, of charges of over-invoicing imported power-plant equipment worth Rs 3,974 crore. The investigating agency, DRI, filed an appeal in which it argued that the order suffers from “total non-application of mind or recklessness.”   DRI further stated that the order was “erroneous, illegal and improper not only in law but also on facts.” 
  • The adjudicating authority of the DRI has accepted allegations against KISPL regarding over-valuation of coal imports from Indonesia and imposed a penalty of Rs 17.50 crore on the company. It also imposed a penalty of Rs 1.25 crore on Rahul Bhandare, the managing director of the company, and another of Rs 25 lakh on Vipin Mahajan, a former employee of NTPC, who is currently a director of the company. In both cases identical modus operandi was deployed for the over-invoicing and laundering process.
  • In the KISPL appeal, a series of procedural irregularities have raised doubts about the integrity of CJ Mathew, the technical member on the bench hearing the KISPL case. The agency claimed that Mathew’s conduct “has been far from fair and impartial.” 
  • An adverse ruling by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in favor of KISPL, would set a precedent that could absolve the larger companies, both government-owned and those in the private sector, of the charges of fleecing the exchequer, and ultimately, the public. 
  • The coal was shipped from Indonesian ports, whereas KISPL submitted invoices issued by firms such as Knowledge International Strategy Systems Pte, Singapore and Springs Trader Ltd, Hong Kong. KISPL supplied the imported coal to thermal power stations of the  Mahagenco. The DRI investigation claimed that the Singapore company was a “wholly owned subsidiary” of KISPL
  • The Singapore company had created false documents to show that it had imported higher grades of coal. The amounts generated on account of the difference in prices were routed through a shell company based in Hong Kong. 
  • The willingness of the finance ministry to fight the case against KISPL and similar cases relating to the over-invoicing of imported coal and power equipment will be tested in the future. It is worth repeating that huge sums of public money worth Rs 50,000 crore are involved.



Eventhough Modi talked very high about corruption of Congress & UPA and his intent to fight out, during the 2013 campaign and on every public platform, the truth is that he himself is a worst corrupt politician, as reflected by CAG reports during his Gujarat CM tenure. But most Indians doesn't know his Gujarat CM episodes. His lifestyle as PM of India, doesn't make anyone believe that he is simple & honest. His spectacles are estimated to cost over Rs.2 lakhs and changes dress at least 5 times in a day. During his Prime Ministership of last 4 years, hardly any big-shot worthwhile had been booked for corrupt practices, save some hardcore political opponents. In the last year of his five year rule, he is saddled with overall under-performance and very poor financial performance, much can't be expected from him in this regard. Modi is likely to allow almost all ongoing cases disposed off relieving tainted personalities in exchange for election fund favors. Needless to say that BJP's election campaign expenses, during the last 5 years, are unimaginably higher in the country.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Flipkart - Walmart deal


Flipkart's 77% equity picked by Walmart at $16 billion (Rs.107,200) defies all standard due diligent processes. Even after 11 years, Flipkart's operations haven't yielded any profits. Only its value is going up rapidly with future projections. But future always remains a mystery. Once the deal is complete, Walmart will own a 77% share in the unprofitable, homegrown e-commerce startup. This is the highest price any foreign company has paid for a stake in an Indian company. Flipkart started in 2007, has accumulated losses of over Rs.24,000 crore. Flipkart sales were $7.5bn in the FY that ended in March 2018 and net sales, after discounts, returns and cancellation, were worth $4.6bn. Flipkart’s revenue growth slowed down to 29% in the year ending March 2017, against 50% growth in the previous year.
  • The bid emphasizes the importance of gaining a greater foothold in online sales in India. Walmart is betting on the fact that India's e-commerce market, pegged at a modest $38bn in 2017, is expected to grow up to $200bn by 2027.
  • India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate. India's retail market was estimated at $470 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow to $850 billion by 2020.
  • After Walmart announced the deal on May 9, 2018, its shares tumbled 4%, a likely reflection of the high price the company paid for Flipkart. Analysts believed that Walmart overpaid for its stake in Flipkart. This widely-held view was echoed on Wall Street, wiping $10bn off its market capitalisation, taking the total loss since April to $17.5 billion. A large part of its Flipkart investment is already being considered a write-off by investors.
  • Walmart’s stock reply to all of these questions was that it felt that the long-term opportunity in a country with a population of 1.3 billion was too large to ignore.
  • Of the $16 billion investment, $2 billion will find its way into Flipkart to help its growth plans, said Walmart. But if cash will burn at the above-mentioned rate, Flipkart will need more infusions soon. With Amazon breathing down its neck as well, the need for cash infusions may become a regular affair.
  • Venture capital firms Accel and Tiger Global invested more than eight years ago when Flipkart was valued at just $50m - and they have now exited with more than 400 times what they invested.
  • Flipkart has raised $6.11 billion in equity funding till date. The transaction is giving blockbuster exits to investors.
  • This is because Flipkart is not expected to be profitable for many years. With Amazon already in India, and with intense competition and Flipkart's profitability in near future is ruled out.
  • And the Indian e-commerce market is small by global standards - 100 million customers in a country with about 1.3 billion people. But the deal gives Walmart the fastest entry possible into one of the most promising, albeit difficult, e-commerce markets. 
  • After Walmart bought the controlling stake, Flipkart is valued at more than $20bn. The deal also saves Flipkart, which was running out of cash in its battle with Amazon. Amazon and Flipkart have been "burning cash" in massive sales and discounts in a bid to acquire more customers.
  • E-commerce currently makes up less than 4% of the retail market in India, but that's predicted to change as the number of Indians using smartphones (and the internet) increases rapidly in the next decade. 
  • This acquisition allows the company to jump straight into a small but growing e-commerce market with about 100 million customers.
  • Amazon, too, made a bid for Flipkart but the merger could have faced severe scrutiny from India's antitrust regulator as their combined sales would have added up to almost 90% of India's e-commerce market.
  • The Indian market size is estimated high 400 million middle class consumer base, might be big enough to accommodate global players in multiple formats. Nonetheless, Flipkart's biggest worry is about the flooding of Chinese goods.
  • Unless Walmart-Flipkart is forced by regulators to source a minimum percentage of India-made goods, the country may soon become a huge consumer of Chinese goods.
Only venture capitalists, angel investors and crowd funding will invest in companies like Flipkart with no real assets and requires billions of dollars every year to stay afloat. No banker will lend any public money to Flipkart indicating risks involved. Future of this type of companies lies in the premise that economy will keep growing every year after year. But the reality is that nothing can grow forever. If for any reason, crude oil goes beyond $150 a barrel in next one year, entire world economy will take severe beating and will land in turbulence with runaway inflation, real wages taking severe beating and large scale unemployment.


Karnataka elections: Why BJP will lose?

This Karnataka poll is significant for both BJP and Congress party, ahead of general elections next year. The state is the last major bastion of the opposition Congress party, which India's ruling BJP wants to break into.
  • Loss in this election would spell disaster for the Congress party, which rules only Karnataka, Punjab, Mizoram and Puducherry. 
  • The BJP and its allies are in power in 22 of India's 29 states.
  • This election is also a crucial for the BJP, which has won in Karnataka only once before. The party has a limited or zero presence in the four other southern states, where it is unlikely to contest an election without a regional ally.
  • BJP is saddled with corruption tainted CM candidate BS Yedurappa and mining don Gali Janardhana Reddy. Without BSY & GJR, in 2013, BJP's popular vote share has plummeted from 33% to 20% compared Congress party's 37%.
  • BJP is also saddled with bad performance of PM Modi at centre in the last 4 years. He has not a single worthwhile achievement to campaign in this election. Modi focused only on wrong doings of Congress during past 70 years, which are unverifiable and distorted as well and no one is buying his arguments. In fact he has become a laughing stock.
  • With BSY and GJR back into BJP fold, BJP needs vote swing of +4% to get a simple majority (112/222) in the Assembly to oust Congress. And Congress needs a vote swing of +3% to retain the simple majority (114/222) in the Assembly. 
  • As things stands, BJP's task seems to be uphill where as Congress has to sweat a lot. This is reflected by the fact that Rahul Gandhi has spent full one month in Karnataka campaign and PM Modi has to spend full two weeks.
Modi not forming Cauvery water board, despite Supreme Court judgment, has angered 6% Tamil voters in Karnataka. Similarly not extending legitimate financial support and special category status to AP as per AP Reorganization Act 2014 has alienated 6% Telugu voters in Karnataka. With Muslims at 14%, Christians at 4%, Dalits at 18% - altogether anti-BJP / anti-Modi voters are huge 48% stand disgusted with BJP/Modi. With no Modi/BJP wave, Modi's negative performance etc how BJP will win Karnataka election, is a million dollar question.

While Rahul Gandhi's election speeches are some what dignified, Modi's speeches are third class and speaks very poorly of his stature as PM. The fact that Modi is scared of losing Karnataka election to Congress & Rahul Gandhii, with tremendous negative vibrations in Hindi heartland states UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan etc is reflected by his bankruptcy of ideas and vulgarity of speeches indicating his desperateness and fear of losing 2019 general elections. In any case, I don't see any way BJP can get even 70+ seats in Karnataka and that leaves simple majority to Congress and the JDS (self proclaimed king maker) with 30+ seats, remaining irrelevant. This victory of Congress party in Karnataka is not attributable to Siddaramaiah who was facing some kind of anti-incumbency but to the much bigger anti-incumbency of Modi in entire India. He has no respect for any other person, institution or democracy or any thing. Other than winning elections with rhetoric, money power and bull power, Modi hasn't done anything good to India. In an in depth analysis, one will discover tremendous damages to society. With Modi's reckless adventures leading to suffering of millions of farmers, poor people, unemployed youth, small businessmen etc during the past 4 years and with no regret by him so far, Modi is unfit to rule and must be consigned to trash bin. This will start with Karnataka elections and will end with General elections 2019. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

I quit smoking - cold turkey

Quitting smoking ‘cold turkey’ is when you stop smoking abruptly, without using any quit smoking products or professional support. It is said that cold turkey quitting of smoking (nicotine withdrawal) can trigger a host of physical and psychological symptoms that leaves ex-smokers feeling both physically ill and mentally stressed and anxious. Don't fear nicotine withdrawal, it is temporary. The withdrawal symptoms are: (1) urge to smoke (2) urge to snack (3) sleep disturbances (4) a new cough (5) flu symptoms (6) quit related stress (7) constipation (8) junkie thinking (9) dizziness (10) adjust medications (11) fear of quitting smoking etc. This phase of smoking cessation doesn't last forever and one can learn to manage the discomforts experience. Smoking cessation is worth the efforts it takes to achieve, and the benefits are numerous more than one can imagine. Smoking was attached to everything you did, and once you stop, the advantages touch most aspects of your lives in a positive way.

Although I was moderate to heavy smoker (20-30 per day) for the past 43 years, my quitting experience was very hassle free and free of withdrawal symptoms. 

Smoking started at the age of 18, and now I am 61 retired. Since five years, I am under cardiologist care due to reduced capacity of heart & lungs. I couldn't quit smoking but reduced smoking from 25 to 12 a day. But that reduction didn't help much and my condition remained stable only.

April 19, 2018: Felt breathlessness. Cardiologist diagnosed atrial flutter & pneumonia. 
April 21, 2018: At 5am, gave up smoking.
April 24, 2018: Pulse rate reduced from 155 to 145 only and I was hospitalized.  
April 25, 2018: Shock administered to control heart rate to below 100.
April 26, 2018: Pulmonologist gave anti-biotics for pneumonia.
April 27, 2018: Everything improved dramatically, and was discharged from hospital.
May 11, 2018:  After 3 weeks, smoking stands forgotten. My condition is near excellent.

For unknown reasons, I didn't face any of the withdrawal symptoms. Never I had craving to smoke. My family faced no erratic behavior of mine. Since three  weeks has passed without cigarettes, I am confident that my rest of life would be free from cigarettes and of better quality. However I shall keep my fingers crossed for three months i.e. up to end of July 2018.

Cigarette smoking is the worst of all vices.


I had observed that most smokers pass away in their sixties. My father, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer at the age of 63 after suffering for 6 months. Probably, having entered 60's, some fear psychosis and desire to live longer might have driven me to quit smoking. Desire driven from inside - quitting smoking is easy.  Good health doesn't extend happy years (child hood) and productive years (working years) but only extend unhappy years - old age years. Let me now discover what is in store for me in coming years! 


Federal Front: KCR assisting Modi


KCR's lonely proclamation in Hyderabad, a month ago, of forming 'Federal Front' equidistant from BJP and Congress reveals his secret agenda. While his opposing Congress and BJP in Telangana is understandable, there is no way a non-Congress front would be able to fight and unseat BJP (and Modi) at Centre. In fact a non-BJP & non-Congress front, as conceived by KCR, can neither win nor serve any meaningful purpose except clandestinely helping BJP in dividing anti incumbency votes in 2019 elections.
  • A third front is a certainty prior to 2019 elections and Chandra Babu Naidu might get a very active role in the front mainly due to his taking head-on with Modi after 2018 budget denying any assistance to AP, as per AP Reorganisation Act 2014 due to his previous experience in 1990's and his vast contacts and KCR doesn't like to play junior role to him, despite being so in life & politics.
  • Except Deve Gowda, whose JD(S) has nothing against the BJP, none of the leaders — Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Hemanth Soren and MK Stalin — were enthusiastic about the objective of KCR’s proposed front.
  • Mamata is ready for a front against the BJP, but she is opposed to exclude the Congress. Hemanth Soren has entered into an electoral understanding with the Congress even while KCR has been in touch with him. The DMK, too, was non-committal about KCR’s proposal.
  • After meeting Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata, while KCR was addressing, Ms Banerjee replied to a scribe’s question saying, “it is not like whatever Mr Rao has said, I completely agree with that”. 
  • CM Naveen Patnaik has made it amply clear that it would be a “courtesy call” as KCR happens to be in the state next week. “Rao is visiting Puri temple. On his return journey, he wanted to meet me. I agreed. The meeting has nothing to do with politics,” Patnaik told the media a day after KCR’s office announced the upcoming meeting.
  • Both Rao and Akhilesh Yadav did not comment on whether this new coalition of regional powers, if it comes together, will be open to working with the Congress. “Our goal is not to make someone prime minister, but to take India forward. Nobody is an untouchable here and can work with us. The driving force of our alliance will be our agenda" KCR said adding that it could take about two months to arrive at a consensus and finalise an agenda.
  • TDP views KCR's front is intended to help the Prime Minister Modi. It is an open secret that KCR and Modi have a pact. Otherwise, why did the Telangana finance minister skip the southern states finance ministers’ conference, when KCR is questioning the Centre’s dictatorship and demanding more powers for the states?
  • The outcome of his highly publicised meetings doesn't commensurate with the brouhaha KCR generated among the TRS cadres with his announcement that he wants to change the destiny of the nation on the lines of Telangana. 
  • KCR's announcement that he himself would lead the non-BJP, non-Congress front has sent across the message that he might also be in the prime ministerial race. It triggered neither any interest nor any support from any corner. 
  • The poor response for his meetings elicited seems to have forced KCR to change his language vis-à-vis the Congress. 
  • KCR's political detractors in TS says that the whole episode is a political propaganda ahead of the election year. Many see the federal front as an attempt to divert people’s attention from the failures of the KCR government and his “collusion” with Andhra contractors, while others see it as a “drama” to facilitate smooth transfer of power to his son KT Rama Rao. 
Whether KCR is hoping to team up with BJP or Congress, one thing is clear. Federal Front does not have any ideological lines of political base. KCR says that BJP and Congress have failed to address the people’s problems in the last 70 years and the front is different and it will be according to people’s needs. Slogans pitching him as the PM are expected to create a second wave of pro-Telangana sentiment and help the TRS win 2019 elections in the face of growing unity among opposition parties in the state.

Modi becoming weaker month after month since May 2017, regional party leaders with 15-40 seats started day dreaming to become PM of India in 2019, even though majority in LS is 272 mark. Ridiculous. Whether any one likes or not, Congress is certain to get near about 150 LS seats while BJP will get confined to less than 100 in 2019 elections. Regional parties have no option except to join alliance with Congress and share ministerial positions at centre with a common minimum program. And Rahul Gandhi will become PM not withstanding his immaturity & visionlessness. In any case, he will do better than Modi who only destroyed economy with his senseless adventures and 2014-19 years will remain forgotten years. India should aim to become a happy nation rather than racing to become super power. And KCR's secret agenda, of helping BJP and Modi, will only boomerang on his face. BJP & Modi will have to blame themselves for squandering away great opportunity to rule India with absolute majority with their arrogance, audacity and atrocious behavior. Time and again non-congress parties have proved themselves fit for sitting in opposition benches not in treasury benches.