Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Goodbye Tappu !

I pay my homage to Akhilesh Das, known as one of the shrewdest  politicians of recent times. Apartment from being the owner of BBD group and a real estate developer besides so many other things, Tappu as he was lovongly called by friends, was also my two years junior in Colvin Taluqedars College. I remember that we enacted in a play together for Sanchi house and won the first prize. There were occassions in my professional life that I had to write against him as a journalist but he never mixed it up with our personal relationship. He always treated me as his senior till the last. He never asked me for a favour which politicians expect with every fall of the hat. We spoke to each other during UP election campaign and decided to meet soon but that was not to be."Dilip bhai anything I can do?", was always his parting shot.  Only few would know that Tappu was an accomplished badminton player. Later he became plump like me and added a bouquet of ailments again like me because of the extra kilos. He died of a heart failure in Lucknow this morning. I have lost a sincere friend and I am feeling the void. May God rest his soul in peace. i feel like asking - Tappu can I do something for you? But I know I will get no response...


Dilip Awasthi

Ex.Editor, Uttar Pradesh

Dainik Jagran

Lucknow, INDIA

Mobile: +91 9839904455



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Haunted house gets its new occupant

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow: Next doors to UP chief minister's official residence - 5 Kalidas Marg, referred to as 5 KD in official parlance is another sprawling ministerial bungalow. This house is cursed. At least that is widely believed and as a result, most ministers refuse to occupy this bungalow.  Thoe who do, pay the price.

On Ram Navami on April 5, a special puja was organised in 6 Kalidas Marg bungalow after which Yogi cabinet's animal husbandry minister SP Singh Baghel entered this haunted house to live here. If employees of this house are to be believed, Baghel is the eighth occupant of this house. According to the Estate Department officials, Baghel himself offered to occupy this house, knowing fully well about its notorious reputation.

A gardener who works here maintaining the impressive lawns of this house says that it is widely believed that whosoever occupies this house faces either political oblivion, career downslide or critical illness resulting in death. This house was occupied amongst others by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who is in the wilderness these days. Mayawati's right-hand minister at one time, Babu Singh Kushwaha lived in this house. He was later jailed in the NRHM scam and was also thrown out from BSP.

Akhilesh Yadav's minister Rajendra Chowdhry refused to move into this house but Javed Abdi did and fell from grace of the Samajwadi Party leaders. Another minister Waqar Ahmed Shah lived here but soon developed NS Qa moved to the hospital; in a state of comma. Some staff members claim that something about this house is not good. Ït is eerie if you stay here in the night", says one of them.

Situated in the posh VIP area and with the neighbourhood as influential as the state's CM, this house has remained vacant in most regimes. One of the ageing peons posted in this house feels it is haunted. "It could be a former minister who does not want to leave this house even after leaving this world", he says with a chuckle. But Yogi's minister Baghel wants to prove all this wrong.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ruling UP will be like Riding a Tiger

by Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: A photo recently became viral in social media. Its an old photo which shows Yogi Adityanath feeding a tiger cub. The cub, by now would have become a full grown tiger like Yogi has grown in stature to become UP's chief minister.  But a fortnight has passed since he took over, Yogi and also BJP would be realising that ruling Uttar Pradesh after a gap of 14 years will be no less than riding a wild tiger.

The initial hysteria following BJP's historic success is calming down now as saffron clad Yogi settles on the driving seat. Detractors keep questioning BJP's choice of Yogi as the CM mainly because of his aggressive hardline approach.  Like all verbose politicians, Yogi in the past has shown least concern over the communal hatred his statements have caused. But apart from this nobody can question the integrity or character of this five-time MP from Gorakhpur. His lifestyle and conduct as the Mahant of the legendary Gorakshnath peeth has been exemplary. As a result, the fears and also the expectations are high.

Yogi has been given two deputy CMs - state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma. Both these leaders are of spotless background and are known to be dedicated soldiers of the BJP. The team of ministers includes the old guard, senior leaders who joined the BJP from other parties and also youngsters. Having said that  Yogi and both his deputies lack the experience of even remotely administering a state as large and complex as Uttar Pradesh.

From Day 1 Yogi has taken a strong stand against the corrupt, inefficient and complacent. He has promised to inquire into the shady deals, job scandals and favouritism adopted by the Akhilesh regime. But apart from the CM's statements, nothing has been done on the ground so far. Ironically the CM went into his first cabinet meeting on April 4 without any change in the bureaucratic setup of Akhilesh Yadav's Raj. The result is that most of the senior officials including the chief secretary, home secretary, DG police are wiling time as they await marching orders. The administration has been virtually on a standstill.

Yogi's first two starters - licenses to butcheries and taming of street Romeos have had strong counter-reactions. The first led to a state-wide strike by raw meat sellers that led to end of business for restaurants and eateries dealing in non-vegetarian food. The decision was considered as the first pin-prick for Muslims as the meat business is mostly controlled by their community. Though Yogi's intention to put a noose around unauthorised meat business carried out in appalling unhygienic conditions was justified but like demonetisation it could have been implemented much more smoothly. 

Similarly, the anti-Romeo campaign was misdirected by the police to harass love-birds who were found sitting in parks, restaurants, cinema halls and malls. The operation was supposed to target street Romeos who were hounding girls in public places or schools and colleges. Instead, it turned into public lashing of youngsters by police all across the state. Policemen fleeced these love-birds of whatever they could pay off. Finally, Yogi had to clarify the purpose of this drive and issue warnings to erring policemen.

But these two decisions only show a glimpse of how things could go out of hand because of haste and inexperience. Thankfully Yogi has not made any statements so far which would create a gulf in the minds of Hindus or Muslims. In fact, it is the other way round. In his first public appearance in Lucknow in a Yoga program, Yogi said that there is several similarities between Surya Namaskar and Namaz prayers. "I don't know why people divide Hindus and Muslims?" he asked. 

Yogi and BJP both must be realising that ruling UP will need some doing than merely statements.  To make the party's presence felt in the state, Yogi will have to go that extra mile and learn from the mistakes of the past regimes. He will have hardly any room to commit his own.  The Modi-Amit Shah formula for UP will face the first test in 2019, which is not as far as it seems.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

चोर की नीयत रखो और चिल्लाओ चोर -चोर

दिलीप अवस्थी 

लखनऊ : कहते हैं कि चोर-चोर चिल्लाने वाला अक्सर खुद चोर की नीयत रखता है I डर तब और सताता है जब ऐसी नीयत रखने वाला खुद हुक्मरान हो सकता हो I 

उत्तर प्रदेश में भाजपा की अप्रत्याशित सफलता के बाद उठ रहे विचित्र विरोध के स्वर सुनकर कुछ ऐसा ही महसूस होता है I  दौलत की रानी मायावती, बड़बोले केजरीवाल , और  सकपकाई कांग्रेस ने इलेक्ट्रॉनिक वोटिंग मशीनों (ई वी ऍम ) को लेकर जिस तरह के सवाल उठाये हैं उनसे और कुछ नहीं तो राजनैतिक दिवालियेपन और संगदिली की झलक जरूर मिलती है I कुंठित अखिलेश यादव ने भी जांच होने  का समर्थन करके खुद को भी इस खेमे में शामिल कर लिया है I 

इन नेताओं और दलों ने यह भी सोचने का कष्ट  नहीं किया कि  सबसे पहले तो ईवीएम पर सवाल उठाकर वे चुनाव आयोग को कटघरे में खड़ा कर रहे हैं I  फिर साथ ही ये आरोप भी लगा रहे हैं की प्रधानमंत्री मोदी और अमित शाह ने चुनाव आयोग से वोटिंग मशीनों में धांधली करवा कर यह चुनाव जीत है I  दोनों ही सूरतों में एक मजेदार नज़रिया उभरता है I  आप जैसा खुद करते हो वैसा ही दूसरा करेगा यह मानते हो I 

क्या इन बयानों से यह समझा जाये कि अपने शासनकाल में कांग्रेस, मायावती और अखिलेश ऐसे ही अपना राज-काज चलाते थे ?  क्या सरकारी संस्थानों, सरकारी कार्यों, नौकरियों-तबादलों में ऐसे ही धांधलियां की जाती थी ?  क्या केजरीवाल दिल्ली में इसी तरह से सरकार चला रहे हैं? क्या इन नेताओं और राजनितिक दलों ने 2002, 2007, 2012और 2015 के चुनाव ऐसे ही जीते थे ?

अगर इन सवालों से बुरा लग रहा हो तो मेरी राय में हार को स्वीकार करना सीखो और क्यों हारे यह समझो I  हार स्वीकारोगे तो हार बहुत कुछ सिखाएगी वरना पाँच साल तक ऐसे ही खिसियाई बिल्ली की तरह खम्बा नोचते रहना I 


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mayawati is disgraceful even in defeat

By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: Instead of sitting back and analysing the causes of humiliation in 2017 UP assembly elections, Daulat Queen Mayawati true to her personality is disgraceful in defeat. 

After indulging in the lowest level of mudslinging against rivals throughout her campaign,  the self-styled Dalit ki Beti refuses to concede that the Dalits have moved away from her and are now under the BJP's umbrella. The party has lost more than 60 seats over 2012 elections and its votes have gone down by nearly 7%.

But the blissfully oblivious Mayawati wants fresh elections in the state. In a press conference when the trends started indicating a two-third majority for BJP, loud-mouthed Mayawati, speaking extempore which she rarely does, charged: "Modi and Amit Shah have manipulated the EVMs in such a way that the BSP votes have also gone to the BJP". 

She went on and on with her new-found hilarious conspiracy theory and demanded that the election commission should set aside this election and hold a fresh one. She also wanted election commission to go back to the system of ballots and ballot boxes from now on. She kept levelling wild allegations least realising that if EVMs were tampered with than she is pointing her accusing fingers towards the election commission rather than the BJP leaders.

She questioned that how did the BJP perform well in the Muslim dominated areas. "Do you mean to say that Muslims also voted for BJP?", she asked. But that is what Mayawati is made off. She presented herself as a bull-headed autocrat who would keep ramming against the wall till her "Haathi"(elephant) fainted.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Even Politicians are conceding a split verdict

By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: Leave alone most of the exit polls, even political parties seem to be conceding a split verdict for 403 seats of the UP Vidhan Sabha elections. Only some believe that either SP or BJP might reach the magic majority mark.

But politicians have already started thinking in terms of forming the government in an alliance. The SP-Congress combine, according to exit polls, will fall short. Probably reacting to this possibility, chief minister Akhilesh told a news channel that his party would not be averse to getting support from his "Bua" (paternal aunt) Mayawati. "We are open to this idea as after all she is my Bua". Having said this Akhilesh obviously is indicating that he can seek BSP's support for repeating another term.

But then Daulat Queen Mayawati does is not amused, says one of her top aides.  "First of all she will never like to shake hands with SP and secondly she would like to be the CM herself rather than allowing Akhilesh another term". Mayawati's love for being at the helm is no secret as each time she has sought BJP's support, her first condition was chief ministership for herself. Every time she could strike this bargain sticking to this stand despite lesser numbers in the house than 

But this time BJP has other ideas. Given the strong dislike both PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have for Mayawati and the kind of barbs they have exchanged with her during the poll campaign, the chances of an alliance between the two parties are remote. But as they say, there are no permanent enemies in politics. A senior central BJP leaders hints that in case BJP needs support, it can go to BSP but only on the condition that Mayawati will be the deputy CM.

Though a lot will depend on how it shapes when the results come in by March 11 noon, it looks as if this is going to be the first time that none of the parties seeking her support in 2017 will concede chief ministership for the Daulat Queen.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 Our Political Parties & their candidates

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow : As the countdown to the results of UP Vidhan Sabha elections begins, its worthwhile taking a look at what our main political parties - BJP, BSP, SP and Congress stand for as they fielded their chosen few to contest these crucial elections.

Daulat Queen Mayawati's party BSP, which stands for the downtrodden, excels in all formats. It has fielded the highest number of 150 candidates with criminal records. This accounts for 38% tainted candidates in the party fold. BSP wins the race by one percent against SP which has 37% criminals candidates, Despite Akhilesh's claim of refurbishing his party's image of the total 307 candidates he has fielded, as many as 113 have criminal cases going against them.

The BJP, which contested this election on the promise that it will end  SP's "Jungle Raj", is not far behind. Of the 383 candidates of BJP, as many as 137 (36%) have criminal cases pending against them. BJP, which always maintains a holier than thou attitude, will find this difficult to justify.  Congress party also has fielded criminals but it can boast to be the last of the major parties in the fray in this election. Of the 114 Congress candidates,  as many as 32% have criminal cases against them.

Interestingly the overall percentage of such candidates for 403 assembly seats is as low as 18%. Only 859 candidates of the total 4,823 fall in this category whereas the four main parties cross the 30% mark despite their tall promises and flowery manifestoes.

BSP also ranks on the top in fielding candidates with money-power as 335 (84%) candidates are crorepaties. BJP and SP have respectively fielded 79% such candidates and the Congress follows with 66% such candidates. More surprisingly 57 of BSP candidates who contested in 2007 also, increased their assets by 92% in their declaration submitted in 2017.

Nothing can possibly better prove the different masks these parties use to get to power.