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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Elections 2014: How BJP gained from a Modi-centric campaign

As it goes to the seventh phase of polls, the BJP issued a statement captioned, "Largest Mass Outreach Campaign in Electoral History of a Democracy", crediting Narendra Modi for addressing an unprecedented 5827 public rallies, programmes, events, 3D rallies and Chai pe charcha.

by Sanjay Singh 30 Apr 20:03 pm IST

As it goes to the seventh phase of polls, the BJP issued a statement captioned, "Largest Mass Outreach Campaign in Electoral History of a Democracy", crediting Narendra Modi for addressing an unprecedented 5827 public rallies, programmes, events, 3D rallies and Chai pe charcha. The six page statement is designed to convey the level of energy and stamina that Modi has displayed since he was declared BJP's prime ministerial candidate in September last year. Party spokesman Meenakshi Lekhi enthusiastically claimed, "It would not be an exaggeration to describe the Modi campaign as one of the biggest mass mobilisation exercise seen anywhere in the history of electioneering. The scale and intensity of the campaign becomes even bigger when one understands the large population and geographic spread of India. Yes, in the past political leaders have led marathon campaigns but the scale at which this campaign has been done beats them all by miles".

A BJP flag. AFP.

A BJP flag. AFP.

She then cites some statistics, starting from 15th September 2013, when Modi addressed his first rally after being anointed as the BJP's PM candidate till 10th May 2014 when campaigning for the last phase of 2014 Lok Sabha Elections ends. The Gujarat CM has addressed 437 rallies across India from Jammu to Kanyakumari, from Amreli to Arunachal Pradesh. From 15th March to 10th May he has travelled almost 3 lakh kilometres.

More than the miles covered and number of rallies addressed, however, the statement is more of a mid-course reaffirmation of Modi's singular leadership. The statement does not mention a single name other than Modi. The message is loud and clear, there can't be a Plan B or Plan C, there is only Plan M. "Can you recall such a wide and diverse outreach programme in India's history? His day began at 5 AM and sometimes went past midnight but Narendra Modi's energy and his dedication only increases," the statement declares.

The only-Modi message is also being driven home by his ramped up attacks on regional satraps like Mamta Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Navin Patnaik, Farooq Abdullah and Jayalalitha, some of whom are potential post poll allies. But it is part of a well thought out strategy on part of Modi's core team. Take Modi's personal tirade against Mamata durig his last two outings in Bengal, which offers a dramatic contrast to his initial overtures when he expressed appreciation for her work in Bengal and lauded her guts. But as the electioneering gained momentum, the BJP started getting feedback that Modi was gaining surprise traction among Bengali middle class and even in rural areas.

Second, it became clearer to the BJP leadership that Mamata is not inclined to join the BJP in the post poll scenario due to Muslim vote considerations. Rising support for Modi on the ground is eating into voting blocs of all the parties in contention in Bengal, including Congress, Trinamool and Left. The BJP is now confident of taking over Congress's number three position in the state. "We could not have hoped to be in contention and raise percentage of polling in our favour, if we had not punched holes in Mamata's politics and governance," a BJP leader said. Farooq Abdullah's National Conference is another party which is on BJP's hit list.

An angry rebuttal by Modi to Farooq's secularist challenge was addressing not just BJP's core supporters but reaching out to other voting blocs to whom Kashmir remains a key issue. The political nuances of trading of charges and counter charges between Modi and Sharad Pawar is different what is seen in case of Mamata and Farooq Abdullah. There were indeed some friendly overtures between Modi and Pawar. There was also some early talk of whether NCP could be part of the NDA. Even as Shiv Sena openly resisted that move, there was a realisation in the BJP camp that an alliance with NCP in these elections would not yield any harvest, but could instead be counter productive. It was at this stage that Modi started attacking Pawar in his rallies and the NCP chief returned the favour.

Narendra Modi. Reuters.

Narendra Modi. Reuters.

or for that matter the DMK, the BJP leaders hope to to reach a post poll understanding, and if they make a good show, they could bargain with some degree of confidence and strength.

The fact that the BJP has been able to stitch up an alliance in Tamil Nadu and make the elections triangular for the first time is a big achievement. More so, as the Congress could this time around could not find an ally in the state. In Tamil Nadu the BJP hopes to gain eight seats, seven in Odisha and six in West Bengal. It sounds somewhat unrealistic but that's the kind of buoyancy which is keeping the workers spirits high.

A BJP leader engaged in keeping a tab on voting pattern says, "Modi-for-PM has worked for us. We have made inroads and will win decent number of seats in states where our presence was negligible. Nobody would have thought of it when Modi began his campaign. There are vast number of voters who in states like West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, Haryana want to see Modi as PM and are voting accordingly. How they will vote in assembly elections could be a different matter. But that is not an issue now." In seventh phase of polling, being done today, the BJP would be hoping for a clean sweep in Gujarat. It will also hope to hold the flag high in UP, Bihar and Telangana. However, Punjab where Arun Jaitley is locked in a keen contest with Captain Amrinder is being treated as the only "aberration" in a buoyant Modi wave.


सट्टा बाजार, मोदी बनेंगे पीएम, भाजपा को 300+ सीटें मिलेंगी

Vivek Shukla 30 Apr 2014

सट्टा बाजार, मोदी बनेंगे पीएम, भाजपा को 300+ सीटें मिलेंगी

हालांकि लोकसभा चुनावों के नतीजे आगामी 16 मई के सामने आएंगे, पर सट्टा बाजार ने बीजेपी के पीएम पद के उम्मीदवार नरेंद्र मोदी को देश का अगला पीएम मान लिया है, वहीं उनकी पार्टी बीजेपी को भी 317 सीटें मिलने का अनुमान लगाया जा रहा है। जबकि सट्टा बाजार की मानें तो कांग्रेस 2 अंकों तक ही सिमट जाएगी। यही हाल आम आदमी पार्टी का है। सट्टा बाजार का मानना है कि राजनीति में बदलाव की बयार लेकर आई ‘आप’ लोकसभा चुनावों में 6 से 10 सीटें भी ले आए, तो बड़ी बात होगी। बीजेपी को मिलने वाली राज्यवार सीटों का गणित भी बेहद रोचक है। सट्टेबाजों का मानना है कि बीजेपी शासित राज्यों के साथ-साथ दक्षिण में भी मोदी लहर देखने को मिलेगी।

दैनिक भास्कर में छपी एक खबर के अनुसार, मुंबई और इंदौर के सट्टा बाजार ने पीएम पद की दौड़ में सबसे आगे चल रहे नरेंद्र मोदी के लिए 42 पैसे का भाव तय किया है। सट्टा बाजार मान चुका है कि उनके पीएम बनने में कोई अड़चन नहीं आएगी, वहीं कांग्रेस उपाध्यक्ष राहुल गांधी के लिए 6.5 रुपए का भाव तय किया गया है, यानी वे पीएम कुर्सी से कोसों दूर दिखाई पड़ रहे हैं। बता दें कि जिस उम्मीदवार या पार्टी के जीतने की संभावना ज्यादा होती है, सटोरिए उसके कम भाव तय करते हैं वहीं हारने की संभावना वाले नेताओं या पार्टियों के लिए ज्यादा भाव तय किए जाते हैं।

आम आदमी पार्टी के संयोजक और दिल्ली के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री अरविंद केजरीवाल पर सट्टा बाजार दांव लगाने को ही तैयार नहीं है। उनके लिए जो 500 रुपए का भाव तय किया गया है जिससे स्पष्ट है कि उनके लिए बड़ा उलटफेर तो दूर अपनी साख बचाने तक का संकट उत्पन्न हो जाएगा। केजरीवाल के लिए दिल्ली भी सदमा लेकर आएगी, जहां उनका व्यापक जनाधार माना जाता है। यहां की 7 सीटों में से 6 सीटें सीधे बीजेपी के खाते में जाना सट्टा बाजार ने तय माना है।


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

“Fixing” between Congress and AAP candidates in Gujarat: EC files complaint

Ahmedabad, 29 April, 2014

According to Gujarat BJP Legal Cell Convener Shri Parindu Bhagat, Election Commission has filed complaint following disclosure of fixing between the candidates of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party on Amreli Lok Sabha seat. Through a conversation captured in video between Virjibhai and someone apparently on behalf of Aam Aadmi Party’s local candidate Nathalal Sukhadiya, it appears that Virjibhai offered Rs. 51,000 per public meeting to AAP candidate to cut pro-BJP votes.

Election Commission has also filed complainst against Congress leader CJ Chavda for defamation against Narendra Modi. Election Commission has started procedure against Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia. 

250 For BJP Is Possible

The strong tailwind suggests a huge BJP sweep, with the party alone winning 250 seats

Omkar Goswami

At the beginning of the year, in an article for this magazine (BW | Businessworld issue dated 27 January 2014), I had expressed doubts about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi securing 210 Lok Sabha seats in this national election. I concluded, “as of today, it isn’t obvious how the BJP on its own can win 210 seats” and argued that if it won less than 200, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik or Jayalalithaa might end up calling the shots.

As I write this piece on 21 April, elections are, more or less, at the half-way mark. Five phases of polling are over covering 232 Lok Sabha seats, in which larger states such as Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha are over with, as is the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Four more rounds of polls remain, covering 311 constituencies, many of which are in blockbuster states such as Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal. The last round of polling is on 12 May, covering 41 residual constituencies in UP, Bihar and West Bengal. The results will be announced on 16 May 2014.

Things can change. But, as of now, I need to admit that I was wrong in January 2014. It seems clear to me that the BJP is set to not only comfortably cross the 210 mark, but also take a realistic shot at around 245 to 250 Lok Sabha seats. Let me suggest why.

It is useful to start with two critical states: UP and Bihar. In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had 51 seats in a united UP, including all five seats in what is today’s Uttarakhand. Disenchantment with the Samajwadi Party is at its peak; barring a few constituencies, the Indian National Congress is a non-entity in the state; and many would agree with me that the polarisation of voters according to religious lines is at least as pronounced in 2014 as it was in 1999. Therefore, much as some may consider the thought outrageous, I wouldn’t be surprised if the BJP won around 50 seats in UP.

On to Bihar. In 2009, the BJP won 12 seats out of 40, and the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), clinched 20. The JD(U) is in shambles, and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal will probably cut into a quarter of his seats. Bihar BJP’s Sushil Modi runs a tight ship. And the NaMo wave can help the BJP to claim 20 seats in this elections. Maybe even 25 with some extra luck. So, UP and Bihar could get the BJP 70 to 75 seats in the aggregate.

What about the BJP’s backyard, namely Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand? Gujarat has 26 seats, of which the BJP should secure 22. In Madhya Pradesh, it should win 24 out of the 29. Even if Sachin Pilot gives a stiff fight, the BJP should get 20 of the 25 seats in Rajasthan. And 9 out of 11 in Chhattisgarh plus 10 out of 14 in Jharkhand. That makes it a sub-total of 85 seats for the BJP.

The total now rises to 155 to 160 seats. Now for a few other states. One should expect the BJP to win 14 of the 28 seats in Karnataka; seven of the 10 seats in Haryana; five of seven seats in Delhi NCT; 20 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra; 10 out of 42 in Andhra Pradesh; and perhaps eight of the 21 seats in Odisha by eliminating the Congress and getting a few Biju Janata Dal seats as well. This sub-total is 64 seats.

Add the three sub-totals and you get 224 seats. With such tailwind, the BJP should also pick up bits and bobs everywhere bar the North-east. I expect it to gain another 26 seats across Uttarakhand, Himachal, Goa, Punjab, some of the Union territories and West Bengal.

This is only the BJP. And it definitely looks like a Modi sarkar. 

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 19-05-2014)

HOW TO FIGHT A CAMPAIGN - An energetic politician and a riveting orator

The general elections have thrust themselves into our calendars. They led to the emigration of the one show that really excites Indians, namely the Indian Premier League. Instead of entertaining their fans, our cricket heroes had to play before empty stadia in distant places like Dubai and Durban. And all this hardship for what? For watching politicians abuse one another in empty fields. Not all of them are as empty as the one where Anna Hazare failed to turn up. There were conflicting reports on whether it was due to indigestion or congestion. The congestion was certainly not on Ramlila Maidan. Mamata Banerjee kept the appointment despite pressing engagements. In spite of her eloquence, an aspiring listener could have got a dozen chairs to himself.

But there is one speaker who has been addressing roughly one crowd a day, in all nooks and corners of the country; despite chances of bombs being thrown, there are not many empty seats in his meetings. He is a pretty uneducated character; but some of his most enthusiastic listeners are in colleges. He can hardly go beyond a single mugged-up sentence in Telugu or Malayalam; but his Hindi speeches have drawn erstwhile enemies of Hindi in thousands. He asks his listeners to hang him if he is guilty of the Gujarat riots; instead, they stand up and chant, MOA DEE MOA DEE. He has made the current election the most dramatic in a couple of decades.

Last September he spoke in Amroodon Ka Bagh (guava garden) in Jaipur; he taught his audience the English alphabet: A for Adarsh, B for Bofors, C for Commonwealth Games, D for Damaad (meaning the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi), and so on. As the Prime Minister hoisted the flag on Red Fort in Delhi on August 15, Modi donned a stippled red turban and hoisted the flag in Bhuj. He did not dismiss the herded children with a ten-minute speech; he spoke for 55 minutes. Much of his speech was addressed to the Prime Minister: he asked how the PM felt about presiding over so many scandals.

Four days before that, he spoke in Hyderabad. For the first five minutes he spoke in Telugu. Then he went on to accuse Congress of disuniting people: the proof was in the number of states they had divided, including Andhra Pradesh. The rest of the speech was populist: the message was that Congress had promised food, education, medical care etc, but not delivered.

He gave a talk to chartered accountants of Ahmedabad last June; how would he relate to these chaps in suits and ties, who work entirely in English? He told them there was so much black money and money parked abroad; he asked them who could detect it: chartered accountants, obviously. He described their own work to them: staring at computers, adding up figures, looking for errors — how boring! Then he told them about stone-cutters. When they were asked why they did such hard work, one said it was to feed his family, another said he knew nothing better; then one said, I am breaking these stones to build a temple. He said that he himself had left home to do social service, but fate worked differently, and he had reached where he was. He told them about an aborigine, who asked Modi if he was on the way to Sabarmati. Modi told him: start walking, otherwise it will get too hot. The tribal asked him not to worry about that, what mattered was whether he was going in the right direction.

Then he came to his favourite theme. The Delhi sarkar spends only 30 per cent on development expenditure. Gujarat also spent such a proportion when Modi came to power; today it spends 65 per cent on development. This is an argument that might appeal even to a Congressman chartered accountant. Modi then came to Gujaratis’ favourite sport. He talked of a poor man who invested a few thousand in shares in the hope of earning enough to marry off his daughter. His bet was based on companies’ performance; he could trust the performance figures only if chartered accountants were competent and honest. He asked the CAs to keep that common man in mind when they audited accounts.

In June he chose the occasion of the release of a book, Beyond a Billion Ballots, to question the status of the National Advisory Council. There was a sixty-year-old planning commission, which brought all state governments together and coordinated their development. Yet, the Congress government set up the NAC — it was a second cabinet of the other prime minister. What was the need for it, and how right was the process of setting it up? Modi has often attacked the Family, and the attacks seem personal and unbalanced. But the issue of two centres of power has been a real one. Modi has an alternative concept of good government: it is one in which the elected representatives decide the direction, but go no further. They leave it to the bureaucracy to work out the operational details and implement it. That is how the British government works, and how Modi claims he has run the Gujarat government.

He also talks often of people’s participation, and gives examples of how he has involved them. After the earthquake in Kutch, the government of Gujarat asked each village to appoint a school committee, and gave it money and authority to build a school; it set up a material bank from where the committees could get building materials. Similarly, when the Narmada dam brought water to new villages, it set up villagers’ committees to decide how the water should be distributed. In this context, Modi cites Gandhi’s concepts of trust and trusteeship: the government should act as a trustee of the people, and trust the people. And it should change over from procedural to performance audit. This is the same idea as Chidambaram’s of an outcome budget. Chidambaram talked about it in one budget speech and put it to sleep; Modi scores better on performance.

Modi is an energetic politician and a superb orator; both qualities count in an election, and have brought him much publicity. But most of the commentators base their judgment on Modi on the performance of Gujarat. It is good in some areas, poor in others. But it is futile to look for a correlation between a chief minister and the economic or social performance of a state: too many variables determine performance, of which the identity of the chief minister is one. What I would look for in a chief minister — or prime minister — is ideas and vigour, fluency and energy, ability to carry people along and inspire them. Modi has these things. One can think of other factors that count against him. One may have doubts about his honesty. One may believe that his performance in the Gujarat riots was unforgivable. These are perfectly valid opinions. I would only add three things to these considerations. He is a riveting speaker; he has achieved a number of things that he set out to in Gujarat; and he is a collector of good ideas.


अडानी, अंबानी, टाटा, बिड़ला - कांग्रेस बीजेपी और आप

ये सचमुच हास्यास्पद है कि कांग्रेस पार्टी अडानी कंपनी को जमीन देने को महापाप बता रही है. कांग्रेस पार्टी को ऐसे आरोप लगाने का तो हक ही नहीं है. उद्योगपतियों को जो जमीन सस्ते दामों पर मिलती है वह कांग्रेस पार्टी व मनमोहन सिंह की नीतियों की वजह से मिलती है. अडानी को जमीन दिया गया वह SEZ (स्पेशल इकोनोमिक जोन) के कानून के तहत दिया गया. अडानी को सबसे पहले कांग्रेस की सरकार ने जमीन दी थी. कांग्रेस व राहुल गांधी या प्रियंका गांधी ने पिछले 10 सालों में SEZ के कानून को क्यों नहीं बदला. या फिर सोनिया गांधी की नेशनल एडवाईजरी कॉसिल के सदस्यों ने विरोध क्यों नहीं किया? इनमें से ज्यादातर लोग आजकल आम आदमी पार्टी में हैं या समर्थक हैं.

उद्योगपतियों को मुफ्त में जमीन देने के नियम को मनमोहन सिंह के दर्शनशास्त्र में इनसेन्टिव कहा जाता है. आज यह इनसेंटिव सभी विचाधारा व रंग के राजनीतिक दलों की सरकार उद्योगपतियों को दे रही है. बीजेपी हो, कांग्रेस हो, नीतीश हो, मुलायम हो, मायावती हो, ममता हो, पटनायक हो या फिर कोई भी हो.. ये सब इसी काम में लगे हैं. फर्क सिर्फ इतना है कि जब ये विपक्ष में रहते हैं या फिर चुनाव हारने लगते हैं तो क्रोनी कैपिटलिज्म क्रोनी कैपिटलिज्म चिल्लाने लगते हैं.

वैसे समझने वाली बात यह है कि विकास के लिए जमीनों को आवंटित करना वैसे गलत नहीं है. इसमें दो बातों का ध्यान रखना जरूरी है. पहला यह कि जमीन का सदउपयोग इंफ्रास्ट्रकचर के विकास व रोजगार के अवसर प्रदान करने वाले कामों में हो. और दूसरा, उद्योगपतियों को आवंटित जमीन किसानों की उपजाऊ जमीन न हो, किसानो से छीन कर न दी जाए. वनवासियों के अधिकारों का हनन न हो. इसका ख्याल रखना चाहिए. अडानी के मामले में जो जमीन दी गई उसपर गुजरात का पहला और देश का सबसे बेहतरीन बंदरगाह बना है. अडानी और मोदी के रिश्तों को स्थापित करने के लिए कांग्रेस और आम आदमी पार्टी ने गलत विषय को चुना है.

वैसे टीवी पर इस विषय पर प्रशांत भूषण को बोलते हुए सुना तो आश्चर्य हुआ. इन्हें तो अपने हिमाचल प्रदेश की जमीन के बारे में बताना चाहिए. ये न तो उद्योगपति हैं और न ही इन्होंने कोई कंपनी खोलने का ऐलान किया था फिर हिमालचल प्रदेश की जमीन का लैंडयूज क्यों बदला? रही बात आम आदमी पार्टी की तो आज आम आदमी पार्टी (AAP) के सदस्य मकसूद उल हसन काजमी ने केजरीवाल पर कुछ उद्योगपतियों के बीच मिलीभगत का आरोप भी लगाया. उन्होंने कहा कि अरविंद केजरीवाल अपने भाषणों में सिर्फ दो ही उद्योग घरानों का जिक्र क्यों करते हैं? यह पूछा है कि केजरीवाल हमेशा अंबानी पर हमले करते हैं, लेकिन रतन टाटा की तारीफ क्यों करते हैं? उन्होंने ये भी पर्दाफाश किया है कि 'मैं अच्छी तरह जानता हूं कि AAP नेता प्रशांत भूषण को सारी सूचनाएं और दस्तावेज देश का एक प्रभुत्वशाली औद्योगिक परिवार उपलब्ध करवाता है. प्रशांत भूषण अरविंद केजरीवाल का उपयोग कर औद्योगिक रंजिश चुकाने में एक औद्योगिक घराने का साथ दे रहे हैं.'

केजरीवाल जी को बताना चाहिए कि जब आपके ही सदस्य यह आरोप लगाते हैं तो आप किस मुंह से क्रोनी कैपिटलिज्म की बात करते हो? आपको काजमी साहब के सवालों का जवाब देना चाहिए.. और कहना चाहिए कि मैं.. केजरीवाल.. टाटा का दलाल नहीं हूं !!!! वर्ना हम तो वही सच मान लेंगे जो काजमी साहब कह रहे हैं.

-Dr. Manish Kumar, Editor Chauthi Duniya

Were AAP supporters drinking beer at Varanasi ghat?  New Delhi, April 29, 2014 | UPDATED 14:33 IST

Ankit Lal
Ankit Lal, one of the AAP workers who was allegedly attacked by BJP supporters in Varanasi, on Monday.
While AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said BJP men beat up two of his supporters at a ghat in Varanasi on Monday, an alterative account is doing the rounds on Twitter.

According to tweets by journalist Hashmi Shams Tabreed (@hstabreed), it seems the fight, in which two AAP volunteers wee injured, began after they were seen "drinking beer on Assi Ghat and urinating into the Ganga".
"Word is that AAP folks were engaged in a fight yesterday with people who objected to their drinking beer at Assi ghat & Urinating in Ganga.

"Yesterday's scuffle is hurting AAP more. With AAP campaign entirely driven by outsiders, they don't realize Ganga is an emotional issue here.

Arvind Kejriwal
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
"I've talked to a lot of people today, autodrivers, shopkeepers, govt. servants and most sounded pretty upset with AAP disrespecting ganga," Tabreed said in a series of tweets.

This claim is diametrically opposite to the injured AAP supporters' version, who said they were attacked without provocation while they were at a shop to drink water.

"We were returning from campaigning and we had stopped at a shop to drink water. Generally on seeing AAP caps, people came to talks to us. One of the group there was of the BJP and it began shouting 'Modi, Modi'. When they saw we could be influencing people, they asked us to go. Then one of them came and began hitting us," said Nandan Mishra, one of the two injured AAP supporters.

Ankit Lal, who too was injured, said: "It seemed they were from the BJP. They were wearing BJP caps. It all began with an argument. They said you are absconders; you have come to defend an absconder. We asked them to sit down and discuss. They regrouped and came back and four-five of them manhandled us. Nandan was hit on the nose and I was hit on the head." 

Reacting to the attack, Kejriwal, who is contesting from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, blamed the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to spread fear and keep AAP supporters away on election day.

"People are scared that they would be attacked on voting day," he said at a press conference.
He also demanded deployment of central forces on polling day in the constituency on May 12.

He went on to claim that attack on the AAP supporters was orchestrated by the BJP. "Earlier, only I was being attacked. But now even common people are being attacked," he said.

A vast majority of university and college students from Delhi are in Varanasi, campaigning for Kejriwal.


AAP member Ashwini Upadhyaya resigns with 2400 others

Press Trust of India | Lucknow Apr 28, 2014
Last Updated at 07:54 PM IST

AAP's national council member Ashwini Upadhyaya, who was expelled for his "anti-party activities", today left the party with 2,400 other workers. Talking to reporters here, Upadhyaya alleged that the ideology, with which AAP was formed, has lost somewhere and the common man was feeling cheated. He said due to this 2,400 workers, including convenors of eight wards and 40 local incharges, have resigned from the party. Upadhayay questioned AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal "why he elected un

AAP's national council member Ashwini Upadhyaya, who was expelled for his "anti-party activities", today left the party with 2,400 other workers.

Talking to reporters here, Upadhyaya alleged that the ideology, with which AAP was formed, has lost somewhere and the common man was feeling cheated.

He said due to this 2,400 workers, including convenors of eight wards and 40 local incharges, have resigned from the party.

Upadhayay questioned AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal "why he elected unconstitutional way for Jan Lokpal bill and why Delhi Lokayukta was not made stronger?"

He said, "Kejriwal resigned from the post of Delhi Chief Minister without referendum."

"AAP fielded 455 candidates in tacit understanding with Congress to divide votes," he said.

He alleged that "Sisodia's Kabir Foundation was registered in 2007, then how he managed to get Rs 44 lakh in 2005 and 32 lakh in 2006 from Ford Foundation."

Upadhyaya also asked why AAP made Yudhveer Singh, who gave clean chit to Robert Vadra in land deal, its candidate from Hisar Lok Sabha seat.


'दूसरे घर' आ रहे मोदी, घर वाले चहके

शिमला, [मनजीत नेगी]। संघ प्रचारक, प्रदेश पार्टी प्रभारी के बाद स्टार प्रचारक के तौर पर आज हिमाचल आ रहे नरेंद्र मोदी हिमाचल के लिए नया चेहरा नहीं हैं। प्रदेश में मतदान केंद्र तक जाकर भाजपा को मजबूती देकर पहली बार पार्टी की स्थायी सरकार बनाने में उनका अहम योगदान रहा है। पार्टी के कई नेता उनके आने से गदगद हैं। 1993-94 से लेकर वर्ष 2000 तक वह प्रदेश भाजपा प्रभारी रहे हैं। प्रभारी भी ऐसे कि हर विधानसभा क्षेत्र के दूरदराज तक पैदल गए। भाजपा के तब के कार्यकर्ताओं को वह अब भी नाम लेकर पुकारते हैं। मोदी का मानना था, 'कार्यकर्ता तभी आपको मानेंगे जब आप अच्छा काम करके दिखाएंगे। 'रोल मॉडल' बनिए तो तो आपका सम्मान होगा।'

उनके कार्यकाल में महामंत्री रहे प्रवीण शर्मा बताते हैं कि नरेंद्र मोदी के प्रयत्नों से हिमाचल में पहली बार वर्ष 1998 में भाजपा की स्थायी सरकार बन पाई। पहली बार पांच साल की सरकार बनी थी। हालांकि कई बाधाएं थी। वह कहते थे कि यदि वर्ष 1998 में भी भाजपा की सरकार तीसरी बार नहीं चली तो जनता को पार्टी पर से विश्वास उठ जाएगा। संदेश जाएगा कि भाजपा को सरकार चलाना नहीं आता। इससे पहले शांता कुमार के नेतृत्व में भाजपा की सरकारें महज दो से अढ़ाई साल ही दो मर्तबा चली थी। मोदी के साथ पूर्व बागवानी मंत्री स्वर्गीय कुंज लाल, रूप सिंह, राकेश पठानिया, रमेश धवाला, आइडी धीमान, प्रेम कुमार धूमल, जेपी नड्डा, सुरेश चंदेल ने बतौर कार्यकर्ता काम किया है।

उनका दूसरा घर हिमाचल

'नरेंद्र मोदी का हिमाचल से विशेष लगाव रहा है। वह यहां की हर समस्या से वाकिफ हैं। प्रभारी रहते प्रदेश का चप्पा-चप्पा घूमा। हिमाचल को अपना दूसरा घर मानते हुए प्रदेश के विकास की चर्चा पार्टी के वरिष्ठ नेताओं से करते रहते हैं।' -गणेश दत्त, प्रवक्ता भाजपा

'नरेंद्र मोदी बहुत अनुशासित व्यक्तित्व के मालिक हैं। पार्टी के लिए वह दिन रात काम करते व योजनाएं बनाते रहे हैं। ऐसी योजनाओं को वह लागू भी करते। ईमानदारी और लग्न हमेशा रही। पार्टी कार्यकत्र्ताओं से भी वह यही अपेक्षा रखते हैं। संगठन के प्रति काम करने का उनका जज्बा अविस्मरणीय है। प्रधानमंत्री की कुर्सी पर काबिज होने के साथ प्रदेश में विकास के नए आयाम स्थापित होंगे। -प्रेम कुमार धूमल, पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री

मोदी का योगदान अव्वल 'सपने में भी नहीं सोचा जा सकता था कि 1998 में भाजपा सरकार बनाएगी। पार्टी के बीच खींचतान थी, धवाला कांड भी ताजा था। हिमाचल विकास कांग्रेस के नेता व केंद्रीय मंत्री रहे पंडित सुखराम के साथ मिलकर तब भाजपा की पहली बार प्रदेश में स्थायी सरकार बनी थी। यह नरेंद्र मोदी के संगठन बल का ही नतीजा है कि भाजपा का जनाधार और कुनबा लगातार बढ़े। उनके उत्साह और परिश्रम का ही नतीजा रहा है कि आज पार्टी ने प्रधानमंत्री कुर्सी के लिए घोषित किया है।' -सतपाल सत्ती, भाजपा प्रदेशाध्यक्ष

हिमाचल में आज से शुरू होगा रैलियों का रेला

हिमाचल में नरेंद्र मोदी की आज होने वाली रैलियों के बाद स्टार वार का दौर शुरू हो रहा है। कांग्रेस के बडे़ नेता भी प्रचार भुनाने हिमाचल आ रहे हैं तो भाजपा के स्टार प्रचारकों का दौर शुरू हो गया है। भाजपा के प्रधानमंत्री पद के घोषित प्रत्याशी नरेंद्र मोदी की आज होने वाली रैलियों के बाद हिमाचल में राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष राजनाथ सिंह प्रत्याशियों के प्रचार के लिए प्रदेश दौरे पर आ रहे हैं। चार मई को जिला किन्नौर के जिला मुख्यालय रिकांगपियो और नाहन में वह प्रचार रैलियां करेंगे। राजनाथ सिंह यहां होने वाली रैलियों के जरिये मंडी और शिमला संसदीय सीट के प्रत्याशी रामस्वरूप और वीरेंद्र कश्यप के लिए वोट की अपील करेंगे।

दूसरी ओर इसी दिन दूसरी और बिलासपुर और बड़सर में हेमामालिनी प्रचार के लिए पहुंच रही हैं। हालांकि भाजपा की तेजतर्रार नेत्री सुषमा स्वराज का दौरा हिमाचल के लिए रद हो गया है। दो दिन का प्रचार के लिए समय सुषमा स्वराज के लिए मिला था। खेती के कामों में व्यस्तता के चलते उनके दौरे के लिए हिमाचल भाजपा के पदाधिकारियों ने इन्कार कर दिया है। राज्य के निचले क्षेत्रों में गर्मी होने के चलते दो दिन के दौरे को रद कर दिया गया है। भाजपा के पदाधिकारियों का कहना है कि 40 लोगों की स्टार प्रचारकों की जो सूची भाजपा ने लोकसभा चुनाव को देखते हुए भारतीय निर्वाचन आयोग को भेजी है उसमें राष्ट्रीय स्तर के बडे़ नेताओं सहित हेमा मालिनी, नवजोत सिंह सिद्धू जैसी हस्तियों के नाम शामिल हैं।

भाजपा के स्टार प्रचारक हिमाचल आ रहे हैं। नरेंद्र मोदी की रैली के बाद राजनाथ सिंह और हेमामालिनी शीघ्र ही प्रचार को पहुंच रहे हैं। सुषमा स्वराज का दौरा रद हुआ है। इसके अतिरिक्त स्टार प्रचारकों की सूची में और नाम भी शामिल है। कई और नेताओं के दौरे संभावित हैं। -गणेश दत्त, अध्यक्ष राज्य प्रचार समिति भाजपा

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मोदी पर अब तक लगा 20,000 करोड़ रु. का सट्टा

Apr 29, 2014 at 10:34am | Updated Apr 29, 2014 at 10:46am            

नई दिल्ली। सट्टा बाजार तो सिर्फ नमो-नमो जप रहा है। नरेंद्र मोदी के प्रधानमंत्री बनने को लेकर सटोरियों में जबर्दस्त भरोसा है और इस उम्मीद में देशभर में अब तक करीब 20,000 करोड़ रुपये का सट्टा लग चुका है। सबसे बड़ा सट्टा दिल्ली और जयपुर में लगा है। इन दोनों शहरों में ही अकेले करीब 10,000 करोड़ रुपये दांव पर लगे हुए हैं।

बीजेपी के 240 सीटें जीतने के लिए 1 रुपये पर 40 पैसे का भाव मिल रहा है। वहीं बीजेपी के 225 सीटें जीतने पर 1 रुपये पर 17 पैसे का भाव मिल रहा है। बीजेपी के 247-250 सीटें जीतने पर 1 रुपये का भाव चल रहा है। वहीं बीजेपी के 260 सीटें जीतने पर 2.25 रुपये का भाव मिल रहा है।

सट्टा बाजार में कांग्रेस के 50 सीटें जीतने पर 16 पैसे का भाव मिल रहा है। वहीं कांग्रेस के 60 सीटें जीतने पर 42 पैसे का भाव मिल रहा है। कांग्रेस के 65-68 सीटें जीतने पर 1 रुपये का भाव मिल रहा है। कांग्रेस के 80 सीटें जीतने के अनुमान पर 2.50 रुपये का भाव दिया जा रहा है।

इसके अलावा आम आदमी पार्टी के 3-4 सीटें जीतने पर 1 रुपये का भाव दिया जा रहा है।

प्रधानमंत्री के तौर पर नरेंद्र मोदी को 20 पैसे का भाव, राहुल गांधी पर 8 रुपये का भाव और मनमोहन सिंह पर 10 रुपये का भाव मिल रहा है।
सट्टा बाजार में बीजेपी को गुजरात में 22 सीटें, राजस्थान में 23 सीटें, दिल्ली में 6 सीटें, मध्य प्रदेश को 26 सीटें, आंध्र प्रदेश को 3 सीटें, तमिलनाडु में 4 सीटें, ओडिशा में 4 सीटें वहीं कर्नाटक में 18 सीटें मिल रही हैं।


Sunday, 27 April 2014

EVM rigging by Congress agent - GUWAHATI JALUKBARI

EVM rigging by Congress agent - GUWAHATI JALUKBARI

Congress wanted to 'retire' Manmohan Singh, but Rahul Gandhi failed to deliver, says Sanjaya Baru's book

Saturday, 12 April 2014 - 4:59pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS        

Rahul Gandhi RNA Research & Archives

Despite being plagued by corruption scandals, economic slowdown and a perceived effete government, the UPA-II could not afford to "retire" Manmohan Singh as prime minister as Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly failed to deliver electoral victories for the Congress party, says a revealing new book.

During the 2009 elections, many believed the Congress party had purposefully got Manmohan Singh's face plastered on the party manifesto and election posters believing the party was headed for defeat and the blame could be taken by the prime minister, says Sanjaya Baru, former media adviser to the prime minister, in his book "The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh" (Penguin), that hit the stands Friday.

On talks between Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf of a Kashmir peace formula: Baru says Manmohan Singh wanted Musharraf "to own and propagate the Kashmir 'peace formula'. He was quite willing to sell this as a 'Musharraf formula' rather than a Manmohan-Musharraf formula." Manmohan thought there would be more opposition to it in Pakistan and Musharraf would have to deal with political parties, religious groups and the army. Singh thought in India there would be "a wider constituency of support", including from his party. He though the only real opposition would come from the BJP.

But he underestimated the likely resistance from within his own party. Both Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony, as successive defence ministers in UPA-1, "were reportedly not enthusiastic about a deal on Siachen, though Sonia had blessed the peace formula". The armed forces were "ambivalent" with retired generals favouring a deal to end the agony of the troops fighting on the glacier but serving generals not willing to trust Pakistan on a deal.

On the Congress' win in 2009 general elections: Few in the Congress had expected the UPA to win. Before the election verdict, "many believed that Dr Singh's face had been printed on the cover of the manifesto and on election posters so that the expected defeat in that election could be explained away as his defeat and Rahul Gandhi, whose picture was not printed on the party manifesto or posters, could then claim leadership as the agent of change. "

Baru quotes a senior political journalist as saying that Rahul was looking forward to "a tenure as the leader of the Opposition so as to burnish his own political credentials, differentiating himself, perhaps even distancing himself, from Dr Singh's legacy. Few expected the Congress to return to power until almost the very end of the campaign. They all underestimated Dr Singh's popularity and the lacklustre image of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, L.K. Advani, among his own partymen. "

On why the Congress could not "retire" Manmohan Singh in UPA-II, Baru writes that plagued by corruption controversies, the economic slowdown and persistent inflation, the government's popularity declined. The Congress party "began to switch gears and focus on succession, hoping Rahul Gandhi would rise to the occasion and take charge. Planted stories began to appear in the media about Dr Singh's imminent retirement. However, Rahul's repeated inability to deliver results for the party in a series of state elections meant that Dr Singh could not be 'retired' and created a vacuum at the top."

Rahul Gandhi's public outburst last September saying the ordinance to allow tainted lawmakers to continue should be "torn up and thrown away", was "probably to bolster his image". "Rahul chose defiance to authority as his strategy for political relevance," he writes.

On Manmohan Singh's relationship with Sharad Pawar: "With Pawar, there was a special relationship. Dr Singh often recalled how Pawar always lent support to him whenever his policies came under attack from within the Congress party. He regarded Pawar as an 'ally' against his critics in the Cabinet, like Arjun Singh, AK Antony and Vayalar Ravi."

On Sonia and Manmohan ties. The two did not have much contact besides their regular meetings. When the core group met at 7, RCR, Sonia would arrive first and have an exclusive chat with Manmohan. "That was when the two spoke to each other in private". Singh rarely spoke in the core-group meetings. "He would hear what others had to say and take his decisions after having another word with Sonia." There was also very little social contact between the families of the two leaders. However, "once in a while Sonia would call on Dr Singh to discuss family matters...There were, after all, few family elders available to give her advice on things that may have bothered her in her personal life."

Baru writes that "on at least one occasion she came to see Dr Singh to discuss her concerns about Rahul's personal plans. Following that conversation, Dr Singh invited Rahul for lunch and the two spent time together."

"In private, Sonia often addressed Dr Singh as Manmohan, which, given her Western background, suggested she felt closer and more familial in her relationship with him than with other senior leaders of his generation. Dr Singh, for his part, always referred to her as Soniaji or Mrs Gandhi and treated her with old-fashioned courtesy."


After 'Bal Narendra', a 'graphic biography' on Modi now

New Delhi: Books on Narendra Modi seems to be the flavour of the poll season with another work -- a 'graphic biography' narrating his journey from birth till becoming the prime ministerial candidate of BJP -- set to hit bookstores soon.

'Narendra Modi: The Icon of Development' is being published by city-based Prabhat Prakashan. It has a Hindi edition 'Narendra Modi: Bhavishya Ki Asha' and is also being published in Marathi and Gujarati.

Over 10 books in different languages, including English, Hindi and Gujarati, on Modi have been released in the past two months and a few more are slated to hit the market soon.

The 24-page book, priced at Rs 60, carries illustrations of various phases of Modi's life including his childhood, how he helped his father sell tea in trains, how he became an RSS pracharak, his involvement in Ekta Yatra in 1991, his tenure as BJP general secretary and his journey from Gujarat Chief Minister to BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.

Prabhat Prakashan Director Piyush Kumar says the basic idea behind the graphic novel was to "exploit brand Modi" in this election season.

"We wanted to exploit brand Modi as there has been a huge demand for books about his life. The idea was evolved last December during the Patna book fair and now the Hindi and English versions are ready. We will also have an informal launch in the near future," Kumar told PTI.

"Work on bringing out the Marathi and Gujarati versions is also in progress. Saket Prakashan, Aurangabad and Navbharat, Ahmedabad have got the rights for those. We are also working on an animation CD on his life but it will take some time," he adds.

The concept for the book is written by Kanpur-based writer Zameer and is largely based on Modi's biography written by Kishore Makwana.

The publication house has come up with 4,000 copies each in Hindi and English and will bring the next edition soon.

"We have got an order for 1,000 copies from Wheeler. The book will be available on Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal soon apart from the 250 booksellers across the country," Kumar says.

He also says that earlier books on Modi have got good response and there is a plan to bring more before the elections get over.

"Brand Modi is becoming big in publishing business. We have published around 11 books on him recently and they have been received well. Now, we are also bringing a book on tweets from Modi and BJP," he says.

The graphic novel also shows Modi's brave deeds, his work as an RSS pracharak, hoisting the tricolour in in Srinagar's Lal Chowk in 1992, his differences with then state BJP president Shankar Singh Vaghela and taking oath as chief minister of Gujarat.

It concludes with his speech at an election campaign in Delhi after becoming BJP's PM candidate. Earlier, a comic book 'Bal Narendra - Childhood Stories of Narendra Modi' was brought out by Rannade Prakashan and Blue Snail Animation. The comic book tells stories of Modi's bravery.

First Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014, 14:33

"If I Weren't A Sanyasin, He Would Have Married Me"

A dapper PM. An alluring godwoman. A bunch of letters and a still-born child. Outlook unravels a little-known Nehru story...

One day in April 1949, Dr Ezekiel, a lady doctor working in a hospital near the Cantonment Station in Bangalore, took pity on a pregnant woman who was thrown out of a hospital because she refused to divulge her name or address. All that Dr Ezekiel knew about the woman was that she was from North India and looked affluent, although she had very little money on her. So taken in was Dr Ezekiel by the woman in her early 30s that she rented a small house for her in the Benson Town area for Rs 50, bought her provisions, arranged for a dhobi and took her twice by taxi to a Roman Catholic hospital in the Civil Station for examination.

The would-be mother spent a month in Bangalore reading and re-reading from a packet of letters she carried with her at all times, keeping them under her pillow when she slept.
It is perfectly true that the lady has met me several times...we usually discussed two things: the Hindu Code Bill and the question of language, Hindi.
After one false alarm, she was rushed to the Catholic hospital on May 30, 1949, where she delivered a stillborn child the same night. She stayed at the hospital for nine days and returned to her rented home to recuperate for another 10 days before she finally took the flight back to Delhi on June 19, promising to repay her debts to the Ezekiels which amounted to Rs 600.

She forgot, however, to carry her precious letters back with her. They were intimate letters written to her by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. She was Shraddha Mata, a young attractive sanyasin whom Nehru appeared to be besotted with.

A retired chief justice of the Punjab and Calcutta high courts, Debi Singh Tewatia, a friend of the sanyasin, revealed to Outlook the full story of the Nehru-Shraddha Mata relationship. This is how it goes:

The Ezekiels never heard from Shraddha Mata again. When even the letter they sent her at the address she had given—c/o Asutosh Lahiri, gshms, New Delhi, was returned unopened, Dr Ezekiel's husband turned to Dr Karamchand Wade, a Hindi scholar and a friend, for help.
I could see Panditji was attracted towards this (pointing to her face and features). I met him many times and for many hours at a stretch.
Was there any clue to her whereabouts, Ezekiel wanted to know, in the packet of letters which she had guarded so jealously but had forgotten under her pillow when she left?

Wade needed only one glimpse of the first letter, sent from Government House, Lucknow, on March 2, 1948, to recognise the handwriting of Pandit Nehru. The other letters were also from Nehru, addressed to Shraddha, and "of an intimate nature". Wade, an ardent admirer of the prime minister, was alarmed about the consequences to Nehru's reputation.

He paid Ezekiel the Rs 600 that Shraddha had borrowed and kept the letters. Wanting to deliver the letters personally to Nehru, he wrote to Nehru's private secretary A. Vithal Pai, whom he knew. But Pai's reply was not encouraging. Neither he nor the prime minister, Pai wrote, thought Wade should put himself to the trouble and expense of coming to Delhi to deliver the letters. He suggested that Wade send them by registered insured cover to Pai's residence instead. Pai airily dismissed Wade's claims of holding incriminating letters that would damage Nehru's reputation. "It is of course possible that misleading and plausible interpretations might be put on one or two chits that you may have seen," wrote Pai, "but the Prime Minister himself is not worried about improper or malicious use being made of them. I shall however wait to see the letters when you send them to me."

Wade wrote to Pai again, quoting from one of the letters in which Nehru says he may be able to see Shraddha Mata late at night after 10 pm.
S.P. Mookerjee Aware of Nehru’s susceptibility to attractive young women, Mookerjee tried to get the PM to meet her. Failing once, he recruited friend Jagat Narain Lal.
But Pai was unfazed. "No one need put any malicious interpretation on it," he wrote. "The importance we attach to your letter is not because of any interpretation that can be placed in the message that you quote, but on the fact that what you say shows up the woman in a very bad light."

But the tenacious Wade decided to travel to Delhi and deliver the papers to Nehru in person.Nehru met him and gave him one of the more innocuous letters from the packet as a keepsake. It was for identifying himself in case Wade ever needed to see him again. Nehru also gave him an exclusive phone number where he could get in touch with him and offered him some assignments. But Wade turned down the offer, saying that he had taken the trouble to get hold of the letters and deliver them to him out of a patriotic spirit and regard for the prime minister's reputation.

Shraddha Mata was first introduced to Nehru in 1948 in what could have been a Hindu Mahasabha plot to subvert Nehru's secular plans for India! Hindu Mahasabha chief Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, who first saw Shraddha Mata in Calcutta, mesmerising large assemblies with her lectures on the Vedas, invited her to Delhi. She had an equally impressive debut in Delhi where she addressed several meetings on her vision of a Hindu India.
Vallabhbhai Patel The IB sent Patel an intercept: a Hindu Mahasabha letter that gloated over the success of "this contact". Patel asked Nehru to explain, but he dismissed it airily.
Aware of Nehru's susceptibility to attractive young women, Mookerjee tried to get the prime minister to meet her. At first, Nehru, with his innate disgust for godmen and godwomen, refused, but Mookerjee recruited a friend, Jagat Narain Lal, to take her to the prime minister's residence with him. One look at the shapely woman apparently bowled Nehru over. The 15-minute private audience he had granted her stretched to an hour and a half, and many more followed, usually late at night.

By March 1949, Hindu Mahasabha leaders were celebrating the success of their ploy. Outlook's research reveals that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) intercepted and forwarded a letter from the Mahasabha's Ashutosh Lahiri to V.D. Savarkar, to home minister Vallabhbhai Patel. Lahiri was crowing about Shraddha's "active contact" with Nehru. "I believe that higher powers are guiding the destiny of India. Who knows that this new contact, if it effectuates, might lead to quite new developments," he wrote.

On March 4, 1949, Patel forwarded the letter to Nehru, asking him for an explanation. Nehru replied the same day, dismissing the whole affair lightly: " is perfectly true that the lady in question has met me several times in Delhi and Lucknow.... (We) usually discussed two subjects—the Hindu Code Bill and the question of language, that is, Hindi. She tried to influence me in regard to these two matters and I tried to influence her the other way.
Debi Singh Tewatia: the insider She was an orthodox Hindu and a very good orator. Her face was rather plain but her voice was bewitching, especially when she sang bhajans.
I don't know what success I've had, but she had none, so far as I am concerned."

Shraddha was more candid. In an interview with Khushwant Singh 15 years after Nehru's death, she said: "At the very first meeting that took place in the house on Aurangzeb Road, we established a rapport which seemed to indicate that we had known each other in our previous lives. I could see Panditji was attracted to me. He was impressed with what I had to say. And I do not deny that he was attracted towards this (pointing to her face and features). I met him many times and for many hours at a stretch. I sensed his growing attachment to me. He asked me many times about my marriage and my husband. I can say that had I been free and not taken the vows of a sanyasin, it would have been me and not any of the other women whose names have been linked with him (Lady Mountbatten, Padmaja Naidu, Mrinalini Sarabhai) that he would have wanted to marry. But it never came to it. I told him quite firmly that I was a sanyasin and that he, as a Brahmin, was expected to honour Hindu traditions." Shraddha, of course, denied that the relationship had ever gone beyond the platonic, but Khushwant was not convinced. "It was quite clear from all that she said that they did have an affair," he told Outlook.

In 1976, Justice Debi Singh Tewatia received a letter from Dr Wade asking for an appointment. They met. Wade, in his 80s then, produced the one letter that Nehru had let him keep.It was an innocuous two lines, but the story that Wade told Tewatia about what seemed to be Nehru's illegitimate child was startling.

The irony of fate was that Tewatia had known Shraddha Mata since 1952, when he and the sanyasin were residing at the same boarding house on 48, Parliament Street in London, and knew about Nehru's relationship with her. "She was an orthodox Hindu and a very good orator," says Tewatia. Her face was rather plain but her voice, Tewatia recalls, was bewitching, especially when she sang Meera's bhajans. The young law student and the sanyasin met frequently and engaged in animated discussions on theological matters on which she was very well informed, devouring books in Hindi and English that lay in piles all over her room.

Tewatia learnt that Shraddha was born in Sultanpur, given in adoption to her paternal aunt, the queen of a small principality near Ayodhya. Married at 14 to a distant cousin, an advocate from Agra, she sought refuge within two weeks of her marriage in Gandhi's ashram. She later fled to the Himalayas, emerging as a full-fledged sanyasin at 26, sought out as a powerful orator and a living goddess. Shraddha did not make a secret of her political connections, especially with Nehru. Tewatia was himself an admirer of Nehru and it was to disabuse him about his idol that Shraddha told him of her intimacy with him. "I was arguing with her about the irrationality of palmistry when she suddenly said, 'You think Panditji is a rationalist? He used to extend his palm for me to read like a child'," he recalls.

Shraddha seemed to know the then vice-president, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan as well. When she was ready to return to India a couple of years later, she asked Tewatia to call Radhakrishnan. The number she gave him was of a hotel in London, and Radhakrishnan came on the line immediately when he learnt that the call was from Shraddha. It was the vice-president, says Tewatia, who arranged for her flight back home within a week of her calling him.

Tewatia met her again almost a year later in August 1955 in Faridabad, Haryana. Her cottage was fenced in with a barbed wire guarded by several fierce dogs. One of her disciples let him in. They were both travelling to Delhi that afternoon and Shraddha offered him a lift in her new Packard car. The driver was a handsome Frenchman, Tewatia recalls. Her distaste for foreigners seemed to have vanished by then. "She even asked me if I had found a foreign wife for myself and when I reminded her that she was against Indians marrying foreigners, she said: 'Indians are very bad. Foreigners are much better'."

Tewatia's next encounter with the sanyasin was in 1966. "She was staying in Rajasthan House and I went to see her. She was quite changed. She had lost a lot of weight and her views were more progressive. She had become a leftist. She said something about Indira Gandhi I didn't understand then. She told me, 'Woh chudail mere peeche padi hui hai (that witch is after my blood).' Tewatia did not ask her why. Ten years later, when he met Wade, he understood.

Tewatia met Shraddha once again in 1985. He had arrived in Jaipur as one of a baraat party for the wedding of a nephew, and heard the night before his departure to Delhi that Shraddha was living right behind his hotel in an abandoned fort gifted to her by a devotee. She had changed almost beyond recognition, having become diabetic. But she was as friendly and hospitable as on their first meeting in London. It was the last time they met.

Shraddha Mata, quite possibly the mother of India's first prime minister's still-born child, passed away in 1987.


US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

AP | Apr 3, 2014, 05.36 PM IST