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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Political Gimmicks by Tamil Nadu Political Leaders – Part 1: Gimmicks of Karunanidhi
This blog is written by my friend and fellow blogger Mani Ramanathan and is first in the series of four he will be writing on the double standards of the political leaders from his home state of Tamil Nadu. This series kick starts with analyzing one of the oldest practicing politicians in India – Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Visiting the constituency once in an election time; or raising a voice over an issue in assembly once in their life time; or uttering a beautiful fairy tale as their election agenda and invariably ending up writing a pathetic script after assuming the power; or forming an alliance with another party that shares no common agenda except capturing power; or doing anything that is corrupt, dishonest, cheating, hypocritical and disgusting to our wildest imaginations - none of the these are never ever new or unfamiliar to the politicians in India.
But what has been happening for the past few months in the political arena of Tamilnadu is shocking to say the least! The standard of politics has hit an all-time low. Let us see how the leaders of four major political parties of Tamil Nadu have recently turned virtually immeasurable on the fair scale of political ethics and standards.
Dr. 'Kalaingar' Karunanidhi is one of the senior most leaders with an awe-inspiring experience of close to 75 years in politics. He recently gave away a color TV - yeah, you read that right - to the poor citizens of Tamil Nadu. It is understandable as he always claims that he immensely believes in a poor person's happiness. But what followed his scheme was how amazingly his government struggled to provide adequate - not even twelve hours a day - electricity to the households of Tamil Nadu. I just wonder if those poor people got to ever see the colors in their TV at all.
Karunanidhi came up with another fairy-tale scheme of providing rice to the poor subsidized at just one rupee! He was very proud of this scheme as he could repeat the feat of erstwhile chief minister and his political mentor Mr. Annadurai who also rationed rice to the poor for one rupee four decades back! Simple economic theory would tell us one rupee 40 years back is worth eight rupees today while one rupee today is only worth ten paise forty years back! The scheme basically gives away rice for free! I am sure the only bottleneck those poor would have unfortunately ever faced in cooking the free rice is to find an affordable way to cook it!
His political pyrotechnics does not end there. The highly dramatic ousting of his grand nephew and then a cabinet minister Mr. Dhayanidhi Maran from his party and cutting of all the ties with him and his elder brother due to some political differences was famously enacted only to bring the Maran brothers back into the party as well as the family in a matter of few months. Now Mr. Maran is a DMK candidate in one of the three constituencies in Chennai for the forthcoming Loksabha election.
Historically, Karunanidhi has neither done anything significant for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils nor maintained any healthy relationship with LTTE head Prabhakaran. He even famously fired Vaiko - now the head of MDMK - from DMK a decade ago accusing him of conspiring to kill him with the help of Prabhakaran.
As the on-going crisis of Tamils in Sri Lanka deepens and all the major parties of TN make a big propaganda of claiming their support for Sri Lankan Tamils, Karunanidhi sniffed an anti-DMK wave due to their alliance with Congress, which is accused of not supporting the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. He got so desperate that he went on claiming Prabhakaran his close friend and LTTE not a terrorist organization, only to deny his claims the very next day as he realized the overtone of his statement and the controversy it created. As this move fired back, he got more desperate and went on calling a public strike for the cause of Srilankan Tamils. As he was still not sure of effectiveness of his moves, he went on an impromptu fasting and only to end it in the next six hours claiming that he got reliable information from Colombo that Sri Lankan government had announced a ceasefire. Later Sri Lankan officials denied the reports of ceasefire and clarified they have only stopped the use of heavy armories while DMK party leader was so emphatic about his personal triumph in helping the cause of Srilankan Tamils!
How one can ever get more desperate or become more dishonest or turn disgustingly more political to capture the power? Absurdity has not got just multiplied but exponentiated in his 75-year long political career. I am sure we have not seen the end of dramas enacted by Kalingar and more are expected as election date comes closer.
Next in this series – PMK founder and leader Dr Ramdoss.
Srilankan Tamil Civilians Caught in War – Show Some Mercy to Them
The photo published below in The New York Times sums up the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils caught up in the war between Sri Lankan government and LTTE.
I happened to see a few videos in Al-Jazeera TV about the civilians caught in the no-fire zone. There are footages in which dead and injured lie in the same place; women, children and old people with multiple injuries and blood oozing out with no one to help; a supposedly overcrowded hospital with patients who don’t have any anesthetics or antibiotics or any blood for the patients. The people are coming out in hundreds from the no fire zone and it is posing a huge challenge for the world to provide the basic needs to such a huge number of people. I have never seen even animals being treated like this. See this video to really understand the ground situation in Sri Lanka. THIS IS A VERY GROSS VIDEO. If you are light hearted please don’t watch it.
Another video from Al-Jazeera TV. This also shows the footage released by some pro Tamil news media that shows the sufferings and hardships of the people in the no fire zone. Can these people especially the kids who have gone through this trauma ever get a normal life?
Here is another video of Sri Lankan army intercepting a boat with Tamilians and bringing them to a camp. The way the Tamilians in the boat request for food will break the conscience of any one who sees that.
I believe the Sri Lankan government led by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the name of destroying the terrorist organization LTTE and V Prabhakaran and LTTE in the name of getting more right to the Tamilians in North Sri Lanka has achieved only one thing – give immense sufferings and to the civilians out there and it may take years and years for the common man there to come out of this mental and physical distress they are undergoing right now. As the proverb says “it is easy to destroy but difficult to build”. Let us hope the destruction seen by the Tamil civilians are going to end soon and the difficult process of building up their community from scratch will start soon.
Let the entire world rise to this occasion to support the civilians of North Sri Lanka with the essential supplies like food, medicine, clothes and providing support to build shelters and I believe that India who has always been the champion of Tamil cause in Sri Lanka can take the lead in this effort.
Lok Sabha Elections in India 2009 – Through the Eyes of Cartoonists
I always enjoyed reading cartoons that come in newspaper. I have lot of respect and admiration for cartoonists. Through a small picture and use of few words they convey a lot. Now general elections are coming up in India and let us see what the major cartoonists have to say about Indian elections.
I am planning to update this post with the good cartoons I read about the elections till the elections are over. So bookmark this page and come back often. If you find some cartoon that is interesting to you please send me the link and I will try to post it. Most of the cartoons will be in English but you may see a few cartoons in Malayalam and Tamil also.
Last Updated: April 24th 9.15 Am IST
Candidates make all kinds of promises till you cast your vote and then they wont need you till next election. Here is one cartoon by Surendra that appeared on The Hindu that shows a candidate making faces at the voter immediately after they cast their vote.
The election commission is working overtime to discipline political parties and politicians over violation of moral code of conduct for elections. There is no party out there who has escaped the warmth of the election commissioner (EC). Here is a cartoon that came in Deccan Chronicle in which a leader of a party tells his supporters that their campaign is dull and insipid since they didn’t get any notice from EC.
This one is great. There is a debate going on about who will make a strong Prime Minister. BJP claims that Advani will make a stronger Prime Minister than Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress claims the other way. The cartoon in The Hindu shows how BJP and Congress project the strength of Dr Manmohan Singh.
The bogus voting takes place in a lot of polling stations in India and this cartoon makes a dig at that. Here is a cartoon about a politician talking to his fellow politician about the need of special polling booths for bogus voters.
A lot of political speeches during this election are filled with communal hatred and no parent wants their kid to grow up listening to that. Here is a family watching the election news in TV asking the kid to go and play outside rather than watch the TV and corrupt the young mind.
Any given day majority of Indian people prefer cricket over politics. To attract people to the election rally politicians play so many tricks and since the IPL is going on here is a cartoon that appeared in Deccan Chronicle that shows a politician speaking to the crowd in front of a giant screen showing IPL match.
LTTE and their leader V Prabhakaran has become a hot topic of discussion in this election. A political party will call LTTE a terrorist organization and V Prabhakaran a terrorist to be changed in the very next day. Here is a cartoon that came in Indian Express that changing the words slightly makes the meaning so different.
Will be back with more cartoons later!
March 29th, 7:30 AM IST
One of the best cartoons I have seen in the recent times – published in Hindu dated 19th of March. This cartoon appeared soon after the seat sharing talks between Railway Minister Lalo Prasad Yadav and Congress failed. This cartoon shows how Lalo Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan behave in Delhi and in Bihar.
Now is election time and it means it is time for more and more promises. Tata’s new car has come out and who knows in one of the future elections the political parties may be offering a Nano to all families below poverty line?
The chances of NDA winning this election depends on how united the BJP fights this election. Already rift has broken out between Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh. Here is a cartoon showing the infighting in BJP.
Browsing through the cartoons that come in various newspapers related to election, I have become an instant fan of "CounterPoint", that appears in Deccan Chronicle. All the cartoons that appear in CounterPoint are just great. Here is just a few of them.
The regional parties that never had the ability to win on their own try to enter into alliance with large parties and usually they demand a major chunk of seats. They know if they demand lots of seats then only they may get atleast a few seats. This is so common in politics and this cartoon beautifully depicts it.
Cricket is known as a game of uncertainty. It is said that no game is won till the last ball is being bowled. Same is the case with seat sharing exercise in politics. Nothing can be said till the last day of filing nominations. Here is a beautiful cartoon in Hindu about the suspense involved in seat sharing during elections.
Enemies become friends, friends become enemies, enemies enemy is your friend - all these just for winning few seats- so common during elections. Here is a humorous depiction of this by Ninan in Ninan’s world.
During the last general elections the then ruling party in India, Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) faced the people with “India Shining” campaign and recently the party leader L K Advani accepted that one of the reasons for the party loss was the “India Shining” campaign.Now the present Congress party has acquired the rights of the song “Jai Ho” from the movie “Slum Dog Millionaire” and lot of people have started comparing the “Jai Ho” campaign of Congress to “India Shining’ campaign of BJP. This is how the cartoonist of Hindu Surendra viewed the “Jai Ho” campaign of Congress party.
This one also appeared in Times of India. The politicians are known to do anything to impress people. Meet a politician who joins the fire dance with bare foot to impress his tribal voters. Nice work by Ninan.
Welcome Back Dr Shashi Tharoor to Trivandrum - Compilation of Videos/Photos/News
Dr Shashi Tharoor, is coming back to Kerala on 24th of April at 12.40 pm for the first time after resigning as a Minister from UPA government. The people of Thiruvananthapuram are planning to give a rousing welcome to their leader. Dr Tharoor is coming Here is a compilation of the news, photos and videos of the welcome party. More videos/photos/news to follow.
It is election time in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu goes to polls on 13th of May. There are 40 seats to be won (including the one in Pondicherry). It is a very tough contest between DMK led UPA front and the other front headed by J Jayalalitha. PMK with some good following in some parts of Tamil Nadu and switching alliances from DMK led front to AIADMK led front has made the predictions even tougher. Put DMDK, party of actor Vijayakanth in the equation things get more complicated. Here is a chance for you to pick the winners of all the 40 constituencies in Tamil Nadu in this election to 15th Lok Sabha.