The world, including India, maybe facing a severe economic crisis but it seems that the Indian political parties are immune to the global economic slowdown. According to a recently released survey of Centre for Media Studies, around Rs 10,000 crores (USD 2 billion) will be spent on Lok Sabha Polls 2009. This does not include the cost of conducting assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. What is surprising here is that the amount to be spent (USD 2 billion) is more than what US President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates spent on their campaigns.
Does it appeal to reason that against Rs. 700 crore of investment the nation should pay over Rs. 24,000 crore? If such are the rates, it will be better that Govt make lumpsum payment to the contractor by levying another cess of a rupee or two on every litre of petrol/diesel sold in the NCR to defray these expenses.
Bharatiya Janashakti Party leader Uma Bharti declared last week that she wholeheartedly supported BJP leader L K Advani's bid to become the next prime minister. In a letter to the veteran BJP leader, Bharti wrote that in the context of present political scenario, internal and external challenges that India faces, he is the best suited person to lead the country.
There are different views on the Indian policy towards China and the Tibet issue. I will write more on that some other day. I have reproduced here the letter written by then Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on November 7, 1950 on Tibet issue. The letter throws light on the thought process of the Indian government vis-a-vis Tibet and China in the initial years after the independence.
The Sri Lankan Army has found photos and videos of MDMK leader Vaiko in the company of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. Vaiko is a known LTTE sympathiser and has been arrested a couple of times by the Tamil Nadu government for his open support to the feared terrorist organisation. According to media reports, Vaiko made clandestine visits to the LTTE controlled territory in Sri Lanka during the 1980s. The MDMK chief also spent a month in LTTE territory in 1989. The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was fighting the Tamil Tigers during the same time in Lanka's northeast, a media report said.
On Sept. 15, Treasury Secretary Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Shalom Bernanke testified before Congress that on the previous Thursday, Sept. 11, an "electronic run" on the U.S. banking system took place between the hours of 9 and 11 am. . . . That had stop-gaps not been executed, by 2 p.m. (again, on Sept. 11) the hemorrhaging of "$5.5 trillion" would have taken place, resulting in the collapse of not only "the entire economy" of the United States but as well of the world within just "24 hours".
On July 2, 1999 Sharif called President Clinton and requested him to intervene. The President also consulted with then Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee who clearly stated that India will not negotiate "under the threat of aggression" and that withdrawal of Pakistani forces was essential. Sharif again called President Clinton on July 3 and told him that he was ready to come to Washington. The President warned him that without agreeing to withdraw Pakistani forces behind the LoC, the visit will not yield any results. Sharif told him that he was coming to the US on July 4.
An intelligence report by India's Intelligence Bureau in December 2006 states that ISI, in cooperation with Pakistan Navy, is imparting navigational training to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists. The report further states that the training is for 12 to 18 months and is divided into three phases. The first phase deals with learning swimming. The second phase of the training involved tasks like handling large boats, laying of mines in coastal zones, and planting of explosives under dams, bridges, and ships among others.
Over the past two months, none of us has remained insulated from the public discourse that has ranged from faint-hearted defeatism accepting a rotting order to boisterous and repetitive calls seeking "action" and "change." These words, however, are deceptive devices; they invoke the images of a euphoric, bright destiny but fail to vanquish the darkness along the road that has to be endured.