RSS forms committee to select Advani's successor

Tired of the escalating infighting in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) over the leadership issue, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decided to take the matter of deciding the next Leader of Opposition (LOP) into its own hands.

According to sources, the Sangh has formed a committee under the leadership of its senior leader Madan Das Devi to select L K Advani’s successor. Other RSS leaders who are in the committee include Shrikant Joshi, Madhubhai, Suresh Soni, and Indresh Kumar.

The need for forming a committee arose after it looked clear that it would be difficult to maintain the unity of the BJP in the current circumstances where various factions were proposing different names for the post of LOP.

Earlier on Sunday, senior RSS leaders met L K Advani in the presence of BJP President Rajnath Singh and inquired about his choice for the post of LOP. Advani is believed to have given the names of Jaswant Singh and Sushma Swaraj, which sources say, are not widely acceptable in the party circles.

It was then decided that Advani would remain as the Leader of Opposition till a consensus is reached on the name of any leader.

Sources told Canary Trap that the present arrangement suits Rajnath Singh. Singh realises that it is impossible for him to hold the position of party president and LOP at the same time.

According to them, Singh wants Advani to remain as the LOP till the end of 2009. Interestingly, his terms as party president also ends during that period. Singh hopes to succeed Advani as the LOP after that.

Advani is the only leader in the BJP who has held the positions of the party president and the Leader of Opposition at the same time.

Meanwhile, party sources told Canary Trap that in such challenging times a senior and experienced leader like Murli Manohar Joshi is the best bet to lead the party in the Lok Sabha. Joshi has held various senior positions in the party organisation, including the post of party president between 1990-1992.

BJP sources say that Joshi is not preferred by either Advani or Rajnath Singh.

While giving an interview to a news channel after the poll debacle, Joshi targeted Rajnath Singh and said that the party’s ticket distribution could have been “better” and it should have had some Muslim candidates.

Joshi did not even spare Advani when he said “If Advaniji says anything he says it in the interest of party members. He is the most experienced leader in the party. This cannot be criticised if he has taken the responsibility for the loss,” said Joshi.

He further added that the veteran BJP leader is setting a good example by expressing his desire to step down from the post of the Leader of Opposition.

The RSS leaders met Advani in the midst of all this infighting. According to party sources, even the RSS thinks that it would be better if Advani retires now than he does after a year or two as that would not give enough time to the new leader to prepare for the next general elections.

Now all eyes are on the RSS committee which will deliberate on all the aspects and decide the name of the leader who will succeed Advani.

Keep tracking Canary Trap for more such information on the ongoing crisis in the ‘party with a difference’.

Photos of Prabhakaran with wife, son and daughter

Canary Trap brings you the exclusive pictures of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s family.

The photos have been released by the Sri Lankan defence ministry.

1. Prabhakaran and Madivadini in an undisclosed location in India during mid 80’s.

2. Prabhakaran and Madivadini at their wedding.

3. Prabhakaran’s celebrates the sixth birthday of his youngest son Balachandran.

4. Prabhakaran and Madivadini with their most favoured son in an undisclosed location in Wanni.

5. Prabhakaran with family members.

6. Prabhakaran with his son in a swimming pool.

7. Prabhakaran with his family.

 

8. Prabhakaran, Madivadini and children on a sea tiger boat at the Iranamadu tank.

 

 

9. Prabhakaran with son Charles Antony.

 

10. Prabhakaran’s son (Charles Antony) and daughter.

 

Controversey surrounds Rahul Gandhi’s MPhil

The Congress party on Thursday served a legal notice to The New Indian Express for publishing what it called “wild allegations and sly insinuations” on the educational qualifications of party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

“Deeply distressed by your wild allegations, sly insinuations and self-serving innuendos, all premised on complete falsehoods and steeped in malice, a notice is being issued,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters at the AICC headquarters in the capital.

Singhvi quoted a letter from the University, which stated that Gandhi was a student at the institution as a member of the Trinity College from October 1994 to July 1995 and was awarded an M Phil in Development Studies in 1995.

Earlier, Rahul had also said in a press conference that he will serve a legal notice to the newspaper for writing the article.

Below is the article that the Chennai based newspaper published. Will keep you updated on any further developments on the issue.

(The article, dateline Chennai, was published in The New Indian Express on April 7, 2009. It has been reproduced here with proper permission)

Truth about Rahul Gandhi’s MPhil

Rahul Gandhi appears to have been economical with the truth on his affidavit while filing his election nomination papers in Amethi this weekend.

In the affidavit, he states that he obtained an MPhil from Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1995, in Developmental Economics. A certificate from the University shows that not only has he got dates wrong, he has even got the name of the course he took incorrect.

Worse, the man touted as a future prime minister failed one of his four papers.

Rahul got 58 percent in “National Economic Planning and Policy” (according to the grading scale given in the certificate, 60 percent is the minimum for a pass).

The certificate, shown alongside, was issued a year ago by Diana Kazemi, the secretary of the department of Development Studies (and not Developmental Economics) in which Rahul Gandhi studied.

He enrolled under the name ‘Raul Vinci’, a pseudonym given by the British authorities in a common practice as there are a good number of VVIP wards from around the world enrolled at British educational institutions. The pseudonym came to light during the 2004 elections in the Telegraph and the Hindu.

According to the University, Rahul read for the MPhil in 2004- 05, and not in 1994-95, as stated in his affidavit.

His affidavit’s other claim, to have obtained his Bachelors from Rollins College in Florida, USA, is true (and is a departure from earlier claims by ‘supporters’ that he graduated from Harvard). He also briefly attended St Stephen’s College in Delhi, gaining admission through the sports quota.

His mother (and Congress president) Sonia Gandhi was also in a minor controversy in 2004 over her educational qualifications.

Her nomination papers’ affidavit claimed she obtained a certificate in English from Lennox Cook School, University of Cambridge, in 1965. After it was revealed that the school had no affiliation to the University, Sonia claimed that the error on the affidavit was the result of a secretarial typing mistake.

Rahul Gandhi Certificate

LS Polls 2009: One pricey affair!

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.

The data provided by the US Federal Election Commission states that Obama and other candidates collectively spent close to $1.8 billion (nearly Rs 8,000 crores) in the 2007-08 Presidential elections. While the US presidential polls were spread over a year, India will witness such massive spending in just over two months.

A close look at the break-up of Poll and Poll-Eve Expenditure provided by the CMS throws one interesting figure.

  • Govt ( EVMs, Booths, TA, DA, etc.): Rs 1500 – 2000 crores
  • Canvassing (Vehicles, aircrafts, fuel, workers, etc.): Rs 3000 – 3500 crores
  • Printed material of all kinds (Posters, banners, advertising, poll surveys, etc of all kind at all levels): Rs 1500 – 2000 crores
  • Other media (Video, audio, cable, cinema, SMS, TV advertising etc.): Rs 1200 – 1500 crores
  • Miscellaneous (public meetings, wages, inter-personal, rallies, etc.): Rs 1000 – 1500 crores
  • Cash paid to voters: Rs 2000 – 2500 crores

As the figures show, around one-fourth of the total money to be spent comes under the ‘note for vote’ strategy of political parties. The parties will pay around Rs 2000 – 2500 crores to the voters in the hope that they would vote for them.

The CMS data further indicates that in comparison to 2004 Lok Sabha polls spending, the amount to be spent this year would be more than double. While Rs 4500 crores were spent in 2004 parliamentary elections, the 1998 and 1996 general elections has cost the country Rs 3200 crores and Rs 2100-2200 crores.

(The post was published on NewsX blogs. You can read it directly by clicking here: http://newsx.com/node/50185)

Uma Bharti’s letter to Advani

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.

It is interesting to note that Bharti was expelled from the BJP in 2005 for her outburst against Advani in full media glare.

Click here to read the letter

Sardar Patel’s letter to Nehru on Tibet

Tibetans across the world, especially in India, celebrated the 50th anniversary of their failed uprising against China on Tuesday. The March 10, 1959 riots in Tibet against Chinese rule resulted in a brutal crackdown and led to Dalai Lama’s flight to India.

Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, slammed China on the anniversary for turning Tibet into “hell on earth”.

The Western nations have appealed to China for maintaining human rights in Tibet, but India’s response to the entire issue has been muted since last few decades.

After gaining independence from the British, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru tried his best to prevent the Chinese military occupation of Tibet, which was an autonomous region and a buffer between India and China.

According to George N Patterson, in his paper China and Tibet: Background to the Revolt, “On October 25, 1950, Peking radio broadcast that the process of “liberating” Tibet had begun. However, it was still not publicly admitted to be a military action. When the Indian ambassador in Peking lodged a strong protest from his government, “the Chinese reply was equally strong. It practically accused India of having been influenced by the imperialists, and claimed that the Chinese had not taken any military action but were determined to liberate Tibet by peaceful means…”

Although India provided some military aid to Tibet initially, there was nothing much that could be done in the face of a firm People’s Liberation Army (PLA) response.

Analysts say India then did not take a strong position in the hope that further antagonizing China on the issue would aggravate matters. The only option for Tibetans then was to reach to a compromise with the Chinese, who eventually took over the region in 1959.

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 letter is sourced from Claude Arpi’s collections of historical documents pertaining to India.

Letter from Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vhallabhbhai Patel to Prime Minister Jahawarlal Nehru

New Delhi
7 November 1950

My dear Jawaharlal,

1. Ever since my return from Ahmedabad and after the cabinet meeting the same day which I had to attend practically at 15 minutes’ notice and for which I regret I was not able to read all the papers, I have been anxiously thinking over the problem of Tibet and thought I should share with you what is passing through my mind.

2. I have carefully gone through the correspondence between the External Affairs Ministry and our Ambassador in Peking and through him the Chinese Government. I have tried to peruse this correspondence as favourably to our Ambassador and the Chinese Government as possible, but I regret to say that neither of them comes out well as a result of this study. The Chinese Government has tried to delude us by professions of peaceful intention. My own feeling is that at a crucial period they managed to instill into our Ambassador a false sense of confidence in their so-called desire to settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means. There can be no doubt that during the period covered by this correspondence the Chinese must have been concentrating for an onslaught on Tibet. The final action of the Chinese, in my judgement, is little short of perfidy. The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put faith in us; they chose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence. From the latest position, it appears that we shall not be able to rescue the Dalai Lama. Our Ambassador has been at great pains to find an explanation or justification for Chinese policy and actions. As the External Affairs Ministry remarked in one of their telegrams, there was a lack of firmness and unnecessary apology in one or two representations that he made to the Chinese Government on our behalf. It is impossible to imagine any sensible person believing in the so-called threat to China from Anglo-American machinations in Tibet. Therefore, if the Chinese put faith in this, they must have distrusted us so completely as to have taken us as tools or stooges of Anglo-American diplomacy or strategy. This feeling, if genuinely entertained by the Chinese in spite of your direct approaches to them, indicates that even though we regard ourselves as the friends of China, the Chinese do not regard us as their friends. With the Communist mentality of “whoever is not with them being against them”, this is a significant pointer, of which we have to take due note. During the last several months, outside the Russian camp, we have practically been alone in championing the cause of Chinese entry into UN and in securing from the Americans assurances on the question of Formosa. We have done everything we could to assuage Chinese feelings, to allay its apprehensions and to defend its legitimate claims in our discussions and correspondence with America and Britain and in the UN. Inspite of this, China is not convinced about our disinterestedness; it continues to regard us with suspicion and the whole psychology is one, at least outwardly, of scepticism perhaps mixed with a little hostility. I doubt if we can go any further than we have done already to convince China of our good intentions, friendliness and goodwill. In Peking we have an Ambassador who is eminently suitable for putting across the friendly point of view. Even he seems to have failed to convert the Chinese. Their last telegram to us is an act of gross discourtesy not only in the summary way it disposes of our protest against the entry of Chinese forces into Tibet but also in the wild insinuation that our attitude is determined by foreign influences. It looks as though it is not a friend speaking in that language but a potential enemy.

3. In the background of this, we have to consider what new situation now faces us as a result of the disappearance of Tibet, as we knew it, and the expansion of China almost up to our gates. Throughout history we have seldom been worried about our north-east frontier. The Himalayas have been regarded as an impenetrable barrier against any threat from the north. We had a friendly Tibet which gave us no trouble. The Chinese were divided. They had their own domestic problems and never bothered us about frontiers. In 1914, we entered into a convention with Tibet which was not endorsed by the Chinese. We seem to have regarded Tibetan autonomy as extending to independent treaty relationship. Presumably, all that we required was Chinese counter-signature. The Chinese interpretation of suzerainty seems to be different. We can, therefore, safely assume that very soon they will disown all the stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in the past. That throws into the melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the last half a century. China is no longer divided. It is united and strong. All along the Himalayas in the north and north-east, we have on our side of the frontier a population ethnologically and culturally not different from Tibetans and Mongoloids. The undefined state of the frontier and the existence on our side of a population with its affinities to the Tibetans or Chinese have all the elements of the potential trouble between China and ourselves. Recent and bitter history also tells us that Communism is no shield against imperialism and that the communists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other. Chinese ambitions in this respect not only cover the Himalayan slopes on our side but also include the important part of Assam. They have their ambitions in Burma also. Burma has the added difficulty that it has no McMahon Line round which to build up even the semblance of an agreement. Chinese irredentism and communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the western powers. The former has a cloak of ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of ideological expansion lie concealed racial, national or historical claims. The danger from the north and north-east, therefore, becomes both communist and imperialist. While our western and north-western threat to security is still as prominent as before, a new threat has developed from the north and north-east. Thus, for the first time, after centuries, India’s defence has to concentrate itself on two fronts simultaneously. Our defence measures have so far been based on the calculations of superiority over Pakistan. In our calculations we shall now have to reckon with communist China in the north and in the north-east, a communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem friendly disposed towards us.

4. Let us also consider the political conditions on this potentially troublesome frontier. Our northern and north-eastern approaches consist of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and the tribal areas in Assam. From the point of view of communication, there are weak spots. Continuous defensive lines do not exist. There is almost an unlimited scope for infiltration. Police protection is limited to a very small number of passes. There, too, our outposts do not seem to be fully manned. The contact of these areas with us is by no means close and intimate. The people inhabiting these portions have no established loyalty or devotion to India. Even Darjeeling and Kalimpong areas are not free from pro-Mongoloid prejudices. During the last three years, we have not been able to make any appreciable approaches to the Nagas and other hill tribes in Assam. European missionaries and other visitors had been in touch with them, but their influence was in no way friendly to India or Indians. In Sikkim, there was political ferment some time ago. It is quite possible that discontent is smouldering there. Bhutan is comparatively quiet, but its affinity with Tibetans would be a handicap. Nepal has a weak oligarchic regime based almost entirely on force: it is in conflict with a turbulent element of the population as well as with enlightened ideas of the modern age. In these circumstances, to make people alive to the new danger or to make them defensively strong is a very difficult task indeed and that difficulty can be got over only by enlightened firmness, strength and a clear line of policy. I am sure the Chinese and their source of inspiration, Soviet Union, would not miss any opportunity of exploiting these weak spots, partly in support of their ideology and partly in support of their ambitions. In my judgement the situation is one which we cannot afford either to be complacent or to be vacillating. We must have a clear idea of what we wish to achieve and also of the methods by which we should achieve it. Any faltering or lack of decisiveness in formulating our objectives or in pursuing our policies to attain those objectives is bound to weaken us and increase the threats which are so evident.

5. Side by side with these external dangers, we shall now have to face serious internal problems as well. I have already asked (HVR) lyengar to send to the F.A. Ministry a copy of the Intelligence Bureau’s appreciation of these matters. Hitherto, the Communist Party of India has found some difficulty in contacting communists abroad, or in getting supplies of arms, literature, etc. from them. They had to contend with the difficult Burmese and Pakistan frontiers on the East with the long sea board. They shall now have a comparatively easy means of access to Chinese communists and through them to other foreign communists. Infiltration of spies, fifth columnists and communists would now be easier. Instead of having to deal with isolated communist pockets in Telengana and Warangal we may have to deal communist threats to our security along our Northern and North-eastern frontiers where, for supplies of arms and ammunition, they can safely depend on communist arsenals in China. The whole situation thus raises a number of problems on which we must come to early decision so that we can, as I said earlier, formulate the objectives of our policy and decide the method by which those objectives are to be attained. It is also clear that the action will have to be fairly comprehensive, involving not only our defense strategy and state of preparations but also problem of internal security to deal with which we have not a moment to lose. We shall also have to deal with administrative and political problem in the weak spots along the frontier to which I have already referred.

6. It is of course, impossible to be exhaustive in setting out all these problems. I am, however, giving below some of the problems which, in my opinion, require early solution and round which we have to build our administrative or military policies and measures to implement them.

  • A Military and Intelligence appreciation of the Chinese threat to India both on the frontier and internal security.
  • An examination of military position and such redisposition of our forces as might be necessary, particularly with the idea of guarding important routes or areas which are likely to be the subject of dispute.
  • An appraisement of strength of our forces and, if necessary, reconsideration of our retrenchment plans to the Army in the light of the new threat.
  • A long-term consideration of our defense needs. My own feeling is that, unless we assure our supplies of arms, ammunition and armour, we should be making a defense position perpetually weak and we would not be able to stand up to the double threat of difficulties both from the West and North-West and North and North-East.
  • The question of Chinese entry into UNO. In view of rebuff China has given us and the method which it has followed in dealing with Tibet, I am doubtful whether we can advocate its claims any longer. There would probably be a threat in the UNO virtually to outlaw China in view of its active participation in Korean War. We must determine our attitude on this question also.
  • The political and administrative steps which we should take to strengthen our Northern and North-Eastern frontier. This would include whole of border, i.e. Nepal, Bhutan. Sikkim. Darjeeling and tribal territory of Assam.
  • Measure of internal security in the border areas as well as the state flanking those areas such as U.P., Bihar, Bengal and Assam.
  • Improvement of our communication, road, rail, air and wireless with these areas and with the frontier outposts.
  • The future of our mission at Lhasa and the trade post of Gyantse and Yatung and the forces which we have in operation in Tibet guarding trade routes.
  • The policies in regards to McMahon Line.

These are some of the questions which occur to my mind. It is possible that a consideration of these matters might lead us into wider question of our relationship with China, Russia. America, Britain and Burma. This, however, would be of a general nature, though some might be basically very important. i.e. we might have to consider whether we should not enter into closer association with Burma in order to strengthen the latter in its dealings with China. I do not rule out the possibility that, before applying pressure on us, China might apply pressure on Burma. With Burma, the frontier is entirely undefined and the Chinese territorial claims are more substantial. In its present position, Burma might offer an easier problem to China, and therefore, might claim its first attention.

I suggest that we meet early to have a general discussion on these problems and decide on such steps as we might think to be immediately necessary and direct, quick examination of other problems with a view of taking early measure to deal with them.

Yours,
Vallabhbhai Patel