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April - May 2004

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Advani's 'Bharat Uday Yatra' - What do you think of it?
Not an original idea; but a repetition of his previous Yatra which did have a great impact on Indian masses. As he moves from Kanyakumari to Amritsar, passing through sixteen states of India, Advani is having plenty of coverage in the media. Large crowds gathered in Kerala (where BJP is not very popular). Passing through Tamil Nadu, he was greeted by Jay Lalitha.

Perhaps now that DMK of Karunanidhi is fully in the lap of Sonia Gandhi, Advani's diplomatic friendship with Jay Lalitha is going to be a great help in the South. Talking to newsmen he said that BJP and NDA would fare well this time. "Our ambitions in Kerala are not very high", he admitted. He abstained from attacking his old allies, DMK. "I don't attack anyone who had been with me till yesterday, who is likely to be with me tomorrow", said Advani
In Karnataka, where the NDA is hoping to get good response from the voters, he asserted
that the Vajpayee Government was truly national in character. ..It had given representation to all sections of political ideology similar to the 1947-51 ministry of Jawaharlal Nehru.

"NDA is united by a common objective to make India a developed country by 2020," declared Advani at a meeting with press on the fifth day of his Yatra. Talking about the minorities under NDA rule, Mr. Advani said, "Our opponents have tried to create a sense of fear about BJP among the country's religious minority. I am heartened that this scaremongering is yielding diminishing returns. BJP welcomes representatives of minority communities into its fold. There has been an encouraging increase in the BJP's support among Christians in Kerala. I look forward to similar trends elsewhere."

In Andhra Pradesh, TDP's chief, Chandra Babu Naidu, a key supporter of NDA from outside, came to greet Mr. Advani. Praising the leadership of the Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr. Naidu said, "Because of his initiatives, the relations with neighboring countries including Pakistan have improved. Today's Indo-Pak cricket match is also because of his initiative."
Mamta Bannerji Vs. Nafisa Ali
Mamta Banerjee, the fiery 'Didi' gained a broader base in North East of India when PA Sangma, ex-speaker and ex-leader of National Congress Party left his erstwhile colleague from Maharashtra, Mr Sharad Pawar. and joined Trinamool Congress to form "Natioalist Trinamool Congress." Trinamool means grass roots.

The new party would be headed by Bannerjee and retain the symbol of "flower with grass" of the Trinamool Congress. Nagaland Chief Minister N. Rio, Chairman of the North East Peoples Forum, an ally of NDA, was present when the announcement was made at a Press Conference.

But 'Didi' is facing another challenge from an aging beauty, Nafisa Ali, an actress and ex-Miss India. She is hoping to stand against Mamta Banerjee from Calcutta South constituency as Congress nominee. Describing herself as "out and out a Bengali",
Nafisa also pronounced a golden rule, "If they elect me and if I cannot perform within a year I will resign." We think every candidate aspiring to be an MP should do so. But let us first formulate the criteria of 'performance'. In the Congress Party it is often considered enough if one recites the name of the 'Madame' and the loyalty to the family once a day, sufficient qualification to be a performing MP.

Nafisa is not very happy that Mamta has rejoined NDA. "If Mamta had left the NDA in protest against corruption in defence deal, why did she rejoin the BJP-led coalition? It was only to stay in power", said Nafisa. Poor darling! Nafisa perhaps does not know that any person aspiring to be MP is seeking power. As for corruption, Nafisa has not bothered to see the archives of the Congress party, otherwise she would know that corruption had become a way of life under the last Congress Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

Nafisa, in a fighting spirit, pronounced, "The BJP is communal and blatantly corrupt. The party did not apologize for the Gujarat riots. I will not rest until a judicial inquiry is ordered against the Narendra Modi government."
Hema Malini Joins BJP
Why not? Power and Glamour go together. Hema has been with BJP for many years. Now she wants to be more active and perhaps may get a ticket to enter parliament. Now, can there be any body more secular than Hema Malini? A South Indian Hindu girl married to a Punjabi jaat according to Islamic marriage laws.

In fact this trend among our 'filmi' actors, directors, producers, musicians, singers, dancers and comedians to join one or the other party before elections provides good entertainment value to an otherwise dreary political ritual of giving speeches full of lies , vain hopes and political abuses, five times a day.

At least when Hema Malini gives her speech (written by somebody else in the party), her diction would be perfect and the words coming out of her mouth would be listened to by the common masses admiringly. What are your views? Write or email to India Link International.
Now Varun Gandhi joins BJP
With Maneka Gandhi already in the front benches of BJP political cadre, Young Varun also has started to flap his wings supporting BJP political campaign. Gujarat, it seems, has become the centre of BJP's dream of turning India into a developed country. For Narendra Modi and his fellow travellers year 2020 (Advani's target of turning into a developed country) is too far.

The process has to start now. Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun, hopefully, would get respectable berth. They will be a great asset to BJP and India. After all, Maneka has been in politics far longer than her 'Jethani', Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party.
'New' Ideas from Sonia Gandhi
At the much-hyped seminar organised by India Today, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was asked to identify the three priorities she would like to focus on if voted to power. The first priority, she spelled out, would be"to enforce the rule of law, without fear or favour, against those endangering social harmony". NDA Government under BJP's leadership cannot bring economic liberalisation because, according to her, BJP is an exclusive government. It does not include all the people of India. Whereas Congress party , being all-inclusive, can bring economic liberalisation more rapidly. We leave it to the people of India to decide whether NDA government, with an alliance of more than 18 parties, is more exclusive than the Congress party being run by one person of one family. Undoubtedly, three generations of The family served the nation; but to let One Family always decide for what is best for India, is, to our point of view, too exclusive. It may destroy the very roots of Indian democracy.
Naajma Haptullah - A Small Tiff With The Leader Or A Matter Of Principle.
Sonia Gandhi is angry with Najma, a congress woman of impeccable credentials. Najma Hemtullah has been a star of Indian politics for more than two decades. Recently she raised her voice against the goings-on behind the scene within Congress party. The leader and the 'shadowy henchmen' thought she was going to walk out and join the other side. Najma, in a Star News interview wryly remarked: "Ham ko unse wafa ki he umeed: jo nahin jaante wafa kiya hai" (We are hoping of loyalty from a person who does not even know what loyalty is) Well-done Najma! Why should any one stop you fighting for Lok Sabha from Mumbai, your home town?
Indian Economic Growth Of 8-10 Per Cent Within Reach
But…..The International Monetary Fund cautioned that drastic reforms were necessary if India is determined to push up GDP growth to the desired 8-10 percent annually in two decades.
Raghuram Rajan, IMF economic councillor, spelled out that labour reforms, bringing agriculture under tax net, further relaxation in FDI reforms, speedy disinvestment and full capital account convertibility as the areas where Indian government must push more rapidly if the goal has to be achieved.

Giving an optimistic view Rajan said, "There is reason for being optimistic in India. There has been rise in productivity and surge in young work force, which in turn would raise savings rate and financial capital." If India is to shine, Rajan emphasized, "We need more investment in infrastructure - both physical and social." Rajan is of the view that to sustain higher growth, investment climate should further improve through adoption of good bankruptcy laws, transparency in corporate sector and reform in labour laws.

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