The Candid Eye

March 2, 2010

In Kalaignar honour, DMK takes sycophancy to new heights

Filed under: Indian Politics,Tamil Nadu — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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A cartoon on the latest cover of the anti-DMK weekly magazine, Tughlak, pokes fun at Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi’s craze for felicitation functions in his own honour.

The witty DMK chief may not appreciate the humour when the joke is on him. But his backing for such functions has unleashed a culture of competitive parattu vizhas or felicitation programmes in Tamil Nadu that has seen sycophancy climb new heights.

Karunanidhi & his family

The joke goes that the meteoric rise of S Jagathrakshakan, the Union minister of state for information and broadcasting, a small-time Vanniar community leader who joined the DMK on the eve of the 2009 Parliamentary elections is thanks to his zealous organisation of one parattu vizha a month for the CM.

Community groups and professional bodies now vie with one another to hold these vizhas structured around the theme of heaping praise on Mr Karunanidhi. The content is tailored for TV and broadcast exclusively on the Kalaignar or Sun networks owned by Mr Karunanidhi and his family members.

A typical example would be the thanksgiving function organised by the film industry to express gratitude to the CM for giving plots of land to film artists. Pasa Thalaivannuku Parattu Vizha(felicitation for our loving leader) was telecast on Kalaignar TV in three hour slots this weekend.

The mix of live film music and dance, along with the unabashed serenading of the chief minister by film personalities including superstars Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan, earns the networks anything between two to three crore for a six hour package, according to an industry insider. The functions are also often accompanied by ‘pattimandrams’ or debating competitions that discuss Mr Karunanidhi’s merits as a politician and as a literary figure.

The Opposition AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, already in election mode apprehending the advancement of the May 2011 state elections, has mocked Mr Karunanidhi as someone who enjoys everyone showering praises on him.

Mr Karunanidhi in his characteristic style quipped back at a recent vizha held by the Sanga Tamil Peravai that he saw these functions “as a call to remind me to put in more effort and strive vigorously for the development of the people”.

He added for good measure that “of course there are some people who cannot not digest anyone praising me”. But the real question is whether the voters will digest this ‘cultural phenomenon’?

According to AR Venkatachalapathy, professor of social and cultural history at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, DMK rode back to power in the 1996 state elections on the anti-Jayalalithaa wave generated, among other things, by an all-pervasive culture of sycophancy during her regime.

“But DMK lost power in 2001 to Ms Jayalalithaa. The real tragedy for Tamil Nadu was that 1996-2001 was a period of unparalleled development work in the state. When DMK was voted out, the conclusion was that development does not sell,” he says.

He characterises Mr Karunanidhi as a political ruler who sees himself as coming in the tradition of pre-modern monarchs, hailing as he does from the Chola lands in Thanjavur. “He has no family pedigree in politics or formation education – though he is the most educated among the chief ministers in the country – therefore he wants to draw his legitimacy from all kinds of artistes,” Mr Venkatachalapathy says.

Tughlak editor and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy is less kind. “What kinds of rationalists are they (DMK)? They have brought down idols of gods and supplanted themselves in their place,” he says.

The AIADMK’s literary wing secretary Pazha Karuppiah berates Mr Karunanidhi for casting Rajnikanth, arguably the most popular actor in Tamil cinema after MG Ramachandran, in the likeness of All India Radio’s staff violinist, a fixture at the Station, catering to its specific needs. “There has been all-round cultural degeneration in the 40-years or so that Karunanidhi has been in politics.

Even the Madras University vice chancellor’s post is being contracted out for money like the chappal safekeeping contract at the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. It is no wonder that the vice chancellor has introduced a new MA course in Karunanidhi Thoughts in order to please the CM,” he says.

The stakes have become very high for DMK after being in power at the Centre almost continuously since 1996, except for a short break in 1998-1999. “The fragmentation of the Indian polity has meant that power is now accessible to a regional player like DMK…It has had the resources of the Central government within its reach,” Mr Venkatachalapathy says. He adds that the scope for expression of dissent has shrunk considerably in Tamil Nadu.

“There is no platform for expressing dissent in Tamil Nadu — least of all at these functions. This can be traced back to MG Ramachandran’s time. In 1977, he completely muscled student organisations,” he says.

The vizha culture has spawned a group of me-toos within DMK and percolated to other fields too. For over a month, Salem, a city in western Tamil Nadu, wore a festive look with festoons, posters and flexiboards celebrating 50 years of state agriculture minister Veerapandi Arumugam’s contribution to public life.

Large photographs of him sitting in the front row and enjoying a felicitation function organised for him came up after the event. If imitation is the best form of flattery, then Mr Karunanidhi could not have been more pleased.

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July 6, 2009

DMK Minister A Raja is set to influence the Judiciary system!!

Filed under: India,Indian Politics — thecandideye @ 6:29 AM
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The ruling DMK goverment in TN,is well known for its highhandedness and soft approach towards rowdism,is now attempting to influence the country’s judiciary system.Though their effort in influencing the judiciary will not bring any results,it is highly condemnable and the minister involved in this activity must be inquired.

The Madras High Court judge’s claim that a Union Minister tried to influence him is fast growing into a political controversy that is set to rock Parliament as it begins its Budget session tomorrow.
The ruling Congress has maintained silence with party sources saying that until the judge names the Minister or writes to the Chief Justice of India identifying him, the party can do little. But the opposition BJP and the AIADMK are determined to raise the heat amid speculation that the Minister could be from the DMK. The Bar Council of India has demanded action against the Minister under the Contempt of Courts Act.
IT and Telecommunications Minister A Raja today denied having made any calls to the judge but his close aides admitted that the Minister knew the accused Dr Krishnamurthy and his son Kiruba Sridhar since they hail from his district.

The Madras High Court judge’s claim that a Union Minister tried to influence him is fast growing into a political controversy that is set to rock Parliament as it begins its Budget session tomorrow.

The ruling Congress has maintained silence with party sources saying that until the judge names the Minister or writes to the Chief Justice of India identifying him, the party can do little. But the opposition BJP and the AIADMK are determined to raise the heat amid speculation that the Minister could be from the DMK. The Bar Council of India has demanded action against the Minister under the Contempt of Courts Act.

IT and Telecommunications Minister A Raja today denied having made any calls to the judge but his close aides admitted that the Minister knew the accused Dr Krishnamurthy and his son Kiruba Sridhar since they hail from his district.

It was during a hearing of their anticipatory bail plea that Justice R Reghupathy made the controversial claim.“I have not made any calls. I don’t know anything about it,” Raja told The Indian Express.

AIADMK leader V Maitreyan said the party has given separate notices in both Houses for discussion on this issue. The AIADMK wants the UPA government to name the Minister and sack him, said Maitreyan. “The Law Ministry should seek a report from Madras High Court. Besides a case should be filed against the minister involved under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” he demanded.

Said Bar Council of India Chairman S N P Sinha: “By trying to influence the judge, the minister has committed contempt of court. Even if the judge pardons him, the Government should initiate action against him as this is a very serious matter. And there is also a need to probe the larger issue of the powerful trying to browbeat the judiciary.” Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily declined to comment.

May 28, 2009

Electronic Voting Machines – Are they 100% tamper proof??

Filed under: Elections '09 — thecandideye @ 3:00 AM
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The AIADMK in TamilNadu has passed a resolution recently that the Election Commission should revert to voting through ballot boxes.Excerpts on the same with my emphasis.

Accusing the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of using money power and malpractices to win the Lok Sabha polls, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said the Election Commission should revert to voting through ballot boxes.

Taking stock of the Lok Sabha election results, the party’s executive council meeting in Chennai, presided over by AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa, passed a resolution, stating that some developed countries reverted to ballot system of voting due to irregularities in the Electronic Voting Machines.

While there are some incidents in which the EVMs malfunctioned and changed the results of the election in that consituency,still they are considered fool proof by many people.These EVMs are manufactured by Bharat Elecronics,Bangalore and Electronic conrporation of India, Hyderabad.Election Commisson of India says there are a number of benifits using Electrnic machines instead using old ballot boxes and measures are taken to avoid possible malfunctioning.But still, some questions naturally arise regarding the EVMs.They are:

1) Some of the EVMs are malfunctioning  even though it is manufactured by Navaratna status company BEL. What is the quality control being followed for these machines in these companies?Are these measures stringent enough to avoid malfunctioning of the machines?

2) Are the EVMs used in India sufficiently shielded against Van Eck Phreaking?

3) I believe calibration is done properly for these machines.Are recalibration facilities/methods easily and quickly available in the event of malfunctioning?There are repeated incidents of EVMs switching votes in India similar to the one happened in West Virginia in 2008. In Tamilnadu, the switching happened in favour of DMK led alliance in number of places.Why did this not happen for AIADMK led alliance?

4) What are the information exchange protocals/standards being followed for the EVMs used in India?Whether EVMs are using the standards such as Election Markup Language(EML)?

5) I don’t think that the voting machine software has been made available for the people to analyse and improve as it is done in Australia under free software license.

May 19, 2009

Has India become Swiss??

Has India become a safe haven for black money?Yes,says M.R.Venkatesh from Swadeshi Jagran Manch of Chennai branch.Narendra Modi had earlier asked Manmohan Singh to stop the Swiss FIIs from investing in Indian markets.See the news here. Also it is to be noted that he had raised this issue before the G20 summit, that was scheduled to happen in April 2009.This news made me curious to know more about Swiss banking and Secrecy laws.Caputo & Partners says that minimum balance that has to be maintained in a swiss bank account is just over Rs.2.25 crore!! Most of these accounts are numbered.Even the bank staff will not be able to tell the name of account holder.The account holders receive their bank statements with the asssociated numbers only.When they receive or transfer funds to another person/bank, their numbers are used.Their names are not used in any of the transactions.

These banks have to protect the secrecy of their clients in Switzerland as per Article 47 of the Federal Law on Banks and Savings Banks, which came into effect on November 8, 1934.Even the swiss goverment cannot ask for the identities of the bank’s customers.At the same time, these banks don’t guarantee the secrecy in the foreign countries in which they operate.These banks need to comply with the laws and requirements of the governing bodies of the foreign country.These swiss banks, acting as FII – Foreign Insititutional Investor,are allowed to invest in India.For this they need to comply with laws and regulations of SEBI.

The series of videos of Mr.Venkatesh’s talk give a clear picture on these Swiss FIIs and how the illegal black money was used to create the stock market boom in India in the last few years under UPA goverment.Tax payers money was used to create this bubble and it did not last long.I believe the Indian stock market bubble would be created only when Congress comes to power using their black money and thus making investors/people believe that India is progressing.Simply put, the tax payers money will be embezzled time and again by these leeches by all means.

Illegal funds of Indians abroad – Participatory notes – Part 1

Illegal funds of Indians abroad – Participatory notes – Part 2

Illegal funds of Indians abroad – Participatory notes – Part 3

Illegal funds of Indians abroad – Participatory notes – Part 4

Recent elections results have favoured UPA coalition and Commerce minister Kamal Nath have alreadysaid that the UPA retaining power would see the stock markets reacting positively!

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